Sunday, September 27, 2009

Activity update

It is completely out of doubt, that Markus is more busy again and activity in the EME equity markets has picked up, as he is much more actively travelling again - this week the destination was Frankfurt. The improved environment is something we do like to see, but there is – as always in life – a flipside of the coin: firstly, to leave home and know to not see Jakob for a day or two is pretty cumbersome as each day brings something new in the young life and secondly, the practice sessions for the upcoming Sparkasse half-marathon at Lake Constance is pretty much disturbed. As for the latter: the training programme has been taken less serious all summer since Jakob was born for obvious reason and therefore Markus’ target for next Sunday is: get over the 21km and if the finish line is reached in less than two hours he calls it a real success.

Here the proof for Jakob's statement "I look just like daddy"

The past weekend, yet again with beautiful temperatures, featured a few premieres: In the morning Fritz, Markus’s boss by chance stopped by, met Jakob for the first time and also saw the flat for the first time. Jakob and Fritz understood each other immediately and had lots of fun together. In the afternoon we went for a lengthy shopping tour to

Mariahilfer Strasse with public transport rather than our car and in the evening Kerstin had a night out. Jumping into a beautiful red dress she left the two boy home alone and joined Andrea, our neighbour, for her 50th birthday party. Jakob & Markus did get along basically well, but it needed the help of Kerstin – who dropped in 30 minutes after she left - to get him to fall asleep. Once in the land of the dreams our little lucky Buddha did sleep though for more than 5 hours peacefully.

Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Monday, September 21, 2009

An exciting and eventful weekend

After two nights back home Markus was picked up early Thursday morning again for the airport for a two day trip with company visits to Poland's capital Warsaw. The fact that the Polish basketball team was well on track in the European Championship tournament hosted by Poland was visible everywhere, but the local euphoria about a pretty impressive tournament was extinguished on Wednesday night with a clear defeat against Spain. The Spaniards, having started weakish into the tournament got really rolling in this game against Poland which they won by a 21 point margin, and cruised on to crowning themselves European Champion by winning all further games by an at least 18 point margin. The final on Sunday night against the young Serbian team which reached the final a little bit by surprise, was basically already decided in H1 when Spain, led by the tournament's MVP Pau Gasol, built a 13 point lead and dominated the game just as they wished.

On Saturday the three of us got into our car early afternoon and made our way to Stefan's birthday and farewell party. At the age of 24 he decided to end his career as active semi-professional basketball player in order to focus on his studies and life outside the court - a difficult step to make, as he was playing hoops for the last 16 years and with high intensity for the past 9 years. Not surprisingly the majority of his friends at the party were somehow related to the sport, including all his current as well as many of the previous season's teammates of the
Oberwart Gunners. Apart from Stefan also our "little Buddha" Jakob enjoyed the evening and the many guests a lot, made friends with Fabio, Viki's sister's son who is 6 weeks younger than Jakob, and we got even more convinced now that he is simply glad when there are many people around him.

6 weeks age difference are still visible

A late night on Saturday requested some additional hours of sleep on Sunday morning for all of us especially as we were invited for lunch with Nikolaus, Michi & Klaus. For Jakob that meant that he had to be fit for more attention that was guaranteed as Andi & Sissi also joined us with a delicious "Jakob" cake prepared by confectionery Kaplan am Kurpark. Lateron Anna & Clemens together with their son Nik showed up and while enjoying the food, excellent wines and the beautiful weather we somehow forgot about the time and therefore got into the weekend traffic on the way into Vienna. After all the weekend was though very nice and relaxing, but unfortunately it went by far too fast.

Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The economic engine is humming again

After a very quiet first half of 2009 and a summer without any business trip Markus returned to London on Monday morning again for another conference on Tuesday, this time in conjunction with the Vienna Stock Exchange and 11 Austrian companies. The two days in the UK capital showed yet again, that investors, companies and also the consumers are much more optimistic about the future again and that most likely we have seen the worst of the economic downturn. Even though unemployment is still at risk of rising further there are several other indicators that show green light and both equity as well as bond markets do price in improvement as well.

As the opening hours of the shops in London are very consumer friendly Markus did manage to exploit the still depressed EUR/GBP exchange rate further, supported the consumer industry and entered a real shopping spree. Not only he bought more clothes for Jakob but also he had a list of items to be gathered for little Anna and Emma at
babyGAP, a retail chain which is not available in Austria, and on top of that he also managed to get some new clothes for himself and Kerstin at Abercrombie & Fitch, probably one of the currently most impressive concepts for selling jeans and other casual outfits.

The A & F flagship store in
7 Burlington Gardens is characterised by loud club music, young, overly friendly & handsome staff and a intense cloud of the the signature scent “Fierce” which one even can smell around the block already. Spending 30 minutes in this shop situated in an impressive building makes you and your garment smell of “Fierce” for at least 12 hours but also can burn a hole into your pocket or bank account, but Markus luckily returned home on Tuesday night and therefore the damage could be limited.

Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A lot of reasons for joy

Saturday afternoon the three of us transferred to the 23rd district for a welcome party to the newest member of the Bella Familia: Anna, the 2 week old daughter of Lini and Peter. With Emma, Valentin and Max already very mobile on their feet and Anna, Leo and Jakob mobile on their parents’ arms the flat was almost dominated by children and it became very obvious to all of us, that times have changed significantly over the past years. While the main topics previously have been long weekends on deserted mountain huts we are now discussing the colour and smell of crap.

The two main acts united: Anna and Peter

It is amazing how fast babies develop in their early days as Anna, mere 6 weeks younger than Jakob, looks totally fragile and tiny compared to our little one even though she got a lot of real hair, while our son is still bald – just like his dad was at this age. We are very relaxed about the lack of hair as Markus these days almost suffers from his dense hair and feels at certain times like a sheep.

Cool! Only 214 more months and I can drive my own car!

On Sunday the wave of autumn birthdays started with Peter, Anna’s dad, turning 35 and “uncle” Flo in Bregenz celebrating his 31st birthday. But also we had something to celebrate that day, as our son turned the age of 2 months. We are fully aware, that in a few years time we won’t bother anymore to celebrate the 13th day of each month, but for now we don’t see a way around that, especially as we need to practice for further real anniversaries and birthdays lining up in the coming weeks and months.

Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Monday, September 7, 2009

Coming home

The days in London, which presented itself in the second half of last week from its best side with no rain and sunshine, were pretty intense for Markus with late nights and early morning every day. While the conference was a big success the task to catch up some sleep was failed though miserably and the early pick up on Saturday morning at 0400 from the hotel to catch the flight back to Zurich did not help either. Hence he returned completely knackered and exhausted and a health- and fitness-check on Saturday afternoon turned out to be pretty useless as the results were distorted by sleep deprivation, stress and alcohol.

Jakob was all excited to see his Dad again who was a big-time baby outfit-shopper bringing back ca. 15 new outfits all from babyGAP for the little one. Saturday evening it then was Jakob who brought his Dad to bed rather than the other way around and the two boys fell asleep together early in bed in order to be fit and ready for the trip back home to Vienna on Sunday morning. A big family breakfast Sunday marked the end to our days in Vorarlberg this summer and departing was not easy as we all enjoyed the time very much.

On the road with the guardian angel

Our journey back home via Munich, Salzburg and Linz was smooth and fairly quick as Jakob has been sleeping again most of the time and only woke up once for a pit stop in Mondsee where he was feeding and was provided with a new diaper and fresh clothes as his nappy ran over and he was all dirty up o half his back. When we reached home in the afternoon Jakob needed to inspect the flat carefully and get used to his new old environment and the fact that there are only two people available for entertainment again.

Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Always look at the bright side of life

The first trip in quite a long time for Markus turned out to be some kind of odyssey. While the transfer to Zurich airport conducted by Werner was perfectly timed, the flight departure was already delayed by 15 minutes, which per se is not so bad. Unfortunately though the traffic situation above Heathrow caused further delay and 15 additional minutes in the holding pattern. As obviously many people prolonged their long weekend - Monday was a UK bank holiday - and returned only Tuesday evening, the airport was very busy and so Markus was happy to join a long queue for immigration and passport control, losing another 15 minutes. Once he has found his driver - which cost additional 5 minutes - he was hoping for a swift transfer to his hotel and it all started pretty well. His luck lasted for mere 5 minutes as the M4 inbound London was completely jammed due to lots of traffic and intense road works which lead to the driver using an alternative route which was - what a surprise - also blocked due to heavy traffic. After 1 hour and 45 minutes and a tour through areas of London Markus has never ever seen before and in which he would not have wanted to be kicked out of the car he finally reached his hotel shortly before midnight.

With such a start to the trip it can only get better or one simply changes the perception: Today it only started raining AFTER Markus reached to the office at 0645, he managed to take advantage of two rain breaks to dash out and grab some sandwiches WITHOUT getting wet and by the time he heft the office and went to Regent Street for some baby-shopping the rain has ended for the day. What more can one expect?

Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

No exemption to the rule?!

Why is it that the good times always go by so fast? Do we simply forget about time when we enjoy something very much, or is there more behind? Whatever the answers to the above questions are, the rule has been confirmed again with respect to Markus’s holiday which ended today. A beautiful day with more than 30 degrees and sunshine was the ideal farewell to time off-work, even though at the same time it became even more difficult to return to work. But not only that going forward he can’t spend weekdays with Jakob and Kerstin, he also had to fly to London for a conference and thus be separated from the little one for the first time more than 12 hours.

After lunch at Werner and Renate’s place and a short run he enjoyed the last hours sunbathing with Jakob and cuddled him big time. When Werner came to pick Markus up at 1800 to take him to Zurich for his flight there would have been a perfect excuse why not to leave: Jakob fell asleep peacefully on Markus’ shoulder. Obeying though to the call of duty, he handed over the sleeping boy to Kerstin and drove off heavy-heartedly in the hope that the remainder of the week will pass by fast.

Jakob, Kerstin & Markus