My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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settling in and munching

Already Canadian-ness is setting in. I find myself nibbling all day long, eating at any old hour in any old order. Soon it’ll be back to grilled cheese sandwiches as my hot cooked meal. Well, perhaps not, but I’m certainly backsliding. It also has to do, of course, with living alone. Who can be bothered to get the cheese out to warm before the meal, just for oneself? For that matter, who can be bothered to buy a lot of great cheeses when you’re going to be enjoying them alone?

I’m not complaining. As you have gathered by now, solitude is vital to my well-being. But it does affect my eating habits, whereas on my travels, I was either with others, in England and in Gordes, or alone in France able to buy delicious food already prepared. Here, it’s back to the labour of planning, shopping, cooking; back to not being interested.
Which is a shame, because I’m still throwing out clothes, and one reason I’m doing so is that I lost a bit of weight in France and am getting rid of my droopier things. I didn’t believe it either, kept getting on and off the scales at the Y to be sure – but I lost at least a kilo on the French cheese/chocolate/rosé diet. I guess the loss came from eating with care and relish and also much walking, weeding and worrying. A kilo was probably sweated off the day I left my bag on the train, and never returned.
But now – not so much care and relish, weeding and walking – (the same amount of worrying, but about different things). So perhaps I shouldn’t be tossing quite so many clothes, as I’m sure to regain what vanished in France, especially as winter approaches, fresh fruit becomes harder to find or afford, and exercise, except for shovelling, is more elusive too. Oh well. For a few brief shining moments, I was at my ideal weight, thanks to smelly cheese and marching about.
The Toronto Film Festival is about to open, and the Palestinian film I saw in Montpellier, The time that remains, plus the new Almadovor, neither of which I liked much, are going to open here. So we’ll see what the Canadian critics, or you, say.
On this glorious hot sunny Saturday, I did an unpleasant chore – I smeared axel grease on my downspouts and picked up raccoon waste. Every morning I’ve been doing battle with the one raccoon, or sometimes the three, who sleep huddled in a corner of my upstairs deck; now I’m trying to make it impossible for them to climb up – and relieve themselves – there. The spout they use as a ladder is covered with thick grey grease. Take that, raccoons! But they’re smart and stubborn. Don’t bet too much on the human being.
Then I rode my bike down to the lake to visit Ben, the husband of my dear friend Sarah who died while I was in France. This is a man who has been through a nearly unbearable ordeal this last while, and all I could think to do was offer to take him out in the sun in his brand new wheelchair. Vigourous Ben lost not only his wife of 62 years, but shortly before, to fight his own cancer, he had his right arm amputated and almost lost the use of his legs because of the chemo he endured. We went along the waterfront, enjoying the crowds, heat and breeze though not the deafening American jets flying above, performing for the Canadian public. We sat in silence and then talked a bit about Sarah. Ben is a brilliant man of dignity, energy and pride. I cannot imagine spending an entire lifetime, from adolescence, with a helpmate and soulmate at work as well as at home, and then to lose her and independence and mobility too. They were a couple who argued only once in my hearing, about the amount of sugar to put in the jam they were making. “We almost never fought,” Ben said today. A true partnership and a most happy marriage.
My heart is with him.

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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.

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.

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