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.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

So this is retirement??

Well, it's Ken's idea of fun - not mine!  He had a new t.v. cabinet delivered and assembled here on Tuesday, and it took him all Wednesday to untangle all the wires and plugs, and put the various home theatre components into the cabinet (laser disc player, DVD player, Blu Ray play, amplifier, tape deck, Foxtel black box...).
Today his mate Mark came over and they unpacked the t.v. from the box.  I was greatly relieved to see it wasn't as big as the box it came in!  There is far too much cardboard and packing stuff to put into the household garbage bins, so I'm going to have to get a skip delivered to get rid of it all....another expense.


What are the guys looking at down there?

This...OMG.  I daresay most people these days have this kind of mess behind their computers and t.v. sets.  If I was on my own, there would be none of it, simply because I wouldn't know the first thing about connecting any of the bits to each other!

Mark turning it on and setting up the visuals while Ken looks on helplessly.   Mark has worked in the retail industry with computers and t.vs for years, so he is very clever with all this.

They've got the tv turned around now, facing the right way, but just look what's on - bloody Parliament...that's all we've got since last night when the ex-prime minister was kicked out by the ex prime minister who was kicked out by her three years ago... You're not in Australia?  Don't worry about it...

Well this is what our lounge room will look like from now on.  Fractionally better when the t.v. is pushed up closer to the back wall.  Anyone for popcorn?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Ken's latest new toy.

When Ken bought our Toshiba 54" rear projection t.v. 13 years ago, it was a state of the art large t.v. and we have had many fun nights with our friends and family watching movies on it.

It still works perfectly well, but of course is now a dinosaur compared with the latest t.v. sets. We didn't want to simply throw out the Toshiba while it is still working, but Ken was itching to get a flat screen t.v., so we asked around to see if anyone would be interested in taking the Toshiba off our hands before we were forced to send it to the tip...or a recycling centre if we could find one that could use it.
One of Ken's older cousins was delighted with the offer of a free t.v., and she's not fussed about its age, as long as it works,  so it is to be collected on Monday and taken to her house, where Ken will set it up for her along with a DVD player and digital set top box, which he will no longer need.

Below is his new t.v. - not to be taken out of it's box until the old t.v. is gone and we have a cabinet on which to place the new one.  This is a 65" (strange that they still use inches as a measurement?) LCD screen, as well as being digital of course, and 3D.  There are two pairs of glasses supplied to watch 3D films.  I won't be watching any 3D films with him - I have to perch those ontop of my regular glasses, and it is all just a blur, and very unpleasant to try and focus, so I'm not even going to try!
Being a so called Smart TV there are all kinds of extras that you can do with it - accessing the internet, even using the inbuilt camera to talk to people on Skype.  OMG, you need a licence to operate these things.  All way out of my orbit, so Ken will be playing with this on his own for the foreseeable future. I'll be happy to watch t.v. shows and non 3D movies with him, but he'll have to be in charge of the controls!


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Ken having his defibrillator checked out.

Ken attends the Austin Hospital every three months for the Pacemaker clinic to check that his defibrillator implant is working as it should.   It only takes a few minutes but we are always fascinated by the way the medics do it.  Ken sits in a chair near the computers and the nurse slings a gadget over his neck, which sits on top of his defib.implant.

This is hooked up to two computers which show information about the defibrillator, for instance if the battery needs replacing, or if Ken's heart is beating too fast or too slow, in which case they adjust the heart beat by manipulating the defibrillator.   The nurse then feeds the information over to another girl on another computer who keys everything in to their database presumably.
Today I asked permission to take some photos and the girls were surprised by my request.  "What on earth for?" they asked, and I explained that every time people ask how Ken's defib. device is checked, it is hard to explain, so I thought photos would be good.  They laughed and said go ahead!  I guess for the medics in that area, it is just their everyday job and nothing out of the ordinary, but when you are the recipient of the device that is actually keeping you alive, you have quite a different attitude toward it.

Time flies when you're having fun.

Guess I must be having fun, because I just do not know where my time goes. I'm one of those practical people who don't like to make a start on leisure activities until the housework is done. In fact I get a bit antsy if I get to the end of the day and I haven't done what I'd planned to do that morning. Isn't that a cute word - 'antsy'. I looked it up online to make sure I had the right word, and it does indeed describe how I feel on one of those days - fidgety, restless, agitated. I couldn't find out where it originated; could someone have watched ants scurrying around when their anthill has been kicked in? Getting sidetracked here. Sunday was one of those days. Ken decided on Saturday night that we should visit an old family friend (his side of the family) who lives in Korumburra, a Victorian country town about 124 Kilometres from Eltham (one and a half hours drive.)  Ken's friend is looking after his parents' house until it is sold (his Dad is in aged care).  It is a stunning home, on 22 acres.  Just have a look at these views....at a selling price of $670,000 we could just about afford to buy it, but we couldn't maintain a place that size now.  Twenty years ago, yes, but we didn't have the money then.

Looking down the main street in Korumburra.  Just a quiet little country town.  Great place to retire.
We stopped at this cafe/bakery  for a coffee and cake, and bought a meat pie to take home for tea.  It was one of the best meat pies we'd ever tasted!
Korumburra is prime cattle grazing land.  Most of the farmlands we drove past had cows in their paddocks.

We left home about 9.40 am and got home about 6 pm. While it was a lovely day out, at the back of my mind I kept thinking about what I'd planned to do that day - three loads of washing, starting a small quilt for Ken, and a few other small jobs. When we got home, I put a load of towels in the machine. When they were done, I hung them outside on the line and put a load of clothing on to wash. when they were done, I put them in the clothes drier. Now this is something I rarely do, as those things chew up a lot of power, and generally speaking in most parts of Australia we can hang washing out on a clothesline and it will dry in a day or so unless we have torrential rain (or snow in the mountain areas). But I just wanted to get these out of the way, so in the drier they went.

I couldn't stop thinking about that quilt, so around 10 pm I got out the fabrics and started measuring and cutting. Then I set up my new machine and started sewing. I'd been putting this off for months because I was intimidated by this new computerised machine that felt so foreign to me! But it proved to be a breeze to work, so I sat up the front of the house in my craft room and sewed away until 3.30 am! Knowing I wasn't going to disturb Ken at the other end of the house, and knowing that neither of us had to get up early in the morning, I was happy to keep going until my eyes started drooping. Time to go to bed...

Saturday was spent at The Light Factory Art Gallery studio, doing a workshop with Sharon. We learned to draw a green tree frog from Janet Matthews. I've done two previous workshops with Janet - drawing an owl and a rainbow lorikeet. She is a well known Australian wildlife artist who does all her art work in pencils (Faber Castell mostly) and her drawings are meticulous and beautiful. She came out to our house last year to photograph Ken's Gouldian Finches, as she had never had the opportunity to get so close to them before. She has since done a stunning drawing of the finches, and it has been on display at the Light Factory gallery for the past three weeks. Guess what Ken is getting for his birthday this year? (if anyone is reading this blog and knows Ken personally, PLEASE don't give away my little secret!!) I haven't quite finished my Green Tree Frog, but when I do, I'll post a photo on my art and craft blog.
So, as you can see, apart from housework and going places with Ken, quilting, embroidery and drawing is taking up my time - and it's all fun!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Phones are back and Ken is happy.

There was a Telstra van parked across the road a few days ago, and as I drove my car out of our driveway, I did a U-turn so I could call out to the man working in the underground pit. He was quite talkative and told me what had happened a few streets away, and how it had affected the area so badly, but advised me to check our phone later on in the day to see if it was okay. We did, and it was. Thank goodness for that.
Ken's second week of retirement is going well. I can see him visibly relaxing and starting to enjoy life. He's been making phone calls to people he hasn't spoken to for some time, because he was too tired, or just not in the mood, and it is great to hear him laughing as they reminisce over old times. He's also been spending a lot of time on his computer, checking out all kinds of things, mostly prices and availability for stuff he's wanted but never had time to chase up before. He even renewed the insurance on his Honda himself after talking over the policy with an insurance rep. I am very happy to hand all that over to him, as I've been doing these things for him while he's been working and unable to make phone calls regarding home stuff like insurance and maintenance issues.
We have received a number of invitations already, for dinner and afternoon teas, and he's accepted all of them. He used to say to me "Oh, do we have to go? I'm so tired, I just don't feel like going out". It's been raining most of this week, and he has greatly enjoyed lying in bed in the mornings listening to the rain and knowing he doesn't have to go out in it every day any more! I've had a few commitments in the past fortnight where I've gone off on my own for the day, or half a day, and at first he wasn't too pleased about being left on his own so soon after he'd retired, but this week he's been fine with it. He even offered to come with me today when I went over to Mill Park to do a talk about Collecting, but when it came to the crunch at 9.30 am and I was ready to go, he was still in bed and happy to stay there while the rain poured down! For me so far, one of the best things is not having to wash and iron four shirts a week in time for the following week ;-)

Sunday, June 09, 2013

We made up. But still not happy Jan!

Ken and I don't stay mad at each other for long.  We usually wake up the next day and everything is fine!  I made him a cuppa when I got up this morning, and got a nice smile ;-)
The reason we are not happy at the moment is because our landline is out and looks like being out for another few weeks.  We've having incoming calls diverted to my mobile, but it can be a nuisance, as was proved yesterday with all those conflicting messages.  I got on to an AUSTRALIAN Telstra employee (by demanding that the Phillippines employee transfer me back to here!) and she was as helpful as possible under the circumstances.  She told me a cable had been cut by a careless employee doing roadworks, and it affected about 400 homes while they get a replacement cable and hook everything up again.    Obviously that is not Telstra's fault, but hey, who else do you talk to?  Ken said he'd like to find out who the person was who did the damage, and he'd go around to his house and cut their power lines....not really, but you can think these things, can't you.

Not happy Jan.

Ken is not happy with me.  I'm cheesed off with him too at the moment.  My new printer ran out of black ink, so I bought two new cartridges for it - may as well replace both to save messing around when the colour one runs out.  The directions provided with the printer were typical of most supplied these days - written by someone whose first language is not English.  I couldn't figure out how to replace the cartridges, so I called our friend M.who is one of our computer expert friends and always happy to drop by and help.  He said he would come over today, but I warned him that I would be out all afternoon, and to ring Ken first to make sure he will be home.
I got a call from M. when I was on my way home about 4 pm.  He said he was sitting outside our place, had phoned Ken, and knocked on the door twice, but there was no answer.  I said he must have gone out, and apologised to M. for wasting his time.   Fortunately for us, M. is a very easy going person, and wasn't upset by his wasted trip.

When I got home, Ken was there and said he had been home all day.  I asked why he hadn't answered the door when M. knocked, and he said he was probably up the back yard with the birds.  He said he'd phoned M. earlier and left a message to say he'd put the cartridge in my printer himself, and not to bother coming, so he wasn't expecting him.  Well that made me mad because I had asked Ken not to touch the printer.  He gets into all kinds of trouble with his own computer stuff I would rather he left mine alone.  I turned on the printer tonight and it came up with a message on the screen that it had to be aligned before it could print.  GRRR!
OK, I figured it out for myself, and Ken had put the cartridges in correctly, but I was still annoyed.  He is annoyed with me for being annoyed with him.  Stalemate.
Men....

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Second day of retirement proves to be expensive!

I was at the Guild all day, but Ken was happy to stay home and wait for a rep. from Rain Shield Roofing to arrive and have a look at our roof.  Ken phoned me about 1 pm to tell me the news.  Not good.  Our roof could be 'patched up' but it wouldn't be good enough to protect the house for years to come.  I've been telling Ken for a couple of years that the roof was deteriorating; I'm the bunny who climbs up and cleans leaves from the gutter every few months, so I see the rust and the cracks in the steel.

So we've signed up for a whole new roof - nearly $14,000.  I think Ken has visions of his inheritance slipping away before he has the chance to enjoy any of it!  But he knows as well as I do, with or without that money, we would have to do something about the roof, as it leaks every time we have a rain storm, and according to the long range weather forecasts, Australia is going to experience much more of this weather in coming years.  So if we don't do something now, I hate to think of the consequences....

Monday, June 03, 2013

First day of retirement for Ken.

Ken said tonight it felt like the first day of his annual leave.  I replied that it was permanent leave now, not just annual!  We got up around 10 am because my Home Care lady was due at 10.30 to vacuum and mop the floors.  She was late as usual, so we had an extra 15 minutes to get dressed, have breakfast and get all the cleaning gear ready for her.  It is such a nice feeling for me to have the house sparkling (well, clean - it is an older house after all) and not ache all over afterwards for days.  K. is very thorough in her cleaning, so I usually forgive her lateness, but we had an appointment at the bank today, and I was hoping she would be on time.  When she didn't show up, I was able to postpone our appointment to a later time, but I was a bit annoyed.  I suggested that she start at a later timeslot if that meant she would be able to turn up on time, and she said she would discuss it with her supervisor.  I really don't mind what time she starts, but when I have things to do by a certain time,  it is a pain in the A. when others hold me up because they have been chatting to someone!

We got to the bank around midday for our appointment, and spent 90 minutes having our accounts all sorted out...mortgage paid off completely,  investment account opened, and other accounts tidied up.  We drew out $200 in cash, to have $100 each in our wallets - just for fun, lol!  Had a nice lunch in one of Eltham's cafes, then went to the shop where Ken buys his supplies for the chooks and finches.  They are also in the business of building pet enclosures, so we had a look at the chook house on display, and decided it will do nicely for our little brood of chooks, who are not really comfortable in the finch aviary at the moment.  Well, who knows whether they are or not - they don't actually talk to us - ha ha!  But there are six chooks in there, and while they can walk around, the space is limited and gets dirty very quickly which means we have to clean it out more often than we would if it was a proper size enclosure.  We let them out to 'free range' in the back yard now and then when we are spending an hour or so in the yard, but it has been so cold and wet lately, we haven't been hanging around outside, so the chooks stay inside.

When we got home, Ken made a few phone calls, and then had a snooze.  He is already making lists of things he wants to do and people to call, which is really great as far as I'm concerned because it means I can get on with my usual routine without worrying about him being bored!  Not that I did worry - I knew he wouldn't be bored on his own,  he is not that kind of person.  He is more concerned that I will fill up his time for him!  For instance I organised a representative of a roofing company to come and check our roof, as it has been leaking whenever we have had heavy rainfalls in the past few years.  The guy is coming tomorrow while I'm on duty at the Embroiderers Guild all day - Ken said  "Trust you to go out all day and leave me to wait for this bloke!" 

Wednesday is a 'free day' for us both, then I will be back at the Guild on Thursday, and Ken has a medical appointment.  Friday morning I'm on duty at the opshop.  Well, that's our first week done and dusted!

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Ken's last day at work.

Some of Ken's workmates at Melb. Path.  wanted to take him out for drinks after work, so I drove him in to work on Friday morning because he had two huge mudcakes for the staff at both Melbourne and Dandenong offices where he goes every day, and he wouldn't have been able to carry them on his bike!
I drove in to town about 5 pm to join them for drinks, and bring his gifts home in the car.   He had just arrived back in the office after his last run, and was overwhelmed with the gifts and cards he'd been given. The girls put on a few snacks for the couriers who were still around, and then a few of us went to a nearby pub and had a few drinks (I only had one G & T because I was driving), then Ken and I decided to stay and have a counter meal for dinner instead of going home and cooking, as it was getting late by then.
Just as well we did all that because a storm developed around 6 pm and it poured rain all night, so Ken would have got saturated riding home on his bike.
 Ken second from right with some of his workmates in the couriers' tea room.
 A few of us at the pub...my camera battery was going flat again, and I assume that is the reason for this blurry photo.  Some of the others took photos on their phones, so I'm hoping they will email them to us.
 Four bottles of wine, a Rubiks cube (the giver must have thought Ken might be bored once he retired), a box of goodies and some Tattslotto tickets.

This garden chook was a gift from one of the ladies at Dandenong who has chooks of her own and knows we have them too! 




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