Sunday, 29 September 2013

Feast of St. Michael and the Archangels

"St. Michael the Archangel", icon by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011
 Today the Church could be celebrating the Feast of St. Michael and the Archangels Gabriel and Raphael; however, it's Sunday and you know how that works -- Sunday takes precedence over all feasts except solemnities.

I love this feast and so it happily turns out that I get to celebrate it in spite of the fact that it is a Sunday!  Why?  Because I live in the parish of the cathedral of our Archdiocese.  The Cathedral is named in honour of St. Michael the Archangel. This means that for us our patronal feast day takes precedence over the Sunday.  

So, I was even able to use the readings for the feast day of St. Michael the Archangel in the Liturgy of the Hours:  Office of Readings and Morning Prayer.  I usually pray the Office these days using my iPad where I have an app for the Divine Office -- I can even select the audio version so I can listen to it when my poor, old eyes are not working too well.  Today, however, since the rest of the Church was celebrating Sunday, I had to go back to my old, four-volume set of the Breviary so that I could find the psalms and scripture for this feast day.

In the Office of Readings, there is a lovely sentence found in the Responsory following the first reading from the Book of Revelation, which says:  "There was silence in heaven when the dragon fought with Michael the Archangel."  

This statement has always intrigued me as we usually think of a battle, a fight, as being anything but silent.  Yet, somehow, the image seems right to me.  I once heard a priest commenting on this passage in the Book of Revelation (Rev. 12: 1-17a) and he said that the battle was/is/will be actually a battle of minds and wills rather than fists. I wonder...  

When I try to imagine what such a battle would look like, I cannot do it -- all I can see is Satan gritting his teeth and turning really, really red in the face!  As for St. Michael, I can only imagine him as beautifully calm and filled with the peace of God.  It is obvious who the winner would be in such a battle.  Praise God for that. 

Anyway, happy feast day to you all.
St. Michael and all the Archangels, pray for us.  



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CALENDARS FOR 2014


I have spent a lot of time over the weekend preparing my calendars for 2014.  Unfortunately, the company that I use does not have software available so that I can simply take last year's calendar and copy all the special days into it.  So, I had to input each item again for the entire year.  The normal events of the year such as Canada Day, etc. are already included in the software; however, since my calendars also go to folks in the USA, I have to input their special days as well.  Thus, it was a lengthy process, but now I have finished.  I placed an order for a draft copy of each calendar and once they arrive, I will be able to make certain that everything is OK before ordering the final copies.

Remember, if you are interested in purchasing either or both of these calendars, the price is $15 (the amount I am charged per calendar) each.  Please let me know as soon as possible if you intend to order so that I can make certain that you have the calendar(s) in hand before the New Year.


The Cover for my 2014 Calendar featuring drawings and icons of Our Lady



The Cover of my 2014 calendar featuring drawings of flowers





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MY FRIEND, KAREN


As regular readers of this blog are probably aware, my friend, Karen, moved to Vancouver a few years ago now.  Thankfully, we have managed to stay in regular contact.  (You may recall some of her photos that I have posted over the past few years.)

At any rate, a friend of hers in Vancouver, also a blogger, recently did a posting about the issue of accessibility for mobility devices (wheelchairs, scooters, etc.) in downtown Vancouver.  Evidently, the City Fathers and Mothers have not done a great job in helping all the elderly and disabled folks get around easily.

Karen sent me a link to her friend's posting about this issue.  He included a short video of Karen riding her scooter (the photo below was "snatched" from that video) and a paragraph with information about Karen herself.  I thought it was so good that I wanted to share it and so got permission from both the blogger and from Karen.  I think you will find it interesting.



Image taken from a video showing my friend, Karen, driving around the
streets of downtown Vancouver



The text accompanying the above photo telling a bit about Karen and the problems
experienced by people using mobility devices in the downtown area of Vancouver.
This was written by a blogger in Vancouver.
If you are interested in reading the entire posting you will find it here:
http://sqwabb.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/is-bike-friendly-vancouver-ignoring-the-growing-fact-of-mobility-scooters/


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SUKI AND SALLIE


"Hey, Miss Sallie, are you sure
it isn't time to eat again?"
Well, I just went into the kitchen to get a fresh glass of ice and water.  I was met there by a large, black cat who seemed to be saying "feed me, feed me."

Since it was past noon, I figured that it was, in fact, time for Suki to have some lunch.  She gobbled down her favourite food and is now stretched out on the bed giving herself a good washing.  

Like most cats, Suki's routine is pretty predictable:  eat, wash face and paws thoroughly, find a comfortable position and go to sleep.  As I watch her, I can see that she is starting to get sleepy.  This is evident by the fact that her ablutions are starting to slow down considerably.  Yes, I am right... there she goes... the eyes are closing... the tail is still twitching just a bit, but she is almost asleep.  Have a good nap, Miss Suki.

She has actually been pretty good this past week.  She continues to awaken me each morning about 5 a.m., but by then I am often ready to get up anyway.  I wouldn't really mind being awakened by her if only she would just stop trying to wash my hands with that scratchy tongue of  hers!  I wonder how she knows that the skin of my hands is a very sensitive areas of my body?  What a clever cat she is!

As for me, I am continuing to do pretty well -- all things considered.

As I mentioned last Sunday, I had two important medical appointments this past week.  The one at Sunnybrook on Monday lasted for three hours!  I was exhausted by the time they finished with me!  Fortunately, they did not find anything new wrong with me.  They were able to make some helpful suggestions about my treatment, however.  The one thing I was hoping to find out was if there is any name for the sleep issues that I struggle with.  When I asked about this, I was told that everything would be in the report to my specialist at St. Michael's Hospital.

Unfortunately, I already had an appointment scheduled with the specialist at St. Mike's on Wednesday of this past week and, of course, the report from Sunnybrook had not arrived yet.  So I am still waiting for more information.  The doctor at St. Mike's assured me that if there was anything in the report that I needed to be informed about right away, she would call me.  Knowing how busy this doctor is, I won't be holding my breath while waiting for her to phone!

All in all, the results of this medial investigation seem to point to a condition which can be treated by the new medication I am now taking.  I must admit that the medication seems to be working well with very limited side effects.  So, for the moment, I can say that I am no longer having any serious sleep attacks and the restless leg problems are also continuing to subside.  As you can imagine, this makes me very happy.

The future is unknown, but I am hopeful that we may have finally found treatments for these problems -- treatments that will work over the long term.  This will hopefully ensure that I will be able to live without the constant distress, discomfort and pain of these past few years. 

However, from the standpoint of all these many years of living, I realize each day more and more fully that I need to be most thankful for all the difficulties God has allowed into my life for it has been these that have taught me the most about living and living well.  Had everything always been easy for me, I fear I would have been much less "human" than I am.  What peace I have when I can trust God with my life -- believing that He will always give me what is best for me and what will enable me to give the best for all those with whom I share my life.

So, I ask you to please join with me in giving thanks to God for all the good things He has given us as well as for all the difficult things that He has allowed into our lives.   

Our Lady, Queen of the Angels, pray for us.
St. Michael, pray for us.  Amen.


Sunday, 22 September 2013

Lace Flower Vine - Alsobia dianthiflora

"Lace Flower Vine - Alsobia dianthiflora", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

Alsobia dianthiflora, also known as the Lace Flower, has small leaves and is a compact plant. Flowers are white and have frilled, "lacy" edges.  It is native to forested areas in Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru and Brazil. 

Alsobia is a rather new genus in the plant world. In 1978, two Episcia species, one of which was E. dianthiflora, were reclassified under this new genus.  Further genetic testings has verified this re-classification. 


Lipstick Plant (vine) by S. Thayer
The Family name of this genus is Gesneriaceae, a family that includes such well known flowering plants as African violets, Cape Primrose and the Lipstick Plant.     


The genus name of Alsobia comes from the Greek alsos (alsoV), meaning grove or forest, and bios (bioV), meaning life, referring to the plant's emphatic (a plant that grows by attaching itself to another plant -- such as a tree trunk, or object -- such as a pole) habitat in the forest. Surprisingly, this plant is easily-grown and does not require a great deal of attention.  Thus it has become a popular plant for hanging planters.

Since I wanted to draw this plant growing as a vine and attached to a trellis, you cannot really see the very detailed and beautiful centre of the flowers.  I am thinking about doing another drawing of the Lace flower but only showing a few large blossoms so that the beauty of the petals can be seen.  I will see how it goes! 



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SOMETHING SILLY

I came across the following while wandering through a web site this week.  It gave me a good chuckle as I have a terrible sweet tooth and have been known to make similar silly pronouncements when choosing between vegetables and chocolate!

So colourful -- this would be an extremely healthy meal, no?




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BRADEN UPDATE

I keep saying that I am not going to show more photos of Braden in order to give him the privacy he deserves as he gets older; HOWEVER, he is just so cute!  

Here he is during his recent trip to the tropics.  Evidently, he thoroughly enjoyed the beach -- which is really just a big sandbox. I also heard that he had a great time overall and definitely enjoyed all the attention he was got with his beautiful smile and winning ways.



Filling that bucket is going to be a big job!





What happened?  It looks as though more sand ended up on Braden than in the bucket!



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SUKI AND SALLIE


Here is my drawing of Suki asleep in the rocking
chair.  I added the crown as it more appropriately
reflects how Suki thinks of herself -- as the Queen!
Well, what can I say about Suki? She truly is in charge of my home and even though I grumble about this situation regularly, I actually enjoy letting her be in charge!

One example of this that I was thinking about this week has to do with her sleeping arrangements.  Let me explain.

As most of you who regularly read my blog are aware, a couple of Christmases ago, I got this wonderful "tower" for Suki. It includes places to hide, several different scratching posts, a ladder for climbing and, on the top, there is a soft, cozy bed for this pampered cat.

For the first year after its arrival, the bed on top (or crow's nest bed as I call it) was the only place Suki wanted to be when it was time to take one of her 3 hour naps.  As well, this was where she eventually settled down to sleep once I had gone to bed each night.

About a year after Suki had "owned" this crow's nest bed, however, I was finally well enough to be able to stop having to sleep in a large recliner and return to sleeping in a bed.  Up until this time, there was no bed in my place as I had thought that I might never be able to sleep in one again.  So, at this point I had to purchase a bed.

When the bed, mattress, etc. arrived, Suki spent hours sniffing it all over and climbing on every part of it; however, when nap time or my bedtime came, she headed straight for her crow's nest bed. Then as the days passed, I began noticing that Suki was starting to take naps on the bed occasionally.  I didn't really worry about this as she still returned to her own bed at nighttime.

Then, a few months ago, I awoke one morning to find Suki sound asleep on the large pillow I place next to me prior to going to sleep. I use this pillow to give me some extra support in order to keep my back from ending up in a painful position.  There is barely enough room for Suki on this extra large pillow and I wondered why she would give up her comfy bed to squeeze herself in next to me!

Of course, you can guess the end of this story and you are right -- Suki now sleeps on that pillow every night.  In fact, she no longer waits until I am asleep before squeezing herself onto the edge of this pillow, she now arrives as soon as I have gotten myself into the most comfortable position possible.  I think she listens to my movements and as soon as they stop, here she comes!  

Thankfully, she doesn't move a great deal in her sleep; unfortunately, she does like to wake up and give herself a good wash every once in a while.  Even this doesn't really disturb me unless she decides to start giving me a "bath" as well!  I am convinced that no one can sleep through the experience of being licked by a cat's scratchy tongue!

Now, as for my news, there really isn't much to report.  I did see a new specialist this week to whom I was referred to test for something called adrenal insufficiency!  I assume this test was requested by one of my other doctors in their ongoing effort to get an actual diagnosis for these continuing sleep problems.  The visit this past week was just a consultation and I will have to return soon for the actual test which evidently takes quite a while to complete. I will let you know what happens.

The important appointment with the specialist at Sunnybrook Hospital that I have been awaiting for some time now will actually take place tomorrow!  I made the arrangements with Wheeltrans to get me there in time and hopefully everything will work out as scheduled. This appointment is also just a consultation during which the doctor will decide which sleep studies or other tests might be useful.  This man has a really good reputation in the field of sleep disorders so I am really hopeful that he may be able to finally give me a diagnosis so that I might receive the proper medication or treatment that will help me to have a more normal life once again.  I will tell you all about it in next Sunday's posting.

Otherwise, this past week has not been the best but I got through it all right -- thanks be to God.  I continue to be able to do more drawing again -- something for which I am really grateful.  Other activities remain uncertain, but maybe in time...

At any rate, it is time for me to finish today's posting.  I pray that God will enable each and every person who reads this to find something here that reflects just a bit of His beauty, His joy and His peace.  Amen.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Our Lady of Sorrows

"Our Lady of the Rosary", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013
Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows which the Church would normally be celebrating on the 15th of September.  However, since Sunday takes precedence over almost all the feasts other than Solemnities, the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows is not being celebrated in the Divine Office and the Liturgy today.

Also, the drawing I am featuring is not one of Our Lady of Sorrows, but rather a drawing of Our Lady of the Rosary.  It is a recent drawing and I felt that it was quite suitable for this feast as we often use the Rosary to pray the Sorrowful mysteries.  (As many of you know, the Sorrowful mysteries are my "favourite" mysteries.)  
I am also very fond of the feast day celebrated on the 14th of September:  the Exaltation of the Cross.  These two feasts sit side by side just as they should since on the 14th we remember the cross which caused our Lord and His Blessed Mother so much suffering and the following day we commemorate that suffering of Our Lady.

So, I am remembering today's feast through this blog posting. Following are some things I would like to share with you.  The first is some information about this feast and exactly what we are remembering today.
"The principal biblical references to Mary's sorrows are in Luke 2:35 and John 19:26-27.  The Lucan passage is Simeon's prediction about a sword piercing Mary's soul; the Johannine passage relates Jesus' words to Mary and to the beloved disciple.  Many early Church writers interpret the sword as Mary's sorrows, especially as she saw Jesus die on the cross.  Thus, the two passages are brought together as prediction and fulfillment.
St. Ambrose in particular sees Mary as a sorrowful yet powerful figure at the cross.  Mary stood fearlessly at the cross while others fled.  Mary looked on her Son's wounds with pity, but saw in them the salvation of the world.  As Jesus hung on the cross, Mary did not fear to be killed but offered herself to her persecutors.
St. John's account of Jesus' death is highly symbolic.  When Jesus gives the beloved disciple to Mary [as He is dying on the cross], we are invited to appreciate Mary's role in the Church:  She symbolizes the Church; the beloved disciple represents all believers.  As Mary mothered Jesus, she is now mother to all his followers.  Furthermore, as Jesus died, he handed over his Spirit.  Mary and the Spirit cooperate in begetting new children of God — almost an echo of Luke's account of Jesus' conception.  Christians can trust that they will continue to experience the caring presence of Mary as she [constantly presents their needs and petitions to her Divine Son] throughout their lives and throughout history."
quoted from http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1139

One of the icons associated with this feast is one that I attempted to draw several years ago now.  Here is my version of this particular icon:


"Mater Dolorosa", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer,  2009

 Any of you who have been following my "drawing" of icons over the years can, when looking at this icon from 2009, easily appreciate the improvements in technique which I have learned during these past years in my attempts to use a computer screen as my canvas and a mouse as my pen and brush.

Finally, I would like to share with you a traditional prayer that is associated with this feast day:

Prayer to Our Lady of Sorrows 
O most holy and afflicted Virgin! Queen of Martyrs! 
You who stood motionless beneath the Cross, witnessing the agony of your expiring Son— 
Through the unceasing sufferings of your life on earth and the bliss which now more than amply repays you for your past trials, look down with a mother's tenderness and pity on us, who kneel before you to venerate your sorrows. 
Place our requests, with filial confidence, in the sanctuary of your wounded heart. 
Present them, we beg you, on our behalf, to Jesus Christ, through the merits of His own most sacred death and passion, together with your sufferings at the foot of the cross. 
Through the united efficacy of both obtain the granting of our present petitions. 
To whom shall we resort in our needs and petitions if not to you, O Mother of Mercy, who, having so deeply drunk of the chalice of your Son, can understand the woes of those who are still sighing in this land of exile? Offer for us to our Saviour one drop of the Blood which flowed from His sacred veins, one of the tears which trickled from His divine eyes, one of the sighs which rent His adorable Heart. 
O refuge of the universe and hope of the whole world, do not reject our humble petitions, but graciously obtain the granting of them according to the will of your Divine Son.  Amen.

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.


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BRADEN TAKES A VACATION


Braden and his parents and grandparents recently made a trip to the ocean.  It was Braden's first experience with sand and surf and according to his mother, he loved it! 

Here is a photograph showing the young man playing contentedly in the sand.  

Braden at the beach!



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SUKI AND SALLIE

This the result of a cat personality test I took on Suki's behalf.
According to these folks, Suki is a DIVA!  Who would have ever imagined!!



Suki being philosophical!
I came across what appeared to be a Chinese-style pen and ink drawing of a light-coloured cat sitting while the caption read: "Life is hard, soften yours with a cat."

I liked it and decided to do a similar drawing on the computer, drawing a cat which could easily represent Suki.  I also changed the words around to better satisfy what I wanted to say about life in general and about living with a cat. 

Although, sometimes, living with a cat does not make life easier, but it is always an adventure!  

Recently, when Suki finds that she can't get me to stop whatever I am doing and feed her or play with her,  she seems to feel that the only solution is to pester me until I give in to her demands.  Since she is truly a Diva, as the personality test reveals, she gets all dramatic about things.  

For example, one method of getting my attention is to talk to me!  I am not kidding.  She has developed a particular sound that she uses at times such as this and it actually sounds like the word "now"!  I don't know how she came up with this, but as you can imagine, when I am trying to concentrate on drawing, writing emails, listening to a good book or just watching a show on TV -- to have a cat repeating a noise that sounds like the word "now" over and over again can be quite distracting!

Usually, that is sufficient to get me to get up and get the laser light (she is so determined to catch that little red dot) or reach for the food dish.  However, if I should manage to remain seated during her performance, she will then try jumping into my lap.  If I have something else in my lap or in my hands at the time, having a large cat suddenly leap into the middle of whatever it is can be very disconcerting to say the least.  You might think that this behaviour would make me angry; however, it usually makes me laugh.  She is trying so hard to find a place to perch while I am frantically trying to rescue whatever it is that is already in my lap!  It must look like some kind of slap-stick comedy at times.

So, as I said previously, life with Suki is not always easy, but it is an adventure that I enjoy -- often in spite of myself.  I came across a photo recently that really speaks to me.  I saved the photo and wrote something under it that I feel really sums up this whole business of sharing our lives with animals -- particularly cats and dogs.  


      As for me, I am doing much better than I was this time a month ago.  I still have a lot more problems with sleep, discomfort and pain than I would like; however, I am at least able to work on my drawing again and to publish this blog once a week.

I have a number of appointments with doctors coming up in the next 3 weeks and I am hoping that something good will come out of it all.  The specialists are currently helping me to bring the more serious sleep attacks under control although there is still a long way to go before I can hope to be free of them entirely.  I am still feeling positive about the possibility of controlling them with the current medication once I am able to increase the dosage.

Thankfully the restless leg problems have decreased considerably now that I am using several of the more natural methods of treatment.  And, I am gradually getting used to using the neck brace each day as I continue to do more exercises for strengthening the neck muscles.  So, thanks be to God, I am doing better at the moment.

I had better stop this before it gets to be much too long.  Hopefully, there will be something here of interest to most of my readers.  

May God bless you each and every one and may the peace of God be with you.                     

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Gladiolus undulatus


"Cultivated Gladiolus undulatus", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

This is a most interesting variety of Gladiolus.  It is native to southern Africa but has now spread to many other parts of the world.  In its native habitat, Gladiolus undulatus grows in a controlled manner within its proper ecosystem.  However, in certain other parts of the world, it is described as a weed and has become a nuisance plant.  This is especially true in Australia where Gladiolus undulatus has crowded out the native flowers and vegetation.  It is not yet on the world's list of truly noxious weeds, but it is a nuisance plant in certain countries.

I am telling you all of this because Gladiolus undulatus seems to have two "faces":  one is like the drawing I have posted above; the other has a much wilder look as you can see in the the following photographs from the "Weeds of Australia".


These look like weeds and not very
pretty ones at that!
See the difference in the structure of the flower
from my drawing above






Now, let me give you just a bit of the factual information about Gladiolus.

- The genus Gladiolus consists of about 250 to 300 species of perennial corms. (A corm is a short, vertical, swollen underground plant stem that serves as a storage organ used by some plants to survive winter or other adverse conditions such as summer drought and heat). 
- Genus Latin name means "small sword," referring to the shape of the leaves. 
- The old name for Gladiolus was xiphium, of Greek origin, meaning "sword." 
 - Thousands of varieties (hybrids) have been derived from the common Gladiolus
 - Family:  Iridaceae.

Following are just a few of the ways that the corms of the Gladiolus plants have been used over the centuries.

• In sub-Saharan Africa, prescribed as a booster for patients with low energy and for hypochondriacs! 

• In southern Africa, used for diarrhea and colds. 
• In West Africa, used for both constipation and dysentery. 
• In the 17th century, the British used ground and powdered corm, mixed with goat's milk, for colicky babies. 
 • In China, a flower for ceremonies and funerals; believed to help people find their way to their heaven.

Gladiolus undulatus can produce a beautiful flower in the right environment, but in the wrong one it truly looks like a weed.



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ITEMS OF INTEREST


A friend sent me the following three items:  the first one caused me to nod my head in agreement; the second one made me chuckle; the third one made me laugh.  I thought there might be the possibility that you would respond in similar ways...  Enjoy.


I, too, grew up during such a time; sadly, however, when it came time to face the world on my own, the 1960s had begun!  That was the beginning, I think, of the huge shift in our culture:  people suddenly started throwing things away when they were broken, not trying to fix them -- and that included people.



People are always making reference to the image of the glass half full or the glass half empty and labeling folks as being an optimist or a pessimist.  This gave me a good chuckle -- maybe it will do the same for you



This one made me laugh -- especially as I thought about some of the people I know who sincerely feel this way!  I also really enjoyed the look on the cat's face.



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SUKI AND SALLIE


When Suki first gets into the chair,
she raises her head up high and 
stares at me!
Whenever I sit down in my recliner to rest or watch TV or try to read a little or whatever, here comes this crazy cat!  She comes and looks at me for a few minutes as though she is considering whether she should try to jump into my lap (and possible get rudely removed) or jump into the empty desk chair which is placed not too far from the recliner.  


Here you see Suki digging her claws
into the arm rest while staring at me
with her "let's play" look!






Usually, she chooses the desk chair. Once there, she digs her claws into the arm of the chair and sits there staring at me.  Do you know what it is like to have a cat staring at you while you are trying to focus on something else?!!  I can tell you it gets downright uncomfortable.

Sooner or later, I give in and ask her what she is up to.  This is the moment when she starts trying to get me to play with her by sticking her front leg over the arm rest, trying to grab my hand.  Occasionally, I foolishly stick my hand out far enough for Suki to grab it.  This is always a mistake as she is definitely not in a gentle mood.  Look at the photo above and to the right which shows her eyes big and black and you just know that this cat is ready to play rough!

Often what I will force myself to do is to get out of the chair, go over to Suki's toy basket, grab some toy she likes and then play with her for a few minutes using the toy (much safer).  Finally, I let her have the toy which is immediately bitten and clawed to "death".

At this point, I know that I can sit back down in peace.  Suki seems to have gotten the rough-housing out of her system and soon settles down and goes to sleep.  This leaves me free to pursue my own interests.  If, however, I suddenly get up or make an unusual noise, Suki's eyes fly open and the she stars at me again.  I get the feeling that she is saying:  "how dare you disturb me when I am sleeping!" Fairly soon, though, she gives a long sigh and goes back to sleep.

As for Sallie, I will say, cautiously, that I think I may be doing just a little bit better!  

This newest "stay awake" medication seems to be working well.  I really feel as though the dosage needs to be increased just a bit more, but that will be discussed when I see the specialist in a few weeks.  Meanwhile, I am staying awake for a good part of the day without any major sleep attacks.  I continue to have a number of minor sleep attacks during the day, but none of the dangerous ones.

Also, I have finally gotten some help from the physiotherapists. Not only do I have a new neck brace (see photo below), but I am also doing exercises for strengthening my neck.
Here I am wearing my new
neck brace which really works 
well.  It gives my face a square 
shape, but at least my head is up!

The brace has Velcro on the ends of the strap which goes behind my neck.  This enables me to make it just as tight as necessary to hold it in place.  The chin rest is soft and the more rigid form against my chest is not at all uncomfortable.  

I try to wear it whenever I go out as it makes walking so much more comfortable, enabling me to look straight ahead once again instead of always having to look towards the ground.  

The restless leg discomfort also seem to be a bit milder.  I have started trying to avoid coffee and most chocolate -- two of my favourite things -- how delicious is a good cup of coffee along with some really excellent dark chocolate!  Oh, well...  at least I have my memories.  I still have the TENS machine as well which can be very effective when I place pads directly on the area of my legs where the discomfort is always the worst.  This sends electrical stimulation directly to the area.

I am also continuing to go to the gym 5 or 6 times a week.  This, of course, is probably helping me to sleep just a bit better at night.  I am now able to often get 5 1/2 to 6 hours of sleep at night -- something I haven't been able to do for a long, long time.

So, as you can see, prayers are being answered (thank you for all  your prayers for me).  God is so good.  Please continue to pray that these good results will continue as long as the Lord decides that its OK for me to have a little break from all that pain and discomfort.

Finally, I would like to close today's posting with a drawing of Our Lady and her Child.  The reason being is that today the universal Church would normally celebrate the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (her birthday), but because Sundays take precedence, we aren't.  But I want to remember her anyway ... you know me, I hate to forget anyone's birthday -- especially hers!

This drawing I did of the Blessed
Mother is one of my favourites.
 So, Happy Birthday, dearest Mother, please pray for us.

I know that our dear Lord will hear and answer your prayers.

May we always heed your advice -- the words you spoke to the servants at the wedding of Cana -- "Do whatever He tells you."

May God's peace be with us all.



Sunday, 1 September 2013

Our Lady of the Sunset

"Our Lady of the Sunset", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013


Once again I have done a drawing of Mother and Child.  By the halo above their heads, I have signified that this mother and child are, in fact, Our Blessed Mother and her precious Son, Jesus.

As always, I had a painting to use as my model and, as usual, I do not know the name of the artist!  I find these images on the Internet and they end up in a bunch of images when I put in the search terms for "Blessed Mother and Child" or simply "Mother and Child".  Unfortunately, when I click on the title associated with the image, I am often taken to such places as a posters for sale web site or someone else's blog where the image has been used in an article but without giving any name or identification with the painting.

Of course, my drawing is not the other artist's drawing (or painting) but still I would very much like to give credit to the artist who inspired me -- even if they lived hundreds of years ago.  It just seems right some how.

Ah, well, the purpose of my blog is to show you my art work as I finish it not to fret about the lack of details on the Internet!  So here is a new image of Our Lady and her Child.  I am almost certain that I now have enough new images so that I can go ahead and begin to prepare my 2014 calendar called "Images of Our Lady, 2014".  

I still need just a few more flower drawings before I have enough, however.  For that calendar, I like to use drawings that are in the "landscape" position and which easily make a visual impact.  I should soon have enough of those as well for the calendar entitled, "Flowers, 2014".

At any rate, I hope you like this new drawing of Our Lady.


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BRADEN, MY FAVOURITE LITTLE BOY


Braden, along with his parents and grandparents, is now in Cuba! Yes, he is on his very first trip.  Just think of all the "first" things that he is experiencing and going to experience just on this one trip: the beach and the ocean, shells, people speaking Spanish, and so many more!  I am looking forward with great delight to all the photos of him that his mother will send me when they return.  

I predict that he will be very excited by the ocean just as I was at his age!


Farmer Braden is busy about his farm work.  It is really difficult to drive the tractor when your feet do not even reach the pedals!  However, this doesn't stop him from putting in a full day!
(Actually, he was at a park of some sort which had animals and farm equipment)




Here we see Braden trying to figure out what kind of dog this is.  It looks like the real thing but it doesn't do anything!  I am told by reliable witnesses that Braden stood there saying "woof, woof" for some time before he gave up and decided that this dog was a waste of his time!!




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MY GREAT-NIECE 


My great-niece isn't even quite a teenager yet but has already done a cross-country run -- in which she did quite well!  According to her grandmother (my sister, Janet), she came in 4th out of 50+ girls, running two miles in a little over 15 minutes!  I would say that is pretty good.  

She is also a crackerjack soccer player.  I wouldn't be at all surprised if she ends up being offered a sports scholarship when it comes time to go to university although she will undoubtedly be offered an academic one as well!  Can you tell that I am quite proud of my dear great-niece?!



Here is my great-niece crossing the finish line in her first cross-country run.  
I think the lady in the red Capri pants and sunglasses is my sister.  
She appears to be clapping enthusiastically!



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SUKI AND SALLIE


Let me tell you about the latest antics of this crazy cat of mine!
Suki asleep under the blanket at the bottom of the bed

This first photo shows Suki sound asleep under a blanket with only her back exposed. This blanket, by the way, is placed over the quilt each morning in an effort to keep Suki from getting so many cat hairs on it.  As you can see, the plan is not working!

I do not know why Suki has lately taken to crawling under a blanket when she wants to sleep, but, as the photographic evidence shows, this is just what she is doing!

Suki in the process of waking up
After a couple of hours, Suki begins to awaken.  However, she does not simply move out from under the blanket at the bottom of the bed.  Oh, no, this would be far to simple and would not enable her to spread lots of cat hair on my comforter!

Instead, she begins crawling from the bottom of the bed to the top, all the while under the blanket. When she finally reaches the top, she sleepily pokes her head out and is quite pleased to discover her favourite doll is right beside her.  Meanwhile, I have watched her progress with extreme unhappiness as I realize that her manner of movement is going to make it necessary for me to take the sticky roll to my comforter before bedtime!

Suki now fully awake and looking like she
is ready for play!
Finally, here she is fully awake with a look on her face which says to me:  "I am ready for play" or "I am ready to eat" -- whichever one it is does not interest me in the least; however, I know that she is now ready to pester me until I do one or the other.  

What a cat is my Suki girl!






As for Sallie, well I would have to say that things remain pretty much the same -- unfortunately.  Although, I must say, in all honesty, that last evening was the first time in months that I was not severely bothered by RLS!  I was even able to go to bed and fall asleep quickly without any additional herbal remedies to help me to get past the RLS and fall asleep.  I am uncertain why this occurred, but, as you can imagine, I was extremely grateful to God.  I figure someone must have been really praying for me last night.  Thank you whoever you are.  Now I will have to see what the Lord allows to happen to me today!

Otherwise, the only medical excitement this past week was seeing my ophthalmologist.  After his examination, he ended up giving me a prescription for a prism to be placed in the left lens of my reading glasses, temporarily, to see if this will help to correct some of the double vision I experience now.  They ground the prescription onto this piece of plastic looking stuff that can be temporarily attached to the lens so that the patient can see whether it really helps or not. The optometrist was a bit uncertain about the way the doctor had written the prescription but he went ahead and had the prism ground according to how he read the prescription.  

Yesterday, I went by the store to pick up my glasses and when I tried them on, the double vision was even worse!  Fortunately, the optometrist did not expect me to pay for this as it was not satisfactory.  Instead, he gave me back the prescription and asked me to call the ophthalmologist on Tuesday and see what the prescription is really supposed to be, explaining to my doctor 
that the optometrist was unable to read it!  Talk about doctors and their bad handwriting!

Finally, I would like to show you the gift that I made for a dear friend of mine whose birthday was this past week.  I saw her a couple of days before the actual birthday and I was able to give her the card I had made along with the gift shown below.  

This is one of her favourite prayers and it has become one of mine. The prayer with its decorative border was printed on magnetic paper and cut out by me.  So it is actually a fridge magnet.  I think she was pleased with my effort because she mentioned that she might like to order some more copies of this for other people with whom she has shared this prayer.  

Anyway, let me close this posting with the "Welcoming Prayer".  It is a simple prayer but it is very difficult to pray -- especially when we are in the midst of circumstances where we feel totally out of control and helpless.  For most of us, including me, all we want at that point is to find some way to regain a feeling of having some control over our lives and over what is happening.  Please read the prayer slowly and then, thinking of some situation in your life that is currently beyond your control and which is bothering you, try to really pray it, meaning what you are saying.  If you are able to do this then at the end you will be able to truly turn the situation over to God and say:  "I let go and I let God".



The "Welcoming Prayer" designed by Sarah "Sallie: Thayer, 2013

Peace be with you.