Saturday, September 27, 2008

More surgery: Gak!

About two weeks ago I decided that a couple of my skin cancers were getting a bit obstreperous so I called my usual dermatologist cum plastic surgeon, the excellent Dr Russell Hills. He is the most expensive in town but also the best. And I speak as a connoisseur of plastic surgery -- with many years of experience. Anyway, I got an appointment for a consultation with him after only a week's wait and I was on the surgery table a week after that -- last Wednesday. A large contrast with the months of waiting I would have had through our local "free" hospital system. With cancers, waiting long periods is not wise.

I had two procedures, one of which was a rather large curette and diathermy on the middle of my forehead. So the next day my face was so swollen with edematous swelling that I had some difficulty seeing out of my eyes. I kept on blogging regardless however.

When Anne came over that night (Thursday) I was no way fit to dine out so Anne scrabbled around in my freezer and found a dozen or so French cutlets, a great favourite of mine. She grilled them up and served them with rice and baked beans. That may seem like an odd combination but rice and beans are in fact the staple of Mexican cuisine so it all worked very well.

Then for breakfast on Friday she dug out a medium size cheese and steak pie by "Muzza", our local genius pastrycook. So I dined and breakfasted very well thanks to Anne, which did help my spirits. I am not easily ground down but I was not feeling the brightest with my surgical aftermaths.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ken's birthday

A big family rollup for lunch at his place last Sunday. Anne and I Humbered there. Everyone was there as far as I can remember. "The men" (Ken, myself, Joe and Paul) mostly talked about the financial upheavals in America and the effect on our stockmarket but, as usual, I don't know what everybody else talked about. Though Lady Von got some praise for going into real-estate rather than the stockmarket.

Paul was the picture of gloom because he had put $100,00 into Suncorp at $11 per share or thereabouts and seen it sink to $7. I tried to tell him that his thinking was too short-term and that it would all bounce back in due course but I don't think he was much consoled. I bought Suncorp at around $18 from memory and I'm not worried.

Maureen had bought some excellent sausages for the BBQ and Anne had made one of her great trifles so at least the food was good.

I talked to Joe a bit and told him not to swim in rivers because you can get swept away! How banal can you get? I also however gave him a CD with the Sibelius musette on it so that should be a good memorial of the occasion.

He still seems set on being an actuary -- which is rather amusing because most people don't know what the hell that is! But as a mathematics graduate he is definitely allowed to do strange things!

I also talked a bit to Simon, who was just back from Qatar. He was amazed at what a dismal place Qatar is and definitely glad to be home with his lovely wife and family after 6 months away.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fathers' Day

Yesterday was Fathers' Day in Australia and Jenny gave me a lunch to mark the occasion -- as she usually does. This time she gave me a BBQ lunch featuring cevapi, which she knows I like.

And the lunch was good from the first smell. Present were Jenny, myself, Joe and Nanna.

We were both pleased that Joe got into the cevapi. Given the large similarities between him and me, that was rather to be expected but the reason we were pleased is that he normally will not eat sausages and cevapi are a type of sausage. So he just likes GOOD sausages!

Jenny has just had a visit of a few days from Nola and they went to all sorts of entertainment together, as usual. Jenny and Nola get on exceptionally well together and have done so for many years so I asked Jenny why she thought that was. She thought that she and Nola have similar attitudes and values but I would have not have thought that was terribly obvious. But feelings cannot be easily analysed anyway. One thing for sure: Both Jenny and Nola like FUN! And both view the world with a rather cynical and skeptical eye.

Nola is very irreverent and headstrong. One one occasion she was at a rather formal dinner party and they were going around the table saying who their best friend was. When it came to Nola's turn she said her best friend was her vibrator! She definitely does not like pomposity and pretence! It's probably the Irish in her as she is of Irish descent.

I brought with me to the lunch three copies of Dragon Cave, an old Amiga game that is one of Nanna's favourites. Nanna may be a lady in her 80s but she does like computer games. She has worn out several copies of Dragon Cave. It is a sokoban game.

After lunch, Joe and I looked on the computer for an audio clip of "Musette" by Sibelius. Joe did not know it and I knew he would like it. He did.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Piano and singers

Joe's music teacher put on a concert of her students at 4pm yesterday. Joe was the last on the program and played an unusual piece of Mozart's (Fantasy in C minor) very well. I have been paying for music lessons for him for 17 years now -- since he was 4 -- so I am pleased that it has all paid off.

I have just got to thinking what a diverse lot my favourite singers are: Josef Schmidt, Peter Dawson and Paul Robeson -- a Romanian Jewish tenor, an Australian bass baritone and a black American bass.

I absolutely love "Heut' ist der schoenste Tag in meinem Leben", a joyous love song by Schmidt.

And for Dawson, of course, THE song is "Floral dance".

There is an unusual history behind Floral dance. It was actually written by a woman for a woman and it makes slightly more sense in that form. Yet it was Dawson who revised it for a male voice and made it famous.

For the incredibly versatile Paul Robeson a favourite song is harder to pick but Ol' Man River is hard to beat.

So what do they have in common? Nothing as far as I can see. I just like their voices but don't ask me why. Though one thing that they have in common, sadly, is that they are all dead.

Since the Schmidt song is in German, I thought I might translate it -- so others can appreciate what it is all about. It is a literal translation rather than a poetic one. I have been doing poetic translations from German since I was 15 but they take more time and work::

Heut Ist Der Schoenste Tag In Meinem Leben


Heut ist der schoenste Tag in meinem Leben, ]
Today is the most beautiful day in my life
Ich fuehl zum ersten Mal, ich bin verliebt.
I feel for the first time, I am in love
Ich moechte diesen Tag fuer keinen geben
I would not swap this day for any other
Es ist ein Wunder, dass es sowas gibt.
It is a wonder that such a thing could exist
Heut will ich mit keinem tauschen
Today would I exchange with no other
Wer's auch ist und wer's auch immer sei,
Who ever else is like that may it ever be
Heut will ich mich berauschen,
Today I wish to intoxicate myself
Morgen ist's vielleicht vorbei.
Tomorrow it may be gone
Heut ist der schoensten Tag in meinem Leben
Today is the most beautiful day in my life
Heut ist der schoenste Tag im Monat Mai.
Today is the most beautiful day in the month of May

Wo ich bin und wo ich gehe,
Where I am and where I go
Ist das Glueck in meiner Naehe,
Isd the luck of what surrounds me
Heute singen alle Geiqen,
Today all fiddles sing
Fuer Dich und fuer mich.
For you and for me
Heute denk ich nicht an Morgen,
Today I don't think of tomorrow
Heute gibt es keine Sorgen,
Today there are no worries
Heut ist alle Tage Sonntag,
Today is an eternal Sunday
Fuer dich und fuer mich.
For you and for me


Auf die Woche folgt der Sonntag
After the week Sunday follows
Auf den Sonntaq folgt der Montag,
After Sunday comes Monday
Auf die Sonne folgt der Regen,
After the sun comes the rain
So ist das zumeist.
So it is in general
Auf die Trauer folgt die Freude,
After sadness comes joy
Und die Liebe fuer uns beide,
And love for us two
Und wer so wie wir verliebt ist,
And so for anybody in love like us
Der weiss was das heisst.
Who knows what that is



I have done a bit more work on the translation and the version below should be just barely singable


Now is the best time in all my life
I feel for the first time I am in love
I wouldn't give this day for any other
It is a wonder that such a thing could be
I won't swap this day with anyone else
Who ever it is or whoever it may be
Today I want to be drunk with it
For tomorrow it may be gone
Now is the best time in all my life
Now is the best time in the month of May

Verse 1

Where I am and where I go
Luck is in my neighbourhood
Today all fiddles are singing
For you and for me
Today there is no tomorrow
Today there are no worries
Today all days are Sunday
For you and for me

Verse 2

After the week comes Sunday
After Sunday comes Monday
After the sun comes the rain
So it mostly is
After sadness comes joy
And love for us two
And anyone else in love
Knows what that means