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.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Our birds.

If you are interested in the birds we have in our backyard aviaries, go here to see the Finches we have just added to our flock. There is also a photo of the female Gouldian Finch. She and her mate have just hatched two babies, and are sitting on five more eggs. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

New hope for Ken's heart.

On Wednesday, Ken saw Dr D. - another heart specialist; he was referred to him by Dr M. his regular cardiologist. This bloke is quite a character, we can see why he and Mark appear to be good friends! They both have great 'bedside' skills, in that they explain everything in detail, and give you the best and worst scenarios, which some people may not be happy with, but Ken and I like to know what we are up against. They also have a good sense of humour, which helps to lighten the mood when you are discussing the harsh realities of your health!

Dr D. handed Ken a pacemaker unit, and explained how it worked and why Ken needs one (to keep him alive!). I was astonished at how big it is - glad it's not going under MY skin. Although if my heart was as bad as Ken's, no doubt I wouldn't be complaining...It will be implanted on 11th June, unless our health fund refuses to cover the cost, and that depends on what category we are in. Our Health fund cost has gone up to $600 a quarter ($2400 a year), and I was thinking the other day 'do we really need this?' Dr.D told us the pacemakers cost $70,000 each, but it would cost us nothing because if Aust. Unity doesn't pay, Medicare will, although Ken would have to wait another 9 months to have it done at a public hospital. $2400 suddenly doesn't sound like a lot of money, considering it would take 29 years to pay for a pacemaker at that rate.

So Ken is feeling marginally happier, although there is no guarantee it will improve his health by much. Yes, the pacemaker will keep his heart beating, but that doesn't mean it will help him to breathe properly. Both doctors admit it is a last resort, and will of course have no impact on his lungs. We'll just have to wait and see.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A new look to eggs.

Rachel over at Not-So-Plain-Jane had the funniest post recently. She and her son drew faces on eggs and put them back in the fridge for her husband to find. It gave me an this space!

I'm not alone in cyberspace!

Sylvia and Judy B. have responded to my call asking how many bloggers are reading this, and I have had several emails from other people who don't have blogs, but used the email facility to contact me and say that they enjoy my blog. I love making new friends, both close by and on the Net, and one of the best things about the Net is seeing how other people live - their homes, hobbies, families, and urban environments. That is one of the reasons I put so many photos of Eltham and Melbourne on my blogs, so that people overseas who are not likely to ever get here can see my little bit of Australia. I am going to add more photos to my new Marvellous Melbourne blog, and by the way, there is a great website called We Love Melbourne, which has all sorts of info, mostly for people living here, but nice for others to visit too.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Is anyone out there?

Ever feel like you are talking to yourself? I visit blogs which have a dozen comments on every post, and I contribute my two bob's worth now and then. Some of the other blogs I visit don't have many comments at all, but I go back because I enjoy reading them, regardless of whether anyone else does or not. Still, you do wonder sometimes if your own visitors have tapered off and moved on to fresh pastures. Is Patra's Place getting boring? There is a lot of competition out there, not only blogs, but Facebook and Twitter, neither of which I've taken on. I'm happy doing what I do, and keeping up with my favourite blogs takes an hour or so each day.

If you are reading this now, and feel up to leaving a comment, I'll comment right back to you. If I can. I know there are a few people who read blogs but don't have one themselves, and are therefore blocked from commenting on others. Sorry 'bout that.

For those who just visit blogs to see pretty pictures, here is a photo. I made a teacup card last month, and my elderly Japanese friend asked if I would make her a teapot card. I took it over there yesterday, and she loves it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Talking about cats.

Sylvia over at Linens And Royals has two adorable fluffy cats named Charlotte and Emily, who feature regularly on her blog. Sylvia wrote a post about her cat ornaments recently, and I thought it was a fun idea, so I ran around our house, snapping pics of our cat stuff!
I found this cute little vase at an opshop yesterday for 50 cents.
I stitched this needlepoint/tapestry about 30 years ago.
This sugar bowl was a Christmas gift from a fellow cat lover.
Another opshop find a few years ago. There were two - this blue one and a pink one, which I gave to another cat loving friend (hi Connie!)
Patchwork wall hanging that I made last year.
I love this pair of kitties! They are made of wood. Another gift.
I'm sure this must be the biggest selling design of all the Kleenex lines!
Little fridge magnets from an American friend, many years ago. I think she would be amazed to know that I still have them on our fridge!
I bought this magnet a few years ago, and it still gets a laugh from people catching sight of it.
Yet another opshop find - a set of four cups and saucers. There is also a mug hanging below them, with black cats on it.
Two more of my embroidered pictures with cats.
Black Cat calendar in the kitchen. This comes out every year, and I have kept them all for the last four or five years. Anybody got a suggestion on what I can do with them? (apart from throwing them in the recycle bin)
Biscuit cutter in the shape of a cat, and no, I haven't used it yet. When I do, you'll see a kitty biscuits photo here!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Another day around Melbourne.

I spent today wandering around the streets of Melbourne again - but with another friend this time. Julie is very interested in (and knowledgeable about) architecture and historic buildings, and we had a lovely day, strolling along the streets admiring the beautiful old buildings. Where possible, we ventured inside them to see the interior. Some are completely modernised inside, whilst retaining the original facade, but others have been kept original or restored to their original appearance. Many buildings have little plaques on the outside, giving brief details of when the building was completed, who the architects were, and so on.

I was spitting chips that I forgot my camera; it was a perfect day for photos - bright and sunny, with very little wind. Julie assured me we will go again soon and revisit the places we went to today, as well as see more that we didn't have time to see. We stopped in a few shops - at Haigh's Chocolates I bought a dark chocolate hen on eggs for Ken for Easter, and further on, I bought two books at one of the bookshops we dropped in at.
After all the buildings we'd been looking at, this was the perfect book to take home and browse, and learn more about our historic landmarks.

I can rarely resist a new cross stitch book, and this one has some really cute designs. The title is a bit misleading; they aren't naughty to the point of being rude! Just funny.

Melbourne Zoo.

We made the biggest mistake today. Being a Sunday, we slept in as usual, but I talked Ken into going to the zoo anyway, as it has been years since we were last there. From the time we left home, it took an hour and 40 minutes to get inside the gates. The traffic was abysmal, and finding a parking spot almost impossible, until Ken found a spot around the back (near the rail entrance) which he just managed to get into with me directing him. There were more people at the zoo than we've ever seen, and there must have been about a thousand people queued up to see the elephants, so we gave that a miss. If we had waited, we wouldn't have seen anything else, so we chose to wander around and look at everything else.

Ken hates crowds, so between being pushed and shoved, and the heat, he was having breathing problems, so we had to sit and rest frequently. Most of the animals were asleep in shady spots, so we didn't see much anyway. Ken said he'll try to get a day off work and we'll go again to see if we can see Mali, but I don't think there's much point now, as people say she is growing so fast, she'll just be another elephant soon! I only got a few photos worth putting on my blog.

Snow leopard feasting on a piece of meat. He/she must have been hungry to have come so close to the wire, because all the other big cats were asleep in the shade at the rear of their enclosures.

Many years ago, there were all kinds of bears at our zoo, but we only found this one (and its mate) today.

The Zoo has several varieties of Macaws, but this one was the closest that I could photograph.

This critter had a large audience! He scampered back and forth across the glass dividing his enclosure, apparently hanging on to a railing that we couldn't see. He was happily posing for photos, and I don't know how his eyes would have felt after all the flashes going off in his face!

Patterns on the coats of Giraffes and Zebras in the one enclosure make an interesting contrast when they are standing next to each other.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

This and that....

I visited Helen on Friday - she is in rehab. since her operation to remove a clot from her brain. Her hubby goes into see her every day, so I accompanied him, and we stayed for a couple of hours. Helen is looking much better than I'd expected - her speech is not much worse than it was a few weeks ago, and she is walking slowly, with help. She was pleased when I passed on goodwill messages from many of our friends, including bloggers - she said "I thought they would have forgotten all about me!" I took some homemade cakes in to have with a cup of tea, and I also gave her nails a manicure. It is such a nice thing to have your nails done when you don't feel your best! (I don't expect the men to understand, but you girls will!)

Today was a beautiful Melbourne Autumn day - such a contrast to last week's hail storm. I took the opportunity to try for some better photos of our Gouldian Finches. The female was sitting on her eggs in the nest box, but I got some nice shots of the male. I also photographed a flock of galahs and passing corellas, who all came down for a feed at our verandah. Here is the Gouldian Finch, and you can see the rest on my Aussie birds blog.

Tomorrow (Sunday) the weather is predicted to be the same as today, so all going well, Ken and I will be going to the Zoo to see Mali, the baby elephant. If all goes to plan, there will be HEAPS of photos - another blog coming up!!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

If you want to see My Melbourne, read on.

Melbourne like all major cities, has its share of problems. The rest of Australia scorns Melbourne's weather - 'wet, windy, cold, hot' - so what? At least we change on a daily basis, not like some places where it is hot and steamy for weeks on end! Crime? Violence? Drugs and alcohol? Yeah, we have that too. But don't you all?? Suffice to say, as much as I love ALL of Australia, I'm glad I live in Melbourne instead of anywhere else. My suburb is actually on the outer fringe of the metro area, but the CBD is only half an hour's drive away.

The city of Melbourne is vastly under-rated by many of its citizens - including me occasionally. But when I go there as a tourist in my own town (not to shop, that is), I see a beautiful city, both modern and historic. Oh I know - we have such a short history compared to the rest of the world but hey, it's OUR history and we are proud of it! Well, I'm proud of it anyway.

Last week my friend Val and I went on a little tour of Melbourne, visiting specific spots planned in advance. I've now produced a blog with my photos and commentary of the day. It is called Marvellous Old Melbourne and if you want a guided tour, just click on the link. I thoroughly enjoy seeing my blogger friends' hometowns this way, and I do hope you will take a few minutes to walk around our city with us....and please leave a comment to tell me what you think!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Melbourne's wild weather.

Ken and I had some shopping to do in Melbourne's outer eastern suburbs today. He took advantage of it being Saturday, and slept in until nearly midday. Being the WOTH (woman of the house), I of course was up much earlier and getting things done. Two loads of washing were done and on the line by the time he was up and about. When we finally left the house, the sky had turned from sunshiny blue to a cloudy grey. Over at Boronia an hour later, we emerged from the Hobby Shop (where Ken got bits to repair his broken helicopter) to find huge black clouds and rain. Within minutes of driving off, Ken had to pull over into a parking area - the rain and hail was so severe we could not see where we were going. It sounded and felt like the car was being pounded by twenty golf balls, and we were actually quite scared! Nobody was going anywhere on the roads, traffic lights were flashing as well as the lightning and the roads were awash. Upon inspecting his car the minute we got home, Ken found a dent in the bonnet which was obviously caused by a huge hailstone.

I held out no hope for my washing which had been half dry when we left home; in fact I doubted that it would still be on the line - had vision of my undies strewn over half a dozen back yards! But Somebody Up There must love me. Would you believe, as we came through Eltham, the roads were dry!! It was just starting to rain as we got home, so I rushed out to the back yard and rescued all the washing just in time. We must have been on the fringes of the storm that hit Melbourne because our rain gauge has measured only 10 mls of rain, while elsewhere they had up to 26 mls. You can read more about our weather, and see some interesting photos here.

Friday, March 05, 2010

I'm tired - it's been a busy week!

The cold virus didn't take hold, so I was free to go on my merry way this week. Guild duty on Tuesday was a good day as usual, with the other volunteers. I did most of the housework and shopping on Wednesday so I could go out the next day with a clear conscience. Thursday was my day out with Val in the city. The weather was warm but not too hot to walk to the various places we'd planned on visiting. I took lots of photos - funny how you see your own city through new eyes when you are with someone else. Val was born in the USA, but married an Aussie, and came here to live about 30 years ago. She loves Melbourne, and is always finding something new to visit or do, and I'm lucky to get caught up in the action now and then! I'll be making up a photo album thing online shortly and will post a link to it so my friends can see where we went.

Some people reading this may remember me writing about my friend Helen, who had a stroke a few years ago. She hasn't been really well in the past month or so, and last week she was taken to hospital and operated on. She had a blood clot and bleeding from the brain, which meant an emergency op, and she is now in rehab. learning to talk and walk again. Life can be so cruel, can't it? A three year old boy has been abducted and killed in Melbourne this week. The state of Queensland has suffered massive floods, and an area greater than that of the state of Victoria is now under water in Queensland's south, according to the MSN news site this morning. And that's only in Australia; I don't need to list all the chaos overseas with earthquakes,mudslides, tsunamis, etc. Ken's computer isn't working properly, his Honda needs more work done on it, he busted his new helicopter toy last night, and he thinks life is tough...Well, I got news for you, buddy. You are not so badly off in comparison!

Monday, March 01, 2010

It might be quiet here for a few days.

I think I'm getting a cold. I've been sneezing all day, my nose has been running, and my chest feels a bit 'tight'. Not surprising really - I've been in contact with a few people over the past week who have had a cold, so I was bound to join the club. Just when I haven't got any lemons or garlic in the kitchen...And it is/was going to be a busy week - getting my hair cut etc. Monday, Guild duty Tuesday, a trip into town with Val on Thursday. What can I miss out on? If I get my hair done in the morning, I could come home, stay inside and rest. I hate missing my Guild day, but I do not like sharing my germs, so if it gets worse, I'll have to give the Guild a miss. Wednesday was going to be quiet anyway, so hopefully I'll be okay by Thursday. Val and I have a heap of places to go to, and I don't want to miss out on anything!

How boring for anyone reading all that. Well, it gets worse. I'm going to do a rant. Ken bought a 'Dryrider' brand waterproof motorcycle jacket about six months ago. Dryrider are one of the top brands of waterproof gear, and very expensive. This jacket was around $500 - and A1 Motorcycles where he bought it, had given him a discount price! Within a month of getting it, one of the pockets came away from a seam, so Ken took it back to A1 M/cycles. They said they would send it back to be repaired. That took about six weeks. When Ken brought it home, he discovered that the repair hadn't been finished. When they had undone the seam to get to the pocket, they'd fixed the pocket, but left the seam unstitched. He took the jacket back to the shop and they told him they would send it back to the manufacturers again.
We waited for a phone call. And waited. We called the shop and got a different story every time. The Dryrider rep. hadn't been in. The rep had been in, but forgotten to take the jacket. The rep had picked up the jacket, but it wasn't back yet. The rep was pregnant and wouldn't be back for a few months. Last Saturday, Ken was in the shopping centre where A1 is located, and he decided to drop in and see if his jacket was there. Oh, it was there all right. It hadn't gone anywhere since he left it there two months ago. Ken rang me from his mobile phone, and I said "Just bring it home and I'll fix it". The shop manager was not happy when Ken insisted on taking it with him. He (the manager) was even less happy when Ken said he would be contacting Dryrider and telling them what he thought of their product and their aftersales service (NOT).
I'm very good at writing letters to people about bad customer service. I tell them a copy of my letter is going to Choice magazine, Consumer affairs, 60 Minutes, and so on. I usually get a very positive reaction within 24 hours. Watch this space!

adopt your own virtual pet!