Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Dwarf Morning Glory


"Convolvulus tricolour -- Dwarf Morning Glory", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012
 
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 and (a few species of) woody shrubs, growing up to 3 m tall. The leaves are spirally arranged, and the flowers trumpet-shaped, mostly white or pink, but blue, violet, purple or yellow in some species. Many of the species are problematic weeds, which can swamp other more valuable plants by climbing over them, but some are also deliberately grown for their attractive flowers. Some other species are globally threatened.

Convolvulus tricolour aka dwarf morning glory (see drawings above and below) is a plant with solitary long-stalked flowers. The flower is a tricoloured funnel-shaped bloom about three centimeters wide, blue with white and a yellow centre.

It is common on cultivated land, dry open habitats, sandy places and roadsides and is native to the Mediterranean Basin, particularly the south, but it is occasionally seen in other areas of similar climate. In Spain it can be found in the Balearic Islands, and Andalusia, especially in the Costa del Sol.

"Convolvulus tricolour -- Dwarf Morning Glory no. 2", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012


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MEMORIES OF A YOUTH ILL-SPENT

Sallie, age 7 years
After getting a number of requests for more photos and stories, I decided to select some from photos taken during my grade school days -- this was my photo from the 2nd grade -- and share some of the humorous stories from those years.  

My elementary education up through grade 4 took place in a small town in south-central Tennessee.  We moved from Alabama during the last year of WW II -- my parents made these decisions and I, of course, was not informed as to the reasoning behind this action.  I remember how sad I was to leave my good friends and our nice house in Birmingham, but at that age no one seemed too concerned about what I did and did not like!

At any rate, the town where we settled turned out to be very lovely.  Once again we had a nice house surrounded by some really great trees just made for climbing and the neighbourhood had lots of girls my age.  In no time at all life settled down into new but predictable patterns. 

My home life continued to be as dysfunctional as ever which seems to have caused me to be a real dare-devil when playing with my friends,  away from the watchful eyes of parents.  I soon became the "leader" of our small band of adventurers, leading us into all sorts of escapades.  Due to my home relationships, I had already learned to never show my feelings, especially fear or weakness, and so these poor young girls followed me all the while thinking that I was unafraid and confident!  It is truly a wonder that I did not get myself and my friends killed or seriously injured.  I was generally far too clever for my own good but this did enable me to keep our group from being caught or found out.  Instead, the blame often fell on the boys of the neighbourhood -- our sworn enemies -- which gave us a great deal of satisfaction!

Of course, it was inevitable that sooner or later we would be caught.  It happened because one of the group told her younger sister more than she should have about our  next caper:  the "Vacation Bible School Toy Theft"...  (to be continued) 



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MY MOTHER'S PAINTINGS


Mother's Study in Blue, drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013




My living room -- some of mother's paintings on wall at right edge

When I first started learning to do freehand drawing on the computer, I decided to try doing a copy of one of the paintings my mother had done while attending "finishing school" in about 1920.  She had talent which is evident from the few paintings that remain after all these years.  Anyway, the drawing that I did back in 2007 looks very awkward, almost unfinished , to me now.  So when I came across it recently, I decided to try once again to copy my mother's work.  Of course, she was working in oils and it just isn't possible to create the same kind of "soft" images with my hard-lined computer "pen". 

Anyway, if you look closely at the photo of my living room above, you can see my mother's "study in blue" at the very top of the group of paintings at the right edge of the photo.  While I am much more satisfied about what I accomplished this time, I still feel a desire to grab some brushes, oil paints and Linseed oil along with a good canvas -- the same materials my mother used -- and try to do a even better copy!  Ah, if only my old fingers would still co-operate...



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BRADEN


"Thanks, mom.  This is a great toy!  It makes lots of noise when I shake it and it is also very good to chew on."

Boys are so completely boys from their earliest days.  How foolish those people are who try to say that it is only environment and cultural conditioning that creates gender-based play patterns.  I make this comment because Braden's mom sent me a video of Braden playing with this toy.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching Braden shaking his toy and making all sorts of guttural noises -- the very same noises he will make later on when making action figures fight to the death and toy trucks drive off imaginary cliffs and crash satisfyingly below!

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SUKI AND SALLIE


Suki helping me sort the laundry!
 On Sunday afternoon, I came across a narrow elastic cord with a plastic tag attached.  I recognized it right away as a tag that had been attached to a pair of house slippers that Joycelyn had purchased for me.  I started to just throw it out; however, Suki was standing there trying to get me to play with her.  So... I tossed the item to her.

She was delighted with this new toy and chased it all over the floor, attacking and pouncing over and over.  I watched her with pleasure and made a mental note to myself to be certain that I found the item and put it away later as I know what can happen if a cat starts chewing on any kind of narrow cord...  Because the little "spines" on a cat's tongue face backwards, once they get any object in their mouth it is very difficult to get it back out again and so they end up swallowing it.  This is what can happen when cats start chewing on a rubber band.

Unfortunately, my mental notes often get erased these days and this is what happened here.  I completely forgot about the need to put this elastic cord away until I was almost asleep that night.  I remember telling myself that it would be OK as the elastic was in one piece and it had that big plastic tag on it that would be impossible for Suki to swallow.

The next morning I was startled when I stepped on something hard on the floor as I went to turn on the entry-way table lamp.  I stopped to check -- what could it be?  My heart skipped a beat when I recognized the object as the white, plastic tag that had originally been on the black elastic cord I had given to Suki to play with!  Fearing the worst, I began to search frantically for the cord, realizing that she must have chewed it in half in order for the tag to be lying there by itself.  When I was unable to locate it even after turning on all the lights in the apartment, I went looking for Suki. 

I found her sleeping soundly in one of her favourite chairs.  She was not at all pleased as I unceremoniously put my fingers in her mouth and into her throat and then quickly turned her around to check her backside.  By this time she was wide awake and beginning to show her complete disapproval of my actions!  Upon finding no evidence of a black cord, I started checking the floor all over again.

As my friend, Eugene, pointed out after I had told him this story yesterday, there would have been evidence of the cord at one end or another, or both, if she had actually swallowed the cord -- plus she would not have been sleeping soundly but would have been showing signs of distress.  I, however, was too panic stricken by this time to think clearly about such things.  I was becoming convinced that Suki had eaten the cord which was at this very moment winding itself around her intestines so that at any moment, she was going to start yowling in distress leaving me no option other than calling the emergency vet clinic and rushing her there in hopes of saving her life!!!

Fortunately, Joycelyn arrived about then.  She is very good at calming me down.  Once she had me settled, she got the laundry underway and then started cleaning the entry-way.  She knew I suspected that if Suki had not eaten the cord, then it would be somewhere near to the place where I had found the plastic tag.  Within moments I heard a shout from Joycelyn "here it is!"   I saw her standing there, triumphantly holding up a long black cord.  I shouted "hooray" and "thanks be to God" as I hurried to where Suki was sleeping.  I grabbed her up, giving her a big hug while telling her how happy I was!  I set her back down at that point because Suki was showing definite signs of displeasure. She jumped down from the chair and hurried into the bedroom where she quickly crawled into her bed in the back of the closet and that was the last anyone saw of her until noon time!

As for me, I had another "sleep attack" on Tuesday and fell.  Fortunately, I fell across a piece of furniture which cushioned my fall.  I ended up on the floor, but the impact was mostly to my hip area which is well padded so I am not physically hurt.  After that, as usual, I was so exhausted that I went to bed and slept for the rest of the day and the night.  Today I feel almost "normal" again. 

Is this related to the medication?  I don't know.  I am taking less of it than I was 4 days ago, but I am still taking it as you can't just immediately stop this kind of drug without running the risk of even more problems.  I will continue to decrease the dosage slowly so that by the time I go for the sleep study at the end of the month, I should be only taking a little bit of this particular drug each day.  Then we'll see what happens next.

I still haven't heard anything about the surgery, but keep hoping I will hear soon.

Meanwhile I continue to do as much drawing as I can tolerate each day.  As well, I am really enjoying this iPad I was given as a Christmas gift.  I have put the Divine Office app on it and so now I can pray the Divine Office at the various times each day without having to read it since reading is now so difficult for me.  I just turn it on and then sit back and listen to these beautiful voices reading and singing hymns and psalms.  It is really quite wonderful.  I have another app for listening while people pray the Rosary if I should want to feel as though I am praying with family or friends.  I am very grateful to the people who developed these lovely Catholic apps.

Let us rejoice in God's goodness and give Him thanks in all things.  Let us allow Him to lead us in paths of righteousness for He knows what is best for each and every one.  Let us join in the prayer for Christian Unity as the week begins on Friday, the 18th.  And let us pray for peace in our hearts and in the hearts of all people -- especially in those parts of the world where there is conflict and war.
Dona nobis pacem.

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