Stories, events and life in general from Miss Kitty's point of view


Holiday Greetings

             Greetings dear Visitor

I would like to share a little something from our family to yours.

Dad and I wanted this to be posted a few days ago but then decided to wait until big sister came home from UCSC as she was going to bring Olive, AKA: Ole.  Oliver is a male cat, not a year old, who was adopted, more like rescued this last summer and was introduced briefly to Ms K over the Thanksgiving holiday week last month. Unfortunately, Ms K took offense, even though Oliver wanted to play, MS K would not budge. Anyway, the reason for not posting earlier was that late last night the big sister, Ariana decided to leave Oliver with one of her six (male) roommates at UCSC and therefore dad was unable to take a picture of Oliver and introduce him on Ms K’s blog to you all. 

We still remain hopeful that at some point when we introduce Oliver to Ms K, they will get along, especially since Ole came from a home where a woman was ‘hoarding’ cats and so is used to company. In the meantime Ole’s health has improved and he no longer has flies, having had more than 37 at the time dad had a chance to take care of him.

With that said, the following is our e-Christmas card, for which I refused to pose, by always walking toward the camera. Maybe I’ll change my mind when I am amidst all the wrapping paper that once covered the gifts.

At the end of our holiday greeting are a couple of the holiday cards that we received from fellow bloggers that we wanted to share with you.


With my brother’s assistance,
our perfect christmas tree, a superior noble was found and finally decorated.
Now boxes were opened and from it is removed a wooden horse,
a big Santa, the Snowman family and other items
to bring the house into the holiday spirit.

We would like to wish you a wonderful holiday season
and the very best in the coming year

Peace be with you

Ms K and the van Dyck family



No it is time to get plenty of sleep because tomorrow morning
it is going to be exhausting as I already know
dad has brought me many gifts.

Maybe I’ll dream about a little snow . . .

. . . no, I like it warm



Let me be reincarnated as a cat

Earlier today I came across this article I wish to share with you. It appeared in the on-line edition of the Guardian UK on December 9, 2011 and is written by John Hopper (Rome).

Since I take care of Ms Kitty I know how spoiled she can be, especially when it comes to what she eat, considering never twice in a row the same thing. In other words no left-overs! So when I found this article about a stray cat now being the riches feline, I wonder if he is going to invite any of his friends over.

Now don’t you wish in your second life to come back as a feline?

The article:

Italian cat inherits €10m fortune

Four-year-old stray becomes world's richest feline
after death of 94-year-old mistress

A black cat. Tommaso, a four-year-old stray, has become the world's richest cat 
Photograph: Alamy

Tommaso, a four-year-old, one-time stray from Rome, is thought to have become the world's richest cat.

Since the death of his 94-year-old mistress last month, he has become a property magnate — or perhaps mognate — with flats and houses worth an estimated €10m scattered from Milan in the north to Calabria in the south.

In a handwritten will, signed on 26 November, 2009, Tommaso's mistress — the childless widow of a successful builder — gave her lawyers the task of identifying "the animal welfare body or association to which to leave the inheritance and the task of looking after the cat Tommaso".

One of the lawyers, Anna Orecchioni, told the Rome daily Il Messaggero they considered several organizations without getting adequate guarantees of the cat's future comfort and welfare. In the meantime, the old lady met a fellow cat-lover – named only as Stefania – in a park. "Sometimes I'd go to her house so my cat could play with Tommaso," Stefania said.

As the old lady became increasingly frail, Stefania, a nurse, began to take care of her.

"She needed someone to help her move around, shower and eat. I looked after until the end," she said.

Under Italian law, animals cannot inherit directly. But they can be beneficiaries if a suitable trustee is found. The elderly widow decided to entrust the cat – and his fortune – to Stefania.

Tommaso's trustee, who is now looking after him an undisclosed address outside Rome, said: "I had no idea the signora had such wealth."

But the fortune pales by comparison with that of Gunther IV, an Alsatian who inherited from his father Gunther III, the pet of a German countess. According to the Pet Gazette, he is worth around $372m.

The richest cat was previously thought to be Blackie, who was left £9m by his reclusive British owner in 1988.

Do I care about the Italian Gigilo? Na . . . 
I like it here on my throne pillow, so now let me go back to sleep.



Thanksgiving Day wishes

To those who are hosting this years Thanksgiving Day event,
may everything go according to your plans and
that your home is filled with the laughter
of friends and family.

You, who are traveling, may your journey be safe
and your hearts filled with joy.

Wishing you all the very best 
Ms K and Egmont

See you all very soon . . .

Now dad is off to the kitchen
to do his magic



Our families Cranberry Salsa

Do we have to get up? It is so very nice here

For the last 14-16 years that I have been making it, the recipe has undergone an evolution from when it was first discovered in a Martha Stewart’s magazine. Over the years, numerous changes have been applied to it and now it has become more my recipe. With this years version, it may also just be my best, so I better write it down in order that I know or next year.

This salsa is not only good on Thanksgiving Day, but also later in the year on cold cuts instead of mayonnaise. I even had it today while it was cooking with tortilla rounds and it was delicious. Give it a try and let me know your thoughts on this.

Jars of cranberry salsa cooling

As with all recipes, we need to make adjustment to suit our tastes, so if you make adjustments that is all right with me, just remember to maintain proportions with the taste you are trying to achieve. Here is the recipe for making it:

The base: 

Tostitos chunky salsa - mild x1

Ocean Spray whole cranberry sause x2 
(Note: this year the can is 2 oz. smaller and the whole cranberries almost invisible when compared to the previous years.)

You can vary the quantities on the remaining ingredients but this is what I used this year: 

1 large or 2 small red onions, cut small

1 medium size onion, cut small

1 bunch (5 to a bunch) green onions, cut very fine

3 medium-large plump Roma tomatoes, diced

1 large red bell pepper, cut small

1 large lemon and lemon peel slivers, (roll lemon on the cutting board with some pressure to release the juices and oils before cutting the skin into thin slivers which are then copped to 1/2” length

1/4 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of yellow raisins 

2 bunches of cilantro (if the bunch is small get 3, you want plenty) chop real fine

1 medium large orange, sliced and diced
1/4 − 1/2 cup pine nuts, whole
This is what I am going to try next year.

Cook all these at medium flame and when the center bubbles, reduce heat to medium-low, stir often so the bottom does not burn. Cook for one hour with the last 20 minutes on low.

Remember you can prepare this several days in advance and refrigerate. These extra days allow the flavors to merge. When serving, please remember to warm it up. Enjoy.

Oh good, we are finished. Though it took only
two hours, I am tired and ready for a nap

Sharing my pillow—nice, I love you dad



Creating an animation or slideshow

Listen up, I am here to show you how to do an animation, 
which can also be used to create a slideshow

Our last post we had two animations and were asked by a fellow reader how it was done. Though it is rather simple, it does take a little planning, especially if one decides to add text. Overall the process requires a little forethought as to what one wishes to achieve.

Now I use Photoshop, which has an animation feature. Adobe’s Elements 10, available for Macintosh and Windows, has a feature for turning pictures into movies, which is not the same as creating a regular animation. I did search Adobe’s Element 10 website for an answer if they have an animation feature, but was unable to discover any mention of it.

I mentioned that you can also create a slideshow of your images and not just an animation, between the two there is little difference, so what I am sharing with you today, applies to both.

In order to achieve a good sequence of multiple images it is important to have the camera on a tripod and the subject matter moving slowly so that you are able to capture a good number of images that are equally spaced out, so not to appear choppy. Now if you are working with only two or three images already available, just make sure that they work in the sequence your planning to put together.

Copy all your images into a folder and I suggest adding a prefix of #01, #02 etc., to each image so you know which one to import first into Photoshop. As you begin to open an image decide what size the animation is going to be, then resize the image and save it for ‘Web and other Devises’. This way you will optimize each image and reduce file size. Do this to all the images you are planning to use.

Concerning the final size of the animation/slideshow, I recommend no larger that 400 pixels and no smaller than 150 pixels for best results within Blogger. I should also point out that once it is uploaded to Blogger, it has to be  at ‘Original Size’ or it will not run, but let’s get back to importing the images to Photoshop.

Now that they are all resized, create a new file based on their final size and begin importing them with the first image first and so forth. You will notice that you have created a set of layers, one upon another. Now safe it.

Building upon the first image and layer

All images are imported and in their own layer

Make sure all layers are deselected except for the first image

Select and obtain the animation window from the menu bar

Import the first image. Note you are in frame mode, which is preferred 

After having imported all your images it is time to select
the exposure of each image

Select the desired exposure rate

With all still selected set to ‘forever’ otherwise the animation will only run once

Now save for the internet

Make sure to check GIF to it will not work

Time to check how it looks and if it needs any adjustments -
remember it needs to be 'Original Size'

If you are doing a slide show, the only thing you will do is adjust the length each frame is exposed in order to allow one to view the image before proceeding to the next one. Should your slide show contain vertical and horizontal images there are two other steps that needs to be accomplished before importing all your images.

When one combines vertical and horizontal, your end format will be a square and the background will be white unless you decide to go transparent. For a sample of a combination of vertical and horizontal images in a square  layout please visit my Art of Aids post.

Now it is time for an afternoon snooze before dinner



Finally my turn

Today was simple beautiful. Dad was cleaning the house and washing the tiles, when I decided to go out on the balcony. After seeing it was all clear and that there was more sun puddles to be had on the deck I ventured there. Dad kept an eye on my so I felt safe but I could not help be on special alert. After a gust of wind, causing leaves to be picked from the branches, tumbling down to the awaiting pile covering much of the backyard, it was especially those that had already fallen and were now stirred that caused me to be on alert. 

Dad has access to a new camera, a small pocket digital that has been laying around his son’s room and was not being used, so now I get my picture taken a little more.

I have to focus on our fence line making sure there is no one trespassing.

Now back on the balcony the surveillance continues

because one has to keep an eye for intruders.

I even have to look over dad’s shoulder.

Sometimes it gets so busy all I do is turn my head
from one side to the other —

It can make you dizzy.

Time for a break and soak up some weaning autumn sunlight.

Now before you leave us, let me share with you
my next post. It is about dad and what he
has been up to these last months.

Here is a preview.



The Leonardo of Silicon Valley

I am saddened by the loss of a great innovator and modern day Santa Clara's Leonardo da Vinci, Steve Jobs, who passed away this afternoon.

If you are an Apple product user you will know what I mean, because it was his vision that propelled us into the digital era and to experience things differently.

Please observe a moment of silence

1984 Super Bowl Commercial introducing the
Macintosh Computer



A long way back

For some weeks now I have been wanting to post, even starting to write one back in May, only not to finish and so fail. With each passing day I became more guilty and tonight Ms K and I, each agreed that enough is enough. Even though I have been very busy and productive, first news about Ms K, then about my long way back.

Ms K napping on the living room couch as the last of the days sunlight
reflects off the neighbors house into the room

We here in Northern California experienced a long winter with a couple of days when temperatures reached the triple digits. There was even a good rain storm end of June, all of which contributed to Ms K sleeping and napping more than twenty hours. There were only a few days in five months in which Ms K actually went into the garden, joining me while I tended to the plants. 

Ms K hiding behind the balconies railing, being vigilant about her territory

Ms K is a senior feline, taking it easy in her golden years; no longer stalking our feathered friends or chasing a leaf thumbing on the ground. Her activities are now minimal and so there is little to report, unlike with a younger feline, especially when I see other followers blog daily posts. So at times I have not been sure if I could continue this blog, even though my heart wants to. Ms K has been an important part of my life and she continues to be, so I will continue maintaining this blog.

If you wish to print out this set, make sure to click here 
in order to download the full size version

At one of my other blogs where I just posted this quarters calendar bookmarks, I also wrote about ‘Where does the time go.’ As for the third-quarter feline calendar, please except my apologies that it did not occur this quarter, it will be resumed at a later date still to be announced.

I guess when one is occupied creating art, preparing for a lecture or an appointment with the directory of a gallery made three months before, only to discover upon arriving, they decided to close the gallery two days prior; welt least  I have a good collection with which to approach another gallery or making it available on-line for purchase.

A small sampling of the art I created these passed three months

These passed months, work began on a series of thirty-six small paintings—on hold at the moment—then preparing for a PowerPoint presentation, which was given to the El Cerrito Art Association,

or designing and building blogs for clients, I had my hands full, burning the candle at both ends. It felt like having been touched by a Muse and riding a high wave that now has been physically draining.

‘Travels of the Imagination’ Close-up of drawing a map

In the midst of all the creativity there came another idea, bringing back my childhood years, when I drew imaginary maps containing buried pirates treasure, only now they are are more grown-up, resembling possible landmarks. 

‘Travels of the Imagination’ in progress of being reassembled

When one of these maps are completed I take a deep breath and start cutting the illustration into one inch squares, which are then carefully reassembled in a random order, making sure that each piece connects to the one next to it in some special and meaningful manner.

After having participated in my first art fair this July 4 and yesterday dropping off a painting for my first juried exhibition, my plate is still full. Though low on energy by now, Ms K’s continued presence by my side when I work, is something I treasure, for it is priceless.

Ms K

I had hoped to share another picture of Ms K, sitting comfortable on a chair next to me in the kitchen, it has to wait till next time. Here is another one taken from the balcony where Ms. K likes to be in the late afternoon, soaking up a few of the last sun rays.