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Today I saw a bit of Sydney. My travel buddy's family (well, a chunk of it) is here, and they all met for lunch. I went along because despite knowing him for 15 years at this point, I've never met a single member of his family. I could never tell if it was just horrble scheduling luck, or whether he was actively trying to ensure we never met, or whether it was just unconscious habit on his part to keep facets of his lives separate.

In any case, several of his aunts and uncles and cousins and his grandmother arranged for all of us to meet at a dim sum restaurant in northwestern Sydney. We drove there carefully. Yesterday I got to drive, and he snickered at my continual mistaking of the windshield wiper controls for the indicator controls (they're flipped left/right due to the gear shift also being on the other side, I suppose). I did manage not to hit anything, or to turn into an oncoming lane, so moral victory. Anyway, today he drove since we'd be heading into the City (as all the signs call it). We reached our nav destination according to Google Maps, and it left us in the middle of an enormous intersection. He knew it was in a shopping center, so as we circled around again we saw a shopping center - Carlingford Village. We pulled into the parking area, and he checked his phone. "This can't be it. It doesn't look right."

"What? We're in the parking area!"

"Yeah, this isn't it." He started up again and pulled out. Sure enough, literally half a block later was a whole different shopping center named Carlingford Court. "Yep, this looks more like it."

"How does it look more like it? Did you see the reataurant?"

"Nah. You'll see." We got out of the car and headed into the (smaller, older, chintzier) mall. "Oh yeah, this is totally it, this looks way more Chinky."

"Ah, I see, incorrect Chinkiness?"

"Yeah, that other place wasn't nearly Chinky enough."

(In case it's not clear, he and his family are Chinese).

So we went to Fortune House Seafood Dim Sum. I met several members of his family, we had a good time for an hour and a half or so, and then we headed out. We went from there to another suburb of Sydney, and tooled around residential areas for a bit before pulling into a small neighborhood shops (what we in the US call a strip mall). "What're we doing here?"

"Wow, the supermarket is still here. So's the news agent."


"So after school and on weekends, I used to come here to buy Toobz and Cornettos and stuff and then head over to the park to feed the magpies."

"Holy shit, this is where you lived when you were a kid?"

"Yeah, why?"

"I don't know, man. I just find it fascinating that you came from somewhere."

"I went to mine too. It was just as if everyone had swelled." We laughed at the Grosse Point Blank reference, then went in, bought some snackfood and ice cream, and drove the two blocks to the local park. It was a gorgeous winter Sydney day - blue skies, breezy, maybe 60 degrees F - and had ice cream and threw snack chips at the magpies.

After that, we drove past his house, then to the station area he hung out in with friends, then to his school. After that, we headed into Sydney proper and drove to Rose Bay, a wealthy neighborhood on the Harbor, and looked at boats and seaplanes. I read a plaque which explained that aviation had come to Sydney right there, because initially it was all flying boats.

Today was all about his nostalgia trip. It was fun to come along and watch him realize that despite 25 years, most of the places he remembered were still there. Tomorrow we have off - we'll probably go back to the Australian Botanic Garden near here since we didn't manage to see much of it on Friday. Monday I start flying with the local instructors.

I woke up wanting to hit something. Or someone.

Though metaphorically I am. I have an art show of my mother's and my art hung for the month of July at our local dispossessed coffee house, The Boiler Room. They put out a message saying they were looking for artists and I jumped at it.

I'm still getting over the damn PANDAS. The strep is gone after a month of antibiotics. Took me two weeks to remember that sepsis requires considerably higher doses than strep throat. Duh. I worked with another local doc but my infectious disease doc was out sick himself.

Some patients are leaving because I'm not there. Others send cards. I ran into one yesterday and he is loaning me a glass bottom kayak. Cool.

The infectious disease doctor said that the antibodies rise for a month after the antibiotics are started and then fall over two months. I still think they attach to the adrenalin receptors and act as "super adrenalin". Not very fun. Wired in the morning, except that my fast twitch muscles don't work right. Slow twitch muscles are fine. Apparently vocal cords are fast twitch because my voice is not working right. Vocal cords and lungs hurt the most when I get tired. I try to avoid talking, which mostly means staying holed up in the house. Singing not ok either; I went to chorus last Monday and lasted one piece of the Rutter Requiem. Doubtful that I will get to do the Pie Jesu on July 24th, so I am mourning that.

Back to hitting someone. Hanging an art show does not require much talking and slow twitch muscles are just fine. I have a bunch of 18 by 24 portraits up, mostly by my mother but one by me. Also seven of our ten joint works: her etchings and my poems. We did them in the 1980s. Her requirement was that they had to rhyme: "None of that free verse."

I also have two poem/collages up. Support from my peers and Forgiveness. I am really tired of the local hospital messing with me. Third time is the charm. My voice doesn't work well enough yet to engage formal help but it will.

The opening is today at 5:30, our local Gallery Walk. I am going to play the CD of folk songs made by me and grundoon and our father, General Singular. In lieu of talking or reading the poems, that is...... I may have to wear a gag in order to not talk. I don't have one of those S & M ones with the ball, so might have to make do with a medical mask, or a scarf. (Do not write plague on the medical mask...... write laryngitis.)

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