Sunday, 27 March 2016

Springtime

"Double Snowdrop -- Galanthus nivalis f. pleniflorus", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016



A sure sign of spring, Galanthus nivalis, the Common Snowdrop as it’s normally called, is the best-known and most widespread of the 20 species in the genus, Galanthus -- family, Amaryllidaceae. Snowdrops are among the first bulbs to bloom as winter ends and spring begins and can form impressive carpets of white in areas where they are native or have been naturalized.

Galanthus nivalis is widely grown in gardens, particularly in northern Europe, and is widely naturalised in woodlands in the regions where it is grown. It is, actually, native to a large area of Europe, from Spain in the west, eastwards to Poland and the Ukraine. It is naturalized in parts of North America from Newfoundland to North Carolina.

Snowdrops contain an active substance called galantamine (or galanthamine) which can be helpful in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, though it is not a cure.

Today's featured drawing is that of an early cultivar, the common double snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis f. pleniflorus 'Flore Pleno', which was in appearance by 1703 when it was illustrated in The Duchess of Beaufort's Book. This cultivar spread rapidly throughout northern Europe. It is very similar to the common snowdrop except it has extra flower petals often marked with light green.
"Common Snowdrop --
Galanthus nivalis"
, drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016

The generic name, Galanthus, comes from the Greek gala (milk) and anthos (flower) – probably referring to the milk-white colour of the flower. The epithet, nivalis, comes from the Latin and means "of the snow", referring either to the fact that a field full of snowdrops looks as though it has a light carpeting of snow or the fact, once again, of the flower’s snow-white colour. 

As mentioned previously, the snowdrops featured in the drawing above are cultivars known as Double Snowdrops. Their proper name contains the word, pleniflorus, which is a combination of two Latin words and means “an abundance of petals”.

There is a German legend which says that when the gods created snow, they gave it no colour. Instead, they gave Snow the task of visiting the flowers of the earth to get one of them to share some colour with Snow. Snow respectfully asked flower after flower, but they all refused to give up any of their colours. Finally, Snow visited the gentle snowdrop. Seeing that the snowdrop was a kind and generous soul, Snow decided to make a deal. In exchange for sharing her colour, Snow agreed to allow the snowdrop to bloom first every spring. The delicate snowdrop agreed and cheerfully blooms amid the snow each spring reminding us all that springtime is here. Thus, this delicate bloom came to symbolize hope and rebirth -- those very qualities associated with the Easter season. 

Finally, here is a "petal wheel" (or mandala) I designed featuring one of my drawings of snowdrop blossoms as the center-point of each "petal".


"Snowdrop Wheel", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016









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




Suki fervently praying to Bast, Goddess of
cats and bringer of protection, joy, dance,
music, family and love.
Well, Suki continues to mope about quite a bit as well as spending a lot of time in the morning watching the front door. She is obviously missing her playmate, Joycelyn.

It is interesting to me how things have changed over the past few years.  Up until 2013, Joycelyn came once each week to help me with the cleaning, laundry, etc. At that time, she had been coming to help me once a week for the past 15 years.  For many of those years, as some of you may recall, my wonderful cat, miz k.d.. was still alive. Suki was not born until early 2008 and did not come to live with me until the beginning of March, 2009.  By then, miz k.d. had died from kidney failure.  So, from 2009 until autumn 2013, Suki saw Joycelyn for a few hours a day one day a week.  During those 5 years, Suki basically ignored Joycelyn.

Then somewhere in late 2013, my health deteriorated rapidly and it became obvious that if I wanted to stay in my own home, then I was going to have to arrange for a lot more assistance.  I discussed this with Joycelyn and she was able to arrange her work schedule so that she could come to my home more frequently and could also do all my shopping, cooking and running errands while continuing to do the cleaning, laundry and so on.  

We were several months into our new regimen when I became aware that Suki was paying a lot more attention to Joycelyn than she had previously.  I mentioned this to Joycelyn who then took the first steps in the process of learning which games Suki liked to play.  Once they begin playing together whenever Joycelyn made her visits to care for me, Suki became much more interested in what Joycelyn was doing. Suki would often follow Joycelyn around as though hoping she would stop her work and play with her a bit more.

Then, last year at Christmas, when Joycelyn brought Suki a laser pointer as a gift, everything changed once again.  From the very first time Joycelyn used that laser pointer and showed Suki that tantalizing red dot, Suki became Joycelyn's new, best friend.

As I have told you previously, this was when Suki began waiting, watching and listening by the front door on those days when she somehow knew that Joycelyn was supposed to visit.  Then, as soon as Joycelyn arrived, Suki would begin meowing at her and trying to lead her towards the table where the laser pointer is kept.  Poor Joycelyn barely had time to take off her coat and shoes and give me a quick hug before she felt compelled to begin the "chase the red dot" game with Suki.

They usually play with that thing until Joycelyn's arm gets tired and she has to tell Suki that playtime is finished.  Suki, of course, continues to be always hopeful during the remaining time that Joycelyn is here. I know this to be true even though Suki appears to have given up and settled down for a nap. I can tell from the position and occasional movement of her ears that she is not really sleeping the way she will once Joycelyn has actually left the premises!

So, I was thinking about how Suki, if she really was able to pray, would undoubtedly pray to the Egyptian goddess, Bast, who is not only the "goddess of cats", but who, in the earlier centuries of Egypt's history, had been represented as an actual cat and not the cat woman shown in the drawing above.  

These thoughts led me to do a quick sketch of a Suki-type cat at "prayer", praying for the one thing I know she is really missing -- Joycelyn and the "red dot".

Of course, I am missing Joycelyn very much also.  There is still a full week to go before she returns; meanwhile, we are muddling through as best we can with other arrangements.

Thankfully, I have not gotten any worse during these last few weeks.  I continue to have problems at night when the pain either awakens me or keeps me from sleeping at all.  However, this would be occurring whether Joycelyn was here or not.

I was supposed to have a medical appointment this past Thursday, but I ended up cancelling as the weather was quite bad with snow and freezing rain predicted. I try not to ever go out anymore whenever the sidewalks are reported to be icy.  I have seen people with walkers like mine lose their footing when the wheels of the walker suddenly begin sliding on the icy surface. I have no desire to take a tumble -- especially now that winter is actually over and the cold weather this past week was just an early spring, freakish-type storm.

I do have a doctor's appointment this week. I don't expect any problems as today's weather report predicts that the temperature will remain spring-like for the entire week.  Also, this spring-like weather will include lots of "April showers" even though it is still March! Thankfully, rain is much safer for walking than icy sidewalks.




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EASTER SUNDAY





"Icon -- Christ is Risen, Alleluia", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, rev. 2016




Gospel for the Mass of Easter Day:

On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.
 John 20:1-9



Happy Easter greetings to you all from Suki and Sallie.


Sunday, 20 March 2016

Fiddlehead Ferns

"Fiddlehead Ferns", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016



Matteuccia struthiopteris (common names Fiddlehead ferns, Ostrich ferns or Shuttlecock ferns) is a crown-forming, colony-forming fern, occurring in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in central and northern Europe, northern Asia, and northern North America. The genus name, Matteuccia, comes from the surname of C. Matteucci, 19th century Italian physicist. The species epithet, struthiopteris, comes from Ancient Greek words struthio, meaning ostrich, and pterion, meaning wing.

Fiddlehead ferns, or just plain Fiddleheads as they as usually called, are best known as a delicious springtime vegetable with a taste reminiscent of asparagus. First, make sure you do cook them! You can get sick if you eat them raw or don’t cook them long enough. So, in order to prepare them properly, do the following: "With a brush, carefully remove brown scales then wash well under cold running water to remove dirt before cooking; trim woody stems. Boil Fiddleheads in lightly salted boiling water for 10 minutes (or steam for 20 minutes.) Serve at once with a drizzle of olive oil or melted butter and a squeeze of lemon."  Canadian Living, 2012  

"I would recommend an experienced guide the first time to be on the safe side. Some Fiddleheads look like the Ostrich fern varieties and are not only not edible but can be toxic. Once you see them for the first time, Fiddleheads become very easy to recognize. They are bright green and can easily be seen amidst the dark soil, twigs, and leaves from which they emerge. They grow in clumps of about about six. Pick them before they unfurl, when they’re about one to four inches in height. You can simply pinch and snap the stem about a half inch to an inch from the coiled head. Look for the more tightly wound Fiddleheads and don’t be afraid to brush away leaves, twigs and logs. Sometimes you’ll find the bigger ones in more hidden, cool areas. Never pick a clump clean. Leave at least a few unpicked Fiddleheads. Otherwise, the fern will die." Fearless Eating Blog, date unknown.


I became aware of Fiddleheads years ago when some good friends took me out into the woods close to their home and showed me how to clearly identify the bright, green swirls of fern that we were busily collecting to cook and serve with our evening meal. I became interested in drawing Fiddlehead ferns after seeing a photo of one in the series I did on the Golden Ratio. The unfurled Fiddlehead fern frond follows the same Golden Ratio of so many other things in Nature. (See my drawing below which demonstrates this).




"Fiddlehead Ferns and the Golden Ratio", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016



Ain't Mother Nature amazing?!









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SUKI AND SALLIE




Suki sits each morning now near the front door,
waiting for Joycelyn to come back from holiday.
Suki's behavior reveals that she somehow knows that Joycelyn has gone away.  I know how strange that sounds, especially since Joycelyn was here on her regularly-scheduled day at the end of last week and is not expected to be here until her next regularly-scheduled day, tomorrow.

Yet, somehow, Suki's behaviour has changed.  Let me explain... She has now started waiting by the front door every morning from the time she finishes her breakfast about 6:15 until around 8:30 a.m. -- the normal span of time during which Joycelyn might arrive on one of her scheduled days.

As I have told you previously, soon after Joycelyn gave her the laser pointer for Christmas and started using it to play games with Suki, the cat began to wait for Joycelyn by the front door on the regularly-scheduled days when she comes to care for me.  Suki did not wait and watch for her on the other days of the week -- just those days.

Now, however, she has started waiting by the door every morning during the time that Joycelyn might conceivably arrive.  What's going on here?

I had thought that Suki would probably notice something strange when Joycelyn did not arrive tomorrow, but why would she begin this strange waiting ritual now?  How could Suki possibly know that Joycelyn is out of the country on holiday and won't be back until the end of the month?

As I continue my observations and studies, I will keep you informed.  Could Suki possibly be an alien disguised as a cat?  Is that why she is so smart? Of course, I do know some people whose dislike of cats has led them to believe that all cats are invaders from another planet, but these, for the most part, are just very grumpy men! 



As for me, I am doing as well as can be expected.  I saw the doctor this past week and learned that my blood pressure reading is now around 121/70 every time the nurse takes it.  So, that is at least one thing in my life that is under control.  I wish it were as easy to get these various nerve and joint pains under control; however, it seems that some days they just refuse to be controlled.

So far it hasn't really hit me that Joycelyn is away for two weeks, but I expect I will start to feel it when she doesn't show up tomorrow and I have to begin to work with the temporary caregivers who will be coming in her absence.

C'est la vie!




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PALM SUNDAY





"Icon -- Entrance into Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday",
by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016





(Gospel for the Procession with Palms)


After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it.’” So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They said, “The Lord needs it.” Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”  Luke 19:28-40


This passage always reminds me of that wonderful moment in the film/stage play "Jesus Christ, Superstar" where the Palm Sunday scene is acted out as the crowd begins to sing:

CROWD
Hosanna
Heysanna Sanna Sanna Ho Sanna
Hey Sanna Ho Sanna 
Hey J C, 
J C won't you smile at me? 
Sanna Ho Sanna 
Hey Superstar

and the final, poignant refrain:

CROWD and JESUS 
Hosanna 
Hey Sanna Sanna Sanna Hosanna 
Hey Sanna Hosanna 

 CROWD (alone) 
 Hey JC, 
JC won't you die for me? 
Sanna Hosanna 
Hey Superstar


Sunday, 13 March 2016

Aloe -- Spiral Polyphylla

" 'Golden Spiral' Aloe", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016





"Aloe vera", drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016
Most of us are familiar with Aloe Vera commonly found growing in a pot on a kitchen windowsill ready for use whenever the cook burns a finger by touching a pan just out of the oven.  Today, however, I would like to introduce you to a cousin of this houseplant -- a cousin which refuses to grow anywhere except on one particular mountain range in southern Africa! 





While I was doing research on the Golden Spiral (see February 28, 2016 posting), I came across numerous photos of the Spiral Aloe plant being used as an example of instances where the Golden Spiral appears in nature. As you may recall, those instances can be found across the universe -- from the spiral shape of the largest galaxy to the gentle curve of an egg or a baby's ear.











Once I began to look closely at this fascinating plant, which is found growing in only one area of the Drakensberg Mountains in southern Africa, I discovered that not only did it beautifully exhibit the Golden Spiral in its growth pattern, but that it also produced striking and unusual flowers.  So, although my original plan was to simply draw a Spiral Aloe clearly showing its perfect spiral, once I discovered the flowers, I knew I wanted to include them as well. 

Now for some details about the Spiral Aloe plant....  

Aloe polyphylla is a species in the genus Aloe that is endemic to the the Drakensberg mountains, particularly where the mountains cross the areas of the Kingdom of Lesotho and related parts of South Africa. Aloe polyphylla is commonly known as the Spiral Aloe in English, Kroonaalwyn in Afrikaans or Lekhala kharatsa in Sesotho. The species epithet, polyphylla, means "many-leaved" in Greek while the genus name of Aloe is derived from the Arabic word, Alloeh, meaning 'shining, bitter substance'.

Aloe polyphylla, known for its strikingly symmetrical spirals, is a stemless aloe and grows its leaves in a very distinctive spiral shape. The plants do not seem to sucker or produce off-shoots, but from the germination of their seeds they can form small, dense clumps.
The fat, wide, serrated, gray-green leaves have sharp, dark leaf-tips. 

This aloe flowers at the beginning of summer, producing red-to-orange-pink flowers. The spiral aloe grows on the high, mountainous, grassy slopes of the Drakensberg Mountains where it clings tightly to rocky crevices. The climate is cool in the summer and in the winter the aloes are often covered in deep snow. 

The species is highly sought after as an ornamental but is difficult to cultivate and usually dies soon after being removed from its natural habitat. In South Africa, buying or collecting the plant is a criminal offence.








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




Fortunately, Braden and Rònàn had the childhood pleasure of spending time out sledding with their parents.  Of course, now that winter seems to suddenly be over, I'm sure their parents are very pleased that they helped their children enjoy the snow for the few weeks it was here! Truly, the weather just gets stranger and stranger.

Anyway, enough of that... here are recent photos of my favourite boys playing in the snow.  Photos taken by their mother, I presume...






With Dad carrying Ro while Braden
pulls the sleigh, our intrepid outdoors
men set off for the sledding hill!
Even experienced outdoors men
have to pause for a breather
now and again.









Having fun!










The brothers reclining in the sled while their Dad gets to do the pulling!






Since Ro is too young to go by himself,
his Dad rides with him.
Braden goes down the hill solo.



















After a busy day of sledding, it
looks as though the brothers are
starting to get tired.




In fact, Ro decides that this is the perfect place
to have a nap and to also get a ride home!


















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SUKI AND SALLIE




Suki carefully watching me
prepare her lunch!

Sorry to tell you, but this is going to be a rather short section today.  Why?  Well, mainly because nothing of any real interest has occurred since my last posting.

Suki did gobble down her lunch too quickly one day this past week and promptly disgorged it all.  It took her about 10 minutes to get over the embarrassment and discomfort of this event and after washing her face thoroughly, she was begging me to feed her again.  I told her that she had been given her lunch and it was not my fault that she had wasted it.  It was a battle of wills, but I managed to hold out until supper time!

As well, she behaved as usual on the days when she knew Joycelyn would be coming -- always hoping that there just might be a few seconds of life left in the laser pointer batteries.  Joycelyn, being the kind person she is, took pity on Suki and played with her each day until the red dot disappeared.

As for me, I did have a medical appointment, but it was just a routine visit to meet with the pain management doctor.  Since everything is more or less under control at the moment, my appointment consisted of telling him which medications needed repeats and getting the prescriptions from him.  My visit lasted all of about 10 minutes.

My biggest news at the moment is that Joycelyn is finally taking a much needed vacation.  She will be going to the west Caribbean area to visit with her relatives and friends for two weeks.  She leaves this coming Friday and so she is working extra hard to make certain that Suki and I have all the food, provisions, scheduled helpers, etc. that will be needed while she is away.  

I will be a bit lost without her, but I'm sure that all the temporary arrangements she has put in place will see me through until she returns at the end of March.

I haven't told Suki yet as I am concerned that she might go into a decline once she knows that there is no way she is going to get to play with the laser pointer for an entire 14 days!

I do have another medical appointment this week during which the doctor's nurse will be using that blood-pressure-torture-machine on my poor arm again.  If I survive, I will let you know how my B/P is doing when I post next Sunday.





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FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT






"Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery", drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016 revision






Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, and all the people started coming to him, and he sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.” Jn 8:1-11




Sunday, 6 March 2016

Patterns plus Rangoli

"Water Lilies all in a Row", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016



Lately, as you are aware, I have begun taking individual flowers out of different drawings and finding ways to use them to create circles, spirals and patterns of all sorts.  This week, the selected flower is a water lily.

I've read that the human brain automatically looks for patterns in their surroundings.  Like most people, I find that there is something very satisfying about patterns. Why? Because they show us what to expect from our environment, giving us a sense of order and control. 

Even those patterns we find in things like wallpaper or tiles on a bathroom floor attract our attention.  And, as a result we quickly notice when there is any part of the pattern that is out of place -- because it is out of order.  

You may be interested in reading more about patterns so, below, you will find information on patterns which I have taken from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary and Wikipedia.


Pattern 

noun 
1. a repeated decorative design 
2. a model or design used as a guide in needlework and other crafts.
verb 
1. decorate with a recurring design. "rosebud patterned wallpapers"
2. give a regular or intelligible form to. "the brain not only receives information, but interprets and patterns it" 

So, a pattern, apart from the term's use to mean "template", is a discernible regularity in the world or in a human-made design. As such, the elements of a pattern repeat in a predictable manner.
A geometric pattern is a kind of pattern formed of geometric shapes and typically repeating like a wallpaper. Any of the five senses may directly observe patterns. Conversely, abstract patterns in science, mathematics, or language may be observable only by analysis. 
Direct observation in practice means seeing visual patterns which are widespread in nature and in art. Visual patterns in nature are often chaotic, never exactly repeating, and often involve fractals. Natural patterns include spirals, meanders, waves, foams, tiling, cracks and those created by symmetries of rotation and reflection.




"Water Lilies all in a Row -- Blue Phase", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016




Patterns have an underlying mathematical structure; indeed, mathematics can be seen as the search for regularities. Actually, the output of any function is a mathematical pattern. Similarly in the sciences, theories explain and predict regularities in the world. In art and architecture, decorations or visual motifs may be combined and repeated to form patterns designed to have a chosen effect on the viewer. In computer science, a software design pattern is a known solution to a class of problems in programming. In the broadest sense, any repeated regularity that can be explained by a scientific theory is a pattern.

Now let me show you patterns of another kind with which I have been working recently.


Rangoli Patterns



"Rangoli drawing for Diwali", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016



Rangoli, also known as Kolam, is an artform from India in which patterns are created on the floor in living rooms or courtyards using materials such as colored rice, dry flour, colored sand or flower petals. It is usually made during Diwali (Deepawali), Onam, Pongal and other Indian festivals. They are meant to be sacred welcoming areas for the Hindu deities. Designs are passed from one generation to the next, keeping both the art form and the tradition alive.
The purpose of rangoli is decoration, and it is thought to bring good luck. Design depictions may also vary as they reflect traditions, folklore and practices that are unique to each area.
The drawings are traditionally done by women. Generally, this practice is showcased during occasions such as festivals, auspicious observances, marriage celebrations and other similar milestones and gatherings. Wikipedia






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SUKI AND SALLIE




Suki between naps!
Lately, I've noticed that Suki seems to be sleeping a lot more than usual. Of course, she is on pain medication for her hip problems; however, I'm giving her the lowest dose possible. 

At first, I thought I was just imagining things because I was watching so closely for any negative reactions from the medication. I hate having to give her any kind of drug, but when I see her in obvious pain from the arthritis, I don't have the heart to deny her the relief the drug can give.  However, it was when Suki began to miss meal times that I knew for certain that I was right to worry. 

The first time Suki missed a meal time occurred a couple of weeks ago.  I was in the living room streaming a video when I suddenly noticed that it was about 5 minutes past 6 p.m.  In other words, it was five minutes past Suki's supper time.  Normally, she would have been pestering me since about 5:30, but now there wasn't any sign of her.  

I decided that she must have overslept for some reason and as soon as she heard me in the kitchen, she would come running. Instead, I was able to prepare my own supper, sit down and eat my meal and finally return to my video without hearing a single meow.

I did check on her during this time and discovered that she was asleep in the wicker chair in the bathroom. My presence in the bathroom brought no reaction from Suki -- she continued to sleep soundly. Since she did not appear to be in any distress, I left her to continue sleeping for as long as she wanted.

Suki finally appeared about 9 p.m.and gave me a few meows -- the kind of meows that mean "feed me" -- but I told her that she was too late for supper as it was only two hours away from her bedtime snack.  Instead, I gave her a couple of cat treats and plopped her down in front of her dish of excellent dry food.  She ate a bit of that and then curled up in her favourite chair and went right back to sleep!

Since then, there have been three more incidents where Suki has slept through meal time. So, I am keeping a close eye on her while considering a trip to the vet in the days ahead. Hopefully, Suki's system will begin to adjust itself to a daily dose of pain medication so that she will have the pain relief she needs, but won't be sleeping to excess.

As for me, I am also sleeping more than I would like.  I'm not sure what is causing this, but I suspect my new medication regimen has overloaded my system with too much of certain drugs and not enough of others. So, I am making small adjustments in the days ahead in the hope of finding a balance.

Sadly, I have another infection and so I am back on antibiotics again. Blech! There should be a law against extra-large, bitter-tasting pills.

I do have another doctor's appointment this week with the pain specialist so I should be able to work out a new regimen with him that will provide the relief I need without making me too sleepy. 







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FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT





"Icon -- The Prodigal Son Returns", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, revised 2016



Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So to them Jesus addressed this parable: “A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’ So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began. Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’ He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’” Luke 15:1-3,11-32