My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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boringly normal with a hint of battle

Nice to have a rainy day today – lets the plants relax, and us too, a day to sit inside and vegetate. And hope my very expensive drains and pumps are doing their job.

A most satisfying day yesterday – got up at 6.30, got to work by 7.15, wrote till 10, began to edit the pieces of a student coming later, did Tony’s class at the Y midday, bought a book at Doubletake that I can’t tell you about because it’s the perfect birthday present for a friend who reads this blog. More editing, then the student and I sat in the garden delving into words and thoughts. And then next door to my French friend Monique, who holds a francophone salon on Friday nights. This time, two members brought dinner for us all with them, and we talked and ate till after 10.
We have had, sadly, to consider the distinct possibility that Dominique Strauss-Kahn, despite the fact that his financial savvy apparently saved the euro, is an abuser and crazy man. In the old days, men like Jack Kennedy could have sex with movie stars with no one any the wiser, except, perhaps, his wife. And now, a politician blows his nose and it’s all over the Internet in minutes and on Jon Stewart that night.
One of Monique’s regulars is a Russian Jew born in the gulag – in a village in Siberia where there were only women, children and the elderly, and Cossacks. “I grew up in the Middle Ages,” he says, sleeping on straw in a hut with a dirt floor. Then his family was forced to emigrate, to Germany, Poland, then to Canada, where he became a millionaire and lived on the Bridal Path. He told us that Jewish children were not allowed to attend the Russian schools in his village, which was a blessing because the elderly Jews who taught in the Jewish school were so learned that he received a phenomenal education. He does not understand the modern world, though, the mores of today.
Write your story, I begged, as I always do. He looked dubious. I’ll keep nagging.
Then home, to get into bed with Keith Richards and read his “Life,” which is fantastic, beautifully written, hilarious, evocative.
No handbags on trains, Parisian goodies, excitement or travel. Just a good, solid, interesting, productive day. Sorry.
PS No, that’s not true. I forgot that I had an aggravating encounter at the Y, of all places, where I go for tranquillity. The other day, as I have for years, I brought in a flyer for my garden workshop to post on the bulletin board there; several Y members have been happy participants. Usually, the woman at reception writes on your Y number and posts whatever you want posted. But now, it seems, anything to be posted has to go to the Program Director for approval.
All my bells go off; it’s a short jump, for me, from having to have all postings approved to all out repression and fascism. Yes, I’m a bit melodramatic, as you know.
So off went my flyer for approval, and two days later, it came back with a note in the corner: “Can not post.” My flyer was turned down for posting at the Y! Why? The receptionist had no answer. A few years ago, I would have melted into a frothing pool of rage. Now, though there were some hot bubbles in my gut, I just asked nicely for the name and number of the woman who had said no. I called and left her a nice message, telling her that I have posted this same flyer for years and that I would like very much, O so very much, to come in and discuss this issue with her. I’ll bring another copy of the flyer – “to refresh your memory,” I said.
But try to hold myself back as I did, full-scale war was breaking out in my heart. I was imagining rallying all my run-fit buddies for a noisy protest. Because, I realized, I would be unable to post a notice about my grievances on the bulletin board.
I am a huge believer in the messy democracy of bulletin boards. They tried once before to get rid of ours, because, I think the reasoning went, it was an eyesore. I was one of many members up in arms, and our bulletin board came back. People post cards, notes to each other, flyers about art shows, ads for selling stuff – all kinds of mess on that board.
But luckily, so far, members are being saved from the ravages of a dangerous writing workshop. Phew! Good thing that manager is on the case.
Stay tuned.



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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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