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Moet et Chandon

My son has followed the cat across town to his sister’s. Now it’s just me in the house, though friends are coming for overnight stays as the parade of goodbyes continues. 

A joyful event here on Sunday night, a gathering of theatre people – Nicola Cavendish is in town to continue her triumphant tour in “Shirley Valentine;” we had a pot luck celebration to toast her opening this week, and also to celebrate our friend and fellow actor Nick Rice’s recovery from cancer surgery. And just to celebrate. Old Vancouver theatre friends poured in, including Lani who came in from Stratford bearing two pounds of seven-year old farmer’s market Ontario cheddar which literally melts in your mouth, and boxes of my favourite dark chocolates from Rheo  Thompson, which also melt but not so surprisingly. And Wayson and my kids were here too, come to join the fun. 

I looked at the kitchen full of theatre artists and writers, not one of whom has ever made what a secretary on Bay Street would consider a decent living, and thought that the world doesn’t know how lucky it is that artists cannot help but do what they love, no matter what the personal cost. Nicky Cavendish, the brilliant actress and star, has borrowed my daughter’s old bicycle to get to and from the theatre to save on cab fares. After her one-woman show, in which she works on-stage alone for two and a half hours – on Wednesdays and Saturdays she does this twice – she will climb onto the bicycle and cycle home, uphill, to the bachelor apartment where she is crashing with her old friend Philip.  
One guest brought a bottle of Moet et Chandon Champagne, and as we toasted good health and success at work, and then as all drank to my upcoming adventure, I silently toasted artists everywhere, who bring such blessings to the world.
Monday was the last class at both U of T and Ryerson – goodbye to two groups of writers who’ve become close and dear, both of whom, I hope, will continue to meet and encourage each other without me. I brought to show them a little book just self-published by Beverley, a student at U of T a few years ago who came back to work privately with me.  She’s a painter with an “Artmobile,” a small camper she takes into the bush where she paints and hikes with her dog. She has produced a beautiful book called “Maiden Voyage,” stories accompanied by her photographs and paintings.   It’s thrilling when a student finally decides to make the effort to rewrite, edit, find a publisher and make an object we can all hold in our hands. A book is forever.
And now the great rush is on. Suddenly everything needs to be done right away. Here’s a partial list of this week’s activities: a mammogram, a doctor visit, another visit to the dentist, because another piece of tooth just fell out; a work party with Heyward, my son’s friend and the best handyman, to fix everything that’s falling apart in the house before I pass it on to strangers, and especially to help solve, yet again, the raccoon and skunk problem; final sessions with clients writing memoirs; a visit to my tax guy and to my hairdresser; final lunches and dinners with friends and family; a tour of the house, giving endless instructions, with the man who’s renting it; weepy goodbyes to my children; and, somewhere in there, packing the house and myself.  
I have been invited to two big events on Thursday night, and am also longing to see the wonderful Joan MacLeod/Nicola Lipman one-woman play at the Tarragon, but I fear will not get anywhere. Suddenly, too many invites and not enough time. And I have to be aware that I can’t collapse when I get to Paris; I have a talk to give, in French, two days after I arrive.
Then I can collapse.
Just got up to chase a raccoon from the deck. There are many things about my life here that I will miss profoundly, but chasing raccoons is not one. I bet in Paris there is not one single raccoon – or skunk. Do you think that by the time I get back, I’ll even be happy to see those masked banditos?

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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