Sunday, 22 July 2018

Yellow Bauhinia

"Bauhinia tomentosa - Yellow Bauhinia" drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2018 rev.

The last time I posted an image of Yellow Bauhinia was back in July of 2013.  The drawing above, however, is a reworking of these lovely blossoms with elements from two different drawings completed in 2012 and 2013.  This drawing, by the way, is the last of the yellow/white images.  The flower drawings with which I will end my blog postings will be orange or blue. 


17 July 2013 posting on salliesART (edited): 

Bauhinia tomentosa, family Fabaceae, is a large shrub found mainly in Southern Africa, particularly in an area once known as Zulu Land in what is now South Africa. It is also native to Mozambique, Zimbabwe and tropical Africa and as far east as India and Sri Lanka. Its common name in English is Yellow Bauhinia. In Zulu it is called IsiThibathibana

Yellow Bauhinia is found growing in woodlands, river-bank bush and coastal-dune bush. This medium to large shrub with its attractive light green two-lobed leaves produces beautiful yellow flowers with black to maroon coloured centres during the summer months from December to March. The fruit are pea like, slender and velvety and are produced from February to June or even later.  

Not much is known about the specific medicinal or cultural uses of Bauhinia tomentosa although it is said to be used widely medicinally. Since three other species of Bauhinia are also used medicinally for everything from coughs, convulsions and constipation to pneumonia and venereal diseases, it is assumed that this species has been used for similar remedies. 

The flowers from this shrub, rich in pollen and nectar, attract various insects such as butterflies and bees. In turn these insects will attract insect-eating birds. Birds and the larvae of certain moth species feed on the flowers. This is also a host plant for many butterfly species, with the larvae feeding on the leaves. 

The genus name, Bauhinia, honours herbalist brothers from the 16th century, Johann and Caspar Bauhin. They were identical twin brothers, making it a very apt name as the two lobes of the leaves, when folded together, are identical. The species name, tomentosa, comes from the Latin and means “hairy” and refers to the velvety but hairy seed pods this plant produces. 

Much of the above information was taken from the South African National Biodiversity Institute's plant information website



I had a wonderful visit with the boys and their parents back on the 8th of July.  Here is a photo which shows the boys holding up some of the new books I brought for them to add to their ever-growing library.  In my opinion, encouraging children to develop a love of books is one of the greatest gifts we adults can give.

Three of the five new books from "Baka" Sallie



Suki settling down for her morning nap

Poor Suki -- for some reason she still appears not to have fully recovered from her dental surgery ordeal.  No, there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with her mouth.  It looks as though it is healing properly.  However, she is continuing to sleep for longer periods than she did previously and she is definitely eating much less than usual.

I have heard that cats and dogs can take a long time to recover from being given anesthesia during surgical procedures.  So, perhaps, all that is going on with her is a slow process of recovery from the unpleasant experience of being operated on and anesthetized.

I plan to observe her carefully for another week and if she hasn't started to return to her more normal sleeping and eating patterns by July 30th, I will make another appointment with the vet for a post-operative check-up.

Poor kitty -- I doubt that she will appreciate a return visit to the vet this soon after the previous one! 


As for me, I continue to manage as well as can be expected.  Thankfully, there have been no big changes in any of my physical problems. Even the expected deterioration of my spinal cord is progressing at a slow, steady rate.

We continue to have higher than normal temperatures so I spend almost all my time indoors, in my lovely air-conditioned apartment, reading my e-books.  I did have a medical appointment this past Tuesday; however, I took a taxis there and back thus spending very little time outdoors.

I was supposed to have a visit from a dear friend this past Thursday; however, early on the morning of his planned visit, he learned that there had been a serious power outage nearby which affected all the elevators in his building.  Since he lives on the 37th floor and walks with a cane, it was seemed imprudent for him to attempt to leave his building!  Now, we are hoping that his re-scheduled visit for this next Thursday will occur without any such incidents.

I do have an appointment with my ophthalmologist this coming Tuesday.  She has me seeing her every three months now.  Even though I always have to wait an hour and a half to two hours to see her, it is worth the wait so long as she is able to continue to keep me from losing my visual acuity which enables me to read my precious books.

My next posting will be August 5th.  Between now and then, I hope that all of you will enjoy good health, good times and good weather.  



Sunday, 8 July 2018

Plumeria rubra

"Plumeria rubra x Celandine" drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2018 rev.

Today's offering has a little yellow and lots of white.  This is a re-worked drawing from many years ago -- October, 2009, to be exact.  When I looked at that 2009 drawing in my archives, I thought, immediately, "this could be done better and more accurately".  So, here is Plumeria rubra x Celandine in a new drawing and with a lot more information about Plumeria rubra itself.

This plant is, of course, a cultivar of the well-known Plumeria rubra.  I say "well-known" because Plumeria rubra is the flower most commonly used in the making of Hawaiian leis -- those things so often draped around the necks of tourists as they arrive in Hawaii.

Plumeria rubra 
(photo from Garden Souq catalogue)
Plumeria rubra is a deciduous plant species. Originally native to Mexico, Central America, Colombia and Venezuela, it has been widely cultivated in subtropical and tropical climates worldwide and is a popular garden and park plant, as well as being used in temples and cemeteries. It grows as a spreading tree to 7–8 m (23–26 ft) high and wide, and is flushed with fragrant flowers of shades of pink, white and yellow over the summer and autumn. Its common names include frangipani, red frangipani, common frangipani or simply, plumeria. 

Plumeria rubra was one of the many species first described by the father of taxonomy Carl Linnaeus, and appeared in the 1753 edition of Species Plantarum. The genus name of Plumeria comes from the surname of Charles Plumier, an 18th century French monk, botanist and illustrator. The specific epithet, rubra, is derived from the Latin ruber meaning "red". 

The common name “frangipani” comes from an Italian noble family, a sixteenth-century marquess of which invented a plumeria-scented perfume. 

Here is an edited version of what I posted back in October, 2009:

Just as I promised, here is another Plumeria. Remember what I said a couple of postings ago? Well, in case you have forgotten, I said: I am not finished with my efforts to draw a more life-like depiction" or something like that! Anyway, I will just repeat what I said about the plant's origin below.
Plumerias (Frangipani) are also known as Lei flowers and are native to warm, tropical areas of Mexico and Central America. They are now “naturalized” in the Pacific Islands, the Caribbean and some southernmost parts of Florida. They grow into large shrubs or even small trees.
Their family is Apocynaceae. Their genus is Plumeria. The species name is rubra. The cultivar (or particular variety) is Celandine. So I am calling this drawing "Plumeria rubra Celandine". I really like these flowers and their big leaves, so expect to see more drawings of them as I attempt to capture their elegant nature.

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


Someone had a birthday recently and here are a couple of photos to prove it!

How old are you?

Brothers together at the birthday party (fingers show peace sign not age!)



Suki getting ready to settle down for a nap
There is only one reason why I don't like living this far north and that is the fact that daylight occurs around 5 a.m. this time of year.  Since I am normally asleep at that time, this would make no difference except that Suki, who is generally an excellent timekeeper, now thinks that she is supposed to be fed because full daylight has arrived by 5:30.  How do you explain to a cat that just because it looks the same as 6 a.m. that it really isn't time yet for breakfast?  

Every morning now we go through the same battle.  Suki awakens me with her usual methods (see previous postings if you have forgotten what those are).  I check the clock and see that it is only 5:15 or 5:20.  I tell Suki that she is going to have to wait until 6 a.m. before I am willing to get up.  I quickly go back to sleep.  Suki continues her efforts to get me up and out of bed.  I wake up again and scold her and ask her to be a bit patient.  I manage to fall sleep again.  Suki awakens me once more.  By now it is almost 6 a.m. and so I give in and get up -- grumbling all the while.  I really am looking forward to the days getting shorter in September so that Suki can get this time business straightened out again -- and I can sleep, undisturbed, until 6 a.m.!

Of course, the worst part of this whole sleeping business is that after I have fed her, Suki goes and has a long nap.  I, on the other hand, dare not allow myself to nap during the day because, if I do, I know that I will have difficulty getting to sleep at bedtime.  It is just one more evidence of how unfair life can be.


Seriously, in spite of my good-natured grumbling and Suki's antics, I continue to do as well as can be expected -- considering my age and medical history.

In fact, today, after a number of postponements, I am finally going to go and see the boys and their parents.  My chauffeuring friend has graciously agreed to drive me there and back.  She will be collecting me for the trip around 8 a.m.  The plan is to get out to the boys' home early, visit, enjoy a delicious brunch, visit a bit more and then return to the city before the day gets too terribly hot.

Like many folks in eastern North America, we have been experiencing a severe heat wave here in Canada since last weekend.  There was a big thunder/wind storm this past Thursday night and things have cooled off just a little, but the afternoon highs are still hotter than usual for us here in southern Ontario.  So, like I learned to do while growing up in the U. S. south, I try to arrange things so that all my outdoor activities take place in the cooler part of the day.

As I indicated in my previous posting, my blog should continue with new (and/or revised) drawings and new content until some time in September.  I am still making the effort to work on some new drawings occasionally, but for the most part, I find that the best I can do is revise older ones.  How much longer salliesART continues really depends on how quickly my hands become totally uncooperative! 

Anyway, I do want to wish each of you the very best during the next two weeks -- I will be posting again on 22 July.  Try to stay cool, healthy and safe.



Sunday, 24 June 2018

Gloriosa greenii - Glory Lily

"Gloriosa superba x greenii - Glory Lily" drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2018 rev.

Well, today's offering is completely yellow without a bit of blue or white so it definitely fits within my yellow/white phase.  However, I must confess, it is also a reworked drawing from a few years ago.  With this revised effort, however, I worked carefully to get all parts of the flowers and leaves drawn correctly.  I do hope that you will find the results pleasing.


Gloriosa superba, as you may recall from previous postings, normally refers to the the strikingly lovely Flame Lily (see my drawing below).  Gloriosa superba x greenii is, obviously, an all-yellow cultivar of Gloriosa superba.

"Gloriosa superba - Flame Lily" drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017 rev.

The genus, Gloriosa, includes a group of 12 species in the plant family Colchicaceae. Interestingly, all parts of the plant contain colchicine and related alkaloids and are therefore dangerously toxic if ingested. As well, contact with the stems and leaves can cause skin irritation. Still, various preparations of the plant have been used in traditional medicines for a variety of complaints in both Africa and India. Gloriosa is native to much of Asia and Africa.

Turk's Cap Lily (Lilium superbum
The various species of Gloriosa are perennials that climb or scramble over other plants with the aid of tendrils at the ends of their leaves and can reach 3 meters in height. They have showy flowers, many with distinctive and pronouncedly-reflexed petals, like a Turk’s cap lily (see image), ranging in colour from a greenish-yellow through yellow, orange, red and sometimes even a deep pinkish-red.

Gloriosa superba x greenii is a summer climber growing up to 1.5 m (5 ft.) tall, with tuberous roots. When the tuberous roots sprout in spring, each tuber sends up 1 to 6 stems. The stems die back in late summer and the tubers are dormant during winter. 

The showy flowers are an exotic yellow-green and are borne on long pedicels on the upper parts of the stems. The flowers consist of six, reflexed, yellow petals. The leaves are bright green and many are tipped with a tendril which will cling to anything it touches. 

The genus name of Gloriosa is Latin meaning “glorious”. The species name of superba is Latin for “swelling with pride”. The cultivar is named for Dave Green, 21st century farmer and amateur botanist in the Estcourt region of South Africa.

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


While giving herself an after-lunch wash,
Suki suddenly stops licking when she hears a 

"suspicious" noise outside her front door!

Once again, the past two weeks have Suki's stamp of approval: all her meals were on time, her box was carefully cleaned and freshened as soon as she used it, no "monsters" invaded her living space and there were no visits to the dreaded vet!  

Except for occasional noises from the hallway or outside, there was absolutely nothing to disturb "Her Royal Highness".  Talk about the good life, Suki is certainly living it.  

Now that you know that Suki is fine, I think I had really better let you, my readers, know about my plans to end my blog postings sometime in the near future.

I have thought about this a great deal over the past few months as I have tried to continue doing new drawings for future postings.  Sadly, my hands continue to fail to co-operate with such efforts. So, since I am unable to draw anything new, I am left with no other option than to re-work and improve older drawings which, as you can imagine, leaves me rather depressed and very dissatisfied.  

salliesART blog was established in 2007 so that I could share my creative attempts as I taught myself to draw using a computer mouse and some simple drawing software.  My thinking was that if I committed myself to posting such creative efforts on a regular basis then I wouldn't give up so easily when the process became more difficult and even tedious.  Obviously, this approach worked well as I have been posting items on a fairly regular basis for almost 11 years now. 

Age-related arthritis is the biggest problem with my digits; however, recently I have also been experiencing some severe cramping whenever I attempt to hold onto the mouse for more than a few seconds.  This means that every time I start trying to draw something, such as a flower petal, I have to keep stopping and deleting what I have done.  If I try to push myself through the pain and keep drawing anyway, I still end up having to delete whatever I have drawn since my ovals, circles, etc. end up looking more like jagged dragon's teeth than anything to do with Nature's flowers!

I do have some drawings remaining which I would like to share with you over the next few months --  a couple of new ones I managed to do before the pain and cramping got too bad plus a couple of reworked ones.  So, I won't be closing the blog down immediately; however, I did want to prepare you, my very kind followers, for this eventuality.  Along with no longer producing any creative efforts, I will also particularly miss sharing my stories about Suki.  Perhaps I should start a new blog entitled "Suki's Story".  In her opinion, I am sure that she would think that such a topic was much more important than my amateurish attempts at being an artist!  

Anyway, I'm not gone just yet, so, let me tell me about how the past two weeks have been for me.

They have been extremely peaceful since I haven't had any medical appointments or any planned trips.  Very enjoyably, I have been able to devote a lot of time to reading.  Some weeks ago, after reading a fascinating book, "Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe" by Kapka Kassabova, I found myself developing a new interest in the whole of idea of borders -- especially all those arbitrary ones established over the past 100 years in "middle" Europe.  While the books on this topic I have read since have been very enlightening, they have also been rather depressing as I am confronted over and over again with "man's inhumanity to man".

Fortunately, I have given myself some relief from such heavy subjects by checking out numerous "streaming videos" from the Toronto Public Library collections.  Many of these are fascinating documentaries and tend to be more uplifting than accounts of atrocities in middle Europe and the near east under kings, Nazis, Soviets and nationalistic leaders of all stripes!

Meanwhile, since certain major holidays will occur in Canada and the U.S. before my next posting, let me wish all of my Canadian "family" a wonderful Canada Day on July 1st.  As well, let me wish my U.S. family and friends a glorious Independence Day on July 4th.  We have so much that is good in both our countries.  I hope that we will be able to find a way to continue to accentuate that goodness and, without denying that it exists, find ways to put all that is negative and destructive behind us.  

So many of us in North America have never, personally, known the terror of war with its bombings, severe poverty leading to starvation, the desperation of being refugees or the annihilation of our families and friends due to genocide (although there are groups within our countries who have, particularly indigenous North Americans).  Let those of us who have been so blessed remember, with gratitude, how fortunate we have been as we celebrate these important national holidays.  And let us also reaffirm our commitment to redress, as far as possible, the terrible wrongs that have occurred (and are still occurring) in both our great nations. 

I wish each of you much joy in the days ahead.



Sunday, 10 June 2018

Convolvulus Tricolour

"Convolvulus Tricolour - Dwarf Morning Glory" drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2018 rev.

I must confess that I am cheating just a bit with today's featured drawing.  As you know, I am supposed to be featuring drawings of yellow/white flowers exclusively at the present time; however, as is evident above, there's a lot more blue in these flowers than yellow and/or white.  Hopefully, you will forgive the large amount of blue in these lovely flowers and enjoy the drawing anyway.


Convolvulus is a genus of about 200 species of flowering plants in the bindweed family, Convolvulaceae. Common names include bindweed and morning glory, both names shared with other closely related genera. They are annual or perennial vines as well as a few species of woody shrubs. The leaves are spirally arranged, and the flowers trumpet-shaped, mostly white or pink, but blue, violet, purple or yellow are present in some species. 

Many of the species of Convolvulus are problematic weeds, which can swamp other more valuable plants by climbing over them, but some are also deliberately grown for their attractive flowers. Those of you who possess my 2018 Flower Calendar will note the similarities between the flower featured for the month of June (Convolvulus arvensis or Field Bindweed) and today's drawing.

Convolvulus tricolour, commonly known as dwarf morning glory is a member of the bindweed family. It is commonly called dwarf morning glory because of the similarity of its tri-colored flowers to those of the morning glory (Ipomoea tricolor). C. tricolour is a plant with solitary long-stalked flowers. The flower is a tricoloured, funnel-shaped bloom about three centimeters wide, blue with a white and a yellow centre. The leaves are rather small, dark green, narrow and pointed. 

Concolculus tricolour is commonly found on cultivated land, dry open habitats, sandy places and roadsides and is native to the Mediterranean Basin. In Spain it can be found growing profusely in the area of Costa del Sol. It has become a popular garden plant in any area that provides summer soil warmed to at least 18 to 20 degrees Celsius. 

The genus name, Convolvulus, comes from the Latin word convolvo, convolvere, meaning to twine around. The specific epithet, tricolour, obviously refers to the three-colours of these flowers: white, yellow and blue. 

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


The last weekend of May (Memorial Day Weekend for those in the U.S.) saw the boys and their parents (along with family members and friends) participating in a Cystic Fibrosis Walkathon.  Their group, known as Rònàn's Warriors, raised $2,700 for supportive care and research.  Congratulations to them all!

The brothers standing in front of Rònàn's marker at the
Cystic Fibrosis Walkathon, 2018



Well, at least she said "please"!

The past two weeks have provided Suki with a fortnight of rest and relaxation.  Her meals have been served on time, her sand box has been cleaned soon after each use and there have been no "monsters" preventing her from getting her preferred 16 or so hours of sleep each day!

I am glad that Suki has had this period of R and R as she will soon be having to make another trip to the vet.  On our last visit to the cat hospital, the vet discovered that Suki has another bad tooth which is causing her a bit pain and is in danger of becoming infected.  Obviously, the tooth needs to be removed which means that Suki will have to be sedated.  Unfortunately for her, being sedated requires an overnight stay at the veterinary clinic.  

Poor Suki.  As you may recall from my comments in this column several years ago when Suki had another tooth removed, she would barely deign to "speak" to me when I brought her home after her overnight stay in the vet's recovery room.  It took several days of  solicitous behaviour on my part before she returned to her normal, aloof self.

As for when this tooth extraction might occur, I am currently considering some date in mid-July.  I will certainly keep you informed.


 As for me, I have only had one bit of excitement over the past two weeks and that was the visit with my dear friend whom I had not seen for about six months.  Thanks to the chauffeuring assistance of another dear friend, we were able to meet, have lunch together and catch up on a lot of news and gossip.

You may recall my mentioning the plan to visit "the boys" as well; however, unfortunately, this visit had to be called off due to various family problems.  We are now hoping to reschedule the visit for sometime near the end of June.  

Otherwise, the past two weeks have been very quiet ones for me as well as Suki.  I have spent a lot of time reading books, as usual, and occasionally watching re-runs of British TV mystery series.  Sadly, my time of no medical appointments is about to end with upcoming appointments with my family doctor, the dentist and the ophthalmologist.

Before I post again, North America will be celebrating Fathers Day (next Sunday) and the northern hemisphere will be experiencing the Summer Solstice on the 21st of June.  So, Happy Fathers Day to all those fathers who read this blog and Happy Summer Solstice to all of us in the northern hemisphere.  May each and every one of us experience much joy and contentment in the days ahead.


Sunday, 27 May 2018

Yucca glauca

"Yucca glauca - Soapweed Yucca," drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2018

This first offering of my "yellow/white phase" is more white than yellow although the Soapweed Yucca flowers do have a yellowish tinge.  This is a plant I remember fondly from the days when I had the good fortune many years ago to live in the beautifully, scenic State of New Mexico. 

Yucca glauca is a species of perennial evergreen plant adapted to dry growth conditions. It is commonly known as soapweed, soapweed yucca and Spanish bayonet. It is a member of the family, Asparagaceae. Yucca glauca is native to central North America. It can be found growing from the Canadian prairie Provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan in Canada, south through the Great Plains to the States of Texas and New Mexico in the U.S. 

Soapweed Yucca produces large sprays of sword-shaped leaves that grow densely in whorls from the ground. The flower head is usually large, often exceeding 3 feet in height and 2 feet in width and consists of a single upright stem with radiating clusters of creamy white or pale yellow blooms, sometimes tinged with purple. Each blossom is around 2 inches long and tulip-shaped with six pointed, downward-facing petals with only the occasional blossom  opening fully and showing its face. 

Soapweed yucca was a traditional Native American medical plant. Among the Zuni people, the seed pods were boiled and used for food. Leaves were made into brushes and used for decorating pottery, ceremonial masks, altars and other objects. Leaves were also soaked in water to soften them and made into rope by knotting them together. Dried leaves were split, plaited and made into water-carrying head pads. Leaves were also used for making mats, cincture pads and other articles. The peeled roots were pounded, made into suds and used for washing the head, wool garments and blankets.  Some of these practices are still in use today.  

In 1927, the legislature of New Mexico adopted the choice of the state's schoolchildren, who selected the yucca flower as the official state flower. Yucca is prolific in New Mexico and, while no species was specifically named, it is accepted that the official flower is either Yucca elata (see photo below)

Yucca elata

or Yucca glauca. The early Spanish invaders, who took note of the large and impressive flower heads, called them "Lamparas de Dios" or "the Lamps of God" rather than trying to learn one of the Native names for this plant. 

Yuccas and yucca moths are the classic example of a plant and animal obligate symbiotic relationship where each organism requires the other to survive. Yucca moths are the only insects that can successfully pollinate yucca flowers and the developing yucca fruits are the only larval food source for yucca moths. 

The genus name, Yucca, was mistakenly derived from the name for a totally different plant. Early reports of the North American species were confused with the cassava (Manihot esculenta) plant found in the Caribbean. Consequently, Linnaeus mistakenly derived the generic name from the Taíno word for the latter, yuca (spelled with a single "c"). The specific name, glauca, comes from the Latin and means “greenish-grey” in colour – perhaps referring to the colour of the sharply-pointed leaves of this plant. 

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


These two have been busy as usual including trips to the local park and to Ripley's Aquarium in downtown Toronto.  Below are the photos that prove it!

Tunnelling at the Park

Sliding at the Park

On the train into Toronto

Wow!  As Little Red Riding Hood said:  "What big teeth you have grandma!"

Brothers marvelling at all the fish



Suki expresses uncertainty over whether she should
be wearing a red ribbon ... "Perhaps," she thinks, "it would
be more fun to tear it off and chew on it!"
Poor Suki has had a bit of a rough time since my last posting. Her prescription pain medication became a problem. Let me explain. 

As occurred the previous time she was on this particular pain medication, after about 10 to 12 weeks, she started having periods of vomiting until finally being unable to keep any food down at all.

So, after 24 hours of watching Suki vomit every bit of food she tried to eat, I made the decision to stop giving her the pain medication.  Within 12 hours, Suki was again eating normally and keeping it all down.

This all occurred last weekend (our long weekend here in Canada) so I wasn't able to talk with the vet until Tuesday.  After explaining things to her, she agreed that I had done the right thing and that I should, for now, not try to give her any more pain meds.  

The vet did suggest that if Suki's pain becomes too problematic in the near future, I might try giving her a much lower dose of the medication. I'm not really sure that I want to try that; however, I will just wait and see just how much loss of mobility occurs due to Suki's ongoing issues with pain due to arthritis. 

Since being off the pain meds, Suki appears to be managing fairly well although I am very careful not to touch areas such as the base of her spine or the hip joints.  She is still able, after thinking about it for 30 seconds or so, to jump up onto her favourite chair. As always, she continues to enjoy having me scratch around her ears, her jaw and her chin.

As for me, I continue to be about the same -- "structurally disabled but internally sound" as my family doctor puts it.

Over the past months, I have been trying to bring my use of pain medications down as much as possible.  As a result, I am now taking far fewer pills each day and still managing reasonably well.  Unfortunately, over the past week, I have again started being awakened by pain in my feet and legs at night which means that I might need to return to taking just a bit more of the pain medication prescribed for me.  I plan to contact my doctor tomorrow and see what she recommends. 

Leaving the unpleasant subject of pain management aside (both for Suki and myself), let me tell you a bit about the two trips I have planned over the next seven days.

On Wednesday, I will be chauffeured by a dear friend to a home just outside the Greater Toronto Area where we will collect another dear friend of mine -- a friend whom I haven't seen for at least six months due to the difficulties we both now have with travelling.  Once the pickup is completed, the three of us will drive to a nearby shopping mall where we can sit and visit over coffees and a light lunch for a couple of hours.  By that time, I will have reached my limit for visiting and my dear, chauffeuring friend will drive me back home (thankfully, my friend lives in the City of Toronto as well so she doesn't have far to go after dropping me off).

Next Sunday, this same, dear friend will chauffeur me to the home of my precious boys and their very special parents.  Once there, I will get to visit with the children until time for brunch at which point I will finally get to visit with the parents (they settle the children down with their food and a good video so that the adults have a bit of time to talk among themselves!).  After about two and half hours (my absolute visiting limit), my wonderful chauffeur will drive me back to my home in Toronto.

You can easily see how fortunate I am to have such wonderful friends in my life.  Perhaps, during these visits, someone in the group will take some photos on their phones and send them to me so that I can use them in my next posting.  The problem is that once we all start talking, no one seems to remember to take any photos.  I might try tying Suki's red ribbon around my wrist as a reminder -- that is, if she will allow me to borrow it!

This posting occurs in the middle of the U.S. Memorial Day long weekend and I hope that all my American family and friends are safely enjoying their holiday.  As you know, we celebrated our long weekend in Canada last weekend.  Now there won't be another long weekend until July.

Meanwhile, I hope you are all doing well, staying safe and enjoying our summer weather.  I particularly hope that my family and friends in Florida and Alabama stay safe during whatever Hurricane Alberto throws at them over the next few days! 



Sunday, 13 May 2018


"Helenium x Rubinzwerg - Sneezeweed", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2018

Today's posting will be the final one of my "red phase" drawings.  My next posting, on May 27th, will feature the first of my "yellow/white phase".


Helenium x Rubinzwerg, commonly known as Sneezeweed is native to North and Central America. This well-known hybrid is a member of the family, Asteraceae.  

Sneezeweed is a clump-forming perennial which produces large, red, daisy-like flowers with central, intricate yellow/brown balls. Rubinzwerg Sneezeweed will grow to be about 28 inches tall at maturity with a flower spread of about 24 inches. The upright stems have slender, slightly-toothed leaves of medium green. The flowers are particularly attractive to butterflies and bees during the summer months. 

Most Heleniums are hybrids of Helenium autumnale (Common Sneezeweed) or Helenium bigelovii (Bigelow’s Sneezeweed). All Helenium are commonly known as Sneezeweed due to the ancient use of their dried leaves in making a form of snuff, inhaled to help sneezing thereby, as was commonly believed at the time, ridding the body of evil spirits. 

The genus name, Helenium, is taken from the ancient legend which tells that the first Helenium flowers sprang from the ground, watered by the tears of Helen of Troy. I think that the cultivar identifier, Rubinzwerg, comes from the name of its German "creator"; however, I was unable to confirm this.

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


Suki Thinking about Her
Upcoming Appointment
with the Vet
Poor Suki has to go to the vet this coming week.  No, nothing new has occurred that requires her to receive urgent medical attention -- rather, it is time for more blood work.  The vet wants to check once again on the hypercalcemia and, as well, she wants to see how Suki's kidneys are handling the use of long-term pain medication.

On Thursday, Joycelyn and I will be taking a taxi from my place to the veterinary clinic with Suki in her carrying case.  Thankfully, Suki doesn't run and hide when she sees the case come out of the closet.  Rather, she seems to accept the inevitable, allowing me to put her in the case with little resistance.  She cries, pitifully, for a few moments and then settles down to await her fate.

The worst part of the whole ordeal will not be the trip to the vet nor the needle in her vein.  No, the very worst part will be the fact that she will have to be fasting from bedtime the night before until her 10 a.m. appointment.  I have taken Suki in for enough fasting blood work now to know just how much she suffers from not being able to have her breakfast -- and how much she will make me suffer as well for not providing breakfast as usual! 

Hopefully, we will have good news from the vet once the results of the tests are available. 

As for me, I am doing as well as possible.  Thankfully, no new medical problems have occurred nor have the chronic diseases I live with gotten appreciably worst during the past two weeks.

I have been trying to arrange another visit with the boys and their parents (you know who I mean from previous postings); however, trying to arrange a visit with a young, busy family is not easy.  After numerous attempts to find a date that suits us all, it now appears that a visit will take place on Sunday, June 3rd.  

Today is Mothers Day so let me wish all of you mothers who read this a very happy day.  Of course, most women are mothers of one kind or another whether they are mothering their own children or those of others.  As well, philosophically, women mother all sorts of creatures other than human children and, in some cases, even the earth itself.

Before I post again, we in Canada will be celebrating our long weekend in May (Monday, the 21st, is Victoria Day).  As well, my next posting will be on the Sunday in the middle of the long weekend in the U.S. (Memorial Day).  I hope all of you who are able to be out enjoying these holidays with family and friends will stay safe -- especially on the water and on the highways.  


Sunday, 29 April 2018

Canadian Columbine

"Aquilegia canadensis -- Canadian Columbine", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2018

Aquilegia canadensis, commonly known as Canadian or Canada columbine, is an perennial native to woodland and rocky slopes in eastern and mid-western North America (Canada and the US). In Canada, its range extends from Nova Scotia to Saskatchewan. 

Canadian Columbine produces drooping, bell-like, 1-2", red and yellow flowers with 5 distinctive red spurs, yellow-limbed petals and a mass of bushy yellow stamens. The round end of the spur contains nectar, which is sought by butterflies and hummingbirds. Aquilegia canadensis may grow to a height of 90 cm (35 in). The leaves are lobed and grouped in 3s, growing from the base and off the flowering stems. These are somewhat suggestive of the leaves of meadow rue. It readily hybridizes with other species in the genus Aquilegia

Indigenous North Americans used various parts of Canadian columbine in herbal remedies for ailments such as headache, sore throat, fever, rash caused by poison ivy, stomatitis, kidney/urinary problems and heart problems. Indigenous North American men also rubbed crushed seeds of these plants on their hands as a love charm. 

It should be noted, however, that Canadian columbine contains a cyanogenic glycoside, which releases poisonous hydrogen cyanide when the plant is damaged. Contact with the sap may irritate the skin. 

The genus name, Aquilegia, comes from the Latin word for eagle (aquila) in reference to the flower’s five spurs which purportedly resemble an eagle’s talon. The species epithet, canadensis, means of Canada.

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


A Very Sad Suki with images from Yonge Street Memorial in the background

Suki and I are both feeling very sad as this new week begins.  Tomorrow it will be one week since a young man, driving a rental van, drove into lunch time crowds along Toronto's famous Yonge Street and ended up killing 10 and injuring 16 (5 of whom remain in critical condition).  

So, I won't be trying to write any funny or newsy stories today in my usual way -- my heart just wouldn't be in it.

As we contemplate this and all the other similar tragedies going on in our world, let us try to be kinder, gentler and more forgiving of others.  Apparently, this young man who chose to kill and maim did so, mainly, because he blamed women (and successful men) for his unhappiness and sexual frustration.  

If only we humans were able to really understand that blaming others to the point of hatred and murder accomplishes nothing except our own self destruction.  Even if we don't go so far as to actually carry out our hateful and murderous fantasies, we are still left bitter and dysfunctional -- losing whatever chances we might have had for making our lives better.

This event also reminds me, once again, how important it is to always try to part each day from those we love with kind words and actions.  We simply cannot know, for certain, if we will ever meet again.

Be safe.