Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year (and watch out for the Jólakötturinn!)

Hey there…remember us? Sorry it’s been a while…after we brought Dashiell home from Finland, I came down with, of all things, walking pneumonia! Björn and Kalle were sick with coughing, too…but of course, mine had to turn into pneumonia.

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After that, we had a couple of little veterinary issues with some of the cats. Nothing major…Dash had an ear infection, Lorelai had a runny eye, and Alfred had an odd coughing spell. All of them are fine…but it was a lot to deal with all at once. I also had some other health issues in that space of time – nothing major, but between me and the cats, it was mentally and physically exhausting. Oh, and I also got a new iPhone 11 Pro, and getting the hang of the fancy camera took some practice (it’s awesome, by the way, better even than my DSLR).

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Then, of course, we had some cat shows, including one in Turku, Finland. We had entered Dash, but the entry cut-off was in October, and I wasn’t sure his ear would be completely recovered in time. Also, the show didn’t really count for him, and I didn’t want to risk the round-trip ferry ride to cause a relapse. So it was just Izaak and Rory. But they both earned their International Championship titles, and Zak was Nominated on the first day, so it was an excellent show. The very next weekend, we had the mini-show at our DjurMagazinet on Saturday with Zak, Rory and Zak, and then another of the photo shoots on Sunday with everyone. That was a five-ring circus!

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One thing that came of spending all day at a pet shop was that Zak picked out his very own new favourite mousie – a Christmas one that jingles!

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This is the best shot I could get of him fetching it. Sorry. I’m actually sick again right now with a staph infection, on antibiotics that make me nauseous…GREAT fun at Christmas! Oh, well…at least I won’t gain much holiday weight. The cute thing is that Zak’s been bringing his mousie to me over and over to distract me from the nausea.

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Because of all that, Christmas really kind of snuck up on us. We put up our Swedish window candles, and our wreath on the front door, but it wasn’t until Monday night that we put up the stockings.

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Not having Jacoby here had a bigger impact on my holiday cheer than I ever expected. He was always such a big part of my Christmases…even the one I spent away from him, in Sweden. I just couldn’t summon the energy to put up the tree and all our decorations. Yes, we have Angel, and Freddy, and Zak, and Rory and wonderful, wonderful Dash (who is friends with everyone)…but Christmas without Jake seems…strange. I’m sure it will be better next year.

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Which is not to say our Christmas is sad – not at all! After we put all the presents in the stockings, Freddy noticed that some of them had treats in them, and tried to get them down! Click on the unfortunate black square above to see the video in a new tab…sorry for the vertical orientation, but it was a sort of vertical situation. Also be warned that there is some rather bad language in the background; Channel Six was showing Die Hard for Jul, and they don’t censor movies on TV here.

I’ll be back next week, and, hopefully, The Daily Abyssinian with actually be daily again!

Shout-out to Summer!

I sent a few gifts to our Somali friend Summer in California for a (belated) Christmas gift. I know Summer and her roommates Binga and Boodie LOVE the European cat treats. And I also remembered that Summer’s human admired the miniature cat skeleton toy I posted about on a Miniature Monday, and when I bought mine, I ordered a few extra for friends and family, so I sent one along to her, knowing it would be appreciated.

You can read all about what they all thought of their gifts on today’s post on Summer’s blog.

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 – 28 December: Remembering my Christmas kitten (Friday Flashback)

Every year about this time, I have to remember my Christmas kitten, Gun-Hee.

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We collected him on 15 December 2006, only 10 days before Christmas.

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I’ll never forget the way he discovered climbing the Christmas tree.

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He was so proud of himself!

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And now, 12 years later, Gun-Hee is still in my Christmas tree every year…thanks to this Fancy Feast frame ornament.

Aby-a-Day – 26 December: Wordless Wednesday (Izaak’s Christmas miracle)

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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!