The lilac bushes in my little garden were in bud by mid-January. Parts of Australia are still burning. Kenya is battling its worst desert locust outbreak in 70 years and this time the infestation—a huge dark gray umbrella against the sky—has spread through the eastern part of the continent and the Horn of Africa. I know. You didn’t want to read that. I didn’t want to write it.

Maybe this blogpost should bear a label, warning: Check with your pharmacist before ingesting, to be sure the contents do not conflict with other information prescribed for you.

No witnesses, no documents. No surprise. The first impeachment trial in the history of the United States to forbid the presence of factual evidence and witnesses is now drawing to a close.

Because as a writer I work mostly at home; because I'm both a news junkie and a political junkie; because being female, double tasking comes second nature to me; because how often do we get to watch living history in which we have standing, a stake, and a part?; because of all this and more, I watched virtually every boring, exhilarating moment of the first week of Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial. I know that others didn't have that enviable privilege or didn’t choose that tiresome challenge, depending on how you view it. But I know that I also reorganized my closets and drawers, paid bills, watered and fed numerous plants, wrote these notes, made soup, organized a podcast, had three meetings, interviewed two people and was interviewed by a third, dealt with a bathroom-shower-small-flood disaster, and answered mail, all with one eye and ear glued to the TV. ...

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know that I am quite a few smiles short of being a jolly Pollyanna, since I've noticed that always looking on the bright side can blind you to the truth, and I also think everything happens for, hmmm, no reason whatsoever.

This is my 2019 end-of-year blog post before the holiday hiatus, so it seems fitting to take stock of where we've been and where we are, especially since we’re unsure—but intrepidly hopeful!—about where we're going. It needn’t be a comprehensive list; in fact, it shouldn't be, because who would want to revisit so many moments of this past year? But if we don’t take the time to notice our victories (eyes always fixed on the next struggles), we can wind up where only the failures feel real. That's what our adversaries focus on, but why should we help them do so? Instead, it's crucial to develop a taste for, a habit for, moving forward. And it's crucial to note that our wins have been considerable. On one end of the spectrum, just this past week Bill Cosby’s appeal of his 2018 sexual-assault conviction has been unanimously denied by a panel of three...

Ready for another go at language? I'll resist the temptation to rave at length about how Trumpisms have leached into the speech of even serious people, polluting journalists and constitutional lawyers who now find themselves dropping "This I can tell you,” “When you look at . . . ,” and way too many gushes of incredibles and biggests and mosts for comfort.

Of Donald Trump's many offenses, criminal and moral, let me add his profoundly insulting misuse of "witch hunt" to describe the process of justice now closing around him.

In the ancient Greek story, Cassandra could see into the future. She saw and prophesied doom for Troy but the Trojans called her an alarmist and no believed her, because after all who likes doom in their future? What if, we might ask, Cassandra had been prophesying Troy’s eventual victory? They still would not have believed her, because she was a woman and therefore prone to naïveté and sentimental optimism.