Wednesday, December 15, 2010

13 December

I went for a run after work today, observing things in a quirky amusing way to share later with my online friends, when I came over all queer in Federal Park and could no longer give a stuff about flowers, houses, street names, schools and how my personal history and current sensibilities intertwined with them all. The Story of a Run must wait for another time, for which I'll save up my Wry Musing Powers and Pow! like a slap in the face, you'll be quirked and bittersweeted until your eyes pop out.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

12 December

Clare's in a much better humour: her exoskeleton of control has grown back after being cracked by the surgeon's silver lobster-mallet on Friday. I picked her up from her place at 7am - she was sitting on her front step in the sun, playing her ukulele. "You'll do!" I cried as I pulled up in the car - and we went for a drive down to La Pérouse and swam in the chilly water of Botany Bay.

Afterwards I went to Michael's and took him to buy a Christmas tree from a grocer's on Regent Street.

Laine's wife died this morning. In the afternoon I met Neil and lent him my car to go down and help out.

I ate a chicken burger "meal" for dinner, and started drawing the picture for my Christmas card.

That was my sprawling ungainly Sunday.

Monday, December 13, 2010

11 December

Today I opened my painting - it came to work yesterday in the post, and I carried it home. That made my hand numb. It had a little rest at the chicken burger place, where I dined, then it came home with me and spent the night, packaged, against the wall. I wanted to see it first in the clear natural light with which my charming boudoir is bathed on sunny summer mornings. It is lovely - the painting - much brighter than the photos showed, but I am nervous of it. I have never possessed a painting before. I feel like a virginal husband with his new bride.

I had pasta for dinner tonight, made with cherry tomatoes from Laine's garden, split and fried in anchovy and garlic-flavoured oil, and tossed with fresh basil from my garden, and flakes of romano cheese. This is the first meal I have cooked since my birthday, and makes a change from those chicken burgers down the road.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

10 December

Work Christmas Party: the line for the hot food marquee was way too long to countenance actually standing in it, I thought. There was other food, and bottomless glasses of champagne, but no one to talk to. I went back to the office and posted some photos to Flickr- later on at home I watched Don's Party on DVD.

Poor Clare. Her 8 months of planning was spectacularly derailed today when her op was bumped to next week. She wept with vexation for the next 18 hours. It didn't help that her Mum, who'd sprung the "I'm coming to drive you to hospital and waiting until you wake up" gambit the night before - infuriating Clare, who'd been going to catch the bus - it didn't help that her Mum suggested, diffidently, that Clare might profit from learning some relaxation techniques.

9 December

I spent the evening with my friend Clare, drinking warm gin and watching our stories while lolling on her brown vinyl Jason Recliners™.  Thursdays isn't Our Night - that's Sunday - but Clare's going into hospital for "a minor procedure" tomorrow and my coming over tonight was part of the culmination of her (8 month) plan. We ate Thai and had our usual fascinating discussions: How Clare Spoils the Upstairs Cat (or, How the Upstairs Cat is Brutally Neglected by its Lowlife Owner); Raisin' Chillun; and Remote Control Skills, Lacks Thereof.

Friday, December 10, 2010

8 December

I had the afternoon off, and what did I do? Let's see: I scanned some old slides from my trip to Japan in 2005; I made an invitation for Laine's birthday party in January and sent it to him; I watered the garden and pulled out some potato vine growing in amongst the fading vines of Mrs Collier; I visited Michael who was sick at home, and ate a bowl of his chicken soup and watched the beginning of a "Bionic Woman"; I visited my friend J in Neutral Bay and borrowed a book from her; I went to JS's and we saw the latest Harry Potter at Castle Towers in a blessedly almost empty cinema; and I got home and to bed at 2am. Actually I didn't water the garden, but I probably should.

7 December

The Caesar salad I had today (with Nicole) was pretty good. But...

There's always a but. ALWAYS A BUT. This one had great cos lettuce, crisp and fresh and young and dry - the best cos lettuce I've ever had in a Caesar salad. BUT - the egg wasn't poached - it was delicious, the soft-boiled halves of 2 small eggs, but it wasn't a poached egg. The parmesan was ok, probably padana, shaved. BUT - the croûtons were little toasts you can buy in a packet, soaked in oil and baked, I think. They crumbled, so could fit in one's mouth, BUT - too oily, and too crumbly. And shop-bought. The bacon was great! Thin prosciutto, fried crisp, tasty and salty. That was good. BUT - the mayonnaise came as a "side". It was a generous serve, and deliciously anchovy-flavoured. BUT - the dish was dressed with not a single anchovy.

BUT - it was pretty good. One day I'll make one of my own. AND - there it is, my first New Year's resolution.

6 December

I clean forgot my lunch date with Nicole today. I went swimming instead. I haven't seen Nicole in 2.5 years! Though we both work at the University! It so wasn't subconscious punishment for her ignoring me.

5 December

I went out on "Quest" today, with Laine and Neil. After they did a couple of hours handyman maintenance, and I did a couple of hours of laying in the shade of the boom, we sailed on a lovely close reach to Quarantine Beach, and dropped our anchor. We sat in the sun and ate our lunch, and I swam in to the beach. I found out later that my friends S & M were there, I must have just missed them. I also missed the guy in speedoes who'd looked so good through Laine's binoculars.

4 December

I woke up at 3.30am, as you do when you drink six pints of beer the night before. When I didn't get back to sleep, I got up and went to Canberra, just as Dawn's rosy fingers waggled over in the east.

I have about 50 cassette tapes which I never use but haven't parted with. In an effort to winnow them, I'd picked out half a dozen to listen to on the trip with an idea of splitting them into "keep/find on CD" and "chuck" piles. (CD! I mean find on iTunes don't I?)

Sizzling Seventies, a double-cassette, was just as good as I remembered it. No really. I remember every single one of these tracks. Easy Driving Music, which Michael and I got on our US road trip in '98, was pretty bad, but it did have Helen Reddy's "Angie Baby" on it, which made us get a Helen Reddy Best of, and we used to while away the time on the road, making up compilations of Mad Woman songs. (Helen Reddy was a heavily featured performer, with Cher a close second.) My friend Alex, who makes music under the name Ollo, had sampled some of us a decade ago and mixed it up for a birthday cassette one year. That was funny.  "Woodsmoke" refers to something I once said, a carful of us were driving in the northern suburbs one winter's night years ago, and I smelled smoke from a wood-fire. "There's a hint of woodsmoke on the air" I remarked with delight, and with delight everyone in the car died laughing at my quaint turn of phrase.

My brother Andrew had made this mix tape for me, he made the cover-drawing as well. I quote from the inside sleeve: "I worked long and hard on this; selecting, editing and perfecting it, just for you. I trawled my collection for what I thought you'd enjoy..." and I did enjoy it, from Side 1 Track 1 - Hugo Montenegro's "Moog Power" onwards.

So I'll be keeping these four.

Monday, December 06, 2010

3 December

I bought a painting today, I bought it for real cash money. Quite a lot of real cash money, but it's money I might not have had (that's another story), so buying a painting seemed like a good use for it. One of Nancy Mitford's heroines bought jewellery with windfall money, it's that kind of thing.

The painting is in Japan, drying in a wintry fire-warmed Japanese loungeroom in an icy northern harbour city. It's green and blue - the painting, but also a lot of that island. It's a painting of a shed, an honest, stalwart sort of thing, that my friend who painted it really likes. She can see it from her little place on the coast, and she doesn't tire of painting it.

There are little sailing boats scored into the background, they're for me, because I like sailing.

I put the real cash money in an envelope and dropped it into a post box. It was the best way, my friend told me. It's her own fault if it gets lost, she said. The bank fees are crazy, she explained. I told her I had the horrors when I dropped it in, and felt queasy afterwards, but actually I didn't, I just let it happen in a moment, and then that moment was gone.

My painting

Friday, December 03, 2010

2 December

I had a look at my garden this morning. I found some ripe raspberries on the vine, and I picked a bunch of the last of Mrs Collier, the white sweetpea, and took them to work. A woman at the coffee shop struck up a conversation with me on seeing them. I knew she would. She had that look in her eye.

Mrs Collier sits in a wine glass on my window sill. The skies have begun to clear and the louvres are open, and all I can do is enjoy Mrs Collier's perfume wafting in on the balmy zephyrs.

After Christmas drinks I was going to go straight home and watch that tv show, really, but instead I went for a walk around the shores of Glebe Point. On the way down to the water I found the first frangipani blossom of my summer, already fallen. At the water I watched the dragon boats training, and wondered what motivated those teams, with all that sweating exertion and the bellowing of their coxswains. I saw a young guy settling in for the evening on his ketch in Blackwattle Bay, and shared the path with joggers, cyclists and dog-walkers. Sometimes I caught their gaze and tried to imagine them. The breeze was blowing from the huge bridge towering across the bay, and I hoped that when people looked into my eyes, they saw clouds scudding across a silver sky before a cool north-east breeze.

When I got home I lay down for a moment (I had eaten 300 semi-fried dumplings at drinks) and woke up three hours later, the frangipani blossom crushed somehow beneath me.

1 December

Heavy soaking showers came in great waves all day today. I went for my swim at lunchtime, and all that rain had cooled the water, and made it taste sweet, and chased all the people away.

People don't go swimming when it rains. Once I saw a woman get out of the pool, and as she ran to the change-room she put her kickboard over her head so she wouldn't get wet.