Sunday, 27 April 2014

Our Lady of the Roses

"Our Lady of the Roses", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2014

Here is a new drawing for which I once again used, as my model, a painting by John William Waterhouse.  

Waterhouse (born 1849, died 1917) was an English artist whose works were labelled "pre-Raphaelite".  Artists whose works fall under the description of "pre-Raphaelite" felt that art had lost its way with the work and style of Raphael. They particularly rejected any painting style which they felt was "lax or sloshy".  Instead, they sought a return to the abundant detail, intense colours and complex compositions of Quattrocento Italian art (the art of the late middle ages and early Renaissance).

Although Waterhouse is less well-known than other pre-Raphaelites (Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt), I find that I keep returning to his paintings for inspiration and the use of his works as models for my own drawings.  My works, of course, do not do his works justice, but my attempts to copy something of his style gives me great pleasure and helps me to forget -- just a bit -- the pain which is now my constant companion.

The Waterhouse painting that I used for my model for this drawing is entitled: "The Soul of the Rose".  For me, I saw the painting as one of Our Lady -- especially under the title of "Mystical Rose" and, thus, I called my drawing "Our Lady of the Roses".    



Not only is this Divine Mercy Sunday, but this is -- as I am sure you are aware -- the day of the canonizations of St. Pope John XXIII and St. Pope John Paul II.  What a wonderful day for the whole Church.

Did you see well over a million people thronging the whole area around the Vatican?  So many happy faces on this wonderful day.  I have not yet been able to watch the actual ceremonies, but plan to do so later when they are being replayed for members of the North American audience who can't cope with getting up so early in order to watch the events on Rome time!

Of course, Divine Mercy Sunday was very special to St. JPII as was the whole teaching on Divine Mercy given to, and through, St. Faustyna (Faustina).  Hanging above my desk is a large picture of Our Lord of Divine Mercy with those wonderful words underneath: "Jesus, I trust in You".

"Jesus, I Trust in You", drawing by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

St. Pope John XXIII and St. Pope John Paul II, pray for us.



Braden's mom sent me a number of photos on Easter Sunday and so I can't help but share a couple of them.  He is such a cutie-pie and he appears to have a cow-lick in the same spot as his "Auntie" Sallie!  

The first photo shows Braden after more Easter egg hunting (remember the photo from last Sunday's posting showed him with only one basket, not quite full).  That basket was actually in the original copy of this photo, but I cropped it out so that Braden would appear larger.  So, even though you can't see it, he ended up with three baskets full of goodies!

Braden after the Easter egg hunt!

This next photo was taken the week before Easter Sunday and really shows what a grown-up boy Braden has become in almost two years!  I simply cannot believe that the time has passed so quickly. What a joy he has been to his family and friends as we have seen the development of the delightful personality and the uniqueness that is Braden.

I can't believe that he is almost 2 years old!

Serbian Orthodox Vaskrs (Pascha) eggs and bread.
Notice how the eggs are decorated with the leaf 
design -- beautiful work, Amra!
I also received an Easter photo from my friend, Amra, showing the bread and eggs that are part of her family's Serbian Orthodox Pascha celebration. The eggs are red -- traditionally a caramel red colour -- symbolizing happiness, joy, rebirth and the blood of Christ. The sweet egg bread, similar to chalka (the Polish bread that I have shared when celebrating Easter with my Polish friends) except that the red-dyed, hard-cooked eggs are nestled atop the braid.     



Suki settling in for her morning snooze
in her one of her favourite chairs
Well, thanks to the suggestion of a good friend, Suki's days of sleeping on the laptop keyboard may now occur less frequently!  At least that is my hope.

When my friend, Jessie, came to visit on Thursday this past week, she mentioned that she had read my recent posting about wishing there was some way to provide Suki with heat for her painful joints -- some way other than my laptop keyboard -- and my concerns over trying to use a heating pad since Suki's claws and electricity seem a dangerous combination!

However, Jessie mentioned that her son, during a time when he had a cat needing extra warmth, had come up with the idea of putting a heating pad between the layers of a blanket and then turning the heating pad on high for a time so that the blanket, itself, could become warm to the touch.  Afterwards, turning the pad down to medium (or even low, depending on the "power" of the heating pad) which would allow the blanket to remain warm indefinitely while protecting the heating pad from the cat.

I was so taken with the idea that I had to try it out right away -- even before Jessie left!  I used a big towel rather than a blanket and placed the heating pad, wrapped carefully in the towel, in one of Suki's favourite chairs.  After making certain that the towel felt pleasantly warm to the touch and turning down the heating pad to low, I found Suki and gently placed her on the warm towel.

She was delighted with the arrangement and stayed in the chair for about four hours straight, first on her right side (right hip joint) and then her left, turning every hour or so.  She finally awoke and left the chair when she suddenly decided it was time to eat again.

I was so pleased about this arrangement and was almost ready to consider it a victory won, happy that my laptop would no longer be subjected to 12 lbs of Suki sleeping on it every night.  Fortunately, I know enough not to assume victory with Suki too quickly -- and that turned out to be a wise decision.

The following morning I discovered that Suki had been on the laptop again during the night.  I could tell this with certainty because she had somehow managed to take 12 screen shots of my "resting" screen with the screen capture software I have!  As Queen Victoria is supposed to have said:  "We are not amused"!

I have not given up, however, and I will continue to encourage Suki to use the chair "pad" rather than the laptop as a source of warmth on her painful joints.  Last night was the third night since I started teaching Suki to use the heating pad arrangement and when I checked the computer early this morning, it appeared that nothing was amiss. This means that Suki chose to stay on the warm chair last night rather than the keyboard.  Of course, it is still far too early in this game for me to declare victory -- especially when dealing with a cat as frustratingly smart as Suki!

As for myself, I do have some news from my most recent doctor's appointment.  As the doctor said, there is both good news and bad news.  

The good news is that my bones are in amazing shape for someone my age!  Evidently, the majority of my "lost" height is due to the way that my neck and upper back curve now ever since my neck was broken a few years ago.  Not being able to hold my neck up straight means that my standing height appears to be almost three inches lower than prior to the accident.  My bones, on the other hand, show no signs of osteoporosis.

The bad news is that my potassium is out of whack again! Somehow, it has gotten much too high once more and so I am back on these unpleasant pills I must use in order to bring the potassium back to within the normal range.  I stopped eating any foods high in potassium back last fall when this problem first occurred and have never returned to eating them.  At that time I took the prescribed medication until the week after my blood test on the 30th of December, 2013. When the doctor phoned the results the first week of January, 2014, saying that my potassium level was normal again, I stopped the unpleasant medication immediately. In blood tests over the past few months, the potassium level has remained "within normal limits".  Why it has suddenly spiked again, I don't know -- nor do the doctors -- but I am now back to the only treatment that seems to work -- this unpleasant medication. Oh, well....

Otherwise, everything else is much the same.  I do have some medical appointments this coming week; however, these are follow-up appointments and I do not expect to hear anything new or surprising.

Let us try to remember that while God is just, He is also always merciful.

Now, may the peace of God fill our hearts in the days ahead and may our lives be full of joy.  Amen

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