My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

Beth Kaplan logo

homemaker’s bliss

Lunch today: pork roast, broccoli and fresh new peas. Supper: just-made ratatouille followed by cheese with whole wheat sourdough bread from the Riverdale Farm farmer’s market yesterday, with an Italian red. No one is here to say, “Elle est bonne, ta ratatouille.” But she is.

Bet you didn’t think I’d be reporting on culinary delights here in Canada. I spent half an hour today reading a thick, impressive magazine left here by my tenants, the 2009 Toronto Life Guide to Eating and Drinking, and it was an eye-opener. I’ve ignored all the foodie developments in this city, the chocolatiers, the bakeries, the cheese shops, not to mention the restaurants. Here I am moaning because I’ve left all that good stuff behind, when it’s all here. Not as easy to find as in France, but all I have to do is make the effort to find it. And I will.
En plus, friends are showering me with goodies. This afternoon I opened the front door to find a tray of mangoes, with a note: “Welcome home – the mango lady.” The mango lady is Bernie, a dear friend, who took me last year to Little India to buy the special mangoes that only come in at this time of year. Today, unfortunately, I had guests and had to share them, because I want to keep them all for myself. They’re sublime.
I did not eat mangoes in France.

For those of you who’ve been following the ups and downs of the last months, an update: Jerry the plumber came today. No disastrous scenario, digging down into the basement, major excavation, no – I needed a new sump pump and because of the flood, will need to lay a new basement floor. And that’s all. Quel relief. Unfortunately, anything stored down there is now powdered with mildew, so there are about fifteen loads of laundry to be done. On the list.
My daughter and her friend Holly who’s setting up and opening her own daycare in a few weeks came over to help unpack and sort. Eventually a friend of my son’s hauled a whole truck’s worth across town for the girls – a chair, a bed, some shelves, bags and bags of other stuff. The great get-rid-of has begun. God, it feels good. Get this stuff OUT OF HERE! Give it to someone who needs it!
Dave who helps with the garden materialised early this morning to bag the yard waste and put it out for pickup. Bill the toothless homeless man with long grey hair came by to wash my windows and clean out the eavestroughs. The household staff are back at work. And tomorrow I see my bank manager to figure out how to pay for all this, and five months in Europe besides.
Cycle Solutions pumped up my bike tires and I had a ride around the neighbourhood. There’s a new caution in the air because of the fatal motorist/cyclist confrontation last night downtown. I’ll be careful – but I’ve got my wheels. Wheels, ratatouille, no yard waste and sparkling windows – who could ask for anything more?
P.S. Meant to report – I saw Julie and Julia in Ottawa with my mother and aunt, and we all loved it. Meryl Street is heavenly (brave is the young actress who take on the job of the story parallel to hers) and so is the film, which is about love and companionship, determination and courage more than it is about food. But there’s lots of great food. One of the things I liked best is that there is absolutely no mention of Julia Child’s size. She’s a big woman and very tall, her husband is thin and shorter, and this is a matter of absolutely no significance to them or anyone else. Ah, the good old days, before cadaverous models were foisted on us as beauty.
Beauty is Meryl Streep as Julia Child tasting food in France.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.


Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.


I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.


Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.


Juliet in Paris, Spain and Beyond
Juliet is a Canadian who’s lived for decades in Paris and writes about her travels and the many things that interest her.