Aby-a-Day – 4 Juni: “Forget about style; worry about results” (Cartoon Tuesday)

Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals was yesterday, and the series is split 2-2, with Boston and St. Louis winning a game each home and away. Last week, I posted a drawing of Jacoby as the iconic “flying Bobby Orr”. This week, it’s finished!

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But apart from sharing the final drawing, I thought I would also share the layers that create it. This is the “Uniform” layer, which I coloured using the incredibly useful NHL Uniform Database to make certain I got the colours and stripes right.

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This is Jake’s colouring. It’s actually three different layers merged together to get the depth of colour in his fur. The whiskers and eyeshine are on a separate layer.

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This is the finished Jake and his shadow. Then, for the background, I ran the original photo of Bobby Orr through the “cutout” filter.

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I am particularly proud of the way his head turned out. Aby markings are deceptively complex to render realistically.

Hopefully this will give Boston a little luck in the next two or three games…GO BRUINS!

Aby-a-Day – 31 Maj: A date that will live in infamy (Friday Flashback)

This time of year is always special to me because my birthday is tomorrow, but for the past three years, the 31st of May is special, too; it’s the day the movers came to pack up all my belongings to be sent to Sweden…

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…And it’s the day I was granted my temporary Swedish residency permit. I got the email first thing in the morning, but I had to wait for the Swedish Embassy to open their phones at 11 am before I could find out what the decision actually was.

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The movers arrived fairly early with their boxes, bubble wrap and tape and got right to work.

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As you can see, Angel was unfazed by all the activity.

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Tessie watched for a while, and then retired to the bedroom, where it was quieter.

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Jacoby was his usual, bulletproof self.

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He even went out in the hallway to help the movers do their job!

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They did a very thorough job. This is my bicycle, all wrapped up.

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The movers didn’t seem to mind Jake helping at all. They were just amused.

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Jake took his supervisory position very seriously, as you can see.

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He made sure the movers marked all the boxes correctly…

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…noted down properly on the list…

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…and he made sure they didn’t leave anything behind. Jake was such a good helper!

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Unfortunately, Jake couldn’t help us when were were finished at the apartment and moved over to the storage unit. Too bad, too; he would have enjoyed helping to pack up the floor-to-ceiling cat tree!

Aby-a-Day – 28 May: Reliving history (Cartoon Tuesday)

The 2019 Stanley Cup Finals started yesterday, and they are quite exciting. The Boston Bruins are in them, of course, and if they win they will be the THIRD Boston team to win a championship in a year…and they’re already up one game. They face the St. Louis Blues, who haven’t been in the finals for 49 years. And even more interesting, in 1970, the team the Blues faced was…the Bruins!

Ray Lussier took a now-iconic photograph of Bobby Orr celebrating scoring the winning goal against the Blues in 1970. This image is such a part of Boston’s culture that there is a statue commemorating that moment in front of the Garden, and it has been reproduced on T-shirts for 49 years.

My ex found me an unofficial playoff shirt (the kind that can only be found in Boston) with the Bruins Bear recreating Orr’s flight (modeled by Tessie), and it kind of inspired me.

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Using a photo of the moment, I did a sketch of Jacoby as Bobby Orr.

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I did a first ink, but I didn’t like the pen I used; it was too thick and clunky. So, using that ink as a reference, I made a second inking.

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That inking turned out so much better! I’ll colour it in and finish it for next week…the day after Game 4.

Aby-a-Day – 3 Maj: Tacoby Friday (Friday Fashion Flashback)

In the States, Taco Tuesday is a thing. But here in Sweden, it’s Taco Friday.

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Because of Jacoby’s namesake, tacos always remind me of Jake.

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When he was a kitten, I had to get him some catnip taco toys.

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He loved those things! I wish I knew whatever happened to them. These photos were taken just a couple weeks after he joined our family.

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He even had a little taco charm that he used to wear on his collar with his tag. You can see it in this photo.

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A few years later, I found Jake a taco costume.

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Which he wore with his usual aplomb. Look at him! It might as well be a silk tuxedo the way he’s modelling it!

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Jake was always so chill when it came to wearing his outfits. People always used to ask me how I got him to wear his costumes. I would always kind of shrug and say, “I just ask him to, and he does it, because we’re partners.”

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Damn. Now I really miss Jake…and I am dying for some tacos!

Aby-a-Day – 21 Februari: A box from Meg…and a little backstory (Thursday Things)

Friendship is a funny thing. You meet people every day. Some are strangers, and strangers they remain. Others become friends.

When I was a cat-crazy kid, I couldn’t imagine being actual friends with a cat breeder, let alone a cat show judge. Yet here I am, 38 years after this magazine was published, with threinds who are both breeders and judges. In April 1981 I was two months shy of my sweet 16th, and I loved cats. Cats and the Beatles. No wonder that in August 1981, when I found a seal-point and white kitten, I named him Sgt. Pepper…

Usually, when you look at an old magazine, you don’t read the classifieds at the back. But this old issue with an Aby on the cover…I wanted to see something.

And, lo and behold. Meg is listed as an Abyssinian breeder in Massachusetts. I never knew I’d end up in Massachusetts, let alone be friends with a breeder who had ads in a magazine when I was 15 going on 16…

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But it’s true. I am actually friends with a woman who has been breeding Abyssinians almost (but not quite) as long as I’ve been alive. And to think that she and I are very good friends! But it happened so naturally…Meg knew Sherry, and Jacoby was related to Lew and Taz…and…we clicked. That’s how it is when you make a friend.

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So a couple of weeks ago, Meg sent me my belated Christmas present. To be fair, though, I didn’t send mine out until January.

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She sent me a lot of cool things for me: Socks, a candle holder, and some CFA things…but she also sent things for the cats. One of which was this catnip shrimp. Alfred was the first to investigate the shrimp, but…

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…Jake quickly took over. Jake loves firmly stuffed catnip toys.

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So yeah, this shrimp was almost tailor-made for Jake. Sorry, Freddy.

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Another toy she sent was a wonderful stick toy that we can use at cat shows. Izaak was all over it

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Whilst Zakkie loves his mousies, he also really likes stick toys.

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Not as much as Lorelai does, apparently. Because oh, look, here she is, moving faster than a camera can capture.

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Rory and Zak enjoyed that stick toy so much, I think it’s going to be a permanent fixture at our future cat shows!

Aby-a-Day – 24 Januari: Jacoby explores Göteborg’s future

Time to explain yesterday’s post. Last year we were at a cat show in Göteborg that was held in a venue behind Central Station. Walking over to it, we discovered a 3D map of the projected growth of the city in the next 15-20 years, including the renovation of the transportation hub and surrounding area. Called Västlänken (the West Link), the project is basically Göteborg’s version of Boston’s Big Dig.

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The map shows the existing city, the changes made by Västlänken, and then an imaginative projection of what Future Göteborg might look like.

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I call it a map, but it’s is actually more like an ironwork sculpture. It’s really cool to look at…and interestingly cat proportioned.

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It kind of reminded me of the chase scenes in Zootopia/Zootropolis when Judy and Nick chase the weasel.

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Jacoby seemed to really enjoy exploring it.

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Included on the map is the Hisingsbron Bridge, currently under construction and planned for completion in 2022. It will replace the existing Göta älv Bridge, which is falling into disrepair…again, very similar to Boston!

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Jake’s been over the Zakim Bridge in Boston…I wonder if he recognised the similarity?

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Erm…Jake? You do realise you’re standing in the harbour, right?

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I really like the little model of the Barken Viking. It’s actually a hotel now!

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I love how the model even has little trees along the waterfront.

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And here we have Jake bridging the bridge!

Aby-a-Day – 20 Januari: Catching up with Tessie and Kylie

When I moved from Boston to Skövde, only Jacoby and Angel came with me. Kylie was always my ex’s cat, and Tessie, who was, in part, a 40th birthday present from my mom, helped raise Kylie and taught her how to cat. As much as I love Tessie, leaving her with Kylie was the best decision.

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Clearly, you can see that was the right decision. They are bestest best friends.

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Tessie is now 15 (and almost a half) years old.

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To look at her, you would never guess she was that old!

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I mean, here she is five years ago…she must have a little kitty portrait in her attic!

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She still loves boxes.

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And warm laundry.

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I can’t believe she’s 15.

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Kylie turned 13 last April.

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She, like Tessie, does not look as old as she is, and is quite healthy.

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She is still the only cat of ours who was born in Boston (well, Quincy). Tessie was born in Oregon, Angel in California, and Jacoby in New Brunswick. Only Kylie is a native New Englander.

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(Not gonna lie…I do miss that view…)

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Kylie is still as pretty as ever, too.

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Right from the start, Kylie and Tessie were besties.

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Thirteen years later, nothing has changed.