Monday, May 29, 2006

The Godmother, Part II

little cousin and Bishop (onemorehandbag) Coming to a cinema near you, starring Al Pacino yours truly.

After having been Chiquita's godmother at her confirmation 10 years ago, her little sister (13 1/2, see photo), let's call her Chiquitita, asked me to be hers, too. I felt quite honoured.

Drawing from the vast experience gained from my previous godmother ....uhm... performance a decade ago, I managed to be my most dignified self once again.

Unfortunately, the weather was infinitely worse than last time. It was pissing down and gale-force winds almost ruffled the gelled-to-concrete-perfection hairstyles of the boys. The female confirmands bravely survived in optimistic summer dresses and and flimsy cardies and practised their sultry expressions during the lenghty ceremony. Most of them, my cousin included, had made up their eyes with dark black eyeliner and lots of mascara. It was "smoky eyes" galore, offset to perfection against the sometimes deadly pallor of their youthful complexions. Some girls had obviously been to the hairdresser for a bride-like complicated updo and quite a few of them had French-manicured their fingernails. I looked at them like a benevolent old auntie, vividly remembering my own teenage torment and the conviction that nobody, least of all my parents, understood me.

Well, actually, I was convinced that the actor or singer I happened to have a crush on at the time would understand me and in fact we were so meant for each other, but alas, because of a cruel twist of fate were never to meet.

I was secretely pleased when two people mistook me for the elder sister. Hah! Hold the botox, doctor!

Lunch-break purchases: I went to Meinl am Graben for tonight's post-swim-binge with the Mermaid and discovered that they have new flavours of Kettle chips. Hurrah! Although I won't likely become unfaithful to salt & vinegar, I bought tomato & basil this time. I also got a Malaysian mango & coconut pudding. The Mermaid and I, we lurve mango.

Friday, May 26, 2006


Gone are the days when my parents' cat at least treated me with due respect. He (to protect his precious identity in the blogsphere, he shall be known as "the Beast") had the cheek to stick out his tongue at me to let me know what he thinks of me. Pah! The (whiskered) cheek of him! Then again, I suppose with 11 1/2 cat-years he IS older than me and feels entitled to give me the finger, cat-style...the Beast (onemorehandbag) Lunch-break purchases: I only ventured out for a short trip to the supermarket and to get a magazine. The weather is positively sub-arctic again. But hey, it's the weekend, after all so it HAS to be shitty, right?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

my favourite shade of green

Do you want to know why my staple lunch is tasting particularly good these days? It's because I don't have to buy the sad excuse for rucola that they sell at supermarket but was able to stock up on the real thing, wonderfully fragrant rucola fresh from Dad's "planatation" in KLU, last Sunday:
yum, yum! Home-grown rucola (onemorehandbag) Bliss! I took enough to fuel my addiction for a week.


Tomorrow is a holiday here (Ascension Day) so see you on Friday.

Lunch-break purchases: Only groceries which I thought I'd better get as early as possible before the pre-holiday-stockpiling-frenzy sets in. With supermarkets being closed on Sundays and holidays, it is NOT advisable to go last-minute food-shopping in Austria on a Saturday or the day before a holiday unless you want to face empty shelves or panicky customers. Trust me.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

a signature from Seth, a business card from Schubert

reading and beading (onemorehandbag) The reading last night was brilliant. In fact, it was probably the best one, I've ever been to and I've attended quite a few. Vikram Seth was adorable and funny and had a voice you could listen to for ages. An rather cute Burgtheater actor read from the German translation and he did a great job. I was really sceptical when the lady from the publishing company introduced him as I hate the exaggerated way full of meaningful pauses and deep glances into the audience thespians often employ.

Some random Vikram Seth trivia:

- he speaks fluent German (and Chinese too, apparently)
- he has an Austrian brother-in-law (who was in the audience)
- his family call him Vicky and refer to A Suitable Boy as "the fat one"
I immediately ordered Two Lives from Amazon or rather pre-ordered the paperback as I much prefer them to hardcover editions, not because they are cheaper, but so much more "portable".
After the reading and Q&A, I got him to sign my copy of A Suitable Boy and told him how I'd devoured it in record time at work. He said "I'm sure I couldn't have read it that fast" and then remarked that my outfit matched the cover. Obviously, this was a coincidence, but it was true that the (selfmade) necklace of semi-precious stones I was wearing with my pale pink twinset did have the same turquoise as the cover with its peacock. So on top of his signature, I got a compliment of sorts as well. What more can a fashionista bookworm wish for?

Remember my conversation with Franz Schubert? Well, it turned out that the very same man (not the composer, alas, but his namesake who works in marketing at a national bookstore chain) was at the reading last night. I only found out because the lady from the publisher cracked a joke and remarked that Seth (who is passionate about classical music) was particularly pleased to meet Franz Schubert himself here in Vienna. I walked up to him and told him we'd talked on the phone recently. He profusely thanked me for the info I'd given him back then on gave me his card. It's a small world.

Good old FCN, who was in England over the weekend, brought me back the lates issue of my favourite glossy (aka "crappy mag" as she prefers to call it), UK Marie Claire, complete with the coveted freebies (two chunky wooden bracelets) that never make it to overseas newsagents. Hurrah! On top of that she spoilt me with a shiny new paperback, Diana Evans' 26a, which won the Orange Prize for New Writers. Looks like F(avourite) C(olleague) N is in no danger of losing that F any time soon...

Lunch-break purchases: A cute SWATCH watch for my little cousin who has chosen me to be godmother at her confirmation this Sunday. Apart from the pressies she actually wanted (computer games, tut, these days!) I decided to get her a surprise as well.

Monday, May 22, 2006

more than suitable

Tonight I'm going to skip my favourite date of the week in favour of a reading by one of my favourite authors, Vikram Seth. In general, I give big fat (I'm talking phone directory fat!) novels a wide berth as I (often wrongly, think Ulysses) associate them with trivial bestsellers. Thankfully, though, I overcame my prejudices in the case of Seth's A Suitable Boy, an epic novel about the lives of 4 Indian families. My copy has almost 1,500 pages and in fact the German translation which I bought for my Mum was published in 2 volumes. It's the kind of book that comes in handy when you want to swat flies or knock burglars unconscios. Summer 2000 must have been particularly ...uhm... busy @ Coma HQ because it took me less than 2 weeks (and I read it in the office only) to devour this brilliant novel. I haven't read Seth's most recent book, Two Lives, which he is going to read from tonight, but am determined to force my way through the crowds and get him to sign my well-worn copy of A Suitable Boy. Although it's a normal bite-sized novel in terms of length (then again, I suppose anything is, compared to A Suitable Boy) I didn't really like An Equal Music, perhaps because it lacked the exotic appeal of the Indian setting.

I don't know what it is with Indian (born) novelists (is it something in the water?), but being a literary genius almost seems to be a concomitant phenomenon of Indian parentage . To name but 2 of my favourites - Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance is one of the most heart-rending (in a good, non predictable-tear-jerker way) works of fiction I know and Jhumpa Lahiri's short stories made me overcome yet another prejudice - that short stories are just not "my kind of thing".


On my way to the subway on Friday night, Mr. Nosexnodrugsnoalcohol asked me for money again. Again at the same spot on Herrengasse. Must be a good spot, that.

Lunch-break purchases: I had a proper lunch-date today, hence no purchases other than food.

Friday, May 19, 2006


Last night, I went to see The Secret Life of Words. It was a really good film and had an unexpected twist. Not quite the Crying Game kind - that's definitely the film with the mother of all unexpected twists, but the reason why the female protagonist (the male one was played by Tim Robbins, who I think is a great actor) seemed decidedly "odd" is rather surprising. I don't want to give it away for those of you who want to go and see it, so suffice it to say that it has to do with war crimes on the Balkan. The ending was quite weird and P, the friend I saw it with, and I couldn't agree on who was the narrator. P actually felt "seasick" because the film is predominantly set on an oil rig and asked me if I had a chewing gum to help her overcome her nausea.

Just to give you an approximate idea of the vital importance (think brain surgery) of my job: this morning, I had to lick 60 envelopes. No, I'm not some kind of pervert who gets a kick from slurping sickeningly sweet glue (hey, that could be taking glue-sniffing one step further!), I had to send off invitations. Yuck. We do own one of those old spongey things they (used to) have in post offices but it's slowly disintegrating and the options are nasty crumbs all over the envelope or getting down to business yourself. An office lady's got to do what an office lady's got to do...

Am off to KLU for the weekend. Be good and don't do anything I wouldn't do!

Lunch-break purchases: Only groceries. Geez, I'm getting seriously bad (or good?) here.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

in full swing

swinging (onemorehandbag) ...I am not and neither is the weather. "They" promised us 26° for today but since I neglected to probe and ask which tiny part of this city was going to be blessed with such undeservedly summery temperatures I can't really be disappointed that I will be needing my brolly again tonight, can I? Just as well I've arranged a cinema-with-subsequent-visit-to-the-ice-cream-parlour date with an *old* university friend for tonight and didn't get it into my head to check out one of the new city beaches or other open-air hot spots.

Let me tell you though who is in full swing. It's our charming new civil servant robot boss who has been effervescing with brainwaves from the word "go". You wouldn't think it of him, his grumpy red-tapeish disguise being quite clever and deceiving, but this man is a cornucopia of ...ahem...brilliant ideas. Or something.
Anyway. With two colleagues being on vacation, my workload has somwhat triplicated, not that I'm complaining.

Lunch-break purchases: None today but yesterday I bought a very nice pair of blue-hlack pinstripe cotton/linen trousers from H&M which I am already wearing today.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


At the moment, I'm lagging behind with my "bloggercise" and am not really in the mood for... much, in fact. Hmpf. Regular service to resume soon.

Friday, May 12, 2006

summer of love

Verner Panton, „Phantasy Landscape Visiona II“, 1970, Detail Installation (source: Kunsthalle Wien

Last night I went to the opening of the Summer of Love/Psychedelic Art of the 1960s exhibition at Kunsthalle. Crossing the big square of Museumsquartier, it took all my willpower not to plonk myself on one of my beloved sofa-contraptions which have recently woken up from their annual hibernation and been painted "Freud-red" for the season, watch the beautiful and not-so-beautiful people sip their fashionable sundowners, or read in the fading light.

I'd initially planned to go with the Pampered Princess, but like me (and half the population of Vienna who are either sniffling, or sporting the mother of all cold sores), she'd succumbed to a runny-nose-virus and decided to recuperate before her upcoming wedding-anniversary-trip to Miami. TD had been plan B but he also didn't feel too fit and preferred to stay at home. Alone I went, mistakenly reasoning that a fashionably late arrival 45 mins after the official beginning (19:00) meant that the boring speeches had already been held and the crows gone home. Hah, fucking hah! I was right about the speeches but spent 20 minutes squeezed among dozens of other people who were prevented from walking up the stairs to the exhibition by a dishy black bouncer with raised eyebrows. When he finally lifted the barrier-rope, there was a veritable stampede and when I left the exhibition an hour or so later, people were still queuing.

The exhibition was really interesting, though, and much bigger than I'd expected. It was a trip down memory lane, not because I'd actually been around in the 60s myself (I'm not THAT ancient, folks, I'm a 1972 vintage after all) but because I grew up with my parents' psychedelic record sleeves, have been a Beatles fan since 1980 and experienced the first Hippie-era-revival in the late 1980s when Hair was shown on Austrian tv and my classmates and I declared it our favourite film. (that was before Dead Poets Society made it to the big screen and captured our teenage angst so much better still, prompting yours truly to trek to the cinema a staggering 9 times). The two exhibition floors were an explosion of photos, paintings, record sleeves, various objects (including a garishly painted car), films and my personal favourite, a Verner Panton "landscape", see photo above, which I'd already seen and sat on at a different exhibition. The floor of the exhibition hall was covered in a Fanta-orange felt carpet, which only added to the slightly headache-inducing (techni)colour explosion.

Apart from never having liked flared jeans, I'm actually quite glad I wasn't young in the psychedelic heyday. What with all those manmade fibres abounding and deodorants not having made their major breakthrough yet I can't help imagining it to have been, above all, a somewhat smelly era.


Today, on my way back from a lunch-hour spent at Starbucks with one of my yummy mummy friends, I saw the celibate scrounger again. Immaculately dressed, he was talking to a young woman who readily opened her wallet at the exact spot where he'd accosted me on Wednesday. With all the euros he must have accumulated by now, I'm actually beginning to believe he can afford any kind of sexual favours now!

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Our blissful days of boss-less limbo are going to be over. Like, any minute now. The old boss having left for Japan 2 weeks ago, we're expecting his uhm... charming successor today.

Then again, nothing can really faze me today after the arrival of a shiny new sleek black and silver computer with a flat screen monitor. Hurrah! Good-bye stiff neck from having to crane my head to the bulky monitor which used to sit on my desk off-center to the right. I keep thinking that there must be some kind of catch, it's simply too good and state-of-the-art to be true and at my disposal. I even have a DVD-drive and a USB port, yeah!

The second highlight of this morning was sending a fax to a man called Franz Schubert. I'd talked to him on the phone before and he didn't even seem remotely weary when I commented on his original name. His parents were probably overjoyed when they got a boy, rubbing their hands in anticipation of the registrar's smirk.

Lunch-break purchases: contact lense solution and potted mint (Mojito-season!).

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

my little contribution to a sex-free life

Apart from being afflicted by a killer cold (virus? too flimsily dressed?who knows.) yet again and being far too busy convulsing in sneezing fits, I didn't post yesterday because I had *work* to do. Yep, as in: proper office-related work.

Anyway. On my way to the post office in my lunch-break earlier today a nice-and-clean-looking (which was just as well as I had only barely recovered from more or less falling over a filthy creature taking a leak in broad daylight a mere 2 minutes earlier, eeeek!) young man stopped me and politely asked if I had a Euro to spare for food. To make this clear he solemnly added "No drugs, no alcohol, no sex. Just food". After having given him all my change which only amounted to a Euro anyway he profusely thanked me but I couldn't help imagining what kind of drugs and even more so, sex!, there was to be had in Vienna for a Euro.

Lunch-break purchases: Only freshly-squeezed orange juice today but yesterday I bought a new miracle (hopefully!) potion to flatten out the old cellulite: Garnier's Bodytonic rollerball, which looks like a big deodorant. We'll see.

Monday, May 08, 2006


volksgarten in spring (onemorehandbag) Vienna's at its most beautiful right now. Lush green foliage, lilac in all its technicolour glory. Rays of sunshine tenderly caressing pallid winter skin. Aaaaah.
In spite of that, yours truly had a pretty shitty time last week, hence the silence. I don't even feel like shopping much right now which should give you an idea that we're not quite our usual chirpy self here @ onemorehandbag HQ. As I don't want to "do a petite" (much as I enjoy it as a reader, don't get me wrong) and dissect my innermost feelings and insecurities for all my 2.5 readers, I decided not to go into detail here. The good news: nobody's sick, nobody got fired and I discovered once more that my friends are the best you can wish for. And I'm feeling better already.

Lunch-break purchases: 3 gardening magazines for my paternal granny (will post the annual Mother's Day - on May 14 here - to my Mum and grannies soon.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

dedicated followers of fashion

London in spring (onemorehandbag) While back home in Austria the bank holiday weekend was apparently pretty shitty, weather-wise, I enjoyed glorious sunshine in London and marvelled at the trees in full blossom. Interestingly, the weather seems to get a grip on itself and decide to show its un-British side whenever I visit Old Blighty.

As I already told you yesterday, I had a great time with my "elder twin sister", the wonderful Italiana.

Tickling the Tastebuds: Trust her to take me to cool places. When I visited her at the same time last year, we had lunch at Jamie Oliver's Fifteen, this time we went to über-trendy 202 which is part restaurant, part Nicole Farhi concept store. Being vegetarian, she knows where the best salads are to be had (you know about my rucola addiction) and I was quite impressed by Fresh and Wild's salad bar. All weekend I kept pestering her to make a pit stop at Pret a Manger, my favourite sandwich place. I so wish they had a branch in Vienna! Poor Italiana wasn't too keen on eating where she gets her lunch from on workdays anyway, but I eventually managed to frogmarch her into a Pret on Monday. And then got another of their sandwiches at the Stansted airport branch. Mmhmmmmm. On Saturday night, l'Italiana who's an acomplished (vegetarian) cook, conjured up absolutely divine artichokes à la Romana. Provided I can get decent artichokes here I'm going to try them myself soon.

Shopping: Souvenirs and presents for various people aside, this is what I got for myself:

a 50s-style short-sleeved jacket and a skirt (both black) from Gap
a dead cool, rather OTT dress/top from a shop called Echoo.
a basic white tee from M & S
a novel (Tourism)
a turquoise baggage tag made of recycled leather from Liberty
a cute pencil case (to be used for cosmetics) from Paperchase
origami paper from Muji
greeting cards for all occasions
lots of S&V crisps and chocolate
a calendar for 2007 from the Albers and Moholny-Nagy exhibition

Have I forgotten anything?

Culture:Not much this time, we only made it to the Tate Modern, my favourite art gallery ever (see top ritht picture for Rachel Whiteread's current installation at the Turbine Hall). On Sunday night, we watched a nice Canadian coming-of-age film, C.R.A.Z.Y.

Same time next year, hopefully!
Lunch-break purchases: Louise Erdrich's The Master Butchers Singing Club, our May read for my book club.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

the fact that she actually loved the bag

I got her (or very convincingly pretended to do so anyway) is just one of the things that made me happy about being with l'Italiana. If I were to devise a list of "desert-island-people", she'd definitely be among the top ten. We had a brilliant girlie-weekend full of chatting and laughing (non-stop), eating (loads), shopping (you know me!), culture (the "light" version thereof) and reminiscing* (yep. getting old). More details tomorrow, am too zombified and low-cost-airline-lagged today.
*Glimpse into our relationship-lowlights of our student days in Dublin: I died laughing when she told me about a cute guy she had to stop seeing because "you know, he always smelled of food [note: he had a job at a restaurant]". She cracked up when I tolled her about this guy dumping me with the words "You're too cool for me. You wear orange jeans and all that"...[note: back in 1993 a pair of bright orange Benetton jeans was considered cool. No, really.]
Lunch-break purchases: I have a lunch date (with the Pampered Princess's sis) today which is just as well as my credit card will have to be kept in the fridge for a couple of days to recover from overheating suffered in London...
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