Merry Christmas!

Photobucket

Winter Coffee Morning with my English Club Ladies

It's been snowing on and off for about 6 days now. It's pretty, but it's messy and kinda cold! Imagine that. Temps have been ranging from about 5° to about 25° (Fahrenheit). Lately, though, it's mostly been in the 8 - 15° range. Every morning, I wake up and slowly go to the window to check the thermometer hoping to see the mark above zero (in celsy). It hasn't been for quite some time. Sigh. Thank the heavens for a snow skiing honeymoon last February that forced us to get some good long undies, jackets, boots, the works.

Missy Furcoat thinks it's all quite fun. She usually comes back inside with one numb paw and snow on her nose and booty.
Photobucket

I haven't gone to an IWA coffee morning (the English speaking women's club) in quite some time, but last week I decided to venture out and have some good English conversation to beat the cabin fever. I'm glad I did. The little café was so nice and there was a great turnout. It was in a pretty building next to a small lake and the café sits right in the middle of a chic decor shop. Coffee, convo and tchotchkes all in one spot!
Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

The view outside was quite perfect for a winter morning.
Photobucket

Photobucket

meanwhile, art was hiking another mountain with his office..in the snow:
Photobucket

his view was quite pretty too
Photobucket

his snow was a lot drier and flakier
Photobucket

but let's stay down here in this warm, cozy place and get back to business, shall we?

mercury glass is hot here too:
Photobucket

so are pink fuzzy reindeer.
Photobucket

immer schöne Blumen
Photobucket

Photobucket

and i loved these little wreaths
Photobucket

made with fruit slices
Photobucket

It's always nice to have some lady chat time. Most of the time I'm the youngest, but that's ok.
Now that I'm 30, I want to be the youngest!

And part of being young is driving my scooter (hey, it's a BMW) home:
Photobucket
ha! not really, but kinda want one.

*Mimi, what do ya think? you want one to patrol Houston traffic?


Back with Some Commentary

Photobucket
{Photo from here}

Didn't want to leave you hanging with some Christmas beauty and no explanations. That would be just totally terri. Christmas really is a great time in any city, but there's something about Graz being such a small, old and historical European city that makes it feel so cozy and charming here. Everyone gathers in the downtown area around the Christkindl markets in the evenings and sips on their Gluhwein to warm up their frosty bodies and it's just so dang cute.

As you have seen, they put lights everywhere and no store is left undecorated. A big emphasis is placed on Advent, although I'm pretty sure much of this is now culture and tradition rather than real Catholic practice. The way they celebrate Christmas is a little bit different as I don't think Dec. 25th is the big day for celebration. They have the Christkind (Christchild) that brings them gifts instead of Santa, but they do use St. Nikolas too. I don't really know..I'm confused.

Lets put my pics back up and talk about those...those I know. And I like to talk about things I know...that's why I don't like trying to speak German to a room full of German speaking women. They laughed a little today at my Frauenservice info day. Maybe I'll tell you about that later. Going to things like this and discussing job possibilities is always quite humbling. That's why I focus on Christmas lights and pretty things that don't speak German! (Although the lady told me my Deutsch was pretty good...I smooched her. not really.)

First off...I feel like a big idiot because I didn't even realize that most of the nativity ice sculpture had melted when I was admiring it (and trying to figure out what was going on with the seemingly abstract random chunks) and snapping photos of it the other night. One guy made a comment to me in German while I was taking the photos and then laughed and in hindsight I'm sure now that he was probably saying..."Why are you taking pics of melted ice blocks, bimbo?"

Here's my photo I thought was lovely:
Photobucket

And here's what it's supposed to look like and probably did a week or two ago:
Photobucket
Makes more sense, huh? {picture from here}

These are the Christkindl market stalls they set up in front of the Rathaus (City Hall) every year in every
German and Austrian town.
Photobucket

And they sell all sorts of handmade goods
Photobucket

The most popular being Gluhwein, heated red wine with lots of spices like cinnamon and vanilla.
Photobucket

And there's a big projector that shines different light scenes on the Rathaus during the night. They say it's
an Advent Calendar, but I don't know what they're talkin 'bout really. If it was, Art would eat it all in one
Photobucket

and this is some people looking in a store window:
Photobucket

And this is why it's hard to lose weight even though you may walk more:
Photobucket

This makes me feel better about my bad German:
Photobucket

And these are the freaky a$$ creatures that roam the streets in the annual Austrian Perchtenlauf parade
"weeding out the bad children" for St. Nikolas. Yikes, I'm glad our tradition is just coal. Why parents are
surprised when their two year old isn't loving Mr. Red Eye is beyond me.
Photobucket

Photobucket

And here's the huge crowd these scary monsters drew on Dec. 6th:
Photobucket

And here's a tall Swede holding Elsie who has some freaky eyeballs herself:
{we know him..no worries}
Photobucket

And, finally, here we are walking home on the red carpet rolled out for us.
Maybe Art and Elsie will be in US Weekly.
Photobucket

And, that's all. Goodnight. Sweet Perchten Monster dreams.


It's the Most Wondiest Time of the Year

I'm dishin' out the photos without any narrative for now. Maybe you prefer it that way? You better not. It's late here and I'm tired, but I wanted to get these up because CHRISTMAS IS SO PRETTY IN GRAZ! Come along for the ride...

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

I don't want it to end.

Frohe Weihnachten!

{Photos by me...I got frostbite on my button pushing finger for you! It was lightly snowing the whole time.}

Blogging not as easy these days

Well, I should say not as comfortable. If I'm on the computer sitting at the table, it's fine. If I'm on the couch..somebody wants to be directly in front of the computer because she has to make sure she is as close to my face as possible. (sitting on my neck sometimes..not even kidding) Oh, to be loved...
Photobucket
Remind me never to wear a wife-beater again.


Food for Thought

Photobucket

Just thought I'd share an easy and tasty lunch that we have quite often here. When we like something in this house...we do it lots.

Photobucket

All you need is:
- fresh tomatoes (we get the small ones because they have more flavor)
- fresh mozzarella log of love
- lettuce (I use rucola which is apparently arugula)
- toasted bread (much betta toasted)
- oil & vinegar dressing
- pesto

They don't have too many dressings here in Austria...your pick of Creamy Joghurt, Russian or Italian. I make my own with olive oil and red wine vinegar with a dash of salt and garlic.

And there you have it. Your own tomatoes caprese sandy-wich.