My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

Beth Kaplan logo

The Chair

This country is going through an election, and I’ll have to stop listening to the news. The sniping and insulting and boasting and absurd promises that can never be kept – they make me sick. I fear calling the election early, with the 4th wave crashing in and the Afghan rescue mission in chaos, is a mistake Trudeau will regret. And if we end up with a Conservative government, that this country will regret.

Okay, let’s move on. I just watched The Chair, an excellent six-part Netflix series. Sandra Oh stars as a professor who has made history by becoming the first female and Asian Chair of the English department of a small American university. My father was Chair of Biology at the University of Ottawa, and this, from a Washington Post review of the show, resonated: 

That’s what I think Dad found, too. I thought the show was scattered in focus and tone, with slapstick humour, a critique of the naive and destructive excesses of student political correctness and yet also of the sexist, racist hierarchy of the university, and more. But it’s also about the good that good teachers do, the actors are terrific, and it’s fun. I enjoyed it. 

What was not so much fun was my CT scan yesterday; you have to drink a lot of liquid and wait. When my time came, the doctor said I was getting “the Cadillac machine,” as he slid me into a huge round white maw. Results as yet unknown. Tomorrow morning, another eye exam. I do know that as I age, doctor’s appointments are going to take more time. The alternative, however, is not so good. 

When my brother was here, his son pointed out that he and I have the same condition, trigger finger, in which one finger remains stuck in a bent position, in exactly the same finger, the ring finger of the right hand. Genetic trigger finger, who knew? Apparently I can get a cortisone shot to alleviate it. Add another doctor’s appointment. There’s another little lump on my head; they keep appearing, not to mention the brown spots. One day I’m going to write an ode to my tweezers, my most important beauty aide. I spend time each day depilating my poor bristly chin and upper lip and eyebrows. Oh, it’s not pretty, this stuff. 

But the alternative is not so good.

What I think of as one of my best essays has never found a home, so I sent it to an editor I know for feedback. She replied, I adore the essay and have read it over and over, trying to decode the hesitation on the receiving end when you’ve sent it out. The vitality is what I love about your writing.

So, grateful for the support, I just sent it out again. A woman who has registered for the U of T class in October just wrote: True to Life is on its way, as is All My Loving. Loose Woman I’ve finished a few moments ago with tears of love for the exuberant woman that you are.

So nice! I guess this exuberant, hairy old bag will just keep going.



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.