My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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hot, with cucumbers and a rant

It’s the autumn equinox, first day of fall, and tomorrow there’s a heat warning in effect; with the humidity, the temperature will feel like 39 degrees. It’s a full-on heatwave in Toronto, after a mild summer with lots of rain. Absolutely perfect timing – it means so much more to feel that warmth blasting your bones when you know what is lurking around the corner. What’s hard to comprehend is the citizens of Toronto swanning around in tank tops when half the world, it seems, is under water or on fire, fleeing slaughter, struggling to survive in refugee camps or battered, smashed, destroyed, buried under rubble. Hard to be anything but grateful, and bewildered at our luck. Not to mention the fact that Canadians have, not a giant orange blowhole of a leader who at the U.N. threatens to wipe out a country of many millions of people, but one who speaks with painful, almost embarrassing honesty about the failure of this country to deal fairly with its indigenous population. What a contrast.

Immediately Canadians leapt onto FB and Twitter to bitch, to say it was “just rhetoric.” Jesus God, could we not, for a tiny moment, celebrate a courageous generosity of spirit? Just for a minute or two, before piling on to criticize? It’s like, if they’re not inflamed, they cease to exist. Bitch on, my angry friends.


Yesterday, John came with his helper, Ricky in his gold high-tops, to do the massive job of trimming the dead ivy branches on the south wall and giving a haircut to the overgrown willow. Tons of work, a wonderful workout, much better than the Y. John was cutting back around my vegetable cage and found a giant cucumber growing outside, unfortunately yellow and so inedible. What a waste! But there are still LOTS more. I just made my grandmother Nettie’s “cucumbers in sour cream and lemon” recipe, that I loved when I was a kid. Asked for the recipe in the early years of my marriage and never made it. Now’s the time. Delicious.

Then, tea with the old friend who gave me my job at Ryerson 23 years ago and then moved to Vancouver, here to visit her son who now lives in TO. How grateful I am to her for a job I still love, after all this time. She gave me the terrible news that her husband, a dignified, very smart arts bureaucrat who was the model of diplomacy, intellect, and articulacy, is now in a nursing home suffering from Parkinson’s-related dementia. The most tragic story. God preserve us all.

I took back a library book today, “Do I make myself clear?” by Harold Evans, editor extraordinaire, who rants wonderfully about obscure or needlessly complex language and provides page after page of translation into good plain English. I picked up two other books, but first, a treat – I’ve received “Euclid’s Orchard,” the new book of my friend Theresa Kishkan, a dear blog buddy though we have never met. I can’t wait. She is a passionate thoughtful very wise writer, and I’m sure the book sounds just like her. And that Harold Evans would think so too.


Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race. -H.G. Wells, writer (21 Sep 1866-1946)



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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.


Coming soon

A new book by Beth Kaplan, published by Mosaic Press – “Midlife Solo”

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