Saturday, 31 October 2009

Targetting brassieres and things

I've been a bit lazy with my blogging lately. It is not that I haven't been doing anything but most of what I have been doing has been routinely domestic or otherwise seemingly unworthy of a blog post.

For example yesterday I spent several hours trawling Target, K-Mart and the like looking for women's clothes. How, I hate shopping for women's clothes! I have all sorts of problems with sizes and don't start on the issue of purchasing suitable brassieres and knickers.

Now before you conclude that I am outing myself as a transvestite I should clarify that the laundry at my mother's nursing home may be super industrial but it also chews through clothing in no time at all. So I periodically have to purchase new outer and under garments for my mother to replace those 'murdered' by the laundry.

I have no female relatives other than my mother and an aunt, both of whom have dementia, and so responsibility for purchasing the new items falls to me. It seems to me that the high end Department stores do not cater for women in their eighties so I focus on the discount type outlets.

I can manage the selection of polo tops and even trousers for my mother without too much difficulty but those undergarments give me the to speak.

I am turning to a good female friend to help me out.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

The Box

It is 1976 and a stranger makes Cameron Diaz and James Marsden a bizarre offer.

Late in The Box Marsden tells Diaz "It's a place; neither here...nor there". I know how he feels. Someone has mixed up their genres. For the first forty minutes or so this film brews nicely as an Alfred Hitchcock style thriller when suddenly it transforms into a 1950s MGM B-grade science fiction fantasy replete with mysterious out of body type terrestrials and thumping background music a la Forbidden Planet. Not only that but it comes with (queue deep booming echoing voice here) 'A MESSAGE'.

Ooooh! Aaaah!

This stew of mumbo jumbo is best consumed cuddled with your lover on a wet, wintery night.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

A garden of Eden

A section of the display gardens, today.

It was just as well that several days of rain and cold gave way today to warmer and sunny weather as we had an outing scheduled for the Day Centre participants. We took them to Eden Gardens, an enterprise centred around gardening which features display gardens, landscape services, stores, convention/reception facilities and a popular cafe.

I had never been to the complex before and am not really into gardening but I can see that it is a pleasant venue to spend a few sunny leisure hours. For one thing you can wander around the place for free and there is lots of space to laze around on the grass if you wish.

The restaurant where we had our lunch was quite impressive. Our meals were of good quality and the service was speedy and efficient notwithstanding the large number of diners. I was told the restaurant is regularly as busy as we experienced today. There were large groups of mothers with prams and babies in tow dining there today but for some reason none of the noise that usually accompanies such groups.

On the advice of others I ordered a kiddies meal which proved to be extraordinarily substantial and came with a complimentary fruit juice and small ice cream bucket. I'm not sure that they normally permit adults to purchase the kiddies meals. I think this was a special deal they allowed for the Nursing Home group.

I noticed that the complex hosts outdoor evening movie screenings in a deal which includes dinner and drinks.

The gardens are quite an entrepreneurial enterprise.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Another farewell

Yesterday's funeral was the third I have attended in the past two months. Funeral attendance does make you think just a teeny bit about your own mortality especially as in yesterday's case when Bb was only three years older than I.

Although the initial information was that Bb had suffered a heart attack I was told at the funeral that the death certificate gives pneumonia as the cause of his death. A reminder really that you need to look after your health and not delay seeing the doctor when experiencing symptoms.

Mn and Sy, the principal speakers at the service, did Bb proud with beautiful eulogies and Bb himself would have been astonished at the numbers in attendance. His sister Th, who had flown out from England for the funeral, was very touched to realise how well her brother was regarded.

Monday, 26 October 2009

An Education

Carey Mulligan plays a sixteen year old completing her schooling in the early 1960s and dreaming of going to Oxford University who meets a dashing older man, Peter Sarsgaard, who provides her with An Education beyond that which for which she has bargained.

The pre-Beatles dawning of England's swinging 60s is nicely recreated. Sleepy eyed Sarsgaard mostly plays men of dubious character and it is not a spoiler to suggest that this older man pursuing a school student may not be what he seems.

Mulligan oozes personality and intelligence beyond her years even as she undergoes her unexpected life education.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Warehouse wedding

Sometimes I find attendance at a straight wedding - sadly the only type I have experienced - to be a chore rather than a pleasure but yesterday's wedding went very well. A short, friendly mid afternoon service followed by a laid back evening reception at a harbour front venue.

Ae and I were placed with four straight couples, two of whom I have known for about forty years and whose company I enjoy.

I was invited as a friend of the bride's parents and had not seen the bride since she was a child and had never met the groom. The bride looked gorgeous, relaxed and very happy and is clearly a real catch for the groom. He seems a pleasant man and impressed with a heartfelt and warming speech and so seems a decent man. None of the groom, best man and three groomsmen registered on my 'handsome meter', a little surprising that there wasn't at least one looker amongst them.

The MC for the reception, the groom's newly acquired brother in law was easily the stunner of the night. Very tall, dark haired, sexy and a delightful personality won me over. Sadly, as the husband of one of the bride's attendants he is already taken and obviously not in the gay market.

The reception was held at Simmer on the Bay. The website indicates that the venue has varied guises and is dressed up in many styles but for last night's wedding it was in its basic warehouse style with the walls bare as seen above.

It is the first wedding reception I have attended where the guests were seated only for one course, the main course which comprised either Barramundi or a Beef Steak. I was served the latter which was delicious. Ae said that the Barramundi was tasty but the accompanying sauce was a little rich.

Hors d'oeuvres were served cocktails style. Nothing unusual about that but this was my first experience of 'Roaming Desserts'. A selection of three desserts were served, also cocktails style. One, a mango concoction was less successful, breaking up in the hand as you tried to pick up a small piece from the passing trays. A chocolate mousse and berries mix served in small glass was far easier to manage and easily my pick of the desserts.

Most of the reception was spent on our feet, chatting with the guests and, yes, occasionally dancing. I don't dance much nowadays and last night's band was pretty noisy and tuneless for my aging tastes but I couldn't have an enjoyable night pass without letting my inner Fred Astaire shine through.

The night ended for us at 11.45pm only because the parking station where I had parked the car was closing at midnight.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Holy Batman!

I'm off to a wedding shortly; a Friday afternoon wedding on a hot pre-summer day with late storms forecast.

I guess the wedding will be fun but knowing the conservative nature of the Catholic parents of the bride (through whom the invitation was extended) I'm not expecting Batman and Robin shenanigans.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Eerie premonition?

Last Saturday I purchased a new suit, principally to wear to a wedding this Friday but with the prospect of also wearing it to funerals in future. At my age funeral attendance becomes an increasing likelihood and I have already attended three this year.

Then on Monday came news that a friend had been found dead in his home that morning. The suit will be getting a second outing next Monday.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

God of Carnage

This is the Sydney Theatre Company's current production.

Two couples meet to discuss a fight that occurred between their sons. Predictably discussion deteriorates to disagreement the longer the couples pursue the matter.

Mk and I both got plenty of laughs from this depiction of modern manners but I have to say that the play, currently a hit on Broadway, felt overrated. The way the characters' behaviour develops through the play, whilst amusing, seemed forced and unnatural.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Julie & Julia

Julie Powell (Amy Adams) gives herself an aim in life by establishing a blog to record her attempt to cook all the recipes from the Julia Child (Meryl Streep) cookbook in a year. Powell's experiences parallel the story of how Child came to write her cookbook in the film Julie & Julia.

The twin true stories, provide a pleasant and frequently amusing film. Apparently Childs was a very tall woman and this film is photographed in a way that accentuates Streep's size. As a consequence Streep occasionally seems bizarrely Gulliver-like. I was amused to see Glee's Jane Lynch in a small role as Child's sister and she is the only one who 'out-Gulliver's' Streep in the movie.

Chris Messina is a plus factor for those who like their men stocky, dark haired and Latin in appearance.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Dinner, eye candy and an eye opener

Ce and I haven't seen Me for a long time and when they unexpectedly met during the week Me suggested a meal at Big Mama's where years before we used to eat prior to a casual night of bridge back home.

So it was dinner there last night. We worked out it was more than seven years since we had previously eaten there and although the management and the menu had changed some things remained the same. They have the same handwritten customer jottings on wall hangings and some of the previous management's popular dishes (including their Tiramasu, made in a style I always enjoyed).

I had a Rigatoni with Italian Sausage as the main before the Tiramasu. Ce ordered the Rabbit and Me the Veal Saltimbocca; both of them going for Berry Brulee for dessert.

The restaurant still is a good location for male eye candy with many gorgeous young men dining there after a day at the races and drinks at the Woollahra Hotel across the road. The restaurant is only a few blocks from my place and I really should eat there more often.

Afterwards Me took us back to her current house sit. In the nearly twenty years we have known Me she has scarcely lived at a home of her own, nearly always house sitting for friends whilst they are away.

This time her house sit was this gorgeous stone home which cunningly concealed a surprisingly large two storeys minimalist style open plan house behind the spruced up facade.

The house sit came with a placid cat which drank its water from a glass rather than a bowl. I'm not kidding. We watched, eyes wide open, as it drank from the glass without spilling a drop or knocking it over. As High Riser might say, that was one posh cat.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Suits at lunch and the coffee society

Lunch yesterday at the Lido Bar in the CBD, a pretty small 'ristorante' with about ten tables. Ry organised the venue and as the only one of us four not yet retired he chose this restaurant which is close to his office. I chose the Salmon main whilst the other three all went for the fish of the day, Jewfish.

I rarely set foot inside the more upmarket city restaurants nowadays and it was enjoyable to take in the sight of the smartly suited businessmen and women at their working lunches. Some of the younger men at lunch yesterday were pretty sexy looking in their suits. I would not have looked that smart, nor fit, when I was their age.

Actually at that equivalent age my lunchtime fare was mostly hamburgers. Not the mass produced hamburgers of today's fast food chains which did not then exist in Australia but the lovingly made fresh hamburgers, mostly purchased from Greek owned establishments, piled high with lettuce, beetroot, egg and other optional extras.

Walking back to Martin Place station to catch the train home I was struck by the number of coffee and snack stalls that have been set up inside the foyers of the larger office and bank buildings. This is another change from my city working days.

It seems that any spare public office space is being turned into stylish and attractive mini food courts catering to Sydney's ongoing coffee socialising lifestyle.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Dumb and dumber

Controversy has arisen following an entertainment promotion between races at Cranbourne Racecourse last weekend.

A man who won a contest to organise the day's entertainment (itself an odd situation) staged 'dwarf racing' in which dwarfs dressed as jockeys were piggy-backed by punters along the race track and over the finish line.

It takes all types, I suppose.

Oh, and the name of the man who won the competition to stage this event? Tommy Little.

Thank you linesmen, thank you ball boys.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Valentino The Last Emperor

The documentary Valentino The Last Emperor spends a year following the life of fashion designer Valentino Garavani and his long time partner, personally and commercially, Giancarlo Giammetti. It also provides glimpses into their forty five years long association and careers.

I'm not really into the lives of the overly tanned, leather faced individuals bearing out moded aristocratic titles who populate much of this documentary but have to admit they contribute to much of the humour on display.

I would normally have little tolerance for the antics of the highly strung Valentino and the comparatively sensible Giammetti and was surprised that by the documentary's end I had a sense of respect and admiration for the designer, the beauty of whose womenswear designs is evident even to a fashion dullard such as myself.

My bravery award goes to the reporter who asks Joan Collins 'what is the difference between good taste and trash?'

Sunday, 11 October 2009

A task for Prince Charming

The informal lost and found system in my building is for the found item to be left on a side table in the foyer from where the owner can retrieve it either discreetly or in the full light of neighbourly glare.

Yesterday's found item was this snappy left shoe. Only the left shoe mind you, the right shoe was nowhere in sight.

It is amusing to speculate what condition a man might have been in to be wandering around with only one shoe.

I did consider turning into Prince Charming by taking the shoe from one apartment to another in the hope that I would find the hopefully sexy looking owner but with my luck on these matters quickly abandoned the thought.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

The Only Child

On the recommendation of a friend I went to Belvoir Street Theatre to see The Only Child inspired by a Henryk Ibsen work. The ninety minutes' production, without interval, involves a couple, played by Shelly Lauman and Tom Wren, whose child has gone missing. Another couple, played by Anne-Louise Sarks and Gareth Davies, completes the small ensemble.

The entire play takes place in a bathroom represented by a simple bathtub with a running shower. The play is a mix of power and humour with the four cast members all performing strongly although Lauman is a standout.

I should warn readers of delicate disposition that Wren (the naked one above), Davies (the clothed one above) and Lauman all appear fully naked for extended periods of the play.

For those who simply must know these things, Davies may be unprepossessing clothed but he has one singularly impressive...ahh...asset.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Let your fantasies unwind...

This man is in the news - by association - with the official announcement of Andrew Lloyd Webber's sequel to The Phantom of Opera titled Love Never Dies which has its world premiere in London next March.

Ramin Karimloo, currently playing the Phantom in London will play the character ten years on in the sequel.

Many people deride Webber's work but Karimloo has my complete attention.

My brush with beauty

If being in the company of beautiful men, albeit briefly, makes you a more beautiful person then I am more beautiful this afternoon than I was this morning.

Earlier today I travelled in the hospital lift with Nick Youngquest who regrettably - if understandably - was not dressed down to his underwear or swimwear.

Then on my way home I stopped to purchase a take away meal for dinner (I know, lazy, lazy) and alongside me purchasing his own (even bigger) take away meal was Australian swimmer Eamon Sullivan who also regrettably was not dressed in his swimwear.

Both of them are as sexily good looking close up as they appear in photographs.

Thursday, 8 October 2009


(Diego Rivera, 1914)

When completing the papers for my mother's admission to the nursing home four years ago I did not include details of her sister from whom she had been estranged for nearly thirty years and whose circumstances and whereabouts, along with her children, had been unknown to us all that time. It seemed that we might never hear from or see them again.

I sometimes wondered whether my Aunt might pop up in the home herself but never really expected that to actually happen. Well that is exactly what happened yesterday. I was doing my volunteering in Day Care at the home yesterday when the senior Social Worker approached me to advise that a recent admission was talking about her sister and nephew and mentioning my mother and I by name.

My Aunt is a new resident in the low care Dementia section - my mother is in the high care section - and has no-one to care for her welfare. It turns out my Aunt has also been estranged from and disowned by her own children.

It's a pretty sad situation. I'm told that my Aunt has a cocktail of conditions including delusions, bipolar disorder, paranoia and manic depression. Despite that I found her extremely lively on meeting her again and was surprised by her memory for such things as family birth dates and her mother's address from over forty years ago.

I spent an hour talking with her yesterday and look like being her only family support now. Suddenly I find myself with the care concerns for two relatives.

I felt very drained last night and it will be a while before I come to grips with this unexpected development.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Mr Bubbles

This man amused children and adults alike with his bubbles in Sydney's Hyde Park the other day. St Mary's Cathedral is in the background.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Let's all go to the movies...

It seems that most of Sydney thought that a cold and wet Labour Day holiday would be just the day to go to the movies.

I've never seen such crowds at the Dendy Opera Quays complex. Our session of Mao's Last Dancer was delayed by about twenty minutes to allow the previous sessions to clear and to get our session in. When our session concluded there were similar crowds waiting to replace us.

Mao's Last Dancer

Ma and I met when we both worked in China in the early 1980s so we looked forward to seeing Mao's Last Dancer.

It tells the story of the Chinese peasant boy chosen to study ballet who subsequently settled in the West.

The scenes set in China brought back plenty of memories for us, set as they are at the same time we were in the country. I was amused by an early scene of the school children singing The East is Red, a tune which the clocktower on Beijing's Railway Station chimed every hour on the hour and which echoed in my apartment throughout my posting to China.

The ballet sequences are impressive even for someone like myself without any great interest in the art.

Quite a number of the interior and street scenes supposedly set in Houston Texas were familiar and recognisable to me as in fact they were filmed in Sydney. This was a bit of a distraction but we enjoyed the film nonetheless.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Stormy days

Fittingly on a stormy long weekend in Sydney it was the Melbourne Storm who won yesterday's Rugby League Grand Final. Ma, who adopted the Storm as her team for the occasion, was suitably happy.

I've attended countless Grand Finals over the years but this was only the second time she has seen one live. Apart from the overpowering noise levels, Ma had a great time. It was one of the less interesting finals for me mainly because the Storm were clearly too strong for almost all the of the match and the result seldom looked in doubt although to their credit the Parramatta Eels did fight back late in the match and momentarily raised their supporter's hopes of an upset.

It was not to be and the Storm deservedly won.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

The Mikado

The Australian Opera's current production of The Mikado is as far as I can recall the first time I have ever seen a Gilbert and Sullivan opera live.

It was colourful and full of fancy movement.

The main attraction for me was to see Anthony Warlow playing Ko-Ko and hear his fine voice. This probably is not the best vehicle for his vocal talents with more spoken lines than singing. Furthermore, given the humorous accent he adopts for his role even his singing is not heard to best advantage in my opinion.

It all looks pretty and was enjoyable enough but G&S does come across as a bit twee.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Labour Day weekend

Sydney's eccentric weather is extending into the Labour Day weekend. Just two days ago it was hot and 33c but today on the first day of the long weekend it is a cold 14c and showery. The rain is expected to last the whole weekend.

Bad luck for Ma who is in the air as I type on her flight from Ballina. I'm waiting for her call to tell me her flight has landed so that I can drive out to collect her from the front of Terminal 2 at the airport. That's better than me driving out there early and paying the airport operator's exorbitant parking charges.

We are seeing The Mikado tonight at the Opera House. Tomorrow afternoon we are going to the Rugby League Grand Final and on Monday My is joining us to see Mao's Last Dancer. Still plenty for us to do for the holiday weekend even if the weather is not the best.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Kimberley 'reunion' dinner

We had a mini reunion tonight with Go and Se from Griffith who we met on our trip through the Kimberley last year.

Intending initially to take them to the Nepalese Kitchen we had to abandon that idea when Go told us he doesn't like hot or spicy food and decided instead to go to the Double Bay 18 Footers Sailing Club (the longer of the two buildings at the jetty in the photo above).

Whilst the club appears modest from the outside it is quite attractive inside and its setting looking out on the harbour is very pretty. The peak hour rivercats disembarked homecoming workers on the jetty as we sat in the lounge enjoying our drinks and reminiscing on our holiday through the photo album Ae had compiled.

We had a good dinner in the club's restaurant which has a fine menu and quite reasonable prices; two course meals, wine and coffee costing $170 for the five of us.

I should really use this club more often as it is only ten minutes from home and a pleasant place to take visitors.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Thunderously Trivial Thursday

So what have I done today?

The usual Thursday start with a breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, tomato, toast and orange juice at The Zoo in Bondi Junction.

Followed by the excitement of renewing my prescriptions. I know I am in the senior ranks when I have to sign off on six medications each month...and I am quite healthy!

After that it was off to a funeral for an acquaintance who died last Monday. Another sign of senior days.

Then it was off to the car wash to get all that red dust that hit Sydney last week removed from my car (inside and out).

Unfortunately none of these car washers was on duty today although at 32c it was certainly hot enough for them to have been rostered on.

Then home to complete our subscription application for the Sydney Theatre Company's 2010 season. This year Mk and I will be paying different rates for the same subscription. Mk will have to pay $876 for the twelve plays but I will only pay $648 because...wait for, I am a senior! Woohoo.

And tonight? I'll be a couch potato reclined on the sofa catching up on junk television.