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Today I’m Grateful for…

Today I’m Grateful for…

…my morning nap with Stanley.


I have changed my schedule in the last couple of months. Because I wasn’t hitting my exercise goal every day, I started working out first thing in the morning. I wake up, take Stanley out and feed him, get dressed, and then we head for the gym. I exercise while he chews on his rubber Kong bone into which I have squeezed a little cheese. (Now you know why he might gain weight.)
Then we go into my office where I start to work.
Remember the table idea I had? I bought a small table with 103 pieces that was an absolute bear to put together. I put it beside my recliner and put a cushion on it, thinking that Stanley would sit there while I worked. He likes to have body to body contact, however, so the idea didn’t work.
For little while he sleeps at my feet, then he comes to sit beside the chair and whines. I am a sucker for Stanley’s whine. I elevate the foot of my recliner and he jumps up on the left arm, walks across me to get to the right arm, and gets into the position. What happens next is both funny and sweet. He sits there for a moment then falls back. It reminds me of one of those trust exercises that you see in team bonding. He just falls back and lands on me. Within seconds, he is comfy, his head tucked under my chin, his nose next to my neck. A few more seconds and he’s asleep.
I defy anyone to stay awake when they have a soft, warm, smushy doggy on their chest. He’s like a sleeping pill. I try to fight off the effects. I really do. Then I rationalize that I’ve been exercising for an hour and I worked for a little while. Surely I can take a few minutes. We snooze there together with the doves cooing outside.
It’s the loveliest break in my morning.
Today I’m Grateful for…

Today I’m Grateful for…

…lots and lots of stuff.

…that I have learned, over the years, how to give up habits. My counters, now denuded of coffee machines, are just a reminder.

…that I’m feeling pretty darn good, considering I’ve started exercising again – the hour a day kind. Ouch a little. Stanley is a good exercise buddy. I throw him kibble. He sits on the floor and waits until I’m finished.

…that I write historical romance. I like writing about when men were manly men and honor meant something. Don’t kid yourself, there were always women who triumphed no matter the societal restrictions. But there were heroes, too.

…that we’re having cool days interspersed with 70 degree weather. What’s not to love, right?

… that there’s a company called The Farmer’s Dog. They make human grade dog food specially formulated for your dog’s breed and ideal weight. The more I’ve been investigating pet food the more horrified I’ve become. After a long talk with my vet I’ve decided to try their food for Stanley. I’ll let you know how it goes.

The other day I realized that I’d forgotten to send some CDs to a reader so I’m sending the package out this weekend. I have three more sets of CDs for To Love a Duchess. If you would like one, please send me an email to karen@karenranney.net with CD as the subject. I need your emails by 12:00 Midnight today because I’m planning on sending out the packages this weekend. I’ll draw names on Saturday. (And I’m sorry, but because of how heavy they are, it’s prohibitive to ship overseas or to Canada. So this drawing will have to be US only.)


Bad Rehearsal, Great Play

Bad Rehearsal, Great Play

The other day I told you about the Great Raccoon Caper. I mentioned, in passing, how expensive it was. Think 4 figures.

When I went out to the garage to do the garbage yesterday, after the trap was set, I noticed that water was coming from under my car. My first thought was radiator. Nope. It was the water conditioner. So, I called Culligan and out they came this morning.

It was the resin tank leaking. The resin tank is not a cheap bit of equipment. Mine went out of warranty in 2017. It turned out that it was the O-ring on the top of the resin tank. So, that was only a few hundred dollars.

However, the water pressure was 90 when it should have been 70. I have replaced the PRV (pressure regulating valve) three times. It is evidently going out again. When it goes out for good you don’t have water, so I called the plumber.

Please, Mr. Plumber, come out and replace the PRV, this time with a brass one that can be adjusted when it starts to go out in a year or two.

Of course, said Mr. Plumber. We shall bop out there on Monday and only charge you slightly south of $500.00.

It’s the first week of 2019. It’s already been mucho expensive. I’m thinking that this is like the old saying, “Bad rehearsal, great play.” 2019 is going to be my best year ever, y’all.

So that’s how I’m going to see these shenanigans.

I am deeply appreciative for the lovely people who have helped me this week. Rob, from Culligan, has been great ever since I met him in 2017. Jerry, my plumber, is one of the best people in the world. I like and trust them both. Waylon, of the raccoon trapping company, is a genuinely nice guy, too.

I would much rather have had NO raccoon or leak or PRV issue, but isn’t it nice to know super people? And I’m not kidding about the BEST YEAR EVER!

PS – Stanley is still recuperating. He was apoplectic about Culligan and was shunted off to the back yard for the duration. You could hear him from the front yard. Stanley was able to bark and whine to the max and has been treated to cuddles and cookies ever since.

Today I’m Grateful for…

Today I’m Grateful for…

…brave people.

Three days ago a report came from the World Health Organization that a doctor had contracted ebola. They state that it was “a scenario that we have all been dreading”.

The doctor, who lives in the town of Oicha in the Congo, is believed to have contracted ebola from his wife. The area of Oicha in North Kivu has been described as a densely populated war zone. According to Reuters, aid workers, priests, and government officials are being held hostage and many civilians have been killed because of the fighting between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an Islamic dissident group. Hundreds and thousands of people have fled the area because of the killings.

According to US News, “the road to Oicha is a “red zone,” and staff from WHO are only allowed to travel to the area with armed escorts, but they can move freely within Oicha.”

There is a vaccine available that they’re giving people who have been exposed to ebola. Recently, however, a gang of youths burned down a medical center where they were giving vaccines when they’d heard of a death from the disease. 

I don’t know about you, but I have enormous respect for medical personnel who don hazmat suits and attempt to fight ebola. Now, add the fact that they need armed guards to escort them into the contamination area and you have to salute their efforts.

Picture what they have to go through – in addition to being in the middle of a war zone, you have the usual problem of people refusing to abandon traditional burial customs and insisting that the disease is caused by witchcraft. Add one more issue: thousands of refugees fleeing the area because of the fighting.

These medical personnel have buckets more courage than I do and I can only thank heavens for them. 

Plus, I cannot tell a lie. I wondered what would happen if one of those refugees made it to Italy, carrying ebola with him. That’s just one place my imagination does not want to go. 

I will, however, be watching what happens in the Congo in the next few weeks. 

Additional article:


Today I’m Grateful for…

Today I’m Grateful for…


Something odd happened to me today.

I got all my laundry done yesterday, so when I woke up this morning I got dressed, made the bed, and started working on all those pesky administrative things that I delayed all week. Bank statements, new ads for the books, a few catch-up business emails, that sort of thing.

I was setting up a new ad and I put July 14 through August 14 as the date range. I looked at July 14 and I asked myself why is that date so important?

First my brain said: it’s Bastille Day.

Then my brain said: it’s the anniversary of Flash’s death.

Can I tell you how surprised I am by that?

I dreaded this anniversary. I thought I would be crying all day. Instead of bursting into tears I was almost overwhelmed by a sense of gratitude.

I am so lucky to have had Flash in my life for however long I had him. I still maintain that he taught me so much. It’s because of him that I have Stanley. I wanted to be a dog owner again. I wanted to feel that shared love. I wanted to think about another creature other than myself all the time.

Silly Stanley has taken that idea and run with it.

He ate a piece of plastic yesterday and when I tried to get it out of his mouth all I succeeded in doing was shoving it down his throat. I immediately gave him a piece of bread and he thought that was pretty good. The plastic is small, 1/4 inch long and about that narrow. The vet thinks that it will pass and all I need to do is keep an eye on him and I have. I feel like I need to go behind him with a strainer.

I swear, when I cleaned up the yard the other day and looked at his, well, excretions, I found some stuff that was blue (the plastic from his Lure Pole) and green (from his plastic chew toy). I’ve taken everything plastic away from him and scoured the house for stuff he can eat.

So, I’m worried about him which is part of having a dog in your life, too.

Still, even with keeping me on my toes, I’m grateful for Stanley.

I think dogs are wonderful. They’re not only smart and loving, they enhance our lives. In most cases, I also think that they make us better people.

I know Flash did. The jury’s still out on Silly Stanley. 🙂

Today I’m Grateful for…

Today I’m Grateful for…

…oodles o’stuff.

  • your comments that touch me, make me laugh or think. Thank you.
  • my motorized couch with my feet way up in the air. I’m sitting here on a Monday afternoon with my laptop, next to Stanley who is twitching in his sleep. We went to get gas earlier and do a car wash. He was not amused.
  • the quiet of a summer afternoon. Even the doves are taking a break with the heat. I’ve stopped consulting Weather Underground. I don’t WANT to know how hot it is, thanks.
  • my air conditioner. Okay, it was over $1000.00 last time, but it was worth it. I’m sitting here absolutely comfy.
  • Stanley, who cracks me up or makes me go, “Aww.” He is the cutest thing, but he requires constant companionship, touching, and affirmation. I read that Scottish terriers are prone to fixating on one person and suffer from extreme stress when left alone. I have an appointment soon where I have to undergo these funky tests on my eyes and will be gone for a few hours. I’m putting Stanley in the kitchen behind a gate for 30 minutes a day to get him used to the idea that I’m coming back. He will not be abandoned. So far the whining is just the most pitiful thing you’ve ever heard and when I open the gate it’s like I’ve been gone for weeks. Even now, when he’s asleep on the bolster next to me a part of him has to be touching a part of me. Right at the moment it’s his paw on my leg.

Anyway, I hope you’re having a lovely Monday. Stay cool!