Sunday, 31 August 2014

Hoya imperialis, Waxplant

"Hoya imperialis, Waxplant", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2014


Hoya imperialis produces some of the largest individual flowers (3-4 inches) of the Hoya group – a species that produces some truly “imperialis” flowers. 

This member of the family Apocynaceae is a spectacular vine with burgundy, pink and, occasionally, yellow flowers which have a creamy-white corona when mature. As well, it has thick, green stems, some many meters long. The large flowers which have a very pleasant scent, most noticeable in the evening, hang in stiff clusters like an open umbrella. 

The common names for Hoya imperialis include Wax Flower, Waxplant, Honey Plant and Porcelain Flower with Wax Flower or Waxplant being the most commonly used. 

Hoya imperialis blossoms can last for several weeks after coming to full bloom. They are impervious to any munching animals and have evolved to withstand the tropical rain storms experienced in their native Borneo and Malaysia. 

This genus was named by botanist Robert Brown (1773-1858), a Scottish botanist and palaeo-botanist who made important contributions to botany largely through his pioneering use of the microscope. Brown chose the name Hoya in order to honour his friend, botanist Thomas Hoy (1750-1822), gardener to the Duke of Northumberland at Syon House in Middlesex in the United Kingdom, a position he held for 40 years.


Photo of Hoya imperialis
I became very frustrated in my efforts to give these blossoms that shiny, waxy look that Nature has given them.  My software just isn't up to it, I discovered, after spending several hours trying to find some way to make the blossoms shine.  (See how they shine in the photo above!).  Ah, well... one of these days I'll find a way.  Meanwhile, please just imagine that the blossoms in my drawing are just as shiny as the ones in the photo.  Thanks.



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SUKI AND SALLIE


Suki says:  "Who, me?"
"I never do anything naughty!"

Another week has passed -- a week during which Suki actually did not do anything really naughty.  She was occasionally rather obnoxious, but it was her normal obnoxiousness!

Perhaps her "I just woke up why aren't you where I can see you" cries were a bit louder and went on for a bit longer... I really can't say for sure... Otherwise, things were very routine. Even her attempts to get me up in the morning when she feels it's time for her breakfast were mild by comparison to those of the past.  

Most surprisingly, when we had another fly in the apartment this week, Suki simply sat and looked first at the fly and then at me -- seemingly saying that she expected me to take care of matter.  I, obligingly, grabbed an old dusting rag and finished that fly off quite expeditiously.  Suki sniffed the carcass carefully and then turned, jumped up in her chair, thoroughly washed her face and paws and then went back to sleep!

I must say, all this good behaviour is making me just a bit nervous. If she was about 10 years older, I could put it down to aging, but she is only 5 1/2 years old -- which is still quite young for a cat.

Maybe its the arthritis that is slowing her down.  She never complains about it (unlike the way I complain about my arthritis) so I really do not have any idea about the level of pain she may be experiencing.  I do notice her limping occasionally and I do catch her wincing sometimes when she jumps from the floor to the seat of her favourite chair.  

I guess I could go back to giving her pain medication, but I really hate to do that... it seems to make her so groggy and sleepy. Then, when she does wake up, she acts a bit confused.  As well, the medication seems to play havoc with her digestive tract.  How I wish, at times like this, that she could talk -- really talk, in words, I mean. Then she could tell me exactly what she would prefer.  

I know for myself that I choose to take less medication, even though that leaves me with more pain, so that I can still be alert enough to draw, write, listen to books and watch movies on Netflix. Maybe it's the same for her -- maybe she would rather have a bit more pain so that she can do her favourite things each day instead of sleeping 22 out of 24 hours a day and having a tummy ache!

I will try to watch her a bit more carefully this coming week and see what signs I notice, if any, of increased limping, hesitation before jumping or wincing when she does jump.  I will then make a decision about whether she needs to visit the vet or whether she just needs a bit more assistance with her daily activities.  I mean, maybe a small stool in front of her favourite chair would keep her from having to make painful jumps so often each day. This would decrease the amount of pain she is experiencing without drugs.  I will let you know what I have discovered in next Sunday's posting.

As for me, there is nothing new to report.  This past week has been one of the quietest I've experienced in a long time.  I do, however, have a visit from a friend and a rather long medical appointment coming up this week. A friend will visit for lunch on Tuesday and I will visit St. Michael's Hospital on Thursday.  The hospital visit includes a lengthy test to see if my asthma has gotten worse.  This will be followed by a visit to my doctor at the sleep clinic -- he is the one who manages my narcolepsy problems.

I really do not expect anything new to come out of the visit to St. Mike's.  There is a possibility that the asthma has gotten worse, but that can probably be fixed by changing my puffer or my regimen for using it. I will let you know if I find out anything of importance when I do next Sunday's posting. 


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TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME


"Icon, Jesus Carrying the Cross", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2010


Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay all according to his conduct.”  Matt: 16:24-27 

This is one of those truly difficult sayings of Christ.  All of us have our own crosses to carry. For some of us our cross is composed of only two or three major things, but for most of us, our crosses seem to be composed of hundreds of little things -- daily responsibilities, difficult people, chronic problems that we know will most likely never get better and so on and so on.

Yet Christ says that if we wish to follow Him we must deny ourselves and willingly pick up that cross and carry it every day. This command is truly beyond our human abilities and yet most of us try, over and over again, to carry our cross by willing to do so, gritting our teeth and trying not to complain too much.  Of course, we fail, blame ourselves, get discouraged, pity ourselves because our cross looks so much worse than our neighbour's does.  In our hearts we mutter "it just isn't fair."

As I have to remind myself so often... it is the gift of His grace that enables me.  Apart from Him I can do nothing.

May grace and peace be with you all.
Amen.


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