Thursday, 12 April 2012

Erblichia odorata

Erblichia odorata or Flor de Fuego or Butterfly Tree, drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012
Erblichia odorata; Family: Turneraceae.  Common names: Flor de Fuego and Butterfly Tree.  Origin: Central America.

Called "Flor de fuego" in El Salvador and "butterfly tree" in British Honduras. When in flower it is an outstanding tree, covered with brilliant flowers, and often towering high above the surrounding trees. It blooms usually in March and April. 

It said to be one of the most beautiful flowering trees in Central America. It has bunches of narrow leaves and large flowers 6-8" across that smell like apricots. There is a great color variation in the flower of this tree, ranging from yellow to deep orange, depending on the location in Central America where the tree is grown. It is found in wet forest to about 900 m. particularly in Mexico, Central America (except Nicaragua), and Panama.

Erblichia odorata or Flor de Fuego or Butterfly Tree, drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012, special effects using "colour balance" software

 Below is a still life drawing I did a short time after drawing Erblichia odorata.  I wanted to include a simple flower of some sort to accentuate the hardness of the ceramic pot, cup, etc. in the drawing and decided to use Erblichia odorata.  I did not want the colour to be as intense as in the original drawing and so I changed it to a paler shade which I think works better.  I have not done a still life for some time and I found that I enjoyed myself as the challenges of such a drawing are very different than those of an icon.

Still Life in White and Orange using Erblichia odorata flowers, drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012



These "awww" photos have been circulating on the Internet lately so it is likely that you have already seen them; however, just in case you missed them, I wanted to share my favourites.

The one at the very end (black and white) is my absolute favourite as it shows an incredible amount of trust on the part of a mother cat for a dog.  If you have ever been around mother cats with very small kittens, you know that normally they are ultra protective of their babies.  Even if they allow you to handle them, the mother is often very agitated until the little one is returned to her.  Yet, in this photo, the mother looks totally at peace while this big dog appears to be carefully sniffing/washing her baby.  I love it.

So, if you haven't seen these previously, enjoy them.  If you have seen them, enjoy the idea that there are other people enjoying now!

The cat says "My big, ol' sweet buddy".  The dog says "This is so embarrassing -- I hope no one takes a photo of this!".
This is a Suki lookalike!  The doggie looks as though it is
experiencing pure bliss from this cat bath!
What a patient dog to listen to the silly secrets of a kitten as it explains how they are
going to sneak up on the humans!  Look at that tail just arched and ready for play.
Head to head at nap time -- they look like good friends who are very
comfortable with one another.
This puppy dog looks like she is holding her favourite stuffed toy as she prepares to take a nap.
Oh, well, miss kitty seems quite relaxed and content about the whole business!

This is real friendship -- a mother allowing her doggie friend to wash one of her babies!
I really like this photo.



Suki at the icon of "S"
There has been a very interesting development at our house -- the appearance of the giant "S".  This has led to some very strange behaviour on the part of Suki.  Let me explain.

First of all, you should know that a friend from down the hall inherited this big acrylic letter.  Since none of her names begin with the letter "s" and both my name and nickname plus Suki's name all begin with "s", she figured it would be nice if she passed it along to me.

Well, I had plans to put it up on the wall as part of an arrangement of pictures already hanging.  So, while waiting for the energy to do the task, I left the big letter on the floor, leaning against the wall, just beside Suki's cat tower.

I noticed that Suki immediately went up to investigate -- the normal thing for a cat to do.  As I left the room, I said something to Suki along the lines of "don't worry, it is just a big piece of plastic."  After doing a few things in the kitchen, I came back into the bedroom.  Even though 15 minutes had passed, there sat Suki in the very position she had been when I left, still staring intently at the big letter.  She didn't touch it.  She didn't sniff it.  She just sat as you see her doing in the photo above and stared.  Even when I asked her what she was doing, she neither moved or acknowledged me in any way!

At first I thought that she might be watching the light from the TV flickering off the shiny black surface, but even with the TV turned off, she still sat there.  Eventually, she moved away and quietly got up in her "crow's nest" bed and went to sleep.  I was truly puzzled.

My puzzlement grew over the following days as I continued to find Suki sitting in the same position in front the the big letter, apparently doing nothing but staring.  By this time I was ready to hang the letter on the wall, but decided that I just didn't have the heart to take it away from Suki and so I hung it low on the wall just above the place where it had been sitting on the floor.  Suki seemed a bit concerned by the noise and activity of hanging the letter but just as soon as it was in place, she settled right down in front it the letter which was now slightly higher than it had been.  The new position of the letter seemed to make no difference as her behaviour remained unchanged.

Only once have I seen her touch the letter and she did so very gently.  I told her to be careful which was a waste of breath as she will do what she wants anyway.  However, she stopped touching the letter and has not done so again.  Eventually, I have started calling the big letter Suki's icon and prayer corner (they often have these in Orthodox homes) and it seems to fit.

If any of you cat people out there have seen something like this previously or have any ideas about what is happening here, I would really appreciate your input.  Suki has got to be the strangest cat I have ever known!

Meanwhile, I continue to do reasonably well as I await the arrival of my friend, Brenda, on the 18th and the angiogram (plus whatever else) on the 19th.  I am managing OK without too much discomfort and am hopeful that whatever happens on the 19th will leave me feeling better with much more energy.

My only setback was my attempt last Friday, Saturday and Sunday to take a new drug the cardiologist prescribed called Crestor.  It is one of those cholesterol lowering drugs.  Even though I have never had any problems with cholesterol, I understand that it is prescribed for atherosclerosis-type patients to help cut down on the plaque forming in the arteries.  Well, it turns out that I am allergic and I ended up breaking out in hives.  Oh, how I itched.  Fortunately, I had taken time to read the literature in the package and had seen there that if you get hives you should stop taking the medication as this obviously indicates an allergic reaction.  I gladly stopped taking the medication and by Sunday night I was pretty much OK again.  I think this is the first time I have ever had an allergic reaction to any type of medication.

Thanks to everyone for your prayers and good thoughts sent my way.  It means more to me than I can put into words.

May the peace and joy of God be with us all during this blessed season of Easter.

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