Saturday, March 4, 2017

my usual winter travels

Sitting in my office, angled so the hot hot sun pouring in is beaming on my chest and not my face. Get those healing lungs in the healing heat. Soon, off to the AGO to meet Anna and the boys. Whether they look forward to the art or to the delicious macaroni and cheese in the cafeteria I don't know, but it doesn't matter.

Got this welcome note yesterday:
I had the pleasure of taking your class last fall at Ryerson while I was pregnant with my son. Now that I'm a mom of two my time has been limited in terms of when I can write, but I did find time to work on and expand some of the stories I developed in your class. In fact, I just got word that one of my stories will be broadcast on CBC Radio's The Sunday Edition!

I wanted to thank you for helping me get my creative juices flowing in your class. The story I wrote was actually the last story I submitted for the class.

Always happy to hear a student success story, especially from a woman coping with two small children and still finding time to write and even harder, to submit. Brava!

Re our planet, I'm getting to the point I can't watch any more. On Bill Maher last night, the environmentalist Bill McGibbon talked about all the massive destruction Trump's team have already perpetrated, in only a month - toxic waste in rivers, cutting environmental regulations, selling guns to crazy people. And then they talked about how Trump will start a war to distract critics from the Russia scandal and the rest. I feel like a lemming, being forced by my fellow lemmings to jump off a cliff, when I really, really don't want to. Too much to live for. But these Republican lunatics are determined that we shall all die. 

So, to focus on something cheery: In 2 1/2 weeks, I leave for my annual winter get-away. Last year I went to Vancouver; this year, lots of travel. On March 23, I fly to Paris, where I'll spend one night recuperating from jet lag in my favourite tiny hotel and then on for a week to the airbnb apartment in the Marais my beloved friend Lynn has rented for the two of us. She has work there so will be busy during the day and we'll spend evenings dining and jabbering, as we have loved to do since we met in September 1967 - nearly 50 years ago. Then I'll go south to spend a bit of time with her husband Denis, recovering from cancer surgery, in their homes in Provence and in Montpellier. And thence to Nice for a few days with my dear Brucie. 

An Easyjet flight from Nice to London, where I'll spend a week on my own, except for a few days when Penny comes in; we've already bought our theatre tickets. Lynn's son Christopher, who lives in central London with his family, is going away for Easter and has kindly offered me their Marylebone flat. So I have a place to stay free for almost my entire week in London, which makes a huge difference, not just financially, but for feeling at home, cooking, being able to get away from the frenzy of that insane and marvellous city. I hasten to say that the trip includes work as well as pleasure - doing some research on places I mention in the memoir, including a visit to the L'Arche community I worked at in 1979. It's always valuable to look at work, at stories, a great distance from home.

I know, incredibly lucky! Then, for more excess, I fly home for a week - see my grandsons, take a piano lesson, unpack, do laundry, repack and set off again for two weeks in Vancouver. The annual Creative Non-fiction Collective conference is May 5-7 there, so I'm going early to stay in Brucie's apartment again - he'll still be in Europe - and see my Vancouver buds. I'll also go to Gabriola Island to see Patsy and then have a solo adventure on the west coast of Vancouver Island - have rented a place on Chesterman Beach by myself for two solitary days of beach-combing and thinking. What a jump, from Paris and London to Chesterman Beach. Heaven.

And then home, to start teaching immediately - 3 courses - and plunge back into real life. The garden will be ready to go, and the Conversation Circle, and So True which will need lots of work in only a month to get it ready for June 4, and everything else. I'm also being audited by CRA and having mammograms and have doctor's appointments and all that stuff. Life. 

Here's to life! Much better than the alternative. Here's to that sun penetrating my lungs right this minute. Onward. 


  1. Hi Beth ... Just a general comment to say how much I enjoy reading your blogs. I usually do a binge-reading about once a week. Your texts serve as a bit of a conduit to my idea of "thoughtful Canada" and generally remind me of all the things I used to take for granted. Enjoy your upcoming travels. By the way, my son lives in Le Marais, which must certainly rank as one of the most enjoyable parts of the city. And enjoy your London and west coast time, too. Chesterman Beach! Now there's an evocative reference.

  2. Alan, good to hear from you. I don't know the Marais very well, as the place I used to stay was in the Latin Quarter, so this is a whole new side of the river for me. We're right on the Place d'Aligre, and I happen to know there's a good market there. Can't wait. Glad you'll be along for the ride.

    1. At this point I have to mention my favourite Marais bistro: Les Temps des Cerises, 31 rue de la Cerisaie. The place takes its name from a 19th century song, later recorded by Yves Montand and others. I know Place d' Aligre. Quite a lively fruit and vegetable market there. We're hoping to visit our first-born at the end of April. He has been there nearly three years now, having come a long way since his early days in East Van!

  3. Enjoy your winter travels Beth, here's to some sunshine and a return to full health. Have a wonderful time (which I know you will) Carole