Aby-a-Day – February 9: Suomalainen vaihto

One thing I absolutely love is things from foreign countries. Since my mother’s family all lives in Canada, I’ve always known people outside of the States, and I’ve had good friends in Canada and Sweden for decades. I’ve always been fascinated by the everyday things that are just different from the things we have in the States. Sometimes better (like coloured money and tomato sauce in plastic tubes like toothpaste), sometimes worse (like public toilets that cost money) but just…different.

When I went to visit my friend Björn in Sweden, he asked me what I wanted to do, suggesting museums, castles, monuments…and I said I wanted to go to a grocery store. I love just shopping at ordinary places in other countries: pet shops, drug stores/pharmacies/chemists (not at all the same thing depending on where you go), supermarkets, places that tourists tend not to go. Some of my best experiences travelling have been the pet store in Tokyo, the supermarket in Seoul, the homegoods department in Amsterdam, and the Saturday Björn and I spent at the IKEA in Jönköping.

I’ve also been fascinated by Finland since I was in high school. My “internet name,” Talonväki” was originally my “household name” when I was active in the Society for Creative Anachronism; it was a bit of a joke since “talonväki” means “household” but looks and sounds so very exotic.

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So when my Abyfriend Sanna-Leena complained about the dearth of good cat toys in Finland and discovered my love for Finnish rockabilly music, we swiftly concocted an exchange. I sent her some great American cat toys, some Boston souvenirs (especially Boston Bruins stuff because Tuukka Rask is Big in Finland, but some Red Sox souvenirs found their way in there, too) and some other things that you just can’t get over there…and she sent me a wonderful box of similar goodies from Finland. We spent months collecting cool things we thought the other would like before sending our boxes to each other towards the end of December.

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I got my box from her this week, and it was so exciting!

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Of course I had help opening it…

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…although I’m not sure “help” is really the right word.

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Jacoby was actually more interested with the toys than with the treats, for a change.

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(Which doesn’t mean he was entirely oblivious to the crunchy treaty goodness that Sanna-Leena sent, of course.)

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Jake was fascinated by all the cat toys…

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…but was love at first sight when he found the “flat cat” (aka the “pelt”) toy, though.

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This was clearly his favourite thing in the box.

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My favourite thing? So hard to choose! There was Finnish candy, gum, rye nachos, CDs (I now will be requiring every annual copy of the Iskelmä Gaala CD, I’m afraid, and Anssi Kela is wonderful), a Moomins book, and a fabulous Aby/Somali calendar published by her cat club.

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Sanna-Leena took some of the photos and her two boys appear in the calendar, too!

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Sanna also included a little pedestrian reflector, something I fell in love with when I was in Sweden but which are virtually unheard of here in the States. Pedestrian reflectors were actually invented in Finland in the 1960’s, and the Scandinavian countries have the lowest per capita rate of traffic accidents involving pedestrians. Since I don’t drive and walk a lot, I love this.

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The fact that she included this packet of buttons amused me endlessly; I’ve only recently discovered that Angry Birds is a Finnish invention (and it makes so much more sense now)!

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One of the very best things Sanna-Leena sent was two leather cat harnesses by Arja’s Art. These things are works of art – gorgeous leather, great design (including reflective piping)…and they are so inexpensive! Only €17,50, which is around $25 in US or Canadian dollars.

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And the leather is sooooo soft. Like butter. Only softer.

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Jake’s is metallic copper, and he was only too happy to model it.

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Angel’s is peralised purple, and it’s just the perfect shade for her red fur.

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She was slightly less happy about modelling it, though.

Sanna-Leena has three Abys: Ruddy Kossi, Fawn Sketsi and Red Kiipa. You may remember Sanna-Leena from her marvelous Aby tattoo featuring her two boys. Jake’s actually distantly related to all three of them through some common ancestors, notably Tinbat’s Morgan’s Passing, whose daughter, Mellowmews Tia, went to Finland.

Since Finland gets a bit cool in the winter, one thing I sent was hats…

one for Sanna-Leena

and one for Sketsi. I think she liked her hat better than he did his!

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But thank you, kiitos, Sanna-Leena, Sketski, Kossi and Kiipi! We loved everything – and we should do this again sometime.

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Jake especially wants to thank you for the pelt…

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Sheesh! Get a room, you two!

Other People’s Abys: Happy Mother’s Day

It’s very apropos that Mother’s Day falls smack dab in the middle of kitten season. This week, there have been some amazing photos that I just have to share.

The first comes from Debbie Dixon of Crystalpaws Abyssinians via the Unusual Abys list:

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I thought I’d share this picture that I took earlier today of our “pile of kittens.” We have four litters at the moment ranging from nearly eleven weeks to six weeks old – more than we would usually have. The older litter of five were not planned – their mum, Tas (Crystalpaws Fawn Fantasy) was keeping Frodo (Crystalpaws Frodo Baggins) company for a couple of weeks over Christmas before being spayed, they showed no signs of mating but she suddenly became a little rounded in shape just before she was booked into the vet!

It’s all good fun!!

Next, this adorable little photo was posted by Lucia Neimann on the Facebook Abyssinian Cat Club.

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I love her caption: “It’s nice on my mom’s back. Adina’s boy 8 days.”

My friend Molly from Tigerflower Abyssinians sent me this amazing set of photos. They were sent to her by Laurel Healy of Healying Cats.

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Isn’t Aby parenthood wonderful?

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I’m afraid poor Bella has a sleeping disorder that makes her fall asleep immediately after eating. She had her front legs in the food and just didn’t have the energy to clean up AND move away from her plate.

This last one is also from Molly…and while it’s not really Mother’s Day related, it still makes me laugh every time I look at it.

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She sent it with a single word: “IMITATORS!” Ha!

Live Aby Kitten Cam!

I really don’t know why it took me so long to discover this! Jake’s cousin, Toki, is from Ataraxia cattery, and on their website they feature…

…wait for it…

a live Abyssinian kitten cam!


Video streaming by UstreamI wouldn’t recommend watching this unless you have absolutely no pressing plans for the rest of the day…

Other People’s Abys: Abysphere on Good Morning Kitten

I meant to post this ages ago, but I misfiled the link…anyway, just look at our friends from Aby Sphere, mugging it up on Good Morning Kitten (formerly the Daily Kitten)!

I’m really impressed that someone was able to get three Aby boys to sit still long enough to snap this shot!

Bon Anniversaire, Bibi-Chan!

Yesterday was La Pouponette’s Bibi-Chan’s first birthday. He’s grown from a cute little kitten to a very handsome young Ruddy man!

On his birthday post, there’s a wonderful photo retrospective of Ebisu’s first year, including a crushingly adorable photo of him as a newborn kit. Be sure to check it out and send along your birthday wishes.

Vote For Louis!

It’s Election Day here in the States, but this campaign involves Katscan’s lovely Canuck boy, who is in a Facebook photo contest. Louis is just starting his career as a show cat (as an alter, he’s neutered), so please may I present to you, in all his glory, Phoenixabys King Louis Cat Toes:

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This is the photo that is entered – The winner will receive a professional photo shoot! Here’s what you do:

1. Go to the Luv U Pets” site and “like” the page.

2. Go to the photo of Louis on Facebook and write “Vote” in the comments.

The candidate with the most votes received by Nov 15th wins! Only one vote per person allowed, so be sure to tell a friend. Louis thanks you!