Bogie, Life

Poe – the patron spirit of 2023

Hello from the other side.

I just got back from visiting my mom in Los Angeles, and she mentioned that I hadn’t written a post in a long time. So I guess she finally looked at my blog. I know that she and a few of my friends were avoiding my blog because they didn’t want to read sad stuff.

Well I was avoiding writing anything as well. Not because I didn’t want to talk about sad stuff, but every time I would start a post by the time I came back to it days later, my feelings had changed. But it’s the end of the year and a natural time to look back. Things have stabilized around here and I can give some sort of update. Enough time has passed that I’ve also gone through a number of “full circle” moments.

Most notably in August my friend Pravi traumatically lost her bulldog Stanley. It wasn’t even really her dog, she hated him at first, and they only lived together for a few months, but he wormed his way into her heart and she was devastated when he passed away suddenly in front of her. She called me right when it happened, and it was shattering to hear all the grief in her voice in real time. By chance Ryan and I were already set to visit her in Texas a few days later. Being there for her was an out of body experience, but we got through it somehow. Having to comfort her through her loss made me feel like I was “grieving in 360 degrees” if that makes any sense. So surreal. She’s doing better now and the incident has pushed her to give a new pup a good life.

Hot and sad in Fredericksburg, Texas

Then in October I finished the last of the free grief counseling sessions offered by my job (this therapist doesn’t take insurance, otherwise I might have continued and worked on other parts of my life). My therapist and I both agreed that I’d achieved the progress and perspective that I was looking for when I started back in April. How often does that happen with therapy?? I guess I should be proud of myself.

Because we can never be a dog-less household again, we adopted a new little buddy, Rufus, about 2 weeks after we lost Bogie. It was too soon for me, but I’m me so I don’t think I ever would have been ready. In the past I would have judged someone for moving on so fast, but once I was in it, I started to understand. The grief is so intense that you really are in physical pain. I would have pushed harder for longer without a dog, but Ryan needed to do it to move on.

Hello I’m crazy!

Rufus is adorable, but because of his questionable past (he was found being sold out of the back of a car at a gas station) he’s anxious and reactive. Learning to live with and manage a reactive dog has been another particularly isolating and stressful experience. We can’t have guests over, we can’t take him anywhere, and he’s terrified of walks. We have a back yard, but he has to walk in order to poop. But he won’t go on a walk unless it’s both me AND Ryan. So every walk each day is a frenzied tag-team of crossing the street whenever we see another dog, peeking around corners for scary humans, plying Rufus with boiled chicken, and ultimately rushing to get it all over with.

It’s been hard on Ryan going from the easiest most laid-back and human-loving dog in the world to a cute but fearful terrier terror. Right now life looks a lot different than we’d hoped, and despite all we’re doing for Rufus it always feels like we’re letting him down. But we’ve been doing intensive day training for the past 2 months, and while he is still scared of walks, Rufus is becoming a more confident and less reactive pup. We’re surprised every time his trainer sends his progress videos. So there’s hope. And you can’t say we’re not doing everything we can for this little guy.

Another full circle moment- we had our first emergency vet visit with Rufus. I hadn’t been back to the ER since the euthanasia, but I survived. I wish there was some way you could tell animal hospitals “Hey please don’t put me back in room #3 I don’t want to have flashbacks please” but they don’t have time for that.

I will end with some new things I’ve learned about grief this time around:

  1. Grief is so strange. There are so many triggers and you can’t predict them. For example, I was overly prepared and anxious about Bogie’s birthday in April, which coincidentally was also the one month anniversary of his passing. He would have been four. When the day came I muddled through it with a few sniffles. Instead what absolutely broke me was the weather. The weather!! Several days after his birthday we experienced a short streak of brilliantly warm and sunny spring days, and the cherry blossoms were in full bloom. Seeing it so beautiful outside made me incredibly sad. All I could think was that Bogie should have been there to enjoy it, prancing around the fallen blossoms and sniffing all the new and curious sniffs, dragging me around and stubbornly refusing to go back home. It just wasn’t fair. I found myself crushed that instead his last few weeks were just heartbreaking and shitty. I wished I could have seen him happy one more time, or at least just himself and not a zombie.
  2. One of the worst parts about fresh grief was how my mind processed time. My memory was a mess, and I couldn’t stop thinking in terms of T minus the time we euthanized him. My daily thoughts came with sick reference points like “Time for another haircut. The last time I got a haircut the dog was alive.” “I want to go to that bakery but the last time I went there was his last good day.” “I was wearing these jeans to the ER that day.” “It’s Thursday again, it’s the day.” I’ve experienced this kind of thinking before, and it is seriously the most persistent and annoying symptom of trauma. Thankfully it eventually went away on its own.
  3. The flipside of #2: At a certain point you will stop having such odd thoughts. You will start to feel better and then you’ll feel guilty for feeling better, and scared that you’re starting to forget them. That’s not possible. Also you should try to enjoy it, because pretty soon something else will trigger you and you will feel awful all over again.
  4. When you’re grieving, you start to see it everywhere. TV shows, books, movies, podcasts. Is grief having a moment or were these plotlines always there? Two of the best tv depictions I came across were the Succession death episode (in real time!) and the first season of And Just Like That (one of the few good things to come out of that dumpster fire of a show).
  5. From what I’ve gleaned from pet loss support groups, no one comes through pet loss without guilt. I have guilt for the things I did and didn’t do, but no matter what had happened I would have found something else to feel guilty about. This is because we control our pet’s entire lives. So when they die, it feels more like our responsibility. The most common example I’ve seen of guilt no matter what is around euthanasia. People either think “Did I do it too soon? Could he have gone on for another few weeks, months, maybe years with the right medication? Did I give up too soon?” but then there’s the flip side of “I waited too long and I hate that I let him suffer. I should have done it earlier but I just didn’t want to let go because I was selfish.”
  6. I want signs to be real. I want to believe. When my dad died the very next day I had a strong feeling of peace and comfort while I was riding my bike. Something about the air and energy of that spring day told me that things were going to be okay. It wasn’t like a spirit, but it was a feeling. Did I get a sign from Bogie? One time when I was taking a shower, the light hit the glass just so and a rainbow appeared on the shower wall. Bogie hated water and bath time, so TBH it probably wasn’t him, might have been some other ghost saying hi. But it was a beautiful moment!
  7. There is no quick fix, the only way to get through grief is to grieve. It helped to think of this when I felt like I was getting stuck in my emotions. I’m not stuck, I’m just going to have to cry 100 times in order to move on.
  8. This sounds so arrogant, but I thought that I was a “pro” at grieving. I’ve had a little loss in my life. I know how this goes. I had a grief plan, I was going to tackle it head on, and I got a therapist. But every loss is truly singular, and this sounds obvious when you think about it, but new losses naturally open up old wounds. While I was processing Bogie’s loss, I was also bombarded with all the painful memories of losses from the past (family members, friends…). So while experiencing loss wasn’t new, there was a lot more to experience, if that makes sense.
  9. Surprisingly, this shit rocked me to my core and really messed with all my relationships. I didn’t see that coming, and now I’m wary of when the NEXT bad thing happens (Seymour you can’t go!!!). Obviously I’ll survive, but I have seen how bad it can get, and how easily everything can fall apart.
  10. I didn’t mean to make this a ten point list, but I’m close so let’s round it out. Two ideas that I continue to think about since hearing them: “Grief is just love with nowhere to go.” and “Energy can’t be created or destroyed. Your loved one is still out there, just rearranged.” -> made famous by the “Eulogy from a physicist” but I like this speech from the series finale of The Good Place better.

From what I’ve learned this year, I am definitely feeling my own mortality. In my head now is this idea that as you live longer, the bad things will naturally pile up over time, and you have to learn to carry it all. This weight is an unavoidable consequence of living, I don’t know why it never occurred to me before.

2023 was mostly about surviving and getting through a tough year. I’d like 2024 to be about having fun and really thriving.

My bedside Bogie shrine. Thanks for the memories little bud.

Ugh… I’m having such a hard time processing this loss. I’m already writing in my journal but I figured I’d give some updates as my feelings change and hopefully the melancholy lifts. If you are uncomfortable with grief, I guess don’t come back to my blog for a month or two. Sorry, this is just how it is right now.

It’s been about a week since we let Bogie go. Every day at some point in the day my mind flashes back to a week earlier, thinking about what I was doing, and what I should have done instead. Wednesday was his last car ride. Fittingly, it was Wednesday when his ashes came in. I wasn’t keen on going back to the animal hospital, so Ryan spared me the pain by picking them up.

They’re here in a bag. There’s an urn, and some paw prints, and some thick locks of his hair (we got the upgrade package, highly recommend). We’ve left the bag on the living room table until we can figure out what to do with it. Bogie-2-Go. A DOGGIE BAG. Omg that’s terrible.

I’ve never cremated someone before. To be honest I’ve always been curious and envious when watching characters on tv carry their loved ones around so easily. All that person, reduced to dust (apparently a lot of dust). Scattering ashes looked so beautiful and meaningful. Now that his ashes are here, I don’t think I could let them go like that. I’ve hugged the urn tight, and my throat chokes up, but for a minute it feels better. It’s a cherry wood box. Maybe I should have asked Ryan to get a more huggable urn… Like could you put them in a stuffed animal? Is that not dignified? Ok I checked and yes, this is a thing!

Side note- Not to be morbid (lol too late) but I have already picked out Seymour’s future urn. It’s called Elite Cat. Isn’t it so sassy?

The first few days the pain was intensely physical, somewhere in my chest, throat and head. I didn’t want to eat, just wanted to stay in bed and cry instead. I let myself bawl loud and hard. Now I’m a bit more sheepish. I cry a few times a day, but don’t let it go past the point of no return. Pull it together. Crying sucks but the real problem is that I keep having intrusive thoughts of the last time I saw him, and thinking my way through the “what ifs.” Was there a universe of decisions and choices that could have kept him alive and happy? Or was he always destined to die of epilepsy and its complications? If we had won the liver battle, would we just be back at the animal hospital again for cluster seizures the next Wednesday? It’s mental torture.

Things that are helping so far: the Pet Loss Companion podcast, Facebook groups (Rainbow Bridge and PCV groups), and using my free Modern Health sessions for some grief counseling. The therapist I chose has been very sympathetic but also action focused, which fits what I need. She has me working on stopping my repetitive thoughts in their tracks, and moving my focus on the last photo of Bogie (one moment in time) to happier images (more representative of his day to day life).

Thank goodness for therapists. This is such a lonely process. Navigating our way through all the canine epilepsy stuff was hard and lonely. Now working through this loss is isolating as well. Hearing from friends keeps me going, but really it’s just me and Ryan on a little island of sadness. Such is grief.

We are opposites. I’m diving headfirst into the pain. Writing sad stuff, reading sad stuff, listening to sad stuff. If I owned more black clothes, I would be down for mourning dress. He’s been more focused on distraction, and seems to be tolerating the truth of the situation better, with less what ifs and whys. On the other hand, for him to heal emotionally it seems like he’ll need another puppy sooner than I’d like.

Since we’re opposites, you can imagine my stance on a new dog, and a puppy at that.

We’ve got a DC trip upcoming. Hoping that being away will give us at least a little break from the painful reminders of the last month. Looking forward to seeing old friends.


I was going to call this post Goodbye Bogie, but that hurt too much.

Sometimes when I thought about Bogie getting old and grey, with little white spots around his eyes and having trouble going up and down our many stairs, I’d get so upset and have to stop myself. That was years off, it was silly to think about. Maybe we would have moved to a single level house by then…

Now I’d give anything to have an old and ailing Bogie to have to haul up the stairs. My imagination couldn’t come up with an end as painful as this.

February is when it all went downhill, when the clusters started and I stopped recording them by number in my calendar. Our shared Google doc with all his seizures suddenly filled up with times, and less and less description because they were happening so often. Basically every two weeks there would be a terrible cluster we couldn’t shake him out of, and we’d have to rush to the animal ER for an overnight. We said to ourselves we can’t keep doing this, this wasn’t quality of life. To have a good week, then back to the hospital, and many days of recuperating after that. Rinse, repeat.

We got his pheno levels checked again, and were devastated to hear that they were super high at 40. He kept having seizures, so the pheno wasn’t going to be a wonder drug. We’d have to try something else.

Last week he had a week from hell. Saw a lot of drool on Sunday night so we were scared. Seizures started Monday morning. We treated them at home as we were taught until Wednesday when the neuro confirmed that we should take him to the ER. Rescue drugs weren’t working so they had to put him under to quiet his brain. The next day they said he had a hard time waking up, so he stayed another night.

On Friday morning our neurologist told us Bogie was still having seizures despite being on an insane number of drugs. He said Bogie was one of the most severe cases of epilepsy he’d ever seen, and prognosis was poor. If he didn’t show improvement by the afternoon then we would have to consider humane euthanasia. I asked the universe to please let him come home. If he came home, then I would be okay with letting him go when it was time. Somehow, he pulled through, and we took our boy home that afternoon. I was so relieved, but still felt a terrible pain in my gut.

He had been through a week of seizures and a ton of drugs, so we weren’t surprised when he didn’t bounce back as fast as before. He took a few days to get back to normal after every trip to the animal hospital. We were just so happy to have him home.

However this time he was still having focal ticks. And he didn’t want to eat. After talking to the doctor on Saturday we took him off one of his 2 new drugs which had a side effect of appetite suppression. All he did was sleep and get up to pee. When he was upright, he looked confused and stood in corners, or stared at nothing. We worried he was brain damaged.

I sat with him on the kitchen floor and read A Heart that Works, which seemed appropriate. We took turns sleeping downstairs again. Sunday night he peed dark orange. I googled and saw it might be related to his liver. I was so scared, and then relieved when he started peeing normally after that, and by Monday morning he was finally eating chicken and white rice. Small improvements. But he was also drinking a ton of water and throwing up.

I feel so much fucking guilt because by Wednesday morning he started peeing dark again. It wasn’t a one off. We rushed him to the hospital where they said he was jaundiced and in a terrible way. It turns out he had liver damage, most likely from the super dose of drugs that saved his life. It was also possible that liver damage from the pheno was the cause of his increasingly terrible seizures. Which came first, the seizures or the liver damage?

We were given a choice between trying to get his liver under control, and euthanasia. We chose to give him a chance.

He was transferred to an internal medicine doc, and stayed one night. They tried to support his liver and get him to eat, even putting in a nasal feeding tube… but Thursday things took a turn for the worse, and we realized there was no coming back from this one. His liver wasn’t going to magically regenerate like I’d hoped. And even if he turned it around… he was still a severely epileptic pup. We were on a schedule of having unbearable clusters that took him to the ER every 2 weeks. If he survived, in another month guaranteed we would have gone back to the ER. Or worse, he might die during a seizure. We decided that it was time, and went down to the animal hospital yet again. He looked terrible. I took a picture so I can remember that it was the right choice. I won’t share it because it’s too sad.

This was my first time witnessing a pet euthanasia, and it was so fast and peaceful it was shocking. After one syringe Bogie’s eyes got heavy and he fell asleep. One more syringe and he was gone. The doctor listened to his heart to confirm it had stopped.

Ryan and I held him and kissed him and said goodbye, then made the shitty drive back home. We got Vietnamese takeout which got delivered to a neighbor. We cried and cried and watched Abbott Elementary and Misery and we wished Bogie were on the couch sleeping next to us, pushing up against Seymour and taking up too much space.

I don’t know if the cat knows. Maybe he smelled it on us, maybe he could smell death on Bogie’s breath. Who knows.

I knew this day was coming, but I thought I had years of struggle ahead, not months. It hurts so damn much. I’m so angry at the neurologists for pushing toxic drugs so hard. I’m upset at myself for not giving him liver protectant once we started pheno. I’m upset at all the times I was frustrated with him while he was sick. I don’t know that I will ever forgive myself that we didn’t rush him back to the hospital Sunday night. We thought we were overreacting and paranoid. We thought he was getting better.

The whole experience of the last 4 months has been swinging back and forth between “How much longer do I have with my sweet pup?” and “Please when will this nightmare end for all of us?”

This experience has definitely triggered a lot of grief about the death of my father. Having the bed out in the living room made me think of him all the time, and how sad I was about his end and how I should have done more for him and been more present.

I try to keep thinking about a conversation that I had with my dad the last time I saw him. We were sitting on the living room couch just hanging out. I asked him if he was afraid to die. He told me that he wasn’t afraid of death, he just didn’t want to be in pain anymore. That conversation brings me a lot of comfort.

Whatever did or didn’t happen it’s done. Bogie isn’t in any more pain.

I experienced Bogie’s decline twice as long as my father’s, and I was much more involved in the daily support. Ryan and I have been on edge for every little sound in the house, haven’t slept well in months, have cried every day for the past month. We’re exhausted.

Today is our anniversary actually. 13 years of being together. Really shitty anniversary but glad to have Ryan to work through this with.

Miss you Bogie butt.

Bogie, Life

We’re deep into winter and life is kind of like this lately:

So close but no chips. This was at the animal hospital, when I REALLY wanted some salt and vinegar chips. I put in the first $, got frustrated when it got stuck, then watched in awe as 2 others came after me and tried to get the chips.

Ok! First the stressful stuff, then the good.


I’m not sure why, but starting around November I found myself anxious about a nebulous “something bad” happening. Being resilient is part of my personal narrative, so I was troubled by this feeling that if/when the bad thing finally happened, I would not be able to cope as well as I have before. Like I would just be too tired to handle it…

During our trip to Scotland everywhere we went we were confronted with the country’s inescapable story of sorrow and loss. Every place has its dark moments, but something about the sad history combined with the bitter weather and stunning and harsh scenery made it even more melancholic.

Glencoe, site of the massacre of 1692

As I mentioned in my last post, the very day that we got back from Scotland Bogie had another seizure that lead to an overnight in the ER and him finally getting put on meds.

Bogie update

Time for TMI about my dog’s health. Skip ahead if you’d rather not read about my puppy drama.


The meds worked beautifully for about 7 weeks and then the seizures came back. It couldn’t be that easy, right?

Unfortunately the time in between seizures was shortening drastically and the severity was ramping up as well. We went from 7 weeks of calm to seizures every 3 weeks, then 2 weeks, then 1 week…

Even worse he’s started having “cluster” seizures – multiple seizures in a day (7? 8? I don’t know). The first time he clustered it was scary (I couldn’t keep him from falling down the stairs and banging his head on the concrete), guilt inducing (we came back from grocery shopping to him flopping like a fish under the couch), and led to an emotional discussion about whether we would put him down if things became unbearable (but unbearable for us or for him?). I know it’s always a possibility, but the way that we jumped to euthanasia so quickly and naturally scared me. Bogie ended up spending the night at the hospital yet again, and we both cried ourselves to sleep.

We switched neurologists and have connected with a cheerful and practical doctor who has promised us that we will “become pros” at dealing with this disease. I don’t want to become a pro! I want this to happen so infrequently that I’m always shocked and disturbed by it.

The morning after the first cluster ER visit I was exhausted. So I was sad but numb when I learned during a surprise all hands meeting that we were having layoffs at my company. I’m not precious about my work, but a lot of people that I enjoyed working with lost their jobs for a “strategic realignment” that I don’t agree with. Ryan jokes that I just wish it were me so I had time to putz around and visit friends. Well maybe… but I did wish it were me because I think it would have hit me easier emotionally. Some of my coworkers had been there for more than a decade, I can’t imagine what they’re going through.

This is a reminder to keep stacking that money people! Your job doesn’t care about you!

Anyways, it was a mess of a week. I was feeling hopeful about Bogie stabilizing but within 2 weeks it happened again. We were better prepared to handle it because we had discussed a game plan with our neurologist and we had “rescue meds” to try to break the cluster. Unfortunately things quickly veered into the danger zone (endless seizures with no recovery) so we ended up taking him to the emergency room AGAIN for the fourth? fifth? time at 3 in the morning. We’d done it before, but it was still terrifying. I thought the damn dog was going to die in my arms on the way there (all the while thrashing violently, biting, frothing and peeing all over the car, god). I don’t think I’ll ever become a pro at that.

After this last overnight in the animal hospital, they realized that the phenobarbital in his blood was way low. We had gone from a starting dose of 32mg of pheno 2x per day to 64mg 2x per day, and his levels still decreased! It was hypothesized that Bogie was a freak of nature metabolizing the drugs faster than we could give them to him. So now we’re up to 128mg 2x per day to jump start things. Doesn’t that sound like a lot? In another week we’ll get his levels checked again and they may lower the dosage.

One thing that really sucked about this last episode was that we kept Bogie in bed with us so that we could quickly comfort him when he had a seizure in the middle of the night. And y’all sometimes when he has a seizure he pees/poos. So… I think I did 10 loads of laundry over that weekend. Every time I had to clean the blanket, the duvet cover, the duvet if pee soaked down, the sheets, any towels we used to wrap him… You would think we would have learned our lesson and kicked him off the bed. I don’t know why we didn’t. Maybe because every time we thought it was the last time. But we have multiple comforters and did so much laundry that we ended up cycling back around to the first one! For about a week after Ryan and I took turns sleeping in the living room to keep an eye on the dog. Worst sleepover ever.

For a while we threw down pee pads everywhere since he had forgotten his potty training again. This was only for a couple days thankfully.
And funnily enough I held it together for most of these episodes, but during one of my loads of laundry I was pretty out of it and accidentally threw my Pendleton blanket in the dryer, shrinking it! That’s what made me finally cry. I managed to block the blanket and stretch it back out but it took a lot of work and all of Ryan’s free weights.

Anyways I’m rambling. I know animal health stuff is incredibly common, but in my head I am telling myself that so begins the trials I was waiting for. And that I must rise to the occasion, for the dog of course, but also because there isn’t really any other choice. So life continues to putter along, bookended by seizures. I keep scheduling things, doing things.

Here’s some happier stuff I did:

Holiday travel

Way before all the puppy drama happened we had scheduled a Christmas trip to Austin to see Pravi. We were stressed about leaving the dog but decided to go anyways because she was about to ship out to Lithuania. Miss her.

We visited Tiki Tatsuya, which was the most magical tiki bar with the hardest working marketing team I’ve ever seen for a bar. Honestly, look them up. They’ve created an entire backstory for their tiki bar, in the guise of a fake travel agency.
I just started collected tiki mugs, so I was happy to pick up the “Slurping Bastard” (third) to add to my collection. The two on the ends are from Three Dots and a Dash in Chicago, and the green guy is from a weird fratty tiki bar in Glasgow. I’m limiting myself to only getting mugs from bars I’ve visited, so I won’t become a hoarder.
While in Austin we also hit up the Drake Hotel for cocktails as is tradition. I really can’t keep up with these two. So old, so tired.
One afternoon we drove out of town to visit a pretty popular cave nearby. – Inner Space Cavern. One of the mineral deposits was so large and funny looking (kinda looked like Jabba the Hut) that I made an NFT out of it when I was messing around for our work hackathon.
I saw my mom for the holidays as usual. While I was there she was pulling together presents for her coworkers. She makes this delicious fishy peanut snack mix that everyone loves. She was pretty meticulous about who deserved how many peanuts based on merit, and had a whole naughty/nice list. LOL

Catching more shows

On New Year’s eve eve I took the train in to NYC and caught Hadestown. It’s a sung-through musical so I knew how it was going to go, but I was still moved by the staging and the acting. It’s really a gorgeous show that deserves all its accolades. I had gone down to catch Patrick Page’s last day, and it was totally worth it to spring for the good seats (third row!). Look at me, I’m becoming a snob.
In January it was Center City Restaurant week. While Restaurant Week can be a bit of a scam (cheap food and sub par experience dining out), we went out a few times to catch up with friends. We also finally were able to see a show at South, which is a pretty popular southern restaurant/jazz club in the city. My wallet is hurting from January, so I’m on a strict food budget this month.
The day for me to cash in my birthday present finally came, and I got to see Phantom again before it closed. Ryan left even more perplexed about my crush on the Phantom – the “ultimate nice guy” (or as I like to say “scary sewer sad boi”), but he was a good sport. It was a lovely day out.
Back in Philly we caught the first tour stop of A Soldier’s Play, the Pulitzer award winning play by Charles Fuller. I was wishy washy on whether I wanted to check this out, but it felt important to see because Fuller was from Philly, and had recently died. I also usually love Roundabout Theatre Company.

Unfortunately the crowd ruined a lot of the experience. Coming in late up to 30 minutes (!) after the show started, filming video, texting, taking pictures with flash, sitting in the wrong seats, talking, eating Pringles… Same shit happened at Les Mis to an extent… I don’t want to say Philadelphia audiences are ratchet because I’ve heard that audiences have just been terrible everywhere post-pandemic, but my experiences at the theater here have been annoying so far. Glad I got cheap seats. At least I was able to take my reusable cup and got a discount on cocktails.

Also this is weird, but the Kimmel Cultural Center, which schedules a lot of these shows was under a cyber attack for like a week. They had to set up a temporary portal to sell tickets, and you couldn’t even pick your seats. It’s wild. There’s no details online, but I think their site was held ransom.

Fixing my house

January was a great time for catching up with friends, but also I finally got off my ass and got to work on a few things that annoyed me around the house.

I started slow by fixing wobbly furniture and framing some prints I’ve had laying around. I have an irrational hatred of framing and hanging pictures, I don’t know why. So this was actually a struggle.
Then I gave in and bought another dresser to hold my overflowing sock collection.
Sucked it up and painted the most used and tiniest bathroom in the house. Lighting is sketchy, but it’s a pleasant light purple grey.
Best of all I finally set up my book nook! The chair and ottoman are green velvet, and yet they are not covered in cat hair yet. I think the animals haven’t discovered it yet, or the bed is just more comfy.

The Superb Owl

Ryan sometimes goes out to the bar to watch football with friends. I joined on a whim one day, and felt so moved by the crazy Philly energy that I suggested we host a joint Super Bowl party with our neighbors. I thought about backing out once the alcohol wore off, but hey, what were the odds that this beautiful moment would happen again, right? Ryan didn’t take kindly to my assumption that the Eagles would not make it to the Super Bowl again anytime soon.
At the neighborhood beer garden

Some of our invites declined due to traffic (Broad street cuts through the city vertically and gets overrun during celebrations/riots). In earlier times I would snark about it, but Philly sports fans are no joke. If you get caught up in the crowd, you might be stuck for ages with no way home, the only reliable option being walking.

We still overdid it on the food and had a great time. I’m not sad about the Eagles losing, but I am sad that Ryan’s disappointed. At least he took the day off to recover.

Well, that’s it. Hopefully next time I’ll have better things to report about Bogie’s seizures. What a wild ride.


I’ve been in my head a lot lately. The last few months have been a little quiet socially and I’ve done some traveling which is always good for rumination.


I went to Chicago at the end of September to finally meet my coworkers (after 2 and a half years working here). I like to consume media related to my travels, so I read The Devil in the White City, which traces the rise of Chicago during the World’s Fair of 1893. The titular devil is HH Holmes who operated his murder mansion as a hotel catering to fair visitors. It sounds strange to say, but the behind the scenes of the creation of the fair was far more interesting than the murders.

While there were no major surprises in meeting my team, it was interesting to see people’s real personalities come out beyond the confines of a Zoom meeting.

While I was in town one of our team activities was a local park cleanup. The parks coordinator was quite a loquacious character. His version of Chicago – sports obsessed, strong working class vibes, chip on its shoulder about being compared to other cities, great wealth disparity between neighborhoods… sounded awfully similar to my idea of Philadelphia.

And yet I felt generally positive about Chicago, but speak about Philadelphia with qualifiers. Why? What’s the difference? Living somewhere vs visiting it? Small city vs large? East coast vs midwest? After some thought I hate to admit that it probably just comes down to money. Chicago felt wealthier, grander, and more cosmopolitan. Philadelphia feels provincial. I mean we still don’t even have a real tiki bar (I will not let this go…), and Chicago has multiple tiki bars including the very excellent Three Dots and a Dash.

NYC/New Haven

My mom visited again in late October. I think we might make it an annual thing. This time around we spent a little time out of the city. We spent a few nights in New York, and walked all over Manhattan (my mother’s endurance had me beat, I couldn’t keep up). During our stay we caught a broadway show*, visited a few colleges, saw Central Park, and went to the Met.

The third day we popped up to New Haven to hit the old stomping grounds. I felt uneasy about going back because I don’t have great memories of the end of college. It was all just a crazy blur. But my mom has always expressed this deep regret about not taking me to college since her family never encouraged her studies. It’s too bad that she carried that pain, because not being dropped off was not on my radar at all. I wanted to go alone.

I wasn’t sure what we’d do in New Haven, but we filled the day pretty easily.

I saw my old apartment.

And other old apartment.

Stopped by my old job. Same chill vibe among the workers, which made me happy.

We took a campus tour, ate some New Haven style pizza, bought some merch… New Haven was way nicer now and less grubby than I remember. On the train home I felt like I’d made some peace with the past. Everything that happened back then is gone and over now, truly.

Also my mom was really really psyched to be there again. So it was cathartic for us both.


When I decided to get tickets to a broadway show, I didn’t know what to book but since Phantom was closing after 35 years, that was the obvious choice. I had started the novel earlier in the summer but hadn’t finished it (because Raoul is a lame stalker).

I didn’t think much it, besides scouring for decent views, but after seeing the live Broadway musical, I was hooked – I was a “Phan”. I promptly became obsessed and sought out as many iterations of the story as possible. And there are a ton – dozens or more maybe. And then the fanfic…  wow what a rabbit hole. Ladies love Erik. On the Phantom subreddit I came across a fic where the Phantom berates Christine for eating a grilled cheese sandwich. LOL

It’s kind of a surprise that I never got into Phantom earlier. I love gothic horror, silent films, mysteries, monsters, and opera of course. The musical is just a way more romantic take compared to the book or silent film. It was sensual as hell, which I was not prepared for at all. Also it explores controlling vs healthy relationships, which is always interesting to me.

As I researched, I learned that many of the spectacular parts of the story had some kernel of truth to them. Like the chandelier in the Palais Garnier did really fall and kill someone. There really are 5 levels of cellars that lead to a subterranean lake beneath the building. There were rumors of a ghost haunting the opera, and various legends of men with deformed faces (whether from accident or birth) living within the opera. Wild!

The musical production itself is interesting because the version on broadway hasn’t changed much from its original incarnation 35 years ago. Watching the show is like… time travel in a way. And some of the show’s staff have been there since the very beginning! This American Life has an interesting story that’s about Phantom’s orchestra, and what its like to play the same music every night for decades. TLDR: it drives you insane, but you do what you gotta do for money.

Phantom lead to me seeking out more musicals, which I guess is something of a new hobby (which continues to baffle Ryan). From lurking the broadway subreddit I’ve learned a lot of new terms and history, which is fun. Les Mis happened to come through Philly a few weeks after I saw Phantom, so I caught that. After listening to a few cast albums, I got into Hadestown, so now I’ve got tickets to see that in NY at the end of December. And I’ve got to see Phantom again before it closes for good, so we’ll be daytripping into the city to see that in January.


All of my fall was spent knitting baby things and I’m so glad that’s done!

This blanket was 30,000 stitches.

The leafy pattern up close

And this one was 40,000 stitches but I was able to memorize the pattern so it was actually much faster.

And just for funsies I made a baby Yoda robe.

It’s gonna be a long while before the recipient can wear it.

And yet another pair of socks of course.


Our first international travel in 3 years! I’ve got a ton of photos so I’ll do a separate post on my trip. I left inspired by the harsh beauty of winter in Scotland.

Puppy Trials

Since the start of November Bogie has been having seizures. The first two were scary but manageable, but once we returned from our trip to Scotland Bogie immediately had his 3rd and worst seizure in 3 weeks, and at the emergency vet he was put on meds to stop his ongoing attack (which we had been avoiding since once you start the drugs, it’s for life, every 12 hours… forever….).


At first he was so zonked out from the medicine that he turned into a little dog zombie who had forgotten all his potty training. He’d just look you in the eye and pee right there. But then the drugs made him restless, and he paced endlessly. For the first day or two back home from the hospital he barely slept, just walked around for hours, clicking his nails on the wooden floors.  We put up baby gates just in case he fell down the stairs since he didn’t have great motor control.

To limit the pacing, we tried crating him in our bedroom at night. Since he still didn’t have control of himself he peed and pooped in the crate on his cushion. Then when we let him out, he walked through the poop and dragged it all over our bedroom at 2 in the morning. I thought I was going to cry and throw up at the same time, it was so sad. After that we decided to take turns sleeping in the living room so that we could let him out quicker. We dragged the mattress for my daybed down to the living room, and things were weird for a little while.

It’s been about three weeks on the meds, and Bogie is mostly back to normal. He takes his pills 2x a day and we’ve taken him to a doggie neurologist. I’m glad he’s feeling better, but who knows if the drugs will actually help manage his seizures. So far the longest we’ve gone without a seizure is a week? 10 days maybe? I try not to count the days between seizures because I don’t want to be disappointed.

This has been going on for a month now but I don’t think the enormity of what this could mean has hit me yet. We’ve joined canine epilepsy groups on Facebook, which has mostly been a helpful resource, but there are frightening stories from people who have had their entire lives upended. They don’t travel, they don’t go out, they’re taking care of the dog all the time and then in some cases it dies from too many seizures or too long of a seizure. Sigh.

We’re nowhere near that level of life upheaval, but things are still up in the air. I just hope the meds can contain his seizures to a manageable level. Scary stuff!