Lucky me! I have a large window in my bedroom through which I can observe the night sky. Monday night’s crescent moon set at dusk and the stars put on their best show in the darkened and clear sky. I imagine our forebearers were much more observant than we are.

In other weather news, Mauna Loa has erupted on the Big Island. The Hawaiian volcano has been silent for 40 years. Hope all will be safe.

I wish I was more informed about various varieties of trees. For example, there are so many types of maples. Some are totally bare while others have all their leaves in all sorts of colors from bright yellow to deep red. They are of interest in an otherwise dismal landscape.

The transition from Thanksgiving has been seamless. I hauled out the gold spray paint to spiff up some hydrangea flowers tucked into Christmas arrangements.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, the 40-year old gas range finally gave up the ghost during the bread baking on Wednesday evening.

I know I mentioned my wood cook stove recently but I was romanticizing it as a back-up. But I didn’t think I would actually need to use it! The cooking of the entire meal was challenging at best.

The pies were out of the question so I prepared the pumpkin custard in a crock pot to be served crustless. Violet handwhipped the cream in a large bowl with a wire whisk. She was justifiably proud.

We decided every holiday needs to be three days. One for preparation and another for the aftermath.

Stay with me here. I’ve been thinking about both Thanksgiving and Christmas lately in terms of our expectations and perhaps our attachment to tradition.

Naturally we all love spending time with family and friends. There is nostalgia involved, especially for us of a certain age whose parents are gone. There is sometimes some interesting baggage attached to our families of origin.

My family now is trying to lower our expectations. Of late we make or re-gift rather than spend money.

As usual there was too much food prepared for the meal last Thursday. We finished the last of the leftovers on Monday.

I’ve been thinking about the people of Ukraine. It is the 90th anniversary of the Holodomor, which means “death by hunger.” This was the famine imposed on Ukraine by Joseph Stalin. At least four million people starved to death.

Vladimir Putin is in the process of the same war on civilians. The people are without power going into a winter, food is scarce and water systems have been disrupted.

Ukraine supplies grain to Africa, which is now also in danger of serious food shortages.

Some Congress people about to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives want to stop aid to Ukraine. Who are we as human beings if we allow that to happen?