Solstice. Sol (Latin for Sun) Stes (Latin for unmoving, as in to stand still). In effect, the day that the sun stands still in the sky. In the Northern hemisphere, this marks the first day of winter. In the Southern Hemisphere, it marks the first day of summer. At whatever Northern latitude you are, this will be the day with the shortest amount of daylight. Since the Summer Solstice, the sun has been rising progressively lower in the sky with each passing day. On the Autumnal Equinox, the sun rode the same line as the ecliptic, or the plane of the solar system. The great part is that while this is the darkest day of the year, with each passing day, the sun will rise a little higher in the sky and we'll get a little more daylight.
I was in Norway recently. Friedrikstad is not within the line of the arctic circle, but it is close. When I was there, a month ago, the sun was only up for about 5-6 hours a day. By this point, it's down around 4 1/2. Crazy. But they make up for it in the sumer with 16-18 hours of sunlight. Bastards.
Mandy's parents showed up this morning. We've been hanging out and catching up. Our car died last night. Likely cause: The transmission is blown. This is great because we were thinking of updating our entertainment system with a new center speak, satellite speakers, and a receiver... but what we really wanted was to spend that money on a new transmission. God. I hate cars. We can't really do anything with the car until after the holidays because all the shops are closed until Wednesday. If it does turn out to be the transmission, I think we're just going to junk to car and get a new one. At least the new one will be (in theory) slightly more reliable, but still. We spend $1,300 replacing the timing belt a month ago.
To reiterate: God, I hate cars.