Posts by: Molly

Molly D. Campbell is a two-time Erma Bombeck writing winner. Her debut novel is Keep the Ends Loose. Molly lives in Dayton with her accordionist husband and five cats.

View from the Empty Nest: All Alone but Not Lonely

Among the books I have read lately are a few about people who are bedridden. One of them was about a woman who was mysteriously ill, another about one who merely wanted attention, and a third about a man who lay dying, looking back on his life.

All of the people in these books spun a rich life inside their heads that made the time alone pass quickly. Days flew by as they reminisced about long-ago luncheons with their friends (every sip of champagne remembered, every morsel of food); days spent in the arms of lovers, or simply the butterflies they chased. Their inner lives were absolutely fascinating.

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View from the Empty Nest: The Winter Doldrums

I would like to suggest that we move the holidays to February. I know that all of you will agree with me if you just listen to my logic where this is concerned.

First of all, I am not sure (although I am no religious scholar, let’s just put that right out on the table) that there is irrefutable truth about just exactly when all of the historical events that mark all of our religious holidays actually happened. And if you take the multitudes of religions observed in the world, the events are almost too numerous to count. So observing them in February wouldn’t make a lot of difference, would it?

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View from the Empty Nest: Hostess Gifts

I try to do the right thing. Say “please” and “thank you.” Defer to those older than I—which is getting harder, as just about everybody seems younger than I am nowadays. But certain niceties seem to elude me. I forget.

Martha Stewart would never attend a dinner party without a hostess gift. A nice bottle of wine. Homemade cookies. Rosemary roasted cashews. Of course, Martha would hand wrap them in gift paper she stenciled herself, and there would be a gift tag tied with decorative twine.

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Under the Bed

I have to give one of my cats pills for the next two weeks. He had an abscess, and the antibiotics will cure it. Easy for the veterinarian to say. The first pill went down with ease. Cats, however, learn very fast, and from that point since, he has avoided me like the plague.

Cats are creatures of habit, however, and Salami’s (named by my husband; I have no idea) favorite hiding place is his only hiding place.  He runs under the bed when he sees me coming. This is handy for me, but also depressing, because the following is a list of the things that are also under there with him:

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Girlfriends

Dearest Siri,

Now that we are BFFs, I just can’t tell you how much I love and admire you. You are so wise about so many things. I can ask you where to get sports bras at a discount. I mean, really. And I will never not know where the nearest Starbucks is. Whew.

We do need to talk, though. It’s about my husband. I think he is smitten, and I wish you would quit chatting with him so much. He doesn’t really need directions to anywhere—he was an Eagle Scout, for God’s sake, and he can read maps.

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One Day

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. Make a flat white. Carry it upstairs.

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Dinner Party

I suppose that in Paris, if you are invited to someone’s home for dinner, it is really about the wine. Or maybe in New York City, it is about the sparkling conversation, or maybe the clothes the women are wearing. I guess in most cities, it is not really about the food.

I think this is wrong. I live in Ohio. The heart of the Midwest. Although if you look at a map, Ohio really ISN’T in the middle of the west, but I digress. We have dinner parties in Dayton. There are glamorous people hosting them. Not at my house, however. Another digression. What bothers me is the disingenuousness of all this. Because in my opinion, dinner parties should be about the dinner.

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View from the Empty Nest: Food Fatigue

I fully understand teamwork. Division of labor makes all kinds of sense. But somewhere along the line, the division of labor over here has become depressing. At least to me.

Of course, I am sure that my husband must get tired of mowing the lawn. But he only has to do it in the summer, and only once in awhile. And being outside, strolling behind the mower and stopping to talk with the neighbors doesn’t seem all that bad to me. Well, ok. Sweat. But otherwise.

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View from the Empty Nest: Reach Out and Touch Somebody. But Not Literally.

Sherry Turkle is an MIT professor who has written a number of books. She began as a real fan of social media. Oh, gosh. Some of you may not know what that is. Facebook you know about, right? Well, that is one social media platform. There are HUNDREDS. Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Stumbleupon, Tsu, Reddit. The list goes on and on.

Millions of us—maybe billions of us, use social media every day. And apparently, the majority of the billions use it every few minutes. Is this alarming to you? It is to Professor Turkle. I wasn’t alarmed until I heard her speak on the Bill Moyers television program (during which I tweeted five times). Turkle says that we get a strong surge of pleasure each time we visit a social media site. Kind of like taking a bite of chocolate. This jolt of positivity is so strong that we can’t resist it.

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View from the Empty Nest: Wrong Number

Remember land lines? When the phone on your kitchen wall would ring, and you would answer it and talk to somebody? And that was it? You couldn’t see people’s lunch photos on it, or get a text message? Life was so much simpler then.

Now, we feel compelled to stay in touch with everybody all the time. I think that the population of the world really needs to see the latest pictures of my grandson, so I post them on Facebook and Twitter, and spend a bunch of time texting the latest snaps of him in, say, his lobster Halloween costume to all my friends and neighbors.

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