In Praise of Older Women




I’ve always quite liked older people and I must say that usually, they quite like me as well; maybe it’s because I am an old soul myself or simply because when I address them I don’t use a slower, LOUDER, special voice and I also like to avoid cyclical conversations about weather, Sudoku,  or their bowels.

(Or anyone’s bowels for that matter …)

I enjoy many of the older patrons at the library where I work but my all-time favourite is a sort of Katharine Hepburn type: slim, fiercely intellectual and still very beautiful; she wears dresses that would not be out of place on the set of a Midsummer Night’s Dream, all filmy sea-spray greens and swirls of pale pinks which she dismissively calls her “gardening dresses” and they flutter nearly to her ankles as she walks, which she does very quickly. I have seen her a few times sporting a bright, papery parasol as well. This woman is still curious about any number of interesting topics and is constantly researching everything from opera to Paul Robeson to astronomy and everything in between. She routinely leaves the library with six or seven books slung over her shoulder in a carpet-bag kind of tote and all that, after an extensive internet searching session.

As I said to her lately, “I want to be you – but NOW!” Continue reading

Someone’s Mum’s Rib Recipe — For those who don’t even like Ribs



I have a long and complicated history with ribs.

As a child, and then growing up, I wouldn’t even taste them having been deeply traumatized by the sight of slavering people in restaurants (albeit not fine restaurants) sucking and chawing away at bones with red sauce running down their chins and a shiny, 1980s lip gloss look about their entire personage afterwards.

Plus, these were actually ribs and guess what they looked like? Yes! Ribs! Gack!

As someone who often likens their own eating habits to that of the Gentle Brontosaurus (“Only tender young shoots and veggies for me please”) I actually do eat meat but I am very particular about it, which is an important precursor to this recipe.

Because these are, the ribs that even I will eat and enjoy – if somewhat guiltily.

Men, generally, seem to love these by the way and make no bones about it, if you’ll pardon the pun. Continue reading


IMG_0563 (2)

Just coming out of a little clutch of some time off work.

I purposefully arrange this every year as a treat for myself so that every month that has a long weekend, I take a few days off to extend the break.

And, to get a LOT of things done.

Strangely though, although I was very happy for much of the time as I worked away, digging, sifting soil, dragging my gloved hand across my eyes, I did begin to see vignettes from my past garden till suddenly everywhere I looked there was another memory, still bright and shiny and full of remarkable detail:  the dimples across the knuckles of my sons’ chubby hands, the slim, pink radishes we slid out of the soil and ate at once, squat, brown toads unearthed, blinking from beneath the darkness of a plank, a little snake dry and ribbon-like in my hand that makes Frasier gasp: “OH! Look how he’s breathing! He must be so scared!” and trying to fathom how it can be that I am the age I am, in Earth years, and how so much time can have passed by? Passed me by, especially. Continue reading

Ex Libris Speranza



Not unlike this entire blog, I find that my reading interests are all over the place. I say this not to impress but rather, to explain that I have always been curious about many things at the same time.  I often meet people in my line of work who will only read one author obsessively till they have exhausted the supply and then start reading their entire body of work all over again because there is “nothing else.”

I don’t understand this on so many different levels.

Right now, I have in an unstable tower beside my bed, a rotating pile of library books ranging from a biography of bad boy D.H.Lawrence to The Sweet Potato Lover’s Cookbook to Julian Barne’s Keeping an Eye Open: Essays on Art.

I also have a thing about books that offer tips to make life more organized or beautiful, preferably both, and to that end, I highly recommend the Pogue’s Basics: Life Essential Tips and Shortcuts (That no one bothers to tell you).  

Mr.Pogue, who is an entertaining New York Times bestselling author and TED talk veteran with over a million Twitter followers, covers everything from  removing water rings on wood instantly with mayonnaise (actually works SO well!) to choosing the day your credit card bill will be due, to using a single stick of spaghetti to light multiple candles or as a taper.

And TONS more in-between.

(Tip: There’s another Pogue book devoted entirely to technology – equally good!) Continue reading