Aby-a-Day – 23 November: “Who’s a pretty bird? WHO’S a pretty bird?” (Friday Fashion Flashback)

Facebook, in its infinite algorithmic wisdom, reminded me this morning of Jacoby’s invitation to be Cat of the Year at the famed Westchester Cat Show and the fashion show where Jake first wore his fabulous Turkey costume.

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Hard to believe that it’s been FIVE YEARS since then! So much has happened since then!

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Jake clearly thought he looked amazing in his festive outfit.

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The beautiful cat costume, made by Golden CouturePet, was only meant to be a loaner for the fashion show…

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…But it seemed to be custom-made for Jake. The minute he put it on, it was his. The creator agreed and gave it to Jake as a gift because it suited him so very well.

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Jake being named Cat of the Year was such an incredible honour.

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We will never forget it.

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And we have this sparkly confection of a costume to remember it by. Thank you, Westchester Feline Club!

Aby-a-Day- 22 November: Happy Thanksgiving, or, as we call it in Sweden, “Thursday”

Today is Thanksgiving back in the States, but we actually had our “Thanksgiving” dinner last Thursday.

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The reason for this is more utilitarian than anything else. Since last year, I have wanted to cook a goose. In Sweden, geese are traditionally cooked for St. Martin’s Day, celebrated on 10 November. I didn’t know this last year when I first saw whole geese in the shops last year…I wanted to get one for Christmas, but by the time I was ready to buy one, they were nowhere to be found! Because they are only available in early November.

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This year, I was on full alert for geese, checking all the stores for geese. And I found them at two stores. I snagged a better deal than the above for the one we had for our early Thanksgiving, but Björn (who works at the same mall that the supermarket I took that photo at is in) got a second one we froze for a third of the price. But for the first one, I wanted to cook it fresh, not frozen, and the use-by date was the 15th…so, we decided to have Thanksgiving a week early.

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I have cooked whole chickens, turkeys, pheasants and ducks, but never a goose. I followed my usual Chinese-style, boiling-water-to-tighten-the-skin trick, and I even found a kick-ass Asian-style roast goose recipe.

The thing to keep in mind, here, is that the goose weighed 5kg. Of our five cats, the one who weighs the closest to that is Alfred, who, the last time I weighed them all, came in at 4.7kg. Yep, that’s right…Freddy officially weighs more than Jacoby!

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None of the cats was the least bit intimidated by food that weighed more than they did.

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Freddy even tried to take a bite!

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Lorelai is our smallest cat – smaller even than Izaak! She only weighed 2.4kg the last time I weighed them. She was very impressed with the goose.

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Another trick I use when cooking birds is to start cooking it breast down (upside-down from the way people usually roast a turkey). This way, the juices run DOWN into the breast and keeps it moist. Then for the last hour, the bird is flipped over so the breast can brown. Goose cooks a lot faster than turkey, though, which I was not expecting. I’ll know better next time.

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Zak was very interested in the cooked goose.

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So was Jake.

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Cheeky bugger actually licked it!

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I don’t cook my birds with stuffing per se, but I do stuff the inside cavity with ginger, garlic, scallions, and, for this particular recipe, orange wedges. It adds flavour to the meat from the inside. I also boil them down with the carcass when I make stock, which makes for very tasty soups.

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The meat inside is so much richer and more flavourful than turkey…but overall, it seems there is less edible meat per kilo than a similar-sized turkey. All in all, an interesting exercise. I can’t wait to try it again!

Aby-a-Day – 21 November: Wordless Wednesday (Did you ever have to make up your mind?)

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Aby-a-Day – 20 November: Just a random little sketch (Cartoon Tuesday)

Today I needed to find the Wi-Fi password to our router, which, for some reason, lives only in a little cookie note pad from the Danish Flying Tiger store.

Yeah, we really need to record that in a more permanent place.

But I came across a little sketch I had done. Not sure when I did it, or why I did it in a little round cookie-shaped notepad in blue ink…but I think it’s Jacoby and Alfred.

Aby-a-Day – 19 November: Modern Maturity (Monday Medical Mystery)

Izaak will be 10 months old next Monday.

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(This is Zak)

He has turned into a husky, burly cat. I call him my “little sausage.”

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(This is Logan)

He is much more burly than Logan was at the same age.

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(This is Logan)

But that’s honestly the only way that Zak is ahead of Logan, developmentally speaking.

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(This is Logan)

When Logan was the same age as Zak, Logan had to wear diapers because he was marking his territory like a tomcat. He also paced around the apartment, yowling.

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(This is Logan)

Logan seems to have been a faster developer than Zak is.

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(This is Zak)

Zak is one week shy of 10 months old, and he is showing zero signs of male maturity. No inappropriate play mounting (which Alfred was showing with Logan at seven months of age), no pacing and yowling, and no random peeing. His pee doesn’t even smell strong, like a tomcat’s!

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(This is Zak)

Not that I’m complaining, exactly…and I do want to wait as long as possible before getting him his Suprelorin implant…but it’s like waiting for the other shoe to drop. You know it’s going to happen…but when?

Aby-a-Day – 18 November: “Railway termini are our gates to the glorious and the unknown” (Cinema Sunday)

After collecting Alfred, we boarded our train and got settled in our seats. We folded up the stroller, and Jacoby sat on the seat next to Kalle.

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We set Freddy’s carrier on the table and opened it up.

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“Are you sure about this?”

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Freddy was quick to get out and explore the train and his new humans.

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He was fascinated by the landscape speeding past.

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Then he went to “help” Kalle on his laptop.

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Like, literally on his laptop.

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That’s our Freddy, always helpful, right from the very start.

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Some things don’t change.

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Then he decided to lie awkwardly all over the table, taking up as much space a he possibly could. He’s still really good at this, too.

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Finally, he started to get drowsy…and settled down on my lap to sleep the rest of the trip. Awww…

Here’s a little video I shot of Freddy’s first train trip.

Aby-a-Day – 17 November: Collecting Alfred (Swedish Saturday)

Jacoby, Björn, Kalle and I had spent a long weekend in Tallinn for a cat show. On the way back, on 6 June, we met Karin at Stockholm’s Centralstation to collect Alfred.

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We got there a little early, so we had lunch in the food court.

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Jacoby was his usual well-behaved self, as always.

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Titti and Emma also met us at the station so they could see Jake and Kalle, and also meet Freddy. Tittl and Kalle stayed at the table with the luggage whilst Björn, Emma, Jake and I went to the parking lot to meet Karin with Freddy.

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We walked to Karin’s little yellow car excitedly.

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Karin brought Freddy out and introduced him to Jake.

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Which went…

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…about as well as could be expected.

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Karin, Freddy and I sat in the car whilst we dealt with Freddy’s paperwork.

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Emma helped keep Freddy amused.

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We didn’t think Jake was ready to share his stroller, so we put Freddy into a carrier, said goodby to Karin, and went to rejoin Kalle and Titti.

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Back in the station, we all got acquainted whilst waiting for train back to Skövde.

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Having gotten his hissing out of the way, Jake was very curious about the newcomer.

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This time, Freddy was the one hissing. Which I found a bit surprising, since Freddy had four littermates and grew up with three adult cats. I didn’t expect him to be so defensive.

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I think Jake was a little taken aback by Freddy’s reaction, too. They had words.

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Jake broke the spell with a nose-lick.

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By that time, our train was ready to depart, so we packed Freddy into the carrier with his baby blanket and headed out to the platform, homeward bound.