You would never believe what happened to me recently! I was standing in front of the refrigerated shelves of my favourite grocery discounter and nearly started crying. My eyes were already becoming moist and it took all of my control not to stand there bawling my eyes out. The reason? Kärntnermilch cheese. Yes, cheese! Austrian cheese. Carinthian cheese. From home. Ridiculous, right? And it suddenly just hit me! A spout of loneliness and homesickness! For my hometown, I grew up in and where my parents are buried and which I couldn’t wait to escape from during my later school years, for my parents’ hometown and my university town, pictures and memories flooding me. And all that just by seeing Austrian cheese!

Of course, I had to buy the cheese right away, just like I always do when I actually see Austrian groceries here in Germany. Like Wiesbauer cold cuts, Stastnik Cabanossi (hard sausage), Käsekrainer (sausage) during “Alps or Bavarian weeks”, I even discovered my favourite Mautner Markoff tarragon mustard once and immediately bought a few tubes. (Of course, I did!)

My highlight not long ago? And totally surprising? Discovering my favourite Felix ketchup at one of the German grocery store chains. Just to be on the safe side I loaded all five bottles from the shelf into my cart. Not wanting to risk that this was just a one-time special delivery from Austria and I was stupid enough to just get one bottle … unthinkable.

My little homesickness continued when I discovered funny books by Otto Schenk by pure chance, one of the greatest Austrian theatre actors and directors, who has collected and written down anecdotes of his life in theatre with fellow colleagues. Usually, reading German books is a rare occasion to my British and American mysteries. But I totally got hooked and not only ordered some theatre play DVDs from the “Theater an der Josefstadt” in Vienna but also remembered other famous Austrians and couldn’t help stocking up on every other Hugo Wiener book (only used ones available), a famous cabaret comedy writer and author, I could find and some others about Austrian historic anecdotes.

Watching the plays, some of them in Black/White, hearing the Austrian dialect, watching already old beloved theatre and TV actors from my childhood like Peter Alexander, Ossy Kolmann, Alfred Böhm, Helmut Lohner and many more made me maudlin again with a smile on my face. And I wonder … will I return to Austria one day in my retirement? It’s a thought that has been crossing my mind recently. To go back to Styria, if … I don’t know. I will see what my future will bring. But it’s definitely an option, a future I could imagine … to at least be where my real roots are. My family’s roots, my memories … and friends.



And this is another anniversary. Another one-year-anniversary. Living with my now 16-year-old cat I adopted last year. March, 17thI picked him up … what an excitement for both of us. Getting used to each other, getting used to our new home together. And it’s been a great year. Working from home definitely has its perks. Especially when it comes to my cat … being spoilt rotten by throwing his toy mouse around whenever he is in a playing mood, loudly meowing, dropping his mouse in front of me. He still ignores his other toys, not that I wouldn’t try introducing him to new stuff … total waste of time (and money). He prefers his one kind of toy mice. Everything else just exists as decoration.

Recently he has also become quite finicky when it comes to his food … I don’t even dare thinking how much I have already thrown out because he absolutely refused to eat it. Even though I try to trick him occasionally by drowning it in his beloved “leberwurst” paste or mixing it with another tasty brand. Clever cat that he is, he often manages to pick out the good stuff, leaving the less liked in his bowl. Well, why would a cat be different from his human companions? After all, I’m doing the same and am quite good at dissecting food if I don’t like it. Like cutting off every morsel of fat when it comes to meat. (Unless it’s the crispy top of a juicy pork roast!)

One cat year. Sometimes I can really hardly believe how quickly the past year went by. And the comfort we gave each other. Just by being each other’s company. Even though he sometimes just wants to be left alone, sleeping in his cuddly fluffy bed in the living room (or his cardboard box I outfitted with a soft blanket). But most of the time he is wherever I am. Sleeping on the couch in my study, when I’m working, joining me on the living room couch when I’m watching TV, sleeping tightly cuddled up next to me in bed. And of course, whenever I enter the kitchen … he is there. To not miss anything. Something edible might land on the floor. He especially gets excited whenever I’m chopping something. The only way to satisfy his curiosity it letting him smell the food, like onions, mushrooms, tomatoes … with him disgustedly wrinkling his nose and leaving the kitchen. 

One cat year, one happy cat year, I hope. He certainly seems content and happy. Even though he surely hates me to pieces when I have to stuff him into his transport box for going to the vet … but with some treats afterwards (preferably tuna or chicken) he soon forgets his ordeal and I’m back in his good graces.

Our year together was great and I hope we will have some more, despite his already proud age of 16. Happy anniversary, Spatzi!


Can you believe it’s already been a year since I started my new-old life in my new gorgeous apartment? Time flew … and I’m going to celebrate it big time. Celebrating having rid myself of an awful family and a doomed relationship. Even though it was not my choice … but in the end, I was happy that I got out before the resentment became even bigger. And I couldn’t be happier to having escaped this fate.

So, yes, I’m going to celebrate my first-year anniversary this weekend. And since my cat joined me only a few days later after my move into my new apartment, we will celebrate his 16thbirthday as well.

Thinking back to two years ago, moving in together was a big deal! Especially for someone like me, who had been living alone for the past 20 years. It was exciting and scary at the same time! With the one or other difficulty thrown in to lessen the overall joy I should have felt.

Everything happened so quickly and even though I was looking forward to my new life, there was also some sadness involved. Leaving the town and the few friends, moving to another town an hour away. And apart from that, after all, I had had a very large apartment (approx. 120 sqm) just to myself, in which I could realize my most inner furnishing and decorating dreams. With a dining room / library, walk-in closet, shoes and bags on display, a fireplace mantel, lots of plants, family pictures and childhood memories displayed in my most private study, old paintings … and above all: lots of space and air to breathe. Many things I wouldn’t have anymore. Selling one piece after another. Because there wouldn’t have been space in the new one with merely 85 sqm. 

Moving in together meant compromises on every end. Regarding furniture, appliances, pictures and paintings, habits and privacy. Getting used to each other, tolerate the other’s quirks, being equal. After all, I was still my own person. As you now know, in the end it didn’t work out. Looking back and at myself … it was mostly me who was supposed to compromise. And adapt. I think we would have made it if his daughter hadn’t moved in, which was the biggest mistake of all. Who in the hell would expect that from his new girlfriend? In such a small apartment? The selfishness of his daughter was endless … and I was too stupid to just say NO. Sometimes I’m wondering … imagine we all would have been stuck at the apartment during the pandemic. With him and me in home office … without an office, just the dining room table for both of us. Everything would have imploded then for sure!

In retrospect, I have to admit, I really lucked out! Even though my new apartment is a little smaller than the last one I had, just 100 instead of 120 sqm, and without a walk-in closet and a smaller balcony … it’s better located. At least for a city girl like me. In the middle of the city with a shopping center 3 minutes away, my favorite café 1 minute, farmer’s market, cinema and restaurants and everything in walking distance. And a drugstore just beneath my apartment to get the most important essentials … I love it. I love to just pop out for a cup of tea or coffee, with my MacBook in tow, to do some writing. Or ice cream in summer. Or quickly hop to the Shopping center for take-out … to me it’s high quality of life. (Even though I did enjoy the biking “in the country”, the closeness to a small lake.) But, THIS is what I am! Being in the middle of it! To have everything just around the corner! To go out in the evening if I want to! 

So yes, everything turned out well for me and I consider myself very lucky … happy one year anniversary of new found happiness!


And yes, I’ve got the complete 11 season series in a beautiful box set and have been basically binge watching until I was finished. Why? After all, I wasn’t even born by the time the series started and the Korean war was even farther away for an Austrian. It’s all Alan Alda’s fault! And his memoir’s “Never have your dog stuffed”. Which I bought in 2008 and have to shamefully admit, just came around to reading it. But, in my defence, once started I could barely put it down and finished it in no time. And ordered the complete box set of M*A*S*H right away. His experiences and anecdotes from his time filming it – writing and directing several episodes as well – made it irresistible not to watch it.

Of course, I do remember the series in general from reruns and rereruns and rerereruns, watching the one or other episode over the course of the years on German TV. But – apart from being synchronized in German language – it didn’t make that much of an impact on me. Until now! I was hooked after the first few episodes and just loved it! Despite the serious background of the Korean war, it’s mostly about the relationships between the characters and their way to deal with the daily horrors of wounded soldiers and death with practical jokes and fun.

What comes to my mind, watching the episodes, is how lovable the characters are. Apart from brilliant Alan Alda as Captain “Hawkeye” Pierce, I just adore naïve Walter “Radar” O’Reilly with his teddy bear and kindness, beloved by everyone. Or Corporal Klinger, cross-dressing in lovely outfits and trying to find ways to get shipped home any way he can.

In the first three seasons “Trapper” McIntyre as Hawkeye’s sidekick and Colonel Henry Blake were part of the team, being followed by Captain B.J. Hunnicutt and Colonel Sherman Potter. I have to admit, I enjoy those two characters even more than Trapper and Blake.

Even the “villains” – stuffy, conservative, intolerant, annoying and incompetent – surgeon “Frank Burns” is kind of lovable. Or at least likable. Being replaced in Season 6 by Major Charles Emerson Winchester, the Third, from Boston. Who is more British than the British themselves, listening to classical music all the time, coming from a wealthy family, which tends to send him all kinds of luxury items (a warm parka, record player, caviar, foie gras, etc). His character I enjoyed much more than Frank Burns, who was kind of hysteric and loud.

And Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan … head nurse. Sometimes a bit shrill, but all in all a great woman. Or Father Mulcahy, the calming presence of MASH 4077, a fierce boxer and dedicated to orphans. My favourite recurring character? Paranoid, mean and ridiculous Colonel Flagg, the ultimate spy / CIA agent and his numerous aliases. 

There are many episodes which have become my favourites. Among them “The gun” and the scene where Colonel Potter covers Radar with his blanket and carefully places Radar’s teddy bear into his arms, after he got drunk because he was accused of stealing a colt .45. Or “Dear Sigmund”, where the visiting and recurring psychiatrist Dr. Freedman is on “vacation” at MASH 4077.

“The Korean surgeon”, where a former wounded and treated “enemy” surgeon starts working at MASH with the help of Hawkeye and Hunnicutt. “The Colonel’s horse” – where the whole camp does everything to save Colonel Potter’s horse during his absence. “None like it hot” with a foldable bathtub being the main character in hot Korea, everyone standing in line – and starting fights – to have a cold bath. Ending with Radar having had to have his tonsils removed and Hawkeye trading the bathtub for two tubs of strawberry ice cream for Radar.

Or the last episode of Season 7 “The Party”, where the team shoots a picture of all of them together for their loved ones at home, who then meet up in New York for a “reunion” to celebrate together.

Season 8 starts kind of sadly with Radar leaving MASH and Klinger taking over his post. And even though Klinger is a marvellous replacement and great character, I did miss kind Radar. What I also missed in the later seasons? Klinger and his crazy lovely outfits. He did wear his fur coat occasionally but was seen in his green uniform more and more as clerk.

“Death takes a holiday” – the Christmas episode from Season 9 – shows another side of aristocratic Charles Winchester as he anonymously donates to a Korean orphanage and Hunnicutt and Hawkeye try to delay the death of mortally wounded soldier to save the soldier’s family the pain of having him died on Christmas Day.

Or “The Birthday Girls” from Season 10, where Margaret desperately tries to get to Tokyo to celebrate her birthday and is stranded on the road with Klinger. And Charles being unlike Charles in “Say no more” of Season 11 as he gets a famed doctor to MASH for Margaret, who had planned to attend this doctor’s lecture and couldn’t go due to laryngitis. 

And then, of course, the final “Goodbye” episode, with the end of the war. A two-hour feature and I couldn’t help getting emotional too. A great ending to a great series. Kudos to Alan Alda, who not only played the main character but also wrote and directed several episodes! And I enjoyed every single one of them!

(By the way, for all those who tend to have forgotten what MASH stands for – like me – here the solution to the riddle: Mobile Army Surgical Hospital!)