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, June 28, 2012

Australian sugar - NOT.

Here I go with another rant. I've written to Choice magazine about this one; will be interesting to see if they respond. Today I bought a packet of raw sugar at Safeway. I usually buy Aussie CSR, but I spotted "Macro organic raw sugar" which had on the packet "Australian Certified Organic". Sounds good enough, so I bought it. When I got home, I had a closer look, and in smaller print was "Packed in Australia from imported ingredients". HELLO!! Nowhere on the pack did it say where these ingredients came from, so I phoned Woolworths to ask. The lady on the phone said she could tell from the barcode, so I read it out to her. Guess what - the sugar came from Brazil. I thought it was now mandatory for all food products to state the country of origin on their packaging? I'll be going back to good old CSR next time.

Doctors, doctors, doctors....

I try to avoid going to the doctor if possible. Not because I don't like my doc - I do. I like all the doctors at the Nillumbik clinic very much, because not only are they exceptionally nice people, they have always given me (and Ken) good advice on our health issues.
Along with his heart and lung conditions, Ken has for years suffered with the horrid problem of reflux which seems so common these days. He has tried everything that the doctors have prescribed, as well as alternative treatments from health food shops. Today was his final attempt to seek a solution. His doctor referred him to a local Endoscopy centre, and Ken had a gastroscopy and colonoscopy - yep, that's right. A tube up the back and a tube down the front at the same time. Well, within a few minutes of each other I presume - I wasn't there while it was being done!
Finally, he has some answers. He had some polyps removed from the colon, and they found a hiatus hernia and something called Barrett's mucosa from the gastroscopy. He has to see the endoscopist again in two weeks to get the results of the biopsies, and presumably, will have some treatment for either or both conditions.
So. He is happy that his concerns have been vindicated, and he wasn't just imagining it all. As for me, I won't go looking for trouble. I've 'suffered' from IBS for more years than I can remember, but it has always been thus, so I just live with it. If they go looking down there, I hate to think what they might find, so I'm not going to let anyone look! And I don't do mammograms. Finding a lump in a breast is bad news, so I'm not letting anyone look at those either! If there is a lump, it's the beginning of the end, isn't it. Chemotherapy stuffs up the immune system so badly, one may as well die from the cancer.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Un-Australian toothpaste.

Strange name for a blog post, yes.  But I am incensed, and am going to do a rant, so consider yourself warned.  I was in the Eltham Safeway store today, looking at all the shelves of toothpaste and searching for my favourite Macro brand toothpaste.  I couldn't see it, so I started reading the labels to find out a bit more about the other brands.  Sensodyne was my first choice, but the small print said it was made in India.  INDIA??   I picked up a tube of Macleans...made in Africa.   AFRICA???   And the last one Colgate, is made in Thailand.   THAILAND???  Where are you, Dick Smith?  You've brought out a large range of foods with your name on, proudly proclaiming "Made In Australia".   You'd better have a look at producing some other products locally,  mate.

I eventually found just one toothpaste made here in Australia - Cedel.  So I bought it, and unless I can find the Macro brand again (which is also made here) that's all I will ever buy.  I'm not being racist; I just do not want to put stuff into my mouth that was made in India, Thailand or Africa.   There are many things in our house that have their origins in those countries, and I have no objection to them.  But as far as food and personal health products go, I believe they should be made locally.

Choice had a frightening article in this month's issue, about the toxic chemicals founds in cloths and furnishing that are made overseas and imported into Australia.  Anyone reading this blog who has unexplained health issues, should beg borrow or buy that issue of Choice magazine and read it.  You may be shocked. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Did the earth move for you too?

Is anyone in Victoria reading this post?  If so, did you feel the earthquake around 9 pm tonight (Friday)?  Ken and I were sitting on the couch in our lounge room watching t.v. when I felt as if something pushed against the couch suddenly.  I turned around, thinking it was one of the cats jumping up onto it from behind me, but then remembered that Tiger was asleep on our bed and Topsy was still outside.  I said to Ken "Did you feel that?" and he said "What?"  I said "I felt the couch shake" and he looked at me as if I was losing my marbles.   Then we both heard the front door rattle, and when I opened it, Topsy shot in like a rocket, looking wild-eyed!   Ken said "That must have been what you thought you felt" but I said no, it was definitely the couch.
I was pleased when I started finding all these reports on the Internet later on, about our earthquake - "See, I'm not going mad after all" I said to Ken.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

My photos will be famous!

I received a surprise email this week from the Nillumbik Shire Tourist Association. They are preparing some advertising for the Shire, and needed some photos of Hurstbridge, one of our small towns. One of the staff Googled 'photos of Hurstbridge' and up popped my blog post from a couple of years ago, with the photos I'd taken up there. She rang to ask me if they could use them, and I said of course! They will put my name on the brochure as the photographer. What a buzz! Gosh, I never thought those photos were that good - I just snapped them to put on here to show my overseas bloggy friends some of our local scenery. If you want to have a look, here is a link to that post.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Ken and I have spent the last few nights watching the Jubilee celebrations on t.v. - we stayed up until 2 am on Monday morning watching the River Pageant, and tonight watched the Tattoo at Windsor Castle, then the concert at Buckingham Palace. We thoroughly enjoyed almost all of what we saw (the exception being Kylie Minogue, which I shall write about in a minute).
We were born in an era when Australians respected the Queen (and before her, her father King George VI), without having any resentment that the British Monarchy are our Heads of State. We knew from our history lessons at school that if it wasn't for the British, none of us would be living in freedom in this beautiful country, and we had no problem acknowledging them as our leaders from afar. We also understood that the British didn't 'rule' us - we had our own Prime Minister, Governor General, and state Premiers to do that.
So neither of us can understand the vitriol that emerges from the mouths of some people such as Nicole Brady, a so-called 'senior' journalist from The Age newspaper today. I think the title has gone to her head (and out from her arse, excuse the expression). She's only 27, for goodness sake, but talks like so many of her age group - she thinks she know better than anybody else about everything. She was talking to Neil Mitchell on 3AW this morning, calling the Queen and Duke 'silly old people floating down a river on a barge', and spouting more utter garbage about the Jubilee and the Monarchy in general. What on earth is the matter with her? Is she jealous of the attention lavished on them? She claims they don't do anything to warrant all the money that is spent on them; they know nothing about coming home at the end of the day having to look after a family and cook meals. HELLO?????? Does she think Julia Gillard does that? Or the American President? Actually, ms brady sounds like a communist - seems to think that everyone should be the same - go to work, come home and look after family. Well, ms. the world doesn't work like that, never has and never will. Some people will be leaders and some will be followers. Chiefs and Indians, that's how it is. So get used to it.
As for Kylie Minogue. Is my hearing defective, or did she actually use the F word in the second song in her performance? It sounded as if she actually spelled it out at one point - "F U C " and so on. I couldn't believe my ears. How could the organisers of that concert let her sing that in the presence of the Royal Family? I suppose the younger members of the family are like the rest of their generation and take it in their stride, but I can't begin to imagine what the Queen was thinking. Another thing that disgusted me was that she made no reference to the Jubilee at all - utterly self centred little tart. The others - Shirley Bassey, Elton John, Paul McCartney, etc. all paid homage to the Queen in one way or another. Perhaps Kylie is a republican and that was her way of thumbing her nose at the monarchy. She is Australian, isn't she? I was ashamed of her.


Friday, June 01, 2012

Chooks, not FB!

I figured I'm getting on people's nerves and probably driving away the few people that still read this blog, by going on about that Social Network That Will Be Not Named Again on here (for a while), so I thought I'd post a photo of something I bought this week as a gift for a friend of ours who loves chooks.  It was not expensive, so I bought two - one for him and one for us!

Fourth reason I don't like Facebook.

Maybe I should just set up another blog and called it the Anti Facebook blog!  This item about a woman choking a boy who insulted her daughter on Facebook, was on the news online tonight.  It's not the first time something like that has happened, and given the way some people are these days, it won't be the last.  I'm just glad I haven't got children (or grandchildren) who unwittingly make themselves available to bullying and insults like that.

Clumsy fool that I am!

I mentioned briefly on one of my other blogs that I had wrecked my camera. I was on an opshop trawl with a friend, and was taking photos of each shop, inside and out (with the permission of the managers who were delighted to hear they would be getting some online publicity on our opshop blog!). At the first opshop, the zip on my shoulder bag broke, and I wasn't happy about continuing to use the bag with all the contents at risk of dropping out at some stage. So I figured I may as well make the most of being in an opshop, and bought another bag - a nice beige leather one, but with no zip. Instead it had a button-down flap arrangement. You girls know how long it takes to get used to a new bag! and at the third opshop we visited, I was fumbling around in it, when I lost my grip, and it fell to the hard floor with a crash. My mobile was okay, but when I tried to use the camera it wouldn't work. All I got was a message on the screen saying the stabiliser wasn't working or something.
So that was the end of my opshop photos, but it didn't spoil our day - we still had fun! On the way home I stopped at Dick Smith's in Eltham to ask their advice, and the shop assistant who served me was able to explain what was wrong with the camera. He said the stabiliser is a tiny sensor that keeps the photo steady if your hands are unsteady, and if it is broken, it can't be fixed. When Ken got home, I told him the camera didn't work any more. I didn't tell him I dropped it. Well, I didn't lie! I just didn't mention it...(smacks self for being dishonest). Ken was annoyed, because it was his camera originally, and he gave it to me when he bought his I-phone and was able to take photos with that.
Next day, we went to Ted's Camera Store over at Greensborough, and the salesman there said pretty much the same thing as Dick Smith's man - although he said he could send it away to be looked at, which would cost $60, and if it could be fixed, it would cost another $100. But why do that when I could get a new camera for $100, which would be much superior to the old one, which is now about 6 years old. I asked if it was common for digital cameras to break down like that and he said "Yes, but has it been dropped?" I looked wide-eyed and said "Probably", and Ken said "Not by me!" and glared at me! Oops.
The upshot of all this was us buying TWO cameras - a nice little Pentax for me for $99, and a slightly better one for Ken - a Nikon, for nearly $300. He justified his purchase by saying that although the Iphone is handy to take photos on the run, they aren't as good as he would like. Many years ago, we both had good SLR cameras and Ken took excellent photos, so he's missing that now, and decided to get something worthwhile to photograph his aviary birds and birds in the wild, which can't be done as well with a phone camera. He said he may as well spend the money while he is still working, and as I said to his Mum today when I was visiting her, the way he(we?) spend money, he'll be working until the day he drops off his perch...

This is my first experimental photo with my new Pentax. Tiger was kneading a spot for himself on our bed.   As you can tell, I've got a way to go before I get the hang of the camera!  Kitty is a bit blurred in the above photo, and it wasn't because he was moving!

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