Monday, 16 January 2012

Exploring Excellence

At the end of an excellent winter day


How are you doing? I hope you are fine!

Over the last weeks I have been busy, I have been sick and I have been reading a lot. By a lot I mean a lot. 1 book per day. Among the books are two books on class and status, which are still on my night stand. Paul Fussell's Class is translated as "Cashmere, Cocktail Cadillac". Really? Cashmere, Coktail Cadillac? ugh.
As if the German title were not already bad enough ... the cover image tops it!

Lisa's posting on her stay in a resort hotel caused quite a stir.
She wrote about "the Others". Over 100 comments and many of the commenters referred to Fussell's book. Susan Tiner also took part in the discussion and now she is reading the same book as I and seh just recently wrote a fabulous posting on her thoughts about Class and her class and the book. I admire her ability, to write a review like she did. From what I have been reading in the Fussell book she is right about everything.

Quote Susan:
"I got busy reading Class: A Guide Through the American Status System (1983) by Paul Fussell, which although hilarious and I believe more accurate than not, is neither kind nor politically correct. There’s something in it to offend everyone. "

I would say Fussell's book is an excellent opening reading for anyone who wants to occupy him/herself with class. You miss something if you don't visit Susan's posting titled Social Anxiety! I for my part can only say that when I read Lisa's posting, I immediately thought "Class is a british/US-thing." But I was wrong. It is right here, and I am playing a part in it. All my status anxieties form the typical behaviour of the middle class women. It is indeed amazing, to be read "like an open book" in a book.

Austria is at the beginning to establish elites. The government wants to start off with an university. Maybe there will never exist any elites at all in this country. In any case, I will be prepared to know who I am dealing with!

I did not buy Fussell's book, because amazon/delivery would have taken too long ;-) Instead, I paid the public library a visit. I returned not only with books on class and status anxiety but also other books. I guess 14 or so.

Nothing warms my heart like a crowded public library on the weekend, people who rather not go shopping but provide themselves with book selections for the weekend

I dived into all kinds of books covering sicily: novels, travel guide books, books on it's history and colonialisation. And of course - M as in Mafia. Books on women who worked as drug couriers in the 1980's and the suburbian slums close to Palermo, where drugs rule every kid's life are among the really depressive books. Andrea Camilleri's books on the contrary also very informative but won't depress you. He wrote the bestseller on the pizzini, the tiny papers that have been the communication device #1 over decades until the boss of all bosses went to jail. Camilleri also writes novels, bestselling novels.
This is an entertaining novel, nothing too serious but full of atmosphere covering the Sicilian lifestyle. I almost forgot how much I love to read. I have no problems sticking to my New Year's resolution - no more internet past 10pm but now I find myself reading until 1am!!! :-o

While reading, I love to sip from a cup of tea.
Another photo that lacks white-balance-management. Forgive me!

I am still on the hunt for the perfect tea pot. For black tea, only.
I might buy on in Hamburg, isn't Hamburg known as the City of tea connaisseurs, regarding black tea, since I won't make it up to London too soon?

The green-tea-pot-supplies are all there.

One reason why I won't use the green-tea-tea-pot for black tea is it's size, it measures only 300ml, which is more than sufficient for green tea. But I love to slurp 2-3 mugs of black tea!

Between all the reading we also managed to remove all Christmas decorations.
Last photos before everything goes back into the box until Nov 2012:
Our door is white, not yellow! I am too lazy to manage the white-balance this time. ;-)
I absolutely admire Mr Paula's skills. He put the lights back into perfect order.
Those lights have been all over the windows,believe me, this is not a fake-photo but real! (fake in the sense of we only pretend the lights have ever left the box)
And he did not curse, not even once!

Looking at these photos I guess Mr Paula would do well as a volin maker. Or even volin player?
I can not imagine anybody else doing this. I would not!

And in between we prepared the photo safari, which my niece and I am going to explore as soon as it gets warmer. I took photos, Mr Paula was steering the wheel. Of course readers from Vienna will know the places. I am almost sure my niece knows none of them. Not yet!

This man had to be part of the photo safari, because the Café, where they sell my niece's favourite pastries, is the place where this man Johann Strauß - debuted with his waltzes and became famous. This statue is nowhere near the Café but close the the penguins and the Paris-km-gravure. (my niece has been to Paris once.Hmm. She might remember the visit more like a trip to Euro-Disney than to Paris though.

I do look forward to the plate of sweets and two cups if hot chocolate at the Café the end of the safari.

Oh yes, and Friend B and I nailed down our plans and finally booked our trip to Sicily! I am going to arrive one day early and spend one day on my own before the group arrives. It is our first studytrip together and my first studytrip ever. I decided not to stick my books in guide books on site but listen to a women who tells us stories about the sites instead.

My sister and I are almost done with our Hamburg-planning. There are so many hotels to choose from and we are not exactly on the same, not yet! But the Park Hyatt will always be there for us. No worries! Excellence is where we meet.


  1. Dear Paula, thank you so much for the mention and your lovely comment on my blog, it means a lot to me. I left a thoughtful reply there, and wanted to comment quickly here as I have a dinner party to prepare and must get going, but I'll be back later this week to catch up on your post and leave a more thoughtful comment. xoxo

  2. I am still somewhat traumatized from that post. But that's what the Internet is all about:). Thanks for keeping me company over on Privilege. I appreciate it.

  3. January is a month of quiet reflection. I think a book and some tea sounds like the perfect remedy.
    I read both posts you mentioned and I think they are thoughtful and honest and very brave. I admire both Lisa and Susan for their courage.

  4. Wow have been busy! Can I just say how impressed I am by Mr. Paula...I never would have thought to attempt getting Christmas lights into the original box. A man with extreme are a lucky woman!

    Your photos are lovely, I enjoyed all the glimpses into your life. The Paul Fussell book sounds intriguing and I share yoru appreciation of libraries.

    Sicily sounds fabulous, what a time you will have! I responded earlier to you tea question, I hope it was helpful.

    Best wishes Paula,

    Jeanne xx

  5. Paula, you are a very busy reader and I'm enjoying your observations about class. It doesn't surprise me that elites are emerging in a social market economy, not sure what you mean though about the government establishing a university. How will this help or hinder elites?

  6. So good to see you BIA - looks like you were really busy! sending best wishes, Macs

  7. I've always wanted to visit Hamburg--a friend comes from that area and very much enjoyed it living there again recently (although he eventually went back to Berlin). Good luck in your planning--and in finding a good teapot.

  8. Susan, yes, the government is planning on establishing places for elites, because they want to help them to come into existance.

    Lisa, I feel connected!

    coffeedaddict, I am glad those discussions take place in the english speaking blogsphere, in Austria/Germany, the words would be 200% more rude and harsh and disrespectful.

    Jeanne, thank you for your visit. Patience IS a virtue. Thank you also for recommending the website, I've visited it and enjoy what I see.

    Macs, I do enjoy my offline-time a lot. Leaves more time for other things.

    Aesthetiv Alterations, I post photos from Hamburg. It seems to be a beautiful city.