No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. Yet, anyway. I've just been busier than the proverbial one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest. Work has been pretty brutal for the last six weeks (and isn't showing any signs of letting up until we're done for the year in about a month's time), and rough drafts for my research seminar this semester were due a week ago--which meant that they all had to be read and critiqued for our meeting this past Thursday.
I should be on my way to church this morning, but I'm just not finding the energy for it. I've got laundry to do, I need to go grocery shopping, and it's starting to be time to think about other kinds of shopping, too.
One kind of shopping I won't be doing is any of that kark on "Black Friday." As I was remarking to one of my colleagues the other day, I've never been able to understand the mindset that suggests that it's anything like a good idea to get up at or before the ass-crack of dawn on the Friday after Thanksgiving just so one can rush out to some store, and wait around in the freezing cold to be among the first in line to grab some silly-ass thing that you don't really want but which is going to be really, really cheap.
That ritual makes even less sense this year. Retailers are frantic to get people into their stores buying things. They've already discounted their Christmas prices, so any deal you're likely to get next Friday will likely not be as good as the deal you're likely to get on the same items if you wait another week or two to buy them. I seriously doubt there's going to be a problem with runs on anything this holiday season, except perhaps jobs and paychecks. Thankfully, I have both of those things--but I'm still going to be cutting back this Christmas. Everything on the list I've sent out to my family costs less than $100. If they all spend $100 on me, I'll still have ten or a dozen packages to unwrap--and I'll be perfectly happy with the books and DVDs that I've asked for. I'd be even happier to get gift certificates or gift cards--as there are a number of items I want to buy that require being able to read languages that nobody else in my family reads. (Yes, I buy research books with Christmas gifts. Sue me.)
So I'll be sitting quietly at home next Friday, probably working on one of the two papers I have to get done by the end of the semester in a few weeks' time. I'll probably pause at some point that weekend to put up my Christmas tree and other seasonal decorations. One of the things I inherited from my mother is being a Christmas fanatic. I do try to keep it within reason, though--nothing before Thanksgiving, and I try my best to take everything down reasonably quickly after the Epiphany. But during that six weeks--it's full-out holiday mode. I've already burned one holiday mix CD that will likely be the only thing playing in my car for the next little while.