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.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Visiting Blogger friends.

I had such an enjoyable day yesterday. Anne S. had invited Sharon and I to lunch at her place, and view her stash. Anne's Mum (June)is staying with her at the moment, and as we had all met before (at Sharon's home) conversation was not slow to start! Anne has a huge stash as you would know from reading her blogs, and her finished projects are...well, priceless. I just can't find the right adjective; they are beautiful, awesome, perfect, etc. etc. I say priceless because you really cannot put a monetary value on hand stitched work, especially when it is so well stitched. Anne has got June into cross stitching, and she showed us what she has been doing as well - gorgeous Christmas designs. We had a delicious lunch of chicken and salad, accompanied by a nice wine that I'd brought along, followed by fresh fruit salad and cream. YUM!

Anne had been culling her stash of designs and patterns, and had a box full of unwanted items, which she invited Sharon and I to help ourselves to. I also came home with one of Anne's early projects - a tiger head on black aida - which she said she'd never framed because she didn't like it. It is now framed and residing on the wall of my linen room along with other framed embroidered pictures not done by me (mine are on the opposite wall). Thanks again Anne! I have something for you when you visit Patra's Place (my home I mean - not the blog - lol!).

Friday, August 25, 2006

NAUGHTY puss!!!
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Something a bit different for a giggle - isn't that CUTE!!!!!!
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Back on July 25 I posted a description of our day with LeeAnn and Rob at Peartree Cottage, during which we exchanged our 'goddess' swap packages. Belatedly (I just got the film developed!) here is a photo of all the goodies she gave me.
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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Nothing wrong with my ticker!!!

Well, that is what the doc. said today after my thallium stress test. I had such fun at the hospital this morning! For those who don't know what the thallium stress test is, this is what happened to me. (There were no surprises in store for me, as I had been with Ken when he has had these tests). I was told earlier to wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes. When I arrived, I took off my windcheater and the nurses affixed one of those syringe things into my right arm, which allow them to inject stuff or take blood as required more than once, without having a new injection each time. The first nurse tried to find a vein in my left arm but couldn't. The next nurse tried on my right arm and couldn't find one. Finally a male doctor came in, looked at my right arm and popped in the syringe without any fuss at all! Thank goodness; I was starting to feel like a pin cushion :-(

After that was done, they planted those little buttons all around my torso - the jiggers they attach to ECG machines etc. I put my top back on, then we went to the next room where they have the treadmill machine. I stood on that, they wired me up to all the paraphernalia, and the doc. started the machine. "Let me know when you are getting tired, and we will start injecting the (radio-active) dye into your veins", he said. I 'walked' on the slowly moving tread, holding a rail in front of me, and looking straight ahead as instructed. After a few minutes, he tilted the board and increased the pace slightly. No problems for me - it was just like my daily morning walk. "How are you feeling?" they asked, and I said "Fine! This isn't stressful at all, compared to my daily walk up and down our hills". Another few minutes went by, and he again increased the speed and tilt. By now, I was 'walking' fast to keep up with the machine, and I was getting a bit warm due to my windcheater and trackpants! The doc said "Your face is red - are you allright?" and I said "I'm fine -just getting hot!" I was panting a bit, but certainly not out of breath or in any pain. After 10 minutes they slowed the machine back down and stopped it, and I hopped off. "Had enough?" asked the doc. and I said "You're joking - I was just getting warmed up!"

I think they were a bit surprised at this nearly 60 year old lady going so well, and I suspect Ken was a bit peeved, as he only lasted 4 minutes on it last year (but he's got major lung and heart problems). The final thing I had to do was have an MRI scan - lying on a stretcher and being scanned by a huge machine that revolves slowly around the body, producing continuous images on a computer screen. I was booked in for the whole day, as they usually have to repeat the whole exercise in the afternoon, but after looking at the test results, the doc. said "You can go home now - no need to return this afternoon. There's nothing wrong with your ticker!" I was tempted to cancel next week's appointment with the cardiologist, but decided not to, as even though my heart seems pretty good, there might still be a problem with some of the arteries.

I suspect I may have had what's known as a 'mini-stroke', as I have read about them, and my symptoms were typical of the condition. Time will tell. But for now - I'm as fit as a mallee bull! (Aussie slang)....and temporarily radio-active as well. I was warned to stay clear of pregnant women and small children...but what about pets? Is Topsy going to turn into an even bigger monster than she is now, since I had her on my lap for a cuddle tonight? And will our tiny Fighting Fish turn into sharks because they are in the kitchen with me all afternoon?? I think not..

Monday, August 21, 2006

Topsy watching my socks drying in front of the gas fire. The rug is her 'treasure hunt' rug - she finds small things around the house and hides them under it. I'll be looking for a pen or some other small item, and be walking across the rug, and feel 'c.r.u.n.c.h.' under my feet...
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Patty wanted to see inside my book on Victorian Entertaining. Unfortunately it is too large to fit a whole page on the scanner, so I've just scanned part of the contents page, and one of the old fashioned sketches below.
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One of the pages in my new book.
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I finally got around to taking some photos of our yard since we had it done. You can only just see the small shrubs we have planted along the centre garden bed; hopefully this time next year they will be much larger and worth photographing. The aviaries up the back have two lone residents (see pic below).
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The other side of the yard, showing our neighbour's gorgeous wattle tree hanging over the fence. There are five or six small trees and shrubs planted in that area, including the Robyn Gordon Grevillea, but you can't see them properly in this photo.
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Grevillea Robyn Gordon - this native Aust. plant is spectacular when the shrub is fully grown. It flowers nearly all year round. As this was only planted a month or so ago, I am thrilled that it has already produced its first baby!
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The only two residents in those aviaries - blue boy budgie and green girl budgie! Ken has put a nesting box in there and is crossing his fingers.
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This is my 'herb garden' outside the back door. From left - mint in black tub, parsley, basil and chives in next container, then oregano, thyme and rosemary in the next one, and garlic in the small pot. The green stuff in the round brown pot is 'cat grass' - which is possibly just a gimmick on the part of plant nurseries these days. It just looks like ordinary grass, but the idea is that you grow it in a pot for cats that live indoors all the time. You know how cats go for the grass as soon as you let them outdoors?
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Am I a cat person or a dog person?

I should have been in bed hours ago, but couldn't resist doing another one of these mad things:
You Are: 60% Dog, 40% Cat

You are a nice blend of cat and dog.
You're playful but not too needy. And you're friendly but careful.
And while you have your moody moments, you're too happy to stay upset for long.

Defining happiness.

Most of the time, I view journalists with suspicion and disfavour, as so many of them are blatantly biased in their reporting, politically and otherwise. But there are a few who are specialists in their fields, and write common sense articles without prejudice. One of my favourite writers is a lady by the name of Ruth Ostrow, who writes a column for one of our major newspapers. I often cut her articles from the papers and keep them to re-read, as they provide a lot of food for thought.

One such article was about the search for happiness. I know of so many people (on and off the Net) who are forever soul-searching, trying to 'find' themselves, look for peace in their lives. I find this rather sad, and I have difficulty relating to that kind of inner torment, as I am by nature rather optimistic, and look for the positive side of things rather than the negative. In contrast to me, my Better Half is very much a pessimist, and I've spent most of our married life trying to change him, or retreating from him before he got me into the same sorry state! I've since learned not to try and change ANYONE, let alone one's husband, even if I think he would be better off being like me! Instead, I continue to just be me, and hope the happier side rubs off on him, which it has done somewhat over the years.

In the unlikely event of Ms Ostrow reading my blog, I hope she would be pleased rather than cross with me for quoting a few lines from her article on happiness:

"If you stop insisting on having your needs met in one neat package, you will work out that Existence is indeed indulging you with everything you need. This philosophy applies to anything we crave. Many people can't see the love and sensuality around them because they're fixated with it being in one special person, which breeds disappointment. Our jobs may not be totally fulfilling, but there are hobbies that stimulate and excite. The city we live in has its drawbacks, but holidays elsewhere may redress the balance in a way that living in that 'better city' may not.

As my Dad used to say "Every cloud has a silver lining. Sometimes you just have to look a bit harder to find it".

Thursday, August 17, 2006

This book was given to my friend Helen for her birthday some time ago, and she lent it to me recently. I liked it so much I had to have my own copy, so I looked at eBay, and sure enough there was this one copy for $12! Does anyone want to see inside? It features some beautiful 'vintage' sketches and paintings along with delicious recipes.
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My favourite Op-shop (Savers) rarely has any linen these days, but I still like to see what else is around, and today I found three fantastic tins. A lady came up behind me just as I picked this tin up and she said "Oh, another tin collector?" and I said "Yes and no, I buy tins for a specific purpose, to store things in", and she said "Oh...." and hung around in case I changed my mind. But I didn't - would you have? I haven't even got the price sticker off properly yet - just in such a hurry to show my blog readers! The other tins are also unusual; one is made to look like a big thick leatherbound book, and the third one has reproductions of Belgian stamps all over it.
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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Thank you all for your concern!

Hi girls, thank you all so much for your concern and caring comments on my last couple of posts. I really feel a bit of a fraud, as I feel fine now, although my doctor insists I did the right thing by not ignoring my symptoms. I had another consultation with her on Friday, and she has given me referrals to the hospital to have a CT scan and stress test, also a referral to Ken's cardiologist. It will be funny to see his face when I turn up to see him minus Ken!

We had a nice quiet day on Saturday; Ken had a few messages to do around town, so I went with him in the car, and while he was in the various shops, I read a book that I'd brought with me. I probably wouldn't have read it at home - there is always something else to do, such as housework, so this was a good opportunity. I don't know what today holds as yet - I may go to a friend's house and do some stitching, as her hubby will be working and she has been asking me to go up there and motivate her to stitch something!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A nasty shock.

Isn't it weird how fast things can change? On Tuesday I was on top on my world. But within 24 hours, I was in the emergency ward of a public hospital with a suspected heart attack. My back and shoulders were aching all Wednesday afternoon while I was house-cleaning, and it hurt to take deep breaths. By the time I got home at 3.45 pm, I couldn't even summon the strength to get out of my car and go up the stairs. I sat in the car for half an hour, then I phoned Ken from my mobile and asked him to come and help me. He tore downstairs like a rocket, took one look at me and bundled me off to the doctor in his car. Luckily my doctor was on duty, and she put me on oxygen, gave me a nitrate pill under the tongue, and I started to come good after a few minutes. But she called an ambulance because my blood pressure was all over the place, and she wanted me to be monitored in hospital instead of just sending me home. So I was in the Austin emergency ward for about four hours, on oxygen and having all kinds of tests run. They decided I hadn't had a heart attack, but it was most likely angina, so I have to see a cardiologist and have a stress test.

We got home about 9.45 pm and Ken was cross when I went off to Safeway at 11 pm and did my shopping as usual! But I was okay by then, and still feel fine today. Luckily I only had one job this afternoon - a respite job, where I sit with my client for two hours while her daughter is at work. Today she was sleepy, so I had a snooze in the chair alongside her! Still, I have to think seriously about continuing to clean houses for a living; the results of further tests will decide that. If I do have a heart problem, I don't intend to make things worse by wearing myself out before my time!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

What a day!

I came home tonight feeling quite happy with my little world. It was an interesting day, although my activities would probably bore anyone else to tears! I started the day with my daily morning walk - half an hour with my neighbour D across the road. We don't stop talking the whole time we are walking, so we are both out of breath by the time we get home!
After doing a load of washing and pegging it out (forecast was for a nice sunny day), I drove to a local Centrelink Office to meet a friend who needed some moral support. I had been with M. about a month ago, when she had been highly stressed, having difficulties convincing the Centrelink staff that she was applying for benefits because she was not well enough to work. It turned out that all she needed were some extra documents (birth certificate etc.) so once we got that sorted out, she was able to follow that up herself. Today she brought everything that Centrelink required, and I accompanied her again just in case she got put under pressure again by the staff.

We could not have had a kinder, more sympathetic person to deal with. A man in his 30's, with a warm friendly attitude and a great sense of humour, he had us both laughing nearly all the time we were there, while he quietly entered info. on his computer, and slipped a few non-threatening questions to M. every now and then. He finally presented her with some documents that enable her to obtain a discounted rate on her rent and medications, and he also assured her that her first fortnightly benefit payment would be in her bank within a week. We had lunch together at a cafe, then I went home, leaving her much happier and less stressed than she has been for months.

At home, I had a quick change of clothes, and picked up a few essentials for my next outing of the day - to take one of my elderly Japanese ladies to a specialist. I had taken A. to have some tests in hospital a month ago, and today she was to be informed of the results. The doctor said there was no sign of chronic or serious illness or injury, and that A. was very healthy for her age (late 80's), except for her heart. The doc. suggested A. have a cardiogram, so I made an appointment for her next week, as I will have the time to drive her there again. Even though A. has a discount Taxi voucher, if I drive her, I can be with her at the doctor's rooms, and translate if she has language problems. So after driving another happy, less-stressed friend home, I came back to our home, but not to peace and quiet!

Around 6 p.m. I was looking for the key to our back gate, so I could wheel the rubbish bin out on to the nature strip for tomorrow's collection. The gate was locked and I couldn't find the key. Ken was the last to use it, but couldn't remember what he'd done with it, so we both turned everything in the house upside down, to no avail. A few hours later, Ken wandered into the kitchen with a sheepish grin on his face (don't you love that description in books...baa baa..), holding the missing keys. They were in his pocket all the time. GRRRRRR!! I had asked him hours ago if he'd checked his pockets, and he'd said "Yes Yes, I did that first". you ever wonder if they really are from Mars as the book says?

Once every five years, we must take stock.

Yup, it is Census night. Have all you good Aussies filled out your census forms? I am one of those weird people who just love filling out forms, surveys, questionaires, etc. Maybe it is an Aries thing? I filled out my bit and Ken did his bit after me - reluctantly, mind you, but no way was he going to let me do this all important task all on my own!

I get cross with people who object to the census. As I said to someone today - 'how do you think all this (waving my arms around a government building) works? It doesn't just happen without directions'. The Powers-That-Be need to know stuff about the entire population, in order to plan for the future, e.g. where people are living or moving to, so hospitals and schools can be built. How many people are needing care of some sort, and how many people do this for a living? The census will enable the ABS to figure out whether there are enough carers for those who need it, and if not, plan to put training in place. Another question addresses what transport people use day to day. From the answers to this, governments can make long term plans about public transport and roads.

Sorry to get on my soapbox about this topic, but those who scream 'invasion of privacy' just don't get the bigger picture.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

My family photos have been moved.

When I posted some old photos of my Mum and her parents, I stated that I would eventually transfer them to my other blog Patracat's Memories. I have now done that, so if you saw them earlier on this blog, and you want another look for some reason, you'll find them here.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Amy (Calico Cat) recently returned home to the USA after her honeymoon in Australia, and she has been posting photos of Oz on her blog. They were very impressed with the scenery on the Great Ocean Road and around Port Campbell, so I decided to hunt up the photos I took when I was there nearly 30 years ago. But this first photo isn't mine - it was a runner-up in a newspaper competition, so I'm putting here to see if Amy recognises it!
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These are my own pictures taken at Port Campbell in January 1979. The top one is a similar view to the photo above.
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Port Campbell, Vic. January 1979.
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I forgot to include this in the pictures I scanned of Lee-Ann's Goddess swap items to me. This is a tiny card she made using paper toile - so much fiddly work to make such a pretty card!
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adopt your own virtual pet!