Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Here's Lookin' at You. Not

effortlessly stylish (onemorehandbag) After she was finished haranguing me and dishing out some home truths in answer to my latest wallowing, the Mermaid switched back to obliging best friend and took a picture of me wearing the cool 50s-style rock'n roll chic dress I'd bought with her H&M vouchers. Well, I thought, why don't I put on AFOS' inspired gift while she's at it.

Nice combo, eh? I still doubt I'll ever wear that execution-committee meets beauty treatment contraption at night, but if any of you would like to volunteer as guinea pigs, I'm willing to ship it anywhere in the world. I'll even include a complimentary coffee-mug-warmer or painful "toe-spreader". Surely a deal you cannot resist.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

the good, the cool and the (very) bizarre

Nice things I got there...a big fragrant bunch of roses from TD, bath salts with herbs and flowers from colleague B., a super-cool T-shirt from FCN saying "Jage nur, was du auch erlegen kannst" (only hunt what you are capable of slaying) and a watch I bought myself in my lunch-break as my great-aunt had instructed me on the phone on Sunday to buy myself something nice, she'd refund me later. I did not have to be told twice.
pressies (onemorehandbag)

I got lots of other lovely things from my even lovelier colleagues. One of them proved not to be so lovely, in fact pretty much ruining my birthday, but that's another story. Another one of them, AFOS, took the biscuit with her gift as usual:

bizarre or what? (onemorehandbag)

It apparently is a "night face cap" and according to AFOS' instructions you put it over your head at night in order to prevent potential loss of moisture. Hmmmm. More Guantanamo Bay than beauty treatment in my mind, but that's the Japanese for you. B. who got the same gift for her birthday 10 days before mine offended AFOS by replying to her question if she'd tried it out yet that she'd rather wait for her boyfriend to return from his business trip abroad before she slept with a bag over her head, risking suffocation with no one round to help her.
In previous years, B. and I received the following offerings from AFOS, always purchased on a holiday home in Tokyo: a Japanese toilet air freshener (!), a spice set for Indian curries and a very uncomfortable spongy contraption to put on your toes when painting your toe-nails. Last year, we got something she bought here in Vienna, but which was just as useless: a stainless steel mug to keep coffee warm in your car and which has to be plugged into the cigarette lighter socket. B. at least commutes to work every day but on my rare car-trips to IKEA on the weekends I can just about manage my coffee withdrawal symptoms...

Monday, January 29, 2007


VERY wrong side of thirty (onemorehandbag)How can you tell that you've overdone the moaning and woman-on-the-verge-of-a-nervous-breakdown-act? When people (i.e. relatives, i.e. your mum) give you self-help psycho-books for your birthday. Ah well. Serves me right, I suppose. To be fair, I got lots of other -more attractive- gifts from my parents as well so must not complain.

As a business obligation prevents her from keeping our weekly swim-date tonight, the Mermaid suggested celebrating me last night on the eve of my birthday. Hurrah! First we tried a new restaurant, then we proceeded to Café Leopold for some more "intimacy" and the Mermaid whipped out a self-made bear-shaped cake and her lighter. Gasp! Ever since a rather traumatic experience with TGI Fridays' waiters years ago, I try not to give my birthday-girl cover away in public places. Given the rather slim size of the candles and the fact that we really were sitting in a secluded corner, I generously let her light them:
birthday bear (onemorehandbag) I also got: a bunch of tulips, H&M vouchers and absolutely covetable Baby Blonde hair products by Frederic Fekkai. Well, I've told you before she's a star. Although you wouldn't necessarily guess it from this picture, taken in the subway on our way home last night:
gangsta rappa (onemorehandbag)For the record, I have the model's full permission to publish this photo. Fetching hat, no?

This morning, I've been showered with gifts by my colleagues. Aaaahh! More on that later. In exchange for their offerings, I've dished Jamie Oliver's cheesecake, potentially coma-inducing with almost a kilo (!) of full-fat cream cheese in it.

Friday, January 26, 2007

History in the Making

Last night, I almost gave up finding the pedestrian underpass to take me to the Cineplexx cinema on the other side of the busy road intersecting the architectural wasteland in the north of Vienna which is landmarked by the UN buildings, fierce winds threatening to whisk my hat off. When I did find it and was walking towards the cinema, a football bounced off the concrete wall and landed smack on my head, causing the two boys who were playing with it much hilarity. This did not bode well. Armed with my complimentary serving of popcorn, I braced myself for the worst. The film was a pleasant surprise, though, even more so because it was German so I did not have to endure a dubbed film, something which I try to avoid at all cost. It was Schwere Jungs, a film apparently based on a real story about the success of the German bobsleigh team at the Olympic Winter Games in Oslo in 1952. Nice and entertaining enough.

Speaking of films - I was planning to post about this last week but then got distracted by all the work-related turmoil. Last Wednesday I went to see The Queen with Prefab Babe. In the course of our obligatory postmortem in a café we got talking about how we remembered historic events, such as hearing about Princess Diana's fatal car accident. After I'd spurted out a series of such events, illustrating the mundane things I was doing when I heard about them, P.B. drily remarked, "Right, you'll be telling me next what you were doing the day JFK was assassinated."

When Di was killed, I was house- and cat-sitting in KLU and Chiquita was keeping me company. I have a distinct memory of peeling windall for apple stew while watching TV. When the Ceausescus were executed, I was at my parents' as well. It was Christmas day and, stuffed, we were following the news, appalled at such a show of archaic brutality, but sensing at the same time that such a craving for revenge was beyond our well-fed Westerners' imaginations. When it was announced that GDR citizens could leave the country, I was on a school trip in Perugia, Italy, standing in a crowded bus, the newspaper headline in bold print "Honecker: Potete andare" catching my eye. On 9/11, everyone in the office was watching CNN apart from my (female sub-)boss who was in the middle of handing over her tasks to her successor, two young Japanese ladies sitting with heads bent over a stack of files while everyone else was swapping wild theories.

And so on.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Tonight, I'm going to attend my first ever sneak preview. I won the ticket which comes with a bag of popcorn and I'm the last person to turn down a freebie, but I just wish it were not only a single ticket but 2 so I could take a friend as a bitching-companion should it turn out to be not exactly my genre, i.e. an action flick, cartoon or horror movie. Besides, it's in one of those "plex" cinemas in the back of beyond where I've never been because they don't show films in their original version. But as I said, I do appreciate gifts. Yep.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

These Boots Are Made for Talking

This morning before work I had my first job-interview in almost 9 years. Surprisingly un-scary I'm glad to report. I have no idea if I am being seriously considered for the position in question, but in any case I am glad to have at least been invited to show my face.

Last night, I deliberated on the ultimate job-interview outfit. For want of a subdued wintery dark (trouser) suit I intended to wear my "nice" black pinstripe trousers teamed with a white blouse and good-girl-cardie or black blazer. Ooops. Black trousers were buried in the dirty laundry bag. Favourite black skirt with embroidery combined with a nice subdued top? Nah. Not so good. Chanel-esque tweed suit? Too light-coloured. In the end, I went for my black skinny(ish) pants (tucked into my new black boots, a replacement for the crappy ones I bought in November which have already died on me), a white blouse and black blazer. Sleek chic. At least that's what I thought.

Guess what I did in my lunch-break? Yep - I went on a mission to scour the shops for some left-over business gear bargains. The booty: a white blouse-with-a-twist, the twist being a belt-band, from H&M and a pair of trousers from ZARA, both considerably reduced. Tomorrow I'll try the other downtown ZARA branch for something resembing a suit.

Nothing better than having a feasible excuse for clothes shopping, is there? Note: this was a strictly rethorical question.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Happiness is a Functioning Washing Machine

Yesterday a SWATCH irony watch which I'd bought on Ebay and which allegedly was "in mint condition" arrived broken (no, it was not just a flat battery, I checked). Another disaster to add to my list of recent misfortunes. I more or less expected a brick to fall on my head or the bus to run me over next.

Then things began to look up. The Gorenje service man I'd called on Monday morning advised against a technician coming (and thus, against his business. Nice guy, I must say.) and told me to try unscrewing the top of the machine and "massaging" the clogged tube first. With the Mermaid's help, I did just that and realised that I must have got rid of the blockage with my previous pokings around in the machine's intestines. I had just been afraid to plug it in again and risk being drenched once more without prior expert approval. With the Mermaid's moral support I tried and was rewarded with a perfectly functioning wash cycle. Bliss! A good € 200 saved. Well, until I get the Mermaid's invoice. I don't know what the current late-night-rate for plumber's with a law degree is, but I am very afraid...

This morning, a head-hunter called and arranged an interview with me. Ten minutes later the secretary of another prospective employer called and I will be interviewed by somebody from their German HQ by phone (mental note: better make sure my phone is charged) next week.

I'm beginning to believe the chocolate oracle might be right...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Murphy's Law

it better be true...(onemorehandbag)In case you were wondering why I didn't post last Thursday and Friday - I was busy harbouring gloomy conspiracy theories. Never mind that last week began with a case of woman hits tarmac which gave my left knee the mother of all bruises. In spite of putting up a brave (read: arguably highly unprofessional and gravely exaggerated) fight which lasted for days, I got "promoted" to a job within Coma HQ which I so do NOT want. Then a colleague made a remark to FCN who of course promptly reported it to me, which pretty much floored me and added to the phenomenon of gut-clenching physical awfulness which hits me every morning and which gets worse the closer I get to the office. The last straw was my washing machine which surprised me yesterday morning by drenching me with fountains of sudsy water shooting out from the detergent compartment. Great. I can deal with household appliances dying on me on inopportune moments and me proving the universal law of gravitation every now and again, I can even deal with the Firm annoying the hell out of me occasionally, but I can not deal with all those things happening at the same time and me not having somebody (i.e. of the male persuasion, preferably with a soothing voice, warm hands and an addictive, equally soothing, smell, who's madly in love with me) to give me supportive hugs and comfort me with "there, there, everything will be all right" pep-talks in infinite loop. Who'd have thought.

Well, me, actually.

For lack of such a somebody, I certainly must not complain about a lack of good friends. On Saturday, the book club convened at my place, which provided the usual distraction and hilarity. S1 brought me chocolate (see above) saying "everything will be alright" which has become my new mantra.

Yesterday afternoon, the Mermaid's radar picked up my level of desperation on the phone and within minutes was at my doorstep to drag me out from Wallowing Central and postpone the final boarding call to Nervous Breakdown Resort. She's a star!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

go, see

I'm not in the right frame of mind for a proper post (long story), so here's just a quick film recommendation. I went to see Babel with FCN last night. Our verdict: very good indeed. And oooh, I just love Cate Blanchett. Even supposedly half-dead she still manages to look poised and beautiful.

Tonight, I'm going to see the Queen with Prefab Babe. More about that and other things soon.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

it's that time of the year

...when shops haven't got around to taking down their Christmas decorations, but already put up the carnival garlands.
Christmas meets carnival (onemorehandbag) click to enlarge

Update on yesterday's stunt: when I walked past the infamous spot this morning, I noticed heaps of sand on the potentially lethal wax droplets. Hey, I've obviously done the public some good.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Crash-Test Dummy

tried and tested (onemorehandbag)Among other things (blackboots,ceramic hairstraighteners, bowl, plate, magazines. Ahem) I bought on Saturday, I invested in a pair of rococo style tights from an elegant shop I had until then not set foot into: Fogal on Kohlmarkt. I'd spied the pair in the shop-window weeks ago but immediately dismissed the idea of buying them as € 25 is way too extravagant an expenditure for a product which in my case is "single-use" all too often. When I strolled past the shop on Sat. my bargain-radar picked up sales vibes and saw a € 7,90 sign next to them. Wo-hey! After some deliberation whether the only remaining size (S) would fit me since I was a good 10 centimetres taller and 5 kilos heavier than the ideal S-wearer of their size chart, I bought them and carefully shoehorned myself into them this morning (they're actually neither too short, nor too tight, for the record).

9:35 - Löwelstraße in Vienna's first district. Yours truly is about to take a right into Teinfaltstraße. A solitary policeman is looking into the book shop next to the socialist party's HQ, with not a single protester in sight. As I walk by, he averts his gaze from the window and smiles at me. Being a polite individual who doesn't bear any grudge against the police in general, I smile back aaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAND WHOMP, land at his feet.

Embarrassed but unhurt, I almost jumped to my feet and joined the man in green for a bit of CSI. No banana skins in sight and mercifully no dog turds either. What had apparently triggered my matutinal stunt were droplets of wax, left-overs from last weeks' vigils by disgruntled students.

I am proud to report that it obviously pays off to invest in a pair of upmarket tights. No holes, no ladders or anything in spite of the fact that I pretty much did the splits on the pavement.

Call me the Fall Gal.

Friday, January 12, 2007

cradle-snatching, the sartorial kind.

On Tuesday night I went to pick up my new glasses (in my old frame) from the Fielmann flagship store on Mariahilfer Str. On my way, I decided to quickly pop into H&M to buy a white t-shirt to be worn underneath jumpers. So far so innocent. There are 3 branches on Mariahilfer, the one next to Fielmann you enter through the kids' dept. 2,99! screamed a label at me. 70% off another one and I immediately forgot that I was actually officially on a DECLUTTERING mission, although you wouldn't know it. Simultaneously blessing and cursing the fact that kids these days are obviously massive, I tried on a wrap-dress (€ 2,99) and a tank-top (€ 4,50, boys dept.) and found that both fit:
rt let loose at H&M (onemorehandbag)(sorry for the hazy pictures but I took them myself)

What I mean by "massive" is that the dress was size 158 which should equal the girl's height. Now I am 1,70 m tall and nowhere near underweight (58 kgs approx.) and the dress was positively loose as was the tank top (size 170). When I was a little kid myself and no H&M was around I was too fat for most Italian-designed kid's lines so my Mum and maternal granny (a dressmaker) ended up sewing most of my clothes. As an adult it never occurred to me even to look in the kids' dept. until l'Italiana (considerably more petite than me) pointed out to me that she sometimes bought things there because they were simply cheaper. She has a point as I doubt I could have found "grown-up" clothes for that prize.

I can see the Mermaid turning her eyes heavenwards as she's reading this as only this Monday as I was showing her my Christmas gifts and most recent purchases ten minutes after a conversation about post-graduate courses which I dismissed as out of the question for myself for lack of savings, she suggested not buying so much crap, but rather saving for more worthwhile projects. (I wonder if my Mum put her on to this...). I promise to be good and to give the H&M's kids' dept a wide berth in the future, o.k.?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Banana Republic

absolutely bananas (onemorehandbag) This morning, I couldn't take the short-cut through Volksgarten as usual as the park was closed by the Police who were making sure our new Government was being sworn in undisturbed by protesters on nearby Ballhausplatz. I can't believe we've actually got a new Governmet as it took the parties involved more than 3 months (the general elections were on October 1, 2006) to get their act together. Then again, I suppose it's only natural to take that long for a country an Empire like Austria, what with our Billions of inhabitants, dozens of colonies and huge fleet of battleships and warplanes to co-ordinate.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I've stopped counting...

Ahem. Looks like someone's justifying the purchase of another veeery practical bag with the fact that she has now slightly more space in her flat and recently rededicated an IKEA "Pax" wardrobe as...ta-dah!....Bag Museum (or would that be Bag Cemetery? Never mind).
Yep. another one (onemorehandbag)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

she's a natural!

Blog-photographer, that is. When I asked my Mum if she could take a picture of me - after all she had just announced that she was thinking of buying a digital camera for herself and was eager to practice with mine- she willingly obliged. The result was the picture below, perfect for ensuring my anonymity in the blogsphere:
rt, headless (onemorehandbag)

Not only did she behead me, she simultaneously chopped off my feet, which is quite a feat. You're welcome to call me the 3/4-woman ;-)

Lunch-break purchase: A(nother) bag (30% off) from Benetton. Picture to follow. Frustration shopping at its best...

Pre-lunch-break surprise: Chiquita's dad (= my uncle) stopped by to deliver her Christmas present, two packs of anti-wrinkle-eye-pads the Mermaid and I love to pamper ourselves with after swimming and which Chiquita gets free at her workplace and "bad gal" mascara by Benefit. Even though you don't get to see pictures with my face, rest assured I'll be the Queen of Fluttering Eyelashes. Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Full Circle

Today I'm tired and my muscles are sore from a weekend full of packing and lifting bags and boxes, shifting various items of furniture around the flat and engaging in a cleaning frenzy, the kind of thorough cleaning I'm so good at avoiding usually.
TD moved out last night.

I know better than to prefix the verb in the last sentence with a "finally" or anything of the kind, because he has never quite forgiven me for this post in which I alluded to the complications of continuing to live together after breaking up last May.

The strange grey zone of living with somebody who's not your lodger, nor your "normal" flatmate for months is over now. The last few days I managed to snap into pragmatic hands-on-mode and even marvelled at the fact that the guest bedroom/study is now so much more spacious and after the walls have been painted will almost look like a new room altogether. Nothing better to take your mind off things than some good old (re-)decorating.
I know that I did the right thing essentially (although I do wish I could take back some of the things I said. And did) and I've got, as I have so often been reminded, what I wanted.

Yet I couldn't help feeling melancholic when I helped stack things in TD's new room in a hall of residences, the very one where he lived when we first met. Although the whole building has since been renovated and it's a different room on a different floor, it brought back memories of deliriously happy (early) days. I'd almost, but not quite, forgotten how many weekends I spent there, how often I trekked there to empty his postbox during the summer when he was at home in Istanbul, once making acquaintances with a cockroach (my first ever, eeeek!) in the entrance hall. It's the one place in Vienna where traffic is even louder than where I live, but the view from the window is infinitely more interesting.

[had to remove the picture that was here yesterday...]

It's "back to square one" in terms of accommodation for TD but I hope it'll be a good new start for both of us all the same.

Friday, January 05, 2007


Teinfaltstraße, decorated (onemorehandbag)Good old Teinfaltstraße, which I walk through every morning on my way to Coma HQ was still decorated from the New Year's Eve festivities when I returned to work yesterday morning, and in fact still is. Nice and colourful, true, but in my opinion reminiscent of some sports event or manifestation of national identity rather than the turn of the year. Then again, one can overdo it with fairy lights around Christmas time so I suppose it's a deliberate statement. After all, Vienna tourism used to advertise the charms of our capital with the catchy slogan, Wien ist anders (Vienna is different).

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Christmas holiday in KLU (onemorehandbag) I'm back after 12 days of stuffing my face (I consumed more calories and above all, more meat, in that period than in the past 6 months before) and marathon-reading (finished 6 books) whilst simultaneously listening to my granny's more than familiar stories with one ear and watching one of the programmes she loves with one eye, multi-tasking at its best! I also went skiing and saw an opera in between the strenuous tasks mentioned above. Not mentioning boosting the Carinthian economy on several occasions. Almost every day after lunch, Mum and I escaped the fog that Klagenfurt has a subscription to and went for a walk in the sun (and snow!) on Radsberg.

New Year's Eve I spent at B2 and her fiancé's. Ignoring the visibly tired hosts' need for rest I stayed until well after three. After all I had a game of Trivial Pursuit to win, didn't I?
I've never been in favour of New Year's resolutions, really. They're half the fun if you're a non-smoker and not dramatically obese or in other words rather short of things to give up noticeably, which seems to be the point. If anything, I have decided to begin 2007 with the resolution to stop whingeing 24/7. Please remind me lest I forget 2 minutes from now.

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