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.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Not much happening.

Freda and Merle congratulated me on buying a new computer, but they are a bit premature! I haven't got one yet! After some investigation on the first one I saw and liked, I was advised by Those In The Know not to touch that particular brand, and talking to more people backed up the initial comments. So I've looked around some more, and the style of PC that I like is available in other brands, so that is a plus. BUT, what the first bloke didn't tell me was that the price he quoted didn't include the Microsoft Office program, which meant while having Windows 7 I could browse the internet, I wouldn't be able to type anything! For goodness sake, wouldn't that be the first thing that should be automatically included in any computer package?? Maybe I'm dumb, but to me a computer is still a glorified typewriter with extras.

I have now been informed that in addition to the cost of around $700 for the PC that I like, I would have to pay another $200 for the Microsoft Office program, which brings the price up to $1000. Which I was hoping NOT to have to pay. Which we just cannot afford, especially if Ken won't be earning any wages for two or three months after his surgery, and even more importantly, if he can't go back to work at all! So, I'm back to square one with my trusty old PC, and as if it has read my mind, it has been behaving itself remarkably well in recent days.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pictures worth a thousand words.

Tiger watching t.v.


Tiger kitty on a Tiger rug!


Am I drunk yet?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

This and that.

Phew, thank goodness this weekend will be a quiet one (as in nothing planned). I've had a busy but enjoyable week, and I'm tired! On Monday and Tuesday I went out to lunch with friends, and on Wednesday I went over to see Val, and we did our usual craft show and tell. On Thursday an old school friend who lives in the country came up to Melbourne by train, so I picked her up in the city at midday. We came back home without stopping anywhere, and settled down with a cup of tea to catch up on the past few years. Lovely afternoon in the sun, while she crocheted, I stitched, and we talked. I drove her back into the city early on Friday morning so she could catch the train on the next leg of her trip. When I came home, I did three loads of washing, having heard on the radio that more torrential rain was forecast for Melbourne. In the afternoon I went around to Glenda's and we sat in her nice cool kitchen and made more Kimono paper dolls. Do you like my blonde Geisha girl?





It has been so humid over the past few days. I hate this weather - it saps the life out of me, not to mention Ken. I don't know how anyone can live up in the tropics in Darwin and other parts of northern Australia. Ken has been moping around with no energy, and strugglng to breathe when he does exert himself. He said he was going to get the blower out and blow leaves off the driveway, but I put a stop to that idea. As well as the heat and humidity, it has been blowing a gale outside, and tidying up leaves would have been a fruitless exercise. So he went out into the garden to pull weeds, but came back inside completely stuffed after five minutes.

Poor bloke. He couldn't find anything of interest on the computer to look at, so he's gone into the loungeroom to lie down again. He doesn't say much, but the heart op. is on his mind. His mum turned 98 this week, and we are going over to his sister's place tomorrow for afternoon tea with the family. Just hope the weather is a bit more comfortable.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

No new computer today.

Changed my mind. For the moment, anyway. I need someone to install it; someone who knows what they are doing, that is. So I won't buy one until I have someone lined up to do it, otherwise the MOTH will attempt to do it and we will have a HUGE argument if he stuffed it up!

New computer with mixed feelings.

This may be my last blog post done on this computer. Today, Ken was looking for something at our local Dick Smith shop, so while I waited for him, I looked at the new computers on display. I have never wanted a laptop or notebook computer, because being a typist from the Old School, my fingers are more comfortable with a proper keyboard, not those flat things. Last time I looked at desktop computers, they were in the $1000 plus range, and consisted of keyboard, screen and box processor. But today I found a new (to me) concept - 'all in one desktop PC'. Just the screen and keyboard. I asked the salesman about them and he agreed with my description "desktop version of a laptop". The ones I looked at were all under $800, and after discussing the pros and cons of each one on display, I decided on the one I would like to buy. The salesman printed off an information sheet about it, and wrote his name and the sale price down in case he wasn't there when I returned, and someone else argued about the price.

After discussing it with Ken, and asking some of our computer-savy friends their advice, we have decided to go to Dick Smith's again tomorrow and buy this particular PC. I don't know if Ken and I will be able to set it up to the point of me being able to use it tomorrow night, as there will be a number of programs to re-install, and we are not familiar with those processes. So it might have to wait until Monday when I can get a tech.person out to do it all for me.

I've been fighting this change for a few years now, putting up with my dear old PC refusing to download more and more websites, blogs, etc. simply because today's technology is just too much for it to handle. I'll miss it, along with the ME operating system which has served me well in the last 10 years, but I guess once I have the new one up and running with Windows 7, I won't know myself. In the meantime, if you visit this blog and I'm not around, don't assume it means bad news. More likely to be new computer hiccups!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cats, birds and Ken.

Ken was not amused when I showed him this photo tonight. I just can't help laughing at Tiger when he sees something (usually a bird) outside, and jumps up on the wire door to have a closer look! Ken said "You'll be nagging me to fix the wire when Tiger has ripped it away from the frame". Yep. Sorry.


I have added a post to the blog which is about our aviaries, if you are interested. We have a small flock of Gouldian Finches now, and they are so pretty.

Ken received a huge envelope in the mail from the Austin Hospital today. He has to present himself in there on the 1st and 2nd of March for a series of tests and interviews, leading up to his heart surgery. There were forms to fill out, letters detailing the appointments, and brochures to read about what to expect during and after the operation. I felt quite depressed when I read them; I said to Ken I'm glad it's not me going through this. But he repeated what he has said before, that he won't mind the pain and discomfort of the operation if it results in him feel better than he does now.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Heart-warming.

I've been receiving many emails as well as comments on my blogs in relation to Ken's impending heart surgery, all of which I show him, and he is touched by every one of them. Thank you all for your concern and kind thoughts. One of my ex-blog buddies Val (she no longer has a blog, but we are good friends) does beautiful things with paper. This card arrived in the mail from her today:

The blue paper is hand made, and the paper is made from a pair of jeans!! The heart is gold paper (looks black here), woven into the coloured paper, and hand stitched on to the blue paper card. Isn't that fabulous!



I discovered Topsy and Tiger sitting at the kitchen table last night and raced off to get my camera - this is a great sign for a future friendship between our kitties!!


"I am so OVER having my photo taken, I have to put my paws over my eyes to shield them from the flash!"

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Tiger.

Not long after this photo was taken, Ken turned the laptop on to check emails, and the screen was blue with a whole lot of technical jargon. I didn't say anything about Tiger walking on the keyboard, and once Ken had restarted the computer it worked okay.



"I'm so beautiful, Ken would forgive me for anything".

Monday, February 07, 2011

Update on Ken's heart.

Many people who read this blog are not personal friends (as in people I actually meet with), but are kind and caring enough to ask after Ken's health, so I'm writing this post to bring everyone near and far, up to date. He was supposed to see the cardio-surgeon last Friday, but the appointment was cancelled due to an emergency, and rescheduled for today. In the meantime I ‘googled’ the surgeon and found an impressive amount of information, which made us feel a bit more confident.

He spent about half an hour with us, and first asked Ken what he thought was wrong with his heart. Ken said he felt short of breath much of the time, but didn’t know why, after all the work that had been done on him. Dr S. then asked if Ken had considered having a heart transplant, and we both must have looked surprised, because he then told us that Ken’s heart is in a very bad state, and he couldn’t understand why surgery hadn’t been done already. We told him that the cardiologist had said surgery was a last resort, as Ken’s lungs were so bad that he may not survive an operation. Dr S. said that is not so much of a problem these days, as they connect the patient to a heart–lung machine which keeps the body alive when the surgeon stops the heart while they operate on it. One of the main arteries has a stent which is still okay, but the other artery is beyond repair, so will have to be replaced by one from elsewhere. Dr S. said “I’m not going to mince my words – you are at a critical stage, and the bypass needs to be done as soon as we can fit you in at the Austin Hospital – hopefully by the end of this month."

He said Ken would probably be in hospital for a week or two, then at home for 4 – 6 weeks, but it all depends on what they find during the operation, and how well Ken recovers. He warned us that it is a dangerous operation with risks of stroke and other complications, but about 99% of people survive, although in Ken’s state of health the rate of survival is about 92%. Ken had to sign a form consenting to the operation knowing the risks, and he did, after I asked what would happen if Ken didn’t have the operation, and Dr S. just looked at me, but didn't answer.


So, here we are. Ken is a bit nervous to say the least, but looking forward to a time in the near future when he might be able to mow the lawns and go for long walks without having to sit down and catch his breath as he did yesterday, when we visited Sugar Loaf Reservoir. We walked for about 6 kilometres and when we got home, Ken slept for about two hours.





The reservoir is now 93% full according to their website. Compare this to a year or so ago when it was almost a mud bath...

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Cyclone damage to The Reef.

I just found this on the ABC News website. Confirms what I suspected at the beginning of Cyclone Yasi - not as bad as I thought, but bad enough.

Authorities say hundreds of kilometres of the Great Barrier Reef hit by Cyclone Yasi will take up to 10 years to recover.
It is still too early for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to send divers out to do a full assessment, but coral from the reef has been washing up on nearby shores.
The damage is expected to be similar to that of Cyclone Larry five years ago.
The authority's chief executive, Russell Reichelt, says all the progress the reef has made since then will now be destroyed.
"We can expect to see smashed coral beds, movements of coral boulders, sand and rubble moved around," he said.
"If there's any sand islands there and importantly sea grass beds, when they get disturbed - which they do by cyclones - then animals like dugong get affected."
Mr Reichelt says cyclones are not as damaging to reefs as the effects of climate change. But he says Yasi will have still caused major destruction.
"Coral will begin regenerating immediately and be visibly restored in five to 10 years, but it changes the shape of the reef for very long periods - islands can be formed, boulders can be thrown up," he said.

Friday, February 04, 2011

It's all over....for now.

Cyclone Yasi has come and gone, leaving devastation in its path, as predicted. Not as bad for the bigger towns, but extremely bad for the small towns right in its path. Tully, Mission Beach and Cardwell were the worst hit with homes and shops wrecked, and sugar cane and banana crops wiped out. I only heard the Great Barrier Reef mentioned once, and the speaker (on t.v.) said there will be some damage, as there always is on the Reef after a cyclone, but they won't know the extent until divers and marine biologists go underwater to check it out. It sounds like it won't be as bad as I feared.
My friend in Charters Towers phoned this morning while I was out, and left a message to say she was back in her home, which suffered minimal damage. I was very relieved to hear from her. Our power went off today for about six hours, and we also lost internet access and Foxtel since last night, but everything was back on tonight by about 7 pm. We thought it would all 'crash' again around 10 pm when a violent thunderstorm and heavy rain pounded Melbourne, but I'm still typing here without interruptions, so maybe we'll get through this without disruption.

I saw briefly on the news that the USA has been battered by huge snow storms...I'll go and check my American blogs to see if you guys are okay. {{hugs}}

On a lighter note, our little Tiger is as gorgeous as the day we got him. Very loving and playful, very cute! I'll post some more photos soon.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

I'm in no danger, but am terrified.

I am a long way (2000 miles) from where Cyclone Yasi is expected to land within the next 24 hours, but I can't begin to imagine how the people in Qld. must be feeling. Ken and I called all our friends up there tonight. Most of them live in the southern end of Qld, and said they should be okay, but one of my friends lives in Charters Towers, which is nearly 100 miles inland, but on a direct path of the cyclone. Mary is like so many other Queenslanders, philosophical because 'they live with cyclones' as she said. But she admitted that this one has her very frightened. She lives on her own, but said her sister is picking her up tonight and taking her to their home. Not that it would be any safer - they are in the same town, but Mary thinks her sister just wants them to be together.


I am not a religious person, but in my own way I'll be praying tonight and tomorrow for the state of Qld. and its people. Anyone reading this who has any beliefs at all, I beg you also to add your prayers. They are going to need more than prayers, and the rest of Australia will be there to help pick up the pieces, but after seeing what happened in New Orleans after Katrina, it will take many years to recover.

The Great Barrier Reef, one of the world's heritage sites - might not exist after this week.

Is this Armageddon ?

I just saw on the Net a satellite image of the monster cyclone now approaching the east coast of Australia, and I'm wondering if there will be much left of Queensland after it hits. The state of Queensland, still reeling from the effects of weeks of widespread flooding, is bracing for the arrival of what could be the state's worst cyclone in history. There are fears that Yasi could whip up the seas and create a storm surge that would cause significant flooding in low-lying areas, just weeks after devastating floods killed more than 30 people and covered an area the size of France and Germany combined.

Forecasters have predicted that the storm could bring winds of 160mph – putting it on a par with Hurricane Katrina – and up to four feet of rain in a matter of hours. It is feared that the system could be worse than Cyclone Larry, which devastated the town of Innisfail in 2006 causing $1bn worth of damage. Large swaths of northern Queensland are still saturated and authorities fear that heavy rain from the cyclone could cause further inundation. The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a cyclone warning covering a huge section of Queensland's coast stretching 560 miles – nearly the length of Britain. The most destructive storm in Australian history was Cyclone Tracy, which in 1974 flattened Darwin, killing 65 people and leaving only about 400 of the city's 11,200 houses intact.

So much for "Beautiful one day, perfect the next". What have they done to deserve all this? But it isn't just happening in Australia.

Flooding and mudslides sparked by more than a week of heavy rains in the mountain range inland from Rio de Janeiro have claimed a staggering 812 lives, civil defense officials said Monday. In addition, some 6000 people lost their homes or had to abandon them amid fears of likely collapses, officials said.
The full extent of the Rio state disaster, reported to be the worst natural catastrophe in Brazil's history, is not yet entirely known, with many people still in areas cut off from land access receiving help from helicopter crews.

And in Malaysia...
TWO people have been killed and tens of thousands evacuated in floods that have hit parts of Malaysia after several days of continuous rain. Two women were killed in separate incidents when their cars were swept away by floodwaters in southern Johor state yesterday, according to state news agency Bernama.
The Star newspaper said that more than 37,000 people had been evacuated to 200 relief centres in Johor. Several main roads had been cut and electricity supplies have also been hit.

And there is much more. A volcano in Japan, another disaster in Indonesia (I haven't been able to pinpoint the details of that one yet), a train crash in Germany, and so it goes on. But no doubt there are still people who will see this as the most important news on the internet right now:
‎1 hour ago‎
JUST when St Kilda thought things could not get any worse, an off-field scandal featuring players mixing pills with alcohol last night threatened to derail the club on the eve of the 2011 season.

Excuse me while I vomit...

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