Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Daisies and Dahlias


"Gerbera Daisies (Gerbera hybrida)", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013


Gerbera is a genus of ornamental plants from the sunflower family (Asteraceae). It was named in honour of the German botanist and naturalist Traugott Gerber († 1743). It has approximately 30 species in the wild, extending to South America, Africa and tropical Asia. The first scientific description of a Gerbera was made by J.D. Hooker in 1889 when he described Gerbera jamesonii, a South African species also known as Transvaal daisy or Barberton Daisy. Gerbera is also commonly known as the African Daisy.

Gerbera is important commercially. It is the fifth most used cut flower in the world (after rose, carnation, chrysanthemum, and tulip). It is also used as a model organism in studying flower formation. Gerbera contains naturally occurring coumarin derivatives. Gerbera is a tender perennial plant. It is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds, but resistant to deer.

"Orange Dahlia", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

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. Dahlia is a genus of bushy, tuberous, perennial plants native to Mexico, Central America, and Colombia.

There are at least 36 species of dahlia. 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. Since 1813, commercial plant breeders have been breeding dahlias to produce thousands of cultivars, usually chosen for their stunning and brightly coloured waxy flowers.



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BRADEN'S CONTINUING ADVENTURES



Some recent photos of my man, Braden, being pulled around by his Dad in an empty duffel bag!  At his age, everything is an adventure!


"Braden goes for a ride"




"He's a natural; see how he leans into that curve!"



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SUKI AND SALLIE
Suki waiting for me to get up and do something for her!



Well, Suki has continued to behave -- I guess I should qualify that statement...  In terms of her normal behaviour, Suki has behaved better than usual making life a bit easier for me during this difficult time.

One thing that happened a couple of days ago wasn't bad behaviour, just typical cat behaviour for which cats cannot be held responsible!

I was just about to drift off after taking some more pain medication when I begin to hear scratching noises.  I had just fed Suki prior to taking my medication and so I assumed that she was into her litter box.  However, the noise continued and I realized that it really did not sound as though she was scratching cat sand.

I was feeling very tired and was just about to convince myself that she was feeling frisky after eating and was involved in playing some sort of game.  I was also sleepy enough so that I could have easily drifted off without investigating.  However, at this point she began to emit short meows -- the kind that would have an exclamation mark after them if they were written down!  Perhaps there is a pigeon on the balcony, I thought -- Suki does talk a lot whenever she sees a pigeon out there as she so desperately wants to get out and catch it.

As the meowing continued, I realized that whatever was going on, I would definitely have to investigate before I could get any rest.  As I carefully navigated towards the living room, I started saying:  "Suki, what on earth are you doing out here making all that noise?"

There was no Suki to be seen but suddenly the meowing became louder and much more insistent and ... it appeared to be coming from the kitchen.  I turned on the light, but no Suki could be seen!  She could, however, be heard scratching and meowing and the noise appeared to be coming from my built-in, double-door, pantry!  I opened the door and out bolted a very upset cat -- I knew she was upset because she continued to talk about her displeasure for the next couple of minutes with staccato-type meows.  I refused to give her any sympathy, however, as I told her it was her own fault for sneaking in the pantry while my back was turned.  I also reminded her that "curiosity killed the cat".  At this point, she stuck her tail up in the air, turned around and walked sedately into the living room. I headed back to bed, grateful that all was peaceful once again.

As for me...

Well, I just got home from seeing the sleep clinic doctor and I think we may be making some progress.  I have been given some medication that is supposed to help prevent the sleep attacks.  I am starting off with a small dosage to see how it works and I have a follow up appointment in a few weeks plus a phone number I can call if there are problems before then. 

As well, she is putting me on an iron supplement even though my iron level is low normal; however, research has shown that people with Restless Leg Syndrome need a higher level of iron in their bodies than most people.  If this should work then I will be able to stop taking any medication for RLS at all!  I love the idea of getting rid of some of these pills.

I will give you more information once I begin my "clinical trials"!!  Now I am just tired and want to go and rest.

Join me in giving thanks to God for getting me through all these surgeries and tests and such.  And thanks to all of you for your prayers and good wishes.  I don't know if I would have made it without you.  May God bless you all.

I can't end today without mentioning our dear Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.  I watched the Wednesday teaching from St. Peter's at 4 a.m our time.  It was a beautiful, sunny day in Rome and the place was packed with people. They extended all the way back into the streets like they did for Blessed Pope John Paul II's funeral.  I have no idea of the numbers, but many of them were young people.  It is like a death without the dying as this was the last time Benedict will appear in public.  I will miss him very much.  I know he will be praying for the whole Church and especially for those cardinals preparing to elect our new pope.

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