December 12, 2018
Off and on I read things that totally blow my mind – this is one of them. On July 19, 2018 in the New York Post I read an article penned by Jane Ridley and Suzy Weiss that totally amazed me. In fact, I read it three times just to make sure I was really “getting it.”
SHE WASHES DISHES AT WHOLE FOODS TO PAY HER BILLS
Every day this 44-year-old single mother-of-three named Lhakpa Sherpa works as a dishwasher at Whole Foods Market in Connecticut. She earns $11.10 per hour – which is one dollar above the state’s minimum wage.
Lhakpa Sherpa on the job at Whole Foods in Connecticut
Photo: Courtesy of the New York Post
SHE’S ALSO SCALED THE HIGHEST PEAK ON THE PLANET
But this enterprising immigrant is exceptional: she’s scaled Mount Everest nine times – more than any other woman in the world. She made her ninth successful summit of this 29,029-foot mountain in the Himalayas on May 16, 2018. She helped guide a group of international tourists who had signed up with an expedition company owned by her younger brother, Mingma Sherpa.
A WORLD RECORD HOLDER WITH A BUDDHIST UPBRINGING
“I don’t like to draw attention to myself,” she said to Ridley. “It’s part of my religious background to be humble.” Full disclosure: At Columbia I took an accelerated course in “The Great Religions of the World” at summer school and, to my amazement, was totally won over by Buddhism. Its teachings made a lot of sense to me.
“PEOPLE THINK EVEREST IS A KILLER – IT MAKES ME HAPPY”
Lhakpa’s clients pay $70,000 to be involved in this “bucket-list” challenge. She is paid $5,000 and says, “It’s a nice hike. Nature is always there.” Of course, one wants to know: how does she train? “I don’t go to a gym, it’s too expensive. I build up my strength and stamina hauling cooking pots on my job. I like to go hiking when I can but most of my training is done in my day-to-day life.”
BORN TWO DECADES AFTER HILLARY CONQUERED THE PEAK
Lhakpa was raised in Nepal on a remote farm with six sisters and four brothers. The girls did not receive an education. Instead, she had to walk her younger brothers to-and-from school every day. Her father supplemented his income by guiding travelers on treks and Lhakpa helped him. “Nature was my playground. I liked the snow leopards and sheep.”
AT AGE 26 SHE FINALLY GOT A CHANCE TO SUMMIT EVEREST
She was among a group of seven Nepalese women who petitioned the government to climb the mountain. “I believed Everest would look out for me because I have a good heart,” she says. She moved to West Hartford, Connecticut to be with her husband and, on her sixth climb she was two months pregnant. “I remember talking to the mountain and saying, “Don’t kill me, Everest, I’m a mother.”
Sherpa has made it to the top of Mount Everest nine times, more than any woman in history
Photo: Courtesy of the New York Post
SHE JOINED HER BROTHER’S COMPANY FOR HER 7TH CLIMB
And that year (2015) disaster struck – a massive earthquake hit and killed 19 people. “I saw the ice crack and the mountain falling. I couldn’t stop shaking. I saw my two daughters in front of me and I thought I was going to die.” In May 2018, her last ascent, she claims it was “easy” because of the “great weather.”
IN 2019 SHE PLANS TO SCALE K2, THE SECOND HIGHEST MOUNTAIN IN THE WORLD AT 28,250 FEET.
UPDATE: I just finished reading a book titled Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, a terrific writer/climber who made it to the summit of Everest -- and witnessed the unspeakable disaster of 2015. It’s one of the most harrowing accounts of an experience I’ve ever read. Personally, I think it is lunacy and should be outlawed.
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October 22, 2020
I just read an article that sounded – to me at least – like “a canary in a coal mine” or an early warning of danger. This piece, written by Joe Pompeo, appeared in the May 2020 issue of Vanity Fair magazine with the title “The British Tabloid Invasion” and a subtitle that read, “How the Daily Mail is conquering American gossip.”
The paparazzi horde, La Dolce Vita, 1960 – photo courtesy of Vanity Fair
October 14, 2020
Apparently the good old U.S. is a nation of “not great” sleepers. Really? And I thought I was the only one! According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it was revealed that one out of three Americans are chronically sleep-deprived. Yikes!
October 06, 2020
I think we’re all taken by the incredible mystique of the famous French fashion house, Hermès that has been with us for two centuries and is still owned and operated by the same family. From its beginnings in fine equestrian leather goods, they are – in the tumultuous year 2020 – best known for their handbags and many other items.
My image of Hermès has always been rarified products at equally rarified prices so imagine my surprise when I recently received a very stylish publication of theirs in the mail.