With the time change, having returned from England, I was up early this morning...as was Alfie, home from the kennel and eager to to play at 5:30 AM....but the rest of the house is s till sleeping, and right now it is a houseful, with visiting stepchildren and step-grandchildren ( three of them: 16, 11, and 11) here overnight en route from Martha's Vineyard, where they spent Thanksgiving, back to Miami, where they live.

And now the Patriots are 11-0 but it was scary last night, not a romp like some previous games.

Raining when I got up, and I was concerned because I am supposed to drive to Maine later today, and of course in Maine it could be snow and a difficult drive. But the weather on the internet tells me no, rain there as well.



These two photos are gloating, in a way, and designed to make everyone else feel guilty and unready and behind. Yes, I have my Xmas shopping done, and yes, now much of it is even wrapped, and yes, soon I will have things ready to mail. I always get this done early because I have to mail things to Germany and it makes sense to do it all...not just the German contingent...a the same time.

Just for the record, I have four grandchildren and five step-grandchildren; and all of those have parents; and then there are some children and step-children who aren't married and don't have children, and some who have long-time partners....and, and, and... all told it is a large number.

When I left for England 11/16, there were still leaves on all the trees...late this year. When I returned, 11/24, all of those leaves were (and still are) on my lawn. I am suddenly remembering the leaf-burning of my childhood. Those huge piles that first, we children would jump into with glee; then, after we were all warned to stand clear, an adult would light the match and we would watch the bonfire with the kind of fascination that fire always creates in kids. It must, actually, have been quite dangerous. And in fact I knew a child...now an adult...who at age two ran though a supposedly dead pile of ashes after a leaf-burning, and the flannel lining of his overalls ignited. He survived, but was hospitalized for a long time and had to re-learn how to walk.

So it is good that we don't do that anymore. But I remember the excitement of it as one of the great joys of childhood. Raking the leaves into plastic bags is nowhere near the fun.