Aby-a-Day – 21 Januari: Junie-Purr, Bugsie…and StarClan (Thursday Things)

After a day of joy…a day of sadness.

Junie9445_n

Dashiell’s sister, Junie-Purr, had a singleton kitten five weeks ago. She was very sick with pneumonia during her pregnancy and needed emergency antibiotics. Then, suddenly, last Friday, Meg found Junie dead in her bed cuddling her kitten. She isn’t sure what caused it, as Junie seemed to be doing better, but she has sent Junie’s body to Tufts Veterinary for a necropsy to find out what happened.

bugsy1

Yesterday, Bugsie, Dash’s little niece, started refusing to eat.

bugsy2

Meg cuddled her and kept her warm and tried to get her to eat whilst watching the Inauguration.

bugsy4.5

Later in the evening, little Bugsie seemed to be perking up a little. She cuddled Meg and they watched the Inauguration Celebration together. Then they went to bed.

bugsy3

Unfortunately, this morning, little Bugsie was gone. She just wasn’t strong enough. Meg’s vet says it is likely she was damaged from the strong antibiotics the ER vets had to use to save her mother. Her little gut was not able to handle solid food, and her little bones were soft.

My heart has joined the Thousand, for my friend has stopped running today. Sleep well in Tuonela, dear, sweet Junie, with your beloved kitten Bugsie.

Aby-a-Day – 20 Januari: Wordless Wednesday (History has its eyes on you)

dashjoe_5966

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…

rorysnow_5874

rorysnow_5875

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

boyssnow_5849

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

boyssnow_5852

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

freddysnow_5854

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

freddyrorysnow_5858

He and Rory explored their sleds.

everyonesnow_5846

everyonesnow_5883

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 – 16 Januari: Sometimes, you just need a partner to nap with (Swedish Saturday)

It’s been a busy week…and I got to today and couldn’t think of anything to post.

freddyzaknap_5830

So, here are Alfred and Izaak, the nap partners.

Aby-a-Day – 14 Januari: More snow, more fun (Thursday Things)

Since I posted last week, we’ve had a bit more snow here. I took the cats outside again on Tuesday; it was actually rather warm and the snow was perfect and not too wet or icy.

rorysnow_5810

Lorelai, of course, went pelting off into the whiteness.

boyssnow_5793

The boys, however, were less enthusiastic (and yes, I made Dashiell come out with us).

freddysnow_5811

freddysnow_5812

Eventually, Alfred stretched his legs.

dashsnow_5797

dashsnow_5798

Dash even took a little walk around the building.

zaksnow_5818

Izaak…was displeased.

rorysnow_5802

rorysnow_5804

Rory, on the other hand, was playing with the snow.

rorysnow_5823

She was having so much fun out there.

haresnow_5814

haresnow_5815

haresnow_5816

One cool thing happened, though. Watching Rory run, I saw some movement in the background. At first I thought it was Freddy, but it was a hare! I wish one of the cats had seen it, though. I’d love to see what their reaction would be!

Aby-a-Day – 13 Januari: Wordless Wednesday (Magpies and cats in the snow)

snowprints_5795

magpiesnowprints_5800

Aby-a-Day – 11 Januari: Serious cuddle puddle (Hipstamatic Monday)

The other evening there was a pretty serious cuddle puddle going on at the end of the sofa involving Dashiell, Izaak and Lorelai. The whole his was pretty adorable.

hipstacuddlepuddle2

But the absolute cutest thing was Dash’s leg over Zak’s back.

hipstacuddlepuddle3

I mean, isn’t it just the sweetest thing?

hipstacuddlepuddle4

At least, it is until you realise that Dash was probably sleeping on the bed all by himself until Zak wormed his way in there.

hipstacuddlepuddle5

Rory joined them afterwards.

hipstacuddlepuddle6

However it happened, it still makes for some super cute photos.

hipstacuddlepuddle7

All right, Rory…you can go back to sleep now.

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.

jakeCFAswedenC05747

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.

jakeCFAswedenC05769

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.

jakeCFAswedenC05766

I really enjoyed watching him handle Jake.

jakeburmillaCFAswedenC05813

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

jakeburmillaCFAswedenC05506

She reminded me a bit of Tessie.

jakeCFAswedenC05805

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

jakeCFAswedenC05829

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.

jakeCFAswedenC05688

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

jakeCFAswedenC05725

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

jakeCFAsweden_4127n

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.

jakeCFAsweden_5068n

Famous last words.

jakeCFAsweden_3661n

jakeCFAsweden_2294n

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

jakeCFAsweden_2147n

I finally caught him, though.

jakebjornCFAswedenC05787

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 – 9 Januari: Scenes from a Swedish CFA show (Swedish Cat Show Saturday)

I never did post the photos from the CFA show we went to in 2017 I was reminded of yesterday.

jakeCFAswedenC05376

Jacoby seemed delighted to be back at a CFA show after competing in a few FIFe shows.

jakeCFAswedenC05391

And our friend Teresa Keiger seemed delighted to see Jake on her judging table again.

jakeCFAswedenC05482

Many CFA judges enjoyed showing off Jake’s “hands off” style on the judging table, and Teresa is one of them.

jakeCFAswedenC05469

People never got over how he loved to just stand and pose on the table, with absolutely no desire to run off.

jakeCFAswedenC05741

Jake really loved CFA shows.

jakeCFAswedenC05567

Even so, later in the day Jake started getting a little antsy, so we took him outside to play in the snow.

jakeCFAswedenC05624

The snow was fresh and wicked deep.

jakeCFAswedenC05632

I think Jake was happy for a break outside…but a little taken aback by how much snow there was.

jakeCFAswedenC05593

That didn’t stop him from exploring, though.

jakeCFAswedenC05638

He even plowed his way to a chain link fence.

jakeCFAswedenC05646

When he got there, he gripped the links and looked out through the fence.

jakeCFAswedenC05661//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

It was strangely reminiscent of the way he loved to look through the chain link fence in our little park along the Harborwalk back in Boston.

jakeCFAswedenC05744

After the first day of showing was over, we settled into our hotel. Jake knew where his food was!

jakebjornhotel_7530

Jake and Björn chilled on the bed watching TV.

jakehotel_7540

There happened to be a documentary about cats on TV that night!

jakehotel_7537

Jake was very interested in it and watched intently. It was so cute!

Aby-a-Day – 8 Januari: Remembering Jacoby’s last CFA show (Friday Flashback)

Four years ago, Björn, Jacoby and I were at our first (and Jake’s only) CFA show in Region 9 (Europe). There in only one CFA show in Sweden annually, and it’s inconveniently located and so close to the beloved Örebro show, so we only entered it the one time.

FBmemoryJake2

It was fun, though, and Jake really enjoyed himself. He always preferred CFA’s format to FIFe’s. And, entered in the show, were three Abyssinians descended from Instincts cats.

FBmemoryJake3

It was fun to see old friends again. Pam DeLaBar, a CFA judge, is also another American expat living in Finland.

FBmemoryJake4

There was also a lot of snow. When Jake started getting bored, we went out and played in it.

FBmemoryJake5

This show was also the only show where Jake finalled in every ring. There were only nineteen cats entered in Premiership, and, interestingly, they were almost all older than five years. It was a fun time…even though the rosettes were printed on cardboard.

FBmemoryJake6

We went outside again on Sunday to play in the snow. This time, I didn’t bother to put Jake on his leash. He went on a bit of a walkabout before I was able to catch him!

I’ll share more photos from that show weekend tomorrow and Sunday.

Aby-a-Day – 7 Januari: Snow day! (Thursday Things)

So, as you saw yesterday, we finally got a little bit of snow.

freddysnow_5731

Alfred, along with Lorelai and Izaak (who haven’t been outside in forever) were eager to get out, even if there was snow on the ground.

rorysnow_5735

Rory, of course, burst out the door. She never seems to feel the cold at all.

zaksnow_5742

zaksnow_5743

Zak was happy to be outside, but he wasn’t happy about the cold. He mostly stuck close to the building.

roryzaksnow_5748

You can see the difference in their happiness about being out.

zakfreddysnow_5749

roryfreddysnow_5752

Freddy immediately went around back to check out his bush. There wasn’t much to check out.

roryfreddysnow_5754

At one point, Rory couldn’t hold it in anymore, and she burst off in her signature flying joyful bound.

rorysnow_5755

Look at her go! It doesn’t matter if it’s cold and snow-covered or the hottest day of summer…she loves to run outside.

rorysnow_5760

Eventually, she came trotting back to the shelter of the building.

zakrorysnow_5761

“Well? Was it fun?”

freddyzaksnow_5765

Freddy also took off in his goofy gallop, and Zak followed behind him.

zakrorysnow_5767

We didn’t stay outside for very long, because it was breezy and felt colder than the -2°C that it actually was.

markissnow_5770

Markis was also outside enjoying the snow.

markissnow_5771

As were the neighbourhood children. Despite there being barely enough snow to cover the grass, they were all out there sliding down our hill.

Aby-a-Day – 6 Januari: Wordless Wednesday (It finally snowed…kind of)

snowpaws_5737

snowpaws_5738

snowpaws_5763

snowpaws_5764

Aby-a-Day – 5 Januari: Izaak the Üumlaut (Cartoon Tuesday)

One of the bright spots of quarantining has been Disney+. I’ve been watching all sorts of movies and shorts, one of which was Tangled: The Series. It’s set between the events of the original Tangled movie and the short Tangled Ever After. I had no idea this series existed, and binge-watched it over the last few weeks. I was intrigued with the art style in the series. And then, I saw the episode The Way of the Willow…featuring an odd little creature called Üumlaut. Well…when I saw Üumlaut and her rattle, I knew what had to be done. So here is Üumzak.

ZakUumlaut

And, because I know some of you like to watch the process, here’s the Procreate video (click on the image to view it in Flickr). The only things I did in Photoshop were straightening the Üumzak and creating the shadow on the rattle. This was actually more of a challenge than it looks; borderless characters are harder to do than you’d think, and I learned how to do a couple of new things in Photoshop. Still, I think I captured the style of the series pretty well.

Aby-a-Day – 4 Januari: Happy 2nd birthday, Dashiell!

Today is Dashiell’s second birthday, and of course he got the usual cat food cake. He was a lot less intimidated by the flame than he was last year.

dash2ndBday_5697

If anything, he was almost too unintimidated. We were afraid he was going to singe his ears!

dash2ndBday_5712

We gave him his cake in the bedroom, for two reasons: one, he was already on the bed and he feels secure in there; and two, to protect the other cats from trying to eat his cake before he had a chance to even sniff it (and by “other cats,” I mean Alfred).

dash2ndBdayZak_5702

Izaak, however, insisted on being with Dash for moral support. I reckoned that was okay, because Zak doesn’t really like regular wet cat food.

dash2ndBdayZak_5704

So Dash got to celebrate with his best friend.

dash2ndBdayZak_5720

Zak did check out the food…but once he sniffed it, he retreated, uninterested. Maybe he’ll change his mind in three weeks when it’s his birthday.

dash2ndBday_5723

“Oh, well…more for me!”

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.

dashfireworks_5662

Dashiell, not surprisingly, was a bit apprehensive.

freddyfireworks_5650

Alfred was fascinated by them.

freddyfireworks_5656

“Did I really just see that?”

freddyfireworks_5657

“Wow! I guess I did see that!”

Aby-a-Day – 2 Jaunari: A little socially-distanced celebration (Swedish Saturday)

On New Year’s Eve, we had a little socially-distanced party in the afternoon.

freddyjohanNYE_5640

It was pretty cold, around 2°C with a breeze, but being outside seemed prudent. Since Alfred has the most…insulation.., he got to come out with us. Johan, our upstairs neighbour, manned the grill.

freddyjohansmomNYE_5637

Meanwhile, Freddy charmed Johan’s mother…

freddygirlNYE_5633

…and this little girl.

freddybrunoNYE_5645

Bruno was out with us, too, and Freddy was extra friendly with him. It was nice to spend time with other people…even if it was really cold and only for an hour or so.

Aby-a-Day – 1 Januari: Happy New Year’s memories (Friday Flashback)

This morning, Facebook greeted me with this memory of Gun-Hee and Patrick on New Year’s day 2007. Pretty remarkable, actually, considering I wasn’t even on Facebook back then!

gunhee-trick3049

Gun-Hee LOVED Patrick, right from the very beginning.

gunhee-trick547

Trick, on the other hand…well, they were 12 years apart in age, and he’d recently lost his best friend Harri, so it took him a little while to warm up.

gunhee-pat501

gunhee-pat506

But Gun-Hee persevered. Or, to be more honest, he wore Trick down.

gunhee-trick528

And when an Abyssinian puts his mind to something…resistance is futile.

gunhee-trick_flowers

A year later, they were the best of friends. Patrick, who for some reason preferred boycats to females, was particularly sad when Gun-Hee died less than two years after Harri. Perhaps the three of them are together with Jacoby in StarClan.

Aby-a-Day – 31 December 2020: 2020 hindsight (Thursday Things)

So. 2020 is almost over. And what a year it’s been.

dashxmas_5597

Think about it…one year ago today, would you ever have dreamed of even one of the things that happened? Let alone ALL of them! From the pandemic, to the fires in California, to the rioting and unrest in the cities, to the hurricanes, to the antics of the American “president,” to the absolutely bizarre events following the election…Just because I live in Sweden doesn’t mean that I am not affected by what happens back in the States. I just hope things get better in 2021, with a new President and a Covid vaccine.

dashxmas_5595

2021 cannot be worse than this year, can it? Let’s hear it for 2020 hindsight!

Aby-a-Day – 20 December 2020: Wordless Wednesday (Warriors plushies!)

zakrorywarriors_5619

zakwarriors_5623

zakrorywarriors_5626

zakrorywarriors_5622

Aby-a-Day – 29 December 2020: Not throwing away his shot (Cartoon Tuesday)

It’s finished! I finally finished Dashiell Hamilton! It was a real process, too. But as I mentioned last week, I got a new Paperlike screen protector for my iPad, and it makes drawing on the screen so much more natural and organic. In fact, I did most of this in Procreate. Only the last few bits were done in Photoshop.

DashHamiltonBase

And the very first bit. I started with a photo of the suit and a photo of Dash in Photoshop. Then I went to Procreate and did the sketches.

SuitLayers

Getting the suit just right was my biggest challenge. It took five layers to make it look the way I wanted it to. I did two base colour layers in Procreate, and a low-opacity layer of the actual suit (done in Photoshop) to add the sheen and texture. Then the ink layer was moved above the colour layers. Finally, I discovered a lace brush in Procreate, which was perfect for his sleeves and cravat.

DashLayers

Dash himself was a little easier, because…well, I’ve done more ruddy Abyssinians than I’ve done 18th century emerald-green silk suits. All layers except the top fur texture layer were done on the iPad.

DashHamilton+Shadow

Put all the layers together, along with the whiskers and a little shadow, and put him onstage…and, finally, history has its eyes on Dash!

DashHamilton

And, just because I can, I saved the video of the whole Procreate process for anyone who’s interested. Click on the above image to watch the magic happen in Flickr.