Sunday, 19 June 2016

Lachenalia Tricolour

"Lachenalia Tricolour", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016





Once again I was attracted to a particular plant because of the bright colours of its blossoms.  As you know, I find it very difficult to resist the urge to draw anything which contains the colours red/orange and yellow! 



"Kniphofia northiae" drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013 



When I first came across Lachenalia     aloides (Lachenalia Tricolour), I was immediately struck by its bright, bell- shaped blossoms.  It quickly put me in mind of another drawing I did several years ago of Kniphofia northiae (see drawing at right). Of course, upon close examination, they are very different plants, but the colours are similar and striking in both.







Lachenalia aloides (Lachenalia Tricolour), commonly known as Cape Cowslip, is a species of flowering plant in the family Hyacinthaceae (see note below). It is native to the Western Cape of South Africa. 

Grown from a bulb, L. aloides has long, pointed, dark green leaves and fleshy stems bearing tubular flowers. These are usually red at the top and hang down like a pendant on a necklace. The plant blossoms during late winter and spring of the southern hemisphere.

Even though the blossoms of most cultivars of Lachenalia Tricolour retain the three colours of red, yellow and green, the placement of these colours and the shades of these colours can be quite different from one cultivar to another. As well, the colours are constantly changing as the blossoms age.

The genus, Lachenalia, comes from the surname of Prof. Werner de la Chenal, an 18th century Swiss botanist. 
"Aloe vera in Bloom"
(Internet source:  www.etsy.com)

The species name, aloides, comes from the Latin and literally means "aloe-like" although L. aloides, despite its similarity, does not belong to the same family of plants as those in the genus Aloe (see photo at right).







NOTE: There remains still some dispute over which family can actually claim Lachenalia aloides. At this point, the main contenders are:  Asparagaceae, Hyacinthaceae and Liliaceae. 







Portions of the above text were taken from various Internet sources.
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SUKI AND SALLIE




Suki settling down to rest after having been
given her pain medication for the day
followed by a big dish of turkey and gravy!
Well, Suki finally made a decision about which food to eat -- her long-time favourite won after all: Fancy Feast Turkey with Gravy.  

I have no idea why, several weeks ago, she suddenly refused to eat this particular food -- the food that had been her first choice for years.  

Since this change in her behaviour occurred within days after Suki began taking the pain medication, I can only assume that her taste buds must have been affected by the stuff -- so much so that she went off the food she had eaten for so long.

Maybe Suki was searching for the "right taste" as she tried other, similar foods. With each, she would sample just a little of the meat, lap up most of the gravy and then refuse to eat the rest. I wasted a lot of food (and money) trying to find one cat food that she would eat. Perhaps by the time I tried her on her long-time favourite of turkey and gravy again, it didn't seem so bad by comparison. Who knows! 

Anyway, as you can well imagine, Suki's willingness to return to eating her regular food has made my life much more pleasant. Now, after she finishes each meal, Suki settles down for a long nap instead of following me around and meowing and moaning because she is still hungry!

Otherwise, things continue as usual.  I had a couple of medical appointments this past week and have another one scheduled for this coming week.

On Thursday evening, I dropped in on a birthday party being held in the large meeting room in my building. I wasn't able to stay for very long, but this birthday party was so special that I just had to attend. It was the 100th birthday celebration of a friend who, like me, has lived in this building since it opened -- almost 20 years ago now.  It was great to see her looking so well as she sat there surrounded by family and friends.  By the way, she still lives on her own.  Happy 100th, Edith.

Then yesterday, I had a lovely visit from a dear friend.  She didn't stay too long as she could see that I was getting uncomfortable due to the pain. It was good to see her and to hear about all the things that she is doing.

So, at the moment, things are relatively OK for both myself and Suki -- which actually makes me just a bit nervous. Oh, well, let's see what this new week brings...
     



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TWELFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME





"Icon -- Mother of God of Magadan", by the hand of
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016 rev.




“The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”


GOSPEL READING:


Once when Jesus was praying alone, with only the disciples near him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They answered, “John the Baptist; but others, Elijah; and still others, one of the ancient prophets has arisen.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “The Messiah of God.”
He sternly ordered and commanded them not to tell anyone, saying, “The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.  Luke 9:18-24


Sunday, 12 June 2016

Daubenya aurea

"Daubenya aurea 'Red' ", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016



I was attracted to this flowering plant because of the beautiful orange-red colour of the "petals".  As usual, I am not satisfied with the results which means that you will probably be seeing at least one more attempt at this particular plant in the near future.  Now let me tell you a bit about it...

Daubenya aurea is a member of the Hyacinthaceae family. It is a rare species which produces red or yellow flowers and is found growing on clay flats in the Roggeveld -- a plateau located in the Karoo region of the Northern Cape, South Africa. 

Daubenya aurea produces two spreading leaves and tubular flowers arranged in a cluster between the two leaves. An author has written about these flowers as follows: “Although it is dormant during summer and autumn and has a very narrow distribution area, this extraordinarily, beautiful member of the Hyacinth family is a must see for every plant lover. The striking red or yellow flowers light up the veld when it flowers in spring.” 

The genus was first described in 1835 by British botanist John Lindley and named in honour of his compatriot, Charles Giles Bridle Daubeny (1795–1867), who explored the horticultural potential of the species at the Oxford Botanical Garden. The specific epithet, aureus, is Latin for “golden” (think of the word “aura”) and refers to the golden yellow flower of this species.




Portions of the above text were taken from various Internet sources.
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SUKI AND SALLIE




Add caption
Do you have any idea just how difficult it is to try to get a cat to lose weight? 

The vet has told me a couple of times lately that Suki really needs to lose a few pounds -- not because she is dangerously overweight but, rather, because less weight means less pressure on her bad left leg. This should lead to less pain and discomfort for her all around.

The vet has suggested that I give Suki mostly canned, all-meat cat food and very little of the carbohydrate-based, dry, crunchy cat food.  So I have been trying to feed her 4-all-meat meals each day while placing a small amount of her low-fat, crunchy food in a dish for her to nibble on if she feels a bit hungry between meals (if I don't give her something to snack on between meals, she pesters me).

Suki, however, is not interested in any sort of weight loss regimen. Instead, she has devised her own diet which is not designed to help her lose weight, but is designed to give her maximum pleasure. How very "catlike" of her!  Let me explain...

At present, I do, indeed, feed Suki meat four times a day, but each day, at Suki's insistence, the food must be of a different preparation: Friskies Turkey with gravy one day; Fancy Feast Chicken with extra gravy the following day; and Fancy Feast Turkey with gravy the day after that.  Then we must repeat the cycle.  However, Suki basically refuses to eat the actual meat (other than a few pieces); instead, she slurps up the gravy -- even going so far as to press the meat down with her tongue and lick up the gravy released by her action.

Once she has gotten every bit of gravy out of the dish, she turns and walks away with a big smile on her face.  Later she will return to the kitchen and fill up on her crunchy, dry food.  When her dry food bowl is empty, she pesters me until I give her just a tiny bit more -- and so it goes day after day.

I have been told that I should just refuse to put any dry food down at all and then, sooner or later, Suki would be forced to eat all of her meat meal to satisfy her hunger.  This sounds like such a great solution; however, I can tell you from experience that it does not work. 

When I tried this solution about a week ago, things begin simply enough.  At first, Suki just came and sat and stared at me each time she discovered that her dry food dish was still empty.  After a while, though, she began to meow for a minute or two each time.  As time passed, she begin to meow for longer and longer periods of time.  Even though all of this was very difficult for me, I held out until bedtime ... but then the battle really began.  Suki cleverly allowed me to fall asleep and then she begin her real torture technique which consisted of waking me up at odd intervals by various and sundry means, over and over again, until I finally reached my breaking point.

Exhausted and defeated, I slowly made my way to the kitchen, put a handful of crunchy food into her dish, crawled back to my bed and, with a grateful smile on my face, fell sound asleep -- and slept soundly for the rest of the night.  I am sorry, but I won't be trying this again.

So, instead, I have now started adding a little water to her gravy and meat dish at each meal which means that the gravy contains fewer calories per total volume.  Since she will be drinking more liquid, hopefully, this will cause Suki to feel a bit fuller and, thus, lead to her eating a smaller amount of the strongly discouraged carbohydrate-based cat food.  What a rigmarole! 

If this plan doesn't work, then I guess Suki's weight will remain the same. Do any of you have any suggestions about how I might help Suki lose a few pounds -- a suggestion will allow me to maintain my mental health while helping Suki actually lose weight?

Otherwise, life goes on as usual.  

I had two medical appointments this past week and have two more this coming week.  As I tell people, this is my social life now -- visiting my various doctors.  I may no longer be well informed about local politics, but I am totally up to date on what's happening in pain management and other related medical fields!






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ELEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME





"Kissing the Feet of Her Lord", portion of an unfinished drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015





A Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him, and he entered the Pharisee's house and reclined at table. Now there was a sinful woman in the city who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee. Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment, she stood behind him at his feet weeping and began to bathe his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner." Jesus said to him in reply, "Simon, I have something to say to you." "Tell me, teacher," he said. "Two people were in debt to a certain creditor; one owed five hundred day's wages and the other owed fifty. Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both. Which of them will love him more?" Simon said in reply, "The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven." He said to him, "You have judged rightly." Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet, but she has bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment. So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven because she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little." He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." The others at table said to themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?" But he said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
          Luke 7:36-50

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Ornithogalum dubium

"Ornithogalum dubium -- Sun Star", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016



This is not the first time I have done a drawing of Ornithogalum dubium although my previous efforts were done a number of years ago now.

Below is an example of one of those earlier drawings which was featured in an 2011 posting.




"Ornithogalum dubium", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011




If you are interested, here is further information about this very lovely plant with its orange blossoms.

Ornithogalum dubium, commonly known as Sun Star or Star of Bethlehem, is a species of flowering plant which is native to South Africa (Cape Province). There it can be found blooming from early spring until mid-summer (August to December) on mountain slopes and flats, in stony clay soil. 

This long-blooming, showy plant has beautiful large star-shaped or cup-shaped orange flowers. Originally, it was assigned to the family Liliaceae. Now you will find it assigned to either Asparagaceae or Hyacinthaceae. There continues to be controversy about the Family to which it rightly belongs.

The bulbs of all Ornithogalum are considered to be poisonous as they contain cholestane glycosides and calcium oxalate

Ornithogalum is derived from the Greek words 'ornis' meaning bird and 'gala' meaning milk. The Greeks referred to something that seemed fantastical and rare as being “bird’s milk”. 

The species name. dubium, is derived from the Latin word dubiosus, meaning doubtful. The story is told that the author of this species, the Dutch naturalist Martinus Houttuyn, may have been doubtful about certain aspects of the plant when he described it – wondering if it should be placed under a different classification.

As usual, I am still not satisfied with the results of this latest drawing which means that I will probably be trying to "get it right" once again in the months ahead!





Portions of the above text were taken from various Internet sources.
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BRADEN AND RÒNÀN




You may recall my telling you about the CF Walkathon that was scheduled for May 29th.  Braden's and Ro's father was one of the walkers as part of a group called "Rònàn's Warriors" -- they were walking to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis research to help Rònàn and all the others out there whose lives are touched by CF.  

Here are a few photos I just received of the boys who also participated in the walkathon.  Enjoy!





The boys do their warm-up exercises before the walk begins!





The Walkathon is underway!  Ro holds the hand of one of 
"Rònàn's Warriors" as Braden takes the lead.





The Walkathon is over!  Well done, young men.







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SUKI AND SALLIE




Suki wondering when the pain is going
to go away!
Suki, I think, is beginning to realize that the pain in her hips and back legs is not going to go away.  So, like any creature, she is learning how to live with it as best she can.

Suki has been taking the pain medication long enough so that a therapeutic level is now being maintained by her body.  In evidence, she can once again jump onto her favourite chairs without my assistance -- thank goodness -- she has returned to her normal practice of being my feline alarm clock and I am once again referring to her frequently (but lovingly) as being a "pest and a nuisance". 

The most recent reason for calling her a "pest and a nuisance" has to do with her refusal to eat the food I have for her.  I mean, the food situation was looking good before she started taking all this medication.  

However, within a few days of starting on the drugs, Suki was refusing to eat what had been her absolutely favourite food -- turkey bits swimming in gravy.  At first, I tried going back to one of her earlier favourites consisting of chicken and turkey with a bit of gravy and that seemed to work for a few days.  Then, just as suddenly, she refused to eat that food as well.  

Frantically, I began to search for other foods to try and stumbled upon Friskies Turkey and gravy. She wolfed this stuff down for about a week and then, suddenly, she began to refuse to eat any of it as well.

So, last night, in desperation, I opened a can of the food she had been happily eating prior to starting on all these drugs.  With much trepidation, I set a bowl of this food down in front of Suki and waited for the usual rejection. Amazingly, she gobbled up the entire dish! 

Even though she quite happily ate another dish of the same food this morning for breakfast, I am not yet counting on this as a permanent solution. I mean, over the past weeks, Suki has been given three different foods which she has appeared to enjoy very much for three to seven days before completely going off of each one. So, let me just say that if she is still eating this same food by next Sunday's blog posting, then maybe, just maybe, I might begin to feel that some sort of victory has been won!

Otherwise, life continues as usual.

I did have one medical appointment this past week along with several business and banking appointments.  As you can imagine, all this activity has left me feeling really tired and very aware of the pain.  

So, my plan is to "lose" myself in a new drawing.  Thus far, art work remains the one thing in which I can still "lose" myself sufficiently so that the constant pain seems to fade into the background for a while.  

No doubt, you will be seeing the results of my "art-work-distraction-technique" sometime in the near future! 




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TENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME




"Icon -- Christ the Healer", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2009




Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him. As he drew near to the gate of the city, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. A large crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” He stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted, and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!” The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, crying out “A great prophet has arisen in our midst, “ and “God has visited his people.” This report about him spread through the whole of Judea and in all the surrounding region.            Luke 7:11-17

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Even More Dahlias!

"Dahlias of the Collarette Persuasion", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016






I couldn't resist drawing two more Dahlia cultivars.  I hope you don't mind!

As you probably recall, Dahlias are a group of flowering, tuberous-rooted plants that belong to the Asteraceae (aster/daisy) family. There are at least 36 species of Dahlia. As well, Dahlias have been hybridized extensively, and there are now more than 20,000 cultivars. 

Dahlias are native to Mexico, Central America and Columbia. The Aztecs cultivated Dahlias for both food and ceremonial purposes.

The genus name of Dahlia is also the common name. The name, Dahlia, comes from the surname of Dr. Andreas (Anders) Dahl. He was an 18th century Swedish botanist and student of Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist who laid the foundations for the modern biological naming scheme of binomial nomenclature. 

Today’s drawing features two of the many Dahlia cultivars. These two belong to the sub-group known as Collarette Dahlias. As you may recall from my posting of November 1, 2015, Collarette Dahlias have large, flat florets forming a single outer ring around a central disc which may overlap a smaller circle of florets closer to the centre and which gives the appearance of a collar. 

As I have mentioned previously, if you search my blog using the term "Dahlia", you will find a number of other cultivars from this genus which I have drawn over the years.





Some of the above text was taken from various Internet sources.
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BRADEN AND RÒNÀN 




I was the fortunate recipient of some additional photos of my boys this past week and, as usual, I want to share a few of them with you.




Brother share a ride in a "Ladybug".





"Come on in, little bro ... this is a fun place to play!"





Brothers listening to a "hillbilly" band.





This is an interesting photographic composition -- 
showing the boys through openings in the fence that surrounds the "trampoline".  
This photo makes me think of that Van Halen hit song from the past:  "Jump!" 





"Watch out, little brother ...  if you go sideways, you may bump into the post!"






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SUKI AND SALLIE



Suki enjoying her favourite chair AFTER
getting me to lift her from the floor and
place her carefully on her "good" side!
How come cats are so good at getting people to wait on them?

Seriously, every day now I tell Suki that if she really wants to get into her chair, she can find a way to do it herself -- I am definitely not going to do it for her.  

Then she sits there, staring at me with those big eyes and utters a pitiful little meow that just about breaks your heart. I mean, what can I do?  

So, I get up once again, pick her up off the floor and gently place her in a comfortable position on the seat of her favourite chair.  She really knows how to get me to do what she wants.

Of course, after a few hours of sleep, it is time for Suki to leave the chair and begin pestering me about lunchtime.  She does this until it is actually time for her noon meal.  These days, of course, she also gets two type of medication at lunch time -- one for pain alone (she will only be taking this one for a few more days) plus another one for treating both pain and inflammation (this one she will continue taking into the foreseeable future). 

The medications are supposed to be taken just before eating; however, Suki, after being properly dosed (I use a syringe minus the needle in order to measure the liquid medication and then squirt it into the side of her mouth) refuses to eat the food I have just placed before her.  Instead, she simply lies down on the floor and looks at me as though I have deeply offended her.

After a great deal of pleading, Suki finally condescends to approach her food dish which contains bits of chicken with lots of gravy. Then, rather than eating her food properly, she simply licks off all the gravy, turns and walks away.

The next thing I hear is this plaintive meow coming from the living room. When I take a look, there is Suki asking me to lift her up and put her back onto the seat of her favourite chair.  With a deep sigh and a shake of my head, I do exactly what she wants.  No wonder I have given Suki the name Rumpole gave to his wife in the British comedy series "Rumpole of the Bailey":  "She Who Must Be Obeyed."

As for what I am doing apart from being Suki's nursemaid, I seem to be spending a large amount of time at various doctors' offices. I had four different appointments this past week.  Hopefully, the "6-month, check-up time" is now past and my life can settle down once again to only the occasional medical appointment; however, I do have two more medical type appointments scheduled for the coming week!  Now for some bad news and good news...

The bad news is that I have started having increasing problems with pain during the night. After consultation, the pain specialist and I decided to try increasing one of my medications in an attempt to increase the number of hours of uninterrupted sleep I am able to get.  The good news is that after a few days on the new regimen, I am finding that the additional dose seems to be helping quite a bit. Keep your fingers crossed.




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THE SOLEMNITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI




"Icon -- Corpus Christi", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015 rev.





Jesus spoke to the crowds about the kingdom of God, and he healed those who needed to be cured. As the day was drawing to a close, the Twelve approached him and said, "Dismiss the crowd so that they can go to the surrounding villages and farms and find lodging and provisions; for we are in a deserted place here." He said to them, "Give them some food yourselves." They replied, "Five loaves and two fish are all we have, unless we ourselves go and buy food for all these people." Now the men there numbered about five thousand. Then he said to his disciples, "Have them sit down in groups of about fifty." They did so and made them all sit down. Then taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing over them, broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. They all ate and were satisfied. And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets.  Luke 9:11b-17






Sunday, 22 May 2016

Narcissus

"Narcissus poeticus -- Flower of the Gods", drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016




Narcissus poeticus is extremely fragrant with a ring of petals in pure white and a short corona of light yellow with a distinct reddish edge, N. poeticus is widely naturalized in North America and Europe. Narcissus is mostly native to the Mediterranean region, but a few species are found in the area stretching from central Asia to China. N. poeticus, now long cultivated in Europe, was, according to one legend, brought back to England from the crusades. It was introduced to North America in the late 18th century. 

The earliest mention of Narcissus poeticus is probably in the botanical writings of Theophrastus (371 – c. 287 BCE), who wrote about a spring-blooming narcissus. In one version of the myth about the handsome Greek hunter, Narcissus, he was punished by the Goddess of vengeance, Nemesis, who turned him into a Narcissus flower that historians associate with Narcissus poeticus

According to some experts, the fragrant Narcissus poeticus was the flower that Persephone and her companions were gathering when Hades abducted her into the Underworld. This myth accounts for the custom, which has lasted into modern times, of decorating graves with these flowers. Linnaeus, who gave the flower its name, quite possibly did so because he believed it was the one that inspired the tale of Narcissus. [Narcissus, known for his beauty, was extremely proud, disdaining those who loved him.  The god, Nemesis, (the spirit of divine retribution) noticing his behaviour, drew Narcissus to a clear pool of water.  Gazing upon his reflection, Narcissus fell in love not realizing that it was only a image of himself. Unable to leave the beauty of his reflection, Narcissus lost his will to live. He stared at his reflection until he died. Narcissus is the origin of the term, narcissism, meaning a fixation with oneself and one's physical appearance -- a self love that makes one incapable of really loving others.]

While all Narcissus are poisonous when eaten, Narcissus poeticus is more dangerous than others, acting as a strong emetic and irritant. The scent is powerful enough that it can cause headache and vomiting if a large quantity is kept in a closed room.  In my opinion, this beautiful flower is better appreciated in the garden rather than in a vase!

This is not the first time (nor will it be the last, I'm sure) I have tried drawing Narcissus poeticus. Below are two previous drawings of this ancient flower from earlier blog postings.




"Narcissus poeticus recurvus"
drawing by 
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2010
"Narcissus poeticus -- Pheasant's Eye"
drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2009












Portions of the above text were taken from various Internet sources.
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BRADEN AND RÒNÀN 



The boys have been busy lately.  Here are some recent candid shots of the two of them -- apart and together.




Rònàn carefully studying his surroundings --









Brothers - 1





Brothers - 2







Braden carefully studying his surroundings --








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SUKI AND SALLIE



In last Sunday's posting, I wrote:     
Suki in one of her few wakeful
moments these days.
"As soon as she saw me, she tried to stand up but could only manage it by leaning against fridge so that she did not have to put any weight on her back left leg. She tried to walk towards me, but could only hobble for a few steps before she had to lie down again. I quickly measured out a dose of her pain medication in the syringe and gave it to her. Then I fixed her food so that it would be very easy to eat while she was lying down. And that is exactly what Suki did -- she ate her entire breakfast without ever standing up. Once she had finished, I carefully picked her up and transported her to her favourite chair in which she is now sleeping -- a sleep that hopefully will continue for at least the next five hours. Then it will only be another hour before I can give her more of the pain medication. Poor kitty... this definitely means a trip to the vet -- hopefully tomorrow!"

We made it to the vet on Thursday and here is what she had to say:  
"Following blood work and x-rays, it was determined that Suki has a cruciate ligament rupture in her left knee along with osteo- arthritis.  She continues to show signs of osteoarthritis and cruciate ligament weakness in her right knee.  She exhibits pain in both knees, but the pain in the left knee is quite severe -- so much so that without pain medication, Suki would probably be unable to walk at all. So, for the foreseeable future, Suki needs to be given regular doses of pain medication and anti-inflammatory medication. As well, she needs to lose a few pounds so that there is less weight for her back legs to carry." (Suki and I both looked at one another when the vet said "lose a few pounds" and just rolled our eyes.)
   
So far, Suki seems to be managing OK with all of this -- so long as I make certain to give her these good pain meds at the proper times and pick her up whenever she wants to get into one of her favourite chairs.

I, on the other hand -- now faced as I am by the loss of my cat alarm clock plus all my new nursing duties -- am still trying to make all the adjustments required for this new living situation. In other words, Suki is managing OK but I'm a mess!

Hopefully, things will settle down before long as a new routine becomes the established norm.  In the meantime, I have purchased a real alarm clock and have placed small posters throughout the apartment to remind me of the various times of day when Suki needs to be given medication.

I have also been busy with my own health care as I had two medical appointments and some lab work this past week.  This coming week I have four medical appointments! I will be so glad when this six-month check-up time period is over.

Meanwhile, my biggest worry is Suki.  It really is heartbreaking to watch a cat who was once so beautifully agile, now struggle painfully in an effort to jump from the floor onto a low stool. However, so long as Suki is willing to keep struggling, I am willing to keep helping her. We're in this together until the bitter end.





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SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY




"Icon -- The Holy Trinity or The Hospitality of Abraham and Sarah",
by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016 revision



[The Church Fathers saw in the story of the three "angels" appearing to Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 18:2ff) the foretelling of the doctrine of the Trinity -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit -- Three in One and One in Three.  As I have mentioned in previous blog postings, one of the world's best-known icons, Rublev's "The Trinity", is based on this passage (see image below).]




"The Holy Trinity" by the hand of
St. Andrei Rublev




Jesus said to his disciples: "I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you."  Jn 16:12-15



Sunday, 15 May 2016

An Old Favourite

"Fiery Calla Lilies", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016



I imagine some of your are saying to yourself:  "Not Calla Lilies again!"  The answer is, obviously, "Yes, more Calla Lilies".  You know I can't resist them!

The Calla Lilies in this drawing, however, are just a bit different from most of my other drawings of these flowers. Instead of being filled with gentle curves so typical of these lilies, the Calla Lilies in the drawing above are fiery and angry looking. This is accomplished by selecting strong colours as well as the use of lines composed of sharply pointed, triangular shapes -- notice particularly the base of the flowers as well as the tips of the leaves. I feel as though I have discovered an entirely new aspect of these blossoms -- which undoubtedly means I will be drawing more Calla Lilies in the future!

Speaking of previous drawings, following is a selection of some of my favourite Calla Lily attempts from the past:



"Calla Lily for Mother's Day",
drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer,
2010







"Calla Lilies in the Garden",
drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer,
2011

























"Calla Lilies in a Glass", drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012


As you may recall, Calla Lilies (also known as Arum Lily or simply Calla) are not true lilies at all. They were placed in the family Araceae (not Lilium) and the genus Zantedeschia and are native to southern Africa from South Africa to Malawi. 


The Zantedeschia species are poisonous due to the presence of calcium oxalate. "All parts of the plant are toxic, and produce irritation and swelling of the mouth and throat, acute vomiting and diarrhea."  As beautiful as they are, they are also dangerously tempting to young children and pets.



I think I have always been fascinated by these blossoms every since I first saw the amazing paintings of Calla Lilies created by such masters as Georgia O'Keefe and Diego Rivera.  Below are just two samples of their incredible artistry. 



"Single Lily with Red",
by Georgia O'Keefe,
1928


"Flower Vendor" by Diego Rivera (1911)
















This old favourite continues to challenge me and I want to keep trying to draw it until I get it right!  So, like it or not, there are bound to be more drawings of Calla Lilies in future postings!






Certain portions of the above are taken from various Internet sources.
________________________________________________________________




SUKI AND SALLIE



Suki telling me just
how badly she is hurting.


The Suki story you are about to read is not the one that I had originally planned to be telling... However, when I awakened this morning a couple of hours later than usual, I knew immediately that Suki must be in trouble.

In all the years I have lived with Suki, she has never failed to awaken me at the same time every day.  She has been like a "no-fail" alarm clock.  So I knew instantly that there was no way she would allow me to sleep-in for two hours.  Something must have happened to her.  

I began to search for her immediately and soon found her in the kitchen lying on the throw rug in front of the fridge -- I think she likes that spot because of the warm air that flows out from behind the refrigerator.  As soon as she saw me, she tried to stand up but could only manage it by leaning against fridge so that she did not have to put any weight on her back left leg.  She tried to walk towards me, but could only hobble for a few steps before she had to lie down again.

I quickly measured out a dose of her pain medication in the syringe and gave it to her.  Then I fixed her food so that it would be very easy to eat while she was lying down.  And that is exactly what Suki did -- she ate her entire breakfast without ever standing up. Once she had finished, I carefully picked her up and transported her to her favourite chair in which she is now sleeping -- a sleep that hopefully will continue for at least the next five hours. Then it will only be another hour before I can give her more of the pain medication.

Poor kitty... this definitely means a trip to the vet -- hopefully tomorrow! 

As for me, I continue to be about the same as usual.

I did have three doctor's visits this past week: one was a six-month's check-in visit and the other two were follow-up visits. Nothing transpired during any of these visits that would indicate that there might be new problems and I am sure the routine blood work I went for afterwards will reveal nothing new.

Thankfully, this week I have only one doctor's appointment and one visit to the lab so there shouldn't be any problem in finding a time when I feel well enough to take Suki to see the vet. As I said, I will, hopefully, be able to get her in for a quick visit tomorrow.





____________________________________________



PENTECOST SUNDAY





"Icon -- Descent of the Spirit at Pentecost", by the hand of
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016 revised



Jesus said to his disciples: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always. “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Those who do not love me do not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me. “I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.”  John 14:15-16, 23b-26          



Sunday, 8 May 2016

Potentilla atrosanguinea

"Potentilla atrosanguinea -- Ruby Cinquefoil", drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016



Potentilla atrosanguinea, commonly known as ruby cinquefoil or just plain cinquefoil, is a vigorous herbaceous perennial of the Rosaceae (rose) family that typically grows in spreading mounds. It is native to mountain slopes at lower elevations in the Himalayas. 

Each plant features a clump of long-stalked, basal leaves with each leaf being divided into 3-5 finger-like, dark green leaflets. Five to six-petalled, rose-like, ruby-red flowers bloom in spring (late April - June) in loose clusters which rise above the foliage to a height of 30”.

The genus name, Potentilla, comes from the Latin word potens meaning powerful (this is in reference to an old-time belief that the leaves of some Potentilla plants had potent medicinal curative powers). 

The species name comes from the Latin word atrosanguineus meaning dark blood red and refers to the flower color. 

The common name of cinquefoil comes from the Latin words qunique meaning five and folium meaning leaf in reference to the 5 leaflets found on the leaves of many plants in this genus. 

The leaves and flowers of typical cinquefoils, such as Potentilla atrosanguinea, look most similar to strawberries but usually have dry, inedible fruit (hence the name "barren strawberry" for some species).

In heraldry, the cinquefoil emblem or “potentilla” signified strength, power, honor and loyalty. Depiction of the flower appears as early as 1033 in the architecture of a church built in Burgundy, France. 




"Quercus virginiana -- Southern Live Oak" ("The Kissing Tree")
drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016




As you can see in the caption above, this drawing has two names -- one identifies the tree, the other describes why there are human faces on the trunk of the tree!  You see, as I drew the tree, I was thinking about what a shady, and somewhat private, place this tree would provide -- the kind of place that might give lovers the idea of stopping for a kiss or two.  Then I thought that maybe, if enough lovers kissed under this tree for a great many years, the tree, itself, might incorporate those actions into its very nature.  So, in order to portray this, I drew, as part of the trunk, two lovers just about to kiss.  If you think this is just too fanciful, then please ignore the faces and just look at the tree!

Quercus virginiana (family Fagaceae), also known as the southern live oak, is an evergreen oak tree native to the southeastern United States. Though many other species are loosely called live oak, the southern live oak is particularly iconic of the Old South. It is often just called "live oak" within its native area, but the full name "southern live oak" helps to distinguish it from other live oaks, a general term for any evergreen species of oak. Typical southern live oaks are endemic from southeast Virginia to Florida, including the Florida Keys, and west to southeast Texas.



The Angel Oak on Johns Island, South Carolina. 
The man standing under the tree is 5 feet 11 inches 
(1.80 m) tall -- 
[By DannyBoy7783 (talk) - I (DannyBoy7783 (talk))
 created this work entirely by  myself., GFDL, 
https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26451158 ].
Depending on the growing conditions, live oaks vary from the size of a big shrub to a large and spreading tree. The southern live oak, in particular, normally grows to have a height of approximately 60 feet and a limb spread of nearly 80 feet. Their lower limbs often sweep down until they are almost touching the ground before curving up again. The upper branches are usually thickly covered with Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides). The trees have deep tap-roots that anchor them when young and eventually develop into an extensive and widespread root system. This, along with its low center of gravity and other factors, makes the southern live oak extremely resistant to strong sustained winds, such as those seen in hurricanes.

I have a real fondness for these massive trees.  When I was young and we lived in Florida, they provided me with easy access to hiding places in their branches.  If you get up high enough -- some spot where the leaves and Spanish Moss are thick -- you can easily hide for hours.  As well, if you find a broad enough limb, you can even lean back and read the book you brought with you.  Of course, once you climb down and go home, you will undoubtedly be punished, but the time spent feeling safe will have made it all worthwhile. 





Portions of the above text were taken from various Internet sources.
_________________________________________________________________




SUKI AND SALLIE




"Suki -- thinking about food", a "watercolour"
by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015
Suki was having such a great week until Friday night and then...  but let me tell the story in sequence.

On Monday, when Joycelyn delivered Suki's food supply for the week, I discovered that it included cans with a label which read: "Chicken Chunks with Extra Gravy"!  Joycelyn and I had discussed getting this new style of wet cat food as it was made by the Fancy Feast people (Suki's favourite) and it claimed to contain more of what Suki likes the best -- gravy.

As soon as I opened the first can, I knew that this new type of cat food was going to be a real winner as far as Suki was concerned -- and I was right. It was a cat connoisseur's delight:  small chunks of chicken and lots of thick gravy.  Yum.  Suki gobbled up this new type of food and even licked her dish clean in an almost dog-like fashion -- something she had never done previously.

So, the week was progressing beautifully, as far as Suki was concerned, until Friday night -- Saturday morning actually -- when some fool set off our building's fire alarm!  There was no fire, as it turned out, but still the alarm has to be allowed to continue to ring until the fire engines arrived and the firefighters checked the building to make certain there was actually no fire.

At the time the alarm sounded, Suki and I were both sound asleep. I was in that deep sleep that so often occurs within the first hour or so after we fall asleep.  As for Suki, I can only assume she was sleeping soundly as well for when that incredibly, noisy alarm went off, Suki leapt off the bed, slammed into the wall and disappeared into the deep recesses of the bedroom closet!

Even after the alarm was finally turned off and a semblance of quietness fell once again over the building, Suki remained in the closet.  As I finally settled down and drifted off into an uneasy sleep, I did not hear any sounds that would indicate that Suki was moving from the closet to the bed.  She was, however, on the bed the next morning. I know this because she awakened me by trying to give my face a good "washing".  This is one of the tortuous ways used by Suki in order to get me out of bed so that I can feed her breakfast.

Even though I fed her the new, favourite food, Suki was in a grumpy mood all day Saturday and she doesn't seem to be much happier today.  As I said at the beginning of this narrative, Suki was having such a great week until Friday night....

Oh, in case this story has made any of you wonder what would happen to Suki and myself in case of a real fire since I cannot use the stairs, let me set your minds at rest.  Since my apartment is designated handicapped, the firefighters know that I will be waiting on my balcony (with Suki in her case) for them to rescue us!  

Speaking of fires, please, if you are able, contact the Canadian Red Cross [www.redcross.ca] and contribute to the massive effort to provide help for almost 100,000 Canadians who have, in effect, become refugees as a result of the Ft. McMurray wildfires in the Province of Alberta. Many of them only had minutes to flee before their homes were destroyed by this monster fire and are now living in shelters with nothing of their own but the clothes on their backs. 

As for me, I continue to be about the same -- just a bit busier than usual.  I had two medical appointments this past week and there are three more scheduled for the week ahead.  It must be "six-month check-up time" again as the last time I had this many appointments was December of 2015.

Happy Mothers' Day to all you mothers out there.  I really think this day should honour all those women (and the occasional man) who have spent many hours of their lives "mothering" others.  May we all have a happy day.     




__________________________________________





SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER [THE SOLEMNITY OF THE ASCENSION OF OUR LORD]





"Icon -- The Ascension of Christ", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016 version





Today, rather than post the Sunday Gospel,  I am using a portion of the First Reading from the Mass for the Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord as many parishes will be transferring the celebration of the Solemnity from Thursday to Sunday.



So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Acts 1:6-11