Sunday, 25 August 2013

Gladiolus cardinalis -- I'm Back!

"Gladiolus cardinalis", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013
[This is one of the first drawings I attempted once I started feeling a bit better.  
I was sure the bright red would lift my spirits -- and it did!!]

Gladiolus cardinalis grows on wet cliffs and waterfalls in the southwestern Cape area of South Africa and blooms in summer and is pollinated by the mountain pride butterfly. This plant seeks out moist niches, sometimes under waterfalls, as it grows in its native Drakensberg Mountains.  The rare Gladiolus cardinalis is one of the most spectacular of all Glads. This South African native screams for attention, with vivid red blooms splashed with white on the lower petals.  

Family: Iridaceae; Genus: Gladiolus; Species: cardinalis.



This past week I was invited to lunch at a local restaurant by two dear friends of mine.  One of those friends you have seen my write about previously -- my friend, Eugene.   Before we met that day, I had mentioned to Eugene that I really needed to laugh (I am convinced that the laughter which comes from pure joy and delight is a healing medicine).  

So, the moment I arrived at the restaurant (both friends arrived before I did!), I was handed a greeting card by Eugene which he had made just for me.  Below you see the cover of that card which did, indeed, give me a good laugh.  I hope it gives you a chuckle or two as well.

The cover of Eugene's greeting card



Recently, Braden's mom sent me two adorable photos which showed that sweet, adorable boy wearing his Aunt's sunglasses!  I really laughed when I first saw them.  What a cut-up that Braden is!

Of course, after I sat back and really took a good look at these photos, I realized that 14 month old Braden looks more like an 18 month old in these picture!  I finally decided that it's the teeth that make the difference.  He has so many of them already -- including molars -- and this makes him look older, to me, than his actual age. The teeth are especially evident in the 2nd photo of him.

And then there is that wild and wonderful hair...!  What a cutie he is.

Braden wearing his Aunt's sunglasses!

Braden wearing his Aunt's sunglasses #2



Let me introduce you to Suki's dolly.  She is a "Raggedy-Ann" type
Suki and her favourite doll
doll which I rescued from a bin at a Goodwill store some years ago.  

This doll has been held and played with by various children over the years, but she didn't belong to any one person until Suki came along!

This, by the way, is a love affair of recent origin.  Raggedy-Ann had been living in a plastic bag in the bedroom closet for the past several years as all my child visitors seem to have grown up during that time.  This time period coincides almost exactly with the years Suki has been living with me.

For some reason I cannot now recall, I brought Raggedy-Ann out of the closet a few weeks ago and she ended up spending the day sitting on my bed. Before that day was finished, it became obvious that Suki had adopted Raggedy-Ann.  I was aware that dogs often had a favourite doll or toy that they liked to have with them when they were going to sleep, but I really didn't realize that this attachment can also occur with cats!

So, in the photo above, you see Suki as she awakens from a nap and makes certain that Raggedy-Ann is nearby.  Soon after the photo was taken, Suki put her head down in Raggedy-Ann's lap and fell sound asleep again!  I wonder if she now dreams of adventures with her dolly companion?  Maybe they even meet up with Raggedy-Andy!  What a cat.

As for me, I must be doing better because here I am writing in my blog again.  For the time being, I will only plan to publish every Sunday.  I have been working hard at getting better since I posted the comments I made back at the beginning of August.  

I returned to the gym on a pretty regular basis.  I began taking a new medication for staying awake during the daytime and it seems to be working at the moment.  I know that the dosage will have to be increased as I am still have mild sleep attacks, but so far no more bad falls.  Hopefully this drug will continue to work and not fade away as the previous one did.

I am also busily trying more unusual things for the Restless Leg problems.  I have actually discovered a Naturopathic remedy that seems to be helping to give me a bit of relief in my legs.  As a matter of fact, there are two of these Bach Flower remedies that actually seem to have a positive effect on this condition.  I must admit that previously I never gave such remedies serious consideration!  You might even have called me a "scientific snob"!

I have also purchased a Revitive Circulation Booster.  You may have seen this product advertised on TV.  It is basically a TENS machine for feet and lower legs.  It also includes TENS pads so that the user can stimulate certain areas of the body.  I have only been using it for a few days now, but have already found some real relief after the stimulation -- especially when I put the pads directly on the calf muscles.  

It was a bit expensive, but I am at the point of being willing to do almost anything to get some relief for this long-term problem.  It is just the most agonizing thing when there is no real relief, day after day,  from a painful or distressing condition.  Now I am actually having 45 to 60 minutes of time when I am not suffering with this condition.  What a joy that is for me and how grateful I am that the things that I have tried recently actually seem to be helping.

So, even though I still spend some time complaining to God about my Job-like existence, I am now, once again, a bit more willing to accept whatever He permits in my life.  I hope to get to Confession this week as I now have quite a list to bring to Our Lord in the confessional after these past weeks of trying to sort out my life with all its problems.  Thank you for your prayers.  Please continue to pray for me.  I will also continue to seek to offer my sufferings and distress in union with Our Lord on the cross for your needs and intentions.  May this be a source of blessing for us all.

And, finally, may the peace of God be with us all -- today and always.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

An Explanation for My Absence

"Madonna and the Child with Book", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

This drawing was almost finished a month or so ago, but I had been debating with myself about whether I should finish it or just let it go with all the other unfinished drawings of mine.  Well, today, even though it is still not quite finished, I am posting it as I have very little choice!  Why?

Well, things have gotten so bad for me what with changing, decreasing, increasing medications that I can no longer sit at the computer and work on anything for even a half an hour.  Instead, I end up either falling asleep inappropriately or going out walking for hours at a time trying to get my legs to settle down so that I can rest for a few hours at least.  Proper sleep has become another serious medical matter...

So what is all of this doing to my blog?  Well, I am not going to be able to continue posting for however long it takes for me to get my "legs better"!  The problems with my legs are really the most disruptive of all the issues I have at present -- although not the most painful.

So, if you receive notification of each new posting by email, then there is no need to check until you receive an email telling you that something new has been published.  For the rest of my readers, I can only suggest that you check back every so often to see what, if anything, has changed.

I am trying my best to get better and will continue to desire all your prayers and good wishes during this process.  Please God I will be able to get better and return to drawing and writing and something approaching a normal life once again.

May the peace of God be with us all.                                                                                                                                                             

Sunday, 4 August 2013


"Our Lady and the Child beside Lake of Genneseret", drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013 
Here is my most recent drawing of our Blessed Mother holding the Child Jesus.  They are together by the side of Lake Genneseret (Sea of Galilee or Lake Tiberias) as the sun is setting.

This time I knew from the beginning that I was intending to draw a religious drawing and thus you see the nimbus above the head of Jesus and of His mother.

The art work that inspired this drawing is a quite lovely period piece I came across on the Internet.  As is so often the case with such art work, it is not accompanied by any clear indication of whose work it is.  I plan to check one more time before I publish today's posting as I would really like to give the artist credit since their work inspired my work.  However, I am not going to spend a lot of time and energy trying to locate a name.  As I usually do, I ask those who see this blog to please contact me if you know whose painting I was working from while doing my drawing.

I was noticing recently that I think I have enough new images of our Lady and the Child so that I can go ahead and start creating my "Lady calendar" for the year 2014.  I should also soon have enough flower drawings as well to complete the "Flowers calendar" for next year.



I keep thinking that I won't be posting photos of Braden on a regular basis anymore -- but then I receive another picture that is just too adorable not to share -- especially since so many of my readers continue to tell me how much they enjoy seeing Braden's photos!

Here comes the wild man -- happy to be able to play in the park!
(With this hair cut, his mom says he looks like Woodstock
 in the Peanuts cartoon series!)



 My Vancouver correspondent (my friend, Karen) continues to send interesting photos.

This one of a message on a rock is particularly interesting to me.  It was written by someone who had the ability to see something beautiful and positive even in an event that would ordinarily be rather depressing -- almost constant rain!

Of course, as you are aware if you have been reading my previous postings, Vancouver has almost had a record-breaking summer after going the entire month of July without any of its famous rain showers.

NOTE:  If you are not used to selecting individual photos for special viewing and find the text on the rock difficult to read, please follow the instructions below:
Simply put your cursor on the photo, click and the photo will show up in a new location where you will be able to increase the magnification of the photograph.  When you finish, just click on the "X" slightly to the right of the photo and you will return to the blog page.

"Vancouver in the rain", by Regan D. Andrade, December, 1999

A local "Peking" Duck sharing the beach with Mallard ducks and Canada Geese.
"Peking" ducks, like the one in the photo above, are native to China.  This one is most likely an escapee from a local farm where these ducks are raised for Chinese restaurants who offer
Peking Duck on their menus!  Escapees should be fairly safe from being eaten since they, like all ducks and geese, shovel up the bottom of shallow water in an effort to find tasty snacks!
I would think that trying to eat a city duck would be about as tasty as trying to eat a city pigeon!!



I recently did a drawing of a stylized sunset.
As I was finishing the drawing, I recalled a
photo I had seen of a solitary cat sitting on the
rocks, apparently gazing at the sunset.  I
decided that Suki would probably enjoy such
a scene and so I drew her into the picture.
Just as I was ready to start this section, I felt the need for a fresh glass of ice water.  Suki was apparently sound asleep in her "crows nest" bed and so I quietly made my way to the kitchen in hopes that I could grab my ice water and get back to the computer without Suki even waking up!

What a faint hope this was!

At the very instant when my bare foot stepped onto the kitchen floor, I heard a loud thump followed by some desperate sounding meows!  I knew exactly what these noises meant:  Suki had jumped from her high bed directly to the floor and was now running towards the kitchen, meowing as she ran.

In less than 15 seconds there she was, wrapping herself around my feet so that I couldn't even move until I had convinced her that she just might get fed but first she would have to stop trying to trip me!

She seemed to understand immediately what the problem was and she quickly went over to take up the position:  she sits on the floor, just under the ledge created by the drawers which are under the counter top where I tend to always prepare her food.  She waited patiently until she heard the unmistakable sounds of food being removed from a can and placed in her dish.  Then she went a little crazy and began to act as though she was starving to death, rolling around at my feet and making mewing noises.  What a drama queen she can be!

At any rate, she is now fed and I have my glass of lots of ice and a little bit of water so let me tell you what has been happening with me since last I gave you any information about a week or so ago.

I saw two of the sleep specialists on July 26th.  The only new idea they had was to suggest that I cut back on another one of my medications -- actually to cut the dosage in half!  I agreed to try it and that very night took only half of the amount I had been taking every night for the past 4 or 5 years.  By late afternoon the next day, I began to notice the side effects caused by decreasing this medication.

For the first few days, it was like being on an emotional roller coaster going from almost a sense of hopelessness to strong emotional feelings, to apparent acceptance of the situation and finally down to some sort of Stoicism.  Then the process would repeat!  It is amazing how tired such emotional activity can leave you -- at least it does me.  It was actually not until a few days later that I was able to return to the gym again as I was so very tired!

Of course, the goal of this exercise is that I will no longer have such severe sleep problems if I am taking few sedating type medications.  Sadly, this is not turning out to the be the case.  Things have changed, but, unfortunately, not for the better!

Now, while I no longer seem to be suffering from the "sleep attacks", I find that something rather worse is happening.  I am ending up in some sort of sleep fog that I simply cannot break out of.  I will find myself getting very sleepy at an inappropriate time and so I will get up in an effort to get myself moving again.  This has always worked in the past.  Well, not now...

Last night, for example, I finished watching the news and decided that I had better go into the kitchen and fix myself a little supper before I ended up falling asleep in my recliner.  If I allow myself to fall asleep before I have had supper, I usually end up not eating at all since by the time I awaken, it is simply too late to be trying to have a meal. 

Well, last night I remember going into the kitchen and preparing a light supper for myself, even doing a bit of cooking on the stove.  I then sat down at the kitchen bar to eat my meal and that is the last clear thing I remember for the next hour!  During that hour, I later discovered that I had eaten my meal and tried to put away the food and wash the dishes.  I discovered this because after almost an hour, I came close to falling forward and somehow stopped myself by breaking my fall with the back of my fist.  The pain was so severe for a few moments that I finally woke up!

I looked around the kitchen, trying to figure out what I had been doing during that hour and found the sorts of things that I used to find years ago when I had trouble with sleepwalking:  dirty dishes placed in the refrigerator, left over food taken out of plastic containers and put in clean containers and then left on the counter, dishes that had been washed and then put back with the dirty dishes, etc., etc.  

I was shocked at what had happened and very distressed as I had hoped that by removing myself from as much sedating medication as possible, I would somehow automatically end up getting better! Obviously, this isn't going to happen.  In fact, I have almost had another similar episode this morning but have managed to keep myself out of that "sleep fog".  Meanwhile, I am planning on spending as much of the day seated as I possibly can just in case another episode sneaks up on me again!  

The appointment for evaluating what has happened because of reducing this drug is not until Friday, August 9th.  I am just hoping and praying that I make it that far without doing any severe damage to myself or to my home! To be honest, I am really afraid at this point of preparing any food that requires cooking.  Thankfully, I have plenty of stuff that can be eaten cold.  

Who knows, I may yet end up having an article written about me in one of those prestigious medical journals!

Meanwhile, I can still praise God in the midst of all of this, giving thanks for all the good things He has given me and praying for all of my dear friends, family and acquaintances even if I fall sleep in my chair while doing any of the above.

And now, I pray, that the peace of God will be with us all.