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, July 30, 2009

My Baby is back home!

Yup - my beloved Compaq is back home, with twice the memory it had previously, and all the junk that had accumulated over the last 8 years has been removed. It is sooo much faster! The techie. did a great job considering the PC's age, and was able to save all my documents, favorites, address books, etc. even though the system had crashed and jammed in safe mode. He brought it back today and re-connected everything to it. When Ken came home he asked if I'd used it yet and I said no, I was a bit scared to touch it, lol!! But here I am, having put my photos from last Sunday into a new folder in "My Pictures", happily replying to emails and reading blogs! I've got heaps to catch up on, but just wanted to post some photos here from Sunday.
These are two pictures of Marysville. It won't mean anything to those of you who have never been there, but those who had been there before the fires will notice the difference...

This is one of the dingoes we were taking for a walk, up at Mt. Margaret.

Ken and two of the owners, with "Samson". Appropriately named, he was the largest dingo there on Sunday! He has a beautiful temperament though.

Ken took this one of me with "Shiralee", my 'dingo for the day'.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Happy anniversary to me!

It is four years to the day, that I created this blog. My original blog Patra's Place, was started a few months before, but I forgot to mention it on there, so I thought I would have my own little party here tonight - ha ha!
I sometimes wonder how many people still read this, that were reading it four years ago. If you were, would you be so kind as to post a comment, just to satisfy my curiosity? Thank you.

As for the rest of you who came along later... well, I wouldn't mind hearing from you too. We all wonder how many people read our blogs, and why they do. The actual purpose of my blog (this one), is to use the posts as drafts for letters I write to long term penpals - people I have been writing to since we were kids, long before computers. It saves me re-writing all my news over and over again. I just copy and paste my posts here to a documents file, and then paste those on to the pages of my letters! This is of course only for those friends who are not on the Internet, so don't have the opportunity to read my gossip online. Cheating? Lazy? Not a bit! I do actually reply to my penpals' letters, but just use the blog stuff to bring them up to date on general stuff. They don't all get the same letter!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Busy weekend.

My weekend felt like it started on Friday with the whole day spent at the Quilt & Craft Fair with my mate Sharon. We had a great (but expensive) time, which you can read more about on Patra's Place. On Saturday morning Sharon and I set off again, but this time to the Embroiderer's Guild, where we sold some of our stash, thus recouping for me a large part of what I spent the previous day.

On Sunday, Ken and I joined the Dingo Care Network at Marysville, to go on a five kilometre walk with the DCN members and their dingoes. We arrived at Marysville just before 11 am, and took some time to have a look at what is left of this once beautiful little town. Ken said he couldn't get his bearings because all the landmarks have gone. There is only one or two buildings left standing after the bushfires, and one of those is the Bakery. I don't know how they kept it from burning when all around them was destroyed...a miracle or sheer bloody hard work on the day of the fires. We bought some lunch there to have later, and then met up with some of the dingoes and their owners. Everyone was very friendly to us and readily answered all our questions about owning dingoes. I have a heap of photos, but until I get my own PC back, I can't put them here, darn it!

After an hour of chatting, we all got into our cars and drove to nearby Mt Margaret, where it had been snowing. There was nobody else around, and we parked our cars, took a dingo each on its leash, and set off on the walk. Most owners have more than one dingo, so they handed one of theirs to those of us who didn't have our own. It was quite cold of course, but with blue sky and not snowing at the time, it was a very pleasant walk. The dingoes were very well behaved - excited to be out and about, rushing off to sniff at trees, in wombat holes, and splash about at the edges of the streams near the roads. Everyone had their dingoes on very long leads, thus giving them the opportunity to run about and not get pulled back.

Again, I was able to take some excellent photos. The contrast of the burnt black trees, the white snow and the tawny coat of the dingoes made great pictures. The constant reminder of the February fires was the only sad aspect of the day. We were told by a local resident that this particular area (Mt Margaret) will take years to recover, if ever - there is no re-growth visible anywhere, because as he put it, the mountain was completely "cooked" by the intense heat of the bushfires. Our native eucalypts can cope with most bushfires, but this was so extreme that the earth itself has been severely damaged.

Everyone had been invited to a BBQ lunch at one of the DCN members, who lives at Narbethong, a tiny country town not far from Marysville, which had also suffered great loss during the fires. This particular person lost everything - her house and all - except her dingoes, which they were able to keep safe. She is living in a caravan on the site of her home, and asked us to bring food and folding chairs. Regrettably, some of us (including Ken and I) had to decline her invitation, as it was getting late by the time we got back from Mt Margaret, and all we had time for was a quick coffee at the Bakery in Marysville, before setting off back home. We didn't get home until after 6 pm, so it was a long day, but enjoyable, despite a few sad moments. However, Ken and I are now making plans to obtain the necessary permit to have our own dingo!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Computer woes...

I am constantly warned by People-who-know-more-than-me-about-computers, that I should get rid of my 9 year old Compaq PC with it's obsolete operating system (ME), and upgrade with a new laptop and Vista. Or whatever. That's all very well, but attached to my vintage PC, is a vintage scanner and printer, which I'm told would not be usable with a new PC. I would have to buy a new printer/scanner as well. All up I could be forking out about one thousand dollars.
I don't WANT a new computer. My printer and scanner work just fine, and better still I know how they work! I hate learning new technology!! Alas, I may be forced into going back to work to earn the money to buy all these things.

I was trying to do a spyware scan on the weekend, and I selected "Safe Mode" when prompted by the program. That's when it all went pear-shaped, and I have not been able to get out of Safe Mode since. I've got on to Ken's laptop (which I'm using now) to Google 'how to get out of Safe Mode', and I've done just about everything that has been suggested, except go into the mysterious depths of The Registry. I have a computer expert (I hope he is) coming tomorrow to have a look at my dear old PC, and see if he can fix it. In the meantime I've been using this, with the accompanying comments from Ken "Don't stuff my laptop up. Don't try anything stupid on mine like you've done on yours", etc. Sigh...such encouragement touches the heart, doesn't it.

If my old machine has to be put down, along with scanner and printer, I will be forced to continue my online playing on this laptop for the foreseeable future. I won't be able to post any photos, as my camera doesn't 'go' with this computer, and even if I scan something on Ken's scanner/printer, I would not know how to get it across to the laptop. HE doesn't even know how to do that, so what hope have I got? Oh well, just thought I should warn my cyberspace friends, this blog could get pretty boring without photos to liven it up occasionally.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Dingo for a pet.

A few weeks ago, I saw a lady in Eltham's Main Street, with two dingoes on leads. I stopped to pat them, and ended up talking to her for about 15 minutes. She told me about the Dingo Care Network and what they are doing to try and preserve pure bred dingoes. Ken and I have often talked about acquiring a dingo for a pet but didn't know where to look for one. This lady breeds them, and is always looking for good homes for the pups.

When Ken came home that night, I told him about her and he immediately looked up the Network on his computer, downloaded the application form and joined up! When we got all the membership information, he phoned one of the breeders, and talked to her for ages. We can buy a pup (for $300), but we'd also need a government permit, and a special enclosure built to keep the dingo in our back yard. Ken is really wild about this, as he says people are allowed to keep larger and potentially more vicious dogs such as rottweilers and bull terriers without all this rigmarole, and it's only because the dingoes are so-called 'wild dogs' that the authorities make it hard for people to have them as pets. And of course, many people simply freaked out over the Azaria Chamberlain affair all those years ago, and still consider dingoes to be dangerous.

Everyone says we'd be mad to have a dingo with the chooks and the cat, but as the breeder says, if we get a pup, it will learn that the cat, being older, is boss, and as for the hens - they are secure in the locked aviaries. She said the pup would guard the yard instinctively, so any cats, foxes or anything else that tried to come into the yard after the chooks would be chased off by the dingo. She said our kookaburra family would not come down into the yard any more with a dingo there! But we can feed them out in the front yard instead, if we make a spot for them apart from the other birds that come down.

We hope to be seeing the latest batch of puppies some time this week, and will learn more about what the restrictions are. I've just discovered another website here in Victoria, with more information and some lovely photos. They claim that Victoria is the only state in Australia that allows people to keep dingoes as pets.

Monday, July 13, 2009

One week and one day later.

I haven't had much worth writing about on here lately. MIL has been taken to hospital twice in two weeks with chest pains, but on her right side, so the medicos figured it wasn't her heart causing the pain. They finally did some Xrays and discovered she'd fractured a rib. Wouldn't you think that an Xray would be the first thing to do on someone with osteoporosis who told them it hurt when she coughed or laughed? Anyway, she's been looked after in hospital and is going back to the hostel today. I'll be visiting her later this morning to make sure she has settled back in her room okay, and I'll give her a manicure treatment too. She loves having her nails painted!

Ken's sister is quite ill with the current virus that is flattening people all over Melbourne lately. So I cooked vegie soup for tea last night and took what remained over to her. I make my own chicken stock (no stock cubes), and bought a bag of chopped fresh vegies at the supermarket. To this I added a can of crushed tomatoes and a can of canellini beans, some garlic and chopped onion. Simmered for half an hour and served it up with crusty toast. Ken said "Why don't you make real soup? This is only water and vegetables". I asked what he considered real soup to be, and he said "Tomato soup, like the canned one".

When he'd finished his bowl of my soup, I didn't offer a second one, even though I had another bowl myself. I just took his bowl to the sink and rinsed it without a word. Then I tipped the rest of the soup into a container and dropped it off at his sister's house later on. She'd told me some time ago that she loves homemade soup when she's not well, but of course who can be bothered making soup when you are feeling lousy? A couple of hours later, Ken said he was hungry, so I said "go make yourself some toast. I'm not cooking anything else for you tonight"!

What else is new? Nothing really. Chooks are not laying much at the moment, but it has been very cold, and we are told they tend to 'go off the lay' in winter. We are still getting kookaburras in our back yard most days, looking for food, but not as many as a few months ago. I'm hoping it is because they have found other food sources, and not because they've been killed or poisoned. The Corellas and Galahs are still coming down to the feeder in droves, and last weekend we have a flock of Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos land in the gum trees and feed for some time. This is most unusual here; they are rarely seen around here, usually flying over without stopping. Their food sources must be scarce.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

July 4! Big day for our American friends.

To all my American cyberspace friends - Happy July 4!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

An ATC with Oriental influence.

I didn't know which blog to post this photo on. It is my most recent ATC, but made of paper, not fabric. (If it was fabric, I would have put it on my Stitching blog). It is not a swap card in the sense of playing cards, so I couldn't post it on my Swapcards blog. OMG, how did I get so involved in all this blogging??? Sharon, it's all your fault.
Anyway here is my Oriental influenced ATC, copied from a tutorial that Val emailed me some time ago.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

To quote Queen Elizabeth II....

2009 has so far been Annus-horribilis.
The global financial meltdown from 2008 continued, then early this year we had fires and floods of terrifying proportions in Australia. A few months later, the swine flu scare had most people worried about themselves and each other. There have been the usual spate of deaths of famous people, many tragedies around the world on planes, trains and buses, and of course the never ending daily toll of car smashes.

On a more personal level, Ken's Mum was put into care after a 2 month stay with us ended with a fall; I lost my job, and my neck problems have become worse. But nothing can be as horrible as having your house burgled. This happened last week to my friend Sharon and her family. Ken and I visited them on Saturday night to try and cheer them, and I took Sharon out today to browse needlecraft shops and op shops. It was nice, but she had to go home, and I could feel her tension as we pulled into the driveway. Ken has had a car and two motorcycles stolen from him, many years ago. Most of our other friends have at some time been burgled too, and they all say it is one of the worst things that can happen to you, the feeling of being violated, of having your personal space violated. I've always had a fear of having our house burn down. I'm not sure which would be worse, and I have no desire to find out.

adopt your own virtual pet!