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  •     On Sunday morning, I awoke to the sound of running water. Actually, I had noticed a soft flowing noise Saturday night, but decided I was imagining things. After all, a plumber had been to our house to fix the furnace and one of the toilets that very day, so surely nothing could be amiss with our pipes. By Sunday breakfast time, however, I realized I needed to investigate. Peering down the cellar steps, I saw a flood. I put on my cracked old boat boots, crept down, and found half the concrete cellar floor covered with water.

  •     Exactly how much of an affront is it if you meet an old acquaintance and think he or she is someone else?

        There I was in the supermarket, having braved the icy roads outside, searching for kitty litter. With my handknit Nova Scotia watch cap pulled way down, I probably wasn’t easily recognizable at that moment myself. But the other person didn’t make the mistake, I did. And, really, I should have instantly known the young woman I greeted in the produce aisle; I have known her since she was a child.

  •     Air travel is a conundrum, at once wonderful and terrible. It is wonderful to travel so far so quickly, but terrible to have to leap over all the hurdles it throws in your way.

  •     The conventional wisdom, as usual, is right: Being a grandparent really is wonderful.

        Almost nothing could have pleas­ed me more as the holidays came on than to see several of my grandchildren in performances. So far we have enjoyed two onstage, and two in make-believe shows at home. My husband and I have 12 grandchildren between us, but because they don’t all live nearby, we look forward to trips hither and yon for catching up.

  •     If federal sharpshooters show up here and pick off some deer, they won’t be acting on my behalf even though a resident deer family devoured the Christmas cactuses that were outside for the summer. The cactuses had gone out and in for years, flowering for Christmas, so I’m particularly aware of their loss this week. If I had known how hungry the deer were going to be, I might have been more watchful. Four small cactuses of the variety that blooms nearer Thanksgiving have taken their place, but they’re scanty substitutes.

  •     On Monday this week I awoke — I won’t say like Ebenezer Scrooge — to the awareness that the year was rushing to an end. Two and a half weeks till a new year. . . . And so I hurriedly began getting ready for it.

  •       Our family doesn’t like to throw anything away. This is a problem, given that I and one of my sons have inherited houses that were full of things to begin with, and given that my daughter used to haunt yard sales and the Ladies Village Improvement Society’s Bargain Box looking for interesting household implements and china and doodads.

  •     Thank goodness President Franklin D. Roosevelt convinced Congress to set Thanksgiving permanently on the fourth Thursday in November so that we can follow an annual routine. If Thanksgiving were allowed to fall pell-mell on any random day of the week — like Christmas does — I am not sure how we would get ourselves organized.

  •     The talk of Montauk last week was that Bill O’Reilly, the Fox News political commentator and best-selling author, had come to town. Not only was it news that he had bought a spectacular property on the oceanfront, but that he had torn down two small houses that longtime Montaukers considered part of the community’s heritage.

  •     Going to Buffalo, of all places, wasn’t my idea. But my husband’s notion of trying to see every house Frank Lloyd Wright ever designed is infectious. Chris had learned that Buffalo was the site of a number of Wright houses and other buildings, so going there had been in the cards for some time. It turned out to be a fascinating few days.