Easter is amsoabout baking, as my grand mother has been doing for decades for our big family. I added chocolate tasting to create and maintain our own tradition. Thanks to chocolate makers of Lindt, Sprungli, Laderach and Martel.
Category Archives: Relationships
Our first virtual date
We increasingly live in parallel worlds and switch from virtual to what we call “real” in the blink of an eye, literally. So, when my child proposed to organise for us a virtual romantic dinner, I jumped into it with enthusiasm. And gratitude. After such a long period of “date fasting” imposed by this unusual times, a virtual date sounded absolutely great. I would not have to worry about the cough at the next table, at least.
So at the appointed time, we logged in and got an invitation to join the place where a table with delish looking food was laid for us on a terrace just for the two of us. Our child acted as a host and was at our service with grace and joy. She also fully designed the place and paid for all expenses. She is a very generous person.
We did everything you do on a date: we chatted, ate, drank (water – no alcohol allowed in the game). We also had an invited guest popping in. Thank you, game creators, for the “block » button.
The fun part is that you can do in the game things you’d not normally do in real life. Like dancing on the table after the meal. Not that you cannot do that in real life, I guess, under certain circumstances, which you may regret the next day.
So, I fully recommend the virtual dating. It’s fun, unobliging and free, free from mosquitos as well.
Have fun and stay safe on the internet.
Thought of the week
An autumn love story
On a warm autumn day, in a town on the Mediterranean, I let my kid choose where she wanted to have lunch. Her choice led us to a place were locals go. Tables next to each other. Waiters saluting clients with a non-chalance of old friends. This kind of place.
We were given a table in the middle of the room and soon enough a couple was sat next to us.
She was beaming with elegance, her hair just out of a hairdresser’s. White blouse, dark skirt. Let’s call her Mathilde. He was dressed as if in a hurry. A hurry to see her, I thought. Let’s call him Henry. They both seemed to have been born in the middle of last century.
They ordered the plat du jour and wine. Henry immediately became chatty with the lady at the table next to them. He told her the story of his life in 5 minutes: he is retired, daughter lives in another country, he and the lady having lunch with him is not his wife and they just “see each other”. He would be good on Twitter, I thought, with such a talent for conciseness.
The lady at the next table offered them her unfinished bottle of wine. I also wanted to offer something, in exchange for more stories. I offered them our untouched basket of bread. They accepted it with the joy of 5 year olds on Christmas eve.
As we switched our attention to our plates, their dialogue unfolded:
– Oh, darling, your back hurts again?, Henry asked with a compassion level 100, as she tried to find a comfortable posture in her chair.
– Oh, it’s fine, Mathilde tried to reassure him.
– Well, you know the remedy. You come to my place. You undress. I give you a massage on your back, his hands demonstrating circular movements, as if around her delicate shoulders.
Mathilde blushed and directed his blue eyes with her green eyes to my daughter, as if saying: « Shsh, there are kids around ». Henry’s blue eyes responded: “Well, sooner or later, she will find out. What’s there to hide?!”
– Well, you felt good after our last time…, his sweet smile enveloping her.
We left the place with the feeling of having watched a good movie from the 50s. Their illuminated faces – a lovely memory of an autumn love story. Ageless. Priceless.
P.S. I remembered this story in the times of this pandemic… I truly hope they are well and their love continues to brighten their days.
Teleworking week 2: view from home, part 1
The closest pharmacy to my place is on the ground floor of my apartments bloc. The other day, as I was waiting outside for my turn to enter, a seniour citizen in his late 70s “approached” me:
– You are not wearing a mask…. Why?, he asked, a bandana in his hand.
– I do not need to. It serves those who are sneezing, coughing…, I answered summoning all my empathy.
– You know, he replied, I am terrified. I watch the TV and see all that….
– I have no TV for ten years now.
– You may be right, he said,…about the TV.
– Would you like to go inside the pharmacy? I can wait, I offered.
He gladly took my offer. I could hear their conversation. The pharmacist assumed he had hearing problems so he was yelling his answers. The gentleman was clearly scared. He did not buy anything. He needed human interaction and hypeless communication.
There is no right or wrong way to react to all around in these new circumstances. It’s one thing to watch a SF movie and another to be here and now. This is one of the reasons I never liked SF movies and apocalyptic views.
Back to the story of this gentleman. He is one of the millions, indoors, with a TV only as a company, probably, his loneliness brought at another level… . Psychologists already noticed it. Too many bad news and little information on recovery is dangerous for the human psyche. Psychologists around the world keep encouraging to try to look for positives and share them when you talk to others. It is demonstrated by research that a stressed mind diminishes the immune response.
Some countries and regions have installed services for people to call and talk to someone. Some of us are doing it at personal level – through baskets of solidarity or food ordered and delivered to those who need it. I see it in my country, enabled by charities joining forces with the business, like Diaconia and Kaufland.
Again, on a personal level one can read a book by skype/phone or start a virtual book club. Or put together a list of online entertainment: free opera streaming, concerts, movies, virtual museums visits etc. Little gestures which bring a human voice and touch to a lonely human heart … .
I loved Daniel Kaufmann’s article of this week “Caremongering – random acts of kindness” https://www-brookings-edu.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.brookings.edu/blog/future-development/2020/03/19/caremongering-in-the-time-of-coronavirus-random-acts-of-kindness-and-online-enrichment/amp/
Here is to caremongering – random acts of kindness today and everyday.
Kneel and listen
On a Saturday evening, as I was waiting for my friend, I noticed a jolly trio – a French grandmother with two boys. “Mamie, mamie!”, spinning around her with joy and a blissful ignorance of the world around them. She was their world. They were her world.
Their chatter was incessant, questions followed by affirmations, without any need for answers. They had the confidence of someone who is loved, cherished and treated on an equal footing. I knew why, the moment she kneeled.
She appeared so well-grounded. Being well-grounded is the greatest gift a parent and grand-parent can make to a child. Something tells me these two boys will turn into well-grounded adults and one day they will kneel down to talk to their kids.
Kids only mirror and give what they receive.
Thank you 2019
When I was little, year 2000 seemed stellar years away. And now I say “Hello 2020!”
As I finish this year in my kitchen with crème patissière under my nails, I choose a moment of solitude to write down a few thanks to the passing year.
Thank you 2019,
for my new motherhood experiences. It is a 3D of past, present and future. Kids are unattainable teachers. We just have to open our hearts.
for a magic encounter with a new painter – Conny Famm from Sweden at his “Nordic Grace” exhibition. His “State of soul” is divine.
for my privileged and intimate friendships, which are untouched by distance. You know who are.
for my great professional relationships, which evolved into friendships. You know who you are.
for a new and growing sorority of spirits, regardless of our genders and age. We know who we are.
for many brilliant books I read this year.
for “Angel” by MyiaGi, my song of the year.
for a few small traditions I helped create, which continue to benefit those who need it most.
for my Grandmother’s traditions I sacredly follow on our special family occasions. It is my way to keep her in our hearts. Some of them fill our stomachs just fine, which she also loved doing for us, just like this cheese pie.
for the patience of my hubby when he fights his unspoken “You bought again so many!?, as he knows that I will support all forms of women’s entrepreneurship.
for new wisdoms I discovered and share with my daugthers. Here is a selection of my favourites:
- The story you tell yourself is by far more important than the story other people tell you.
- There is no truth in suffering.
- Patience is a virtue few have, and those who have it gain it all.
- What others say or do is about them. If you internalise it, you make it about you.
- There are two basic emotions: fear and faith. The choice is yours.
- Your behaviours demonstrate your values. Choose what you show to the world.
- Age does not register with those who are busy with good deeds.
- People who say that they will do it and then actually do it are rare. Be one of rare ones.
Thank you, 2019! Hello and welcome, 2020!
Social capital: the gains, the losses, the flow
Pamela B. Paresky PhD writes in her article “Meet the teen who discovered the secret of social capital” in Psychology Today: “As a rule, we don’t teach children to tend, defend, and befriend those without social status — to spend social capital on targets of derision and exclusion.» https://www.psychologytoday.com. This deserves reflection and action, for the good of all concerned.
I saw this happening in my high school, then latter in life at my child’s kindergarten. Many do see, not many act. The choice between social capital, which can be replenished, and the dignity and life of the other should be straightforward. Moreover, kindness and warmheartedness are not energies spent. They are energy fuels.
Kids at any age only mirror the parents and adults in their lives. Let us fuel kindness and courage to not be afraid to spend well our social capital. And then it will not be even necessary to ask children to do so. It will become a natural flow of social captal to serve humanity.
from Latin integritatem (nominative integritas) “soundness, wholeness, completeness,” figuratively “purity, correctness, blamelessness”
When you go back to the origin of words, things come sometimes into a long forgotten perspective.
What is integrity actually? How does it manifest? What kind of behaviour a person with integrity displays?
From my observations and writings by smarter people, integrity has a number of positive behavioural traits:
Humility: there is no pride, no sense of competition, no desire to prove anything or to anyone.
Kindness: a person acting with integrity will treat a CEO and a janitor with the same kindness.
Authenticity: there is no mask. Integrity has nothing to hide.
Reliability: you can always rely on people with integrity.
Honesty: integrity is open and truthful.
It’s about giving credit: integrity does not claim what is not hers.
Always on time: people with integrity respect your time and their own time.
Integrity will never offend: even under the cover of an anonymous on-line account.
Integrity is open minded and also knows when not to change its mind.
Integrity places an emphasis on emotional intelligence more than on IQ.
Integrity knows when and how to apologise. People with integrity know they are only human and keep themselves in check.
Integrity keeps its promise. People with integrity will be there for you, if they said so.
Integrity is intuitive and will not let harsh calculations have a decisive say.
Integrity will not take advantage of others vulnerabilities.
Integrity knows a hammer is not only for nails. It is also a sculpture’s tool.
Integrity serves. It does not wait to be served.
Integrity has a great sense of humour and can LOL about itself.
Integrity results in accountability. If we act with integrity in all walks of life from parenting to interacting with colleagues and partners, the world has a change of becoming a better place.
When you think of it, when integrity is in place, harassment, discrimination, fraud, humiliation, deprivation and others stand NO chance.
You must be logged in to post a comment.