My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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Margaret walks the Camino

First, most importantly, friend and student Margaret Lynch wrote a beautiful essay for my home class on walking the Camino and now has read it on CBC radio’s The Sunday Edition; it will air tomorrow but she sent us a copy. It brought tears to my eyes, not just for the fine writing and thought, but because Margaret has come so far as a brave and honest writer with a powerful story to tell. She has just begun; you’ll be hearing more from her. Brava! 

And while I’m in celebration mode – I got a moving email yesterday from one of the greatest stars of the Canadian stage, Martha Henry, to whom I’d written ten years ago about a Stratford production she directed that I loved. The note speaks for itself – a blessing.
My dear Beth – I’m clearing out some old papers today and came across an email from you from 2009 which I had printed! – talking about our production of Three Sisters. I read it again and nearly wept, I was so happy at what you said and so proud. Thank you. I may keep this for yet another ten years……! How thoughtful and kind of you to write this. It meant a lot to me. Clearly!   

I’ve made a lifelong habit – sometimes to the amusement and even scorn of my friends – of sending letters of both complaint and praise. How great that this one made a difference. A mitzvah. When someone impresses you, let them know!

It’s Saturday, but Kevin and Ed are here. They need to finish mudding, patching, sanding now, because Monday is a holiday and the painters come in Tuesday. Yes, the painters – we still have no doors, tons to do at a basic level, but it seems like a good time to paint.

So I am going mad. JM suggested I hire someone to advise about colours, but a request to a local tastemaker let me know he charges $700 for a “colour consultation.” We won’t be having that, thank you very much. “How hard can it be?” I said blithely. And now have been to Home Hardware twice for sample colours, until they ran out of sample size pots, so this morning I went down to a paint store on Queen Street East and came back with one pot that’s almost identical to one I already had.

$700 for an expert eye is starting to look more like a good investment. (Joke!)

I have found a beautiful yellow for the spare bedroom; done. But I would like a soft grey-blue for my bedroom and a soft grey for the hall. What I now know is that the paint chips do not in any way resemble what goes on the wall. My first attempts at being Mark Rothko – a grey that’s too white, so next, a grey that’s too dark, like concrete. 

First world problems.

The sun is shining but it’s cold, and the sidewalks are icy. Today’s note in the Annals of Aging – as I walked carefully along Queen Street this morning, wearing my maroon velvet hat and scarf, I passed a woman not dressed for the weather and high on a drug of some kind, crack or an opiate. She said something, and then passed me and said, “Oh I’m sorry, I thought you were a man.” And then she went on, “My mother taught me to always be polite to elderly people, so I’m really sorry.”

A knife in the heart! I’m hopeless at choosing colours, and I look mannish and … elderly! Elderly! I, a mere, a youthful 68! The only thing that will make me feel better about that is chocolate. And remembering that I did a tiny thing that made the magnificent Martha Henry happy.

And thinking about my family. Since Anna and fam will not be going away for Family Day, she decided to spring for a treat – she, her best friend Holly, and the boys are all staying in one room at the Delta Chelsea down the road, where there’s a swimming pool, games room, playroom, self-serve restaurant… I took them for dinner there last night and then we went to the playroom, where my grandsons were bounding leaping falling throwing whirling dashing bouncing building sliding joking crashing chatting vrooming. Non-stop.

Went home to recover and watch The Philadelphia Story. I’ve seen bits of it but never the whole thing. A wonderful film. Imagine working with Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and Jimmy Stewart, talk about the dream team.

My dream team is sanding outside my office door. Happy Family Day to you all. This elderly person – NOT! – is off to eat a lot of chocolate and fuss about paint chips.



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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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