My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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Happy Canada Day! Think about roses, not nuclear war.

There’s a wonderful story the sublime French writer Colette tells in a memoir: when she was to be inducted into the Légion d’Honneur, one of the first French women to be offered this great honour, she wrote to ask her mother, Sidonie, to come from her home in the country to witness the event. Sidonie wrote back that she’d love to, but her special plant that flowered only once every few years was due to flower at exactly that time. So she could not come.

I understand. It seems to me I must never go away mid-to-late June and early July, because of the William Morris roses. They’re glorious, the scent pure and pervasive. I love these roses, a magical pink blessing that lasts only a few weeks, with my heart and gut. They’re a gift to me and anyone who sees and smells them. How could I go away and miss this? I’m with you, Sidonie.

Though actually, if one of my offspring were getting a great honour, or even a minor honour, I’d go.

Here are blooms cut today that are faded and past their prime yet still so lovely. Like — ahem — certain older women I know.

Last night, I watched the last half of Desk Set, a comedy written by Nora Ephron’s parents for Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn, which I’d seen a long time ago. Had forgotten it’s about a man who’s hired to modernize the reference department of a newspaper, run by a group of brilliant women, with his giant computer called Emmy. In 1957, the computer took up half the room and made loud booping noises. The women hate it and think it’s taking their jobs. But Tracy shows them the machine isn’t there to replace their work but to make it easier. It will find information so they’re free to do research.

Ha! I immediately Googled the film, my own personal Emmy the size of a slim coffee-table book on my lap. I wonder what the filmmakers would think if they could see the pervasive, overwhelming reach of ChatGPT.

Got depressed yesterday. The savvy leftie Linda McQuaig wrote in the Star that we are all crazy to be concerned about the economy or even about climate change. What we should be concerned about is nuclear war, with so many heedless yahoo strongmen in the world. Went to bed with a nightmare vision of Kim Jong Un on a bad day. Terrifying.

Maybe don’t think about it.

Happy Pride to those who celebrate; it’s the big party weekend here. And Happy Canada Day! Proud and happy to live in this fine country. Flawed, but mighty fine. Especially after the election of Olivia Chow.



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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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