Monday, October 18, 2021

An unusual night


Over the years, Jenny and I have always liked a glass or two of wine with our dinner.  Recently, however, we have not been able to do that.  Jenny has to drive home after dinner and in her usual cautious way refuses to drive with alcohol in her system. I would be quite happy to drive her but she refuses to travel with me driving.  Those who know my driving will understand.

So last night Jenny slept over in my guest room so we could revert to custom.  Jenny celebrated the occasion by making one of my favourite dishes -- Wiener Schnitzel.  Schnitzel is a seemingly simple dish but cooking a good one is in fact quite complex.  The major "secret" is that you must fry it in ghee.  Ghee gives it that wonderful buttery taste.

For booze we opened a bottle of good old Seaview "champagne"

Jenny upheld her Australian honour by drinking half the bottle but I felt like only one glass so the dinner was no riot.

But there was an unexpected sequel:  At about midnight I chucked the whole of my dinner up.  I think I know what caused it so will not buy that product again.  Jenny  fortunately remained well.  I felt fine the morning after so the problem was clearly nothing serious.

Overnight stays imply breakfast the next morning so for brek we went to a place at Stones Corner that Jenny knew: "Clove & Honey".  It was "innovative" so I was a bit wary and just ordered a cheeseburger. Even the burger turned out to be innovative, however, -- containing calamari!  I am quite keen on calamari so that was no problem.  Jenny talked them into doing a gluten-free eggs-Benedict, something she really likes.  We went to the nearby op-shops afterward, where I did make a small purchase

Friday, October 15, 2021

My most recent presents to Anne


I saw two rather attractive pieces yesterday so bought them:  A blue bangle and a very fancy necklace.  







I have been buying Anne costume jewellery almost weekly for years now so she must by now have just about the biggest collection in Brisbane.  The only pity is that she has neither a daughter nor a grand-daughter to leave it to.  But she wears it with enthusiasm now so that is the main thing. She particularly likes strong colours so the bangle should be a hit

But my reward is great too.  As the apostle Paul said:  "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35)

Thursday, September 30, 2021

The one night of the week


Most nights Jenny comes over and cooks dinner for herself, myself and Joe.  So we regularly have family dinners!

On Wednesday, however, Jenny stays home at her place and has a craft night with her lady friends.  On that night I cook for myself and Joe.  I am no chef but there are a few simple things that I cook which turn out fairly well.

I have a Ukrainian tenant named Vlad who lives downststairs.  He doesn't seem to have much of a life but is always cheerful, helpful and ready for a chat.  Recently, he had some medical problems that were clearly getting him down.  So I thought to cheer him up by inviting him  to share our Wednesday dinners.

That worked out well.  Some nights Joe is held up at work and misses the set dinnertime.  On those occasions I do still have company at dinner -- Vlad.  I much prefer that to eating alone, though I have done plenty of solo dining over the years

And Vlad also happens to like classical music so is also happy to sit with me  when I put on classical music after dinner.  So including Vlad works well.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Costume Jewellery


There is often a lot of thought and craftsmanship put into costume jewellery.  In some ways it is a superior form of jewellery as it does not rely for its interest on containing precious stones.  It has to please in its own right.  I regard it an underappreciated form of art.

So it is in keeping that I give Anne a lot of costume jewellery.   She and I seem to have very similar taste in what looks good. -- something striking but not ostentatious

At our meeting this morning, Anne was wearing a pair of ear-rings that I gave her quite recently.  I think they exemplify our joint taste






Thursday, September 23, 2021

Good sex

Most people who know me are aware that I have been married four times.  In getting to that point, it is obvious that I have been to bed with a lot of women over the years.  

I make no claim however about my performance in bed.  As far as I know, it is completely average, unoriginal and unadventurous.  The ladies concerned have however never complained about my performance at the time and I have always been happy with them. I can in fact take sex or leave it and I have often left it for long periods.

But there is just one episode in my career that I think is worth recording.  I will call the lady X as I obviously cannot reveal her identity.  The sex was only one part of a very good relationship that lasted for more than a year but I think it was notable in its own right.

As we entered the bedroom, the lady would close the door behind us.  She would then let down her long hair.  She normally wore it up.  In my experience women do normally let their hair down before sex.  I think it is from that that we have the expression "letting your hair down" to mean having unrestrained fun of any sort.  At any event I always liked it when my partners did that.  It seemed very symbolic.

After the usual foreplay, I would get us started by getting on top of her in the best missionary tradition.  But that did not last.  After a minute or so she would get on top of me.  I would just lie there flat out while she did all the work.  The great benefit of that is that the man takes longer to come that way. So the lady gets more time to come and the man has an extended period of pleasure.  It worked so well that X would often come with a scream.  I like a screamer. There are not a lot of them but it seems to confirm that I have done something well.

At any event I would recommend that system to anybody who is inclined to it.  It is a win-win situation.

Monday, September 20, 2021

An eventful day

Yesterday I had lunch at the Phams with an old friend from Sydney in the 70s, John H. We saw a lot of one another in the old days so we had a lot to talk about. He was very concerned with my health during my recent illness so I appreciated that. He lives in Brisbane these days so we have arranged to meet more frequently. As you can see below, he is in a lot better shape than I am



And then that night we had a blackout!

We have been having frequent blackouts in Brisbane lately. But they have been short-lived and happened after midnight, so the only bother from them has been a frequent need to reset your electric clocks.

But last night was different. The power outage was for about 2 hours starting at about 8:30pm. It didn't bother me much though. I have about 15 oil lamps and various candles so I was soon well lit up again.

My hurricane lamp was particularly useful. I could walk around with it lighting my path. I also set it up to act as a night light I generally have some source of light on at sleep-time. It was well positioned in the room to give light to the whole room. You will see it below on its elevated shelf.



In the old days one would normally lose work in progress on your computer during a blackout. But now that laptops are almost universally used as your main personal computer, that is no longer a worry. The laptop battery keeps the computer going without interruption. I in fact was able to resume exactly what I was doing before the blackout.

Fortunately, I had put all my blogs up well before the blackout so the blackout did not delay their availability

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Light on the situation


Most weeks I give Anne a small present, usually costume jewellery.  I have a pretty good idea of her taste so she is usually enthusiastic about what I give her.  She says that when she wears it, other ladies often compliment her on it.

My most recent present was a bit different, however.  I gave her a new but old-fashioned hurricane lamp!  That probably sounds bizarre but she, George and I all like oil lamps.  George has given her a very nice large table lamp. So I decided to give her an oil lamp that she can carry about during blackouts or for nights when she is caravanning.

And she definitely liked it.  Unprompted by me she has just sent the picture below of the lamp concerned lighting up a scrabble game



Monday, September 13, 2021

Surprising service


Qld Xray is the name of a private firm that seems to have tentacles in all Brisbane hospitals, public and private.  They do it all: Xrays, CT scans, PET scans, MRIs.  I have used their services  a number of times in different hospitals with no complaints but nothing worth mentioning either.

Last night it was different.  I went to their branch at the Mater Public hospital nearby to me.  My appointment was arranged only a few days beforehand and was down for 8pm.  I chose a night appointment as they bulk bill those (meaning they are "free" to me).  My specialist had asked for two scans, a CT scan and an MRI.  CT scans are routine but MRIs are a bit of a big deal.

I thought that,  with two scans to do, my time there would probably be fairly lengthy.  But, as it happened, they were super efficient and called me in with minutes of my arriving on time.  And they were also efficient in doing the two scans.  I went from one to the other in short order.  The result?  I walked out of there at 8:30.  They took only 30 minutes to put me through two scans!

Pretty amazing.  I will go to them again.  

I must be one of the most scanned people in Brisbane.  I seem always to be put through them by my doctors.  This one was to investigate a slightly cricked neck, probably arthritis.

Because it is almost always a private firm doing medical scans in Brisbane, one usually has to wait  only a few days to get any scan the doctors request.  I have had some done same-day or the next day.  I have also had some done after midnight when it seemed urgent.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Printer woes


My old printer died so I had to get a new one.  The one I chose -- a HP Deskjet 2700e -- was not expensive -- $55 -- as I don't need anything fancy.  

The setting up of a new printer has become a bigger and bigger challenge as the years have gone by so I was rather cheered by the motto on the box, which said: "Keep it simple".  I wish they had. The setup was incredibly long and difficult.  I worked at it for about 20 minutes and got so far and then Joe took over.  Joe is a computer maven.  He solves incredibly difficult computer problems for his work.

But it took another half hour of solid trying  before Joe got the thing to work.  How the ordinary citizen is supposed to make it work it I do not know,  I suspect that setting up printers will become a new trade.  You don't even try to do it yourself.  You call a printer guy

I do however have a handy hint for future printer installers:  Reboot your computer before you start.  It is only after Joe did that that things began to happen with my printer.

I guess a bonus is that printers don't get stolen these days.  My printer is specifically set up for my computer.  So it would not work on any other computer unless the thief was a setup genius.  Lesson:  Don't buy a secondhand printer


Sunday, September 5, 2021

Joe x 2


I had a meal with son Joe twice today. The first was our usual Sunday breakfast at the pie shop.  For a change I ordered savoury mince and it was quite good.  I think they used some tomato product in it.

Then  I also had dinner with Joe.  It was Father's day so he asked me what I wanted.  I made my usual request that he give me a dinner on our verandah.  I asked for Wiener Schnitzel.  He looked in 3 supermarkets for oven-ready schnitzel but found none.  So he got chicken Kievs instead -- which is a good substitution as both dishes are crumbed.

He cooked it in his oven and said that it was the first time he had used that oven.  It was a new gas oven that I had installed about a year ago.  But he must have got the settings right as the Kievs were perfectly cooked.  He provided a pasta salad with it.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Necklaces


A strange habit I have is to give Anne a piece of costume jewellery almost every week -- usually after our Saturday morning breakfast. And she does like my choices and does wear a piece of it from time to time.  Today I excelled myself and gave her TWO necklaces, both of which she liked

There is a picture of the most interesting one below.  It is a costume copy of a black opal necklace and is very well done.  They have even gone to the trouble of making the "stones" into a shape into which opals are commonly cut -- a sort of rounded triangle. Only their large size tells you that they are not genuine.  Anne wears a lot of black so they will be useful to her.



Wednesday, September 1, 2021

An anniversary


Today was the 16th anniversary of Anne and me meeting.  Our relationship has undergone various changes over time but it is still warm and we do see one-another once a week -- and sometimes more. As usual, we did a celebration of the anniversary.  Our customary meal for special occasions is lamb cutlets and so it was at my place at lunchtime today.  We had fried onions, coleslaw and a French stick to go with it.  Anne did the cooking.

For starters we usually have natural oysters but a recent article on how sick you can get from eating raw oysters put us off.  So I bought us three different types of pate as an entree instead.  Anne took most of it home to have on toast

So we enjoyed our lunch and had a lie down afterward listening to music

I did of course buy flowers for Anne -- which she appreciated -- but I did not keep a picture of them

It was actually an eventful day for me as I also went to Nandos for dinner with Joe.  We too spent some time afterwards listening to classical music



Saturday, August 28, 2021

Astra Zeneca



It is now more than 24 hours since I have had my first shot of Astra Zeneca -- and I have had ZERO side effects -- no aching bones, no high temperatures. Just my usual perfect health. My immune system once again seems to have done an exemplary job.

I was afraid that I might experience enough adverse symptoms to interfere with my usual Saturday morning with Anne. But we were in fact able to do all our usual activities. I even got some Portuguese custard tarts for our 11am cup of tea

Why Astra Zeneca? Mainly because it seems to give the longest period of immunity

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

A small drama with an unexpected ending


I seem to have a talent for losing my car keys.  Because of that I always carry a backup set with me -- in a different pocket.  So a few days ago when I again lost my keys it was no inconvenience.  I just used my backup set. So my backup set became my main set

But that meant that I was now short of a backup set.  So I went in to my local Pakistani keycutter to get a new copy of my car key.  I knew however that  he sometimes does not get his copies right so I parked my car very close to his kiosk.  My caution was vindicated.  To the surprise of neither of us, the copy he gave me in return for $66 did not work.  So he had a second try.  But that did not work either

So we were now in deep waters.  He said that my key was faulty and that is why he could not copy it.  He asked did I have another key that might copy better.  I replied that I had only the one key.  All the others I had lost.

He could see however that I needed to have a reserve key so took it on himself to get me a usable copy by hook or by crook.  He actually got into my car's electronics to see if he could read the code my car took.  I don't know how far he got with that before I remembered something.  My son Joe drives my car at times so he has a key to it.  So the keycutter's mate drove me to my place so I could borrow Joe's key

That worked better.  The copy taken off Joe's key did work the doors and the ignition but it did not open the boot.  So it was some use as a backup but not great. So I let matters ride with them at that point and decided to try a different locksmith the next day.

So I found a locksmith near me and started again.  But it was not plain sailing with him either.  He gave me a copy without the black knob on the end of it.  He said that the black knob was not needed.  He was sort of right. The knobless key opened my doors and turned the motor over  -- but the motor would not start.  It needed the electronics in the black knob to go.

He was a bit embarrassed by that and on the second try gave me a new key -- with knob -- that worked perfectly.  And here's the surprise:  He didn't charge me for it!  So I ended up with an imperfect copy for $66 and a perfect copy for free!  Beat that!

Monday, August 23, 2021

On being offended


It is a reasonable diagnosis to say that I am a high-functioning autistic.  I have discussed the evidence for that previously.  Just admitting to being autistic  is itself autistic, I think

And there is something about me which I have long been aware of but which I now realize is profoundly autistic:  I never get offended by anything.  In all my life I can recall no occasion when I was offended by anything or anyone.  I have sometimes acted offended when I thought it was expected of me but there has been no feeling behind the act.

So when people criticize me I simply see it as information. It tells me something about the critic and may tell me something about myself.  I perceive only the informational component of a criticism, nothing more .  I just don't understand why or how people get offended by things.  It is basically a mystery and a surprise to me

That does let me down at times. I rather often do or say things that offend people without my meaning to.  The thing would not offend me so I don't expect anyone else to be offended by it.

My deficit in that regard is however also a blessing.  Being offended seems to be a rather unpleasant feeling so I am glad to be free of it.  I sail through life with a great calmness and serenity of mind

Sunday, August 22, 2021

"There is nothing more that we can do for you"

If you hear those words from your doctor, it will normally be a knell of doom.  It will mean that your illness is so far gone that it is untreatable and that  you will probably die soon

So I will always remember the moment my oncologist said those words to me.  Fortunately, in my case he followed with the words: "You are in complete remission".  He meant that I was so  completely cured that there was nothing left for him to treat

People will probably congratulate me for being so lucky.  But it was nothing to do with luck.  What happened was that I was treated by an eminent professional in Australia's private health system who arranged for me to get advanced treatment as part of a clinical trial of a new medicine.  I was the beneficiary of specialized knowledge, not luck.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Rehab going well


After the defeat of my life-threatening illness comes rehab and I am making steady progress with it.  Today was a notable waypoint on my journey back to normality:  I completed the full ritual of a Saturday breakfast with Anne.  Ritual?  Yes.  Anne and I have a set of things that we have long done at Saturday breakfasts.  It is very stereotyped but it is simply the things that we enjoy doing.  I will outline it:

I drove us to the Phams where I have a booking for 9am.  Anne particularly likes the coffee there and they have a very good menu. We order something familiar from the menu and enjoy it.   I ate the whole of one of my usual breakfasts (calamari)  -- something I could not do while I was ill. 

We then went to to Woolworths to pick up a few things.  I always tell Anne to put her choices in my trolley and I pay for them as if they were my own,  It is very rare for me to let a lady put her hand in her pocket. One of the things I always like to buy if available is Portuguese custard tarts -- and today I did score  some.

Something we used to do in the happy day before Covid was to finish our visit to Woolworths by sitting for10 minutes on the seat outside and watch the passing parade.  With the advent of Covid, however, they took that seat away and it has never reappeared. There was however there today an unoccupied seat a little further away.  So we sat there for a while.  It was good to revive that custom.

We then went to the local Vinnies to look for anything unusual that we might like.  I  can  usually find a piece of costume jewellery that Anne likes and I buy it for her.  We found today an ivory-look  bangle of a sort that Anne said she had "always wanted".  She was wearing a very pretty set of earrings that I had previously given her.

We then went home and lay around listening to classical music, with a cup of tea around 11am.  We had a custard tart with it

Then Anne went home around 12noon with a big departure kiss to send her on her way

Below are some things I have bought for Anne recently.  The item on the left is a fold-up lady's mirror





Thursday, August 12, 2021

COMPLETE REMISSION


Magic words those.  The cancers in my stomach are gone.  I have always had a good immune system and over a 9 week period the immunotherapy has energized it into completely killing the cancer cells

My life expectancy is once again measurable in years

At dinner that night we had  a Black Forest torte to celebrate




Addenda:

The treatment I received  was KEYTRUDA, which has shown "sustained, long-term survival benefit and durable responses".  So the cancers should stay away

The diagnosis of remission was based on PET scans.  My most recent PET scan showed nothing where there had previously been cancer

My treatment was over 9 weeks, which is very short.  Some treatments run for 30 weeks

Sikhs and I

Jenny and I were driving along Logan Rd in Brisbane yesterday when we passed the Sikh gurdwara (temple) there.  I remarked that I had had Sikhs around my life since childhood and had always had a good impression of them.   I remember in my early teens how a tall dignified brown man in a blue turban gave me a tract about Guru Nanak (founder of Sikhism).  It was published by the Gurpurb publishing company, a name which I have never been able to forget.  I read the tract

Jenny endorsed my opinion of Sikhs and reminded me that in her travels in India in her youth she had been to Amritsar and actually slept in the GoldenTemple there -- a beneficiary of Sikh charity

When I was in London for  a year in 1977, there were a lot of small shops there run by Sikhs.  I was in one such shop once  when I saw some old fool abusing the employees there, telling them how he had won the war and Sikhs had done nothing.  In truth of course many Sikh families had lost sons in Britain's wars. I was quietly enraged by this so as I walked past the fool on my way out the door I gave him a heavy shoulder bump which sent him to the floor.  It was probably wrong of me to do that and a Briton would never have done it.  But I am not British.  I am Australian

On another occasion I was in the habit of shopping at Sikh store near where I lived at the time.  The Sikhs working there were used to getting a cold shoulder from their British customers.  But, given my view of Sikhs,  I always walked into their store with a smile on my face and was very friendly to them.  The Sikhs seemed initially to be surprised by such treatment from a "British" customer but warmed to it.  And one day when I had ordered two samoosas for snack, they popped a third samoosa into the bag at no charge.

I think Islam tends to make men into monsters.  Sikhism makes them into gentlemen.

Although Sikhs are sometimes mistaken for Muslims because they wear turbans, Sikhism in fact started out as an Indian alternative to Islam and Sikhs fought the Muslims almost from the inception of Sikhism.



Some Sikhs in the company of a well-known Christian gentleman

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

An excellent new performance



A great favourite song of mine is "Moscow nights" -- as sung in the Red square by Dmitry Hvorostovsy and Anna Netrebko. I was looking forthat version to play to Anne after our breakfast yesterday when I accidentally came across a new version -- featuring Dmitry as usual but with Aida Garifullina as his female counterpart. I was transfixed. She matched Dmitry in the brilliance of her performance. Netrebko is no slouch but Garifullina eclipsed her. It was her best performance yet to my mind. And she dressed to look Russian, which she is



Anne was much taken with her as well and asked me to find other pieces sung by her, which I enthusiastically did "O mio babbino caro", "Ave Maria ", "Time to say good bye" etc.

So her performance with Dmitry was a very pleasant discovery for both Anne and me

I also put on some Monteverdi -- "Zefiro Torna" which again was new to Anne and which he greatly liked

Monday, August 9, 2021

A RED-LETTER DAY

Today for the first time in months I was able to resume my old breakfast routine with Anne.  We went to the Phams and got regular meals off the menu.  It might seem a small thing but I have been unable to do it for months now so to return to an old and treasured routine was a great pleasure.

And we did the second part of our routine too -- a visit to Vinnies.  And it was an unusually good day there.  I found THREE things to give Anne that she liked, including a very fancy lady's pocket mirror

And Anne was wearing a pair of earrings that I had given her recently. See below: