Did you ever hear about “wakaresaseya”? It is a business in Japan which delivers broken marriages and divorces through agents who play the lover to elicit “evidence” of adultery. In short, they are breaker-uppers. People with pecuniary interests and/or desire to keep the child often make recourse to such services. This novel is inspired by a real murder trial in Tokyo in 2010.
« What’s left of me is yours » is a story told through the eyes of a child caught in the middle of this adults’ game. It is also a story of a woman who was pulled in the game by her bitter and broken husband. It is the story of the agent who fell in love with his target and their mutual love. It is the story of a man who had to become a father again when his grandchild lost her mother in this cruel manipulation. It is a story of choices between getting stuck in revenge and building a future, hide away or embrace humanity.
I loved Scott’s beautiful writing style. It made me witness events, feel the emotions of characters, smell the ocean and hear the sounds of places where it took me.
– Bye, darling, I am gone for half-a-day.
– « Gone? ». Did you write your déclaration for today?
– Why? Do we need one now for going to the bathroom?
Well, if I cannot go to the Spa, the Spa comes to me. And as in a Award acceptance speech, my thanks go to:
– my flat owner for having not saved money on a proper bathtub. Those with a history with French « landlords » know what I am talking about.
– my pharmacist for having good supplies of essential oils. For now, my favourites are Lemon and Palmarosa for their escapist abilities to take my senses to a garden in full bloom.
– and to my hubby for my perfect espresso with a pinch of nutmeg.
By the end of this week, I developed an interest in Kardashians. I know everything about Stormie. I do not keep up yet with the entire klan (k – on purpose) of Kardashians. If this lasts, however, you never know.
My hubby trusted me with his haircut. I am not yet ready to reciprocicate.
I joined the diminishing trend of the blond population, estimated to go down by 70-80 percent. We, blondes, need to remain trendy.
My succulent is blossoming. Spring is in da house:
I clearly distinguish now by voice the neighbours’ kids: baby, toddler 1, toddler 2, just kid, teenager 1, teenager 2.
My average weekly walking distance is a joke. I turned off the counting. Walking with the phone in the pocket does not help.
I am glad I can cook and bake. These skills are priceless. Thank you, grandmother. I know you are smiling with satisfaction now.
I am disappointed that there was no funny incident during my kid’s virtual classes this week. You know, like the ones facebook is flooded with. With the exception of a background noise of some plates reaching the floor and the teacher’s voice: “ Attention, la vaisselle!” I hope it was not too expensive.
I immersed myself in hand washing, stream-washing style. Excellent for shoulders. Some of my wash-by-hand cloths are having a pool party. At least someone does.
And, my succulent is a text book example of resilience: and it shall bloom no matter what.
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.
I should be working on an assignment on inter-institutional coordination in complex emergencies. My mind took a break. A coffee and chocolate break. And not even feelling guilty about it. Love my mind!
I have two addictions – dark chocolate and wise people. Love them combined.
Every Friday morning it’s my beauty hour. Friday is the “day of Frige”, an Old English goddess, cousin with Roman Venus, goddess of beauty. It is kind of an explanation I give myself for indulging all kind of beauty treatments on Friday. It’s also a nice prelude to week-end days.
So every Friday morning I go to a beauty salon to my beloved cosmetologist whose hands are beautifying my face for the last decade or so. She just turned 70. Before her divine massage she orders coffee. We chat about everything and nothing. This is The best coffee I ever had and hope to continue having for the next decade or so. It smells and tastes like no coffee on earth.
The feeling is similar to having a bottle of wine with a great person and still feeling alcohol-free as opposed to getting drunk from a sip of wine in an inappropriate company.
To make it even more magical I bring her chocolate desserts I bake, for us to celebrate these special moments. The way she tastes my desserts and appreciates the flavours stays with me for another week. Untill next Friday morning.
So why is this coffee so different? ….It’s the wisdom and gestures of this lady. The way she graciously puts the coffee on table, takes a first sip, ponders to feel it’s warmth and asks about how I have been. Her eyes are always illuminated by a magic internal light. She is always genuinely interested in conversation and in spite of her enormous life experience she is never in a hurry to give advice.
Such an organic and holistic approach – body & soul & mind – wrapped in an aroma of coffee & chocolate, with the fragrance of a facial masque, enriched with seven decades of life wisdom and served in a nonchalant and elegant way.
From the love of beauty and with the beauty of love.
I am a sucker for French dessert. Coulant of chocolat, marbre au chocolat et banana, chocolate mousse, éclairs, fondue, truffles, crème brûlée, savarin, sorbet, crepes, gâteau aux poires et pépites de chocolat …. needless to mention croissant, pain au chocolat and escargot.
This is my mood booster, with a cup of hot Turkish coffee with a bit of cinnamon, sweetened cherry and a spoon of cocoa.
I do not only enjoy eating them, I love to cook them. Such a sense of magic happening under your eyes: eggs meeting butter and melted chocolate to form a creamy marriage, flour creating white clouds on the kitchen’s ceiling, cinnamon, vanilla, etc. to spoil senses, fingers feeling the softness and delicacy of the cream ….
Cuisine is an art – remember Gusteau’s famous “anyone can cook”?! (“Ratatouille”). It is also a therapy. Nothing relaxes me more than finding a new recipe, testing it and seeing the dessert baking in the oven: growing, mounting, getting crispy or moist. In 60 minutes you’ve got the result. In another 30 minutes you’ve got the impact – mouths full of yummy-yummy and smiling faces around the table. Now talk about “result-based management”! And there is more. Guests asking for the recipe and, after having tried it themselves, returning calls with “wow, my guests were all “wow wow””. Double impact and … cascading! The other day, my good friend told me her grand kids baked one of my recipes for her birthday, as a b-day surprise. You should have seen her sparkling eyes when she was telling me how delighted she was about the dessert and the efforts her grand kids made for her! … Oh, love!
Give it a try: it works well for both body and soul. Well…. when done with moderation… some sort of moderation…any sort of moderation that works well for you, today and ever, with love and beauty, for body and soul.
Ready? Go! http://www.famousfrenchdesserts.com/, www.joyofbaking.com , http://www.delish.com/recipes/cooking-recipes/classic-french-desserts-recipes and many others. Please do share yours.