“Bring me some warm milk, I want to dip the pretzel in it,” grandma said, biting into the fresh sesame covrig I bought her. I warmed the milk and brought it. It’s a classic Romanian school kid’s lunch, milk and bread, and I figured there was no harm in her having this instead of the soup the aunts were heating up. Especially since she seemed to enjoy it a lot.

I decided, not for the first time, to let the old ladies misbehave in fun ways if they choose to. After all, they are ancient, they won’t live forever no matter what I do, and there’s be no point in living forever anyway if they can’t have a good time. Bring on the coffee and chocolate (grandma’s favorite treats), the sesame covrigi, and all the other little luxuries one can enjoy at such an advanced age. My lizard, for example, enjoyed refusing to see the cardiologist my cousin offered to take her to today. I saw no harm in this little rebellion as the likelihood she needs a cardiologist is small, and the unwelcome outing would have stressed her out. Instead I tricked her into fixing my favorite black skirt I bought years ago in Barcelona, which is falling apart. She loves sewing and it’s one of the few activities for which she actually props her feet up which dramatically reduces the swelling. Win win.

And now if you’ll excuse me I’ll go tempt grandma with additional sweets. “Your body is not a temple. It’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.” It’s what Anthony Bourdain said, and as the whole world is sad today at his unexpected demise (how heartbreaking that one so brilliant could be so depressed), I figure we shall honor him by making sure that an amusement park circa 1922 with miraculously functioning rides still lives up to its full potential. I believe there’s some Italian pastry thing in the pantry. Meanwhile, in her room, the old lizard sews with gusto.

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