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Finished Yard

Finished Yard

Yard is finished.

So is Stanley:

I had to move into the office, so he’s now asleep on my lap as I work. I’m getting really good at typing over a fluffy, furry, snoring dog.

Fun Times in Ranney/Stanley-Land

Fun Times in Ranney/Stanley-Land

I have ceded my home to my dog today. It’s been all Stanley, all the time, at least since dawn.

Yesterday, the lovely people from Keller Materials dropped off 7 cubic yards of decomposed granite on my driveway. I’m serious about the lovely part. What a great company! The driver didn’t speak much English and my Spanish sucks, but we managed to communicate well enough. It was fun watching the huge truck unload everything. Thankfully, John was here and corralled Stanley so I could be in my garage watching myself be trapped by decomposed granite. I could have moved the car, but I didn’t have any plans to go anywhere.

Today my yard person and three helpers are spreading all the DG in the backyard. Remember the little creek and the bridge? Well, it’s no more. I realized, the first time it rained, what a disaster the creek was. It filled up with water and stayed there for way too long. Mosquito heaven! Plus, it’s been a bear to maintain. The soil kept falling into the creek and all the rocks were obscured. My yard guy is filling it in, compacting it down, and removing the bridge and the ultra large rocks.

What the yard looked like brand new, in 2016.

Stanley has been supervising with barks since dawn.

Over time, some of the beautiful, exotic plants died, but I had cacti replanted in their place.

The cacti seem happy – and they’re five times this size now.

The backyard is a metaphor for most goals in life, I think. You do one thing. When it doesn’t completely work out, you tweak it a little, do some reorganization, a little thinking, some more manipulation, all to get it to work how you want.

If you’re lucky you have a four legged furry who acts as a cheerleader. (Stanley is confined to the inside until they finish, about two more hours from now. He’ll be hoarse by then, as well as exhausted and crossing his legs. A dog’s work is never done. Of course, my work doesn’t matter. As long as he’s happy. 🙂 )

I Guess I Didn’t Notice

I Guess I Didn’t Notice

This news slid right by me and I had no idea.

The other day I was curious about a review in Romantic Times, only to find out that the magazine and website had gone belly up 2018.

When I first started out Romantic Times was very kind to me. They featured some of my books as their favorites and I won a bunch of career choice awards or best book awards, that sort of thing. In later years, however, we parted ways. I wasn’t all that enamored of the magazine, their reviews, or the direction they were taking the magazine/website.

I think the fact that I didn’t know they went out of business is indicative of how little I still relied on them. Still, I feel a little bad that I didn’t know.

How about you? Did you read Romantic Times?

A Little Reality is…Scary

A Little Reality is…Scary

I’m practicing with my new camera for my YouTube debut. I am so ignorant of everything I need to do for YouTube, but I’m learning. The editing software is a trip.

The first time I took a video of myself I was on the CardioStrider. I told myself I looked like hell because I was exercising strenuously. Hah! Honey chile, it didn’t get better. So, I went to various rooms. Then I used a special light. Then I used my phone.

Nope, still wasn’t better. I saw my grandmother in my face. Not my mother. My grandmother.

Okay, then. I assessed the situation. I am pale. Like a zombie pale. Who knew that the older you get the more washed out you become? Nature has decided that I need to look like a turkey, neck wise. That was a big shockoroo when it happened a few months ago. One day you’re fine. The next, wham! Gobble, gobble, Karen. My hair is thinning. I took a photo of the top of my head. Have you ever done that? Remember last September when I had the parathyroidectomy? Well, they told me that my hair would stop falling out and come back in within six months. It ain’t happening, baby. I almost have male pattern baldness. Rolling eyes.

I didn’t face any of this “stuff” (and you know I want to use another word SO BAD) a few years ago.

I started experimenting with makeup. I haven’t done that since I was a teenager. Honest. So I decided that maybe my makeup was too blah. I amped it up. I felt a little bit like a hooker, honestly. But I did the whole thing with the eyelashes – not fake, because I’ve never mastered those – more color on my face, more eye shadow. I bought a volumizer for my hair. I trimmed it in places.

Then I took another video.

This was marginally better. I guess I have to look like a hooker.  I ordered a bunch of new makeup from Amazon. It came yesterday. I sat at my vanity this morning primping like a teenager. I don’t mind looking my age. Oh, who am I kidding. I do mind looking my age. I want to look better than my age. And if I have to look like a hooker to do that, then howdy sailor, want a date?

Before I took Stanley to the groomer I washed it all off. 🙂

I forgot how sensitive my eyes are. I can’t wear liquid foundation. It makes my eyes water. I’m going to have to keep up with the mineral stuff. And no glaring shades of eyeshadow, either. The volumizer stuff worked great. A new hairstyle might be necessary, though. And, if you see me wearing an infinity scarf you know why (gobble, gobble).



Yesterday was the second anniversary of Flash’s death.

Isn’t it odd, but the first anniversary kind of just slid past. This year I started thinking very strongly of him beginning last week. I couldn’t figure out why he was so much on my mind until I noticed the date.

Stanley has done a lot to help me cope with his loss. Figuring out what Stanley is going to do from day to day keeps me occupied. Yet I’ll always have a space in my heart where Flash used to be.

I love watching vet shows. I especially like those shows like Supervet where the doctor pulls out all the stops and saves the animal. I listen and watch stories of people who love their dogs unconditionally and feel a kinship to them.

Have we always loved dogs the way we do now? Or has our increasingly distant society encouraged – accidentally – a closer bond to our pets? I don’t know.

Flash was the first pet I had all by myself. He was strictly “my dog”. When my other dogs were alive John lived with me. Maybe that has something to do with the bond I felt with him. He became my de facto child, my dependent.

I’ve often tried to analyze the terrific grief I felt at his loss. It buffaloed me. I was stunned at my reaction to his death since it was unlike anything I’ve ever known. I’m beginning to think that there is something to the idea of the cumulative power of grief, that each successive loss is piled on top of the previous one.

Or maybe it all comes down to the fact that we share so much with our pets. We confide in them. We show them our true, authentic selves. They see us naked, sick, lazy, and watch when we eat that something we’re not supposed to eat. For all our flaws, they love us without reservation.

Can we do any less?

So, on this second anniversary I’m conscious of how blessed I truly am. Not only to have known and loved a great dog, but to realize that Flash’s legacy is to remember him with a smile and a deep reservoir of gratitude.