My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

Beth Kaplan logo

and now, a few words from our entertaining readers

Bruce emailed indignantly to complain about my Xmas day blog, in which I described our “Vancouver Christmas here in Toronto – pouring with rain, chilly and sodden.” Apparently their day was actually cold and very sunny. I wrote back that we Easterners need to think that it’s always raining in Lotusland, because otherwise, why aren’t we living there?

Penny wrote from England about her Xmas, driving around England to visit family, on …

The M6. Worst motorway in Britain. It took nine hours to do a journey that should have been no longer than three. There were so many cars. They said on the radio that half of the population was on the move at once. They were all on the M6. I know. I was there too.

But it was worse for those stranded under the channel when six consecutive Eurostar trains stalled and broke down in the tunnel because of the abrupt change in temperature, and for those people marooned at airports, stuck on icy hills with no grit or snowed in at shopping centres. The excuse this time was that our climate is normally so “benign” that it is not worth the investment to prepare for bad weather.

You’d think we were the tropics, not the land where Charles Dickens invented Christmas.
Penny and I rode the M6 during our summer trip together. I read an entire history of England out loud to her while we sat.
Mr. Choy wrote from Vancouver, where he is working and visiting family, including his aunt Mary who is suffering from Alzheimer’s and in a home:
We share a dining table with a new friend of hers – a gentle and loving soul like Mary, also ravaged by Alzheimer’s but who is less chatty and much more sensitive (a cantakerous elderly lady with a twisted hawkish face had scorned her at another dinner table, “I don’t like you” – and Doreen left and could not stop her own tears.)

Family visitors to this place look sympathetically towards each other, as if we belonged to some kind of secret society. Thank heavens, almost every one of the staff here are carefully trained and behave professionally towards their charges. As for me, at odd times it feels like the Chinese Water Torture, each endlessly repeated question, one drop at a time, or it seems with great hilarity that Mary, Doreen and I take part in an animated conversation, a brilliant rerun of “Who’s on third?!”

I keep sane each time I recall what Karl said to me when I was short with my father (at 85), “Wayson, you’re going to be worse!”

I don’t think so. Not a wonderfully vibrant mind like that.
A quiet, solitary Sunday for moi, though the day was so mild, I could not resist riding my bike to Laywine’s, one of my favourite stores, to see if their pens, papers, notepads, organisers and calendars were on sale. They weren’t, but I bought a new notebook anyway. Not that I don’t have a stack of notebooks, but this was a new kind, with dun-coloured pages and WHITE LINES. Very different. Perhaps different writing will emerge upon it.
Then couldn’t resist popping into a store or two on Bloor, but it was just too silly. I don’t need anything. Well, I’d like a spiffy new bike, that would be nice, and a new roof, and a woman can always use a new handbag and shoes. But mostly, I realised yesterday, the greatest gift I could receive would be a new handyman or handywoman. A person who understands plumbing, wiring, electrical devices, major appliances, remote controls, computers and everything else, who’d come over at a moment’s notice to fix and set up and sort out. That would be a true present. Had a long talk with my daughter yesterday, and she wants one too.
However, none of those were for sale at the Gap on Bloor.



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.