Yes, it is that most inevitable moment where we start preparing for the return to reality after what feels like a very brief vacation. Granted, I don’t know if I would call what I went on a vacation but it was definitely a break from the norm which was nice. Here is a break down of how I spent my vacation time!
My boyfriend, daughter, and I got up on Christmas morning and we exchanged/opened gifts with his family. It wasn’t anything amazing or crazy, all of us have been hit with money issues so there was very little to give and receive. The gifts I did receive were really nice and were very thoughtful which matters more to me than anything big or expensive. I was given a gift card for a department store and a San Francisco Giants high heel shoe ornament – the ornament is amazing, I have a huge collection of all of the Christmas ornaments that have ever been purchased for me (1-2 a year since I was born) so it will fit right in.
After Christmas morning at home, the three of us drove up to visit my mother and grandmother as well as my sister and her boyfriend who flew up from San Diego to spend part of the holiday here. Annalyse didn’t realize that my sister and her boyfriend were going to be visiting and was so surprised to see them when we got there! It was absolutely perfect and it was so hard to keep it a secret from her because I had known for a couple of months that it was going to happen – I think I found out around Halloween. After initial shock from surprise wore off, we did our gift exchanges and OMG did Annalyse get spoiled! She got lots of clothes, shoes, books, nail polish, a bracelet making kit, and other things that I just can’t even remember. There was a lot of exchanging of various gift cards, some for restaurants and Starbucks and Jamba Juice and clothing stores plus video game purchases. We then spent the rest of the day at home and did our traditional lasagna dinner (which we usually do on Christmas Eve), it was pretty awesome.
Day After Christmas
You see, my family is filled with people who don’t really like to stay home and so we decided to spend the day running around and wound up enjoying the after Christmas sales. We had lunch at Dicky’s (it was the first time the three of us had been there), went to Target, and then we went to the outlets in Vacaville where we shopped at Old Navy where I picked up some camisoles and skinny jeans. My mom met all of us at the outlets and we went to Panera for dinner that evening. At dinner, I was talking about how my contract with Verizon had ended a week and a half ago and was waiting to get the money together to pay the activation and taxes on the upgrade I wanted when my grandmother said she would give me the money for it as an additional Christmas gift. That was how I ended up with the LG G3 and LG G8.3 Tablet combo – I am absolutely in love with the devices and am so happy with them. They meet my needs and I can use the tablet for reading and other activities as well, a need which wasn’t as well met by my first generation Kindle Fire which I utilized for almost 3 years now. It honestly served me really well in that time and I will always have a soft spot in my heart for it, but I think I am ready for a multi-functional tablet.
Days in Between
My sister and her boyfriend decided to go and spend the night in San Francisco to celebrate their anniversary, I believe they have been dating for three years now. My boyfriend, Annalyse, and I spent the time with my mother and grandmother. On Saturday (the 27th), we took a trip over to Davis and had lunch at Wok of Flame and their food was just absolutely amazing. I had a combination plate with hot and sour soup, cream cheese wonton, vegetable chow mein, and eggplant with szechuan sauce – it was seriously some of the best Chinese food I have ever had and I have been eating Chinese food since I was a kid. Yeah, I now wish I lived closer to Davis because I would be visiting that restaurant all of the time!
The rest of our time was then spent mostly either hanging out and playing Mario Kart on my sister’s Wii U or the new Super Smash Brothers, which I have found out that I am absolutely terrible at Smash Brothers but I can hold my own in Mario Kart still. Annalyse has a Wii U at her dad’s house that she gets to play on, I didn’t realize how good she is at Mario Kart until we raced with her. She didn’t like the 150CC, but did great on 50CC and okay on 100CC – regardless, the important part was that she had fun playing.
New Years Eve Eve and Beyond
On the 30th, my mother, grandmother, sister, and her boyfriend left to go to southern California. My mother and grandmother had their English Setter puppy, Patch, entered in a 4 day dog show in Indio and decided they would also drive my sister and her boyfriend most of the way home so that they didn’t have to fly back, since my sister had to return to work. Since my mother and grandmother were only taking one dog with them, the three of us stayed at the house and acted as dog-sitters to the other 3 monster dogs. Our dog sitting adventures weren’t all that exciting really, nothing too crazy happened other than Riley (their Irish Setter) wanting to play with a bird which had landed on their enclosure, but he accidentally killed it by knocking it off the top of the fence. He pretty much whined and cried because he couldn’t understand what had happened to his feathered friend while Pepper (my sister’s tweenie dachshund) stood there barking at it because he thought it was lunch. Yes, dogs are silly creatures. Overall, Foster, Pepper, and Riley were all well behaved and made dog sitting relatively easy work. Jonathan and I spent the majority of the time enjoying Criminal Minds on Netflix, finishing off season 6 which…ugh, that season was an emotional roller coaster from hell.
My mother and grandmother got home late on Sunday, so we helped them unload their trailer and get things somewhat settled in the house again. From what I understand, Patch did very well at the show and my mother was pleased with him. He took second place 3 out of the 4 days, and received one third place being beaten out by his brother each and every time. Overall, that is a very good showing in my book and they don’t have a reason to worry about rushing to finish him – he will be turning a year old this year, so he has a good amount of show time left in him.
Home Again, Home Again
The three of us came home Monday afternoon and I had a good amount of mail waiting for me – it almost felt like Christmas all over again! Since the G8.3 tablet was sold out in store, they had it mailed to me so it was waiting here. I spent a good amount of time getting it all set up to my specifications, i.e. setting up my homescreens, getting the applications I wanted, ensuring all of my books were in Google, etc. It was so worth it, I was happy when I was done working on it and was just able to lay down and read for a little bit – best feeling in the world.
This darling little plushie was also waiting for me. My long time dear friend Kyle bought me an Espeon plushie for Christmas – my favorite of the Eeveelutions. This is even more special to me because it is the first Pokemon plushie I have ever owned, so I am super excited about it.
I also purchased on Amazon with the remaining balance from an old gift card a wallet case for my new phone and a pen/stylus combo for my tablet. I am absolutely in love with the two items and they have been great additions to my new technology.
My 2015 Reading Goal
I made mention in some of my previous posts that I was less than thrilled with my reading performance for 2014, I had originally set a goal of 75 books after having read 50 in 2013. My goal was too lofty and I was barely even able to make it to 30 books. I have decided that this year my goal is to read 36 books, an average of 3 books per month. This isn’t to say that I won’t read more should the opportunity and time present myself, but I am also not going to rush myself for the sake of a number. I think that given my current situation, finishing 3 books per month is something that I can easily do but I will always hope that I can read more – isn’t that what any bibliophile should do?
I have been privileged enough to receive an ARC of A. Roy King’s The Cursed Ground 1 – The Child-Stealers in exchange for an honest review, which I will be posting on January 16th. The book is set to be released on January 20th, you can find it on Amazon!
I am also completing my read-through of Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series with my reading of Inferno, I am hoping that I will finish by the end of this week because after this I will be delving into the world of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series after having put it off for a number of years. We will see though, I am not in any type of rush – there is always time for books.
So…What about writing?
I have decided that I want to complete the first draft of my novella by the end of this year. I don’t know how viable that is, but I think that if I spend a little time working on the outlining every day and then start writing in June – I think that I can finish the draft by the end of the year. We will see how it actually works out, but I really want to try and do this. I need to do this novella before I do the book itself just because of all of the history and world building that the novella covers – I am very excited for the story, I honestly can’t wait to finish it and tell it to the world.
So what type of reading goals do you have for this year my lovely followers? What about writing goals? Any fun new gadgetry? I would love to hear about your holidays!