Sunday, 19 February 2017

Tova's Viennese ABCs

It is no secret that I love this city. It is the longest that I have lived anywhere in the world and I could not imagine leaving it unless they decide to deport my ass. Of course there are days when I am frustrated. Actually, yesterday when I got home from the Billa on our street, I dropped my groceries on the ground and yelled "DID EVERY OCTOGENARIAN DECIDE TO SHOP AT OUR BILL AT 1:30 TODAY?!?! COME ON!" Literally 15 permed fur clad women descended on the Billa and all wanted to pay with a coupon and in pennies and one forgot her wallet oh wait no she didn't because she remembers talking to her grandson and putting it in her purse and can the cashier please count the 1 million coins she is holding. Thank you. I ranted a little at home and then I felt terrible...And then I murmured "I am not being ageist because I know I will be doing the same thing when I am that age. And just to piss off people, I will try and pay in Monopoly money." So to all you octogenarians at Billa yesterday, I apologize if you felt my rays of rage as I stood behind you in line and tried not to lose my shit.

Anyway, besides the rare annoyance, I have become so used to Vienna and its quirks that I am always surprised when I talk to people who have just moved here and listen to their grievances about service and efficiency. This is also why when I visit North America, I assume Bill the friendly server from Denny's is thinking of using my skull as a hat. Too friendly, too intimate. Just want my eggs over easy, Bill. So, today's post is a bit of a love alphabet about the city I love. This won't be the last alphabet because there are many many many words for the letter K. Enjoy!

A- Is for Almdudler, the cilantro of soft drinks

B- Is for Bim, the nonsensical abbreviation of Strassen Bahn
C- Is for Cafe Hawelka, one of my favourite places in the city to get my stalking on

D- Is for Debutantes, the young women who open the gazillion balls in Vienna
E- Is for Egoist, a surprisingly good song by Falco
F- Is for Falco because yeessss...

G- Is for Gemutlich, the Austrian word for cozy
H- Is for Hundertwasser, the architect that can't build straight floors

I- Is for ice cream shops, the hundreds of which will open in April
J- Is for Jew, this one loves this town
K- Is for Kaiser because Franz Josef was kind of kick ass as far as oppressive monarchs go

L-  Is for the Meidlinger L, which brings us back to Falco
M- Is for Mozart because no shit

N- Is for Neubaugasse that smells like Patchouli and expensive felt clothes
O- Is for Opera, because it is the city of... (by the way, where is my Opernball invite?!?)
P- Is for pfiff... the sound you make when you order a too small beer

Q- Is for Quelle, the source of so much awesome water here
R- Is for Ringstrasse beause it is gorgeous
S- Is for Stammtisch because only in Austria is your alcoholism rewarded with a reserved table
T- Is for Titte, the Husband's suggestion because he is a perv

U- Is for Ubahn because the public transportation kicks ass here
V- Is for Vienna because I can't imagine living anywhere else
W- Is for Wien because see V above

X- Is for X-rated, like many of the places along the Gürtel
Y- Is for Yachthäfen on the sea which now belong to Croatia (boom! I'm sorry)
Z- Is for Zither, the instrument played throughout the film The Third Man

So there you have it! Stay tuned for more lists because they are fun. Totes not going to ask the Husband again for a word. First word out of his mouth for the letter "T" was incredibly inappropriate so of course I added it. In a little while I am heading to a friend's for pancakes and I cannot wait! The Kid was up at 6:30 and we snuggled and watched cartoons and I need more coffee. The good news is, is that I am starting to feel a little more human and little less Angel of Death in a bathrobe. If you read yesterday's post, you would know that last night Office Twin came by for dinner. The whole plan was to freak him out with the Downton Abbey decor. He totally trolled me instead: a) he didn't even notice my tiara and b) he went "Aww, look at the effort you made for me" when he saw the set table. No! NO! I told him I was going to hire a server for dinner and he was like, "I would have asked him if he knew about his union rights." Of course. It was a nice dinner and the Kid adored Office Twin: traitor.

I passed out at 9:30 because exhausted. I am hoping that by Wednesday I am back to my energetic self because Mommy's going to Salzburg for one night! Woot! I cannot wait. If you are in Salzburg, let me know. You will probably hear me and my friend laughing and getting lost in the old town before you see us. Tomorrow night a friend is in town and we are going to meet up for dinner and then drinks at, where else, der Fuchs und die Trauben. Tuesday will be a chill day and then on Wednesday morning I will be boarding a train; so very poor man's Anna Karenina. I wish you all a fabulous Sunday and don't forget to check out the guest blog from earlier this morning! Toodles!

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Guest Blogger: Cornelia Miedler, Author of "LAlien - From the Austrian Alps to the Hollywood Hills"

Happy Sunday everybody! As I mentioned last week, I am on the search for guest bloggers! There was a lot of interest which is fantastic! Every week I want to feature a different person living in Vienna. This is the very first guest post of Operation Tubetop and the guest blogger is Cornelia Miedler; author of "LAlien - From the Austrian Alps to the Hollywood Hills". Please check out her post which includes an excerpt from her book and enjoy!

‚LAlien-From the Austrian Alps to the Hollywood Hills’

When I tell Europeans that I lived in Los Angeles for ten years, I often get asked if it’s really like seen on TV.Baywatch, Beverly Hills 90210 and other shows have shaped the opinions of what it’s like to live in sunny Southern California. Great bodies, Prozac-happy people and shallow conversations? Sure, but also an international community, a lust for life that is not found anywhere else, and a the beautiful Pacific ocean with it’s incomparable sunsets.

In my book, I talk about my experiences as a new Angelina who moved from a farm in the Austrian Alps to the City of Angels. I share my experiences of attending university, joining the workforce, meeting celebrities and the California lifestyle. I also share some very personal stories of my marriage, my divorce, losing a loved one and dealing with health issues.

Here is a short excerpt:

A Green Card was the most coveted document by immigrants. It allowed me to stay and work in the U.S. It also provided me with a Social Security Number. This number was the most important identification needed in America. It basically proved your existence and was needed for everything – from making a dentist appointment to opening a bank account. The Green Card also permitted me to leave the country and come back without a problem. In order to be able to apply for a Green Card, I was required to take some medical tests and take those medical records to the interview. I had to go to a government-approved immigration doctor. I chose the doctor from a list I was given by the lawyer. It made sense to pick the one closest to my home and that I could reach by public transportation.

I took the Big Blue Bus down Lincoln Boulevard and walked up to an unassuming building. To me, every building on the street looked the same: a shoebox with a door and windows. I opened the door to the doctor’s office and a gust of wind entered the waiting room with me. The breeze stirred up some dust in the corner and a dust ball the size of a grapefruit rolled from one side of the room to the other like a tumbleweed in a Western town during a standoff between cowboys. I was disgusted. On the right side of the waiting room, there was a couch on which a toddler was jumping and leaving white footprints on the black leather. The father of the boy had his face buried in a magazine. I was shaking and crossing my fingers that I was not going to catch a disease here. I didn’t have to wait long before I was called. The doctor explained to me that I was going to get several vaccinations and that she was going to draw some blood for an HIV test. I followed her every move. If she was going to put the syringe down on the germ-infested cabinet with the needle exposed, I was planning on storming out! This office was so filthy. She gave me the vaccinations first and then drew the blood. I looked the other way. Watching blood come out of my arm was not something I wanted to see. For days after, I watched the spot where the needle had entered my arm to look for signs of an infection or a sepsis.

About two weeks later, I got the call that the results of my HIV test and the papers stating that I received all the necessary vaccinations were ready for pick-up. I went again to the doctor’s office from germ-hell and paid the fee of several hundred dollars. As the receptionist handed me the envelope with the test results, she informed me that I was not allowed to open the envelope. I had to hand it to the immigration officer unopened on the day of my interview. Then she gave me a serious look and said, “If you know that you have HIV, you may want to tell your husband before the interview.” I looked at her in horror. “I’ve heard of some surprises for some partners at those interviews with a lot of tears.” Dazed and confused, I thanked her for her advice and left the office.

LAlien is available on Amazon as paperback, hardcover and eBook:

Friday, 17 February 2017

Rainy Saturday

Hello rain. Thank you for making this Saturday dark and gloomy while I battle this cold. I'm feeling better than yesterday but I am still feeling sick and delicate. My white bathrobe has been my shield against having to move too much. I slept off and on yesterday which is a clear indication that I am no bueno. Plans for today include some light cleaning, some grocery shopping and making our living room look like the royal wedding. Office Twin is coming for dinner and as I mentioned yesterday, he isn't big on the aristocracy so it is my time to shine. Trolling.

This weekend will be a crafty weekend. I'll be making more hibiscus paper flowers for the Tiki themed baby shower that I am hosting in March. I will also stop at the amazing art supply store I stumbled upon the other week. I ordered a ton of leis from Amazon and brace yourself for all the jokes I will be making "Sure glad I got leid. Hardy har har." Dad jokes. I sent another query to a literary agent and that means I need to try and get a chapter or two of my book in this weekend. I set a deadline to finish my book by the end of March. That's ambitious but you know I love a challenge. The Kid is in a fabulous mood this morning, walking around wrapped in a blanket which is his standard M.O., which he inherited from me. I have two looks, dressed up or homeless. The minute I get home, I whip off the bra and put on the rattiest t-shirt and sweat pants I can find. I am a goddess.

In other news, it has been 3 weeks since I have had booze. I know. It's a miracle. Alcohol-free beer has become my social savior and when I was at the therapy networking night at the Beaver Brewing Company the other night, I asked the server if they had alcohol-free beer and she paused for a second. She looked at me and said "We have Null Komma Josef?" and she looked sad. And I sighed and looked down at my lap and sadly said "I'll take it." and she looked at me long and hard and said "Are you sure?" And I stifled a sob and nodded yes. I have never seen such sadness in a server's eyes before and I get judged a lot. When I ordered the second beer I just said "Another round of crap beer please!" and she smiled... slightly. So yes, I am amazing, I have the strength of 1,000 sober tractors. And while I make it sound like some life altering quest, this 30 day challenge hasn't been that bad. The best part is that I now know that I am still incredibly inappropriate and irreverent and difficult while sober! Who knew?! I also learned that some friends are on a 30 day no hang out with Tova challenge until she starts drinking again. Hey now!

I am trying to think of a funny story to end this blog post with. There are a few but probably the most recent was my newest mispronunciation. At work, there is a job called Precis Writing for conferences. Well, dumbass Tova has been thinking this is Pursy Writing. What was that supposed to mean? No clue. But the best part was when I corrected a friend. "There's a Precis writing test coming up." my friend said to me as we walked to lunch. I stopped her in the middle of the hallway, and smirked. "Ummm. Pursy writing." and she looked confused and said "Precis." and I laughed condescendingly and said "Pursy." and then there was a moment of silence and she exploded into laughter "YOU ARE SO DUMB! What the Hell is Pursy?!?" and there you have it. I am le dumbass. She also made me write about this because she is vengeful. And this is getting added to our long-running Wall of Shame which hangs in my office. Ugh. The shame.

So there you have it. I am not perfect. Close, but really not. It's time for me to polish the silver, dig out my tiara and download some Chopin. I totally wish I had more time to plan this dinner of trolling because I totally would have hunted down a violinist and asked someone to play butler and server...just to see Office Twin's face. And maybe if I spent half the time I do on trolling, I could learn important words like "Precis". Meh, this is more fun. Have a fabulous Saturday! Toodles!

My Little Boy is 6 and Some Big News I Can't Share Yet

My little boy is 6 today. It is hard to imagine where all the time went. I am incredibly proud of him and of how far he has come. The Kindergarten asked for some old pictures for his birthday celebration: looking through them was a combination of joy and heart break. For those of you who don't know, he has regressive autism. He reached all of the milestones and was speaking until he was about three, and then lost it all over the course of a few months. It was the darkest time of my life and the Husband and I struggled through it. People deal with grief in different ways. I dealt with it by throwing myself into work. For the past 18 months, I have been building a platform, asking for favours, staying up late and getting up early and have been working towards creating an autism center that will support families and people with autism. I work a full time job, narrowly avoid alcoholism and of course try and have fun. I dedicate many many hours to creating something that will benefit not only the Kid but many other people. I did not go into this for money, I did not go into this for praise (I find praise through other ways), I went into this to make a change. And the Kid is my inspiration for all of this.

I am not a specialist but I am a mother. And I am a mother to the most incredible little boy. He has worked so hard through therapy and has a smile on his face every day. There are times that we all struggle but the future is looking brighter. He is a kind boy and he is hilarious and goofy. And I know that so much will change over the years but the one thing that will not change is my fierce protectiveness and love for him. He has taught me to let things go and to try and control less. Everyday I am faced with challenges and I need to take a page from his book and just giggle. There are people out there who wish me ill and while that is saddening, there is nothing I can do about that but just mimic the Kid and say "A bing a bing." The best thing in the world to be is to be kind. And I will continue to live by that mantra. But I am allowed to snark and bitch once in a while because I am no Saint. So, my darling Raphael, I wish you the absolutely best best best birthday in the world! I love you more than you will ever know, you are my little shadow. And now tears.

This morning the Husband and I lit a couple of birthday candles and shoved them into a chocolate krapfen. The Kid of course somehow magically teletransported himself into our bed sometime during the night and thought he could sleep in. Au contraire, mon frere. No sleeping in on a school day. We sang Happy Birthday about 5 times until he groaned and look up, squinting at the apparent flamethrower his mother was holding. We blew out the candles and I let him get chocolate allover our bed. Of course, since it is the Kid's birthday and not mine, I had to make it all about me. I have finally succumbed to the manflu. I have been fighting it all week and finally yesterday, I could fight it no mo. I am sick and I am unhappy and I have a million things to do and as I write this, I am in bed, surrounded by narcotics and fashioning an aura of self-pity. So regal. So sexy. So where is my nose spray?

We sent the Kid to kindergarten today because they always do a great job of celebrating it. This will be his last birthday at the kindergarten and that makes me very very sad. Tonight we will set some more of  his favourite food on fire and celebrate it one more time. And then tomorrow he will wake up and will wonder why his fruit bar isn't causing him third degree burns. I used to do big birthday parties for him but I realized they just stressed him out and while most things are about making me happy, I had to accept this fact. So again, my darling Raphael, a very happy happy birthday!!!

In other news, Office Twin is coming over for dinner tomorrow. He hasn't been at work for a couple of months and I am missing trolling him. He will hopefully be back at work in a few weeks and all will be right in the world. Since he is a bit of a Marxist, I have decided to bring out the fancy gold cutlery. I told a friend at work and she was like "You totally have to wear a ball dress! Or wait, your wedding dress!!" and we cackled. Yes, this plan is coming together. I will OD on some Tylenol Severe Cold and then make the dinner table look like an episode of Downton Abbey. Muahahahaha! Twitch, Trotsky, twitch. Man, I have missed Office Twin. Otherwise this weekend is about recovering and getting my rest. And since I am heading to Salzburg on my own on Wednesday, I totally have to feel better. Can't wait!

So the big news that I can't share yet is unbelievably big! No, no I am not pregnant. No, I am keeping this nose for a little longer. No, I did not just listen to a Taylor Swift album (I totally did). No, this is bigger than all that! I want to share the news, but I cannot, but it is safe to say that this is a huge boon and boost for the Beacon Beach House. It is more than I ever expected happening and I am so absolutely blown away by it all. And I am dying to announce it but I have to wait for everything to be made official. But it is huge! When I had my meeting yesterday afternoon, I started crying and I apologized. I have been dealt some shitty hands recently but this made it all better. And I promise to shout it from the roof tops once I can! It gives me faith that there is goodness in this world and that most people are awesome. And speaking of the Beacon Beach House, here's part deux of Tova vs. The Bank! As I wrote on Wednesday, the Verein bank account has been waiting for my signature since the 1st of February. I did not know this because I was not informed. So yesterday, bringing a friend for back up because I hate all things official paperish stampy (so good I have a degree in business!), we went to the bank and the woman said "Oh, yes, the account is set up. But I can't find the paper work!" If I had a visible vein on my forehead, this is when it would start to throb. The teller went looking for the paper work and then asked me and my friend to take a seat. Another woman showed up and directed us to an office in the back. She took out the forms and asked me for my passport. I did not have my passport and the invisible vein started to throb more. She then told me that my board member who is the kassiererin also should be present with her passport. It took all of my self control to not lose my shit.

I cleared my throat and slowly said "My Kassiererin is currently vacationing in Thailand." GAHHH!!! I was so angry! This could have been sorted over 2 weeks ago and now I have to wait longer. Deep breaths. Deep breaths. But, the good news is is that it is set up and I just have to wait a little bit longer but if you know me, you will know that patience is definitely not my strength and I am raring to go! In the interim, I will focus on other things that are being planned for the Beacon Beach House and will do my best to not turn into Robert De Niro in Cape Fear.

And quickly before I fall into a narcotic-induced sleep, I wanted to mention that the monthly therapy networking evenings that I started almost a year ago, have been growing steadily and that makes me so happy. We had a wonderful turn out with amazing people last night. The networking evenings are open to any professional involved in autism and I am happy to note all the new the e-mails and messages that I am receiving from interested parties. We are building a strong community for autism in Vienna and this is awesome and what the vision has been for so long. I currently attend them as host but since I am not a therapist or a specialist, my time to exit is earlier than the others. I will posting the date for the next one soon and looking forward to it! So that is it for now. And I promise to share the news ASAP! I wish you a fabulous weekend and thank you again for all of your support over the years. A very happy birthday to my darling son, once more! Toodles!

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Day After Valentine's Day and Losing my Shit Slightly

Boy! That post title sounds ominous! I hope you all had a great day yesterday! Whether you ate pizza, or watched Netflix or enjoyed a 5 course meal or drowned in a bouquet of roses or cut the head off of your ex in pictures, or made a Voodoo doll or whatever, I hope it was a good one. Since I am still on that 30 days of no drinking, Valentine's day was less 50 Shades of Grey and more 50 Shades of Earl Grey Tea. I jest. My parents read this blog so no more details. But it was a nice night and I got flowers and we ordered take out. The end.

As I wrote on Monday, I am now looking for guest bloggers... and the good news is, is that I have about 9 people lined up for the blog and that is very very exciting. I have to say that it is important as a blogger to try and get more people featured. I know that many things have helped bring me readership: a guest post on a popular blog about 3 years ago, a mention in the New York Post (thank you, you know who you are) and of course, most recently, the XOJane article I wrote. So I think it is only fair that I pay it forward (I'm acting like this is a global blog. But fake it until you make it, right?). Cough. Anyway, I can't wait to start featuring different people on this blog! It's going to be great!

And I had a lot of other things to write about today but another story has eclipse them all. How fun! Let's talk about the Beacon Beach House bank account (the bane of my existence)! Yay (sarcasm)! Back in December, I started the process to open an account. Of course there was the Christmas break so there was a delay and every time I would send paper work, more requests for more paper work would come in. On January 26th I sent the final paper work in and heard nothing. I assumed that it would take a couple of days for the process (and I figured in the semester holidays because every Austrian goes skiing for a week) but I finally had had enough of waiting and finally wrote them. Their response was that they had no idea what I was talking about and if I could provide them with the name of the Verein.... These situations are exactly the times when I feel like I am going to have an aneurysm and/or lose my ever loving shit. See, this type of stuff drives me batty and I am doing this alone and in a foreign country. As much as I love living here and feel like this is my home, it is crap like this that makes me feel like a complete auslaender (foreigner). There are days where I am just feeling incredibly overwhelmed and lost and frustrated and this afternoon was definitely one of those days. People have offered help for certain things but then I hear nothing back and even when I follow up, there is no response. I understand it because I am not a priority, but it is still frustrating. I am pretty much a rogue mom right now, trying to build up something that I know can benefit so many people (me included, always about me) in this city but ego or apathy or a combination of both seem to be creating huge hurdles. I am blind woman walking here and feeling incredibly alone sometimes. And dramatic. Always dramatic.

I don't often blow my lid but when a lot of little things add up, then KABOOM! And by kaboom, I mean I just bitch with my friends and/or co-workers and then imagine what I would be like if I was in Canada and fluent in the language. My friend remarked at the end of the day "Oh, I like pissed off Tova. She's fun." Gah! I feel like this is the straw that broke my back a little today. And the best part of all of this is, is that I then received an e-mail that the account has been ready for signing in the branch at work since February 1st and OH MY GOD HOW WOULD I KNOW THAT?!? AM I TELEPATHIC? A little... but NO! HOW?!?! GAH! KICKING THINGS RIGHT NOW! GAH! GODZILLA! RAWR!

Deep breaths. Deeeep.... I think the hardest thing here is knowing the etiquette. Do I push too much? Do people think I am using them? Which, by the way, is something I am terrified of. I value my friendships and would never ever ever want to come across as someone who is a user. A user of wine? Sure. A user of people? Never. I love to connect people and to help network and I won't change. But I have to stop expecting it from others. I have an Austrian husband and he has helped with some things a long the way but I know that he doesn't have too much faith that things will ever change here and I think he has a hard time imagining that the woman he lives with, who picks up things with her feet because she is too lazy to bend over or says things like "I bet if I worked really hard, I could become a golf pro in a couple of years. I need to buy some golf clubs, though." is completely capable of doing this. Of course he is supportive (I cry often "Why aren't you supportive?!?" just so he says "I am supportive!!!" I'm not proud.) but he is also worried about me... which is his right. He also didn't grow up here so he is only semi-Austrian. At the Science Ball, someone said to me "I like what you are doing. You are open about your struggles and failures. It's very un-Austrian and that is why you probably are struggling to get support." and I responded with "Failures? What failures?!?" I appreciated her honesty but I walked away with a bit of pit in my stomach. Am I doing this all wrong? Am I causing damage to the cause? Sometimes I think I might be crossing invisible lines that I am not aware of. And I wish I had more insight and guidance. But at the same time, this is maybe why things are not great here when it comes to autism support. The other centers are overwhelmed. Families are falling apart. It's time to be loud and it is time to be proactive. I can't wait around forever (looking at you, bank account) and so I am being loud and I am being transparent. I am just getting a teeny bit tired of all these hurdles and I am totally going to have a good cry tonight because I am not drinking and GAH! GODZILLA MAD! GODZILLA VERY VERY MAD!

Ok, coming down. The Husband is out tonight. The Kid is ready for bed soon (we just took a little walk around the neighbourhood because it is practically balmy out), and then I am going to watch mindless TV and make crafts for the Tiki Baby Shower I am hosting in March. I also need to get some yoga in and why are there not more hours in the day?! I apologize for this ranty post; and I do have to mention that my friends and family have been absolutely incredible these past few years. This rant is not directed to any of the awesome people in my life. Just putting it out there. The good news regarding my mini meltdown is that I probably burned more calories than usual. The bad news is that I probably aged a year or two this afternoon. My friend said "Well, look on the bright side. The account is set up!" and she is right. Tomorrow I will go in and sign the paperwork and then I can finally set up the Gofundme account and then all will be well in the world until the next small hiccup which will lead me to more chest thumping. I never said I wasn't dramatic... I wish you all a fabulous night! And thanks for reading. I promise that I will be sharing awesome news when awesome stuff happens. It better happen or Godzilla will be coming out again and that's terrible for the pores. Toodles.

Monday, 13 February 2017

A New Week and Guest Bloggers

Hello Monday! I am happy to report that I think I kicked this cold's butt... nipped it in the bud... sweat it out. I am fine! Or let's see if I pass out midday. Anything could happen. But I am feeling a lot better than yesterday. My birthday weekend is over and now it is back to real life. There are a lot of little things to do this week and luckily it isn't supposed to be too busy at work. Fingers crossed. Tonight a friend is taking me out for a birthday dinner to Cantinetta La Norma. One of my favourite places. On Thursday I have a meeting at an organization which will be about the Beacon Beach House and I have no idea what to expect so I am equal parts terrified and excited. After the meeting I am hosting a therapy networking even at the Beaver Brewing Company and I am looking forward to that. On Friday is the Kid's birthday: hard to believe that he is turning 6 years old. Where did the time go?

Otherwise, this week involves more writing, more e-mails and of course following up with the bank about the Verein account. I will not be ignored, Dan. Heh. Yesterday I sent another query to a literary agent. I am ready for rejection but I remain hopeful. Again, I will not be ignored, Dan.

In other news, I am heading to Salzburg for one night next week. My friend K is coming to town on Monday and then visiting her husband who is performing in Salzburg. I will drop by for a day and a night on Wednesday to hang and I cannot wait. I booked the hotel last week and this was very difficult for me. I hemmed and hawed and overthought the whole thing. There was a lovely deal for the Crowne Plaza for 105 euros for the night and I was about to book it when I saw another hotel going for 57 euros and it was in the same area. Ugh. Tough choice! I acted like a mature adult on a budget and went for the cheaper option. This is growth, this is maturity. Please let it be alright. And for those rolling their eyes right now, knock it off! You know me. You know I am a brat. But with age comes wisdom and with spending too much money, comes a budget. Tis the year for growth. And making better decisions. Now I must simply go and by more wedge shoes because I am changing up my footwear look. Don't ask.

And now for something new and exciting! I have been lucky enough to have had a solid readership these past few years (thank you too all of you!). I love nothing more than hearing from people who read this blog...only the compliments, though. I am sensitive. So I want to try and invite people as guest bloggers once a week to Operation Tubetop. It's a great way to spread the love and I think it would add a little more to this blog. While I am fascinating.. so are other people. See? Growth. If you have a small business in Vienna, or you are a blogger, or you are trying to build your brand, send me a message. Every week I will feature someone new. All you have to do is drop me a line and let me know if you would be interested and then I will ask you to write something up for the guest blog post with links to your blog, company and/or Instagram. I want to feature as many cool and awesome people here! So hit me up if you would like to be a guest blogger/feature on Operation Tubetop! I cannot wait! Call me (write me) now!

So that's it for now! I am ready for this new week and for all the excitement that it may or may not bring. But I am happy to have not succumbed to the plague and that I am feeling pretty peppy this morning. It's annoying for other people but whatever. Have a great Monday and catch you on the flipside! Toodles!

Sunday, 12 February 2017

And My Birthday Was....

It was great! The Day of Marr was fantastic! The only downside is that I ended up with a cold. This is what happens when I don't drink. My internal organs are like "The hell is happening? Shut her down! Something's wrong!" So I am currently in a bathrobe and feeling sorry for myself. My birthday was great though but it didn't really start off that great. The Kid flew into our bed around 5 a.m. and what is generally my habit, I reached for my phone and checked my e-mails. There it was, an e-mail from a literary agent that I had written on Wednesday. Now, they had said on their website that it takes usually 6 weeks to respond... well, seeing an e-mail from them just 3 days after must mean just one thing! It's happening! They want to represent me! My book is going to be... oh, well... shit. No. Rejection. I blinked back a couple of tears and rolled over and fell back asleep. I'm used to rejection but it never gets easier. And I am still determined to continue to send off queries because I am nothing if not tenacious (obnoxious).

I got out of bed at 6:30 because I had a yoga date. On Friday night while I was out for dinner, a friend wrote me and said "I am going to hot yoga tomorrow, you?" and I wrote "Yes. Yes I will be there." and it was just the type of peer pressure I needed. I packed my yoga mat and headed out into the cold weather for the 8 a.m. class. My friend showed up shortly after and said "I wasn't going to come but I knew you were coming and I couldn't cancel!" and I said "Me too!!" and I guess that's why all the experts tell you to get a work out buddy. It's not for the company, it's for the guilt. I rolled out my mat and then the class started and it was great to be back. The 90 minutes flew by and I only thought I would pass out once which is a huge improvement. I went to the dressing room, put on my sweater, and as I was heading out, one of the owners stopped me. "What about a yoga class for children with autism?" she asked and while I dripped sweat onto my beat up Uggs, I smiled and excitedly said "Yes! Fantastic! That would be amazing!" It is a great idea and I cannot wait to plan it and get it set up. I have researched yoga for autism and it seems to be a wonderful extracurricular activity and this is just awesome of Yoga Loft to suggest it. So stay tuned for that announcement! I cannot wait!

I walked home in a hot yoga daze and walked up the apartment steps and in the hallway was a large pink sign that read "Happy Bday!" I smiled and walked in and the Husband and Kid were in the living room. The Husband had thrown streamers every where and there was another big pink sign, a Mozart Torte (my fave) and two small wrapped presents that did not look like a Chanel purse. What? I'm a brat! I opened the first present and it was a lovely pair of earrings and matching necklace. The second non-purse shaped present was disco glasses (pink and sparkly). I smiled and thanked the Husband and the Kid and then a couple of minutes later, the Husband came out with my second-hand Chanel purse! YAAAAYYY! It is fantastic and although it is missing the original Chanel scarf (it's one of those scarf purses), I love it! It was a great gift and it was what I wanted and Queen Tova ruled benevolently for the rest of the day.

I took a shower and then dried my hair. The Husband had asked the Nanny to come at midday so that that we could spend some alone time sans Kid together. He suggested a walk in Prater and I suggested Kahlenberg because the Kid still won't take the Ubahn and we hadn't been in years. I don't know what possessed me (oh yes I do) but I decided to do heavy eye make up for the walk (it's that Cat Marnell book I have been reading, that's what possessed me). We took the Ubahn to Heiligenstadt, grabbed the 38A and then we were at the top. It was cold, it was grey and it was windy. And my make up started to run. We decided to take the "Stadtwanderweg 1a" and make out way down the hill. It was on a road for about 10 minutes and then it took us through the vineyards which was idyllic... except for the mud. We followed the signs until we got to a patch of forest. The rest of the path was a slide of ice so we decided to just follow the small road down. We found an abandoned house that we checked out and I was convinced a serial killer was going to jump out any minute and that made my eye make up run even more. We continued down the hill and ended up in the tiny and lovely Kahlenbergerdorf and then walked on to Nussdorf where we caught the tram back into town. We were frozen solid.

We got home just before 4 (I looked like a panda. Thanks, smokey eye!), thanked the Nanny and then I cut the cake. The Kid kept stealing bites and I will thank him when I finally fit back into my jean skirt. I Skyped with my parents and continued to thank everyone for their birthday wishes on Facebook and Instagram. I am absolutely blown away by all the love, you guys! Thank you, again! We ordered pizza and then I took a bath. Unfortunately by 7, I was starting to feel fluish and by 9, I was passed out cold. Thank you, Nyquil. I am not sure if I will be going to work or not tomorrow. Hopefully I will get a decent night's sleep again and be back to my normal energy levels. Otherwise, stay tuned for self-pitying status updates. Have a fantastic Sunday! Toodles!