My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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onward and upward: basement suite rented

Good news all round today, though the sun is not shining. First, the basement suite is rented, wonderfully, to Anna’s best friend since kindergarten who grew up around the corner. Shani is now the single mother of a teenager who lives with his dad and a 6-year old who lives with her and has big health problems, so she’s thrilled not just to find a safe place to land but one near Sick Kids, where she spends a good deal of time. I reduced the rent in return for getting a bit of help on occasion watering or other stuff. She’s a beautiful woman and we’ve known each other for more than 30 years. Moving in May 1. We’re all thrilled.

And when Anna comes to visit, she and her oldest friend will catch up while their sons play in the garden. Heaven.

The closet is almost finished and I’m moving stuff in. Love it.

And the big door to the third floor, a major project that was causing huge headaches yesterday since it didn’t quite fit, was rehung by Ed this morning – and it closes! A door that closes. We’re on a roll.

After all this pleasure, more: I received a letter in the mail from my older grandson, aged six. Dear Glama, how are you are you having a nice day. Has Sam been there recently? Thank you for helping to sending me and Ben to camp this summer. Love Elijah and Ben.

Be still my beating heart. Yes, his mother already has both her sons organized for camp through the summer. I will be writing back immediately, in nice big print.

Watched some good movies on TV – not feeling much like going out as it’s slippery and disgusting out there. The woman who loves giraffes – important to us as a family because my very tall son’s totem animal is the giraffe – and what a surprising story this is. Who knew that the first white woman to go alone to Africa to study animal behaviour was not Jane Goodall but Anne Innis Dagg, a Canadian zoologist? She fell in love with a giraffe at a zoo when she was three and has spent the rest of her life concerned with this extraordinary animal. The doc takes an infuriating turn in the middle, when she’s teaching at the U. of Guelph. As one article says, Despite her impressive record of academic publications and student attestations as to the quality of her teaching, Dr. Dagg was denied tenure. By multiple accounts in the film, she did not conform to the college leadership’s idea of a tenured professor. There was no place for a groundbreaking woman scientist studying the behaviour and biology of animals in the wild.

She’s furious and nearly defeated but eventually is brought out of obscurity and acknowledged by the giraffe community – yes, there is such a thing – as their mentor and leader. She goes back to Africa even now, in her mid-eighties. Inspiring and marvellous, the best sort of documentary.

On Sunday Wayson and I watched The Darkest Hour, about Winston Churchill in 1940, before Dunkirk, as France falls. Again, I didn’t know Churchill was urged to capitulate and make peace with Hitler, and how hard he had to fight not to. Gary Oldman is a spectacular Churchill, and it brought tears, of course, to hear him thunder his famous, “We will fight them on the beaches!” speech. His enemy, Lord Halifax, listens glumly and mutters, “He has mobilized the English language and sent it into battle,” as the House of Commons erupts into patriotic cheers. I thought of my British mother, her sisters, my grandparents, listening on the wireless in their village Potterspury, my mother shortly thereafter quitting the grammar school she was attending on a scholarship to join the Land Army and do her bit.

Here’s to writers everywhere, mobilizing their own language and sending it into battle – though usually, thank God, for more peaceful purposes.



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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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