Yes, I admit it! I did get gingerbread cookies and “Spekulatius” (gingery almond cookies) way too early. October 1st, to be exact. It was a rainy day and it hit me like a hammer that I wanted to have gingerbread and Spekulatius RIGHT THEN. With a cup of Earl Grey or Rooibush tea. So, weak as I was, I headed to my favourite discount grocery store right away and stocked up on pre-Christmas time delicacies.

And now, the first advent is here again. At first, I had planned to skip the baking this year. Since I have plenty of store-bought Christmas style cookies, stollen and gingerbread at home. But then, suddenly, one week ago, the urge to at least bake simple butter cookies hit me. So, I got the missing ingredients and did some baking on Saturday. May I say, they turned out quite well? I had to try at least one freshly baked cookie, of course. But the rest will keep for advent Sundays.

My other preparations for advent? Redecorating, of course. With red, green and dark blue dominating. Red and green pillow cases, red and dark blue throws, red candles, my advent wreath, dark green and red bed linens, towels and table runners. Some knick-knacks, fir branches and my childhood advent calendar I filled myself. Well, not much different to the past two years. And still, I’m looking forward to these four weeks very much. Tea and cookies on advent Sunday afternoons, lighting the advent candle and listening to Christmas songs. Just like we did at home when I was a child. And even though adventand advent Sundays won’t be much different than the rest of the year, I enjoy the peace and quiet, not having to rush around from one Christmas party to another, stress myself out with gift shopping (gift buying and sending is already done) or – horrors of all horrors – having to bake and cook and prepare everything for hordes of relatives falling in. 

How are the rising costs and especially energy costsinfluencing my advent? Well, actually not all toomuch compared to previous winters. However, I’m avoiding heating even more than usual and my beloved soaks in the bathtub are reduced to once or every other week, quick showers just have to do, even though they are less enjoyable than my soaks. I neither have electric Christmas decoration nor tree lights, so … no changes there. And since my Christmas market visits are close to non-existent – not a big fan of “cheap” but expensive mulled wine – once with my colleagues, once with a friend holding onto one non-alcoholic hot punch for the entire evening – it won’t really affect me either. So, all in all, it’s kind of a month like any other and I really, really consider myself lucky that I only have to take care of myself and my beloved cat (who is a bit picky when it comes to his food and has to be spoilt with tuna occasionally), being able to live frugally if I have to. Doing what probably everyone is doing in those uncertain times: save as much money as possible. 

On these less happy thoughts and worries concerning the coming winter and economy, wondering what the future will bring, I nevertheless wish all of you a wonderful advent time. Try to enjoy it as much as possible, sometimes it’s the little things that count. Spending time with loved ones, even though it might just be a phone call, a little spoiling by hot chocolate and a good book or a bath soak, whatever gives you a little pleasure and make you forget … all the best!!!



Love ‘em or hate ‘em? I’ve still not quite decided. There is the one or other thing from every seminar I take home with me that’s actually of use. But I just hate those mind games – ‘psycho games’ I lovingly call them – like improvisation stuff or making a fool of yourself by having to describe a word without using words, just using your hands and bodies. I don’t care for party or parlour games. Never really have. They annoy me no end and I barely can keep my eyes from rolling … so, I usually grudgingly take part in those “team building psycho games” and tell myself that all will be over in a couple of hours. Until the next lecture relaxation game comes along. All in all, it’s just a way to psychoanalyze everyone. And I hate that. I’m a straightforward kind of girl. I usually say what I mean and I can’t abide people talking about something for half an hour which would probably take no more than 5 minutes. Blabbing on … what a waste of my time! Huh … straying from the topic again. Which is seminars! And which I don’t really like. (There, I’ve said it!)

What else annoys me? The socializing! The small talk. The boasting about the job, private life, everything … I try to act being interested, without revealing much about myself. Of course, due to my accent they realize I’m not German, so that’s one topic to talk about. But apart from that? I remain aloof and listen more than I talk. Escaping to my room as soon as decently possible without being a bore or “antisocial”. Happy to have survived another day …

You are asking, and correctly so, why I even take part in those seminars then? Well, what can I say? To satisfy the company and have one more certificate to present. To show that I’m willing to evolve and improve … (eye roll again). But, as I said, I usually take home something useful from each seminar. Maybe 10% is actually worth listening too. Boy, I guess, I’m quite ungrateful. After all, my company is investing quite a lot in us by offering those seminars … And this is another issue Covid is to be thanked for. Apart from being allowed to do home office – which otherwise I would never have been able to do without a kid or someone to care for – seminars were not on the schedule. Just me, happily doing my job, in peace, concentration and quiet. Without the thought of having to go to the seminar location a few hours away to suffer from “psycho games”. And no, I don’t want to move up the ladder just to be more stressed (yeah, and paid more, but at what personal price?) and work 10 hour days. I like my job, I just want to keep doing what I’m doing and not drop dead at 60 with a stress-induced heart attack!


Aaargh! Aaargh! Aaargh! I don’t even know how to express my feelings towards this awful series! Horrified!? Disgusted!? Annoyed!? Nothing new, right? And once again I have to suffer another German atrocity when it comes to portraying Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth. (Might I remind you of my previous posts venting my anger about them using their names for a burger joint and another crappy series!?)

Anyway, whereas I didn’t watch the RTL series (the description was bad enough), I did manage to watch the Netflix series. And could barely stand it, merely being able to endure one episode per day. Glad, when the hour was over, having filled another few pages of everything that’s utterly wrong and horrible. Where to start? Probably with Elisabeth herself.

1.) Portraying the 15-year-old Elisabeth in the 1850s as a confident modern woman …seriously? Completely ignoring historical facts just to attract stupid teenage viewers? The plain truth? Elisabeth was terrified of her future, the court, the attention of all those people. As confident and modern Sisi turned out to be in her later years … she was anything but at the age of 15.

2.) The locations. Eye roll, eye roll, eye roll.Neither Schönbrunn in Vienna nor the Kaiservilla in Bad Ischl look anything close tothe real locations. And I’m not only talking about the style, which is horribly tastelessly pompous. The Kaiservilla was like a large mansion in the 1850s and was purchased by Franz Joseph’s mother Sophie as a wedding present. Only then it was changed and enlarged with two additional wings forming an “E” for Elisabeth. And since we’re at the topic of the Kaiservilla, where the famous couple met … Ludovika, Helene and Elisabeth resided at a hotel, NOT at the Kaiservilla!

3.) Don’t get me started on the wardrobe, hair styles and jewellery. Apart from the corsets and crinolines … there’s nothing halfway historically correct when it comes to the clothes displayed at the series. Not to mention the awful junky jewellery or the Marge Simpson style hairstyles. And the ladies-in-waiting wearing uniforms? Seriously? Who came up with this crap? Those women were from old noble families and were vetted thoroughly before being offered the “job” which was an honour and duty. And Helene wearing a fashionable long bob? In the 1850s? Not to mention Elisabeth wearing 1950s style sunglasses (which were invented for this kind ofuse in the 20th century) in 1850. Or her pillbox style hat with mini veil, also 100 years too early!How often do I have to mention it was the 1850s???

4.) To already hint at Ludwig’s homosexuality by letting the boy play with a doll in front of everyone at the tea table and in a later episode having him play with his mother’s jewellery and wearing a girl’s chiffon dress … that’s fricking disgusting. In terms of historical accuracy. A.) It would have never happened with them being brought up as strictly as they were. B.) 1850s, 1850s, 1850s … do I have to say more? C.) Really? 

5.) Sisi did not arrive in a carriage to be welcomed by Franz Joseph in Schönbrunn. Part of her journey was on the Danube river and she was joined by her fiancé in Linz. Only shortly before Vienna he left and went back to welcome her accordingly.

6.) Sisi had a loving relationship with her parents, especially her mother. She would have never sent them away, especially since she didn’t have anyone she knew at court, having had to send away her own servants. Being forced to spend her honeymoon at castle Laxenburg with her mother-in-law, since her husband was going to Vienna every day to take care of his duties, returning in the evenings only …

7.) The parties she is attending, being thrown by her scheming brother-in-law Maximilian. Yep, that certainly would have happened in real life! NOT!

8.) Franz Joseph. I just don’t know what to think of his portrayal. What a colourless actor being stuck in a ridiculous uniform with even more ridiculous golden shoulder tassles. Which were NOT part of his everyday garrison uniform. And by the way, the Emperor was not dressed like a dandy for hunting, he wore “Lederhosen” (short leather trousers), a grey loden jacket, thick socksand coarse boots.

9.) Wanna bet there are many more issues I missed the first time? But I just couldn’t bear watching the series a second time to compile an even more comprehensive and detailed account of all the things that are wrong with this series. And no, I don’t think I will be able to watch a second season. Just unbearable!


To once again compare a marvellous series like “Bridgerton” with this crap … did they still not get it? That Bridgerton is amazing because A) the characters are fictional, B) it’s got style and class, C) it was done by the British. They just know what they are doing! And how to do it! It’s as simple as that!

Well, I guess I will once again have to visit the emperors’ tomb “Kapuzinergruft” to apologize in person in front of their coffins for this indescribable atrocity the country in which I’m residing in has produced AGAIN when I’m back in Vienna. Will they never be able to rest in peace?


A few months back the news reached me that “my” first cat Tristan had been killed by a car. And no, my terrific ex didn’t think it worth his while to inform me himself. I had to hear it from one of my previous neighbours. I was sad, really sad, because the little guy would have celebrated his fourth birthday this year. Or at least it’s what we had assumed, since it couldn’t be said for certain how old he had been when we brought him home from the animal shelter. They presumed he had been between one and two years old. And now he is gone. My sweet darling is gone.

As much as I love my 17-year-old adopted cat Diego, Tristan had and has a special place in my heart and leaving him when I moved out was harder than anything else. (Since in the end I was really glad to get out of there!) Tristan was lovely and many photographs are being displayed in my new apartment to remember him by. Have been from the start. Thinking back to the little guy I wonder if he missed me? The one or other morsel of news reached me through my former neighbour who told me how much Tristan had to be alone. Even though he was free to go outside whenever he wanted to, he only had the bathroom to roam and be warm when “we” were not at home. It seems loving attention and time at home with my ex was rare … Tristan was spoiled more by the neighbours and even slept at our next-door neighbours occasionally. I hate my ex for that. I really do. Tristan was a lovely cat and I wish I could have taken him with me, even though I wouldn’t have had Diego then. And sadly, Tristan would not have been happy with just the balcony, being happy roaming around the neighbourhood, catching mice and being free. But still … I’m so incredibly sad he was neglected in such a way and am even sadder that, as careful as he always was when crossing the speed-reduced street, he was hit by a car nevertheless. Well, I guess my ex is happy now, not having to bother with a cat he and his awful daughter wanted to have at any cost. With me being the sceptical one because I knew this would be a big responsibility, especially when going on vacation with someone close by to care for the little guy. In the end, I probably loved him the most, the way he was bumping his head to mine, sleeping close to me, his loud purring, … rest in peace, my sweet little guy! Say hello to Schlappiand Mutzi, sweetie, and I’m sure our family dogs Rolf, Happy, Xavi, Trixie, Peggy and Abba will look after you too.