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  •    Almost all the grandparents I know contradict themselves when they talk about their grandchildren. They love them dearly, of course, and say they don’t see them enough. But, almost as reliably, they complain to anyone who will listen about how absolutely the kids wear them out.

  •     The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.  I bet that’s a truly ancient proverb: People have been coveting what their neighbors have since the dawn of time. But when the phrase pops into my own mind, it’s usually because I’m looking not at grass but at pictures of gardens.

  •    Perhaps more disturbing than the hazing death itself — on Nov. 19, of a 26-year-old Florida A&M University student who was a drum major in its marching band — is the knowledge that brutality is ingrained in the culture of certain collegiate activities and Greek letter societies . . . and accepted by adults who should know better. It turns out, according to press reports, that a gauntlet of punches and kicks, called Crossing Bus C, was routine among band members, and that they felt it proved their strength and instilled pride.  

  •    So many things were so comically awful at the restaurant we chose for Saturday night dinner in Pittsburgh last weekend that the consensus among our foursome was to give it the award for the worst restaurant we had ever been in — and the most pretentious.

  •     The Clearwater Beach Property Owners Association is a formidable organization. Unlike many homeowners groups, which tend to evaporate after their first few years, the Clearwater association spread its wings, taking under them what was originally known as Lion Head and the neighborhood farther east.
        There are 870 homeowners who are eligible to be members, and 550 have paid their dues! When they do, they have first dibs on a 119-slip marina at Hog Creek and access to a gated and protected bayfront beach and a barbecue and picnic area.

  •    Even though the “Mast-Head” this week is about the editor’s household and backyard pets (see below), I can’t help but get in a few words about how I wound up with a 23-pound cat named White Boots.

  •    Who knew we would need a chemist last weekend, when I tried to make matzoh balls for our Passover seder? True, it was the first time I had hosted a seder in a very long time, but I had managed to find my mother’s recipe for matzoh balls, and there is nothing particularly daunting about making them.
        Unfortunately, things got a bit complicated.

  •     What’s called a captain’s chair has been in the kitchen of the Rattray house in Amagansett since the 1960s. I’m not sure of the exact date it arrived, but I have never forgotten how it got there. My first husband and I had sailed over to Gardiner’s Island one summer’s day and gone ashore for a wander without being detected. The chair was in a small, tumbled-down building, exposed to the elements. I guess I must admit we pilfered it, yes, but at the time it seemed only right to save it from ruin.

  •    Looking at the official Web site of East Hampton Town recently, I was taken aback when I  learned that town government has sanctioned 11 appointed boards, 13 advisory boards, and 19 free-standing committees, in other words those not exclusive to town board members. For some reason, the list did not include the village and hamlet citizens advisory committees that have been in a hot spot with Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson lately (although they may have been listed somewhere else on the site that I missed).    

  •    For me, it is St. Patrick’s Day when the Montauk Friends of Erin hold their parade, as they will on Sunday. It has always been a big day, from the very beginning of our family life. In my memory the weather back in the ’70s was always perfect, the floats lively and sometimes hilarious, and the crowds well behaved. My first husband, Everett, promoted the parade in the days when it wasn’t yet as well known up the Island as it is today, and he made sure the kids had a good spot for viewing.