Monday, August 30, 2021

THAT Kind of Person

When I look back at my early sourdough days back in Lockdown Nr. 1 (or was it 2?) last year I would not actually call the result seriously good bread. Now I feel I have perfected the recipe and my starter has also reached ideal maturity and I consider my bread better than what most bakeries sell. Whereas I had no gardening ambitions when I first (more or less) moved in with Highflyer, I went all out this spring after he dedicated a small strip of garden for my experiments by moving the guide cable for "Robbie", the lawnmower robot accordingly. Well, I got a bit carried away and sowed so many different seeds in way too large quantities that some herbs and vegetables were more or less suffocated by the close proximity of their neighbours. It might also have helped to mark somehow what I sowed where as unless it looks extremely familiar I don't recognise half of the things that come out of the soil and am often unsure of the green leaves belong to what later will later become a flower or are something edible like a type of herb or salad. Some of the plants died for different reasons and rocket salad has once more proved its superior resilience. I did not have much faith in the cheep oxblood tomato seedling I bought at a supermarket, but now that it's actually carrying tomatoes that are slowly beginning to blush I feel like a proud parent and realised that I have become THAT type of person who gets mildly excited about home-grown vegetables. What next?!

Monday, August 23, 2021

Reality Check

While Highflyer has always been nothing but appreciative of my cooking and baking, it's a very different story with his teenage sons. I don't see them very often as they don't live in Austria, but when they visit I rarely volunteer to cook as I already know their reaction, which is "mehp" at best. Both are picky eaters and my waffles and smoothies are pretty much the only things they truly like (the elder also loves my chocolate pudding). The rest rarely evokes anything remotely resembling enthusiasm so I just let them cook themselves if they are so inclined or agree to ordering a pizza (fine with me, too) or eating out as their father's culinary endeavours are about as welcome as mine. I would definitely not have proclaimed a plain (lightly salted) basmati rice as "tasting of absolutely nothing" when I was their age. Well, you could say it is is a reality check...that mothers whose children live in the same household get every single day, no doubt.


Monday, August 16, 2021



When I was a child, those 2 months of summer vacation seemed endless and I loved every minute of it. By the time school started again, my hair was sun-bleached, I could see tan lines where from my watch and bikini and I had done exciting things, such as travelled abroad with my parents, read a pile of books and learned some new skill like jumping into the water or perfecting a "circus number" of some sorts with my younger cousin. Those were carefree happy times and I often long for a longer time off during the summer. Back in 2015 I took July to September off work and I am thinking of taking a month off next year too.
I have just enjoyed 2 weeks of annual leave and in a way these were reminiscent of those childhood times even if I did not travel apart, but divided my time between Innsbruck and Klagenfurt, something I would have found too boring and uneventful a few years ago. I am once more extremely grateful to have the privilege of free (!) vacation accommodation in popular tourist areas that also allowed me to experience almost "normal" ski days this past winter.
What else is comparable? Tan-lines: check. Pile of books read: check. New skill? Well, after reading so much about the revival of hoola-hooping seemingly everywhere, I got curious and decided to give this a go in the hope of finding an effortless method of exercise to counteract all the negative effects of endless hours sitting in front of my laptop. It was no easy start as I ordered a hoop that was too small and too heavy for a beginner (hello, bruises and sore muscles) but thanks to a larger and lighter model (pictured above) and after watching some helpful YouTube tutorials I am happy to report that I no longer flail my arms but have activated the proper muscles to do what they are supposed to do in order to make it look like the real thing. Not lying, I am a little proud.

Monday, August 09, 2021

The More the Merrier

In the 1980s there was a popular German TV production that I loved to watch. Its title translates to "I'm marrying a family". It was about a patchwork family, which back then was a rather novel concept. I now find myself in exactly that scenario. I am an only child, Highflyer has 8 (!) older siblings. It took me a while to remember all their names and who lives where and has what profession. Well, most of them are my parents' generation and retired now, anyway. I don't have any children myself, he has a total of three.  I often get asked how this feels for me and if it isn't overwhelming. Well, apart from the fact that most of his siblings live in Tyrol and his sons don't live in Austria at all and I don't get to see either of them all that often, they have been a lovely addition to my own very small family and I have felt welcomed. I used joke that I'd love to be able to order children from a catalogue when they are already at that age where they can walk and articulate themselves and now it feels like I have actually got that. Well-behaved kids in small, manageable doses I can more than handle and well-meaning relatives who don't live "on the farm" are okay, too. 

Monday, August 02, 2021



I am currently on vacation in rainy Innsbruck, Highflyer's hometown. Unlike last year, won't be in my beloved Nice as "our" flat's availability was not so convenient for my planning. It felt a bit weird to commit to two weeks in a row IN AUSTRIA. On Saturday morning, we took the plane from Vienna on standby tickets. I know, I know, but it was cheapest and most convenient option and his car is parked at Innsbruck airport so we would have had to take a taxi from the train station to get the car. Justified carbon footprint shame aside, it was nice to at least soak up some holiday atmosphere by means of a super short flight, doing some people watching at the surprisingly full terminal and to redeem a voucher in the Duty Free store for a product I would typically have purchased in France.
All in all, it feels like some small-scale downsized (but by no means worse) version of my pre-pandemic summer vacations.

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