Aby-a-Day – 17 Januari: Repeat offender (Thursday Things)

As you saw in yesterday’s post, Alfred has figured out some kind of workaround to our cabinet solution. And before you suggest it…we don’t want to move the food. This is the most convenient place to keep it, and, honestly, moving the food won’t stop Freddy from opening the damn cabinet, and he’ll keep on stealing plastic packets whether or not they contain cat food.

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Kalle took the two photos yesterday, and Björn caught this action this morning.

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By the time Björn took the photos, Freddy was nowhere to be seen. As you can see, he was all too happy to frame his brothers for the crime.

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Not that they tried too terribly hard to look innocent…

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Interestingly enough, whilst I was working on this very post, I heard a crash in the kitchen. I went to look and…yeah, no surprise here.

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Oh, hi there…

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…What?

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Far from being contrite, Freddy grabbed a packet of Jake’s food and carried it underneath the dining room table to puncture and shred. I managed to rescue it before he could so Jake can have dinner tonight.

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You can tell he’s already plotting his next move…

Aby-a-Day – 7 Januari: My Christmas Present (Miniature Monday)

This year, we had a small Christmas, because I bought tickets to the Red Sox-Yankees games next summer in London, and Björn bought us a new television. But we did do some small gifts and stocking stuffers to each other, and Björn’s main gift to me was a 4D Vision Cat Anatomy Model

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Well, of course I loved it! In fact, I sat down and assembled it on the spot.

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Luckily, living in Sweden has given me a pretty good grasp on navigating pictorial assembly instructions.

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But what was really cool was the information included on the instruction sheet. Like random cat factoids.

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And cat anatomy illustrated (using pictures of the model’s pieces) along with a felid size comparison chart.

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Then there’s a little guide to cat communication and body language, how cats land on their feet, and an illustration of how retractible claws work.

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Finally, there’s an organ-by-organ breakdown of all the parts of a cat, again using the model pieces (except for the eye).

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Here is my model, completed.

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My favourite part is, the model cat is a female! And she has kittens inside! Aren’t they cute? #theylooklikeabys…

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Izaak wanted to meet the model.

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I don’t think it went well…

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…In fact, he seemed a little freaked out. Was it the kittens, Zak?

Aby-a-Day – 5 Januari: Decorating with cats (Swedish Saturday)

We have this Victorian-style Christmas cat garland as part of our Jul decorations. It looks great with our kitchen curtains…

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…but getting them up there in the first place was quite the challenge.

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Mainly because Lorelai insisted with helping Björn with them.

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And as you can see…she was very helpful.

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Although, I am not sure she was as helpful as she thought she was.

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Still…at the end of the day, we got the kitty garland up, so we won? Or something?

Aby-a-Day – 31 December: Happy New Year’s! (Hipstamatic

For the past three years, Björn and I have hosted the New Year’s party for our friends. This year, due to a number of random circumstances (ours and our friends), we ended up being a party of seven – us and the cats.

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Of course, we didn’t know it was going to be just us when we were preparing everything in the run-up to Jul and New Year’s, so I managed to find the largest turkey I could to cook for the party.

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At 8.5kg (almost 19lbs!) it’s the largest turkey I have been able to find since I moved to Sweden.

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Oh, how I have missed the monster, American super-sized turkeys! Okay, so we’ll have lots of leftovers.

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I think we’re going to have lots of help finishing those leftovers, too.

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Combined, Alfred, Lorelai and Zak weigh 10.6kg…so the turkey weighs more than any two of them put together.

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The size difference didn’t stop them from investigating its edibility.

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Zak was especially interested in the big bird.

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Rory, without the boys flanking her, did seem a little more intimidated by it.

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She is our smallest cat. The last time I weighed them all, she clocked in at 2.6kg.

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I think she thought it wasn’t really dead!

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She tentatively approached the bird. I’m sure she’ll be a lot less tentative once it comes out of the oven!

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I love the randomness of Hipstamatic…

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Even though we ended up not having any guests, everyone got dressed up. The boys all wore their leather bow ties.

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Rory wore a festive red bow.

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Freddy can’t ever keep his tie on straight.

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Angel wore her sparkly sequin collar I got ages ago at a Seacoast show. Next year, I want to see if Arja can make the girls feminine festive collars, perhaps with flowers instead of bows.

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Regardless, when the turkey came out of the oven it. Was. AWESOME.

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Easily the best turkey I have ever cooked. And, ironically, I have been cooking them since 1999.

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But yeah, in 20 years of cooking turkeys, this was one of my best.

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Someone else thought so, too.

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Of course, his opinion is slightly biased…he's never had a whole cooked turkey before in his life.

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Izaak tried so hard to eat off that big turkey…but it was too hot.

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Since it was too hot to eat, Zak tried smacking it with his paw instead.

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It was still too hot…but it wasn’t too hot when I put it on a tray for everyone to share.

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Everyone seemed to enjoy their bits of turkey.

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As you could probably tell by the general swarming going on.

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Björn and I also did some Incredibooth selfies…enjoy!

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 – 24 December: Julafton and Kalle Anka

It’s hard to describe how important watching Kalle Anka (Donald Duck) at 3pm on Christmas Eve is in Sweden.

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Jacoby…seriously. It’s a big deal. Go sit down and watch.

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That’s better.

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Having experienced four Swedish Julaftons now, I can attest. Donald Duck and Christmas are a thing.

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The annual broadcast, shown in Sweden since 1959 consists of Jiminy Cricket presenting about a dozen Disney cartoons from the 1930s to the 1960s, only a couple of which have anything to do with Christmas. There are “Silly Symphonies” shorts and clips from films like Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and The Jungle Book. The special is pretty much the same every year, except for the live introduction by a Swedish host and the addition of one new snippet from the latest Disney-produced movie (This year, it was a scene from Wreck-It Ralph Breaks the Internet and a scene from The Incredibles II).

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The first year we lived here, we went to Jönköping and watched it at Björn’s mom’s house. We have done that every year…until this year. In a manner of speaking, Jake spent Christmas at Björn’s mom’s house before he even lived here.

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This year, we had Julafton and watched Kalle Anka at home in Skövde.

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But it was hard to not think of the Juls we had spent at Björn’s mom’s house. That defined Christmas in Sweden to me…and Christmas in general to Björn.

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We did miss Björn’s mom’s Christmas tree, decorated with hand-cut paper hearts.

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And also the weird straw pig that lived underneath the tree.

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Björn’s mom also had this display of her collection of Dala horses. Jake tried to fit in.

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“Ugh…these guys are a bunch of stiffs!”

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Like his mini-me, Jake posed with the row of Tomten, too.

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This Julafton was wonderful…but I miss the holiday in Jönköping.

Aby-a-Day – 17 December: Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree (Hipstamatic Monday)

We finally have our tree up.

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This is absolutely the latest I have ever set up my Christmas tree (except for the years I didn’t put one up at all, of course).

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Björn says that Swedes usually put their trees up later than in the States…even later than this. But given the ordeal that is putting up all the decorations, I would rather put them up as early as possible – the day after Thanksgiving. Maximum result for maximum work, if you know what I mean.

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But whatever. The tree is up. And it’s Lorelai’s and Izaak’s first tree ever. And it’s Alfred’s second.

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You would think, based on all the memes about cats and Christmas trees, there would be no way on Earth that a tree would survive with four Abyssinians and a Singapura.

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But the truth is, the cats are, generally, unimpressed by the Christmas tree.

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(Gotta love the randomness of Hipstamatic…)

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Björn was trying so hard to get Freddy and Rory interested in the tree, he was plying them with ornaments…glass ones, no less!

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The ornaments were still more interesting than the tree itself.

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One Björn stopped swinging the ornaments around enticingly and hung them on the tree, Rory and Freddy’s interest was gone.

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Jacoby couldn’t even be enticed to pose with the tree. This ain’t his first Christmas tree rodeo.

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Izaak, however, was at least a little impressed by the tree.

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But even he respected the tree and merely posed for me next to it.

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He was interested in the tree…but at the end of the day…

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…He was more interested in posing next to the electric window candles.