Pumpky Carvin' with Friends

On Thursday night Mari and I went to Justine's for some pumpky carving. This was Mari's first time..being from Estonia and all. And, actually I think it might have been my first too. But...Justine be lovin' Halloween and got us in the spirit.

Mari carving her punk. She freehanded it. She's an artist...a graphic design artist and a degree in interior architecture. Jeally.
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Justine workin' on her mini-punk.
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And all 3. Justine did cute mini crow on a branch, Mari did the great scary face and I did the crusty bats.
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You know you're an Expat when...

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...you have a vanilla extract "drop" scheduled with your British friend at the Lichtenfeldgasse tram stop at promptly 13:20 Uhr.

{Justine and I have a kids Halloween party tomorrow with our English club to prepare & bake for...vanilla is a must and Austria doesn't have the stuff. We might be trying out some Martha crafts as well. Stay tuned.}


Beauty Bedrooms

I secretly wish I was a design blogger, so sometimes I gotta pretend.
Bedrooms that suit my fancy.
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Two faveys:
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and i think this is quite chic and darling for someone younger...say, you, molly?
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"That's all"
-said like Meryl Streep in Devil Wears Prada
{just watched it and love that canty line}

{Photos mostly from Flickr..and mostly from the now deceased Domino magazine}


We Finally Figured Out..

Homemade pizzas with some store bought pizza dough are the way to go

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What were we thinking eating frozen pizzas that never came with enough cheese?
Never again, my friends.

More Sunday Pics

Sunday is obviously our day to roam the city, get coffee {or beer} at
different cafés and take too many foliage photos.

There was one Graz landmark we had not seen yet:
The double spiral staircase {or the better name: Doppelwendeltreppe}
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This photo is from Flickr because it is almost impossible to get a photo
unless you have a fisheye lens. It's very narrow, but here you can see
how the two spiral staircases meet up with each other in the middle.

A little history:
The Burg was built in 1438-1452 by Frederik III, who resided many
years in Graz. It remained the residence of the sovereigns of Lower
Austria until the court was moved to Vienna in 1619. Today it houses
the seat of the Styrian provincial government.

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in the gardens of the Burg
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the cathedral is across the street
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and we were loving this red bomb
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Inside the Opera House...Sound of Music is playing now...
we will be going
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Cute house on our walk home
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And the one picture Art took while in Trieste, Italy.
{He does not have a blogger mentality like his crazed wife.}
View from his room.
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We have a national holiday today. Austria declared neutrality back in 1955 on this day.
Art didn't tell me that. I house lots of random historical data in this ole noggin.
And we turned our clocks back an hour this weekend, so we're an hour closer in time to you...
for just a week or so.

A Blog Crush

There is a big design blog called Decor8 by an American named Holly. She does this for a living {and has her own shop}...her blog design is real cute, her pictures are real good, she's got a real 'etsy ' style and she's just real creative.

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Well, lo and behold, she recently moved to Germany with her German husband and she has a separate blog documenting her expat life called Haus Maus. I really enjoy reading it because I can relate to most everything she writes. I have wanted to just copy some of her posts and use them as my own because her writing is better and her posts could easily be my own. I would totally be busted crusted, though, and that is unacceptable blogging behavior. I have learned that Austria and Germany are extremely similar. {Austria and Italy...not so much...as Art would tell you after his jaunt to Trieste...but that's for another post..let's just say he appreciates Austrian efficiency, order and attention to detail more now.}

I really enjoyed her post about Sundays here. Everything is closed on Sunday in Germany too. But, I admit I'm really too afraid to write something like this for fear that I would look like the 'ole American that moved to Europe and now preaches about how certain aspects of American life aren't healthy. {even though I am this person}

And today, I was loving this post about food and cooking and cracking up at the part about buying Aspirin. So true. Aspirin and Ibuprofen have to be bought at an Apotheke (pharmacy) and it costs 4 times as much here. I have seen the ASS + C brand she refers to and have always opted for a different brand to avoid asking for 'ass'. I know a lot of you won't click on the link and read it and that's ok because it's probably a lot funnier to me after dealing with the exact same random little things. I'm just glad to know that I'm not the only one. And if she lived in Austria I would call her up and ask her to play...preferably on a Sunday.

Reason(s) to Embrace Winter

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and Happy 30th Linds!

Preview of Christmas in Graz

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Since we will be staying in Graz for Christmas {Weihnachten} this year, I looked up some pictures on Flickr of Graz during the season to get an idea of what's in store for us. Everyone has been telling me Graz is sehr schön {so pretty} during Christmas.
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Starting at the end of November there are little markets set up in all towns in Austria {called "Christkindlmärkte"} selling gifts, food and Glühwein {red wine combined with spices and served warm}...and, of course, many Christmas lights adorn the village streets. They really focus on Advent here. {The Advent Calendar originated in Germany.} I used to love me up some Advent calendars with little treats in every window back in the day.
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I don't want to show too much since of course we will be taking our own pictures during Christmas. Looking at
these at least make me feel better about my first Christmas away from home. We will try to hit up Vienna
{where the biggest markets are} and maybe even some Venice? And how do you say "Merry Christmas"
in German?

"Fröhliche Weihnachten!"

{all images found on Flickr}

Sometimes..

i be wishing we had a fireplace...
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and maybe one of these...
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{photos of The Barefoot Contessa's barn from here..slight enhancement added}

What if we just nailed one of these terri terri things to our wall
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I think I'll stick with something like this to keep me warm for now
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And my new lovey pink sweater from H&M. {this was exciting since I haven't bought
any clothes in over 5 months}
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{Art is in Trieste, Italy for a conference and I'm so bored and unventilated
without him...how pathetic..i know}

Well, It Was Fall...For a Week

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On Sunday Art and I took a nice stroll through Stadtpark and brought the Nikon to take pics of the beautiness of fall. It's not quite as fallish as Northeast U.S. {which is SO WONDEY by the way...I got to go to New Hampshire when I lived in DC and I could not stop loving the bright hues of the trees...some were even bright coral!}, but it's better than Housty.

And why can't Houston have a park like this? DiscoveryGreen was a nice try, but not gonna cut it. And all those parks with plastic kid playgrounds don't even count.

I'm glad we enjoyed this because fall is outta here and winter has come...uninvited.

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i love taking portrait shots with this lens....especially of such a hunk of a subject
{made of pure titanium} (see fleece)
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{Photos by coco....with Art's help on several}


First Taste of Winter

It was FROSTY today. An average of 43° with some serious winds. This is only the beginning.
Help.

Mom, overnight this on the double please. Gonna start my Christmas decorating early.

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Sprechen Deutsch during the Haarschnitt

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I got my hair cut today because I haven't gone since before I left for travels with Lindsey and when you have a shorty bob that's quite a long time.

It's mostly 20-something girls that work at Haar Hunter, so I decided to tell them I was gonna practice speaking German with them. They are actually pretty good at English because they start learning it at a young age.

I was telling them the usual Kindergarten-level stuff...I come from the U.S.A., I live in Graz with my husband {which, by the way, to say my husband you say "mein Mann"...sounds so vundee and possessive} and then I started to make jokes in German and they were laughing. Even the girl back in the corner mixing hair stuff starting laughing. I got a huge rush of adrenaline and was so perked deed up! {They could have been laughing at my pronunciation or my incorrect use of words, but 'Ich glaube nicht so!'} Ich mache joke in Austria!! Ich still funny in another language! Love my life.

Then when I was blow drying my hair...{yes, here they let you blow dry your own hair to save the 16 extra Euros it would cost if they did it and then they come back to do a finer cut on your hair once it's dry to make sure it is perfecto! Oh, and they let me use the straightener and after she realized I am a crapper at doing the back of my head, she did it for me for free. Danke!}...anyways, I was drying my hair and one of the girls came up to me and said "Frage" {Question}. Sure. She asks "get, got, gotten?" She wants to know when to use each. Uh oh. I drew a blank. Of course I know which one to use in a certain sentence, but I couldn't think of the actual rules. English has never been my strong suit.

So, I tried to use examples of each in a sentence and told her 'gotten' is used with 'have'. Is that always true? Dangit. I felt so stupee. I know I am opening myself up to some criticism from my grammar patrol family, but I think this situation requires a little more explanation than the normal English-speaking person knows off hand. The British don't use 'gotten' anymore....stopped about 300 hundred years ago. A lot of them think it is something Americans made up, but we didn't...we just don't throw out words...we love 'em up.

Oh, and I did tell them "Well, I know the difference and when to use each and when someone doesn't...well, that's when you know they're a little redneck." So, you see...now they know I'm not that good at English and a snob. This is why they don't let any ole English speaker teach English...you gotta know the reasons behind it. Ooh, so boring. Give me some paints or statistics.


My First Buschenschank

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{photo from internet}

Buschenschank
: (wine tavern), started to spring up in 1784 when Emperor Joseph II decreed that owners of vineyards were allowed to sell wine (Heuriger), Most (a drink drier than cider and slightly less alcoholic) and Sturm (most which has started fermenting) as well as non-alcoholic beverages and cold food on their own premises.

There are Buschenschank taverns in the federal provinces of Vienna, Lower Austria, Burgenland, Styria, Carinthia and Tirol; they are subject to the special trading regulations (owners of a Buschenschank need a special license; they are permitted to sell their products tax-free during a limited time of the year only; if the Buschenschank is open, the custom is to display a "Buschen", or bunch of evergreen boughs, over the entrance). {source}

Last week I went with my friend Anita, her 3 girls and her parents to a cute little town, Leibnitz, where we did some shopping and then down a little further south to a beauty Buschenschank.

We sat here:
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This is where the Styria wine region starts..you can see the vineyards. And you could also see the mountains in Slovenia not too far off.
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A little head (Eva) popped up to be in the pic
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It is very common in Austria to add sparkling water to fruit juice. They call it a G'Spritzer.
Here we had fresh grape juice G'Spritz. It's really good. I don't like plain sparkling water at all, but it adds
some nice pizazz to fruit juice.
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One of the liitle wooden snack plates. Everything is cold, snacky food at a Buschenschank.
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Dark photo, but this is my friend Anita (met from her blog and lived in Dallas). Her girls took this pic of her.
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I got a salad too. I was the only one that ordered something extra. Fatty...you can see my mouth is full too.
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This guy was roasting walnuts. Anita says I am really missing out since I haven't tried to roasted chestnuts
they sell on the streets everywhere at this time of year. I will try them soon!
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Hannah and Stella with their Polly Pockets (a prize attached to a magazine they asked their mom for.)
The magazine was a nice addition, but the Polly Pockets were the draw. {Just like when you bought a
cereal and dumped it all out on the counter to find the stupid toy at the bottom.}
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Although this was the magazine. I thought it was cool.
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And here's a map of where we were. {Mainly for my mom who be lovin' her maps}
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Poor Art was hard at work while I was here. I will take him soon.