Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Till we read (and shop) again

Early tomorrow morning, Turkish Delight and yours truly will hit the highway and head for the southern, erm...metropolis of Klagenfurt, provided we can fit into my car what with all the presents. The journey will include a technical stop at my great-aunt's in Burgenland (Austria's easternmost province) to leave one bag of pressies at her place and to try and squeeze in her gifts for all Carinthian relatives. Call me Sherpa Tenzing. Unless someone invites us to a cool New Year's Eve party in Vienna, we'll stay there until January 1, basically stuffing our faces 24/7, watching cheesy films on TV and doing all the other things you usually do on your Christmas holiday. I'm also planning to go skiing (with Mum or friends as our men unfortunately don't ski. TD is excused as he's not Austrian, but to have a non-skiing Dad is a rare thing in this country) and perhaps to pop over to Italy or Slovenia.

As Dad officially has the slowest (dial-up) internet connection in the Western World and is also slightly paranoid that TD and I will "download a virus" if we as much as touch his baby, you'll have to be very brave and steel yourself for silent days and silent nights from the retailtherapist. I know, I know, it'll be torture.

Until then - Merry Christmas (and a Happy New Year, too, just in case) to all of you. Be good and don't shop anything I wouldn't...

Purchases: Speaking of torture - last night I went to Mariahilfer Straße, Vienna's longest shopping street, for some more presents. The crowds! First I went into Butlers (they only very recently openened branches here) to buy some stuff. As the subway I had taken there would have given public transport in Tokyo at rush hour a run for its money, I decided to walk all the way up to Westbahnhof and get a tram home from there, (wrongly) assuming it to be less packed. Halfway up Mariahilfer, I passed the Müller flagship store, my bargain-radar picking up a sign announcing that all underwear and lingerie was dramatically reduced. Knowing that my maternal granny had requested some undies I went in and browsed the racks. While I was at it, I also picked up some (not quite the same style as for my granny, but the same make) for TD as well. At home, when I wanted to wrap his boxer briefs, I realised that the anti-theft-thingie (which had obviously not been "loaded" as there were no beebs when I left the store) was still securely fastened in the elastic. Great. I knew I did not have time to return to the shop today, neither did I want TD to do it. I eventually decided to declare the briefs a pre-Christmas-present and assist him with the pliers. In what seemed a superhuman effort we managed to destruct the plastic/metal button layer after layer. Cleptos beware - it really is not worth it. Just as well it wasn't one of those things with ink in it, in which case I definitely would have had to go back.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


I don't know if it's all that rich cake I've been eating or explicit posts on chocolate , but my mind seems to be clogged by chocolate-related thoughts at the moment.

Unlike lots of my compatriots, I'm actually very partial to
Mozartkugeln, probably the most popular edible souvenir from Austria. With Mozart Year on the horizon, sales will no doubt mutliply and more merchandising like this will follow. I'm predicting Mozart toilet paper at the very least.

Well, Wolfgang Amadeus recently got some local competition in the form of
Lipizzanerkugeln. Judging from the amateurish website, the producers of the equestrian droppings don't pose a serious threat yet but you never know. They already have a sales outlet conveniently located right on Stephansplatz and as soon as they master a homepage with focused photos and a colour-scheme that doesn't fry your retina, I foresee bulk-buying by Lipizzaner-loving tourists.

Although the name Mozartkugeln, literally Mozart('s) balls, might arguably also have unpleasant connotations, Lipizzanerkugeln make me think of steaming balls of horse shit, the odour of which everyone who resides/works in Vienna's inner city is only too familiar with. I'm obviously not alone with my filthy imagination since a popular newspaper columnist recently wrote an article on the "horse chocolate", as he calls it. I've yet to try them, stay tuned for a review (at some stage in January when I've worked through my ever-growing stash of Christmas cookies and chocolate gifts).

My most intesting rotund-chocolate-discovery this year undoubtedly were Prešernove kroglice, chocolate balls named after Slovenia's national poet. I bought a huge box of them when I was in Ljubljana on a day-trip in August, in my chauvinism assuming them to be a lame copy of our holy Mozartkugeln. When I shared them with my equally chocolate-addicted colleagues we all let out a collective sigh of almost pornographic proportions. Prešeren's balls were de-lish-ous! I usually prefer dark chocolate but these milky-nougaty-chocolate balls were divine. In the center there's a roasted, caramelised hazelnut. As I couldn't remember the name of the company that produces P's balls, my googling unfortunately didn't produce a website or decent picture and you therefore have to rely on my memory regarding the filling of the little buggers I've been lusting after since that memorable experience 4 months ago. I'm planning to stock up on them if I ever manage to heave my body away from the sofa during the Christmas holidays at my parents'.

Purchases: Bought some little just-in-case-presents (candles, tea, a cool mug) from Demmers Teehaus in my lunch-break yesterday and need to do some more pressie-shopping after work tonight. Theoretically, I have gifts for everyone, but I need some little extras for some people. I would have preferred to get them at lunch-time but I had a date with a friend at a café.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Zombified and fit to burst

I had a lovely weekend with my British visitors, attended an entertaining office Christmas party on Friday night (everybody who claims to have some "talent" or other was encouraged to share it with the rest of the inmates. We had a Japanese wannabe Luciano Pavarotti, a karate demonstration by someone who's a chef in his day job, a rather dissonant orchestra and Big Boss singing country songs. You get the picture.), went to the farewell-dinner of friends who are going to Paris for six months and at each of the above events had lots to eat.

On Sat., we took our visitors to Kurkonditorei Oberlaa, one of Vienna's best and most prestigious pastry shops. We insisted they try Turkish Delight's favourite cake, the incredibly delicious Schokomoussetorte, an Oberlaa classic. Unfortunately female English friend had a craving for something with apples and male English friend does not like chocolate. Let me just repeat this. Was he gang-raped by viscious chocolate manufacturers as a child or experienced some other traumatic event which made him go off chocolate? He claims that he just doesn't like it any more. I truly hope it's not contagious! Well, TD and I indulged in the orgasmic chocolate-mousse cake anyway:

After our "light snack" we went to the Christmas market on Rathausplatz/town hall square. If you want to see just how claustrophobically crowded it gets there, you can play with the webcams on their site. You can actually zoom in on people to an eerily accurate degree, allowing you to almost see the pores of their skin and count the coins in their wallets... I hadn't been to the Rathausplatz market for at least 3 years and was once more reminded why I didn't like it. In fact, it was truly horrible. While our visitors were looking at baubles, I bumped into a friend from school whose daughter was trying to get her to buy her things from at least 10 stalls simultaneously.

I also half-heartedly looked at some bags but the omnipresent stench of artificially flavoured mulled wine and punch and greasy langos (fried pankake-shaped batter with tonnes of garlic, dripping with fat) can put even the most hardboiled of retailtherapists off shopping.


Getting to bed very late (or early, depending on how you look at it) is taking its toll on me and I'm sitting in the office in a rather zombified state today, more or less sleeping with my eyes open. Not that anyone has noticed, of course. I got a chocolate-filled doughnut, 2 pieces of very rich cake and a box of chocolate-covered candied oranges (also from Konditorei Oberlaa) from various colleagues first thing in the morning. I've only eated half of each cake and put the rest of the calorific gifts in aluminium foil to take them home as a doggy bag for TD. With gift-exchange dates taking place every single lunch-time and evening every day now until I leave for my well-deserved (?) vacation in KLU on Thursday morning, I am afraid I'll burst and explode into a zillion tiny little pieces way before Christmas eve...Watch out for retailtherapist-shrapnel there!

Purchases: Got the rest of my gifts on Saturday. Don't ask me what I bought, the question should be what I didn't buy. The list would be endless and make me relive the unbearable crowds and endless queues at the cash desks so I'll spare us the pain and won't go into detail.

Kindly take note of the addition of a "recent comments" box in the sidebar.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The chicken takes it all

I've decided to punish reward poulette for putting me out of my misery by promptly answering the OMH Christmas survey and will therefore send the blue bracelet to her (the green one goes to novala) along with the purple one on Monday. Three cheers for the Hühnchen! FYI, the rest of you, I'm sulking.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Drool, drool

Last night, friends from Manchester who will be staying chez retailtherapist and Turkish Delight till Sunday arrived laden down with goodies. The "two Magi" brought not only the above but also some glossy mags for both of us and I got a seperate Christmas present which I haven't unwrapped yet. Disturbingly, it's roughly the same size as the silicone-gift from the Mermaid. Hm...perhaps I should add one more body-issue to the long list? Are people trying to tell me something?

I've just realized that the photo looks very dark* so I'll work on that when I get home (I've got a stone-age computer with no photo-enhancing software here at the office) and in the meantime describe what they brought just in case: lots of salt and vinegar crisps, proper (i.e. strong) tea, mince pies and (their flight included a stop-over in Brussels) Belgian chocolate. I specifically ordered the S&V crisps to which I'm utterly addicted. I know lots of other people here who find them pretty orgasmic but for some reason local producers as well as the people in charge of ordering food for supermarkets have obviously decided that they won't sell in this country. I used to be able to get Kettle's salt & balsamic vinegar crisps at Merkur but they unfortunately discontinued them last year. Thankfully, Meinl am Graben still stocks them. We do get lots of other flavours (think: 30 E-numbers at least), mostly the bad-breath-inducing cheese and onion or sour-cream and chives variety. Yuk. Double-yuk.

Purchases: I've taken the afternoon off to enjoy a leasurely lunch with my visitors and to beautify myself for the office Christmas do tonight. Probably *no* purchases today, but never say never. I actually bought 2 more presents at the airport last night plus a huge box from Amazon was delivered this morning.

*03:39 p.m. - have just lightened up the photo, I hope it's better now.

The competition's still on, by the way. Only two lucky winners people who decided to humour me, so far. Geez, I knew I should have paid my friends more to read my blog...

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Once-in-a-Lifetime-Onemorehandbag-Christmas-Survey-Prize-Draw-Bonanza

bracelets(onemorehandbag)Today, onemorehandbag Inc. (hereinafter referred to as "OMH") would like to conduct a little survey among its reader(s). The first 3 who reply in the comment box will be the lucky winners of a bracelet each, hand-crafted with loving care and hand-picked beads by none other than the retailtherapist herself.

Conditions for entry:

Lovers and relatives (sorry, "Austrian chick") are not eligible for the prize but very welcome to answer anyway.

Bracelets will be posted to addresses in Europe (preferably EUrope) only.

The 3 lucky winners will then be requested to mail their names and addresses to , stating their preferred colour. Having received those details, my friends Igor and Igor will visit you and raid your home I will promptly ship the bracelets to the respective addresses.

Guys, don't be shy, this isn't "girls only" - one more little pressie for the Missus might not go amiss!


(1) What was the most bizarre present you have ever received?
(2) What do you really wish for* but know that Santa won't bring?
(3) What would you splash out on if money were no issue?
* I know we all want World Peace and a law forbidding ugly people to exchange sloppy kisses in broad daylight but we're talking about things money can buy or hands can craft here.

My answers:

(1) A Japanese toilet air-freshener. It was a birthday gift (!) from the colleague I share a room with. She really is something else and definitely inhabits a parallel universe. I would have got ever so slightly paranoid and thought this was a hint along the lines of "You smell like shit, babe" had she not given an identical gift to another colleague the previous week.

(2) A laptop and *the Perfect Coffee-Table*. I've been looking for a nice "two-tiered" (to hide magazines and other clutter from sight) one for ages but have not been able to find a cool but affordable one. I'll probably end up asking my Dad who's a DIY hero to make it for me.

(3) I'd go on a vacation to exotic places I've always wanted to visit like Easter Island or the Channel Islands (ok, not quite as exotic, those), having first splashed out on some clothes and shoes to wear on the expedition. And books to take along. And bags to store it all in...

So. Ready, steady, GO!

Lunch-break-purchases: In a shopping frenzy I bought gifts for 6 people in 3 different stores. I also tried the second downtown ZARA in the hope of finding the nice top I saw yesterday in a smaller size. As I didn't have any luck on the Mariahilfer Str. branch last night either (but I did buy another cool top with definite Christmas party potential anyway) and shop assistants also told me they only had it in "L" I'm beginning to suspect that ZARA's Spanish owners thought "Let's ship all the huge sizes to those fat Alpine Helgas down there in Austria and keep the small ones for our Mediterranean waifs".

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Meet my new mates

chicken fillets(onemorehandbag) This is the Christmas present I got from the Mermaid. As she had to cancel our swim-date on Monday and we won't be able to see each other next week either due to various Christmas party committments we decided to meet chez moi last night instead and exchange Christmas pressies already. She began by handing me souvenirs from her holiday in the Philippines: a fridge magnet, various exotic sweet and savoury snacks, a pair of earrings, a tie-dye-pareo and 3 bootleg DVDs. After I had unwrapped the last of her generous offerings, I thought that was it and thanked her for the lovely presents.

Little did I know. The Mermaid reached into her bag and dug out a another present, grinning mischievously and saying that she'd always wanted to buy the thing she had in there and I was the only person she knew who would find it funny. She also said I should tell her honestly if I had no need for it and would prefer something else instead. Needless to say, this made me all the more curious. As soon as I spied
P2 on the package, I immediately knew what she'd got me, having seen the chicken-fillet adhesive breasts in the shops myself. I am, after all, very familiar with the Mermaid's boob-fixation.

While I am probably one of the few women out there who are very happy with their (very moderate, fun-sized) cleavage and thankful for the fact I can run after a bus without attracting unwanted attention, bruising my chin or harming innocent bystanders the Mermaid is of a decidedly androgynous built and therefore the undisputed Queen of the padded bra. Not the push-up kind as there's not much pushing material, we're talking solid lining. Inspite of not feeling inadequate on the cleavage-front, I found the present hilarious all the same as I was intrigued by the fact that a) these guys are invisible and potentially good for strapless summer dresses and b) have been much-hyped as the ultimate accessory no Hollywood diva worth her vintage Dior gown would ever set foot on a red carpet without.

I immediately had to try them on as did the Mermaid who decided to get a pair of these sticky boobs for herself soon. In fact, I secretely suspect that she only gave the wobbly friends to me to get an opportunity to try them on for size herself. I have to say they don't look particularly anatomically correct on me but they're a great toy and none the less. We alternately exposed ourselves to Turkish Deligh with just the bare silicone bra and then with a jumper on top to ask his verdict on the most realistic position of our new friends. He found the texture to be very true to life but admitted they gave us droopy breasts we don't possess in real life (yet).

Well, I suppose I don't call the Mermaid my Busenfreundin (bosom buddy) for nothing...

Lunch-break-purchases: I spent ages in the children's dept. of Zara on Stephansplatz where I got presents for 3 boys, aged between 2 and 4. Most of my friends have children "already" which makes my gift-list considerably longer every year. I'd rather shop for girls' stuff which is infinitely nicer, design-wise, but my friends stubbornly insist on producing male offspring only (to spite me). I also saw the Perfect Office Christmas Party Top (not in the kiddies dept., obviously) which was available in size "L" only. I think it has my name written on me and I therefore will need to scour some other Zara branches en route to my Slo(w) class tonight in the hope of finding a smaller size.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Friends reunited

bubblering(onemorehandbag)I came that close to a major personal tragedy on Sunday when I almost lost my favourite item of jewellery at Copenhagen airport, my "bubble ring", designed by self-appointed ring-king Max Grün. I bought this ring for ATS (our old Austrian currency) 1,750 which amounts to € 127 about 6 years or so ago when my then 5 colleagues and I split our prize* of ATS 10,000 into 5 parts. After tax deduction each of us got ATS 1,750 and I immediately rushed to buy the ring I had been ogling for weeks but thought to expensive to treat myself to. The purchase was all the sweeter because - for a change - I did not have to feel guilty about splurging out.
This ring fits just perfectly on the middle finger of my right hand (my fingers are quite slim so most rings that are intended for the ring finger fit better on the middle one) and because of the bubbles being made of resin, it's light and smooth. I have a bit of a thing for pretty rings and although I own more than you can probably imagine, among them really beautiful gifts, this one remains my all-time favourite. It's just so me, not only because it's pink.

I don't consider myself a superstitious person at all but I have to admit that this ring is a bit of a lucky charm and I always wear it when I think I could do with some luck. I also always put it on when I travel, not because I attribute talismanic qualities to it but for the simple reason that it can't get lost or stolen on the way when I'm wearing it. Well, theoretically it can't.

At the security check-point at Copenhagen airport I wanted to avoid any unnecessary beeps and therefore took off my watch and the bubble ring, putting it into a pocket of my bright orange Bree rucksack. After I had walked through the metal detector frame thingie and picked up my hand luggage from the conveyor belt, I wandered over to the adjacent electronics and CD/DVD store, idly searching for my wallet in my rucksack while looking at a DVD cover. Multi-tasking obviously isn't my forte as I was too distracted to remember I'd put my watch and ring into the same pocket where my wallet a mere 5 minutes ago. I was brutally reminded of it when my watch came flying out and I heard a thud that was unrelated to the watch hitting the floor.

I immediately burrowed in my bag for the ring, instinctively knowing that the thud had been the ring making contact either with the floor or one of the CD racks. When I couldn't find it anywhere, I went up to the two pimply youths at the cash desk of Merlin Music and Electronics , asking if they had a broom with which to sweep under the racks. They explained that there was no need for that as the racks had wheels and could be pushed to the side. The guys helpfully wheeled about every single one of them, not minding the customers who wanted to look at the merchandise. Alas, the ring didn't turn up. I was close to tears. Pimply youth #1 suggested I leave my name and address so they could post the ring to me in case it turned up later. I had just drawn a "photofit picture" of my ring and written my name when he looked up and said there was no need for me to write the rest. Pimply youth # 2 approached the desk with the ring in his hand like a trophy. I was so happy I could have hugged him. I thanked them profusely, went to the Duty Free to buy the biggest bag of snack-sized chocolate bars I could find and took it to them as small "thank you". My heroes!

No lunch-break purchases today as I had a "proper" lunch-date involving food.
* In a magazine which our office subscribes to you there were photos of banknotes. If you had a banknote with the same serial number as one of those listed in the magazine you won a prize. One of us happened to find a matching note in her wallet and we decided to keep it all hush hush (it wasn't officially our magazine, after all) and share the booty instead of telling the boss who might get crazy ideas like buying stationery with the money...

Monday, December 12, 2005

Danish pastry

Hello, honeybunnies! I'm back from a lovely weekend-break in Copenhagen with the Sponsor (a.k.a. my Mum). The holiday was my Christmas-treat from her. Brief newsflash for those of you who are not so familiar with the exact degree of my spoilt-bratdom - as the travel bug is hereditary in my family but only seems to afflict females Mum and I have reached a mutually beneficial arrangement: I (= constantly broke) accompany her (= whose husband/my Dad sometimes needs lots of convincing before he agrees to being dragged abroad and often prefers to stay home to look after the cat) on a vacation she pays for. Got it?

It was my first visit to Copenhagen, although not my first exposure to Denmark. I have fond memories of a trip through Scandinavia with my parents when I was about 10, the highlight of which was a visit to Legoland.

Some pictures:

Copenhagen in December (onemorehandbag) Some random things I noticed:

Cyclists. Bicycle lanes are twice as wide as they are in Vienna and there were loads of cyclists. They all seem to be pretty weather-proof. I marvelled at stylishly clad (think Boho chic) and perfectly made-up ladies, sitting very upright on their bikes with only their (stylishly as well) flushed cheeks an indication of the cold weather.

Cinnamon. Most pastries seem to be generously flavoured with cinammon. Bliss!

Language. Like Dutch, (written) Danish is quite understandable to German speakers, but often sounds very funny indeed. Mum and I giggled for about 10 minutes when we saw the sign saying "Ankomst", meaning "Arrivals", at the airport. This sounds like a German imperative gone wrong. In keeping with this we wondered if we would get our baggage at "Gepäck bekommst"...

If you haven't been, Copenhagen is a perfect destinations for a short break. It might be a good idea to at least get a cheap flight (or, alternatively, a maternal sponsor) as accommodation and food are not exactly cheap. We flew with SkyEurope from Bratislava. From the airport (Copenhagen, not Bratislava) it takes less than 15 mins. to the central railway station. Our hotel was in walking distance from there.

Danish purchases: Copenhagen is shopping-heaven if you're into designer home furnishings and decorative odds and ends like I am. Only the rather hefty prices and my limited baggage allowance prevented me from going completely crazy. I did however buy 2 skirts (well, Mum paid for one on behalf of my granny),lots of chocolate and biscuits and some little pressies for friends. Here's a collage of some of my acquisitions (I had to get the cool postcard of course):

shopping in C. (onemorehandbag)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

December 8, 1980

On December 8, 1980 I was 8 years old. John Lennon was 40 and that's what he would stay forever when he was assassinated outside his apartment in New York City late that night.

Although this happened 25 years ago I can still remember the strange atmosphere of that day. Well, to be honest, I suppose it's actually the 9th, not the 8th I remember so vividly as this was pre-CNN and internet and news probably would not have travelled to the international press-agencies before my bed-time. So I'm talking about December 9, more likely. That day, the same songs were being played over and over on the radio and announcers were in the same subdued mood as my parents. A kind of second-hand melancholy gradually affected me as well although I had never heard of the famous person whose death had so brutally interrupted the Christmas spirit and was responsible for the temporary ban on Christmas songs, apart from Happy Christmas (War is Over), on the radio.

I eventually asked my Dad who that John Lennon person was and he solemnly showed me his impressive stack of Beatles albums, explaining to me how the band used to be incredibly popular - fainting girls and all - before I was born. I was intrigued. If John Lennon had been part of this big...THING and every single grown-up seemed so upset about his death, he must have been something special. Within the next few days, I listened to all of Dad's Beatles records and was hooked. I also loved looking at the record covers, with the collage on Sgt. Pepper's in particular.

John Lennon might have been a legend with my hippie-era parents and their friends, but the Beatles were definitely not particulary cool among my peers who were rather reluctant to share my enthusiasm for this "old-fashioned" music. In 1980, people were listening to this (not bad, either, actually) and I was into charts music too, but it became my mission to try and convince my friends of the Beatles' greatness. My primary-school-English being somewhat limited I got the Beatles Songbook and learnt all the lyrics by heart, not understanding the meaning of about 70% of them, but never mind. That songbook became my bible.

When I became friends with the Mermaid in grammar school, I soon found out that she was a Beatles fan too. Allthough we didn't seriously have any suicidal tendencies we - like most pubescent girls I suppose - harboured morbid fantasies of how all those people(= our parents and the boys we had crushes on) who just didn't understand us would be shattered when we were dead. We'd show them. We particularly enjoyed discussing the playlist for our funerals. Beatles songs were just perfect for teenage funerals, we found. I wanted Things We Said Today to be played, the Mermaid insisted on Eleanor Rigby.

Although I haven't actually listened to a whole album of Beatles songs for ages (I only have few of them on CD and I don't have a record player in Vienna), I always get very nostalgic when I hear one of their songs and I always remember December 8 (and 9), 1980. This morning, I woke up to (Just Like) Starting Over on the radio.

Today's a holiday here and I've taken tomorrow off as I'm flying to Copenhagen for a mini-break later today. Back on Monday.

Handle with care

source: www.handmadesweaters.comAs we're approaching the end of the year, it's time to look back upon the pleasant and not so pleasant events of 2005. Not forgetting the most embarassing ones! Have you ever heard about the dumb blonde(-ish) Austrian who washed her mobile phone in the washing mashine? No? Well, now you have. I can even give you the exact date: July 7, 2005. I remember the date so distinctly because it was the day before I left for a mini-break in Manchester.

It was one of the very few hot days of this so-called summer and I'd taken my swim-stuff to the office with me, rushing to an open-air swimming pool right after work. When I got home later that night, I thought I'd better throw the filthy grey bag de jour into the washing maschine because I wanted to take it to Manchester. One of the bag's practical features is a mobile phone pocket. A rather hidden one. I meticulously emptied every single pocket apart from the one containing my phone (a Sony Ericsson T600, for the record). Or should I say, ex-phone. I put it into the washing machine with some other textile bags, set it to 40° and pressed "start".

Half an hour later I reached for my mobile which I assumed to be on the coffee table. Except it wasn't. I tried to call myself from the landline and listened to a recorded message informing me that the number I was trying to reach was currently unavailable. Oh-oh. It slowly dawned on me that I couldn't actually remember taking my phone out of the snazzy little zippered pocket of my bag. The bag which was already immerged in soap-suds. I immediately stopped the machine and had it pump out all water. Once I'd retrieved the dripping phone, noticed its fogged-up display and taken out the SIM-card, I took the baby to a shocked Turkish Delight. He gave me a look as if I'd just deliberately drowned a whole litter of cute kittens. Men and gadgets, need I say more?

To cut a long story short, the SIM card survived the aquatic adventure holiday, the phone didn't. It was incredibly clean, though and ended up as toy for TD's little nephew. If I were American, I'd probably consider class action against Hedgren bags for failing to alert me to the fact that I'd neglected to take out my phone (I mean, they could introduce a beeping sound like the one in your car when you forget to switch off your lights) or alternatively against Gorenje, the manufacturers of my washing machine...

Lunch-break-purchases: Among a whole lot of other useless memberships, I am a cardholding member of Nivea club. I'm actually not actually that impressed by their boring quarterly magazine and occasional freebies, but I just somehow never got around to cancel my subscription. In the latest edition of the boring mag I read that as a kind of symbolic advent calendar they were to offer gifts or discounts in their "club center" every day in December, today's bonus being a free bag when you purchase goods for €10 or more. I duly went to the 10th district and bought an eyeliner and shimmering powder I didn't need in order to claim my (beach-style, not bad) bag.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Energy boost

Every morning from Monday to Friday I get off the bus at "Volkstheater" and walk the last leg of the journey to my office instead of taking the tram. It's a nice 12-minute walk and I look forward to it every day because of the shortcut I take through Volksgarten, my favourite park in Vienna. I can't remember a morning when I didn't see a team of gardeners tending to the trees, shrubs and flowers. The rose-garden is particularly beautiful and very pretty but rather uncomfortable chairs are provided for visitors to sit and enjoy the picturesque and fragrant rose-garden. Right now, all the rose trees are protected by jute sacks, giving them the sinister appearance of hapless culprits awaiting their execution.

Volksgarten is popular among joggers, nordic walkers, practitioners of tai chi and tourists alike and there used to be a group of 10 - 15 people who watched their golden retrievers frolic around every morning. They seem to have moved to the adjacent Heldenplatz and I wonder whether they have been reprimanded by the gardeners for some dog-related offense of if the thoroughbreds and their fur-coat-clad owners just felt like some change of scenery.

My favourite spot in the park, which apart from roses boasts several monuments and fountains, is the pseudo-Grecian Theseus temple, a small-scale 19th-century copy of the Theseion in Athens. In summer, FCN and I often have a picnic in our lunch-breaks there, munching our sandwiches in the shade of its columns while we bitch about work, watch children and dogs jump through sprinklers and try to avoid the old ladies offering to read our palms.

In autumn, it looks like this:
VG in autumn(onemorehandbag) and soon it will hopefully be as snow-covered as it was in January this year:
VG in winter(onemorehandbag)

In the background you can see the neo-Gothic City Hall. (The pavillion on the right is a public toilet by the way...)

My brisk walk through Volksgarten gives me a (much-needed) energy boost every morning. Besides, I wouldn't even save time on the tram which is smelly, full of hatchet-faced people and at this time of the year in particular a breeding ground for germs you are better off without.

Lunch-break purchases: It's raining quite heavily today and as I didn't have an umbrella (I loathe them!) with me I just sprinted to the supermarket to buy food for tonight, followed by a pit-stop at the Manner store to buy some chocolate St. Nicholases and Krampusse for the office.

Monday, December 05, 2005


I recently had a Nick Hornby moment and decided to compile the ultimate sing-along-tape for long and boring car journeys (yes, old car, hence no CD player on board) such as the one from Vienna to my parents' which takes at least 3.5 hours, depending on the density of traffic and the number of road works en route. As flexitime is an alien concept to my (Japanese) employers, we need to (pretend to) work until 5 p.m. on Fridays, which is very unusual indeed in Austria where most people only work until lunch-time on Fridays. Be that as it may, every 2 or 3 months when I drive to KLU on Friday nights I have to try really hard not to fall asleep behind the wheel - especially in winter when it gets dark so early - and therefore desperately need some on-board-entertainment to keep me awake. As you can see from the tracklist below every other song is particularly cringeworthy and cheesy. The formula goes like this: the cheesier the song the higher the sing-along-and-stay-awake potential. Anyone old enough to remember Dreams are My Reality of La Boum fame? Need I say more? You don't want me to fall asleep on the A2, now do you?

Side A
Robbie Williams, Supreme
Kim Wilde, Kids in America
Klaus Lage, Tausendmal Berührt
Moby, Where We End
Cat Stevens, Wild World
Duran Duran, Wild Boys
the Cast of "My Best Friend's Wedding", Say a Little Prayer
the Beatles, Things We Said Today
Richard Sanderson, Dreams are My Reality

Side B
Oasis, Wonderwall
Elvis Costello, Veronica
Sportfreunde Stiller, Ein Kompliment
Pet Shop Boys, NYC Boy
Texas, Summer Son
Alphaville, Big in Japan
The Bangles, Eternal Flame
Reamonn, Supergirl
For some pics from the christmas market in front of Schönbrunn palace where we went last night together with at least 80% of Vienna's inhabitants and zillions of tourists, may I divert you to Turkish Delight's blog.

Purchases of the day: Big online shopping spree (books and CDs), all of it presents. I tried to grab a top for the upcoming office Christmas party in my lunch-break but couldn't find any to fit my two criteria, being "glam" and "inexpensive". Very frustrating. Or should this be a divine sign that I should consult my bulging wardrobe first before investing on a new piece? Naaah.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

...and the Oscar

...for most beautifully illuminated street in Vienna 2005 goes to Graben:Graben(onemorehandbag) Best supporting act, Kohlmarkt:Kohlmarkt(onemorehandbag)

Friday, December 02, 2005

Death by baking


First of all, I promise that this will be the last photo of my baking exploits/the last housewife-y post for a while before all of my...1.5 readers nod off for good. But for the moment, can I just moan a bit about how sore my back and shoulders are from kneading the dough(s) and how tired my legs are from standing in the Pampered Princess's (PP) palatial kitchen from 1 to 9 p.m.? How on earth can people do that for a living? I wish I could say that this was the end of this season's baking but PP forced all the egg-whites (from 13 eggs no less) that were left over from our egg-yolk-only doughs on me so I will have to make something merangue-ish (suggestions welcome!) this weekend. Plus I need to bake 3 more kinds of cookies, having already bought the ingredients in my overeagerness. Don't ask.

Note on the Pampered Princess: HRH is not really a princess, she just has the demeanour and hauteur of one. I've known her for 13 years now as she graced the same school the Mermaid and I went to with her attendance. With PP's hubby being very gainfully employed indeed, she decided there was no pressing need to finish her university degree and she also quit her rather lucrative part-time job to become a full-time lady of leisure. PP holds court in a penthouse the terrace of which is as big as my entire flat and wraps her La Mer -caressed skin almost exclusively in Prada rags. She can be quite snobbish at times, but she's also a good and loyal friend hence we still get on despite the rather different (shopping)leagues we operate in. Yesterday, she was dressed for the occasion: immaculate white blouse, dangly diamond ear rings and a pucci-print skirt. I mean, you never know when the Fashion Police will make an unannounced call, baking session or not.

Did I announce yesterday I wasn't going to make any purchases? Erm. Well, I reasoned that with a no-detour-allowed direct route to PP and a bakathon that would last until well after all shops are closed I wouldn't get a chance to spend any money. Little did I know. PP doesn't own half as many kitchen utensils as I do, probably because she wants to keep her Italian designer kitchen clutter-free (not a bad idea actually) and I therefore bring some gadgets such as my digital scales when we have our annual baking session. This time, she didn't mention a pastry brush and I assumed she had in the meantime acquired one. Not so. I volunteered to go the supermarket round the corner to buy one. Her local BILLA happens to be right next to an Asian supermarket. Which by coincidence (?) had a sign outside shouting "15% off EVERYTHING!". Need I say more? Several gorgeous items of pottery (all of them presents. probably) and a tin of wasabi-coated peas later I re-joined PP...

Before I forget it: FCN sent me an interesting link to the longlisted passages for the Bad Sex in Fiction award.

Lunch-break purchases: The dvd of a German film I really liked when I saw on the big screen, Good Bye Lenin (for €6,99) and a paperback, Everyone worth Knowing. A girl needs a bit of trash every now and then.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Satisfaction guaranteed

Today I'm leaving the office at 12:00, having taken the afternoon off for a serious baking session with the Pampered Princess (more about her another time). We are planning to produce four different kinds of cookies. While we will be sweating over our rolling pins and cookie-cutters, I thought I'd share my easy-peasy recipe which is just perfect for people who claim they have two left hands when it comes to baking. Come on, awaken the domestic god(ess) that lurks deep inside you:
3 eggs
200g icing sugar
240g flour
200g dried cranberries (or raisins or any kind of dried fruit)
500g walnuts (or any other nuts, but walnuts are softest for slicing)
a pinch of salt
(a teaspoon each of cinnamon and/or saffron: optional)

Whisk the eggs, sugar, salt and flour before you add the (whole, as in: not chopped) walnuts and cranberries. With wet hands, form sausages (approx. 4-5 cm in diameter). Firmly press them together in order to prevent them from spreading sideways too much. You will think "Oh. My. God. This looks like baby puke. How did I manage to fuck up with so few ingredients?". Don't worry, you're doing a great job, it's supposed to look rather brutal:

looks very gooey (onemorehandbag) Bake in a preheated oven at 160° for 30-40 minutes (until "golden" brown). Leave to cool, then slice off cantuccini-style cookies with a sharp knife.

Et voilà - You get this many cookies.
tadah. the finished product (onemorehandbag)

Purchases of the day: None and very likely there won't be any. I can't believe I just wrote that.

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