Aby-a-Day – 22 Mars: Kit-Tea (Fashion Friday)

Björn had a wonderful Scottish bone china tea mug featuring men with dogs hunting quail made by Dunoon. Sadly, the mug was accidentally knocked off the counter and broken a month or so ago. It really is the best mug for drinking tea, but that particular design has been discontinued.

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Whilst searching for a suitable replacement for his dearly departed mug, Björn also found the perfect mug for me! It features every breed of cat imaginable. Some are featured around the inside edge of the rim, and also in larger illustrations with descriptions on the sides of the mug. As you can see, the Somali is one of the featured breeds.

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As you can see it’s a fairly tall mug. It holds a half litre of beverage!

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Other breeds are shown along the base of the mug, including the Abyssinian…

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…And the Singapura.

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The Aby and the Singa are actually kind of next to each other, both next to the handle of the mug, which has a collection of “Cat Facts.” It’s an absolutely lovely mug, and I think it makes the tea taste better. Thank you, Björn, for introducing me to these awesome mugs!

Aby-a-Day – 16 Mars: Bear necessities (Swedish Saturday)

In Sweden, we have a thing called REKO-Ring. REKO means “Real Consumption” (Konsumtion in Swedish) and is a way to shop for locally produced food, without intermediaries. Consumers and producers merge and start a REKO ring where locally produced products are sold directly from producer to consumer. In Skövde, our local REKO-Ring has a Facebook page where the producers post what they have available, and then people who want to buy something comment on the post saying what they want to get. Then, on alternate Wednesdays, we meet in a parking lot at a hockey arena two stops on the bus line from our house.

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Well, just as I despairing of finding a really great birthday present for Björn, I happened to check the REKO-Ring Skövde Facebook page. And I found a post from Lilla Spännefalla, and they had all kinds of game for sale. Including bear meat from Jämtland in the north of Sweden.

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I ordered a “Bear Box” and got steaks, ground bear meat, and chunks.
I have only had bear a couple of times, and it is delicious. The first time was in 2000, when I found it for sale in an Asian grocery store in Boston. I then had it again when we canned bear meat for sale in the duty-free on the ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki. Then I got to eat it again when we went to a medieval restaurant in Taillinn. But the thing is…The name Björn is the same as the Swedish word for bear. So when I found bear meat available for sale just before Björn’s birthday, I knew I had the perfect gift.

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Bear meat is delicious. You have to make sure all the fat is removed, because it can add a slightly rancid flavour to the meat. The basic rule of thumb is, “Season like beef, cook like pork.” This is because like pigs, bears and raccoons are omnivores, and their meat can cause Trichinosis if it is not cooked well.

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So, sorry guys…you don’t get to try it raw.

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Despite not getting to try it raw, the bear meat attracted quite a crowd.

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Lorelai, of course, had to get on Björn’s shoulder to supervise.

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Izaak made sure Björn cooked it thoroughly.

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And he did.

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Served with plain potato wedges and mushrooms, it was a delicious birthday dinner…

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…which some people in the house were eager to sample.

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Zak was the first to taste bear meat whilst the plates were still on the coffee table.

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Everyone else got their tastes in the kitchen. Rory LOVED it.

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Jacoby tried to steal her piece, but she managed to keep it for herself. But don’t worry, Jake got a couple of pieces of the bear meat.

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Alfred took his piece so quickly…

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…I couldn’t even capture it with my camera. Fast Freddy!

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Angel took her sample gingerly…

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…and ran away from all the other cats to eat it in peace.

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It took her a little longer to finish it, because of her three teeth, so she wanted to eat it someplace safe.

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I guess we can add bear meat to the things Abyssinians (and Singapuras) will eat.

Aby-a-Day – 12 Mars: Björn’s birthday card from Emma (Cartoon Tuesday)

Björn’s birthday was on Sunday, and Emma came for the weekend to celebrate his and Kalle’s birthdays. She made him a birthday card which we are fairly certain is meant to be Jacoby. It definitely looks like a ruddy Abyssinian!

Here is the inside of the card. On the left it says “Congratulations for 54 years life! Meow! Meow! Meow!” On the right it says, “A stupid cat has eaten up my sauce!” And that stick toy the bottom cat is playing with looks a lot like the stick toy Emma and Lorelai played with last summer…

Aby-a-Day – 11 Mars: The rest of Lorelai’s vet visit (Medical Monday)

Last week I posted about Lorelai’s first visit to Min Vetrinär.

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But that wasn’t the whole story.

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We took all the Abys to the vet that day. This was before Izaak joined our family, of course.

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Alfred got busy exploring the doctor’s supplies.

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Freddy! That’s marked “biohazard” for a reason! Get your face out of there!

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Oh? It’s my turn?

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Wait…a shot? Nobody told me about a shot…

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After the shot, Freddy was a little jarred.

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But he had his new little sister to cheer him up.

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Next up was Angel.

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Being the oldest cat, this was definitely not her first rodeo.

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But that doesn’t mean she enjoys it.

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She took her vaccination like a champ, though.

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The last cat to be checked out was Jacoby.

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He is always so good at getting his shots. Like everything else he does…he’s just bulletproof.

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I wanted the vet to take a look at Jake’s teeth.

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He’s an Aby, a breed known for bad teeth…but he was nine years old and had never even had a cleaning. When Angel was his age, most of her teeth were gone already.

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But Jake has awesome teeth. Partly because he lets me scrape and brush them…but partly because he just got lucky in the genetic roulette.

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All in all, a pretty good day at the veterinarian.

Aby-a-Day – 8 Mars: Logan’s only birthday (Friday Flashback)

Tomorrow would have been Logan’s second birthday. Sadly, he only had one birthday, just like Gun-Hee.

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This was me and Gun-Hee with his first birthday “cake,” twelve years ago. My, how things have changed since then!

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Unlike Izaak, Logan had no fear of his lit candle.

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Logan looks so much smaller than Zak, too.

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Logan’s birthday toy was a little ladybug that still sits atop our microwave. Unlike Zak and his furry mousies, Logan liked shiny toys.

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Kalle’s birthday is on the 7th, and Björn’s is on the 10th of March, so Logan having his birthday on the 9th meant we had a “birthday bunch” and we saw it as one of the signs that we were meant to get Logan. Whilst I am happy we have Zak, who makes me laugh every day, I still miss the first Singapura I loved.

Aby-a-Day – 5 Mars: Game day sketches (Cartoon Tuesday)

Björn has been a roleplaying gamer since 1982, starting with Dungeons and Dragons. I also played D&D and Heroes in college. Björn has been working on a Call of Cthulu campaign he wants to run with some friends, and, whilst I have never been a fan of H.P. Lovecraft…it is set in Boston in 1920, so how could I resist?

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My character, Ivy Poole is a widowed photojournalist who lives on Peterborough Street near Fenway Park (she’s a big Red Sox fan; hey, they won the Series two years ago, how long can it take to win again?)

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During the game, I tried to sketch her so the other players would know what I look like. However, I got discouraged because A) she looked too much like me (at least how I looked 20 years ago when I was my character’s age) and B) I’m crap at drawing humans. So I resorted to sketching what I sketch best…cats. First I started with Lorelai, because she had come to see what we were doing with the dice.

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Then Izaak wanted to sit on everybody’s laps, so I switched to him. This one had funny eyes…

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…but this one…this one I really like. I think I may have to finish this one!

Aby-a-Day – 3 Mars: Laser strike (Cinema Sunday)

Last year at a cat show, we won a blue laser pointer in one of the raffles.

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I’ve always thought blue and green laser pointers were better for cats than red ones because cats see blues and greens much better than they see reds.

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Lorelai loves the laser pointer, regardless of colour. She really loves the green one, which is also Jacoby’s favourite. She loves it so much that she assumes her pounce position in the hallway, stares at us (Björn, mostly) and meows at us to “make the light go!” We run it up and down the hallway, into the kitchen, and into our bedroom.

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The lighting in our bedroom isn’t great, so we tried capturing her with the flash on. Flash photos didn’t capture her frenzy very well, so we tried without the flash.

That didn’t really work, either…so here’s a video of Rory playing on the bed with the green laser pointer.

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Our hallway is even less well-lit than our bedroom, but I had to show her other trick.

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She gets going so fast when the laser pointer goes up the door…

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…that she leaps higher than the door handle!

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She runs so fast when she’s chasing the laser pointer, and her run includes these little “flying leaps” in the middle of her gallop. It’s amazing to watch her.

We tried to capture it in the video above, but I am not sure that it really captures the way she runs. But what it does capture is something more unusual and rare: Angel playing with Rory and Izaak!