Aby-a-Day – December 31: A clean, fresh start

Well, here it is…the end of 2015. What an unexpected year this has been! And next year will be even more exciting. Right now, I’m in Sweden, celebrating with Björn and Kalle (and Pyret of course), but what is Jacoby doing tonight? How is he celebrating?


How else? He’s napping in the clean laundry, naturally. What else does one do on New Year’s Eve?


“Wait, it’s WHAT time?”


“Damn, I’m gonna miss the ball dropping! Can you wheel a TV in here? Thanks.”

Aby-a-Day – December 30: Wordless Wednesday (More photos from Boston)





Aby-a-Day – December 29: Snö! (Cartoon Tuesday)

It finally snowed here in Skövde yesterday! Not quite a white Christmas, but close.


I’ve been drawing on my iPad again, using both Paper by 53 and Photoshop Sketch. This picture of Jacoby is actually based on the view of the first snow from Björn’s living room window. I’m pretty proud of it, since I haven’t been drawing that much lately.


Of course, I also drew this picture of Lutfisk after a traditional Christmas day dinner at Björn’s parents’ house…so don’t expect a brilliant comeback of my cartoons anytime soon…

Aby-a-Day – December 28: Christmas in Jönköping (Miniature Monday)

Björn and I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at his parent’s house in Jönköping.


Of course, Mini Jacoby came along.


The Christmas tree was absolutely lovely.


Björn’s mother made the paper heart decorations in the 1960’s. They’re wonderful.


She also had a little display of Dalahastar (Dala Horses) around a bowl.


Mini-Jake had to join them, of course.


He had to also ride the largest one, a tech geek one with glasses from IKEA. That kind of got him kicked out of the Dala Horse party.


So he went to play with the Jultomten instead.


One thing we did while we were there, Björn and I, was build a puzzle map of Sweden that his mom had in the living room.


It was fun and quite educational.


Mini-Jake is studying the location of Jönköping on the puzzle map.


But then (just like the real Jake) he got hungry.


So he went into the kitchen to look for a snack.


He finally found the Julost, the Christmas cheese ball. And no, he didn’t eat it all!


Björn’s mother has a lot of awesome little cat sculptures scattered around her house. These lovely glass cats are typical Swedish glasswork.


She also has this adorable little pottery cat from Kalmar, a city in southeastern Sweden known since the Middle Ages. Kalmar Castle was one of the most important in Sweden. Kvarnholmen (“Mill Island”) is the location for the city center. The eastern part of Kvarnholmen is called “Kattrumpan” (“Cat’s Butt”) for unknown reasons.


So, this little cat from Kattrumpan has a little heart on her butt. How cute is that? Evidently, Mini-Jake thinks it’s pretty adorable, too.

Aby-a-Day – December 27: Reverse FaceTime Date (Selfie Sunday)

While I’ve been in Sweden, Jacoby has been moping.


He’s been hanging out in the bedroom. He’s started building a mancave in the comforter on the bed.


He goes into a fold and then scoops out a tunnel by rolling in place. And then he just sleeps there. All. Day. Long.


So, I decided to FaceTime with him.


At first, he didn’t react much. I’d woken him up and he was a bit groggy.


Jake just wanted to sleep until I come back, I guess.


But hearing my voice seemed to perk him up.


He reached his paw out to touch the phone.


And then, he rolled over!


He actually left his quilt fort and sat up.


He gave me his opinion on my being away…


…but then he really perked up.


Jake does understand the concept of FaceTime.


He knows it’s me, and my voice.


It might be better if he’d been “talking” to me over an iPad or a Mac, something with a larger screen than just an iPhone 6…but it worked pretty well. He seemed to be much happier after our call.

Aby-a-Day – December 26: “Weave” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

This week’s Photo Hunt subject is “Weave.”


I’m sorry…this is all I could think of.

Aby-a-Day – December 25: First Christmases with Gun-Hee and Jacoby

I just never get tired of remembering Gun-Hee’s first Christmas.


We had only had him with us for ten days at that point. He was so different from any other kitten I’ve ever had!


For one thing, he is the only cat I’ve ever had who tried to climb the Christmas tree…much less succeed at it!

Gun-Hee was a lot more agile and graceful than Jacoby is. Luckily, Jake’s never tried to climb the tree. No, he prefers to eat it.

Or play underneath it.


Or simply chill and look at all the lights. In some ways, they’re so alike…but in other ways, they couldn’t be more different.

And then, there’s this…well…Merry Christmas, everyone!

Aby-a-Day – December 24: “Does Björn like cats?”

One thing people always ask me when I’m talking about Björn is, “Does he like cats?” Now, when I get this question, part of me wants to say, “Are you kidding me, as if I’d be with a guy who didn’t like cats!”

But let me answer this in a better way. In 1999, Björn and his then-girlfriend fostered a litter of barn kittens.

There were five of them, but only four went on to other homes. Pyret, which is Swedish for “little mite,” stayed with them.

She was so tiny, Björn had to bottle-feed her.

He had to take her along to SCA events, too, so she’d be fed. (I personally think this is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen).

When she was younger, Björn would take her places with him. This is her on the top of a door at Björn’s parents’ house in Jönköping.

She and Björn have been together for almost her whole life.


This photo is from when I visited Björn in 2000. As you can see, she grew into a lovely young lady!

Here we are, cuddling on the sofa together watching The Fast Show.


Björn and Titti also had a tortie named Olivia. Sadly, Olivia died in 2010 from kidney failure.

This is Björn and Olivia waiting for a train in Skövde. Oh, look, a cat guy with his cat!

It’s hard to believe that Pyret is 16 years old now! Having been a bottle-fed kitten, she and Björn share a special bond. She frequently checks in during our FaceTime conversations.


I don’t know if she remembered me when she saw me again on Sunday, but she didn’t treat me like a complete stranger when we got reacquainted.

She may have wished she had, though…because unfortunately for Pyret, though, I happened to see Lorenzo the Cat’s Facebook post about what happens when humans have no snow at Christmastime. Well, we don’t have any more snow in Sweden right now than anyplace else, and Pyret made the mistake of lying on her back…


…so, I may or may not have found some black cardboard in the recycle bin…


…and I may or may not have borrowed Kalle’s Santa hat, and this may or may not have happened…Lucky for me she’s a patient old lady!

Aby-a-Day – December 23: Wordless Wednesday (This is what happens back at home when I go away)




Aby-a-Day – December 22: Belated Birthday (Cartoon Tuesday)

Björn’s birthday in in March, while mine is in June, but we were both born in 1965, so it’s been a running joke between us since we turned 30 that he’s always going to be older than me.

I bought him this birthday card back in March, planning to point out that he was 50 while I was still in my 40’s…but I never got around to mailing it. So, I hand-delivered it when I came to visit instead.

As I’ve mentioned before, I generally sketch either a generic Abyssinian or Jacoby in or on most cards I send, and this one was no exception. The inside of this card features a three-dimensional pop-up cake, and the cartoon cat is behind it…so I simply added a second cat who just so happens to like baked goods.

Aby-a-Day – December 21: Taking the train through Stockholm (Miniature Monday

After our stay in Stockholm, Björn, Kalle and I took the train home to Skövde.


I know Jacoby would have loved the trip. He does love train rides.


So, since I couldn’t bring the real Jake with me (this time), I did the next best thing.


I brought Mini-Jake!


It wasn’t quite the same…


Actually, I hear that the real Jake is showing signs of missing me…in between causing all kinds of mayhem like picking fights with the girls and licking toast left in the toaster long enough for him to find it.


It’ll be interesting to see what he does when he gets here. I’ve already warned Björn about his floor rugs (aka “Aby tunnels” and “Aby sleds”) and plastic bags (aka “Jake – don’t eat that! Plastic bags are not food!)…and then there’s 16-year-old Pyret. I expect fun times ahead.


Stockholm was a lot of fun…but now we’re home in Skövde.

Aby-a-Day – December 20: Lush Fun!

Today I met Björn’s two children, Emma (5) and Kalle (almost 13). Of all the things I thought I would be in life, a mom was never one of them…but now I’ll be a stepmom. That I can handle though – it’s like being a cool aunt, only fulltime.


Actually, only Kalle lives with Björn. Emma lives with her mother in Stockholm, so we only will get to see her once in a while. Kalle loves cats, and he’s excited to live with two Abyssinians. We’ve all met on FaceTime, and I think Kalle and Angel, especially, will get along wonderfully.


When we first met her with Kalle and their mother, Titti, it was at a coffeeshop in Stockholm’s Centralstation. Emma was busy with a packet of Lush Fun moldable clay.


I’m sure Björn was a bit worried as to how I’d bond with Emma, since she only speaks a little English. Well, once I saw the soap clay…I knew what to do. I sat down and had Björn ask her if I could have a bit of her soap. She said yes, so I took off my coat and got to work.


Because what better way to bond with your soon-to-be stepdaughter who loves kitties and pink things than by making her a pink Jacoby out of soap?


Needless to say, it worked like a charm. Well, that, and the robot leopard I gave her for Christmas.

Aby-a-Day – December 19: “Foot” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

This week’s Photo Hunt subject is “Foot.”


Everyone knows that the best part about cats are their jelly bean toes.


But what do you do when you are travelling and don’t have access to your favourite kitty feet? See…this is where my resin castings of Jacoby’s paws come in handy (you should pardon the expression).


I’ve brought them with me to Sweden, so now, whenever I need a paw fix, I’ve got Jake’s feet close at hand.

Aby-a-Day – December 18: Lisa Larson cats (Fashion Friday)

Ever since my first trip to visit Björn, I have been in love with Lisa Larson’s cats.


Lisa Larson is a Swedish ceramic designer who as been working since the early 1950’s. She’s especially well known for her distinctive cat designs.


Björn took me to Design Torget in Stockholm’s Central Station and what do you think I found? A Lisa Larson cat wooden cutting board/trivet! I told Björn I thought it looked a bit like an Aby…I mean, look at the banding! This is obviously a ticked cat!



I find it amazing that, even though Lisa Larson started in 1954, she’s still active today, making new cat designs.

Aby-a-Day – December 17: My bags are packed, I’m ready to go…

When you read this, I will be in Sweden, visiting Björn over the holidays.


I left Wednesday night on an overnight flight on Iceland Air.


Of course Jacoby helped me pack.


Although he wasn’t entirely thrilled about me leaving – and oh, yes, he knew I was going somewhere without him!


He tried to talk me into staying.


Sorry, Jake! But I’ll be back in three weeks – and we can always FaceTime!

Aby-a-Day – December 16: Wordless Wednesday (So…this happened)








Aby-a-Day – December 15: Lust in my heart (Cartoon Tuesday)

Over the weekend, I had to go to the Apple Store on Boylston Street. While I was there, I had an awesome and fun conversation with two Apple Store guys, Max and Dan. We had an absolute blast talking about everything – especially cats.

At one point in our chat, Max took me over to see the new iPad Pro. Now, I just got an iPad last year, and I really can’t afford one now…but oh…there’s more to it than just the iPad itself. There’s the Pencil that goes with it. And Max also showed me a sweet little app by Adobe called Photoshop Sketch. He quickly showed me how it worked, and then invited me to try it out.


So, of course I drew Jacoby. Max was impressed, but as you all know, I’ve been drawing cats for a few years now.


Then, Max had me do a quick watercolour background. Neat thing about watercolours in Sketch: the pigment will spread, just like on paper, unless you turn on this little fan and dry it out.


Once we had Jake and the background, Max showed me how to put them together…in Pages, a word processing program that reminded me a LOT of my old friend

Aby-a-Day – December 14: Getting Ready (Miniature Monday)

Mini-Jake loves to help me get ready in the morning!


He comes into the bathroom with me and helps me put on my make up.


The nicest thing about his help is…he doesn’t actually get in my way and knock things over the way the real Jacoby does!

Aby-a-Day – December 13: My two men (Selfie Sunday)

Being that I am in Boston and Björn is in Sweden, we spend a LOT of our lives talking on FaceTime. And Jacoby, of course, loves to help.


Every so often, Björn will capture Jake and I at the other end of his iPad and send it to me. This was a couple of weeks ago. I was unhappy with my haircut, so I was hiding behind Jake.


This one was taken a couple of nights ago. Jake sees no difference between walking on the mattress or walking on my face, apparently. As you can see up in the lefthand corner, Björn found this highly amusing.

Aby-a-Day – December 12: “Omit” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

This week’s Photo Hunt subject is “Omit.”


I wouldn’t want to omit these photos of Meg’s boykitten, Anubis Montréal Expresso (aka Monty) and Jacoby in our hotel room at the NHFF show a few weeks ago.


I think Jake makes Monty a bit nervous.


He’s a sweetheart, though…he reminds me a bit of Garçon.