So it’s Thanksgiving Day, the traditional start of that period known as the “holiday season.”

For a variety of reasons, I’m having a hard time working up much enthusiasm for the holidays this year, but here we are just the same. Today brings lunch with my dad’s side of the family in Greensboro (in a suburb, actually, but it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference) and tomorrow we’re leaving for a few days at the beach. I make it a habit never to go to the beach during the summer; November through February is beach season for me.

A few extremely busy weeks of work follow. I’m on two search committees right now, and I’m also hiring a temp and several student workers in my department in a mad dash to spend as much money as possible before the state budget crisis comes crashing down around us. The next six months will be really hectic, which is actually a very good thing for me right now.

The week before Christmas brings ten-plus days in California visiting Mark‘s family in Fresno with side trips to Los Angeles and San Francisco. It will be my first trip west in two years, my first multi-day visit to the City of Doomâ„¢ in maybe four years, and my first time in Southern California since 2005. I wish the circumstances and timing of the trip were different but it will be good to see some old friends, some palm trees, and Clifton’s again. And lest I forget, there’s that whole exciting option of choosing cancerous death rays vs. getting felt up by a (probably ugly) complete stranger at the airport.

After my long flight home comes the new year and what I anticipate will be a very long and cold winter. But I’m not even going to think about that just yet…