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, February 26, 2007

Which Tarot card are you?

Yet another one of those quiz things - I found this one on Anne's blog.

You are The Star

Hope, expectation, Bright promises.

The Star is one of the great cards of faith, dreams realised

The Star is a card that looks to the future. It does not predict any immediate or powerful change, but it does predict hope and healing. This card suggests clarity of vision, spiritual insight. And, most importantly, that unexpected help will be coming, with water to quench your thirst, with a guiding light to the future. They might say you're a dreamer, but you're not the only one.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Do you like our jazzy sheets?

Our house is often described by other people as being 'retro'. I don't fully understand that word, but I am assuming it means our house looks like it belongs to the 1970's. Well, it was built in 1975, so that's fair comment. We haven't changed it much - still have orange carpet, cedar walls, and mission brown exposed beams. Sorry if that offends anyone, but we liked it back then and we still like it! A friend was present while I was changing the sheets on our bed one day and when she saw the clean ones, she shrieked 'Oh darling, how RETRO!!" Gawd, here we go again. What do you think? Colourful? Cute? Or just plain hideous?? They were a wedding present I think, so they would be nearly 30 years old, right back to the seventies, yes! But they are Sheridan sheets, and they haven't worn out yet, so I'm just going to keep on using them!

Goodbye to 50 years of stamp collecting.

Life has a habit of changing people in many ways. For the last couple of years, I have seen in many homes the accumulation of 80 years of hoarding stuff, and I have realised that Ken and I were going down the same track. I keep thinking, if I dropped dead next week, someone is going to have to go through all this shit I've hoarded, and dispose of it! So I am going to get rid of some of the shit myself. I started off last year with old files and letters - boxes and boxes of them. It felt sooooooo good to get rid of them in the paper recycle bin! Then I started on books. Now that is hard - VERY hard, as all my fellow booklovers will know! But again, I selected the books that I was no longer interested in - most of my Elvis books, quite a few cook books, and a few others.

Today I sold the majority of my stamp collection. I've been collecting stamps since I was ten years old, and I inherited my father's collection as well. I have never been interested in the monetary value of my stamps - I see them purely as interesting and educational. I have about 90% of all Aussie stamps ever issued (only missing many pre-1950 issues), but as impressive as that may sound, they are not particularly valuable, as most Australian stamps are still readily available from dealers and other collectors. But I have spent a lot of money over the years, buying every new issue as it came out, so I decided to keep those albums. I also kept my Australian Territories album for the same reason.

Since I was a teen, I have had penpals in many countries, most of whom collected stamps like me, so of course we kept each other well supplied with stamps from our respective countries. I created an album for each of those countries, so I had one for Japan, Korea, China, New Zealand, Canada, U.S.A., England, Belgium, the Phillipines, and Germany. Then I had another few albums for all the other countries from which I had accumulated a few stamps. All in all, I had stamps from hundreds of countries, many of which no longer exist, due to change of name and/or borders over the years.

A few years ago, I took my collection to a reputable stamp dealer for a valuation. After looking through it, he said it would be worth no more than about $80. At that stage, I wasn't thinking of getting rid of them, so I took them home again and put them back on the shelf to gather dust for a few more years. As I said above, I had been buying all the Aussie stamps, and the only time I looked at my albums was to put the new stamps in. I had several boxes of stamps from other countries still to be sorted and put in their respective albums as well. But in the last decade, I became interested in other hobbies and less in my stamps, so I stopped buying them, as it was costing quite a lot to keep up to date. I reluctantly decided to sell them, as like so much else around here, they were just taking up space and gathering dust.

Recently, I found a notice in our local paper, advertising a person who offered valuation and possible purchase of stamps and coin collections. I called him last week, and he arrived this afternoon to have a look at my stamps. He said much the same as the dealer all those years ago - a nice collection, but little commercial value. I had put aside my albums of Australian, Japanese, Chinese and Belgian stamps, as they were my favourites, and he agreed with me that they were worth keeping. He made me an offer of $75 for the rest, and I said I'd think about it. We talked for a while, then he said "Would you take $100?" and I thought why not? Gets them out of my hair, and I can use a spare $100 (eBay, here I come - LOL!)
So we agreed on that figure, and he went off a happy man, with a box of my stamp albums. I can't say I have any regrets; I put the others back on the shelf where they were, and I guess I'll have a look through them from time to time.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

My Saturday.

Today was a very productive day, ending with me being absolutely stuffed, but also very satisfied with my work! We became a tiny bit wealthier, by selling a few items around the house. One of our four bedrooms in this house has been designated 'the linen room' because I have my collection in there. It also does duty as a guest room on the rare occasion that someone comes to stay with us. Up until today, we had our old Queensize double bed in there, which our guests in past years have said was very comfortable. But it took up almost half the room, and with my china cabinet and Tall Boy fighting for space, the room was too cluttered. When a friend told us of someone who needed a spare bed in his new home, we made contact, and agreed to sell our old bed to him for $40. Today he came to collect it.

As soon as they had gone with the bed, I vaccumed and dusted the whole room thoroughly. Moved the china cabinet and tall boy to new positions, vaccumed some more, and asked Ken's opinion. Our old stereo record/tape player was still in the lounge room on a small cabinet, but not in use, as we use the home theatre system to play music. Ken suggested moving the stereo into the linen room so I could listen to my records and tapes whenever I liked, if he was doing something else at the other end of the house. So I moved that in there too, as well as the old standard lamp which no longer fits in the lounge.

We have a friend from the U.K. staying here for two days in March, so I got out the folding bed we had bought years ago for emergencies, and put that up near the window. I covered it with all the bedding from the QS bed, which made it nice and soft, then I put all my embroidered cushions all over it for display. This is just a temporary measure, as I don't think we'll have time to buy a divan or sofa bed before our friend arrives. Once he is gone, we are going to look for one of those convertable sofa beds, which will look much nicer, and be more comfortable for any future guests. Here is the new look on one side of the room. The walls out of sight are the wardrobe wall where my cloths hang, and the china cabinet is against the wall next to the bed.

Aches and pains and old(er) age.

Jeanette and Isabelle posted sympathetic comments on yesterday's musings, for which I thank them! Jeanette, I will be staying with the chiro. for the time being, as he is giving us both such good advice on our health, in addition to the adjustments he does on our backs. I do miss my massages though, and if I can ever see my way clear to affording them again, I will do so. Our chiro. has actually told us that he thinks massage is very effective, in addition to chiropractice. Heat packs work well, but if the area is inflamed, ice packs are more effective in relieving pain . You just have to know when to use which method. For instance, ice is no good with arthritis!

Isabelle, it sounds like we have a similar problem. My pain is also worse when I am lying down or standing for any length of time. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about seeing a podiatrist and having new orthotics fitted. I am aware that for a while, new orthotics will cause pain in many parts of the body as well as the feet, depending on what is wrong in the first place. Once the body adjusts to your new (correct) posture, the discomfort subsides. When I wrote yesterday's post, I had forgotten about my new orthotics, which I've been wearing for about 2 weeks, so I am now wondering if that is the cause of my increased discomfort lately. So maybe I should be patient for a few more weeks and see what happens. I'm due back at the podiatrist for a review then. OMG, I can't believe I'm writing this drivel about my ailments....but a few of my old friends are now reading my blog to keep up to date with me, and I know they'll understand. We talk about our health all the time these days...just pass my walking stick please :-[

Friday, February 23, 2007

Retirement - wishful thinking?

Tomorrow at 10 am I have an appointment with my chiropractor. I'm tossing up whether or not to continue having treatment with him, or go back to having remedial massage. The massage was much more effective, but at $55 a time, and no rebate from private health insurance, it just gets too expensive. The Chiropractor costs $43 a visit and we get $23 back, but as much as I know it will benefit me long term, I don't get the instant relief from him that I do from massage. My lower back and hips are really causing me grief at the moment...constant pain at night, dragging myself out of bed in the mornings after broken sleep, and now I'm finding my job is becoming harder to do. All my medical advisors say the same thing: I can't expect to do the same work at 59 that I did so effortlessly 10 years, even 5 years ago. I've cut out two more of my clients who have larger houses, and my supervisor is going to try to find more respite and personal care work for me, but there is no guarantee that will be available at the times I would prefer.

Retirement is looking more and more enticing, but our financial position would be better if I could keep working for another year at least, as next year I think I'm eligible for a pension. Ken will be eligible at the end of this year when he turns 65, but neither of us really want to be dependant on a pension yet. We both feel we'd like to continue working at least part time for a few more years if our health holds up!

I get a tad worried about myself when I see some of my clients in their 80's and 90's, who are unable to shower and dress themselves because of the pain from osteoporosis and arthritis. If I'm like this now, what the hell will I be like when I'm their age - providing I survive another 30 years?

On a lighter note, I was busy scanning some needlework for Patra's Place earlier tonight, and decided while I had the scanner going, I may as well scan some more of my swap cards for the Swap Card blog. So if you are interested in them, there are about 10 more pages to see!

Sunday, February 18, 2007


This is Ken's sister having a cuddle of her tiniest grand daughter..In her words, she is 'besotted' with them, and I must admit, I get a bit clucky myself when they are around!

The Littlest Angels in our family!

One year old Emily - took over the draught stopper to use as her pillow!

Three year old Olivia - very used to having her picture taken!

I'll swap our heat for some of your snow!

I know it's been pretty bad in parts of the northern hemisphere, but I would give anything to experience just 24 hours of snow and ice right now. This weekend was a scorcher, reaching 38 deg.C (approx. 106 deg.F) on both days. Ken and I are lucky enough to have two air conditioners - a new one in the living area, installed just before Christmas, and the old (37 years old) one, which used to cool or heat the whole house, but now it struggles with extreme temperatures. We were going to have it removed completely when the new one was installed, but that would have left a large hole in the wall of the entrance hall, so we just left it there. It still works well enough to cool the other end of the house, which is where our computers are, so we had both coolers on today, as Ken was on his computer, and I was in the kitchen, stitching.

Yesterday we had Ken's family here to celebrate his Mum's 94th birthday. We had invited one of her two remaining cousins, and another couple of her friends, all of whom are in their 90's, and we fully expected them all to ring and apologise for not venturing out on such a hot day. The friends did ring, but her cousin arrived with his daughter-in-law, so M.I.L. was delighted to see him after several years. Also present were Ken's sister and her hubby, and her daughter with her two little girls. So ten of us altogether, and thanks to the two air conditioners, we were actually quite comfortable! S.I.L. said later she was so glad we had the party at our place, because nobody else's home would have been so cool.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day 2007

This is how I set the table for dinner tonight. A bit more special than usual!

What a lucky girl I am, to have a loving husband who always gives me a card for Valentines Day, and loving friends like Nicole, from whom I received a gorgeous parcel today! We were partners in the Valentine Heart Swap organised by Robyn, and here is what she sent. The parcel was wrapped in green tissue with a red ribbon. When I removed the paper, there was a heart shaped, hand painted box. Inside was a box of chocolates, a single red fabric rose and a bundle of swap cards! Thank you very much Miss Nicole; I do hope you like my little pressie as much as I like yours!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

"There but for the Grace of God go I"

That was one of my father's favourite sayings and he quoted it whenever he saw someone who was disabled, or in some way less fortunate than us. Today I was reminded of Dad yet again when I was sitting having a coffee and muffin in our shopping centre. Two men - one pushing the other in a wheelchair, sat down at a table at the far end of the cafe so they wouldn't be in anybody's way. The man in the wheelchair was severely disabled, his head lolling on one side and his eyes rolling much of the time. His friend carefully spoon-fed the disabled man, and held a cup for him to drink from.

When I finished my coffee, I approached the men and introduced myself. I asked the carer if he was related to the disabled man and he said no, but he was his carer. As I had my work uniform on, he could see I worked in the same field, and we had a brief discussion about our work. While we were talking, the disabled man took my hand and kissed it several times, and I let him hold my arm while I chatted to his carer, who after a brief second of embarrassment, said "He's still a womaniser!"

I asked if his friend was an accident victim and was told yes - he had collided with a tram while riding a motorcycle - 17 years ago. I turned to the disabled man and started to tell him that I also used to ride a bike and had been in a bad accident once, but his friend said "He can't hear you, he is deaf". I leant forward and gave him a kiss, and the carer thanked me for stopping to chat. Most people walk by quickly, averting their gaze because they are uncomfortable seeing 'abnormal' people out and about. I have the opposite reaction; I just want to go and hug them and say "I know you are still a real person inside that terrible cage". I don't go that far of course, but I usually stop to smile and shake a hand or chat if I have time. Can I convince you to feel a little compassion next time you see a fellow human being in a cage?

Monday, February 12, 2007

My Perfect Pantry!

After the comments (both on and off the Blog) about me organising other people's pantries, I decided to photograph my own and see whether or not you think yours is any tidier! There is another two shelves on top of what you can see here; I just couldn't fit them into the photo. Yes, it is only a small pantry compared to those lucky people who have 'walk-in' style of the things I want in my dream kitchen..

Doggy paw prints!

It is so cute to find animal tracks in freshly laid concrete paths! These doggy prints have been here for a few years, and I guess the photo would be better if I got out on the footpath and washed it down with a scrubbing brush and bucket of water, but in view of the current water restrictions, I might get a few angry comments from passing motorists!

My morning walks.

I warned my readers that I would be going nuts with my digital camera from now on! You might like to see some local scenery. From Monday to Friday, I go for a walk at 8 am with my friend who lives across the road. We walk briskly through the park nearby, which takes us about 20 minutes. Here are some photos of what we saw this morning.

We had a severe storm the other night. This is just one of several trees that were uprooted and blown down in our park.

Cyclists use the path as well as walkers.

Heading one way.

Heading back again!

I lOVE sunflowers! Couldn't resist taking a photo of these peeking out from someone's back yard.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Cute kitties.

My friend Louise gave me these two matching accessories for Christmas, and as there are so many catlovers out there, I decided to show you all these cute items!
A key case and a mobile (cell) phone pouch.

Change of subject: I have posted some more swap cards on my swap card blog for those who are interested.

T.G.I.F. !!

Phew, thank goodness that week is over. It never rains but it pours, as my ex MIL used to say. You get all the good, or all the bad at once! On Tuesday, I spent the day at the Embroiderers Guild, and my car was parked safely in the private car park behind the building. I went out there around midday to get something from my car and discovered a 6" scratch on the drivers side door - not just a slight scratch, but a gouge as if someone had run a key or coin along it deliberately. I can't see how it would have happened there, but I don't recall seeing it earlier.

On Thursday night I was cooking veal schnitzel, and as I was about to drop a piece of veal in the frying pan, Ken distracted me and I turned around to respond, and dropped the meat into the pan, spattering my hand with the hot butter/oil mixture.

Only my ring finger was burned fortunately, but owwww, how it hurt for a couple of hours. I held my hand in cold water for the rest of the night, inbetween continuing to cook the meal, serving it up, eating it, and washing the dishes. Where was Ken? Down in the garage trying to polish the scratch off my car! I would much rather he'd been helping me in the kitchen, his eyes the car was more important!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

It's not looking good...

...In fact it is looking extremely bad. The above photo is of Sydney's catchment area. Melbourne's reservoirs don't look much different. Politicians, scientists and every man and his dog has an opinion, but when are they going to do something constructive? Building more dams is not an option - there's no water to fill them. Desalination? I don't know - how long would it take to build the infrastructure? Recycling all water seems the only short term solution that I can see..

Dam levels for capital cities as at 6th February.
BRISBANE: 22.52%
SYDNEY: 34.3%
CANBERRA: 35.84%
HOBART: 94.00%
ADELAIDE: 56.00 %
PERTH: 25.2%
Ironical to see that our least populated cities have the most water...

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Poor little bushfire babies...

I have taken the liberty of scanning part of two photos that appeared in our local paper this week. They showed a vet. holding a koala that had been injured in the bushfires, and a row of washing baskets with koalas in them, that a wildlife carer has been looking after since she found them in bushfire ravaged forests. Hope I don't get in strife, but as I have identified them as being in the Diamond Valley Leader, and not claiming them as my own pictures...But I just couldn't resist them. They are sooooooooooooo cute!

Announcement regarding Swap Cards Blog.

Yup. I have finally got around to creating another blog to show my swap card collection to those who have asked about it. I have named it Patra's Swap Card Collection for obvious reasons and you can find it here.

adopt your own virtual pet!