Category Archives: Seniority

Teleworking week 2: view from home, part 1

Standard

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.

The sweetness of grandmother-granddaughter talk

Standard

In a doctor’s waiting room, a very talkative grandmother tries to get her granddaughter’s attention. The 15 year old tries to read. The dialogue goes like this:

– You can read your book at home.

– I can read and listen to you at the sane time, grandmother. I finally learned how to do it.

– You can keep your book. In my younger days, I was reading books all night long. I was 18.

– I am 15, grandmother.

– You can still read your book at home. What’s in you backpack?

– School things.

– Look at this! The grandmother seems surprised by the way the girl’s colorful backpack is made.

She then goes on about the lost value of Christmas, her neighbor crazy driving, religious tolerance … .

The appointment was for the young lady. I thought “How sweet! The grandmother accompanied her grandchild!” I almost wished she would never stop talking. I wished she would turn to me to get me to listen while waiting for her granddaughter to come out of the doctor’s office.

Then I got it. It’s their special thing: a 85 year old grandmother – 15 year old granddaughter dialogue, tune, reverberation.

Here is to all sweet grandmothers-granddaughters joy of sharing!

A great-grandmother from India is winning hearts with her cooking video – re-post

Standard
She reminded me of my grandmother: puts to shame my cooking skills and my equipped kitchen. Enjoy!
***

A great-grandmother from India is winning hearts with her cooking video.

A great-grandmother from India is winning hearts with her cooking videos. Mastanamma doesn’t have a birth certificate to prove her 106 years but has millions of followers who can’t have enough of her recipes and #GrannyWisdom.

Video journalist: Suniti Singh

Translation: K.R. Rajagopal; images courtesy of Country Foods

http://www.bbc.com/news/video_and_audio/headlines/39872650/is-this-worlds-oldest-youtube-star

The story of a tablecloth

Standard
The story of a tablecloth

My previous year Zara Home Christmas tablecloth looked far from the festive look it was promising when purchased. And  Christmas last year asked for something meaningful de celebrate.

On Christmas Eve, I was in the capital of what is still known as the poorest country of Europe. -10Celsius. The souvenirs market colored the grey December afternoon with paintings, souvenirs and handcrafts. She was there. She is as beautiful as i met her four and a half years ago https://lovevonbeautyvonlove.com/2012/07/23/lets-talk-about-aging-part-2/ 

I am with my daugther. We spot a white tablecloth with a delicately crafted finishing. It is exactly what we wanted for our Christmas dinner. 

The beautiful old lady is frozen and asks as to help ourselves. I touch her hand. It’s as cold as ice. I offer to bring her a hot tea. She declines. With modesty. She switches the conversation to my daugther. The purchase made, I leave with a hope to see her in Spring. I hope with all my heart. 

The white tablecloth joined the other two tablecloths i bought from her. They witness our family meals, meals with friends, silent meals, joyful meals. They keep the story of the beautiful old lady part of our stories. 

#buylocal #buywithimpact

Backs stories

Standard

– Look at my back. It’s a question mark!
My sixty something dearest friend in her early retirement months is doing a self assessment of her forty something career behind a desk. 

Her question was more about the point. Not the posture. What was the point of a rounded upper back she developed sitting behind a desk? Formally, she was a seniour civil servant who outlived (office time wise) dozens of ministers and deputy ministers. Personally, she is a mother of two and a granny of 3. She has been married to the same guy, who still makes her laugh, for 45 years. 

Throughout her career she has been offered numerous top positions. She constantly declined. She was well too aware of the costs. That kept her head clear and down to earth. The earth of her family. Top positions would have brought her all the perks promised by her benefactors. She also knew they would have taken her away from her family. Her backbone.  

Ministers are gone, policies are enacted and changed, re-enacted and changed again.  Her family is there with her, for her. She is there with them, for them. Her spine line might not be perfect. But her backbone is perfectly aligned to her source of hapinness.  

Women struggle with family-work balance. We read more and more about it. Striking the right balance is a choice. With consequences in each case. It’s not always linear. Some choices are more fulfilling than others. Some choices are more fulfilling in some life periods than others. Once women are kind to themselves the balance is there. I only caught a glimpse of that. Thank you, dearest friend!  Ask me more. 

Mint Tea

Standard

Le Glezio’s phrase “Now the photogrher’s kitchenette is full of boxes of gunower tea and jasmin tea and little bundles of mint” in “Desert” triggered a memory.
I was having breakfast in one of the locally branded cafes in an airport in the easterm part of this double-baptised continent. A vegetables omlette, a fresh orange juice and an espresso.
A lady asked if the seat vis-a-vis mine is free. Her grey well done hair was nimb like. The light of her spirit made her face look wrinkless. She was above eighty or maybe seventy or sixty? It did not realy matter. Her softness and kindness was just transcendent, translucent and ageless. She looked briefly at the menu and ordered a mint tea. mint_tea_185149The waiter respectfully obliged and returned within minutes. She seemed content.
I finished my breakfast in her quiet company. Her gestures made it clear that no talk will be imposed from either sides. I did not want to spoil the mint translucence either.
As my boarding time was announced, I went to the waiter to pay for my breakfast and asked him to include the lady’s mint tea on my bill. He was surprised yet managed it quickly with a humble accomplice smile. His smile had the mint flavour without him knowing it.
I returned for my things and wished the beautiful lady a nice day. She responded with a quiet mint smile. I stored it in my memory box in the department of “beauty is all around us” with the mint color label of “all we need is to see and feel it”.

Pledges

Standard

I have a black dress with a beautiful flower print, three quarters sleeves, midi length. I call it my 90s dress. As in “a dress to wear in my 90s”.image

I picture myself in my mid ninetees wearing it with an orange scarf, a flirtish small purse, mid heels, by my partner’s arm, heading to my daughter’s house for an afternoon picnic.

This is my pledge. A pledge to a long, healthy, happy life, surrounded by people with whom I share a commitment to nurturing. I love the feeling this pledge gives. It makes me grateful and wise about how I use my life resources.

I once met a psychiatrist who cautioned me about the way I use my resources, in a period I worked for five big clients simultaneously, under tough tight deadlines. A did not know the word No at that time. From an Yes person, I turned into a robot. The psychiatrist asked me to pay a visit to her hospital. Seeing Mentally alienated people was an wake up call. It showed the bottom which brought in the salvaging perspective. The mind is a servant. Put it to good use and it will serve you. Make it run endless, meaningless errands and it will rebel. Payback time will get tough. The bottom will be quick to hit. Regaining balance will be challenging.

Back to my dress. It was on my “to donate” list. Until its orange flower print gave me that sense of perpetuation. Was it its stand-out orange pattern, with its energising sunny colour? Was it the contrast between black and orange as in a competition for a bet on the bright side of the life? It can be both. It regained now a prominent place in my wardrobe. This pledge is printed out, folded and kept in my diary, as a claim made with an open heart and humility to a long, healthy, prosperious, loving, fulfilling life for the good of all.