Aby-a-Day – 31 December: Happy New Year’s! (Hipstamatic

For the past three years, Björn and I have hosted the New Year’s party for our friends. This year, due to a number of random circumstances (ours and our friends), we ended up being a party of seven – us and the cats.

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Of course, we didn’t know it was going to be just us when we were preparing everything in the run-up to Jul and New Year’s, so I managed to find the largest turkey I could to cook for the party.

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At 8.5kg (almost 19lbs!) it’s the largest turkey I have been able to find since I moved to Sweden.

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Oh, how I have missed the monster, American super-sized turkeys! Okay, so we’ll have lots of leftovers.

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I think we’re going to have lots of help finishing those leftovers, too.

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Combined, Alfred, Lorelai and Zak weigh 10.6kg…so the turkey weighs more than any two of them put together.

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The size difference didn’t stop them from investigating its edibility.

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Zak was especially interested in the big bird.

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Rory, without the boys flanking her, did seem a little more intimidated by it.

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She is our smallest cat. The last time I weighed them all, she clocked in at 2.6kg.

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I think she thought it wasn’t really dead!

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She tentatively approached the bird. I’m sure she’ll be a lot less tentative once it comes out of the oven!

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I love the randomness of Hipstamatic…

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Even though we ended up not having any guests, everyone got dressed up. The boys all wore their leather bow ties.

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Rory wore a festive red bow.

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Freddy can’t ever keep his tie on straight.

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Angel wore her sparkly sequin collar I got ages ago at a Seacoast show. Next year, I want to see if Arja can make the girls feminine festive collars, perhaps with flowers instead of bows.

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Regardless, when the turkey came out of the oven it. Was. AWESOME.

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Easily the best turkey I have ever cooked. And, ironically, I have been cooking them since 1999.

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But yeah, in 20 years of cooking turkeys, this was one of my best.

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Someone else thought so, too.

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Of course, his opinion is slightly biased…he's never had a whole cooked turkey before in his life.

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Izaak tried so hard to eat off that big turkey…but it was too hot.

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Since it was too hot to eat, Zak tried smacking it with his paw instead.

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It was still too hot…but it wasn’t too hot when I put it on a tray for everyone to share.

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Everyone seemed to enjoy their bits of turkey.

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As you could probably tell by the general swarming going on.

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Björn and I also did some Incredibooth selfies…enjoy!

Aby-a-Day – 30 December: The cat burglar (Serious Sunday)

As I have mentioned before, Alfred is an evil genius. He is also incredibly food-oriented.

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And by “incredibly,” I mean he has figured out how to open the cabinet where the cat food is kept…

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…to the point that we started finding this on an all-too-frequent basis.

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He has different methods for eating the food out of the wet packets…

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…and the dry ones.

The latch on the cabinet was a bit weak, but it had never been a problem before. Now, this is a problem, clearly…so we replaced it with a 4kg magnetic cabinet latch. You would think that would work.

And it did. For a while. Then we had to jam this rubber cat’s paw doorstop.

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Which helped. Until it didn’t.

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The problem is, he’s too stealthy for us to catch in the act. And he’s quiet. By the time we happen to go in the kitchen, he’s finished his share, and only the others are left eating.

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Of course, we know it isn’t Angel or Jacoby opening the cabinet. If it was, it wouldn’t have been a problem two years ago, not just within the past two months! Nice frame-job attempt, Freddy.

Aby-a-Day – 29 December: Logan and Izaak (Singapura Saturday)

Logan and Izaak look very much alike in photos, and often I can’t tell who is who unless I look at the date the photo was taken.

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These first two photos were taken 28 December 2017…so, this is Logan napping with Alfred and Jacoby.

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These next two, however…

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…these two were taken on 13 December 2018, so this is Zak and Freddy.

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So…without looking at the Flickr details linked to the photos, can you tell how is who? Is this one Zak or Logan?

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How about this one?

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I know Freddy knows that Zak isn’t his “Brother from another Mother,” but he does seem to like having him as a cuddle buddy.

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In some ways, Logan and Zak could not be more different. Logan was very agile and could often be found up high, on the tops of bookshelves and doors. He was like a little old man, soft-voiced but constantly muttering to himself. He wasn’t terribly food-oriented, and he wasn’t afraid of the big cats’ hisses and growls. And he was extremely fastidious, constantly grooming himself. Zak, on the other hand, can barely haul himself onto the kitchen counter (and often doesn’t make it). He meows at the top of his voice when he wants something or if I am in the bathroom with the door closed, and he is incredibly focused on food. He tries to sleep with the big cats, same as Logan did, but if they hiss or growl, he backs off and goes somewhere else. And while he keeps himself tidy, he isn’t constantly grooming himself the way Logan did. One of Logan’s “things” was to furiously lick his tailtip if you held it for him. Zak isn’t as concerned about his tail tip.

It just so funny how two cats can look so alike and have such different personalities.

Aby-a-Day – 28 December: Remembering my Christmas kitten (Friday Flashback)

Every year about this time, I have to remember my Christmas kitten, Gun-Hee.

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We collected him on 15 December 2006, only 10 days before Christmas.

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I’ll never forget the way he discovered climbing the Christmas tree.

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He was so proud of himself!

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And now, 12 years later, Gun-Hee is still in my Christmas tree every year…thanks to this Fancy Feast frame ornament.

Aby-a-Day – 27 December: Of Somalis and Schipperkes (Thursday Things)

I have a few more photos from the little mini show we went to at our local DjurMagazinet I wanted to share.

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They’re on two completely different topics…but hey, just like most meals between Christmas and New Years, there’s no reason not to mix them up. Leftovers are always better that way.

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First off, we have Izaak in his Christmas bow tie, playing with a fun toy.

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Look at that concentration!

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He really liked that toy!

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But even more than the toy, I think he liked the little girl who was playing with him using the toy.

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She was pretty charmed with him, too.

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The next thing I wanted to share is this Somali, Tootsie, and her friend.

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You almost never, ever, see dogs at cat shows…for, well, obvious reasons.

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Tootsie was wonderful at walking on her leash…almost as good as her puppy pal.

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Oh! I am SO sorry…Tootsie, you obviously taught that dog everything he knows about walking on a leash!

Aby-a-Day – 26 December: Wordless Wednesday (Izaak’s Christmas miracle)

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Aby-a-Day – 25 December: The sole of Christmas (Cartoon Tuesday)

In Sweden, the main Christmas celebrating is done on 24 December. After the ritual of Donald Duck, the presents are opened and then dinner is eaten.

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The traditional Julbord, which Björn’s mother orchestrated every year to perfection, consists of pickled herring, smoked salmon, hard-boiled eggs with kaviar,

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the Julskinka (ham with mustard), boiled potatoes, Janssons Frestelse (a sort of potato casserole with anchovies), cabbage rolls (which I can totally get behind because they’re also a Russian thing), handmade köttbullar (meatballs – ours were moose, lamb and wild boar),

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Prinskorv (sort of like hot dogs, but better), a ball of cheese and bread, and a cheesecake.

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This was our first year assembling the feast ourselves, and the first we have done at home instead of going to Jönköping. Beer, wine and shots of aquavit are usually drunk before, during, and after the meal, but this year we also added my kickass eggnog with rum, tequila, whiskey and hazelnut liqueur. Because, hey, let’s start our own traditions! (I also introduced the hanging and filling of stockings, which we open on Christmas day, because that was MY tradition. I still have the stocking I was given on my very first Christmas, when I was six months old.

The one Swedish Jul tradition I am not completely onboard with is the Christmas Day dinner of lutfisk served with potatoes and peas. Not that lutfisk is bad…it’s just bland. It’s basically like eating hard-boiled egg whites. Which is great, I love hard-boiled eggs. Just not necessarily for Christmas dinner. And I don’t really like peas all that much, either. We would always eat it at Björn’s mom’s house…but this year, we are having goose and starting our own tradition (which also includes the oranges my mom always used to put in our stockings).

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The first Christmas I spent in Sweden, I drew this silly little drawing of a “lute fisk” as a joke for Björn’s brother…and today I got the idea to update it a bit with Abys. And a Singapura. Just a sketch for now, but…Happy Christmas, everyone!