Sunday, 20 December 2015

Freesias and Christmas 2015

"Freesias -- Orange Cultivar", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015



Fresh-scented and colourful, Freesias are best known as “those sweet-smelling flower sprays included in wedding bouquets”. Freesias are native to South Africa, with the exception of two varieties, which are native to central Africa. They are named after the German physician, Dr. Friedrich Freese, (1785-1876), who first described them to the botanical world. 

Freesias were imported to Europe in the 1870s. Hybridization of Freesia began soon afterwards when it was discovered that Freesia alba could be crossed with Freesia leichtlinii. This led to a whole group of colourful cultivars including the orange one featured in today’s posting. Some of the wildest, most colourful cultivars are actually hybrids between freesia and gladioli.

In the language of flowers, Freesia are said to symbolize innocence and friendship. They are also the flower associated with people’s 7th wedding anniversary. 

The leaves on Freesia are sword shaped and light green and may be up to 1 foot in height. Freesia flower stalks are slender and about the same height. As many as 8 funnel-shaped Freesia flowers form a loose cluster at the top of each stalk. Where the flowers begin, the stem makes a sharp bend so that the Freesia flowers face upward. 

I tried drawing Freesia on two other occasions several years ago and I find now, as then, that I remain dissatisfied with the results. The reason, I believe, has to do with the fact that
"Freesia flowers are “zygomorphic” which means that they grow along one side of the stem, in a single plane. When you look at the flower stalk however, you'll see that the blooms are facing upwards. Freesias stems have the unusual habit of turning at right angles just below the bottom flower. This causes the upper portion of the stem to grow almost parallel with the ground and the flowers bloom along the top side of the stalk..."  
This "geometry" creates an illusion of lightness which I find myself unable to capture thus far in my drawings.  So... you know what that means... yes, you will eventually be seeing more attempts on my part to get it right!  








Portions of the above text were taken from various Internet sources.
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SUKI AND SALLIE




Suki wearing her Christmas ribbon
(It started off as a bow, but it only took her
about 5 seconds to pull the bow apart --
then it took about 30 more seconds before
she had removed the ribbon entirely!)

In my opinion, Suki is still a bit undecided as to whether she has sulked long enough to let me know how displeased she is with me. Can a cat put a person in the dog house? Anyway, I got in her bad books because I took her to see the vet this past Friday.  

Suki has been complaining lately about pain in the area of her "tail bone" -- at the base of her spine.  I mean, cats don't really complain about pain -- they try to hide it -- but I could see how she was hesitating before she jumped and how awkward she was when she tried to bathe the area around her tail.  Whenever I pressed gently on the area, she would turn her head quickly and almost growl at me. So, I made an appointment with Dr. Jessica!

After a thorough exam, Dr. J. still wasn't really sure what was wrong even though she, too, could see that Suki was hyper-sensitive in that area.  As there were no signs of any serious illness, the doctor suggested we assume, for the time being, that the pain is related to the arthritis in her right hip and just treat her for arthritic pain. If the problem shows signs of getting worse quickly, then the doctor said she would do x-rays and blood work (all very expensive stuff).  So, I was sent home with a couple of different types of pain medication along with instructions on the best way to administer them daily to a possibly recalcitrant cat.

As soon as we returned home, I set the carrying case on the floor and unlatched the door. Suki quickly dashed out and headed straight for the bedroom closet. She stayed there all afternoon and did not re-appear until supper time.  After she ate, she disappeared again until time for her bedtime snack.  After that, rather than going and getting onto the foot of my bed as she usually does at this time each night, she once again disappeared into the closet.  It was obvious to me that she was not only trying to make certain that I couldn't take her back to the vet but that she was also making a statement about her attitude towards me for taking her there in the first place!

And so it went through yesterday and for the first couple of hours this morning; however, she now seems to almost be back to her normal self as she has just jumped into the chair next to me and settled down to take a nap.  I can only assume that this means I have finally been forgiven.  Hopefully, this pain condition will not worsen -- both for her sake and for mine -- as I can only imagine how I would be treated by Suki if we had to return to the vet any time soon!

Of course, the trip to the vet was quite painful for me as well.  I should never have tried to do it on my own. Next time, I will make certain to arrange to go on a day when Joycelyn is here so that she can look after the carrying case. Then, I will only have to be concerned about pushing my walker rather than trying to handle both the walker and the carrying case at the same time.

As you may recall my mentioning in last week's posting, "my boys" (and their parents) were scheduled to come for a visit this past Sunday.  They arrived right on time and the children dove into the gifts I had for them with great enthusiasm. We adults had hoped that the visit might last for two hours; however, we finally gave up just shy of 90 minutes!  I mean, what can you expect with a 3-year-old boy and a 14-month-old boy, both full of energy, each with his own agenda and in an apartment filled with colourful objets d'art within hands reach?  

Finally, we three adults looked at one another and agreed to just accept the fact that it was time for the parents to gather the boys into the car and head for home.  In spite of the brevity of our visit, it was still wonderful to see them all and to see how the boys have grown. Unfortunately, due to the chaos, we never got around to taking any photos!

On Monday, my birthday, I got lots of cards, phone calls and messages on Facebook.  It is always so lovely to be remembered by friends and family on my "special day". 

On Wednesday, a dear friend came for a visit and spent the entire morning with me. Although the visit left me exhausted, it was really wonderful to see her again (it had been over a year since we last met) and to catch up on all the news. As well, I had a good visit with my friend, Sharon, later in the week and we celebrated an early Christmas together. 

Now, except for Joycelyn's scheduled visits, everything should be very quiet for the remainder of the month.  

Finally, let me say:

  



to you all 
from 

                                                      Sallie
                                                    and Suki 







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FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT





"Icon -- The Visitation", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015 rev.




Mary set out and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Who am I that the mother of my Lord should honour me with a visit? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’ Luke 1:39-44




CHRISTMAS DAY




"Our Lady and the Prince of Peace", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, rev. 2015






Caesar Augustus issued a decree for a census of the whole world to be taken. This census – the first – took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria, and everyone went to his own town to be registered. So Joseph set out from the town of Nazareth in Galilee and travelled up to Judaea, to the town of David called Bethlehem, since he was of David’s House and line, in order to be registered together with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to a son, her first born. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them at the inn. In the countryside close by there were shepherds who lived in the fields and took it in turns to watch their flocks during the night. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone round them. They were terrified, but the angel said, ‘Do not be afraid. Listen, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. Today in the town of David a saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. And here is a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly, there was with the angel a great throng of the heavenly host, praising God and singing: ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace to those who enjoy his favour.’
          Luke 2:1-14 


Whatever holiday you may celebrate this time of year -- even if it is just celebrating having some time off work -- I wish you, each and everyone, bunches of blessings.  

I pray:  In the days ahead, may our hearts be filled with such an ardent desire for peace that there will be at least a moment when this poor, old planet -- and all creatures who dwell on it -- will be at peace, one with another.

Amen.


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