Monday, June 30, 2008

the closest we get to a sea

I spent the greater part of yesterday in Weiden at Lake Neusiedl with PP and family, barbecuing my pale flesh to a more sun-kissed hue. I hadn't been there in ages. The last time, in fact, was a skating excursion. The weather was lovely and hot and the water almost too warm for my taste. PP's 16 months old son was frolicking around without nappies which resulted in my towel being peed upon and his parents' decorated with quite an impressive number two. I'm quite glad it wasn't the other way round...
Neusiedler See (onemorehandbag)Even though there are no sandy shores, the huge and very shallow lake always reminds me of the sea. Unlike my favourite lake, the Wörther See, it is great for windsurfing and sailing as it often gets very windy there. The border with Hungary is actually in the middle of the lake which is nice to know know but was often the cause of diplomatic intervention during the Cold War.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Mark Twain had a point or: Size matters

Idly leafing through my local adult education center's brochure the other day, I came across the announcement of a beginner's web-design course containing the not exactly short word Windowsanwenderkenntnisse*.
the longer, the better! (onemorehandbag)What a German "sausage" of a word! Mark Twain's comments about the - arguably - awful German language are still valid and much as I love the poignancy and briskness of English, I think there's a beauty to these long winded tongue-twisters, too.

* practical Windows skills

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Cake 2.0

that's why they're called redcurrants (onemorehandbag)Instead of just boring you with photos of my cakes, I thought I'd post the recipe to go with it. Ta-dah:
Super-Easy Foolproof Fruit Cake

Ingredients (for one standard-sized baking tray):

110 g soft Butter
2 - 3 eggs, depending on size
200 g sugar
300 g plain flour
1 sachet vanilla sugar (you can always use the real thing and scrape out a vanilla pod)
1/2 sachet baking powder (approx. 6 g)
a pinch of salt
a few drops of milk if required (to make the dough smoother)
enough washed and pitted fruit to generously cover the tray (weight depends on type of fruit) - cherries, apricots, plums or red currants are nice
(rum or grated lemon zest)
(flaked almonds)

Preheat oven to 170° (fan setting)

Whisk the butter with an electric blender, when fluffy add the egg yolks and sugar. Gradually add flour, salt and baking powder, rum and/or lemon zest to taste and just enough milk to make the dough smooth. Carefully fold in the beaten egg whites.

Spread evenly on a buttered and floured (alternatively: lined with non-stick baking sheet) tray, add the fruit and cover with almond flakes if you want.

Bake for 25 - 30 mins. Once cooled, cover with icing sugar before serving.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Olé, olé, olé

Even pharmacies try to monetize the current soccer-mania:
olé (onemorehandbag)The poster reads "Olé, olé - voice okay"

It's pretty obvious who Austrians are rooting for tonight. Little tip - it's not Germany...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Three countries in one afternoon

Last weekend, I was in KLU, where I swam in my favourite lake twice. Strandbad Klagenfurt seems to have found a new corporate sponsor, Tui Fly, judging from the omnipresent yellow banners, sunshades and baseball caps. My Mum suggested writing a letter to whoever is in charge with the headline "Tui ist pfui" (Tui is yukky).

On Saturday, we drove to Kranjska Gora with my maternal granny who loves to eat calamari prepared the Slovenian way. After lunch we drove to a tiny lake nearby which was very picturesque indeed if not particularly suitable for elderly people with walking frames:

little Slovenian lake (onemorehandbag)On the way back we made the usual detour to Tarvisio which used to be the hot place to shop for Italian fashion when I was a kid but has considerably lost in attraction since then. Back then, if someone would turn up in school with their new Tarvisio (or Udine) bought jeans or sweatshirt, the first thing the rest of us would do was try to determine whether it had been bought at the market (cue: derisive smile) or in one of the cool shops like Benetton or Sisley (envy!).

Monday, June 23, 2008

then again...

it's good to have freebie flip flops on standby under your desk...
flip flop, flop flip (onemorehandbag)

Friday, June 20, 2008


For you, these might just be ordinary summer shoes:
they tend to come in pairs (onemorehandbag) For yours truly, who hardly knows how to spell "heels", never mind walk on them, these peep-toes are very high-heeled and grown-up.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The culinary equivalent of cat pictures

I know, I know. But I really like the colours:
merry with berries (onemorehandbag) And now that the fruits I picket at my great-aunts' last Sunday have made a successful metamorphosis into 2 pots of jam and a cake, this will be the end of housewifey pics (for a while anyway), I promise...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I hadn't even noticed

...that prices for staple foods had gone up and couldn't quite understand what the fuss was all about, but that the retail price for my favourite glossy mag has suddenly gone up from € 6.90 (last year) to € 7.95 (last month) to an obscene € 9.30 really hurt. Maybe not enough to make me stop buying it in Austria where they don't give you the freebies that often come with the magazine anyway, but enough to consider it.
9.30? You must be joking! (onemorehandbag)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

David vs. Goliath

0:1 (onemorehandbag)Last night, even I watched the match Austria : Germany. With one eye and half an ear while reading on the sofa after swimming sans Mermaid in a deserted pool. The fact that Germany won was predictable enough, but the atmosphere in town yesterday was fun and uncharacteristically vibrand. A victory would have been historic indeed, or rather the re-enactment of a historic victory which I am old enough to remember (OMG), but being Austrians, the battle cry "Wien wird Cordoba, shalalalalaaaah*" was apparently changed into "Wir können skiiiiifahren, shalalalalaaaa**" seconds after the final whistle according to my informers who watched the game in the designated fanzone downtown.
* Vienna will be Cordoba
** We can ski

Monday, June 16, 2008

desperate housewives and fanwives

Among several things I did on the weekend, I unleashed my inner Martha again and baked banana-walnut chocolate chunk cookies:
cookie-time (onemorehandbag) On Saturday, I noticed an interesting sign in the windows of Schöps, an Austrian clothes retailer (click to enlarge):
don't despair! (onemorehandbag)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

O tempora, o mores!

You know it's serious when soccer successfully gatecrashes your book club...

footie decoration (onemorehandbag)

Friday, June 13, 2008

while the rest of the city was watching soccer

...the Pampered Princess, Snow White, Frida and myself were in the cinema:
SatC in Vienna (onemorehandbag)I'm not asking you to guess which of the two films we saw. Little hint - it also had to do with 4 ladies. My verdict - nice and feelgood (with the occasional tear-jerker moment) but I was truly shocked how much the protagonists, with the exception of Charlotte, had aged since the last episode of the series. And I don't assume there was no make-up involved. Plot-wise, there were no surprises or unexpected twists, really. It was...nice, but not really the kind of film I know I will watch on the big screen again.

When we emerged from the cinematic dark at half ten like deers in the headlights, we were almost bulldozed down by soccer-fans marching past the cinema. Judging from the expressions on their faces, the Austrians couldn't have done that badly, we thought. Frida stopped a girl with red-white-red stripes on her cheeks and asked her how "we" had done. It turned out the match against Poland had ended in a 1:1 draw, meaning that we will play the arch-enemy, Germany, on Monday. On the subway home, I experienced a bit of the beer-fuelled enthusiasm first hand. I was squeezed between Austrians and (second generation) Poles chanting loudly, glad I only had to travel 4 stops and could get off before I turned deaf from people screeching in my ears.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Eye (and ear) witness

Working in the city center allows you to see and hear quite a bit of international soccer fans. Right before leaving for lunch, I took a picture of 2 Austrian fans, less than an hours later, Graben was swamped with Poland supporters:
EURO 2008 fans (onemorhandbag)

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Private Viewing

The original plan was to see the Julian Opie exhibition at the MAK, but I hadn't looked at the start date properly. When I arrived there, it turned out that it isn't on until the 11th. Instead, I vistited the "minor" current exhibits and then headed towards the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contempory Collection that Frida had recommended to me. It's located on Himmelpfortgasse right in the city center and admission is free. Nevertheless, I was literally the only visitor there. The main exhibition space on the first floor was dimly lit for the various videos on show. The young man sitting in front of a computer in the small space marked "shop" was hidden behind shelves and when he shouted "Grüß Gott" upon hearing my footsteps on the parquet floor, I almost jumped out of my skin. Spookier things were yet to come - when I followed the arrows on the staircase two further floors up, I had to stoop and climb over a step to get into the attic. It was even darker than downstairs and Pippilotti Rist's light and sound installation coming at you from unecpected directions behind the many lace curtains that partitioned the truss was more than a bit eerie. I was reminded both of the open-air museums I was so fascinated by as a child, rebuilt villages where you stepped into other people's farmhouses and imagined how they had lived all those centuries ago, and of morbid films where attics always mean someone has hung themselves from the attic beams. If someone else had been up there, I'm not so sure I wouldn't have screamed. Even so, I enjoyed it, if only for the privilege of walking on a makeshift footbridge in a beautiful old buidling.

Friday, June 06, 2008

We get the idea...

Just in case I hadn't noticed that the EURO 2008 has almost begun, shops and cafés are trying hard to hammer the message in. Exhibit a) - café right outside my office:
we like our balls (onemorehandbag) Exhibit b) - another one a bit further up the street, Demel, the one which in general likes to commemorate all kinds of events in sweet form:

play it again, EM (onemorehandbag)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Martha via Anne

Not for the first time, I found something truly mouth-watering over at Anne's. This time, it was her recommendation of Martha Stewart's Cookies book that I had to order straight away. Last night, I decided to try out the recipe for milk-chocolate cookies (last of the Easter bunny parade to recycle) and bring them into the office today to light up a rainy day:
milk chocolate cookies (onemorehandbag)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Don't say that reading women's magazines is not an act of altruism...

In the latest (real, offline) edition of one of the magazines* I regularly read, Brigitte, there was a story about Kiva, a project that connects potential private loan-givers with people who wouldn't be eligible for normal microloans by banks, etc. By loaning somebody $25 (or more) you can help someone in a developing country or another area of the world less privileged than ours buy stock for their little shop, build community centers or improve infrastructure in their village. I chose one of the entrepreneurs, Pablina Campuzano from Caacupe, Paraguay, who according to her profile needed a loan "to buy merchandise such as cookies, sugar, yerba (tea), coffee, all times of drinks, meat, oil" . As someone only too willing to buy merchandise, I had a certain affinity for retail...
* I am a magazine-junkie but not a hoarder of paper, which is why I recycle mags, i.e. distribute them among friends and family after having read them myself. Very environmentally-friendly and economical.
Regular glossies:
UK Marie Claire (bought regularly) and other British mags bought when in the UK (I love the free gifts that are, alas, always removed before shipping them overseas): given to the Pampered Princess
Austrian edition of Flair (subscription), Wienerin (subscription) and Brigitte: given to my Mum who then gives them either to my maternal Granny or her cleaning lady.
Jolie, Myself (A5 version often bought for travel) and any (trashy) magazines I might get on planes: given to the Mermaid.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Pimp my Muesli

It was one of my colleagues who discovered MyMuesli and ordered the first custom-made cerial months ago. We liked it. Today, a bigger batch arrived, selected by and (aptly) named after 3 ladies of the office. You may guess which one I am...

Monday, June 02, 2008

Room for one more. Or two

En route to a birthday party in Lower Austria on Saturday, I stopped at Leoville, before it closes down for good. Apart from a skirt and a pair of shoes I also purchased - surprise! - a handbag, which I find goes very well indeed with the retro silk wrap-dress I bought in New York back in February. Much too flimsy and summery to be worn right away, but perfect for the 30° heatwave we're having at the moment.Saturday bag (onemorehandbag) Speaking of handbags - it's interesting that once you are known for cultivating a certain borderline-unhealthy habit people repeatedly tend to ask you the same question. In my case, it's "Where on earth do you keep all those bags of yours?" Easy, dear reader, easy, once you have a whole wardrobe for your collection. Plus a minor "branch" at your parents for the (temporarily) less loved items of your possession.
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