Müller & Messi, two kinds of kings!!

kingmullerThere is nothing quite as exciting as a rousing football match, don’t you agree? Even though as a youngster I was never a happy sideliner (put me in, gaffer!), now I’m a fan of the spectacle.

All of Munich is preparing for tomorrow’s match.  In every square the game will be projected onto a bed sheet or screen.

In Brazil I can almost see Thomas Müller sipping his Frühstück riesling. Devouring his  sausage. And I am certain that Joachim Loew is right now putting extra polish on that hair of his (you know how important hair is to yours truly), so it behaves when he feels the urge to leap in the air.

This past month, there has been plenty to set The Empress’s heart ablaze. Nothing pleases me more than gazing upon well-conditioned young men. I am already dreading the lack of entertainment come Monday morning.

MessiKingThough I’m solidly for my homeland, I must admit to a wee Empress crush on Argentina’s number 10. Sure, sure the fellow is short. Hardly the specimen of those individuals branded Germany’s “golden crop” : conventionally handsome Mats Hummels whose deep brown eyes and strong chin rival any movie star in Hollywood, or that all-around tough competitor Schweinsteiger who wins more balls than God. But it must be acknowledged, even by a fan of the Bayern golden crop, that Lionel Messi is pure heart on the pitch.

All that said, whichever way the ball bounces tomorrow, at the end of the day we’ll have a new Man of the Match football king. Will he be a tall, precise German, or a crafty little acrobat?

Either way, it’ll be a good show.

Vinegar Valentines Day

Who said the modern lady has exclusive rights to the broken heart? Just because we didn’t have Adele in our day, doesn’t mean we did not express ourselves over the sorrow of love gone awry.

Case in point. As many of you know, I was betrothed to the Emperor when I was a wee 15 years of age. But what you may not know is that the auspicious engagement at Bad Ischl came on the heels of the death of my one true love. A count from Bavaria. He was a young man who went off to war and fell ill with some horrific disease (back in the 19th century, there were plenty of virulent bugs about. You caught a cold, and three days later, dead).

And even after my wedding, there were plenty of men who filled my heart with romance and intrigue, but, naturally, a Empress does not go around spreading her skirts willy nilly! No, I was a faithful, expectant wife–ever hopeful that my days would be appointed with favors and kindnesses, but woe and alas, marriage often leaves one hungry for love. On no other day of the year do the lovelorn feel more disheartened than on St. Valentine’s Day.

St. Valentine’s Day has a storied tradition of disappointment. Misunderstandings over how a hare should be properly boiled, or whether one’s summer holiday should be taken in the mountains or at sea. The Emperor, like many a husband, would forget all about the roses and chocolates–and scoot off for a hunting trip in middle of February. Heartbreak, ladies, is older than the hills.

Per chance you, too, are sitting alone on this day of love? As the adage goes,

A juicy little ebook. 7 tales of love.

A juicy little ebook. 7 tales of love.

misery loves company, so I submit to you, this charming collection of Vinegar Valentines collected by Birmingham Museum. Enjoy.



P.S. for you aficionados of modern love and all its complication, consider this ebook, UNKISS ME. 99 cents at Amazon.

sexting with the count

one hunk of hungarian handsome

Ah, the blogs.  The tweets.  The texts.  So many forms of expression!  No need for a go-between, these days, to deliver a sliver of wit, of inspiration.  All right, I’ll just say it. A dollop of lust.

In the Hof, during my daily hairdressing sessions where I was attended to by coiffe -masters, Greek tutors, and my bevy of ladies-in-waiting, my mind turned to matters of the, er,  heart.  I cannot tell you how impossibly lonely it was for me at Court there in torpid Vienna!  Always getting ready for some formal appointment with a snooty Viennese social climber or one of my mother-in-law’s sycophants.  So whilst the brandy and egg yolk masques penetrated my tresses and the ground leeches and vinegar assaulted my freckles, I closed my eyes and returned to my homeland. And, naturally, thoughts of my homeland led to horses.  And horses to counts, and, well, that’s when the trouble began!

Had I an instant communication device–a Blackberry a Droid–I might at least have been able to entertain myself–send a little quip to one of my sisters, perhaps.  Or a randy little missive to my friend, the Hungarian Count Gyula Andrássy.  I might have texted: Hair needs your expert attention. Please come.

Or I might have slipped off: Bodice heaving. Send help.

But, alas, I had to deliver my impulses the old fashioned way: through long, arduous, complicated and dangerous maneuvers which involved my dear Hungarian girl, Ida Ferenczy.

It was a brilliant stroke, I must say.  Who could argue with an Empress’s need to expand her knowledge of language?  Ida and I blathered on in our pig Latin way, under the auspices of tutelage.  Sharp as a boning knife, and nearly as fast as an iPhone, Ida scribbled  down my code in her native tongue–unable to be deciphered by the piggish herd of the Archduchess’s ladies-in-waiting–those nasty spies!  Then, twice a fortnight, off she tarried, by coach, with my ream of poems in hand.  Her perfect translation of my passion. Of my longing.

I awaited with much agitation for her arrival back to Court the following week when she would deliver a crisp square of parchment from the Count.  Yes, the wait was torture.  But how delicious when at last my red-cheeked Ida strode up with the letter!  How I nearly ripped the thing open, gorged on the ripe sentences that returned my desire.  You see, my le beau pendu was a political sensualist.  Yes, yes, he was vain (as am I!), but no man could fill a uniform the way he could. He was, like me, less a monarch and more a romantic.

He did like his brandy, his cards and anything in a dirndl–but his image, what with the tiger fur he favored, the gems sewed into his jacket, kept me from dissolving under many a leech-masque, and kept my imagination simmering long after the burner in my marriage turned off.

a token of affection

wings of desire. on a chain.

My Dearest Karl sent me a lovely piece of jewelry, which offered both the time as well as his likeness, all in one special package.   A wing of aged brass jutted out the side, like our pullets when they run to escape the occasional fox who slithers in the hen house.

That I might always be aware of time, as it ticks unceasing, until we reunite.  That is, indeed, how he phrased it.

Ah, but all round me, evidence that love dies, and along with it, time becomes the cruelest marker.  Just ask Mummi!  She stares all too often in her gilt mirror, asking too many questions of her weary eyes.  Muttering all the while, “Why did I follow my heart, instead of my head?”

The odd turns of the heart were a curiosity, but in my new-found state of smitten, I vowed that my own heart would never grow cold.  Once I loved, I promised, I would never un-love.  As if in agreement the locket watch ticked against my breast.

karl. karl. karl!

once I loved, I promised, I would never un-love

There was plenty of opportunity to write, rewrite, and write some more with regard to my new obsession, the young Archduke. Sitting on my throne of cloth while the three days of stillness leaked away, I composed my journal entries, sketched my daydreams, and, more to the point, wrote Karl Ludwig a return note.

His gift of alpine chocolates arrived, though the under-governess and the scullery maid had pinched them “to ensure their safety,” they’d said, but I knew they couldn’t resist the sweets. Shortly thereafter Gackl came bounding through the nursery with a wrapped box for me. Certainly my little brother was hoping for a ball or a rope or maybe even a set of building blocks. After unknotting the silk ribbon and ripping the rice paper to reveal the copper and rose-painted timepiece that hung from a modest silver chain, Gackl’s face deflated like a pin-stuck balloon. “Your admirer sent you a watch?”

It was lovely, and locket-sized. Dainty, even. I now wore it round my neck day and night, winding it every morning, happily hearing the tick, tick, tick, and imagining that far off in Vienna, Karl’s heart made that same sound.

Dear Karl, I began. And then crumpled the paper. Again: Dearest Karl. No. Another try: My Darling Karl. That one I ripped to shreds.