Monday, July 04, 2022

Pseudo-Corona

Last week I was at a conference in Germany (not just as a participant, but as a speaker) and I was concerned that I would not be able to travel on Tuesday. Why? Well, Highflyer announced on  Sunday that his cold "feels just like Coronavirus" (which we both had just before Easter). Who am I to dispute what he is feeling, so I also did a PCR test (plus 4 antigen ones) before I left. After a total of 3 PCR tests and a handful of antigen ones he also believed that he was just suffering from a common (summer) cold. At the conference Topic Number One also came up and a guy I sat opposite from at lunch said that his wife had asymptomatic Covid-19 but now was on sick-leave because of a nasty common cold. That's one thing I hate about these not-so-post pandemic times: the slightest scratchy throat or cough makes everyone panic and think of the worst, passing on their fear to everyone they mention it to. Yes, you DO hear of people who have had Covid 3 times in as many months, but I miss the times when a cold was just an innocent cold that didn't give you a guilt trip and make you think you could have posed a lethal risk to anyone you met two days before. 

Monday, June 27, 2022

Forno

On Friday afternoon as I took the tram home from a workshop I facilitated at an event space a woman entered the already full carriage and scouted in Italian at the top of her lungs "God, it's like an OVEN in here! What's up with the imbecile driver that he's not turning on the AC?" Not the most polite approach, but, yes, she definitely had a point and it did feel like in a forno. In fact, the outside (and in this case: inside) temperatures were more reminiscent of India (where I have been) or Pakistan (where I know it was recently super hot) than Central Europe. Returning to the office feels way more attractive when you have the prospect of a room temperature that allows you to be productive.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Welcome Back

In my book, there are few things that cause me more joy than finding things I had written off as lost forever. Two Saturdays ago I was waiting at a traffic light in Vienna on my way back to the Country House when I noticed that the dainty rose gold bracelet with diamond-studded heart that I always wear on my right wrist was missing. It was a Christmas present from my parents that I received some years ago. I never take it off so I believed it must have torn apart and fallen on the ground somewhere without making any sound at all because it weighs so little. It had been rainy and chilly those past few days so my theory was that it must have come undone when I took off my denim jacket somewhere. Basically I wrote it off immediately and went to check whether the jewellery store still stocked it in its online store. It did and I put it into my virtual shopping basket. The only reason I didn't buy it immediately was because I also signed up on the website and subscribed to their newsletter in the hope that I'd receive a discount code sooner rather than later. The only communication I received, alas, were reminders to proceed to checkout. Then, last Tuesday morning as I was about to take my obligatory outfit-of-the-day selfie in front of my hallway mirror in the City Residence, I stepped on something with my bare feet. It turned out to be the "lost" bracelet, fully intact. I was relieved that I hadn't actually vacuumed the evening before as I had wanted to. Note to self: being a lazy procrastinator has it advantages. In any case I am beyond happy that I found my beloved accessory and can't but take it as a positive omen for...I don't know, something.
 

Monday, June 13, 2022

Mental

In the past two years I have read many stories in the news about mental health issues or eating disorders being caused or aggravated by the pandemic. While I could understand and empathise, it seemed a pretty abstract issue to be honest, much like other news headlines. In the meantime, I have found out that it is far from it and that friends, children's friends and actually also members of my own (extended) family have been affected and are, or have been, in therapy and/or are taking anti-depressants. It almost feels like another mini pandemic of sorts. The reason why I know about these things is that (thankfully) mental health issues seem to be much less of a taboo (probably thanks to social media, at least in part) and being in therapy is not something we associate exclusively with highly-strung Americans from Woody Allen films any more. Even ten years ago or so, this would have been more "hush hush" and people would have gone to great lengths to hide their issues from friends and family, thus making it equally difficult for others to speak up and tell them about their own problems, which might give a bit of reassurance.
 

Monday, June 06, 2022

Amnesia

I spent the greater part of last week in Vienna, staying at my flat, aka City Residence, partly because Mum had come "up" with me from Carinthia and she was hungry for some city life. She remarked that there was an "uninhabited vibe" there. I did not disagree and found out just how much I had become a visitor rather than the owner who has lived in this place since 1998 when I used my salad spinner...The one we have at the Country House has a bottom part that looks just like a big salad bowl and does not have holes so you can use it on the counter top. Well, mine in Vienna does not and I had completely forgotten that you are supposed to use it in the sink, resulting in spraying cold water all over the kitchen. Ooops. It's somewhat shocking how soon you develop new habits and get used to a new place. 

 

Monday, May 30, 2022

Blackout

 

Last Friday night as my Mum was entertaining some guests (it was her birthday the following day) there was a wild thunderstorm with all the works (torrential rain, hail, thunder, lightening) and all of a sudden the lights went out. I went downstairs into the basement to check the fuse box and circuit breakers. Well, I could not switch one of the two circuit breakers on and it remained dark in the living room and kitchen (including in the fridge). Eventually I identified the culprit, i.e. which fuse prevented the circuit breaker from being switched on again and it was the one powering my parents' studios. We were relieved that the fridge was working again (like all parents, mine have a full fridge plus freezer stuffed to the brim with all kinds of food) and decided to investigate the next morning in daylight. It turned out that a lamp in my Dad's studio caused the power outage, so a very minor issue in the grand theme of things. It really made me think just how privileged we are to live in a place where a power outage caused by lightening or other causes is the absolute exception rather than the norm and how much we take the luxury of a consistent and stable power supply for granted. Once more I also got confirmation of how much I regard my mobile phone as my lifeline: I immediately plugged it into one of the working sockets to make sure it was charging before another outage could happen...

Monday, May 23, 2022

Expanding the Horizon

 

By the time this post goes live I am hopefully enjoying sunshine in Nice. Highflyer and I decided to use birthday money from my parents that was intended for a nice weekend away somewhere for an extended "nice weekend" with a capital "N".  I've only ever been in Nice in the hottest summer months and I missed visiting my happy place since I didn't go there last summer. It's also really exhilarating to show a place you love to someone you love. Highflyer only knew NCE airport, but not the town and area, so I jumped at the opportunity.
As I checked in for our flights and punched in my (soon-to-expire-anyway) frequent traveller card details I could feel the old rush of excitement coming back. Travelling was what had defined a certain period of my life and I was more than ready for a little revival.

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