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.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Pete's quiz.

Well, I've been mulling over these questions, and decided I'd better do something about them, otherwise that post will get lost in cyberspace, never to be found again.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE WORD? Anything spoken in French (love the accent!)

WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVOURITE WORD? Ugly. Well, it's an ugly sounding word!

WHAT TURNS YOU ON? The French language and accent.

WHAT TURNS YOU OFF? Smoking and drugs.


WHAT SOUND DO YOU HATE? Men fighting (even in movies)

WHAT PROFESSION, OTHER THAN YOUR OWN, WOULD YOU LIKE TO ATTEMPT? Vetinerary nurse (or anything to do with looking after animals)

WHAT PROFESSION WOULD YOU NEVER LIKE TO DO? Teacher, especially of teenagers!

Glad you got here safely Gina - I have a huge pile of linen that needs sorting!

How do I get sucked in to these things?

Anybody who has been reading my tales of woe about lack of time to do all the things I want to do, will now believe I have rocks in my head. I've just tied myself down to one day a month as a volunteer at the Embroiderer's Guild. It started when I received the monthly newsletter last week. Their annual exhibition opens on Saturday 5th of August and this is the busiest time of the year for the Guild, as it is widely advertised, and attracts a lot of people who would not normally visit their premises. There was a plaintive little notice in the newsletter, asking for volunteers to help clean up the front garden in readiness for the onslaught of visiting public next week. So on Saturday I packed my gardening gloves and kneeling mat in a bag and drove over there (about 50 minutes drive). For three hours I dug and weeded, along with two other Guild members and one hubby (not mine). We made a big difference, I am pleased to say, and I was completely stuffed when I finally got home! I stopped on the way home to collect Ken's Mum, who stayed with us over the weekend, and when we got home, I had washing to do, meals to cook, etc. so about 5 pm I ran a nice hot bath and soaked in it for about half an hour!

But I'm digressing...the gardening episode was a one-off thing, and where I got myself caught was another notice in the same newsletter. The Guild has one person who is paid to manage the premises every day, assisted by a team of volunteers who are on a roster basis. They needed somebody on the first Tuesday of every month, as a "gallery hostess" from 10 am to 3 pm. The role entails spending most of the time in the display hall which is open every day to Guild members as well as the public, although of course it is rarely frantically busy, owing to the nature of the Guild (not too many people are interested in embroidery these days!). Various minor duties like answering phone calls, making sure there is fresh supplies in the kitchen and bathroom, etc. don't take up five hours, so the volunteers usually bring some stitching to do while they are on duty.

My working week is Monday/Wednesday/Friday, with a late afternoon shift on Thursdays. So Tuesday is my 'free' day. Ha... Now, a couple of years ago, I visited the Guild once a month on a Sunday, but Ken kept on complaining that we couldn't do things together if I kept on going off on my own, so I stopped going. When I saw this notice, I decided I can still visit the Guild once a month - on a Tuesday when Ken is at work and won't miss me! So I volunteered my services, and was eagerly snapped up. My first day is tomorrow, and I have decided to take an old duchess set with me to stitch in my spare time - hopefully I WILL get some spare time! Gosh, if I don't, I'll withdraw my offer - volunteers shouldn't be slaves - lol!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Something different..

Pete over at Crookedpaw's Retreat posted this list of questions. I liked his answers, and figured they were better questions than some of the other drivel that flies around the blog world. I am not a believer in 'tagging' people, as I don't like that being done to me....hate being obliged to do something I didn't volunteer for in the first place! So, if anyone else wants to play with these, I've left them as they are for you to cut and paste. I'll put my answers on later.










Family photos.

Lee-Ann and a few other ladies in our little blog community have been posting photos of their ancestors on their blogs, and I have enjoyed looking at them all. Here are some of my Mother's parents, and Mum as a little girl. Next week I will put some pix of my father's side on here; I have photos of his family going back to 1860 - my great-great-grandparents and their children and children's children, etc. I think I will eventually remove all my family photos from this blog and relocate them to my life story (Patracat's Memories). I don't think that blog has many readers (it is more a personal record for me and my family, although anyone else is welcome to read it if they want to plough through my ramblings!) so the photos can stay here for a little while until I get around to transferring them.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I LOVE THE A.T.O.!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, I'm shouting in capital letters, and I make no apologies. A.T.O. stands for Australian Taxation Office, and I must be their biggest (probably the only) fan! I have just lodged our (Ken's and mine) tax returns online, for the third year in a row and each year it becomes a little bit easier. The ATO store all your details in their system, so when you log in, you don't have to type all the boring stuff all over again (name, address, etc.). It is relatively easy to follow the instructions, but you do have to concentrate; Ken didn't help matters by coming in and whistling loudly as he turned his computer on!

This year we are both getting another nice fat refund, which will ever so slightly reduce the awful bank balance we have at the moment. Ken said he wants to spend his refund on something big, and I just looked at him - didn't need to say a word. One of the many benefits of the ATO's online system is that you can elect to have your refund paid directly into your bank account, instead of waiting for a cheque. So if he wants to spend it, he is going to have to withdraw it at the bank, and that's just a bit too hard for the MOTH!

YEE HAH! On that happy note, I'm off to bed.
PS Thanks again Pete, for encouraging me to have a go at online Tax, those three years ago!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Getting to know myself!

Another of these quiz game things! Found this one over at Ms Robyn's place.

Your Life Path Number is 5

Your purpose in life is to life freely and collect experiences.

You love life - new adventures, new people, new ideas.
You are very curious, and you crave novelty in all forms.
You tend to make friends easily, and you enjoy the company of all types of people.

In love, you are fun and even a bit intoxicating. But you won't stick around for long.

You are impulsive and spontaneous - which sometimes leads you to do things you regret.
Sometimes you can be overindulgent with food, sex, or drugs.
You have many talents, so many that you are often scattered and unfocused.

Catching up with Blogger friends...

Ken and I had the most wonderful day last Sunday. Lee-ann had invited us to lunch with her and her hubby Rob. I had met Lee-ann and Rob at the Antiques Roadshow, and again at the Melbourne Museum when Lee-ann had her china collection on display there. Ken is a bit on the shy side, but having met Rob, I was pretty sure that he and Ken would get on okay, and they certainly did. Lee-ann and I abandoned them soon after lunch (Roast Pork followed by Chocolate Pudding - YUM!) - she offered to show me her collection of linen, some inherited from her mother and other relations, and other items given to her, or things that she had found at op-shops. Of course with me oohing and aahing over everything, that took an hour or so, then I wanted to see around their cottage, the garden, etc.

The blokes seemed to be happy in front of the fire, discussing all the important things that blokes like to talk about, and Lee-Ann and I had other important business to attend to as well. We were partners in one of Ms Robyn's Vintage Swaps, so we gave each other a parcel of goodies which took up some more happy minutes to unwrap and exclaim over everything.*** I had won two of her ebay auctions last week, and they were waiting for me to inspect too. But, as well as all that, this lovely generous lady had been finding things at op-shops that she thought I would like, and presented me with a pile of doilies etc. all tied up in a tape measure!

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable day. Their miner's cottage is around 100 years old (I'm sure Rob told Ken it was older) and Rob is doing wonders with the renovation. Unfortunately all Lee-ann's china is packed away, but she has promised to invite us again when the reno. is finished and she has everything out on display again. In the meantime, I'm hoping to persuade them to visit us in the near future, so Ken can show Rob his home theatre set up, and Lee-ann and I can spend a couple of hours with my linen!

**Here is what was in Lee-ann's "Goddess" exchange parcel:
English bone china cup, saucer and plate,
Chocolates and teabags,
Face washer and bath salts,
Boxed set of four vintage embroidered napkins,
Two huckabuck hand towels,
One doiley,
Six skeins of stranded cotton in shades of purple,
Two needle threaders (these in a small cotton embroidered bag),
A packet of Beeswax for cleaning irons,
A packet of Aunt Martha's vintage iron-on transfers,
A vintage magazine of embroidery stitches,
Three mini cross stitch kits.
I have taken some photos of all these items, but until I finish the film and have it developed, I can't show you!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Knowing there are people out there who love kids, I decided to post these photos of Ken's niece Michelle's two babies (does that make them grand-nieces or great-nieces?).
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Saturday, July 15, 2006

Another week gone by...nearly Christmas again!

Gross exaggeration of course, but somebody told me they saw a Christmas tree in one of the department stores today - now that IS gross. The retail trade gets worse every soon as Easter is over and done with, they seem to start working on Christmas. Grrr....don't get me started...

Do you ever find that as you get older, you get more like your parents in some ways? I often have a laugh with my friends at the number of times our conversations turn to our aches and pains. "Gosh I sound just like Mum used to", I'll say in a horrified voice! I visited our local clinic on Thursday to ask a doctor about the continuing pain in my right hip. There are a dozen doctors at this clinic, and some of them tend to specialise in particular areas. My usual doctor is a lady who knows more about blood pressure and kidney disease than most GPs, so I go to her for my regular check-up. But this time I asked one of the girls at the front desk, who was the best person to consult about bones and joints. She told me, and I made an appointment to see him. When I entered his office, I told him why I had asked to see him in particular, and he laughed and said "Whenever people ask me to find out why they are aching, I tell them it's just part of getting old - happens to all of us!" Well, that is not what I wanted to hear. My problem was diagnosed as Bursitis about three years ago, and after rejecting painkiller tablets as an option, I chose to have acupuncture, and that was great, but worked out too expensive over a long period of time. A friend gave me a magnet mat to put under my hip in bed, and that worked a small miracle for the next year or so, but it seems to have lost its properties, as my pain has got worse in recent months. Can magnets be re-magnetised?

Doc. listened to all this, and got me to lie down while he lifted and stretched my legs in various directions. Then he pressed his fingers on a few points around my hips and when I said OUCH! he nodded knowingly. "The good news is that you don't have any arthritis in your hips. They are in excellent shape. But you've got bursitis" he said. "We don't know what causes it, and there is no cure. It usually goes away of its own accord". "Well, mine has come back of its own accord, and is so bad at night I'm having trouble sleeping", I said. He explained the options to deal with it: anti-inflamm. drugs, acupuncture, or massage. As I have remedial massage fortnightly, he suggested that I ask the person looking after me to concentrate on the region of the bursa, and said that it may help.

At least my suffering is confined to night time. I'm thankful for this when I see my elderly home care clients, struggling to get around on walking frames and sticks. I took one of them shopping on Wednesday. She is 97 years old and has a sister who is 99!! They live alone in separate houses, but occasionally take a taxi to visit each other for a few hours. I parked my car in the disabled car park area and we spent the next two hours in the small shopping arcade in our suburb. The first half hour was in the supermarket where my client made her way slowly up and down the aisles having a good look, as she hadn't been in a supermarket for about a year. Then we visited some of the other shops, or if she couldn't get into them with her walking frame, she waited outside while I dived in and bought what she wanted. We finally sat down for a cup of coffee, and she said that although she was now exhausted, she had thoroughly enjoyed her outing. I often wonder what life will be like for me if I get to her age. The people who lived through two world wars and the great depression have suffered far more than the Baby Boomers and younger generations could possibly imagine. I am sure that those years must have had an adverse effect on their long term health. Is my generation's preoccupation with health going to make any discernible difference to our old age? Time alone will tell.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Saturday, 8th July.

Some weekends fly by, with lots happening, and other times, we just drift - go with the flow of events as they happen. Yesterday was one such day. Ken had an appointment with his chiropractor in the morning, and planned to follow that with a visit to Greensborough, our nearest major shopping complex. I decided to go with him, and as usual, this was a big mistake financially-speaking. If he goes on his own, he just buys what he wants and comes home. But if I'm with him, we get side-tracked...

The first outlay was for tickets to a movie that night (more about that further down), and we followed that with a cup of coffee. Then we went to Ezy DVD, Ken's favourite spot for checking out what's new in movies on DVD. He found one that he had seen advertised (a military tattoo show we hadn't seen), and I found a Paul Hogan DVD that I thought would be amusing, so another $40 went out the window. Then, both of us being suckers for animals, we just had to stop at the pet shop. There were the usual rabbits, puppies and kittens to be oohed and aahed over, then we had a look at the fish. Have you ever seen those Siamese Fighting Fish that have to be kept in a little bowl or tank on their own? Thanks to a very informative and clever saleslady, we now own one. $40 for the fish, tiny little tank (about 6 inches high and 4 inches in diameter), food and water conditioner. Ken used to have a small tank with tropical fish, but he quit after they all died (not all at once!) and put the tank in a cupboard somewhere...I think. Might even be under the house.

Having got this little person safely home in its tank, we had to find a spot to place it where Topsy wouldn't see it. (I had vivid imaginings of finding a broken tank, water and a chewed fish on the floor..) So at the moment, it is on top of the microwave oven in the kitchen, where we can enjoy seeing it, but Topsy can't see it, although I wouldn't put it past her to sense something is up there, leap up on to the bench, and from there leap on top of the microwave, and voila! Snack time. So we have decided that when we aren't home, Miss Fish will live in our bedroom, seeing we close the door if we aren't around, so Topsy can't get in there and hide in our bed.

The movie we went to was "Superman Returns". Some of our friends had seen it, and were a bit "how's your father" about it (meaning they were not enthusiastic), but as Ken and I have fond memories of George Reeves (before Christopher) as Superman on t.v. when we were kids, we decided to go see it anyway. We both enjoyed it very much indeed. Lots of action of course, and great sound effects. At one stage, Superman is critically ill in hospital and the ever-faithful Lois Lane goes in to hold his hand and tell him she loves him. She tells him that although he is unconscious, she thinks because they have a close and special connection, he will be aware that she is there. At this point, Ken grabbed my hand and squeezed it and I knew exactly why. Lois was perfectly right, and Ken was remembering when he was in hospital and I came in every day and talked to him, even though he wasn't able to respond. He told me later he could hear me, and it calmed him down.

Thus ended our Saturday. I am wondering what Sunday will bring?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Oops, nearly forgot! wish my American friends Happy 4th July. With half an hour to go of the Fourth of July here in Melbourne, I just made it!

What's new, Pussycat?

Have you ever thought you were the only person crazy enough to do a certain thing, then discovered that there are actually thousands, even millions - of others with the same interest? I used to think that the only other people who frequented op-shops (thrift stores) were poor people who couldn't afford to buy new things. In fact I sometimes felt guilty that I was getting my clothes etc. so cheap when I could afford (to a degree) to pay full price for new stuff. Then I found some of my friends also liked to buy second-hand stuff....THEN I discovered blogging and found LOTS of other people loved secondhand stuff! Tonight I made an even more surprising discovery - a BLOKE that loves thrift shops!! Check this out: Manic Thrift Store Shopper

Ken has been busy with eBay and as well as other Internet sites dealing with music and movies. He ordered two DVDs from England by email last Wednesday (28th June) and they arrived yesterday - Monday 3rd July! It has to be a record from England to Australia; it takes longer than that for a parcel to get from Western Australia to Victoria! The DVDs were Placido Domingo and Classical Chillout, both of which we saw advertised on another DVD and decided we would like to have.

I am on another crusade this week, for a disabled home care client. Her recycle wheelie bin had been filled up with bundles of advertising brochures (otherwise known as junk mail), still in their unsorted state of several hundred tied up with tape. Obviously the person who was supposed to collate them and deliver them to letterboxes decided he/she couldn't be bothered this week, and dumped them into my client's bin. Possibly knowing she is disabled and wouldn't be able to do anything about it. I nearly broke my back when I tried to wheel it out onto the kerb for collection. So I opened it to see what was making it so heavy, and when I discovered what it was, I told my client, then called the distributor, who was very angry about it, and apologised profusely for the inconvenience. She promised to send someone out the next day and remove the brochures from the bin before it is due to be emptied (Wednesday), and they would trace the person who was responsible. That night, I emailed a "thumbs down" letter to our local interesting to see if this one is published. They'll be getting tired of me!

adopt your own virtual pet!