A long saved holiday read from Slate magazine: the Dalai Lama’s Ski Trip. The writer, Douglas Preston, meets the Dalai Lama in Santa Fe, New Mexico and takes him skiing. The article ends: As we finished, a young waitress with tangled, dirty-blond hair and a beaded headband began clearing our table. She stopped to listen to the conversation and finally sat down, abandoning her work. After a while, when there was a pause, she spoke to the Dalai Lama. “You didn’t like your cookie?”
“Not hungry, thank you.”
“Can I, um, ask a question?”
She spoke with complete seriousness. “What is the meaning of life?”
In my entire week with the Dalai Lama, every conceivable question had been asked—except this one. People had been afraid to ask the one—the really big—question. There was a brief, stunned silence at the table.
The Dalai Lama answered immediately. “The meaning of life is happiness.” He raised his finger, leaning forward, focusing on her as if she were the only person in the world. “Hard question is not, ‘What is meaning of life?’ That is easy question to answer! No, hard question is what make happiness. Money? Big house? Accomplishment? Friends? Or …” He paused. “Compassion and good heart? This is question all human beings must try to answer: What make true happiness?” He gave this last question a peculiar emphasis and then fell silent, gazing at her with a smile.
“Thank you,” she said, “thank you.” She got up and finished stacking the dirty dishes and cups, and took them away.
Every Tuesday a woman in McGregor hosts a movie evening at Caritas, the library in the village’s great retreat, Temenos. Along with an (always) great movie pick (and for a $2 donation), you get a glass of wine and a bowl of soup – which Judy prepares in her Wonderbag. She literally brings the soup/stew etc to a boil, puts the whole pot in the bag for a few hours – and steamy delish-iousness results. Another proudly South African invention that offers employment to our women, and saves energy – available worldwide thru Amazon.
The Handsome Man’s Deluxe Cafe: the latest offering from Alexander McCall Smith – creator of Precious Ramotswe and her No.1 Ladies Detective Agency. Sweet, simple morality tales, set in Botswana – gently told. I buy them immediately they come out – and hoard them until I have an uninterrupted day to read right through. A lovely cast of characters and great reminder of how important small triumphs, common decency and old-fashioned manners are in our world.
I tease the children that from now on I am going to buy them ROS (aka Random Old Shit) for their birthdays. Threatening to walk into a $1 store and buy the first 5 things they see. I swear they will play with them longer than the carefully selected, infinitely more expensive items we all buy them. These lilos were an early Christmas gift from my parents – brought to McGregor and provided hours of fun, vociferous argument and invention in the pool. Plastic and air. Go figure.
These copper pots at Cinco Restaurant in Berlin’s Das Stue hotel make me want to start a collection. Add in some pendant lights (by Tom Dixon if you can stretch to them) and you have warmth and beauty.