Aby-a-Day – 31 Maj: A date that will live in infamy (Friday Flashback)

This time of year is always special to me because my birthday is tomorrow, but for the past three years, the 31st of May is special, too; it’s the day the movers came to pack up all my belongings to be sent to Sweden…

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…And it’s the day I was granted my temporary Swedish residency permit. I got the email first thing in the morning, but I had to wait for the Swedish Embassy to open their phones at 11 am before I could find out what the decision actually was.

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The movers arrived fairly early with their boxes, bubble wrap and tape and got right to work.

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As you can see, Angel was unfazed by all the activity.

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Tessie watched for a while, and then retired to the bedroom, where it was quieter.

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Jacoby was his usual, bulletproof self.

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He even went out in the hallway to help the movers do their job!

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They did a very thorough job. This is my bicycle, all wrapped up.

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The movers didn’t seem to mind Jake helping at all. They were just amused.

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Jake took his supervisory position very seriously, as you can see.

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He made sure the movers marked all the boxes correctly…

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…noted down properly on the list…

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…and he made sure they didn’t leave anything behind. Jake was such a good helper!

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Unfortunately, Jake couldn’t help us when were were finished at the apartment and moved over to the storage unit. Too bad, too; he would have enjoyed helping to pack up the floor-to-ceiling cat tree!

Aby-a-Day – 30 Maj: Stroller Rage (Thursday Things)

Yesterday, I had an appointment to take everycat to the vet for a check-up and jabs. Björn didn’t have the day off, so I had to manage on my own. Naturally, I took them all in our new stroller. Our appointment was in the middle of the afternoon (not that Skövde really has a “rush hour,” unless you count when all the kids get out of school), so the bus wasn’t crowded at all.

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We have to take two buses to get to our vet, and the first leg of our journey was uneventful.

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The buses we have in Västra Gotalands have a dedicated space for strollers, with room for two (theoretically, as we will see).

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This isn’t the first time we’ve taken all four in this stroller (we had a trip to DjurMagazinet in April), and it was vastly easier than trying to do it with Jacoby’s old stroller! Still, I did feel a bit like that man in Tokyo who takes his nine Persians out in a stroller.

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As you can see, everyone fit very comfortably in the stroller. We also got lucky with the weather. It was sunny and warm. Today it’s grey and rainy.

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On the second bus (also empty), we started out comfortably.

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And then…it happened. Another stroller wanted to get on the bus.

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Of course, I instantly shifted over as much as I could, but she wasn’t very good at manoeuvering her stroller (it was one of those awkward raised car seat/stroller combo things).

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In fact, she was having so much trouble getting on the bus, the driver got up to see what was taking so long. And he glared at me like it was my fault and told me to let her on, like I was deliberately blocking her. As you can see, I was jammed in as much as I could possibly be.

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And then, on the way home, it happened AGAIN! This time, it was one of those awful double stroller, with one kid who looked about five…isn’t that a little old to be needing a stroller? Again, I shifted over and jammed in, but this woman was a LOT better at managing her stroller, and her older boy (the one not in the stroller, behind me) seemed to really love the cats.

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I understand that people with little kids need strollers, because I need a stroller to schlep multiple cats around. I couldn’t even imagine what it would have been like trying to manage three (we have one that’s a double) cat carriers on my own! And believe me, I am no stranger to controversy about cat strollers. My resentment and annoyance is not anything against parents or children. It’s the attitude I get from people (like the driver, and sometimes the other stroller owner) that somehow their strollers are somehow more important than mine. I have as much of a right to bring my stroller full of cats on the bus as they do with their stroller full of baby or child(ren), especially if I am running an errand that requires multiple cats to be with me. And I always shift as much as I possibly can. Yet, in these situations, the person with the non-humans in the stroller is always the “bad guy” taking the space away from “the person who NEEEEEEEDS it”. (Sidenote, it’s even more fun when we’re on a bus back from a cat show with other cats in strollers and a baby stroller comes on. The entitlement on the baby people and the shade thrown doubles.) Basically, it’s a case of “All strollers are equal, but some strollers are more equal than others,” which really isn’t fair at all.

To that end, I posted a couple of these photos to Facebook as events unfolded, and made a flippant comment that 4 > 1, and then added “Cats Before Brats.” A friend said, “That should be a bumper sticker!” So…

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…I made one. It’s available on Zazzle, and at the moment, you can get 15% off with code ZSWEETTREATS.

Aby-a-Day – 29 Maj: Wordless Wednesday (“Life is short. Running makes it seem longer”)

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Aby-a-Day – 28 May: Reliving history (Cartoon Tuesday)

The 2019 Stanley Cup Finals started yesterday, and they are quite exciting. The Boston Bruins are in them, of course, and if they win they will be the THIRD Boston team to win a championship in a year…and they’re already up one game. They face the St. Louis Blues, who haven’t been in the finals for 49 years. And even more interesting, in 1970, the team the Blues faced was…the Bruins!

Ray Lussier took a now-iconic photograph of Bobby Orr celebrating scoring the winning goal against the Blues in 1970. This image is such a part of Boston’s culture that there is a statue commemorating that moment in front of the Garden, and it has been reproduced on T-shirts for 49 years.

My ex found me an unofficial playoff shirt (the kind that can only be found in Boston) with the Bruins Bear recreating Orr’s flight (modeled by Tessie), and it kind of inspired me.

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Using a photo of the moment, I did a sketch of Jacoby as Bobby Orr.

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I did a first ink, but I didn’t like the pen I used; it was too thick and clunky. So, using that ink as a reference, I made a second inking.

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That inking turned out so much better! I’ll colour it in and finish it for next week…the day after Game 4.

Aby-a-Day – 27 Maj: “I’m so hip I have trouble seeing over my own pelvis” (Hipstamatic Monday)

I know I have been posting a lot of Loreali and Izaak outside photos, but they are just so photogenic and they love being outside so much.

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On a recent outing, I thought it might be fun to take some Hipstamatic shots whilst we were outside. I got some astoundingly beautiful images.

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I never tire of the randomness of Hipstamatic. You never know what you’re going to get. And of course, they aren’t all good. But once in a while, you get lucky.

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I love how these two show Rory’s busyness when she’s out exploring.

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I’m also quite enamoured of these photos showing the camaraderie between Rory and Zak.

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And these last two, of Zak…somehow, the Hipstamatic lenses and films capture him beautifully.

Aby-a-Day – 26 Maj: Outside with Alfred (Cinema Sunday)

When I share the photos of Lorelai and Izaak running around outside, people ask why we don’t let Alfred run free, too.

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The reason for that is he was never trained to go outside offleash. We worked on leash training with him and Logan, not offleash training. It’s something I never thought to do again until I met Rory. My Siamese Harri was the last cat I trained to stay close offleash. It helped that he hated me to be out of his sight, so all I had to do was hide behind a tree, and he’d yowl and come running.

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Zak is the same way Harri was. Rory is a little more free-spirited; she knows when we want to go in, but she tries to stretch her time outside as long as she can. If I go back into the building, though, she always comes up to the doorstep trying to find me.

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But if Freddy gets out off leash, he runs off to explore on his own. This is partly because I never trained him to be off leash, and because, being the evil genius he is, when he was young he managed to open the kitchen window and the balcony sliders a couple of times without our knowing and roamed around alone for hours until we noticed him missing. Jacoby also did this; the first time he escaped, he was gone for over an hour!

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So, sorry, Freddy…you need to stay on your leash.

But really, he doesn’t seem to begrudge the kittens their offleash time. He’s perfectly happy to be outside at all, even if it’s on his leash.

Aby-a-Day – 25 Maj: This time last year…(Swedish Saturday)

I thought I would chip away at my massive backlog today…

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This time last year, we hadn’t gotten Izaak yet, and we were showing Lorelai the outside world on the end of a leash.

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Well, she was only three months old…but I think these early outings laid the foundation for her being so good offleash outside now.

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Look how little she was!

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Even though she was so small, she was still fearless.

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Of course, she had her big brothers with her to protect her. Not only Alfred…

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…but Jacoby as well.

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Rory was lucky to grow up with two protective big brothers.