Finals week is usually the start of the winter break for most faculty, who see a significant reduction in the amount of time they must be on campus given that classes are "done." Not me, not this semester. Monday I was up at the crack of dawn to pick up MGC (whose car has cratered), then chairing our final search committee meeting (hurrah!), then picking up various and sundry crap from I*K*E*uh for our holiday party (mostly TH's dept. folks), and then in the evening, writing justifications for our candidate rankings. Yesterday I edited the latter, turned it in, proctored my final, went to our college's winter reception, then headed home to fix dinner for us (and mostly MP2 who is hoping for home-cooking before he heads back to the dorm food and mystery meat). I was going through the motions of sauteeing ground round, reached for the bottle of pepper (our pepper grinder broke a month ago and I'm holding out for a gorgeous red pepper-grinder for Xmas), unscrewed the lid (thinking it was the bottle of coursely ground pepper) and promptly shook at least 250 pepper corns into the pan. No lie...the two bottles look exactly alike. Two shakes of the bottle before my brain refocused from our job search to the cooking. Sigh. I should have taken a photo...more pepper than beef in that pan. Literally. The evening ended on a good note, though, because I did manage to properly submit a couple e-recommendations for admission to doctoral programs on MFW's behalf. Then, this morning, I was awake at 6 AM mentally willing our top-ranked candidate to call our Dean and accept whatever offer he's made. I think candidate will, but I'm NOT going to have a good Xmas until it happens. And now? Well, I'm off to get a birthday cake for our super wonderful office manager (he's all of, hmmm, 23 or 24?), pick up MGC (whose car came out of the shop and then went back in within the space of 24 hours), and then the two of us head over to the interview of our second assoc. dean candidate (MGC and I are both serving on this committee). This evening, a haircut, tomorrow another interview, followed by a commencement committee meeting, Friday yet another assoc. dean interview, plus the deliberation meeting, followed by our recommendations to the dean (that's 3 hours of associate-dean-fun, folks), followed by 4 hours of commencement out at sports arena on the other side of town. Day after? Holiday Party. Somewhere in all that? Posting grades, finishing Xmas cards, and doing some Christmas shopping. Not complaining, just noting. I am stretched to the limits.