Monday, August 6, 2012

Bad, Bad Blogger

Hi there. Remember me? Probably not, since it has been ages since I posted...

I need to get back into this blogging thing. I miss it! I wish I could say I at least have been keeping up with my bloglist (and I actually was for a while), but it's gotten to the point that I only open google reader on my phone maybe once a week. I have hundreds of unread items.

My only excuse is the house. It has consumed so much of my time, and add volunteer work, school preparation, gardening, and the general laziness of summer to the mix and that makes for one very bad blogger.

But I'm still here. Reading, crafting, cooking. I don't document my life as much, and to be honest that was refreshing for a bit. But I'm getting to the point where I don't even find myself interesting. I was introducing myself on one of my course forums and instinctually included blogging on my list of interests before I realized that I hadn't done so in months.

So this is my first step back into the world of blogging. I'm breaking the silence. I will be back!

In the meantime, here is a photo from the Sacramento Color Run this weekend.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

[Under Construction]

I'm in the middle of changing my domain and blog name/layout. Apologies if things are acting or looking strange. It hasn't started redirecting properly yet, but hopefully soon!

Monday, May 14, 2012

We bought a house

In my last post I kind of glossed over the really big news in all the dog excitement. I think I was sleep-deprived, a little sick (still feeling that way), and it hadn't really sunk in.


We bought a house. We bought a friggin' house.

View from the backyard. Yes, that's a firepit.
On Friday when we went to pick up the keys, we had this moment that cannot be described as excitement, joy, or any other emotion you would expect from first time home buyers. It was anxiety, verging on dread. It was reality settling in. We walked into an empty house and instantly visualized the list of chores, repairs, and responsibilities all piling on top of one another. To be succinct, shit got real.

The dining room. I only have a few random photos of the interior.
There was not a whole lot of smiling that day. I mean, don't get me wrong, we are so happy to be able to buy a house, we love the house that we found along with the neighborhood, and we are glad that we are no longer wasting money on rent but can instead put those funds into something real. But, it is a huge responsibility. 1700 sq feet, to be exact, and that's not including the backyard.

Our pool is looking a little green, but we're working on it.
Since then, our moods have improved. It's only been three days, but we've been checking things off the list at a steady pace. Then we got to spend an hour or so yesterday with our friends' dog. Getting out into nature a bit was just the sort of mind-clearing activity I needed, even as my allergies assaulted me.

We are now in the midst of moving our lives a couple miles south of midtown. The furniture will go this weekend, but until then we are moving all the odds and ends at a comfortable pace. It's been great so far, because we are able to reuse our boxes by taking multiple trips.

I'm a bit sad to be leaving all the great restaurants that are within walking range, to say goodbye to the McClatchy Branch Library where I always walk to pick up my holds, and to no longer be able to wake up on weekends and stroll with my husband over to Temple Coffee where they serve the greatest Americano known to man.

But guys, we bought a house!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Dog Days

It has been a strange week. Not only have we been stressed about our house (today is our official close date), but I'm also dealing with finals and volunteer responsibilities. But a very peculiar incident took place Wednesday night and altered the course of the following day. This is a story about a very sweet dog and what happens to a group of people when they decide to take responsibility for a lost pet. It thankfully has a happy ending, but I know for many other animals it often ends in death. I don't know what we would have done if we hadn't found the owners--we would probably have a new dog in addition to a new house. So to those out there with animals, please, please, please be extra cautious and keep an eye on them when they are outdoors. This dog could have easily been killed, by car or lethal injection at the pound, and as we learned, it all could have been prevented if they had put the dog inside when they left home.


The other night Mike and I had dinner with our friend T. at her new place in Manteca. We were driving home when we saw a dog in the middle of the road frozen in fear and blocking traffic.

It was one of those moments where everyone hopes someone else will do something...and nobody does anything. So I hopped out and beckoned her to the side of the road while Mike pulled over. Thankfully, she was a very obedient dog and came to me when I called her.

She was a beautiful doberman, and she let me grab her collar and showed no signs of aggression or that she felt threatened by me. She was nervous but inclined towards obedience.

We called around to animal control and vets offices to see if they could take her, but no one could help us at that time of night. We stopped and talked to a woman getting her mail. She didn't know the dog, but she knew a dog groomer, whose apartment we went to hoping she might recognize the dog (she didn't.)

So we ended up back at T.'s. Now, T. has a crazy work schedule--she has to be at work before 6, and has to wake up before 5. There was no way we could leave the dog alone in her little studio from 5 AM to 3 PM. So we decided that I would cancel my plans for the next day and stay the night and morning with her so T. could go to work.

Struggling with the stairs.
Nikita (as we later learned was her name) was so sweet but could not for the life of her figure out how to climb stairs. The stone steps outside T.'s apartment seemed to confuse and frighten her. So Mike and I lifted her and carried her up to the apartment. She did know 'sit' and 'down,' and was so eager to follow commands. She reminded me of my sister's dog, Puppy/Estrellita, who I've since learned might be part doberman.
How she actually slept.

Our attempt at a dog bed.

Nikita hopped up on the couch when I laid down to sleep, kind of
like Puppy but quite a bit bigger. It was nice to have a doggy to cuddle with, but it made sleeping a lot harder. I decided that if that was the only way she would be calm, then I would let her sleep there.

The morning after a restless night.
The shelter didn't open til 10, so Mike came down early and brought some food and a leash. I spent the morning walking around with her while yappy off-leash dogs charged her then backed down as she looked at them quizzically. (Another note: please don't let your dogs off-leash on the street. You never know what could happen.) She also saw several cats that I think she would have liked to meet, but they were not so enthusiastic.

Mike came back after court and we both hopped in the car with her to go to the shelter. Luckily the owners had called just a few minutes before. We called them and they were there within minutes to pick up Nikita. She bounded toward them as they got out of the car.

We learned that she was left outside with their other dog while they went out, from about 9 PM to 11 PM. The woman had asked the man to let her inside, but he either forgot or didn't think it would be a big deal.We found her around 9:30. I presume she hopped a fence--she is a big dog--and didn't know what to do with her new found freedom. Maybe she raided some trashcans and ran around the empty field near where she was found. I'm just so glad that she wasn't run over and was reunited with her owners, and I hope they've learned to leave her inside.

So, with the very little sleep that I got and the feeling that we had done something good, we drove back to Sacramento, signed the deed on our house, and today were given the keys. I'm a little worn out, and still unable to believe that we are officially homeowners. This whole week has made me realize that a house, school, and a cat are enough responsibilities at the moment. There is no need to rush out and get a dog, as much as we might want to and as much fun as it was to bond with a random dog this week.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

What's in a name?

First off, I know I've been absent for the past couple weeks. I have neither blogged nor crafted in any substantive capacity since March. I've noticed a lot of other bloggers taking breaks as well. I think I just needed to get out in the sun a bit and spend some time thinking about my blog and craft. I don't think I'll be around much over the next couple weeks, because house-buying stuff is consuming my attention.

But another reason I haven't been blogging is because I've been trying to think of a new name for my blog. This is where the post gets a bit verbose, so I won't be offended if you don't read it all the way through. I'm just looking for some insights on how to name a blog and what I specifically should call my blog.

Most of you probably don't know my full name is Margaret. And why would you? It's not what I go by. In fact, I went through a period where I was pretty angry that my parents named me something they never intended to call me. It's not one of those diminutive names that comes out intuitively, either, like Mike from Michael or Jess from Jessica. I can't tell you how many times people have joked "How do you get 'Meg' from Margaret?" or assumed my name was Megan. At least my mom didn't call me Peggy.

[There's a whole side story here, in which I share a name with my dad's first wife, Peggy, who is not my mother.]

I feel like I've been walking around not quite sure how I should introduce myself in academic or professional situations. I know I might be over-thinking it, because people tell me "Just say it's short for Margaret. No big deal." But I know I'm not completely crazy when I say that it has had an effect on my self confidence and my sense of self in general.

What does it mean when you don't know how to introduce yourself? What does it mean when your professor asks you your name and you say "I'm Meh--I mean Margaret" because that's what he has on the roster?

Lately I've been getting the same feeling about my blog name. It obviously doesn't match the URL and the URL that would match is unavailable. Plus, I've just never been crazy about the name or the unintended political overtones I fear it gives off. And I keep asking myself, why did I name it something I didn't really like? Basically, it's because I couldn't think of something I did like, and my friend suggested this.

And I've been going along with it, still unsure just like my Meg/Margaret situation. But I want a name that I like. I've been on the lookout for ideas when I read or listen to music. Not much has stuck out to me, but I do have a few ideas.

I know that I'm the one who needs to ultimately be happy with the name, but I would love to get some opinions on the matter.

Another thing to consider is that I may want to open an Etsy shop again at some point in the future, so I would want a name that could carry over to that or at least relate somehow. I will post some of my ideas in a couple days, but in the meantime here are my questions for you, dear readers:
How did you name your blog? Have you ever changed your blog's name? Why and from what?  

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

In the Works Wedensday -- Exciting Announcement Edition!

Remember way back when I briefly mentioned I had a new project with the library?

Well it's time to unveil it!

Introducing alt+library friends!

I've been involved with alt+library for almost two years--going to book club, doing Punk Rock Aerobics, and recently watching Mike compete in For the Spell of It spelling bee for grown-ups. If you live in the Sacramento area, you seriously need to check it out.

Now there's alt+library friends! We are raising money for alt+library events, so they can be bigger, better, and from time to time booze-enhanced.We raise money just like every other friends group, except our library is alt+library. You can learn more about joining on our webpage.

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