Thursday, April 30, 2009


When I got home from a business trip in DE last night, I had a present in my postbox - a water bottle I had won in a competition, imprinted with the slogan " The best thirst quencher - Viennese water".
good Viennese water (onemorehandbag)I couldn't agree more. Most districts in Vienna, including the one where I live, get crystal-clear water from alpine springs, ice-cold from the tap. In many countries, people pay a lot of money for bottled water of a much inferior quality.

It was really good timing, too. As you know, a picture of me should be put in a dictionary next to the term "willing marketing victim". This time, it was the designer version of a soda maker. Several of my friends have had the earlier, plastic models of the Sodaclub range for years and while I have always been intrigued by the idea and in particular by the environmentally-friendly aspect (I do like fizzy mineral water occasionally), I disliked the machines and plastic bottles and didn't really fancy having one in my kitchen/on my dining table.

Not until I read this article in derStandard's RONDO supplement last Friday (sorry for the hazy photo). Glass bottles! Stainless steel! Sleek design!
marketing victim (onemorehandbag) Do I really need to mention that "the Penguin" has already landed in my kitchen?

the penguin has landed (onemorehandbag)

Anyone fancy a Viennese-Water-Party (with bubbles!) @ my place?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Other People Have Balconies

... and fancy rooftop terraces... or gardens in suburbia, but I at least have a wide window sill which serves as my "poor girl's balcony":
window sill (onemorehandbag) With the window open and bended knees, I can "lie" in the sun pretty much undisturbed, unless the opposite neighbour sees me and decides to engage me in a chat.

(In case you're looking at the full-size photo and wondering what kind of dirt there is on the window frame - it's the remnants of some silicone glue which is hard to get off.)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Circus in Town

Yesterday evening, I wanted to get a fix of urban culture and headed to the MQ, where I intended to visit this year's "Modepalast" fashion fair. Once there, the weather was still so nice and sunny that I changed my mind, not wanting to spend time indoors.
summer @ MQ 2009 (onemorehandbag) Instead, I walked to the first district and took some pictures of the crowds watching the various activities of the annual "Stadtfest" (city festival) that took place yesterday:

Stadtfest Wien 2009 (onemorehandbag) In front of the Hofburg, I bumped into a friend and his daughter. In parting, he said, "It's a pity you're here on your own!" "Not really," I replied, "it's not that I'm afraid on my own in town." Walking home, I thought about that remark and realised that I actually really enjoyed spending the greater part of Saturday on my own: going to the market, reading in the sun, just pottering about at home. A friend had forwarded me the event calendar of the MQ fashion fair and told me to get in touch should I want to go, but I had preferred not to commit myself and just see what I felt like doing.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Just One of the Reasons why I Love Spring

asparagus&new potatoes (onemorehandbag) Asparagus and new potatoes with extra virgin olive oil and freshly grated parmesam. Mmmmhmmm.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Trying It On for Size Picture from

This weekend, Vienna's public utility company is celebrating the so called "long night(s) of Wiener Stadtwerke", by opening the doors of their various instutions to the curious public. One such being the unit "Bestattung Wien/Wiener Friedhöfe" (Viennese funeral services/cemetaries) which plans to attract visitors to the Funerary Museum by offering them to "test coffins" by actually lying down in one or two of the exhibits. Hmmm, not exactly my idea of weekend entertainment.
I was reminded of a memorable Sunday some 4 or 5 years ago, when TD and myself were having lunch with my granny's sister and her husband in one of the 3 restaurants in their village. My great-aunt had just settled the bill and was thinking aloud about how to spend the afternoon. "Fancy seeing your grave?", she asked uncle T. "You haven't seen it yet and we could get a lift to the cemetary now that the kids are here by car." TD and I almost choked on our fizzy drinks as she came out with that question. You see, she had just secured a burial ground in the village cemetary (and not just any spot there, but one with a good view and had a granite tombstone with an image of sunflowers and their names chiseled in already. That day, we took a picture of her proudly pointing to the inscription. My uncle was somewhat reluctant whereas she was blissfully unaware of the morbidity of the situation, repeating several times that we wanted not just one wreath from all relatives, but individual ones by each family, because "here, you are judged by the number of wreaths you get on your funeral". A valid point.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Culprit Returns to the Scene of the Crime...

Since 2002, when the first annual "Cherry Grove Festival" took place on the Danube Island, I had taken part together with other colleagues from Coma HQ. My contribution was always an origami workshop. The 2007 festival took place shortly before I left (my last day of work with the "Comatose" was on April 25, on April 26, I started at the Firm which makes it my second anniversary this week - how time flies!).

Last year, the festival took place without yours truly. This year, a nice ex-colleague asked me if I would participate again. Yes, I was flattered that they had obviously missed me last year, but I had also really enjoyed this annual gathering of the Japanese community, japanophiles and students from local schools. The Viennese district Floridsdorf is twinned with Tokyo's district Katsushika, hence the unexpected interest in all things Japanese.
Up until yesterday, the weather was lovely and warm. Today, it was windy and cold and I've been sneezing ever since I came home despite wearing my waxed jacket underneath my happi. I need a good soak in a hot tub now, but it was great fun all the same:
kirschenhain 2009 (onemorehandbag)

If Only to Annoy MC...

"Oooh, I love this bouquet, I have to take a picture", I said when our weekly office flowers arrived. MC: "Ugh, I suppose we're going to see it on your blog, right? I don't like it when you post just a photo...Then again, I don't like those long posts with lots of text, either. I prefer the medium-length ones."
daisies and tulips (onemorehandbag) Returning customers. So hard to please!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

When Two Blogerettes Are Out and About...

Novala and I went to an exhibition opening last night. "See those horses up there?" "Yeah, cool, I'm gonna take a photo." "Me too. Are you gonna post it, or will I?"

My photo (zoom plus flash - not the best combination with my camera) didn't come out well anyway, but for the record, I never intended to post about the Enzis first - they're hers, traditionally ;-)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hunting Grounds of Yore

Very early on Saturday morning, I took Flocki to the ÖAMTC right in my old neighbourhood (it was the wheel-bearings, by the way). The lady at reception told me to come back in an hour so I seized the time to walk to nearby Meiselmarkt to buy ingredients for the book club dinner chez moi last night. I got quite nostalgic, as I passed my old flat, even though it was extremely small, quite dark and decorated with my great-aunt's bulky old furniture plus I spent the greater part of the 3 1/2 years I lived there walking on tiptoes so as not to annoy the downstairs neighbour who pretty much objected to me walking in the flat. The first time I made her acquaintance she rang my doorbell only to give me the once-over and say "Well, YOU may not be heavy, but your STEP certainly is very heavy". Hmmm.
my old flat (onemorehandbag)

The bag-shop (!) round the corner from where I lived has since become one of those ubiquitous mobile phone repair/internet café/call shop joints:

it used to be a bag-shop (onemorehandbag) Meiselmarkt shopping mal and indoor market were still there, though:

Meiselmarkt (onemorehandbag) There's also a small open-air market, where farmers sell their produce:

Meiselmarkt II (onemorehandbag) I had almost forgotten how great the variety is and how low the prices. Among other things, I bought white asparagus from the Marchfeld region, the most famous asparagus in Austria. I vowed to do my grocery shopping in my onld neighbourhood more often.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Next Thursday, I'm taking the afternoon off to assist my ex-colleagues from good old Coma HQ at an annual event where various Japanese arts and crafts are demonstrated. Me, I'll be in charge of the origami workshop. It's been a while since I folded cranes, pigs, samurai helmets and the like. One of my staples is a jumping frog, which fascinated the Gazelle and the Empress, the latter making it jump...straight into the water jug on my desk. What can I say - the little paper chap took to it like a frog to water:
origami frog (onemorehandbag)

Thursday, April 16, 2009


#1 - not so much that I jinxed it with my recent praise of Flocki's good constitution, but that I had already noticed strange, i.e. loud noise when I drove in 4th or 5th gear on my way from Vienna and NOT mentioned it at the garage. See, I had applied my usual approach to health matters (what do I need to sit in a germ-infested doctor's waiting room for - if I pretend "it" doesn't exist, the symptoms will go away on their own accord. And they usually do) to a machine, thinking, "nah, it's probably just the winter tyres and what if they find something else (= i.e. expensive)". My Mum, who drove back to Vienna with me last night noticed the noise as well and commented "Your car sounds just like a plane ready for take-off". Hmmm. Cue: sleepless night, flagellating myself for missing the opportunity to mention it to the mechanics. This morning I called them and the phone diagnosis was "its probably the wheel bearings". As the date of my next KLU visit is uncertain and I don't want to chance being ripped off by a garage here, I'll have the ÖAMTC guys take a look for the time being.
#2 - having a service engineer take a look at my dishwasher this morning (90 EUR for less than 10 minutes) and tell me that there was nothing wrong with the machine, but a calcified tap, which I had only recently taken to turn off after using the dishwasher. Duh.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Mercy for Flocki!

Today, I got new summer tyres for Flocki, my trusty Toyota Corolla 4WD station wagon, a 1995 vintage. On Easter Saturday, I washed and polished him so he looks much shinier than on this "archive" picture taken in winter:

Flocki in winter (onemorehandbag) Recently, several of my friends and relatives asked me whether I was going to make use of the scrapping premium (EUR 1.500 in Austria, where we call it Verschrottungsprämie, EUR 2.500 in Germany, where it's called Abwrackprämie, and the state obviously is even more eager to get rid of old cars and boost the ailing automotive industry). I always covered Flocki's ears when such suggestions were voiced, hoping he would not get offended, or, horror of horrors, suspect me of plotting to drop him off at the knacker's anytime soon.

You see, even though I know that airconditioning and airbag-less Flocki is not exactly state of the art and there are some rusty spots (plus for the last two weeks he has had a bit of a rasp in his lungs when I drive in 4th or 5th gear), he and I enjoy quite a special relationship and despite the fact that he is quite the petrol-guzzling monster, it is against my environmental priciples to have a perfectly functioning "appliance" scrapped only to buy a shiny new one. Not that I am adverse to the concept of buying things in general, mind. Flocki is also a dinosaur (or should I say, Samurai?) of the age when Japanese cars were still made in Japan (funny to think that this is a mark of quality these days when in my childhood it was more of a swear-word) rather than China, the Czech Republic or Turkey. When I bumped into the senior boss of my trusted Toyota dealer/garage in KLU this morning and told him people had wondered if I was going to scrap Flocki any time soon, his comment was, "you'll drive that one another 10 years." Not that I'm planning to, but apart from the fact that a fat 21st century car wouldn't fit into the tiny parking space allotted to me in my Viennese garage, I am attached to him because he belonged to my Granddad.

[Tangent] Speaking of garage - most of the times when I park Flocki on the streets of Vienna, I find funny laminated notices dropped at the windscreen or squeezed through the space between the driver's door. All of those appeals to sell my car are written by people with an interesting approach to grammar and orthography:

car dealer (onemorehandbag) I particularly like the "Pickel" (spot, pimple) instead of "Pickerl" (Austrian colloquial for vehicle inspection sticker) in the above. [End of tangent]

As long as I can remember, my Granddad always dreamed of a Range Rover. Everyone knew about his obsession and he talked about getting a Range Rover "one day" all the time. At one stage, my Dad gave him a model version in a wooden garage he had made and Granddad put it in a bookshelf to look at. I don' t know if Granddad really could not afford the real thing or whether this car symbolized too much post-war affluence and swank to be justified by a shopkeeper in a small community. Be that as it may, when he was retired, cheaper offroad vehicles had come on the market and he decided to get a Mitsubishi Pajero instead. I suppose in his rangeroving dreams he must have had servants, because he had obviously not realised what a pain it was to wash such a monster of a car. The fact that my Granny who had an artifical hip joint needed a stool to get in the car was another drawback. I can't remember how long he drove the Mitsubishi, but in my memory it was pretty soon that he managed to convince his youngest son to take it off him so he could buy Flocki instead. It was still a four-wheel-drive car, just as white as the Pajero had been and pretty cool and unusual (back in 1995) as well. This time, he had not realised just how thirsty Flocki could get (the Pajero had a much more economical diesel engine). When he went to a health resort a good 1.5 hrs drive from his house with my Granny and Great-Aunt, he got my Mum to swap cars with him (hers was a diesel...) for the 2 weeks they were there. The rest of the time, he mostly only drove to the supermarket and back so petrol costs didn't get too sky-high.

When he turned 80, he was summoned to undergo a psychological test to be able to keep his driver's licence. Incensed, he drove to the authority in charge and told them they could keep his licence. Possibly he also told them they could stick it where the sun didn't shine, but that is apocryphal. By that time, I had got my first job and could afford to keep a car in Vienna and Mum agreed to buy Flocki off Granddad. For weeks, he chuckled about the face of the bank clerk in his village when he casually gave her the cheque for a rather impressive amount of Schillings and asked her to put it in his account. "Do you know this person?", the clerk asked him, probably thinking, "here goes another poor old, gullible man".

By the time I already sweated profusely behind the steering wheel in Vienna, stressed when having to switch lanes or find a parking space, he had already regretted his rash decision to return his drivers licence, realising that he needed a car for grocery shopping. He invested the money from the Flocki-sale plus some more in a shockingly overpriced small, slow and noisy car that could be driven without a licence. This, he drove for the subsequent 2 years until he got sick (he died a month after his 83rd birthday).

So you could call Flocki my Grandad's watered-down dream of a Range Rover come true and a souvenir I try to keep in good shape for as long as I can.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter all of you!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pagan Rites

The greatest highlight of the ecclesiastical year in Carinthia is Fleischweihe, the blessing of Easter ham, hard-boiled eggs, Reindling, and all the other goodies that make up the traditional Osterjause. The idea is more of a symbolic one, not that you actually have to empty your fridge and lug its entire contents to church or wherever the blessing-of-your-fridge-contents may take place. In the case of the Ebenthal parish, the church couldn't possibly accommodate all the hungy people yearning to tuck into their consecrated ham so the priest does various open air blessings in 15 minute-intervals, one of them in the park right behind my parents' house, make-shift altar and all. I took a picture from the vantage point of one of the balcony of my Mum's study:
Fleischweihe (onemorehandbag)

Far from being a Catholic fundamentalist and not exactly deserving of the label of regular church attendee (ahem), I still refuse to join the ranks of people who don't even step inside a church at Christmas, but would never miss Fleischweihe and the opportunity to show off the cross-stitched cloths covering their bulging wicker baskets.

Which doesn't mean that I object to my Mum having our ham consecrated...

Friday, April 10, 2009


For weeks, I had been planning to post about the phenomenon of omnipresent German "immigrants" in Austria. Today, Novala quoted a really interesting and well-written article written by one of the more than 40.000 German citizens living in Vienna.
Only a couple of years ago, German waiters or shop assistants would have been an exotic exception, when nowadays, they are hardly unusual anymore. As are Germans in pretty much every job-role.
The Viennese who like the rest of Austria enjoy a bit of a love-hate relationship (less love) with their German neighbours grudgingly had to accept this as a fact, telling themselves that it could be worse. After all, they could be Serbs, Turks or Czech. The greater comfort, though, is that you can blatantly make jokes about the Germans and not be accused of being racist. Whereas even the most xenophobic among Austrians (that would be 98 percent of the population) are dimly aware that railing against, say, Jews, Blacks or Asians is not exactly PC and good taste, it just confirms their suspicion knowledge that Germans are utterly devoid of humour if they fail to slap their thighs when being reminded for the umpteenth time that Austrians exclusively think of someone running when a German uses "laufen" instead of "zu Fuß gehen" or how hilarious they find someone pronouncing "Tupperware" or "Colgate" with germanified suffixes. The list is endless.
German colleague Karel had obviously been the butt of one too many Piefke-bashing jokes when he unexpectedly took revenge by quoting a lame comment of mine back to a German client. I just wanted the floor to swallow me up there and then and have since sworn to amend my bad ways vis-à-vis our Teutonic invaders...oops...friends was the word I was looking for.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Box Box

There's no knowing in these times of economic hardship and what with the influx of Eastern European immigrants who might jump and grab the box trees in front of your shop. Better put them in a cage (unobstructed view of foliage is like, so overrated, anyway) and fix the cage to the wall just to be in the safe side. Seen in Helferstorferstraße, Vienna.
box tree in a cage (onemorehandbag)

Monday, April 06, 2009

Law Enforcement

If I were in the Fashion Police Force, I would sanction some crimes against common aesthetics with capital severe punishment. The list is a long one, but these are the gravest offences in my opinion:
  • Trousers (and jeans in particular) that are too short (bodenscheu, the Mermaid calls this)
  • This strange kind of "inverted" french manicure where the tips of your nail are black or red, making them look dirty at first sight. And not much more appealing at second sight either.
  • Black tights with summery skirts
  • Any kind of tights with open-toed footwear
  • Anything that makes your flesh bulge out, over and about. Think wobbly midriff over waistband of low-cut jeans.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Carinthian Easter Reindling

In between various household chores and sunbathing on my window sill (poor substitute for a balcony, but better than nothing), I baked a Reindling today. Hard-core Carinthians eat slices of it with grated horeradish and boiled Easter ham on top, but we've never done that in my family. As my mother's family is from another region of Austria originally, she never baked Reindling, but we got a really good one from my paternal granny. She is 93 years old now and has given up her active baking career so we get our supply from my parents' cleaning lady, Mrs. K. who also gave my Mum the recipe I used. Here goes.

Carinthian Easter Reindling

(makes 1 big cake or 2 smaller ones, depending on the mould you use)


500 g flour (course-grained, preferably)
a pinch of salt
grated zest of 1 lemon
80 g melted butter
80g sugar
1 egg
1 pkg (42) fresh yeast
2 egg yolks
250 ml milk
rum to taste

melted butter
In a small bowl crumble the yeast and cover it with a sprinkling of sugar and a bit of milk. Cover with a handful of flour and leave to proof.
I a big bowl mix flour, salt, lemon zest and sugar. Add the egg and yolks. Put the butter and milk in a cup or bowl and warm/melt in the microwave (don't let it overheat, it should be about 37°, i.e. body temperature). Add to the rest of the ingredients together with the rum and mix well (using your mixer with dough hooks). Cover with a dishcloth and leave to proof until the dough has doubled in volume and looks positively radioactive (think mushroom cloud):
Knead once more (attention: V-E-R-Y sticky!) and then roll out on a floured surface. Brush generously with melted butter. Cover with sugar (I used demerara), then cinammon, followed by a second layer of sugar. If you like raisins (I personally prefer currants) add a handful of raisins. Roll the dough to a big "sausage" and put in a buttered mould. Use a "Guglhupf" mould if you have one but any oven-proof bowl will do. I transferred the dough into a big and a small pan and let it proof once more for a 45 minutes or so.
Heat your oven to 175-180° (170 is enough if you have a fan setting) and bake for an hour (less if you use smaller pans, I took the small one out of the oven after 45 mins). Cover the surface with tin foil to prevent it from getting too dark after 3/4 of the baking time. Turn out of the mould while still warm and put on a plate upside down.

Like all yeasty pastries it tastes best on the first day, but also freezes well.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Bye-Bye. See You in October

Phase II of the bi-annual seasonal wardrobe shift has commenced:

bootcamp (onemorehandbag)

After preparing all the down and wool coats for hibernation (or rather the opposite therof) last weekend, I'm now sending off all boots off to their hiding place in the topmost part of my "storage wardrobe" until October. Jumpers, skirts and trousers will follow suit and as usual I'll unearth at least one piece of my summer wardrobe that I had completely forgotten about. It's a pain in the neck to devote hours to cleaning and sorting clothes and shoes, but then again it's a small price to pay for living in a country where the change of seasons is so noticeable - something I wouldn't want to miss. Ever.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Raining Red Roses

Glooorious sunshine today and a promotion act by T-Mobile right in front of our office that we knew about in advance and therefore secured a good photo spot before the action started - red and pink rose petals raining from 4 different bulidings at the intersection of Graben/Kohlmarkt/Naglergasse. Very cool and a bit like a 70s "happening".

rote rosen am graben (onemorehandbag)
red roses graben (onemorehandbag)
für mich soll's rote rosen regnen (onemorehandbag)
red roses (onemorehandbag)
rote rosen am graben (onemorehandbag)
red roses at Graben (onemorehandbag)
raining red roses (onemorehandbag)
Wouldn't mind that every other Thursday...

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Have a Laugh

Today is April Fool's Day and although I don't intend to play a trick on anyone, I thought I'd share a site with you that always cracks me up, perhaps because it reminds me of my years with the Japanese who required you to keep a straight face while they told you about the results of their recent "general erections".
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