VIENNA, MY LOVE

Home. After two years, I’m finally home. Home in Austria. And it’s been many more years since the last time I’ve graced Vienna with my presence. Can you believe I actually started crying when I crossed the border to Austria? I was so emotional I could hardly stop. Home, finally, I would be home. Starting my visit in my beloved Vienna, home of my favourite Emperors Franz Joseph and Elisabeth. (And some of my relatives, who I’m looking forward to seeing again as well, of course!)

My hotel – since my cousin’s apartment is in the middle of a renovation after a burst water pipe – is anything but luxurious. But it’s modern and clean and I prefer spending my money on other luxuriesanyway. As in coffee and cake at the world famous “Demel” – nearly as famous as the “Sacher”. Both actually fought a legal war in court who would be allowed to claim the Sacher Torte as his invention.

Anyway, since as a student I was not really able to afford the “Demel” I just had to go there now. And I enjoyed it very much. Just like having breakfast at one of the old and traditional Viennese cafés, the Café Central, which was graced by literary greats like Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Stefan Zweig, Alfred Polgar, Egon Friedell, Peter Altenberg, Sigmund Freud and many more. And I can feel the juices flowing, as I’m sitting here, in this wonderful coffeehouse atmosphere, imagining ages past, before the war, as they were all still here, working, writing, discussing, reading newspapers and having coffee … being served by mean waiters who knew everyone and every whim of their guests.

Being incredibly homesick the past months, I devoured Austrian historic crime novels and I wish I could travel back in time to meet those greats, experience the monarchy and the old Vienna. But at least I got to enjoy early morning Vienna without the tourists. Walking nearly empty streets, taking a few quick pictures (it just wouldn’t do to be recognized as a tourist, since I’m not really a tourist, having been in Vienna many, many times) and looking forward to the day ahead. Visiting the graves of the Habsburgs, maybe even have time for the “Sisi Museum”. And doing some shopping – of course. I wish I had time to revisit Schönbrunn, the art historical museum, the Albertina, look up Katharina Schratt’s house … but time is scarce and I do want to spend time with my family as well.

Oh, and have I mentioned, how happy I am that I am served whatever I wish for? Like … buying a Kaiser roll with the choice of ham/deli plus cheese plus pickles at the deli station of the supermarket? Or my favourite beverage: 1/8 litre of apple juice with tap water and ice cubes? Not to mention that even the Schnitzels at the cheapest Schnitzel joint are still better than anywhere in Germany? Oh, how I miss my culinary Austrian delights. (Which is nothing new to you, since I mention it occasionally, very occasionally …)

Vienna, of course, is not just the inner city with its glorious buildings, museums – and tourists. It’s also the Old Danube, THE recreation area for Vienna. With the world-famous “Gänsehäufel” (a public beach), lots of restaurants by the water and views of the Uno City and Kahlenberg it’s a lovely place to unwind and perfect for a day out with my family. Puttering around on the Danube with an “island boat”, enjoying the sun and each other.

Even though Vienna is just like any other metropolis, with its many problems regarding the typical issues … I still love it and miss it already! And can’t wait to go back … on the trails of Austria’s past.

COUNTING THE DAYS

Three more days. Three more working days until my vacation. Three more days until Rangey and I will take our trip home. Home to Austria. (Well, at least my home, Rangey’s home will have to wait for another time!) Nervously following the news regarding the Corona virus situation, fearing I would have to cancel everything again. But now, three days before getting into my car and driving the roughly 1000 km to my first stop, Vienna, I actually can breathe more easily and believe that it’s actually going to happen. I’m fully vaccinated, after all, so I do have an advantage to the unvaccinated stupids. (And rightly so!)

After two years, it will be my first time back and I’m so looking forward to meeting everyone, to stock up on my most essential groceries, to enjoy good food … and to just be home.

Of course, I have been planning my trip for weeks … alright, I admit it, it’s more like months. Since I had to book the cat hotel for my cat’s vacation stay at the beginning of the year. Followed by calculating and budgeting my expected costs and starting my endless lists. Time table, grocery shopping list, wardrobe list, packing list, cat feeding schedule, To Do lists for the last two weeks … and the closer the date comes, the busier I got. So much to do, so much to think of. But to me that’s all part of the fun. And I enjoy the preparations at least as much as the actual journey.

I got the little gifts to bring back to my family and friends, Rangey has received his usual pre-vacation check-up, is shining like new and filled to the brink with fresh Diesel. My balcony plants have either been thrown out or are getting an automatic watering system installed. In the hope that this actually works and they will survive this one Austria week. Well,lucky me that I could harvest my pot potatoes (twoless plants to take care of) and my tomatoes are on their last toes as well. Ready to be picked and the plants discarded in the next couple of days. Sadly,my green beans won’t survive the ant invasion anyway. So, my balcony garden: done! The last laundry: done! Apartment cleaning: done! Fridge and freezer are more or less empty, ready for my return and all those wonderful groceries I will bring back from Austria. Starting with meat, cheese, bacon … ending with pastries, pumpkin oil, Austrian apples and my favourite lettuce “Grazer Krauthäuptel”. (Which I still hope will keep growing in my balcony raised bed for me to enjoy in a few weeks!)

All that’s basically left now is packing! (Usually a thing of 10 minutes, since I just have to follow my list and know what to take! Ohhh … I’m so bloody organized and efficient!) And ME! Getting hair and nails done is the perfect start of my holidays! 

I do dread the upcoming dropping-off of my darling cat, though! After all, we spent the past one and a half years, since I’ve had him, together day in day out. My consolation? At a whopping 15,50€ per day at a nice “Suite” with winter garden, I hope he will enjoy his vacation as well. Experiencing new surroundings and views. And of course, I will pack his cuddly cat bed, blankets, his favourite pillow he currently likes to lie on when I’m working and his favourite mouse toys to be surrounded by familiar things.

Well, that’s it for now! In just a few days I will start up my MacBook in Austria … doing, what I love to do above all. (Apart from shopping …) Sitting in a typical Viennese café, writing. I can’t wait!

GENDERTALK

OR: A new way how to make a total ass of yourself!

It hasn’t been that long when I vented my thoughts on the new politically correctness – or what ridiculous people think is not acceptable anymore. (Yeah, because the world doesn’t have any other problems!)

Coming across an article in the German low level newspaper “BILD” (more like the New York Post than the New York Times), which found the new “language guidelines for clever gendering” on the Homepage of the German city Bonn, I once again was totally flabbergasted. This feels just like those insecure feminists who needed to have the female version of everything – no matter how stupid. Don’t get me wrong, being a woman myself I’m all for equality in life and business, wages and job opportunities. But I always considered myself just an “engineer” or “student” without having to pronounce that I’m a female engineer or a female student. To me “engineer” includes men and women and I don’t care that it’s a male expression.

So, reading this article I got pissed off once again. (Like so often in the recent past when I have to suffer from the dumbness of the people who seem to surround me!) Let me give you a few examples what one is not supposed to say anymore:

  1. Spy: uuh, what a bad word! “The spy who loved me” will now have to be renamed to “The scouting out person who loved me”. Really? Does really anyone give a shit that spy and female spy are “discriminating” to those who don’t know what they are?
  2. Residents: all who live in this street. Yeah, brilliant!
  3. Policeman /-woman: police force (well, this is actually a common English word already used, but let me tell you, it sounds totally stupid in German in terms of “Polizeikraft”)
  4. Lawyers: members of legal profession. 
  5. Board of seniors: board for the third stage of life. Well, let me tell you, if I were part of something that is called like that, I’d be royally pissed off. “Third stage of life”? Who comes up with crap like that?
  6. Employer: a person who provides jobs. Yep. I will certainly call my boss that. “Hey, person who provides my job, could you please sign this?”
  7. King of marksmen (“Schützenkönig”): the person with the highest accuracy. Eye roll, eye roll, eye roll.
  8. Angler / fisherman: fish catching person, angler person. Yep. Exactly.

Seriously? Or to quote the great Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers “REALLY?” Another titbit the article mentions: in the Lübecker guidelines women are instructed how to talk about themselves. Because if “a woman talks of herself in the male form” then they are not “embracing their femininity”. Excuse me? Are you out of your fucking minds? Only insecure women would even give a shit! Or feminists who have nothing better to do than hate, hate, hate men …

How would you react if then someone asked you if you had training needs because you didn’t use those new guidelines and dared using a general expression instead of the female one? Frankly, I wouldn’t know how to react. I would be so disgusted and would probably jumped into this person’s face. Embracing not my femininity? I don’t need this crap to know that I am a woman! I’m a bloody engineer – and one of a few in my field -, being surrounded by mostly male colleagues. Every day I take part in meetings where I am the only woman – and you know what? Working with them is much more pleasant than with a bunch of bitching women … so, get lost with all this crap – which, by the way, is another way to senselessly throw out our tax money – and of all things, don’t ever dare to call me “a person who lives in this or that street”, “a person in her second stage of life” or “a person not embracing her femininity”. I’d probably kick your butt from here to the “planet which we call the moon”. 

WORDS I WOULD NEVER USE VOLUNTARILY

(And only grudgingly, if I absolutely have to …) Sorry, this is gonna be a bi-lingual post with some of the words not being able to be translated into German. But, since German words like “rucksack”, “kaput”, “kindergarten”, etc. have also become part of the English language … and Google knows everything … you might be able to forgive me.

The German language and its differences to the Austrian one can be compared to British and American English. Language is identity and I just don’t want to lose it.

The most horrible word, I’ll never use – and get goose bumps of horror by just hearing it – is “lecker”. Which is used for a tasty dish and means “delicious”. Living in Germany, I have to suffer hearing it occasionally – and every time when I do I have to think of my world travelled Grandfather, who became quite mad if anyone dared to use this word. And I feel absolutely the same.

“Brötchen” (roll) is another word that barely comes across my lips. Whenever I have to buy one for breakfast at the bakery, I quickly mumble, “one roll please” and look around embarrassedly … I just can’t stand it. Which is why I’m happy that my favourite discount grocery store offers “Kaisersemmeln” (Kaiser rolls) the way we have in Austria. Of course, I can’t expect “Langsemmeln” (long oval shaped with a deep cut in the middle lengthwise to divide easily) – typical for Styria – to be obtained here.

Here in Germany everything is “Brötchen”, in Austria we differentiate much more. We have Kornweckerl (rye and wheat with corn), Kornspitz (long shaped), Salzstangerl (long shaped wheat roll with salt and caraway seeds on top), Vinschgerl, and many more. Same with “Hörnchen” (basically a croissant but different kind of dough). Euw. Euw, euw, euw. They are called “Kipferl” in Austria. And Kipferl is how I will call them. And oh, how I miss them. You can’t get them here the way they are back home. I miss having one for breakfast, dunking it into my hot chocolate. Pure bliss. 

And the German cakes and pies … if there isn’t whipped cream involved, it’s not cake. (But, we’ve already covered the German culinary excentricities!) Oh, and don’t get me started on the word “Quark” (curd cheese), called “Topfen” in Austria. Quarkstrudel? No, it’s Topfenstrudel. Just like Apfelstrudel! And once again, no, puff pastry is NOT the correct dough for either. It’s filo pastry. Otherwise it should not be allowed to be called a “Strudel”.

Why do I even think about this? (Not to mention write about such an insignificant matter?) Well, what else is there to write about? Corona, check, home office, check, everyday politics, check, books, check … boy, it’s about time I get out more again and return to my travelling self … soon, soon, I’ll be on vacation too. The first one in two years!

FAVOURITE MOVIES EVER

There are lots of great movies out there, masterpieces of cinematic art. All kinds of movies, dramatic, romantic, funny movies. My favourites? Not sure about the “masterpieces”, but … they certainly are to me!

  1. Bringing up Baby: Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant. One of the first screwball comedies. What’s there to say? I just adore Katherine Hepburn – much more than her counterpart Audrey Hepburn, who is more the delicate type. Katherine … what a woman! Feisty, funny, tough! And who wouldn’t love Cary Grant as the nerdy dinosaur professor?
  2. Arsenic and old lace: Two lovely old ladies getting rid of their lodgers. A classic!
  3. Spaceballs: Mel Brooks at his best. I’m not that much of a Star Wars fan, especially not when it comes to the “new ones”. But the parody with Bill Pullman, John Candy, Rick Moranis and the master himself is just awesome. You barely can’t stop laughing … I must have seen it at least a dozen of times, it just never gets old.
  4. The life of Brian: Monty Python’s best movie by far. I first watched it together with a couple of friends at barely 10, I guess. (So, we weren’t really allowed to watch it yet!) I loved it! From the start! Guess my critical views on the Catholic Church have been ingrained in my mind at a very young age. Monty Python’s still are my favourite comedy troupe.
  5. Dirty Dancing: THE movie of my youth! Patrick Swayze – whom I had already admired in “North and South” – teaching Jennifer Grey to dance. Terrific music, terrific plot, terrific actors. And very unhappy that I wasn’t allowed to go to the cinema to see it. Too young. How I envied my cousin who’s one year older than me, who could see it in the movie theatre. I remember how anxious I was when it came out on video and how long I had to wait – again – for it to borrow it, because it was rented out all the time in the little store in our little town. Funny story on the side? My cousin and I performed to “I’ve had the time of my life” for our grandfather’s birthday. Plus the famous lifting figure. And since we were at the other ends of Austria – me in Carinthia, her in Vienna, we could only train in our holidays … but we did it and were a great success!
  6. Flashdance: And again – the music! (Not to mention the romantic plot, of course!) The mixture of all kinds of dancing styles, from ballet to striptease … whenever I hear “What a feeling” I see the big dancing scene before my eyes and start to move with the music as well.
  7. Footloose: Sexy young Kevin Bacon, jumping and dancing, fighting the strict conservative rules of John Lithgow and his church. (I do seem to like rebels! Especially when it comes to religion!) What a great soundtrack. I still have it and listen to it quite often in my car, singing along as loudly as possible.
  8. Man’s favourite sport? With Rock Hudson and Paula Prentiss. The German title is something like this: “A goldfish on the leash”. Still one of the funniest movies as Rock Hudson pretends to be an expert angler … with no experience at all.
  9. Demolition Man: Ha, now I got you, right? You wouldn’t have suspected Mr. Sylvester Stallone in my favourite movie list together with the greats of Cary Grant and Rock Hudson. Well, I can’t help it! I just love it! How he has to adapt to this “clean” future, hunting down the killer Wesley Snipes together with lovely Sandra Bullock. Fun and thrilling. Who could ask for more?
  10. Never been kissed: Drew Barrymore and Michael Vartan. So incredibly cute. So romantic. So funny. So heartfelt. And so easy to empathize. 
  11. The Great Gatsby: only the Robert Redford version. Counting F. Scott Fitzgerald’s books among my favourite classic books, the movie has to be too. Strangely, I knew the movie before I read the book. As a young girl I saw it on TV and especially the beautiful eggshell coloured car and the clothes stuck in my mind. Choosing the book at school to present to my classmates in English class, I got hooked again.
  12. Con air: tragic, hot Nicolas Cage against a plane full of murderers … add quirky John Cusack as an US Marshal and a high-profile cast (John Malkovich, Steve Buscemi, Ving Rhames just to name a few) and you get a spectacular movie.
  13. To catch a thief: Finishing off my list with another classic … Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in Monte Carlo. Great setting, great story, beautiful clothes (of course, what else is one expect from a 50s movie, they just had style). The society beauty and the former thief … throw in Alfred Hitchcock and you better not miss it! Speaking of Alfred Hitchcock, he was just a genius and every movie is worth watching again and again!

Well, I think 13 is a great number, which is why I’ll leave you to your movie nights now … there might be other “favourite movies” around I might rediscover and share in another post with you one day!

THEY JUST DON’T STOP …

… pissing me off. Who? The bloody German politicians and their way to handle the pandemic! They just don’t seem to have brains anymore nowadays. Where are the great ones? There are none! I wouldn’t know who to vote for – even if I were allowed to as an Austrian living in Germany – and that’s not only sad, it’s tragic.

What is pissing me off? (Or let me rather rephrase that, since it’s basically on a weekly basis!) What is pissing me off this time? Well, the whole pandemic issue, of course. Once again! And frankly, I just don’t get it! We have been living with the pandemic for one and a half years now! And last summer we were in the unlucky position that we didn’t have vaccines yet. Which we do have now! But with the Delta variant on the rise … We’re in the middle of the summer, in the middle of school holidays, in the middle of people traveling to the usual tourist hotspots like Spain and its islands, Greece, Turkey … and now the politicians are surprised that numbers are rising again? Just like last year? Really? NOW? No one could have seen that coming!? Of course not! How could they! After one and a half years of living with Covid. Only now, the government has decided that it might be a good idea to only grant fully vaccinated and convalescents “free” entry back into the country, without a negative test and quarantine, unless one comes back from a high-risk country. 

Well. Well, well, well! I presume the vaccine conspiracy theorists are going to decide that it might not be such a bad idea getting vaccinated after all. If this means that they will be excluded from the life of the vaccinated or at least at great costs. AND, I hope the brilliant idea (which, by the way, the Austrian government has already voiced weeks ago) of finally considering invoicing all kinds of previously free tests to the unvaccinated will take root and they won’t be so cowardly again to back off.

As I might have mentioned before … I seem to be surrounded by dumb people. A) Those on top and B) Those who see conspiracies everywhere and refuse to get vaccinated. Am I mad? Of course, I’m mad! Hopping mad! Because of those ignorants we have to suffer and I just hope the government finally wakes up and restricts their everyday life as much as possible, punishing them for their stupidity any way possible. I’m glad, my parents are not alive anymore and had to go through this. Those unvaccinated stupids would have been their death sentence for sure!

OUT AND ABOUT

I know, this is coming a bit late, since it’s already August and some kind of normalcy has returned to our lives here in Germany. But frankly, I was a bit stuck, so … 

Tuesday, June 14th 2021, 3:30 pm. A day to celebrate. The first time I’m “out and about” again. As in sitting at an ice cream parlour, without mask, without testing required. The numbers have gone down so much that they have finally decided to scratch the mask wearing requirements in the pedestrian street. As well as the testing stuff when sitting outside. I could hardly wait to finish today’s home office and the most important tasks … and head outside. Dressed normally for a change (since I used to live in jazz pants, T and sneakers the past months and didn’t bother to dress up for a quick outing to the grocery store). I’m even wearing high heeled yellow sandals with my gorgeous yellow Dune tote bag.

Such a pleasure. Sitting in the sun, enjoying banana split ice cream – even though it lacked originality. Next time I will have to tell them again, how it is made … and how I want it. As in: vanilla ice cream, no whipped cream and lots of chocolate sauce. Instead of: banana, milk and chocolate ice cream, cantaloupe melon as decoration and not enough chocolate sauce. Hardly any meal in Germany I don’t have to tell them how to do it … it’s tragic, really …

And my great afternoon just got better. My MD called to tell me that I would be vaccinated in two days’ time. And even better: I will receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which only has to be given once instead of the two-parters. Which also means that in roughly two weeks I’m fully vaccinated and can safely do whatever I want again. Going out for dinner, travel … and being more or less safe from this awful virus.

So, two days later I got my shot and was a bit concerned whether I would have any side effects, but apart from some muscle pain in my vaccinated arm, there was nothing. And I couldn’t be happier! Happy being back “in the land of the living”. Enjoying coffee, lunch and dinner outings with my equally vaccinated friends, looking forward to my Austria trip this fall to visit my vaccinated relatives and friends there.

Sadly, though, thanks to dropping numbers of infected people and serious cases, the numbers of people getting vaccinated are dropping as well, not showing up for their appointments with many doses having had to be disposed of. What a terrible – and expensive – waste. Those stupid, stupid people. They make me so angry I could kick their ass from here to the netherworld. I wish the government would take more drastic measures. Like: no restaurants, no traveling, no nothing without being vaccinated, since by now there is enough vaccine around so that everyone can get vaccinated quickly. My colleague mentioned with a smile, how “hard” I am. Yes, I am! Those who refuse to be vaccinated and those other stupids … they can rot in hell instead of dragging us back into high numbers and death due to the appearing virus variants. Which they help to emerge and distribute to all of us. And the best of it? They are begging to get the vaccines when they are lying in hospital on the brink of death. Well, your bloody fault! You had the chance! Too late! I don’t feel any pity with those people! Not when there’s no shortage of vaccine now!

Well, at least life for the vaccinated us is starting to improve. Let’s hope it stays that way! 

WHAT IS HOME

Giving up one perfect apartment three years ago, moving into a less perfect one and moving back into a more suitable place to live, I’ve been thinking about what “home” means to me. 

Well, my childhood home is gone! So, nothing to return to. But at least I was lucky to having been able to be there until the end, until every single piece of furniture was gone, boxes with the things I wanted to keep packed up and finding closure. 

During my student days, I occupied three apartments. Starting out with a very small furnished 25sqm one room apartment beneath the roof, sharing the bathroom with my neighbour. With a 7-minute walking distance to university. I still remember the first night, the first night of a new part of my life. Away from home, my own little haven not quite mine yet. And I do admit: I was a little homesick. Wondering what the next years might bring.

I call my second home-away-from-home my “back-to-the-roots” home. I moved into the same apartment building from the turn of the century – as 1900 – in which my father spent part of his childhood. The huge apartments were converted into smaller ones (I’m talking about 2 apartments per floor where one also had room for a maid in former times) and I moved into the renovated one from Aunt Do, where she used to live with her late husband, Uncle Wolfgang. Even though I was farther away from downtown, I at least was closer to my Styrian part of the family, with Aunt Do living one floor beneath me. I loved this time. It cost me some time university wise, but I wouldn’t want to miss the time I could spend with Aunt Do. She was my friend, my confidante, my teacher. And I miss her at least as much as I miss my parents. And Sundays? I hiked to my aunt and uncle a few minutes away for Sunday dinner, which consisted of either Cordon bleu or Wiener Schnitzel with French fries and vanilla pudding most Sundays. Because they knew how much I loved – and still love – Wiener Schnitzel. Oh, how I miss my uncle’s cooking skills! He too has been gone many years now.

Apartment number 3 pulled me back into downtown, one parallel street away from university and my tutoring job and seven walking minutes away from the town center. I especially loved that again it was an old building with high ceilings … I have no idea how I survived the icy cold exterior bathroom with 14-16 degrees’ Celsius max in winter.

And now, I’m in my third apartment here in Germany. And every one of my apartments was home. Because I made them home. I put my stamp on them with my unique style, my pictures, paintings, keepsakes, candles, lots of plants and throw pillows. And of course, everything has to match. Starting with the towels in the bathroom to the bed linens and the desk writing mat (which I have acquired in three different colours for now to be able to adjust to the sofa deco pillows …). My current colour? Purple. Next week it might be forest green or bright turquoise or sunny yellow or dark red or elegant black. Which is another thing I can now embrace totally again to make my home MY home, without anyone telling me, how stupid it is to have seven sets of towels, ten sets of bed linens, at least a dozen throws and too many throw pillow cases to count … that’s home. And to end this post with a kitschy note: Home is where my heart is! And my heart is with my happy memories, all the little things from my past and present … 

POLITICALLY (IN)CORRECT

Eye roll! Big eye roll! Sometimes I hardly know what to say, because it’s so ridiculous! The Muppets? Really? That’s just the last straw in ridiculousness when it comes to “political correctness”. I had to roll my eyes when I read that Disney included disclaimers at the beginning of old Disney movies. And now even Kermit has to suffer the same because of stereotypes and “negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures”. Oh please! Get real! The first Disney movie “Snow White and the seven dwarves” was released in 1937 … more than 80 years ago. A completely different time! “Dumbo”, with the crows displayed as Mexicans, is from 1941. Of course, it’s wrong to stereotype … but, one can’t change the past and it’s ridiculous not to make distinctions between the present and the past. Maybe I too should be pissed off that being an Austrian I will always be stereotyped as a Dirndl wearing voluptuous woman? Where do stereotypes come from? There’s always truth in them. Austrians still wear folksy clothes at certain occasions. It’s a tradition. Just like Mexicans wear colourful ponchos and large hats. Or Germans and their stupid shooting-fair get-up (white pants, green uniform style coat, wooden rifle).

Here in Germany we have such discussions as well – as if we didn’t have enough other problems! Politicians are discussing to change names like “Zigeunerschnitzel” (gypsy schnitzel). Which is disgusting anyway! Since the red pepper sauce covers the breaded schnitzel to make it soggy! Euw! Euw euw euw!

Or an old pharmacy had to change its name because it was called “Mohrenapotheke” (blackamoor pharmacy). Hm, I wonder what’s next? Will those whose surname actually is “Mohr” have to change their names too because it’s offensive, not politically correct and racist?

“Uncle Ben’s” rice logo is also among the much-discussed products, which will have to change its name into “Ben’s Original”. I think this is in the same range in stupidity as all this feminism stuff, with women being offended because they didn’t like to be just a “student”, “mayor”, etc. Oh no, there had to be female versions, displayed on every sign. Which would then look like “Student/in” in Austria. (Male and female student!) It’s true, that women still are at a disadvantage on the job market – well, if I were a human resource person I would think carefully too of employing a woman, especially if she’s fresh from university at best age. Wanna bet as soon as she is capable of earning the company some money, oops, she’s becoming pregnant? Then returing to work for a few months and getting pregnant again? I rest my case. 

Anyway, this is one of those topics I could rant and rave about forever … which I’m totally allowed to, being a woman. And luckily one, who doesn’t want to procreate and has no time and patience for kids. A cat is more than enough … which is why I used to raise this topic myself during job interviews, “And no, I don’t want children and have no plans whatsoever to have any …”

Straying from the topic? Yeah, that happens sometimes with me … anyway, what I really wanted to point out … some things are just not important enough to even think about. The world has much bigger problems than Disney movies and the influence they might have on kids. Guys, kids don’t have the brains to interpret anything at that age. Not like the way us stupid adults do … they either like a character or not. No matter whether it’s the Mexican crow or the American elephant …

CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER

Euw! Euw, euw, euw! Recently I read an article on “The Guardian” about new habits during home office and pandemic times. With people admitting they stopped taking daily showers – more like once or twice a week, often not even after doing sports -, same with washing their hair, brushing their teeth, changing clothes regularly. Euw! I was quite disgusted with some of the reports!

Well, it’s natural to get lazier in some regards. I’m not perfect either! I don’t spruce up for home office like dressing in classy pants and a blouse. (Unless I know I have a video call with a customer, then I put on a nice top!) Like most of us working from home, I’m wearing comfy pants, T-Shirt and a cardigan. Not to mention warm socks and horrible warm fluffy slippers in winter. (Those I would never admit buying! Ever!)

But apart from that, my routine has stayed the same. I’m wearing my basic make-up every day just like on office days, I regularly wash my hair – even though I just wear it in a ponytail – and also regularly re-colour it. I paint my nails, brush my teeth after breakfast and shower every day. I could never stand to go to bed unwashed, grimy. Euw! And euw again! Clothes? The same, changing shirts and underwear daily. Everything else is just not an option … and too horrible to even contemplate. Just thinking about how I feel after a transatlantic flight, grimy and dusty, desperate to get to the hotel and take a refreshing shower … or remembering my South America trip and the overnight bus journey … I couldn’t imagine not showering for days. Add the hot summer months … and the smells accompanying someone doused in deodorants and perfume … lovely.

I love home office, I really do, and I don’t really miss anything. But the downside, of course, is that one definitely gets lazier. The trips to work are gone, the lunch outings with colleagues, the “getting up” and visiting colleagues in other offices. Instead, we are constantly on MS Teams calls and often barely have a minute in between to get a fresh cup of coffee … or get rid of it again. On the other hand, lunch is freshly cooked or at least home-cooked and taken from the freezer. And my exercise is restricted to: getting the mail (at least I’m living on the second floor without elevator), getting coffee or tea when at work (since I have a large apartment it’s at least not “next door” but on the other end), going grocery shopping (a five-minute-walk up or down the pedestrian street), cleaning my apartment in regular intervals (vacuuming daily thanks to my cat’s hair shedding and cat litter grains distributed all over the place) and my lovely home trainer I try to use daily for half an hour (while watching Netflix or reading). I’m just not in the mood to do the whole self-testing craziness, the negative tests necessary to have a cup of coffee, lunch or dinner … so, I’m biding my time until I’m fully vaccinated … and then normal life with day trips, shopping and coffee outings will resume by just throwing my yellow vaccination pass at them and … screw you all!

Have your habits changed during the pandemic? How? Cheerio, MJ