Patra's Other Place

I started out with Patra's Place, primarily dedicated to my linen collection and stitching projects. But I kept getting side-tracked, so I decided to create Patra's Other Place for anything not related to embroidery topics. So you now have a choice. If you are interested in me, read this. If you only want to see my linen and stitching, visit Patra's (original) Place! (Please note that by clicking on any of the photos, they will be enlarged to fill your computer screen.)

My Photo
Location: Melbourne, Vic., Australia

I am married to Ken. We have no children except a cat and a collection of Australian parrots, finches, canaries and a dozen hens.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Update on Patra's People (and thanks to my friends)

What great friends we make on this Internet. I have said it before, and no doubt I will say it again - five years ago, I scoffed at people who talked about the new friends they made via their computer. 'Get into the real world' I would think to myself. Well, I am very much part of that world myself now, considering that communications via computers is the Real World of the New Millenium. So, my Internet Friends, thank you all again for your warm and fuzzies replying to my last message. I am pleased to report that today saw a vast improvement in my state of health. Yesterday I felt like death warmed up when I woke - sore throat, aching all over and coughing. I thought I had the flu, so after doing some essential shopping, we spent a fairly quiet day at home, with me resigning myself to a week in bed, being looked after by poor Ken on his second week of vacation. This morning however, I woke up bright and early, laid there for a few minutes tentatively thinking my way through my body, and then feeling quite chirpy, hopped out of bed and put a load of washing in the machine. Apart from a hacking cough, I'm fine!! Fastest bout of flu or cold virus I have ever had! Although I do think my fail-safe cure of crushed garlic, honey and lemon juice has a lot to do with it.

We visited our family doctor this afternoon as scheduled - for Ken's heart test results, and my blood test results. Doc. Smith dealt with me first. Blood test was returned with no new problems showing up with my kidneys, so that was good news. My blood pressure has stabilised on the increase in medication, so I will have to stick with that for the moment. The verdict for Ken took a lot longer to go through. Yes, he had the test results, and he read everything out to us, but he could not actually give Ken a conclusive report on his heart, because that is the role of the cardiologist, and Ken won't be seeing him for another 2 weeks. So Doc. Smith was...well, kind of evasive, I guess, and we really aren't much better off as far as knowing whether or not Ken will be allowed to continue driving buses for a living. I put my foot in it later...I was ironing his shirts and said "This ironing might be a wasted effort if you don't have a job to go back to next month!" OOOOPS....Ken was not amused. God, talk about foot in mouth disease...

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Today's health report...

Ken and I spent most of today driving around between the hospital and the local doctor. We started off at the hospital where Ken had the radium stress test while I looked on. Then he went through the MRI scan machine, and after that he was told to come back in a couple of hours for another scan. So we had a coffee and a bite to eat, did a couple of messages and headed back to the hospital. They ran the second scan, and then gave Ken some instructions on what was to happen next. I must have been looking anxious while all this was going on, because they asked me if I felt okay, and offered to take my blood pressure. It was probably just as well they did; it was through the roof, and they were most concerned. Funny about that, seeing that Ken was the reason we were there in the first place! They told me to go to our own doctor, so we dropped in on the way home. Another B.P. reading showed it was still too high, so the doc. upped my medication and told me no more work this week - stay home and rest. But I have to go back and have a blood test tomorrow as well as get the B.P. read again...

Ken won't know the results of his tests until Friday when he sees our local doctor, as the hospital is faxing them to him. But even then, the doc. may not tell him all, as it is really up to the cardiologist to do that, and we won't be seeing him for another 2 weeks - BLEAH! All this waiting..

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Did I ever mention that I saw Elvis the year before he died?
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Topsy to a T!
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Patty, this one is for you.

My blog has suddenly gone quiet...hope my mouse mat didn't really upset anyone? If it has, do tell me and I will remove it. Anyway, this posting is a special one for one of my Blogging friends Patty , who has lost two of her much loved fur babies this year. I have many, many books about cats, including books of cartoons, and one of my favorites is called "The Fanatic's Guide to Cats" by Roland Fiddy. I thought it would be fun to put one or two of his cartoons on here to put a smile on Patty's face - and for all the other cat lovers out there as well! Hope I don't get into trouble doing this; surely the fact that I have acknowledged the author shows that I am not copying his work for my own gain?

And to go with the cartoon, here is a quote by Elbert Hubbard from a little book called "Keep Your Face To The Sunshine":
Always remember to forget the things that made you sad,
But never forget to remember the things that made you glad.
...In memory of Scotty.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

This is my new mouse mat - naughty, but the padded boobs give my wrist wonderful support!! Ken can't believe it when I buy things like this for myself - "But it is for a bloke!" he says.
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Monday, September 19, 2005

Make the most of what you've got while you can.

This has been my motto since I nearly lost Ken four years ago. My previous post here yesterday about our financial situtation was written in a light-hearted manner, but underlying that position is the fact that I don't know how much longer I will have him alive and well, and I am determined that his last years - whether it be two or twenty - should be as happy as I can make it for him.

Last week he went for the first of several medical tests on his heart that he has to have annually for his job. It was an echo-cardiogram - a scan of the heart, in other words. The technician didn't volunteer much information, but she can't anyway - that is up to the specialist to decide. Today, he had the treadmill stress test - where they stick things all over his chest and monitor his heart while he is walking/running on the moving treadmill. A year ago, he made it to nine minutes and was a bit puffed. The guy who was monitoring Ken at that time said the cardiologist should be pleased with that, and a few weeks later, yes - he was.

Today was a different story. They start you off slow and level on the treadmills, then gradually increase both the height and speed, until it is equivalent to running up a steep hill. They keep you going until you can't take any more - all the while monitoring your heart. Ken stayed on it for 5 minutes and was absolutely exhausted. The doctor kept saying "come on, just a few more seconds...just another minute..." but he saw that it was no good, so he took Ken off it. Then he sat down and told us that the results showed significant change (read deterioration) in Ken's heart functions, and they would have to run more tests as it looked like there was a blockage in an artery somewhere. Ken has already had angioplasty and a stent put in one artery, three years ago, so he might have to go through that again now.

We came home without saying much, and after tea he went for a 'lie-down', as he called it. Under normal circumstances he would have been sitting in this room beside me, playing with his new toys, so it is an indication to me of how low he is feeling. So, I hope you will be patient with me if I am not my usual silly self over the next week or so. I will find some nice things to scan in the meantime and just put photos on here for the time being.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Brighter slant on a catastrophic subject.

I read the following post on Finn's Blog (Pieces From My Scrapbag) and after I read it, I felt like I was starting to wake up from a nightmare...slowly realising that the world has not, and will not come to an end, no matter how bad things are at times. I posted a comment on Finn's blog and said I would be quoting her here. I hope she doesn't mind, but this is well worth reading:

Nothing seems to feel normal. Kind of like someone came along and gave the world a good, swift kick and sent it spinning wonky off it's normal-ness. I suppose technically we are not affected, in Wisconsin, by the disaster on the golf coast. But, like 9/11, it feels like everyone is changed by this. It's upsetting in a way similar to the war in Iraq. You don't want it to be your reality. Don't want it to change the flow of your life. But it does.

I begin to realize that these things keep happening, have happened over all the years behind us, and will happen until time is no longer measured. Name got it..the dust bowl years, the depression years, all the war years from the revolt against England to the Civil War to today's war in Iraq. And what can I do about it?

Just about as much as everyone else...everything and nothing. It feels like trying to empty the ocean with a waterglass.
As well as these and other words of wisdom, Finn does the most beautiful quilting and patchwork, so do take a minute to view her photos!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

My answers to that Quiz on my last post.

Righto, here we go.
1. Do I collect anything? Well, is the Pope a Catholic? In other words, yes - I do collect stuff. Lots of it. Too much in fact.
2. What do I collect?
Swapcards, stamps, books, hand embroidered linen, husbands (:-o)
3. How many do I have?
I started collecting swapcards when I was about 5 years old, along with all the other small people at school back then. I still have them and I am still adding to the collection, and at last count, I think I had a couple of thousand.
I also started collecting stamps when I was a child, encouraged by my father, who gave me his collection. I don't actively save them now as much as I used to, except for Australian stamps, of which I buy every new issue as it comes out. I never thought to count them, but I have about 20 albums.
Books...Ken always says if I stopped buying books, I could stop buying bookshelves. If only it was that easy! Again, never counted them, but would number in the thousands. Lots of cook books and embroidery/cross stitch books among them.
Linen. Now you're talking! I am planning to do a complete catalogue of my collection one day, and I even have a specialist program on the computer to do it, but it is going to take YEARS...This is an estimate:
Tablecloths - 160
Tea Cosies - 50
Aprons - 80
Tray cloths - 40
Pillow Shams - 30
Doilies of various shapes and sizes - several hundred
Duchess Sets (Dresser sets in America, I think) - several hundred.
And many, many other items that don't fall under those categories.
Husbands.. well that was said tongue in cheek -there has only been two! But I love men, and love being married. If it doesn't work out, try try again, in my book!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Playing tag with other bloggers.

I don't know why they call it tag, but many of the bloggers I subscribe to have a series of questions that they appear to post on each other's blogs. Nobody has actually sent this to me, I just liked the idea of answering the questions!

Do you collect anything?
What do you collect?
How many do you have?
Why do you collect them?
Show us a shot of a collection.

So now I will have a think about it and post my answers later, as I know once I leave my PC alone, it will burst into tears and turn itself off....truly! Yes, it is still doing that, and I have been wanting to go the the loo for the last hour, but afraid to leave before I had finished for the evening!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Ken's 9/11
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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

September 7th - The Fourth Anniversary.

Four years ago today, my husband was fighting for his life...well HE wasn't - but the medical team at the Northern Hospital certainly were. Our GP had diagnosed him with pneumonia around 7 pm and sent him to hospital immediately. The first hospital we went to was a private hospital and didn't have an emergency room, so they called an ambulance to take Ken to one of the bigger public hospitals. I rode up front with the driver, and the sirens were on all the way there. I didn't dare look behind me to see what the paramedics were doing to keep Ken alive. When we got to the hospital they raced him past everyone else in Casualty, and within minutes there must have been about 12 people milling around him, taking samples of everything, doing X Rays, and pumping him full of God only knows what. I called Ken's sister, and she arrived with her daughter, who is a nurse. I went to pieces completely when they arrived, and the three of us were escorted to a private waiting room where kind nurses gave us cups of tea and calmed me down. It was hours later when a doctor came in to tell us Ken had been put on a life support system, but the outlook was not good.

The next few days were a blur of constant phone calls and hospital visits. On the evening of September 11, I was channel surfing cable t.v., not really concentrating on anything, my mind on Ken. When the first plane hit the WTC, I wondered what Spielberg movie this was? But then the second plane went in, and I realised that it was Fox News live, not a movie. I felt like my little world was collapsing around me. The next day, Ken's doctor told me he was going to do a tracheotomy (sp) to help Ken start breathing again, and I said "What's the point, he's going to die, isn't he?" The doctor looked shocked and said "Don't say that - he might hear you!" (He didn't - I asked him later!) But I was so depressed, I just couldn't see anything good happening any more.

As you will have figured out if you have been reading my previous posts, Ken survived to get on with his life pretty much as before, but with one major change - he quit smoking. From 50 cigarettes a day for 45 years, to zilch - nothing. I have never smoked, so I can only imagine how difficult it has been for him, and he says that now and then, he is tempted to have a smoke - but just for a fleeting second - then it's gone. I am so proud of him for hanging in there; we both know it would be (almost) instant death if he were to start again, as he has advanced emphysema, which will inevitably kick in as he gets older. But we aren't thinking about that for now. Love you heaps, dearest.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Disaster films.

On August 25th, I posed a question on this blog about the making of movies about the events known as 9/11. Pam was the only person who replied, saying it was still too soon for her to watch anything like that, and I am in full agreement. Over the last few weeks, Foxtel have been advertising a program - a documentary I think - about some guy who claimed to know that America was going to be attacked in that way. The trailer keeps showing those awful videos with the planes going into the WTC. I have to switch channels every time - my stomach turns over in protest. Ken's Mum is old enough to just remember hearing about the Titanic, and to this day, she refuses to watch the movie. Nor would she watch 'Pearl Harbor'. When we went to see 'Schindlers List' (sp?) at the theatre, Ken and I stood up to walk out after about half an hour. It was only his family who hissed at us to sit down and shut up, that kept us in our seats for the remainder of the film. As Ken said afterwards, he can see that kind of thing on SBS tv if he wanted to. He likes to be entertained at the movies, not depressed by them.

I suppose the movie makers are already taking video footage in America's South, with a view to making a film about Katrina. What is it with humans that we have to replay over and over again, the worst moments in our history? I have no doubt there are wannabe psycho-analysts reading this right now, who will jump in here and attempt to explain it all to me. Ken LOVES what he calls 'action' films - Independance Day, Twister, The Day After Tomorrow, etc. I must admit, I don't really mind them either - my heart still jumps up into my throat during some scenes, but I am aware that it is 'only a movie', so I can sit back and appreciate all the special effects (with 32 speakers and a 130cm screen, you can't avoid them!!!)

So what do I like to watch, you may well ask? OK, I am an Elvis fan, so obviously I like most (but not all) of his films. I love many of the old black and white movies of the 40s and 50s - they had great story lines and mostly nice people. Do you remember a Bing Crosby B & W movie called "The Bells Of St Mary's"? If you have never heard of it, you will have to look it up on the Net - I don't have time to give the plot here! But it is one of the most beautiful and funny movies - well worth watching if ever you get the chance.

That's my waffle session for tonight. It's late! I'm off to bed.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Some nice pictures.

I thought I had better put some nice stuff on here, after all my long-faced posts. Here are two more drawings from my grandmother's autograph book, and two unusual French postcards. If you haven't been over to Patra's Place, I have put some new linen items on there.

I found these in a box of old postcards last week. They were sent to my first husband by one of his penpals in France.
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This is one of Grandpa's lovely little paintings.
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This is a sketch from my grandmother's autograph book. I have no idea who it is, but I don't think my grandpa did it, although he did quite a few in the book. I think they must have moved in artistic circles!
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Saturday, September 03, 2005

Feeling a bit better today.

Still watching Fox News a lot, hoping for some good news out of all the horror. Petrol in the USA is what...US$3 a gallon? That is A$3.95. We are paying A$1.20 a litre, which works out to about A$4.80 a gallon...and that is US$3.66. So we are still paying a bit more than the Americans at the moment, but things can change overnight as we all know, on both sides of the Pacific!

My first job this morning was with a new client. When I arrived at the house, nobody answered my knock on the door. After calling the office I was told that there was a booking error, and I shouldn't have been given that job this week. This is not the first time this has happened to me in the past month. I know they work under a lot of stress in that office, but mistakes like that cost me time and money - with petrol at the price I have just quoted above. So to kill some time, I decided to go and collect my mail at the post office, before going to my next job. That is when the day started to improve - three of my ebay auction wins were waiting for me! Lovely linens to cheer me up. I will be scanning them and posting pics at Patra's (original) Place tomorrow.

I added these to the bag of linen I had on the back seat of my car, and headed off to my next job. From there, I went to my third and last job for the day. This client is a dear old lady who still knits beautifully, and loves to see my stitching and other linens. After I had finished my work there, we spent a very pleasant half hour, going through all my goodies (ebay wins and recent opshop finds as well). Then I went home for a late lunch of yoghurt and fruit. It was only 2 pm, so I decided to call an elderly friend in a local nursing home to see if she would like to be taken out somewhere for a cuppa. She was in, and delighted to hear from me, so I collected her 10 minutes later and we drove to a local cafe. I ordered tea for her and coffee for me, and proceeded to spread my linen out on the table for her inspection. As usual, the waitress was astonished to see a cloth on the table when she came over with our drinks! and the other patrons were also politely curious, drifting past our table trying not to be overly nosey! Nance loved it all as she always does, so it made for a pleasant afternoon for the two of us.

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