We had a holiday dinner last night, a mixed Christmas-Hanukkah evening of celebration. The dinner was beef tenderloin, butternut squash soup, saffron risotto and asaparagus, followed by a salad of mixed greens and dessert of flourless chocolate cake. Everyone was in bed and asleep shortly after dinner. We lit the menorah and watched the snow drifts outside the house. The night before, there was a horrific howling wind, with 50 mph gusts. If I had let the dog out, she would have blown away. Branches flew by the windows and the wind dipped into the fireplace from the chimney above, making a creepy howling sound. The lights fluttered and flashed; the power went out. We heard the hum of the generator come on and power was restored -- I think it was out most of the night. This morning, I awoke to Audrey staring at me and begging silently to go out. We went outside where it was eerily quiet and quite cold. The winds had died away and the stars were bright.