Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Clean New Town

I'm in Dublin for the week, attending trainings and meetings at the Firm's European HQ. When I arrived on Sunday and strolled around the city centre with Schatzi, one of my colleagues, who recently transferred to Dublin from the Vienna office, I was surprised how many (near identical) pots of flowers there were everywhere. Dirty Old Town eat your heart out.
Dublin flower power (onemorehandbag)It was so lovely and sunny that I changed my original plans (shopping!) and just revisited some of my favourite old haunts, introducing Schatzi to the world's best spicy chicken wings at the Elephant and Castle.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

a good match

Those who know me know that I am quite anal when it comes to (colour-) coordination. At Coma HQ my colleagues used to tease me every morning, checking my accessories for their match-factor, airport-security-guard-style, before announcing that yep, everything was co-ordinated indeed. Well, I suppose it's not that hard if you check the weather forecast the previous night and prepare your outfit for the office catwalk (hah, f***ing hah!) in due time.
Accessories apart, I also have a thing for wild prints of the flowery persuasion and therefore couldn't resist jumping at the chance to replace my old beach-bag which was coming apart at the seams with a huge reversible (orange on the other side) bag from the ESPRIT online store (no shipping fees!) that came with a matching halterneck top. Yeah:
co-ordinated (onemorehandbag)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Advanced Retail Therapy

Ooops, how did that happen?

Let's start at the beginning. Yesterday morning, I met a former colleague from Coma HQ for brunch at Le Bol. I don't think I've mentioned her or given her a blog-name before, but let's call her Kitty, as she is as Japanese and cute as Kitty-chan. I had last seen her on my very last day of work, April 25 2007, when she had come to collect her last maternity leave payment. We always got our salary in cash (!) on the 25th of every month. Since then, Kitty has officially resigned as well as they only allow you a year of maternity leave there which is pretty tough if you have twins like she does.
Kitty and I had a lot to talk about. She told me about her 14-months-old girls and about their long stay in Japan this spring, I told her about my "new" job and whom of our mutual colleagues I'd recently met. When I mentioned my various trips abroad and that I was in New York earlier this year, she sighed and said she'd so love to fly to NY for a long weekend herself and had actually planned to do so with a friend who then couldn't make it for some reason or other. She added that her husband in fact encouraged her to get away for a couple of days while he'd look after the kids. Without thinking I said "Well, if you ever need a travel companion, let me know. I'm happy to fly to NY any time, you know". Her eyes lit up. "Reeeeeeallly? Are you sure" I told her I was, mildly amused by her excitement.
As soon as she got home, she must have asked hubby and looked at the Austrian Airlines website as she immediately called me to suggest a date in November and tell me how much tickets were.
I told her I'd check with the office and tell her this morning. It turned out I had a training in London scheduled that week so we postponed it to the next, but yes, we've booked it.
I suppose it is slightly decadent to fly to NY twice a year for shopping, but I've neve been able to resist a girly weekend abroad and I can always start saving when I grow up, right? Right?
And who am I to burst a sleep-deprived mother's dreams anyway...

Sunday, July 20, 2008


I don't know if he'd done anything to deserve such a fate, but the homeless teddy bear was a pitiful sight anyway:
reject teddy (onemorehandbag)

Friday, July 18, 2008

office love trysts (seldom go unnoticed)

I recently went over to Coma HQ in my lunch-break to fetch my share of my former boss's thank you present for our joint wedding gift, a beautiful textile-covered tin filled with Japanese tea:
Japanese tea (onemorehandbag)His bride was our female "sub-boss". My department at Coma HQ has always had two managers, big boss (male) and little boss (female) who would change every three years or so. Two years into his reign, she got posted to Vienna from Japan and they obviously becam an item at some stage.

We knew little about their private lives other than he had a (German) wife and child in Germany but obviously had very little contact with them and that she, little boss, ten years his junior, was officially single. Shortly before he left we found out he had got divorced.

Being Japanese and therefore rather on the discreet and restrained side anyway, their blossoming relationship didn't manifest itself other than in harmless signs such as leaving the office together or generally seeming at ease with each other. It's hard to put into words, but as soon as the rumours were out, it seemed plausible enough and we began to watch out for more signs of their hanky-panky.

It was me who more or less confirmed the rumours for the rest of the team, when on my way home from the PP I walked past little boss's apartment building and saw his car parked right opposite her entrance. It was after 10 p.m., so not really time for a social call. I felt like a detective who had just caught his subject red-handed and promptly sent a text to my colleagues. "Guess what I've just seen!!!"

I didn't feel guilty about it until my own post break-up mood-swings, weight-loss and other symptoms didn't go unnoticed at work and were the cause of quite a bit of gossip andt I realised it was none of our business what our bosses were up to and I should just shut up on this matter.

Little later, it was time for big boss (who in fact was of very diminutive size) to leave Austria. Little boss, a very shy and poker-faced lady, had come to my room to brief me on some work, when tears began to roll down her face. I was shocked by that unexpected display of emotion and my immediate reaction was to reach out and pat her hand or even to hug her. In the end, I just tried to put on my most compassionate expression and didn't say or do anything for fear of making her loose her face vis-à-vis an employee. The day after his departure she was late in the office, red-eyed, her petite frame wrapped in a huge pashmina scarf.

When she returned to Japan herself this April, I knew we'd get a wedding announcement soon and right enough, big boss sent an e-mail to inform us they were getting married on May 17. He added "Is this a surprise for you, or not really?" Being me, I couldn't refrain from writing back that the latter was the case, adding that I was really happy for them, which I am.

What sent me off on this tangent was that this morning we discussed whether online dating was a sign of desperation or normal behaviour. For people who spend the greater part of their days at work, it's probably only natural to "recruit" their partners either at work or in cyberspace. Even though for me online dating has little appeal and there are plenty of happy couples at the Firm who've met at work, it is a fact that office romances are only fun if the outcome is marriage rather than embarrassed nods when you meet in the elevator.

It would be good to know in advance.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

seize the day

...and the sun in particular. Last night, the Mermaid, Chiquita and I went for an abd (after business drink) at Strandbar Herrmann, one of Vienna's three major "sandpits for grown-ups".
Strandbar Herrmann Vienna (onemorehandbag)There, they serve the (still) popular concoction Aperol Spritz in a bottle:
Aperol spritz (onemorehandbag)I'm not a particular fan of campari-esque drinks, but it was okay, if somewhat on the sweet side.

Today: rain

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

cool. at last

One of my most recent online purchases:
new sunglasses (onemorehandbag)The Empress gave her royal approval. I quote: "Hey, you're finally cool enough to hang out with me!"

Thus knighted, I accompanied her on a lunch-hour(s) stroll to check out what's left of the sales. The meagre booty - a pair of shoes (HRH) and a shirty blouse or blousy shirt (me).

Sunday, July 13, 2008


MC and RT go swimming (onemorehandbag) The weather forecast promised thunderstorms for the weekend so I decided to seize the day and head for the swimming pool as early as possible yesterday. That was the plan, anyway. Thanks to various chores, social obligations and obstructions on the tram-route it wasn't until 3 or so that MC (wearing mirrored sunglasses) and I (the white monster mirrored in them) arrived at Döblinger Bad, by which time the the first rain-drops had made themselves noticeable. Due to the fact that there is an indoor pool on the premises as well, we decided to stay and were rewarded by perfectly sunny weather until we left at half 7 when the pool (see above) was already deserted. The thunderstorms were courteous enough to wait until we got home.
As we were sunbathing, another colleague called. "Am I disturbing you?" she asked. "Nah", I replied, "I'm at the pool with MC". "Speaking of which, " she said, "how come she got mentioned on your blog and I haven't?!" After a bit of brainstorming with MC, we decided only one name was worthy of her whose first name has royal implications: the Empress!

Friday, July 11, 2008


At long last the fences are gone and the remnants of the EURO 08 fanzone have been removed so I can take the shortcut across Heldenplatz to the office again. The lawn looks a bit worse for wear, though:
Heldenplatz, post EURO 2008 (onemorehandbag)Well, at least the rooks are literally having a field day...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

avoiding the bulge

Among the many things I like buying and tell myself I really sort of need are wallets. Even though I already own many practical and stylish ones in several price leagues, there is always something lacking and/or annoying. Like the fact that the ever-growing number of plastic cards (and yes, I have evicted less frequently needed ones to a separate card-case long ago) I own turns the sleekest designer wallets into constipated monstrosities:
Hence the perfect excuse for the most recent addition to my wallet-collection of Imelda Marcos-esque proportions:
I'm happy to report it still looks nice and sleek after I filled all the card-slots. Bingo! And a steal at € 19,90 for a leather wallet.

I've actually bought it tonight on a little shopping expedition with a colleague. Not only because she has become a regular reader (one of a total of 2 or so) of this blog does she deserve a blog-name. Here goes - MC (short for Mon Chérie as we like to overdo one another with French terms of endearment occasionally). She has become my willing partner in crime for lunch-break (and now after-work) shopping expeditions and I am glad her booty was actually bigger than mine tonight. I quite like the occasional shopping-by-proxy experience to give the contents of my wallet a much needed breather...

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Long overdue

I've been meaning to post this for quite some time now as I made the visit/pilgrimage to my beloved Volksgarten quite a while ago, in fact, before the EURO 08. I haven't been back since so don't know whether the roses there are still in bloom right now:Volksgarten in Bloom (onemorehandbag)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


On my way home last night, I saw a particularly impressive case of what we call Bauarbeiterbräune (builder's tan) in German and which I just found out is apparently called farmer's tan in English:
cotton-free socks... (onemorehandbag)Those socks must have had an impressive thread-count...

Saturday, July 05, 2008

When I'm eighty-four

Tomorrow I'm going to visit my maternal granny's younger sister. She lives in the Burgenland province (its exactly a 100 km drive from my place) and I visit her at least every third Sunday now that her husband is in a nursing home in another village nearby and she is desperate for someone to chat with and give her a lift to his home. My great-aunt was a dressmaker like my granny (who trained her) was and even though she always had many admirers, single and married, she only got married after she officially closed the tailor shop adjacent to the family home and my great-grandparents and her eldest sister, who died of a heart-attack in her early sixties, had died. For the first time, she could put herself first. She went to a spa resort where she met a widower from Vienna and they got married pretty soon afterwards, when they were both sixty years old.

Now that they are 84 and her husband is in a nursing home, he lives under the delusion that all the nurses there have the hots for him and he gets declarations of undying love pretty much every night. It's rather sad as with a colostomy bag and a urostomy I wonder what those nurses would want to do with him exactly, but then again, if it makes him feel like a stud and relieves boredom... The funny thing is that he's not really noticeably demented and of pretty sound mind otherwise, but the presence of so many young-ish women taking care of him obviously stimulates his imagination.

Whenever I visit him with my great-aunt, all he ever talks about are his latest "exploits" or rather which nurse is currently in love with him and confessed to him she'd leave her husband for him and was dying to bear him children (!). He is not shy of graphic descriptions, either, saying of one nurse "Her breath is as fresh as ice-cream when she kisses me." My aunt usually pats his hands and says something along the lines of "Well, isn't he popular here!" or, jokingly, "I suppose I'll have to find myself an admirer, too, now."

The last time I was there, he seemed somewhat crestfallen. When we asked him how he was he said he felt terrible because he hadn't slept a wink. The reason apparently was a particularly love-sick nurse who had kept him up all night caressing and kissing him. He burst out "This has got to stop. Will you ever forgive me?" and was about to cry when my aunt resolutely said "There, there, don't you fret, they can make out with you all they like. All I want from you is your pension anyway." I almost fell off my chair laughing.

The funny thing was that we wasn't particularly shocked by this statement, either.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

pars pro toto

Just in case you've been entertaining idle thoughts along the lines of "Geez, it's the sales season and my favourite shopaholic hasn't posted anything about bargains. Whatever's wrong with her? Has she renounced material pleasures for good?" Well, dear reader, fret you not, she has indeed done her fair share in boosting the economy, buying quite a few items of clothing she knew she didn't really need, but somehow had to save from their shelves/racks/stacks just because their retail price was reduced. Same old story.
So these 2 pairs of summery wedges from La Redoute (a steal at a mere € 13,90/pair and not technically on sale, but very Hollywood diva anyway, what with the bulk buying...) are symbolic of numerous other purchases:
chic things come in pairs (onemorehandbag)You might want to argue that she abstained from posting about every single shopportunity because (a tiny little) part of her chose to forget about her lavish streak rather than elaborate on it, but that would be the narrow-minded approach.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Game Over

I was one of the many Viennese who weren't too thrilled about hosting the EURO 2008, envisioning hordes of hooligans peeing in the streets (we do love our prejudices, you see) and throwing around with beer cans left, right and center. Now that it's over, something is missing. I suppose it's the daily parades of people dressed in colourful costumes, wearing erm, creative wigs and face-paint:
having a ball (onemorehandbag)If anything, it was a valuable lesson in "learn what the flags of your fellow European countries look like". I have to say the Croatian one stuck out most (think red/white chess-board).
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