Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Shades of Pink

"Sicilian honey lily flowers", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012

Sicilian honey lily, Nectaroscordum siculum is also known as Allium siculum, Sicilian honey garlic.  The reason, it seems, for the different Latin names is determined by your desire to either see this plant as mainly nectar bearing (honey aspect) or as a member of the garlic family. Sicilian honey lily (garlic) has attractive bell-shaped flowers, but don’t be fooled by its beauty - like most members of its genus and subfamily it has an unpleasant smell when bruised. Avoided by grazing animals, because of its acrid, garlicky smell and presumably bad taste.
The narrow, fleshy leaves emerge in late winter or early spring. The flowering stems appear in May and June, as the leaves die down. The stem emerges from a loose, sheathing leaf, with the flowers enclosed in a pair of green, spathe-like bracts. When this splits, the flowers hang downwards, like small, stiff bells, with glistening nectar inside. Native to Europe, where it occurs from the Mediterranean to Romania. Allium siculum subsp. siculum occurs from southern France and Corsica to Italy (including Sicily). Allium siculum subsp. dioscoridis is native to eastern Romania, Bulgaria, the Crimea and western Turkey.

"Babiana villosa", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012

Babiana villosa grows on clay flats and slopes in the southwest and northwest South African Cape. The flowers are mauve, pink, or dark red. This member of the iris family produces low, sparse clumps of hairy, pleated, sword-shaped leaves. They arise in late fall or winter from rounded, deeply buried corms. The 2-inch-wide (5-cm), cup-shaped, mauve-pink to crimson blooms are borne in compact, open spikes. A cluster of black-purple anthers accents each flower's centre. They have no noticeable fragrance.

"Lycoris radiata Familia Amaryllidaceae", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012

Lycoris radiata (red spider lily) is a plant in the Amaryllis family.  Originally from China, it was introduced into Japan and from there to the United States and elsewhere. It flowers in the late summer or autumn, often in response to heavy rainfall. The plant was first introduced into the United States in 1854 when Japanese ports were opened for US trade. Captain William Roberts, who enjoyed botany, brought back only three bulbs of the red spider lily.

The bulbs of Lycoris radiata are very poisonous. These are mostly used in Japan, and they are used to surround their paddies and houses to keep the pests and mice away. In Japan the Red Spider Lily signals the arrival of fall. Japanese Buddhist tradition sees this plant as the perfect one for decorating the graves of the ancestors.  Many Oriental peoples believe that since the Red Spider Lily is mostly associated with death that one should never give a bouquet of these flowers. If you are interested in knowing the legends surrounding this flowering plant, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lycoris_radiata



Young Master Braden is gradually getting into more and more things just as you would expect a growing boy to do.  He  is also beginning that long process of seeking to assert his own will in opposition to his parents -- unless the two just happen to coincide!  We all went through the process in one form or another in order to become the individual person that we are today.  In fact, God calls each one of us to be unique individuals and He has a particular task in mind for each unique person -- whether we recognize it or not.  As Braden's doting, "great-aunt Sallie" (this is the name I have given myself), I am already convinced that Braden must be called to some very special task since he is already so wonderful!

"Come on, Dad, let's do 'ride the horsey' again -- only go faster this time!"

"After I finish chewing on Mickey Mouse's tail, I plan to start on Mom's hair next (so temptingly close on the top of my head)!"

"After all that horseback riding and all that chewing on everything in sight, I am rather tired -- perhaps it is time for a nap!" 


My "Coming Home" Story

NOTE: Some portions of this story have been changed or combined or even partly fabricated in an effort to tell the story in a way that makes sense, provides anonymity for certain people and, particularly, to refrain from attempting to explain those events in the spiritual life which are simply unexplainable

(Continued from previous posting...

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 I felt as though I was rapidly growing in “wisdom and understanding”. It was a truly blessed time for me – for those precious months my life seemed almost unreal as the days passed by in peaceful harmony.

What a gift that was after all those previous years of fear and uncertainty. At last my promise to God – made 15 years earlier – was going to be kept. Fortunately, I had the good sense to realize that this special time was a gift and that things would become difficult again as I would never learn what I needed to if God cocooned me for the rest of my life!

So, I just enjoyed those wonderful days of:
  • the holy hours in that darkened Church;
  • working with the Brothers and the men off the street;
  • worshipping weekly with the Prayer Group (I was writing songs like crazy for the music ministry as melodies and words of praise and thanksgiving just poured out of me almost effortlessly).
Finally, just before Holy Week, Father said I was ready and we decided that Holy Thursday would be THE day. We arranged with the Brothers for me to come into the Church in their chapel. Friends joined me; both Catholic and Anglican, the Brothers and other staff members were there along with a number of the elderly “knights of the road” who lived at the Centre; as well as two priest friends.

What a glorious day that was. Since I was validly baptized, I needed to make my first Confession -- which I did shortly before the Liturgy -- and so as Mass began, my inner being felt as white and clean as the shirt I had purchased for this occasion.

Thus, on April 4th, 1976, as I received that first Eucharist (the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ), it seemed to me that I could almost hear the Father saying: “You are My beloved daughter in whom I am pleased. Always remember that I love you.  Welcome home, Sallie.” 

From deep within came my response: “I love you too -- more than I can express. Thank you for never giving up on me and thank you for this love, peace and joy which now fills my heart and soul.”

At that moment, I suddenly recalled a brief passage from the 7th chapter of the Song of Songs where the beloved says:  " I belong to my love, and his desire is for me."
For the rest, there are no words.

(Not “The End” rather “The Beginning!”)



 I was expecting company yesterday in the early afternoon.  Just before my friend was scheduled to arrive, I checked the condition of the seat of the wing-backed chair in the living room.  I knew it had been cleaned recently, but I also knew that this remains one of Suki's favourite sleeping places.  The first thing I noticed was the fact that Suki was sprawled out across the seat, sound asleep. 

I gently picked her up and moved her to another place nearby where she sometimes sleeps.  She woke up and looked around rather groggily.  Meanwhile I attacked the seat cushion with a "sticky paper roll".  After using the sticky paper until it was coming away clean, I went into the kitchen to dispose of the paper in my "paper" waste basket.  Then I returned to the living room to check everything one final time.  As I did so, I noticed that once again, sprawled across the chair I had just cleaned, was the Suki cat herself!

At this point, I picked her up, a lot less gently this time, and moved her into her bed in the bedroom.  She looked at me with an expression that seemed to say:  "Did I do something wrong?"  Telling her to stay in the bedroom, I retrieved the sticky paper roll from the closet and proceeded to clean the chair seat again.  This time it only took a few strokes before it seemed to be clean enough and I went into the kitchen to dispose of things as I had done previously.

I turned and looked over toward the living room just in time to see Suki jumping back up into the chair!  To say I was not pleased would be a definite understatement!  I could feel myself getting very frustrated and so rather than continue this "comedy routine", I decided it would be better for me to finish getting myself ready for my visitor and then to try to reclaim the chair just before the time she was to arrive.

This I did and was feeling fine again by the time my friend buzzed from the lobby.  I let her in and quickly picked up the sleeping Suki, being very gentle once again, and moved her back into the bedroom with a stern admonition to "STAY".  Once again she looked at me as though she could not understand why I was just a bit tense!

At this point, I heard my friend knocking on the door.  I let her in and stood talking with her as she removed all those winter things we have to wear here in Canada during these cold months and then we turned and moved toward the living room.

Yes, you know what I saw:  Suki was right back in the chair, proceeding to give herself a full bath.  At this point she had her back leg over her head, giving her back side a thorough going over!  I could see my friend glancing toward the chair (this is where she usually likes to sit).  I quickly began to apologize as I observed my friend's eyes go quickly to the nearby sofa.  She said, not surprisingly, "I think I will sit on the sofa today as Suki apparently wants to visit with us as well!"

When I offered to move the cat, my friend said:  "Oh, no, no.  Let her stay as she seems so comfortable."  Meanwhile I had images in my thoughts about how uncomfortable I would like to make that cat by shutting her up in the bathroom!

And so, we had our visit which was very pleasant.  My friend sat on the sofa and I sat on my walker and Suki sat in her chair!  She sat there, that is, for about 15 minutes before she got down, stretched and ambled over to where my friend was sitting.  At this point, much to my dismay, she jumped up on the sofa and lay down right next to my friend and proceeded to look up at my friend while purring loudly.  She stayed there for a while until my friend finally gave her a few head scratches and then she moved to the back of the sofa where she stayed for the remainder of the visit.  The chair now sat empty.

Oh, did I mention that my friend really doesn't like cats and is, in fact, just a bit frightened of them? 

Other than that, things are going reasonably well at my "house".  Did I tell you that I was diagnosed with possible pneumonia last Friday? 

Well, this cough I have referred to a couple of times continued to worsen and so I was finally forced to make a visit to the doctor.  After listening to my breathing, she immediately prescribed the type of anti-biotic used to treat pneumonia and sent me for x-rays.  I see her again this coming Friday to get the results.  Meanwhile, I seem to be improving slowly.  Thankfully, it is what I grew up hearing referred to as "walking pneumonia" which means I don't feel too bad otherwise -- just a nuisance of a bad cough which particularly likes to act up when I am trying to sleep!

I have a call in to the surgeon's office about when I am scheduled to have this next surgery and will hopefully hear something by sometime tomorrow.  Otherwise, the same conditions continue and I continue to overcome them in order to keep doing some of the things I enjoy the most -- such as the art work and this blog.  Thanks be to God that I have been able, so far, to keep doing these things that matter so much to me.

I still need to put away my Christmas decorations, but I have until the 11th -- that is the very end of the Christmas Season according to the schedule of the Church.  Hopefully I will get started soon just putting away a lot of the smaller items I bring out each year because of the sentimental value I attach to them -- mostly gifts from children in my life -- many of whom are now adults with families of their own.  How precious these memories seem to become as we get older.  It is such a pleasure for me to sit and look at some item made by a child's hand and given to me with such pride and happiness.  I sit and remember with such pleasure, my heart full of gratitude .  God is so very good,

And now, may His peace be with us all -- now and forever -- Amen.

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