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.

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