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It’s only been a few days since I returned from out west, but it feels like a year. Whoever that woman was swanning around Hawaii and splashing in turquoise water – can’t be the same woman who has a list of her lists and sits in the kitchen much of the day consulting them. Getting away is essential, I realize, love my home as I do – because otherwise the ruts of routine I dig will get so deep, I might never get out.

On Wednesday my midday routine, as regular readers know, is attending my favourite class at the Y. But not this week; my daughter had an appointment she couldn’t miss and asked me to take Eli to his last swim class at the West End Y and then to the local community centre drop in’s Xmas party. I sat, the proud Glamma, watching him and his friend Pierce put their faces in the water and blow bubbles and kick and do all the other things the instructor asked them to do. He nearly passed his first level – Bobbers – and will soon move up to Floaters. Yes! Not bad for 3 1/2. High five.

The Parkdale Xmas party was quite something, every ethnicity and colour of parent and child – butter chicken with rice, then cookies, then running madly around the gym – at least, if you were under 4.

Then back home to read stories and admire baby Ben while he had a big lunch of sweet potato.

Putting on a jacket and a sparkly necklace and wiping the sweet potato off my pants, I headed out to my own Xmas party thrown by U of T. It’s at Wychwood Barns which is a lovely venue, and it’s always fun – great food and drink and company. When I walked in, a lovely young woman stopped me and said, “Are you Beth Kaplan? I follow your blog.” It’s odd to encounter a stranger who knows an extraordinary amount about my life. But that’s what a blog is and does. Anyway, she was not only interesting, she was one of the teachers being awarded the Excellence in Teaching award this year. Brava, Julia.

I drank just a bit too much wine. As I tell my colleagues, U of T pays us less than Ryerson but has terrific parties, so you have to make up for the shortfall in food and drink. And I did my best.

Thursday, an Xmas party for my home students here, much cooking and cleaning. There were 14 of us sitting down to a fabulous potluck dinner – including a sweet potato casserole – and then reading stories. We started early because I had another invitation, so at 8, I left for an hour to go to the Xmas party right next door. So much merrymaking!

In fact, I am not feeling particularly merry, with the madness in the world, the images of refugees, the hateful Republican lunatics to the south … someone commented on the Daily Show, which happily now I can watch again, that George W. Bush looks like a moderate paragon of tolerance and intelligence next to the current crop of nutbars. True. I watched “Bear Grylls” last night – a show about a British guy who takes famous people into the wilderness. His guest was Barack Obama, who may be flawed – drones! – but came across as a warm, genuine, thoughtful human being with a great sense of humour. And Canada has one of those too, a Prime Minister who wept when talking about how Canada has treated its First Nations people and who took 20 sick children from hospital to a special screening of Star Wars. Who is this amazing guy?

So there is hope, there is reason to look up. My son, along with 60 other bartenders, was also invited to a special screening of Star Wars with free Jameson whiskey, imagine what fun that will be. And the weather is pretty amazing too, very mild for December, though there was a flurry of Christmas-like snow tonight. But only a sprinkling, gone already. I have my tree – Eli was horrified when he heard I didn’t have one and wanted me to buy one there and then – though it’s not decorated yet. That’s on the list.

Today a meeting at Riverdale Farm about the Babe pageant. Our request of the farm staff was to have at least one cow in the barn on the night. When we started the pageant, there were two Clydesdale horses, a donkey, and three cows plus the goats and sheep inside the barn – it was magical. But there’s a new policy; the big animals stay outside all winter except for the coldest nights, so there are far fewer animals surrounding the tableau. Could they make an exception for this one night? Two staff,  he said, are required to move a large animal and we are short-staffed, so probably not. Oh well. We tried.

These are my concerns. Not food or shelter or safety, not disease or violence – just procuring a big warm smelly cast member for our pageant. We have a rehearsal Sunday afternoon. And after that, guess what? An Xmas party. Yay.



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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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