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Monday, 28 July 2014

Potty Training Day 4

It is the dawn of day 4 of potty training. The household is silent save for the ticking of the pewter clock on the windowsill. The sun rises to an overcast day. Even the birds seem melancholy this morning. When will the sun shine again? I don't know. Potty training; a reason there should be a boarding school for toddlers. Shoot me now.

The Husband and I have talked about potty training for a while now. It just never seemed like the right time. But now, since I am off until Thursday, we figured this past weekend would be a fine time to start. And start we did.

What is potty training our child like? Well, it is like chasing a 3 feet tall naked pissed off Chucky doll with a plastic potty for 10-11 hours a day while once in a while slipping in his pee because even though you have asked him every 20 minutes "do you have to go pee pee" the answer is "NEIN!!!"

For the most part, Saturday and Sunday weren't so bad because the Husband and I were in it together. Yesterday, however, he went to work and it was mano a mano for over 10 hours. When he first awoke, I attempted to take off his diaper which had ballooned to the size of a Golden Retriever puppy. Being the smart child he is, he figured out that once that diaper was off, it was go-time. I chased him for about an hour until the diaper could no longer take the weight and fell down to his knees. You would think this would mean he would finally be at peace letting go of the waterlogged instrument but no, he ran around for another 20 minutes, desperately clinging at it. I bribed him with a cookie and finally wrestled the 12 pound diaper from his chubby toddler grasp. The morning passed briefly albeit wetly. He did not seem to mind that he was soaked. I did get him to sit on his potty for about a minute where I believe he plotted my death. Later we made a trip to the park and then headed back home where I made the executive decision to make him go nekkid. Ever seen a death roll from an alligator? Yeah, toddlers do that too. Once nekkid, he had one accident on the kitchen floor. Oh, wait, a little on the kitchen floor, a lot on me. After that, he made his own executive decision to hold it in until bed time. I give him credit. He ain't dumb. This will be a battle of the wills today. One of us will need a nap. Keep me in your thoughts. Grazie.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Cleaning up my Act

After last week's tragedy and the stress that led up to it, I have been eating my feelings. No, really. If sadness was a food group, I would have gotten about a bazillion per cent of my daily requirements. And of course it is a cycle and even though I have gotten walks and Bikram sessions in, my eating has been disastrous. Last night in a fit of not fitting (I'm brilliant with the wordplay) into my jean shorts, I decided to make a vow to myself, and on Facebook, as one does, that I was breaking up with booze, cheese, bread and sugar for the next week or so. Sounds doable. FOR LIKE A MINUTE!

But I really need to try and do it. I've been in a bit of a carb fog the past week and it makes me groggy and sluggish and mean. Oh, so mean to the Husband. And demanding. And just all round bitchy and not fun to be around kind of gal. A kind of grumpy over weight hamster. Almost lizard-like in my demeanor.... I digress.
You better have ordered double cheese on that pizza, G.
So starting today, I am definitely going attempt a little clean eating that will involve no boozing, no sugar, no bread and no cheese. I see a lot of home made curry in my future. And crying.

In half an hour I am off to an early morning Bikram session. I figured it was a good way to start some healthy habits. I totally can't think of consuming a cheeseburger for at least an hour after a class. Wish me luck!

P.S. I just want to say thank you for all the pm's offering assistance and support to me the last week. That was truly unexpected and I thank you. Just knowing that people were taking the time to check in often meant a lot to me! And to the few people who offered babysitting? Yeah, I've changed my mind. Kid's started potty training. Bring a Wet Jet. Thanks

Friday, 25 July 2014

To Christian

My dear friend's husband passed away on Wednesday. It was peaceful and he was surrounded by his beloved wife and three of her sisters and a short Jew who pushed her way into the room (I hope that makes you smile, my dear Debra). It is a memory that I will never forget and will oddly cherish. There isn't much more that I can write because it isn't my place to do so. My place is to be there for my friend who has shown such dignity and strength during this dark time. I mourn for her, for his brother, for his family, for his friends and for my husband who lost a dear friend. I mourn for her because she lost the love of her life, her partner, her everything. Christian was a man of spirit, integrity, heart, humour and love. He was an egalitarian and a believer in people. He respected all who he met and would have fought tooth and nail for a friend. 

He loved his wife to the moon and back and the pride he showed when he talked about her was inspiring. I mourn the loss of this man who saw such good in the world. Debra and Christian had a relationship that many would strive to emulate. The laughter, the love, the dedication was obvious. I ask that people continue to show the incredible support they have for Debra. She is a rock but even rocks need support. I'm going to be her gravel - because that's what I do.

His legacy will continue and I hope that we all just take a minute and think of him and his loved ones. You can't take life for granted. We have to take each day and live it to our fullest. Christian passed knowing how much he was loved and together, as a couple, they truly lived life to its fullest, cherishing each other every day. That's all that anyone can hope for in life.

And so I end this post with a toast because a man like Christian is rare. May his memory never fade, may we always follow by his example and may we never stop thinking of him. To Christian, you will be incredibly and terribly missed.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014


Hello everybody. I am sorry for the lack of posting recently. As some of you know, one of my dearest friend's husband is currently in critical condition. I ask please for your prayers - for him and for her. I cannot even describe how amazingly strong she has been through this time. I won't go into detail about the situation because it is not my story to tell but I ask for your positives thoughts and vibes. Thank you.

So, since I haven't written since last Monday, here is what has been happening:

Saturday: We were invited to friends who have an amazing new place in the 5th district. It is a house with a garden in the middle of the city which for Vienna is a rare and wondrous thing. It was hot that day and we camped on the grass in the shade lest we go poof like Kirsten Dunst in Interview with a Vampire. 90's film references foreva! We drank, we ate, the Kid kvetched because he was hot and tired. I sprayed him down with a water bottle throughout the day because you just can't put a price on good parenting. Around 6:30 the Kid passed out on the lawn and it was all so college. Awesome. We headed home around 8 and apologized to our guests for overstaying. I wonder if they will ever have us over again? Maybe I should send them some Windex to take of the Kid's smeared fingerprints on their windows. Bet they stocked up on birth control as well.
Sunday: It was hot. So very hot. The Husband brought out the air conditioning unit because I believe I said something like "If it doesn't cool down in here, I will cut you with a butter knife". Once we got it working, the rage subsided. Austria isn't big on air conditioning. A lot of people believe that it makes people sick. They are wrong. No air conditioning makes me homicidal. Look, I don't need Denny's freeze-your-tuckus-off but a nice temperature of about 24 Celsius would be a good thing. Over the last few days I have found myself in the frozen food aisle, rubbing frozen bags of spinach over my body. That's about as close to healthy eating I have achieved this past week. And, because Vienna continues to convince me that it is a village, as I looked out my window Sunday evening, I saw an ex-colleague and his wife and his baby and his dog walk by. So being the classy fishwife that I am, I opened the window and bellowed out his name. This city, it is small.
Start up this mother lovah.
Monday: Back at work and thanking Jeebus for the air conditioning. Guys, it's a human right. It totally is. Let's not try and fight the CFCs. Embrace them. Make them yours. After work, I ran to the grocery for provisions, visited our friends' cat who I am cat sitting while they are away and then ran home and made dinner for my dear friend and three of her sisters who have flown over. It was a really nice night and the Kid was overjoyed to be the center of attention. And he of course humped things to convey to our guests that he was totally at ease with their presence. I literally need to buy him a privacy screen. Three year old boys. Why?!?! Gah! As a sidenote, I kind of got a little bit of a confirmation that the Kid most likely isn't autistic. Now, I know he has some delays, and I think the ergotherapy has been incredible and we will have a long road ahead of us, but I feel somewhat validated to have heard what I heard, Sam I am. I have been fighting the autism diagnosis since day 1 and I have been told I am in denial. This has irked me and enraged me because I am multi-faceted like that. Sometimes, Mama knows best. Oh, I'm sorry. Always Mama knows best. ALWAYS!

Oh, and because the last week has been a whirlwind, I forgot to mention that the Kid had his very last day at the daycare on Monday. Let me take a quick minute here and suggest that you never send your kids to Arche Noah Kindergarten in the 10th district of Vienna unless your toddler is spectacularly behaved at all times, lacks any type of opinion, able to remove their shoes at the age of one and a half, eats every meal containing vegetables, sits still for 30 minutes and falls asleep at the drop of a hat. Oh, and if your child is strong willed, you should probably expect a note at some point detailing what is wrong with your child and diagnosing your child with Aspergers written by a psychology student who you did not know was a) just a student and b) analysing your child without your consent. Oh oh! and be prepared to be told because you are a working mother, your child behaves badly. Oh and oh! Also expect your nanny to be told that in their opinion, one of the parents (THE MOTHER, ALWAYS THE MOTHER!) should quit their job to take care of the difficult child. Or, and this one is good, ask your nanny if she can just work full time for you because they are unable to care for such a difficult child. Because, you know, you work and therefore can afford to spend over 1600 euros on child care. And and, as school coordinator, one should totally talk about your kid in front of her children at home because it makes it super awesome to see little girls whisper and giggle about your special needs child as you walk in in the morning. And of course, be prepared for them to tell you something terrible about your child and when you tear up and leave for the day, they will call your husband and say that you misunderstood them because of the language. Except they spoke to you in English. Deep breaths. So onward and upwards. Good bye daycare.

Tuesday: Another workday. Nothing much to report. Headed home in the humid drizzle, fed the cat, played with the cat. Forgot to take allergy medicine and wheezed for an hour. Got home, played with the Kid, ex-colleague came for drinks, we caught up, the Husband came home and took over, we headed out to meet some friends for dinner. We had a lovely time at Flatschers in the 7th. It's a burger joint and it was packed. And it was hot. So hot. Seriously guys, air conditioning. Not a bad thing. Besides the great burgers (no, seriously good) and the Hugos and the not great dessert (bad dessert, just bad) and the good company, we were also treated to a little gold digging action at the table beside us. I LIVE FOR THESE MOMENTS! When friend and I arrived, we noticed a guy in a suit (we guess he's in finance) with a rose wrapped in paper sitting at a table for two. He seemed a little twitchy. I was distracted at one point but my friend said that she heard him say on the phone "Well, being late is pretty rude for a first date." Of course, a few minutes later, a young blonde woman showed up and he passed her the rose. Now I was intrigued. So I called a table huddle and caught everyone up on what was going down next door. So this is what we got:
-He's Austrian but spoke English to her so ergo she is not Austrian.
-I would guess him to be in his 40s, she in her 20s.
-She wore a cute dress and carried a Mulberry bag so this ain't her first rodeo.
-He paid for dinner.
-He touched her tuckus as they were leaving. Like a lot.
-Gagging noises were heard from our table. Subtle, we are not.
-We assume they went home together after the words "Altbau" were whispered.
You complete me
Now I need to take a shower. We are detectives extraordinaire. Or just obnoxious. Obnoxiously AWESOME!
Oh my God Becky, he totally just touched her butt
Anyway, sorry for the long post that covered birth control, air conditioning, daycare naming and shaming and gold digging. I was on a roll early this morning! Happy Wednesday!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Lazy Weekend

It was a weekend of grump for me. It was nice, it was chill, we had no plans and ergo I was fidgety and unable to relax. It was the first weekend in a long time that we haven't had real plans regarding hosting, brunching, parties or projects. I have realized, after a few sessions of therapy, that I need to be busy lest I get stuck in my head and confront any chapter of misery lurking down below. This, I am assured, is normal. Wonderful. But when I wasn't busy kvetching over the weekend, there were definitely some highlights. The Kid, as usual, was a blast. He makes me laugh and he makes me cry because deep down inside is a person ready to say "Hey world, I AM FABULOUS!" He has such a sense of humour which is not lost on me. When he finally begins to talk in an understandable language, I just know that I am screwed. And screwed in a good way. Last night, as I believe, he was trying to go to the toilet in my closet (a) he is a cat and (b) he is still in diapers, we had a conversation as follows:

Me: Raphael, do I have to change your didi (diaper)?
Him: NEIN!
Me: Raphael, do you have to go to the potty?
Him: NEIN!
Me: Raphael, do you want to read a story?
Him: NEIN!
Me: Raphael, would you like some chocolate?
Him: (pause)... Biiitttteeee.

Ha. Smart kid. We also had a nice Saturday afternoon at the Rathaus. Every summer, the city of Vienna puts on a "film festival" in front of city hall. The Rathaus is a gorgeous neo-Gothic building on the Ringstrasse. In the evenings they play musical numbers on a big screen and there are food stands on either side of the square. Since we have a toddler, we have to stay on the grassy bit on the side so that he can run, run free and not piss other people off. If you haven't gone yet, do so. Order a berry bowle and get drunk off fruit. Yes.
Maybe one day we can join the other adults and finally sit on chairs

Since I was at the beer stand for my favourite cherry beer, I also decided to pick up the world's largest cheese pretzel. CHECK IT OUT. It's an arty farty picture. I have titled it below.
Through the looking cheese
After our little outing, we headed home, ordered pizza and watched some tv. I put both gentlemen to bed and then relished my no-talky time. I relished it by doing something stupid. Stay tuned for that post.

Sunday was as the Austrian's call wechselhaft - loosely translated to mean schizophrenic weather with a chance of multiple personality disorder. The Husband and the Kid headed out in the morning so that I could clean the floors and do laundry.
No dryer, no problem. I'm brilliant!
In the afternoon a friend came by to pick up a tunic dress I sewed for her. She is right now en route to Spain to partake in the famous pilgrimage. She be nuts but I admire her chutzpah! And I wish her all the best! I won't lie, I'm kind of happy it is Monday. I need to get out of this rut and back to Bikram. Woe is me is definitely not my style so onwards and upwards! Happy Monday!

Friday, 11 July 2014


Woot! Friday! It felt like an oddly long week that went by quickly if that makes any sense. If we are friends of Facebook you probably saw once again a rant about the daycare. If not, here is the quick summary: picked the Kid up at lunchtime, was told by two ladies there that he was an absolute terror and nightmare, I cried and got angry and ranted about it to my awesome friends. I'm calmer this morning after wine last night. At least I know that today the Kid will be at the Mother in law's having a blast. Every day he is not at the daycare is a good day. (Update: due to the rain, the Mother in law is at our place. Still a good day)

Last night the Husband and I had a chill night. We ordered pizza and watched Melrose Place and for the first time in a week, the Kid only got out of his bed twice. This past week has been a test of patience with him at bed time. He loves to go to bed but then after a few minutes, he wanders into the living room silently, shuts the door behind him and sits on the sofa. Kind of looking like this.
They can't possibly notice I am here.
This has ended up becoming an exhausting game of bringing him back to bed over and over and over and over again. Last night I decided to give him some glow sticks and it finally worked. If you have an amazing memory, you will remember that quite a few months ago he actually bit open a glowstick but I figure he has matured... (I did go into his room a few times to make sure it didn't look a rave had exploded in his bed. It didn't. We are all good)

After we watched Melrose Place (Billy just got a job offer in New York. Oh no! What will Allison say?!? Could this be the end of the wonderful and amazing couple known as Billison? Stay tuned.) I switched the channel. Transformers III was on and I don't know why, but we started watching it. Neither of us are into these types of films but we were sucked in:

The Husband: Good robot or bad one?
Me: Good robot... I think.
The Husband: Who is driving the Impala?
Me: I think that's a Transformer.
The Husband: That is? That doesn't make sense. And come on! That building would have been destroyed already! And that, that parachuting? Not realistic at all.
Me: Are we going for realism? Really?
The Husband: This movie is so stupid! It is not realistic at all. God! It is so stupid!

Ten minutes later

The Husband: The Transformer cartoon was so much better! They looked friendlier.
The Husband: No, can't be. It was the 80's. NO! There is no way you can shoot glass and break it at that angle. This is so stupid! (Lies down on sofa with fingers in gun position to demonstrate the unrealistic nature of this film) The angle is way off!

Ten minutes later

The Husband: Good robot or bad one? He looks scary.
The Husband: No. No way can that Transformer take on that huge worm thing. No way. This is so stupid.
The Husband: This is the dumbest film I have ever seen.

Ten minutes later

The Husband: Hmmm. Optimus Prime. Not bad.
Me: She really should take off her heels. They look practical but after all that running she is going to be in pain. But then at the same time, there is a lot of broken glass.

Ten minutes later

Credits roll.
So unrealistic!
Honey, it's a film about robots with feelings.

So that was our Thursday night. We are wild. I am very much looking forward to a quiet weekend. The last two weekends have been party-riffic and I just need a little down time with ma famille. I hope to get a walk in on Saturday morning and a Bikram session in on Sunday but honestly, other than that, I just want to wear stretchy pants and pick things up with my toes. Happy weekend!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Food Inspired by Films - Under the Tuscan Sun

Good morning everybody! Well, I did it, I did my first Food Inspired by Films dinner. And it was fabulous. Bellissimo! Bella! Che meraviglia! I chose Under the Tuscan Sun because it is one of my favourite films. And the book is fantastic! The book and film are however, nothing alike and yet they are both special to me. Just like my sports bra and push up bra. Totally different, but both very very special.

When I first watched the film it was just when I had moved to Vienna in 2004. I was thrilled to be back in Europe and this film cemented my decision to stay. I wanted a vineyard, and a three hundred year old house called Bramasole and I wanted to cook fabulous dinners and drink amazing wine! Well, for 10 years we lived in a 1970's apartment with brown carpeting. And it definitely did not have an official name... But now, 2014, we live in a 110 year old apartment, overlooking a park and I get to cook fabulous dinners and drink amazing wine. Three'ísh out of four ain't bad. I loved this film for its landscapes and music. I have always been in love with Italy - the architecture and the food and the people and the fashion. It is a type of philosophy that affects each aspect of life. Seeing Italian families sit around a table is not just about the meal but rather about life. I think we are in such a hurry that we forget to sit down and just enjoy. Yesterday I stumbled across this quote and it kind of sums it up for me: A tavola non si invecchia - You don't age while seated at a meal. Yes! The original Botox- family dinners!

I have been to Italy a few times; Bari, Venice, San Gmigignano (my fave), Siena, Florence and some small towns in Tuscany. My first Tuscan experience was with my parents. We rented out an apartment in a villa in the vineyards. It was like out of a film and I was smitten. It probably helped that there was a a young rider practicing bareback for the upcoming Palio di Siena. He would show up in the afternoons and I would wear my prettiest summer dress and sit on the sing and believed I looked pretty. Oh, look, there I am.
Call me, maybe?
My other Tuscan experience was just as magical but without the bareback rider. The Husband and I, just a few years ago, rented a little house in Tuscany and I kid you not, my cooking improved. At night we would sit outside with a bottle of Chianti, eat pasta and just enjoy the stillness. It was bliss. Every town I have visited in Italy has been magical and I hope that soon we can take another trip there. Mi manchi, Italia!

So anyway, back to the dinner. After work I headed to the market and picked up fresh ingredients. As I mentioned yesterday, my menu was tortellini with a sage and butter sauce, bruschetta with buffalo mozzarella and salad with a vinaigrette. I took a couple of pictures because, meh, pretty.

The ingredients:

The table (gotta have a sunflower):

The process:

The bruschetta:

The food was amahzing. When the Husband got home, I spoke a couple of romantice lines in Italian that I had found on ye olde Google. He responded with "How much wine have you had already?" to which I responded "I AM JUST TRYING TO BRING A LITTLE ROMANCE INTO OUR LIVES! Oh and by the way, the Kid's diarrhea has gotten better and can you open that second bottle?... WHAT?!"

We spent a good 45 minutes eating and talking... Well, trying to eat and talk while the Kid lay on the kitchen floor and bitched that we weren't playing with him. "ZIEH! ZIEH! MOMMY! ZIEH! MOMMY! ZIEH!".
There truly is something cathartic about cooking an Italian meal. I guess in my mind I kind of look like this - Gorgeous and bearing food.

In real life, I'm more a little like this.

I have to say that I truly enjoyed the experience and I can't wait for next week. Sure, the Kid just ate plain bread and biscuits but it didn't matter... It just meant more pasta for me. So as they say in Italy, buono giornata!