Sunday, 6 March 2016

Patterns plus Rangoli

"Water Lilies all in a Row", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016

Lately, as you are aware, I have begun taking individual flowers out of different drawings and finding ways to use them to create circles, spirals and patterns of all sorts.  This week, the selected flower is a water lily.

I've read that the human brain automatically looks for patterns in their surroundings.  Like most people, I find that there is something very satisfying about patterns. Why? Because they show us what to expect from our environment, giving us a sense of order and control. 

Even those patterns we find in things like wallpaper or tiles on a bathroom floor attract our attention.  And, as a result we quickly notice when there is any part of the pattern that is out of place -- because it is out of order.  

You may be interested in reading more about patterns so, below, you will find information on patterns which I have taken from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary and Wikipedia.


1. a repeated decorative design 
2. a model or design used as a guide in needlework and other crafts.
1. decorate with a recurring design. "rosebud patterned wallpapers"
2. give a regular or intelligible form to. "the brain not only receives information, but interprets and patterns it" 

So, a pattern, apart from the term's use to mean "template", is a discernible regularity in the world or in a human-made design. As such, the elements of a pattern repeat in a predictable manner.
A geometric pattern is a kind of pattern formed of geometric shapes and typically repeating like a wallpaper. Any of the five senses may directly observe patterns. Conversely, abstract patterns in science, mathematics, or language may be observable only by analysis. 
Direct observation in practice means seeing visual patterns which are widespread in nature and in art. Visual patterns in nature are often chaotic, never exactly repeating, and often involve fractals. Natural patterns include spirals, meanders, waves, foams, tiling, cracks and those created by symmetries of rotation and reflection.

"Water Lilies all in a Row -- Blue Phase", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016

Patterns have an underlying mathematical structure; indeed, mathematics can be seen as the search for regularities. Actually, the output of any function is a mathematical pattern. Similarly in the sciences, theories explain and predict regularities in the world. In art and architecture, decorations or visual motifs may be combined and repeated to form patterns designed to have a chosen effect on the viewer. In computer science, a software design pattern is a known solution to a class of problems in programming. In the broadest sense, any repeated regularity that can be explained by a scientific theory is a pattern.

Now let me show you patterns of another kind with which I have been working recently.

Rangoli Patterns

"Rangoli drawing for Diwali", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016

Rangoli, also known as Kolam, is an artform from India in which patterns are created on the floor in living rooms or courtyards using materials such as colored rice, dry flour, colored sand or flower petals. It is usually made during Diwali (Deepawali), Onam, Pongal and other Indian festivals. They are meant to be sacred welcoming areas for the Hindu deities. Designs are passed from one generation to the next, keeping both the art form and the tradition alive.
The purpose of rangoli is decoration, and it is thought to bring good luck. Design depictions may also vary as they reflect traditions, folklore and practices that are unique to each area.
The drawings are traditionally done by women. Generally, this practice is showcased during occasions such as festivals, auspicious observances, marriage celebrations and other similar milestones and gatherings. Wikipedia



Suki between naps!
Lately, I've noticed that Suki seems to be sleeping a lot more than usual. Of course, she is on pain medication for her hip problems; however, I'm giving her the lowest dose possible. 

At first, I thought I was just imagining things because I was watching so closely for any negative reactions from the medication. I hate having to give her any kind of drug, but when I see her in obvious pain from the arthritis, I don't have the heart to deny her the relief the drug can give.  However, it was when Suki began to miss meal times that I knew for certain that I was right to worry. 

The first time Suki missed a meal time occurred a couple of weeks ago.  I was in the living room streaming a video when I suddenly noticed that it was about 5 minutes past 6 p.m.  In other words, it was five minutes past Suki's supper time.  Normally, she would have been pestering me since about 5:30, but now there wasn't any sign of her.  

I decided that she must have overslept for some reason and as soon as she heard me in the kitchen, she would come running. Instead, I was able to prepare my own supper, sit down and eat my meal and finally return to my video without hearing a single meow.

I did check on her during this time and discovered that she was asleep in the wicker chair in the bathroom. My presence in the bathroom brought no reaction from Suki -- she continued to sleep soundly. Since she did not appear to be in any distress, I left her to continue sleeping for as long as she wanted.

Suki finally appeared about 9 p.m.and gave me a few meows -- the kind of meows that mean "feed me" -- but I told her that she was too late for supper as it was only two hours away from her bedtime snack.  Instead, I gave her a couple of cat treats and plopped her down in front of her dish of excellent dry food.  She ate a bit of that and then curled up in her favourite chair and went right back to sleep!

Since then, there have been three more incidents where Suki has slept through meal time. So, I am keeping a close eye on her while considering a trip to the vet in the days ahead. Hopefully, Suki's system will begin to adjust itself to a daily dose of pain medication so that she will have the pain relief she needs, but won't be sleeping to excess.

As for me, I am also sleeping more than I would like.  I'm not sure what is causing this, but I suspect my new medication regimen has overloaded my system with too much of certain drugs and not enough of others. So, I am making small adjustments in the days ahead in the hope of finding a balance.

Sadly, I have another infection and so I am back on antibiotics again. Blech! There should be a law against extra-large, bitter-tasting pills.

I do have another doctor's appointment this week with the pain specialist so I should be able to work out a new regimen with him that will provide the relief I need without making me too sleepy. 



"Icon -- The Prodigal Son Returns", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, revised 2016

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So to them Jesus addressed this parable: “A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’ So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began. Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’ He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’” Luke 15:1-3,11-32

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