Sunday, April 29, 2012

Modern music and Heide

On Friday, P., Frank and I went off to the Recital Centre for the first concert in the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra's Metropolitan New Music Festival. This series is mainly U.S. composers though this program had the premiere of a piece by a Melbourne composer, Lisa Illean, which was very good, but overshadowed by the following piece, On a Wire, after which the concert was named, by Jennifer Higdon, and featuring eighth blackbird, who contributed to the programming of the festival. It concluded with the frenetic Dystopia, a piece on urban freneticism by Michael Gordon, with accompaniment of footage of vintage Los Angeles (not a pretty sight). We had a good meal before at Yoyogi in Swanston Street.

On Saturday, after the Convent market shopping, P. and I went to Heide for a session on twitching at Heide. It appears the John Reed was a devoted twitcher, and twitching formed part of his wooing of Sunday Ballieu (as she was). Sean Dooley was the main speaker (the session was supplementary to the exhibition on the Heide garden development). He gave information about the birds of the area and trumped himself with a viewing of a rare powerful owl down by the Yarra. Artist Louise Saxton gave a short talk about the connections with her artworks, embroidery remade as wildlife illustrations remade. She was particularly interesting about some of the wildlife artists.

We then had the light lunch at Bistro Vue which was very good, then went to the Danilo Vassilief exhibition in Heide II, which, cumulatively, raised my estimation of this artist, though whether he was in fact a huge influence on Sid Nolan remains problematic for me.

Though the exhibition and session were interesting, I maintain that you can know too much about the Reeds and Heide.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

MTC and My Mexican Cousin

Last night, P. and I went to the Melbourne Theatre Company to see Red, a play centring around the artist, Mark Rothko. It was a two-hander with Colin Friels and Andre de Vanny in two impressive performances. It was interesting to see this a week after The Histrionic. In some ways, they are the same play, done very differently.

On the way to the theatre, there was extraordinary traffic, perhaps because of the foul weather. We allowed an hour and a half to get to the theatre, then our bus was gridlocked in Lygon Street, so we hopped out and legged it to Swanston Street to pick up a tram and got to the theatre in the nick of time.

Like The Histrionic, Red was about an hour and a half long, performed without an interval. Theatres apparently do not consider people with bladder or prostate problems. It was absorbing and performed straight, but with a lot of dramatic tension. Both plays are about egocentric artists. In retrospect, I'd like to read The Histrionic to see whether it might respond to a more conventional direction.

After the play, we went to My Mexican Cousin, the new eatery next to the Recital Centre. We had an excellent dinner: I had the boudin blanc balls with blood sausage, and the soft-shelled crab, both entrees, then finished off with the pecan pie creme caramel. They were all delicious. The staff were all very helpful and picturesque. (One bar waiter winked at me.) We will certainly return.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Back to M & Soul

After starting the Sunday crossword, we went off to Marmalade and Soul to have brunch with Lesley P. (Louise was at sculpture class and Michael was studying; it's his HSC year). It was good to catch up with Lesley and her travels and doings. We had a very satisfying brunch. I tried the square Scottish sausages which Frank had last time and we all shared Lesley's monstrous peanut butter pop tarts. It might have been chlorestorol city but, hey, once a week is okay.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Charcoal Lane triumphs again

Last night, David G. and Frank turned up to go to Charcoal Lane, where we had dinner to celebrate David and Peter's birthdays. It was an excellent dinner: I had heirloom tomato salad for entree, gnocchi gorgonzola for mains and a very superior rhubarb crumble for dessert. We came home for coffee and muscat and a good time was had by all.

Today's shopping was a normal mall shop with a good brunch at Madame Sou Sou's. Very satisfying.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Hotting up

On Thursday, an early morning start with father as we went to the hospital. This time the vampires were successful first time. Phew! And the doctors said I was perfect, which P. said only confirmed what my mother always said.

Later in the day, Keren L., visiting from Sydney, dropped in and we went for an excellent lunch at Huxtable. We shared three dishes which were all good, then had dessert to be gluttonous. It was good to catch up with her and her news.

In the evening, we went to the Malthouse to see The Histrionic, an Austrian play. It has been a bit oversold in reviews and hype. It is a good character piece, and a tour de force for Bille Brown, who dominates the stage. But a great play it is not. It was very entertaining, and I'm sure the entire audience wanted to murder the main character. (We also had a fair dinner at the Malthouse.)

Today, more socialising: dinner with David G. from Castlemaine for his birthday. I've got to do some more work. The biography needs lots of attention. I'll have to speak with the author early next week.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Heide visit

Yesterday, Frank, P. and I went off in Hulin the i30 from Westgarth to Heide. It was the last day for part of the 30 years of Heide exhibition which had a good range from the Heide collection including Sam Atyeo up to Sweeney Reed. As well, there was a big Ken Whisson exhibition, which was a tribute to his persistence in the cruel art world and a small Louise Saxton show of her pinned bits of embroidery (used) making up natural birds and beasties (realistic). Also, there were photos from the Tucker collection showing his contemporaries and their studios. It was a good swag of things. We had a Cafe Vue lunchbox on the lawn and went home very satisfied.

It was an early start today at the hospital, with a fast. It took three tries to get blood. My veins are giving up. At least I don't have to go again until Thursday, but it's probably not enough time to recover. The Irish doctor cut back again on one of the anti-rejection drugs, so I'm doing well. Tomorrow, I'm going to have to cut back on the convalescing and start doing some work. It's six weeks this Wednesday since the transplant, so it's time I got back into action. P. has taken an extra week off work, which I was glad about, as he still has some discomfort, whereas I, somewhat unfairly, don't have any, in spite of the extra surgery to remove catheters and stents.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Eating out

On Thursday, Frank, Lorraine E., P. and I went to The Commoner for P.'s birthday. Three of us had the special Claws menu and Lorraine had the feed-me option, mainly vegetarian, which she said was very tasty. The Claws option included delights like chilli chowder and soft-shelled crab. Fortunately, all the seafood was cooked so fitted within my special diet. It was a yummy dinner with wines supplied to P. and I at a very good price.

Today was market day at the Farm, then I did my first driving to take us to Victoria Gardens to at last get good fruit and veg. from Toscano's. Afterwards, we had brunch at Marmalade and Soul in Queens Parade. It was very good. I had a corned beef, bean and tomato jaffle while Frank had square Scottish sausage and P. a very superior hamburger. Frank and I had very lurid pavlova for dessert. We will return to sample more from the intriguing menu.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tina C.

Last night, P. and I went to the Malthouse to see Tina C.'s show, Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word. We had a quite good meal beforehand from the Malthouse cafe and enjoyed the show, though it did seem to stretch the theme more than a little. Unfortunately, one of the musicians, James Henry (Jimmy Little's grandson) was at his granddad's funeral, but we enjoyed singer Auriel Andrew. It was worth the visit.

Today, I went to the Health Centre to get some pills (as if I didn't have enough) and picked up Nurse Helen's copies of 1966 pictures from Torquay beach depicting a group of med. students including present Professor of Nephrology, Gavin Becker, looking considerably trimmer. I can't wait to show it to him at clinic.

Today is P.'s birthday and we are off to The Commoner with Lorraine E. and Frank for dinner.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Five weeks down

Today I had my five weeks' blood test and got two koala stamps: one from the Irish doctor, who said that next week I only have to come on Monday and Thursday. Yay! She said all my indicators were spot on and was pleased that my suppresants have been reduced.

Also, Doris removed all but one of my dressings and said I could remove that after tomorrow's shower. 'You are a good healer,' she said. I'll miss being Dorised each time I go to clinic.

Another quiet day in the offing.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Quiet Easter

Apart from the hospital and the shopping, we've had a very quiet time over Easter with lots of sleeping and naps. We had welcome visits from Sally S. and Adele H. and apart from that it has been very peaceful (not that they weren't peaceful!)

Hospital again tomorrow morning.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Easter Saturday expeditions

Father came at 7.15am to take me to the special weekend clinic, in the ward. Fortunately, there were only four people scheduled so it didn't take long for blood tests and doctor check. However, I did need a scrip for one of the anti-rejection drugs. Normally, the hospital pharmacy is not open for Easter to the public but the kindly pharmacist-on-duty said they would fill my scrip as it is not readily available from pharmacies who won't stock it as it is too expensive (thousands of $$$). Another reason to be grateful to our health system and the PBS scheme.

After coming home, P. and I went up to Coles off Brunswick Street and did the week's shopping. We are now stocked up with fish, stroganoff, steak and other goodies. As well, we'll be out this week at Tina C. at the Malthouse and The Commoner for P.'s birthday so we are well supplied with lots of food. Now for a well-earned rest!

Friday, April 06, 2012

A very fine concert

Last night, P., Frank and I headed to South Melbourne for the first ANAM concert of the season. First we had a quick meal at Wasabi, forshortened by a long tram trip from Brunswick Street at peak hour. The concert was all-French, with good renditions of the well-known Debussy Prelude to l'apres midi d'un faune and Ravel's Le tombeau de Couperin. Then there was an energetic modern piece (1985-89) from octogenarian (now) Dutilleux, a series of 'fragments' depicting moments in time. Then, after interval, was Bizet's symphony, composed when he was 17. The last movement was played with much vigour, with the string players actually smiling, a rare sight. It was a great concert.

Now we're settling in for a very quiet Easter. In spite of queries about 'what are you doing over Easter?', the answer is nothing. We're both still recuperating. P. is still tender from the transplant and I'm still tender from the removal of my various stents and catheters. We'll take a while yet, so will have an uneventful Easter break (with some hospital visits for me as well).

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Four weeks in

Dad picked me up this morning to go for my four weeks checkup, so I had to fast. After the usual blood test with lots of vials, I was Dorised to have my dressings changed, then saw a doctor. All my readings and indications are fine and over Easter, I have to visit them on Saturday and Tuesday only.

I also caught up with Belinda the transplant coordinator to give her an update on progress and for her to offer any help needed.

Doris said that my permacath hole would take up to four weeks to heal, much longer than it took to heal after insertion. However, she did say that I'm a good 'healer'. I'll just have to be patient and put up with being tender a bit longer. The post-op regime is proving less onerous than I had imagined, though it is still fairly rigorous and needs a methodical approach, especially to the multiple medicaments. Today, I had one of the anti-rejection drugs knocked back a bit, so we're making progress.

Monday, April 02, 2012

All clear

Father and I spent all day at the hospital today. First up was normal clinic, blood test, doctor and Doris dressing. I was given a gold star and koala stamp by everyone and given tomorrow off.

Then it was off to Tim, the surgeon, for a check and to sign for today's ten-minute surgery: removal of the kidney stent, the Tenckhoff's catheter and the Permacath. I finally hit the surgery around 1pm and was out of the hospital just after 5. The removal of all these bits means I am now without encumbrances, after I heal up. At present, one of the sites, the Permacath, is a bit tender, and doughty Doris (who insisted on seeing me after surgery and attending to the dressings) has forbidden showers for two days. I'm fairly sure that they'll heal up quickly - touch wood.

Father came home for hamburger dinner. Peter and Lorraine are at Lucinda Williams' concert at the Palais, where I would have been too, but for the sudden surgery. Never mind. I'm very glad to get this step out of the way and be on the way to being 'normal' whatever that is.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

'Busy' weekend

On Saturday, P. and I went up to Coles, Johnston Street (off Brunswick) to do the shopping. We managed to get supplies for the week and bring them home without any great drama. We've now got ocean trout, the fixings for hamburgers, roast lamb and some other frozen items. As well, we'll be out for one night at an ANAM concert and will probably have Japanese in Clarendon Street (sadly no raw fish for the moment).

Today, we had a good lunch at the tea room at the St Kilda Road Gallery. The last time we were there was just before the surgery. This time I had my favourite crustless sandwiches, followed by a coffee eclair. Yum! Then it was off to the Recital Centre for the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra with the overture to Marriage of Figaro, the Beethoven triple concerto and the Mozart Jupiter symphony. All were played with the usual zest and panache. It was good to get back in the concert routine again.