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 a cat and a collection of Australian parrots, finches, canaries and a dozen hens.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

What is Easter coming to?

I am not religious in the conventional sense (as far as going to Church), but I still believe in some traditional values, such as spending Christmas Day and Easter Sunday with families.  Up until this year, I've always spent Easter Sunday with my family when I was growing up, or my in-laws as long as I've been married.
There may have been one or two occasions when I was away somewhere, but I can't really remember.
This year, Ken decided to go to a motorcycle club meeting in the country, with some friends.  This meeting is held at Easter every year, and he always went on Easter Saturday, leaving Sunday free for lunch with his family.  But since his Mum died in December, and his sister and her family disappeared to their holiday house down the beach for the weekend,  he decided there was no point in spending the day at home with just me when he could be with his bike buddies.

I felt like I'd been abandoned.  I didn't say anything, but I was so pissed off with him, I didn't even buy him an Easter egg, even though I was with him when he bought one for me last week.  I figured that if I just stayed at home all day and sulked, I would be so cross by the time he got home, life wouldn't be worth living for either of us!  So I called a friend who lives on her own, to see what she was doing, and she said she didn't have any plans, but as she had a free movie voucher she might use that.  I asked if she would like some company and she was delighted to accept.   Ken came into the kitchen as we were discussing which movie we'd go to, and after I hung the phone up he wanted to know what it was all about.  I said "I'm going to the movies tomorrow with a friend" and his mouth dropped!  I said "Well, you're doing your thing, so I'll do mine".  He was not happy!  but what could he say?

Ken left home at 9 am, leaving the Easter egg and card on the kitchen table for me.  I hadn't left anything out for him, and he was puzzled. "Go suck an egg" I thought to myself as he rode off.

I picked up N. just before noon and we drove over to the Rivoli Theatre in Camberwell where we saw "Silver Linings Playbook".  I am not up with the latest movies, as Ken and I rarely go to them, so I'd not heard anything about this one.  A great story about people with mental health issues, with both sad and funny moments in it.  We both really enjoyed it, and afterwards we found a nice cafe to have a coffee and muffin, and talk about the film and other things. N. is an artist, so we had lots to talk about.

I was feeling quite cheerful by then, and when we walked past the Chocolate Box shop in Burke Road, seeing it was still open I felt a bit guilty, so I popped in and bought an egg for Ken.
He got home just after me, and even though he said "Oh you didn't have to do that" when he saw his egg, I think he was secretly pleased that I'd changed my mind about giving him one!  I told him how I felt about him leaving me on my own on Easter Sunday of all days, and reminded him that his Mum would roll over in her grave if she saw how her family went their separate ways today, and he had the grace to apologise for not thinking of me when he made his plans.
So...it wasn't what I would have preferred to do on this special day, but I don't think it will happen again.  I gave Ken something to think about next year!



Friday, March 29, 2013

Happy Jan (me) and Happy Easter (you).

Well, things seem to be looking up.  The stomach cramps disappeared after a few days, but the UTI lingers on, so I got a different lot of antibiotics from the doctor today, so hopefully that will resolve it.
The best news is that today I visited the neurologist my GP had referred me to.  Everyone said to me "Don't let him operate on your neck - he will want to because that's what surgeons do!" but I was keen to get his opinion. 
I was only with him for about 10 minutes.  He looked at the X rays and CT scans and asked me a few questions about how it happened and what I'd been doing to look after myself since then.  I was stunned when he said "Your neck is certainly badly damaged, but I'm not going to suggest an operation - you seem to be managing it yourself without any surgical intervention"!  He is sending me for an MRI scan as he explained that it will show up much more than X rays and CT scans, and he will be able to see where the nerves have been pinched.   But, definitely no operation.  Maybe in years to come, but he said if I continue to look after myself and have osteotherapy and acupuncture to help with any pain, I should be fine. 
Just goes to show that it is never too late to take control of your own health and look for alternative methods of doing so instead of relying on pain killers to mask any pain without fixing the source of pain. It isn't just luck that I've not had a stroke before now; my blood pressure is chronically high due to the genes I inherited from my mother, but I've reduced the chances of stroke by lifestyle changes and taking the appropriate medication to keep it stable.
Of course there is always cancer to be considered, and nobody gets much warning about that - you just wake up one day and it's there....so I'll just cross my fingers and hope it will be a matter of luck that it doesn't get me one day.
In the meantime, I wish you all a very happy and safe Easter.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

It is not going to be "My Year".

Damn and blast.  I hate being unwell.  First off I had the neck and back problems which have been just about fixed up for now.
Then I had a urinary tract infection for two weeks, and consulted our doc last week.  Antibiotics as usual..
Now I'm getting stomach cramps/spasms.  They aren't terribly painful, just sort of nuisance value if they keep me awake all night.  I didn't sleep at all on Wednesday night, and was so tired when I woke up on Thursday, I didn't feel like going to my weekly art class.  But after Ken went to work and I did a few chores, I was feeling a bit better, so I decided to go after all because (a) I am really enjoying this class and don't want to miss anything) and (b) it was the second last week.
So glad I went -  I enjoyed the class as usual..  I was about 15 minutes late, and the lady I usually sit next to leaned across and whispered "Are you okay?"  I told her about my cramps, and she nodded sympathetically.  She said she gets them too and the cause of hers is Diverticulitis, and she told me the name of the over-the-counter tablets she takes ((Buscopan).  So after the class I went along to our regular chemist and told him about my cramps.  I didn't even need to tell him the name of the tablets; he picked them straight off the shelf.  Typical of most of us these days, I consulted all my medical books (Readers Digest versions, lol) and the internet.  It sure sounds like I have this Diverticulitis because the symptoms and background of the disease are me to a T.  But it could also be an ovarian cyst (the first one I had presented no symptoms whatsover, but my doctor discovered it on a CT scan and insisted on me having it removed), Colitis, Pancreatitis, Liver cancer, bowel cancer, and so on.  I don't spook myself by reading all this; I just like to learn as much as I can about my body so I can do the best thing for it.  Guess I'll go back to the doc's on Saturday morning and get him to have another look. Other than the spasms, I feel fine - good appetite, getting on with the housework and shopping as usual. 

I got a phone call from my friend Helen this afternoon.  I usually try to visit or take her out at least once a fortnight, as she is disabled and doesn't get out as much as she used to before her stroke.  I haven't spoken to her for about a month, and she said she was missing my visits.  So I went around (she lives two streets away) and had a cuppa and nice long chat, and I explained why I hadn't been in touch (the above health issues mostly).  When I told her about my sewing machine, she said 'Why don't you take mine home?  I haven't used it for ten years, and I doubt if I'll be using it again".  Turns out it is a Singer nearly the same model as mine!   I haven't unpacked it yet, but am looking forward to catching up on the projects that were so rudely interrupted by my machine breaking down.  I will eventually buy a new one, but one has to be in the mood to spend $500 and learn how to work a new sewing machine! And right now I'm not really that enthusiastic. 







Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Wouldn't you know it?

From saying that I would only be doing sewing on my machine in 15 minute bursts, it has gone to no sewing at all on my machine!  Blasted thing died on me on Sunday.  The whole story is over at Patra's Place of Stitching.  With time on my hands I decided to do some paper napkin crafts, and while I was getting ready to post the details here I changed my mind, and made an alteration to the title of my 'Art' blog where I had been posting about my sketching and painting.  It is now for all my art and craft dabbling, so for those of you who don't mind blog hopping around to see my stuff, it is here - Patra's Arts and Crafts.

If any of my readers are stilll hanging around, I've updated my blog on the birds in our aviaries and back yard.  Some cute chicken photos here!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Things are looking up.

As I said in an earlier post, I've been back and forth to doctors about chronic pain in my neck and back.  I've seen two of the GPs at our local clinic, the chiropractor, remedial massage therapists, accupuncturist, and today I saw an osteopath.  Next week I'm booked into see a neuro surgeon.  The reason I'm consulting all of them is to get all the opinions from the various fields of medicine, then make a decision about how I am going to manage the pain and degeneration of my vertebrae.   Typical GPs - they prescribe valium and panadol forte;  chiro does the usual manipulations;  massage therapists do a great job in un-knotting the muscles and tendons; and the accupuncturist has fixed some other problems along the way.

 But I was very happy with the osteopath I saw today as he spent about an hour with me discussing all the treatments and how they can benefit me (or not), then giving me his own treatment which is like a combined remedial massage/chiropractic session.   He found much the same as the accupuncturist - it wasn't my neck bones that were giving me trouble, it was a set of muscles in the neck and shoulder  blades that were in spasm.  One thing most of the alternative therapy people have all agreed on is that I do not need surgery on my neck (at this stage) especially in view of the presence of osteopenia (precursor to osteoporosis).  But I will still see this neuro surgeon, and take on board whatever he has to tell me.  In the meantime, I will continue with the traction, and start doing my exercises again that I neglected to do over December and January, and the pain is already settling down to a dull ache that a bit of stretching will usually fix.

Unfortunately, bending over the sewing machine for any length of time does not help, nor does cleaning out the chook house or other heavy housework, so I am hoping the council will send a helper to me soon for the vac and mopping side of housework.  I don't expect them to clean the chook house - that will be Ken's job from now on!  As for my sewing, I'll just have to pace myself, and do the sewing in 15 minute time frames with resting or stretching in between. 

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Ken's first (and last) flying lesson.

One of the more unusual gifts Ken received for his 70th birthday last December was a gift voucher for a simulator flying lesson.  It is incredible what you can do these days with 'experience' gift vouchers.  I've had a hot air balloon flight, Ken had a flight in a Tiger Moth aircraft, I gave my late stepmother a flight in a helicopter....and so it goes.   I was thinking of giving Ken a voucher for a drive in a Formula One car, which he says he would have loved, but when I looked into the details, not only was it very expensive, I couldn't figure out where he would have to go to do it; I don't think it was at Albert Park anyway.

So on Saturday morning we set off for Essendon Airport (which used to be Melbourne's main airport until more and more bigger and bigger planes started flying into Australia and we had to build a much bigger airport at Tullamarine.  Essendon is still used, but mostly for training and small aircraft like Cessnas.
This little building is where the flight simulator is housed with a small office and kitchen.
This strange contraption is the simulator.  Ken is sitting on the left and the instructor was on his right.  All the controls in front of them are the same as in whatever model of plane they were supposed to be flying (not a 747!) and the simulator rocked now and then to imitate turbulence and when they landed and took off.
I was able to poke my head in the door and get a few photos.  It looks and feels very realistic, according to Ken, who said having done this, he would never think of going for real flying lessons!  He nearly 'crashed' their plane, and when he was coming into land, he veered off the runway onto grassland!  I couldn't help laughing, but Ken said "It's not funny, Gina!"  He was quite relieved to get out of the simulator and have a drink of water, but on our way home, he admitted that while it was nerve wracking, it was a fun thing to do.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Two parcels to cheer me up!

In addition to all the caring messages that have been posted on my blogs, I received some lovely goodies from two dear bloggy friends.  I have know Liz in Kansas for a few years now and we have exchanged ATCs and fabric postcards in that time.  I recently sent her one of my paper napkin covered CDs, and in return she send me all these dear little goodies that she makes.  I had asked if she would send me one of her fabric origami flowers, but she said in her covering letter that they looked a bit lonely, so she added some more goodies!
Fabric postcard for my collection:
 Dear little purse with some US coins.

 Just love these fabric origami creations!
 Some littlie paper cut outs
 Fabric jigsaw piece.  I've seen these on blogs in the past and always wanted to have a go.  I probably never will now, but at least I have one of my own!

Cindy's packet was two hand made cards.  She'd shown some on her blog and asked her readers to select their favourite. I liked this one of a window with lace trim curtains and the bird.   The other card is embossed and just to say hi and hope I am feeling better soon. 
Love my bloggy friends!


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