Aby-a-Day – 10 August: My humans went to Copenhagen and all I got was this lousy T-shirt (Fashion Friday)

Björn and I went to Copenhagen for a short holiday last week. We stayed in a nice (but HOT) hotel right next to Copenhagen’s Central Station. It was a perfect location, walking distance to everything, close to everything…including the famous Tivoli Gardens. It opened on 15 August 1843 and is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world (the oldest is also in Denmark. Apart from having the oldest wooden roller coaster, it has shows, Halloween and Christmas festivals, fireworks, an adjacent hotel, and a number of restaurants and shops.

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Including the only Build-a-Bear store in Scandinavia.

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As you may recall, Jacoby loved going to the Build-a-Bear shop in Faneuil Hall, so when I saw souvenir T-shirts there, I knew I had to get him one.

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It’s been a while since Jake’s worn any of his outfits, but as you can see, he’s still got it!

Aby-a-Day – 27 July: Evolution of a Catio (Fashion Friday)

When I first moved here in 2016, Björn’s balcony was a rather Spartan affair.

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There was only a wooden bench, a makeshift cat tree made from natural tree parts, a basket and…not much else.

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It was pretty barren. Once my things came from the States, we put my redwood burl table out there, and my floor-to-ceiling cat tree bumped Björn’s old cat tree out there as well. The balcony was open to the elements, so we couldn’t keep much else out there, but we put a tarp over the table, and it was fine out there. And so were the cats…until Jacoby taught himself to jump off the balcony. After that, we had to keep the balcony door closed until we could get it glassed in.

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Finally, May last year, we got the balcony glassed in. Jake was out there in a heartbeat.

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So was Pyret. The basket on the bench was her favourite spot…

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…which is one reason we kept her body there until we could get her cremated.

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For a while after it was glassed in, we used it as storage for the chairs until we could get it organised.

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Angel didn’t mind. She had sun and a cushy place to nap. She was good.

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Even now, you can usually find her in one of the chairs on the balcony.

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Either a chair, or the cubby in the cat tree.

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Alfred…well, he tries to fit in there sometimes, too.

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Logan also really loved the cubby.

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Logan loved the balcony.

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He spent a lot of time out there in the sun before he died.

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Jake and Freddy love being out there, too…but they’re usually trying to work out a way to escape.

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We got the basic layout of the balcony done last summer after the glass was installed, and we hung curtains and icicle and fairy lights, which actually give enough light to read by, but this year we have been focusing on really getting it set up to be a catio. I fell in love with this artificial pine tree at IKEA, and I found a reindeer hide for 125kr (around $14, about 1/10 what they should cost) which I love…but which sheds too much to live in the apartment. It looks great out on the balcony, though!

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One of the biggest things we did this year is lay down wooden tiles.

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Those tiles made a HUGE difference in the overall feel of the balcony. It feels warmer and more homey – more like a part of the house rather than “outside.” There was just one more thing we needed to do…and you’ll see what we did tomorrow!

Aby-a-Day – 13 July: Life imitates art (Fashion Friday Flashback)

An unsung hero of cat art history is Girard “Gig” Goodenow. I can’t even find a biography of him online, but a Google search of his name will give you plenty images of his art. I had a set of four of his “Pity Kitties” with huge, sad eyes in my bedroom when I was four years old. But a few years ago I found a print of one of the series of cat prints he did for Women’s Day…the Abyssinian, of course.

Well, I finally got around to finding a frame for it, and, after I unrolled it to look at it after years of it being packed away, both Björn and I were struck by how much it looked like a portrait of…Alfred. Eerily so, considering the print is 53 years old.

So we got Freddy to pose next to his two-dimensional doppleganger.

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Or, rather, I should say we tried to get him to pose. It didn’t start off well…

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This is one of the best photos of them together!

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At last Freddy took a good look at the portrait.

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“Wow! That really kinda does look like me!”

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“This is amazing..! It’s like looking in a mirror!”

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I think Freddy has a new-found appreciation for vintage cat art. I wonder if this Abyssinian was based on one of Freddy’s ancestors?

Aby-a-Day – 22 June: Sugar Oh Honey Honey (Fashion Friday)

When Gun-Hee died, I got a couple of different charms to put a bit of his ashes in, and I wanted to get something similar so I could carry a bit of Logan with me, too. Browsing different types of ash jewellry, I discovered Sugar Oh Honey Honey. They are a small workshop in Swindon, Oxfordshire, England, who make personalised photo and ashes jewellery. I am not sure how they make the ash jewellery (it seems like it might be resin casting, but it could be glass), but the results are stunning. Even better, there is a black Sphynx named Coco Beane supervising all the humans as they make everything!

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As “Boss Lady” Vicky Rose explains, she started her company in memory of her daughter Honey so she could help people through jewellery. And it really shows. The packaging was exquisite. I opened the little box to see a happy yellow card and sparkly tinsel.

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Jacoby was there to help me open it, of course.

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On the back of the card was a hand-written note from Vicky.

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This is what I found underneath the card. Of course, Lorelai was very interested in the shimmery, rustly tinsel.

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Nestled in the tinsel were two drawstring bags and a box.

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I opened this one first.

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It was a bracelet with a charm with Logan’s photo on it! This was such a lovely surprise because I didn’t order it! They just threw it in as a bonus. Isn’t that amazing?

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I opened this bag next. It contained Logan’s leftover ashes that weren’t used in the pendant. I mean, they could have just tossed them and said they used them all, but instead they sent them back in a pretty bag.

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Finally I opened the box. WOW! Isn’t it beautiful?

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And the best part is, it glows in the dark!

After I ordered it, the “Tech Girl,” Megan Chase, sent me an email explaining how to send in a bit of Logan’s ashes and added, “We would also love to know more about the pet/person you are sending to us along with a name and pictures (if you have any) and a favourite song, as we like to play music while making each individual piece.” So of course I directed her to this blog, because clearly it’s the best way to learn about who Logan was. In a follow-up email, Megan told me, “Your blog is so lovely to read, I’ve found myself spending some of my spare time reading it,” which is just so sweet! So, Megan, I hope you liked this post!

Angel added this whilst I was away from my laptop: äòp0y………………u. I think it may be a message to Coco.

Aby-a-Day – 15 June: Hi, I’m Mat (Fashion Friday)

I bought a new doormat last week. I found it at Rusta, a Swedish chain of clearance/dollar stores, the sort of place that gets discontinued merchandise from other stores and sells it on the cheap. You also have no guarantee of finding the same thing twice.

But is it an Abyssinian mom and kit, or just something that looks vaguely Aby-like.

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This is our front door. The black wooden cat sillhouettes are made in Sweden, and the stickers say “Warning for cat,” “Warning for cat hair,” and, on the newspaper shelf, “Welcome, I live here.” We also have a Royal Canin sticker advising firemen how many cats are in our apartment. So yeah, we’re known as the “cat family” the same way that the people on the third floor with the incessantly barking dogs are known as the “annoying dog family.”

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Lorelai was the first to check out the new doormat.

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She seemed particularly interested in the eyes.

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Okay, Rory, what do you think? Aby, or not?

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Alfred checked the mat out next, but didn’t give an opinion on whether or not the cats on it were Abys.

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Jake was the last to examine the new doormat.

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But he still didn’t give me any advice as to whether or not these are Abys. So what do you think? Abys, or not?

Aby-a-Day – 8 June: “Come, Ferries, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind” (Fashion Friday Flashback)

We have gone to cat shows in Helsinki twice and Tallinn once since I moved to Sweden. To get to these cities, we travelled by ferry from Stockholm. It’s quite a fun way to travel; you get on the ferry in the early evening, do a bit of duty-free shopping (alcohol, perfume and watches are the main reason many people take the ferry as the selection and prices are so much better), have dinner at one of the restaurants or at the fabulous buffet, lose some loose change at the casino slot machines whilst having a cocktail, then go to bed. When you wake up, you’re in your destination city. It’s brilliant, really. But the best part is that, when you board, they take your photos, and later on in the evening, you can go round and check out the photos and choose to buy the ones you like.

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The ferries also carry cars, of course, and allow pets. So when you board with a cat, the photographers, who are likely quite bored of taking photos of arguing middle-aged couples and squalling children, light up and put extra effort in their snapshots.

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Sometimes they make the photos into false magazine covers. I really love how this one turned out. This was on our first trip to Helsinki in October 2016.

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And this photo was the only one we really liked from the return trip from Helsinki to Stockholm…but we both really loved it. Sadly, when we took the ferry to Tallinn, the photographers packed up early, both directions! We were quite disappointed, and actually complained about it. They missed out on making some money, too, we pointed out; we would have purchased at least one taken each way!

The next time we went to Helsinki, we took Logan, as Jacoby had decided he was finished showing for the time being.

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It was a bit chilly when we left Stockholm, so Logan had his parka on. He enjoyed the warmth the parka gave him…but he wasn’t thrilled about wearing it.

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The photos are a bit awkward, but I love them anyway.

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The problem with the cat photos is, they always look good in them, so you want to buy them all. It’s the ones of ourselves we never really like. This one was tolerable, mainly because Logan looked so happy to be boarding the ferry and have his photo taken on the way back!

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Either that, or because it was warmer, and he didn’t need to wear his parka. These are a bit blurry, but I love them because of how utterly happy he looks in them.

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This one turned out lovely as well. I can’t wait to see how Lorelai looks on her first ferry trip!

Aby-a-Day – 2 June: Logan’s last cat bed (Swedish Saturday)

When pets are cremated in Sweden, it seems the pet crematoriums return the ashes to you in a simple, pine box. This is how Björn received the ashes of first Olivia and then Pyret, and that’s how we got Logan back from the vet as well.

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Lorelai came to see what was left of the brother and show companion she will never get to meet.

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Bittersweet photo, isn’t it? Hang one, more where that came from.

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To my surprise, when I opened the box Logan’s ashes came in, they were just loose inside! Back in the States, you would get the ashes in a box, sure, but the ashes inside the box were in a plastic bag of some sort.

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Alfred also came to investigate Logan’s loose ashes. Yeah, that’s the more bittersweet thing I mentioned earlier.

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Of course, for Harri and Patrick, I had lovely urns made by Alex in Welderland, and while I love them, another would be too heavy and too expensive to ship from the States to Europe. Gun-Hee didn’t have so much as an urn as a “memorial box” which included a flask of his ashes along with other souvenirs of his short life. I looked online for cat urn options in Europe and eventually discovered Etsy seller 1st4Signs.

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It’s really beautiful. The box is oak, with an engraved slate top and a photo of Logan. Of course, Freddy was on hand to help me put his brother from another mother into his final cat bed.

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I poured Logan’s ashes into the fancy new box. They fit perfectly.

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Then we put the lid back on.

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It fastens with two brass screws. Jacoby came to see what was going on while I was screwing the lid back on.

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Not sure how a screwdriver equals a possible meal, but all right…

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There we are. Logan is in his final resting place.

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Freddy and Jake say goodbye to Logan one last time.

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No Jake…this won’t be you for a very, very long time. I hope.

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For now, Logan is on the windowsill near Björn’s computer underneath which Pyret loved to sleep, next to Pyret and Olivia’s ash-boxes. Eventually we’ll have everyone’s ashes on one shelf somewhere. It just seems so sad that the older we get, the more little boxes of ashes we collect.

(Also…and I am sorry it’s such a depressing post…but, happy birthday, Sherry!)