Sunday, 28 November 2010

First Advent Before the Snow Arrives

Advent, Advent, ein Lichtlein brennt

Here you see the Advent wreath I crafted yesterday together with friends. After having crafted rather "tight" wreaths in the years before, I decided to do this one more relaxed style, with twigs pointing out. Lovely!

The scent is in the air and we wait for the first heavy snowfalls to arrive. 200km down south it is already heavily snowing, the wet air moves from the Mediterranean up north where it meets the cold air. Meanwhile there is plenty of time for some more handcrafting at home:

First time in ages I use rollers. Fun plus perfect training for the triceps!
I was not aware HOW chaotic it turned out ...

We can hear the snowplows driving by, getting ready for the job. Exciting! I am off to the kitchen, baking cookies, unfortunately today without last time's company.

EDIT: The snow arrived! Mr. Paula does not get my excitement.

The little stars symbolize the snowflakes, here you can see the latest weather-report.

By tomorrow morning the roads will be silent.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Things that make me happy - Part III

Guess what this is- it is the old wall that once surrounded the city of Vienna which was very small back then (today's 1st district of 23 districts).
Up there where the lovely plants grow I like to go for lunch. Sportive lunch since it requires going up, stairs, not the wall!
Those plants make the perfect scenery for any break during working-hours in an office. This photo is not recent, the leaves are on the ground.

Back at home I take care of important tasks, such as filling sample-sizes with creams. In case I leave over night or lets say for 2, 3 days I don't have to carry the full load.

I love the look, when the cream sits in the crystall clean pot.

After the two close ups comes a picture of a sort-of-close-up: the chest of my dressing-table:

from top left to bottom right: eyelid-box / mascara and waterline-bag / foundation-box / brush-envelope and box / eyeliner-box / lipstick and gloss-box

As you can tell I am not strictly following one brand but lets say enjoy the pleasures High End cosmetics provide. You can see Giorgio Armani, Mac, Chanel and a bit of Guerlain plus Clinique.

This is only half of the story since the chest is divided in two parts. The righthand part is dedicated to my nails!!!

EDIT: I like to add another thing that makes me happy: the fact that Mr Paula meets me at the department store in half an hour because I wants to take a look at the new kuddly-couch-blanket I plan to buy, too. He is somewhat the opposite of the character Bill Murray plays in Lost in Translatiom when his wife calls him and asks him on his favourite carpet-colour. Ever since I saw that scene, I fear we might become this couple one day: me asking him those questions which are important to me and him feeling estranged. But then he calls me to tell me "Lets meet there in half an hour!" Maybe it's just he wants a really good kuddly blanket, too, so he cares as much as I do!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Let There be Light!

Yesterday after work I passed the city center of Vienna, on my way to the haidresser, checking out the round brushes and scheduling an appointment for the touch-up of my roots Dec. 23, 3.30pm. I hope they will serve hot punch at the salon. I don't drink it (I get drunk way to easily) but I love the scent of cinnamon, orange and cloves.

Entré "Meinl am Graben", high-end-supermarket

When you leave Meinl am Graben, this is what you get to see:
Chandeliers! Huge Chandeliers!

And when you turn your head right, towards the "Kohlmarkt", this is what you get to see:
It rains light! Or rather "snows light".
Captured but not visible: Chanel, Gucci, Cartier, Burburry, Tiffany's.
Quasi the high-end shops next to the high-end supermarket.

All the christmas-lights in the city design a space that won't be there without them, quasi a limit to the sky that I enjoy every christmas season. I will continue capturing them. Only a few streets started yet, more to come on the 1st Advent-Saturday the day after tomorrow.

Now I know how comes I am in such a jolly christmas-mood quite early this year (the years before I used to be in no christmas-mood at all, neither in November, nor in December): its probably because I started gifting myself with lots of 100% christmas-flavour-presents such as cashmere-sweaters, lambs-wool mittens, a neopren-coat for my coffee-maker (to keep the coffee warm when enjoying long-lasting breakfasts), a ceramic ion-round-brush and the perfect merino-underpants* for my winter-hikes and skitours. It feels good to have sheep-wool that keeps you warm! I could even look up the sheep the wool is from, just have to enter the code from the pants online. When I find my sheep, I will take a screenshot and post it here.

40 years ago you could find those gifts under the christmas-tree. Well, except the round-brush and the neopren-coat.

* I turned my back to the high-tec fibers such as "ODLO" develops. They did not keep me warm. And they smell after a short period, they smell really really bad. The package-promo-text says: The merino underpants have been worn by some expedition-people, they wore them for 60 days in a row. Labeled "No stink"

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Being Synchronized

In the Kurpark in Bad Ischl, Upper Austria, 2010.

Do I want to be the woman in the photos, 30 years from today?

Regarding the style - undoubtly YES!
Regarding the co-ordination I am not so sure.
Tell me, is this eerie or enjoyable?

Please zoom into the photos to enjoy the look of his shoes! Impeccable!!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

It's all in the Genes!

Niece at work, tons of butter in the mix

I could not believe my surprise yesterday: My niece shouted out "Ah, the princess and the pea!" *giggling*.the moment she glanced the piled sofa-pillows (without any bears on top). And she crawled on the pillow-tower, threw herself around and laughed " But I can't feel the pea! But I can't feel the pea".
This was exceptionally nice,watching my sister's youngest child and thinking "yes, it's all in the genes."

Picture taken from an earlier posting, the posting explains my excitement over the expression of my niece.

Yesterday we had a girls day "in" at my apparment. Mr Paula was away for the weekend and after taking family-portrait-photos at my sister's family (for christmas-cards), I invited my niece and my former Japanese teacher Y to my place. We baked "Vanillekipferl" the very old fashioned way:

First we peeled the almonds, so the Kipferl would be impeccable blanche like porcellaine!

The photos were taken by Y with her camera except the ones that show her. Thank you Y!!!
Then came the grating, oh my hand turned red, so hard to do by hand!

I enjoy this stage of the process the most!

I enjoyed it so much, I actually climbed in the chair! No, just kidding, I tried to capture an anonymous photo of Y, so I could publish it here.

Y rolls the hot Kipferl in Vanilla-Sugar what turns them into "Vanillekipferln".

Niece ended up dancing a "Gambare"-dance in the kitchen which was very entertaining!

Have to go now and to clear the final load of the washing machine! Meanwhile Mr Paula returned and enjoys the Vanilla-scent. Who wouldn't?

Have a good start into the new week!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010


Nostalgia Alert!


I never saw their videos. MTV was not available in Austria in the 1990's. Which means there are movies on my mind whenever hearing their tunes, movies such as the moments I shared with my friends while listening to Erasure, in the discotheque, in the car, ...
May you just want to listen to it:

I love the song. As much as other songs like "I love to hate you", "A little Respect" and many more.
Erasure was part of the soundtrack during my language-course in Eastborne, summer 1986.
A few years later their album"Wild!" accompanied me in my little red car. I could listen to their music for hours. Lucky me the two met plus they decided to make music plus they were large during my teenage years.

Thank you Vince, thank you Andy!

PS: You have been warned: Nostalgia!

The Joy a Simple Ironing Board Provides

My beloved ironing board or as some of you might say ironing table fell apart.

This photo dates back from better times.

Unfortunately the new boards are all made of metal grids what means the steam can burn your legs when you sit while ironing while your legs rest under the ironing board.
This happened once when I ironed at my parent's place, not being used to this modern design. Nevertheless, the good old compressed wood boards are not available any more so I ordered a modern metal grid-ironing board.
Today I checked the route of the parcel (bought via amazon) and can you believe it: I am excited and can't wait until it finally arrives! I cross my fingers, it will be nearly as handy and small as the old one.

But happend to the sturdy gal Paula (quote LPC) who used to show up at work, wearing any hooded sweater and leaving the iron cold in the closet? Why the ironing all of a sudden??

Before, ironing my clothes used to be a rare ritual, that took place the evenings before I left for a trip. I ironed everything to keep the stuff nicely and flat in the suitcase. And while being abroad, I enjoy my the ironed clothes so much ... this is probably the reason why I started ironing at home, it enhances everydays routines with the flavour of a trip to Paris or Tyrol.

I know, many people have a cleaning ladies who also iron. They don't know anything but ironed clothes. Well, since I follow Gwen's and Lindsey's advice - the two founders of The Laundress recommend not to hang any starched, ironed garments in the closet, since the starch may cause stains over time, I pull out the blouse in the morning before work, spray it thorougly with ironing starch and put it on. One at a time. Sorry, cleaning lady, no ironing for you!

Hello to the latest follower, Metscan from Finland! I am happy to know you as a reader here, hope you enjoy the blog :-)

PS: tadaaa, a new Label, "Housekeeping" has been added to the list of Labels. Looking forward to enrich the new category.

it arrived! the postman was as pleased as I was. I am very happy to welcome my new ironing board. I can elevate it up to 95cm, a comfortable height for anyone taller than 175cm.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

How to Enjoy 2 Seasons at the Same Time

This posting might be the last posting from the fall-season, winter is sneaking up...
Fall is by far my favourite season, there are not many things that can cheer me up like coloured leaves.

this time not on the ground, but on a hedge!

Are we privileged, being able to travel during the off-seasons, whenever we feel like it?

Friday afternoon, sitting inside a café, looking at a lake. Actually it's the Wörthersee.

One day, winter's heralds arrived at the bottom of the valley. But the apples were still on the trees! I saw many trees with lots of apples on them. Probably the price that gets paid is so low, the farmers don't bother picking the apples but let them rotten? Dunno.
I took this picture because of the red apples. Take a close look, please!

Oh, kitsch! trash! But very inviting ...

During our short hikes I took many pictures of larch-needles on the snow. The larch is "the" tree in Carinthia. I love it when they turn yellow.
This view reminded me of a kimono-pattern that does not exist, but in my mind.

I admit, everytime I encounter beauty, I think of something I know from Japan. I can't help it!

And here you find the origin of the footstep (top right) shown in the "pattern"-photo above: Jumping Mr Paula

1500m above us, winter already arrived. In full effect!
see ya!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Year of the Metall Tiger


9 months ago the year of the Metall Tiger has begun. If I were to be pregnant with this "year", the child "year" would be born these days.

I don't know if you know anything about the Chinese Horoscope at all. Every year another animal (= sign of the Chinese zodiac) plus an element rules the year's energies. This year it is the Tiger plus Metall.

I can't recall a year with as many changes and energy as this year and I hope it stays this way until february 2011 when the year of the Metall Bunny - sorry - Rabbit starts.

Some of you might remember,
I went blonde
I renovated my appartment, 15 years after moving in

And today another milestone to be remembered took place: I made our reservations for New Year's-Eve! A table for two, 8.30pm, nonsmoker.

To Mr Paula and me this is a milestone, since we usually have no clue at all how to spend our New Year's Eve. Usually we start asking our friends after Christmas. Last year I invited us to my sister's party on Dec. 31, only 2 hours before the party actually started.

The place where we will dine is a small family-run restaurant on the top of a hill, surrounded by mountains. At midnight the churchbells will chime, we will drink champagne or any cheaper sparkling wine and dance under the starry sky amongst all the local people at the village square.
One reason why Mr Paula is looking forward to this evening are the excellent dishes they serve in the restaurant. Mr Paula and I actually never went on a vacation around Christmas/New Year before. This year we will visit the place "that makes me happy" for the first time during Christmas season.

Saturday evening we visited an outdoor-astronomy-lecture together with my youngest niece. We saw the Jupiter's moons and the Earth's moon at large. Since then I cought Mr Paula studying pages on planets, stars and the firmament whenever I get close to the laptop. A whole new topic for the both of us. We did not even realize, some "stars" in the sky are actually planets, such as Jupiter, which resembles a star when you look at it without a telescope. If you live nearby an observatory nearby take the chance and visit an event. It is fun, listening to an expert who know so much about something you know so little about. I obviously love listening to experts. The older the better!

Friday, 12 November 2010

No Kangaroos in Austria


You might have heard of the latest faux-pas at the G-20 meeting? The hosts at the G-20 meeting confused Australia with Austria, putting Julia Gillard in an Austrian Dirndl.

This is funny!


Because it is one of the RARE occasions, Austria and Australia got mixed up "the other way round". Lets say, this faux -pas is a bit of an antidote to our minority-complex, regarding Australia.

Usually it goes like this:
An Austrian abroad meets someon and introduces him/herself "I am from Austria"
People react like "Ah, Sidney, great opera building. And the exotic marsupials".
Then it is time to say "No, there are no kangaroos in Austria. Austria, not Australia!"

Most of the poeple "hear" Australia when you say "Austria" because Australia is a huge continent.

PS: I started adding adjuncts like "Sacher Torte" or "Mozart":
"I am from Austria, you know, Mozart and Sacher Torte."
In the US I would probably add "The Sound of Music", in Japan I would add "Seiji Ozawa", the conductor at the State Opera in Vienna :-)

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Time for Something New. Lets start with Architecture

Having taken pictures especially for the purpose of publishing them here, I noticed myself picturing mainly historic parts of Vienna, such as buildings from the turn of the 20th century, imperial architecture etc. But there is a contemporary Vienna, too. You know? ;-)
Finally I managed to take pictures of a recent building I like although its scale is impressive, if not to say intimidating.
The pink/white building is located close to a really dense newly developed area. It was the first of a series of buildings.

I can't stand the densitiy around the white/pink building. Take a look:
I say "grrrr" when I face a disrespectful-dense neighborhood like this!

Who can enjoy the balcony, when everyone will observe every step you make? I prefer the "apparent densitiy" (as seen in the white/pink building) over "pseudo spacious layouts.

This park is next to the development area, amazing, the finished it first, before they even started with most of the buildings! You see the cranes in the back.

I say "encore!!!" when the development of public space is dealt with high priority!

Ah, the park is so nice. It was actually a swiss architect who won the competition: Hager Landschaftsarchitekten. Several really good landscape architect-offices are located in Switzerland.

I fell for grass. In fall/winter, when the grass turns beige and dry it gets a very special touch. Never cut it!

This last picture shows a school and kindergarden with lots of space. The school openend this september, situated in the development area. Since most of the buildings haven't been completed yet, there are only a few classes occupied. Quasi a ghost-school. But the children who already go to school there don't seem to mind.
The light in Vienna was great during the last weeks. The SIGMA DP1 camera captures the atmosphere in the best way I can imagine. Only the reds are tricky, as you might have noticed on some pictures from the mountains I posted a few days ago.

PS: I noticed, many bloggers I follow often publish postings dedicated to fashion. Their private wardrobe. I hardly do. Why?

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Save the Date: Christmas Season starts this Saturday!

I did not plan to stay so busy. But I am on my way out of the projects. Yesterday I wished a colleague at my 2nd job a "Happy New Year". He got confused and I explained: I won't work on any new project until 2011 because I turned down a project. For my own well-being. And since we would not meet until january 2011, I thought I would wish him a happy new year. (*)
Ok, this is weird.
I admit, I told him on purpose. The reason is: Now he knows I won't come back until 2011. Which means I have to stay away. No more 12-14 hours days until Dec.24.
Well done!

Christmas season can come. The kick-off takes place this saturday. My youngest niece (7yrs) will visit us for a sleep over which offers glittery pancakes and lots of stuffed animals which miraculously come to life as soon as the little girl crosses the threshold of the appartment. Grandma already knows, you can tell, the excitement makes waves.

Since I don't want to get too overly excited, I decide to look at sceneries like the photo you see on top. I could look at this FOREVER and ever. I lose myself in it. It calms me down instantly. Opposite of the horse-track is a newly built business-headquarter, where the employess can watch the people outside, walking with a horse in circles.

hello! You are a new follower to my blog. Thank you!! I hope you enjoy it.

And everyone: Have a nice fall-season!

(*) You know, it is really difficult to stay away and even harder to turn down a project over there, because it is the journalism-branch. Those projects come with self-fulfillment at large. Digging into research, digging deeper, interviewing people you would never meet and learning things you never dreamt of ...

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Finding a Japanese Mountain around the corner

Finally a new posting.

In my last posting I "promised" to show you some mountains from the south of Vienna. Here they are. We went on the top if the Ray, a "Hausberg" 1 hour from Vienna.

Let me explain how I found the Japanese Mountain in the South of Vienna. The ingredients are:

the way we went up on the top (passive mode with a transportation system)
the masses that went up on the top
the trail everyone follows, similar to the trail up Mt Fuji
the fog that arrived in the late afternoon
and of course: the deciduous forest on autumn colours.

enjoy the trip!

We were not the only with this plan. It took us over 1 hour to get up with the cabin and 2 hours to get down.

They handed out numbers similar to the system in government agencies ;-)
So we had lunch at the bottom of the mountain.

Finally, cabin 29, which was ours went up!

My favourite picture from this short trip.

The rock face was "covered" with freestyle climbers and and safeguarded climbers.

Suddenly Mr Paula beamed himself into the Rocky Mountains. At least I imagine the Rocky Mountains looking like this!

Oh, I almost forgot, the "Hochquellwasser" = spring water, which originates from high mountains which is our tab water in Vienna, originates right here!

So when you come to Vienna, don't bother buying bottled water in plastic bottles but try the tab water. It comes straight from these limestone mountians!

Conclusion after this "artificial nature experience": I rather not get up to the top but hike there. I missed somehow the nature-experience.

The contents actually date back from Oct. 10. This was the sunny sunday when Vienna voted for a new city government.
Almost one month later I can tell, it is going to be the first red-green coalition in Vienna. Which is actually good news after those decades of an absolute red (socialist) majority for the City of Vienna.

The reason I have been offline was due to work:
I have been away for a project related to my 2nd job.
After that my first job's boss sent me on vacation (it simply looks better in the balance sheet when employees spend their vaacation time before Dec. 31. Well, I must say I happily followed the order and spent one week abroad. I went back to the favourite place you probably already know. Recent pictures to seen here soon!

You probably know, but I tell it anyway: I enjoy posting and taking pictures. During my vacation I took a lot of "blog pictures". Mr Paula understands.