Friday, 28 October 2011

Helianthus maximillianii

Helianthus maximillianii, aka Maximillian Sunflower, drawn by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011

Helianthus maximiliani (also, H. maximilianii) is a species of sunflower known by the common name Maximilian sunflower and is a member of the Aster Family (Asteraceae). Originating in Texas, it is native to much of the western half of North America, it is found in parts of the eastern half as an introduced species. The plant thrives in a number of ecosystems, particularly across the plains in central Canada and the United States. It is a branching perennial herb, reaching heights from one half to three meters. The lance-shaped leaves are narrow, pointed, folded down the mid-vein, and up to 30 centimeters long on large plants. The plant reproduces by seed and by vegetative sprouting from the rhizome [a thick underground horizontal stem that produces roots and has shoots that develop into new plants]. The thick rhizome is edible and provided a food similar to the Jerusalem artichoke for Native American groups such as the Sioux. The flower heads are attractive to insects and the fruits are eaten by birds.

This sunflower is named for Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied, who encountered it on his travels in the North American west in the 1830s.  Native Americans grew sunflowers as a source of food, oil, dye and thread. Early pioneers planted sunflowers near their homes. They believed that sunflowers repelled mosquitoes and that a bath in boiled sunflower blossoms relieved arthritis pain.
For really detailed information, go to: 

Helianthus maximillianii, aka Maximillian Sunflower (Solarization effect), drawn by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011

Here is the result of applying the "solarization" option of my funny software.  I always enjoy seeing what this option does to the colours I have used.  In this case, the greenish-yellow shade I had used for the leaves is turned into a deep burgundy.  Fascinating -- to me anyway and, hopefully, of interest to you! 



Autumn sky on fire.
Such incredible beauty occurs every day across this planet and so often no human eyes are there to witness it.  How playfully extravagant our God is each day with His paintbrush!



Below are four very different photographs I came across this past week.  I find each one of them interesting for different reasons.  I hope you enjoy them as well.

I think this makes it pretty clear who it is that wants people to keep being addicted to tobacco!
Just more evidence that the "Father of Lies" really exists and encourages people to do things that will make them addicted, sick and smelly like stale tobacco smoke!  How clever have been the advertising campaigns this Liar has used over the years to associate such addictive and unhealthy practices with being young and attractive and part of the in crowd.  Look at the face in the smoke and see the evil in it and then never believe the lies about smoking in the first place.  If you never start, you will never have to go through the agony of trying to quit!

Talk about a kindle!  (methinks this has been photoshopped)
 What makes this photo so interesting to me is that at first you don't realize that it has been photoshopped.  However, when you look more closely, you see more than one cat in exactly the same position with exactly the same look on its face.  You can make areas lighter and darker so that it appears that this is a real photo, but no two kittens would ever been in exactly the same position!

I wonder if that dog in the centre is named Joseph by any chance....
 First off, let me say that I have no idea what this photo is supposed to represent.  It really is very strange.  The dogs in the circle are each in a position of submission.  However, the dog in the centre, although sitting up, is in a position we normally associate with begging.  Then there is the soldier standing and saluting -- what does that mean?  The reason for my comment about Joseph in the caption under the photo is that when I first saw this photograph, I thought immediately of the dream that the "Joseph of the coat of many colours" had:  he saw himself in the centre while all his brothers were bowing down before him.  Of course, Joseph had a lot more brothers than the number of dogs shown here so I am sure that his story does not apply.  So, I am still puzzled.  If anyone out there knows what on earth we are supposed to make of this scene, please let me know.  Meanwhile, it is just sort of funny all on its own!

Tell me -- what is wrong with this picture!
This photo simply made me laugh.  Here we have two, very comfortable camels stuffed into the back of a pickup truck.  Normally, the camels are carrying loads on their backs while walking not sitting down.  I mean you might even see camels pulling a pickup truck if the truck had broken down.  But to see them being the load that is carried strikes me as funny.  As you can see, the owner of the truck has attempted to secure the camels in place so that they are unable to stand -- otherwise, just imagine what would happen if one of them suddenly decided to stand up and go for a walk! 



Well, I had a marvelous retreat which officially ended on Tuesday morning when my director came by and we reviewed everything that had occurred.  I feel very refreshed spiritually and very grateful to God for His goodness to me.  The remainder of the week has passed by too quickly so that it is difficult for me to believe that we are already at Friday evening again!

I saw my friendly chiropractor again today and told him about a new exercise I had discovered at the gym which seems to be giving me tremendous relief of the pain I have had in the chest wall ever since I fell several months ago.  I was told that the pain was the result of damage to my spine so I assume that the exercise is actually doing stretches similar to those a chiropractor might do.  This is very good news as my chiropractor really can;t do a lot of stretching exercises with me since I cannot recline on the exercise table -- whenever I do, I end up with a severe migraine.  No, I don't know why that happens -- all I know is that it does.  Anyway, I am just grateful to have asked one of the personal trainers at the gym about an exercise that would strengthen my upper body which led to my discovery of  this new exercise that is bringing me so much pain relief

As for Suki Cat, she is -- surprise, surprise -- sleeping at the moment.  We had great excitement earlier today when she discovered some pigeons congregating on the balcony above ours.  She begged me to help her get those pigeons even though I told her that it is just not possible.  Poor kitty.

You may recall my telling you of Suki's fixation with the toilet.  Well, recently I made the mistake of deciding to removed the few items I had been keeping on the top of the toilet tank, leaving the top of the tank clear.  Once Suki discovered this change, she took full advantage of it by perching on top of the tank, giving her a new perspective on the entire toilet.  Now, whenever she hears the flushing noise, she comes running, jumping first on the laundry hamper next to the toilet, then on to the top of the tank, back down to the laundry hamper, back up to the top of the tank.  I am so grateful that thus far she apparently has not realized that the little "handle" is what causes that flushing sound and makes the water move.  Should the day ever come when she learns to flush the toilet herself, I will have to ban her from the bathroom forever!  Can you imagine being awakened from a deep sleep by the sound of your toilet flushing when you live alone!  Enough said... 



Suki says "Have a safe and happy Halloween
and then don't forget to go to Mass on All Saints"

A Controversial Holiday: Every year, a debate rages among Catholics and other Christians: Is Halloween a satanic holiday or merely a secular one? Should Catholic children dress up like ghosts and goblins? Is it good for children to be scared? Lost in the debate is the history of Halloween, which, far from being a pagan religious event, is actually a Christian celebration that's almost 1,300 years old.
The Christian Origins of Halloween: "Halloween" is a name that means nothing by itself. It is a contraction of "All Hallows Eve," and it designates the vigil of All Hallows Day, more commonly known today as All Saints Day. ("Hallow," as a noun, is an old English word for saint. As a verb, it means to make something holy or to honor it as holy.) All Saints Day, November 1, is a Holy Day of Obligation, and both the feast and the vigil have been celebrated since the early eighth century, when they were instituted by Pope Gregory III in Rome. (A century later, they were extended to the Church at large by Pope Gregory IV.) by Scott P. Richert

For more information about this interesting topic, click on the link below:

Today is the Feast of Sts. Simon and Jude.  Five years ago today, my godson and his wife were married.  I want to wish them another year filled with blessings.  May God protect them and grant them the desires of their hearts.
Sts. Simon and Jude, pray for them and for all readers of this blog.

May the peace of God be with us all.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Saint Mary Magdalene

See a new icon of Our Lady at the end of this posting.

Icon, St. Mary Magdalene, drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011

5th Sorrowful Mystery, S. Thayer, 2009
St. Mary Magdalene is shown directly
behind the Blessed Mother
St Mary Magdalene (Greek Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνή) was one of Jesus' most celebrated disciples. She is famous because she is said to have been the first person to see Jesus after He rose from the dead (although tradition says He surely appeared to His Mother first), according to John 20 and Mark 16:9, part of the so-called "Longer Ending" to that chapter. According to Luke 8:2 and Mark 16:9, Jesus cleansed her of "seven demons". Some modern scholars suggest that this is New Testament code for serious physical illness; however, major Christian saints, including Bede and Gregory, interpret the seven devils to signify that she was "full of all vices". This is the interpretation commonly held by the Church.

Over time the Church has come to see Mary of Bethany as possibly the same as Mary of Magdala who was delivered from seven devils -- that it was the same Mary who anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair who also shared a home with Martha and Lazarus in Bethany. Thus St. Mary Magdalene became a symbol of repentance from the vanities of the world to various believers. In 1969, the Catholic Church indicated that Magdalene's standard image as a reformed prostitute is not definitely supported by the text of the Bible. However, while the revised Roman calendar no longer states explicitly that Mary Magdalene is a repentant sinner of ill repute, many in the Church continue to believe that she was such and to pray to her for her assistance in converting family members who have fallen into serious sin.

Mary Magdalene was present at the cross after the male disciples (excepting John the Beloved Disciple) had fled, and at His burial. Mary was a devoted follower of Jesus, entering into the close circle of those taught by Jesus during His Galilean ministry.  Mary Magdalene is referred to in early Christian writings as "the apostle to the apostles" and "Equal of the Apostles".

Mary Magdalene is considered by the Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran churches to be a saint, with a feast day of July 22. The Eastern Orthodox churches also commemorate her on the Sunday of the Myrrh bearers. She is also an important figure in the Baha'i Faith. Consistently in the four Gospels, Mary Magdalene seems to be distinguished from other women named Mary by adding "Magdalene" (η Μαγδαληνή) to her name. Traditionally, this has been interpreted to mean that she was from Magdala, a town thought to have been on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. Luke 8:2 says that she was actually "called Magdalene." In Hebrew מגדל Migdal means "tower", "fortress"; in Aramaic, "Magdala" means "tower" or "elevated, great, magnificent".

For more information, especially about the cultus of St. Mary Magdalene which developed in Catholic France and how her followers believed the Saint had come from Jerusalem to Provence during the first Jerusalem persecution, click on the following:                        St. Mary Magdalene pray for us.



As some of you are aware, Autumn is my favourite time of the year.  It is not just the colours (which I, as a "colouration" person do love), but it is the whole combination of shorter days, blue sky when it isn't raining, of course and that wonderful coolness in the air.  I also love the colours of the season as expressed so intensely in this photograph.  I am sure the colours have been saturated, but that makes me like the photo all the more. 



I continue to collect many strange and unusual photographs that I come across so I thought I would share a few of them with you in this posting.

What kind of Peacock is this?
You may have seen this previously, but if you look closely (you may have to enlarge it to really do it justice), you will see that every bit of this "peacock" is designed using individual human bodies.  Take a good look and enjoy!

What a strange looking sea creature!
Once you know that this sea creature is actually made from pencils, it becomes very easy to see -- but when you first look at it, it really does look like the real thing -- at least it did to me.  Someone spent a lot of time and effort in creating this "creature"; however, I am unsure as to what you would do with it.  Talk about a dust collector...

Photoshop will get you every time!
 These Photoshop designs are a lot of fun.  This one I found particularly amusing.  I remember when I first saw it come up on my screen and couldn't figure out, at first, what I was actually seeing!  I am sure that there are a lot of guys (maybe gals as well) who would think this was a pretty cool way to get your clothes ironed:  put them on first and if they look too wrinkled, then just put yourself up on the ironing board and iron away!

Make a copy of this photo and the next time the doctor asks for one of these, just hand this to her!
This photo really made me laugh because it is so silly -- but then silly things often tickle my funny bone!  Of course you do have to wonder about people when you think that someone had to spend all that time making a "stool" that would fit into a pill bottle, making a sign small enough to fit on the pill bottle and then taking a photograph of their finished work.  Oh, well, it did give me a good chuckle so I guess I have to say that I am glad that someone did this.  I hope it gives you a chuckle as well. 



Why is it that cats will squeeze themselves into small spaces and then fall sound asleep?  This Suki lookalike is obviously quite comfortable in what looks like a narrow shoe box, but I think it will take a bit of squeezing to fit her head comfortably into the space
that is left.  Suki does not show a great liking for small boxes, but she does seek out small spaces.  For example there is a very narrow space between the glass top of my dining table and the ledge just below the glass.  Somehow she manages to squeeze herself in there and sleep quite comfortably for hours on end.  Because she is black and the ledge is sort of brown/black, you don't notice her there even though there is glass on top of her.  Of course the glass reflects everything around it so your eyes really don't try to look beneath it.  This means that on occasion when I or guests sit down at the dining table and are suddenly grabbed by a furry, black paw, the shock can be a bit overwhelming at first!

At this moment, however, Suki is plainly visible.  She is dozing comfortably in the recliner that I vacated just moments ago.  She seems to watch for me to get up sometimes as I guess the seat is nice and warm.  Of course, should I want to return to my chair, I would have to try to convince her to move -- or at least share!  She has actually been a very happy cat these past three days as I have been home, except for an hour and a half at the gym each day and Mass on Sunday, for the entire time.

Why, you might ask, have I been home almost the entire three days?  Well, it is because I have been on retreat and I am actually taking a break from my retreat to write this posting.  As soon as I finish, I will return to my retreat practices.  This is a "stay-treat" that I am on.  You may have heard of "stay-cations" (stay at home vacations made famous by the Corner Gas TV sitcom) -- well this is a stay at home retreat!  My spiritual director set it all up for me and it has been quite a wonderful experience.  I had not been on a retreat for many years since retreat houses are not really set up to accommodate disabled people.  They may be wheelchair accessible, but don't have the kind of bathroom facilities that I need such as a roll-in shower, shower bench, etc.  So, when my director came up with this idea, I was all for it.  I have been greatly blessed by the whole experience and it isn't over until tomorrow morning at 10.

So, now I shall return to the silence of mind and heart which enables me to hear what the Lord is saying.  Please pray for me.

Before I go, I will leave you with a new icon I have been working on -- another one of Our Lady.  May it be a source of grace for you as it has been for me.

Icon of the Virgin and Child (Russian), drawn by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, October, 2011

May the peace of God be with us all.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

The Last of the Dahlias

Dahlia, Unknown species, drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011

Here is another of the cactus-variety of Dahlia.  I have no idea what its other identifier is other than it is surely one of the many, many cultivars found in this huge group of flowering plants.  As you may recall from my posting of a few weeks ago, "Dahlias are a group of flowering tuberous-rooted plants that belong to the aster/daisy family of plants. Dahlias have been hybridized extensively, and there are now more than 20,000 cultivars of this showy Central and South American native plant. Flowers range in size from as small as 2 inches wide to as large as 10 inches wide. Colors come in pinks, white, reds, orange and purple and combinations of all of these."

You may recall a similar drawing from last year.  It, too, was a "cactus" Dahlia.  I was not certain of its species or cultivar either.  You can see the similarities in the drawing posted below.

Somehow I don't think it matters that much for people such as myself as I am really mainly interested in making certain that I draw the flower correctly.  I mean with 36 species and 20,000 cultivars, identifying a single blossom is almost impossible for a "laywoman" like myself.

Dahlia, Unknown species, drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011 (using solarization)

 And, I am sure you are not surprised to see a variation of my drawing using my fancy software.  The above effect was achieved using the "solarization" option.  It is not very interesting, I think, other than the beautiful greens.


A member of the African Catholic community in Salt Lake City, Utah contacted me a few months ago regarding the icon I did of Our Lady of Sudan.  I was happy to share my drawing with them as they wanted to use it to make a banner for the celebration on October 16th.  I just received an email from them on Tuesday which included the photo shown below

Salt Lake City African Community at Marian Festival, October 16, 2011

Icon, Our Lady of Sudan, drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011
It is such a great joy to share my drawings with others as the requests come in since I never know what God is going to do with each drawing as I send it out to be used by others.  It is very exciting to consider that souls may be touched, deeply, by viewing a drawing in a particular setting surrounded in love by the members of their parish community.


I continue to receive delightful photographs from various friends and I thoroughly enjoy selecting ones to share on my blog.

1)  This first photo of a duckling having a conversation with a great ape is such a sweet picture.  How pleased the ape appears to be with his conversational partner.  I wonder what they are saying!  When I first saw this photo I thought "oh, here we have a simian St. Francis -- how wonderful"! 

With friends, differences don't matter.

2)  I always enjoy photos of Pandas.  Like almost all bear photos they are funny without even meaning to be.  A friend sent me a bunch of new Panda photographs which I will be sharing with you in time.  This one, however, is one that I have had for a while and just happened to remember tonight as I was gathering photos to show you.  What makes this one so funny to me is the fact that this difficult climb seems so pointless as there is nothing ahead of the bear to make all that effort worthwhile!  Silly bears.  Maybe they are like cats and just want to climb to the highest spot they can find -- a perch from which to look down upon the world!

"Do you remember why you wanted to get up here in the first place?"

3)  Finally, I want to show you the following which I received from my nephew's wife, Michelle.  Do you remember the song and Boy George?  I find the word play using symbols and a photo to be delightful.  I hope you enjoy it as well.

Do you remember this song?


Well, the cat is quiet for the moment and appears to be asleep; however, I know that the minute I get up, Suki will come a'running talkin' and meowin' up a storm! 

The above sentence was written last night just before I finally admitted to myself that I was sooo sleepy and just couldn't finish this posting right then no matter how much I wanted to.  So, this newest addition to my blog is about 12 hours late!  BTW, I was right about Suki -- as soon as I stood up, it was just like someone turned on an electric switch!  She was up and waiting for me when I reached the kitchen -- sitting right next to her food dish!

This morning she is right next to me in my recliner just sleeping away the hours after a big breakfast.  I, also, had a big breakfast and would love to be sitting in that same chair taking a little snooze myself; however, I want to get this posting finished before it gets any later -- and besides, Suki would be rather upset if I moved her!  Seriously, I would move her if I really wanted to sit down -- I would move her right onto my lap where she would continue sleeping happily.  Ah, the joys of a lap-cat.

As for me, I am doing reasonably well.  I have had a number of close calls but no real falls -- for this I am extremely grateful.  As well, I have been very busy organizing all my Rosary icons.  A Catholic Church in Texas requested permission to use all my Rosary icons in a Lectio Divina publication for use in their parish [Lectio Divina is Latin for divine reading, spiritual reading, or "holy reading," and represents a traditional Catholic practice of prayer and scriptural reading intended to promote communion with God and to increase in the knowledge of God's Word. It is a way of praying with Scripture that calls one to study, ponder, listen and, finally, pray and even sing and rejoice from God's Word, within the soul.]  The Rosary files had gotten scattered over time since the publication of my book ROSARY ICONS in 2009 as I used them in various postings and publications.  As well, I just couldn't help "cleaning" them up a tiny bit as I brought them all together.  They will also want to use the Stations icons eventually, I believe.  Anyway, I will receive a copy of the publication and at that time I will share pages from it on my blog.  As I mentioned earlier when talking about the Marian celebration in Salt Lake City, I continue to receive requests from churches and charitable organizations who want to use one of my icons in some way or another.  As I do not charge such groups for the use of the icons, any organization can afford to use them.  I feel so very blessed when this happens -- blessed and very grateful to God.



Hang in there, little frog!
 As most of you are aware, I am very fond of amphibians, lizards, snakes, etc. and I always delight in good photographs of these various creatures.  I posted a similar photo recently of a frog in a similar position as the one above; however, I really like this one because  the frog is hanging onto a lovely flower.  So, I get two of my favourite things in one photograph.  BTW, if anyone knows what kind of flower is shown in this photo, please let me know as I would really like to do a bit of research on it.  Thanks.

Until the next posting, may the peace of God be with us all.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Susanna the Righteous

Icon, Susanna the Righteous, drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011
The story of Susanna or Shoshana (Hebrew: שׁוֹשַׁנָּה) is included in the Book of Daniel (see chapter 13 in a Catholic or Orthodox Bible). I have always loved this story. It is a story that particularly speaks to women and I have thought it very sad that the Protestants decided to remove it from the canon of Scripture. This means that Protestant women cannot take solace in this story about a woman who chooses to obey God’s law rather than give into the threats of abusive men.

As the story goes, an extremely beautiful Hebrew wife named Susanna is falsely accused by lecherous voyeurs. As she bathes in her garden, having sent her attendants away, two lustful elders secretly observe the lovely Susanna. When she makes her way back to her house, they accost her, threatening to claim that she was meeting a young man in the garden unless she agrees to have sex with them. She refuses to be blackmailed and says, in effect, that she would rather go to her death than to break God’s commandments. The elders make good on their threat to accuse her and Susanna is arrested and about to be put to death for promiscuity when a young man named Daniel interrupts the proceedings, shouting that the elders should be questioned to prevent the death of an innocent person.

After being separated, the two men are questioned about details of what they saw but disagree about the tree under which Susanna supposedly met her lover. In the Greek text, the name of each tree and the sentence Daniel imposes actually form puns. I like puns very much, but I would have to be able to read Greek in order to appreciate these so I will leave the puns to the Greek scholars. So, on with the story. The first elder says they were under a Mastic tree and Daniel says that an angel stands ready to cut him in two. The second says they were under an Evergreen Oak tree and Daniel says that an angel stands ready to saw him in two. The great difference in size between a Mastic and an Oak makes the elders' lie plain to all the observers. The false accusers are put to death instead of Susanna and virtue triumphs.

In the icon, I wanted to show Susanna looking as she might have looked before Daniel came on the scene -- knowing she was innocent, but sadly resigned to the sentence she expects to receive.  The text on the scroll in her hand is from Daniel 13:42-43 and is what Susanna has to say in her defense when it looks as though she will shortly be put to death.



There are those moments in life when the Act of Contrition comes instantly to your lips -- you don't even have to try to remember the words that you memorized in Grade 2!  Events such as when those little oxygen masks drop down suddenly during your transatlantic flight or when you put your foot on the brake pedal as you start down a steep incline only to realize that nothing is happening, you are just going faster and faster.  Well, hopefully, none of us have been in any such situations recently.  What brought this to mind was an email I received recently with some interesting photos in it of situations where one might be saying "God, help me" or "O, my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee..."  Let me show you some of them and you will see what I mean.

"HELP!"  "O, my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee and I detest all my sins..." 

"...because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell..." "HELP!"

"HELP!"  "...but most of all because they offend you, my God, who art all good..."

"...and deserving of all my love and I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace,..."  "HELP!"

"... to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin. Amen"   "HELP!"  "SOMEBODY, HELP"



Suki is sound asleep after downing a huge supper.  At the moment I cannot think of anything new that she has done these past few days.

Of course, I am not able to think too well at this point.  I am still battling a migraine that started yesterday so just the fact that I have been able to pull this posting together is almost a miracle in and of itself.

So, for tonight, I think I will just declare this section closed.


By the way, I should have saved the icon of St. Teresa for today since today is the feast of St. Teresa of Jesus (or Avila).  However, I wasn't thinking far enough into the future, I guess.  So, in honour of St. Teresa, I ask her to pray for us as we remember her on her feast day.

May the peace of God be with us all.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Dahlia, Striking Dahlias

Dahlia, possibly Cobequid Frosty, drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011

Dahlias are a group of flowering tuberous-rooted plants that belong to the aster/daisy family of plants. Dahlias have been hybridized extensively, and there are now more than 20,000 cultivars of this showy Central and South American native plant. Flowers range in size from as small as 2 inches wide to as large as 10 inches wide. Colors come in pinks, white, reds, orange and purple and combinations of all of these.

The original plants were native to Mexico, Central America and Columbia. The Aztecs gathered and cultivated the dahlia for food, ceremonies, as well as decorative purposes, and the long woody stem of one variety was used for small pipes. The dahlia is named after Swedish 18th-century botanist Anders Dahl. The dahlia is also known as Tenjikubotan (天竺牡丹) in Japanese, which literally means 'Peony of India'. According to the Japanese language of flowers, it means 'good taste'.

Because there are so many cultivars, I am unsure of the name of this one. I know it is of the "cactus" variety of Dahlias and while searching through the many photos of cactus-type Dahlias, I found one that looks absolutely similar by the name of Cobequid Frosty. If anyone out there happens to know exactly which cultivar this is, please make a comment or send me an email. Thanks.

Dahlia, possibly Cobequid Frosty, drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011 [solarization effect]
As you can see from the above drawing and the one just below, I couldn't resist playing with my art work after I had finished the drawing.  This version was created using the "solarization software" and gives beautiful, shiny-like-silk green shades.

Dahlia, possibly Cobequid Frosty, drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011 [hue inversion effect]
 However, it is this one that really appeals to me.  I am delighted with the pale shades of colour achieved by using the hue inversion software.  I can easily picture this variation printed on glass.  If somebody out there does glass art, feel free to give it a try -- just make sure to send me a photo of the result!


FAMILY & FRIENDS -- BIRTHDAYS during one week in October

There are four men in my life who have birthdays over this 7 day period in October -- two are family and two are friends.  So, I am thinking of them all very much at this time and keeping them in my prayers.  I decided to choose a photo that I feel is representative of each person.  Let  me tell you why I chose each of these particular photos/drawings.

Well, I guess he hasn't been taught to read yet!
 My brother-in-law, Tom, had a birthday this past Saturday, the 8th.  He has always had an interest in antique fire trucks and firefighting and has, in fact, been a volunteer fireman wherever he and my sister have lived during their marriage.  Now, I understand that he is sort of the official photographer for all the events that firemen are called out for.  He is a wonderful man in many ways, but as relates of firefighting, he has really given so much for so many over all these years.   He worked in the engineering field, eventually teaching at the University of Tennessee.  Now he is retired and still going out to help all those dedicated firefighters and the people that they help.

The priest -- at the centre of our faith
My dear friend, Fr. Peter, has a birthday today.  We first met almost 40 years ago and speaking from experience, I can say he is truly a servant of God, a holy priest.  I had done a drawing of him back 4 or 5 years ago and intended to use it here; however, when I went back and looked at it, I was so appalled at how unprofessional the drawing looked that I just couldn't bring myself to use it -- it wasn't just because of pride on my part, but it was more because I didn't feel it was fair to Fr. Peter to show him in such an unattractive way!  What I now want to do is to try doing another drawing, using the skills and techniques I have developed over these past 5 years.

Virginia snow storm of 2009 -- even the fire engine is snowed in!
This scene from a Virginia snowstorm represents the husband of my niece, Jan.  His name is John and his birthday is on the 13th.  They live in the State of Virginia.  I have never met John as he and my niece married after I became too disabled to travel easily.  However, I am hoping that one of these days I will get to meet him as well as their handsome son, Cole.  Cole will soon be old enough so that he and his parents might enjoy a trip to Toronto to visit dear, old Aunt Sallie (Great-Aunt to Cole!).

Cat:  "What a lovely warm place to sleep"
Horse:  "I'll wait until he falls asleep then stand up suddenly!"
And so goes the happy life on the family farm...
 This final photo reminds me of my friend, Walter.  He and his wife live in Tennessee -- out in the country.  Walter was the older brother of my dearest friend in high school.  Because he was those few years older, his sister and I kind of looked on him with some awe as he prepared to leave home and go off and make his way in the world.  Because of the Internet and through being in touch with his sister, Walter and I have established a relationship almost like family.  I guess that is not surprising since I spent so much time at their home when I was growing up that I felt that their family was my family too.  As well, his sister has always felt like a sister to me.  His birthday, by the way, is on the 14th.

I wish each one of them a very happy birthday and pray that God will bless each one of them in wonderful ways through the year ahead.



Is she waiting for the waters to move or what?

I have decided that Suki may need to see the cat psychiatrist! 
Ever since she came home with me almost 2 years ago, she has been fascinated by the toilet.  I don't know what she expects to happen, but she is irresistibly drawn to that white porcelain chair. 

Suki can be sound asleep somewhere -- the type of sleep that should I call her, rattle her food dish, knock on the front door as though someone has arrived, whatever, she will not be moved.  Yet, all I have to do is pour some wash water into the toilet and here she comes -- flying into the bathroom like a wild creature -- leaping up onto the stool next to the toilet and watching what I am doing with an almost absolute fixation.

I have asked her about this toilet business a number of time, but she refuses to talk to me about it which is why I was thinking about the cat psychiatrist -- maybe they would know some tricks for getting her to open up about all this business.  Perhaps she suffered some sort of toilet trauma during the first year of her life before I met her.

When she first moved in with me and I observed this fixation on the toilet, I was hopeful that she was interested in learning to use the people toilet rather than the sandbox.  No such luck.  Rather she just comes running with the need to check everything out -- almost like it is her possession and she must keep a constant watch over it.  Strange, very strange.

As for me, I am continuing to do reasonably well.  My face is almost completely healed now -- just a wee bit of bruising left.  Thanks be to God, I haven't fallen now for almost 6 weeks.  I have come very close to falling, but have either been sitting when I passed out or holding on tightly to my walker or a piece of furniture which I was able to grab onto as I started to fall, regaining awareness at that very moment.  Thank you for all your prayers.

As all of you know who reside in Ontario, we had an incredibly beautiful long Thanksgiving weekend -- a true Indian Summer as we used to call it.  People were out on the beaches in the swimsuits, sitting in the sun (I hope they had lots of sun screen on) or playing beach volleyball. 

I had a good visit with Patrick and Vivian on Sunday, but otherwise, my weekend was pleasantly quiet.  I managed to get to the gym a couple of times and enjoy the sunshine and warm temperatures.  Now, however, I am ready for more typical fall weather.  I really like the crisp, cool days with a bit of a wind blowing the leaves around so that they make that lovely noise.  I love the brilliant blue of the autumn sky which makes the perfect frame for the Maple trees and their glowing leaves of red and gold.  Are you able to guess that this is my favourite season of the year?

The little cat picture with the writing underneath is a bit of foolishness that a friend sent to me today.  I like the photo and my perverse sense of humour delights in what is written underneath the photo!

May the peace of God be with us all.

Friday, 7 October 2011

St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila)

Icon, St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila), drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011

Here is a new icon of St. Teresa of Jesus (also known as St. Teresa of Avila).  As you may recall, I posted a drawing I had done of St. Teresa using an oil painting of the saint as my model.  This was posted back on March 28th of this year.  I was never satisfied with that drawing, especially since it was not really an icon at all.  So, I have been planning to do another drawing of her for some time now and this is the result of my latest effort.

In the background of this drawing is my attempt at depicting a Spanish castle.  What is the significance of this -- for in icons everything within the sacred space must have a reason for being there.  Well, as most of you have guessed, it is there because of one of St. Teresa's most famous books on the spiritual life.  This book is entitled, El Castillo Interior (The Interior Castle) or Las Moradas (The Mansions) and was written by St. Teresa of Avila in 1577. According to contemporary accounts, St. Teresa had a revelation from God of a crystal globe in the shape of a castle containing seven mansions. This is St. Teresa's interpretation of that vision, describing the journey of faith through seven stages, ending with union with God.

For more information on this Doctor of the Church, please go to my posting of March 28 or to Wikipedia at


TODAY IS THE "FEAST" OF OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY, and since I don't have an icon of Our Lady under this title, I decided instead to post the pages I made for my first book, Rosary Icons.

As  I recall, at the time I had not planned on putting the information in the book on how to pray the Rosary and the prayers of the Rosary, but the friends who were giving me their thoughts on what the book should contain all felt that I should include the following two pages.  I thought it might be of interest to post them in my blog on this day when we remember both the Rosary and the Queen of the Rosary, our Blessed Mother Mary.

The instructions on how to pray the Rosary (taken from Rosary Icons book by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer)

The Prayers of the Rosary (taken from Rosary Icons book by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer) 


Feeling Squirrelly

For some reason, I am feeling a bit squirrelly tonight -- meaning I feel like posting some cute photos of squirrels.  Unfortunately, one of the cutest photos in my "squirrelly" collection could not be posted as the quality of the copy is too poor to be transferred from my file to my blog site.  However, these are really cute as well -- in my opinion.  I hope you enjoy them.

"Gertrude, please marry me -- I will love you forever and ever -- or at least until next spring!"

"What are you doing in my house, you naughty squirrel?"
"You better not have made a mess in there!"

"bmmmm -- ysssss -- kmmm" (translation:  "my mouth is full")
These are the sounds you make when your dentist or dental hygienist asks you a question
while their hands are in your mouth! 

Are you sure you have enough nuts to carry? 


Suki and Sallie

You should have seen me this evening, sneaking around the kitchen, trying to be as quiet as a mouse.  Why on earth would I think that I could be so quiet that a cat couldn't hear me?  I mean, we know that their hearing is phenomenal.  Nonetheless, there I was thinking that if I was just quiet enough, Suki wouldn't hear me!

What I was hoping to accomplish was to get my simple Friday night supper ready and sit down and eat it in peace.  There I was almost ready to eat my meal while it was hot when I heard the dreaded sound:  that demanding meow which means Suki is awake and on her way to the kitchen.  I told her "no, not now" and I told her this very forcefully.  She only sat there looking at me as if she had suddenly become hard of hearing.  I not only told her no, not now, but went on to tell her that this time I really meant it.  I said that I was going to eat my supper while it was hot and then I would feed her.  During all this, Suki said not a word (meow) but only sat and looked at me with her most pitiful look.  As I continued to sit there eating my food, she jumped up on the other stool just across from me and watched me take each bite, moving her head the way tennis fans do when they are watching a tennis match.  Well, you know how all this ended -- I finally couldn't take the staring any longer so I left my meal, got up, found her dish, fixed her food and set it before her.  She began eating with gusto while I returned to my now cold meal which I ate while laughing at myself over all that has transpired -- once again.

I am doing well.  I have had a number of "spells" that often lead to my falling, but thus far I have managed to stay upright -- for which I am very grateful.  Otherwise I been busy doing my usual activities and I was even able to get to noon Mass a couple of days this week and to the gym twice.  So, as you can see, I am managing really well -- other than having to constantly monitor how I am feeling so that I don't allow one of the "seizures" to sneak up on me.  However, I try to leave all that in God's hands and just continue enjoying this life He has given me!

I won't be posting again until next Tuesday or Wednesday so I will take this opportunity to wish all my Canadian readers a Happy Thanksgiving!  We do, indeed, have so much to be thankful for. 

St. Teresa of Jesus, pray for us, and may the peace of God be with us all.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Aquilegia formosa - Crimson Columbine

Aquilegia formosa, drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011

  Here is my latest drawing of Columbine.  You may recall an earlier drawing from a couple of years ago; however, I decided to try again and am somewhat pleased with the improvement.  I have another photo that I want to try working from showing the underside of the blossoms; however, that will have to wait for a while.

Now let me tell you a bit about the fascinating wildflower.

Aquilegia comes from the Latin word aquil, meaning eagle, referring to the shape of the petals. Formosa means beautiful. Indeed, our native columbine fits the descriptive epithet. The common name, columbine, stems from the Latin word, columbina, meaning dove-like. The family name for this plant is Ranunculaceae, and, yes, I have trouble pronouncing it as well!

Crimson Columbine, Western Columbine, or ambiguously, "Red Columbine" is a common and attractive wildflower native to western North America, from Alaska to Baja California, and eastward to Montana and Wyoming. There is also an eastern form which some of you may be familiar with. Technically, the red or orange spreading outer parts of the flower are sepals, and the yellow inner parts are the true petals. The petals bear spurs that attract the plant's pollinators, the Sphinx moths. Hummingbirds are also attracted to it in gardens.

The flowers are edible, with a sweet taste—though the seeds can be fatal if eaten, and most parts of the plant contain cyanogenic glycosides. As for these seeds, I found another researcher who stated that "North American tribal peoples used the roots and leaves medicinally. Leaves were chewed then used to rub bee-stings or small wounds. A tonic was prepared for sore throat. The seeds were chewed to relieve stomach upset. Mashed roots were rubbed on aching joints by the elderly. Maybe the Native Peoples were not affected by the cyanogenic glycosides (whatever they might be!). Anyway, The flowers are edible as a decorative salad garnish, having a sweet nectar at the base of the flower (in the knobs of the spurs) which akin to honeysuckle often entices children to pick them and suck at the back of the flower like you do with honeysuckle.

One of my favourite comments found during research was the following: "Crushed seeds were traditionally rubbed on the skin as a mild perfume as well as a flea and louse repellent." Yuck! More importantly, scientists, especially Polish, but some Chinese as well, have had promising results with this plants in their ongoing search for medicinal alkaloids.

Personally, I draw them because I find that they have a certain elegance which I keep trying to capture through art. For more information, go to:


Margaret, the slightly more than 5 ft. tall baby!
Margaret is a Rothschild giraffe born in a zoo in the U.K.  She was a few weeks early and undersized for a baby giraffe at the time these photos were taken.  For some reason she was unable to suckle her mother -- she was her mother's first born which may have something to do with it although zoo babies and mothers often have these sorts of problems -- probably something is missing that would be found in the wild.  Consequently, she was being hand-raised by the zoo staff.  Below are a series of photos showing the often repeated process of feeding Margaret.

You may have already seen these as they seem to be circulating on the Internet again -- I saw them for the first time back in 2009 or early 2010, so I guess they have been around for a while.  This means that Margaret is probably a full-grown giraffe by now!  Anyway, if you have seen them previously, just prepare yourself to enjoy seeing them again!

Margaret and her best friend

Margaret reaching for the bottle

Yum, good!

Licking those lips!

A thank you kiss from Margaret

Suki's favourite position unless
she is hungry!

Suki and Sallie
[written in the a.m.]
Sadly, a hungry cat has no snooze alarm! or so my sister, Janet, told me in our telephone conversation last night.  I definitely agree with whoever made that comment in the first place!  Right now, Suki is under my favourite soft blanket, sleeping soundly.  She just finished her BIG breakfast meal a short while ago and has now returned to her favourite position shown at the right.  She will stay in this position until noon when she thinks she should be fed again.  Thankfully for me, I won't be here at noon so she can complain for a while and then go back to sleep until I return home later in the day.  THEN the pleading and posturing will begin -- she will supposedly be saying that she is a poor, starving creature who hasn't eaten in months so won't I please, please, please take pity upon her!  What a big fake she is, but she is also adorable -- especially when she comes and nuzzles my ear as though to say "thank you".  What can I do -- I am just an old softie.
[written in the p.m.]
As for me, I am doing fine as usual.  I spent most of the day at St. Michael's Hospital -- not because I was sick, but because I had several appointments.  A neurologist is working with me now trying to find the cause of the frequent episodes of "almost falling" with the occasional "actual fall".  I remain hopeful that something can be diagnosed eventually before I end up doing serious damage to my floor or walls with my hard head!  Although it was a tiring day, it was also a very pleasant day because the appointments were scheduled so that I was free at noon and could attend the noon Mass at the Cathedral.  Then my final appointment was in an office just a few doors down from the hospital chapel which meant I got to spend some quiet time in the chapel prior to seeing the doctor.  For those of you who live in Toronto, if you haven't been in St. Mike's Hospital chapel for some time, or ever, it is a lovely place to make a visit -- just a few people going in an out -- family members or hospital staff coming in for a short visit or to pray the Rosary -- very prayerful.  Tomorrow I am attending the beginning of a new program at the Cathedral -- a seniors' group.  The agenda for tomorrow is "high tea with the pastor".  Finally I have discovered how I can get into the Parish Hall in my wheelchair which really opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for me since most of the courses the parish offers are presented in the Parish Hall.  All that is required is for me to arrange to have a staff person meet me at the elevators and then take me to wherever I am seeking to go.  I think the elevator is kept locked.  This is exciting news for me.

Cute Photo 

In-bread cat -- see what happens with too much in-breading!!

This cute photo was put on Facebook by an acquaintance of mine.  I love the silly pun but feel sorry for the cat who is having to endure such foolishness in order to make her humans happy!

May the peace of God be with us all.