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  • The words “celebration of life” are used rather over-optimistically sometimes, when plans are being made for a funeral or other memorial observance. To be sure, the phrase always conveys an honest desire of the bereaved to commemorate the person who is gone, but these “celebrations” are rarely what you could really call a party.
  • We (the editorial we, that is) began the year with trepidation. To begin with, we no longer think we can count on The New York Times as an exemplar of proper English and, adding insult to injury, we have to face the fact that language is changing faster and faster.
  • Knowing I am Jewish, some people look at me askance when they see or hear me going overboard at Christmastime.
  • Children are taught to control their impulses, to think before they do or say something adults might consider bad. In my case, I certainly have learned over the years not to act as impulsively as I did when I was 3 or 4.
  • The folks at the Animal Rescue Fund’s headquarters called her Victoria. She was, they said, a rescue from Puerto Rico, displaced during Hurricane Irma in September, and about 2 years old.
  • For some forgotten reason, I receive “1600Daily” emails, which come from the White House and offer a spin on the news that contrasts totally with that of the information sources I more regularly rely on.
  • Something’s going on with me. The other day I remembered there was a working, but unused, electrical outlet under the living room couch so the first thing I did was move a table and lamp from their perfectly appropriate place next to a wing chair to the couch and plug in the lamp. It didn’t look right, so I moved them back and went looking, in the bedrooms, for a small table that would fit nicely next to the couch.
  • The first time I visited the house I live in now, the shelf at the bay window in the dining room was filled with great, big flowering Christmas cactuses on a painted, dark-green copper tray. They brought color into an otherwise dark wintertime room and, taken as an entirely natural holiday decoration, they were perfectly suited to my taste. Their brilliant red flowers and deep green foliage were enough to perk up any cold afternoon.
  • In my mind’s eye, Thanksgiving Day looks — as it probably does for many Americans of a certain age — like a famous Norman Rockwell painting, “Freedom From Want,” that appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post during World War II.
  • The time has come for us to get a dog. I’ve had many over the years, and a rescue dog is now in order. The problem is the difference between our perceptions of what would be a perfect pet and the perceptions of the highly meticulous staff at the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons as they size us up.