March 21, 2023

#FitReaders Weekly Check In Week 2 – January 11 – Kelley

I can’t guarantee I’ll remember to post every week but we’ll see if I manage it even every couple weeks at least. When I do remember to post, it will be on Sundays most likely, since my workout week runs Sunday to Saturday. I have completed my first week in the year long challenge to better health hosted by The Geeky Blogger and That’s What I’m Talking About. I kept my goals pretty generic to make them more doable for me.

My biggest goal is to be ready to run my first half marathon in April. That involves building endurance and cardio 6 days/week. Running 3 days and 3 days cross training. So it’ll keep me busy through April for sure. By then I will have hopefully relearned good habits to carry me through the year. I’d also like to lose a good 45 lbs to be back at my ideal weight.

This first week I didn’t manage my 6 days, but I did get in 3. Ran 4.5 miles Sunday and Wednesday and did a 5K Saturday with some friends. Next week I have my first 10K in about 4-5 years and I’m hoping to run the entire thing. That will be the official end of my Couch to 10K program and the start of my Half Marathon training.

Keep up with Debbie and I here at CK2S Kwips and Kritiques all year long as we both work towards a happier healthier lifestyle.

#FitReaders: Weekly Check-in Jan 8 2015- Debbie

I’m not sure how good I’ll be at doing weekly check ins but giving this a try! For this past week ending Jan 8, I’ve managed to exercise at least once every other day.  I absolutely hate exercising and have realized that it is just something I’ll never enjoy but it was far easier to do it with a good audio book going! I’ve never read DUNE before and the audible version is so good that a couple days it was my sole motivation to get myself up and exercising!

Food-wise, I managed to pack my meal for work 3 out of the 5 days so that definitely meant healthier eating choices.  I’m gradually working on detoxing my  body and getting myself back onto a good health program so I’ve also been drinking at least some of my suero viv daily.

I can tell a difference in how I’m feeling and that’s the most positive thing of all!

#FitReaders Commitment to Health 2015 – Debbie

Okay, last year I really let things slide and starting eating unhealthy again and I can feel it with my health. It’s a new year and time to get back into eating healthy and exercising. I’ve already gotten started back with my Pilates and yoga so hopefully having a regular check in will keep me at least somewhat accountable. This challenge is hosted by Felicia, AKA The Geeky Blogger with a co-host at That’s What I’m Talking About and the program is expanding to include any and all kinds of fitness, instead of focusing on walking like last year (which I did NOT do, unfortunately).  I am not good at regular updates but will try to check in and at least seeing this will hopefully make me more accountable this year!  So… here I go, exercising, eating healthy, and of course reading this new year!

#FitReaders Commitment to Health 2015 – Kelley

I am absolutely horrible about being consistent with regular posts and I always fail miserably at updates. But, I’m trying again. My good friend Felicia, AKA The Geeky Blogger is again hosting a year-long fitness challenge at her website. This year she added a co-host at That’s What I’m Talking About and the program is expanding to include any and all kinds of fitness, instead of focusing on walking like last year. Since I am training to do my first ever half marathon in April, this year-long challenge will hopefully keep me accountable. Follow along with me right here at CK2S Kwips and Kritiques and see how I do.

And in the Real World Season 2014 Episode 3 with Debbie

First the good news….

I had my first success, as I harvested my first vegetables grown by my own hand (and my husband’s, of course). Tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, and bell peppers… why yes, I do taste SALSA from that!  Our salsa is a bit on the spicy side (probably should have left out the third jalapeno pepper!) but oh is it ever yummy! Makes me think this whole gardening thing is worth it.

And then the bad news….

Gardening is definitely not for the faint of heart! I survived the first wave of the dreaded caterpillar creatures, only to have yet another wave of them where I picked off over 30 of the nasty little creatures in just 30 minutes (and ouch, did I mention that gardening is exercise too? Ugh).  But then we have what looks to be powdery mold growing because of course I’m in Florida and it’s rained daily for the last month at least, never mind the high humidity. But then came the final straw for the cucumbers… SPIDERS!

Yes, imagine my horror when I flip over a leaf to check for caterpillars and discovered a whole bunch of little tiny spiders! Horror movie come to life! I’ll admit to jumping and running to get my husband but I’m very proud I didn’t scream bloody murder (which I’m prone to do over even ONE spider, never mind a whole bunch of the nasty critters!). Needless to say, we now have tomato and pepper plants but NO cucumber plants! Those bug-attracting plants are gone!

And in the Real World Season 2014 Episode 2 with Debbie

Growing up, I remember gardens. My grandfather had a whole field of peas and corn while my mom had a small tomato garden in our backyard. Every year, we would shuck peas for hours, just me and my mom, while chatting about even the smallest of things in life. We would walk into our own garden (fenced in to keep our dogs out) and watch the tomatoes grow and then Mom would have fresh tomato sandwiches to eat (I shunned those as the only tomato I liked back then was found in ketchup!). Somehow, with time and the modern day conveniences, we lost the desire to garden. Recently, however, I decided to give it a try. I’ve been more than pleasantly surprised by the results!

Watching a garden grow is fascinating to me but even more so now that I’m trying to eat healthy and natural (I blame my gall bladder for that fun transition). I tried two separate methods- I bought a couple of small plants to transplant and I also purchased seeds that I have lovingly coaxed into sprouting. It’s a daily activity as Florida is full of bugs and some are nasty little critters that like to munch on my blooming plants.  Me- the girl who screams, “PAUL!! HUGE SPIDER!” is now suddenly plucking the wicked looking hornworm caterpillar off of my delicate cucumbers and mercilessly drowning them in soapy water.  This is the same girl who just a month ago didn’t even know such a creature existed, never mind that the non-pesticide way to kill it was by drowning it in soapy water.

Gardening has been fun but it has also brought me back to reading a genre I had lost track of in all my urban fantasy novels. I’ve started both rereading and exploring new cozy mysteries as there are some great ones where gardening is featured- Edith Maxwell being a new favorite but who can’t help but love the herbal mysteries of Susan Albert Wittig? Books and hobbies so often go hand in hand… what books have you been drawn to because of your hobbies?

And in the Real World Season 2014 Episode 1 with Debbie

Here at Kwips we have a feature called And in the Real World where we can post about our non-book life. In honor of June being Mental Health Awareness month, I’m jumping in for the first time with a weighty topic- grief.

Graduation is a joyous time, filled with hope for the future. However, for those who have lost a loved one who never reached that stage in life, it can also be a very painful time. I recently had the bittersweet experience of attending two graduations- and both were connected to the loss of my nephew.

Many of you may not know but I took an abrupt hiatus from reviewing.  Grief didn’t allow me to focus on even reading, never mind actually writing about the books I couldn’t seem to focus on. You see, grief overwhelms… and the loss of one of my nephews was overwhelming.  He had been like a son to me-and one night, in the blink of an eye, he was gone.

June is Mental Health Awareness Month and part of awareness is recognizing what you or someone you know who is grieving may experience. Don’t try to put a timetable on their grief. The absolute worst comment someone made to me was that I was grieving beyond societal norms- and this was barely past the first year after my nephew’s death. Perhaps society does put a timetable on grief but the human heart does not. Be aware that grief is a process and triggers can reignite the pain even years afterwards. Seeking professional help may be necessary but first make sure you understand that some things about grief are typical.  The American Hospice Foundation offers some great information for anyone who has either personally experienced a loss or knows someone who has.

One of the things that helped me in the immediate aftermath of his death was just remembering the basics- eating, sleeping, and my faith. It’s amazing how something like death will suck away your appetite or even make you forget about one of the basics of life. However, as time passes, the basics of life return back to normal but the hurt still remains. For me, maintaining some semblance of structure was important as I returned to work, continued to do things like grocery shopping, and yes, in time the joy of things like reading returned to my life.

So back to graduation… as I watched both the former girlfriend of my deceased nephew as well as another nephew (who is the brother of my deceased nephew) graduate, I cried- tears of joy and of sadness. No, my deceased nephew will never walk across that stage and hold that diploma so proudly. But I also could see that hope does still exist, as I watched two young people who have survived an unthinkable tragedy and they still walked across that stage and held their diplomas to announce to the world that they did it.

A few helpful articles can be found at:

And in the Real World Season 2014 Episode 4 with Kelley

Anyone who knows me knows that my fur children are very important to me. I have three that I’ve had for 11 years for two, and 9 years for the third. Last summer I got it into my head to foster, because I wanted another cat but knew I didn’t need one. I thought fostering would be a good way to add to my little family without actually adding to it. I figured I’d never have one for more than a couple months before they found their forever home. My first foster last summer, Mushu, a gorgeous little boy with long grey fur and bright yellow eyes, reinforced that idea in my head since he was only with me for two weeks before getting adopted… not long enough to get too attached to let him go. A week after I got him, I brought his sister Molly home as well to foster her. While she is just as precious as can be, I didn’t get a single call about people wanting to meet her. So she stayed, ad stayed some more. When I took her back down to the rescue place in December to get her fixed, she spent a week there. I really thought that she’d find someone during that time to fall in love with her and take her home. It would have been hard, as she’d been with me at least 4 months at that point, but I’d manage to say good bye. So imagine my pleasure and surprise that she still came home with me after her week’s vacation. Fast forward a few months to last Sunday, March 23. I got a call that they wanted to talk to me about Molly and to please call them back. So, I thought, with mixed emotions, this was the end of our time together. Someone chose her to join their family. I was surprised when they said they asked me if I’d be interested in adopting her since I’d had her so long. They just hadn’t gotten any queries about this sweetheart. I admit, the thought had crossed my mind, but I was thinking summer, when she’d have been with me for a year, I’d make ours a permanent arrangement. I had to schedule an appointment to take her to their vet anyhow, since she seems to have some severe skin allergies. So on Thursday I drove her down there to leave her overnight for her appointment Friday.

When I arrived, they asked me if I’d decided whether or not to keep her. I told them I’d been considering it as an option this summer. I do love that little girl and it would be so hard to give her up, but knowing she was going to a good home would help ease my sorrow at saying good bye. I also told them if I did adopt her, I couldn’t foster again for a while. I would be hesitant to bring another cat into the home, even temporarily, in my apartment but I’m hoping to buy my own home this summer and at that time I could foster again. I told them my biggest concern though was I didn’t have adoption fees right now due to unexpected expenses (i.e. taxes due). That is a non-issue. Since I’ve had her so long, the fees are waived. Part of the reason they asked me to adopt her was because if I didn’t, she’d be going to another rescue organization to see if they would have better luck finding her a home. She wouldn’t be leaving me for a family, she’d be leaving me for a rescue group, possibly not even a foster home. Well that clinched it for me! I couldn’t allow for her to be taken away from a loving home only to sit somewhere else, alone and scared and feeling abandoned while we hoped someone would keep her.

So it’s official. Molly will be living with me permanently! I had even settled on a new name for her for if I did adopt her later this year. Now, little Miss Molly is Cleopatra, Cleo for short, in keeping with my theme of Egyptian or Egyptian sounding names for my babies. Also, as you can see in the photos, she’s a brown tabby/white. I love the shapes of her coloring and her little white face that goes up to a point, as if she’s got her fur parted in the middle. But she also has stripes that run right up to the corner of her eyes and line the lower lid, as if she’s wearing eye makeup.

Now, this is where I am going to give my public service announcement for the week. You had to know this was coming if you’re still reading.  PLEASE please PLEASE, if you are considering adding furry children to your home, consider a rescue. There are SOOO many homeless animals out there with every bit as much love to give, if not more, as any store bought or breeder bought animal. These homeless fur babies deserve love too. Many of them had homes of their own for a while but were then abandoned, for any number of reasons (none of which are good if you ask me). Some have never known what it feels like to be loved, and that is just plain sad. There are so many organizations out there who can tell you all the ways rescuing IS better.

All of my children are rescues and they couldn’t be more wonderful. So the below message is from Queen Sheba, scaredy-cat but mellow Aker, wild man Amun, and now darling Cleo, and me…


If you can’t adopt – foster…
If you can’t foster – sponsor…
If you can’t sponsor – volunteer…
If you can’t volunteer – donate…
If you can’t donate – educate, network, and cross post…
Everyone can do something, large or small, to help save a life…

And in the Real World Season 2014 Episode 3 with Kelley

It’s been a while since I was able to get in here. I had a family emergency that took me out of town for three weeks and I’ve been trying to play catch up. But I’ll save that story for another time. I’ll also try to get back on schedule with posting on the proper day. For this week, I thought I’d go for the comedic factor. My cats are very good at providing entertainment with their antics. And on that note… Take it away Amun!


A Day in the Life… of the Fur Kids

Saturday 3/15

Amun here reporting in. I’m not real happy with mommy right now. She stuck me in a cage as soon as she got up from her all night nap, after leaving me and my brother and sisters home alone ALL day yesterday when she knows my toe hurts so much. As if that wasn’t bad enough, she took me in a big noisy machine to that place I hate more than anything. It smells yucky there and scares me. She STILL was not done! We won’t even talk about the indignity of what those mean and scary people call “checking my temperature!” Then they stuck these fuzzy things inside my ears knowing they hurt me too! THEN they take me away from mommy to shoot watery stuff in my ears and stick more fuzzy things in them. Still not enough torturing of me today. They shaved all the fur off my toe, messed with my claw, and made me cry it hurt sooo much! Then they put all this cold wet stuff on it that burns.

Mommy still wouldn’t take me away from them! They stabbed me with sharp pointy metal things in three different places (Supposed to keep me “from getting sick” and my “toe from hurting”, they said). FINALLY she saves me and puts me back in the cage. This time it was ok though because she was taking me home. But she was just teasing me, how cruel! We get home and she tried to make me eat a really yucky food she called “medicine” to “make me feel better.” She wouldn’t even let me bathe my toe since I know that is always the best way to make boo boos feel better. All I wanted to do in stay safe in a box sleeping and she kept taking me out to “check and make sure my toe isn’t yucky and to keep me close to “watch me and make sure I’m ok.”

Mommy is SOOO mean to me! It’s a hard life being a proud kitty like me. Even harder when I hurt and don’t feel well and she won’t leave me alone the ONE time I keep crying and begging her to just leave me be! Then she went and left me AGAIN for the night! We had SOOO much water pouring from the sky, bright flashes of light, and terrible sky booms! I was already scared and hurting then that happened! I was terrified! Can’t I just have some peace and quiet and alone time? I’m traumatized for NINE lives after today’s torture!!!!!

Mommy Kelley’s Response: Geez Amun! Dramatic much? I was just trying to be a good mother and keep you healthy and if you weren’t complaining you were pouting. Sometimes I have to do something that hurts you or scares you to keep you from hurting more or making you sick later. Haven’t I made it up to you by giving you 5 times as many treats as usual and all the snuggles you are always asking for, going so far as to nip my ear, chin, nose, or finger when you think I’m neglecting you? Such a drama queen!

Tuesday 3/18

Amun here again. If you ever tell my mommy about this I’ll say you’re lying, but I am feeling a lot better now though I’m still not quite myself yet. My ears aren’t bothering me anymore and those three places they stabbed me are better again. My toe still hurts but not as bad as it did. I don’t even feel like I need to clean it all the time anymore. I still won’t let mommy touch it though. She keeps trying and I keep fighting. I even halfway forgive her for taking me to that terrible scary smelling place and torturing me like she did. I only needed my box the first day when I came home. I even was playing with my baby sister Molly the other night chasing the red dot. She did all the running, I just stayed where I was until the red dot got close, then I pounced! I’m back to sleeping with mommy again and have been for a couple days. I like stealing her pillow though to pay her back for torturing me. I still get mad if my brother and sisters get too close to my sore paw and I smack them HARD. I like to pretend I still hurt a lot though so mommy will give me more treats and attention. But she STILL keeps leaving me for long times. Doesn’t she know it’s all about ME? I need all her time and attention!

But guess what? My brother Aker isn’t feeling too well either! His ears are yucky and hurting like mine were. Now he’s the one getting tortured! Mommy stuck those fuzzy things in his ears tonight. She also put cold wet stuff in his ears that she calls “medicine.” (Did you notice that she keeps using that word? I don’t know what it means, but it must be bad because we ONLY get it when we don’t feel good.) This “medicine” is left from when Molly came to live with us last summer and her ears were all yucky like ours are now. So now Aker is mad at mommy too! He usually sleeps next to her but he won’t get very close tonight so she can’t touch his ears. He keeps shaking his head really hard trying to get that cold wet stuff out. Mommy says it will make him feel better but he doesn’t believe her either! I don’t feel bad for him at all! His torture isn’t nearly as bad as mine was. We’re both jealous of Sheba though because mommy isn’t doing anything to her like she is to us. Sheba is so lucky she’s not getting tortured too! Molly is safe also. Aker and I are planning a revolt!

And in the Real World Season 2014 Episode 2 with Kelley

Well I missed posting last week because I was not home at all during the week and was busy all weekend too. Story of my life. But I almost wouldn’t trade that for anything. (Though some days I wish I had more free time than I do.)

Last weekend was insanely busy for me, as I alluded to. I decided after two months of thinking about it, to chop all my hair off on Saturday. It’s been growing out for almost two years and was halfway down my back. Now, it is chin length, the first time I’ve had hair that short in at least 15 years. We had a lot of work to do on this head of mine and I spent four hours in the chair. Now I have a super fun hair cut with vibrant color streaks. I look so totally different now that at church the next day, some of my friends, having only seen me form the back, thought I was a new member of our class, only to be stunned when they came to welcome the newbie to class and find me instead. Everyone at work has only ever seen me with super long hair so they were all stunned to see me Monday and I got some very comical double takes and surprised looks.

After getting a total hair reboot, as I dubbed it, I had to rush on over to the far side of the Metroplex to make it to Jaye Wells’ book signing for hew newest book, Dirty Magic (which I should be reviewing here at some point… as soon as I catch up on some other books I need to read). I got there with about half an hour to spare before the signing was over. As soon as I got my books purchased and signed, and said a quick hello to my friends who were there, I had to rush off again.

One thing anyone who gets to know me finds out is that I have a huge heart for single parents. I always had empathy for them, but it became a passion of mine when my sister got divorced several years ago and I saw the impact of a divorce on the children first hand. For a few years I’ve been volunteering at my church with the Single Parents Ministry and I’ve headed up one program for them, our “Kids Night Out” monthly events. Once a month, the parents drop their kids off at church for a few hours on a Saturday, knowing we will feed them, entertain them, and just shower love on these kids. It gives the parents a night to take a break and just do whatever they want to do, not having to worry about their kids. Saturday was my absolute favorite event we do all year long. It’s also the one event where the parents come with their children for the evening. We do a big dinner dance for the families. We give limo rides, horse and carriage rides, feed them a feast of a dinner, have a DJ to entertain with great music all night, arts and crafts, and family portraits. I just love this night because it gives me a chance to see these families together in a relaxed setting, and have a good time. Most of them get dressed to the nines and it’s just an all around fantastic evening that always fills my heart to bursting. I wish I had gotten some pictures, but I am the official dessert person, a job I’ve done for several years on this night so I was too busy cutting and serving cake, cookies, and cupcakes.

Sunday was eventful as well. I already mentioned my Sunday class at my church and the shocked reactions from my friends at my new appearance. Typically, I spend a few hours on Sundays at my local yarn shop, crocheting or knitting and talking to the other women (and men – yes there are one or two). However, this past week being Super Bowl Sunday, I of course was going to a party so I had to rush home after church to cook the food I was taking to the party. We had a small group, only about 7 people or so, but we had enough food between all of us to feed twice that many people! I had no stake in the game this year, not really excited about either team, but of course, the commercials are not to be missed!

I belong to multiple book clubs and this past week we had our monthly meeting on Monday for one of them. My other book club we were supposed to meet on Thursday but the author who was coming to our meeting was sick and cancelled. We also got some of that Arctic blast on Thursday which had many members of our group not wanting to go out in the cold. Me? I went to dinner with a friend.

I think I’ve rambled on enough for this episode of “And in the Real World,” since I don’t want to bore everyone when we are just getting this feature off the ground so I’ll sign off for now. Hopefully I’ll get back on track with weekly posts now!