Tuesday, January 26, 2010

25 January 1956 “Winter Olympics in Italy, and Special Moments”

56 olympic symbol The 1956 Winter Olympics, officially known as the VII Olympic Winter Games, was held starting today 26 January and to run to February 5. They were held in  Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy.

tony sailer This handsome fellow is Austrian Ski legend, Toni Sailer (pronounced to rhyme with miler) Here is a bit about him from an article:

At the 1956 Winter Olympics, Toni Sailer  not only became the first skier to sweep the Alpine triple crown, winning downhill, slalom and giant slalom, but did it with such domination that his margin of victory in the giant slalom has never been equalled. Sailer’s combination of grace and power was unmatched; rather than shave slalom gates he took a higher line, which meant a longer path but more speed, and demanded more control.

His talent and good looks made him a superstar in Austria, where skiing is the national sport. Then, at the peak of his career, only 23 years old, he retired. He starred in films, made 18 record albums.

I have to say he looks ‘dreamy’ to me. And I love skiing. Hubby and I really enjoy it when we get the time to go. We used to go regularly, as we had access to his grandfather’s ski place in New Hampshire, but his grandfather (not so lovingly called the ‘evil grandfather’) sporadically hates the family. So, now if we go, it is on our own dime.

We have been discussing child rearing in the Forum on the site, and I have no children and would NEVER offer advice. But, I find the discussion so interesting and the various takes on child rearing very informative. Hubby and I always said if we did have a child we would want him to learn to ski as soon as he could.
On one of our ski trips a few years ago there was a child, maybe no older than 5 or so, skiing like you wouldn’t believe. He was so small and low to the ground, he did not even use poles. He would go down the ‘hot dog’ slope doing air born moves and ride the lift quick as a wink. We were rather impressed, and being so young he had little fear and much flexibility to recover. That is the sort of trained and controlled fearlessness that could certainly help a child to grow into a child that could face life without fear but not in a foolish way, but rather a studied and practical way. But, of course, the cost of such things always talks us back out of having our own child, oh well.

We have also been discussing Vintage Beauty Rituals, such as long bathes etc. This got me thinking about how I enjoy sitting at my vanity and setting my hair. Hardly a glamorous act, yet it was a ‘moment of simple joy’ that I have.

So, then I began to contemplate those little moments of joy in my simple little life that I have found since my year in 1955.

For example, that time at my dressing table setting my hair, or just getting ready for the day, fresh from the bath, towel dried hair and about my business of rolling up little circlets of hair. The moment of being at my little table littered but organized with my special little cases and jewel boxes.

Really, it is that living in that moment that seems to me, glamorous or luxuriating. And it doesn’t have to be something as Hollywood as soaking in a bath, eating chocolates and talking on your Princess phone (though that must be lovely too.) There are even such moments in my kitchen. Certainly, there is the drudgery of doing endless dishes, or sweeping the floor for the third time that day, but there are also poignant moments. If you like cooking, as I found I have, there are moments of luxury there as well.

For instance, I was making homemade pasta last night for a ground beef casserole recipe I was trying. It was meant to be a simple quick ‘one dish’ meal, and really it was, but I like making my own pasta and it is not very hard. Even now, recalling it, I can relive  that moment as vividly and as joyously as if I was recalling my first day into the French countryside, or any other happy memory.

There you are, like an artist in her studio, hands messy, flour everywhere, your apron soiled, but I was happily singing away turning the little crank on my pasta machine and watching the dough miraculously turn from blob to lovely long panels of dough. And every time I run it through the blades that cut the dough into pasta, I smile like a kid with their toy on Christmas morning, batteries included!

I have just come to not see my life as a mad rush between entertainments, lulls of boredom, moments of panic, worry of ‘what should I be doing?” What career should I take? The modern world to me, before 1955, was one long moment of joy followed by doubt or guilt and then empty moments to fill the void. I did not even realize I was not happy, until those moments of simple happiness that opened up to me in 1955.

I think once I was focused on the project not as a project but as a real life, with me as the homemaker in my home, suddenly my life started. The simple pleasures I would get out of the frustration of first trying to do things like laundry, ironing, cooking, sewing, were unmatched to other moments in my life. I wondered, how could something so simple and so silly be so fulfilling?

Ah, but there is the rub! It wasn’t simple nor is it SIMPLE to run a home as homemaker. And ‘SILLY’ is a relative term. The modern world, modern females, had taught me to view these skills and chores as a mix of oppression and time wasters. Yet, all along, right under my nose, lurked this whole world within the walls of my own home waiting for me to discover.I felt like I had opened that wardrobe door and there stood Narnia, endless, vast and full of adventure. I was happy to step in, mind the coats and mothballs.

So my point, yes I do have one, is that rather or not you are a homemaker now or would like to become one, even if you are frazzled working person with kids to care for and meals to cook, there can be this world for any of us. We all live in a home in some manner. We all call someplace our home. Learning to live in that place in beauty and grace may take time and skill and cut into your tv and computer time, but it will be worth it in the end. In fact, rather that the ‘instant’ gratification of turning on the tv or computer, you find that the PROCESS is half the fun. The learning or the steps leading up to that roast beef dinner and homemade chocolate cake IS the fun. That is the LIVING!

I have also found ways to mirror and remake for the better, those visceral moments in our life out in the world, at home. An example being that little pleasure I had from visiting the Coffee Shop. The act of standing in line, deciding, then you have the hot coffee, and you sprinkle on the cinnamon or chocolate. Now, over there, that corner, snuggle in and read or peruse a magazine. I have found my less expensive home version of this to be 100 times better than the old version.

cinnamonshaker2 I make my 1955 version of a coffee house drink (it is really a cafe’ au lait). I pour the milk into the little pan and in goes some sugar and a touch of vanilla. Let it simmer, not boil mind. Then fill your favorite tall glass or cup half full. Now top it off with fresh brewed coffee, mine from my old percolator and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top. These actions of making it and readying myself for that moment is pleasurable. And here I have not spent money on gas to go to a Starbucks, nor wasted part of my day on the trip, and all the pleasure still remains and is even increased. Even the act and finished product has enough pleasure for me to photograph it.

cinnamonshaker1Here is my little vintage shaker of cinnamon and sugar. And here, frothy and warm, the lovely elixir awaits my eager lips.coffeeupclose

Of course, I still enjoy going out and meeting friends, but now I much prefer to do that at my house or theirs rather than a coffee house. Don’t worry, I will still support the local coffee house when I do choose to go there. 

I really think if we begin to live our life, which is in fact many of the details such as food, clothing, clean house, organized closets, we will find that is more fulfilling then we were lead to believe. Of course movies and shows and computer time is also fun, but tempered with other aspects of living also improves upon their enjoyment as well, I have found. And, again, the schedule is our friend in living. It lets us decide when and where we are to be and what to do and how to do it and of course with some flexibility. Rather than let each day be dictated to us by the willy nilly randomness of the unplanned modern world, let’s take control of our lives and enjoy it along the way. Those ‘things that need to get done’ may not need be ‘got through’ but may, in fact, be your life; the living and joy of it. You never know until you try, right?

Well, I have my pot roast to prepare for tonight's dinner. I will include photos and recipe tomorrow on that one. And I also made up a new cookie recipe that is scrumptious and great when you are out of chocolate chips. Until tomorrow then, Apronites, enjoy your life and all its moments.


  1. Some inspiring thoughts for sure. It is the simple moments, when you forget yourself in the act of what you are doing, that you suddenly say, "aha-this is joy." At least I do! It seems the essence of the joy in living is found where and when one least expects. Great thoughts 50s gal!

  2. I think your description of living in the moment and enjoying the process of looking after your home is so true. I wonder if some of the stress of our modern world comes from having the next 'new' thing. This could be buying things, going out places, holidays etc. Finding pleasure in everyday tasks is wonderful. I grew up in the 1980s when everyone was making money and most of my friends were expecting success and satisfaction to come from a career. Homemaking was old fashioned and surely you would just pay a cleaner! I'm so glad I have finally discovered how much pleasure it really gives me.

  3. Just wanted to make special notice of, and say...awesome photos!


  4. What lovely thoughts 50sGal. I have always loved my fulfilling role as homemaker but it's probably only been the last few years where I've really comprehended the great joy in the simple things.

    I love your photos and the wording is wonderful. "lovely elixir", "awaits my eager lips." These simple delights, truly are beautiful and so worthy of pictorial remembrances. (Guess what my darling is getting to go with his meal tonight.) Thanks for the inspiration. Linda

  5. P.S. Also could you pass on the message to your husband that we enjoy his blog. He's articulate and obviously very intelligent. 'Knowing' him gives us a deeper insight to who you are as well; all very interesting. Thanks to you both for writing. (I can't comment there because it doesn't seem to allow 'anonymous' entries.) Linda

  6. I agree with you 50's Gal, living in the moment is how one achieves bliss as a homemaker. Since the birth of my first little man in 2001 and my second little man in 2005, my life has been filled beyond measure, living in the moment with my boys, witnessing their growth on a daily basis, and watching them mature is such a great gift.

    Each day, I tackle what needs to be done, even the simple act of sweeping my kitchen floor for the fifth time in a day is soothing, cuddling with my dog Gizmo is a joy, and most of all sipping a cup of hot coffee as I sit on my maroon 1950's chair in the kitchen while reading the newspaper, brings me great joy.

    It is the simple pleasures in life that make for a great existence, I no longer worry about what I have to achieve in order to be successful; my home, my children, my husband and my dog are now the focal point in my life, they are worth more than any monetary or career goal I could ever have hoped to achieved in my life.

    It's hard to believe that I have more freedom as a homemaker than my friends who are career girls, but it's so true, my life is defined in the moment as opposed to rushing about on a tight schedule.

    And you know what 50's Gal, I wouldn't have it any other way :)

    Mom in Canada

  7. lovely!
    does anyone just love ironing for that same tranquil moment? i do! the sound of the steam, the smell of the lemon starch, the fresh crispy cloth! it always feels like such a glorious accomplishment!
    thanks for the reminder!

  8. Where did you get the glass that your coffee drink is in? I received a set for a wedding present, but they are all broken and gone to glass heaven now. Thank you for the trip down memory lane!
    Amy F.

  9. I absolutely love ironing :-) It's like meditation for me, just easing out all those wrinkles. My mother hates ironing and she absolutely loathes doing dress shirts but there are few tasks that give me greater pleasure than pressing my hubby's shirts. Some day I'd like to try actually making a dress shirt for him, I imagine that would be extremely satisfying, but I've got a ways to go before I reach that level!

  10. Amy F-Actually, I have a set of these drinking glasses (8) that I purchased on ebay around the beginning of my 1955 year. They are so nice and such thick glass. And I loved the pattern and the red with my red and teal kitchen.
    Isn't it so true, though, how those little moments, the little checked off lists items of our days, that make it all so wonderful.
    I am glad you see what I mean.
    I have not yet to come to love ironing, but I think I need to get a new ironing pad and some lovely ironing water and that might make it more of an event.

  11. What a beautiful post, 50's gal! I always get so much satisfaction when I clean and cook something nice. Home comforts!

  12. Oh, Linda, thank you, from my husband, for the fine compliment. He is, indeed, intelligent and also rather a nice man, which is always a good combination I think.

  13. Thank you for the "homemade" coffee idea. I enjoy coffee out, but refuse to pay the insanely high prices for it.

    Likewise, thank you for this post. I needed it. I have been in a very "blue" state for several days. Just down. Don't quite know why, but unhappy with things and not wanting to "do" anything. You have reminded me, in a few short words to remember the beauty in everyday moments and to enjoy each day for what it brings. Life isn't abot existing until that great vacation you have saved for. It is about the cookies you make that turned out extra well, or the clean kitchen you are proud of, or the cute things the children say and do everyday.

    And I agree with Linda. I enjoy your hubby's blog alot. I had to laugh at his las tpost about the barn. That sounds so much like my mom and I as well. My mom always called doing things on your own a "Wilda Catherine" moment. That was my grandma's name, and she would do anything. Fix it, build it, tear it down, sew it, cook it...you name it. Whenever I fix something or create something I am rather proud of, I have a Wilda Catherine moment. HAHA

  14. Have to inform you – we’re going on skiing holiday this Friday and next week, Austria here we come! :) And do I look forward to a week off with my lovely little family!? I’ve been working my butt off for months, and my boss even took my Christmas holiday, so I cannot wait to packing tonight.

    I don’t ski, but DH and son does, and son has been skiing since he was 2½, he is an expert now aged 16. Aged 6 he could ski on everything, because DH taught him something new every year. Son wouldn’t go to skiing school, he was allowed to not attend if he improved every year. So DH taught him something new every year, DH is very talented too. What I’m going to do? Relax and read books, go for a walk, enjoy the silence and the time for myself – which both is big luxuries in my life. I’ll meet them for lunch in the mountains and they’ll stop a bit earlier in the afternoon. Our neighbours will be in the same city too, so we’ll meet them for hot cocoa in the evening. Ahhhhhhh!!! :) And Tom is a dish!

    Lovely glass and shaker. DH and I are allowed to drink one latte in the weekend, we have to watch our weight and would like to loose some hence the February challenge. I have a tray in the larder with everything ready for making tea and coffee, in fact our own home café. There are different kinds of coffee, tea, sugar, syrups, homemade sprinklers, tall glasses and long spoons, etc. This way we only have to boil water and take the tray with us. We enjoy our weekly latte as much as you do. Daily we drink tea. And we always relax with our latte when we are exhausted from some kind of work and need a break. Then it truly is a reward. We don’t have StarBucks and the like here in Denmark, and would not use it if we had. In fact I’ve heard that you can get Europe’s most expensive latte’s in Denmark, ha. :)

  15. And you have reached 400 (!!!) followers now - congratulations! :)

  16. Oh Sanne- I am so jealous, I would love to take a week of skiing. We have not gone in some time. I have to say, though, that I do enjoy the actual skiing, but oft times it is my 'alone' time as well, because sometimes hubby will 'amuse' me and come along on my casualy ride down the mountain, but for the most part he loves the black diamont trials (not sure if in Austria they are labled thus as they are in USA. Black Diamond denotes the most advanced and steep of slopes/trails). I also love cross country skiing as well. And, of course, walks in the woods with the hush of the snow around you. It is funny how many wonderful memories and exciting times I can think of that involve snow. My ideal holidays in my mind are always lovely snow laden mountains with white capped cottages with a fire burning wihtin, hot cocoa, reading and quietly talked and laughing with friends. Or the idea of taking a house for a month at a stretch in the French Country side, riding an old 'bone shaker' bike to market for bread and cheese and painting and relaxing in the shadows of a ruinous cottage so old you can't even imagine. Or, the cool spring in the English countryside, in some ramshackle cottage (probably alto like my own little house here!) stone walls, sheep meandering trails through paths and overstuffed tea houses and English accents. Or crisp Autumn in some wonderful country house, also ancient, the endless clipped lawns shot white with cool September frost. The frosty breath and pound of the hooves on the grass, just me and a horse riding out. Or going hunting (fox hunting and no, they don't let you kill the fox anymore)with the sea of black and scarlet coats, the sound of the horn, the baying of the dogs and the cacophony of hooves on cold frozen ground, followed by stockinged feet in cool stoned floor drawing rooms and hot toddies. The only 'day dreamy' sort of holiday I have that involves summer, is the fun we have had sailing. Most times, in summer, I want to be home, in my little garden puttering away. It makes me realize how much of what I think of as an escape can be had at home or, if need be, close enough to it to make it more a reality.
    And the simple act of hot coffee and milk in a favorite corner is still such a treat. I would not want to live in anticpation of one hoiday to the next. In fact, most of the holidays I hear about from my friends, no matter how exotic, always sound like work to me. Rushing about airports, running and to and from the 'thing to see'. Postcards snatched in a hurried race to get to 'see all there is' and overeating in overpriced 'show off' garish places set up to take tourists money and collapsing in bed, exhausted at night. No, thank you. I would much rather a week with hubby in our own little house here, some walks, reading, little excursions to the old antiquated book store etc. I think sometimes modern mad expects a sort of unreality out of holiday, as if rushing to a place that is suppose to be relaxing and running about will some how recharge you?
    Anyway, here I go with another Novella fo a comment. Have a lovely time skiing and enjoy yourself.

  17. WOW, any of you spell checkers out there, get out your red pen, because that comment I just made is PACKED full of errors. Oh, well, you get my general drift, I suppose.
    And, yes you are right Sanne, 400 followers. That is alot, right? I think there must be bloggers with thousands, don't you think?

  18. i just thought of something....not about skiing, or spell checking though....
    my mom's friend made the most divine stuff last time we were there, for the coffees. she took whipping cream and whipped it with brown sugar, cinnamon, and just a bit of unflavored gelatin so it wouldn't weep. then she put huge dollops of it on the coffees. it was better than any starbucks frappa-whatever i have had!! yum. thought i'd share...

  19. Thank you, Donna. I'm Danish but I've noticed your typos and errors, but as long as the content is as GREAT as it is, I forgive you. :) Reverse, my English isn't perfect neither.

    It sounds like we could easily go on holiday together. Next Summer we're "just" (I must not say so, I know) going to my tiny Summer cottage with DH, son and my MIL and BIL as neighbours. I'm looking so much forward and we all wish for lovely Summer weather.

  20. Oh, what a lovely heart-felt post…brought tears to my eyes (it’s a teary time of month).

    Mom in Canada,

    Your quote…

    “It's hard to believe that I have more freedom as a homemaker than my friends who are career girls, but it's so true, my life is defined in the moment as opposed to rushing about on a tight schedule.”

    Brought tears to my eyes…again, it’s a teary time of month. I am so glad that you realize what you have and enjoy it so.


    I have never really loved ironing, though last night, as I was doing so, with my pup seemingly enjoying the sanctity of said steam and the calm movements of the cloth, I did indeed feel the tranquility you speak about.


    If you don’t mind me asking, what kind of work do you do?

  21. Greetings all,

    I am a full-time homemaker and Mother of 3, and I completely agree that the small moments ARE the big moments. Also, I am very much looking forward to you posting your pot roast recipe - pot roast is a weekly dish in our home.

    *Kindred Spirit*

  22. Great post! You are such an encouragement to me.

    In addition to an Apron Revolution, I think we ought to have a Homemaker's Union. You can be the union boss....maybe I'll write an inspiring rallying song along the lines of Solidarity Forever....


  23. Sanne-You are indeed lucky.
    Zebu-I am glad you were moved, it is true, isnt' it?
    Kindred Spirit-I forgot the pot roast recipe in todays post (28 January) but promise it for the next post and it will end up on the website recipes page at some point.
    Rebecca-I like it! You get to writing that song! somthing like:
    "We stand united
    For the home we will fight
    Our heads and our hearts as one
    our Aprons show our might" and so on...

  24. Zebu - I'm a Microsoft License Expert, that is I give advice on the largest Microsoft agreements and also answer license questions. I have several Microsoft certificates, in fact I started as IT-supporter, working with hardware and installations, then I moved on to software. Everything in the IT business is in English. The IT business is tought in Denmark, I work way too long and way too hard.

  25. Sanne,

    Your job sounds like it would definitely keep you very busy.

  26. Dear Friend,

    You wrote,"Or, the cool spring in the English countryside, in some ramshackle cottage (probably alto like my own little house here!) stone walls, sheep meandering trails through paths and overstuffed tea houses and English accents."

    OH Yes!

    I've read A Summer in the Country by Marcia Willett, and it evokes the same thoughts of relaxation and enjoyment.

    Please let me know the dates and times of these trips. I'll be there! :)


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