Sunday, 31 July 2011

The Real Stuff

I can't remember when the presence of a pumpin disturbed me like it did this weekend. It is July. And the pumpkin season at the supermarkets has already begun ... come on! This is supposed to be summer! The meteorologists just down-graded this week's weather forecast from 2 hot days to just 1 luke-warm day (27°C). I am not sure if I have ever experienced such a cold July in Austria. Tomorrow they are going to publish the statistics. I can already promise I will have to inform you. Can't help it!

Yesterday I wanted to shop some groceries and ended up hunting for an original pesto. The bitter truth is, 95% of all pesto sold in super markets is made with sunseed oil. Even at the Gourmet Supermarket, the most expensive pesto is made with sunseed oil instead of olive oil extra vergine.

At the same time I tried to buy canned chick peas, precooked. No chance! Ethnic food is something you find in any supermarket in the inner districts. But not so in the conservative, bourgoise suburbs of Vienna. At this point I entered the stage of talking to myself when leaving the supermarkets with empty hands.

In the end everything turned out fine, at the 4th supermarket I finally got my hands on some original stuff and cleared the shelf. You never know ...
This is the real stuff.
I am not too shy to hoard it, once I've found it.

... and I also found a can with chick-peas and paid an enourmous price. The next time I might probably soak them for 12 hours and cook them by myself. But yesterday there was no time left for soaking, because I wanted to enjoy a Hummus sandwich the same afternoon.
No, my parent's don't own the same machine, I actually brought it with me on my staycation.
Hummus tastes way better than it looks!

In my parent's fridge, next to the left over of the hummus was a rest of a nice white wine from Portugal, named vinho verde.

It is perfect, because it comes with only 10.5% alc. And you get it for 4,99 EUR. And the taste is exactly what you wish for when sitting on the balcony on a mild summer evening. Lets hope we won't need to keep the wine until next year, due to cold weather, because this wine is meant to be consumed while still young and fresh.

I guess once I've decided to buy your LV purse not in Venice on the street but in the boutique at Kohlmarkt, there is no way back and I live the life of a consumer who always needs to end up with the real stuff. Until yesterday I had no clue a vinho verde-seal even existed.
From my opinion it is worth checking labels on the back. Other people read the back of books, I read the back of groceries. And guess what: none of my friends had a clue those "exclusive" pesto where not exclusive at all.

This Thursday I have my appointment at the hairdresser. After 3 months without trimming I am ready for a cut, probably more than just for maintenance. Since I pay for it, I want people to recognize the difference and I want to feel different afterwards. :-)

I just took a second look at the photos and see that they are quite dark and express an almost apocalyptic mood. The mood catches the weather - grey sky and little light throughout the day, no matter what time of the day it is. The meteorologist just published last month statistics and managed to find a positive aspect: The situation at Austria's glaciers eased since it snowed in the mountains. The glaciers melt during the summer-months and tourist organisations even cover the glaciers in ski-regions, to conserve the delicate ice/snow blanket.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Cool Town ...

... the summer in the city goes on!
There is a tiny Wolford boutique in my living area

I hardly ever see people shopping at Wolford. I wonder how they can still exist, since their prices are twice as high as other company's prices.

No matter how cold it is, people still visit open air places like the big one in front of Vienna's city hall.
One of the open air kitchens in front of the city hall. Tepanyaki has the best scent!

One superb take away next to the other. This one is owned Do &Co, founded by Attila Dogudan.
People like to buy their shares so they can eat at the buffet at the yearly shareholders meeting.
The stands are clean and neat

Some quite large spritz's
This stand is owned by one of the best cocktail bars in Vienna. All the stands have "show-plates" on display.
Right across the street you find the Café Landtmann, I would say it is famous for its pastries.
Others say it is famous for its horrendous prices. 4.50 for one cup of coffee.
Back to the stand. In the centre of the huge area is a tent that provides cooling water sprinkling. Not yesterday, of course!

This weekend I decided to spend some time in the kitchen, how handsome a new supermarket nearby opened. But wait, this is just a party tent. Right! They partied the night the supermarket opened. The supermarket is in the very back, to the right. Akward!

My sister wants to visit a City in Europe at my 40th birthday. First we planned to visit Rome, but then I realized Rome in June during catholic holidays equals queuing up for hours. No, thanks. For now Hamburg is a good plan. Maybe we will come up with another plan!

Speaking of family: my brother-in-law managed to lock himself out today. Luckily I am at my parent's place which is near their home. So I lend him my parent's key to their home. 10 minutes later he returned to bring back the key ... wrong! He managed to lock himself out a second time, no with my parent's reserve-key. My sister was not around so I invited him to join me for my Week8Day3 run. I warned him, that I run like a Penguin (slow but happy feet). He grabbed Mr Paula's running shoes (almost the same size), some of Mr Paula's shorts and a shirt and voila: a family run. A total new experience, I ran a bit faster than I would normally do, but my pulse rate staid below the gas prices. ;)

Afterwards I continued to set up the kitchen for my weekend cooking experience and was confronted with insupportable circumstances you would only find in the bourgeois, conservative living area in the outskirts: No chickpeas available at any so called "gourmet" supermarket around here.

In case you missed the beginning of the running-story:
I started running thanks to TheStylishShoeGirl who is an inspiration and reached Week 8 which means I have been running for 8 consecutive weeks, 3 days a week. I don't know what makes me happier: the fact that I did not drop out or the fact that my immune system does not let me down (there have been some very nasty viruses around with plenty of sick-leaves at the office, but not for me).

I close with one question:
I noticed I use this form quite often: "started running".
would you prefer to read "started to run" instead?
I like both forms but I know that one form is better. Right? Thank you!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Acting like you just don't care

Today was a relatively nice day: After days of heavy rains I actually arrived at work dry and at lunch time we could even take lunch outside under the grey summer skies.

But only few minutes after the picture was taken, the weather changed dramatically. Rain, ongoing throughout the afternoon and evening. When the weather changes, I change too, you might not recognize me after nightfall, during rainfall, because I have my special way to deal with rain:
I wash my hair 3 times a week and rain in the evening does not count. As a consequence the bin liner, put in shape with an elastic band is my friend. I arrive home without having turned into a state of mess and desaster. The people who drive past me in their cars must think I am a crazy woman on a bike. Wearing rain pants which end just below the bra.

Biking and style are contradictory. Biking and style plus rain is an impossibilty, at least to me!

Summer is said to return in August, I can't wait to finally wear my new Bikini for the first time - outside the changing room. In front of me the TV is running: "We feed the world", documentary Austria 2005. Have you seen it? It opens one's eyes and might change your habits.

Apropos changing habits: You know you finally became a runner, when you can see only heart beat rates and not a price board at the gas station:
Hopefully the prices won't go up, because they match my personal fitness range so nicely.

Sunday, 24 July 2011


Two months ago I was asking the question "Where to go?" and Adrienne from The Rich Life on a Budget came up with a wonderful idea: A Staycation! So far my staycation has only lasted for one day (a very hot thursday a few weeks ago). I still hope for the hot week(s) in August.
But the weekends developed quite a nice quality, staycation-wise. You know, pool parties etc. But there is a besides the pool. Right in front of the living it looks like this:
4 chairs, 3 side-tables and one big round table. Indestructible and well looked after.
Regular readers might notice, the surroundings look nothing like the view from my living room window. Mr Paula and I escape from the big heat during the months and look after my parent's apartment while they are on vacation. Shooing away burglars and so ...
This year we rather escaped from noise, dirt and dust. We lack the heat a bit (more of that later)

My parent's place offers qualities we enjoy. Television. Though the programme sucks. I ended up watching Two and a Half Men, Season 1. Unfortunately my mum owns only the first season on DVD.
There is also the opportunity of doing the laundry right there, in the kitchen! At my home-place I have to go down to the basement, which is only half the fun.
On my regular staycation day (=weekday, not weekend!) I started off by doing some hefty business.
GRUNGE BRUSH!Cleaning my bike!

The chain is so old, it already ruined the rim. Anyhow it would be wise to remove all the dirt and smudge that built up over time because I had been using the wrong oil!!

Some flowers waited to get repotted.
... and not to forget about my fitness.

I gave up swimming long ago, don't exactly remember why. Time for new goggles! Some things change for the better over time. Goggles used to be 20 EUR. Now you get them for 9,99 EUR. After repotting my window boxes don't need to shy in view of my parents flowers:

One more reason why a staycation is a good way to go on vacation is the unpredictable weather. There is nothing more miserable than two weeks away from home, in the mountains in a chalet, after getting ready at work for the vacation and ending up in the rain. Because this is what it has been like for seven days in a row in Austria/Europe: RAIN. And cold air. When I say cold, I really mean cold, like: 55°F day MAX!
These bottles will probably last another year.
Bad for the economy, good for my hyperpigmentation!

At 14°C I decided to turn up the heat and baked pies. (seen in the picture: #1)

A co-worker has more apples falling from her trees than she can take. I take them voluntairly, with pleasure. I am not quite sure, I guess she expected to receive a piece of the pie on monday, if Mr Paula had not spent the weekend at home ... by sunday evening the pies are gone. Mr Paula is the best eater, he does not mind if the apple pies turn out as apple crumbles.
When we move to my parent's place, I take like an IKEA bag of clothes with me. The wardrobe is like the essence of my summer clothes, the pieces I enjoy wearing over and over. It contains white shirts and marine-stripes. White, navy, grey and a hint of red. No wonder I feel comfortable in france, the tricolore is my label. My essential wardrobe consits of the hanging clothes and the two piles on the lower shelf. Whereas the left pile contains just training gear. Maybe I will count the pieces tonight, the number probably meets the project 333.

To my surprise I found proof that I did not always reject the colour red.
Of course, when getting the chance to match with Mickey ...

I could as well put on a mask. I am a very, very lazy mask-person. The masks sit in my dressing table and I don't know what holds me back?! Maybe I don't see the effects they advertise?
My father keeps this cute little beer glass, it is about 200ml. My size!

In case I am not too tipsy, I might polish my nails tonight
... while the laundry is drying.
There are days when you even feel like laundring the car-blanket. It makes me feel very content, that today was such a day.
These are the remains after the bike-service. Not sure, if I want to launder those rags.
I am adraid they might dirty the washing-machine.

Have a nice end of July!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Schönbrunner Bad

Last sunday I continued my tour to the open air pools in Vienna as a part of my this year's staycation. The public pool is located on the grounds of the former imperial garden Schönbrunn. I did well, hunting the waters, the weather has changed - one could say dramatically - since Sunday. Down to 18°C, stormy winds, rain. The forecast says it is going to stay like that until the end of the month. What a lucky sunday this was for joining a pool party.The upcoming weeks will be more down to earth, week 7, 8 and 9 in the Couch 2 5k programme are waiting for me to run.

The pink circle is where the pool is, in red the palace.

In my teenage years we used to break in at night and go swimming. Very thrilling! Nowadays the night swims have become a USP. Times change.

I go there by bike. Do I go anywhere without my bike? I doubt so ...
As you can see, I was not the only one to arrive by bike.
It takes a short walk through the park to get to the pool... trees provide shadeAgain, old trees. Vienna is full of old trees. Safety first!

Schönbrunn is one of the hot spots not only for tourists but also for the Viennese.
Some visitors prefer to go by train
A calm atmosphere, with lots of space and contemplation.
The perfect getaway for a weekend afternoon.

In the back you can see the palace.

As I arrived at the fountain I could hear some music and I remembered: there had been flyers at the entrance the last time I visited the pool (yesterday) - Pool Party, all day long! How could I forget?

What to do? Leave and visit another place, at 2pm, 31°C? Or take the jump? For once in a while I acted spontaneous and visited the pool party. Now I could pretend everything was like always, I found a quiet spot where I could rest after my 1,5km swim, enjoy my buttermilk and some pages of Heinrich Böll.This photo is showing only part of the truth ....

... because it was crowded.
OMG. Even though I have been there the sight still shocks me. So many people!
Luckily the pool was not crowded at all.

And it was loud. The sound system was loud. Really loud. So loud, it made me laugh when I went down to the pool. You could say "incredibly loud". Next to the pool people where moving their butts and hips and boobs.
In the back you see one of the loudspeaker-towers, at least 3 feet high. The 2nd photo was taken after the "peak" of the party, quasi chill out.

I found a photo gallery online, showing the madness around the pool.

And somehow it was just perfect:
To the far right, behind the pool bar, a dancing class took place, in the middle the 50m-pool and to the left (not seen) was the sound system plus groupies (the butt/boobs/hips-moving)
The best part was the swimming-lane for very sportive swimmers, right next to the but-moving-area. Everyone had fun, except the sportive swimmers, because pool party people tend to jump into the pool. Usually it would be impossible to sit there where the guys are chilling, because the eager swimmers "own" this lane on not-party-days.

You can say this is NOT what I expected after walking by the statues in the gardens.

The pool party had some influence on me. The following day I bought a bikini (a 100% totally justified buy: one in, one out: the old one already fell apart)
What is this? Macramé? A fishing net?
Nooo! It's my new bikini, a bandeau with a silly hip belt.
And if the pink bikini wasn't enough, a pink water bottle.
Blue used to be "the" colour - bikewear, bathing suits, water bottles.
But not in 2011, not on a staycation.

Not to forget: I am wearing a nail polish a chica would wear, too.

PS: And I BET you would love to see me in this bikini. I had to go up a size larger than usual. The smaller size (formally known as my size) is not longer my size. Bohooo.