Sunday, 17 September 2017

White Liliaceae Repeats

"Prosartes maculata - Spotted Mandarin", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017 rev.

From Blog posting 24 Jan 2013 (revised): 

Disporum maculatum, also known as the Spotted Mandarin or Nodding Mandarin, is a relatively rare wildflower in the Lily Family. They can be occasionally spotted in their native, deep-woods habitat from southern Ontario down to northeastern Alabama. 

The small spots on the "petals" give them the maculatum part of their Latin name. When disporum if placed in front, it translates into something like "organization of spots" -- at least that is the conclusion I come to using my fractured Latin! Literally, disporum, from the Greek, is a combination of dis (two) and spora (seeds) while maculatum is Latin for “spotted.” 

Even though the Spotted, or Nodding, Mandarin can grow up to 60 cm in height, they are rarely seen unless you are looking for them. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that as the thin stem grows taller, the flower heads tend to bend over towards the ground so that only the leaves are showing (thus the common name of “Nodding Mandarin”). 

Flowers are bell-shaped while maturing, and, at maturity, they appear to be star-shaped. The blossoms are creamy white in colour with numerous brownish-purple spots on each petal. The dark green leaves can reach 10 cm in length. Disporum maculatum produces white berries which eventually turn yellow.

"Calochortus nuttallii -- Sego Lily", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017 rev.

From blog of 18 June 2010 (revised): 

Calochortus nuttallii, commonly known as the Sego Lily, is a member of the Lily family, Liliaceae. This plant has a fascinating history in the U.S., as reported in the State of Utah's description of Calochortus nuttallii, regarding its selection as their state flower. They write, in part, that between 1840 and 1851, food became very scarce in Utah due to a crop-devouring plague of crickets. Many “families were put on rations, and during this time they learned to dig for and to eat the soft, bulbous root of the Sego Lily. The memory of this use, quite as much as the natural beauty of the flower, caused it to be selected in after years by the Legislature as the floral emblem of the State.” 

I assume that these settlers learned about this life-saving food source from observing the Indigenous people who were already living in the area. They had been collecting the Sego Lily bulbs for hundreds of years before the settlers arrived ("sego" was the Shoshonean name for the plant) and used them roasted, boiled or made into a porridge. These days the bulbs are mostly the food of pocket gophers and similar creatures. 

The Sego Lily, a summer flower, has white, lilac, or yellow flowers and grows six to eight inches high on open grass and sage rangelands in the area of North America known as the Great Basin. 

A cautionary note about this plant for those who may be considering foraging for wild food. Be careful to distinguish Calochortus nuttallii, the Sego Lily, from the somewhat similar, early-spring-flowering Toxicoscordion venenosum, also known as Poison Sego or Death Camas, which is native to the same general geographic areas.  Please notice very carefully the common names of T. venenosum!

The genus name of Calochortus comes from the Greek words kalo, (beautiful) and chortos (grass). The specific name of nuttallii is derived from the name of the English botanist, Thomas Nuttall, (1786-1859).

"Tulipa turkestanica - Turkestan Tulip", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017 rev.

Blog posting 3 Feb 2013 (revised): 

Tulipa turkestanica (Turkestan Tulip) is a species of tulip native to central Asia (Turkestan, Iran and northwest China) in the Lily Family, Liliaceae

The flowers of Tulipa turkestanica are creamy white to pinkish-red, with a yellow or orange centre. Each plant produces from 1 to 12 star-shaped, fragrant flowers in early spring. The grey-green leaves, up to 15 cm in length, clasp each stem. 

The genus name of Tulipa is derived from the Turkish word, tülbent, which means “turban”. The specific name of turkestanica comes from the name of the country, Turkistan.

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


Celebrating the End of Summer

The boys enjoying the final weekend of Summer before returning to Senior Kindergarten and nursery school.

Big brother in policeman's cap

Little brother in policeman's cap

Brothers Together
(not sure what the facial expression are all about; however, I find them quite charming!) 

"Just follow me in your car, little brother. I'll show you the way!"

Ro riding on the merry-go-round
(Mom's got her arms around him just in case he decides to jump off while the horses are still moving! I understand that he is quite fearless.)

Braden rides his merry-go-round horse and dreams, perhaps, of galloping away, through the valleys and over the hills, to fight the dragon and save the kingdom!



"Suki Looking Pensive"
(Drawing, using Sketch software, by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer)
Photo by A. Porobic
Well, I'm afraid that I really don't have anything much to say about the two of us today. Thankfully, it has been a very quiet two weeks for Suki and me.

Suki has been reasonably well behaved and not gotten into any mischief (as far as I know).  As well, she has been exhibiting more signs of energetic playfulness which makes me think she is feeling better than she has for a while.  I am, of course, very happy about this development and hope it continues for a long time.

As for me, I have had a couple of medical appointments, but they were routine follow-up appointments.  I do have a couple of appointments scheduled during the coming two weeks; however,these are fairly routine as well -- like the "once every-three-months" appointment with the Pain Clinic at the hospital.

Thankfully, at the moment, none of my medical issues seem to have gotten worse and all my medications seem to be working.  I know this bit of "remission" will not last, but I intend to enjoy the situation for as long as it does.

During the two weeks ahead (until I post again), we will see the celebration of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.  So, I will take this opportunity to wish my Jewish friends (and readers) happy new year and best wishes as they celebrate these special days.

As well, the next two weeks will see the official end of summer and the beginning of autumn (Autumn Equinox, September 22nd). Plus, especially for those of us here in Ontario, we will see the opening of the Invictus Games by Prince Harry on the 23rd of September. Very exciting.  (

I will end today's posting with a photo of Suki.  It was taken recently by my friend, A. Porobic, and shows Suki settled comfortably between my legs as I lean back in my recliner. Evidently, this is her favourite place to sleep now!

Here's hoping that we all experience lots of happy peacefulness during the next two weeks.

Suki settles down for her afternoon nap!


Sunday, 3 September 2017

Orange and Blue Repeats

"Ornithogalum dubium - Orange Star", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017 rev.

From my blog posting of 5 June 2016:

Ornithogalum dubium, commonly known as Orange Star or Star of Bethlehem, is a species of flowering plant which is native to South Africa (Cape Province). It blooms from early spring until mid-summer (August to December) on mountain slopes and flats, growing in stony clay soil. 

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

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

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

The species name, dubium, is derived from the Latin word dubiosus, meaning doubtful. The story is told, whether truth or legend I do not know, that the author of this species, the Dutch naturalist, Martinus Houttuyn, may have been dubious and doubtful about certain aspects of the plant when he described it – wondering if it should be placed under a different classification!

"Punica granatum -- Pomegranate", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017 rev.

From my blog posting of 5 July 2010:

Pomegranate, or, properly, Punica granatum is one of only two member of the family, Punicaceae. The only other species in this family is found on the Island of Socotra (an archipelago of four islands in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Yemen). 

Pomegranate plants have been with us as far back as time itself which means that the plant has a fascinating history. It is native to an area stretching from Iran to the Himalayas in northern India and has been cultivated since ancient times throughout the Mediterranean region of Asia, Africa and Europe. The fruit was used then as it is today. Punica granatum is praised in the Jewish scriptures (Old Testament), in the Babylonian Talmud and in many other ancient sources. 

The genus name, Punica, is derived from a contraction of the Latin, punicum malum, which is the proper Latin name for the Pomegranate plant. The species name, granatum is also taken from the Latin and indicates the “many seeds” of the Pomegranate fruit. 

Below are a couple of other recent drawing using elements of my earlier works:

"Polemonium 'Bressingham Purple' - Jacob's Ladder", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017 rev.

"Nelumbo nucifera - Indian Lotus Blossoms", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 
2017 rev.

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


"Suki Awake and Unhappy
(after hearing me on the phone with the vet)!"
[coloured pencil drawing using Sketch software]
Well, getting Suki to the vet for her blood work was a wee bit easier than I had thought it would be -- but that was simply because Joycelyn was here to help me!  

As soon as the carrying case appeared from the cupboard, Suki made a mad dash for the back of the bedroom closet. Normally, as you know, I would not violate her "safe place"; however, I really needed to get Suki to the vet.  So, with Joycelyn blocking the closet door as well as holding the hanging clothes off my head, I managed to grope my way to the back of the closet and pull Suki and her box to the front.  She was quite disgusted by my behaviour but once she realized that she was trapped, she stopped resisting and allowed me to gently push her into the case.  Once inside, she gave a long, mournful-sounding meow and then settled down to await the "horrors" ahead.

As it turned out, it took two tries before the vet was able to get the needle into Suki's small veins; however, once the blood was drawn, it was all over.  I paid my bill and we took Suki back home where I gave her an early lunch since she had been fasting for the previous 12 or so hours.  By the time she had eaten her fill and had a bit of water, she was ready to settle down for a good nap.  I thought she might be a bit distant with me -- the way she gets when I have displeased her in some way -- but, happily, she was as friendly as ever.

Best of all, the vet phoned me this week with the good news that Suki's calcium level is now back in the normal range.  This means the new diet is doing what it is supposed to do.  The bad news, according to the vet, is that sooner or later the diet treatment will stop working and then her calcium levels will start to rise again. I could worry about that, but, for the moment, I have decided to simply enjoy the good news and deal with the bad when it happens.

As for me, I continue to be about the same.  I have had several medical visits since I last posted, but they were just the usual follow-up type of appointments.  I do have an appointment on the Tuesday after Labour Day Monday; however, I will simply be seeing my family doctor again.

One of my dear friends came to visit this past week so that we could catch up on all our news. While she was here, she took a number of photos of Suki on her phone so, hopefully, she will be sending me one or two to use in future columns.

Greetings to all my readers, acquaintances and friends who are celebrating Eid al-Fitr today.

Wishing all of you the very best today, tomorrow (Labour Day) and each and every day ahead.
Until next time... 


Sunday, 20 August 2017

Lady's-Slipper, Rose and Other Repeats

"Cypripedium calceolus - Lady's-slipper Orchid", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017 rev.

From blog posting of November 8, 2015 (revised): 

Cypripedium calceolus, commonly known as Lady's-Slipper- Orchid, is a member of the Family, Orchidaceae. Other common names include Lady's Slipper, Slipper Orchid and Venus' Shoes. At one time it had a widespread distribution in Britain, almost every European country, including Russia, and the Far East. 

Typically found in open woodlands, its population declined over much of the European part of its range due to the shrinking of its habitat caused, particularly, by human clearance of the woodlands followed by the introduction of sheep. 

At present, it is a protected species in a number of countries. For example, in Great Britain, it was formerly widespread across northern England; however, by the late 20th century it had declined to just a single known plant. A reintroduction program for the Lady’s-Slipper-Orchid has led to a population of hundreds of plants in recent years.

The genus name of Cypripedium comes from two Greek words: Kypris (Venus) and podilon (sandal or slipper). The specific name of calceolus is taken from the Latin and means slipper.

"Rosa blanda - Meadow Rose", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017 rev.

Rosa blanda, commonly known as the meadow, wild or prairie rose, is a species of rose native to North America. Among roses, it comes closest to being a "thornless" rose, with just a few thorns at the base. The meadow rose occurs as a colony-forming shrub growing to 1 meter or more in height and occurring naturally in prairies and meadows. The roses are quite variable in appearance and can sometimes be confused with Rosa arkansana or Rosa carolina, the two prairie rose species. 

The species name comes from the Latin word blandus, meaning "flattering, caressing, alluring, tempting", probably referring to the beauty of the flowers. Blooming in early summer, the flowers are borne singly or in flower clusters from lateral buds. The flowers have five large petals which are roughly heart shaped. These are coloured pink to pinkish-white with a pleasant fragrance. The dark green leaves are compound with coarse teeth. The hips (fruits) are bright red and rich in vitamin C. 

Rosa blanda grows naturally in meadows, prairies and fields occurs on dry hillsides, roadsides, fence rows, in either sandy or rocky soil. The range of natural growth is from Quebec to Ontario, south to Kansas, and east to Missouri and Ohio. The “wild rose” of western Canada’s “wild rose country” is related.

"Tropaeolum majus - Garden Nasturtiums"drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017 rev.

"Poeticus recurvus -- Pheasant's-Eye Narcissus", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017 rev.

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


Here are a few new photos of "my boys" having a busy day on a summer weekend...

Having an "after-breakfast" lie-in watching a children's film
(this gives mom and dad a chance to get some house and garden work done!)

Celebrating Canada on a cool and rainy summer weekend

"Hey, big brother, I think a storm is coming!"

After another busy day, time to watch a TV show about sharks!



"I will not go to the vet.  I will not go to 
the vet.  I will not go to the vet."  (The
power of positive thinking.)
How do cats and dogs always learn to recognize the word "vet"? They may not appear to understand a lot, especially the word "no", but when it comes to the word "vet", they cannot hide the fact that they understand as they immediately begin to take evasive action!

So, if you receive an email with a petition attached asking for your signature, please read it carefully -- especially if it is from my email address and the subject heading is "People Against Taking Suki to the Vet".

I mean, I wouldn't put it past her to do something like that now that she has heard me talking on the telephone to the vet -- making an appointment for more blood to be taken from a vein in her leg on August 24th!  Poor kitty -- somehow, I don't think her petition or her positive thinking will work.  She will be going to the dreaded vet this coming Thursday.

We have got to see if this new food regimen has finally done the trick and lowered her calcium levels.  If we can't find some way to accomplish this, then poor Suki will be at great risk of developing kidney stones and/or kidney disease.  

Any of you who have been long-time followers will know that the cat who lived with me for many year prior to Suki's arrival (miz k.d.) died from kidney disease and I really don't want to go through that again. So, hopefully, this new regimen will have done the trick and I will be able to stop worrying.

Suki, by the way, appears to be feeling just fine these days, but you really can't go by that as cats are very good at hiding pain -- especially when the word "vet" is mentioned. Of course, if the current treatment is working, she would, quite naturally, be feeling a lot better. This next blood test should reveal the facts and I hope, whatever the test reveals, it will news that both Suki and I want to hear!

As for me, I continue to struggle with my ongoing issues. Sadly, however, every time I think things have gotten stable, something new crops up or something old gets worse. I suppose it is all part of getting old which, as you have probably heard, ain't for the faint of heart.

Actually, even though I continue to try to be positive about my various issues, it is becoming more difficult of late.  I think my eyes have a lot to do with it as they seem to be getting worse in spite of all the drops I am now using.  I suppose this means that I had better make another appointment with the ophthalmologist so that she can try to determine what is happening. Hopefully, it will be something easily fixed.

My next posting will be on the Sunday before Labour Day Monday, September 4th.  At the moment, here in Ontario, we are in the midst of our annual, end-of-summer celebration known as the Canadian National Exhibition.  This event, known locally as "The Ex", has been occurring here since 1879 when it was opened as a venue for displaying the latest in agriculture and technology.  Last year, over 1.5 million visitors attended the CNE.  I used to attend regularly back when I was able to walk with ease.  However, once I was required to use either a walker or a wheelchair, it all became too difficult so now I just enjoy seeing bits and pieces of the various events on the local news. 

Say "Goodbye to Summer" at the Canadian National Exhibition!  [Main entrance to the
CNE, the Princes' Gate, as the staff prepare for the arrival of the crowds who will suddenly appear on opening day.]

Hope you are all able to enjoy these final days of summer. Whatever the case may be, I wish you the very best in the days ahead.


Sunday, 6 August 2017

Lilium Repeats

"Lilium bulbiferum -- Orange Lily", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017 revision

From the blog posting of August 26, 2012:

Lilium bulbiferum -- commonly known as Orange Lily, Fire Lily or Tiger Lily -- is a herbaceous perennial plant with underground bulbs, belonging to the genus Lilium of the Liliaceae family. The specific name of bulbiferum is from the Latin, meaning "bearing bulbs" which refers to the secondary bulbs on the stem. 

Perennial lilies are native to the continental climate of the steppes, the Mediterranean countries, south-east Europe and central Asia. However, they have "escaped" from gardens in countries with similar climates worldwide and can now be said to be established in many other places. Evidently, according to people who know these things, this is one of the easiest lilies to grow. 

In Japan, it is cultivated in large quantities for the edible bulb which is described as tasting something like a sweet potato!

"Lilium martagon -- Martagon Lily", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017 revision

From blog posting of October 17, 2012:

Lilium martagon (Martagon or Turk's-cap lily) is a true species of lily. It is of the Family, Liliaceae, and the genus Lilium. It has a widespread native region extending from eastern France east through northern Asia to Mongolia and Korea.  However, just like the Orange Lily, they have "escaped" from gardens in countries with similar climates worldwide and can now be said to be established in many other places.  

The name, Turk's-cap, comes from the characteristic reflexed shape of the petals. The specific epithet, martagon, is a Turkish word which means turban or cap.

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


"Why do people have to bother me
when I am trying to sleep?"
Good news!  Suki suddenly decided that this new food I had purchased for her was not so very bad after all. Of course, it may simply have been hunger which drove her back to this particular wet food.  

Whatever the cause, I am very grateful that she changed her mind. I am now back to feeding her at the regular times and she still has this new dry food to snack on between meals. Interestingly, she is also now drinking more water than ever. For the first time since she came to live with me all those years ago, she actually uses her water bowl several times a day.  Wonders never cease!

Otherwise, she seems to be feeling fine and staying slim.  I will still have to take her back to the vet at the end of August for another blood test. Hopefully, the results will reveal that the calcium level in her blood has decreased.  This would mean that these new, expensive foods are finally doing the trick.

As for me, I continue to have the same issues which I continue to deal with in the usual ways.  I am, thankfully, no worse.  I haven't had any medical appointments since my last posting; although, I do have a couple coming up before this new month is over.  In fact, I think I have one scheduled for the week ahead.

Of course, here in Ontario, tomorrow, Monday, is a holiday.  It is now listed simply as a "Civic Holiday", but, originally, it was known in Toronto as Simcoe Day in honour of John Graves Simcoe, Upper Canada's (as the area of what is now Ontario was known at that time) first lieutenant governor and the man who initiated the abolition of slavery in Canada. The Act went into effect in July of 1793 and remained in effect until August 24, 1833, when Britain's Slavery Abolition Act put an end to slavery in most of the empire. Toronto City Council established the civic holiday in honour of Simcoe in 1869.  There are only 5 provinces in which the first Monday of August is a holiday and Ontario just happens to be one of them.  

As usual on statutory holidays, I will stay at home and enjoy my air conditioning!  I am too old and have too much pain to be trying to sit on picnic-table benches or lawn chairs, swatting at mosquitoes while trying not to inhale any fumes from the barbecuing!

There is one special event that occurs during this long weekend every year, which I would attend -- something I did attend when I still young and active -- and that is the Caribana Parade.  The celebration called Caribana has been regular part of the Toronto experience for 50 years now. It begins in late July and ends on the 1st Monday of August. Caribana celebrates the peoples, music and cultures of all the Caribbean nations including Guyana.  Below is a photo from the Parade taken from Caribana Facebook page. 

So, whatever you are doing in the weeks ahead, holidays or no holidays, I hope you will be happy and safe.  Remember, please be kind to one another, to the earth and to all its creatures.

"Fawn Fast Asleep", drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011


Sunday, 23 July 2017

Lewisia and Lewisiopsis

"Lewisia cotyledon -- Cliff Maids", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017

Lewisia cotyledon is a species of flowering plant in the Purslane (Portulacaceae) family known by the common name of Cliff Maids. It is native to southern Oregon and northern California, where it grows in a rocky, sub-alpine, mountain habitat. 

It is an evergreen perennial growing from a thick taproot. It produces a basal rosette of many thick, fleshy oval- or spoon-shaped leaves up to 9 cm (4 in) long. The flowers have 7 to 13 petals. These petals may be whitish with pinkish-orange striping, solid orange to yellow or pale pink with darker veining. 

Lewisia cotyledon was among 178 species of plants that were first collected by Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark expedition in the early 1800s during their quest for the Northwest Passage. Thus the genus name of Lewisia in honour of Meriwether Lewis. The species name of cotyledon comes from the Greek, “kotulēdōn,” meaning a cup-shaped cavity,

"Lewisiopsis tweedyi -- Tweedy's Bitterroot", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017

Lewisiopsis tweedyi is the only species in the genus, Lewisiopsis. The species, formerly known as Lewisia tweedyi, is now classified in the Montiaceae family instead of the Portulacaceae family. The plant is known by the common names of Tweedy's Bitterroot and Tweedy's Lewisia. It is native to western North America, particularly in certain areas of British Columbia and adjacent north-central Washington State. 

Lewisiopsis tweedyi, a perennial, is typically found at elevations of 1,500 to 4,500 feet (460 to 1,370 m). The plants produce blossoms in May, June or July, depending on elevation. The blossoms normally have eight to twelve broad petals which are cream-coloured at the base, becoming lavender, apricot or pink near the tips with 12 to 25 stamens. It has numerous, evergreen, smooth, succulent leaves. 

The genus name of Lewisiopsis retains the original genus name honouring Capt. Merriweather Lewis, who - with William Clark - made the first transcontinental expedition across North America (1804-1806) and brought back samples of this plant. I am not sure exactly what Lewisiopsis is supposed to mean. I do know that “opsis” is a Greek word meaning “appearance” so, perhaps, Lewisiopsis means “appearing to be Lewisia” but isn't. Just a guess. 

The species name of tweedyi is taken from the name of Frank Tweedy, an American, 19th-century, topographic engineer who collected specimens for the US Geological Survey of the States of Montana, Idaho and Washington.

Portions of the above text are taken from various Internet sources.


Suki refusing to eat her wet food
Life has not been easy for Suki (nor for the person with whom she lives!) this past week.  

On Monday morning, she suddenly refused to eat any of her vet-prescribed, wet food.  I have been aware for some time that she really didn't like it all that much, but, at least, she has been willing to eat it -- until this week.  

I wasted 4 (very expensive) cans of this food before I finally gave up. For the next four days, she only ate the vet-prescribed, dry food, grudgingly, complaining morning, noon and night about not having the food she wanted.  I felt that she was waiting to see if finally, in desperation, I would go out and get her some cans of Fancy Feast Turkey with Gravy!  

Then, on Thursday evening, as I was preparing for bed, I suddenly had an idea.  "Why not stop off at the pet food store close to my house on my way home from the doctor's visit on Friday morning?" So, there and then I decided to get the taxi driver to simply drop me off on the corner near my building, just across the street from the store, I wanted to see if the folks who run the store could help me help Suki.

So, on Friday morning, after I had seen the doctor (it was just a follow-up visit), I arranged things as described above.  Fortunately, when I entered the store there were just a few other customers and so I was able to get a nice young woman to assist me right away.  I described the type of food Suki needed, showed her one of the cans of the food prescribed by the vet and, then, asked her if she had any suggestions.  She proceeded to show me various possibilities, all of which I rejected. Finally, she brought down a case off one of the top shelves which I thought just might work.

After buying a case (that is the only way they sell stuff) and packing it securely in my walker basket, I set off for home with much fear and trembling.  By the time I reached my front door, it was just about 12 noon and there was Suki waiting for me.  She began immediately to try to shepherd me into the kitchen.  I allowed myself to be "shepherded" (which seemed to please Suki greatly) and quickly set about preparing a small dish of this new food.

I placed the bowl on the floor and watched in amazement as Suki gobbled up every last bite.  She then drank a bit of water, gave one of those full-body stretches expressing absolute contentment that cats are so famous for and then, after jumping into her favourite chair, set about giving herself a thorough bath.

There have been six more feeding times since that first one and, so far, she continues to appear to really enjoy this new food.  I know how fickle cats can be so I am just keeping my fingers crossed that this will turn out to be a food that Suki continues to like for years -- just like she did with the Fancy Feast.

As for me, I had quite an exciting outing on July 15th: I had a visit with Braden and Ro and their parents!  You may recall that we had to cancel the visit we had planned for sometime back in May. Then on Tuesday, the 11th, I received an email from the boys' father saying that Saturday morning would be fine for a visit if I was able to make it. I immediately wrote back and said that I was definitely available (even if I had had an appointment, I would have cancelled it in order to visit with the family and see the boys).

So early Saturday morning, I set off in a taxi to take the 40 minute drive to their house where we had a wonderful visit.  I stayed until around noon and then set off, by taxi once again, for Toronto.  This time the normally 40 minute drive took almost two hours!  First of all, there was a big accident on the other side of the highway -- which meant, of course, that all the folks in the four lanes on our side had to slow down and take a look!  

Then, there was the fact that the Toronto Indy was going strong at the CNE grounds that weekend (I could hear the roar of the cars underneath us as we travelled the major "overpass" highway across the bottom of the city). This meant that large portions of the 4-lane major artery along the lake shore was closed off and made into part of the speedway.  In turn, this meant that all those cars that would normally be travelling from one part of the downtown to another using local access streets now had to use the major highway on which the taxi driver and I were travelling.

Fortunately, I had a very pleasant driver so we were able to chat during the times traffic slowed to a crawl.  Finally, I reached my home where I found a very concerned kitty waiting for me by my front door -- after all, I was almost two hours late in feeding her! After taking care of Suki and changing into my house clothes, I collapsed into my recliner where I stayed until supper time. Yes, I was tired and in pain, but I had had a wonderful visit so that made any discomfort easy to take.

Big brother "reading" to younger brother -- one of those
precious quiet moments that parents of young children value so highly!

These next two weeks (before I post again) should be fairly quiet. I have no appointments scheduled and there are no visits planned with anyone -- even my friend, Sharon, has gone off to visit family for a week or so.  Of course, as we all know, just because nothing is planned doesn't mean that interesting things won't occur.  However, these are now the dog days of summer which are, in my opinion, meant to be "hazy, lazy days" (as the song says) -- so an empty appointment book for this time of year is not a bad thing!

Writing the above paragraph made me stop and think about the meaning behind the expression "dog days of summer".  So, I went and checked the details, for accuracy, online.  Here is what one web site says: 
The "dog days of summer" actually refers to an astronomical event. From mid-July to late-August, the star, Sirius, the Dog Star, Canis major, in the Orion constellation (which is represented by a dog in ancient Greek and Roman mythology) appears to rise and set with the sun. As the brightest star in the night sky, Sirius was already associated with light and heat. Its perceived proximity to the sun during the summertime only added to this reputation. 

So, keep cool.  
Hope the next two weeks are full of good things for you all.


Sunday, 9 July 2017

Two Kalanchoe Repeats and a Primula

"Kalanchoe blossfeldiana -- Flaming Katy",  drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017

From my blog posting of 05 October 2010:

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana is a member of the family, Crassulaceae. The plants in the genus, Kalanchoe, are succulents of the same family as the Jade plant. Common names for this plant include Flaming Katy and Christmas Kalanchoe The Christmas name refers to the fact that Kalanchoe blossfeldiana is often purchased at Christmastime – particularly, the variety which has bright, reddish/orange blossoms such as those in the featured drawing above. 

These plants are native to Madagascar. They produce clusters of small flowers above dark green, waxy leaves. The flowers of four petals each are found in many colours including red, white, orange, yellow and pink. Parts of Kalanchoe blossfeldiana are poisonous if ingested. 

The generic name of Kalanchoe allegedly originated "from the Chinese name for one variety of this species." The specific name of blossfeldiana is derived from the name of the German botanist (Robert Blossfeld) who introduced this species to the West in 1932.

"Kalanchoe (Bryophyllum) manginii - Beach Bells", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017

Kalanchoe (Bryophyllum) manginii is a species of flowering plant in the family, Crassulaceae, native to Madagascar. It is commonly known as Beach Bells or Chandelier Plant. 

As regards this plant’s binomial nomenclature, there are two camps – one using Kalanchoe manginii while the other uses Bryophyllum manginii. The generic name of Kalanchoe allegedly originated "from the Chinese name for one variety of this species." The generic name of Bryophyllum is derived from the Greek bryo (sprout) and phyllon (leaf), referring to the ability of the plant to propagate via leaf cuttings. The specific name of manginii, is used to honour Louis Mangin (1852-1937), professor at the Natural History Museum of Paris. 

Kalanchoe manginii is a succulent perennial, it has branches of fleshy, narrow, spoon-shaped leaves paired along wiry red-tinged stems. Small clusters of bright pinkish-red, bell-shaped flowers with protruding yellow anthers dangle from the stem tips in spring.

"Primula japonica - Japanese Primrose", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017

Primula japonica, commonly known as Japanese Primrose or Candelabra Primrose, is a species of flowering plant in the family, Primulaceae, and is native to Japan. 

Primula japonica produces whorls of blossoms, suggestive of candelabras, emerging from rosettes of dark green leaves. This species, and its cultivars, features flowers in a range of shades, from white through pink, to purple. 

The genus name of Primula is taken from the Latin word “prime”, meaning first (blooming). The specific name of japonica, means, obviously, something of or from the country of Japan.

Portions of the above three texts were taken from various Internet sites.


I recently received a bunch of wonderful new photos of the boys taken, mainly, I think, by their mother.  She has taken many excellent photos, but one from this recent batch, to me, seemed outstanding in its simplicity and beauty.  

“ Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero.” – Marc Brown.
Brothers walking down the road of life, hand in hand.



"Why are you bothering me?  Can't you see that I am
engaged in very important work here?"
-- Suki
Poor Suki!  She, once again, had to suffer the indignity of attending the vet and having blood taken. Since she had been fasting from the night before, I was grateful that I was able to get her an early morning appointment.

The vet's first attempt to take blood from the large vein in her left leg was unsuccessful so she tried the same vein in her right leg and this time she was successful. Ever-patient Suki was very concerned about the pressure bandage that the vet put on her left leg to stop the bleeding. Fortunately, it was taken off after a few minutes as Suki was in danger of tipping herself off the examination table as she tried, unsuccessfully, to dislodge the pressure wrapping from her leg.

Finally, all was completed and, with Joycelyn's assistance, I managed to return home with a reasonably-subdued kitty, 2 cases of her special low-calcium wet food and a big bag of her low-calcium "crunchies".  Fortunately, we had a very helpful taxi driver who assisted us in get everything into the lobby of my building.

As soon as we reached my apartment, I opened the carrying case so that Suki could be free again.  She was out in an instant and then begin to meow, loudly telling me how hungry she was. So, I left everything else and set about feeding her as she had been fasting for well over fifteen hours prior by this time.  

Suki was delighted to see food again and ate greedily until I finally took the bowl away from her and suggested she digest what she had eaten before having any more food.  She must have already eaten her fill as she promptly left the kitchen, jumped into her favourite chair, gave herself a good bath -- especially where the vet had been working on her and then settled down for a long nap before lunch time! 

Now I will have to wait for at least a week before the lab results are in as these samples, once again, have to be sent to a special lab somewhere.  I hope everyone is still keeping their fingers crossed that the results will be good news.

As for me, I continue to be about the same as last reported.  I did have a few very painful days last week, but the pain was the price I paid for giving into my desire to see a certain exhibit at the Ontario Art Gallery.

The AGO has been hosting an exhibition of the works of the painter, Georgia O'Keefe, along with photos by some of the important photographers in her life, including:  Alfred Stieglitz (whom she eventually married), Paul Strand and Edward Steichen. I have admired O'Keefe's work for years now and it was quite wonderful see her actual canvases along with the photos taken of her by various well-known photographers.

Of course, after all the walking, including standing and looking at all those paintings for over two hours, my feet and legs felt as though they were on fire.  So for the next 48 hours or so, I was most uncomfortable and even with my pain meds, barely able to distract myself or sleep at all.  

I knew that the price I would have to pay for attending the exhibit was going to be a period of discomfort, but I didn't realize that it would last for so long! Anyway, I am better now and well aware that the next time I want to do something like this then I will just have to set my pride aside and rent a wheelchair for the occasion. 

I did have a very pleasant Canada Day on the July 1st (below, please see the drawing I posted on Facebook for Canada Day). Hope all my Canadian readers had a good holiday as well, including my American readers on the 4th.  While it is good to be proud of our countries and to remember all the fine people who have gone before us and whose sacrifices brought our nation into existence, I feel we all need to be careful these days to avoid nationalist fervour and jingoistic thinking.  

Most of us in North America are all immigrants of one kind or another -- other than the Indigenous peoples, of course. Newly arrived immigrants have as much right to be here as we do and, if we are really honest about it, we know that our countries need new people with new ways of thinking and new approaches to creating a better life for everyone.  I also think it is good to remember as we celebrate that many of our ancestors were crooks, scoundrels and such like -- some were even illegal immigrants.  Yet, look how positively many of our family members, over the generations, have contributed to our various countries and cultures.

Enough preaching -- I do get carried away at times, don't I.... 

Anyway, until I post again in two weeks time, things should be fairly quiet for me and Suki (unless we get bad news from the vet, that is).  I do have a few more medical appointments scheduled but they are all just follow-up appointments.  Additionally, I am hoping to hear soon about when I can next visit my two favourite little boys and their parents. 

So, until next time, take care and remember to keep your fingers crossed that there will be good news for Suki!

"Indigenous Dancer", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, rev. 2017