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Toronto’s second best bartender and Ian Brown, first best CNFC speaker

So Toronto is locked down again as of Monday. Sam’s bar will only be able to sell take-out bottles. Thomas’s work will probably continue, and so will mine. But how lucky I am; unlike many I have a roof, work, health. 

I also have pinkeye. And, well, a small complaint: the fireplace guy who was supposed to come Friday to make sure I can install a gas fire stove and then to order it, so I can keep warm this long cold winter, just called to cancel because of the lockdown. He says he’ll come in February. It’s the fireplace channel for me. 

Eli came for a sleepover (before I realized about my eye – hope he’s okay.) The boy is a merciless player of games. I’d prefer to read him stories. But we played a long game of Monopoly in which he absolutely crushed me. Hotels everywhere. We played last night, left it set up at bedtime, he woke at 7.30 a.m. raring to get back to it, plotting his purchases. I managed to get him to watch a bit of TVO so I could have a cup of coffee before my total evisceration. And then Go Fish too – he won every game.

He has just learned to sign his name in cursive! Beneath the portrait of me painted in 1959 by a Hungarian friend of my American grandmother’s that I’ve always hated. Love the signature, though. 

A triumph on Thursday: our first CNFC webinar with Ian Brown went fantastically. He was superb – very funny, chatty, full of fascinating stories about people we wished we knew – Calvin Trillin! He was inspiring about writing and generally warm and open. It was recorded and will be uploaded on the CNFC website for all members.

Then an even greater triumph: Sam Dobie the runner-up in the Best Bartender competition. He is the second best of the hundreds of bartenders in all Toronto, and in one of the smallest bars in the city! Bravo my son. Too bad you’re now not able to do what you do.

Friday I had a telephone interview with Vancouver book podcaster Joseph Planta about the memoir. “I don’t often finish the books,” he said, “but yours I whizzed through. I enjoyed it very much, it was a pleasure to read. I got a lot out of it.” He told me the scene with the Vermeer was moving and unforgettable. Lovely to hear. We talked for almost an hour. 

On the other hand, has once more sent back our audiobook files with a petty complaint; this time, our engineer said it was as if they themselves had damaged the files. It’s like sabotage. Infuriating. 

Yesterday was beautiful, but I think that was the last nice day. Today, chilly and grey. My grandson and my eyeball have worn me out. Luckily Anna sent over piles of food – soup, stew, homemade hummus. Fed by my daughter, it’s “The Crown” with wine tonight.

Anna sent me this of Ben. Be still my beating heart.



2 Responses to “Toronto’s second best bartender and Ian Brown, first best CNFC speaker”

  1. theresa says:

    A treasure, your grandson's signature in cursive.

  2. beth says:

    On a giant stickie! He goes next door to Greg, a retired schoolteacher who's offered to teach him every day for an hour and a half. So though he's not in school, he's getting Greg's undivided attention, which includes cursive. I'm thrilled.

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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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