Monday, November 27, 2023


On Saturday, I started decorating the "country house" for Christmas. I just love fairy-lights, scented candles (both of the subtle and tasteful variety) and the warmth from our wood stove. Cosiness to the max!
Now that I am the self-appointed interior designer of Highflyer's semi-detached house and have creative reign, I am in overdrive of course, but it has nothing to do with space as such. Even in my first student flat that I shared with a roommate and other - sometimes tiny - places where I only stayed temporarily and the design scheme, if you could call it such, did not really represent my personal taste, I managed to leave some kind of imprint and create an atmosphere that meant I felt at home. I have mentioned before that when I first set foot in his house I could not imagine spending a lot of time at Highflyer's until the Pandemic made me change my mind and I gradually began re-decorating. I have always liked the outline of the house with its high ceilings in particular, but the main reason why I could not see myself here was because of the previous owner's...interesting...taste and choice of colours. In a nutshell, it was an eclectic mix of heavy "colonial style" furniture, late 1990s birchwood and granny-smith-green accessories (curtains, cushion covers, carpets, placemats). I still have a pile of lurid green napkins in a drawer from that era. Personally, I would have immediately "de-greened" the space, but Highflyer could not be bothered when he moved in and was grateful he did not have to buy everything immediately. Well. Sometimes I need to remind myself how much the place has changed and how cosy and ME it looks and feels now. In case you were wondering, it's not that I imposed myself on Highflyer, he (convincingly says he) likes it way better now as well.

Monday, November 20, 2023


I spent the greater part of last week working from my parents' house in Klagenfurt. The reason was that I wanted to enable my Mum, who definitely needed a vacation, a carefree few days abroad and keep my Dad company. He has a chronic illness and she does not like to leave him on his own for longer than two days max, ideally. Thankfully my job allows me the flexibility to work from elsewhere for a few days and my manager, who coincidentally also lives in Klagenfurt and commutes to Vienna for a few days most weeks, is chill in this regard as well. So far, my Mum has been a duracell bunny with remarkable energy and mostly stoicism towards my Dad's overall grumpiness and lack of gratitude for all her sacrifices and extra work. I do know that both of them are not getting any younger (and neiteher am I) and that I live 300+ kilometres away and am an only child. Sometimes I get a sudden rush of "What will be?" but so far I am still pretty good at pushing those thoughts away. My parents are not the type to openly discuss concrete next steps in worst case scenarios and I don't want to upset them by doing so either, so my approach is "We'll climb that mountain when we get there". This may be stupid and naive, but that's the way it is.

Monday, November 13, 2023


When I suddently low-key moved in at Highflyer's back in March 2020 due to this little insignificant Pandemic thing, his kitchen resembled that of a poor student with an IKEA starter set, things left behind by the previous owners and some "donations" by his sisters. It was definitely not up to my standards and I had to be inventive and use an empty wine bottle as a rolling pin for example. Well, that soon changed and now every square centimetre is stuffed with equipment and dishes. Ooops. He has always had a "serious" coffee maker as he consumes large quantities of coffee in the morning and since he really liked my smoothies, I transferred the Vitamix blender I had in my flat in Vienna to his house soon (only to order one for Vienna a few months afterwards). Since baking is one of my passions, I bought a rip-off KitchenAid stand mixer at my favourite discounter (Hofer) and it has been holding up really well. Recently, though I looked at my OG KitchenAid in Vienna and realised I wood probably not use it very often there. Well, I enlisted Highflyer's help (it's VERY heavy) and swapped the two appliances, along with my nice retro toaster that also moved in at the country house, while his generic white toaster moved to the big city. Looking at my trinity of kitchen gadgets on the countertop feels like real commitment to considering the country house as the "mothership" where I spent most of my spare time now.

Monday, November 06, 2023


I am back to my "news avoidance" mode, or rather very selective news consumption like back in the heydays of Covid alarmism. This time, it's the Middle East escalation or whatever euphemistic label you want to give the horrible situation that seems to get only worse every day. I'm not proud of this approach and it's not that I don't keep up to date with the headlines at least, but it's simply too exasperating and multi-faceted a conflict for me to feel I can really understand it and form an opinion that is morally 100% fair and RIGHT. I have unfollowed several social media accounts that have shocked me with their extremist and black and white view, but am I any better by sort of giving up and not taking sides? In a nutshell, I feel almost disgustingly privileged in my little bubble that allows me to switch off if the pictures get too graphic and unlike other humanitarian crises when my "coping mechanism" and means to alleviate my guilt for exactly this privilege would be to donate money to a trustworthy NGO, there's not even this option right now and so privilege is sprinkled with a generous dose of shame this time.

Monday, October 30, 2023

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

I am writing this at my parents' house in Carinthia where I have been since Tuesday night. Later today (Sunday), I am going to drive back to Highflyer's house outside of Vienna, but he probably won't be there as he is planning to fly to Innbruck for a few days where his sons (who live in Germany) are right now. We do try to coordinate our schedules, but it is not always possible if one of you has a more or less regular Monday to Friday nine to five office job (with a lot of home office flexibility, thankfully!) and the other one does not and often has to work on weekends and public holidays, but then might have several days off in the middle of the week. The realisation that "long weekends" due to public holidays falling on Fridays or Mondays are meaningless in his world caused some frustration on my end when we first started dating, as well as the fact that invitations by friends or family at short notice often mean that I would attend alone as his time off requires advance planning. By now I have got used to it and the fact that even after we got married I kept my flat in Vienna and typically stay there on "office days" created further temporary separation. Probably not everybody's cup of tea and people are often surprised that I have kept my old place (where he also sometimes spends the night on days I am there if his schedule allows for it) for several reasons. While it comes with some logistical challenges such as always having to think what item of clothing is where at  any given moment of time, it is not that big of a deal actually due to the vicinity of the two addresses. Also, part of us actually appreciates this scenario as we appreciate time together all the more and I am always overjoyed if Highflyer does have a whole weekend off and we have little to no plans other than enjoying time with one another. Holidays when we can spend time together 24/7 are all the more precious and we still don't get on each other's nerves and have yet (4 years and counting) to have a fight. So, yep, I do agree to that old saying that absence makes the heart grow fonder...

Monday, October 23, 2023

Love Language

My love language is making gifts and spoiling people I care for. Stingy or thoughtless people sometimes really exasperate me. Over time, though, I have come to realise that it's mostly their upbringing that made them so and often comes without any ill intention. As the only child of financially comfortable parents I was always showered with gifts on birthdays and Christmas and it had been instilled on me NEVER to show up without a host(ess) gift when you're invited for dinner, for example. Highflyer definitely knows to deliver on special occasions, puts a lot of time and effort in the cards he writes and I would definitely describe him as romantic, but his background is entirely different. As someone with 8 (!) siblings and one one parent working, his upbringing was definitely more frugal and I noticed that if it weren't for me he would probably show up empty-handed at most friends' and relatives' houses, just because he would not expect anything himself either, whereas I'd definitely raise an eyebrow and wonder what I had done to deserve this treatment.
This being the case, I don't expect random gifts without an occasion from him, but am all the more delighted when I do get them for example when he finds the time for a bit of shopping on overnight stays abroad. Well, having hinted that UK or French magazines with freebies in particular are highly welcome might have helped a little...
Last Wednesday I returned to the country house after a few days spent in Vienna, knowing I would not see him until late the following night. There were 7 roses in a vase on the dining table and another 3 on my desk. I knew well that he had probably picked them up at the supermarket along with groceries, but I was delighted all the same by this thoughtful gesture. If this happened every week (which it doesn't) I probably would not appreciate it nearly as much, but knowing that gifts and surprises are an "acquired skill" for him and not something he grew up with, always makes me go "aaaaw".

Monday, October 16, 2023

Last Chance Hotel

Pre-Covid and Pre-Highflyer I gifted Mademoiselle a weekend in a part of Lower Austria that was pretty much "terra incognita" to me. She profusely thanked me and we fixed a date. Shortly before said date, she told me she would not be able to make it as her nephew's christening fell exactly on that weekend and she had only been invited at short notice. As I had booked a non-refundable rate, I could not ask for my money back, but got credit from the hotel and was asked to just tell them an alternative date whenever I had made up my mind. We settled for one and that one was in the first (of several more, but we did not know it then) nationwide lockdown and the hotel cancelled our reservation. Last year I wrote to them asking if our "voucher" had an expiry date and they told me it did not, but I was determined not to postpone it any longer and suggested this past weekend to Mademoiselle when I knew Highflyer would be in Germany for one of his son's birthdays. It was fine for her and we ended up going and spending a very nice weekend, making excursions and enjoying the hotel spa and the glorious autumn landscape. However, I did not know that the hotel would close down for the time being at the end of this month and it was more or less our last chance to book. Upon checkout we asked the receptionist if they were closing temporarily for renovations and she said that the group of owners were trying to sell, hinting that they had not been very ambitious in keeping it alive. We would have got our money back, but I am glad that I picked this date and that we got to experience the hotel and this part of Austria that I probably would not have been back any time soon.

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