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.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ken's babies and other feathered friends.

These two Rainbow Lorikeets are regular visitors to the feeding station on our front porch. We had some galahs there as well today, but they are a bit more flighty than these, and took off in a flap when I came out with the camera.

This aviary is one of four, which were once filled with several species of Australian native birds, but they all died off eventually, and Ken lost interest. Somebody gave him a budgie, so he bought another to keep it company. So far there have been no eggs in the nest box, but these two are still new to each other, so it will take time.

Topsy tonight.

When is someone going to turn this computer on?

I've gone to bed - leave my tail alone!

More pictures of Topsy.

This native grass isn't enough to hide behind, but I'm so gorgeous, I should be seen in all my glory, white patch and all.

I think I see a lizard down in those rocks...

Topsy and Latte confront each other!

Ears are back! Topsy has just spotted Latte up on the fence!

This is Latte, who belongs to our new next door neighbours. He is very friendly, and has strolled into our house on several occasions, much to Topsy's shock and horror! Isn't he a lovely colour? I'm sure I don't have to explain why he is called Latte. (Sorry I can't put the accent on the 'e' for the pronunciation).

Meet our Senior Doggie - Elsie.

Here is our dear old dog Elsie. She is about 18 years old and is deaf and probably nearly blind too, so it's no wonder she's gone all camera-shy. She used to be quite happy to have her photo taken, but if you can't see or hear what is going on around you, I guess the first instinct is to duck one's head and walk away.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

ANOTHER new Blog!!

Yup. I'm getting to be an expert! Seriously, it is so easy (too easy I should say!) to create blogs, but such fun. My latest effort is dedicated to Dutch orchestra leader Andre Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra. If you have never heard of Andre, you soon will. He has been around for many years, and is well known in most of Europe, the USA and Japan. It is only in the last year or so that he has been seen on t.v. in Australia - sometimes on the ABC, and more recently on the Ovation Channel on Foxtel cable t.v.

His fan club president in Holland emailed me this week to tell me that Andre is planning to visit Oz, so I suggested to her that I set up some kind of contact point for Aussie fans to communicate with each other in readiness for his visit. She thought that was a great idea, so as I am not clever enough to set up an actual website, what better way to go than a blog?
Pop in here if you are curious!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Angels, Fairies, and Wishes.

Don't you just love Blog surfing? Clicking on all the links on your friends' blogs, clicking on all the links of their friends' blogs, etc. etc. That is how I found this blog. For those of you who are partial to angels, fairies, and other Things Not Of This World, have a look at Wishcasting. Make a wish, and have it supported by other people who have wished and found support. Who knows what the power of the mind can achieve? I don't believe there is a limit to those powers - call it prayer, faith, or self confidence, but I do think most of us are capable of a lot more than what we think. We just don't venture 'beyond the square' as the saying goes.

Friday, March 23, 2007

What else happened on your birthday?

...or should I say, the date of your birth - not necessarily the year of your birth. I'm not enamoured of all those meme things doing the rounds on blogs, as I think you can get too blogged down in a lot of waffle, but this one caught my attention.
1. Go to Wikipedia and type in your birthday, month and day only
2. List three events that occurred on that day.
3. List two important birthdays
4. List one notable death
5. List a holiday or observance (if any)

I don't visit Wikipedia much (have too many other things to do!), but I was curious to see what popped up for my birthdate. PHEW!!! There were 27 newsworthy events (including the sinking of the Titanic); 115 VIPs of one kind or another were born on the same day (including Leonardo Da Vinci and Jeffrey Archer); 63 VIPs died on that day (including Abraham Lincoln and Greta Garbo); there are/were 6 holidays or observances, and 5 Liturgical Feast Days.

If you have 30 minutes to waste like I did (NOT), have a go!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

New slant on getting old(er)!

I like to write down remarks that people make, or things that I read, that make a lasting impresssion on me. Here are two:
"You're not getting old. You're just finding different ways of doing things."
Patty wrote this on a recent comment. It reminded me of something another friend said to me years ago when she was diagnosed with arthritis in her spine.
"Old age comes one day at a time, so I've got plenty of time to get used to it!"

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Who eats with their family at the dining room table?

I'm still here...been visiting my favourite blogs since I posted my previous remarks. Miss Eagle at Food From Oz has posted yet another thought provoking discussion on her blog, and would like to hear from other bloggers with their opinions on the subject (as well as memories of your childhood dining with family). It's funny how some things are clearer in our memory than others, especially the 'bad' things, rather than the 'good'. I have vivid memories of a couple of dramatic family arguments around our dining room table when I was a kid, but they were the exception to our usually harmonious dinners.

Hello to everyone who has posted comments here!

Thank you everyone who have posted comments on my last few posts - it is great fun to read the responses to my various activities, especially the rat episode! Topsy brought a skink (tiny lizard) inside to play with, the following day. She shot in through the cat flap in to the kitchen, and dropped the skink at my feet, from where it promptly scuttled into the dining room. Topsy took off after it, and for a few minutes she played (tormented!) by pouncing on it, holding it in her mouth, then letting it go. It finally took refuge behind a wall unit where Topsy couldn't go, and I haven't seen it since.

Change of might remember me grizzling about my aches and pains a while ago. I have had my new orthotics for about a month, and my feet feel so much better. But the hips and legs have continued to ache all night when I am supposed to be sleeping - AAAGGGHH!!! My chiropractor advised me to get a CT scan done of my spine, as his treatment hasn't been helping me, and until he knows what is causing my problems, he can't do much else. So I went to my GP this morning, and she booked me in for a CT scan and blood tests. I had the scan this afternoon ($363 - OUCH) and will have the blood tests on Thursday. I will see the GP again next Tuesday when she has all the results back, and we'll go from there. She suspects the osteo-arthritis in my lumbar region is responsible for my pain, and has suggested a few things for me to do to cope with it until next week. She also advised me to think seriously about continuing with my current job, as I am still doing some housework along with personal care work, and I am exhausted at the end of the working day. I've been told by a few people lately that I'm getting old and should not be doing such a physically demanding job. Well, I'll just have to put up with the consequences at the moment, as I really do love my work, and there is no way I want to go back to a desk job!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Joining The Club - here is where I sit to blog!

So many bloggers seem to post pictures of where they do their blogging. I may as well join the club! My spot is in the corner next to the window. My dear old PC is six years old and still going strong. The HP Scanner is next to it, and the printer is under the desk. On the right side of the picture is where Ken sits - that is his laptop open on the desk, along with the Broadband modem and other bits and pieces of computer paraphernalia. Out of picture range is his printer/scanner combo. unit.
This room is a fourth bedroom, and has a built-in wardrobe behind where we sit, but it is a tiny room and would probably be better suited as a nursery if we had a family. Makes a nice little office, though!

Ken's Mum and me.

I took several photos yesterday with the Cousins, but I thought I had better be a bit prudent about posting photos of everyone at random! So I decided to put just this one on here, of me with a very special lady - Ken's Mum. For some reason the photo looks like she had tape over her nose...she doesn't. Just a reflection I think.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

St Patrick's Day.

I don't have any Irish blood in me at all (that I know of), so St Patrick's Day doesn't mean anything to me (or Ken). But when I was deciding what to wear on Saturday, a very strange thing happened. I took a pair of pink pants and a matching pink blouse from the wardrobe, then for no reason, put them back and took out a pair of cream pants and a green blouse. Even when I did this, the date didn't twig. Not until we were having a coffee at the shopping centre, and one of the staff came up to take our order. He was wearing a green teeshirt and a sparkly green cap. I STILL didn't twig until he said to me "You're the first person I've seen today wearing green!" I smiled politely and said "Oh?" and he said "For St Patrick's Day". I didn't want to seem ignorant so I smiled again and said "Well of course!"

So tell me, is St Pat. supposed to bring good luck or bad? For those of you who don't like spiders, what would you think of finding a rat in your house? Topsy was gazing intently into a corner tonight; she often does that when she's found a spider, or brought a lizard in to play with. At first we didn't take any notice, but after a while, I got a torch and had a closer look, only to discover what looked like a large mouse (it was actually a small Bush rat (Aust. native species). I think they are cute, but Ken LOATHES rats of any kind, so when I called him over, he reacted very swiftly! He closed all the doors to the rest of the house, and we moved stuff away from the walls where we could, to give Topsy a fair chance of catching the little critter. At first she seemed to be keen to do that, tearing around the lounge/dining room and into the kitchen after the rat, pouncing on it occasionally, but then letting it go. Ken said "Did you see that? The rat just sat and looked up at Topsy without trying to run off, and she sat and looked back at it, as if they had been playing, and stopped to rest!"

Well, it became obvious that Topsy wasn't hungry enough to actually catch and kill her new friend, so Ken found a large jar and held it over the rat when it got into a corner and had nowhere to go. Neither of us were game to pick it up by its tail, as they can turn on you and inflict a nasty bite, so into the jar it went. Ken took it outside and dropped it over the fence into our neighbour's yard (the ones we don't get along with - LOL!) For those of you who might be reading this and wondering how we know what kind of a rat it is, if you click on the link I have provided, it gives quite a bit of information about all kinds of rats found in Australia. Even though the Bush Rats are not usually found in urban areas, we are sufficiently close to bushland here to have quite a lot of native animals living in harmony with us; bush rats, snakes, ringtail possums, the occasional koala, etc. Our council is very keen to help residents identify the various native animals and birds here, so people won't be tempted to kill them by leaving out baits.

The next thing to happen was a darn nuisance. We have a small t.v. in the kitchen for me to watch in between cooking or whatever else I do in the kitchen, and we also have it on while we have our meals at night. I turned it on tonight while I was getting tea ready, and nothing happened. The standby light was on, but I couldn't get it to work. Ken tried changing the batteries in the remote control, but still no luck. We only bought it last August, so it is still under warranty, but it looks like I'll have to take it into the city next week to get it fixed...bang goes another one of my days off. I've just had two weeks off work, and as usual I feel like I need a holiday to get over my holiday!

That was my Saturday. On Sunday we are going to Ken's sister's home for the half yearly family Cousins Day, which is always enjoyable, catching up with Ken's many cousins who would not see each other as often if we didn't have a regular get-to-gether.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Good friends.

Ken and Paul watching t.v.

Ken took this picture of me with Paul.

What a buzz!!!

Well, it was a great week! My English penpal arrived on Tuesday and I met him at the airport. We had arranged to meet at the baggage pickup area, and as people streamed down the escalator toward me, I scanned every face, trying to find someone who looked like the last photo I had received over 30 years ago. The stream of people slowed down to a trickle, and I started to get a bit edgy. Had he missed his flight from Tassie? Had he changed his mind and decided to stay there a bit longer? Suddenly I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to find a tall man grinning at me saying "Hello Gina!" We laughed at each other in delight and hugged, and he explained that he wanted to get his luggage before finding me, in case I had been delayed.

From there on, we never stopped talking. On the half hour drive home, he told me how much he loved Tasmania, and what he'd seen there. I pointed out various things as we passed them, and as I knew he liked Aussie beer, I stopped at a bottle shop and invited him to choose a six pack of beer to bring home. When we got home about 2 pm, I made us some lunch, and then we got down to the serious business of going through my records. Paul buys and sells rock'n'roll records for a living, and as I am in the process of downsizing my lifetime hoard of hobbies, I said he could buy any of my records that he was interested in. As I have about 500 LPs and around 200 singles and EPs, it took the rest of the afternoon, and that is how Ken found us when he got home from work - sitting on the floor of my study, surrounded by records! Ken poured a glass of beer for each of them and joined us while Paul kept going through the records.

After tea, we sat in the lounge and continued to get to know each other. I was delighted to see Ken and Paul getting on like the proverbial house on fire - they both had an interest in motorbikes, we all liked the same kind of music, and had lots of other things in common as well. The next day when Ken went off to work, I took Paul on a tour of second hand record shops (and a few opshops as well!) around Melbourne. He didn't spend much, but I did - nearly $200 on CDs and DVDs that I knew Ken and I would enjoy. That night, we showed Paul one of our favorite movies "The World's Fastest Indian" and he thoroughly enjoyed it. Ken then showed him a few bits and pieces of other DVDs and music to display his home theatre system, while I caught up on a few items of housework.

On Thursday, Paul's plane was due to leave at 2pm, so we only had the morning in which to visit our final record shop, just outside the city. This proved to be the best one we had seen, and Paul made up for lost time, finding a large number of records he just had to have! We reluctantly left there about 12.45 and got to the airport just after 1 pm, so he was in good time to check his luggage in and board the plane to Brisbane, where he planned to hire a car and spend three weeks touring Queensland. I told him that next time he comes here, we expect him to spend more time with us so we can show him more of Victoria, and he replied "But you must come to England first". Well, if we win a lottery, we'd love to!

Would YOU have recognised this man?

Here is my penpal in 1972

And in 1975.

Finally - here in Melbourne, 2007!

Monday, March 05, 2007

No more posting until the end of this week.

When I was about nine years old, I discovered the fun of having penpals around the world. My very first penpal was in England, closely followed by a couple in other states of Australia. Over the years letters came and went from all over the world, friendships have survived from one letter then nothing, to hundreds of letters and lifelong friendships. I have been lucky enough to meet quite a few of them in person.

I've had both male and female penpals, and one of the males is English. We 'met' through an Elvis fan club I think - when we were in our teens, more than forty years ago. We've been corresponding ever since, although in recent years, the letters have dwindled to one or two a year, plus a Christmas card. Paul loves travelling, and has been to Australia a couple of times previously, but never stayed long enough in Melbourne for us to meet, although we have spoken on the phone before. So when he wrote last year to tell me he was coming here again, I wrote back immediately and threatened to follow him all over the country unless he made an effort to meet up this time! He wrote back to say he would love to catch up, and would be in Melbourne for three days - inbetween Tasmania and Queensland.

Tomorrow is our big day. I will meet Paul at the airport and bring him home to stay with us until Thursday. We talked for an hour on the phone last week, and as I haven't had a photo of him since he was about 24, I asked how will I recognise him? Six foot tall with dark hair going grey at the sides, he said. How will he know me? 5'2" with a blonde ponytail and wearing an Elvis teeshirt! Come back on Friday for the whole story!!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Not my pussy!!!

I was so keen to get those photos on here, that I forgot to mention that Zara does not belong to me (sigh)! She belongs to one of my home care clients, who also has three other cats and a gorgeous dog. I love going there to do her housework!
Here are her two black kitties: Black Cat and Ebony.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Meet Zara - a gorgeous Pussy!

Zara likes to sit in the large fruitbowl on the dining room table.

She even likes to curl up and go to sleep in there!

Zara is computer-literate.

But when she is told by her mum to go away, she sulks in a corner.

Friday, March 02, 2007

We had visitors tonight!

Mother Possum and her baby came to feed on some bread and celery I'd left out for the birds during the day. We haven't seen any possums for a while, although we hear them growling to each other late at night if we're awake.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Disgusting...or am I just old fashioned?

I am appalled at some of the tripe that gets on the world news sometimes. The Oscar winner Helen Mirren announced she didn't have any underwear on at the Oscars. So bloody what? I mean, who cares?? Going by the way most of those women dress at those Hollywood events with everything 'in your face', they obviously don't wear bras, and possibly even not panties. But Ms Mirren is 61 isn't she? I would have thought someone in our generation would have had a bit more pride, or self-respect. Guess she's just a tart like the rest of 'em....

Another thing that really upset me was this snippet:
Rocker/junkie Pete Doherty has shared his passion for drugs with the animal kingdom — feeding a penguin a leftover marijuana joint, according to reports.
If I saw someone doing that at a zoo or wildlife park here, I would become extremely violent toward them. I'm only 5'2" tall, and I can't really afford to physically tangle with people because I would probably come off second best, but I think my anger at such an act would give me enough superhuman strength to knock them out.

adopt your own virtual pet!