Aby-a-Day – 29 Juni 2020: An exciting announcement (Medical Monday)

I have an exciting announcement to make…in two weeks, our Lorelai is going to meet a lovely gentleman called Io, who just happens to live with Alfred’s breeder, Karin.

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We don’t know if Rory carries Cinnamon or if Io carries dilute, but it looks like a very good match. Of course I will keep you posted…but our Rory is going to be a mom!

(Edit: Someone asked about Io. He is a year old, sorrel, and he LOVES kittens. Her Somali, Iris, got out while she was in heat and met a handsome black tom. Io helped her care for them.

He also loves to go outside on his harness and leash. Because kittens’ temperaments are influenced by their father, even if they never meet him, these are two of the reasons I chose him. And since we already have a relationship with Karin, it was kind of a no-brainer.)

Aby-a-Day – 28 Juni 2020: The Mighty Izaak (Singapura Sunday)

When the cats go outside, the Abyssinians bolt out the door and run as fast and as far as they can.

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But not Izaak. Zak…well, the best way to describe it is, Zak marches out the door and onto the grass.

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He also loves to hunt when he’s outside. Wonder what he sees?

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Oh! A honey bee! Zak, please leave that little guy alone…we need all the bees we can get!

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That’s not to say that Zak doesn’t run. He does.

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He’s usually chasing one of the other cats, but oh, he runs.

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He’s such a sturdy little man. As I mentioned before, someone compared him to Ron Swanson…and apart from the lack of mustache, it’s an apt comparison.

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I mean, look at him.

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Finally, I have this photo. In my opinion, this is Zak’s first iconic photo. Jacoby had a few: Sitting on the carousel, posing in his hat and boots, and the one of him wearing his parka in the snow, among others

Aby-a-Day – 27 Juni 2020: An Angel watching from on high (Swedish Saturday

On one of our forays outside, Angel was on the balcony, and, as I knew she was happy there, I didn’t bring her out with us.

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And I was right. She joined us, in her way.

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She perched on the balcony and watched the other cats below.

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She was perfectly happy to be with us, but by herself.

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I love this photo of Dashiell looking back up at her.

Aby-a-Day – 26 Juni 2020: “Face masks in public spaces do not provide any greater protection to the population” (Fashion Friday)

You may recall my post back in April about cat-themed face masks to wear as a defence against spreading Covid-19. Even though Sweden has been famously against face masks (I went out shopping today and saw ZERO masks apart from my own), the tide may be changing; Dr. Tengele may be changing his opinion on masks (finally).

The above mask came from a link on Facebook. It’s cute, and a double layer of cotton. Unfortunately, it’s too hot to wear in the summer.

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I love these two masks featuring a (Singapuras and BLUE Abyssinians wearing masks…but they are also double-layer (and have a pocket for a charcoal filter), and way too hot to wear in summer.

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my favourite mask was made by my friend Airie of Simply Sphynx. It’s a single layer cotton mask with a cute kitty print on.

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It’s very breathable and comfortable to wear – my favourite thing about this mask is that it doesn’t loop around the ears like all the others. When you wear glasses, that can be a real issue.

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But nobody reads this blog to see photos of me, so…

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…Here is Izaak wearing the Singapura mask.

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I absolutely love that this mask features BLUE Abyssinians.

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Lorelai…not so much.

Aby-a-Day – 25 Juni 2020: More magpies (Thursday Things)

The other day when we went outside, poor Alfred was the target of magpie harrassment.

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He ran down the hill and the magpies were ON him.

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Look at this in close-up.

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I don’t think Freddy even noticed the angry birds attacking him.

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Here’s a close-up of the second magpie attack.

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After that second attack, they stood down, but remained watchful.

Aby-a-Day – 24 Juni 2020: Wordless Wednesday (Lorelai found a feather!)

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Aby-a-Day – 23 Juni 2020: A quick editorial sketch (Cartoon Tuesday)

Chatting with a group of friends yesterday evening, I had a sudden thought that I needed to draw immediately, because I knew it would amuse them. I drew this in almost exactly an hour; I asked for a breed suggestion at 19:33 and shared it with my friends at 20:31. I am not going to explain it here…if you get it, you get it. That’s the nature of editorial cartoons.

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I also exported the drawing stream, because they are so much fun to watch. Remember that this is all one hour, and you can see my idea evolving as I draw it (Click on the image to watch it in Flickr).

Aby-a-Day – 22 Juni 2020: Izaak and the blanket (Mischievous Monday)

The other day when we went outside, one of our neighbours had left a blanket under a tree. We picked it up and hung it on the rug beating frame. There was a bit of a breeze, and the blanket had a fringe, so Izaak started playing with it.

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Or attacking it. It’s open to interpretation.

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Sometimes I forget that Zak is only two years old…Logan was such a little old man, even though he only lived 13 months, I am always surprised at how playful Zak is.

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Look at that concentration. That blanket is going to regret its life choices.

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It was so much fun watching him “hunt” the blanket.

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Bite! Bite! Bite!

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It’s amazing how much fun cats can have with ordinary household objects.

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It was funny that he used his mouth more than his hands. I think Abys would be more handsy and less mouthy.

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…And just like that, Zak was done.

Aby-a-Day – 21 Juni 2020: Izaak and his family (Singapura Sunday)

Today on Facebook, Anna (Izaak’s breeder) posted a photo of her newest litter of kittens.

Turns out, these kittens are Zak’s full siblings! Their father is Tinytoy Rus Mafoj*PL
and their mother is Angelina Minimali*PL.

Zak also has two older, famous brothers. Paolo and Keiko, five years older than Zak, are famous for their adventures. And they had another adventure (of sorts) today: Paolo and Keiko got neutered!

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It wasn’t long before they escaped their Cones of Shame, but their human Kinsey sent me this video of them. Just click on the image to watch the video in another tab on Flickr.

It’s so cool to be part of such an illustrious family!

Aby-a-Day – 20 Juni 2020: Happy Gotcha Day! (Special Saturday)

Two years ago today, I travelled to Stockholm to collect our little Izaak.

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His harness was almost too big for him, even adjusted to the smallest size..

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He was so tiny…

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Zak and Lorelai bonded over leftovers. This is the day after he arrived.

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Two days after that, he had his first outside adventure.

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He quickly discovered his favourite, IKEA mice. This was his fifth day with us.

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The day after that…

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…we had our first trip to the vet…

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…our first visit to DjurMagazinet…

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…and our first walk home. Little Zak did a LOT in his first week with us!

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But it isn’t just Zak’s Gotcha Day. Fifteen years ago today, we answered a Craigslist ad and brought Kylie home from Quincy. We had to stop at Petco on the way home to buy a carrier!

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This is her and Tessie today, back in Boston. I can’t believe she is 15! And, in a month and a half, Tessie will be 17!

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But wait, there’s more! 29 years ago, today, I got Harri, my very first Siamese. We were on our way to an SCA event, and we picked him up on the way.

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He camped with us for his first several days with us before we got him home. That’s probably why he was such a good traveller.

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He was 14 years old when we got Kylie…but he was very fond of her. Seems that 20 June is a good day to get a kitten!

Aby-a-Day – 19 Juni 2020: Glad Midsommar, allihopa! (Fashion Friday)

This weekend is one of Sweden’s two most important holidays: Midsommar, which celebrates the Summer Solstice.

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Much like Jul, the Winter Solstice celebration, the main celebration is on the day before the actual holiday. This year, Midsommmarafton is today.

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One of the Midsommarafton tradition is the making and wearing of flower crowns. You may recall last Midsommar, when everyone modeled a silk flower crown.

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So, the other day when I was outside with the cats, I sat on the lawn and made a little daisy chain with some buttercups woven in for more colour. Izaak came over to see what I was doing.

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So, when I finished the crown, I put it on his head to try it out. It wasn’t great. Sigh. Sometimes I miss the way Jacoby would pose with ANYthing on his head.

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I posted the top photo on this IS an airport, please announce your departure: aeroplane ear posting, and it’s even more popular than the one of Zak with Alfred! I posted the top photo 18 hours ago…and there are 2058 reactions!

And, oh…the comments! This one in particular really got me, because I just started watching Parks and Recreation a month or so ago.

This was my response…I love Ron Swanson.

(Editor’s note: Since this is a public Facebook group, I didn’t block out the names on the screenshots in this post. If you want your name blocked out on my post, please comment and I’ll edit the photo. But if you are here from the Earplane group…thanks for all the love this week! I really needed it!)

Aby-a-Day – 18 Juni 2020: King of the Dustbowl (Thursday Things)

On one of our outside adventures, Izaak discovered a wicked awesome dustbowl at the base of a tree.

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It wasn’t in the sun, but oh, it was still perfect. And Zak was going to keep it all to himself, prepared to fight it with everything he had.

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First Lorelai came to check it out.

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Look at how Zak watches her.

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Alfred tried a sneakier method. He pretended he was scratching the tree…

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…and then tried to take it over.

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Zak was more than ready for him.

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Freddy wasn’t about to give up to a cat he outweighs by 70% after only one attempt.

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I am not sure what he was trying to accomplish with this move, but…

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…Zak was NOT falling for it.

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“Really Freddy? REALLY!?”

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“Okay, dude. Back off!”

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“Okay, that’s technically still my dust, but fine. But like a good neighbour, STAY OVER THERE.”

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“I can’t even with you right now, Freddy.”

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After his roll, Freddy made another siege on Zak’s dustbowl.

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Clearly, this attack is Freddy playing a long game.

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Obviously, it’s the old “yeah, keep your dumb dustbowl” trick.

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“Just how stupid does he think I am?”

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Freddy walked around the tree and was right back in Zak’s face. Clearly, Zak was expecting him.

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And then, adding insult to injury, Freddy had the nerve to do Zak a heckin’ blep! A BLEP! I loved this last photo so much, on Sunday I posted it to a wonderful Facebook group called this IS an airport, please announce your departure: aeroplane ear posting (as you can see in the top photo), and as of this writing, 1,130 people have reacted to it!

Some of the comments people made were brilliant, too. I laughed so hard at this thread.

I particularly love this comment thread, because indeed, this is a classic Singapura stink-eye.

(Editor’s note: Since this is a public Facebook group, I didn’t block out the names on the screenshots in this post. If you want your name blocked out on my post, please comment and I’ll edit the photo. But if you are here from the Earplane group…thanks for all the love this week! I really needed it!)

Sparta and Bob Hunt with StarClan

Sad news. Two of the world’s most famous cats have died this week. Sparta the Mean Kitty and Bob the Street Cat have died.

Sparta became famous when his human, Cory (aka Mr. Safety) posted his Mean itty song on YouTube in September 2007. That video, as of today, has had 91,004,261 views!

But on Sunday, 11 June, Sparta apparently had a saddle thrombosis and his back end was paralysed. Sobbing, Cory posted a short video to let Sparta’s fans know what was happening before he rushed to the vet. Sadly, there was nothing that could be done, and he had to be euthanised.

After Sparta was gone, Cory posted his last video on his Mean Kitty channel. He described what had happened, and thanked his followers. Sparta went from Southern California to Alaska to Oklahoma with Cory and his family. Over the span of 13 years, we followed the life of a man and his cat.

Then, today, Hodder & Stoughton and James Bowen announced the death of Bob the cat on 15 June at the age of at least 14 years on their Facebook page.

I’m sure most of you know about Bob from his books and movie. A busker living rough in Covent Garden selling newspapers meets a cat who decided that he wanted to adopt that human.

James Bowen says “Bob saved my life. It’s as simple as that. He gave me so much more than companionship. With him at my side, I found a direction and purpose that I’d been missing. The success we achieved together through our books and films was miraculous. He’s met thousands of people, touched millions of lives. There’s never been a cat like him. And never will again. I feel like the light has gone out in my life. I will never forget him.” And oh, how I understand how he feels…Jacoby wasn’t as famous as Bob…but I feel his light going out in his life sentiment.

2020 can bite my shiny metal ass.

May StarClan light your path, and you find good hunting, swift running, and shelter when you sleep, Sparta and Bob. You will be missed.

Aby-a-Day – 17 Juni 2020: Wordless Wednesday (“Kill no more pigeons than you can eat”)

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Aby-a-Day – 16 Juni 2020: Clan of Cats (Cartoon Tuesday)

When I woke up this morning, I had every intention of working on either my drawing of Kiipi and her kitten, or my drawing of Alfred the Cat Burglar.

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But instead of that, do you know what I did? I played a game

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I downloaded the game Clan of Cats years ago, but I never played it. Until today. For some reason, I randomly decided to give it a spin. And it’s actually a lot of fun. You’re a cat, and you gather your clanmembers, build your home base (apparently these cats use fire and build log forts, but okay), fight creatures to get magic, fight bosses and conquer other clans.

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It could be so much more; you could be able to interact with other players, you could be able to play it on a Mac or a PC, you could be able to really customise your cat…but hey. You can fight alligators in water and kill them with fireballs.

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See all the dead alligators? Good times.

Aby-a-Day – 15 Juni 2020: More Magpies (Movie Monday)

I know I posted about magpies just yesterday, but by sheer coincidence we had another magpie encounter this afternoon.

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Björn and I were outside with the cats, when the magpies started yelling. We looked over, and sure enough, they were yelling at Alfred.

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Freddy noped out, but Izaak was very interested in what was going on up in the branches.

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The magpies yelled at Zak, and Zak yelled right back at them.

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Lorelai, of course, was also interested in the screeching birds.

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She looked like she wanted to go up after them, but she didn’t go any higher in the tree.

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Zak, on the other hand…

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…I think even Rory was impressed with how high Zak was willing to climb.

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Zak is a deceptively good climber.

Here is a video of the entire encounter with the magpies. It’s sometimes hard to see them in the leaves, but you can certainly hear them!

Aby-a-Day – 14 Juni 2020: Lorelai and the Magpie (Swedish Sunday)

One thing I missed whilst living in New England was magpies.

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I grew up in the Northern California valley, the only place on the planet that is home to Yellow-Billed Magpies, and they are my favourite bird. The ones we have in Sweden are the usual Black-Billed sort…but it’s stlll nice to have them around.

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When we go out with the cats, the resident magpies keep a sharp eye on us.

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Mostly. When we went out the other day, this magpie brazenly decided to watch the cats from the ground.

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At first, Lorelai didn’t see the magpie.

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Until she did.

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Rory stalked the magpie for a while.

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And then, oddly, she just stopped. I am not sure why.

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She didn’t chase the magpie, but the magpie didn’t fly away, either. They just sort of looked at each other.

Aby-a-Day – 13 Juni 2020: The Ministry of Silly Runs returns (Silly Sunday)

Cats. Graceful, elegant cats.

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Until you freeze their action in 1/30 of a second.

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Then, as Dashiell demonstrates, they can look a little…well, goofy.

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Izaak, too, has a fairly silly run.

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Lorelai can look like poetry in motion…

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…or, not.

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This is her impression of a dolphin…I think? Or an otter. Something aquatic.

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And then we have Alfred.

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It’s like he was re-enacting his run at that same corner when we had snow on the ground back in March.

Aby-a-Day – 12 Juni 2020: Chris lost his head (Friday Flashback)

Bear with me, here…I am sad and not just a little bit angry. Sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, the Christopher Columbus statue in Boston’s Christopher Columbus Park was beheaded. It will now be going into storage for an undefined period of time.

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I have posted about this statue back when I lived in Boston. Politics aside, I have always admired the workmanship on this statue. It never felt like a “white man’s burden” statue to me (unlike so many other racist statues). Made or marble imported from Carrara, an ancient quarry in Tuscany, and erected by the Knights of Columbus, an organization dominated by Italian Americans, the statue (which is in Boston’s North End, the Italian neighbourhood), always seemed to be more about being of Italian descent than about Colonialism.

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We didn’t go to Christopher Columbus Park very often, as there were closer parks along the Harborwalk, but I always liked going there with Jacoby.

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It’s Boston’s oldest waterfront park. I wish we had gone there more often.

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But I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss the unconditional trust I had with Jake. I could put him anywhere and he’d pose for a photo.

Aby-a-Day – 11 Juni 2020: Happy 13th birthday, Angel! (Thursday Things)

Despite strong evidence to the contrary, 11 June is the day we celibrate Angel’s birthday, and today she is 13.

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Despite having done this eleven times before, Angel was still a bit wary of the candles.

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She got over it pretty quickly. You know, food…Abys…

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I blew out her candles, but she was still a little skeptical.

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But eventually Angel tucked in.

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Once she started to eat, it was game over.

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And now, she is a woman.