Aby-a-Day – 17 Mars: Wordless Wednesday (Remember St. Patrick’s Day with Jacoby and Logan)

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Aby-a-Day – 22 Januari: Feel the Bern! (Photoshop Friday)

The best thing to come out of the Presidential Inauguration on Wednesday (apart from the obvious, of course), was this image of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in full-on New England winter gear, including mittens made from recycled materials by one of his constituents. The minute the cameras turned on Bernie, Twitter and the internet went berserk (in a good way).

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When I saw Bernie, the first thing I thought of was Logan in his coat. I thought maybe Bernie just needed some company at the Inauguration.

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But then I realised that the real meme is more about putting Bernie in places, including practically any place on Earth. So…Here’s Bernie sitting in my front yard, watching Jacoby and Olaf.

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Bernie loves him some Social Democracy, but maybe Sweden’s a little too far away for him to commute from his day job. Better keep him in New England. He seems like he’d enjoy Rolling Bridge Park. And if you were wondering what Bernie’s reaction is to all this, Seth Myers asked him about that, and here’s what he had to say.

Aby-a-Day – 31 Oktober 2020: A most memorable Halloween

This being an election year, I am especially reminded of Halloween 2012, the day Jacoby and I were interviewed by the local NBC affiliate and the Boston Herald.

Meg messaged me first thing Thursday morning…OMG, she said. Jake is on the front page of the Herald. Okay, I figured, he was in a little sidebar photo. Nope.

Here’s the online article (the actual newspaper article was too big to scan).

Not only that…there was a second story and yet another photo of me with Jake.

The crazy thing was…it was most definitely not a slow news week. Besides Wednesday being Halloween, that Sunday, the Patriots has just played a game in Wembley Stadium in London, the worst of Hurricane Sandy hit Boston on Monday, and there was also some sort of election thingy happening the following Tuesday. But yeah…Strollercat was the Herald’s Page One story on Thursday, 1 November 2012.

It was, hands down, the most surreal week of my life. As the Boston Globe’s Michael Morisy so aptly described it, “It’s stuff like #StrollerCat that keeps me simultaneously in love with & terrified of this amazing city.” Yeah, I may have grown up in California, but Boston is my home.

Aby-a-Day – 30 Oktober 2020: Jacoby’s diva scarf (Friday Fashion Flashback)

This week, Facebook reminded me of the time Jacoby modelled a scarf my ex brought back from a business trip to India.

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And oh, how he wore it.

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Jake was such an awesome model.

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He just…got it.

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Jake was just so…special. I don’t know how or why, but together, we could do anything. Some days I really miss him.

Aby-a-Day – 7 September 2020: Memories of a first adventure (Monday Memory)

Yesterday, this memory popped up on Facebook.

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This was Jacoby’s first outing to Binford Park on the Harborwalk, as well as his first time on a harness and leash.

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It may have been Angel’s first trip to Binford, but not, of course her first outing.

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Angel wasn’t super-comfortable being out on a leash, but she still tried to help little Jake out on his first adventure.

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It was so wonderful to watch them together outside.

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This is actually my favoutite photo from that outing. Look at them; I wish they could still go out on outdoors adventures together.

Aby-a-Day – 4 Juli 2020: A holiday I don’t much feel like celebrating

My dad’s birthday is the 4th of July, so I have always thought of today as that first, and then the holiday celebrating the independence of the United States. My dad is 91 today, which is amazing. I haven’t seen him since 2007. I was planning a trip back to visit him…but then Trump was elected. So, lately…I don’t see very much to celebrate, quite honestly.

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Boston has cancelled their world-renowned Boston Pops Concert and Fireworks Spectacular, which is amazing to me. It’s broadcast coast to coast, and it’s such a July 4th tradition. Maybe now people will take this pandemic seriously.

Aby-a-Day – 12 Juni 2020: Chris lost his head (Friday Flashback)

Bear with me, here…I am sad and not just a little bit angry. Sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, the Christopher Columbus statue in Boston’s Christopher Columbus Park was beheaded. It will now be going into storage for an undefined period of time.

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I have posted about this statue back when I lived in Boston. Politics aside, I have always admired the workmanship on this statue. It never felt like a “white man’s burden” statue to me (unlike so many other racist statues). Made or marble imported from Carrara, an ancient quarry in Tuscany, and erected by the Knights of Columbus, an organization dominated by Italian Americans, the statue (which is in Boston’s North End, the Italian neighbourhood), always seemed to be more about being of Italian descent than about Colonialism.

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We didn’t go to Christopher Columbus Park very often, as there were closer parks along the Harborwalk, but I always liked going there with Jacoby.

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It’s Boston’s oldest waterfront park. I wish we had gone there more often.

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But I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss the unconditional trust I had with Jake. I could put him anywhere and he’d pose for a photo.

Happy birthday, Kylie!

Today is Kylie’s 15th birthday! She and Tessie are both healthy and happy back in Boston.

Aby-a-Day – 15 Mars 2020: A little time capsule (Cinema Sunday)

I am not sure where it came from, exactly, but a while ago I discovered a short little video my ex took with his iPhone. It’s just Angel being cute, kneading a blanket on the sofa in our old (tiny) apartment, with a cameo by Jacoby.

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It seems to have been taken around the same time as the other photos in this post, sometime between January and March 2011.

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Jake would have still been recovering from his escalator incident when these were taken; he and Angel were getting along fairly companionably, too.

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Here they are on Valentine’s Day 2011. Two weeks later, Jake would be going to his first cat show…where I met my friend Meg, as it happens.

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In any case, here’s the little blast from the past I found on a random jump drive. Click on the image to view it in another tab.

Aby-a-Day – 13 Mars 2020: Coronavirus 1, St. Patrick 0 (Fashion Friday Flashback)

Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade has been cancelled out of concern for COVID-19. This is the first time in 26 years the parade has been cancelled. The city of Boston is also postponing the Boston Marathon next month and even the Red Sox spring training and regular season will be delayed.

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I went to my first parade when I moved to Boston in 2000, and stood in front of what at the time was a vacant building. Little did I know that I would eventually live in that very building!

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Naturally, St. Patrick’s Day and the parade was a big part of Jacoby’s life. Our apartment overlooked one of the staging areas, and Jake loved to watch the activity below. His first St. Patrick’s Day, I got him a T-shirt from a shop in Faneuil Hall. What could be more Boston than that?

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Later on, Jake added a shamrock tie and a Celtics jersey to his holiday wardrobe.

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I had actually forgotten about this shamrock sun-hat. I think he only wore it that one time, just for photos.

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He also had his shamrock patterned walking harness. When we lived on the 5th floor, we didn’t face West Broadway, so Jake and I would go downstairs to see the parade in person.

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Angel, on the other hand, was content to watch the parade on television.

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When we moved to the new apartment on the 4th floor, we could just watch the parade from our windows. I think Jake kind of missed going outside to experience it; Angel, meanwhile, was perfectly content watching the parade from our windows.

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It’s a little surreal to think of the parade just not happening. I mean, they even held it the year we had the record snowfall! Okay, it wasn’t as bad as in my cartoon, but it did snow on the day of the parade!

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The last year we lived in Boston, we just watched it from the windows again. Now, though, I kind of wish we’d gone downstairs.

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I’m pretty sure Angel wishes we’d gone downstairs, too.

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In a way, it feels a little bit right, not having the parade the first year Jake isn’t alive for it.

Aby-a-Day – 6 Mars 2020: The Big Boston Blizzard of 2015 (Friday Fashion Friday Flashback)

Five years ago this week, Jacoby and Angel experienced what would be Boston’s record snowfall for the first time.

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I couldn’t take them in the courtyard as usual because reasons. So I took them just in front of the building.

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Of course, they were fully decked out in their coats.

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It was…a less than optimal photo location. but we did our best. I am still proud to have lived in Boston the year of the record snowfall.

Aby-a-Day – 16 Juli: In memory of Jacoby Stealin’ Home (Cartoon Tuesday)

Last week, I got my memorial tattoo of Jacoby.

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Whilst in London, I realised that the Red Sox logo needed to be a part of his tattoo, because the Red Sox were such a part of who Jake was. I mean, his name and identity was based upon an event in Red Sox history.

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This is the photo that the tattoo was based upon…The time we went out in the courtyard and played in the snow five years ago. It’s one of the most iconic photos I ever took of Jake.

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Linus started with the Red Sox logo and then worked on Jake’s parka.

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Then Jake himself was filled in.

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The parka’s fur ruff was the last to be done.

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Here it is, almost finshed, where you can see how it looks on my calf.

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And this is Jake, finished.

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Linus made a little video of the tattoo. Click on the image above to view it in Flickr.

Aby-a-Day: June’s over? Julying! (Fashion Friday Flashback)

Four years ago, I posted about how Canadian-born Jacoby tended to get a little confused about what to wear the first few days of July.

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To prove this point, I dressed him up in an Uncle Sam hat along with a maple leaf bandanna and Team Canada sweater.

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He was such a legend at posing with outfits on.

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And his eyes…so expressive!

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And then…someone came and photobombed our little modelling session. Jake knew it immediately.

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“Tessie’s right behind me, ruining my photo, isn’t she..?”

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“Tessie, do you mind? I’m kinda doing a thing here.”

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“Right. Let’s get back to the posing.” I’m just sorry I never found a Sweden jersey for him to pose in.

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.