“Want what you have. Do What you can. Be who you are.” — Forrest Church

On this New Year’s Day, I look forward to a rebirth of kindness and civility with the next administration, along with a waning of the pandemic. Still, I know that things will not improve overnight, and so, as I wait to see how the next few months will unfold, I take comfort in the above words from the late Unitarian minister and theologian Forrest Church.

I’m not exactly sure what these words meant to Church, who used them as his mantra, or maybe I have…

Some days I feel like I am holding my breath.

Some days I breathe easy.

Some days I don’t want to answer my phone.

Some days I don’t want to look at my email or my texts.

Some days I avoid the news.

Some days I just want to watch the birds at my feeders.

Some days I miss my family and friends so much my jaw aches.

Some days I am grateful for Zoom, Skype, FaceTime.

Some days I wish they had never been invented.

Some days I walk with a friend.

Some days I walk by myself.


I have in some past posts looked at my fellow humans and asked, “why do they do that?” This time, I want to ask, “Why did Nature/God/the Universe do that?” These are questions we rarely ask because they involve the given ground rules for our being. This, however, does not stop these questions from arising for me, so here I go.

SLEEP. Let me begin by saying that I love sleep. I love crawling between clean sheets and arranging a nest of pillows. I love leaving the waking world for a while and, on a good night, waking up refreshed…

OK, I’ll admit it. Biden wasn’t my first choice. And yet I have spent the last 24 hours awash with joy and relief. Here’s the thing. I have come to believe that Joe Biden is just the kindly uncle we need right now. Sure, he knows his way around the White House and has lots of experience working across the aisle and, sure, he will work on the issues that matter to me — addressing climate change, making sure the American dream is available to those who have been left out and left behind, getting everyone health care, conquering the…

In the last few years of her life, when she was in her 90s, my mother would sometimes call to ask me the time. Although, I have a few good years left before my 90s, I do find the pandemic has me feeling a bit untethered from the usual markers of time passing.

Sometimes, I can’t remember what day it is. The other morning, I woke up thinking, “Is today Thursday or Friday?” I decided to work backwards. “Was yesterday Wednesday or Thursday?”

I couldn’t answer either question.

When I recounted this to a friend, she said, “I know what…


Several times this week I sat down to finish writing a post about reading. This was to be my long-delayed Part II to an earlier post. But it had been a terrible week, and I couldn’t settle to it. I couldn’t get the image of that white cop with his knee on the neck of black man out of my mind. I couldn’t stop seeing that white woman in Central Park going off on a black man for asking her to leash her dog in an area where leashes were required. I kept asking myself…

I am not much of a cook. (Go ahead, ask my friends and family.) In saying this, I don’t mean to say that I can’t cook — I can get a meal on the table — or that I don’t cook — I do. It’s just that it isn’t a passion or even a pleasure most of the time. True, there are rainy days when I enjoy making a big pot of soup, but most of the time cooking is just something that has to get done

Like many other uninspired cooks, I have a small but sufficient repertoire of…

I think one of the most difficult things about this moment is the uncertainty. You know the questions: How bad will it be? Will I get sick? Will my loved ones/friends get sick? How long will it last?

I have written before about my parents’ experience in the UK during WWII, a time of great fear and uncertainty, a time when they were asking themselves: Will we survive the bombing? Can this rationing get any worse? Will the Germans invade? See: Joy in Dark Times. I will not cover that ground again. …

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands!

When my daughters were very young, we sang this song. It was fun — clapping our hands, stomping our feet, shouting hooray. But I remember wondering — What does that mean? — If you’re happy and you know it? Can you be happy and not know it? Upon reflection, I have come to the conclusion that, yes, you can.

Have you ever noticed that the manifestations of unhappiness are really compelling, while happiness can be lost in the shuffle of daily living? Grief is riveting. Heartbreak is a stalker. Depression…

I’m sure you’re all familiar with aphorisms such as these, containing the accumulated wisdom of our species:

Buy low, sell high.

You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

The early bird gets the worm.

These sayings have become hackneyed with overuse, so today I am going to give you some fresh material in the form of words of wisdom I have collected or coined over the course of my seven decades on Earth.

I hope that you will share some of yours in the comments.

Always let the bed cool. (Elizabeth Purdie)

Some of you were probably…

Marjorie Speirs

I am a recovering attorney, who lives and writes in the Pacific Northwest.

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