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We have been at home virtually 24/7 for an entire year. We are so excited for the vaccines; the first thing we want to do is hop on a plane to see our grandchildren (ok, and our own child) in California. Maybe by August. We can see that light at the end of the tunnel.

Meanwhile, I have been spending a lot of my time on Instagram and leafing through online home magazines looking at the insides of other people’s houses. For me, looking at cozy images is soothing. Seeing those firesides and bowls of fruit makes me happy. Oh, and the candles. I love a good candle in the window.

What do I do all day? I exercise on the bike in my closet for hours. That was, until I got an overuse injury that took me down temporarily-my knee. Damn and blast.

I read books. My lord, I have read so many books. Writing books is another matter. With all of the world in turmoil, I have temporarily stopped creating. I just don’t have the concentration for it.

I like to daydream about what it would be like to live in the country with a great big dog and no major roads nearby. I would pull on my boots, open the door, and the dear pup and I would take long walks in the heath. American daydreams can include heath, because daydreams have no parameters.

In my daydreams I would be able to eat tons of baked goods. So I would have scones and croissants for breakfast and lots of carbs for dinner. All that walking would cancel out the carbs, and anyway, in my daydreams I am  thin and ropey.

Any daydream worth its salt would include a fireplace, which I no longer have. Also, good daydreams have an abundance of cozy things such as plush throws, dark walls, floral curtains, and farmhouse sinks. I don’t have any of those, either. The best daydreams also feature dining rooms lined with bookcases full of first editions. Nope to that as well.

I like to watch all the renovation television shows. Those wonderful end results. I wonder what those houses actually look like when the actual occupants move in with their own furniture–I bet those houses look a lot different and so ordinary! But I love those fantasy interiors staged by those talented young designers with good eyes and warehouses of home goods at their disposal.

I also nap.

When we get our vaccines and feel invincible, I will put on my mask and go grocery shopping in person. It will feel like Christmas. And finally, I will be able to choose my own food. Guessing online how many grapes is in a pound is so hard, and I can’t tell you how many times we have had enough tilapia to feed an army.

So. When I can go out more, I will. However, staying inside my apartment, virtually all alone while my husband spends time at his studio playing the accordion–it hasn’t really been that hard. We are very fortunate to have what we have, and I know it.

So I go on about my life, hoping that next year will be better. So much better.

Oh, and this little spirit has helped so very much:

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All the words have been spoken or printed.

I have nothing to add.

I fervently wish we will make it until January 21 without further chaos.


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Remember back when the whole COVID thing started? When we were told to get enough food on hand to last two weeks? And we thought that would be hard?

Remember when they told us to sanitize our surfaces, our groceries, and each other? And masks were something they wore in Asian countries?

Remember when I had to remind my husband to wash his hands when he came home? And when we had to have a sanitizing tutorial?

Oh, we were so naive back then.

It has been a year of COVID. Not two weeks. We locked down. We wore our pajamas all day, and still do, because we are going nowhere. We have been isolated with only our spouses (those of us lucky enough not to live alone).

So, you ask, after all these months of seeing only my husband and the occasional drive-thru employee, how is our marriage doing? We are still married, by the way. Of course, splitting up would involve one of us leaving the apartment, so naturally, staying together was the only option.

Here is what I have learned about our relationship during this unusual and once-in-a-lifetime (we hope) pandemic:

  • All those people who touted “family game nights” and “movie nights” to make the pandemic palatable are not married to my husband, who won’t watch a movie at home with me “Because you constantly interrupt to ask questions,” and who grew up in a game-playing family, thus hating all board and card games from an early age.
  • Puzzles. We have a cat. And I have that husband (see above).
  • Apparently, staring into space is an actual pastime.
  • Sandwiches aren’t for dinner.
  • Eggs aren’t for dinner.
  • Taking a “drive” is one way to get out of the house. However, my husband thinks I appreciate tours of industrial parks, dump sites, and blighted neighborhoods. I am not sure if these are meant to make me appreciate our privilege, or just that he likes dumps.
  • I never realized how much my husband loves pickles.
  • It is not a nap if you are sitting in a chair. Thus, he declares that I am the only one in the relationship who takes naps, despite the fact that I hear snoring coming from the living room every day at 4:00 pm.
  • After nearly one year in isolation, there are virtually no conversational topics that haven’t been covered multiple times.
  • We both love Judy Woodruff.
  • He thinks that I might just be embracing agoraphobia.
  • I think he is so desperate for social interaction that he is making it a habit to lie in wait  for the mail carrier. He denies this, despite the fact that he starts looking out the window for the USPS truck every afternoon at 3:00, rushing out of here the moment it arrives. Our mail carrier is named Howard. He has three children. His wife is a teacher. She hates the whole online learning thing. Howard’s favorite color is blue, and his guilty pleasure is kettle corn. I rest my case.
  • We both have developed a tremendous fondness for flannel.
  • Pancakes are not for dinner.

When this is all over (if it ever is), we wonder how long it will take before we will be able to get closer than six feet from a friend, if we will be able to set foot in a theatre or restaurant without some panic, if the idea of going to a party won’t seem incredibly foolhardy, and if either one of us will want to shake hands with anybody ever again.

But we both agree that this year hasn’t been all that bad. But let me say this: if anybody tries to cut in front of us in the vaccine line, that person will live to regret it.


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This will be the holiday season to remember. We are apart, zooming our hearts out, eating roast chickens instead of turkeys, and looking wistfully out the windows.

We will talk about this one in the years to come: “Remember the horrible holidays in 2020? When nobody got to see anybody else, and there wasn’t a vaccine yet?’ It will just be one of those holiday seasons when we all remember exactly where we were and what we were doing, sort of like on 9/11 or when JFK was assassinated. We won’t forget the loneliness and the strangeness of being locked in without anybody to visit, no one to hug, and not a single person within six feet.

We will still, those of us who are privileged, give a toast and be somewhat merry. Those of us who can afford to stay home and not worry very much about where our next dollar is coming from. We need to be aware of ourselves this year.

So I have an idea. Not an original one. Give something to somebody else. Donate to a cause. Make some cookies and drop them off at a neighbor’s door. Think of someone else. Feel better about the world because you are in it.

Happy and merry to all of us.

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As I drove home from getting my usual curbside groceries, a beautiful Christmas song came on the radio. The Gloucestershire Wassail Carol is a favorite from my childhood. All of a sudden, a wave of sadness so potent washed over me that I almost had to pull over to the side of the road. All the things we would miss swam into my head: my dearest grandchildren, whom I haven’t seen in a year, my daughters, evenings with friends. I thought about the wonderful Christmas Eve service we attend in my daughter’s church in Los Angeles, ending with all holding lit candles and singing a carol together. The kids running in the aisles after their little pageant. The velvet dresses, the holly sprigs, and the wonderful dinner after the service.

I thought of the little dinner I have planned for just the two of us. The tiny tree we have in the living room with just the few gifts under it. I remembered large dinners with five kinds of dessert. Riding in a car with friends to look at the neighborhood lights.  Ladies’ holiday lunches. None of that will happen this year.

If I were 40, this would just be a blip in my radar. There would be so many years ahead to look forward to. But there aren’t that many in front of me; I don’t know if there will be even a dozen holiday seasons. Might there be only a few?

I let the self-pity run its course. I turned my car radio off.

I took a deep breath, adjusted my mask, and drove on.


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We haven’t exchanged gifts for years, preferring to spend the money on our kids and grandkids. But this year is different; we will be here just the two of us. So damn it, we want to be festive and happy. I bet many of you feel the same way. So we are exchanging gifts, and I have spent a good portion of my time thinking about what to put on my list.

Here is a list of things that I won’t include.

  • Linen sheets. They cost an arm and a leg. I got them once a long time ago, and the directions said not to bleach them, not to put them in the dryer, and to iron them. I tried that two times, and then proceeded to the bleaching and the drying. I did try the ironing one time, though–keep in mind these were king bed sheets. The dog fell asleep on what pooled on the floor beneath the ironing board, thus ruining the entire enterprise. And yes, all the bleaching and drying caused the arm and the leg (see above) to tear a large hole in the sheets. Linen sheets are just pretentious; who are we kidding, trying to live large?
  • Macarons. They look like puffy pastel Oreos. Again, the pretentiousness. Have an Oreo.
  • In the time of COVID, we are all lonely, but I think monogrammed personal massagers are taking things to a level where I just don’t care to go.
  • All the curated lists I see on my newsfeed list mention wine. Aerators. Fancy carafes to put it in before you drink it. Wine coasters. Let me just state the obvious: during lockdowns, anything that delays the time between opening the wine and drinking the wine is a complete waste of time.
  • Face creams that come in tiny little jars and retail for more than $15. Now? As if any other human besides your spouse will be looking at you closely until 2022? Use Vaseline.
  • Calendars. Who needs a calendar??
  • Light Saber Chopsticks. Look them up on Amazon…
  • Street clothes. Office wear. I know, we worry about the economy and keeping retail going, but anybody who goes out of the house wearing a blazer or a bow tie is absolutely heading for a COVID infection at their destination.

So what will I ask for that is safe, desirable, affordable, and easy to gift wrap?



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Those people who have everything–they don’t need sweaters, books, jewelry, or even socks. So what do you get them this year?

I have the answer to that. I have an online shop full of my designs. Framed prints, mugs, duvets, even shower curtains. Towels! Fanny packs!

I don’t promote my artwork that often, but I am proud of what I do. I make digital art on my phone screen, and yes, I draw it all with one finger. I would love it if this year, you would visit http://www.society6.com/mollydcampbell and browse around. You might find just the perfect gift for someone. Or you might find something you want!

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We are in a pandemic, the POTUS is attempting a coup, and next week is Thanksgiving.

We are all swirling around inside our own heads, wondering what to do, how to cope, and when this nightmare will be over.

The CDC has strongly urged all of us to avoid travel, to most certainly not go over to anybody’s house to have the meal, and to wear our masks and stay home, for GOD’S SAKE.

My husband and I are obeying. I think the majority of Americans are. We are desperately trying to keep the virus at bay while at the same time watching the news and tearing our hair out about the political situation. By this point, both Republicans and Democrats (except for the GOP in Congress) are becoming alarmed at what is going on in the highest levels of government. Is it a coup? A crazed, egomaniac pushing this democracy to the limits? And what about all those other things we are supposed to be worrying about as well–climate change, police brutality, racism, separating children at the border, when there will be a vaccine and who will get it, etc.?

Back to next week. We are staying home, just the two of us, and we are having a little dinner. We hope to ZOOM with our family.

It will be okay. We will get through this. Along with just about every other family in America who will be having turkey breast instead of the whole bird.

I have a new torment. I can’t stop thinking about it.  What are they going to do with all the big turkeys? They are dead already, aren’t they? Or if the turkey producers saw all of this coming and didn’t slaughter them, will there be a turkey revolution? Will they be pecking at our doors, demanding to come in and reckon with us? There must be millions of them out there. Thank God I live on the fifth floor. They won’t be able to get at us up here. But we will hear all that gobbling…

If COVID doesn’t get us, the turkeys will be waiting.


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It’s official. Charlie Campbell is giving a TEDx talk! I am so proud of him.

It is about facing the final stage of life, but it isn’t about death!

Thursday, November 19, go to this link to watch the talk. It is a “live” stream situation, although the talk was prerecorded. https://www.tedxdayton.com/2020-speakers.

I think you will be a bit inspired.

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