“Warm and witty observations; an eclectic mix of cats, accordions and stories of life in general makes 'Life with the Campbells' always worth the visit. This is truly life with a smile.”
Bill Breckenridge, http://rhumtetum.wordpress.com 

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I’m extremely excited to announce that my new Street Team is live!
What does that mean? First, just for signing up you get:
**A digital copy of any one of my books for free
**A piece of original writing from me exclusively for members of the team
**The first three chapters of my next book
**And a personal message from me
Then, you complete some simple missions to help me spread the word about my books, and in return, you get points which can be redeemed for anything from Gift Cards to places like Amazon, iTunes, etc to books from other great authors to cool swag. Plus, I’ll give free points to the first 20 people to sign up. I would so appreciate the support! THANK YOU ALL.


Join Here:  http://storyarmy.com/mollycampbell/ 

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On Mother’s Day, I scroll through all the Facebook posts to see not only what all my lucky friends are having for brunch, but also the gifts they are getting. It’s heartwarming. I got nice gifts, too. Traditional gifts. Flowers and a wonderful collage of photos of my darling grandson.

This got me thinking, however, of the kinds of gifts that some women get. Grand gestures. The kinds of gifts that are featured in romantic movies. A car with a huge bow on it. A surprise trip—in which your girlfriend packed your suitcase and hid it at her house (wouldn’t you miss your pajamas?). A new emerald-cut diamond ring.

I don’t necessarily want any of those things. Ok, I am lying. But here are some gifts I haven’t gotten, either—and I am putting this out into the universe just in case anyone who might ever have an occasion to give me a present is listening:

  • I would love a team of experts to come in and clean my house from top to bottom. Just as long as they wouldn’t tell anybody what they found under the sofas.
  • Eighteen carat gold just about anything.
  • Ditto platinum.
  • You know those TVs that mount on the wall with no visible cords? I want one in the bedroom. With earphones. And cable.
  • Self-cleaning cat boxes.
  • A weekend in New York.
  • Some really expensive face cream that actually works.
  • Oh, my God. A cook. We can just stop right here.

Actually, I would give up a lot of things for the cook. I don’t really need any more pairs of shoes. My winter coat will last for at least ten more years. Yes, it would be nice to get the sofas reupholstered, but if there were dinner ready and steaming on the table every night, with no assist from me? I would keep the sofas even in tatters. And cat box scooping? I would do it happily forever, if dinner were a non-issue.

It’s a first world problem. But here I am, firmly ensconced in the first world, my grocery list in hand, and my heart sinking. I have fixed chicken in more ways than I can count. Cheese and crackers for dinner is a no-go. I hated that chipotle smoked tofu recipe. A cook. I can’t even imagine.

I know.

  • A new winter coat.
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I just saw a Facebook post about a family who eats just two things: steak and pemmican. They drink only water. That is all.

I have so many thoughts.

This family and quite a few others follow the “no carb” lifestyle. I understand low carbs. I am limited on carbs myself. But NO carbs? Let me just begin to sort out my many observations, all of them followed by exclamation points in my head.

First of all, these people say that eating only steak and pemmican cures all sorts of diseases. I am dubious, because the idea of eating only steak and pemmican makes me sick.

By the way, do you know what pemmican is? Well, first you dry some meat: buffalo, beef, lamb. I suppose the no carb folks use steak. Then you pound it into a powder, add melted fat (beef, I bet), and then maybe some berries. Then you dry it, cut it up, and then somehow choke it down. Did I mention that these people have children? Can you imagine the incredulity in the school lunch room? “What is that stuff that Moonbeam has in her lunch? It looks like dog poop…” I think most of the no-carbers home school.

The no-carb families eat only one meal a day. This makes complete sense to me, because I can’t even imagine eating steak three times in one day without gagging. So they eat one huge meal in the evening. And I simply can’t envision that, either. Oh, and they don’t use spices. It gets worse and worse.

For no-carbers, there is no such thing as a snack. Because really, to make a snack would entail starting up the grill, throwing on a steak, and then bringing it in, slicing it up, and serving it. Oh, right. Cold steak. Nothing like going to the ballgame and pulling a packet of cold steak out of your pocket to snack on. Or sitting at the movie, munching on those cold steak cubes you brought from home.

Let’s talk constipation. I wonder how all that meat passes through the system without stopping. Perhaps all the fat in the steak (they like it very well marbled) tends to slide it all through. But maybe the no-carbers eat steak, water, and Ex-Lax.

I wonder if the no-carb people allow their children to have friends. Because one play date at the neighbor’s, and I would think those no-carb children would think they had died and gone to heaven. Imagine how it would be to taste a GRAPE after all that steak? Not to mention Popsicles. I would think running away from home would be rampant in no-carb families. There would have to be a lot of brainwashing: “Grapes are evil. Popsicles cause cancer. Mrs. Jones doesn’t really love her children, and that is why they have a crock pot.”

The more time I spend on the internet, the more weird people with weird beliefs come to my attention. I am flabbergasted. I have to admit, however, that I am just waiting to discover a cult that claims that household dust and furballs prevent cancer. I will jump right onto that bandwagon.

Gotta go—my pemmican is almost ready..

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Photo Credit East Side Flicker

I have never lived in a big city. I think it would be exciting. First off, the whole cooking dilemma would be resolved, because all I would have to do every night is call a different restaurant, and they would deliver dinner to my door. Here in the heartland, they only do that with pizza. If I lived in New York, for instance, I could throw away my crock pot and the big frying pan. Really, I could get rid of almost all the pots, the infusion blender (who talked me into getting that, anyway?), my roasting pan, and just about everything but the microwave and the toaster. It would be blissful.

Cities have views out of the windows of gorgeous twinkling lights at night, cars whizzing by below, and I would get binoculars and become obsessed with the people in neighboring buildings—Rear Window all over again.

There wouldn’t be lawns, this is true. But no mowing! No weeding! Instead, there would be gorgeous parks to stroll in. Frizbeeing in meadows. Not that I have ever wanted to throw a Frizbee around, but in New York, I bet I would. Instead of a lawn, I would have a little balcony or terrace with lovely pots of herbs and small trees. I would go out on the balcony in some sort of fashionable negligee, and water all that stuff with a copper watering can, my hair mussed by the breeze. Of course, I would have coffee out there, and I could read the New York Times. What. I might.

In the city, I would of course be able to afford a pre-war apartment with lots of molding, two bathrooms with the original tiles and antique pedestal sinks. But there would be plenty of storage in my apartment, of course. I would have herringbone original wood floors and Persian carpets. A fireplace in the dining room.

Neighbors? Well, in cities, you have them, but apparently you don’t have to talk to them. This might be a hardship for my husband, who spends most of his time in fair weather wandering around our neighborhood, looking for unwary neighbors to chat with. Most of them seem to like it. In New York, he would be at loose ends. And if he approached people in the park, he might get arrested. So there’s that.

In the city, you never get bored, because there are so many things to do. Museums, little shops, used book stores, plays, poetry readings. I would do that stuff. Don’t remind me that we have those things in Dayton, Ohio, and I never go to them. I would in New York. I would.

I know that apartment living means that one must divest. There is just no comparison between a 2300 square foot house in Dayton and a 900 or so square foot apartment. But I hear that tiny living is all the rage, and it is so freeing. No, not free.Affording rent in my kind of place in New York might be problematic, especially since I would most likely be living by myself (see neighborhoods and husband, above).

I have seen so many TV shows and movies about people who live in cities and seem to love it. They all have interior brick walls and floor to ceiling windows. The rich ones almost always have little libraries with dark red walls. I want one of those. Although I got rid of most of my actual books when I bought my Kindle.

My urban fantasy includes one pet. I have five cats—way too many for the city. Most apartments let you have one small pet.  So if I were to go there, it would be hard to choose which cats to leave behind. With my husband.

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I wake up. It’s seven thirty. My God. Too early. Shut eyes and concentrate on sleep, dammit.

Nine. Ok, then. Stumble down the stairs. Make a bowl of nuts and seeds. Really, this paleo thing kind of stinks. Add blueberries and one drop of vanilla. No sugar, because PALEO. But pour on some heavy cream. Oh, yeah—paleo doesn’t always suck (the cream may not be Paleo but Atkins. Who knows. All that matters is the low carbs and high fat). Make a flat white. Carry it upstairs.

Get in bed, balancing the nut mixture on chest. Eat drippingly onto chest while reading the NYTimes app on phone. Lots of drippy scrolling. My God. The news is always so bad. So move over to Huffington post. Finish nuts. Move onto coffee.

Push cats off chest, spilling a little coffee on brand new pjs. No matter; they all end up stained and tattered anyway. Continue to push cats off chest, then finally give up and lie back down, balancing coffee cup amidst purring and mucho cat hair. Sneeze a few times.

Get up. Get dressed. Walk the dog. This is exhilarating. We go for an hour, but arrive home with the dog raring to go. But I need a rest. So watch three episodes of House Hunters. Scorn all the young couples who think that all kitchens must have granite countertops and huge islands. Yawn.

Make lunch on Formica countertop. Share with dog.

Sit down to write another chapter of new book. Dog whining is distracting.

Decide to lie down with dog and cuddle for five minutes. Wake up an hour later.

Realize with a start that dinner is in two hours. You got nothing. Google “easy meals with less than four ingredients.” Decide that scrambled eggs is perhaps ok just this once. Look in fridge. Whew. There are six eggs. Oh, no. Well, we will just have to have toasted loaf ends. Put bread on grocery list.

Take a nap, for God’s sake.

Wake with bleary eyes thirty minutes later to the dog staring at you whining. Oh no, she didn’t poop on the walk. Scramble to feet, rush to get the leash. Walk her around the yard, where she tangles the leash in the yew bushes three times, nearly chokes herself trying to murder a squirrel,  painfully pulling that rotator cuff you have been meaning to go see the doc about. But she does not have a poop in her. Sigh and go back in.

Set table. Scramble those eggs. Throw in some shredded cheddar for piquance. Make the paltry pieces of toast. Serve dubious husband, but assure him that there is ice cream in the freezer.

Watch an episode of something British, with bicyles, tea, scones, and one vicar who seems to have many women in love with him. Wish that you had a fireplace in every room in your house, and maybe more wall sconces.

Brush teeth. Wish you had a silken pair of women’s pjs (see British dramas, above). Fall into bed, exhausted. Four wide awake hours later, go downstairs for an orange and write: a blog post, two chapters of your next novel, an email to your daughter telling her that she should try making this great paleo recipe you discovered, or a few Tweets that you know you will regret in the morning. Stagger blearily up to bed.

Wake up and start all over.

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