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Merry Christmas!

We had a fairly low-key Christmas, which makes me happy. Last night we went to "Midnight" Mass, which was at 10:30 p.m. I DISAPPROVE. But I'm a big fan of Midnight Mass, with the lights and the carols and the bells.

There is not much I like about the modern-day trappings of Christmas, but I love Christmas lights*. And so going to church in the middle of the night, near the longest night of the year, seems perfectly appropriate.

On a related note, I love Jo Walton's Christmas entries. There's a tale of Joseph and "The Hopes of Fears of All the Years are Met in Thee Tonight". "In Winter's Heart" feels more like the winter solstice to me, but it's not a coincidence that we celebrate Christmas around the time of the winter solstice.

I love Christmas, yet at the same time I hate so much about it. I think I'm getting better at balancing it, though.

* I mean, not crazy Christmas lights, like this. I'm not insane. I just like the way the lights on the tree get reflected in the window.
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A belated Merry Christmas, Happy Boxing Day, and a very belated Happy Hannukah to all of you! I hope those of you who have been under the weather are doing better!

I have had quite a nice break. We mostly just relaxed at my parents', as I was recovering from the plague, but I got to see some close friends, so that was good. I also found my copy of Anne of Green Gables in the basement. My mother had tried to sell it at a garage sale! I don't know if I'm more horrified that she tried to sell it, or that no one picked it up for the low price of fifty cents.

And then my brother got me hooked on The Office. One episode turned into a six-hour marathon on Christmas day. Excellent.

I didn't get any work done, but I also didn't get any rejection letters, so I think that's even. I'm back in town and at work right now (where my office is surprisingly warm!), and enjoying the fast fast fast net connection. My parents have the slowest cable connection I've ever seen.
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I put the pictures of my comments on the Physics Today letters on Flickr, starting here. Enjoy, I suppose!

Right now I'm avoiding writing Christmas cards while watching A Muppet Christmas Carol. Whee!

The eeee! gets back in 48 hours. Yay! I'm really happy about this, and not just because in the past two weeks I've set a potholder on fire and melted a spatula to a frying pan.

Tomorrow night is the grad student holiday party, and then on Saturday I'm going down to my parents' for the day for our family Christmas party. That is a looong round trip for one day, but luckily I'm carpooling with a few cousins. But before tomorrow night I have to buy crackers and cheese (family party) and wine (grad party) and a general gift-exchange gift (grad party) and a fruit basket gift (family party) and a birthday card (family party). Ack!

Oh well. Some hot chocolate will probably hit the spot right now.
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I have had quite a nice and productive day. I got my parallel code working, woo! God, I spent so many hours on that over the past three days. I'm still behind in my class, but now I know what I'm doing with MPI.

After work, I went out for a drink with two friends. "One drink" turned into two, and then one friend saw root beer schnapps on the shelf and decided she wanted a flaming Dr. Pepper. The bartender made it with amaretto, not the root beer schnapps, so we asked why they had root beer schnapps at all -- it wasn't in any of the drinks on the shot menu. So he googled it for us, and brought us a stack of drink recipes with root beer schnapps! We tried a Kris Kringle, which was quite good, and an Attitude Adjustment, which was not as good. And then he didn't charge us for those two drinks! (We tipped generously, but still.)

Once at home, I put on a Santa hat1 and some Nat King Cole and decorated for Christmas. As my decorations consist of a small tree and a nativity set, I was done before the CD was, but it feels all cozy now. I have some work I need to do tonight, but now I'm going to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. I will try not to bounce and dance like one of the Peanuts characters, but I'm not promising anything.

1For warmth as well as festivity, as it's damn cold out there! It was 5 F when I got up this morning. BEFORE THE WIND CHILL.
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I recently felt a rush of Christmas spirit, and read the beginning of Little Women and the Christmasy bits of These Happy Golden Years. Of course, I then ended up reading all the romantic bits of THGY, but that's another issue.

I'm reading Jostein Gaardner's The Christmas Mystery for the first time, and as someone who was raised with Advent calendars I like having another little chapter to read each night. The problem is that the book occasionally annoys me, due to some weird evangelizing I can't quite pinpoint. I think it might have been all the talk about the cathedrals, because while I love cathedrals, I don't look at them and think, "Oh, to have built something so grand to the glory of God!" I've always wondered how bizarre it must have been to be destitute and living in a shack, but going every week to a grand, mammoth cathedral.

Maybe if I watch A Muppet Christmas Carol my Christmas spirit will perk back up. That or the snow -- we've had a good six inches of snow today, and it's still snowing.

March 2013



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