Monday, August 30, 2010

Minor Medical Moments

Last week, I had a couple of minor medical moments. The first was an echo-cardiogram on Wednesday morning, which, according to the technician, revealed nothing much. It's a kind of ultrasound on your heart and doesn't take long. The results did not seem to be in tune with the recent angiogram. We'll see what cardiology makes of it all.

Then on Friday, I had a visit from home dialysis. The man who visited was very particular but I think I passed my little test of doing a change while he was there in spite of me being a bit argumentative. I suppose having successfully dialysed for over three months I resisted being told what to do. On the other hand, his bedside manner left a bit to be desired. Perhaps we were both a bit tired at the end of the week.

The rest of the week I was still pondering the Paris novel which I'll try to wrap up this week.

On Saturday, we had a convent market then normal shopping. We brunched at The Commoner where we all had delicious meals. I had a series of 'tapas': ham and cheese croquettes, lightly boiled egg and a classy fish finger. P. had baked vegetables and Frank had superior gnocchi. In the evening, we went to Frank's for dinner (lasagne which he got at the market, then rhubarb with icecream). Yum! We watched The Bill, which is in its dying days. It only has a few episodes to go.

And life goes on, in spite of a badly-hung parliament.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hung parliament

Polling was uneventful. The Sophia Mundi school had its usual sausage sizzle which reminded us of life as usual. Then we did shopping in Smith Street as the previous user had left Diane the Yaris with a flat battery. Grrr!

We had a good election night chez Frank with a very tasty lamb stew and poached pears to follow. The election turned out to be very much a mixed bag: our local member turned Green which was good, but the country as a whole said 'a pox on both your houses' which wasn't a bad result all things considered. We celebrated with a (small) box of Roses chocolates. Now the skirmishing starts, after the polls are declared that is.

We responded by having a very quiet Sunday. P. made his famous vera bolognese which takes a lot of cutting and chopping but was delicious for dinner. I did the crossword and we both had a nap. So much for national politics which survived without us.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cold and quiet

This week the fire has been blazing away, trying to keep things warm in a very cold spell. It has been also very quiet with me wrestling with a Parisian novel, which sounds very romantic, but which is in fact quite postmodern and poses some very interesting problems in how to advise the author.

Yesterday, somewhat belatedly, I went to see George P. in the special care facility. It is always good to see George, even though the 'facility' is far from ideal. As usual, we discussed literary matters where his insights are always valuable, if sometimes a bit acerbic.

Food this week has been very winter friendly. P.'s lentil and ham soup is warming and I cooked a good marinari gnocchi on Tuesday. Iron-filled steaks with anchovy butter and mustard were last night's dinner and today I'm marinating the venison for venison burgundy, tonight or tomorrow.

The puzzle of the Paris novel keeps haunting me. I don't want to tell the author what to do as I'm not too sure exactly what she's trying to do. Hmmm.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

More Music

Today, after a good lunch of onion tarts from Parisienne Pate and P.'s homemade ham and lentil soup, we went off to the Recital Centre AGAIN. This time for the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra doing Tchaikovky's Souvenir of Florence which was very energetic. The violins generated enough power to run a city. Then Kristian Winther directed and soloed in Beethoven's Violin Concerto. Again, full of energy and clarity. An excellent concert on a wintry day.

Home briefly before heading to Frank's place for dinner.

Mahler by Young

Yesterday was a Farm market and a little bit chill, but we stocked up before doing a normal shop at the mall, then brunch in Clifton Hill. In the evening, P. and I went to Simone Young conducting the ANAM orchestra. We had a creditable and cheap Japanese meal in Swanston Street beforehand before catching a tram to the Recital Centre.

The concert consisted of three pieces, the Kurtag Grabstein fur Stephan, a short and surprisingly noisy piece (for an epitaph). Then the furniture movers did a massive shift for the (almost) full orchestra for Schumann's Konzertstuck for orchestra with FOUR French horns. This spectacular piece was followed by Mahler's Fourth with Sara MacIver as soloist. The performance was distinguished by exceptional clarity from Simone Young and the young players. Everthing was audible and the rhythms of the piece extracted with great care. It was a very impressive performance.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Make poverty history, cheaper drugs now

Last night, P., Frank and I went to a forum organised by Oxfam on Make Poverty History. It was an opportunity to meet the candidates for our seat of Melbourne. Unfortunately, the Liberal candidate was unavailable, but we heard the Labor and Green candidates for our seat. Given the general run of candidates seen on TV across the country, we are fortunate to have two such quality candidates on offer. Both were impressive and Cath Bowtell let drop that she would be another vote in caucus for an increase in overseas aid funding. We have, of course, been hearing this argument for years from her predecessor, Lindsay Tanner, whose heart was in the right place, but who often was outvoted or outpressured by Labor's right wing. Adam Bandt, on the other hand, gave an assurance that, in the unlikely event of a cliffhanger (he optimistically thought Gillard would romp it in), he would never support a LNP government.

It was a well-organised forum, which ran to time, so we went for a quick Indonesian meal in Swanston Street afterwards which was spicy, tasty and cheap.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Concert triumph (with osso bucco)

We did plan on going to the Melbourne Art Fair yesterday, but P. decided to cook up his osso bucco in the morning while I finished the crossword. Then we went to the Recital Centre for a cello concert by Li-Wei Qin with pianist Caroline Almonte. They performed Beethoven's superb variations on Mozart's Bei Mannern, then sonatas by Shostakovich and Britten, and the adagio and allegro by Schumann. An encore by Rachmaninov finished the program. The Britten sonata was particularly impressive.

The Melbourne Chinese population were out in force to support the local boy made good.

We went home to have the osso bucco with all the trimmings (risotto, parmesan and gremolata). It was delicious. Afterwards, we watched the bonnet drama (Return to Cranford) then a very good doco on the making of John Adams' opera about the atom bomb (not conducive to a good night's sleep).

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Belle brunch

It is still cold, though the sun peered out a bit this morning. After our normal shop (sans Frank, who is in Port Douglas), we went for Madame SouSou's in Brunswick Street. P. had mushrooms on brioche with avocado and goat's cheese. I had crepes with creamed spinach and smoked salmon. Both were delicious as we sat outside in the small amount of sun pretending to be cats.

Tomorrow, we're off to a cello and piano concert with Li Wei Qin.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Cold weekend

The fire was kept going all weekend as it was really chill. On Sunday, P. cooked up a storm with some carrot and orange soup which we had for dinner with roast chook. Frank came bringing a very nice old bottle of durif.

This morning P. and I got up early to go and see the vampires at the hospital for yet another try at tissue matching blood tests. I came home to confer with the author about the thriller which is nearly finished. I should have it off to the publisher in about a week. It will be interesting to see what the response is to a murder mystery which doesn't tie the solution up in a neat bow but finishes with some ambiguity: just like life.