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 21, 2008

More Baby Budgies.

Barb of Woof Nanny in the U.S. wants to see some more baby budgies. You're in luck, Barb! Our breeding pair hatched another four babies about 4 weeks ago(bringing their total to 16 over the past year), and they are almost ready to leave the nest. Ken brought them out of the aviary last Tuesday, for me to take some photos. Here they are on the old table in our back yard, wide-eyed with wonder at their first glimpse of the world outside of the nesting box!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Not such a bad week.

Thanks to my friends here for your sympathy regarding Ken's misfortune. He came home on Wednesday, still a bit depressed over the rental car business, but once we got home I encouraged him to tell me about the good times he'd spent with his mate and after a while he was feeling better.

It's been a busy weekend just gone. It started on Friday night when we went to Telstra Dome to see Andre Rieu in concert at 8 pm.

We got into the city just after 6 pm and strolled around the Docklands area before settling on Nandos to have a light meal of chicken and salad.

I couldn't resist asking Ken to photograph me at Nando's with their cute chicken table number sign!

We had an excellent seat in the 3rd row on the second level (balcony), but we were so far away from the stage, that we couldn't really see anything at all, and had to rely on the giant screens to see what was happening. I only took a few photos because my little camera couldn't cope with the distance and darkness, and this is the only one that turned out, showing the castle before the concert while people were still coming in to the stadium.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another aggie show.

Australians have this habit of shortening words (it must be irritating to overseas people who have no idea what we are talking about). By 'aggie' I mean agricultural. Lilydale, an outer suburb of Melbourne, considers itself rural enough to stage its own aggie show every year. A couple of weeks ago, Ken and I went to the Whittlesea Show, and today (Sunday) we visited the Lilydale Show which is on a smaller scale than Whittlesea, but still very enjoyable. Ken wanted to see the animals and vintage farm machinery and I wanted to see the craft section, and neither of us were disappointed.
We always love to visit the baby animals display, and took each other's photo with tiny bunnies.

I've put all my photos on my Flickr album, and you can see them here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Shit happens.

Sorry if that offends anyone, but that is the most accurate phrase to describe what has happened to my poor hubby. Ken hired a car from Hertz Rentals to drive from the airport to his friend's home, which is about an hour's drive from the airport. Of course he also used the car to take his friend out and about while he was there On Monday they were driving down an unmade road, when the car slipped off the side of the road into a culvert. Nobody in the car was hurt, and the car was still drivable, but he phoned me and asked me to contact Hertz to report it. I did, and was told that because Ken hadn't taken out insurance, he would have to pay $3000 immediately, and when the car is fixed Hertz will refund him if there is any change out of the $3000.

Ken's mate knows a panel beater, so they took the car there today, and got a quote for the damage - $1700. My poor baby, it has absolutely wrecked his little holiday with his friend, who has been trying to cheer him up, instead of the other way around, which was why Ken went up there in the first place! I've told him not to worry about it - nobody is hurt, the car isn't a write-off, and we're not going to lose the house over it. It's just money. We're getting $2000 from the Australian government in December - a one off payment that everyone on the aged pension will get to help them over the bad times ahead, according to our Prime Minister. Thank you Mr Rudd - looks like it will be just in time to pay for this accident!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Rushing toward the end of another year...

And what a year it has been! For me personally, it has been a good year, finding a new job, getting on top of minor health issues, and various other things that have contributed toward my happiness level in general.
Ken is taking two weeks off work this month, and has finally organised himself to fly to Queensland to see his oldest friend who has been so ill. Ken flies out this Sunday at 7 am and returns to Melbourne on Wednesday afternoon. I'm not going, as I think it is a good opportunity for the two blokes to have a bonding session on their own after all these years. It's been 15 years since they last saw each other, for Ken's 50th birthday. What will I be doing? Ah ha...while the cat's away, the mice can play! No, I'll be working, and looking after the cat and the chooks, and catching up on my stitching and reading. Possibly going to some of my friends' homes for tea at night, but that's about it.

On the world stage, I tend to feel the same as the majority of Aussies about Barack Obama winning the Presidential election in the USA. He seems like a really nice guy, and very intelligent, with a lovely family. Good luck to him.

On the down side of the year, like many people around the world, we will be affected by the global financial crisis. I have not dared to look at our superannuation fund; no use worrying about it though, as we can't do anything about it. Ken might have retired this year, but not now - he wants to keep working as long as he can. And I'm increasing my work load as the opportunities come up. We are lucky to have jobs at our age, so we're not going to let them go just yet!

Andre Rieu has arrived in Melbourne.

A year ago, I had a little blog for fans of Andre Rieu, but it was getting too busy for me to cope with on my own, so I handed it over to another fan who created a website, which in the past 12 months has become HUGE in the world of Andre. There is no way I would have been able to do that, as I'm not technically literate enough to get into websites - but nor was she until she offered to do this. She had several advantages over me - the time to spend on it, and family and friends who are very computer-orientated, but I am still in awe of what she has accomplished! She's now met Andre and his entourage when they arrived in Melbourne, and no doubt will be on t.v. and radio in the next few weeks while he is in Australia. I think I can say now, that this lady is the person who bought tickets to Andre's concert for Ken and I last year, when I wrote that we couldn't afford to buy them. So Jann, if you are reading this, congratulations on a fantastic website, and we'll be thinking of you with love and gratitude next Friday night when we are at Telstra Dome.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Walk a mile in my shoes.

I took my friend Helen over to our new shopping centre last week. She doesn't get out as much as she used to before her stroke, as although her hubby is very good about driving her wherever she wants to go, it isn't the same as trawling through a shopping centre for an afternoon with a girlfriend. We stopped for coffee after half an hour, so she could get her breath back, and while we were there, she confided in me that she feels abandoned. They were her own words. She said the only friends who visit her regularly are me and her next door neighbour. I was shocked, as Helen used to have such an active social life, buzzing around everywhere with her friends. I've asked some of our mutual friends if they would call her and visit her from time to time, and they all said of course they will. So I hope they do. How hurtful to have your one time friends drop away when you are helpless to go out with them under your own steam...

She kept thanking me for taking her out, and I said "Before your stroke, we often went out together, for lunch, shopping etc. - you didn't need to thank me then. So you don't now - as far as I'm concerned you are still a good friend who I like to spend time with as I always did." I know they don't mean to be cruel, but I wish people would put themselves into another's shoes occasionally, and try to see things from another perspective.

Another week closer to Christmas...

I didn't win a prize for my Indian Chief cross stitch at the Whittlesea Show last weekend, but we had a good time looking at everything. You can see my photos here if you are interested in craft, cake decorating, steam engines, baby animals, etc.

Today was one of the biggest days on Australia's social and cultural calendar - Melbourne Cup Day. I drove over to collect MIL to bring her back here for the day so we could watch the Cup on our big t.v. screen, as we have done for many years. We usually stop on the way to put our small bets on a few of the races as well as the Cup, but to my dismay, I found that the Eltham TAB had closed! Grrr....with an hour to go before the Cup, I Googled TAB venues and found the nearest one to be in Greensborough, five minutes drive away. I left MIL with Ken to do some Mother-Son bonding, and drove to G'borough. The TAB had a queue of about 50 people, but it was moving pretty quickly, so I joined it, and had our Cup bets on in plenty of time to get home and relax for half an hour before the race.

MIL prides herself on having a bit of second sight or whatever you want to call it, and she is usually pretty good predicting which horses will win. She backed two, I backed another two, and as well as having three in his office sweep, Ken backed three in a trifecta, which were recommended by one of his mates who 'knows about horses'. All in all, we had 8 horses in the Cup, and would you believe, not ONE of them came anywhere near winning! (I think some are still running, lol).

Ah well, it was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon. MIL (nearly 96) managed to climb the steps in our back yard to the aviaries so she could see the chickens, and like most people who see them, she was enchanted with them, and sat for about 10 minutes to watch them running around with their mother hens. She likes to see what I'm doing on my computer, so she sat here while I showed her various sets of photos I've taken in the past few months, with Ken vying for her attention, wanting to show her what he has on his laptop. After half an hour, she'd had enough of both of us, I think! But she said as tired as she was, she enjoyed her day immensely. Beats staying at home on your own, doesn't it.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

My week.

It's been an interesting week, to say the least. Monday was all good. I collected my Tattslotto winnings, and found a 5c piece on the ground minutes later. Ken is superstitious about finding silver coins, so I'm crossing my fingers for a bigger Lotto win this week! I went to buy some bread at the local hot bread shop and found I was entitled to a free loaf - thank you very much! Checked my mail to find a gorgeous ATC from a stitching pal in Israel, nice surprise. Finally on my way home, I wasn't concentrating on my driving for a second and nearly ran up the backside of the car in front. Thank goodness for good tyres and good brakes; I stopped within inches of his bumper bar!

My luck ran out on Tuesday. My doctor had ordered X-rays of my sore finger as well as a bone density scan. The results showed that I have a condition called Osteopenia, which is a forerunner to Osteoporosis, unless I do something about it now. Doc. printed out six pages of information such as increasing my intake of calcium and Vitamin D, exercises and weights training. It appears my finger was not broken or fractured, nor is there any sign of arthritis, so she is guessing it was a tendon that I injured somehow. A blood test taken last week showed that my cholesterol is a bit too high, so that meant another printout of information about what I should and should not be eating.

Wednesday wasn't much better. I took Topsy to the vet and left her there for the day, for him to conduct various blood and urine tests on her. She has always been a nervous, anxious kind of cat, and has got worse lately due to the cat next door. She had a wound on her tail which was hard to see until he trimmed her black fur, and we found a 2 inch gash. She had some other ailments which had to be sorted out, and when I picked her up that night, the bill for antiobiotics etc. came to nearly $100. Then they suggested she has a month's supply of tablets to calm her down and I said okay until I was told that would be another $70, and she would need another month's supply to wean her off them after the first month. I said "Well, she is going to have to learn to deal with her stress like we humans, because I can't afford $140 for tablets to cure that!"

If there is to be a highlight for the week, it will be if I win a prize for my Indian Chief cross stitch tomorrow at the Whittlesea Show. I was persuaded to enter it in the Show by various friends, so it will interesting to see how I go. I'm not expecting to win anything, as the Chief is just plain cross stitch - not fancy enough to qualify for awards for expertise! I'll just be chuffed to see it hanging on display in public!

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