Aby-a-Day – 15 January: Tattoo foxers (Cartoon Tuesday)

This is only tangentially related to Abys, or even cats, but I thought you might find it interesting.

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I had this snake tattoo…and I really didn’t like it. I got it for the wrong reasons, it hasn’t aged as well as most of the other ones I have, and it really doesn’t go with the other tattoos I have.

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So I finally decided to do something about it. I decided to get the snake covered up with a traditional Japanese fox design.

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Today was the first session. We got the outlines done, and then we coloured in the fox. I am not going to lie…this was the most painful tattoo I have ever gotten.

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Instead of a red fox, though, I wanted a North American grey fox. I have always loved the grey and orange colouration of these foxes.

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Also, the colouration of the grey fox is quite similar to Alfred’s…I call him my grey fox.

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When I got home, I was drained and exhausted. I was lying on the sofa and Jacoby instantly came and lay on top of me…and on top of the tattoo. But it was nice, actually. Soothing. We’ll finish this tattoo up next month.

Aby-a-Day – 8 January: Pub quiz doodles (Cartoon Tuesday)

Our favourite pub, The Bishop’s Arms, holds a pub quiz on Wednesday evenings. When Björn works downtown, and I happen to be downtown too, we’ll go play. As a team, we do pretty well; we’ve won everything from 800kr, to hair salon vouchers, to glasses, a package of napkins, and Bishop’s Arms reflectors.

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They supply us with pencils and paper, and the golden rule is NO SMARTPHONES. So…paper, pencil, no phones and downtime..? Yeah, I started sketching on the quiz form.

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I also did a little drawing of Jacoby as the Bishop in the logo. Even with a ballpoint pen, drawing on paper napkins is HARD! I guess Picasso must have done his art on cloth ones.

Aby-a-Day – 1 Januari: “For breakfast she makes coffee that tastes like Cham – poo…” (Cartoon Tuesday)

This is a repeat cartoon, but it’s one of my favourites. In case you missed it the first time, I hope you like it!

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!

Aby-a-Day – 18 December: Luciatåg (Cartoon Tuesday)

Last Thursday was St Lucia’s Day here in Sweden (Luciatåg), and it is another religious day turned into a secular celebration. December 13, under the old Julian calendar, was the date of the Winter Solstice, an important event in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries because the sun is only up for a few hours, and the nights are extremely long. After the Winter Solstice the sun returns and days get longer. The name Lucia actually derives from the Latin word for “light” (lux), so Swedes took Lucia’s saint’s day and turned it into a non-religious celebration of the lengthening of days and the return of light from the darkness of winter. Luciatåg becomes a part of the larger Jul celebration which officially starts on the first Sunday of December (although decorations start going up after Halloween) and continues through Christmas to Twelfth Night. By “tjugondag Knut” (20 days after Christmas), the decorations are taken down and the Christmas tree thrown out (if it’s a real tree), traditionally with a party but that custom has begun to disappear.

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Lucia is celebrated by girls dressed as St. Lucia (being chosen to portray Lucia is quite an honour) and Lucia’s handmaidens (“tärnor”) and boys dressed as star boys (“stjärngossar”), gnomes (“tomtar”) and gingerbread men (“pepparkaksgubbar”) who sing Natten går tunga fjät (“Night Walks with a Heavy Step”) and other songs celebrating light.

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So, naturally I had to draw Lorelai as Lucia and Izaak as a star boy…

Aby-a-Day – 11 December: Mini and Maxi (Cartoon Tuesday)

Recently a new cartoon has appeared on the internet: Pixie and Brutus, about a tiny kitten and a retired military war dog. Now, I know Pixie has stripes on his back…but other than that, he looks and, more importantly, ACTS just like a Singapura.

I know my sketch is a bit disproportionate…but I imagine this is what the Maine Coons felt when they first met a Singapura…inspired a bit by Pixie and Brutus.

Aby-a-Day – 4 December: Falukorv (Cartoon Tuesday)

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about how, when Logan was the same age as Izaak, he was acting more like a tomcat – peeing, yowling, pacing – whereas all Izaak has done is just gotten tomcatly bulk. I also mentioned that I call him “my little sausage”.

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Specifically, a Falukorv, a Swedish sausage made of pork and either beef or veal, with potato starch and spices which originated in Falun, about 330km North-Northeast from Skövde.

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Relax, Zak…It’s kind of like baloney. Different, but…that sort of taste.

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But as he’s been bulking up, I’ve been calling him my Falukorv more and more. And today, I did a little sketch…

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…Which turned a little whimsical. I may need to finish this one up.