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Yep, too true :-P

This has been the most hectic 2 and a half months I've seen in quite some time and I'm not even teaching. I won't bore you all with the details, but suffice it to say that I've rarely been happier to see the back end of ten weeks in my life. The Christmas season has, sadly, been no exception, but it's Christmas Eve and so my marathon has almost been run and now I can relax for a few days.

I have been so far behind on so many things it isn't funny. There are many of you to whom I've sent holiday cards and even a few wee gifties - none of you will get them before Christmas, I am sorry to say. Just think of them as extending the holiday season. ::grins and hopes for best::

We just got our tree up last night. ::facepalm:: We have gone over to the new LED lights because they are more energy efficient and are supposed to last longer. We have been having to replace the incandescent mini lights every year, the quality has gotten so bad, so we figured these would be greener in many senses. Being a dunderhead, and never having used these before, I bought six strings of 50 lights in early December, thinking 300 lights would be enough. And they were - for about half of the tree. The one we bought this year was exceptionally dense, and I like to have the lights inside the branches as well as on the surface. So I went back to the store I bought them from only to discover that they were sold out, naturally. So I combed My Fair City for other sets. I did manage to find 300 more at a Walgreens near work. They weren't quite the same - the ends were dished in rather than rounded like the first three hundred I bought, and they were slightly more expensive, but, beggars cannot be choosers, I thought, so I took them home. So, we finished putting the lights on the tree, plugged them in, and discovered why the cheaper ones were rounded on the end. LEDs are exceptionally bright, and exceptionally directional. The lights which faced out from the tree were absolutely blinding - it literally hurt to look at them - but only the ones on the top half of the tree. That little dished in end refocuses most of the light shining from the top back down and out the sides of the bulbs. So, we spent half an hour bending bulbs so that they didn't shine into our eyes like high-beam headlights, and resolved to replace the rounded-end bulbs with the dished-in ones next year. We also discovered a serendipitous effect after the sun went down - here are some pictures of our far-out tree!

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Bright, ain't it? Notice the groovy rave lights on the ceiling:

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Disco Inferno Christmas!! ::cues Bee Gees::

Considering the gif that TRS posted on the Hoggywarty Opening page, http://hoggywartyxmas.livejournal.com/31676.html, I expect the not-ready-for-prime-time Staff Dancers in my living room at any moment. *g*

And speaking of hoggywartyxmas, the fest has gotten underway with a trio of terrific fics for those of us who prefer the adult characters of JKR's creation. The first, http://hoggywartyxmas.livejournal.com/31888.html, "Haven't a -", is a lively whodunit featuring our favorite Headmaster and his second-in-command playing hide-the-wand, with witty double-entendre dialog, inebriated staff members helping to solve the mystery and an ending that will leave you grinning. Smashing! The second, http://hoggywartyxmas.livejournal.com/32161.html, Lost And Found, is a moving tale about how Mrs. Norris came into Argus Filch's life, featuring a Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank that I adore. You will too. The third, http://hoggywartyxmas.livejournal.com/32280.html, How Snape Didn't Steal Christmas, is a quietly warm story of the first time Severus returns to the castle after Voldemort's defeat. You will feel the tug of Severus's nostalgia and the comfort of friendships renewed - a lovely little fic, indeed.

I am criminally far behind in my other reading, having not read a word yet of deeply_horrible or hp_holidaygen, and have barely made a dent in the massive sshg_gifts exchange. There is one story there, though, that I must rec, even though I know most of you are not SS/HG fans - it's extraordinary enough that I think that even those of you who dislike the pairing will find it the sort of read which just sucks you in and stays with you a long while after you've read it. It's called http://sshg-exchange.livejournal.com/291535.html, Arithmantic Equations as a Second Language - the author is, of course, under wraps until the final reveal. It is AU - Voldemort has won, the wizarding world is under his thumb, and Severus is trapped as Hermione works through the most elemental of magic to defeat the Dark Lord and free Severus from bondage. It is beautifully and powerfully written, with a unique sort of magic I've seen no where else, and the ending is perfect, even if it's not quite what one would wish for. Go read it - you won't be sorry.

Have a wonderful, very Merry Christmas my dears! This isn't the Hogwarts Express, but I'm sure it will get you there anyway -
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Love you all!!

Edit - sorry for the lack of embedded URLs - the visual editor on the posting page is a complete fail and I had to re-post this from the html screen to make it work and I don't know the right command. :-P

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
dickgloucester
Dec. 24th, 2012 07:09 pm (UTC)
Happy Christmas, dear Lark!

Your tree looks wonderful. We got our stuff out this evening to decorate, and we can't even find our lights - wtf? But we've managed a nice tree nevertheless.
albalark
Dec. 25th, 2012 02:50 am (UTC)
Thank you, Dicky, dear! ::hugs:: I am sorry about your lights, but at least you have the excuse of having moved countries for not being able to find them. :-) I am sure your tree is lovely - and hope your Christmas day is a joyful and relaxing one.

P.S. There is something coming in the post for you (and for your girls), but it will get there well after tomorrow. Perhaps by Twelfth Night. ::sigh::
jean_doe_27
Dec. 24th, 2012 07:11 pm (UTC)
Dear friend, my sympathy goes to you. I, too, had a terrible lead up to Christmas. Suffice to say that on the last week of work we were interviewing for 3 senior and 3 junior researchers, which meant a lot of interviews. I, too, am so behind that it is simply scary.
But then, your tree looks lovely and I am sure the cookies are great. Hopefully you will have time to put your feet up, even if just for a bit.
Wishing you a hppy Christmas and all the best for 2013!
albalark
Dec. 25th, 2012 02:55 am (UTC)
I had a baaaaad feeling you would understand. :-( I hope things have cooled down and that you and tt have a few days to rest and relax and get better. We got your card today - thank you for the lovely wishes - and Miss M was excited to see the Irish postmark. Yours should get there soon (by the end of the week if the US postal service is as efficient as AnPost). All the best to you, my dear!
therealsnape
Dec. 24th, 2012 08:12 pm (UTC)
That Christmas tree really rocks. The Hogwarts Christmas Dancers should be just the ones to liven up the scene. Although they may be a bit shy to dance before such an expert as Miss M.

And the three recs are duly noted; thanks!

Have a lovely Christmas!
albalark
Dec. 25th, 2012 03:02 am (UTC)
Thank you, my dear - Hoggywarty really is rocking this year, too! So the recs were definitely my pleasure. Miss M says she will keep her giggling to a minimum, cross her heart. Of course with Miss M, a minimum of giggling is still quite a bit. Anyway, we've cleared space for the floor show, so send 'em on down! *g*

Happy, happy Christmas to you and Lord S!
lash_larue
Dec. 24th, 2012 09:49 pm (UTC)
I knew disco wasn't dead. I forgot to drive a stake through its heart.

I hope Mr. L still has a leisure suit so you two can get down properly. Or improperly. In any case, the tree is really pretty.

Now then, go and do nothing.

L

Edited at 2012-12-24 09:49 pm (UTC)
albalark
Dec. 25th, 2012 03:17 am (UTC)
Mr. L insists that I defend his honor and inform you that he has never had a leisure suit. He had bell-bottomed jeans and tie-dye instead. ::snerk::

And we are very, very happy to go an do nothing all day tomorrow - I hope that you and P. are going to be doing the same.

Merry Christmas, dearest!
librasmile
Dec. 24th, 2012 10:47 pm (UTC)
Merry Christmas!
Thank you for the story recs * clutches them tightly to chest * These will make for lovely holiday reading.

Your tree is de-lovely! Disco lights and all =^)

I feel you on feeling like you can't wait to see the back of the last month. I'm sort of there with you. I got some good things done (one of which I can't talk about but you'll find out about in January *shhh* ). But I'm EXHAUSTED. I've fallen off the caffeine wagon and have been sucking back java like it's going out of style. If they ever have a war on caffeine I'll be doing HARD time, lol.

Glad to hear you're skidding into home plate * does the wave *

Have a Happy Christmas!
albalark
Dec. 25th, 2012 03:23 am (UTC)
Re: Merry Christmas! (and the same to you!)
You are very welcome for the recs - more reading is *exactly* how I intend to spend my Christmas leisure time, so there may be more later. :-)

Can't wait to hear about your seekrit!project - I hope it was worth all the effort! And I'm with you on the caffeine, though tea is my beverage of abuse. But, yes, the worst is over and things are looking up, and I intend to have a very quiet holiday. I hope yours is as delightful as you could wish!
kellychambliss
Dec. 25th, 2012 02:27 am (UTC)
That tree is fabulous, Lark! The lights may have been a hassle, but I think the results are worth it. (My sister is a terrific interior decorator, and she's always been a strong proponent of lighs-inside-the-tree -- the only way, she says).

I've seen that SSHG story recced all over the map, so I'll definitely give it a try.

I wish the best and merriest of Christmases to all the Larks!
albalark
Dec. 25th, 2012 03:31 am (UTC)
Thank you, my dear - I'm glad to hear that you think the trouble was worth it. It is a very pretty tree, but the lights are going to take some getting used to. :-)

Arthimantic Equations is definitely worth the read. In a year with a lot of outstanding stories, that one may well make my top ten for this year.

I hope that you and your partner and the YM are having a wonderful time! I'll lift my glass of Bailey's to you as I have my have my 'tree time' this evening after everyone else is abed. :-)
twisted_twister
Dec. 27th, 2012 10:39 pm (UTC)
This tree rules. Or maybe I should say: rocks. Or Disco-s. Love it.
You should one day explain to me how one manages to stick the lights inside the tree without needing to have million miles of wire involved or doing the branches more than once and wasting length on the way back.

As for work, I hope you are doing better than JD, who is finishing the second day fully dedicated to grading... in pyjama, mind, and leisurely, but still, grading.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )