Thursday, July 24, 2008

My Maddie Baby Girl

A few years ago I was going through a rough time.
Over the course of just a little over a year, my mother had a heart attack, my grandfather had a stroke then passed away 6 months later, my dog Trucker (who had really become more of my grandfathers dog, to be honest) had to be put down due to brain tumors, I became an overnight mother of 3 when I got custody of my cousins while my aunt got clean and sober, and I found out that my grandmother had inoperable lung cancer.
I was feeling depressed, overwhelmed, and as though I had completely lost touch with myself. I needed something of my own, to be able to hold on to and bring me back to my center.
I decided that I needed a dog. It had been over a year since I'd had to have Trucker put to sleep and that was the longest I'd ever been without a dog in my life.

I made numerous trips to the pound out on Bradshaw, but every dog that I connected with, and who got along with my youngest cousin who was 4 at the time, was either deemed "unadoptable" or was adopted by another family before I was able to get to the shelter.

I was feeling heavily discouraged that I would never find a puppy and did something that I customarily do not condone - I started looking in the newspaper and on Craigslist.
One of the first listings I found on Craigslist was for a woman out in Marysville (now known to my cousin Erin and I as Scarysville after our trip out there to this womans house). The woman had long haired chihuahuas that she was trying to rehome.
My theory is that she had SO many dogs that the county was making her find homes for them before they were seized and taken to the shelter.
Erin and I pulled up to this womans double wide and were immediately apprehensive - there were numerous skulls, I think cow & goat... or maybe sheep, I'm not sure, fastened to the cyclone fencing around her property. Against our better judgement, we went inside.
The woman kept bringing dogs out of every room and structure on her property. There had to be somewhere around a dozen of them, if not more.
These dogs had obviously had no socialization at all because any time I went to put my hand towards one so that they could smell me, they would snarl and bite at me. There was one that would sit on my lap, but it was so incredibly frightened that it immediately peed a map of the Hawaiian islands on my leg.
Yes, I wanted to take home as many of these dogs as I could so that they could live in a better environment, but I had a 4 year old at home and there was no way I could risk having a dog that would bite at her.

A couple weeks later I found a listing on Craigslist for a woman in Fremont who had a litter of Pembroke Welsh Corgi/Miniature American Eskimo mix pups that were 4 weeks old and she was starting to line up homes for once they reached 8 weeks.
I truly do not support back yard breeders, but saw this photo and my heart went mushy.

I made the drive down to Fremont and sat with the woman for well over 3 hours, holding each puppy and talking about dogs. I feel she was as responsible as a backyard breeder could possibly be, wanting to know my pet ownership history, training and discipline methods, how often the dog would be left alone, etc.
As I held each of those puppies, my thoughts were "so adorable and sweet, I want this one. No, this one, no this one."
When I picked up the puppy on the far left, she snuggled up in my arms and fell asleep. After about 20 minutes or so she woke up, crawled up my chest, sniffed my mouth, gave me a little kiss, and then curled up on my chest and went back to sleep.
I knew that she was my baby.
I went home that night, with arrangements to come back 4 weeks later to pick up the puppy.
I spent the next 4 weeks deliberating over names. I considered celtic names since she's part Pembroke Welsh Corgi. I considered Inuit and Native American names since shes part American Eskimo. Absolutely nothing seemed to fit.
On the day that I was to pick the puppy up, my cousin Meghan and I were in San Francisco for the morning and walked into a Starbucks. I started considering coffee names since its one of my favorite beverages. None of those worked either.
As Meghan and I were placing our orders at the counter, she picked up a package of madeleine cookies and asked what they tasted like. Then she looked at me and said in an awed whisper, "Madeleine!" I looked at her and confirmed "Maddie!" I then new what my puppys name was.
We went to the womans house in Fremont and picked Maddie up - she remembered me from 4 weeks prior, and the whole car ride home to Sacramento Meghan held her as best as she could while Maddie tried to crawl over to me.
I've gone on many vacations the past couple of years, and whenever I've returned Maddie has greeted me with excitement - jumping up and down at my feet until I pick her up and give her love and kisses.
I went out of town this past weekend and got home incredibly late Sunday night, was exhausted from the long drive back from Redding and went straight to bed.
Monday morning I was running late for work, so I just peeked out the back window to make sure that Maddie had food and water, then I left for work.
A couple of hours later, my grandma called me to let me know that my mom and great-uncle had come over and found Maddie on the back porch and that she seemed to be sick. They also found 4 packages of d-con that Maddie had apparently eaten.
We haven't had d-con here at my house for a number of years. I suspect that someone threw it into my yard, and I have an idea of who may have done it, but unfortunately no proof at all.
My mom took Maddie to the vet for me on Monday where they treated her with a Vitamin K injection and gave us a prescription of Vitamin K pills to give her over the next month.
She came home, and I was taking care of her as best as I could, but late Tuesday night she took a turn for the worse.
Maddie went back to the vets yesterday and they told me that the damage was more extensive than was evident when they originally saw her on Monday. The Dr and his staff said they really couldn't give any prognosis other than to see what happens day by day. She was admitted so that they could keep her hydrated and use more aggressive medications than what I would be able to give her at home.
Last night I stopped at the vets to visit her after work before going to school.
I sat on the floor next to her kennel and leaned in and snuggled against her for a while.
She again sniffed my mouth and gave me a little kiss. Just like the first time I met her.

This morning I got the call from the vets office that Maddie had passed away during the night.
I love you my Maddie Baby Girl.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Two Places

There are two places that I should not be allowed to enter when I'm trying to budget.
Well, realistically, there are A LOT of places I should not be allowed to enter when I'm trying to budget, but heres two of them:

It all started out innocently enough, as it always does. My psych professor offered us an extra credit assignment (only 5 points, but still extra credit) of writing a reaction paper to this movie:

I'd seen the movie when it first came out, but that was a couple of years ago, but figured that it would be best to watch the movie again to refresh my memory. Why not just rent it? Theres a fair chance that I may owe Blockbuster some cash. So, I went in search of the DVD. It was not available at either of the two Walmarts I went to, so I decided to swing by Barnes and Noble, they didn't have it either but I decided to browse the clearance section. Thats where everything started to unravel. Thats where everything always starts to unravel for my budget and me - the clearance section.
It started innocently enough with this:

It was only $2.99 in the bargain bin! Jackpot! I LOVE home spa remedies! I LOVE L'Occitane! How cool could this possibly be?
I'll tell you how cool. It has such eye opening tips as "Avoid soaking in the bath for longer than about 20 minutes, or the skin will become overhydrated and look as wrinkly as a prune." and "Apply a face mask suitable for your skin's needs and leave it on for 10 minutes or as directed." Seriously? I don't know that I would have ever figured any of that out. On the plus side, it does have some good suggestions for different combinations of essential oils. And the back has a directory of every single L'Occitane store in the whole entire world.
Then I wandered beyond the clearance section where I picked up just a couple of items.

Atonement by Ian McEwan.
I thought the movie was fantastic, and I just finished reading another novel of his, Enduring Love, which was great as well.
Then I picked this up

I've been hearing about this series everywhere so thought I'd jump on the bandwagon. Although, I probably will save this for last since theres a series and if I like it I will probably want to go straight into the next book in the series.
Then I found this

The synopsis on the back grabbed me
This stunning novel begins on a winter night in 1964 when a blizzard forces Dr. David Henry to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy, but the doctor immediately recognizes that his daughter has Downs syndrome. For motives he tells himself are good, he makes a split-second decision that will haunt him all their lives forever. He asks his nurse, Caroline, to take the baby away to an institution. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child as her own. Compulsively readable and deeply moving, The Memory Keeper's Daughter is a brilliantly crafter story of parallel lives, familial secrets, and the redemptive power of love.

How could I NOT pick up this book?

Then I wandered into the biography section and got this

The title alone is awesome:
Bitter is the New Black - Confessions of a condescending, egomaniacal, self-centered Smart-ass, or why you should never carry a Prada Bag to the unemployment office.
and then theres the synopsis on the back:
This is the story of how a haughty former sorority girl went from having a household income of almost a quarter-million dollars to being evicted from a ghetto apartment.... It's a modern Greek tragedy, as defined by Roger Dunkle in The Classical Origins of Western Culture: a story in which "the central character, called a tragic protagonist or hero, suffers some serious misfortune which is not accidental and therefore meaningless, but is significant in that the misfortune is logically connected" In other words? The bitch had it coming.

Plus, I've been reading the authors blog for a few weeks now and it sounds promising.
Just a couple of shelves up I found this

Why a novel was in the biographies section, I'll never know, but it is fitting.
I picked this up because I have been a member of the bridal party in five different weddings so far in my lifetime if you include the childhood flower girl trips down the aisle:
1 - 1979 flower girl in my moms first wedding
2 - 1982 flower girl in my youngest aunts first wedding
3 - 1998 maid of honor in my moms second wedding
4 - 1999 maid of honor in my cousins wedding
5 - 2007 bridesmaid in my oldest friends wedding
and now I've been asked to be a bridesmaid in TWO weddings next year.
The obligatory synopsis
What do you do after you walk down the aisle at four weddings over the course of just a few months - none of them your own? What's left after you've donned the must-have-not dresses of the season, forked over your case, and fake-smiled your way through countless photos? After you've dealt with the smashed guest, the mushed cake, the dashed hopes, and the missed bouquets? That's what Cate Padgett is starting to wonder, as she embarks on stint after stint on the sidelines, watching friends swap bar-hopping for baby-naming...while her own love life goes nowhere fast. But is Cate unwilling to settle down - or just unwilling to settle? And can anyone really judge her if they haven't walked in her dyed-to-match shoes?
Wild, witty, and full of weddings to cry over, Always the Bridesmaid is an endearingly romantic comedy about standing out in the crowd even when everyone's wearing the same celery-green dress...and daring to make every day The Happiest Day of Your Life.

If this novel ends predictably with the protagonist catching the bouquet, finding the man of her dreams, falling head-over-heels in love and him proposing, I will vomit.
My hand to God.
In the end, I never found the DVD I was looking for, but I think I remember enough about it to BS my way through a "reaction" paper to it.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Transportation Options

Last week I was obsessing over a scooter. I still am, but some of my fellow bloggers brought up some good points which I wanted to address...

brought up a few points:
1. My BAD car accident luck. Yep, in my last car I had horrendous luck. Over the course of three and a half years, I was rear ended four times - and 3 of those times were over the course of about six or seven months. As ridiculous as it sounds, I really think that that car was cursed. Somewhere (don't remember where) I read that green cars are one of the most commonly hit - that car was a lovely dark green. Since I dumped that car, I've had no fender bender issues at all.
Yes, a scooter would definitely have a higher risk than a car. I would definitely have to be a more defensive driver, but I would take the extra measure of taking one of the CHP motorcycle driving courses to learn how to safely operate the scooter and defensive maneuvers.
2. Residual back pain from the above accidents. Honestly, I hadn't thought of this. My back hasn't bothered me too badly in the past few months and when it does, its primarily due to carrying heavy bags - I've taken care of that recently by switching from a messenger bag to a backpack, but I suppose I could work on strengthening my back anyways. I do have a gym membership that I haven't been using.

Tanya mentioned that theres a place in East Sacramento selling scooters for $1,700 - another friend had mentioned this place, but I found Sac Cycle in the Rancho Cordova area (off of Sunrise & White Rock) where they're selling the same scooters for $1,500 out the door with tax, registration, all that stuff, out the door.
A friend of mine knows the owner and has bought 2 from there (matching his & hers for her and her hubby). She's also been kind enough to extend the offer of taking me out for a scooter ride so I could get a feel for it and see if I really want one before committing to buying one.

John asked why I hadn't considered using public transportation on the days that riding the scooter wasn't a very good option.
I wish I could use the bus/light rail for my daily commute - I really do.
If I only commuted to and from work, there would be no problem. My dilemma is that I also go to school in the evenings.
I've checked out the trip planning options on Regional Transits website, getting to work in the mornings would be no problem. Getting from work to school would pose a little bit of a challenge - I would have to be sure that I got out of work at exactly 5pm (this is not always feasible) and I would barely make it to class on time.
Getting home in the evenings is whats proving to be impossible. I go to school at ARC and don't get out of class until 9:30 pm. There are buses that leave the school just before 10 pm, but I could only get as far as Sunrise Mall. The bus would drop me off there at just before 10:30 pm and that late at night, the bus line home from the mall has ended and I would exactly feel comfortable walking three and a half miles home, by myself, that late at night.

This is one of the things that I miss about living in Boston. The years that I lived there I relied solely on public transportation. The network of subways and buses was amazing and they ran late enough that I didn't have these kinds of issues. Utilizing public transportation was extremely convenient.

I hope that Sacramento RT recognizes how much usage is increasing and plans on extending route hours.