Away with the Toupée!

Some Friday flapdoodle for ya.

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So worn down...exhausted from toting around all this fluff.

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One Cocker special and ooohh weee I look good! I feel like a pup again.

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Who knew I had a figure underneath all that?

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Bein' bald never felt so good. Gimme a Kong
®.

Peonies fo' Me

Don't be jeally, but this is what we have in our (the building's) front garden:
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That's a bush full of bustin' out peonies:
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I had to ask my landlord (she was in the garden yesterday) what kind of flower it was. She said Pfingstrose, which literally translates to Pentecostal rose. In English...a peony. I always think of peonies as light pink, a bit more closed up and all one color. Not these rebels...
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And that is my hand holding the stem underneath. Yes, I have sort of weirdly small hands, but that's still a big mama bloom.

And so I walked a little further and found some more Blumen. There's a place around the corner from us where you can rent little garden spaces..complete with huts, soil for crops and plenty of kitschy gnomes.
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It's quite nice. There were some quite nice lovelies there too.
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{note bikini babe}

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this might be my favey shot (below). that's some great bokeh. thanks Dtwo-hundey.
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And, around the corner, just on a sorta regular street...
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even the little weed flowers are cute
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So, I grabbed a friend to keep me company while I spend years trying to figure out an Austrian tax form (yes, of course in German).

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Black & White & Pup

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5 Happy Things

A couple of weeks ago, I was awarded the Happy 101 Blog Award.

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I didn't get any cupcakes.

Yes, there are awards in blogging...that's why I'm in it....to rake 'em in.

Victoria, of the Art House Design blog, so kindly sent this award my way. Victoria is from Germany, but has lived in the U.S. with her husband and 4 children for about 15 years now. I'm not sure how we found each other, but we occasionally e-mail and she helps me with my German. She's always so encouraging, telling me what a good job I'm doing even if she is fibbing a bit! She's an interior designer (jealous) and blogs about all the things she loves (design, fashion, flowers, family) with lots of wondey Anthropologie items in there! No Anthro here :(.

So, my job is to list 10 things that make me happy. Since I already sorta did that here, I'm changing it up a bit and listing 5 things I started doing since moving to Graz that make me happy. (Not sure I can think of 10 new things.) Brace yourselves, I'm exciting.

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1. Cooking
I never really cooked before moving, and that's partly because it's no fun cooking for yourself after a long day at work, and partly because I used to go the short mile over to my parents' house a lot and eat my mama's wondey meals. I really, really enjoy cookin' up a meal now. Art enjoys that I enjoy it too. He's very easy to cook for..not picky, always hungry and easily impressed.
(Don't be feisty feministas...I cook because I like it and I don't work...if I did work, we'd probably have to start splittin' the job..it does take time to plan the meal, go shopping and prepare and I think if I was working full-time I might not definitely wouldn't have the energy to do it all the time.)

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2. Flowers
Of course, I've always liked flowers, but now I notice them more, want to know the names of the unfamiliar ones and try to keep some fresh flowers in my house when I can. They go a long way in brightening up a sparse room of 3 pieces of Ikea furni. I even have a couple of plants that I haven't yet killed (some almost). When my wondey orchid blooms all fell off, I was so upset..what did I do? I didn't know this was normal and that it will rebloom in 6 mos. or more (way too long!)...see, I'm new at this.

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3. Coffee
I never really drank coffee before moving here, besides the occassional frappuccino or iced latte from Starbucks, because I was addicted (yes, I consider it an actual physical addiction) to Diet Crack Coke. Ever noticed that nobody is addicted to regular Coke? That most people that drink Diet drink like 3 or more cans a day? Well, I used to start my morning with a DC...so I didn't need no coffee. Now that I've become sober, I LOVE me my mornin' coffee. It does way more to perk me up (and help me write blog posts that drone on and on) than Coke ever did. And I couldn't come to Austria and not be a coffee snob! When in Rome...

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4. Blogging
I've said it before and I'll say it again...blogging has been great. I don't ever really throw my arms up for it, but we're glad she's portraying some happiness. I'm a bit nosy and like getting a sneak peek into other people's lives, seeing how they decorate their home, what recipes they like or how their expat life is going.

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5. Going on walks

Walking is not necessarily a new undertaking, but we do it WAY more here than I ever did back home. Mostly because this is a walking-friendly city and we have a brown-reddish thing that needs it to keep her sanity. We did it often, though, before she arrived on the scene. It's such a great time to really talk to your spouse, get your exercise, de-stress and let your pup run wild through the park.

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I sorta consider these 'mom things'. I literally got married and started enjoying all things Hausfrau. It was bound to happen. And in an effort to keep this real and not portray that my life is a one happy bomb of love, something I am hating right now is that since it is technically spring, our heaters don't ever come on...even when it is cold outside like it is now. Our house is freezing, I'm walking around in my fleece and a scarf and well...that just makes me unhappy. Glad I could end on a positive note!

Happy Friday friends!


In the Neighborhood

Now that my second German class is over and my visitors are gone, my days are pretty open. I've tried to set up a schedule for myself (and Elsie), so that life still feels a bit structured. I honestly feel better and accomplish more when I am boring and routined up.

I'm looking into other German course options, but in the meantime, need to learn at home on my own. NOT easy. There are so many other wondey things to be doing. Skyping, reading (blogs or books), and even cleaning seem more interesting. Hold me accountable, k?

So, yesterday I decided to explore a little on my walk with Elsie instead of our regular route since I have the time. (told you...stalling on the German) I've had two people tell me the neighborhood a couple of blocks away from us has really nice views and houses. Why had we never ventured over there? Not sure.
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{part of our street}
We live in an area close to the city that's all old buildings (containing apts) covering every block. Love it here.

The neighborhood we went to yesterday was a 'real' residential neighborhood with pretty lawns, garden and stand-alone homes. There's even the occasional small backyard farm complete with chickens, mules and big, canty dogs that don't like Elsie.


So, not having much else to share (unless you want me to share the tables, yes 3, for German adjective endings) I thought I'd take you on a little tour of pretty Austrian houses.

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I know not super exciting, but better than showing you these:

(now you know why cleaning sounds better)

GERMAN ADJECTIVE ENDINGS
(All the different ways you can say 'new'!)

When no article is used:

Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Nominative neuer neue neues neue
Accusative neuen neue neues neue
Dative neuem neuer neuem neuen
Genitive neuen neuer neuen neuer

After the indefinite article ein-, kein-, and the possessive determiners:

Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Nominative neuer neue neues neuen
Accusative neuen neue neues neuen
Dative neuen neuen neuen neuen
Genitive neuen neuen neuen neue

After the definite article:

Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Nominative neue neue neue neuen
Accusative neuen neue neue neuen
Dative neuen neuen neuen neuen
Genitive neuen neuen neuen neuen

Southern Styria's Gorgeous Wine Country

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Also known as die Südsteirische Weinstraße, this is the kinda landscape you probably think of when you think of Austria...thanks to The Sound of Music. (Did you know that most Austrians have never seen The Sound of Music and find it funny (and maybe annoying) that this is what we always associate with Austria? At least I did. I wanted to come here and sing:

"So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu..
to joo and joo and joo and joo and joooo"

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Well, here you have it, folks. Beauty. It was worth renting a car (they only had stick shifts), doing some screechin' and peelin' out on the hills in front of horrified hikers, possibly rolling back a couple of times and getting lost often to experience this vast land of love.
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We hit up three Buschenschanks (Ausgezeichnet ones at that (the cream of the crop)), drank wine and nibbled on classic Austrian desserts.
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People live their regular lives surrounded by this..they operate
Buschenschanks out of their homes, grow some grapes on the steep vineyards they call a backyard, make some wine,
try to keep the canty chickens quiet, wear some dirndls, sit back and relax..and enjoy the show. (Thank you for comin' to Loews)
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This is all just a 40 minute drive from Graz. 5 more minutes and you'd be in Slovenia. Ich ♥ Europa.

Spaß mit Meiner Schwester und Meinem Schwager

"Fun with My Sister and My Brother-in-Law"
{using the German dative case above in the title and lovin' it}
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always at the biergarten

We had more fun with more visitors this past week. This time with my younger sister and brother-in-law coming in from Austin, Texas (well, first they hit up Paris and Versailles). Please don't go to Paris and Versailles before coming to Graz, k? It did rain a lot in Paris, so that gave Graz a mega advantage as weather is so importy when living and visiting Europe as you can tell from my many posts and comments on das Wetter here in Graz.
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We took them to the usual spots, walked lots, drank beer, ate schnitzel (and in Erin's case..asparagus pieces in jello..one unknown word can ruin a meal people), had cocktails with our couple friends from Sweden, shopped the farmer's market, tried all kinds of Eis (gelato), coffee, and even rented a car and drove south 45 mins. to the Weinstraße (wine region), Austria's own little Napa Valley. Whoa is it a looker. Pics on that tomorrow.
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Took some Schlossberg prom pics:
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{disclaimer and advice appreciated if knowledgeable: the dog is not with us because we always want to take her everywhere..we had some issues while there were visitors in town. training might be in order after i finish deutsch class 2 this friday. can that cure dog separation anxiety? is it a puppy thing? a breed thing for sure. she's 95% fine when it's just me and art, but she apparently knows there's fun to be had once it's not just her boring parents doin' the same old crud.}

The farmer's market flowers were ausgezeichnet
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We had some drinks at Bar Schlossberg in honor of Art's birthday and their last night. I can't believe we had never been here..great spot with an amazing view.
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They left yesterday for a couple days in Vienna before heading back to their 2 year old (my nephew Sam) that I know they were really missing and let's hope this volcano with some major gas doesn't cause them problems!

Love you E & J. Thanks for coming all this way!