I forgot how much I enjoyed 80+ degree temps at Christmas. Alabama isn't bad in the winter, but it was in the 30s last night when we drove to my parents' house for dinner. Brrr! To think that just last week, I was wearing a bathing suit…..

Here's a pic of Nassau. Doesn't that look inviting? No one warned me about the Straw Market. In consequence, I wasn't prepared. I didn't take enough cash off the ship and only managed to buy two purses instead of the 5 or so I would have liked to buy.

Some people don't like the hassle of bargaining with merchants. Some people don't like the close quarters of the market. But I loved it. I have no problem saying no and no problem walking away. Therefore, I think my designer knockoffs were a bargain.

Next stop was St. Thomas on Christmas day. Isn't it gorgeous? Reminded me of a cross between Hawaii and the Amalfi coast in Italy. I would definitely love to spend some time in the USVI. It's much closer than Hawaii, and just as lovely.

Finally, here we are with the famous coconut monkey cups. Yes, they are tacky tourist tchotchke. They are over priced. But I teased my hubby one too many times about getting sloshed on coconut monkey drinks. So he went to the bar and bought two (with margaritas inside) just to shut me up, I think. 🙂

All in all, the cruise was fun. The difficulties I imagined in traveling with both sets of parents were just that — my imagination. Everyone got along fabulously. No one felt pressured to do anything they didn't want to do. We spent whole days doing nothing. When the ladies wanted to go shopping, we went. When the men wanted to lounge around doing nothing, they did it.

I think I will cruise again. I enjoyed being waited on, enjoyed lounging around reading books. I tried the casino, but wasn't hooked. After I lost $50 in the slots, I was cured of any desire to keep trying. I also went to an art auction, but I set my number on the table, face down, and put my sunglasses on top to keep me out of trouble. It worked, thank God. Not so much for others, though. Someone in the room spent eleven grand on four Peter Max prints. PRINTS, not oils, not one-of-a-kind paintings. Then there were the Rembrandt woodcuts for 15K. No one bought them.

I only read two books on board (though I took about 10), but they were both very good. I finally read J.R. Ward's Dark Lover. Yeah, I'm hooked, and I don't even like vampires that much. It's her characterization. Fabulous. I had some quibbles with the story, but not enough to make me stop. That's good writing, when you get mad at the characters but are too interested in their story to stop reading.

I also read Maria V. Snyder's Poison Study. Another winner. Great book, and now I have to buy the sequel in trade paperback because I can't wait for mass market. I took along a J.D. Robb, but didn't get to it. Hubby read it, and he was hooked, but ultimately didn't like it. Too much romance for him. Still, Nora had him turning those pages.

What did you do over the holidays? Get everything you wanted for Christmas? Make any new resolutions? I have to think about mine. I purposely didn't take a computer or Alphie on the cruise because I wanted time away from writing, so now I'm getting my brain back into gear and thinking about what I want to accomplish this year. If you've figured out your goals, please share!