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, October 25, 2007

Does absence make the heart grow fonder?

Probably not in blogland. Most of the blogging community have so many sites they like to visit regularly, it is probably a relief to find one or two who haven't posted anything for a while. My excuse is flimsy. Since my enforced (and hopefully temporary) retirement, I seem to have been running around in circles. Centrelink, job interviews, media interviews, waiting for tradesmen, and ferrying some of my ex-clients (who are still friends) to hospital appointments, or out for a cuppa on a nice day, and so on.

Yesterday I applied for a job with a private aged care provider and got the impression they were keen to have me work for them. When I got home, I was so tired I fell asleep for about three hours. On reflecting over the past month, I think if I am accepted for any of the jobs I apply for, I will tell them I can't start work until December. I need more time to relax and re-charge my batteries, so to speak. When I lost my job, I was looking forward to finally having time to read, stitch, catch up with friends, etc. but I haven't done much of that at all really. Except read; when I'm stressed, my solution is to lose myself in a good fiction book for a few hours. Great, but that excludes stitching and meeting friends!

I feel guilty because I haven't been in to see Helen since she has been at Royal Talbot, but I justify that by telling myself she has so many friends and relations that will be visiting her regularly, she won't miss me. I meant to write a letter to her, but I've been so depressed, it would not have been worthwhile; it's not a good idea to share your own worries with someone who has much bigger issues in front of her.

Today I've cooked the Christmas Cake. The fruit has been soaking in brandy for nearly a week, and this morning was free from appointments, so I decided it was time to get cooking. Don't you love the smell of rich fruitcake cooking, wafting through the house? In the last two years, I've 'swapped' pieces of my Christmas cake with some of my cyberspace pals. Would anyone reading this like to do a swap this year?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Our miniature panther.

Isabelle over in Scotland often posts pictures of Sirius and Cassius (black kitties) on her blog. They are extravagantly photogenic, whereas our Topsy never liked being photographed when she was younger. But now it seems, she is determined not to be outdone by those Scottish pussies...

Miss Eagle's gift.

Brigid (Miss Eagle) presented me with this gorgeously wrapped parcel at our picnic last week.

It contained two beautiful mugs with black cats on (for Topsy, said Miss E.) along with a big pile of artificial roses in a very useful wire basket.
Thank you again, Brigid! Love everything!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Bloggers picnic at Westerfolds.

Five of us got together today for a picnic at Westerfolds Park in Templestowe - Lindsay, Anne (Mrs Lindsay), Miss Eagle, Val and yours truly (not in photo). We were originally going to be seven, but poor Helen is in hospital, and Connie (Meow) had another commitment.

The forecast was for rain, but that didn't eventuate - it was so windy, the rain wouldn't have had a chance. We sat under one of the many shelters in the park, but still got blown around a lot and kept our jackets on to keep the wind out, except for Miss Eagle, who had driven further than the rest of us, but not brought a jacket!

There was HEAPS of food; Val brought a quiche and some pastries, Lindsay and Anne brought a tray of Japanese finger food (sushi, fish, etc) and several bottles of wine, Miss Eagle brought savoury pastries and cheese and fruit skewers, champagne (come to think of it, what happened to that? I don't remember seeing it opened!), and a gift for each of us ladies - most unexpected! What a generous spirit she is! I took smoked salmon, avocado, tomato, Turkish Bread, chocolate cake and wine. I stuffed myself by sampling a bit of everything (although nobody wanted chocolate cake afterwards, so that has gone back into the freezer), and didn't want to eat dinner tonight, but of course I had to cook for Ken, so I put it off until about 8.30 pm, much to his annoyance...

I drank half of my bottle of white wine, and Lindsay shared a bottle of red with Miss Eagle while they got into serious discussions about politics and social justice issues. The wine stains came out of the cloth okay...Of course I was expected to bring a cloth, and there was some disappointment that it wasn't one of my embroidered ones. Just as well!!

Update on Helen.

I visited Helen today (Monday) in hospital. I was finally free of germs (well, I'd stopped coughing!), and decided to go in the middle of the day instead of later. Less traffic to deal with, and less likelihood of heaps of visitors. I was in luck - I was her first visitor for the day, and her face lit up when she saw me walk into the ward. She is in a ward with three men, poor thing. They've all had strokes of varying degrees, so they are not lively company for Helen, who is normally a very sociable person.

She was out of her bed and sitting in some kind of big wheelchair in her nightie, with a blanket over her lap. She'd been trying to eat her lunch, but wasn't too enthusiastic about it. Her left arm and leg are totally lifeless, but she's been told that with long term physiotherapy she should get some movement back. Her speech isn't too bad, in that I had no trouble understanding her, but it is an effort for her to talk. She was eager to hear my tale of woe about the work situation, and smiled when I said "Once you're back home, I'll have plenty of time to be your secretary and type your blog posts up!" I'd done a printout of all the messages on this blog from her blog friends, and she was so touched that so many people were thinking of her, especially as she has not been blogging for very long. She instructed me to say hello to you all, and said she has lots of great photos from the first ten days of their W.A. trip to post on her blog as soon as she is able to!

I was shocked to learn that Helen's mother died back here in Victoria the day after Helen had the stroke. (She was very old, and in a nursing home). As Helen told me, tears came to her eyes, and when I looked for a box of tissues, she smiled and said "I went through so many boxes of Kleenex when I first arrived, I think they're run out of stock!" I combed her hair before I left, as I've found with some of my home care clients that this is very soothing, and Helen agreed that it felt lovely.

Another visitor arrived about half an hour after I got there, so I stayed for a few minutes, then left them to chat. I promised Helen I'd make some bibs for her, as she said the hospital don't provide anything except paper napkins, and most of the stroke sufferers end up with half their food down their front. When I got home, I hunted up some damask napkins that I had in my collection, shaped a neckline and added a piece of ribbon to go around her neck. Voila! I rung her to ask how many she wanted and she said I should go into business for the whole stroke ward!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Possum Watching

Many years ago, Ken installed a 'possum box' as high as he could reach up on one of our eucalyptus trees in the front yard. From time to time, we have seen birds fly in and out of it, ringtail possums sleeping in it, and even brushtailed possums, who are almost three times the size of the ringtail possums. Today I spotted a brushtail curled up inside the box, and as they sleep all day, I waited until late this afternoon before checking the box again. Luckily the windows of our front bedrooms are at eye level with the possum box, so I had a good view. I opened the closest window as wide as possible and parked myself at it with my camera. Here is what I saw over the next four hours. I said to Ken later, now I know how those professional wildlife photographers must feel - staked out in one spot for hours, waiting for something to appear, and hoping it would be before daylight has gone! If you click on these photos, they will be brought up closer/larger, so even though they look dark, you can still see the possum.

Little sleepy head, one paw hanging out.

Just waking up and having a little stretch. Looking out to see what the weather's like.

Getting darker now. Almost time to come out, but I wish she would stop staring at me, and go away!

Still there! I'm staying put until she goes.

Ah well, time to go.

I'm outta here - there's food to be eaten and friends to socialise with!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Interesting statistics re New Zealander's sex lives!

I just read this on the MSN news service. Didn't they get to Australia when they were doing this survey?

NZ women most promiscuous: survey
Saturday Oct 13 08:32 AEST
New Zealand women have the most sexual partners in the world, according to a global sex survey reported on Saturday.

They have an average of 20.4 sexual partners, according to a survey by condom-maker Durex - well above the global average of 7.3.

The Durex Sexual Wellbeing Global survey, which questioned 26,000 people in 26 countries, found that Austrians topped the male list with 29.3 sexual partners, more than twice the global average of 13.2.

New Zealand was the only country where women were more promiscuous than their men, who averaged 16.8 sexual partners, The Press newspaper said, reporting the survey.

Response to the comments left on previous post.

Firstly, I will pass everyone's good wishes on to Helen as soon as I see or talk to her, hopefully early next week.
Secondly, thank you all for your concern about my health and job situation. It's all very well for me to be blase about retiring, but the reality is, it has hit me badly, and my immune system has crashed. As well as my neck, at the moment I have bronchitis, and a stye in my left eye, which is so swollen I can hardly see out of it. The chemist has told me that the antibiotics I'm on for the bronchitis should help get rid of the stye as well, so I'm crossing fingers that both will be gone by next Tuesday.
Alice: Thank you for your compliment on my hair colour. It is a Clairol tint - just to lighten my normally mousey hair!
LeeAnn: I'll hold you to that - if you are free on Tuesday, why not join us at Westerfolds Park in Templestowe?
Connie: Our picnic at Westerfolds is looking good, providing the weather is fine!
Jeanette: There will be at least four of us at Westerfolds with cameras, so you can expect to see photos on four different blogs!
AnnS: You mean you haven't seen my progress on Patra's Place? It is sooo close to being finished! Punch you? No - but would love to see you again some time.
Ruth: I don't know if the Austin Hospital has patient email facilities, and I still don't know how much longer Helen will be there, so keep an eye on this blog. As soon as I know anything, I'll post it here.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Something funny..and update on Helen.

...well, pathetic really. This is what I'm doomed to wear from now on when my neck gives me grief. Doc was a bit shocked I think, when he got the report on my cervical spine X-Rays last week. He said the degeneration is quite severe, and there is nothing that can be done, except wear this neck brace for support whenever I feel the need for it, or take anti-inflammatory drugs. (I'll only resort to those if I can't sleep). I am forced to admit that losing my job now was probably the best thing that could have happened, given the state of my neck and back. Doc. said if I kept on doing physical work for another five years, I'm likely to end up in a wheelchair with my own carers! He says I should try again at Centrelink for a disability pension, so I will, but if I don't get that, I'll just have to fall back on my superannuation.

Having a crook neck and back is still preferable to being left paralysed by a stroke. Helen's husband Ray phoned me this afternoon to say they are back home in Melbourne (arrived on Sunday night). Helen is in the Stroke Unit at the Austin Hospital, but will probably be moved soon to the Royal Talbot Rehab. centre. Ray said she has very little movement on her left side, and her speech, while she can make herself understood, is nowhere near normal. I hope to visit her in the next few days, so if any blog friends would like me to pass on their regards, just leave a comment at the foot of this post.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Another great timewaster Website!

Yup, I'm still here, clicking on links which lead me forever onward to fascinating places. I discovered this one on Maggie Ann's blog - here is a write up about it. Anyone who loves vintage pictures and all things to do with paper etc. should visit it at least once (and prepare yourself to stay there for at least half an hour.

Welcome to artezine, this online zine is for everyone that's interested in playing and having fun with paper, paints, inks and stamps, and any other exciting mediums.
The aim is to inspire and get your creative energies going.You will find:- many artists who generously show their work, workshops, specialized articles, places to surf for ideas and interesting sites, links to online materials in the U.S and U.K This non commercial site is updated with new articles and work as often as possible, and you're welcome to contribute artwork, articles and links

A Journal of Inspiration.

Barb over at Woof Nanny is always coming up with the coolest ideas! She finds fascinating bits and pieces all over the Web as well as in antique and thrift shops. I love the concept of a book she talks about that was featured in a movie called "Last Holiday". Here is a paragraph from Barb's blog, just to whet your appetite:

In the movie, she has a handmade 'Possibilities' book.
This is a great idea for any of us.
It's a book of visions.
A journal of hopes and dreams and ideas...
magazine clippings, photographs, sketches...
It's a visual document of where and who you aim to be.
I think we all should have a visual record and reminder of our possibilities.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Our purple garden

As you walk up the driveway toward the house, this is what you see on the left.

This is a close-up of one of the bushes - we have several varieties in our garden.

One of the Mint Bushes with a purple coloured daisy growing underneath it.

Cineraria...still don't know if that is the correct spelling!

Blue budgie as promised.

"You want to take me outta here? Well...I don't know. It's a big wide world out there".
"You're not taking him out are you? Oh no! He's the baby of the family - don't let him fly off!"
Oh my goodness, where am I? What is this place?"
"I suppose everything is all right...I feel quite safe here in this nice warm hand".

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Good things to come.

I have been posting more stuff on Patra's Place lately than on here, as I have had a couple of windfalls of vintage linen, and have been busy soaking, ironing and photographing each piece. But I plan to take some photos in the next day or two to post on this blog, just in case anyone is still around to read it...after all my doom and gloom stuff, I'll be surprised if there is. Our front yard is awash with purple flowers at the moment - Aust. Mint Bushes everywhere, and one of my favourites - Cineraria (spell check please!) is also in flower. Hope to get some pics if the sun is shining.

The other photo I want to take is one (or more) of the Budgie Family. The babies are no longer babies - in fact they are almost as big as their parents, and the blue budgie has all his colours now, and is sooo pretty! Ken is talking about taming one already, and I said there's no hurry, the parents are bonking again every day, so there is bound to be more eggs very soon. He just looked at me...a look can speak a thousand words, isn't that what they say? I know what he's thinking. "Why didn't I see this vulgar side of Gina before I married her..."

No more work for this Little Black Duck!

OK, I do have osteo arthritis, but so do 50% of Australians at my age, according to my doctor, who was prepared to sign a form saying I was fit to work for them. But I chucked a wobbly this morning, and told AHCS to shove the job up their arse.
After I told them to tear up my job application, I called my financial advisor and asked him if I could access my super. yet (I can't get a pension till I'm 65, but I can retire on my super when I turn 60 next April). He said yes, if I take it as an allocated pension, meaning they pay me the same amount every month like a wage.
He worked out that I can take up to $10,000 a year, which is all I was earning anyway, as I was part time, so that will suit me down to the ground. I'm already looking forward to lots of stitching time every day! Anyone for coffee?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

No more depressing posts on here about my work.

I don't blame anyone for losing interest in this blog. It used to be such fun, but has degenerated into a whinging session lately. No more! I have just created a new blog for the express purpose of venting my anger about my job situation, so if you want to see more, go here: Workplace Relations - What A Farce!

adopt your own virtual pet!