My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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The Green Planet

We are all praying that tonight the Jan. 6 committee bangs a giant nail into the coffin of Evil Agent Orange.  Please God. Finish him the @#$# off!

It’s hot. My zucchini have blossom end rot, apparently a calcium deficiency, so I had to buy calcium carbonate tablets, grind them up, and stick them in the soil. The raspberries have that yellow leaf thing, apparently a nitrogen deficiency, so I had to buy bone meal and scatter it. And now, though there are four big cukes in the fridge, no new ones are growing. Who knew growing veggies was so time-consuming and perilous? And expensive? Tomatoes are going to go nuts soon, however, and the garden is joy. Love to watch the bees burrow. Loved the one magnificent monarch I saw today, and the cardinal bathing still in the heat, splashing about in the little pot of water on the deck. 

Bumble nuzzling the dazzling dahlia, motionless, for hours. ZZZZ.

Love it all, especially after watching the latest episode of David Attenborough’s The Green Planet. If you haven’t watched it yet, please DO. It’s brilliant and extremely moving, the fast motion photography showing plants and trees grow and attack and help each other, how they survive – how a plant in South Africa attracts dung beetles by producing seeds that look just like antelope dung, how an orchid disguises itself as a female wasp to trick the males, who embrace and pollinate it … mind-blowing!

Sam came to visit. Bandit is getting bigger, and he’s a handful. He likes to help with paper shredding. 

Today, a great treat – to Staples. Rows and stacks of post-its, pens, paper, and, yes, staples. I had to buy a few more of my favourite pens, Pentel’s EnerGel 0.7 nib in mid-blue and brown. But I also bought the NYT recommended pen, the Uniball Jetstream, and yes, good too. MMMM. PENS! Elegant Waterman pens especially, but the throw-aways are more practical. 

Former student and friend Rani wrote about the workshop on her blog

Once I entered the garden, all my worries drifted away, as we spent the day writing, going deep into our emotions and those stories that were waiting to be told, trusting one another with the delicacy and vulnerability of those truths. I wrote about Gosia, past loves, bad dates, and stories from my childhood inspired by an exercise where we picked fresh raspberries from the garden and wrote about what inspired us after we tasted them. There was an instant connection between all of us. We enjoyed a great lunch of quiche, salads and yummy bread, lots of tea and coffee, and a glass of wine at the end of day to discuss writing practice and what it means to be introspective and poke and prod at emotions, while most people are out shopping and buying watches.

That’s what I tell them in class: we’re in here poking ourselves in the gut while the ‘normal’ others are at the mall buying watches. And we’re the smart ones. Though I did, in fact, buy my lovely Timex that lights up at the Eaton Centre. Sometimes we introspectives do need to shop. And in fact, enjoy it. 

Yesterday my mother was haunting me. She was a talented artist in watercolours and oils, as well as a musician and much more. When Sam told me he’s started to draw and is thinking about painting, I went to look for Mum’s painting box, unopened since she died ten years ago. What an inspiring pile of brushes. Her apron, pencils, sharpeners, scraping tools, some dried-up paints – the back comes off to become an easel. I have an image of her outside, sitting on a little stool, totally focussed as she sketched. 

My relationship with Mum was complicated, as are most mother-daughter bonds, but sometimes I miss her a great deal. Good to have these souvenirs and to be able to pass them on, hope Sam will get good use out of his grandmother’s delicious paintbox. I wonder if one day Eli or Ben will be happy to have some of their grandmother’s Pentel EnerGel pens. Not quite the same. 



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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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