Sunday, November 1, 2015

explaining bed head

I was having lunch with my second cousin (my mother's cousin) in Austria. She'd made cottage cheese dumplings called Kasnudel. After that we had tea and a rolled cake. 

She was telling me her version of family stories. We had fun. She said she liked to write letters and I asked if she had a computer. 

My first word processor in the 80s looked like this. You could only see three lines at a time on the screen--but it was better than having to roll paper into the machine and having to manually obliterate the mistakes you made while typing. I'm a lousy typist. One typo for every six times I hit a key. 

I love these ceramic kitchen drawers for cooking ingredients, though they too are dated. One of the drawers is for Feigenkaffee or fig coffee, which was a coffee substitute used during WWII.  

She has a traditional Austrian painted ceiling in her hallway. 

And a tranquil view onto fields and cows. On a day without fog there are mountains. 

She has a wood stove or Kachelofen decorated with tiles recuperated from her grandfather's house in the mountains. There's a curve of bench to sit by the stove and keep warm. On the cushion are a pair of leg warmers knit for her husband by his grandmother. If he died ten years ago at seventy-one, how old would that make the leg warmers, assuming his grandmother--not his mother--knit them some years ago?

At one point she asked what I put in my hair, because she'd had an excellent tip about a product from her hairdresser. She brought me into her bedroom to show me. 
Great, I said, if it works, why not? It really does, she exclaimed. But I can't figure out what it means--Bed Head. So I translated bed head and said it was a look some people aimed for. Bettkopf. 


  1. I found all these photos (and your comments) very interesting. That bench around the heating unit is amazing! (Clearly your second-cousin has no cats, because they'd have been hogging the bench.)

    Thanks for the details, Alice. I would never have guessed there was such a thing as fig coffee, or that Austrians routinely painted their ceilings in such a painstaking way!

    Your second-cousin must be a happy person, living there with the mountains in the distance and the fog and whatnot. The two of you clearly look related. :-)

    1. Thanks, Joanne. The ceilings and stoves are traditional. Usually there's a pet nearby too.