I met Margret Dietz the year before she died. Others dancers had much more time with her, and more intimate conversations. My relationship with her was quite brief by comparison. Yet she changed my life in a way I am still discovering, still trying to embody. Her gravestone, which you can see on my website, bears the inscription "To dance is my way of saying yes to life."
I recently watched the movie called "The Reader" with Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes. As I watched the story unfold I thought about that post WW2 Germany and her work with the rehabilitation of members of the Nazi Youth Corp. The exercises she used are the same ones I use in my fitness and personal training work.
I love her hands in this photo. Her fingers are like little branches growing up toward the light out of that amazing backward arching of the spine. Her throat exposed, the billowing skirt, and the movement of the shoulder blades back toward the spine opening the heart all speak of surrender: the surrender of a women who lost her father to the Nazi's and her husband and son to a train wreck. A woman who took a gas mask off a dead man and walked out of Dresden during the bombing. Haunted, yet still willing to somehow say "yes" to life.
Writing about chocolate for the next "Good Age" fitness column means thinking and reading about chocolate, which also means eating chocolate. It's a dirty job, but I wouldn't expect others to do something I am not willing to do myself. Turns out there is quite a lot of well documented research singing the health benefits of our friend chocolate. For me, the fitness benefits are a big concern: it motivates me to complete my daily workouts, not the easiest part of my day. And I love my workouts, once I begin. It's getting started that is the challenge. A small but flavorful bit of the dark stuff gets me on the floor, with the music on, ready to sweat.
is actually an "essence" not an essential oil. Flowers must be picked at night to maximize fragrance. One pound of jasmine oil requires about 1,00 pounds of jasmine or 3.6 million fresh unpacked blossoms. The blossoms must be collected before sunrise, or much of the fragrance will have evaporated. The quality of the blossoms may also be compromised if they are crushed. A single pound of pure jasmine oil may cost between $1200 to 4500. in contrast, synthetic jasmine oils can be obtained for $3.50 per pound, but they do not possess the same therapeutic qualities as the pure oil.
Nicknamed "queen of the night" and "moonlight of the grove." For centuries, women have treasured jasmine for its beautiful, seductive fragrance. Medical properties include antidepressant, stimulating, antibacterial. Uses include anxiety, depression, menstrual problems/PMS, skin problems, frigidity.
It's fragrant influences are uplifting, counteracts sense of hopelessness, nervous exhaustion, indifference and listlessness. University researchers in Japan found that diffusing certain aromas in an office environment dramatically improved mental accuracy and concentration. Diffused lemon resulted in 54 percent fewer errors, jasmine 33 percent and lavender 20 percent. When aromas were diffused during test taking, scores increased by as much as 50 percent.
Mondays are the best day to start new projects: novels, diets, jobs, love affairs. In this great tradition I rekindled my love affair with Laduree, the teashop not the man. I got an early start to hike a substantial portion of the journey to Laduree. I planned to meet my daughter there after she finished work. She has a grueling job teaching in inner city schools where child neglect is apparent, and appalling. I think of London as a civilized nation so, to see children with rotten teeth is a surprise.
As I waited for my daughter I studied the Laduree propaganda: "The story of Parisian tearooms is intimately linked the Laduree story. It started in 1852, when Louis Ernest (my gran
dfather's name) Laduree, a man fron the South West, a miller by trade, created a bakery at 16 rue Royale in Paris.
In 1871, while the Baron Haussmann was giving a new aspect to Paris, a fire led to the conversion of the bakery into a cake shop. Jules (my grandfather's middle name) Cheret, the famous poster designer of the end of the century was in charge of the decoration of the cake shop. He was inspired by the pictorial techniques used for the ceilings of the Sixtine Chapel and the Opera Gamer.
At the time of the second Empire, with the development of Parisians cafe, Jeanne Souchard, (wasn't Modigliani's lover/model named Jeanne Souchard) Ernest Laduree's wife, daughter of a famous hotel-keeper in Rouen, had the idea to mix styles: the cafes and the cake shop therefore gave birth to one of the first Parisian tearooms. They had one advantage over the cafes: women were welcome and free to come at any time.
A place with such refined atmosphere and rich historical background attracted David Holder and his father Francis Holder, founder of the Holder group. They both decided to repurchase the famous house then upgrade it and extend it. It's chairman, David Holder insisted on keeping the great classics which gave the House its reputation, and on turning it into the Mecca of Parisian pastry creation, in its shops, restaurants and various tearooms."
I like history, but my true love is NOW.
A bird in the hand is worth more than in the bush, yesterday.
This wasn't my first trip to Laduree
and I wasn't interested in spending alot of money
so I sipped a cup of steaming chocolat viennois
with Chantilly cream on the side
as I carefully made my selections.
After all this was Monday:
the first day of the rest of my life,
and the last day of my past life up to NOW.
I was reminded of my quiet New Years Eve in Arizona: