Monday, August 31, 2020

The Glass Half Full

In the past 3 months, I have sewn countless masks for myself and others. In general, I have rediscovered my love for sewing, but making masks which takes me so little time and yet is a creative outlet that brings joy not only to myself, but also to the people I give them to. At least they put on a convincing enough show of being happy and grateful
When I first started making masks the general assumption was that after the lockdown we'd need to wear them for a few weeks and then the whole "thing" would be over. Some people asked me if it was worth the effort to make masks my own since we would not be needing them for a long time. Well, I was never that optimistic myself and now that it seems they're here to stay for a while, it's fine with me. and I sincerely enjoy using original fabrics, recycling others that I bought decades ago and matching masks to my outfits. Unlike other people, I don't see this little piece of fabric as an infringement of my civil rights or risk of suffocation, but as a necessary evil that gives me another opportunity to indulge in my love for (over) accessorising. Why not try and see the positive aspects of something you can't change?

Monday, August 24, 2020


Last week I had a flashback to my childhood. I spent a few days at our old summer house, aka my grandparents' house one floor of which was our weekend and summer apartment until we moved into a house of our own. I had not spent more than single nights there since that time and while some things in our household there had long become old and defunct, it was still cosy and reminded me of happy summers past. 
I was there with Highflyer and his two sons, the younger of whom still has that completely carefree mode and utter trust in adults when "What are we doing today?" and "What's for lunch?" are the only relevant questions. While the kids were glued to their phone screens like any teenager (and myself) these days and tourist attractions that had wowed me at their age only triggered a "meh" reaction, they still reminded me of myself in my early teens when my own "duty" was to enjoy my summer vacation and not be too big of a nuisance to my parents. Back then, your teenage years seemed to be just a stage you impatiently wanted to grow out of and growing up seemed the inevitable goal. In hindsight, it was the best of times and I readily admit that I am more than just a little envious.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Under Cover


So. Vacationing in times of a pandemic. I have been back from Nice for a week now and I am really glad I went as it provided exactly the summer routine I had hoped for, even if it was different from previous years. Spending hours at a time with a nose and mouth covering was not exactly a pleasant experience. From the moment I entered Vienna airport, during our flight, upon arrival at Nice airport, on the train ride to our home in Nice. I was really looking forward to taking that mask off and hop into the shower before heading to the beach when our landlady (a friend of Mademoiselle's) and her husband greeted us wearing a mask. We understood that we were supposed to do so as well and spent 70 (!) minutes listening to her explain things pertaining to the apartment and fill us in on the latest French Covid-19 news. By the time they finally left, I ripped off my mask and was almost gasping for air. My first impression: wow, the French are taking things way more seriously than we do! In hindsight, I think they were a just bit paranoid that us foreigners just off a plane would infect them. Fair enough. The French (at least people in Nice) did take things way more seriously than the general population here in Austria as masks are obligatory in any type of shop and there a disinfectant gel dispenser by the door in every shop and you are requested to use it, too. I don't think my hands have been that clean and germ-free ever in my life. The cashier at Galeries Lafayette disinfected her hands every.single.time she reached for an invoice and handed it to a new customer. Our landlady had warned us that we might not be able to try on any clothes but this turned out not to be true at all. It was possible to do so everywhere and the sales had really good deals, too so I did my best to help the French economy. Ahem.
I decided not to go on any daytrips this time (the idea of sitting on a bus or train with a mask did not appeal to me) so we mostly spent time at the beach, where you don't have to wear a mask. Most people placed their towels and other beach paraphernalia at a proper distance, but there were less tourists than in previous years anyway. We heard mostly Italian and our assumption was that many of these beach-goers were daytrippers as the Italian border is quite close.
Would I go again? Yes, I would, but there is always that tension regarding travel warnings changing at short notice. At the moment, trips abroad by car (ideally to neighbouring countries) seem safer than flying to a destination where there currently is only one flight a day.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Smiling Behind My Mask

I am writing this the night before flying to Nice, where I have been already 10 times with Mademoiselle and other girls. This time, it's just the two of us plus her eldest godson who arrives the day I fly back, and to be honest, if I hadn't booked my flight in January already I would not have chosen to fly abroad this summer at all. After our original flights had been annulled we managed to get rebooked and even though we found out recently that masks are now obligatory outdoors in town, which I am not too keen on, I am actually looking forward to my bit of summer routine. More upon my return!

Monday, August 03, 2020

You'll Find Me in the Hammock

(Starbucks cup and straw are not for single use, I hasten to add)

My maternal grandfather had one holy grail item of garden furniture he kept wistfully talking about for years until he finally received it as a present: a three-seater garden swing chair, which in German has the great name Hollywoodschaukel  (literally "Hollywood swing"). When he finally got it, he loved it and even ended up doing his post-lunch power naps stretched out in that swing. 
For me, the coolest summer "furniture" is the humble hammock and it does not make a difference if it is one tied between two trees or comes with a stand, like the one from a popular German discount supermarket chain that Highflyer got me when I told him how much I loved them. Since it has shown up in his garden not a day has gone by when at least one of us ends up laying in there, reading. I love, love, love the instant summer feeling I get as soon as I'm stretched out in one. Sometimes, it really is the simplest of things to make you happy.
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