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.

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