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.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Found it!

My mobile phone, that is. Ken kept on ringing the number when he got up on Thursday morning and eventually someone answered it. He handed the phone to me and I announced myself as the owner of the phone, and asked where it was. A female voice said "The Austin Hospital Coffee Shop" and I said "I'll be up to get it within the hour!" When I got there, the lady who runs the shop told me how she'd heard it ringing and couldn't figure out where it was coming from until she saw the phone lying on the floor - said it was driving her crazy! Then she didn't know how to answer it, and had to ask another staff member, and that is when they got me. We had a good laugh over it. Phew! I am sooooo lucky to get the phone back - so many people lose theirs and never see them again.

Well, at least that was one thing this week that went right eventually. I had an appointment on Tuesday at 10 am. for a job interview. The place I had to go was about half an hour's drive from home, so I set off in good time, and arrived outside the building at 9.45 am. I drove up and down that street, along all the side streets, looking in carparks of other businesses, but there was not a car spot to be found anywhere. By 10.15 I gave up, and parked about a mile down the road, to ring the office and let them know I wouldn't be there. When I told the lady on the phone why, she said "Oh our staff have this problem all the time", to which I responded "if your staff have this problem, what hope do job applicants have?" I told Centrelink not to send me over there again for interviews - it is a waste of time and petrol.

In today's mail I received an absolutely stunning embroidered apron, which I will be be photographing and putting on to my Aprons blog, later on. Also in the mail, I had a letter from Hesta Superannuation. I'd asked my financial advisor one month ago to organise the rollover of my super.funds from Hesta to MLC, which is my primary fund. Since I asked him to do that, I have had three letters from Hesta, all requesting different kinds of paperwork for them to proceed. When I got ANOTHER letter today, asking for something else, I saw red. The poor guy at Hesta really got an earful, and although he explained why it was happening, I still argued that it didn't justify a continual stream of mail asking for something else each time. I said "Why can't you get it right the first time? Why not just list everything you want in one letter, and I could have dealt with it all then. But not this letter after letter after letter".
He was able to take the details over the phone this time, and then informed me that they hadn't received certain paperwork yet from MLC. Oh boy....Mr W. at MLC, are you going to get a tongue-lashing from me very shortly...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Wish this year would hurry up and end!

What else can go wrong this year? I've lost my job, lost a friend temporarily through illness, lost the election, and now I've lost my bloody mobile phone! GRRRRRRRRRRR..Yesterday (Wednesday) I spent the morning and early afternoon with our frail and aged activity group, and immediately following that, I took another elderly friend to the Austin Hospital to get the results of some tests. We sat in the Outpatients waiting room from 3.30 to 4.30 pm before seeing the specialist (with whom we spent about five minutes). Then we came home, and it was then I discovered my phone was missing from my bag. So it has to be either at the Community Health Centre (and fortunately there is only one room where it could be) or the Outpatients clinic at the hospital. The hospital security staff told me to call back on Thursday, because if the cleaners find it overnight, they'll hand it in to Security. I asked if they ever find mobiles and the guy sighed and said "They find EVERYTHING"...

Telstra have barred outgoing calls on my phone, but not incoming, so I've been ringing the number to see if anyone answers it, but it just rings out, so it is obviously lying on the floor somewhere in a deserted office - until 8 or 9 am this morning! Ken's old mobile phone is the same model as mine, and he still has it, so I'm taking that to our local Telstra shop where they will give me a new SIM card with my original phone number. I didn't think I'd get my number back, but apparently they can do it. So take heed - don't throw your old mobile phone out - you might need it one day!

Monday, November 26, 2007

I don't usually talk 'politics' on this blog, but..

I've been a member of the Liberal Party of Australia for many years, and have handed out How to Vote cards at polling booths for both State and Federal elections in that time. Most voters are polite, regardless of who they are going to vote for, and most of the time, the people handing out HTV cards are friendly too, and we discuss our political beliefs quite freely at the polling venues without rancour. However, there are occasionally exceptions to the rule.

On Saturday, I was holding my HTV cards out to everyone who passed, with the words "Are you voting Liberal?" - just as the others do with their HTV cards a few yards from me. One woman snapped at me "Can't you read my badge?" and taken aback, I said "No - what does it say?" and had a closer look. On her jacket was a round badge (possibly home made, I don't know) with black letters on a yellow background, stating "Howard Hater". (For anyone overseas who isn't au fait with Oz politics, John Howard was our Prime Minister until Saturday night.) Well, I saw red. I don't often lose my temper to this degree, but I was incensed with rage. I shouted at this woman "That is absolutely disgusting. There is enough hatred in the world today without people like you inciting more violence and hatred by wearing something like that. You really set a fine example to your kids, don't you"...and on and on I went. She muttered something rude about J.Howard, but couldn't get a word in with my yelling and shouting at her. She went into the polling booth with her tail between her legs, and obviously came out another door or walked in the other direction, because I didn't see her again.

The people along the path who were handing out Labor HTV cards were very quiet for a few minutes, then one of them came up to me and apologised for this woman's stance. He said "We're not all like that you know, and I don't think Kevin Rudd (who is now the Prime Minister) would approve of badges like that". I acknowledged his comment, and then turned my back on them and continued with my hand outs.

Readers of this are probably wondering why I've even bothered writing this post, but I am still angry, and am considering writing to one of the papers about it. But first I felt I had to 'vent' here. This is a democracy; the majority have voted and Labor have won government, and I bet that woman is still laughing. And I still think she and anyone else who wears a badge like that are just horrible people.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Latest photos of baby budgies.

The first two to hatch out of the five are going to be Lutinos (all yellow with pink eyes. Albino are all white with pink eyes, and we have had a few of those in previous years).

"Wanna go hooooome!!"

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A handful of baby budgies.

Ken's budgies have hatched another clutch of babies. There are five of them in his hand here! This was taken a week or so ago. Two of these now have their first feathers and to Ken's utter amazement, they are Lutinos! (all yellow with pink eyes) Photos coming shortly.

These are the first two that hatched out a month ago - doesn't take long for these little critters to grow up!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Helen's Tea Party at the Rehab. Centre!

Helen, Sandra, Jenny and I met through volunteering for the first Neighbourhood Watch program to be set up in Eltham about 20 years ago. I was elected Area co-ordinator, Jenny was assistant co-ordinator, Sandra was the secretary and Helen was editor of the monthly newsletter. We met often for official NHW stuff, but became good friends outside of that, as we are all about the same age group (give or take a few years).

Helen and I see more of each other because we only live a few streets from each other, while Sandra is in the next suburb, and Jenny moved years ago to a suburb about 15 minutes drive away from us. We manage to get together for a 'girls night out' dinner two or three times a year, and last night we were scheduled to go to Helen's place for tea. But as I said in a previous post, that was not to be, so we 'took the mountain to Mohammed' that the right phrase? (Isabelle - correct me if I'm wrong!)

I took several photos, and a friendly visitor at a nearby table offered to take one of the four of us. From left: Sandra, Jenny, Gina, with Helen sitting.

I took this pic, showing as much as possible of our table with the goodies (smoked salmon and avocado sandwiches, selection of cream pastries, and a small cheese and biscuit platter. You can also see the nice china and pretty cloth and matching napkins, if you look closely.

Our evening was a success in all ways. When we arrived at about 6.45 pm, Helen was sitting in her wheelchair beside her bed, looking hopefully through the door. She had some makeup on and her hair had been brushed. Her face lit up when she saw us, and there were hugs (and a few brief tears) all round. She instructed me where to go - a room where there were separate tables and chairs, which was just perfect. We set up our table, poured tea and settled back to chat. Helen still has minor speech difficulties, so she was happy to let us ramble on, and commented when she wanted to. Visiting hours officially finish at 8 pm, but nobody came to tell us to go, so we stayed until about 8.30, then took her back to the ward. The nurses at the desk looked up with a smile and said "Oh there you are! Been out raging, have you?"

I passed on all the good wishes from Blogland (Sandra's daughter in England has a blog, but Jenny had to know all about this!), and Helen sends thanks and hugs to all.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Good news for my Ken.

Ken had his yearly check up with the cardiologist on Thursday. He hates going there, always afraid they will find something nasty. But no, after an echo cardiogram and an ECG, Dr.H said he was very pleased with Ken's state of health. There was no deterioration in the condition of his heart, and he is generally stable, which meant no change to his medication. Dr. H. said "I don't know what you're doing, but whatever it is, keep doing it!" Neither of us was game to say "It is probably the vitamins and herbs that the naturopath put him on a few years ago". Dr. H. is very conservative when it comes to medicine - none of that herbal hocus pocus for him!

With Ken in a good frame of mind, I suggested going to visit Helen, as we weren't far from the rehab.centre where she is. We arrived there about 5.30 pm, and Helen was sitting in the dining room, at a table in a wheelchair. She was in the middle of her dinner, which going by the faces she was pulling, was not up to her standard of cooking! She poked at the 'dessert' (a small piece of some kind of cake in a small plastic tub...ugh), and said she'd had enough. Ken pushed her wheelchair back to the common room where some of the other patients were watching t.v., and we stayed to chat for about half an hour. I told her that her blog friends have been asking about her and she was pleased to think that she is remembered after all this time. Someone brought a laptop in for her a week or so ago, but she wasn't able to use the keyboard well enough to do much, so it was taken away again. What a bummer - I would have at least been able to bring up everyone's blogs for her to have a look at.

She is looking forward to tonight (Friday), because Sandra, Jenny and I are going to visit her about 7 pm. We are taking a teapot, nice china cups and saucers, pretty cloth and napkins, smoked salmon sandwiches, cakes, and Twinings Tea(Helen's favorite). We are going to set everything up in a corner of either the dining room or the common room (whichever is the quietest!) and play ladies!
(Make note to self to take camera)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

No paid work yet, and I'm back on my soap box.

I didn't get the job I applied for two weeks ago. A short letter arrived yesterday telling me my application was unsuccessful. Let's see now, why would that be? They were so keen to interview me, and said with my qualifications I'd be very welcome on their team. I figure it is (a) because of my health issues (I'm a bad risk because of my back) or (b) they think I would be a shit-stirrer (trouble-maker) if they upset my applecart like the Council did! So back to Centrelink, who have put me on to an employment agency who work with disabled people, or those who (like me) aren't actually disabled, but have a medical condition that prevents them from working full time, or working at the same kind of job they did previously.

In the meantime, I will continue my volunteer work at the Nillumbik Community Health Service. Today was my second time with the Planned Activity Group. Instead of going out, we collected the clients (about 17 of them) from their homes and brought them to the Centre, where lunch was provided, and activities including gentle exercise, singing, and craft. The craft today was painting silk scarves. Everyone was given a plain silk scarf and a paint brush, and special paints were provided so people could paint their own designs on the silk. Once they were finished, the scarves were laid out to dry a little before being ironed to 'set' the colour. They were then rinsed in cold water and laid out to dry again, ready to take home. Most of the people enjoyed doing this; it is a popular activity in aged care facilities apparently because they are actually creating something attractive that they can either wear or give away. Half a dozen clients declined to participate, and sat at the far end of the table quite happily, talking, reading or doing crossword puzzles.

On the way back to their homes in the bus, the driver asked if they wanted to go home, or would like to be driven around a bit longer (it was a lovely day). One gentleman said he'd love to be driven around longer, but a lady said she wanted to go home because her husband would be waiting for her to give him his afternoon tea. I jokingly said "Now why wouldn't he have afternoon tea prepared for you when you get home?" and she said gently "He has been blind for five years, dear. He never complains, and I like to do as much as I can for him". Do you ever want to shrink away to being a crumb on the floor? When I helped this lady off the bus and to her front door, she turned and gave me such a sweet smile. She said "Thank you very much for everything you've done today".

I could just cry with the injustice that has been done to people in this shire. Here is part of an item I've just posted on another blog:

Again I ask the question: why did Nillumbik Council replace an excellent service provided by Southern Cross with trained and qualified carers, to this company with a limited and largely untrained workforce?

My emails to state and federal government departments go unanswered. My emails to various Seniors lobby groups, magazines, papers, etc. also go unanswered. What is their agenda, if not being concerned for the care of elderly people in their own homes? I'm a member of one such association, and reading their glossy monthly magazine, one would assume that the vast majority of people over 50 in this country have access to unlimited funds and travel all over the world on a regular basis. There is never any articles in that magazine about the much older Seniors who are too frail and/or disabled to travel any further than their bank to collect their pension money. People who rely on Meals On Wheels to be delivered to their homes. People who do not have computers and can't pay bills online, or do Internet banking. People who don't have cars, and rely on paid and unpaid carers to do their shopping, or take them their banking. People who need help every day, simply having a shower and getting dressed.

Miss Eagle and I think there is a desperate need in this country for an advocacy group for these forgotten souls. Is there anyone reading this who would join us in lobbying for the rights of the aged people in the REAL world?

Sorry about that. I'll just crawl back into my cave now.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

This year is slipping by too fast...

Fancy me not posting anything here for over a week...yup, it has been one week and one day since I wrote about my boring week. Still, I guess I'm lucky to have a workable computer to use...not like poor Lady Laurie. She recently posted this comment on her blog:
Sunday our cat Binky decided to throw up on the keyboard of our computer. I know that sounds so nasty!! Apparently it seeped down into its depths and now we believe the video card is fried.
EEEWWWWW! Topsy is no longer allowed to practice typing on here. Isabelle, take note - I saw the photo of your furbabies on keyboards!

My past week has been a little less boring. Being unemployed bothers me greatly, so I turn to the next best thing - volunteer work. I still have my two little Japanese ladies to visit once a month as my Do Care commitment, but having time on my hands, I decided to join the volunteer team at Nillumbik Community Health Service (NCHS). Wednesday was my first day. I am assigned to PAG - Planned Activity Group, for frail and aged citizens. About 9.30 am, two small buses (driven by volunteers) collect the residents from their homes and bring them back to the NCHS centre, where a previously planned activity takes place, such as a guest speaker or craft activity of some kind. Sometimes the residents are taken out somewhere for the day.

On Wednesday, they had a picnic at Westerfolds Park. Four volunteers including me, took 17 oldies to the park, settled them in a shady area at the tables provided, and prepared lunch (sandwiches, tea, coffee, fruit juice). The weather was perfect, our oldies were relaxed and enjoyed each other's company.

After lunch had been eaten, we offered to take people for a short walk (bear in mind most of these people use walking sticks or frames). Three ladies said yes they would like to do that, so I took one lady, and one of the other volunteers took the other two. I headed off in a different direction, and thoroughly enjoyed my old friend's company. We found a lot to laugh about, and the years between us fell away as we giggled like a pair of teenagers over silly things.

When we got back to the group, the other walkers had just got back and were telling everyone what they saw on their walk - a car parked off in the scrub, with two people actively engaged in....well, you'd never guess!! Everyone was laughing so much, I think that made their day! That on its own didn't make make my day, although it provided a good story for the next few days! I simply enjoyed the company of these senior citizens as I always do. They are a veritable fountain of knowledge, and most of them have a great sense of humour. I'm looking forward to my future involvement with the NCHS; as the saying goes, one door closes and another opens. If the job I have applied for is offered to me, I'll make sure that Wednesdays are free for me to continue with NCHS.

Friday, November 02, 2007

And now it is Friday.

Hello good friends - thank you for your cheerful comments on my post yesterday.
Dear Merle, I have applied for a similar job with another company, but have yet to hear from them. In the meantime, I've put my name down for more volunteer work. I will always be doing something for people older than me, in the hope that one day a younger person will look after me the same way - lol!
Jeanette - Miss Eagle and I thought we were going to get caught in that storm on the horizon in the photo, but it just passed over with n'er a drop, as usual these days :-(
Laurie - lovely to hear from you! Yes, I know you'd understand about not feeling like doing stuff that you have to ;-)

Out of all the items on yesterday's "should do" list, I achieved a bit. I fixed two of Ken's new work shirts and did the ironing. Today when I returned home from picking Louise and Mark up from the airport, I vaccumed and mopped the floors, then went to the physiotherapist to straighten all the kinks out!
To finish off my day, I stretched out on the day bed in the spare room and contemplated my lovely mess, with Topsy on the floor looking out the window, her pupils like slits in those golden eyes.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Today is Thursday and I am doing this:

Sitting at the computer eating fresh fruit and -
(1) downloading photos which may be of interest to certain individuals,
(2) paying bills online,
(3) reading comments on my blogs,
(4) leaving comments on other blogs,

What I should be doing -
(1) Altering four new shirts for Ken (the sleeves are too long, so I have to unpick them at the shoulders, cut off excess length, pin sleeves back onto shoulder, machine them, and iron them).
(2) Vaccuming and dusting
(3) Ironing
(4) Sorting out my linen collection - it is all over the floor in the spare room.
(5) Writing long overdue letters to friends overseas.
(6) Listing unwanted stuff on eBay.
(7) Visiting Helen (but I've written to her...)
(8) surfing the Net looking for employment opportunities.
(9) Stitching the Indian

Ah well, tomorrow is another day, during which I will be picking up some friends from Melbourne Airport in the morning and going to a physiotherapy appointment in the afternoon. Well, there is always next the meantime, here are some photos I took when Miss Eagle and I went walking at Westerfolds Park on Tuesday.

This is where we'd come from.

And this is where we were going.

Those white birds are geese, on the Yarra River.

Miss Eagle's pooch known as "Foot Foot", giving some poor innocent insect a shower.

adopt your own virtual pet!