Sunday, 17 May 2015

Hippeastrum not Amaryllis!

"Hippeastrum 'Baby Star' ", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015

For many years there was confusion among botanists over the generic names Amaryllis  and  Hippeastrum. One major result of this confusion is that the common name "amaryllis" is used almost entirely for both Hippeastrum and Amaryllis. 

The plants in these two genera, available in stores in North America and Europe particularly during the Christmas/Holiday season, are usually found under the section heading of "Amaryllis". They are, however, two different genera. Hippeastrum is native to the tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas -- from Argentina north to Mexico and the Caribbean. By contrast, the genus name, "Amaryllis, applies to bulbs native to South Africa. 

Hippeastrum is, like Amaryllis, a genus in the family Amaryllidaceae.  The name Hippeastrum, given to the genus by William Herbert, (1778–1847, a British botanist, botanical illustrator, poet, and clergyman) means "Knight's-star-lily", although precisely what Herbert meant by the "knight" part of the name remains unclear.

The hybrid, Hippeastrum 'Baby Star', is reddish-orange with a white star center and green throat. However, don't be misled by the term "miniature" as they produce 2 (or even 3) stalks to a height of 18".

"Hippeastrum 'Baby Star' ", drawing, with
special effects, by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015

After completing the drawing, I decided to play with it just a bit -- ending up with a somewhat interesting effect (see right). It now looks almost as though the drawing had been done using coloured pencils.

I tried using some new sfx (special effects) software that promised to turn my photo or drawing into an oil painting. I am not showing you the results of that experiment as I find what remained of my drawing rather distressing. In fact, the finished "painting" looked less like an oil painting of flowers and more like some really bad abstract art with reddish-orange and green blobs everywhere!

Portions of the above information were taken from various Internet sources.


How great is it to be the only grandchildren in the family?!!

Braden taking his sports car out for a spin!

While younger brother, Ronàn, ends up with the VW convertible!  Ah, well, 
he is just learning to drive after all!



Suki resting comfortably in the mid-day sun
I know you will find it difficult to believe -- I certainly do -- but Suki has been reasonably well behaved this past week.

What can I say?  It must be the result of my excellent cat-training techniques!  No?

She did all the usual, but nothing strange or unusual -- which leaves me without any new stories to tell you in this week's blog posting. Personally, I wouldn't mind having this problem every week; however, knowing Suki as we do, we know how unlikely this scenario will prove to be.

I just stopped and asked Suki if she thought she might be well-behaved for another week.  She opened her eyes ever so slightly for half a second and then, promptly went back to sleep.  Ah, well, what can I say?

As for me, I have had a rather busy week with both an MRI and a doctor's appointment.  

The MRI took place at the hospital on Tuesday evening about 7:30 p.m. (they seem to have appointments scheduled for people from early morning until very late at night these days).  It has been just long enough since my last MRI for me to have almost completely repressed my memories of the experience -- so much so that I had forgotten about the noise!  It all came flooding back, however, when they put those big, padded headphones on me just prior to pushing me into that tiny, tiny space. By then, of course, it was too late. I was already trapped. Then the banging begin and went on and on and on for the next 30 minutes.  All of this in an effort to see complete pictures of my neck/cervical spine. I do hope something good was accomplished by all of this.  I won't get the results of the MRI or the other imaging tests until I see the specialist the last week of May.

As well, I had an appointment with my family doctor on Wednesday to get the results of the ultrasound that was done a few weeks ago.  I may have mentioned that my doctor wanted to take a look at my kidneys. Well, it turns out that my kidneys are doing just fine; however, my poor, old liver isn't!  The ultrasound revealed a possible problem with my liver. However, if it is a type of liver disease, it is in the very early stages.  I won't know anymore until after I see the specialist (gastroenterologist) and he/she has a look at the ultrasound. My doctor said that probably it will turn out that there is nothing serious going on. Most likely, I will just have another long-term physical "affliction" to add to my ever-growing list of things that cause me discomfort and pain. Oh, joy, oh, bliss! 

This coming week I only have one medical appointment -- my annual visit to the ophthalmologist.  It shouldn't be too unpleasant except for those tests they want me to do with the tiny, blinking lights.  Too often I seem to end up with a migraine after having to watch those little lights blinking off and on, over and over again.

Tomorrow is a holiday -- Queen Victoria's Birthday is celebrated on the Monday preceding May 25th each year. The holiday is also known as the May 24th weekend as that is the actual date assigned to the birthday. This is our long weekend in May since we don't celebrate U.S. Memorial Day which this year will fall on Monday the 25th of May -- we almost got to share our holidays with the U. S. this year! Anyway, happy Victoria Day to you all.



"Divino Niño Jesús", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012, rev. 2015

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying: “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one. When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost except the son of destruction, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you. I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely. I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.”  John 17:11b-19

Jesus said to his disciples: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God. But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.  Mk 16:15-20

Even though the Canadian Church is celebrating the Ascension on Sunday the 17th, having transferred the Feast from Thursday the 14th, I have chosen to focus on the reading for the 6th Sunday of Easter.  


"Lifting up his eyes to heaven..." I suppose that Christ had prayed this way since childhood -- having been taught by Joseph and Mary to pray standing -- as is traditional for people of the Jewish faith. The only drawing I have ever done of Christ standing, quietly, in prayer is the one of Him as a young boy -- known as the Divino Niño Jesús. 

Although, as a Catholic, my normal prayer posture is to be on my knees, I remember some particular moments when I, too, have stood in prayer. In particular, the times I stood and prayed at the Western Wall (all that remains of the Jewish Temple that was in existence while Christ walked the earth) in Jerusalem.  At those moments, I thought particularly of Christ standing, perhaps in the same location, lifting His eyes upward and saying: “Holy Father, keep in Your name those that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one ... so that they may share my joy completely ... Keep them from the evil one ... and consecrate them in the truth.

So, I pray that we may know, in our own lives, that joy and peace for which Christ prayed.  May we, too, be consecrated in the Truth of Him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.


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