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back to work

Today, as I walked around, I said a cheerful Good morning to everyone I met. Because I had just been in Mexico, where friendly greetings are automatic. I wonder how long before I lapse into my usual surly, silent, Toronto self.

However, something I was glad to leave behind in Mexico is the necessity to put toilet paper into a bin instead of the bowl.

Something I missed today – the dry heat of Mexico. God, it’s muggy here, clammy.

Something I’m glad I missed in Mexico City – an earthquake yesterday morning. This puts to rest my image of myself as a light sleeper. I thought I’d had a restless night, but when in the morning people were talking about the earthquake at 7.30 a.m., 6.1 on the Richter scale, I had no idea what they were talking about! Met the usual fascinating people at the breakfast table, including a young girl, half Japanese and half Mexican, who is studying to make desserts. Desserts are my life, she said. And an American photographer and photography teacher who after a long conversation on the life of the artist went up to his room and brought back a beautiful little book of family photos he’d had printed, that he gave to me. Friends for life, even if we never meet again.

Annie and I heard that many traffic lights were out, so that coupled with the chaos of the teachers’ strike made us decide to leave very early for the airport. So of course we got there in record time, no problem at all. One last shopping opportunity, at the airport – but everything was so expensive, we regretted all the chachkas we had not bought at the market. Of course. We used our last money for a shared bottle of water.

Painless flight back – Annie on one side of the aisle and I on the other, chatting like mad when we weren’t watching the only decent movie offered by Air Canada, “Pollock,” directed by and starring Ed Harris. Gruelling, is the only word. Thank God not all artists are that horrible, even if that supremely talented. Such glorious work; such a dark and damaged man.

We were met by Annie’s husband Jim, who led us into the damp, close air. So glad to be home. “The best thing about our vacation,” I said to them, “was not seeing Stephen Harper’s face for ten whole days.” Of course this morning, there he is, plastered on the cover of both papers, with his cold and mealy smile. Yech, as I used to say.

Happy to see my tenant Carol, the cat, the garden, my lovely bed – and the brand new Little Free Library that John built from 100% recycled materials and installed while I was away, which I filled with books that I hope will disappear, to be replaced with others. Happy today to reclaim my bicycle, which means freedom. But most of all, happy to receive an email from Jim, who had read my memoir while his wife and I were away, and who sent the most wonderfully positive report. That gave me the courage to dive in – went out to get the barest minimum needed to survive, rosé and a salmon tourtiere from Daniel and Daniel, and spent the afternoon ignoring all other responsibilities – the watering system which was broken, the plants that needed deadheading, the veggies picking, no no go away – and sat reading and making notes for the rewrite.

If I want to get it out asap, I have to keep at it. So I will. This post to you is my only break. And emailing. And a bit of TV. Jon Stewart, when are you back?

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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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