My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

Beth Kaplan logo

Toboggans and juicers

A world in crisis but some good times here. Anna, Thomas, and their boys came over on Wednesday afternoon. I’ve been leery of seeing them but decided – they’re careful, I’m careful, let’s risk our lives to be together. Because they came to toboggan.

When we bought this house in 1986, we saw many of its advantages – big yard, close to downtown yet a quiet street. What we didn’t know was that it’s five minutes from the best toboggan hill in Toronto. My kids found that out soon enough, and now my grandkids. They brought their GT racers, we piled on the snow gear and stomped over to the hill. What a scene – William Kurelek, O Canada, scores of kids screaming with pleasure and fear hurtling down the hill, parents at the top chatting, keeping an eye, trekking down to help the smaller ones back up. Suddenly, it was 25 years ago, and I was one of those parents watching my kids go down. Now the child tobogganing then is the mother and I’m the grandmother, how did that happen and where does the time go?

Sheer joy to watch the boys’ cheeks glow red as they pushed off again and again and then climbed back up. The hill has a grade – a gentle slope at one end and very steep at the other. Eli and Ben started in the middle and worked their way to the steep side. Thomas and Anna went down too. Glamma, however, did not. 

I thought, toboganning is the perfect Canadian winter sport – unhierarchical, everyone can do it, no expensive gear, all you need is a piece of cardboard. People had all manner of sledding devices including two girls on puffy inflatable unicorns. A few slid down just on their bums. I didn’t take pix so here’s Kurelek – there were many more kids than this but you get the idea. 

And then back at the house – be still my beating heart – I turned on my gas fire. They sat near the flames while I made hot chocolate and then dinner. At one point, Thomas was lying on my chaise next to the fire with a picture book and a son snuggled under each arm. I thought, I could expire with pleasure right now. But luckily I did not. And then they went home and we’re all still alive.

Plus this week, the joy of reading what Biden is doing – each day, it gets better. Thank the good lord. 

On the other hand, I’d like to report on a royalty payment for January; Audible will be sending me a grand total of $14.83, royalties for 5 copies of the audiobook. Of course, that’s in U.S. dollars so considerably more: nearly $19! Not quite enough, however, for me to retire on. This business is heartbreaking for almost all of us. It’s not the money as much as the difficulty of the books finding an audience, finding readers. Tough tough tough. 

But here’s one writer who finds many readers: my dear Ruth Miller, who’s been a writing student with me for at least a decade, wrote this gorgeous piece for class a few months ago. Send it to the Globe immediately, I said; she did, and here it is in all its moving, funny glory:



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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.


Juliet in Paris, Spain and Beyond
Juliet is a Canadian who’s lived for decades in Paris and writes about her travels and the many things that interest her.