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  •    Maybe I decided to take part in a recent chain letter — by e-mail, of course — because it came from a cousin a couple of times removed, or maybe I’m just a recipe hound. I’ve got manila folders full of them that date back 30 years or more.

  •    On the Jitney, headed to New York City, doctors appointments all in a row. Equipped with allegedly waterproof boots and an umbrella. Rain is inevitable.
        Two women across the aisle; it is clear that they are heading to the city for fun. They mention the Museum of Modern Art and talk about lunch, whether at the museum or at a restaurant suggested by a friend.

  •    When Rick Santorum called President Obama an “elitist snob” for saying “every child in this country should go to college,” I found myself wondering how the Republican presidential candidates themselves stack up, education-wise. The former senator from Pennsylvania noted that he had seven children and, he said, “If one of my kids wants to go and be an auto mechanic, good for him.”

  •    The price of The New Yorker magazine if you buy it on a newsstand is $5.99, so it came as a surprise when I received a notice at the end of December telling me that if I renewed the subscription I get in the mail, I could send a second — free — subscription to anyone I chose.

  • My parents died at 94 and 96, so I never expected my brother, Martin Men­del Seldon, to go at a younger age. He was 83 when he died on Dec. 28, after an unexpected, massive heart attack.
        I was in Nova Scotia on a wonderful Christmas holiday with my daughter and her family when the news came. Assuming that his funeral service would be held very quickly, I skipped coming home, as we’d planned, and headed out the next day to Sunnyvale, Calif., where he had lived for years.

  •     Never having spent Christmas anywhere but at home, I wasn’t sure what Christmas in Nova Scotia with my daughter, Bess, and her family would be like. They live in a small town on the southwest shore called Shelburne. There are two inns in Shelburne, but they are both closed at holiday time. The few sightseers who make the drive down from Halifax are long gone at this time of year, and most of the handful of second-home owners are elsewhere, too. Maybe in part because of this isolation, the sense of community is strong.

  •     Tonight is the third night of Hanukkah, a holiday —  in the month of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar — which lasts for eight days and often coincides with Christmas, but not always.

  •     When an expert restorer of pianos and harpsichords said there was no point in saving the baby grand that had more or less decorated the living room in the family house in Amagansett for 30, maybe 40, years, the last thing I imagined was that in a week’s time I would buy another piano.

  •     The bathroom scale started sending unusual messages as soon as the unusually pleasant and warm fall weather began to turn. I have a pretty small frame, and I’ve kept fairly slim in recent years due to a regular yoga practice, so when my weight varied by a whole 10  pounds on the digital screen one day a few weeks ago, I was more befuddled than alarmed.
        Was the scale broken? Or had I really been, unconsciously, fattening up for a cold winter like a prize goose?

  •     Because I don’t pay much attention to fashion, I didn’t know who Tomas Maier was until the other day when, thumbing through an August edition of Vogue magazine, I learned he had designed a velvet-on-python satchel (read great big handbag) for Bottega Veneta.