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.)

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Location: Melbourne, Vic., Australia

I am married to Ken. We have no children except two cats and a collection of finches, canaries and Rhode Island bantam hens.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It's not so bad.

The panel beater phoned today - the insurance assessor had been out and authorised the repairs to my car. It will be fixed in about two weeks. YaaY!! My dear friend Val came over today to keep me company, and as usual had lots of crafty things to show me. I have a collection of hand made cards which I've received in recent years, and never known how to display them. I've tried putting them in photo albums of all kinds, but they didn't all fit, and you couldn't see inside them anyway, so they just ended up in a box. Val is great with all kinds of paper crafts, especially making little books to be journals or whatever you want them to be, and she figured out a way I could 'bind' my cards together. It is too intricate to explain here, but when I have completed what she started me on today, I'll post some photos. It really is a nifty way to keep cards together. We spent an hour on this before we had a bite to eat, then because it was such a lovely day here in Melbourne, we decided to walk down to Main Street and back, about an hour's walk.

Tomorrow, another friend is coming over for a while and will bring her son to see our chickens. He breeds chooks himself and has won heaps of ribbons and prizes for his hens and roosters. Our rooster and one hen were from fertile eggs he gave us last year, to put under a clucky Bantam hen. C. is a stitcher, with some experience in patchwork, and she promised to help me finish off some of my nearly finished patchwork projects.

I'll walk around to see Helen on Thursday or Friday, seeing I can't take her out for coffee as I do sometimes. And my other friend G. around the corner is always keen to go for a walk. So being without my car for a while will probably be a good thing!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Oh no, not again!

Yup. Smashed me car up today. I'd had a very enjoyable day at the Embroiderers Guild exhibition, followed by a quick visit to my mate Sharon on the way home where we exchanged needlecraft patterns, books and chat. It was pouring rain as I came down a hill to a T intersection. The 4WD in front of me had to brake suddenly to avoid hitting someone who unexpectedly crossed his path, and I had to brake even more suddenly which was unfortunate on the wet road. No damage to the 4WD but steam poured out from under the bonnet of my car, and when I got out, the front was a tad crumpled :-(

What did we do without mobile phones? I rang Ken to ask him to ring for a tow truck, so he called a friend of ours who is in the towing business, and he organised everything for us. Ken drove out to where I was stranded in the rain, and waited with me until the tow truck arrived. Ken (always SUCH an optimist) reckons it might be a write-off, but the other guy said no, unless there was serious damage to the engine. But I don't think there is, as the towie drove the car onto the truck tray, and drove it off at the panel beater's garage, so it is still drivable. Hopefully it will just be the radiator and panel damage on the front.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Four fluffy babies!

One of our Partridge bantam hens has been sitting on four eggs for the past three weeks, and they all hatched today!



Wednesday, September 23, 2009

NOT another new hobby!

No, just a brief diversion from stitching and patchwork. This is an interesting painting technique that my friend Val introduced me to this week. She showed me something she'd done, following the instructions in this book:

I have heaps of these labels at home, so today I got some out to play with.

I wasn't sure what colours I'd be using, so I decided to use this piece of red paper for the backing.

My painted image is based on the Card Tricks patchwork I've just completed. That design intrigues me!

After the paint had dried, I used some felt pens and biros to decorate the panels.

Then I peeled the labels off the backing sheet, and re-stuck them on to the red paper, but slightly apart, as shown in Val's book.

I took the finished product over to show Val, and she wasn't happy with the red background, so she gave me a piece of black card to use instead. This photo is not very good; the real thing looks much nicer. Val has made her first effort into a card to give someone. She painted a simple scene on her labels, and it looks great as a triptych. Next time I do one, I'll use three labels instead of four.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Op shop fun, and some cute visitors.

I had some good news today from Centrelink. They have decided to pay me a disability pension. I still feel guilty in a way, because I don't consider myself disabled, but I can no longer do the physical work required in my previous jobs, and the arthritis in my feet, back and neck make it almost impossible to do just about anything else where I would be required to sit or stand for any length of time. So in effect, I'm unemployable, so I may as well be disabled. The disability pension is only for 18 months anyway, as once I turn 63 I'll go onto the ordinary pension.

Knowing I had a bit of extra money in the bank, I decided to visit some opshops today, as I haven't been doing that for a while. Go here if you want to know what goodies I brought home!

A couple of nights ago, I opened our front door to empty the teapot on to the garden, and stopped short when I saw Mother Possum and her baby on the feeder waiting for some apple!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Update on Ken.

I faxed the cardiologist yesterday, asking if Ken's illness could be an allergic reaction to the new drugs he is on. I sent a fax because I figured I'd never get through to him on the phone. This guy is all over the place; he has three consulting rooms in different suburbs, one interstate, and he operates several times a week I believe, so I thought if I faxed him at the rooms where Ken sees him, his staff will eventually pass it on to him. That was about 12 noon. Around 2 pm my mobile phone rang and it was Dr.H! He said "You didn't need to fax me - just ring anytime" which is kind of him, but I didn't state the obvious and say 'how the hell would I know where you are!'

He asked a few questions about Ken, then said he didn't think the drugs were the cause of Ken's sickness. I told him I thought a lot of the problem could be stress, as Ken is worried about the prospect of open heart surgery, to which he replied "well, we're not going to go ahead with that just yet. I think we can increase the medication and get his heart working properly again for a while". I said "He (Ken) isn't going to make old bones though, is he?" and Dr H. said "Make no bones about it, Ken will make old bones if I have any say over it!" This guy is one of the top men in his field, but he has such a great 'bedside manner' - he is serious when he needs to be, but he also has a great sense of humour which can lighten a bad moment. Ken is lucky to have Dr H. looking after him.

Monday, September 14, 2009

More Spring photos - flowers this time.

Nearly all the blogs I read feature photos of gardens and flowers, so I thought I would join the club and post some of the plants flowering in our back yard at the moment. I took these photos at around 4 pm, but for some reason it looks like midnight! Our plants are mostly indigenous to this part of Victoria, but I've planted a few bulbs as well. The daffodils and hyacinths have just finished, but the tulips are just starting to flower. There are two red ones like this out, with more on the way.


Below: Grevillea 'Robyn Gordon'


Below: Grevillea 'Peaches and Cream'


Below: Grevillea 'Fireworks'


Below: Eriostemon 'Stardust', with Purple Westringia in background.


And natives of the feathered variety - three of our budgies making the most of the late afternoon sun.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Spring is here, with lambs and puppies!

On a brighter note, thank goodness - we went up to Violet Town again today, to see how the dingo puppies are going. The property owners have several hundred acres, and they raise sheep as well as dingoes on the property. Sounds like an unworkable combination, I know! but the dingoes are all secure in fenced compounds and don't come in contact with the sheep at all.

There have been a dozen lambs born in the last week, so naturally I had to take some photos of those, as well as one of us holding some of the dingo pups.

This ewe had twins, but one died at birth. The survivor had a battle to live, and wears this little jacket to keep him warm while he is still tiny.

Isn't this the cutest little thing? It reminds me of one of my old swap cards that I loved when I was a kid. It has a picture of a lamb just like this one.

This shows R. bottle feeding one of the lambs, which he has to do every three hours, day and night. And not just one lamb - several!


Ken on the left, with some friends, all cuddling black dingo pups.

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11, eight years on.

I'd forgotten about the significance of today's date until I went on to my Google home page and noticed the date. It doesn't seem like 8 years ago, but I should know - Ken quit smoking that week after 45 years. I surfed the Web to find out what is happening today in the USA, and found many websites, but I liked this one the best. It shows what they are building as a memorial centre in New York. I was glad to see they apparently are not going to try and rebuild the twin towers - I reckon that would be asking for trouble.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

And so it goes on...

Yesterday was even worse than the day before. Ken must have caught the gastro. virus from his Mum when we visited her, because he chundered all day yesterday. Topsy decided to get in on the act, and while Ken was throwing up in the bathroom, Topsy threw up on the carpet in the dining room. I wasn't able to remove her before Ken came into the room...poor bugger bolted back to the bathroom immediately. I've been disinfecting everything, so I hope that works well enough to keep me from getting sick too!

Monday, September 07, 2009

I wish this year was over and done with!

Again, thank you everyone who has sent me good wishes for Ken's health. The cardio. phoned today to inform Ken what he has planned to do. First off, he's doubled the beta blocker meds. In six weeks time he wants to see Ken again to see whether that has made any difference, and if it has, Dr.H said they might try open heart surgery, in spite of the lungs. Hm. I don't know how Ken has remained so calm. I think I would have slashed the proverbials by now.

He says he's more worried about his Mum than himself. She has been hauled back to hospital again, this time with severe gastro-enteritis, which is not a nice thing for anyone, but even worse for a 96 year old. We went to visit her today, but she was so exhausted from 24 hours of chucking, she was asleep, so we came home again. On the way, we stopped off at a friend's house to say hi. Her street is on a very steep hill, and when Ken parked the car and put the handbrake on, something went PING! and the handbrake went loose in Ken's hand. As luck would have it, our friend wasn't home, so we went home, picked up my car, and drove to the local Tyrepower garage who service our cars, and left Ken's car there to be fixed.

Earlier tonight we were sitting in the lounge room, and became aware of a pungent smell. We looked at Topsy, who had been with us for most of the time, behaving herself for a change. She looked back at us in that unblinking manner of cats who defy you to blame them for anything at all. Ken crawled around the floor feeling for wet patches, and sniffing under furniture, but could find nothing. I blamed him for walking around the house in his old shoes when he's been in the chook house collecting eggs. I've been nagging him to leave those shoes in the laundry instead of trekking through the house in them with chook poo and wee on the soles, but he 'just forgets' to take them off. He has just came in here and said "I know what that smell reminds me of. The last time we had termites in the house, it smelled like pee". I'd rather it was chook pee....

Friday, September 04, 2009

Not good news.

I've been putting off posting this, because I am tired of posting stuff on here that isn't light hearted, funny and/or in some way interesting. But, as some of you have become good buddies via the magic of cyberspace, and have been kind enough to inquire after my hubby, I decided to write about what happened on Wednesday.

The hospital said he had to be there at 8.30 am, and we got there about 8.15, due the traffic flow being unusually light for that hour of the day. We sat around for an hour, then Ken was taken into a ward of about a dozen beds, some of which were occupied by people who had just been through the test, or were waiting to be done. More waiting, during which time Ken was given the usual hospital garb to don, and asked questions by passing medical staff. About 11.30, his cardiologist Dr H. came by and winked at us, and said "Won't be long now." Another half hour, and Ken was taken off to the theatre, and I decided to go home and get some work done, as the staff said he wouldn't be discharged until late in the afternoon.

I called the hospital about 2 pm and was told Ken was in the recovery ward and I could pick him up at 4.30. I asked the nurse what the result of the tests were and she could only give me a bit of information, as Dr. H. hadn't written up the full report. Ken's heart is in bad shape, and the usual follow up for someone like him would be open heart surgery, but that can't be done on Ken because of his damaged lungs. The cardiologists have a conference on Fridays to discuss their patients, and Dr H. won't make a decision on Ken's treatment until then. It will most likely be treatment by drugs as there is nothing else they can do. Ken has a stent in one artery, but the other one is so bad, they can't insert a stent in there. On the way home, Ken confirmed what I'd been told already. Dr. H. had stopped to talk to Ken before he was discharged, and explained what he had found. He increased some of Ken's medications immediately and instructed Ken to make an appointment with his office in the next week or two.

The hospital gives strict instructions about what you can and can't do after angioplasty, and you are supposed to rest, and not walk around unless you go to the toilet. Well! Ken was just pleased to be home, and after having a snooze for an hour, he was up and walking around the house, wanting to go and see the chooks! I said NO, so he alternated between the computer and the t.v. while I did my late night supermarket shop. Usually when I get home, he is waiting to come downstairs and carry the bags up, so when I saw him at the front door ready to come down, I yelled "Don't you DARE!" He just grinned and retreated inside!

So at the moment we are in limbo. Ken can't go back to work for a week, as he isn't allowed to drive or lift anything heavy for a week, and his job involves both of those tasks. He stayed in bed for most of Thursday, and behaved himself for a change, i.e. didn't venture outside, or do anything inside that might injure himself.
At times like this I'm happy to be unemployed, as I hate leaving him all day when he's not well, or supposed to be resting. Like most males, he gets restless if he feels okay, and wants to be up and about doing useful things in the yard or the garage!

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