Mother Nature is really showing her true colors this year. As I am writing this, it is 15 degrees outside, and tomorrow more snow, then Friday below zero. At least the days are getting longer.

Happy birthday to all who celebrated their day this past week. Big balloons go out to Kyle Rollins who celebrated on Jan. 15; Andrew Fournier and Austin Fournier for Jan. 16; Elias Gundersen and James Murray on Jan. 16; and to Ryan Gosson who celebrates Jan. 19.

I went to Edgartown Books just after New Year’s in search of a book and Peter Simon’s calendar. So of course I got talking to Susan Mercier who told me that the book store is now open Wednesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. so to please, please stop in and say hi! New books arrive every day and she will be taking special orders through the winter. You can call her at 508-627-8463. This is the first time they have stayed open all winter, so let’s hope enough people make it worth their while.

Chris and Ariel White have returned from their trip to Israel and Egypt. They visited with Bob and Deb Edmunds, formerly of St. Andrew’s, Edgartown, who are both working with the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem and had a great time using Bob as a tour guide through the Old City and just spending some time with them. They also attended the Bat Mitzvah of Talia Segal who is the daughter of Danny Segal, Chris’s partner at Edgartown Pizza. In Egypt they traveled up the Nile for three nights visiting all the temples and tombs at Aswan and Luxor which date back 4,000 years. The Pyramids and Sphinx at Giza were an unbelievable sight, and they couldn’t go to Egypt without a camel ride and visit to the mummy room at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Chris’s e-mail about the trip reports that it was like stepping back in time. “The people of Egypt know nothing different, but the living conditions and lifestyle of most are worse than anything you can imagine. It made us even more grateful for everything we have and reinforced never taking anything for granted.” Chris also wants to thank everyone for their calls and concern about their traveling amid the turmoil in Gaza. Everyone’s prayers are greatly appreciated, and Chris hopes all pray for a peaceful solution for all in that area. This was a once-in-a-lifetime trip, but they were very happy to hit ground at JFK. Ariel is living in Manhattan, where she has graduated from Marymount Manhattan College and is looking forward to finding a job in her major of communications art. You can find Chris getting over her jet lag at Edgartown Pizza, very glad to be home.

As I told you last week, I am away. I am with my niece, Debbie, and her family in Somerset. Debbie fell three weeks ago and broke both bones in her ankle, and therefore she is immobile until it heals some. So I have been in a house with nine-year-old Rianna, 17-year-old Kaleigh and 20-year-old Amanda. I could say that after only being with a husband, three dogs and two cats, life is a little different. I haven’t had to get kids off to school since I lived with my brother when I went to college and Debbie was nine years old (talk about déjà vu). So, things have been interesting and busy. Of course being around these girls who are computer literate, I have entered a new world — my only previous computer experience was my self-training: learning how to do this column, go on the Internet and, of course, play games. Now I am in the world of Facebook. This is a whole new and different world — a way to find old friends and make new ones who are associated with those friends. I am having fun with it, but I still have a lot more to learn. I must say it is fun, as you can put in your high school town and the year you graduated and find some people you haven’t seen or talked to in a long time.

Jim and Mary Ellen Kresel traveled to Highland Park, Ill., to visit their daughter Susan, son in law Jonathan and grandsons Benjamin and Ari. It was a very busy time with the celebration of Hanukkah, going to Chucky Cheese, taking the train into Chicago to have lunch at the Sears Tower, even visiting the Botanical Gardens, where they saw a model train going around models of Chicago. All the buildings were made of natural things (bark, sticks, plants, acorns, cinnamon sticks and gourds, to name a few). They report it was very beautiful and amazing. They also ventured into Chinatown to meet a friend of Susan’s and have dinner. They came home to recover before going back to work.

Please keep sending me your news. Have a great week, and keep the home candles burning.