Making room for a better desk for my husband, shifting and sifting through towering stacks of papers, rearranging upstairs bedrooms where grandchildren sleep when they visit — and doing something about the heaps of toys, books, and games, which are clogging what is called the playroom — isn’t a bad way to begin a new year.
How is the civilized world going to survive without books you can hold in your hand?
Will a subgroup of educated elite stick with bound paper copies, even though the same texts are available electronically?
I made a terrible face when someone (who shall be nameless) gave me a Kindle for my birthday last fall. It took months, and a trip by plane, before I gave it a try. Now, having read two books and a bit of The New York Times on my Kindle, I remain reluctant to become a true convert.
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.
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.