Welcome the season!

I've avoided writing lately because so much has gone wrong and I saw no reason to inflict my bad moods on the few readers I still enjoy. But ours is a confession-riddled culture so I have to tell you that between June 22 and November 21 we lost three friends and my last living aunt—two of them on the same day. Last week burglars broke a back-door window and stole our computer and other electronics, along with a set of keys. Such items are easily (but expensively) replaced; the thieves took no personal items and didn't trash the house. For that I am grateful. (And burglar—if you're reading this—all the locks have been changed.) It's an odd feeling, being grateful to people who break glass and steal things, but this has been an odd year on many levels.

The winter solstice, however, will soon be upon us and we welcome the change of season and the returning light. We hope the whiff of mortality that's been hanging around will flee in the face of that light, and that the good will and good cheer of the holiday season will carry off our paranoia and depression. We're looking forward to seeing family and friends and raising a glass to a better year. Life goes on and despite sadness and setbacks we remain hopeful, and lucky beyond belief.

We both wish you all a very happy holiday season, and the cheeriest of new years.