Aby-a-Day – 25 Juli: Lunch with the movers (Swedish Sunday)

Five years ago this week, the movers brought my things from Boston.

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Swedes take their lunch breaks very seriously. Right at noon, they all stopped and sat down to eat their lunches at our table. Of course, Jacoby had to join them – always the gracious host.

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The movers were bemused, but charmed, by Jake’s curious and friendly manner. That’s the thing I remember most about that day.

Aby-a-Day – 18 Juli: My sweet summer child (Swedish Singapura Sunday)

You may recall, I have been working on a Four Seasons of Izaak project and a couple of weeks ago I took some Summer photos.

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I wasn’t completely happy with them compared to the Winter and Spring photos.

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Also, the tree looks more “summery” now than it did last month because now, the cherries are ripening.

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So, when we went outside yesterday, I put Zak up in his tree and took some more photos.

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Just like last time, he climbed up the branch, used it like a scratching post, and tried to eat the lichen.

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Zak is pretty good at moving around up in the branches.

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I think he really enjoys his tree time.

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In the end, this shot is the one I’ll use as Summer in the project. And, like the Spring photo, I may have touched it up a teensy bit in Photoshop…but only three layers, no big deal.

Aby-a-Day – 11 Juli: Izaak in the sticks (Swedish Singapura Sunday)

One of the times we took the cats out, Izaak rand down the hill and into the bramble.

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He had to navigate a bunch of sticks down there.

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He did a remarkable job, to be fair.

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For an indoor cat, he does a pretty good job outside.

Aby-a-Day – 27 Juni: “You must get high on lawn clippings, Jack, ’cause this ain’t grass, man. I’m telling you that.” (Swedish Sunday)

One thing all of the cats love to do when we go outside is chew on the grass. Alfred and Lorelai especially enjoy chomping on fresh, green bladage.

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It’s funny. Izaak and Dashiell aren’t as much into eating grass. But it’s the first thing Freddy and Rory do when we open the front door.

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Nom nom nom.

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Sometimes, though, the camera catches some humourous faces.

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Like this one. Freddy’s trying to catch moving grass…but he looks like he’s doing a heckin’ screm.

Aby-a-Day – 6 Juni: Americans in Sweden (Swedish Sunday)

When we go outside with the cats, I do try to get Angel to come outside, too. But the last time we went out, Angel was happily ensconced on one of the chairs on the balcony. So, I let her be.

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That didn’t stop her from joining us in her own way.

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What was really adorable, though, was that Dashiell noticed her sitting on the railing watching us.

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He was like, “Hey! Angel!”

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Not sure if Angel is Juliet, Rapunzel, or Roxanne in this scenario.

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Dash was the only cat who really noticed her. Alfred only saw her because he wanted to know what Dash was so interested in.

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“Wait! No! Angel, come back!”

Aby-a-Day – 30 Maj: Running around outside (Swedish Sunday)

The other day, we took the cats out. I was trying to capture the differences in their gaits.

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I kind of managed to capture it on “film.”

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Went we went out, I took the big camera with the long lens, and I captured all of them walking and running outside.

Here they are outside. I know, it’s 18 minutes long…but it’s interesting if you want to see their different movements outside

Aby-a-Day – 23 Maj: Run, run as fast as you can! (Swedish Sunday)

Yesterday, we had Alfred walking.

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Today, he is running! When he wants to, he can go pretty fast.

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Because Freddy’s a bit of a chonk, and because I suspect he has mild asthma, he tend to run with his mouth open.

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I feel so fortunate to live where we do, in an area where it’s safe to let them run free, without worrying about cars or large predators or birds of prey to worry about. And I love that the cats are smart enough to know that if they don’t stay close, they get put on the leash and they don’t get to run.

Aby-a-Day – 16 Maj: “If you’re not in the parade, you watch the parade. That’s life.” (Swedish Sunday)

All my life, I thought boycats were more friendly, outgoing and social than girlcats. The females I had, apart from Crystal, were all aloof and, if we’re being honest, a little neurotic. Tessie and Kylie changed that preconception a bit, but they had their moments.

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And then I met Lorelai.

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We’ve been keeping her on a leash because of her heats, as you know. Which means when the neighbourhood children want to pet one of our cats, she’s kind of a sitting duck. Luckily, she doesn’t mind at all.

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In Sweden, at least where we live, kids run around outside and play all day long, a lot like I did when I was a kid, (*Ahem*) in the 1970s. It’s nice to see, especially compared to how sheltered children are in the States. It’s also a little annoying; why do kids feel the need to SCREAM when they’re playing?

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The last time we went outside, one of the kids asked Björn if they could hold Rory’s leash…and it lead to a little parade.

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And Rory loved it.

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It’s also really great PR for what cats as pets are capable of. Hopefully, when these children grow up, they’ll be cat people.

Aby-a-Day – 28 Februari: Me and my shadow (Swedish Sunday)

I took the cats outside this afternoon because it was such a lovely day. I even dragged Dashiell out with us.

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He stuck close to Alfred for a lot of the time he was out. It was sunset, so they cast some interesting shadows on the wall.

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Izaak trotted up to join them.

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Lorelai had to be on a leash today, because when we went out last week, she refused to come back in the house and ran laps around our building. Hopefully she’s learned her lesson.

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I just wish Dash would enjoy going outside more…

Aby-a-Day – 17 Januari: Let’s go outside! (Swedish Cinema Sunday)

We went outside with the cats today. Lorelai was the most eager, as usual…

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She has zero fat and thin, sleek fur, but she doesn’t seem to feel the cold at all.

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The boys, on the other hand, kind of hovered by the door.

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Finally, Alfred decided to explore. Seeing as he’s got the most insulation, he should do…

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Our upstairs neighbours were outside sledding. Oksana is always happy to see Freddy.

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He and Rory explored their sleds.

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Eventually, everyone decided they had had enough snow and wanted to go back inside.

I also made a little video of our outing. Enjoy!

Aby-a-Day – 10 Januari: The second day at the Swedish CFA show (Swedish Cat Show Sunday)

The second day of that Swedish CFA show was as much fun as the first, both for us and for Jacoby.

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We had a lot of judges come over from the US. At this point, I had only been in Sweden for six months, so it was fun to see some familiar faces and hear some familiar accents.

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This judge, Albert Kurkowski, was one of the few non-American, non-CFA judges; he was from Poland, and he was a guest judge from the World Cat Federation.

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I really enjoyed watching him handle Jake.

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There was a really pretty little Burmilla girl who was frequently benched next to us during judging.

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She reminded me a bit of Tessie.

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This judge, Inga Balciuniene, was also a WCF guest judge from Latvia.

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Pam DeLaBar is a CFA judge who lives in Finland. I actually hadn’t ever seen her at a show in the States. It’s nice having another ex-pat in the cat fancy.

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And our friend Russell Webb was there, too. He was always Jake’s lucky charm.

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Jake was Second Best cat in Premiership in Russell’s ring.

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As we did Saturday, when Jake got a little antsy we went outside to play in the snow. This time, I didn’t bother with the harness and leash. I figured, how far is he going to get in that deep snow.

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Famous last words.

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He started making off towards a little house. He went pretty far really quickly, too! I was surprised how hard he was to catch.

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I finally caught him, though.

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The cats we have now are awesome, and a lot of fun to show…but I still miss going to shows with Jake.

Aby-a-Day – 3 Januari: Festive fireworks! (Swedish Sunday)

We don’t have organised New Year’s fireworks in Skövde, but that doesn’t stop people from going out and buying them and setting them off. On Thursday night, someone shot a bunch of fireworks off just down our hill. And these were serious fireworks, too! Almost as big as the ones back in Boston! The cats were impressed; I don’t think they’ve seen fireworks this close before. Lorelai was mesmerised by them.

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Dashiell, not surprisingly, was a bit apprehensive.

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Alfred was fascinated by them.

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“Did I really just see that?”

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“Wow! I guess I did see that!”

Aby-a-Day – 18 Oktober 2020: An Autumn Outing (Swedish Cinema Sunday)

Autumn is in full swing here in southwestern Sweden. We’re actually a very similar climate to New England, which is nice; it made the transition just that much easier.

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It was 7°C (44°F), but it felt colder. Izaak has a habit of holding one foot up when the ground is wet or cold…he was doing that a lot today.

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Lorelai and Alfred went out as well; after her escape escapade, we’ve kept her on a leash when she’s gone outside. Today, though, we put on her harness and had the leash on reserve.

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It worked; she didn’t run away…she barely ran at all. But at least she had free range. She finally went down the hill to see what Freddy was doing at the treeline.

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I guarantee Freddy is in this photo. Bonus points if you can find him.

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Eventually, Rory came back up the hill and sat under this abandoned, broken chair someone used as a base to spraypaint something. She looks so reflective.

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I wonder what she’s thinking about?

I also made a little video of Zak and Rory while we were outside. I love watching these two interact outside.

Aby-a-Day – 27 September 2020: Small cat on a giant chair (Swedish Sunday)

I took these last autumn after a trip to the vet with Dashiell.

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In the courtyard outside Commerce (our downtown mall), there was a giant Adirondack chair.

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It appeared randomly last summer, and then disappeared, never to be seen again.

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When I put Dash on it, it reminded me of Edith Ann on Laugh-In…and that’s the truth.

Aby-a-Day – 30 Augusti 2020: Lorelai outside (Swedish Sunday)

The other day when we went outside, I captured these portraits of Lorelai.

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Usually, she’s always running. This was an odd quiet moment for her.

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But she looked so pretty against the green grass.

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Fear not…she was running down the hill a few minutes after I took the last photo.

Aby-a-Day – 11 & 12 Juli 2020: Sleepaway sex camp (Special Swedish Saturday and Sunday)

The reason for this special, two-day post is that yesterday we drove the above route in a round-trip around the middle of Sweden. The distance we travelled is roughly the trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles, Boston to Baltimore, or Montréal to Toronto.

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The reason for such a trip? We were taking Lorelai…

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…to meet this handsome man in Överum.

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We rented a car and left around 10am Saturday, settling Rory comfortably in a carrier in the back seat.

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She isn’t showing any signs of being in heat yet, but she is doing some…odd…things, like attacking my ankles.

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Based on past experienceprevious experience, she should go into obvious heat by this Wednesday, since she had her last pill on the first of the month. Also, being around a male can speed up the process.

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We stopped for a snack at a Burger King, because there wasn’t a Max anywhere nearby. Rory was so happy to be out of the car for a while!

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Look how she tangled up her leash going around in circles!

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And she expected a share of our food, too.

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Which…she got, of course.

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I’m not sure how much of his burger Björn actually got to eat!

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Finally, around 5pm, we got to Karin’s house in Överum (we stopped at IKEA in Jönköping on the way).

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We got Rory settled in her love nest, and went for a little fika.

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While we drank tea and ate cake, Io watched us from an upstairs window.

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Then the magic moment arrived! We introduced the happy couple.

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It went pretty well.

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In case you’re wondering, Io weighs 4.5kg (between Alfred and Dashiell), and Rory weighs 2.6kg.

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Until…

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…Io used her litterbox.

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Io was interested in her, but also very cordial. He never hissed or swatted at her.

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The same could not be said of Rory.

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They spent a lot of time on the bench in the room, her underneath, him above.

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At one point, Io pooped…and stepped in it. Karin put him in the shower to rinse his feet off with the hand shower. Please note: This was Io’s first time in a shower. And just look at him. He has the best personality.

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Since the father’s personality influences the kittens, this is a great sign!

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And Karin was impressed with Rory’s fearlessness and confidence in an entirely new environment. This bodes well for the kittens they might have together.

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We also got to see Hera again. She is Freddy’s big sister, and we met her when we visited Freddy’s litter.

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When Karin saw Rory, she thought she looked like a Mini-Hera, and one time Hera walked up to us and I did a double-take, thinking Rory had gotten out!

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Just putting two fertile cats together doesn’t generally guarantee kittens, but on the drive home, we saw this rainbow (it was actually a double rainbow), so let’s hope that’s a good omen! We go back to pick her up on Friday. Let’s hope some magic happens!

Karin sent this video update to me this afternoon. Well…at least they aren’t fighting, right?

Aby-a-Day – 14 Juni 2020: Lorelai and the Magpie (Swedish Sunday)

One thing I missed whilst living in New England was magpies.

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I grew up in the Northern California valley, the only place on the planet that is home to Yellow-Billed Magpies, and they are my favourite bird. The ones we have in Sweden are the usual Black-Billed sort…but it’s stlll nice to have them around.

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When we go out with the cats, the resident magpies keep a sharp eye on us.

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Mostly. When we went out the other day, this magpie brazenly decided to watch the cats from the ground.

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At first, Lorelai didn’t see the magpie.

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Until she did.

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Rory stalked the magpie for a while.

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And then, oddly, she just stopped. I am not sure why.

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She didn’t chase the magpie, but the magpie didn’t fly away, either. They just sort of looked at each other.

Aby-a-Day – 23 May 2020: All hail HAIL! (Swedish Saturday)

This afternoon we had a freak hailstorm.

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Alfred was fascinated – he leapt to the top of the balcony door to watch it! I don’t think he’s ever seen hail before.

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It built up quite quickly on the balcony windowsill and railings.

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Lorelai also wanted to see the hail from the top of the door.

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I scooped up some of the hail so Freddy could look at it close up.

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“That…that’s what was falling from the sky? Little ice balls?”

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I am not sure why he was so puzzled by the hail. He’s seen snow plenty of time.

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Rory hopped down from the door to look at the hailstones.

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“Check this stuff out…it’s awesome!”

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Freddy still seemed amazed at the fact the hail came from the sky.

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Meanwhile, Rory examined the tiny ice balls.

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“What is this magical ice, Mom?”

Aby-a-Day – 17 Maj 2020: An Angel watching over me (Swedish Sunday)

I fall asleep watching television pretty much every night. I never see the end of movies we watch.

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I guess Angel decided I needed some company and settled herself on top of the big sofa cushion and joined me in my little nap.

Aby-a-Day – 5 April 2020: More fun outside in the sunshine (Swedish Sunday)

Today I am sharing the rest of the outside adventure photos I took a couple of week ago but never posted. Starting with Dashiell and Lorelai outside.

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Alfred following Dash and Rory down the hill.

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I could have sworn I had already used this series of Rory bounding down the hill…but evidently I never did!

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Same thing with these two of her loping along the walkway. They’re great! How have I not used them?

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I love this one of Rory watching birds fly overhead.

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Björn took these two of a very determined Izaak.

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Zak and Dash are such buddies.

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Our upstairs neighbour, Oksana (Markis’ human), loves Freddy because he is so cuddly. Apparently Markis is not much for snuggling his humans.

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She loves the fact Freddy lets her just hold him.

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She used to come downstairs just to get some cuddle time…haven’t been able to do that in a while, though.

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It’s fun to watch them chase each other.

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And to finish the collection, a couple of very cute portraits. Here’s Zak in the sunshine.

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Freddy joins Zak in his sunbath.

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And last but not least, Angel and her shadow.