Artis, bedankt voor de inspiratie.
(see the teeth marks on left bottom corner?)
Ok, so I forgot to put away (or just did not) this card last night. And before I get a chance to send this to Jan M at SP, my cat already took a bite of the card. I assume he or she disagreed with my idea to send it to the SP. And I assume it is one cat out of six who did this and I think Salami or Bacardi did it….Hmmm… may be I should compare the marks with their teeth?
A (note) card with graphite and color pencils. Such a difficult paper to work with. May be I should send this card to Jan M. at SP. After all their logo is a (flying) tomato.
My G-Star captain jacket …
Click to enlarge.
15 april 2000 – 19 maart 2006
‘Vreugde en verdriet hebben we gedeeld
Met vreugde hebben we gespeeld
Het verdriet gevoeld en
Samen weg gekroeld
Waarheen je ook zal gaan
onze liefde blijft eeuwig bestaan’
Vaarwel, lieve Red. Rust zacht. Wij houden van jou.
(Gedicht door Maria Egas voor de SHCN)
What we had never thought, has actually happened. This afternoon we lost our sweet cat, Red. She was just 5 years old. She was a healthy cat, very persistent but loving. She always washed our fingers or licked our face. If we tried to push her away, she would insist to stay and keep washing. We thought that she would live to be 20 or at least 15. But… apparently that was not ‘the plan’….
Friday night when we came home, we noticed that she was very absent and quiet. Then we noticed that she was incredibly thin. This we had not noticed before, and it was very unfortunate. I hugged her, tried to play with her, she didn’t react as cheerful as usual. She approached me very slowly and I noticed that she was slightly limping.
Saturday morning we called the vet and made an appointment to go in the afternoon. Before we brought her to the vet, I gave the cats can food. Red still had her appetite, but she was clearly lost her fighting over the mood fierceness. The fact that she still had appetite, made me feel better. But the vet’s diagnose said that her kidneys were failing. We asked for a bloodtest right away. It did confirm the vet’s diagnose. The machine couldn’t even determine how high the value is anymore, because it already passed the maximum value set for the machine. We made a decision to leave Red with the vet for two days. The vet thought that she would get better. They usually do.
Sunday morning, today, we got a called from the vet’s assistant. She needed help from us, because she had to clean Red’s cage. Red was not really cooperating and fiercely hissing at her. Nor laughed when he heard this. I felt happy too. We thought, yay, she’s back and is showing who is the boss. The assistant said that we needed to be there at one o’ clock. I couldn’t wait till I could see Red again. But when we got there, the news that the vet gave us was not the news that I wanted to hear at all. She warned us before we saw Red to mentally prepare ourself. Red’s condition has worsened in the last 30 minutes to one hour before hour arrival. She got a very high fever and seemed to be in a dying state.
Finally, we saw her in her cage. Her body was twitching every few second. I guess, it was the fever. The vet explained again that at that state there was no turning back. I kept calling her name, but she didn’t respond. Her eyes were open, but they didn’t respond. The vet left us alone to let us think and make a decision. The decision came, but it was a tough one. We have decided to put her to sleep. When the vet came back, we told her about it and she offered to take off the IV needle and put Red on a towel so that we could hold her and sit down wit her. We were alone again and we took turn in holding her. I called her name again, did the ‘tick tick’ motion with my fingers which I usually did when she did something naughty and knew that something was off limit. Her tail gave some response. Her eyes blinked several time. I was so happy. I thought I would get her back and could take back our decision. But a few minutes later, she went back to that twitching mode and blank eyed again. We couldn’t stop our tears. We were already crying when the vet was there. We were still crying when the vet was back. We just did not care. The vet finally came with a syringe filled with blue green fluid. She assured me that the fluid also contains enough dose of narcotic beside the main ingredient. It just take a few seconds for it to work, she said. I believed that, I watched enough vet series on Animal Planet so it was nothing new. But now it happened to my own pet that I needed that reassurance. She offered if we would like to give the injection. We both refused. So she did it by puncturing the IV tube with the needle and injected the fluid. We said goodbye to Red again. I was silently praying that she would go to a cat heaven if there is one. Or the rainbow bridge.
Tomorrow, the SHCN will pick up her body from the vet and cremate it privately, separate from other pets. Then they will put Red’s ashes in an urn and deliver it back to the vet, where we can pick it up. We will keep the urn and give Red a final resting place, in our house near our heart.
Our new couch arrived this week. The couch is much bigger and fluffier than the old one. And guess what? The cats totally love it. As usual, they took it over from us, human, and formed a ‘Couch Club’. Cats who usually have ‘issues’, suddenly they can sleep peacefully on the couch side by side. What a miracle! We just have to rearrange the club sometimes, when we want to sit down.
On the sketch above: Gurami, Salami, and Bacardi sleeping on a blanket on the couch.
Very much absorbed in watching ‘Road Rally’. An MTV program about 2 rock bands, one Dutch and one Belgian, do a cross country trip across the US without any money. They have to go from East Coast to West Coast and earn money for food and gas by performing at local pubs or events. I believe which ever reach New York City first will be the winner. A very entertaining and funny TV show.
Additional note (22.01.2006): I’ve also submitted this drawing for this week’s Illustration Friday – Cats.
Happy New Year everyone!
Here is my first post and drawing in 2006. A baby Pirozjki.
It is drawn based on a photo we took when she first arrived at our house. It was mid-July in 2002 and she was about 6 weeks old. She was about as large as my palm (she weighs around 5.5 kg now). So cute and so small. We got her from the local animal shelter. Tomorrow we will take her to her new home in Hilversum. We’ve got one more day to spend with her.
I’ve been busy surfing and visiting other illustrated blogs since yesterday. After reading other people’s New Year resolutions, I feel like I have to add a few more ‘details’ on my own art resolution. I will draw more people, activities, plants/flowers, animals especially my cats. I will not be too picky about choosing a subject. I will also draw more from photos, if necessary and when I feel like it. Sketch more, think less. More patience, less worry. Practice more more more…
NOTE: Click to enlarge. Coloured pencils on Moleskine.
My cat, Pirozjki, will be leaving us next week Monday. A new year… a new home for her. It is a sad fact for us, but it is unavoidable.
More than half a year ago, we started to notice that her behaviour changed. She is afraid of the other cats, especially of the two ex-males. She rarely plays with the others. She often hides under the unfinished kitchen cabinet, beside the mobile pedestal/trolley in Nor’s office, and the latest favorite place of hers is on or beside the TV (a place where the other cats seldom bother her). She doesn’t seem to understand the word ‘play’ in cat language. When Bac or Joey approaches her, they usually want to play. But she seems to translate that into ‘intimidation’. She growls, gets irritated, runs away, and hides. When Bac gives her a cat hug (Bac’s way of showing play mood, usually to Joey but also to others), Pirozjki’s reply is a growl of ‘go away, you brute!’, ‘you’re suffocating me!’ (Bac is heavier and larger), ‘help! I am being strangled’. But she usually doesn’t hiss and doesn’t give Bac (or other cats who is being a pest) a slap or two in his face, just to show his place. I noticed that Red and Salami do this to him or Joey when they are being annoying. However, Pirozjki is apperently not that assertive. Her rank went down to the bottom of the list in our household about 6 months ago, or so we think. We kept hoping that she would somehow ‘fight’ back, but it is just not happening.
So after waiting for months and seeing that the cat is not getting anymore comfortable, we made a tough final decision last week. We would look for a new home for Pirozjki where she will be the only cat. No more cat hugs or attempts to strangle.
We placed an ad online the day after Christmas. Yesterday a young lady called and wanted to take a look. She came with her mom and liked Pirozjki right at once. We like her too and we think she will give our cat a good home. We will take Pirozjki and all her favorite things monday evening next week to her new home and will take a look at her new environment.
NOTE: This drawing is also an entry for Everyday Matters Challenge #44. Coloured pencils on Moleskine. Please click on image for larger view.
We watched a program on the Animal Planet this afternoon on “The Most Extreme, Killer Cats”. Here they list the best hunter and most extreme killer among all the cat family/Felidae in the world. We were so curious about which cat would be on top of the list:
#4 is Cougar/mountain lion in North America
#3 is Jaguar in the Amazon
#2 is Leopard in Africa, a very sleek, beautiful and agile animal
#1 is….DOMESTIC CAT.
We couldn’t believe it and we laughed so hard at this. You can imagine why…we have 8 most extreme killers in our house! Ok, statistically it might be right. Domestic cats kill the most (mostly small animals including insects). Their population is the highest in the world among the Felidae. If it is counted that way, well yes they are the most extreme. We just couldn’t stop smiling at the ‘fact’. We feel that we now have to walk really quitely around the house, just in case, you know.
Following the drawing that I made for a farewell card, there was a small farewell party. It was on Thursday night, after office hours. We went to a chinese restaurant (favorite of the person for whom we were throwing the party) on Warmoesstraat and had a set menu. It was ok, but I don’t think the food can be considered as authentic. It was more of international chinese food. The street was packed with tourists and strange people that night. We saw a naked man passed by at one moment, and a while later a man with a flower pot on his head walked by. He wasn’t holding the pot at all, and it was well balanced on his head. Bravo for him. Although he was clearly under influenced.
At the end of the party, the owner of this tiny restaurant gave each of the female guests a long stem pink rose. We were surprised, didn’t know where they came from. It was beautiful and it smelled so lovely. Well, unfortunately, my rose didn’t survive the trip home. It broke when I tried to get in my car. I was quite unhandy with it and completely forgot about the length.
NOTE: Click to enlarge.
Yes. This is one of the few times I can post a journal entry on the same day as I made it.
Today I am in a touchy feely kind of mood. And because I know that it gets even more annoying. So my sensitivity level is doubled. Anything anyone says made me think like as if there is another meaning behind it. Oh, did she/he mean it? Is that honest? I am so suspicious of everything. (But that is generally how I feel for the last few months. I also feel like I am walking on eggshells..crack..crakk..crakkk..I wish it gone but it won’t) Then today when I was going home something tripled my annoyance. When I was going home, I felt thirsty. I had to catch the train, but I thought I had just enough time to grab a drink. So I went to AH TO GO to get a bottle of Coca Cola Lime. There was a line in front of the cashiers but I gambled anyway that it would be quick. Well it was so unfortunate that when my turn to pay came up, the cashier went to help his colleague beside him. I mumbled about having to catch a train, he only replied ‘one moment’ without even looking. I looked at my watch for the third time, turned around and put back the bottle and ran out to the platform. He saw me running and called out, “Sorry. I can’t do anything about it”. I looked at him angrily and just proceed with running out of the store. I felt like sticking out my middle finger at him, eventhough I understand that he was being helpful to his colleague’s client (another customer of the store). But I just hate to be the victim of slow service.
I went to the Main Library of Utrecht yesterday. I needed to return a few books that I have borrowed for 3-4 months and to pay for them. I also borrowed 2 new books on watercolor technique (by John Lidzey) and drawing. I was so lucky that I did this, because I found out that the employee who has accepted the books I returned and my payment actually forgot to update the library financial database. At the moment I wanted to borrow the 2 books on the other side of the building, the same man was working at the check out counter. And he was about to charge me the amount of money I paid earlier again. The funny part was I didn’t remember him and he clearly didn’t remember me, and we both “talked” to each other an hour earlier. Talking about good memory! He kept asking me about to whom I gave the money. I could only say “I can’t remember, I honestly can’t remember, it was a guy”. Uhm how much money did you give him? One ten-euro bill. Hmm.. I seem to remember that I gave 4 euros change earlier to someone …hmmm that must have been me then…. I am sorry…I can’t remember either…Uhm no big deal, no problemo…(smile politely).
I left quietly and went to the floor below to get some coffee. I like the fact that the library has a coffee bar inside the building and allow people to drink coffee/thee while reading magazines, newspaper, or surfing the internet. Only on this special section where the coffee bar is located. So after buying a cup of coffee I picked a table, sat down and started drawing this. When I was nearly finished with the ink drawing, Nor called me on my mobile. While we were talking about the kitchen tiles (we need some more for our kitchen), a lady who was clearly an employee, stopped by my table and talked to me in a dissaproved tone (with me still on the phone) saying that I needed to get out because mobile phones and having a telephone conversation are forbidden inside the library. Well, thanks Nor! That was the first time I got kicked out of a place. I gulped down the last bit of coffee, went outside to call Nor back to thank him and to further discuss the kitchen tiles.
A lazy sunday sketch of one of my cats. Salami…and she does look a bit like the sausage . She is one of the fattest cats in our house. Her competitors are Bacardi (a ragdoll) and Pirojzki (a.k.a. Michelin cat).
It is unfortunate that I don’t have a color pencil that matches her orangey coat. That orange/vermillion I used is actually way too orange.
My first sketches of JosephGuy a.k.a. Joey, one of my cats. He is a Silver Maine Coon and has quite a large body frame. However, when he is sleeping, he can fold himself to be really short/small that even in reality he always looks out of proportion in his sleeping position.
These two were done last weekend and I think drawing cats on a lazy Sunday afternoon is very relaxing.
Many people may disagree with me, but I love Starbucks. I think it is very unfortunate that they only have a warehouse in Holland and not a few coffee bars. (Note: I can’t call Starbucks as a ‘coffee shop’ here, it might just be mistaken as a place where you can buy and smoke pot. So I’d better call Starbucks as a coffee ‘bar’). Yes it may be bad for the local economy (or something like that I heard)…but man, where else can you order a Venti Decaf Fat Free Cappuccino with Whipped Cream??? (OK I am over exaggerating my order here…and OK, in the US you might get this at other places, e.g. Pete’s Coffee in SF/Berkeley) Or a Frappuccino? And something that makes me even more jealous…got an e-mail from a colleague who works in San Francisco….They have Frappuccino ICE CREAM!!!! I drooled all over my desk when I read his e-mail. Even Bali has several Starbucks…why not here?! The closest Starbucks is in London Heathrow. Can they just open a very small kiosk outside their warehouse in Amsterdam’s harbour???
Oh well… while I am still waiting for future Starbucks to open in Holland…I found a place that I frequent most weekends to sooth my annoyance: Mockamore in Utrecht. They do not have Venti Decaf Cappucino or a Fat Free version but they do serve ice cold Frappiato with Bountys chocolate! A good enough substitute for me at the moment.
Whooohooo! I finally managed to have a ‘real’ drawing of one of my cats. I call this one ‘real’ because previous ones were just doodles. I used color pencil on this one.
As I expected, it was not easy. I caught her sleeping on the couch so I quickly collected a few color pencils. I drew her while she was ‘sleeping’ in this position, but grrrghh!!! she moved! As usual. I tried to persuade her to go back facing the same way twice, but she didn’t want to. I lifted her up, turned her around again, but she still went back facing the other way. So I gave up. I had the basics down anyway, I only needed to work on the pattern of her fur. Now that she faced another way, I couldn’t possibly draw that side anymore. So I decided to just use the pattern on her other side. (Cheating here, but hey, I was still drawing what I saw, only not the correct side, right?). And just before I finished she decided to move again! Gggrrhhg!!! She sat and started to lick her coat. Then she decided to lied down facing the other side again (the same side when I started drawing her). Uggh!
Well, I am pretty happy with how it turned out. Her fur is very difficult to draw, not only the pattern, but also the colors. I’ll probably pick an easier victim next time. May be Wasabi (solid black with a few white hairs on her neck) or Pirozjki (solid blue and white).
While I was drawing Gurami, she had one of her eyes open. She was watching me, while I was looking at and sketching her. May be she knew this and to irritate me, she just decided to move …?!
… or Chicken Satay or Kipsate…the best one there is.
Everyday Matters Challenge #12
A couple of weeks ago, when the weather was really great, we ate chicken satay almost everyday for dinner. It is quite easy to make and once you get the meat on the sticks, you can keep them in the fridge for a few days. With or without marinade. Right after we got home from work, we only had to start the grill (gas bbq), took some of the satay sticks out of the fridge (kept the rest there for the next day), grilled it, and voila! They were ready within 5-10 minutes. So easy and relaxing for weekdays cooking. However, I did have to assemble the meat and the sticks in the weekend. It can be time consuming! Here is the recipe if you’d like to try:
Grill dip saus
Roll or dip each satay stick in this dip sauce right before grilling. This sauce can also be used as a marinade. When use as a marinade, multiply the amount as needed.
Mix all ingredients together in a small plate. If the condiment is still a bit thick, add a few drops of water to thin it out a bit.
Serve the satay with cooked (jasmine) rice. Add a few drops of the condiment onto the rice, mix it a bit, dip your satay also in the condiment….and Yummmmm!!!! Start eating!!! The shallots and chilli slices are also meant to be eaten, but of course, only if you dare . Shallots are probably OK for most people.
Note: The recipe is based on real Indonesian kitchen, authentic Indonesian cuisine. Even we can’t find a restaurant in the Netherlands that serves satay as good as this one. At least not in our opinion.
It was sunny today, a rarity in Holland. So I just had to go outside and enjoy the sun before the somber and grey weather comes back in over two days…
I went to Utrecht, did a little shopping, and then I decided to have lunch at a restaurant on the wharf of Oude Gracht (old canal). I picked out Il Pozzo, since they have tables and seats outside. I felt like eating italian too. So I went down to the wharf, picked a table, and ordered a beer and insalata di caprese. While waiting for my lunch I sketched the view in front of me right across the canal.
When I ordered the insalata di caprese, I thought that I would get some classic italian salad of sliced tomatoes, whole basil leaves, and sliced mozarella. How dissapointed I was when the salad arrived. It was dutch italian salad! Yes, it still had some sliced tomatoes (didn’t look that fresh), cut up mozarella (really small, some of them even melted a bit, not sure why), some basil (chopped up to the max, I could not really taste any ‘basil’ at all). But it also had a bit too much salt, orange slices, a few leaves of salad green (oak?), and a big mount of preserved carrot and radish. The preserved veggie looked suspiciously too familiar. It could have come from a jar from Albert Heijn (dutch supermarket). So no trace of the classic insalata di caprese at all there…I ate only the tomatoes and cheese. And I finished my lunch with a cup of capuccino.
For sure, I will not go back to Il Pozzo again for their salad. I still can’t believe that the salad costs 9 euros! Way overpriced!!!