Wednesday, 15 May 2013


"Bougainvillea", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

Bougainvillea is a genus of flowering plants native to South America from Brazil west to Peru and south to southern Argentina. Different authors accept between four and 18 species in the genus. As the result of natural mutations and interbreeding, there are now over 300 varieties of Bougainvillea throughout the world. The first European to describe these plants was Philibert Commer├žon, a French botanist accompanying French Navy admiral and explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville during his voyage of circumnavigation, and first published for him by Antoine Laurent de Jussieu in 1789. 

Bougainvillea plants are thorny, woody vines growing anywhere from 1 to 12 metres (3 ft 3 in to 39 ft 4 in) tall, scrambling over other plants with their spiky thorns. They are evergreen where rainfall occurs all year, or deciduous if there is a dry season. You will often hear people describe these plants as having pink, magenta, purple or orange flowers. In truth, the actual flower of almost all the varieties is plain white, small and comes in threes. The colourful “flowers” that most people see are actually bracts. I defined botanical bracts in a previous post a modified or specialized leaf often (but not always) different from foliage leaves. They may be smaller, larger, or of a different color, shape, or texture. Typically, they also look different from the parts of the flower, such as the petals and/or sepals. – usually three to six of them surrounding three white-headed flowers as shown in the drawing above. 

 For the most part, it seems, scientists have discovered little use for the various parts of the Bougainvillea plant although in some countries, such as the Philippines, the plants are used in various folk remedies. There main use seems to be for ornamental purposes such as enhancing parks and people’s gardens. The major complaint regarding this plant is that the bracts are constantly falling to the ground and leaving a “carpet” of pink, purple, red, etc. which can be difficult to clean. Those of us who can travel to the tropics and just enjoy the beauty of the Bougainvillea have it the best of all!



Well, Braden continued his exciting life by attending a birthday party.  He was the only guy there with 3 attractive young ladies!  Being such a cute guy means he is quite comfortable with the situation.  However, things got a lot more exciting than he might have bargained for!!

As best I can learn from reliable sources, this seems to be what happened:  At some point while playing games with his little lady friend (see photo below this one), Braden made a bold move and started trying to remove her shoe.  Apparently, she found this disagreeable and kept trying to get him to stop such forward behaviour!  Eventually, in frustration, I suppose, or maybe playfulness, she pulled his sock off and threw it over her shoulder.  Did this have some special significance for the two of them?  I assume that at this point there might have been some intervention by the chaperons, but I'm not sure.  At any rate, I imagine that by this time, the young lady figured that such behaviour might indicate that he, Braden, really wanted to be her "special" friend (remember, this is the same girl that Braden was with on his "first date" and who had told him to behave himself when he kept trying to kiss her!).

Well, in the nature of human relationships, Braden was later seen at the party with his hand firmly planted in the small of the back of one of the other attractive young ladies present -- a very intimate gesture.  He may have had a bottle or two of juice by this time, but that is still no excuse.  The next thing he knew, his lady friend had burst into tears and, being a man, Braden was totally confused by her behaviour.  I was told that she really started bawling when the song "It's My Party (and I'll cry if I want to)" came on the CD player.  Do you remember the words?  It starts off like this: 
Nobody knows where my Johnny has gone 

Judy left the same time 
Why was he holding her hand 
When he's supposed to be mine
It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to 
Cry if I want to, cry if I want to 
You would cry too if it happened to you...
Braden is a real sweetheart, but like most guys, he has a lot to learn about women as indicated by the look on his face in the final photo!!

"I'm going to a birthday party!"

"I do hope you like my gift.  I picked it out specially for you."

"Women!  Does anyone understand them?  What should I do now?  
Maybe it's time to leave!  Mommy!"



Suki favourite place to sleep after her evening meal
Suki has been giving me some difficult moments lately -- and, as usual, it is all because of her hungry stomach!

One of the funniest happened early Monday morning when I stumbled into the bathroom and begin washing my face.  As I was drying my face, I happened to glance up into the mirror.  For an instant I gazed at myself in absolute confusion, wondering what on earth could  have happened to me during the night.  Then it dawned on me exactly what had happened and it struck me as so funny that I burst into laughter.

What had shocked me was the sight of the hair on one side of my head standing straight up -- I mean straight up.  It was as though I had developed a major "cow lick" while sleeping!  Since I am a person who always sleeps on my back, it took a moment or two to figure out what must have happened.  However, it quickly dawned on me that the cause of this new hair style was none other than Suki, the cat.  
The hair style is similar, but this is
definitely not a drawing of me!
"Cow lick Girl", sketch by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

I have mentioned to you previously how Suki will sometimes try to groom my hair in an effort to get me to awaken and feed her.  Usually her efforts don't work because the first few licks do awaken me, but then I quickly stick my head under the covers and go back to sleep.  However, I must have been sleepy enough that night that she had been able to lick and groom quite successfully without my even waking up.  The results were truly amazing and quite funny looking.  What even added to my amusement was my idea to use the term "cat lick" rather than "cow lick".  Fortunately, the entire situation was remedied by my morning shower!

As for me, I have spent a lot of time since Monday visiting various doctors and here is my report!

The eye surgeon wants us to continue to allow my eyes to heal as best they can for several more months before we make any decisions regarding further surgery.  One new problem that we've discovered is that my left eye is no longer closing completely -- one of the problems that the surgeon had hoped to repair during surgery.   He has moved the bottom lid as much as he can but still the top lid is not closing properly and there seems to be nothing he can do about it.  So, I am now on a new regimen of coating the eye at night so that the cornea doesn't start to dry out -- which, as you can imagine, would not be good for my eye!

Then the doctor at the sleep disorders clinic is going to try to find some way for me to be able to get this "stay awake" medication covered by my insurance.  She is determined as it seems to be the best choice for me as my body is tolerating it well and it does make a huge difference in my quality of life.  She also wants to get me into the Sunnybrook sleep clinic so that I can have a 24 hour constant monitoring of my sleepiness.  This may take some time so meanwhile I am going to be fitted for this CPAP thing for sleep apnea.  While I am not looking forward to this, I know that it may well be the means for my getting a better night's sleep.

Finally, it seems that my lung function is getting worse rather than better so I have been put on a much stronger puffer.  I am very pleased about this as there have been too many times lately when it has been difficult to breathe properly and this should help a lot.

So, even though there is still a lot to deal with, I am feeling positive because the doctor seems to really care about finding out exactly what is going on with my sleep and helping me to get it under control, if possible.  

So, now you  have it.  The one problem that no one has been able to  really help me with is the restless leg disease.  It continues to worsen.  However, I was informed today that the people at Sunnybrook are also experts in the treatment of restless leg disease -- so, just maybe....  I can always hope.

So, with gratitude to God in my heart in spite of all the difficulties I may face, I just want to encourage us all to keep trusting in the providence of God who loves us more than we can ever imagine. He seeks only what is best for us and that which will lead us eventually to spend eternity with Him -- sharing His love and the love of all our brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ -- the Church Triumphant.  Praised by Jesus Christ for loving us, for saving us and for giving us His own mother to be our mother too.  

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