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Beth
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Sketchbook, July 2021-September 2022. (Best if viewed full screen, and you can click CC for some captions.) It always strikes me, when I finish a sketchbook, how much like a diary it actually is. During this journey through a little... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at the cassandra pages
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My father died at 97, a month ago tomorrow. Queen Elizabeth II died at 96, two weeks ago. Charles and Diana were married three days before Jonathan and I were married, at the end of July, 1981. Their marriage ended... Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2022 at the cassandra pages
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My father died today: the end of a very long, mostly happy, vigorous life. We were with him. I'm grateful for so much, relieved that his suffering was short, and yet still feel like a tree has fallen in the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2022 at the cassandra pages
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The clouds and sky continue to fascinate me, especially when storms are brewing and the clouds become full of water. They inspired me to get out my acrylics and do this fast sketch on paper the other day: brushes full... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2022 at the cassandra pages
Dear Rachel, Thank you so much for writing and responding to my last post...a lot of changes for us this summer, and big ones for you too. I agree with you about overwhelm and exhaustion; there have been times when I didnt feel like I knew how to keep going, but knew I had to, in order to take care of my father. Your situation was way more personal and immediate and frightening -- you described so well what it was like to pray while hooked up to drips and meds in the hospital; these arent situations one can anticipate. Your heart attack happened while I was distracted with Dads crisis, and I guess I missed the original post (which Ive read now) -- because I would have written to you, and Im very sorry that it happened and that I didnt respond. Im glad you recognized what was happening and got help, but it must have been extremely scary. Everyone says that the months following a heart attack are psychologically difficult, with relief mixed with a new sense of vulnerability and uncertainty. To have personal stuff overlaid on the world situation does feel like a major overload, and all I can say is that I hear you and I understand those feelings. My own anxiety level has been the highest I remember; getting somewhat better now that Dad is in a permanent living situation with good care, but were so far away and I dont have any siblings to help out; he thinks we should just bring him to live with us and cant understand why thats impossible. Its difficult, and I worry about the effect this is all having on my own health -- plus moving, on top of that. So many people, including some of our (yours and my) mutual friends, seem to be able to compartmentalize the world and their own lives a lot more effectively than I can, or I suspect you can. You have a young son whos going to be alive fifty, seventy-five years from now; I have young friends who I care about deeply -- and while we cant protect them from the cascading problems, my hope is that we can help them be strong, resourceful human beings who have inner lives that help sustain them. And I still hope that what were living through is a pendulum swing to the right, politically at least, which will eventually swing back when people discover how bankrupt those policies are. But day-to-day life feels so changed from even three years ago, and unless I totally put my head in the sand, its impossible not to acknowledge what is happening, the fear thats making people everywhere do desperate things, and the lack of significant action on so many fronts. I just wanted to reach out to say hello, that I share much of what youre expressing, and that Im glad to talk. Please take good care of yourself and do the things that give you solace and sustenance, and dont forget your old friends who care about you. love, Beth
Toggle Commented Aug 4, 2022 on Clouds at the cassandra pages
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transparent watercolor in sketchbook; stormy sky just before sunset I've never lived up in the sky before, but it feels like I do now. We have windows on two sides of our new apartment, facing north and west, and they... Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2022 at the cassandra pages
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A rainy evening in the clouds, the first sustained weather like this we’ve had since moving here. I like the different feeling in the apartment: quiet and closed-in, with the nearby all we can see and therefore much more prominent.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2022 at the cassandra pages
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J. and M. on our terrace in Montreal's Plateau Mont-Royal, in 2012. We're moving. That little statement could mean all sorts of things. But the French word déménagement is so specific, and in this case it means we're moving house.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2022 at the cassandra pages
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I'm sitting at my grandmother's antique slant-top desk. It's a gorgeous piece of cabinetry, larger than my own desk, with detailed inlays and dovetail joinery, drawers for pens and supplies, vertical pull-out holders for writing papers, and a locking cabinet... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2022 at the cassandra pages
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Dear Readers, This is probably the longest I've ever gone between two posts: a lot has been going on. Thank you for checking back here. On the morning of March 23, my father's partner Barbara suffered a massive stroke and... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2022 at the cassandra pages
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Today marks nineteen years of continuous blogging here, and I find myself at a loss for words. Partly because it doesn't even make sense to me that I've done this for that long; partly because Cassandra -- like nearly everyone... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2022 at the cassandra pages
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Snow on the terrace. Fountain pen in sketchbook, 9" x 6". March 4, 2022. A friend posted a cartoon the other day - you may have seen it - that was a variation of the little fish being eaten by... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2022 at the cassandra pages
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Lent begins today: the Christian season of repentance, reflection, and renunciation. I went to the noontime services at the cathedral, and when the priest came down the aisle with the bowl of ashes, I rose -- but only reluctantly --... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2022 at the cassandra pages
First of all, I would like my US and international readers to know that the news about the truck convoy protest, as reported in Canada, is quite different than what I have heard is being reported through some other media,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2022 at the cassandra pages
Night settles over the park, shadows have rolled themselves up; the sky, a flat translucence behind cut-out branches casts a blue light on the snow. In the hedge, little lights glow like forgotten fireflies, the sparrow-flock has flown, a leaping... Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2022 at the cassandra pages
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My friend Jon Appleton died on Sunday evening at the age of 83. Yesterday afternoon, a brilliant blue day, we drove to Mont St-Bruno and took a long walk around the Lac Seigneurial; it was the right thing to do.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2022 at the cassandra pages
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Our houseplants all go outside on the terrace in the summer, and in the winter they're on tables near the front windows, under plant lights. Unlike the summer arrangement, when each one is in its ideal growing spot, shown off... Continue reading
Posted Jan 19, 2022 at the cassandra pages
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The mantel corner this year One of the boring (and probably annoying) things about me is that I've always had a lot of self-discipline. The trait got dinned into me early; it's a characteristic of my father, who was always... Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2022 at the cassandra pages
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January 6th is Epiphany, when Christians celebrate the coming of the Three Kings from the East to the cradle in Bethlehem, led by a star blazing in the heavens that "stopped over the place where Jesus lay." It's always been... Continue reading
Posted Jan 5, 2022 at the cassandra pages
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Happy New Year! I hope I've learned and grown in 2021, even if what stands out more clearly right now are the struggles and worries. May 2022 be a gentler year for all of us, and may we remember to... Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2022 at the cassandra pages
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Well, here is the list of books I read during the past year, and I am grateful for every one of them. Each became my companion for a time during this second pandemic year, and through many of them, I... Continue reading
Posted Dec 28, 2021 at the cassandra pages
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This angel comes to you bearing my best wishes for these last days of 2021, however you observe or celebrate them - may there be love, and music, and some joy and peace in your life, and recognition that you... Continue reading
Posted Dec 24, 2021 at the cassandra pages
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The shortest day of the year was a sunny one in Montreal, at least for the brief daylight hours. I started this quick watercolor after lunch, and noticed that the park lights came on at 1 pm! It's 3:45 now,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 21, 2021 at the cassandra pages
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I don't have many words to offer today, but I do have some color. This bowl of fruit was declared off limits for one evening, when I did the watercolor, and then was very quickly eaten over the next days.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 15, 2021 at the cassandra pages
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Still life with Persian miniature and Athena, watercolor and ink, December 2021 There are two groups of people for whom "pandemic time" has taken on particular poignancy. The young, because they can only measure time by the years they've already... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2021 at the cassandra pages