December 29, 2010

Christmas & the New Year

According to Blogger, I began writing this post on 12/29/2010.

Apparently, I was distracted. And then I forgot about it.

I must be honest and admit I considered deleting it and writing about something a little more current, but then I realized I really want to document my holiday break.

Did I mention that I had 2 and 1/2 weeks off work? It was heavenly. Well, most of it was heavenly. The first couple of days weren't really all that fun as they were set aside for writing, and not the fun, creative writing I prefer. Oh, no. I had to write a 16-page paper on Dickens.

In the middle of writing the paper I took a day off to go Christmas shopping. This is a recent tradition. It started when my in-laws got tired of trying to figure out what we would want for Christmas and decided it would be easier to just take us to the store so we could pick it out for ourselves. So, for the last few years, I join my mother- and sister-in-law for a day of shopping. While we're finishing up our last minute shopping for loved ones, we also get to spoil ourselves a little bit, too.

Of course, the day's not complete without a visit to Santa and lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant.

Unfortunately, this day of fun was followed by several hours in front of my computer trying to finish that dratted paper. I didn't get to bed until 2 a.m. and was back up at 8 a.m. in order to get the last few pages put together before deadline.

Once the paper was turned in, though, I really was able to start my vacation. First thing first, I had to get started on the Sookie Stackhouse books, which I borrowed from my sister. Oh how lovely! I can't tell you what a delight these books have been. While I quite enjoyed Dickens, I was ready for a change in reading material and the Sookie Stackhouse books were just the thing. (I'm almost done with them and will no doubt be anxiously awaiting the next installment because I am a fan!)

In other entertainment news, I've also rediscovered my love of Pacman. I downloaded the PS3 demo and was hooked. Hooked enough to buy the full, download-able version. Can you say "sucker"?

Oh, and I played some Final Fantasy XIII, too. Didn't really progress all that much, but I have been steadily powering up my characters so I can go whoop the big baddie at the end of the game.

By this time, the family was home with me. Everyone had the week off between Christmas and New Year's Day.

For the record, them being home meant it was time for social gatherings. We spent Christmas Eve at my Dad's with my bothers, sisters, and all the little children.

Opening presents at Grandpa's house.

The little guy was beginning to worry that he had been forgotten...he was really happy to get his hands on a present when it was finally handed over.

All the grandchildren modeling the sweatshirt Grandpa got them.

After the party, we ran home and opened up our Christmas jammies. Mine have feet, like those jammies you buy for your toddlers. I imagine since I am terrible about keeping my socks on my feet or wearing slippers, my hubby probably thought this might solve my cold feet issues. For the record, it works. When I wear the footed-jammies.


Christmas Day was spent at home.

My oldest playing Santa's helper.

My youngest and the dog that went missing for two days. The photo was taken with my fisheye lens. Going to need to practice with it because things tend to blur very easily.

Oh, and I got a Kindle. I can't begin to tell you how happy I was to see that under the tree! I'm sure I'll be talking about my Kindle experiences in the future. Right now, though, I'm still working my way through those paperbacks I borrowed. Not that I haven't been playing with my new toy, I have, but in hopes of finishing the series before the winter semester really begins, I'm keeping focused on the paperbacks.

Plus, I don't ever see myself taking the Kindle with me for a long, hot soak in the bathtub. So, authors, don't be alarmed. There will always be room in my life and on my bookshelves for "the real thing".

Trying to figure out a nice transition into the next subject, but I'm coming up blank, so...let's just jump right into it.

New Years Eve!

Believe it or not, I was this year's designated driver. While this may seem like a bummer, I really wasn't disappointed because I had already had my fill of alcohol.

First, there was the Wednesday before New Year's Eve. One of our very good friends - we just love her - came home to Michigan to visit with family over the holidays. Although there were many in our little group of friends who couldn't make it, some of us met up that night to do some overdue visiting.


After some dinner, we headed out to the bar. Sitting + drinking = feeling no pain. Luckily, I didn't overindulge and, therefore, did not pay a price for my sin the next day.

I must admit, though, I really wasn't feeling the need to go out again anytime soon.

My sisters and sister-in-law had a different idea. So, Thursday night we headed off to the bar after watching my hubby bowl the last game of the year. (Not the season, just the year.) I was afraid of losing my camera, so I really don't have many pictures of us from this little adventure and the ones I do have...didn't turn out so hot. Still learning the camera settings on the little Point-and-Shoot I carry in my purse.

Sisters. They will kill me for this. hahaha

I must admit I had more fun than I thought I would. Hey, I'm not as young as these little chickies. Two nights in a row is hard on little ol' me.

And that finally brings us back to New Year's Eve. First we spent a few hours at my brother's house playing Wii Dance. Oh. My. I love that game! So fun. Also a lot of exercise. And, just so my sisters can't complain, here's a picture of me...getting my groove on? No wonder my nephew is laughing at me.

Egads.

After our Wii Dance marathon, my entire family headed over to our friends' house. We were there until the wee hours of the morning. Mostly, the guys played cards, the kids played on the Wii, and us girls talked. I must admit, not drinking meant I was tired much earlier than I might have been otherwise. So, I'm rather proud of the fact that I didn't rush my hubby out the door right after the ball dropped.

You'd think that would be the end of it, but no. We had one more family gathering to attend on New Year's Day. Christmas with my hubby's family.

My boys with their cousins.

We were there most of the day. Unwrapping presents. Playing board games. Eating. All the usual things.

And that, finally, is the end of my holiday recap!

December 8, 2010

3 out of 4

That's where I'm at right now: I've got three out of four assignments completed. Just one more and the semester is officially over!

Last night I finished reading the fourth and final Dickens book. While I must admit I have some issues with his treatment of the feminine, he's an amazing writer. Relatively easy to read for a Victorian author. As I read David Copperfield, Hard Times, Little Dorrit, and Our Mutual Friend it was easy to understand how he could be considered the father of the modern novel.

In all truth, and at the risk of getting rotten tomatoes thrown at me, I can't tell you the number of times I thought his stories had been retold in so many of the historical romance books I've read over the years. In other words, I'm positive I've read these stories as genre fiction, which I'm sure many view as the antithesis of great Literature.

Now, don't get me wrong. Dickens as a Victorian writer could never get away with going where romance novels today go. He would have been run out of town or worse.

Yet, tell me if this doesn't sound like the premise or plot of a historical romance novel..

  • Young man is disowned by his wealthy father and, as a result, leaves the country. Upon his father's death he discovers that his inheritance is dependent upon marriage to a young woman he's never met. Thinking to "test" her, he swaps identities with another passenger on the way home. Look-alike is murdered. Young man remains in disguise and ends up working for the husband and wife (father's former servants) who inherited his fortune upon his look-alike's death. Conveniently, his father's servants take in the very same young woman. Young man is able to continue "testing" the morality of the young woman. Even after the old couple figure out their beloved heir is alive, he remains in disguise, again to test the young woman's character. Eventually, young man marries young woman. Eventually, he decides she deserves the truth because she has proven her love for him and he knows the money is no longer the motivating factor. All the good people triumph, all the evil-doers are punished. The End.

The only part of this story that wouldn't work in a modern historical romance novel is the young woman's happy acceptance of the deceit she unwittingly endured. She's just soooo happy. No outrage. No retribution. In fact, she's rather self-depreciating throughout the entire "reveal". In short, she's the perfect angel in the house.

Ick.

Of course, because of the ick factor, I'm absolutely going to write my final paper on the angels and demons within Dickens. I figure if I give each book about 4 pages, I should easily reach my 16-page goal. Wish me luck!

December 6, 2010

Not a Real Update

It's too late to put much effort into this right now. In fact, I'm about twenty minutes past my bedtime.

So, in brief, I miss writing. I'm so ready for school to be done. Not just this semester, but altogether done. I want to graduate and get my life back. Get my creative groove back.

Okay.

That's the end of the pity party.