Monday, February 28, 2011

Ping pong

Today, P. went to his renal specialist who gave him the go-ahead for transplant BUT my surgeon has to decide whether some abnormalities near his kidney will allow the transplant to go ahead. I was right not to break out the champagne (see below). I immediately checked with the transplant coordinator, and she said that there would be a surgical meeting to discuss the issue tomorrow (Tuesday) and she would let me know the outcome as soon as she knew.

IF the transplant can proceed, it is 'likely' to be in May/June, but, as I have said many times before, I'll believe it when I see it.

Meanwhile, I have been proofing away on the laid-out essay collection (minus the three essays still missing) and finding very few errors. I've got a few more things to check and it can go back to the compilers for checking and correction. A new job should be arriving within the next week (again, I'll believe it when I see it). It's a big secret, but it involves football (no nothing to do with sex scandals or nude photos).

Sunday, February 27, 2011


On Wednesday, P. and I went to Frank's for dinner: two Indian dishes, plus icecream and berries and a quiet night by the telly. The next morning I went off to Renal, where Dr Ana gave me the big tick and put me on the 'active' list. I am now, in theory, ready to go for a transplant. There are still some things to check with P., so I'm not breaking out the champagne yet.

Then that night, I went to an old Penguini dinner at The Commoner. We had their private room, which meant that we could hear each other for a change. They also took notice of the dietary requirements, a real first, so that the vegos got vego, and the non-fat eaters got non-fat. The food was really good too: a selection of their small dishes, then quail, then pork, then yummy desserts. However, our requirements for dinner have become very narrow: a BYO with a private room and not too dear. We'll see what we can do. In a town laden with eateries, it must be possible.

Yesterday, after the shopping, P. and I went to St Kilda, had a quick Japanese meal (very tasty) then went to Lily Tomlin at the National Theatre. The old girl appears much younger than her years and did a show of oldies and new stuff in one two-hour gig. The vision of her with a baby wombat was priceless.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Renee Geyer

On Sunday, P. and I went to the first of our Spiegeltent shows, next to the Arts Centre. It was Renee Geyer and combo. in a compelling set of songs, including some old chestnuts like 'Moon River', all lushly rendered in a good-natured performance. It bodes well for the other three shows which we have booked for the series.

Beforehand, we availed ourselves of the Spiegelgarden (without grass) and had a wine and the chunky chips and party pies (only served in threes, but the curry pie was spicy and tasty). Our culinary sights were set higher afterwards and we were lucky enough to get into Movida Next Door where we had a very tasty collection of dishes including a sliced veal and anchovy dish, gambas in tomato sauce, bomba and baked leeks. A return visit is called for to continue sampling the range on offer.

On Monday night, P. poached the barramundi we got on Saturday in fish stock. It was delicious with carrots and asparagus: often the simplest is the best.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Viva Verdi

On Friday night, P., Frank and I had a quick Japanese meal in town, then went to the Town Hall for the first offering by Opera Victoria for the year. It was a concert with Orchestra Victoria, making a good sound, especially in the opening, the overture from Il Forza del Destino. It consisted of the first act of La Traviata and bits of Il Trovatore, rounded off with the quartet from Rigoletto. The soloists were all good, especially Michael Lewis, a late ring-in for an ill soloist. Richard Gill will be a hard act to follow as head of this company.

Today, we did normal mall shopping, then tried a new eatery, La Niche, in Smith Street, on the 'other' side of Gertrude Street, in the art gallery strip. It was mentioned to P. the last time we ate at Birdman Eating in Gertrude by a young woman who shared our table. She was right: it is good value. French in character with brunch specials like croque monsieur and madame, it is like a cheap trip to Paris for the price of a City of Yarra parking permit. P. had the Spanish eggs with jamon and chorizo, while I had the smoked salmon omelette with pan-fried potatoes. We both had the delicious watermelon and strawberry juice, plus coffee. Definitely worth a return visit.

Pondering my journey down memory lane (see below), I realise how hazy my memories of that period are, how unreliable. It is no surprise, as I was in a terrible state at the time (post marriage breakup). I'm surprised I can remember any of it. What was surprising to find out was how influential the two of us in the house were on the newcomer (whom I had coffee with). She said we seemed so sophisticated, when, in fact, we were really just screwed-up twenty-somethings. As you are. Now, with the dubious benefit of hindsight, I doubt we could have done much better.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Blast from the past

Today I went to the Health Centre for my fortnightly jab of Aranesp. I hope it's working. Then I went to Smith Street for coffee with a woman with whom I shared a house in around 1972, or getting on for forty years ago. I'm still digesting the meeting. She had hardly changed at all and it took a while for the memories to start flowing, for my part. She seems to have a much more clear recollection, at least of certain things. More later when I've processed it all.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Coen Bros strike again

On Friday, P., Frank and I went to town to see True Grit, the latest offering by the Coen Brothers. As usual, they didn't disappoint. It was an absorbing, gripping violent movie with a very large heart without a shred of sentimentality. A wonderful testament to the 'rule of law' in every sense of that word.

Our shopping was a bit different on Saturday. Instead of the Mall, we went to Brunswick and the magnificent Mediterranean Wholesalers to stock up on parmesan and pasta, then to La Manna Fresh for vegies and on to Piedmontes for the groceries. We wound up with a good lunch at the Organic Shoppe in St George's Road.

On Sunday, we lunched with the Podesta/Lovett clan, newly arrived from Canberra and back on their home turf. We went to Huxtable who will only book for groups of six or over with a fixed menu. It turned out to be good value, if a little much for lunch. There were ten courses, mostly small, including the yummy jalapeno balls and some surprises (a cauliflower and dukka combo which I actually liked). The duck was especially tasty.

On the work front, I've just finished the report on the novel and am still awaiting the final three essays for the collection. The designer has laid out the rest of it and it looks like being a monster of over 400 pages. I think I underquoted. I'll get on with writing the paper for the conference in April. A mint copy of Liars by Helen Daniel has arrived from Amazon to help with that process.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Newtown gnome

Pic: Lorraine Ellis
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Birthday time

On Friday, my real birthday, I had a meeting with a new author, of the novel I have been reading. He brought some previous work of his and we had a chat about the novel and he gave me the go-ahead to do a report on it. I'm now reading through the previously published work, a collection of poems and stories, plus a short novel.

It was normal shopping on Saturday. The rain prevented any adventures (to Brunswick etc.) and we had a very pleasant brunch at Cavellero in Smith Street. I had the poached eggs and salmon.

In the evening, Lorraine E., Frank, P. and I went to Charcoal Lane for my birthday dinner. It was splendid: I had the spanner crab entree (very delicate), then my favourite kangaroo fillets, then a peach dessert. All of our desserts were treats with lots of goodies on each. I particularly liked the maple syrup biscuity wafers under the icecream.

I got lots of birthday booty, including a wonderful batch of Patrice Newell garlic, plus the above card from Lorraine E. I am replacing my facebook photo with the gnome, who looks more like me than I do. It comes from a wall in Newtown, Sydney.

Sunday was spent quietly at home because of intermittent showers. I did the crossword and P. made a splendid pork spare ribs with treacle.