Friday, July 28, 2006


retailtherapist (onemorehandbag)Last summer, when I had not even started writing this blog, I painted the above shirt.

I'm off to KLU until August 7. Be good and don't do anything I wouldn't do. (Which gives you pretty wide scope, in case you were wondering).

Thursday, July 27, 2006

three days for Two Lives

Two months after I had been to the most interesting reading/book-presentation of my life, I actually got down to read the book in question, Two Lives, the fascinating double-biography of Vikram Seth's uncle Shanti and the latter's German wife, Henny. Thanks to ...uhm... a rather manageable workload here in my air-conditioned office it took me all of three days to devour the 503 pages.

Apart from the fact that it is a particularly well-written and apparently just as well researched piece of writing, I was deeply moved by the sheer amount of emotional strength that the protagonists showed in spite of great adversity. I don't want to give anything away, but even if you - like me - are not usually the biography-reading type, I daresay the ingredients of love, adventure, friendship and drama, not forgetting a pinch of unexpected twists, are enough to satisfy readers of all tastes. Unless you're made of concrete or your heart is covered with an impenetrable teflon-coating, it's impossible not to be touched by this (real) story.

I'm now tackling the book my Mum bought me the last time she was in Vienna - a psychologist's attempt to explain the phenomenon of love. I'm eager to find THAT ONE out, you can believe me...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

David Attenborough eat your heart out!

camouflage(onemorehandbag)When picking apricots (which have in the meantime already been transformed into a cake) in my great-aunt's garden on Sunday, I discovered this little fellow, perfectly disguised in a shell the same colour as the apricots, not all of which were speckled, by the way.

Last night was incredibly hot and as I couldn't face the even hotter oven until late at night anyway I postponed my cake-baking activities to 10 p.m. and spontanously joined the Mermaid for an after-work ice-cream on Mariahilfer Str. On our way home, we stopped at a nice café in her old neighbourhood. On the menu, I discovered a non-alcoholic summer cocktail called "Mermaid". Needless to say, we had to give it a try. For the record, it was very nice and refreshing, consisiting of lime, grapefruit and cranberry juice on ice.

Monday, July 24, 2006

overcoming student-day traumas

book club picnic(onemorehandbag)On Saturday, our book club braved the sweltering heat and held a picnic at S1's garden. There were only four of us (Amica, K., the hostess and yours truly), but the food we'd prepared could easily have fed a veritable army. K. brought an incredibly yummy salad with nectarines and roasted lentils she'd "invented" herself, Amica impressed us with her picture-book soufflé, S1 had made a savoury strudel and tsatsiki and baked a cake and I contributed puff pastry with a sweet filling and a pasta salad.

When we e-mailed suggestions regarding who was to bring what, I almost didn't dare suggest the pasta salad, as I suspected my fellow book club members to be just as traumatised by this student party staple as I had been until very recently when FCN convinced me that it could actually be palatable. I got the recipe (I only say sun-dried tomatoes and roasted pine nuts!) off her and was glad the girls agreed that this was the antidote to all the vile concoctions we used to cold-shoulder in our student-days.

Is it an intrinsically Austrian thing, I wonder, that young people on a budget think over-cooked farfalle with gloppy mayonaise, squares of cheap sausage meet and Emmental cheese make up the centerpiece of a party buffet? I always gave those sad excuses for party food a wide berth, along with those infamously garlicky bread-spreads in big bowls that fall into the same category of easy-to-prepare-and-dead-cheap food. My pet-hate used to be those parties where you were encouraged to contribute food, which inevitably translated to 10 bowls of uninspired pasta salad and as many bowls of self-made spread with dubious ingredients and half a dozen loaves of bread. Personally, I'd rather stuff my face with crisps and peanuts than risk food poisoning or dog breath.

Oh, we were also supposed to discuss a book, David Guterson's Our Lady of the Forest. As I was the only one who'd finished it we didn't really.

Friday, July 21, 2006

something to look forward to

As soon as I had scrolled through my Skyeurope-newsletter this morning, I forwarded it to Coco and the Mermaid. Half an hour later, I'd booked flights for a girlie weekend in Amsterdam. I hope the date, Friday, the 13th (of October) does not bode ill, but we're not superstitious. I'm really looking forward to a re-enactment of our lovely mini-break in Rome earlier this year as long as I manage to leave potential killer-colds at home this time. I'd rather devote myself to serious shopping (not for drugs, legal or otherwise, I hasten to add, in spite of our chosen destination!) without a runny nose and viscious cough. Counting the days!
Wishing you all a lovely weekend. Here, we're postively roasting, but I'm not complaining.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Lady WIENdermere's fan

freebie fan (onemorehandbag)Turned out that the Mermaid's and my pessimistic predictions of torture in the name of culture had been more than accurate. Never mind that the alleged dance performance did not include one dance move but consisted of actors/performers walking around the stage, imagine one hour of unbearable cacophony along the lines of airplanes taking off right next to you. Had we had seats next to the aisle, I'd have pleaded for premature take-off myself but as it was, we sat it out (the Mermaid stuffed scrunched up tissues into her ears) and then proceeded to the so-called Red Bar of Volkstheater. Having gulped down a minuscule glass of free white wine, we waited 20 minutes for the buffet to be officially opened, then left just as the speeches began. Who wants to eat desiccated salmon and roastbeef sandwiches anyway?
Just as well we didn't have to pay for the tickets. The only good thing - apart from bitching about it all with the Mermaid - was the fact that we got free paper fans (see above) with the tickets.
Of course I bought the hat boxes last night. Along with a set of pajama bottoms on sale. Not bad, considering I dashed into the shop 5 minutes before closing time.

Will be off to Interio in my lunch-break to cash in my €30 voucher. How I love having a shopping spree to look forward to!

14:33 - PS: Lunch-break purchases: It's amazing what you can get with €30 at Interio when half of the stuff is dramatically reduced. I got:

a tablecloth
2 orange glass bowls
1 exfoliating soap bar
2 packs of paper napkins
1 cool cotton tote bag with Asian print
1 pack of goldfish-shaped floating candles.

...and I didn't even need to feel guilty for splashing out. Perfect!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Am I getting a bit paranoid because of what happened to Petite Anglaise? Am I? No, not yet anyway. I think.


Today I was good and only bought a glossy mag (UK Marie Claire, what else) in my lunch-break, not counting a Soda Zitron and ice coffee, but my appetite has been whetted for retail therapy.
1.) Interio sent me a € 30 voucher yesterday. Guess where I'll head tomorrow in my lunch-break.

2.) Eduscho/Tchibo are selling a set of 2 hat boxes (!) for € 13, 99 (!!) this week. Come on, what woman can rightfully call herself a lady without possessing a hat box? Or two. I have a feeling that this purchase will make my transition to Jane-Austen-esque desperate old spinster character complete, but never you mind, dear reader.

3.) When I checked my Visa account online I saw that the July bill has been closed. Yeah!

I'm dragging the Mermaid to a performance (got 2 free tickets through my newspaper subscription) within the framework of the ImPuls Tanz Festival tonight. First, I asked two hard-core dance afficionados whether they felt like going. After having read the synopsis and taken in the fact that the performance won't start until 9 p.m., they politely declined. "Will there be an intermission?", the Mermaid anxiously asked. I called the festival hotline and found out there wasn't, but that the show only takes one hour. This, we reasoned, we could bear. Just in case we arranged to meet at the ice-cream parlour beforehand to reward ourselves in advance for the potential overdose of culture. More soon.

I washed 3 bags last night. This time, I made sure I had taken out my mobile first. Yep, you live and learn.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

lunch-break, the low-budget version thereof

reading (onemorehandbag) On days like this when it's hot outside and I remind myself that I ought to keep up my self-imposed ban on lunch-break shopping just a little bit longer, I go to a park (my favourite spot being the Theseus Temple at Volksgarten) to read a book and eat my sandwich, trying not be distracted by wannabe fortune-tellers and the omnipresent sight of obese female tourists, cellulite-dimpled flesh oozing out of skimpy hotpants.

Monday, July 17, 2006

when I'm sixty-four...

old men in the park (onemorehandbag) ...I want to have a companion with whom to walk through life in perfect synchronicity like the two old men on the photo FCN (she actually pointed them out to me) and I saw in our lunch-break on Thursday.

Are they brothers? Lovers? Old chums? Who knows. In any case, they were an endearing sight to behold.

Whether I'll have a husband or lover at that age I don't know - the old pessimist in me is whispering "not bloody likely, that" - but I do know that I'll have my friends to count on.

In the past few weeks, I've (re-)discovered who I can really count on when I need to wallow in self-pity, to be distracted, entertained or told to get a grip. In short, friends to give me sound advice that I can then ignore. Interestingly enough, I've always been the shoulder to cry on but hardly ever shared my doubts and crises with even my closest friends. Recently, the proverbial flood-gate seems to have opened and there's no stopping me. Scary. Still, there's some things you have to come to terms with yourself, for better or worth.

Friday, July 14, 2006

What a waste

of 8 €uros! So I went to see the Lake House last night. Remember I told you yesterday I was really looking forward to a good fix of kitsch and Keanu? Turned out the kitsch was too much and "the Keanu" was not quite value for money either. Interesting K.R. trivia: I noticed that there was something decidedly odd about the guy's legs. No, really. Call me superficial, but he has disproportionally long shanks and is slightly bow-legged, too. How come I never noticed before? Probably because the shallow storyline had me somewhat distracted.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for suspension of logic and do like to be whisked away from my dull reality into a realm of fairy-tale like ... enchantment, or whatever, but the plot was just downright boring and predictable. The only thing I liked and which kept me going was the soundtrack, including a Paul McCartney song I hadn't heard before.

My colleague M. who'd suggested we go see it felt guilty when I voiced my disappointment (she didn't find it half as bad, actually) and apologised. I assured her I didn't hold her personally responsible for this sad excuse of a summer rom com. At least the cinema had airconditioning.

By the way, Sandra Bullock looked really sexy even though or rather because she seemed to have put on quite a few pounds. There are some actresses who really seem to mature like good wine and get better and more beautiful as they get older. Ornella Muti for example. Or Emma Thompson.
Wishing you all a good weekend with or without crappy films.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

occupational therapy

beads, before and after(onemorehandbag) Last night, I decided to tackle the beads I'd bought on Monday and produced a necklace, a bracelet and a pair of earrings. Like? I'm quite pleased with the result, even if I do say so myself, finding the colours summery and cheerful. Predictably enough, I'm already wearing the first two items to work. The earings would have been overkill and I'll rather wear them on their own or with a daintier necklace.

Tonight, I'm going to see the Lake House to get a long-overdue fix of kitsch and...KEANU REEVES. Granted, he appears in stupid films most of the time, but he's just so gorgeous nonetheless. In Something's Gotta Give which I insist was NOT a stupid film he was so damn sexy, even my very critical Mum was positively drooling over him and willing to overcome her dislike of "shallow American films" for the duration of it.

I'm so bored at the office these days that so far this week I have done three long-overdue things to catch up with the rest of the world: Got myself acquainted with Adobe Photoshop, so far having played with more foolproof programmes only, registered with eBay and opened a PayPal account. There's no stopping me, it seems. Ahem. Spoilsports might say that in the same time I could just as well have revamped my CV and looked for more gainful and challenging employment, but we're not listening to THOSE, now are we?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

or maybe I should just seriously reconsider that LaRedoute dress

LBDs and necklaces (onemorehandbag) Last night, as I was waiting for Frida (left on the picture) to turn up in front of the Burgtheater, I bumped into H., an ex-colleague of mine and proud mother of two boys. I hadn't been in touch with her since March and after I had complimented her on her tan and listened to the highlights of her family holiday in Lignano, she asked, "and, how are YOU". In German, singular and plural "you" are of course two different words and it was the plural "you" she used. "Well, I replied, "you" has taken on an entirely new meaning recently." Cue astonished look in H.'s eyes before her eyes began to inquisitively scroll down from my face to my belly. I should have known. The high waist of my recently arrived black silk dress from LaRedoute obviously supported her suspicion. Before she could congratulate me on pending procreation I specified that I had meant something completely different...

Monday, July 10, 2006

don't believe a thing I say

me in Klimt-esque dress (onemorehandbag)So I told you I wasn't really in the mood for shopping these days, right? M-hmm. A weekend in KLU and a visit to the local Peek & Cloppenburg ("Do you have our store-card? No? Did you know that you get a further 20% off the final reduction? I've got the application form and preliminary card right here. Please sign above the dotted line.") later I own a summer dress which reminds me of something one of Gustav Klimt's heroine's might have worn and SO matches my favourite green bag. Conveniently, Mum had shoes that match the dusty pink/lilac shade and literally FORCED them on me as a temporary loan.

I also bought a "Matching Temptation" bra (like the one on the photo, only in black) and matching pants. Cool, eh? What with both having been 50% reduced it would have been an offense not to buy it. As you know, I'm usually your sensitive cotton undies kind of girl who isn't above purchasing childish days-of-the-week briefs, this lacey thing is almost *gasp* frivolous in my (innocent) eyes. Rrrr.

Those abso-lutely vital purchases aside, I spent a lovely weekend at my parents, glad I didn't trust the weather forecast which was trying to convince me that it would rain. As if. I went swimming in the Wörther See both on Saturday and Sunday. Aaaaah. Turquoise water, 23° cold/warm. Bliss! I took this morning off work to get more out of my weekend and made it to Vienna in record time.

Ever since I descended on the office at 13:20, I have had N-O-T-H-I-N-G to do. Yawn.

As I was back in Vienna so unecpectedly early, I decided to walk all the way to work and seized the opportunity to stop by the mineral (as in stones, not water) store down the road from where I live. They close at 6 which means that I normally can't make it in time. I bought 4 strings of beads, material for at least 2 necklaces. I wish I'd brought my tools into work - I could at least have done SOMETHING productive today...

Friday, July 07, 2006

sofa surfing

summer @ MQ (onemorehandbag) Last night, I met Frida at the MQ. She, the Prototype and their boys are back from Paris. I was so happy to see her, I almost suffocated her in a bear-hug. After having unpacked my goodie-bag of stylish souvenirs (a pen from Muji, a mini magnetic memo board, post-its with a strict looking woman and "la secrétaire" written underneath, a self-made brooch, a cellotape-roll with "Happiness" printed on it, tiny pictogram stickers, a pin saying "superstar"), I launched into a monologue about "what-I-didn't-write-you-in-an-E-Mail", filling her in about my latest ups and downs. Well, downs, mostly. In my defense I have to say that the poor girl had been warned that it was going to be a moan fest on my part and the Mojitos were on me.
We were sitting on one of the funny sofa-like contraptions (painted a different colour every summer) on the big square between the museums. The exact place where in winter you can warm up with Glühwein at a Christmas market.

I just love MQ which is conveniently located down the road (admittedly, it's a rather long road and a looong way) from where I live. Most of the museums have really nice cafés or restaurants attached to them, my favourites being Halle and Café Leopold. In summer, they all put up tables and chairs on the square and most of the drinks can also be ordered in plastic cups for take-away if you prefer to lounge on one of the red monsters. Some people prefer to bring their own stuff and hold veritable picnics.

Having lived in Vienna since 1990 I have seen many transformations in this city. Most of them for the better, some for the worse. The opening of the U3 subway line in 1993 aside, the MQ is by far the best addition to the city in my opinion. The Museum of Modern Art's (MUMOK) granite building (topmost picture) is often being critisised for being glum and depressing to the extreme, but I - gasp! - actually like it. The museum shops are cool, too and the central MQ Point which is open on Sundays, too, is a reliable source for last-minute presents.

Whenever I get visitors from abroad, I always drag them to the MQ whether there are any interesting exhibitions on or not and so far, they've all liked it.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

this is where I draw the line

these boots are NOT made for walking (onemorehandbag)Earlier this week, I spotted these horribly tarty bags in a tacky shop at Lugner City. You know the way some things are so ugly they're cool. Yeah? Well, others remain just plain ugly.

Nightmarish bags aside, I'm not really in the mood for hitting the summer sales, big-time. Don't panic and think yours truly has lost her shopping mojo for good. By the way, I bought 2 pairs of shoes (faux python skin GEOX loafers and bright yellow Neopren trainers) on Saturday. It's just that what with my LIFE AS I KNEW IT having spiralled down the drain and me being a moodier bitch than ever who these days is more likely to spend her lunch-breaks bawling her eyes out on some park bench than running where her bargain-radar leads her, I have a hunch that DECLUTTERING might be the cure. For, like, everything. As soon as TD will have moved out - if I ever get to see that day - I'm determined to clear out my wardrobe, my flat. My life. Can you remind me of my pompous words then? Purrrlease?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

the blue Danube. No, make that brown.

Wachau(onemorehandbag) On Sunday, I made a bike-trip with FCN and hubby, FMC, and 2 other colleagues with their better halves. We'd wanted to go cycling in the picturesque Wachau region for ages, but last year the nasty weather and FCN's and my busy weekend-schedules meant that we had to postpone the project. After much deliberation in view of the less than promising weather forecast we settled for Sunday and were in fact very lucky with the weather which was warm, but neither too hot, nor windy. First, we took the boat from Dürnstein to Melk, then cycled the 32 kms. back to Dürnstein.

We called it our OAP-tour as we cycled mostly downhill and the 2-hour boat journey was very laid-back and touristy, too. Attractions like the church and castle above were announced over the tannoy in 6 languages, including Japanese.

Thanks to my generously upholstered behind and the (meticulously cleaned) bike I borrowed from FMC('s absentee girlfriend), my bum wasn't even sore at all and I wouldn't mind doing some kind of pseudo-sporty co-worker-bonding again.

Lunch-break purchases: None apart from food. I was good last night as well when I met the Mermaid after work.
PS: I'm wearing the dress today. A Japanese colleague told me I looked like "a Barbie from the 1960s". I asked her if it was meant as as compliment and apparently it was. Hmmm.

Monday, July 03, 2006

each to their own...

I had originally planned to write about yesterdays' cycling trip in the Wachau, but then came across this very interesting link about what is apparently the latest Japanese craze after buying school girls' dirty undies from vending machines: pantsu getta, an "Internet-based treasure hunting game is women's underpants that have been hidden in public places for guys to seek out whatever way they can"

What will they think of next?

Lunch-break purchases: None. Went to check at Steffl whether the bags my bargain-radar zoomed in last week are a) still there and b) have been further reduced. Answer to a): yes. b) no, unfortunately. I also checked out the Swarovski summer sale, but the flagship store was swamped with Versace-clad Russian trophy blondes to the point that you couldn't even get close enough to the showcase to see the actual merchandise.
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