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.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

ANZAC Day, 25th April 2009.

The Ode

They shall grow not old,
As we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them,
Nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun,
And in the morning
We will remember them.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Wildfires (bush fires) burning now in the USA.

Victoria's bushfires received world wide publicity and sympathy in February. We had help of all kinds from all around the world, much of which is ongoing. So why didn't I hear about the equally terrible fires now burning in several states of the USA?
Texas and Oklahoma wildfires
Thousands of acres burnt in South Carolina

I watched the news on t.v. tonight, but don't recall hearing anything about these fires. My heart aches for our American friends, just as much as they felt for us back in February. I'm hoping in particular that none of my Blog Friends have been affected. If you live in the affected areas, please leave a comment here if you can, just to let us know what is happening with you. God be with you.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The tiniest and neatest card I've got!

Val visited me on Wednesday afternoon, bringing a cake she'd made in the morning, and some goodies to show me, including a very small gift for my birthday. One of Val's hobbies is paper and book-making. She is always showing me new projects she is making, or intending to make. She showed me this one in a book a while ago, and I asked if she would make one for me. Then I forgot all about it until today, when she presented me with this:

An ordinary wine bottle cork, cut in half, filled with specially cut paper, and bound with cord. Val had written a birthday message on the paper, which must have been difficult, as it was sooo tiny! Isn't that the neatest thing you ever saw???

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Cheering up after a dull birthday.

This won't be of any interest to most of you I guess, but I know a few of my close friends read my blog to keep track of what's going on with me and the family. My post here about my quiet birthday was pretty dismal, so I decided to post some photos of my birthday gifts to make up for it.

This is the Sandwich Maker Ken gave me. I've used it a few times, and today I made French Toast in it - perfect!!!

Some of you know my dear friend LeeAnn, who runs an opshop in country Victoria. She finds the most wonderful things in there, and sometimes I benefit from her generosity. I don't know if these came from there, but I love everything she sent me, as usual! This is an exquisite little box with a peacock on top.

She used this little fabric fish as part of the wrapping - lovely!

My thoughtful friend included this beautifully embroidered half apron as well:
The note pad is from my S.I.L., who also paid a year's membership in a card club for me, as part of her gift. The cake of soap is from my hairdresser L. Such a sweetie!

This charming porcelain shoe is meant to hold rings - see the ridges of sponge inside it? I don't have many rings apart from what I wear every day, so I may not use it for that purpose, but it will certainly be on display where it can be admired - thank you Helen!

Finally, my MIL gave me cash, as did another friend, so I combined them to pay for some new underwear which I desperately needed. And no, I am not putting photos of my new knickers here.

Friday, April 17, 2009

This is for Sherri in North Carolina.

Sherri has a pair of Australian Zebra Finches, which have just hatched two chicks. She is intrigued by my photos of our Aussie Kookaburras, and wanted to hear their laughing call. I've posted a couple of links for her on my Kookaburra blog.

Once seen, never forgotten.

On our way up to Yea on Monday, we drove through Kinglake, where some of the worst bushfire devastation remains. The silence is eerie, and at the same time deafening in this burnt out landscape. Mile up mile of black sticks where lush green bush once was. See the road through the trees? Before the fires, you would never have been able to see that.
The only birds we saw were a pair of Crimson Rosellas at this spot, looking in vain for food. They were moving too fast for me to photograph.

This was the Kinglake Service station. Amazingly on the other side of the road, most of the shops survived relatively intact.

But there are signs of new life already - this tiny fern has little friends popping up around it. And there are many trees with new leaves sprouting from the blackened trunks.

This is what it once looked like. Even when there has not been a fire through a forest for many years, there are usually a few black tree trunks from long ago fires. In a few years, the forest will have regrown nice and green again. But those who were there will remember what was before.

Photos from Easter Monday.

I mentioned on yesterday's post that we took a picnic lunch up to Yea on Monday, but I didn't say I took photos! Here are a few:
Ken wandering through the Wetlands reserve.

Unpacking our lunch at a rustic table which was facing the enormous river redgum tree on the next photo

This gives you an idea of the huge girth of the tree (never mind about my huge girth, LOL)
The only thing that spoils a nice park - other people's rubbish. I picked all this up around the area where we sat, but there were no rubbish bins, and we didn't have a plastic bag to put it in, so it had to stay there. I know why some parks don't have bins - to encourage people to take their rubbish home - but it doesn't always work out that way.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Not a happy birthday today.

It has been a very quiet Easter and birthday for me. Ken caught a cold last week which developed into bronchitis as usual (for him), so he has been in bed since Good Friday. He got up and dressed on Saturday afternoon, to buy Easter eggs and cards, and my birthday gift, and I do wish he'd stayed home instead, because by Sunday he was a mess and I had to call our doctor in (at a cost of $110...) The doc. prescribed antibiotics and Ventolin to help with Ken's breathing, and told him not to go to work for a week.

Monday was such a beautiful day, and even though neither of us felt 100%, we decided we'd had enough of being housebound, so I packed a picnic lunch and we drove up to Yea and spent the afternoon in a reserve up there, enjoying the sunshine. Again, I guess we should have stayed home, because on Tuesday, Ken was no better, and I was decidedly second-hand! Today was the same, so I scotched my plans for lunch with friends and dinner with another couple who are celebrating their 20th anniversary, and we both spent much of the day lying around drinking water and cups of tea. Ken had given me a Breville Sandwich Press for my birthday (our 30 year-old snack'n'sandwich maker finally died last year), so I christened it by making a snack for our lunch, using bacon, eggs, tomato and cheese in English muffins. Tonight's tea will be baked beans on toast. Neither of us have much of an appetite, so there will be no birthday cake either! Ah well, I guess turning 61 is no real cause for celebration, is it?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Today is Good Friday.

Best wishes to all my Blog Friends for a very happy and safe Easter.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Corellas, Kookaburras, Op shops, and Mum-in-law.

As I started typing this post a minute ago, some Corellas flew down to the feeder, which is right outside the window in this room. There was no seed on the feeder, so I took some out there, and to my delight, the birds stayed while I took this photo. They are usually very 'flighty', and not as tame as the kookaburras and other native birds, so these ones must be getting used to us. They arrive every afternoon about 5 pm and squawk until we put seed out.

Cheeky little people. Here they are at 8 am on Monday morning. No longer content to sit up in the gum tree; they come right down here to the clothesline, which is just outside the back door!
Yesterday I dropped into an opshop that I rarely visit, because I'm not in that suburb often. I found just a couple of items:
This little thing that I assume is to hang from door knobs - well, that's what I've done anyway. Ribbon embroidered, and a tassel - not my forte, but I'm happy to own somebody else's work!

A deck of cards with the Coca Cola logo - very collectable! I might keep it, but I could even sell it on eBay if I see they are popular.

I remember reading a review of this book when it was first published 10 years ago, and thought at the time it sounded interesting. So when I saw it yesterday for $4, I figured it had my name on it! And I was right - it IS interesting! Aren't you just dying to know if fish drink water? Are elephants really afraid of mice? What caused the Great Depression in 1929? (and what can we learn now...) Do blind people dream? And so on. Beaut little book to leave on the coffee table, just to dip into when you're bored!


MIL has been in the convalescent home for just over a week, and seems very happy there. Her hand is healing well, she is walking around, and we are told she sits with the other residents in the community room during the day. We (the family) have a difficult decision to make in the next few weeks. Once the orthopedic surgeon has removed the bandage from her hand, and confirms that it has healed, we will have to decide whether to bring MIL back home here, or leave her at the facility. The lady in charge of the carers (I'll call her 'C') tells us that it would be better to leave her there as long as she is happy. We know that, but we wonder if she can be just as happy at home with us? She was before her fall, but she did say she got lonely if we weren't around, i.e. in the same room as her. Of course that is impossible; we can't be right next to her 24/7, but as C says, MIL does have people around her all the time at the facility - coming and going, but always around.

She is eating far better in there than what she would here. I know she would revert back to her old ways if she came home, of insisting on simple things that she likes, and refusing to eat meat and veg. At the facility, she has no choice of course, but at home, she would make a fuss, and I would give in to keep the peace.

Same with having showers; the carers in there just do it, and she accepts it, but I asked her last night if she would let me shower her when she came home and she shook her head and said "No, I'm only letting them shower me because I don't want to make a fuss". She'd made a fuss for me, though!!

Friday, April 03, 2009

We had a storm in Melbourne today!

Boy, did we have a storm. I was at work until 11.30, did a bit of shopping, and was home by 1 pm, just as the rain and thunder started here. I didn't have any plans for the afternoon, so it was a good opportunity to just lie about and read (and snooze between chapters). Ken bought a rain gauge last week, so when it finally stopped raining I went outside to check the gauge.

Now I'm no expert on these things, but it indicated that we'd had 36 mm of rain. According to the weather bureau tonight, Melbourne had 18 mm of rain today. I Googled 'rain gauges' to see if I could find out if I was reading it properly, and discovered that the weather bureau relies on regular readings from volunteers all over the place, to come up with their statistics. Makes sense when you think about it - they can't be everywhere, so doing it that way gives them an across the board reading. Apparently the Bureau supply their own gauges, and the volunteers take a reading every morning and provide it to the Bureau. As soon as Ken got home from work, he went out to check it too. (I should have emptied it before he got home, and told him it didn't rain in Eltham, LOL). He said it was definitely 36mm.

Well, whatever we got, it nearly filled our rainwater tank!

As soon as the rain stopped, the birds descended on our yard to find food. The Galahs came first.

Followed by half a dozen Corellas.

By then it was late afternoon, and my el cheapo camera doesn't function well without sunlight or a flash, so this pic looks as if it was taken at night, but it was actually about 5 pm.

Two Kookaburras were waiting patiently on the clothesline outside the back door, so I took some snaps of Ken feeding them. The rest of the tribe arrived soon after, but by then my camera battery had gone flat!

We are enjoying a temporary respite!

Gosh, is it really ten days since I posted something here?? Thank you Isabelle and Jeanette, for your concern about me. Things have settled down somewhat here, and Ken and I are indeed having some much needed 'respite'. His Mum was in hospital for a week, and then she was transferred to an aged care facility for convalescence while her hand regains enough strength to grip and hold things. The orthopedic surgeon said it would take about 4 weeks, so she will be there for the month of April.

She has been there since Tuesday, and has settled in well, after at first feeling abandoned when she figured out where she was! But we (Ken, myself and his sister) have been visiting her every day, either during the day or at night, and she is much happier now. The staff are excellent - they are all very kind and patient, and do all the things I was doing for her at home, such as crushing her tablets into a gel (I used jam) so she can swallow them easier, taking the crossword out of the paper for her, and even coaxing her to have a shower - more than I could do! She always said she hated showers, preferring to just wash herself all over.

She is eating well, which we are very pleased to hear, and I haven't felt obliged to take any of her favourite foods into her since she left the hospital. Today she sat with the other residents in the communal lounge room while a thunderstorm raged outside. MIL is terrified of thunderstorms, and I was wondering how she would cope, but when we got there tonight and asked the staff about that, the nurse in charge said she was fine. She said MIL admitted that storms scared her if she was on her own, but when she is with other people she felt safe, so that was good.

It is such a relief for us all to know that she is okay at this place. She may even decide she wants to stay there permanently, and if she did, they can accomodate her, as it is a new facility, and I don't think they are full to capacity yet. The staff ratio is 1 carer to 4 residents, which is good, and we would be comfortable having her there. It isn't far from any of the family, so it would be very convenient to visit her daily. MIL actually told us she might like to stay on instead of coming home with us, but she might just be trying to take the load off us, knowing her! We'll see what happens at the end of the four weeks. Ken and I will keep her bedroom in our house as it is, so she will always have a choice of coming back if she wants to, even just for a weekend or overnight. I really think at the end of the month, she'll want to come back with us. I hope so. We coped well enough for the first two months, and although we got tired, we are more aware now of what is in front of us, and Ken's sister has promised to take an active part in giving us respite on a regular basis.

adopt your own virtual pet!