Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Desert Rose

"Desert Rose, Adenium obesum", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013  

Adenium obesum or desert rose is a genus of flowering plants in the dogbane family, Apocynaceae. In the Philippines, due to its resemblance to the related genus Plumeria, and the fact that it was introduced to the Philippines from Bangkok, Thailand, the plant is also called as Bangkok kalachuchi.

The desert rose (Adenium obesum) is a striking plant with swollen succulent stems and deep red/pink/white flowers. There is no part of these plants that doesn't command interest: from the dramatically swollen stems (technical name for these massive stems is caudices) on older plants to the bright flowers to the tight clusters of narrow, green leaves. These swollen caudices, by the way, can hold water for the plant to use during dry times.

While it is a fascinating plant, you must be very careful when handling it as the sap of the desert rose is poisonous and should never come into contact with children or pets. If you get sap on yourself while handling the plant, wash your hands immediately. This sap of Adenium obesum and other varieties of Adenium contains toxic cardiac glycosides and is used as arrow poison throughout Africa for hunting large game.

A. obesum is native to sub-Saharan Africa from The Sudan into Kenya and westward to Senegal, and south to Natal and Swaziland. A few occur in the southwest corner of the Arabian peninsular in such places as Yemen. In their native environment the plants are variable in appearance and floral display, but are usually slow growing and long lived, surviving for hundreds of years.

"Desert Rose growing in the wild", sketch by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

The sketch above gives you some idea of what the plant looks like in the wild with those massive caudices, bright flowers and green leaves all appearing in a desert environment!



I just learned yesterday that Braden l-o-v-e-s blueberries!

His mom sent me a video of Braden being given blueberries one at a time.  Whenever he was given another one and plopped it into his mouth, you could almost see the delight his taste buds were experiencing.  As soon as it was swallowed, this pleading look came on his face which, without words, said:  "more, more."!  The following two photos are stills taken during that same meal.  Unfortunately, it seems impossible to put a blueberry on his tray and have enough time to pick up the phone and snap the picture before the blueberry has gone into his mouth and been eaten!

"Please, mommy, may I have another one of those yummy blue things"

"Thanks, but that one is already gone and so I need another one, please,  please!"

This little guy just naturally loves those antioxidants!



I haven't really said very much about my new bed.  First off, I am very pleased with it as is Suki.  She, of course, thinks I got it just for her -- one more of her many special sleeping places!  There is one specific part of my new bed, however, that Suki has truly claimed for her own.  Let me explain.
Suki in one of her many beds!

In order for me to sleep in a bed since breaking my neck back in 2011, I have to arrange the pillows in a very particular way.  I use two regular bed pillows, a square pillow, a neck pillow and one body pillow.  Suki shows little interest in the first four, but the body pillow is a different matter.  For some reason, she seems to think that this pillow is truly her possession and she looks at me quite unhappily each night as I arrange it with the rest of the pillows before settling in for the night.

However, during the night she reclaims the body pillow and makes me pay for using it in the first place!  She usually waits until about 3:30 a.m. before starting anything.  At this point, she climbs over me and onto the body pillow which, because of the way I have arranged things, enables her to climb into a position just above my head -- a position in which she is safe from my long arms unless I actually get up and reach for her!  Once she is in position, she begins her diabolical attack!!

Actually, what she does first is start purring loudly just above my ear.  As you may recall, I have exceptionally good hearing so this sounds like thunder just outside my ear and this noise quickly brings me from sleep to consciousness.  Once I realize what is happening, I tell Suki to go away (which she doesn't do) and then try to return to sleep, pretending that the sound I am hearing is actually the pounding of the surf.  

After a time, I am awakened again, but this time by something I really dislike:  Suki is "washing" my hair!  In other words, she is grooming my hair as she would that of another cat.  She may actually have the best of intentions at this point; however, I have my doubts as she continues doing this in spite of my yelling at her to stop.  Finally, in aggravation, I rise up slightly and push her away.

Often, thankfully, at this point, she just gives up and goes to sleep herself -- still on the body pillow -- and we both sleep until about 6 or 6:15 a.m.  By this time, Suki is beginning to get desperate to eat so she usually starts trying to groom my hair again.  By this time I am ready to get up anyway and so the battle for another night is over.

Other than that, my bed is great.  

As for me, I am doing reasonably well also.  I did see the surgeon on Monday and he agreed that my right eyelid is still not right and so, in time, he will "tack" it up just a bit more so that both eyes will appear to be the same size.  As for the eyebrows, he did not feel that they were healing as well as he would have liked.  So, he injected some steroids (I think that was what was in that needle) into both eyebrows (very painful) in an effort to break down some of the scar tissue.  Now I have to apply a special ointment each night and then forcefully massage my eyebrows for a few minutes before going to bed.

I also finally received the medication from the doctor at the sleep clinic which I am to use only when the Restless Leg problems get so severe that nothing else will help!  At first I thought "this is great -- now I can do something the next time things get to the point where I am about to go crazy from these leg problems."  However, I made the mistake of looking up all the possible side effects of this drug and now I am not sure I am ever going to feel that things are so bad that I should risk taking such a powerful pill! 

So, as you can see, each solution to each problem only seems to lead to more problems!  Ah, well, I am learning a lot in the process.

One thing I continue to learn is how much God loves me and all the people He has created -- and not only the people, but the entire universe with all it life forms.  When I doubt His love, I recall:

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow--not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. Romans 8:38 (Living Bible)
For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:19-23. (NIV)

These are two selections which give me great comfort whenever things get really difficult.  The first (Rom. 8:38) is one I recall often in times of distress; while the second selection (Rom. 8:19-23) is a section of scripture that I love to meditate on as I try to imagine what it will be like when we have our glorified bodies (like Jesus after the Resurrection) and all the heavens and the earth have also been restored and made new again.  As the old hymn says:  "What a day of rejoicing that will be...".

I have rambled on enough for today.  Let me ask our dear God to bless us all with His peace, joy and love until we meet again in Sunday's posting.

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