Once upon a time there was an aspiring author (me). She really wanted to be a good writer and as such, she agonized over her pen name. (In other words, I multi-tasked: pen name agony equaled writing procrastination.) But mostly Zuchniak is a last name that sounds more like the name of an obscure medical disease specialist than that of a writer.
As the years passed said this aspiring writer became content with the bone life had thrown at her and started investing into her teaching career. Teaching requires a certain level of creativity and like many would-be authors who came before, the energy to create sapped by the rigors of the classroom.
One day the aspiring author met another horse lover. They became inseparable and as the years went by they shared as best friends do, though in this case it was power tools. They purchased a table saw, a shop vac, drills, wood, screws and nails and finally a chainsaw together. They bemoaned the lack of colorful tools in South Korea. (Seriously Korea, I want a purple or pink hammer.)
The neighbors watched as the two best friends sawed, weed whacked and burned the farm into shape. And as everyone knows, power tools lead to horses, and horses lead to round pens and manure spreaders. And thus the first thousand pound baby came home, followed by two more. Between those purchases there was a round pen to build and rebuild... and rebuild.
Anyway, my website name has changed from mr-jordan.net to www.marielr.com to better reflect the changes to my life and blog.
It was a throw down between Captain America, Hulk and Thor. Grandma angled for Beast, hoping that in the future there might be a Beauty. But the outlook for Disney was grim. Gabe is five going on six after all, and while he has never read a comic book, he certainly has his favorite characters in the movies.
But true to the fickle nature of young children, Gabe tossed , Seven Eleven, into the ring as a long shot. But alas his racing name Choice Blue, has been cast aside. Please welcome Thor to the family. We are debating his size as yet. Is he bigger than Thunder??? Maybe. Either way, Super looks like a pony next to the other too. Poor Superman.
If I were North Korea's dictator (Kim Jung-un) I would exchange my Dictator's hat for that of the crown
Have you ever fantasized about being a dictator? Me neither.
However, if I were Kim Jung-un, I would seriously consider following in the foot steps of England. He could entrust the North Korean estate to the Republic of Korea in exchange for a x amount of funding for the royal family.
In such a move, he would go from bad guy, to royalty of both North and South Korea. Such an act would protect himself and relations from assassinations, guarantee a place in history for his children, his children's children and s on. All while maintaining the lifestyle to which he is accustomed, the lifestyle of royalty.
Such an act would allow the South to reintegrate the northern population in stages, perhaps allowing x number to move south each year, while building infrastructure and educating the northern population for full integration... to avoid economic depression, this would take 20 to 30 years. Any sudden change would see the south under huge economic pressures as the Republic of Korea would find itself inundated with what are essentially refugees, a good percentage of which have spent their entire lives in prison cities-- northern prisons are that big.
Finally, such a move would minimize the impact and rebellion against reunification among Kim Jung-un supporters. Though a percentage would remain loyal to the norther ideology, that percentage would be significantly smaller than were Kim Jung-un to be displaced, imprisoned, exiled or executed.
Obviously, there would be downsides to such a move. Such an act might require that he acquiesce to something akin to house arrest, but leave other relations such as children and perhaps his sister, free to live their lives. Certainly one upside to such a deal would be protection from the threat of assassination.
My cat Geumbi has passed on, which isn't exactly true , because I faced the end of life decision that all pet owners. The trouble started on Sunday when my cat sitter, Brundha, sent me a message that she didn't want to eat. Brundha told me that she had followed Geumbi around until she finally ate.
I was at the farm taking care of the horses. Even had I been home, I might not of have thought much of it. Geumbi was a perpetually sick cat and didn't always feel good. But I had ways of enticing her. I might mix up her food with warm water, or mash it or both. I had a lysine jelly that helped mask her medicine. The list was long, but I knew my cat and her moods. And sometimes it was just letting her get hungry enough to eat.
But on Monday she didn't anything. And on Monday night, after she tried to eat, she vomited what little she'd eaten. She also retreated to a draw in my wardrobe. I never let her sleep there. In the past she's peed on my clothes but this time I let her. I don't know why, I just did. When I got home from work she had not moved from her spot.
Sometimes, snuggles made her feel a lot better, so I sat down and waited for her to jump into my lap. She didn't and this from a cat who jumps into my lap at every opportunity. I couldn't even pee without her jumping up. As the evening progressed she still didn't want to snuggle and, more importantly, didn't demand her tuna. Bear was beginning to get whine and he is a quiet cat so I opened up the food.
The sound of the can top being popped drew her into the kitchen and she sat in front of her bowl staring at it. Finally she took a bite, but vomited. Sometimes, when she hasn't had her medicine for a while, she gets into a slump. She was on a daily steroid dose along with something to keep her stomach from bothering her. I hated to force her to take her medicine because she was a worried and stressed cat and forcing her to take her medicine her exacerbated her problems. Still, I occasionally had delivered it by syringe and she'd start to feel better once the medicine kicked in.
This time however, she not only drooled, a normal reaction for cats to bitter medicine, but vomited again. I didn't push the medicine again.
I'd been worrying about a yoga mat she'd chewed one weekend while I was at the farm. But that had been more than a month ago and she didn't eat stuff so much as chew them. My shoes, anything Styrofoam, twisty ties and anything plastic drove her mad.
The next day, my vet thought she'd eaten something too based on the x-rays. She was dehydrated so she was stabilized with an IV and I had to leave her over night to see if it would pass. But on Thursday all signs of obstruction were gone despite her not having passed anything. The vet felt she would be fine to go home, but I arranged for her to stay in the hospital one more night. Friday the movers were coming. I was moving back to Yeongju and taking up my old job at the English Center. My time there had been one of my strangest jobs ever, but the horses were in Punggi and I ever wanted to ever get The Thing (horse riding/ESL/ Farm/ whatchamacallit), I needed to in Punggi.
I held Geumbi at the vet's office that Thursday night before the move. She curled up in my lap and snuggled, and when she was relaxed I opened up a can of her favorite food from home. She got really excited. She was hungry I could tell, but three bites and she was done. I had a thought then. I thought, 'it's cancer." Her belly had felt hard, like the overfull belly of an animal who just gobbled all of their food. It hadn't taken on that placid jelly state in weeks.
But I could no longer think that perhaps she'd eaten more than I suspected or worry that she'd ingested something she shouldn't have. She hadn't eaten anything substantial since Sunday and the vet had ruled out foreign objects. So i went home thinking she was full because of the IV and the next day she would eat.
I had plans to pick her up after work, then get Bear from the old apartment. I would take them via bus to the new house, and the transition would be better because Geumbie would not have been exposed to the stress of the movers. But my vet had bad news. She'd vomited again that day, wasn't eating. She'd become dehydrated and had to be put back on the IV. Her blood-work wasn't exactly bad, but there was some indication that it might be cancer or liver failure or FIP. She saw something on ultrasound but coudln't be sure if it was a tumor. Geumbi would need to go to a specialist vet and have more tests.
The joy and excitement-- all the good things that could come out of this move-- dissipated. It was like have the life sucked out of me. I thought about how sick and stressed she'd been when I had relocated to Seoul. I thought about how stressed going to the vet made her and how it took days for her to recover. And I thought mostly how long I'd known she was in a general state of discomfort all the time... that her snuggle times with me were the bright spots of her day. How holding her made her feel better for a little bit, but when I put her down and she stopped purring she felt that dull, constant ache strongly.
In the States any number of vets would have recommended putting her to sleep, perhaps long ago, but certainly on that day. But in Korea, the vets offer specialists, tests and scans. They'll import experimental treatment from abroad. I never knew how much easier it was when the vet recommends terminating a pet's life. It's never, ever easy, but it's so much harder when you are offered more tests, more treatment, more, more, more.
But I had promised Geumbi, because I knew she had a certain level of PSTD from all the times she had been at the vet's office. All the times she was sent home with me when she should have stayed in the hospital for observation because the stress of being there was enough to kill her. So I'd promised her after having all her teeth extracted that if the day came that she needed tests and tests, and tests I wouldn't do it to her. I'd let her go.
The thing I didn't know was how much guilt I'd feel. What if I was wrong?What if I'd just taken her to the cancer specialist? What if it was treatable? And then, I remember all the things... I know I made the right decision but I miss her, deeply, terribly and Bear... he loves me but it's not the same. Sometimes I want to hold him to me and other times seeing him makes it all hurt more. He doesn't miss Geumbi. He misses company, but not being hissed at all the time. And he's happy to have me all to himself.
Mariel R. is an ESL teacher, horse trainer, writer, editor, sporadic blogger, and lover of beer. She lives in South Korea with two cats, three horses, a German Shepherd and 17 chickens.
Bear (Gom in Korean) then (above) now (below)
Geumbi (Goldy in English) R.I.P February, 23, 2018