Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Daisies and Dahlias


"Gerbera Daisies (Gerbera hybrida)", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013


Gerbera is a genus of ornamental plants from the sunflower family (Asteraceae). It was named in honour of the German botanist and naturalist Traugott Gerber († 1743). It has approximately 30 species in the wild, extending to South America, Africa and tropical Asia. The first scientific description of a Gerbera was made by J.D. Hooker in 1889 when he described Gerbera jamesonii, a South African species also known as Transvaal daisy or Barberton Daisy. Gerbera is also commonly known as the African Daisy.

Gerbera is important commercially. It is the fifth most used cut flower in the world (after rose, carnation, chrysanthemum, and tulip). It is also used as a model organism in studying flower formation. Gerbera contains naturally occurring coumarin derivatives. Gerbera is a tender perennial plant. It is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds, but resistant to deer.

"Orange Dahlia", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

Dahlias are a group of flowering tuberous-rooted plants that belong to the aster/daisy family of plants. Dahlias have been hybridized extensively, and there are now more than 20,000 cultivars of this showy Central and South American native plant. Dahlia is a genus of bushy, tuberous, perennial plants native to Mexico, Central America, and Colombia.

There are at least 36 species of dahlia. The Aztecs gathered and cultivated the dahlia for food, ceremonies, as well as decorative purposes, and the long woody stem of one variety was used for small pipes. The dahlia is named after Swedish 18th-century botanist Anders Dahl. Since 1813, commercial plant breeders have been breeding dahlias to produce thousands of cultivars, usually chosen for their stunning and brightly coloured waxy flowers.



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BRADEN'S CONTINUING ADVENTURES



Some recent photos of my man, Braden, being pulled around by his Dad in an empty duffel bag!  At his age, everything is an adventure!


"Braden goes for a ride"




"He's a natural; see how he leans into that curve!"



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SUKI AND SALLIE
Suki waiting for me to get up and do something for her!



Well, Suki has continued to behave -- I guess I should qualify that statement...  In terms of her normal behaviour, Suki has behaved better than usual making life a bit easier for me during this difficult time.

One thing that happened a couple of days ago wasn't bad behaviour, just typical cat behaviour for which cats cannot be held responsible!

I was just about to drift off after taking some more pain medication when I begin to hear scratching noises.  I had just fed Suki prior to taking my medication and so I assumed that she was into her litter box.  However, the noise continued and I realized that it really did not sound as though she was scratching cat sand.

I was feeling very tired and was just about to convince myself that she was feeling frisky after eating and was involved in playing some sort of game.  I was also sleepy enough so that I could have easily drifted off without investigating.  However, at this point she began to emit short meows -- the kind that would have an exclamation mark after them if they were written down!  Perhaps there is a pigeon on the balcony, I thought -- Suki does talk a lot whenever she sees a pigeon out there as she so desperately wants to get out and catch it.

As the meowing continued, I realized that whatever was going on, I would definitely have to investigate before I could get any rest.  As I carefully navigated towards the living room, I started saying:  "Suki, what on earth are you doing out here making all that noise?"

There was no Suki to be seen but suddenly the meowing became louder and much more insistent and ... it appeared to be coming from the kitchen.  I turned on the light, but no Suki could be seen!  She could, however, be heard scratching and meowing and the noise appeared to be coming from my built-in, double-door, pantry!  I opened the door and out bolted a very upset cat -- I knew she was upset because she continued to talk about her displeasure for the next couple of minutes with staccato-type meows.  I refused to give her any sympathy, however, as I told her it was her own fault for sneaking in the pantry while my back was turned.  I also reminded her that "curiosity killed the cat".  At this point, she stuck her tail up in the air, turned around and walked sedately into the living room. I headed back to bed, grateful that all was peaceful once again.

As for me...

Well, I just got home from seeing the sleep clinic doctor and I think we may be making some progress.  I have been given some medication that is supposed to help prevent the sleep attacks.  I am starting off with a small dosage to see how it works and I have a follow up appointment in a few weeks plus a phone number I can call if there are problems before then. 

As well, she is putting me on an iron supplement even though my iron level is low normal; however, research has shown that people with Restless Leg Syndrome need a higher level of iron in their bodies than most people.  If this should work then I will be able to stop taking any medication for RLS at all!  I love the idea of getting rid of some of these pills.

I will give you more information once I begin my "clinical trials"!!  Now I am just tired and want to go and rest.

Join me in giving thanks to God for getting me through all these surgeries and tests and such.  And thanks to all of you for your prayers and good wishes.  I don't know if I would have made it without you.  May God bless you all.

I can't end today without mentioning our dear Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.  I watched the Wednesday teaching from St. Peter's at 4 a.m our time.  It was a beautiful, sunny day in Rome and the place was packed with people. They extended all the way back into the streets like they did for Blessed Pope John Paul II's funeral.  I have no idea of the numbers, but many of them were young people.  It is like a death without the dying as this was the last time Benedict will appear in public.  I will miss him very much.  I know he will be praying for the whole Church and especially for those cardinals preparing to elect our new pope.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Blessed Mother, please mother me...


Icon "Our Lady, Sweetest Mother", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013
This "little" procedure I had on Wednesday, the 20th, turned out to not be so "little" after all!

Right now I need a mother to hold me and tell me that it will all be all right soon -- that soon the pain and discomfort will end and then I will have a time of blessing and peace once again.  This icon of Our Lady speaks to me of that mothering I long for. 

Thank goodness I know, in faith, that I can go to our Blessed Mother and that she will mother me while showing me her precious Son on the cross, reminding me that suffering will make me more like Him.  And that while it is all right to cry out: "Lord, don't you care that I am in distress", I need to always return to my cry of faith: "be it done unto me according to Your Word."

Meanwhile, I will gaze upon the image of Our Lady and her precious son and imagine myself being held in those motherly arms, being comforted until all the pain and distress just disappears, until I am resting peacefully.


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MESSAGE FROM BRADEN

I have received a number of "get well" phone calls and emails, but the most precious one came from Braden's mother's cell phone (Big News -- he has two teeth now!):

"Get well soon.  I love you, Auntie Sallie"  signed Braden

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SUKI AND SALLIE


"How could you treat me this way?"

Suki has been very good since I came home from the surgery on Wednesday night.  She usually stays close and crawls up beside me once I am asleep -- which doesn't awaken me, but just makes me feel very good when I finally do wake up and find her purring there at my side.

So, not only dogs seem to know when an important person in their lives is sick -- cats obviously do so as well.  And I am very grateful as I need all the comforting I can get right now.





This "little" procedure took over 2 hours during which I had to be fully awake so that I could move my eyes in various directions when necessary, among other things.  That was the longest 2 hours I have experienced since I was a child having to wait for 15 more minutes before a punishment time-out was ended!

 I pray that this will be the final surgery I will have to have for a long, long time.  Right now I look as though I fell down two flights of stairs.  Until last night, my left eye was completely swollen shut while the right eye was almost completely closed.  Thankfully, it remained open just enough for me to continue with my necessary activities.  I see the surgeon again tomorrow and I am hoping I haven't done any damage to all his beautiful sutures with this excessive swelling!  I will keep you informed.


"Spanish Moss"
Meanwhile, this photo of some place in north Florida pleases and comforts me.  I can clearly imagine myself being there on a warm early-spring day -- walking along that road barefoot feeling the warm sand under my feet (hopefully there wouldn't be any sand spurs anywhere around!).  I can almost imagine the smell of the warm earth and the Spanish moss waving in the breeze.

Thank you dear God for all your creation and for all the many gifts you have given to me and to all my readers.  Help us to always be filled with gratitude.

May the peace of God be with us all.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Shooting Stars

Dodecatheon hendersonii (Broad-leaf Shooting Star), drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

Dodecatheon hendersonii is a species of flowering plant in the family Primulaceae, native to western North America, from California north to southern British Columbia and Idaho. In California, it occurs in the northwest (except the north coast), the Cascade Range, the Sierra Nevada foothills, the Central Valley, the San Francisco Bay Area, the north Inner South Coast Ranges, and the San Bernardino Mountains. It is generally found in open woodlands, from sea level in British Columbia, up to 1,900 m (6,234 ft) altitude in California. Common names include broad-leaved shooting star, Henderson's shooting star, mosquito bills, and sailor caps. The leaves and roots can be eaten when roasted or boiled, but are reported to be poisonous when eaten raw.


Dodecatheon meadia (Common Shooting Star), drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

Dodecatheon meadia is a species of flowering plant in the family Primulaceae, native to North America. It is found in the American South, as well as the Upper Midwest, Kansas, New York, Pennsylvania and the Canadian province of Manitoba. It grows in woods and prairies and tolerates partial shade. It is generally known as the common shooting star, though this name may also refer to other species. This Shooting Star, as well as other varieties, was used medicinally by Native Americans.  An infusion of the roots was used as a wash for sore eyes.  A cooled infusion of leaves was used for eye drops. An infusion of leaves was gargled, especially by children, for cankers.


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BRADEN:  LEARNING AND LOVING

A couple of delightful photos of a beautiful boy (IMHO!)



"I don't think this is the right piece, but where is it?  Maybe I'm lying on it!"




"The world looks very safe when I am up here in my Dad's arms."




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SUKI AND SALLIE


"What do you mean 'what am I doing?'"
"I'm not doing anything!  I was just sitting here and then the pen
just rolled off the table all by itself... honest!"

Like a mother of a young child, I find that my ears are always listening to determine what Suki may be doing!

Most of the time she is sleeping as cats require a lot of sleep in order to stay healthy; however...
Occasionally I will hear unusual noises coming from another room and I find myself immediately stopping whatever I am doing in order to listen carefully with my excellent hearing!

Suki, by the way, has a great love for pens and pencils.  As a consequence, I try to always keep them in various containers scattered about the house.  Sometimes, however, I forget... and when I do, Suki always finds them -- even when the item is sitting on a table and not visible to her from the floor!

This past week, she not only found a loose pen which she promptly sent flying to the floor where she began to chase it as she pushed it around the room.  She also discovered a small stone which I had been showing someone along with one of my many pairs of drug store glasses  -- these, too, ended up on the floor.  The stone, by the way, make quite a lovely noise as it hit the hardwood -- at least Suki seemed to think so as I found her batting it around the floor seeming to feel quite proud of herself.

It's not that I really mind her playing with these things (other than the glasses), but she always manages to finally lose the object under the sofa which is too close to the floor for her to crawl under.  Then I have to put my poor old body through all sorts of contortions in an effort to retrieve the object.  Sometimes, I just have to wait for Joycelyn to arrive as the sofa ends up having to be moved.  As a consequence, I really try to keep these objects away from her but as old age continues its relentless progress, I become more and more forgetful.  Ah, well, what does it matter.  I shouldn't begrudge her these little pleasures, I guess.  Or at least that is how I feel at the moment, but the next time I hear something crashing to the floor, you had better believe that I won't be making such generous remarks!!

As for me, I can hardly believe that I only have Monday and Tuesday before the big day arrives and I get my eyes fixed.  Please pray that all goes well and don't hesitate to ask St. Lucy to intercede on my behalf.

As for the appointment with the sleep clinic, I now have a confirmed date:  February 27th!  Finally I will get the results of the sleep study.  Actually, since getting off that medication I told you about, I am really doing much better.  I continue to have "sleep attacks", but they are milder in comparison and therefore not as dangerous.  I also am feeling stronger and healthier.  The only problem that has gotten worse is the one with the restless legs but I will hopefully find some kind of medication for that that does not do so much damage to me as the previous meds did.

So, the next time I post something, I should be rapidly recovering from my surgery -- I hope it will be later this week on Friday, but, if not, I will post again for sure next Sunday.  No reminder in your mailbox for Wednesday, but if you remember, say a prayer, please.


Almighty God, let the words of our mouths, the meditations of our hearts, be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, our Strength and our Redeemer.

May the peace of God be with us all.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Ash Wednesday

Today, we begin the Lenten Season with the "celebration" of Ash Wednesday.  Today is the day that Catholics receive the sign of the cross marked in ashes on their foreheads.  Each Mass today will last for over an hour as the churches tend to be packed and not only do the majority of people go up to receive Holy Communion, but everyone goes up to receive the mark of the ashes.  As the priest, deacon or Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist traces the sign of the cross on each forehead, they will say the words:  "Repent and believe in the Gospel" (or some other phrase calling for repentance) to which the individual answers silently in their heart something along the lines of:  "Lord enable me to repent during these next 40 days".

I make this introduction today before posting the drawing I want to use as the drawing is not a pretty one.  It is, in fact, a drawing I really did just for myself as an expression of my gratitude for the sufferings of Christ which made my new life in Him possible.  I have debated about showing it publicly, but feel that we all need to be reminded of how great was the price He paid for us and how tragic it is when we cast His sufferings aside as worthless and having no bearing on our lives.  Truly, may we all "repent and believe".

"O Sacred Head", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012 (inversion software used)



"O Sacred Head", by the hand of
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012


I used the Pixel Perfect software to try several ways of presenting this drawing.  In its original it is just to graphic for me.  I would guess that today's young people wouldn't even give all the blood and bruises a second glance -- they would probably seem very mild in comparison to these zombie movies!  Anyway, the version above is my favourite -- the black Christ -- these two following ones are pleasing to me as well, but not to the degree of the black Christ which I find very moving.
"O Sacred Head", by the hand of
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012


If you find these image too unpleasant, feel free to skip over them quickly, but I hope you will be able to take a moment to try to imagine the suffering of our Lord.  I only seek to remind you, the viewer, of the lengths to which Divine Love was willing to go to show us how special we are to Him -- to show us how much He loves each one of us.

The verse that was constantly in my thoughts as I worked on this drawing are these words from my favourite Lenten hymn which I call in English, "O Sacred Head Surrounded".  Here are the actual words of this ancient hymn translated from the Latin.

O Sacred Head, surrounded by crown of piercing thorn!
O bleeding Head, so wounded, reviled and put to scorn!
Our sins have marred the glory of Thy most Holy Face,
yet angel hosts adore Thee and tremble as they gaze

I see Thy strength and vigor all fading in the strife,
and death with cruel rigor, bereaving Thee of life;
O agony and dying! O love to sinners free!
Jesus, all grace supplying, O turn Thy face on me.

In this Thy bitter passion, Good Shepherd, think of me
with Thy most sweet compassion, unworthy though I be:
beneath Thy cross abiding for ever would I rest,
in Thy dear love confiding, and with Thy presence blest.

But death too is my ending; In that dread hour of need,
My friendless cause befriending, Lord, to my rescue speed:
Thyself, O Jesus, trace me, Right passage to the grave,
And from Thy cross embrace me, With arms outstretched to save.

The lyrics were translated from the text of St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153) by Henry Williams Baker (1821-1877), 1861. We have here another priceless Catholic hymn dating back centuries! This music is always fitting for sacred worship: dignified, reverent, and inspiring the respect we should all have for the Sacred Mysteries taking place during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. 
[Taken from the Internet]


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Ornithogalum maculatum

Now for a quick change of pace, here is a brightly coloured wild flower.

Ornithogalum maculatum is a flowering plant native to South Africa.  Family: Asparagaceae. It occurs in the provinces of the Northern and Western Cape between the mountains, growing in light, sandy soil, sometimes in the rocks, preferring rainy winters and dry summers.


"Ornithogalum maculatum", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012



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SUKI AND SALLIE


miz k.d. and Suki together in a drawing
How many of you remember miz k.d.?  She was the cat I had for 15 years before Suki came into my life.  I am thinking of her today as the anniversary of her death is February 15th, 2010.  After the vet injected her, she fell asleep forever in my arms at 4:15 p.m.  Just before she shut her eyes for the last time, she gently licked my hand.  It is still difficult for me to recall that moment of absolute trust on the part of this sweet, gentle cat.

After her death, I said: "OK, that's it... no more cats for me for a while now -- maybe forever!"  Suki came into my life on her first birthday, March 8th, 2010 -- my resolution did not even last for a full month.  There is just something about coming home to another living creature that interacts with you instead of coming home to emptiness and silence.  I have had animals of all kinds around me all my life and things just don't seem right without them.

As I write this posting, I am listening for the phone to ring.  Remember the appointment I was telling you about last time -- the one scheduled for next week which had been moved to May 31st -- the one with the doctor from the sleep disorders clinic?  Well, on Monday I managed to actually speak with a technician in the sleep lab who just happened to be the young woman who had worked with me while I was going through my testing... a really lovely young woman named Maria (good name).  She called because she had gotten my message for the doctor and had actually sent the doctor an email telling her about my situation.  Well, the doctor was not going to be back in the hospital until today and so she asked Maria to tell me that she would definitely call me on Wednesday and discuss matters with me and see about getting me in for follow-up soon.  And so I wait.  I do hope she will call before I publish this so that I can tell you what she has to say.

[I finally heard from the doctor.  I will now be seeing her either on the 22nd of February or the 8th of March -- I told her that I was having surgery on the 20th but that I would be willing to come and see her, bandages and all, if that was the only time available.  She said she thought March 8 would also work which would, of course, be better for me.  At least it is not going to be the end of May before I see her!  As to the results from the sleep study, she really did not want to go into that over the phone but did assure me that everything they found was treatable.]

BTW, I may be out of the country for a couple of weeks in late May/early June.  I am hoping to visit my sister and her family, attend a wedding of two dear friends and finally attend my first high school reunion 55 years after graduation!  I will keep you informed as I see if I can swing it financially and in terms of my health care needs.  I try not to let myself think about the trip too much as I get overly excited and if it come to pass, it is still over three months away.

Now, may the peace of God, the joy of new life in  Him and the journey of Lent just beginning all be sources of profound grace as you hear the call to "Repent and believe in the Gospel."  Amen

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Gong Xi Fa Cai

"Chinese New Year Poster" drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

迎春接福 - "Greet the New Year and encounter happiness"  is one of the traditional New Year's greetings and is certainly something I wish for all my readers.

Chinese New Year is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. In China, it is also known as the Spring Festival, the literal translation of the modern Chinese name. Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally ran from Chinese New Year's Day itself, the first day of the first month of the Chinese calendar, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month, making the festival the longest in the Chinese calendar. Because the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, the Chinese New Year is often referred to as the "Lunar New Year".

Cantonese: Kong Hei Fatt Choy! "Happy New Year"!



"Nodding Blue Lily (Stypandra glauca)", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013


Stypandra glauca (Nodding Blue Lily) is a member of the family Phormiaceae. Its distribution is widespread from south east Queensland through to Western Australia.  Stypandra – from the Greek stype for flax fibres and aner man, in reference to the staminal filament hairs which are beard-like in appearance; glauca – from the Greek glaukos meaning sea green which refers to the colour of the foliage. Found on sandy or poor stony soils in woodland or open forest communities.  May be toxic to livestock if eaten when flowering.  In other words, this is one of those wild plants that appears in great quantity after a fire, preventing soil erosion and giving cover to the small creatures of the woodlands.  A plant most people would think of as worthless and cattle farmers might curse -- yet, just look how beautiful it is!



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THE BIG SNOW STORM OF 2013 



The view from my balcony yesterday -- it is always so pretty the first day after a snowstorm.

My sympathies are with all those people who had to go to work on Friday and actually be out in the storm.  It was so lovely to stay indoors and watch it snow, hour after hour.  Everything gets so quiet during a snow storm... 


"The snow is snowing, the wind is blowing, but we can weather the storm...." 
How much snow did we get?  A lot!


 

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SUKI AND SALLIE



Suki is shocked to see this intrepid photographer
in the back of the closet where she has her most
private sleeping place!

During the recent snowstorm, Suki crawled into the back of the closet and sort of hibernated there until the snow stopped and the sun came out on Saturday.  I mean, she certainly got out of the closet whenever she was hungry, etc., but otherwise, she seemed to think that was the best place to be.

At one point, wanting to make certain that she was all right, I crawled (a standing crawl if you can imagine such a thing) into the back of the closet to check on her.  When I saw how comfy she looked, I knew I wanted to try to get a photo.  I managed to do so even though I had to twist a lot to make it happen.

Suki was not pleased about being disturbed and looked at me in a way that made me feel decidedly unwelcome!  So, I got my photo and got out of there before she could start growling at me.  Evidently, she was not too disturbed about all the commotion as she stayed in her box for several more hours before getting up to ask for food.

I am continuing to do reasonably well and looking forward with much happiness to the 20th -- the day for my eye surgery.  The dear lady who helps me will be going with me and coming home with me as well.  I really do not think that I will need to have anyone stay with me overnight as I will not be fully sedated -- as I understand it, I will be mildly sedated and the areas around my eyes will be numbed.  This means I will be awake and asleep and awake during the surgery and I should be fine by the time I get home.  Whatever it takes, I am willing if it means I will have my eyes acting normally again.

In the other area of medical concern, I have had a bit of a setback.  If I were prone to get angry, this would be something that would have me angry.  Instead, it just has me more determined than ever to fight for the help that I need, now.  Let me explain.

As you may recall, the doctor at the sleep clinic told me that she would be in touch with me the week after the sleep study.  She was going to do this for two reasons, as I understood it:  one was that she felt that the problems I am having put me at risk for serious injury -- and, two, she had gotten me to stop the medication I was taking and needed to follow-up on that and also prescribe a new medication for the medical problem that was now not being treated.  I agreed that I felt I could go for a week without any medication for the problem even though I knew it would not be easy.  The sleep study was at the end of January and I have still not heard from her.

Then, this past week, I received a letter in which I am tersely informed that my follow-up appointment scheduled for the 22nd of February has, due to a change in the Clinic schedule, has be moved forward until May 31st!

What this means is that I will be given no information or treatment of the sleep disorder until after May 31st and I will have to supposedly go without any treatment for this other debilitating condition -- since I have stopped one medication and have not been given another -- until after May 31st.

This simply is unacceptable to me and is also really bad medical practice, seriously bad in my opinion.  So, I plan to hunt the doctor down until I can get her to speak to me over the telephone and explain why she is doing this and what I should do in the meantime.  I am not angry as I understand the system and how these things can happen, but I feel it is necessary to advocate for myself once again.  Hopefully I will have some satisfactory news to pass along when I post again on Wednesday.


In gratitude for all the blessings of my life, I close with a prayer of thanksgiving for my family, friends, acquaintances and the readers of my blog.  May our interactions be a source of joy for all.  And, may the peace of God which is beyond human understanding fill our hearts and minds in the days ahead.  Amen.


A recent drawing of my favourite flower
"Calla Pink on Black" drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Pray for Us.

"St. Lucy", [Patron for people with eye problems] by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012


St. Lucy's mother suffered for years from an issue of blood, and at the urging of her daughter the two went to the tomb of St. Agatha [whose feast day was yesterday, Jan. 5th] to implore the saint's intercession. The two spent the night praying by the tomb, and overcome by weariness they fell asleep. St. Agatha appeared in a vision to St. Lucy and foretold her mother's recovery and her own martyrdom. That moment her mother was cured, and in gratitude allowed St. Lucy to distribute her wealth to the poor and consecrate herself to Christ. Her fiancé accused her as a Christian to the pagans, who put her into the flames. But God miraculously protected her and the fire did her no harm. Therefore a sword was plunged into her heart, thus fulfilling the prophecy of St. Agatha. Some histories say that during her persecution her eyes were put out but then miraculously restored to her; therefore since the Middle Ages she has been invoked by those who suffer from eye trouble -- as I do at present.





 In some parts of Europe and areas of Scandinavia, St. Lucy's Day (December 13th) is celebrated with saffron bread, usually coiled into a reverse-S shape and decorated with currants or raisins to represent the blind saint's eyes. This sounds super-morbid, but the bread is delicious. It's similar in texture and sweetness to French brioche rolls, with the moistness and golden colour of Cornish saffron buns.






"St. Dymphna", [Patron for people with sleep problems] by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

Dymphna was born in Ireland during the 7th century. Dymphna's father Damon, a petty king of Oriel, was pagan, but her mother was a devout Christian. When Dymphna was 14 years old, her mother died. Damon had loved his wife deeply, and in the aftermath of her death his mental health sharply deteriorated. When at length he decided to remarry, Damon sought to find a woman who resembled his deceased wife. When no such woman could be found, Damon began to desire his daughter, because of the strong resemblance she bore to her mother. When Dymphna learned of her father's intentions she fled his court along with her confessor Father Gerebernus and two trusted servants. Together they sailed towards the continent, eventually landing in Belgium, where they took refuge in the town of Gheel. Damon sent his agents to pursue his daughter and her companions. When their hiding place was discovered, Damon traveled to Gheel to recover his daughter. Damon ordered his soldiers to kill Father Gerebernus and tried to force Dymphna to return with him to Ireland, but she resisted. Furious, Damon drew his sword and struck off his daughter's head.  St. Dymphna intercession is perhaps best know to help those suffering from mental disorders; however, she is also considered to be the one to turn to for prayers when a person is suffering from sleep disorders -- such as I do.


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MORE BRADEN 

I am still waiting to receive more photos of the Baptism which I feel I can share with you.  Today, however, I do have one to show you of me and Braden.  As well, I want to show you this adorable photo of dear Braden wearing a plastic container on his head -- and feeling quite happy about it too!




Braden is just about to "kiss" me.  [I put the word "kiss" in quotes because it felt more like he was trying to gum my face!]  I loved every minute of it, however.  What a precious boy he is!



From the sublime to the silly --- this young man enjoys life!


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SUKI AND SALLIE


Suki loves that afternoon sunshine -- especially this time of year!

I find I am spending more and more time these days transferring a heavy, sleepy cat from one place to another!  Let me explain.

Several months ago Suki decided that sleeping in her crow's nest bed and in the chair in the living room was insufficient.  Yes, she could stretch out wherever she wanted on one area rug or another and even crawl into the back of the closet in times of danger, but she felt she needed more sleeping spots for long-term naps.

It was at this point that she decided that my recliner/bed was the perfect spot in which to settle after her breakfast -- with the idea of staying there until lunch time!  Of course, this means that if I want to have a rest or a nap I either have to find another spot or move Suki.

Well, since my bed is the most comfortable spot available for me, I am unwilling to give it up -- especially since it is surrounded by all the knicks and knacks that make my life more enjoyable. 

So, now you understand my earlier statement about having to move "a heavy, sleepy cat" from one bed to another.  And, let me mention, that this has to be done more than once a day.  No sooner do I get up to do something than Suki awakens and comes quickly to grab the nice, warm spot where I had been resting.  Then, when I return a bit later, there she is... sound asleep... in my recliner/bed!

Perhaps I should just push her out on the floor, but I am too tender-hearted for that.  So, once again I pick up all 13 pounds of her and transfer her gently back to  her crow's nest bed.  What a cat she is and what an old softie I am!

Besides being an old softie, I am also a very excited person when I realize that there are only 14 more days to wait until my eyes get fixed.  As we will already be in Lent by then, I will have to try not to go about shouting Alleluia, but you know I will be thinking it.  I will also be thanking St. Lucy for her intercession.

As for the sleeping problems, I still have not heard from the doctor who had assured me that she would be contacting me right away.  I will have to try to get in touch with me again and see what is going on.  Meanwhile, I will continue to ask St. Dymphna for her prayers on my behalf.

St. Josephine Bakhita by the
hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer


Let me end with a litany of my own:

Our Blessed Mother Mary, pray for us.
St. Agatha, pray for us.
St. Lucy, pray for us.
St. Dymphna, pray for us.
St. Paul Miki and companions (whose feast is today), pray for us.
St. Josephine Bakhita (whose feast is on Friday), pray for us.
All you saints and angels, pray for us.
AMEN.




Sunday, 3 February 2013

Tulipa turkestanica

I have dated this yesterday as the posting was supposed to have been published last night. However, in my sleepiness, I failed to hit the "send" button and discovered, to my dismay, this morning what had happened. I do apologize. From now on, I hope to publish every Wednesday and Sunday.
"Tulipa turkestanica", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012


Tulipa turkestanica (Turkestan Tulip) is a species of tulip native to central Asia (Turkestan, Iran and northwest China). From the Family Liliaceae.  The flowers are white to pinkish-red, with a yellow centre; each plant produces from 1 to 12 star-shaped white flowers in early spring.

It is a native of Central Asia and produces a few long leaves and seven or more fragrant flowers to a stem. These are creamy white, with a yellow or orange centre, and eventually open wide like sparkling stars. From BBC Plant Finder

"Tulipa turkestanica", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012 (inversion technique)


I could not resist playing with my special software.  I have resisted using it for some time, but recently I found I could no longer resist the temptation and you can see above and below the results!


"Tulipa turkestanica", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012  (Saturation technique)


The peacocks and parrots of the bulb world, tulips offer are more sizes, shapes and colors than you can imagine. Almost every color in the spectrum is available except true blue. Intensity of the colors sometimes varies according to climate and even from one season to another. [taken from the Internet]


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BRADEN'S BAPTISMAL DAY (February 3, 2013)



The little man all dressed up in his white suit and ready to become a member of the Body of Christ


Braden was baptized today and I was there.  He was so very well behaved and I was so proud of him as he smiled and looked around.  At one point we were all saying the words "I do" as we made a re-commitment to our own baptismal promises.  When we came to the very last one, Braden loudly said something that sounded very much like he too was saying "I do".   It was funny and adorable at the same time!

My dear friend, Raquel was kind enough to drive me out to the Church and wait around for me and then drive me back home.  What a wonderful gift that was.  As soon as I receive photos taken at the baptism, I will be posting some of them.  Hopefully, some of the ones of Braden with me will turn out.

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SUKI AND SALLIE


"Are you sure it isn't time to eat?  Well,
how about a little snack, OK?

Suki has been doing reasonably well, considering she is a cat who is too smart for her own good!

Her latest attempt to try to rouse me from sleep at 4 a.m. (in an effort to get me to feed her that favourite canned food) ended in disaster.  She decided that she would push lightly at the grabber stick (one of those sticks that disabled people use to pick up things without moving from their bed or wheelchair) which was leaning against the side of my night stand.  Suki has used this technique in the past with some success so it must have seemed reasonable to her that it might work again.

Well, she managed to awaken me but not the way she had planned because instead of pushing the stick lightly, she pushed it just a bit too forcibly, causing the stick to fall over, hitting Suki across the back.  She yelled, I awoke.  As I assessed what had happened, I burst out laughing as I witnessed Suki under the chair on the other side of the room washing herself with quick strokes of her tongue -- the thing cats do when they are "embarrassed". 

Not only did I get to go back to sleep, but I was able to sleep until around six a.m. without being bothered by Suki at all.  When I got up, I went looking for her and found her still nursing her wounds while lying in one of her "safe places".  After some encouragement, she agreed to come into the kitchen and have that breakfast she had been trying to get originally at 4 a.m.  What a cat!

As for me, I still do not have any results from the sleep study.  The doctor had told me that she would be calling some time this coming week -- so, I will just have to wait and see.

As for the eye surgery, there is great news:  I am scheduled for surgery on the 20th of this month!  I can hardly believe it and I am very, very grateful.  The surgery had originally been scheduled for April 30th, but thanks to the extremely kind secretary in the doctor's office, I was given one of the cancellations that occurred.  Please pray with me that all will go well.  I am also asking St. Lucy to intercede for me as she is the patron of those with eye problems.


A photograph that beautifully expresses that early
December darkness.  A nice shot taken at Cherry Beach ,
Toronto, by my friend, Tim Burns.  


Just a photo I thought you might enjoy.  It is a good example of that end of the year darkness which we trust will lead us back to the light of Spring.  Also a good image of the darkness of the tomb leading to the glory of Easter!  Yes, Ash Wednesday is almost here.



Now, may He who is the Light of the World, keep our hearts in peace in the days to come and fill us with the light of His love.  And may the intercession of our Blessed Mother keep us ever open to "do whatever [her Son] tells us to" (see John 2:5).