Thursday, March 30, 2023

Medical matters

On Monday 27th I had a farewell breakfast with Von and Jenny in preparation for Von flying home to NZ early the next morning.

I wasn't feeling too bright during the breakfast. I felt very washed out and fuzzy-headed. So I went to bed shortly after I got home. I ended up sleeping most of the day. But at 10pm I woke up feeling back to normal. There was flu about so I think I had it. But I tend to get over flu after just a good sleep so I think that is what happened. I am very lucky that way.

And today I was given an appointment with a surgeon to get a rather nasty looking skin cancer cut out of my leg. The appointment is for tomorrow (Friday) afternoon so I will probably stay in bed for the rest of the day to give the excision time to heal. It will be a rather large one

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

A family reunion

Jenny's daughter Yvonne and son Paul are back in Brisbane on holiday for a short while. Paul's wife Susan, son Matthew and daughters Elise and Primrose are also here. Jenny and I have been missing them all badly so it is wonderful to see them all again.

They arrived on Saturday morning so Jenny put on a breakfast for everyone, including Susan's famiy. It amused me a little to see both Susan's mother and stepmother together on the occasion. Both are lively ladies. Paul sat with me for most of the time as we have always enjoyed discussions about what constitutes wise behaviour. After a while, Ken also joined in, with Paul immediately disagreeing with him, as is their custom. Religion and morality was the main topic

Some pix from the occasion.

Paul's gorgeous wife Susan

My decrepit self flanked by two lovely ladies

Elise is very cuddly

Primrose is very feminine too

Then that night Jenny put on a smaller gathering for closer relatives, featuring a spaghetti dinner. I managed to get most of the spaghetti down but my clumsiness saw some of it end up elsewhere, to my embarrassment. I really tried to keep it all on track but it was not to be. Joe told us all a lot about his work and how his elevation to management level has given him the unpleasant task of firing one of the employees.

On Sunday morning, Joe, Jenny, Von and I went tothe "Chatterbox" at Mt Gravatt for breakfast. I had my usual there, a club sandwich

Then on Monday night Jenny, Yvonne, Joe and I went to the Burmese restaurant. I had the roast duck as usual and Jenny had the sizzling seafood, as did Von. Joe was not feeling very talkative but I managed to draw him into the conversation a couple of times.

Yesterday (Tuesday) was present day. Jenny again put on a great dinner featuring that family favourite, egg rolled pork. Susan brought out presents for Joe and me, featuring British foods that we don't see in Australia. Among many other things, I got some German rum, raisin and hazelnut chocolate by "Brenner" that went down particularly well

I didn't see them today as Wednesday is a day I always share with Zoe. She was a bit down in the dumps when she arrived but was in reasonably good cheer by the time she left. She is still thinking of buying a house on Lamb Island but seems to have decided against it on account of the midges there.

Update of 23rd., Paul's birthday: Jenny put on a party in her backyard with both sides of Paul's family present. Tim and Rachel were also there for a while with Liam, a classic little blondie boy. Jenny provided some very tasty kebabs plus a type of risotto. There were also two good Pavlovas.

Primrose took a fancy to Joe and wrapped herself around him in a display of classic femininity. I had undergone a urological procedure at the Wesley hospital that morning so was not very lively. So watching Primrose was a fun distraction. She is a very confident little girl

Update of 25th: We all went over to Joe's place on Saturday morning to look at his musical instrument collection and hear him play. He has reached the top grade in piano playing. Jenny brought over food for lunch for us all. Joe is definitely a collector. He has for instance two old pedal organs. Jenny and I both collect things so we did wonder for a while if he too would be a collector but what he in fact started to collect was a a surprise.

Joe did play for us for a short while but for most of the morning the piano was taken over by another very competent pianist: Matthew, aged 11. He even played us some Philip Glass, which we all were pleased to hear.

A few days before, I had for some reason recited half a dozen of the opening stanzas of the Latin poem "Stabat Mater" -- Stabat mater dolorosa juxta crucem lacrimosa -- and Paul immediately wanted me to teach it to Matthew -- as Matthew is learning Latin at school and likes it. So when we could get Matthew off the goanna I did go through the poem with him line by line and taught him the church pronunciation of it. It will be quite a party piece for him. It is one of mine. I guess it is a bit odd for an atheist like me to be teaching a work of Marian devotion but it is simply a good poem. And Pergolesi's setting of it is sublime. My favourite performance of the Pergolesi setting is below:

My comments on the performance here

I had a good chat with Susan at one stage, telling her of some good things I saw in both her girls -- including that I saw a bright future for Primrose. Susan is bright, beautiful and kind but is despite that not terribly self-confident so it is pleasing to both of us to see that Primrose has self-confidence by the bucketful -- a legacy from Paul

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Zoe goes on another trip

Zoe's trip to Malaysia and Laos has whetted her appetite for holidays. She is this evening (Thurs) on Lamb Island in Moreton bay on another holiday. She is seeing a businessman I happen to know. He will be hosting her at his weekender there for a couple of days. She is looking forward to swimming in the sea there.

Initially, on Wednesday, Zoe told me only that she was going to spend a couple of days on an island with someone she had recently met. As she had met him only once before, I thought that sounded a bit risky so suggested that she give me his particulars before she left. I said. "I am your family". She agreed, saying "You are my ONLY family". So she gave me what details she had

Anyway it turned out that I knew he man (KC) from a music group we both used to attend so I had a bit of a chat with him on the phone yesterday about old times

She sent me some pictures of the house she is visiting. It looks pretty decrepit and almost abandoned

I got a text from her at about 9pm saying that she was thinking of coming home a day early (Friday)

Saturday morning update: I have just heard from her. She appears to be enjoying her holiday somewhat after all and will stay on tonight.

Sunday update (19th): She's back! She enjoyed some things about her holiday, mainly swimming in the nude in the sea and the fresh sea air. But she did not relate well to KC. She was very critical of his poor state of health, his decrepit house and his failure to give any respect to her food and health ideas. The clash over the latter was so bad, apparently, that he at one time told her that she was fat and wrinkly! For a man who has been married 4 times he seems to know surprisingly little about women. No wonder his last wife was a patient Asian

He sounds rather narcissistic in fact. It is a trait of narcissists to put others down in the foolish belief that it makes themselves look good

Below is a picture of the bed that KC gave her to sleep on. It is very narrow (50cm; 20"). He said the alternative was to sleep with him. She chose the narrow bed. She says that she nonetheless slept well because of the sea air coming through the open windows

When Zoe arrived back at my place around 1pm, we went to Nando's for lunch, followed by eating cold watermelon on my verandah, which was very pleasant on a hot day. We had a lot of laughs about one thing or another, as we usually do. We were both happy to be back in one-another's company

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

A find

Jenny went to a church sale and saw a PAIR of mini oil lamps. It is the mini ones I like best. She paid $2 ea and gave them to me this evening

Monday, March 6, 2023

She's back!

I was still half asleep at 7am in my bed yesterday when I heard some noises from nearby. I opened my bedroom door and there she was -- all clad in yellow. She had taken a taxi from the airport and I had left my front door open in case she arrived before I was up.

She had a lot to tell so we spent an hour talking before she went to bed in my guestroom at about 8am. She had not been able to sleep on the plane so was very tired. My previous night had been a bit disturbed too, probably out of excitement at her anticipated arrival. So I went back to bed for about an hour and a half as well.

She emerged at 11am and we went to Nando's for a brunch. We of course continued a discussion of her trip there, with quite a lot of mention of S, her travel companion who had dumped her in Laos. She has a very good sense of humour -- as I do -- so we are always laughing while we are together but S is much more sombre. She referred to him as "Stoneface". So I emerged in a very favourable light in comparison with S and Zoe told me there that I was "fantastic". A good homecoming! I eventually drove her home in mid-afternoon. We had some affectionate times together throughout. She was very warm to me as I was leaving

It emerged what was behind S dumping her. He tended to walk ahead of her, ignoring her. So she eventually got impatient with him and kicked him lightly in the leg to get his attention. But he is 77 and not too good on his feet so that alarmed him and he immediately went back to their hotel and moved out, leaving her to fend for herself. She has Serbian "inat" however so was not much fazed. Being very smart and very fit, she could look after herself pretty well

She greatly enjoyed Laos and took some trips around it while she was there. the Lao People's Democratic Republic is an unreformed Communist country so differs markedly from its neighbors and Zoe rather enjoyed the differences. She liked the absence of traffic jams and found the people to be very relaxed, which she admired. She also found tourist accommodation and other costs to be very cheap despite being of reasonable quality. The souvenirs she brought back were local craft products. The cellphone holder is made of bamboo and the purse features elephants, which Laotians are rather proud of

That Communist rule can have its attractions if you keep your head down is something I have previously noted about the former East Germany and the current Belarus. People tend to be more brotherly and friendly there, which Zoe admired

As is common after travel abroad she has come down today (Monday) with a cold but has found time to send me many messages

Update of Tuesday 7th.: She came over today between 2pm and 4pm for lunch and was still mentally processing her time with S. When she was explaining her dissatisfaction with him, she made a comment that rather amused me. She noted that she had travelled a long way across the world to be with him but despite that: "He didn't say one nice thing to me and I can't stand that!". I say lots of nice things to her.

She also says that at no time has he tried to touch her in any way, despite plenty of opportunity to so. He sounds rather schizoid in fact.