Category Archives: cat

Drawing with my tablet


Drawing with my new tablet PC is lots of fun. Instead of being stuck in the basement or near a table large enough to hold a laptop and a regular tablet, I can draw pretty much anywhere – like the couch where Neko loves to nap.

There are plenty of drawing programs for tablets. Some mimic traditional drawing media: pencils, charcoal, even oil paint. Some let you use all sorts of effects. Others take a different approach to drawing, with lines and shapes that you can draw and edit. I like the latter more, because I can tweak my drawings until they look more like what I had in mind.

My favourite drawing program is Inkscape. Using it in full tablet mode isn’t as convenient as working on the Cintiq because I don’t have all the buttons I’m used to, but I’ve been working on my configuration to make it easier to draw. I use mouse gestures to switch between different tools so that I don’t have to click on the toolbox, and I’ve mapped one of the buttons on the tablet frame to “Delete”.

Growing up, I hadn’t really thought of myself as artistic. We’d fallen into the habit of labelling ourselves, I guess. My eldest sister and I were academically and technologically inclined. My middle sister was the one who was good at photography and drama and all that stuff. In high school, the split became even bigger as I compared myself with classmates who created beautiful landscapes and still-life drawings in art and drafting. Gadgets and presentations lured me back into drawing. I got a Nintendo DS to play games and draw on it, discovering along the way that drawing was a lot of fun. I sketched a presentation on it, and the overwhelming response to that told me I’d stumbled across something more fun than illustrating my presentations with impersonal stock photographs. I’m beginning to think of myself as someone who can draw–perhaps not amazingly well, but enough to make me and other people smile.

I have a feeling this will definitely be worth the money I set aside for it. =)

Cats in high places

“What am I going to do?” my mom asked. “There are two kittens near the catwalk, and they’re coloured like Neko.”

We find our cats in unlikely places. I discovered Neko when our bathroom wall started mewing.

There are kittens and I can hear them!

I couldn’t help it. I clambered onto the catwalk (carefully, carefully) and scattered some food for them. They were too far, and I didn’t think I could trust the boards with my weight. Besides, the mommy cat shouldn’t worry about humans handling the kitties. Better that they’re there. And I won’t be here, so I can’t find out if the kittens are being taken care of and I don’t have the time to rear them in case they aren’t…

I hope mommy cat is okay. She’s not Neko. Neko’s been spayed for a long time. Might be a relative, though. So cute!

There are kittens and I can hear them!

Gardening and cats

I trimmed back the tomatoes as they had been threatening to take over the entire vegetable plot. Judging from the number of flowers on the plants, we have a lot of pasta in our future.

It reminds me of the time that we brought home kilos of hothouse tomatoes because they were on sale. We’d intended to can the pasta sauce we made until we found out that canning tomatoes involved complicated equipment and the risk of poisoning ourselves. We froze the pasta sauce instead, thick sheets in Ziploc bags that saved us from cooking for a good long while. The kitchen was a mess during the cooking process, but it was worth it.

And now we’ll have our own basil, our own rosemary, our own oregano. One of the things I love the most about keeping a garden is wandering out there and exploring the different scents and tastes. I love watching plants grow: they creep along ever so slowly, but when I remember how small they were when I started, I can’t help but be amazed by the progress.

The cats love the garden, especially Leia. Leia’s always trying to sneak out. She ignores the catnip and heads straight for the grass, which she thinks is the best treat ever. They also enjoy watching the squirrels and birds look for food in the garden, and we sometimes hear the cats chattering away, little jaws snapping the bones of imaginary prey.

As I write this, there are two robins picking through the grass for worms, which are plentiful in our garden. The tree close to the deck conceals a bird’s nest in low-hanging branches. Whenever I go outside to shoo the animals away from the plants they also like to snack on (“Gerroff the lawn!”), I need to make sure I quickly close the door behind me. Leia is invariably right there, nose pressed up against the glass, wishing she was the one chasing squirrels around instead. She meows, but I can’t hear her through the glass–a silent film star with whiskers.

When we do let her out, it’s on a harness and leash. I’ve learned to put my shoes on before I open the door, because there’s no holding her back once the great outdoors beckons. She runs down the stairs and into the grass which is too short to hide her, but she pretends anyway. She nibbles on a few blades of grass, then scampers into the vegetation and crouches. The squirrels chatter angrily. She hides behind the tree, but they know she’s there.

When we first saw Leia at the animal shelter, we had no idea that her long soft fur and princess-like demeanor concealed such a hunter. She seemed the quintessential indoor cat, more given to lounging on cushions than to padding through the grass. Then again, she’d been a stray for a while before the animal shelter picked her up, and she must have had some way of fending for herself. Luke, our other cat (previously named Burch, but renamed)–he was owner-surrendered, although it’s hard to think of anyone being able to give up such an affectionate cat. I’m glad we have two cats. They play with each other, and that often gives us a lot to laugh about. They play hide and seek. They play chase. They play let’s-gang-up-on-the-tall-ones-and-ask-for-food-in-synchronized-meows, which is always fun.

Now it’s time to work. I love working facing the garden, with a cat or two in the area. The cats always seem to know when I should take a typing break and cuddle them instead, and the garden is refreshing even through the sliding glass door.