Archive | January, 2015

15 Unique Illnesses You Can Only Come Down With in German

17 Jan

P.S. I’m jealous that I didn’t write this myself!

More from the environmentally friendly side

12 Jan

This article reminds people that the City of Vienna collects and burns Christmas trees to produce energy. Maylo and I already knew this. We have seen the signs and growing piles of trees on our walks. Most recently, we have seen how the unusually high winds of the last few days have hurled the abandoned trees through the park. Quite something!


Customer service

10 Jan

U.S. Americans often find the customer service in Vienna lacking, and it can be. On the other hand, every once in a while it is breathtakingly wonderful. This morning, I wanted to send flowers at the last minute to a friend for a significant birthday. (Long story why I wasn’t more on top of that.) She lives on the other side of town from me, but I remembered the name of a florist’s near her. When I called to place my order I asked if they could deliver within the hour and whether I could pay by credit card. They said yes to the delivery but regretted that they don’t take cards. I was already trying to re-plan my day so that I could go out there and pay cash, when they said very cheerfully that they could send me a bill. Without having any idea who I was, they were willing to take that risk. We sealed the deal, and within 15 minutes I received a phone call from my friend thanking me for the beautiful bouquet. Now that is what I call customer service!


8 Jan

And perhaps it is an equally good day to soothe one’s soul with the Impressionists of the Albertina’s Batliner collection–like Monet’s “House among the Roses,” so beautiful it brings tears to my eyes.


8 Jan

A good day to go to the Miró exhibition at the Albertina, I think. Not only is the weather really unpleasant outdoors, not only is the exhibition over in a few days, not only have I already accomplished a great deal of work this week, but Miró understood the horrors of violence and, when the Spanish Civil War broke out,  came as close as anyone to expressing them on paper and canvas. It strikes me that he would probably have been one of the first to post #JeSuisCharlie on his Facebook page.

The Ball Season

5 Jan

The Saturday Kurier (yes, I am a bit behind my time ;-)) had a brief section on ball etiquette, which made me think, in a nice way, of the 19th century. Their rules for correct ball behavior: Small talk on the dance floor, yes please, but smartphones must be left on the table. (OK, that one is not very 19th c.) At a ball the gentleman always goes first to lead his partner to the floor. If a gentleman is asked to dance it would never occur to him to decline the invitation. Polite ladies never turn down an invitation to dance without an explanation, of which there are only two acceptable ones: “Kreislaufprobleme” (literally “problems with my circulatory system” e.g., dizziness, more at Kreislauf) or “sore feet”. Partners one has turned down should not be made to suffer by seeing one go out on the dance floor with someone else. One is required to wait until the orchestra takes a break. After that one may dance with someone else. A couple who dances together must also leave the dance floor together. One must never leave one’s partner stranded on the floor. The correct direction to move around the ballroom is counter clockwise. Rather like in a swimming pool there are apparently lanes. The faster dancers should move around the outside of the dancefloor,  the slower dancers more in the middle. I hope this quick report will help everyone avoid collisions and faux pas at their next ball!