Thursday, 28 February 2013

Max Raabe.

What a breath of fresh air...

There is one worthwhile reason to doze all night in front of the TV. Every now and again you wake up to a great morsel of entertainment...

I suddenly awoke to hear a Talk Show discussion with amongst them Max Raabe. He was an interesting guest and then, he got up to perform one of his songs. Wow, what a treat. He had a live orchestra accompanying him and when he started to sing...goosebumps !

In today's age of Pop culture with regards to music ( you know this computerized music, catchy yet not quite real ) he kind of stands out. In looks, mannerism and choice of music. He is totally the opposite end of the " with-it " spectrum !

Yet, he is light years ahead of all of us, because he has returned to the joyful, authentic, entertaining and catchy music of the past. His music is almost soothing because it is so gentle and uncomplicated that it resonates with your soul. At least for me.

His own songs are in mostly in German,yet he also performs some cover versions of yesteryear
( in English ). But I think that makes no difference to those who don't understand the language. How often do non-English speakers listen to English tunes, and make them chart toppers ? So, if you understand German, it is a bonus but not necessary.

Do yourself a favour and listen to might like it. I think that he will be that kind of singer, that listening to him instantly elevates you to the " in / hip " crowd !
As a friend of mine would say : " Hey, what an oke. "

Biggi : Max Raabe Heute Nacht Oder Nie: Live in New York

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Some Flooding In Our Part Of Burgenland.

Even snow has its down side.

You have most likely seen my blog entry about snow and its beauty. Well, now its melting and causing a little bit of havoc. Not too much in the scheme of things, but still not so pleasant for the people affected.

This winter really showed its might with cold and more snow than normal. It never occurred to me to wonder where all the snow goes to, when it disappears. No, there is no magic wand. It just melts and seeps into the ground, or when that is satiated it flows somewhere else....which is now happening.

Oh yes, we have some flooding in our beautiful part of Burgenland . The various fields just shimmer with their water blanket and some of the roads have section under water. To top it all off, Mother Nature is piling on the rain...

As unpleasant as these floods are for the farmers and homeowners ( cellars can get flooded ),
I would much rather have floods than drought ! Living all those years in South Africa, gave me a great appreciation for how precious water is.

When you need to implement water rations ( 150 liters per household per day ), life suddenly looks different. You quickly learn to recycle water and to this day, I turn off the tap, while I am brushing my teeth, or soaping my hands.

Burgenland, I think, is fortunate to have an abundance of water, even if it is rather a lot at the moment. But as the old saying goes : " This to shall pass. "


Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Living In A Small Village...

...what a treasure !

I wonder why I didn't discover this small village life earlier ? Living in the big cities was nice ( New York / Durban / Pietermaritzburg...working my way down in numbers ), but nothing compared to living in this small community.

Strangely enough, even going about your everyday business in New York, somewhat resembles a village feel. It doesn't make sense reading it like this, but when you live in Manhattan, your immediate neighbourhood is your village.

You get to know the actors on your stage. The butcher, the baker and the " candlestick maker ". I'd be willing to bet, that most Manhattanites, know the actors on their stage.

These are the support actors that make life special. You know, isn't it special when you walk out your front door and there is someone who knows you enough to care about you, to ask " Hey, how are you ? " . Life in a nutshell is about being part of a community and being recognized in it.

For me, it is great to go for a walk and get nods from just about every driver passing me. Naturally I don't know everyone, far from it, but being in this wonderful community ensures me friendly waves and nods.

One thing that is amazing really, is the fact that you get to know who belongs in the surroundings and who doesn't. It's almost like having a sixth sense and any stranger wanting to do nefarious business will be noticed before he has done any...the bush-telegraph sees to that !

Life is fantastic and always puts you into the right place at the right time.


Monday, 25 February 2013

The Oscar Night.

Too much Hype ?

It seems to be one of the biggest events on the yearly calendar. You can't miss it as it even gets top billing on the news. But is it real ?

Naturally it is exciting to watch all the guests wind their way through the " Camera-Isle ". But just remember that most of the actresses have not eaten a good hearty meal for some time. It seems to be that looks trump everything else on the night ! Oh well, each to their own.

Don't you find that when you have watched or are watching this event, that maybe it's time to change something or do something about yourself, because you don't resemble X.Y or Z. ?

Hollywood shows glamour, style and wealth and at times it is difficult to distinguish what is real and what is fiction. Somehow I am sure that a lot of diets are started after these events as viewers want to be like X.Y.or Z....

There should be a disclaimer on the bottom of the TV screen, saying:
" Warning, these people don't normally look like this, and it takes an army of helpers to make them look this glamorous. Don't try this at home. "

All the hype surrounding each year's " chosen " movies, makes me a little bit wary when it comes to watching them. Maybe I am wondering whether the movie would live up to the hype or at times I wonder if it has too much of a message with it.

A movie should transport me out of my reality and make me forget it for a few hours. Knowing that it is marked with an award or two, somehow makes me look at a movie with a different mindset...

Maybe the solution is to watch movies as soon as they come out, because then you can form your own opinion and compare it with the choices made on Oscar night !


Sunday, 24 February 2013

Hard Water.

Too much Calcium ?

Gosh, I vividly remember a few clients who came to The Salon, while they were home in South-Africa over Christmas trying to escape the cold London winter. The one thing that they all had in common, was their lamenting about how harsh the water supply is in London.

When I heard stories of skin feeling so dry and hair feeling like straw, I must admit that at times I didn't believe it or thought that they exaggerated ! Who knew water could do that ?

Well, now I am living with the hard water. Our water here has a lot of kalk ( lime stone ) in it. Whether by nature or something added, I am not too sure, but the upshot is that I am personally re-living the eighties ( hairstyles only, not make-up ) !

Whereas before my fine hair would need several handfuls of styling products, to give it a bit of body, here it is the opposite. Can you believe it, I put handfuls of conditioner on, to make my hair contour my head again...Having a " Something about Mary " hairstyle naturally is not all its cracked up to be !

One sure fire way to tell whether you have hard or soft water, is to look at your coffee percolator. After about a month or two, it takes twice as long to percolate all the water through it. It took me a while and a " broken " kettle to figure it out.

All the extra calcium in the water forms a fine layer of white deposit on the heating elements. Our kettle, from one day to the next, just stopped working. The coffee percolator is a bit more difficult to analyse. The one way to sort this out, is to use vinegar once or twice.

Running vinegar water through your coffee machine is an education in itself. The trick is to make sure that it has percolated itself out of the machine. Coffee with a hint of vinegar is not my first choice.

Of course it is not all bad. Even without taking loads of calcium, nails grow magically and strong....and I am just grateful to have water whenever I turn on a tap.


Conditioner to soften hair and skin. ( Low ph of 2,5 helps to neutralize skin and hair )... :Redken Extreme Conditioner :REDKEN Extreme Shampoo 300ml + Conditioner 250ml

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Never Judge A Book By It's Cover.

Unless you have read it from the first to the last page !

Nowadays it seems to be the fashion to just get the bare bones, or a precis, from all kinds of sources except the main one...the book itself.

Taking the time to read and research anything properly seems to be old-fashioned. How often do we now hear the word " plagiarized " thrown about. Could it be because it is so easy to " copy & paste " ? Just ask any teacher or lecturer...

You know, we are all like books. We have our external cover ( ranging from fancy, gilded, shabby, pretty, funny, sad to normal ) that we show to the world. It is only a handful of people, who actually take the time to open your cover and read the actual book, or get to know the real you and not just pages of you !

The saying goes that " all that shines is not gold " and it follows that one should not judge a book by its cover...Yet, that is now even easier than ever.

Who hasn't :

  • Clicked a " like " on someones view of events ?
  • Watched a " Breaking News " thread and took it at face value ?
  • Tried to influence everyone that so-and-so is as you see them ?
  • Formed an opinion of a person, based on third-hand and most likely subjective knowledge ?

Oh, it is simple and quick to form opinions of people. It is like investing...the majority of people follow the crowd and only a handful of folk go against the tide. They think for themselves and form their own opinion. If you have friends or family like that, you are lucky and should hold on to them.

Here is a thought: It is easy to judge a person on a opinion of someone, but just remember that someone could be judging in the same way. Wouldn't you like your friends and family to take the effort and read the whole book....instead of just the cover or a page or two ?


Friday, 22 February 2013

Waking Up To Snow.

Some love it, some hate it.

As the winter months mean late sun-ups, it usually takes a while to realize that it has snowed all night. But when you do, it is magical. Everything is covered in this beautiful white cloth. Even an artist couldn't have done it better.

It evokes memories of childhood, when a snowy blanket made you think of fairy tales, Christmas and sledding in the snow. A time when life was plain old fun. You know, when the worst that could happen to you for the day was a trip to school.

When we are young like that, we just see the good and hopefully beauty in things and situations. It never crossed my mind to moan at the snow fall because of the difficulties involved with it. As a child, it always fell to your parents to do those " grown-up " things like worry.

This is my second winter in Austria, and I love it. As trite as it sounds, it feels like a cleanser for the soul. I know that just about everyone moans when it snows and once or twice I have been known to complain ( briefly ) as well as it can be hard to deal with lots of snow.

Even clearing the driveway with gloves on, can mean that after 10 minutes your fingers will become ice blocks with no feeling left in them. Regardless, it is still fantastic to draw back the curtains and be surprised by a white canvas, one where we can paint in our own little colourful details !

Personally I think the way to a happy life is to take " life " as it comes. Embrace the little nuances, differences, hurdles, spectacles and opportunities. Roll with the punches... I would be willing to bet, that there will always be moaners about everything. Should the weather be hot, it's bad and should it be cold it's ...worse !


The first view.

Fantastic canvas yet lots of shoveling needed !

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Soccer Always Looks So Easy On TV...

My short lived career...

I thought it would be fun and really just a game of backyard-soccer. Bob, a group of five boys who speak English with us, and me. The boys ( aged between 7-12 ) are soccer mad. Well, par for the course. Of course I didn't remember how fanatical and good they are.

We played in a backyard with only one goal. Brazenly I volunteered to man it, thinking it would be easy. Bob did his stage whisper of " don't, they can kick the ball really hard " but I thought, why not. A few of the boys already had a glint in their eye, imagining the ball connecting with me.

Of course Bob then changed tactic and shouted for all and sundry to hear " Boys, careful, Biggi is in the goal so don't hit the ball too hard ! "

He needn't have bothered. My efforts in the goal were worse than bad. Even I saw that, when I failed a few attempts to kick a stationary ball...The boys rather speedily got me out of goal and made me a side-line ref. Oh yes, even more disastrous.

As young as the boys are, they are unbelievably agile, talented and fast with the ball. Naturally they are very clued up on the rules and I kind of put my foot in it ! Every now and then I called out penalty ( it looked like it was and I wanted to be part of the game ) or corner.

Oh dear, that launched a rebuttal worthy of a trial lawyer. In minute detail I was shown the error of my ways. In fact they were almost in tears at my next attempt to keep order...cunningly I told them that they could only argue with me in English.

Eventually and not a minute too soon for the boys, I stopped participating. In the future I will be the one sitting on a chair, a safe distance from the field, just watching !

What was so amazing to me, was seeing these five best friends on the soccer field. They tripped each other up, unnecessarily hit shins and called each other names. But when it was over, they were best friends again in the vain of " one for all and all for one "....Small village living, just fabulous and fun to be a part of !


Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The World Will Always Need Computers.

Laptops and desktops will still be bought.

Yes, I know that everybody and their aunt " Fanny " has got a smart phone or a tablet ( even yours truly has one ). Having one is sort of the new " It " item to be seen with.

Of course they are extremely nice to have and we can do lots of things on them. Reading and surfing the web seems to be a major function. Also a good one, as more people are reading again.

Just as well that these devices are small enough to hold up while you are lounging in bed or on the couch. Laptops don't lend themselves to nicely to this. Of course the newest thing is also to watch movies on these smart devices.

Have you noticed how all of a sudden most news presenters are standing in front of the camera, trying to make sure you see them holding a smart device ? You didn't need it last year, so what gives ? As I said, it is the new " It " item.

But for those of you, who still need to actually type anything for work or pleasure, a proper keyboard and screen is a must. Many a time my blood pressure shoots up, when I try to type a lengthy something on the tablet....definitely takes extra time plus strong nerves !

Could you imagine all the offices in the world having workstations only using a smart device ? Of course not. When you have to work with a computer you will always have to type on it and that function should be as comfortable as possible. Even as we speak, newer and smaller smart tablets are being researched....Hello there, how are we supposed to type on them ?

Personally I think that most people will have two. One conventional computer and one smart tablet or phone. So this dire warning that smart devices will overtake conventional computers ( or even make them extinct ), is not as dire as it is made out to my opinion !

Biggi :Dell Inspiron i15R-1633sLV 15.6-Inch Laptop : Asus F55A-SX091D 39,6 cm (15,6 Zoll) Notebook (Intel Pentium B980, 2,4GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, Intel HD, DVD, DOS) :Samsung Chromebook Wifi (Launched Oct 2012)

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Our Own Little Health Farm.

A new Regimen at our place !

I suppose a new broom sweeping away would be a better description. Friday last week was the start. Oh yes, we are different from all the crowds and start before the weekend. The " let's start on Monday morning " idea hardly ever works out !

Funny how the mind recalls certain things. All weekend I could picture Dr Gillian McKeith shouting out her drills. Obviously we are not at her strictness level...yet. ( Who can forget the picture in the loo that depicted the various shapes of toilet offerings, ranging from good to bad ).

Bob and I have banished sugar and foods that create it, from our house. Not only because we want to but alas we have to. It is not so easy but we are managing it with great aplomb. When I cook, my mind shifts through all the wonderful programs that I watched on BBC Food, with Jamie being the most recalled.

For Bob and I this is another adventure within our adventure. It is quite comical really. While I am engrossed in a TV program, Bob will shout out : " Schatzi, listen to this; there is a nice recipe for lentils. They also say they are extremely healthy. "
A new avenue of romantic married life, perchance ?

Apart from cruising around our lovely neighbourhood on foot, daily, we also have great plans to plant different vegetables in our garden. Oh, the possibilities ! Life always gives one the best nudge at the perfect time...

Biggi Are What You Eat: The Plan That Will Change Your Life

Monday, 18 February 2013

What A Great Finish To The Schladming-Ski World Championship.

Great sport, great place and pure Adrenalin !

Watching all the different disciplines in the Skiing World Championship was something else. Edge of your seat stuff. Even glancing away for a second could have you miss all the action.

Personally I have decided that I can learn a whole lot from the attitude of these world class athletes. They have to ski on an often icy surface and one that has gradients of up to 52 %. As you can imagine it desires a concentration and ability of champions.

Like any sport it is reliant on Television broadcasts. You can't blame the commentators for posing questionable questions to the athletes, after they had a fall or missed a turn and were thus out of the race.

Questions such as " So, how did it feel when you missed that pole ? " or " Do you think you can do better in the next race ? "...are kind of redundant. What is that old saying..' ask a stupid question ' !

But that is my point. When these athletes are asked these ' posers ' they have mostly positive replies. No pity party for them. Often they just say : " It can happen and it did, but it is behind me and tomorrow's race is another and new opportunity. " Wow. Great attitude to have and definitely an attitude that we can learn from.

Saturday was the day of the Womens' Slalom. The world's best were competing for the coveted title and sometimes it is won by a fraction of a second. Nail biting stuff. Well, this year a new star emerged on the ski-scene. A young ( 17 year old ) girl from the USA. Mikaela Shiffrin. As young as she is, she skied with such grace, talent and ability to garner the gold medal.

If you get an opportunity to watch the winter skiing sports, please do. You will fall in love with this sport. YouTube has a great selection of re-runs. If you ever watch it, let me know if you like this sport as much as I do...


Sunday, 17 February 2013

Scenes From Our Life In Burgenland.

Fabulous Burgenland !

Just a few selected images from our time here in Burgenland...not in chronological order.

Icy morning beauty.

Outside our place...the road less traveled !

Last winter...trying to get firewood together.

Nature gives us a greeting.

A very early morning.

Harvesting of the grapes. I just love the strong colours of Burgenland.

Taking a break in Eberau.

Amazingly the vine in the front is in Austria and the background is Hungary.


Saturday, 16 February 2013

Return To " Yesteryear " .

Old-fashioned will become the new " Hip " ...

As alarming as this whole horse meat debacle is, you can't help but notice all the positive outcomes from it. It seems far from over but already consumers are changing their habits.

I saw a butcher being interviewed and he kind of hinted that the young women of today often don't even know how to cook mince. It is shocking but then again there wasn't a need for it as there were ample ready made alternatives. Well, the tide is turning...

Cooking meals yourself, what a novel idea, is the new " hip " thing to do. In fact knowing how to cook is of course the important point. That should from now on be a major plus and requirement in the dating-world. Cooking skills will trump good looks.

First dates will most likely involve some sort of verification of your supposed cooking skills. You can fake it on paper but when you are in the kitchen ...Oh I can already see a range of funny comedies being made.

Men will have a night out with their friends and instead of enthusing over their woman's looks and bedroom skills, they will brag about her ability to cook. " Mine made me a roast the other day. " ..." Oh that is nothing, mine baked bread and a chocolate cake..."

I remember when I was younger, I cooked a roast chicken for the first time. Someone ( Mum ? ) forgot to teach me to remove the little plastic bag, that is usually hidden inside the chicken. Let's just say, that I learned from my mistake and cooked plastic smells terrible.

It kind of feels nice and comforting to go back to basics. It will slow our lifestyle down to a speed that will let us take a breather from this hectic merry-go-round of our everyday reality.

I must be honest and say that there are lots of men who cook fabulously at home... :The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life :Jamies Kochschule. Jeder kann kochen


Bob can cook !

Friday, 15 February 2013

Film Award Night !

Extreme cold and a flimsy summer evening audition for " Fear Factor " perhaps ?

The other night they had extensive coverage of the BAFTA. Oh well, there wasn't much else on the Television and a bit of glamour is not too bad, now and again.

It is the middle of winter and I think a particular cold one at that. England hasn't escaped this cold spell either. If one needs to be outside in the evening, it's a must to be covered in several layers of warm clothing starting with the slightly unromantic yet necessary thermal underwear !

So now, at this award ceremony the usual waltz between the reporters and Stars began. Imagine having cameras on you the whole time even if you can't see them. Picking your nose is a definite no-no ! Not something we'd want to be privy to...

When the camera panned through the spectators, it would have been rather difficult to put name to face, as most were covered in warm layers from head to toe. As it should be in such extreme cold weather. It was even coupled with rain. That was only apparent when the Stars had see-through umbrellas over their heads...

Now to the comical part. One reporter was dressed in evening wear....the sort you would wear in the tropics ! Some sleeve-less assemble. It turns out, she wasn't the only " mad " one. The Stars showed up as if it was a summers evening. What a sight. Most sensible people were dressed for warmth, but not the Celebs. They posed, preened and talked without trying to shiver in their evening gowns.

Couldn't the organizers have provided a heated marquis to lead into the theater ? Or is it just a subtle from of revenge ? You know, the sentiment that if you earn millions, you can jolly well work for them..! Unless the actresses volunteer to parade around in " cold-catching " clothing ?

Here is a thought: Change the award date to one of the summer month or dress appropriately for winter ! But then again, it did provide us a bit of a chuckle taking in this surreal affair.


Thursday, 14 February 2013

What To Do When Your Spouse Wants To Tidy Anything.

First of all, be happy...

It is not really the everyday cleaning routine I mean, but the extra ordinary procedures. I can only describe them as being a heavy stone in my backpack of " Should-be-done-stuff ". Yet not so heavy that I need to take them out !

When I first met Bob, he showed signs of being a neat freak. Hurray, it was like winning the dating-lotto. Even my Mum, who then lived on the other side of the world, rejoiced. She straight away pictured a pristine and tidy household...which she sort of accepted would never happen with me alone !

In the beginning, whenever Bob used to come over, he would try to neaten things up. Looking back now, I understand that those moments of tidiness were in a way courting rituals ( you know those things you never see again after you become a couple ). Who hasn't made themselves appear more of something, in those first giddy dating days ?

Luckily for me, every now and then, Bob gets a bee in his bonnet and wants to tidy something major. From experience I have learned to leave him to those flashes of brilliance. Interfering would only get responses of : " If you thing you can do it better, maybe you should do ..."

When we came here from South Africa, we basically only brought our clothes and books. Everything else we gave away. Reading is a passion for us both and that saw us send a gazillion boxes of books over. In fact the poor postman needed to be given a huge tip, for carrying them. Interestingly enough, the cost of sending one box filled with 10 kg of books, cost only the price of 1,5 books.

When we finally got to move into our house, we just unpacked one box after the other and put books as they emerged from the boxes on the next available shelf. For a " hidden " neat freak, it must have been rather torturous. Bob would have liked to put books in sequence and possibly alphabetically too. But for me, being a Gemini, I just was happy to unpack and shelve where ever there was space.

It snowed all day Monday and thus Monday was the day, Bob finally had had enough and decided to sort out all our books. With clever foresight, I took up station on the couch. A good perch to watch the proceedings. I must admit, just watching Bob do his thing sort of tired me out...enough to fall asleep and thus not be tempted to interfere !

Well now, we have the books lined up by author. Bob " sternly " insisted that from now on, I must put the book back in its right place. I think that by now, he is well aware that I am not to be trusted with keeping things neatly in order. Life would be boring if we did everything our spouses wanted...? !


A man on a mission...

Nice spot to watch the action !

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Facebook & Google Plus..The Most Watched Reality Shows In Our Lives !

Life without Facebook or Google Plus; could you imagine it ?

When Facebook became a public company with some saying that those who bought the stock were maybe silly and that the stock could drop even further, I shook my head in wonder. Seriously, do they not realize that we are all addicted to Facebook ? They could even charge a subscription fee and I'm sure 99% of users would pay it !

Isn't it just so exciting to read your news feed every morning ( or all day long ) to " check " up on your friends and family ? Granted, unless you constantly scroll through your feed, you tend to only see a select few entries. But even those are enough to satisfy any need for excitement.

If it wasn't for YouTube, the video camera would most likely be gathering dust in the cupboard. Have you noticed how we mostly tend to document our exciting lives with instant pictures ? A few years ago, my cellphone was the only thing ( apart from Bob ) that was always with me. Now it is my camera, cellphone and Bob...

It is most entertaining to scroll through a news feed. In one sitting, you get an opportunity to :

  • See the world according to one of your friends.
  • See every step of someone's vacation.
  • Witness someone becoming single...oh yes, you become expert at reading between the lines of anger, acceptance and new found freedom !
  • Have a little laugh at your schoolmates transformation over time ( of course you stayed the same ).
  • Engage in a bit of detective work by clicking through to a new profile.
  • Become privy to a person's political view.
  • Learn about your friends' likes.
  • Also advertise your business.

Do you think that the prolific use of Facebook or Google Plus has had an impact on the Smart Phone market ? With a Smart Phone we are tuned into our own " reality channel " whenever and wherever....


A cellphone that is a watch ? How cool...

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

The Horse Meat Debacle And The Blame Game.

Who will be held responsible ?

Naturally everyone is blaming the next person involved. Sure it starts at the source, but who knew what, where and WHEN...

As I hinted at yesterday, more European countries are removing frozen meals from their supermarket shelves. Hello, whatever happened to testing ? Surely each supermarket chain must have a department responsible for food content ? Shouldn't those frozen " fresh " meals be tested for bacteria etc... and content ?

Is a supplier only " checked-over " when he gets chosen ? Are those the only quality controls taken, I wonder ? I seem to recall a documentary about the stringent quality testing of frozen foods. It impressed me so much, that afterwards I would buy frozen foods without a it should be.

Like falling domino chips, different chains are being claimed by this horse meat scandal. Suddenly frozen meals are given the royal treatment. Too little too late, it seems ! What is that old adage ?
Oh yes, " the Customer is King " !

Let's give them the benefit of doubt, but is " not-knowing " really an excuse ?

The other shoe could drop soon and more " mislabeled " products might be discovered. As I said yesterday, hooray for the little High-Street shops. We as shoppers will return to basics and the personal interaction with our butcher. The Slow Food Movement will gain many more followers.

When you think about how little those frozen meals cost, you don't need to be a genius to work out that the ingredients are not of top notch quality. Maybe in future, the product label should say: " Meat type may vary " Honesty always works...


Monday, 11 February 2013

One Positive Outcome From This Horse Meat Scandal !

For a while a lot less meat will be consumed.

The media has sunk its collective teeth into this story and it won't let go. Fantastic. With one foul swoop, the cause for global warming has been helped. How ?

Scientists have a theory that eating less meat, would reduce the green house gases ( Great article in the Forbes magazine ). Isn't Monday supposed to be the world's " meat-free " day of the week ? Quite frankly, for a while there will be more than one " meat-free " day in the British week ( and most likely European week ) !

I am not sure about you, but I for one am now a little bit hesitant when buying inexpensive frozen meat products. Even though we live here in a different part of Europe, I am suspicious enough to wonder whether this " problem " could be here as well. Certainly Europe will consume less beef products.

Of course there will be some farmers who will unfortunately hurt from this, but on the other hand, those farmers who have adhered to good practices ( for the animals ) are now in the driving seat. Meat, or rather meat with a ' passport ' will become more expensive, as more people want it. A good thing really. Farming will become more viable, fewer animals will be reared and thus less green house gases emitted.

Your local butcher will become your first port of call...again. He is the one who knows where his meat comes from. Even buying sausages and cold meats, will carry more piece of mind when done at the neighbourhood butcher. Yeah, another step in re-invigorating the High Street .

Life has a way of working out for the best in the long run. Often when you look back, you see the good in what seemed awful at the time. In a bizarre kind of way, this horse meat scandal should be applauded for making us aware of where food comes from...don't you think ?

P/S : Do you still purchase ready-made frozen meals from your supermarket, or have
you stopped ? Let me know...


Sunday, 10 February 2013

The Horse Meat Scandal Should Give Us A Nudge.

To Go back to Basics in the kitchen.

It goes without saying, that this horse meat debacle is a terrible affair. Somehow though it is a good thing, because it forces us to be more aware of how and more importantly what, we eat.

In terms of humanity, we certainly have become much more sedate in the kitchen. It is much easier to bang a frozen meal into the microwave as opposed to actually making the meal. You know, with real ingredients.

Somehow I don't even think that the main reason for the prolific use of frozen meals is a price issue. Time or the lack of it, is at the root ! Each new generation adds another gear in the busy department. What happened to that bit of time at the end of a work day, when we cooked meals ?

That precious half hour in the kitchen, where you can switch gear from work to home. Banging the lids on pots can be a most welcome tool for stress release...drinking a glass of red, while you stir the pot is even more relaxing...

You know, pasta & mince is the easiest dish to make. No one has an excuse. For those who do, there is always a program on the food channel to show you the way. We need to be re-introduced to the satisfaction of creating our own meals. The bonus factor is that it is much healthier for body and mind. A win win situation.

At least this scandal will make us take notice. Somehow we should have seen it coming. Have you never wondered how supermarkets can price these meals so low ? Considering that they have a mark-up, as does the supplier and his. Oh yes, they all still make a profit along the way.

Next time you pick up a ready meal where you think ' wow, look how cheap...great bargain ', work out the supply chain and price ratio ! Oh, sometimes it is actually more economical to make it yourself...Happy cooking.

Biggi Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making gut & super günstig: Über 100 leckere und schnelle Gerichte für 1 bis 2 Euro pro Person (Themenkochbuch) ( cooking each meal with only 3 main ingredients ) :Hugh's Three Good Things

Saturday, 9 February 2013

The First Glimmer Of The " Mid-Life " Crisis ?

...Burgenland Style !

This supposed mid-life crisis could be an invention of the media. Where else have we actually
seen it ? I'd be willing to bet, that right now when you think of mid-life crisis, you imagine a slightly older man lounging in the seat of his red sports car ! Possibly even wearing a gold chain and plenty of after shave...

In my vision the man even has his elbow hanging casually over the open car window while slowly driving down the road and dropping one liner's where ever he espies a woman ; "'re you doing ". How utterly cliche.

Fast forward to my home in Burgenland. Bob has been diligently downing copious glasses of water all day long. Before, during and after meals with an amazing result ( one being that he gets up all night long to go to the loo ). He's dropped over 20 kilograms. He does look even better than before and the ladies have taken notice !

For years, I have tried to entice Bob to come walking with me. Suspiciously he always finds some reason why he can't. They range from a sudden stomach ache, worn shoes to having to do work
( at five am ? ). Well so be it. Not every husband can be a fitness bunny.

The other day, I thought I had entered alternative universe. What was happening ? Bob suddenly jumped up and announced that he was going to try to cycle. At first I thought it was one of his pretend exercise moments, but when he proceeded to get togged up I knew he meant business.

So there Bob is dragging out the bicycle and going off.
" Schatzi, what on earth are you doing ? "
" I feel like going for a ride." " Where to ? "
" I'm going to Höll and back ! "...Gee whiz, what have I done to him ?

Well here's to the start of a possible mid-life crises. I'll know it's for real when Bob spray paints his bicycle red !


My Schatzi means business !

It was freezing cold yet Bob wasn't deterred.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Who Knew That Driving An Old Mercedes Is So Trendy ?

wherever you look, the cool guys are driving one.

Not an extremely old Mercedes, but one that is about thirty years old. That wonderful sturdy shape. Apparently it was built like a tank and extremely safe to drive around in.

A friend of ours from South Africa always drove around in one. He reveled in finding an old Mercedes advertised in Newspapers at next to nothing. When most people were obsessed about driving the latest model of any make of car ( and paying it off forever ) he cruised around town in his old Merc.

It is a mystery to me, why we did not all buy an old & used Mercedes ? When most of us were worrying about where to park our newer cars at the shopping centers, lest an old biddy parked badly and put a dent in it, he could relax. On an old car, a dent or two more was not an issue !

At the time he had a pony tail to boot...maybe he started the trend ? Thinking back memories surface of how he, in hindsight, was a genius. About five years ago, he converted the engine of his old Mercedes to run on used oil; discarded oil from the fast food places. Bob and I called it the
" chip - mobile " as you could at times catch a whiff of an old chip frying !

Fast forward to now and wherever you look, the cool dudes are driving these iconic Mercedes cars. The new genre of TV programs have the main characters dressed in the hippest of clothes and sporting an old Merc. Is it time to get one and finally be trendy ?

Of course the irony is, that now when everyone wants to get one, they are firstly rare to find and most likely expensive to boot. Oh, I just remembered that I have seen the odd " retired " farmer here in Burgenland, cruising around the village in these now iconic Mercedes'....As I said, living in Burgenland is " cool " .

Biggi : Novel Mercedes-benz Logo Back Cover Hard Case for Iphone 4 4th

Thursday, 7 February 2013

The Dropcam - Cloud Based Technology For Your Security.

Fantastic Technology with lots of uses !

A segment on Bloomberg West made me aware of the Dropcam. For anyone who bopped to Abba songs when they were first released, technology can at times seem daunting. Even working out applications and the uses for things can be a little bit taxing !

Well, just seeing some of the uses of the Dropcam made me think back and lament that it wasn't invented sooner. Just imagine some of its uses !

  • Having a Dropcam on your porch and seeing your " beau " ringing your bell for the first time and deciding there and then... not to open the door !
  • Setting one up by the fridge door....and knowing who ate the last piece of cake ?
  • One aimed at your driveway and catching the real impressions your Neighbours have of your house...
  • Watching your baby do its first step even though you were at work.

The cherry on the top could be the fact, that it sort of works as a two-way communications device and can be managed through your smart phone or computer. How cool is that ? Aah yes, now you are thinking...

  • with the dropcam over the fridge, you can say : " stop, put that back..."
with the added bonus of possible having a YouTube hit ! Well, some things can't be seen again, but it can be used to watch and catch Burglars. A great device for a bit of extra piece of mind. :Dropcam HD Wi-Fi Wireless Video Monitoring Camera D-link DCS-942L Tag und Nacht Home schnurlos IP Kamera


Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Seemingly Insignificant Stuff Can Affect You... a good way.

Life in general is great but there are moments in it, that make you sit up and take notice. You know, those little things that some would call insignificant, are the ones that shift your inner compass.

  • A book you read.
  • A person you meet.
  • A program on Television.
  • A chance remark overheard in a conversation.

When you stumble across such a treasure, you embrace it, almost wrapping it around your shoulders like a protective blanket. At times you almost feel that inner shift take place. You see a new side of things and maybe even a new way of living your life.

Authentic living...being who you are, is that not what we all strive for ? It should be the easiest thing to do, yet at times it can be the hardest.

I had such a moment yesterday. Due to the weather, the start of the Alpine Ski World Cup was delayed, and the TV station put in one of those " filler " programs. It was about one of their ski-presenters. Markus Wasmeier a ski-sensation of yesteryear.

Normally when he does his commentating, I just take him at face value. But when they showed a program of his life ( before, during and after ) skiing, it resonated with me. It also showed me that we all have depth and facets to our character, that are not in plain sight....

" Don't judge a book by its cover " is an adage that I will try not to forget.

Biggi :A New Earth (Oprah #61): Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (Oprah's Book Club) : A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (Oprah's Book Club, Selection 61)

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Television And Social Media Advertising.


Having years ago lived for a while in the US, I like to try and watch the Superbowl so that it can evoke memories...good ones. Bob can't understand how I can watch a game that takes so long and where the players are dressed up with helmets etc. and play for only minutes at a time !

He likes his good old rugby, where the game is finished in half the time, no one wears a helmet and the players wear plain rugby-shorts ( thank goodness they wear those Lycra - cycling pants underneath...I wouldn't want to catch a glimpse of...)

Even living in Austria, one can't escape the hype of the Superbowl. There must be legions of news watchers out there, who can recite the amount of food items being used up for the
Superbowl ! Sunday, I hunkered down to try and watch it. Being here in my Burgenland, meant that the Superbowl was shown at five past midnight.

Spooky indeed. The first half hour was all I could remember, and of course I woke up at the end. Darn, I missed all the hoopla in between, even a half hour power outage ( was the game really shown in the U.S ? ) Beyoncé and commercials.

Well, that is where Social Media comes in. All those iconic commercials made especially for the event, are now a massive hit on YouTube and Twitter. Great Scott, I haven't missed a thing as it is all on Social Media. Do yourself a favour and watch this commercial, it is extremely funny and I suppose witty.

For the Advertisers, the social media sphere is like Manna from Heaven. Their commercials are re-tweeted or re-viewed a hundred thousand times or more...for free. Watching a Television extravaganza is a must now, because it gives one fodder for the Social Media sphere. Symbiosis indeed...


Monday, 4 February 2013

It Is Impossible To Please Everyone...

...and why should we ?

We all have it in us, this " disease to please ". Everyone is different and unique, yet how often do we listen when someone tries to bend and shape us to their ideal ?

Conformity is fine, but we all need to keep some originality and our individual stamp on things ! For some reason, this can be the hardest. Maybe it stems from the way we were brought up or we mistakenly try to get acceptance from others, by pandering to their tastes and wants.

Years ago, I went to some business workshops and the one thing that I often remember is this :
( Having been in the Hairdressing Industry, it was to do with it ). On any given day, a Salon may have 50 clients. Great. Of those, 48 are happy and satisfied with the service etc. Even better. But, 2 clients, start to vocally complain about the service and or the price.

With the result, that straight away, we believe that our Salon is terrible and no-one is satisfied. Yes, we forgot about the 48 customers who were happy. The 2 - let's call them Hecklers'- with their loudness, had crowded out the good. The point is, take into consideration what the Hecklers' tell you, but don't ever forget the majority !

Yes, Life is a learning experience and at times a difficult one. But those challenges are what makes life so precious. At least, try and take that heavy rucksack off your back. You know, the one labelled :" Trying to please everyone "....


Sunday, 3 February 2013

Airport's Arrival Hall.

Collecting Family at Vienna International Airport.

Airports do tend to have the word " waiting " associated with them. Waiting for a parking space, your flight departure or just waiting to collect someone. Going to the airport, you need to pack a bit of patience as well !

We drove through to Vienna Airport yesterday to collect my parents. We don't go to often to the airport, so we thought we had entered a parallel universe, when we arrived. The airport had changed. My mum had dropped numerous hints to remember to collect them ( as if we'd forget... ) and suddenly that seemed a possibility. Where on earth were we ? Luckily there was an information counter and the lady informed us that this was the newly renovated airport.

I must say, it is extremely shiny and modern. So modern, that there are very few waiting chairs. Isn't standing supposed to be the " new " sitting ? One tired traveller had spread himself out over four seats and was snoring merrily and loudly away. At times he sounded like a snarling dog and no one had the guts to wake him.

Whiling away a few hours at the arrivals hall is fun. It goes without saying that it is extremely expensive as well. Why that should be, is beyond my comprehension. Isn't the airport a place crawling with passengers / customers ?

We positioned ourselves right at the sliding door and watched the different plane-loads of passengers come through. Like any time spent waiting, one tends to study other people and even apportion them an imaginary life. In fact it can become quite a sport.

Who is waiting for whom or could that one be an undercover cop ? Why is almost everybody adorned in shades of black and grey ( Bob and I included ) ? You know, the list is endless.

I find it very emotional and touching, when you see people reunited. Just the joy on the faces is amazing. One little boy, coming through the sliding door, suddenly spotted his Dad. Shouting with sheer joy he launched his little body at his Dad with such force, that they both fell back onto the floor.

Hugging and kissing is the norm at arrivals and Bob and I did a little guessing game, to guess whether the " kissers'" were dating, married to each other, brother and sister or father and daughter...very interesting and entertaining !


Bob sitting on lonely sitting arrangement. You can just see a bit of the " snorer " behind Bob on the right.

Quite stark and a seat & win a prize !!

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Why Do Men Just Stop And Use Nature's Toilet ?

Good Lord, can't you guys wait...

What is it, that some men just stop and do a " No. 1 " whenever they think they have a need to ! Driving along any road can sometimes have visually hazardous moments. Guaranteed there is a man somewhere doing his thing !

Hopefully he has enough sense to be turned away from the unsuspecting ' audience '. This just makes me wonder whether men in general have a weaker bladder then us women. Is that the reason ?

Walking yesterday morning, I couldn't help but see a man urinating next to his truck. He didn't see me at first and that gave me a chance to pretend I hadn't seen it ( no, not " it" ). I didn't want him to know that I had seen him do it. Casually I slowed my walk, pretending I was watching something on the other side of the road, so when I did walk passed him, his " mouse was in the house ". An awkward moment saved.

During an outdoor party, I bet you anything, that there is a man watering a tree or bush. In fact, after a few drinks there could be several men, competing who pees furthest. Aah guys, there is a toilet inside !

But I suppose, it is an environmentally good decision after all.

  • No water used for flushing the loo.
  • No soap & water wasted for washing THE HAND.
  • Natural fertilizer for garden bushes or roadside vegetation.
  • Oh, and it is a good way to meet new people at a party...who have common hobbies !

To be honest, I do have to confess one thing. There were times in my life where I envied you boys for your " thingy ". How often as children did we girls have to go home, while you boys just went behind a tree. Even nowadays, when I see a line in front of the bathroom, I wonder what it would be like to just duck behind a tree ?


Friday, 1 February 2013

Nagging, You As Well ??

When did nagging become second nature ?

The good intentions are always there, at the beginning of any relationship. Yet the slope towards
" Nag-Dom " seems to be very slippery and quick. Once on it, it gets hard to stop.

Why should a discarded and dirty sock ( just an example ), languishing in your ' walkway ' around the bedroom cause you to make a ' nagging ' comment ? Or even the collage of wet and used towels on the bathroom floor. Are these instances really worth losing your rag over ? Not, I'd say, but at the time a totally different story.

At the time, thoughts like

  • why can't he just pick it up.
  • WHY can't he see it lying there ?
  • I am going to leave it there until it grows mouldy !
  • He makes me a nag.
  • Why...Why...Why like crazy around in your thoughts. The funny thing is, when you start on your tirade, you know it is nagging and you feel guilty about it. Men, take notice. Some of your actions cause us to nag and......
Nagging is not our natural state of being and contrary to popular belief, we don't like doing it !!!

There are some instances where the ' Poor Lamb ( husband ) ' can't be blamed. If you do a bit of detecting and visit his parents, you quickly get an idea about his habits. Yes, there is a mother running circles around your man. Picking up his dirty laundry, making him food at any time of the day and / or he is enthroned in front of the TV, while she does the dishes and general cleaning.

Here is a plea to mothers of young children : Please teach him / her to pitch in where housework is concerned. One day your daughter / son-in-law will thank you. Plus your grown up child won't be surrounded by nagging....

Biggi.... unfortunately a part-time Nagger. Fifty Shades of Nagging: Most of Them Grey to Be the Almost Perfect Wife: By Husbands Who Know Through to the Man You Love: The No-Nonsense, No-Nagging Guide for Women