Sunday, 14 December 2014

Christmas Camellia

"Camellia sasanqua 'Crimson King' - Yultide", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2014

Camellia sasanqua, Family Theaceae, is a species of Camellia native to China and Japan. There are a number of cultivars that have been developed from C. sasanqua.  This particular one is known as the Christmas or Yuletide camellia.  This large shrub has glossy, dark, evergreen foliage. The flowers range in colour from crimson-pink to white depending on the cultivar. 

These various cultivars of C. sasanqua were developed in Japan in the early 1700s.  The cultivar known as Christmas camellia did not arrive in the west until 1869 when Dutch traders imported some specimens into Europe. 

C. sasanqua has a long history of cultivation in Japan for practical rather than decorative reasons. The leaves are used to make tea while the seeds or nuts are used to make tea seed oil which, over the centuries, has been used for lighting, lubrication, cooking and cosmetic purposes.

Once again, the dark green leaves in my drawing are not glossy; however, I am continuing to experiment with my software in the hopes of eventually finding a way to create glossy, dark, green leaves.


Many of the above facts were taken from Wikipedia.
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NEW RONÀN AND BRADEN PHOTO




Ronàn and Braden just in from the cold.




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SUKI AND SALLIE

Looks as though Suki is ready for Christmas!
Another week, another trauma for poor Suki!  Let me tell you what happened.

There was a flood in the bathroom of the apartment two floors above me.  Loud dripping noises in the wall alerted both Suki and myself to the problem early Wednesday morning.

I was sitting in my little office space working away at the computer when I noticed that Suki had gotten up from her morning nap and was standing in the middle of the room with her ears in that erect position that let me know right away that she was hearing something she did not like.

I pushed the pause button on my iPad which had been playing Vivaldi`s Four Seasons and listened.  It was then that I, too, could hear the drip, drip, drip of water falling inside the wall between the bathroom and the bedroom.  Quickly, I telephoned our building emergency number to find out what was happening.  I was informed by the building super that there had been flooding on a certain floor above me and that the plumbers were rushing here even as we spoke.  

Within half an hour, I could hear pounding on the pipes above me so I knew that help had arrived.  Unfortunately, I also knew that because a little over half an hour had passed from the time I first heard the dripping sounds that there was going to be some water damage in my place as well.

During all of this, Suki was getting more and more agitated -- and what made it worse was that the back wall of the bedroom closet, which is Suki`s bolt hole, backs onto the bathroom.  The water sounds followed by the banging on pipes was most loud inside the closet so Suki had no place to hide.  I really felt sorry for her as I could see how much she desired to go into her safe place only her safe place wasn't  that safe anymore.

Then, to make matters worse, about half an hour after they arrived, the plumbers came banging loudly on my door.  At this point, poor Suki simply dived under the bed while I let the plumbers in so that they could see that all my bathroom drains were draining normally.

As the day progressed, the dripping stopped and, finally, the banging stopped as well.  Soon after that , Suki crawled out from under the bed and started asking to be fed.  Since it wasn't quite lunch time yet, I distracted her by showing her where the water was dripping from above the bedroom closet door and plopping noisily onto the folded towels spread across the floor.   Suki found this quite fascinating for a time as she tried to catch the drops of water before they hit the towels.  Eventually, of course, her thoughts turned back to lunch.

Now, of course, all that happened on Wednesday is forgotten by Suki and she is sleeping soundly as she takes her morning nap. What she doesn't know is that the plumbers will be back this week in order to repair the hole they made in the wall behind the kitchen when they were cleaning the drains last month.  Since they plan to install a small, metal door where the hole is, I am certain that they will be bringing their electric drill with them.  So, the monster will return... poor Suki... more trauma ahead.

As for me, I continue to deal with all my usual pains and
Me at 3 years of age
difficulties in my usual way.  There have been more visits and phone calls these past few days, however, as today is my birthday. Truly, I never thought I would get this old, but here I am.


Thanks to all of you who have contacted me one way or another: cards, phone calls, emails and Facebook.  I feel very well remembered.






My grand-nephew or great-nephew --
whichever you prefer -- studying the
birthday card I made for him.



I share my birthday with my great-nephew, Daniel.  As usual, I sent him a card that I had made.  Since he, like all my family, lives in the USA, I always worry that the birthday cards I send won't arrive in time.  Thankfully, in this case, he received my card a few days before the 14th.







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THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT




This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.” Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’” as the prophet Isaiah said. Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.     John 1:19-28


"Icon -- The Baptism of Christ", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2014 Rev.



"Among you stands ... the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal."

The entire introductory section of St. John's Gospel is full of so many amazing things.  In this passage, for example, we are told that the God of all, in order to show us He is Love, Itself, came and walked among us.  Not only that, but we are told that He wore the footwear of poor people -- rough sandals -- and got his feet dirty -- like all the other poor folks -- as he walked along the dusty roads of ancient Palestine.

I have heard these words so many times, however, that I have to stop and say something to myself along the lines of "what if this is really true?"  When I ask that question then I am shocked once again at the possibility that there is a Creator who loves us so much that He lived among us and, like us, got His feet dirty.  Not only that, in order to show us how much we are loved, he suffered to be born as a baby with feet that could not walk at first. He lived a life of hard work and suffered from cold feet and feet that ached at the end of a long day. Eventually, He was condemned, falsely, as a criminal and had nails driven through those same feet just like all the poor criminals of His time and place.  Is this not amazing?

May we rejoice on this "Gaudete (rejoicing) Sunday" as we contemplate the coming of the Christ Child with his tiny, precious feet that speak to us so loudly about the God who is Love.

Amen.


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