The life of an Oreo

The life of an Oreo is pretty short lived. As the World’s Number One biscuit it quickly becomes of lifesaving importance for my cookie obsessed self. Chocolate flavoured sandwich biscuits filled with a brilliantly white milk cream … who can resist such a temptation!? Certainly not me, no, Sir! Anywhere a package in the near vicinity? I can smell it! Going on the search like a bloodhound, snagging the signature blue package, tearing it open and devouring the smell of … well, Oreos!

I had my first encounter with this American institution on my first trip to Canada in my early twenties … yes, that was a while ago. Don’t rub it in that I’m already … nope, not going there …

Needless to say that I got hooked immediately and my addiction let me dread the return to my home country.

Back in Austria I fell into a deep depression, yearning for all those cookies I had to leave behind – and please remember, in those days online shopping was still something quite futuristic. And then, a few months later I happily freaked out in the middle of a grocery store in my home town, when I discovered them displayed prominently in the shelves. Those lovely blue packages smiling at me, gleaming in all their American cookie beautiness … I could hardly believe my eyes! My torture was finally over! Oreos in Austria!

End of story, you think? Wrong! Because … a few months later … gone! All of a sudden! Gone! GONE! Just like that! GONE! I was shocked, seriously shocked and was wondering whether I had dreamed those past blissful Oreo months … oh, had I only known! I would have at least stocked up on them! But nooooo! I was not prepared for this AT ALL! I asked myself: Why, oh why? Why were they gone? Didn’t my fellow Austrians treasure them enough? Had I been the only one buying Oreos?

Slowly I got used to my “life after Oreos”. I had to live without them, but they were never forgotten.

Thankfully those dark days have passed and they are available here as well – and not only at the exclusive delicacy grocery store “Meindl am Graben” in Vienna’s most expensive inner city district. I’m in heaven back again, even though I miss the terrific assortment one can get in the States, like Regular Oreos, Golden Oreos, Oreo Cookie Bars, Reduced Fat Oreos, Chocolate Cream Oreos, Double Stuffed Oreos, Mint and Cream Oreos, Fudge Oreos, Oreo Cereal … and the ultimate Oreo delights: Oreo ice cream and Oreo cream cheese pie!

Oh, gotta go! I can hear my Oreos shouting for me!

I am old – am I old?

 

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Gosh, I’ve had a really depressing experience the other day! I actually discovered my first grey hair! And that at the age of … nooo, not gonna tell! Or do you already know? Have I accidentally mentioned my age? Or have you guessed already by connecting references of the 80s and 90s? I can’t say it out loud, though, neither can I write it down … maybe one day my big crisis won’t be so big anymore and I will be able to face my first early midlife crisis. Up until then … I’ll just try to cope with it the best I can. As with my first grey hairs … that was a BIG crisis with capital letters and the first thing I did was grabbing my tweezers and pulling them out … who wouldn’t!? The thing is, men just look more handsome and distinguished with greying hair, women just look old. And obviously I’m already heading there even though I still feel like in my 20s, with my real life just having started … having missed out on so much, fearing I will never experience the “normal stuff” … and it’s not getting easier the older I get.

This whole question of “Am I old?” reminds me of something that happened to me when I still was at university. Which requires some explanations for those who are not familiar with non-English languages and customs. Several European countries have a special expression to address adults or strangers politely. Your only means to address someone is “YOU”, in other countries you call someone “you” if it’s a child or your friend. In all the other cases – your boss, the shop assistant, your teacher – you address them with a “Sie”, “Lei”, “Vous” – just to give you an idea. Basically it’s similar to the way the British address royalty or judges. As in “your royal highness” or “your honor” – there’s no other way to be more polite, don’t you think? In the 18th and 19th century it was common in Austria’s high society to address even one’s parents in that manner. Can you imagine calling your Dad in the way you would a judge? “Father, can your highness/honor/ … pass me the milk?” Weird, isn’t it? (Even though you wouldn’t have said that cause there were servants to pass you the milk …) But that was actually the case in Austria when we still had an emperor!

Back to MY story since you now know the difference between you and YOU! And the day I felt OLD for the first time!

I had to attend a lecture – in Austria, at my university – and there were so many fellow students that I had to stand in the back. Nothing unusual there! Until one of the 19-year-old girls actually asked me if I wanted to sit down. In originally that tone you would ask an 80-year-old woman on the bus. Of course with this polite Austrian expression we use instead of “YOU”. Imagine my surprise! Sure, I was roughly ten years their senior at that time! I was so stunned that I didn’t quite know how to react! Should I laugh out loud and tell her that I’m not THAT old? Or become angry – well, more like pissed off – and tell her to screw herself? My reply was a mixture of both: a raised eyebrow combined with a dignified “No, thanks!”

So, I was wondering … did I look THAT old at the age of 30? Maybe I dressed classier than the barely out of school students, but I was neither wearing shift dresses nor pearl necklaces at that time … On the other hand, the woman from the vegetable stall in the town’s main place regularly treated me like a ten-year-old at the same time.

And the question still is, years later: Am I old?

I need shoes … and a bag too

What? Again? Is the unsympathetic reaction from HIM. And I’m starting to explain, “Well, Darling, I’ve got this new dress you urged me to buy and I don’t have a single pair of shoes that go with it! Oh, and of course I need a new bag too!”

He, with a hint of desperation in his voice, “But, Baby, your closet is stuffed with shoes and bags! You even had to expand your walk-in closet … by cluttering the hallway with an additional large shoe rack, which is already bursting from the seams with all your shoes! I only have three pairs!”

Sounds familiar? Thought so! Men will never understand the importance of finding the perfect pair of shoes to be properly dressed for taking out the garbage. (And of course, we’ll never find the perfect pair of shoes, since we always look for and buy new ones!)

Corpus delicti this time is a cute olive green lacy shift dress, next time jeans, another time nothing but a negligé and I NEVER have shoes that go with either outfit! So, what do I do? I drag him with me from one shoe store to another – cause he has the credit card, which is not overdrawn yet -, trying on hundreds of shoes, buying a dozen and still haven’t found a pair that would look perfect with my olive green dress. (Hey, finding shoes in exactly the same shade of my dress is not easy! Give me some slack, guys!!!)

It’s a hard life us women live. Always on the search, never stopping, never passing a shoe store without going in. And above all our guys never understand the trouble we’re in! Although, sometimes you could really feel sorry for these poor sods we’re taking along. But where is the fun in shopping for shoes if HE doesn’t tag along? WHO are we going through all this for? Yes, that’s right, we all do it for THEM! The guys in our lives! They want us to look nice, pretty, sexy … every minute of the day. They want us to be housewives, business women, hookers, mothers, supermodels … all in one! And how, I ask you, can we achieve that without the proper shoes??? Or do you know which pair you’re going to wear for Christmas dinner? Or lunch with his parents? Or the wedding you’re invited to, where you actually might catch the wedding bouquet? Not to mention all those other occasions? Not to forget vacations! One needs several pairs of sandals, mules, sneakers, wedges, kitten heels! You name it, you need it!

The simple answer is: we don’t know what we’re going to wear on every pre-planned occasion! Guys, you just have to endure it! Be patient, just let loose a little sigh, pull your credit cards without grumbling and never, NEVER EVER tell us we have enough shoes at home! A woman can never have enough shoes!!! (And bags too!!!)

 

Bond is blond

 

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A couple of weeks ago I decided to have a „James Bond weekend“. To do 24 movies in one go would have been an impossible task, since 50.5 hours are a bit much, even for me. So instead I was working my way through my favourites on Saturday (Goldfinger, Thunderball, The man with the golden gun, Moonraker and Die another day) and devoted my Sunday to the latest Bond: Daniel Craig. To refresh my memory. Since compared to all the other Bonds I basically know by heart, I didn’t have the urge to watch the Craig Bond movies more than once.

When I first heard the news in 2008 that British actor Daniel Craig won the competition to follow into Sean Connery’s, Roger Moore’s, Timothy Dalton’s, George Lazenby’s and Pierce Brosnan’s footsteps I was, well, flabbergasted. A blond James Bond? No! No way! How could they? James Bond is NOT blond! Ian Fleming would turn in his grave if he knew they made tall, dark, handsome James into a blond not so handsome – in the classic, elegant handsome way – one. I was more than reluctant to even watch “Casino Royale”, but just couldn’t stay away from the movie theatre. Watching every single James Bond movie is just obligatory!

Re-watching the four Daniel Craig movies, with the old ones still fresh in my mind, my initial reaction to seeing the first Daniel Craig Bond hadn’t changed. In fact, it just became worse. I liked “Casino Royale” for its fast-paced action scenes, the travelling to the Bahamas, Miami, Venice, the good filmmaking. BUT! Even though I basically liked the movie in general I just couldn’t see it as a James Bond movie. It lacked endearing original mastermind inventor Q – or his successor played by John Cleese -, it lacked gadgets and gizmos, it lacked humour and irony, persiflaging the whole 007 spy business. The “new” Q? Computer nerd? Pleeaaase!!! I don’t even remember Bond saying the coolest words ever, “Bond. James Bond.” But maybe I was just too bored and annoyed to notice it. At least he managed to order Martinis and drive nice cars.

The whole Bond franchise just deteriorated with the movies to follow. “Quantum of solace”, which basically continued its “Casino Royale” storyline, with 007 avenging the death of his lover. “Skyfall” which had a few nice references to the old movies like the vintage Aston Martin. But with “M” dying and Bond nearly crying, I was very disappointed in this unnecessary drama!

And then there came “Spectre”. The highlight of my Bond marathon, being the last one, with the obligatory microwave popcorn while watching from the comfort of my couch. With Christoph Waltz as “Blofeld”. I shouldn’t have watched it again. Really, I shouldn’t have. Disappointment is an understatement. Bond was a sentimental anti-spy, Blofeld just boring and not very threatening compared to the other Blofelds before him. And the final scene on the bridge, where he doesn’t kill Blofeld, his surrogate brother (how lame) because the new lady love of his life tells him not to, walking away with her into the sunrise … I couldn’t believe my eyes. What a waste of time! It was bad in the movie theatre, it’s worse on TV. I miss the old Bonds, the dark-haired ones, the ones with elegance and style, dry humour, intelligence, charm, Martinis and clichés. Bond is not Bond without his black tux, Martini, “Bond, James Bond”, Q and his many women he loves for a whole movie and then enjoys other ones in the next. With Sean Connery and Roger Moore leading the list of the quintessential Bond material! Oh yes, I know, there might be an outcry now from some of you, who love the new, 21st century Bond. I just don’t! Guess some part of me will always be partial to the past, which you will find out more about in the course of time! So, I can only hope the next Bond will find his way back to the old style for us to enjoy!

A new fashion statement

This week’s posting is actually a piece I wrote a few years back. But with the tragic events that happened in the States in November 2016 – yes, I am talking about the election of Donald Trump (shudder) as new president (shudder again) – with everything getting worse by the minute, I don’t want to keep this little fun piece from you.

It all started with a short report on TV about – now, get this – toddlers in all kinds of wigs in LA, which was the latest hype. And this is what played out in my mind, as I was imagining the following scene:

I picture myself strolling down Hollywood Boulevard, getting the shock of my life when I see a little toddler wearing a strangely familiar hairstyle in form of a blond wig. My first reaction is pure horror, followed by laughter boiling inside me. I can’t resist walking up to the obviously toting mother – who else would protect a baby’s head with a blond wig? – and hiding my urge to shake her violently to get some sense into her, asking her with a fake, a very fake smile, “Excuse me! But where did you get this gorgeous wig?”

(Note the slight irony in my voice … maybe I should punish myself now for being so mean!)

The answer is – at least for me – a laughing matter, “You can get it anywhere! It’s the latest fashion and you just have to have it! My cutie-pie loves it!”

Really? This let’s another question arise! Is it a boy or a girl? Who knows what goes on in minds of mothers who torture their toddlers with wigs … But I’m clever enough NOT to enrage the mother and inquire about the not obvious gender of her child. But why? Why this weird windswept style I still cannot place?

“Isn’t that obvious?”

Of course not or I wouldn’t have asked! Which is why I reply, “Ahem, I don’t see it right now!”

The proud mother, “It’s supposed to be a copy of Donald Trump’s hair, you know, the tycoon and “You are fired” Apprentice host!”

Donald Trump! Man, do I feel STUPID!!! Of course I see it now! (Kind of!)

The toddler is wriggling in its mother’s arms, suddenly the wig is on backwards and I’m trying very hard not to burst out laughing. Not very successfully. This would be one of those occasions where your only chance of getting out of this situation is pretending to suffer from a sudden coughing fit.

However, in my mind, I’m unable to leave yet! I still need to know … are there others around?

Yes, there are! PINK’s (the popstar) hairstyle is about as en vogue and a bestseller as Bob Marley’s big curly hair. I don’t even know what’s worse … well, Donald Trump probably already IS the worst choice. Just imagine having a tiny duplicate Trump crawling around at home! Eerie, plain and simple!

After another few pleasantries – I do know how to behave, sometimes – I leave, shaking my head, imagining what people would say if they saw a toddler in a PINK wig in the middle of summer in the small Austrian town I used to live in! Guess I’d be carted off to the next lunatic asylum for sure!

Sorry for not providing you with an appropriate headliner pic … you didn’t really think I would throw my hard-earned money out the window ordering a Donald Trump toddler wig just for this post, did you? Anyway, hope you enjoyed this little excursion into my literary past … maybe it’s not that out of date after all, with the new president in town! This might be the revival of the Donald Trump toddler wig hype!

Travelling is fun

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Even though I’ve been here in Germany for nearly four years now I still feel like a tourist occasionally. Just with the difference that I haven’t managed to explore my immediate surroundings more thoroughly to do some serious sightseeing right here but instead take day trips to other historic towns or castles. But day trips are nothing compared to the real travel experience. Travelling and being a tourist is exciting and fun! Why?

  • You get to see new places! Places and sights not even the locals know about or have ever visited! (I’m the best example! Let me loose in any place and I’m in sightseeing heaven! On the other hand, I have never been to some of the most prominent sights in my home town! Yep, crazy! Once again!)
  • You get to experience new cultures! Except if you decide to spend your vacation in an all-inclusive club where you feel like home with your fellow country-men and you wonder why you even bothered to travel thousands of miles just to have a slight change of scenery!
  • You get to eat strange food! Oh boy! And how strange that food can be! You wouldn’t believe what some countries consider as delicacies! Asian and Middle Eastern countries seem to have the weirdest combinations! Snakes, monkeys, dogs, sheep eyes, bull’s balls, intestines, rotten fish … and yes, some of those can even be found in the more Western hemisphere. You better not look too closely and never ever ask what you’ve ordered …
  • You get to sleep in nice hotels! At least you thought so when you booked your trip months ago. What you certainly didn’t expect are lumpy mattresses, musty pillows, mouldy bathrooms, dirty swimming pools, construction noise in the middle of the night and cockroaches / ants / ___________ (insert any other crawling thing you can think of) crossing your room at least twice a day, regularly like clockwork. By the way, let me just add, that’s certainly what you get if you are gullible (I wouldn’t dare say stupid) enough to vacation in countries where a 3-star hotel is worse than a youth hostel.
  • You get to behave like you’d never behave at home. Singing and dancing on the bar totally drunk, maybe adding a little striptease? Hey, who cares, you are on vacation! No one knows you! (You might just become the latest Facebook or YouTube star!) Complaining about everyone and everything? You paid for it, so you have the right to annoy the hotel personnel! Piling as much buffet food as possible onto your plate, only to realize you don’t even like half of what you’ve piled on? Okay, maybe you’d do that at home too!
  • You get to wear those cute – but too tight – tank tops, colourful shirts and shorts you only dig out of your closet for your vacation. (Since you wouldn’t be caught dead seen in them in your home town!) But at least they are worn once a year! Together with those white tennis socks and even whiter sneakers!
  • You get to buy souvenirs! (My favourite part!) What would be a vacation if you didn’t bring home some typical gifts – usually NOT produced in the country you are currently in – for those who weren’t lucky enough to travel abroad? Your friends will be thrilled and love you so much for another useless piece to dust off and display just for you on your visits!
  • You get to make lots of pictures of everything and everyone from every possible angle no one really wants to see at home! But don’t be sad! They are just jealous! (And will repay your lengthy presentations with their own vacation pictures! So, there you have it!)

Have I ruined travelling for you now? I hope not! I, for once, am still a traveller at heart and I promise, I really do, to finally get some sightseeing done here as well!

Culinary delights

As you know I’m living in Germany now. Have been for the past years. And let me tell you, it was a culture shock, especially when it came to food. Hard to believe, is it? After all, we are neighbouring countries, speaking the same language … well, kind of. But we do understand each other most of the time. (If not I just nod enthusiastically, smile and say something like “yes, that’s right”. Works every time!)

When it comes to food I regularly get bouts of goose bumps and severe shuddering, making me wonder how I will ever survive German culinary delights.

1.) Schnitzel: Austria is famous for crisp and wonderful Schnitzel. With the simple sides of potato salad (without mayo, mayo is a definite no-go), French fries, potatoes with parsley or pea rice. Imagine my goose bump moment the first time I saw strange tomato or champignon sauces poured on top of the crisp bread crumb coating, soaking everything through. I couldn’t look. I really couldn’t. These poor Schnitzels, what a crime to have them suffer such mistreatment.

Once, it must have been in the first couple of months here, I was very adventurously buying a schnitzel with cauliflower on top, gratinated with cheese, at a hot food counter. Oh boy, mistake, big mistake … because what couldn’t be seen underneath the cheese was a huge serving of sauce hollandaise covering the cauliflower. I still shudder just thinking about it. And that was over three years ago!

2.) Speaking of sauce hollandaise … it seems every vegetable side dish is swimming in it, which is so unnecessarily cruel to the poor limp broccoli, carrots, peas, beans, cauliflower. I have learned to think ahead when ordering and add my cute Austrian touch by telling them in a strict disgusted voice, “no sauce hollandaise, please!”

The only vegetable deserving this low in calories sauce is asparagus. But only that! Everything else … don’t let me say it again, it’s just too horrible!

3.) Another German weirdness is curry ketchup. Basically the secret of the world famous German curry sausage is the red tomato curry sauce resembling hot curry ketchup. Well, “Currywurst” is a delicious dish in its entire combination with crisp French fries on the side. But … imagine my surprise being served curry ketchup to a cordon bleu because “that’s the only ketchup we have”. And I’m not talking about being adventurously ordering a cordon bleu at a food cart (probably my schnitzel would have been better there too), but a higher priced restaurant. You should have seen my astonished facial expression …

4.) Since we’re talking about Ketchup! You could say I’m a ketchup connoisseur, my survival depends on it. My favourite is an Austrian brand called “Felix” and my first grocery shopping trip was not very successful in this regard. Imagine my surprise and despair when I had to discover that my brand was not available! What does one do in desperate times like these? Buying one bottle of every brand I could get to sample them …, in the hope to find an acceptable replacement. Yes, my dears, you are guessing absolutely right. My taste buds were very unhappy, and that’s an understatement! So, every year, when I come back from my weeklong Austria trip, half of my car is full of ketchup bottles … the other half is reserved for … other foods I can’t live without. (To the utter entertainment of my colleagues … but this will be the topic of another posting altogether.)

5.) Balsamic cream: I love balsamic vinegar. In every combination. With walnut flavour, honey, raspberry, plain … just love it and always have an assortment of various balsamic vinegars at home. And now get this: balsamic cream. Drizzled lovingly over every single dish that leaves the mediocre restaurant kitchen in order to “decorate” the food, may it be your soup, main course or dessert. It just looks sooo lovely … and tastes so incredibly vile. At least to those who have a little taste left. I’m trying to picture a passionate Italian cook, seeing a Caprese salad (mozzarella, tomato, basil, olive oil, red wine or balsamic vinegar) spoiled by … balsamic cream. Mamma mia!  È un orrore! I may not be Italian, but I still think it’s one of the worst food inventions ever.

6.) Apfelstrudel: an Austrian classic. With filo pastry dough, apples, raisins, bread crumbs. Puff pastry is a definite no-go and not fit to be called Apfelstrudel. Sadly, even in Austria you occasionally have to suffer this abomination!

7.) German bread: it’s either fluffy or pumpernickel. It took me three years to discover a bakery which has the kind of bread I’m used to: a compact sourdough rye bread which nearly tastes like my favourite Austrian bread. It’s an hour drive away, but I don’t care! Should I ever run out of the huge amounts of bread I import from Austria, I have a backup plan!

8.) How do you like your French fries? With plain salt, right? Me too! Just never get that here! They have this strange orange “French fry salt” which kind of tastes like chicken rub … so far I haven’t dared ordering my fries with plain salt. But it’s definitely on my schedule soon …

Oops, sorry! Hope I haven’t bored you too much with my culinary culture shock … I’ll post a very short one next week, I promise! Have a great culinary weekend!

Guys, this one is for you!

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Sometimes I can’t help thinking that I’m really strange. Reflecting on the past 20 years or so I realize that most of my closest and trusted friends have been and still are of the male species. (Probably comes with being stupid enough not having studied something more girl like but instead becoming an engineer!)

Some of them spent a certain chapter of my life with me, some are still here after many years and some have come into my life not too long ago. You all know who you are, I don’t have to name names. I just want to thank you all for being there for me!

2016 has not been my best year in oh so many ways, and so far 2017 hasn’t been much better! I know I was awful at times, moody, crying, unhappy, distraught.

Guys, thanks for not giving up on me, for listening to me complaining, letting me whine, cheering me up again and again, giving me advice and your understanding – either in person or via phone – and the occasional hug.

I don’t know what I would do without you cause you are basically the ones who have to put up with my often endless text messages about stuff that upsets me, about my thoughts, my feelings, my fears.

You are my rocks, my pillars of strength, coming in different sizes, building my support system, surrounding me with your friendships. Giving me the feeling I’m not alone. Even though you are either far away or time with you is precious and never enough! Thanks, guys! Just know that I’m there for you the way you are here for me …

Happy Easter, you all!

 

Living in Germany now I had to realize that Easter is not what I am and what I was used to! The Germans don’t really have those nice traditions we have in Austria and I always make sure to get the sausages and smoked ham when I’m in Austria to take back with me and freeze for the Easter time here in Germany.

I’ll let you be part of one Easter experience, something I wrote down at a time when both my parents were still alive. But which was still different, cause usually we all used to spend Easter with my aunt, uncle, grandmother and another aunt in Styria. In the year you will be reading about, actually it was 2008, it was different cause my parents were already sick, my mum still in rehab because of her hip replacement and my chemo receiving dad was home alone. So I went back home on “Green Thursday”, as it is called in Austria, and arrived in time for lunch which consisted of creamed spinach, roasted potato slices and eggs sunny side up. As is the tradition in Austria! And yes, I love creamed spinach! Always have, even as a kid … so my parents were really lucky with me not throwing the green mess around and having to scrape it off the kitchen walls!

Next on my dad’s and my schedule was decorating the Easter branches with blown out and coloured Easter eggs, collected over the years. And of course we still had to boil eggs and colour them! My dad was a professional Easter egg dyer, we even had a special pot and special large plastic spoons for the dying process. One colour wouldn’t do of course! Red, green, blue and purple were a must and the fresh coloured eggs had to be carefully rubbed with oil to make them all shiny!

Good Friday was fish day – and I bet everyone could hear me grumble all the way across Austria because I’m not the world’s biggest fish fan, avoiding it as much as possible. But traditions are traditions and I grudgingly at least had fish sticks while my dad enjoyed trout. The smell alone when he was cooking it made me want to flee the apartment and I was seriously tempted to buy a Kaiser roll with “Leberkäse” when I headed to the one and only butcher’s shop to buy smoked ham and sausages.

In Carinthia particularly it is the custom to bake a sweet yeast cake with raisins, honey and nuts. Quite a dry matter. And since only my father liked it we mainly went with sweet white bread instead. (With my dad hoping someone would bring over some yeast cake he was confident would be his only …)

While I was picking up my mum from the sanatorium my aunt and uncle arrived and it was like in the good old times – kind of. With lunch consisting of noodle soup, all of us anxiously waiting for the late afternoon when we could dig into the smoked Easter meat. My aunt and I packed up a basket with all the food and headed to church to have it blessed in a 15-minute-Easter-blessing-service. (The only time I don’t mind attending church!) Obviously I’m not the only one going to church just at Easter, cause together with Christmas service this is one of the few occasions the church is stuffed to the brim.

The minute we were back home we basically dug in, starting with a piece of dark bread and salt – another custom to remember what we have to be thankful for – and then … we ate, exchanged little gifts, drank beer and had fun pecking eggs. (I don’t know why I’m always losing!)

I miss those times incredibly, but life goes on and I try to keep our family traditions alive, even on my own.

An ode to my all time favourite TV series

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I’m in seventh heaven! Why? Because I have finally managed to connect my antiquated LCD TV with my DVD player AND the new receiver – which, compared to the old one – has two Scart connections again so that I don’t have to switch cables every time I want to watch a DVD. Yes, I know, my whole entertainment system is so out of date it’s scary. One of my colleagues constantly tries to convince me to finally invest in a “real” TV with all the fancy options like internet, HD and whatever else TVs nowadays can do short of cooking. Stubbornly I hold onto my TV set, which I inherited from my father and therefore is quite precious to me.

So, as you might have guessed, I’m still one of those few buying DVD boxes instead of streaming … and I love my DVDs. My absolute treasures are those series that were popular in my youth and even though I know every episode by heart I love watching them again and again and again. Well, since this posting is not about my ancient entertainment system but my all time favourite TV series and why I adore them so much, I’ll take you back in time. Back to the 80s, in fact. I remember being a little girl, allowed to watch pre-evening series running from Monday till Friday, 6:30 pm to 7:15 pm (remember those times when series episodes lasted 45 minutes instead of 40? Great times! Great times!). Austrian TV only had two channels, without disrupting commercial breaks every few minutes to enjoy full 45 minutes of pure series pleasures! Those were also those times when airing stopped around midnight until 9 am for the first channel and 4 pm for the second channel. Hard to believe, right?

Which made the pre-evening programme the highlight of my young childhood days. No matter which series, I watched whatever was on air in these 45 minutes. Older series like Bonanza and Star Trek as well as Falcon Crest, Knight Rider, Murder she wrote, Hotel, Love Boat, MacGyver, A-Team, Hardcastle & McCormick, Remington Steele … But, my absolute favourite TV series of all times has and will ever be “Hart to Hart”. Who can top self-made millionaire Robert “Jonathan Hart” Wagner and his sophisticated journalist wife Stefanie “Jennifer Hart” Powers. And Max! Charismatic, loyal friend and caretaker. Always there to slip into various roles and costumes to help Jonathan and Jennifer to catch another murderer. And then there’s Freeway, of course, the couple’s adorable dog, so cute and cuddly you just want to grab and have him for yourself, even though you are not a dog person.

Now, what’s so special about “Hart to Hart”? I mean, it’s just another detective series, with a couple, a dog, a butler and a murder every week. Not that original! But the chemistry between the main characters is! Love and humour is oozing from the screen and every little girl dreams of having such a relationship. At least I did and still do!

Watching the episodes again from time to time is always a happy return to my childhood and I have to smile when I see the fashion, cars, gadgets, appliances of the 80s which now seem so … lovingly out-of-date. Like the car phone! I always swore to myself that when I had a car myself, I would have one of those … who would have imagined something like smartphones in those days. But 30 years later I still adore the huge wardrobe. All those beautiful closets with beautiful gowns, the plush cream carpet, the mirrors, sink and vanity table … enough space for all my shoes … think I need some serious “Hart to Hart” time again to refresh my memory! Happy watching!