5 star review

Review – Hot and Badgered by Shelly Laurenston

Hot and Badgered.jpg

It’s not every day that a beautiful naked woman falls out of the sky and lands face-first on grizzly shifter Berg Dunn’s hotel balcony. Definitely they don’t usually hop up and demand his best gun. Berg gives the lady a grizzly-sized t-shirt and his cell phone, too, just on style points. And then she’s gone, taking his XXXL heart with her. By the time he figures out she’s a honey badger shifter, it’s too late.
Honey badgers are survivors. Brutal, vicious, ill-tempered survivors. Or maybe Charlie Taylor-MacKilligan is just pissed that her useless father is trying to get them all killed again, and won’t even tell her how. Protecting her little sisters has always been her job, and she’s not about to let some pesky giant grizzly protection specialist with a network of every shifter in Manhattan get in her way. Wait. He’s trying to help? Why would he want to do that? He’s cute enough that she just might let him tag along—that is, if he can keep up . . .

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.

It has been a long few months as my previous post noted and that created the blogging slump to end all previous slumps. I have a number of books that I embarrassingly flaked out on because I just couldn’t seem to find any gumption to do anything. I won’t say this book has changed everything, but the blurb and teaser chapters did give me enough of a chuckle to pull the blanket off my head, crawl out of the blanket fort, and ask and give it a shot. So I respectfully suggest this book is worth 137 stars, because I laughed so much, so take that into consideration as I squee my way through the ridiculousness.

This book is a spin off series from Laurenston’s bawdy and hilarious Pride series which ended with the book Bite Me (turns out I never did review it though I have read it 8 times now-was kind of perturbed by the end of the series, but I did review the next to the last). This one starts a few years after that and there are some pretty hilarious cameos from fan favorites from that series, particularly Hannah “The Destroyer of Worlds” (super great to see she found her center) and Dee-Anne Smith (who is handling what has come up exactly the way I would have expected). If you haven’t read that series I don’t think the cameos are distracting and that series probably isn’t necessary to read this one, but I do highly recommend it.

Anyway, premise of the original series is that shifters wander among us in semi hiding, publicly living their lives but hiding what they are. They have cultures and packs and their own sporting teams (DNA testing made that necessary), and hilarious shenanigans. Once the series got rolling there was a whole arc about human big game hunters who know about shifters and like to hunt them ala The Most Dangerous Game. The last couple of books introduced us to the most volatile and separate shifter species-the always entertaining HONEY BADGER! And then it closed the arc and broke my heart forever.

This series jumps back on the Honey Badger train and I can’t be more thrilled, especially since it features siblings so we know were are in for a romp with characters we have already gotten to know and enjoy.

Plus, Laurenston pairs our honey badger heroine with a bear shifter, and if I have to have a second favorite shifter it has to be bears…or at least bears as Laurenston writes them. Thoughtful, serious, honey loving bears!

Basically, this book hits all my high points. Women who have lives, families, and friends outside of the love interest. A cast of characters who actually matter instead of card board cutouts that interact around the main couple. Fun, excitement, and bawdy foul mouthed banter. A couple who gets to know each other some before just hopping into bed. And two main characters who don’t have to sacrifice themselves or change to have each other and the lives they want.

Basically it is pretty much perfect for me. It opens up the world into new and interesting directions so that the series doesn’t have to get stale, and it does so in a way that the new characters can bump along aside of the old ones without either set feeling shoehorned together. The only thing that disappoints me is that the next book and main character hasn’t been released yet. All I can say is that if you have’t read Shelly Laurenston yet, and you like ridiculous over the top hilarity, sarcasm, and a bit of gratuitous violence, well you just don’t know what you are missing because this author is phenomenal…like I said at the start, 137 stars and I will not budge from that.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4)

Thoughts and Opinions

The worst year ever and lessons learned from a balky boob.

So, bearing in mind that for me “years” are academic rather than calendar-this has been literally the worst year ever. Here is the highlights (or rather the low lights) and some lessons learned.

Warning-some of what I will share is a bit graphic and will be embarrassing for both of us…but much like Ilona Andrews I feel that it is important to be a little more honest and open about things in hopes that someone else gets what they need.

At the beginning of last summer my left nipple suddenly inverted. My dad’s side of the family has quite a bit of breast cancer so I am very consistent with my self checks. Since I was 35 and knew my first mammogram was coming soon anyway I called my gynecologist and had her order the test a bit earlier than was originally planned. To be honest, it wasn’t as bad as it sounds, you stand there and get your boobs squished feeling a little awkward and embarrassed and then it is done. Unfortunately for me I have very dense breasts so they couldn’t really see anything so they had to refer me for a fancier mammogram and a diagnostic ultrasound. The fancy mammogram still could not see anything, but the ultrasound showed some simple cysts and a complicated cyst in my right breast, and 8 small simple cysts in my left breast. It also found a 1.5×1.5×0.6 cm mass on my left breast that they categorized as Bi-Rads 3 which they consider probably benign…so I was recommended to have a 6 month follow-up.

While in the waiting game for this, in August Hurricane Harvey hit which completely borked everything up. Lots of stress all around. Our home made it through OK but many of our friends and loved ones were not so fortunate.

Then I tweaked my right hip/glute and gave myself a raging case of sciatica and piriformis (i.e. old lady hip) and spent the next 6 months limping around.

Then my grandmother took a turn for the worse. She died the weekend before Thanksgiving. Now I am not one to go to funerals but the cousin I am closest to called and requested my presence for emotional support. This meant that during Thanksgiving week I had to get myself, one of my sisters, and my mom from SE Texas to Illinois-flights were crazy so we ended up driving straight through for 14 hours. Not good with the raging case of old lady hip.

The funeral was the big catholic extravaganza. Enough said. Got to see family I had not seen in a while so it wasn’t all bad but definitely not the most joyous of Thanksgivings… and I picked up the plague.

SO there I am hacking, wheezing, feverish and limping and that is how December passed.

In the midst of this [redacted1] decided to divorce [redacted2], and [redacted3] decided to sue [redacted4] over [redacted5] so [redacted4] counter-sued over [redacted6]. (Family members have been redacted because I am not ready for more arguing.) Much stress and terror has ensued and [redacted1] not only closed [redacted2]’s bank accounts throwing bills into unpaid status, but apparently has a girlfriend my age now which is creepy and gross.

Meanwhile I was still limping around and trying to find my lost referral for my follow-up diagnostic breast ultrasound.

Lesson #1: When you are supposed to have a 6 month follow-up that requires referral, call the month before it is due to make sure it exists.

I got that referral straightened and finally got a referral for physical therapy for my old lady hip. Went in for my follow-up and started physical therapy right about the same time. Follow up ultrasound showed the mass had grown to 1.8×1.7×0.8 cm which then required referral for a biopsy. In the midst of sending the referral for that, the ice storms hit sending the SE Texas region into an uproar and shutting the cities down for days. Seeing as it was only 17 degrees out for days on end, the warmest we could get the house to was like 58 degrees with all the heaters on. Houses in this area, especially old ones, jsut aren’t built for that kind of cold. The first referral got lost so a second one was sent at which point in time I got frustrated and called the person I was getting referred to and they indicated that they were not in network and that they had faxed that information back to my gynecologist who somehow did not get it.

Lesson #2: Always verify the doctor you are getting referred to is in your network and save yourself some time.

So then my gynecologist sent a referral to someone in my network and it kept getting kicked back from my insurance company. Many phone calls were made between myself, my gynecologist, the doctor I was being referred to, and my insurance company to get it straightened out.

Lesson #3: Always verify WHO can make certain kinds of referrals as per your insurance company’s policies. Turns out while Texas BCBS allows gynecologists to make referrals for ultrasounds and mammograms they do not allow them to refer for biopsies, so I had to call my primary care doctor’s office and it turns out he had not been reading the reports and had no clue what was going on. Finally got that office to send a proper referral through.

So I showed up to the surgeon’s office for what I thought was for my biopsy. Fortunately I was pro-active and brought my scans with me. Unfortunately, the first question he asked me was where my biopsy results were.

Lesson #4: Always make sure they doctor you are being referred to knows EXACTLY why you are being referred.

So once we got that confusion straightened out (turns out other imaging centers often do their own biopsies, mine did not) they got me referred for an ultrasound guided biopsy. Took a bit to get that scheduled and while it wasn’t my favorite thing ever, it wasn’t that bad except for the fact I had a violent reaction to the steritape.

Here is what happens with an ultrasound core needle biopsy. You have to bring someone with you because they don’t want you driving afterward. They may let your companion sit with you through the initial talks and even the initial ultrasound, but they are very unlikely to let that person stay for the actual biopsy. There are likely to be three medical providers in the room with you; the ultrasound tech, a nurse, and the person actually performing the biopsy. They will ultrasound all over and find the best place to keep the ultrasound wand, which is usually right over the mass the closest they can get. This means that the biopsy kind of has to burrow through more tissue than you might expect. This is awkward but not necessarily a bad thing, because you want them to see what they are doing as well as possible. Then they will do a series of lidocaine shots that go deeper and deeper to numb you up. Then they put a giant hollow needle into you (DO NOT LOOK AT IT) and using the ultrasound guide it into the mass. And here is why they have the extra people in the room. They might have one person hold onto your legs and one person hold onto your arms to keep you still. Because what happens next is they slide a weird device into that hollow needle so it goes into the mass and it makes a loud weird snapping noise and it takes a piece of the mass out. They will do this at least 3 times. If you are still then the other people will stop holding you, or at least mine did. Then they put in a little titanium “clip” or BB to mark where the mass is for future imaging. Then they apply a lot of pressure to stop the bleeding and then steritape you up. Then they send you in for another mammogram to check placement of the “clip”. This may cause you to start bleeding again and you can ask for them to redo the steritape because you aren’t allowed to get it wet for the next day or so or to remove it for several days. Also, ask for a boob ice pack. One could wish for black and skulls and cross-bones, but they are the perfect size and shape for this, nothing you have at home is going to work so well…even though it looks like meemaws wallpaper.


Lesson #5: Take a second day off after a biopsy, don’t go to work the next day even if they say you can. You can’t wear a bra, you have to keep using an ice pack on and off, and if your biopsy entry site is in the side boob area, every time you move your arm you will inadvertently smack it. This is not weakness, it is self-care and it will save you time and trouble in the long run.

Also I got released from physical therapy and my hip is feeling much better.

Lesson #6: Don’t assume that pain and discomfort is normal, and if you have something in a place you can’t see on your own, like the side of your boob, have someone else look at it. And if something hurts, and you don’t want to take pain pills, push for other options.

Once the steritape came off, along with all my skin, I started feeling much better. And the result of the biopsy was benign. So one good thing down. Unfortunately, turns out the mass that they were tracking had literally nothing to do with why my nipple inverted. Yikes.

Lesson #7: Don’t ever assume what your doctors are focusing on actually has anything to do with your primary complaint. Stand up and explicitly ask whether or not the thing they are focusing on actually has anything to do with your problem.

So with that being the case they referred me for a breast MRI. I got that scheduled during spring break. Unfortunately, the day before it was supposed to happen they called me to AGAIN ask when the first day of my last menstrual cycle was.

Lesson #8: It turns out that breast MRIs must be done in a very small window, days 7-10 of your menstrual cycle. I don’t know how I could have prevented this scheduling snafu because I had no way to know about that requirement, so just consider this your PSA about breast MRIs, schedule them 7-10 days following the start of your presumed next menstrual cycle (i.e. 7-10 days after the start of your next period).

I got that rescheduled and then the next day (the day I was supposed to be having the MRI) was our 8th marriage anniversary and almost 18 years together which is half our freaking lives so we were all planned up for a fancy night out when I found out one of my best friends since we were 5 years old died.

Lesson #9: There is never as much time as you think there is. Take every chance you have to cherish the ones you love.

We hadn’t talked much the last 8 months because I knew she had a lot going wrong in her life and the last thing I wanted to do was dump on her the misery I have been just dumping on all you readers. Which was stupid, so very stupid, because I know she would have been there for me and maybe I could have been there for her.

This wake I went to of my own accord to try to perform one last service for her.

Which brings me to today. Today was the breast MRI. Let me tell you about breast MRIs. As you may know, MRI machines are uncomfortably small tubes to start with. But for a breast MRI they have this oddly contoured table you get put on which drastically reduces the amount of room in that tube. You can go here to see what that looks like. SO you have an IV in the crook of one arm while you are trying to crawl up on it with a gown that is open in the front to lay down on it. There is an open space where your breasts dangle down and a bar that goes between the breasts. Then once you are lain down and torqued into that odd position they have clamps on either side of your breasts to squish them in together into the bar between them. It isn’t super uncomfortable, mostly it is about like getting a mammogram. Then they slide you into the tube.

As I said though, small tube is made even smaller by this table. They asked me a question and I instinctively looked up hitting my head on the top of it. This made me look to the sides and all I could see was the walls of the tube…which made me try to lift up but I couldn’t because my breasts were clamped to that table. So I ended up a sobbing hysterical screaming mess and they had to pull me out so I could calm down and try again.

Lesson #10: MRIs are hard, breast MRIs are a little bit harder still (I have had both kinds so I know). SO if you have any issues with claustrophobia, be up front and don’t feel like a weeny, lots of people have this problem. Even if you think you will be ok but you sometimes have trouble with enclosed spaces, just go ahead and tell them because they know all the tricks for making this as easy as possible. What they ended up doing was taking all the blankets off me and turning a fan on me very high so I could feel the breeze. Yes it was excruciatingly cold, but it helped a lot. I also declined the headphones because they made me feel even more enclosed. My biggest take-away is close your eyes, breathe, and whatever you do-DO NOT LIFT YOUR HEAD UP. Just imagine it bigger than it really is and do nothing that might alert you to the true size and shape of what you are in.

And I say all that not to discourage anyone from following up. I just want people to know a little bit more about what the process is like. Yes it is scary, but it is less scary I think if you really know what to expect. And nothing about that process, awkward and uncomfortable as it has been, is worse than the worry and the waiting and the not knowing. So if you have been putting off your mammogram, or haven’t gone in for your follow-ups, please do, none of it is insurmountable but the worry will eat you alive.

So right now it is just more waiting. Which sucks. And I’ll admit that it all sucks. But I am putting this out here because almost half of all women aren’t getting the mammograms that they ought to be getting. And while I thus far haven’t had the very worst outcome, I have hit most of the high and low points and I can safely say it is all surmountable. 1 in 8 of us will end up with breast cancer, and your chances of a long and healthy life go up dramatically with earlier intervention.

As for cost, lots of places offer free or low cost screening mammograms, especially in October. Call all the local places and ask what their cash prices are, particularly at offsite imagining only type centers. Yes, based on my experiences you might have to be a bit more proactive with your own paperwork, but the place I went to did every day cash prices of $85. Even if you still can’t afford that, remember that 1 in 8 number, there are almost guaranteed to be people in your life who would be thrilled to pony up the money for you to get tested. And if not, there are organizations where their whole missions are to get people mammograms.

4 star review

Review – Seashells, Spells & Caramels bu Erin Johnson

Seashells Spells and Caramels

Imogen’s spent her twenties in Seattle, saving every penny and missing every party, to follow her dream of opening her own bakery.

When that dream goes up in flames, she accepts a spot in a mysterious baking contest—one she doesn’t remember entering. She travels to a bustling, medieval village off the coast of France and discovers an enchanting world of magic and mystery, and learns that she, too, possesses powers.

Unable to so much as cast a spell, Imogen struggles to keep up with the other witches and wizards who have come from all over the magical world to the Water Kingdom’s big competition. She juggles relationships with a sweet new friend, a snarky baking fire, and a brooding, handsome baker. As Imogen falls for this bewitching world, she fears she won’t master her magic in time to win the job of Royal Head Baker, and will be forced to return to the shambles of her non magical life.

It only gets worse, when a competitor drops dead in the middle of the big white baking tent, and Imogen’s the prime suspect. Now, she’ll not only have to survive the vampire and psychic judges, but also clear her name by finding the real murderer, before they strike again.
With a killer on the loose, a missing prince, and the Summer Solstice Festival fast approaching, Imogen will have to bake like her life depends on it- because it just might.

I received an ARC of this book from the author, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.

I’ll admit, while I was intrigued by the blurb, the very shallow reason I took the author up on it was because we share a first name. And I was more than repaid in spades with a very funny and lighthearted story. When you find yourself giggling out loud in the first chapters, then you know you are in for a treat.

Alexander’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day ain’t got nothing on poor Imogene’s travails. And the way it all went down really resonated with me…I have those sort of life altering catastrophes myself. Admittedly though, my mayhem is just a little less magical.

I enjoyed the world building quite a bit, and I didn’t figure out the mystery until near the very end. The writing was quick and kept my attention centered on the characters. And the two female protagonists have a very Lucy Rucardo and Ethyl Mertz sort of vibe, which I was digging. There was also quite the nice little spark between the Imogene and the love interest.

The only “negative” is where the romance was at the end of the book….and that isn’t because it ended badly or anything, it just doesn’t neatly fit into my personal preferences. That being said, it looks like the second book should be coming out shortly and so I shouldn’t have to wait too long to see how Johnson pulls this off. I am definitely looking forward to the next entry in this magical world she has created.

Seashells, Spells & Caramels (Spells & Caramels, #1)


#FitReaders #StrutMyStuff – Weekly Check-In August 25, 2017


I did indeed use cashews in my soup, which gave it a nice creamy texture and fatted it up a bit. But the weather hasn’t exactly cooperated in getting a true 5K in. But I got a nice long walk pacing and trying to keep calm watching the news of Hurricane Harvey. We are ok here but it is a trifle damp and we will likely be rather housebound for at least a few more days.

Week August 25August 5K


#FitReaders – Weekly Check-In July 29 though August 18, 2017

07-29 through 08-18

So with the family trip and all it has been a bit since I updated, so I just dumped all the data into one image. I wish this way of pulling up data included active minutes, because otherwise it would be perfect. Besides some car travel time which cut into my steps counts I have been doing pretty well. The first bit with the new bed plus all the excitement did impact my sleep, but that seems to be settling down. And, most exciting to me, despite gorging myself on Wisconsin cheese and all the delights Austin, San Antonio, Galveston, and New Orleans had to offer, a week latter I am back to about goal weight. Though admittedly I did take frozen batches of my soup with me on my trip so it wasn’t a complete nutritional void. So I would say, I have a fair start on settling into a new set point and my new healthy habits. Fingers crossed.

Other health and fitness related news: psyllium fiber in smoothies is palatable, sweet potato in smoothies is pretty danged nice, nuts in smoothies (particularly cashews) is freaking magic, I LOVE smoothies, butterhead lettuce is delicious and expensive, and…I will be considering putting cashews into my next batch of soup.

Now all I need to do is get my 5K in before the start of the semester, and I think I can officially call this summer a success.


#FitReaders – Weekly Check-In July 28, 2017

No Vitamix soup, despite the fact that I literally had all the ingredients. I have just been exhausted trying to finish the master bedroom we have been working on. My husband probably more so since he did the bulk, but I only had evenings and weekends after work. But without further ado, here is my most fantastical and “excessive” dresser bed. I needed storage space, but did not want any dressers with flat surfaces where I could hoard and stack junk up. So I found the Ultimate Bed online a few years ago and bookmarked it for when we finally got to renovating that room.

BedFrameBedframe 2BedFrame3Bedframe Interior DrawersBedFram Dresser Drawer

This is the 18 drawer king in honey oak with 6 end drawers, mission headboard, and dual nightstands. It weighs a bazillion pounds, came in 14 shipping boxes, and took hubby and I 13 hours to put together. But we fight a lot when we build together, and I am spatially challenged so it could probably be done in much less time. And the instructions are really good and clear, and written in proper English with proper diagrams and details sheets. The only thing we really, truly struggled with was the end drawer doors, but a quick look on the website cleared that right up. The drawers did not come with knobs or handles, and they honestly don’t need them, but we ended up adding them for a more finished look since the rest of the room will be so minimalist.

It is a really clever design because it is so modular. So if I get frustrated with the height (I will likely require a step stool for this, I CAN get in without one, but I am assured I look a little insane doing it) we can shorten it. If we wanted to, we could drop this down to two layers, buy or build another platform for the pieces we took off, and instantly have another king bed. Or we could take out some end drawers and shove it together to form a queen or full, or we could split the top level in half and do two twins. Basically, this is 6 twin single level dresser beds all put together, and can be broken down into any number of other configurations with minimal investment for platform(s). They actually have something they call a dorm bed, that they recommend because once they are out on their own it can be transformed into more “adult” beds. Though I don’t know what dorms allow you to bring your own furniture like that. But still, looks like a pretty clever option for an in home growing up bed that the kid could take with them when they move out. Though that twin would obviously be as high as this one.

We added some nice little drawer pulls, to match with our super fancy rubbed bronze wall plates, and bought a cute little storage bench that will also serve as a step stool as needed (since the bed is to tall to sit on and put on socks and shoes).

benchDrawer PullWall Plates

So enough “advertising”, I just really wanted to share because I am so excited about my new thing.

Stats: Week July 22-28, 2017

Week July 28 DistanceWeek July 28 StepsWeek July 28 ActiveWeek July 28 Sleep

There will be traveling at the and of next week, and much of the following week, so it will be interesting to see how that shakes out.


5 star review

Review + Blog Tour – Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

VT-Wildfire-IAndrews_FINALwildfire mm c

From Ilona Andrews, #1 New York Times bestselling author, the thrilling conclusion to her Hidden Legacy series, as Nevada and Rogan grapple with a power beyond even their imagination…

Nevada Baylor can’t decide which is more frustrating — harnessing her truthseeker abilities or dealing with Connor “Mad” Rogan and their evolving relationship. Yes, the billionaire Prime is helping her navigate the complex magical world in which she’s become a crucial player—and sometimes a pawn—but she also has to deal with his ex-fiancée, whose husband has disappeared, and whose damsel-in-distress act is wearing very, very thin.

Rogan faces his own challenges, too, as Nevada’s magical rank has made her a desirable match for other Primes. Controlling his immense powers is child’s play next to controlling his conflicting emotions. And now he and Nevada are confronted by a new threat within her own family. Can they face this together? Or is their world about to go up in smoke?

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss and Tasty Book Tours, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review. And the usual Ilona Andrews disclaimer applies, I bought it anyway. +Giveaway!!!

I will admit, I have become a little obsessive over this series.

Wildfire Readings


I post that to show you that it is barely possible that I might not be entirely reasonable when it comes to this series. Seriously, I just want to squee and squee for days over this delightful confection. It has the best of both urban fantasy (clear and intricate world building and action and crazy sauce) and Paranormal Romance (magic and tightly plotted relationship with happily ever after).

This is however the third book in the series and it is definitely not a series you can read out of order. Think of this as one giant, epic fantasy book that just happens to have been released in three installments, and read accordingly. That being said, while I will attempt to not spoil THIS book, spoilers for previous books are highly likely. You have been warned.

The Hidden Legacy series is in a divergent world where in 1863 we discover a serum that unlocks untapped magic potential. Shenanigans ensue and the world decides this is much too dangerous to be let loose and so put a lock on the serum. Of course, there are all the people who have already had the serum, and these traits are passed down genetically to their offspring; so magic, and thus power, prestige, and money are concentrated into the hands of these families, known as Houses.

That is how it all starts, so seriously pick up this series and read it, I doubt you will be disappointed because there is a little something in it for most fiction readers.

On to the show. Those genetic connections however bring both pitfalls, and opportunities, and Nevada bears the brunt of both. She is riding the crest of a vast and catastrophic conspiracy hoping to untangle it before everything goes to hell. Meanwhile she has two sisters and two cousins, a mother and a grandmother who are also subject to the decisions she may make.

We’ve seen Nevada in hiding from the world of power, and Nevada making her initial hesitant entrance,  now we get to see Nevada stepping up to make her own place in this world, on her own terms. She rocks and is one of my favorite all time heroines. She doesn’t wander through the world as some sort of Mary Sue with the intrinsic knowledge that her basic (but humble) perfection will change the world to suit her, nor does she bust up the world order just because she can. She walks the balance.

Meanwhile in relationship land, Nevada and Rogan struggle to navigate their personal relationship in the midst of all this trauma and drama. Genetics, and boundaries, and competing relationships oh my! That sounds ridiculously cliched and soap-opera-esque, but it really isn’t.

But when you boil everything down, it all circles back to relationships and the people in ones life. Do you want something for someone in your life that current circumstances dictate they can’t have? Do you want something for yourself, and others are trying to stop you? It all really boils down to those desires and impediments and Ilona Andrews navigates through these competing desires in complex individuals to build a compelling tale. And that is what makes this so good and so much more intricate than your average romance novel, the rest of the people aren’t just stage dressing, they are as much real characters as the main protagonists. And they have real consequences and real effects on the story trajectory, whether the initiating event came from Nevada or themselves. It makes it, as I said before, compelling.

And while this arc is categorically concluded, there is a nice wide door to continuing further adventures in this world, which I sincerely hope happens. Leon, Bern, Cornelius, Catalina, Arabella, Victoria Tremaine, and a few others too spoilery to even speak of right now…all I could see could easily support more stories. Hell, I would even read some NA/YA in this world.




#FitReaders – Weekly Check-In July 21, 2017

Another week, another Vitamix soup, because I managed to go shopping and even managed to buy enough for a couple of weeks AND figured out how to freeze spinach. And I really do feel better when I do the soup. Sadly I don’t know that it will appreciably improve my compliance on this measure.


Stats: Week July 15-21, 2017

I am down a bit on my activity measures, but I think overall I have to consider it a win, especially with the bump back up on sleep. Weight is holding steady under my goal weight. Big doings for the next couple of weeks to get the house ready (pictures will be forthcoming on the next post), and THEN…family trip. I can only hope I will have made enough headway that the inevitable backslide isn’t too onerous.

Week July 21 DistanceWeek July 21 StepsWeek July 21 ActiveWeek July 21 Sleep




#FitReaders #StrutYourStuff- Weekly Check-In July 14, 2017

Another week, but not another Vitamix soup, becauseI failed to go shopping. Really hits home how much prepping is needed for diet and nutrition.


So a bit late on my June 5K, but I DID get my June and July 5Ks in, more or less (emphasis on the more). It was about a billion degrees outside so I did them indoors, so no GPS. But, I was doing a L4L competition (Team Grumpy Cats 6-we placed 9th) so I had personal bests to beat. I ended up beating my personal best on Saturday with over 50,000 steps. So I went for the marathon on Sunday. My usual 5Ks are shy of 6000 steps and around an hour, so you could say I did a bunch of 5Ks this weekend. Then the rest of the week was a really big week because my team of 5 (Team Grumpy Cats 3) was basically down 2 entire people and the other reliably high stepper had stuff going on which made it a struggle to even get her minimums in. Since I am competitive this helped me up my steps, and we managed to complete it!

June July 5K

Stats: Week July 8-14, 2017

Had an Overall Great week. Sleep stopped backsliding and maybe even bumped back up a bit….and I will keep plugging along.

Week July 14 AcriveWeek July 14 DistanceWeek July 14 StepsWeek July 14 Sleep



#FitReaders- Weekly Check-In July 7, 2017


Another week, another Vitamix soup. The red bell pepper helped with color, but it was oddly sweeter than the carrots. Not sure if that was the pepper itself or something about the vegetables this week.

Here is my current recipe for what I am calling Sneaky Tomato Soup.

  • 1 box beef broth/4 cups (or chicken if you aren’t a freak like me who likes their tomato soup beefy)
  • 1 cup broccoli (roasted)
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 2 cans Basil, Garlic, Oregano diced tomatoes (=3.5 cups)
  • 1 cup fresh campari tomatoes roasted
  • 1 large red bell pepper (roasted)
  • 2 cups corn (roasted)
  • 2 cups celery
  • 2 cups onion (roasted)
  • 2 cloves garlic (roasted)

Roast any roasted vegetables in the oven at 425 for about 20-25 minutes. Put all ingredients into a pot then add enough water to equal 4 or so quarts (add bouillon cubes if you like yours beefy and salty and your diet can handle it-I added 4 but I am a Campbell’s plebe) and simmer down until you reach 3.5 quarts. Split into two batches and use Vitamix soup program or equivalent. Then pour back into pot and mix well. Then split into seven 2-cup mason jars (this time I then poured it all back in the Vitamix jar and it was easier to pour into the mason jars with them sitting in the sink than it was to ladle). Put about half in the fridge and the other half in the freezer.

So for Women 31-50 the USDA recommends the following vs what is in my soup:

Dark Green Vegetables: 1.5 Cups        vs       1.5 cups

Red/Orange Vegetables: 5.5 cups       vs       5.5 cups

Beans and Peas: 1.5 cups      vs            NONE

Starchy Vegetables: 5 cups      vs      2 cups

“Other” Vegetables: 4 cups      vs      4 cups


Stats: Week July 2-7, 2017

Doing well overall. Sleep backslid a bit but I will keep plugging along. And I plan to get my June and July 5Ks in on Saturday and Sunday July 8-9.


July 7 ActiveJuly 7 DistanceJuly 7 StepsJuly 7 Sleep