Aby-a-Day – 6 December 2020: International Top Cat Challenge (Cat Show Sunday)

I finally got around to entering the CFA International Top Cat Challenge finale. After the results of the last show, I was a bit hesitant, but ah, what the hell?

So I entered Izaak,

and Lorelai in the Championship class,

and Dashiell in the Premiership class, using the regular photos.

The entry fees were $10 each, with the fourth entry being free. So, I entered Angel in the Household Pet class.

But the main reason I entered this show was for the “Haute Cat-ture” fun class. Cats…posing in costumes? Um, yes please! I entered Jacoby in four different outfits: His Red Sox uniform…

…His Don Draper suit…

…His super posey snow photoshoot wearing his knit cap and his boots…

…and of course, Jake’s fabulous Thanksgiving outfit! Wish me luck!

Aby-a-Day – 21 November 2020: An Egyptian virtual cat show (Cat Show Saturday)

This morning, I got an email reminding me to enter another virtual cat show. This one is kind of special: “Egypt’s newest cat club, the Pharaonic Cat Fanciers, had its first in-person show planned for November 2020. However, in the indomitable tradition of Egypt’s Pharoahs, the club refuses to give up and has gone virtual instead. In fact, we’re throwing a party. . . the Cairo Cat Party!”

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But apart from the Championship and Premiership classes, into which I entered Izaak, Lorelai and Dashiell, there were some fun classes, including this: Pose Like Bast! Show your cat in her best Egyptian Costume – 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. Photo only.”

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Well…of course I had to enter Jacoby in his Egyptian crown and necklace! Jake’s entry is a spectators’ choice, with voting starting tomorrow at $1 USD per vote. You can vote for Jake here.

Aby-a-Day – 13 September 2020: Nemo’s Virtual Cat Show (Cat Show Sunday)

Today was the New England Meow Unit‘s Virtual Cat Show. I entered everyone, including Alfred, Angel (as a Household Pet), and Logan (in the Rainbow Bridge class). Because it was the Nemo show, of course there was a costume contest, and I entered a few different outfits…and finally won with our Marilyn Monroe and JakeFK costumes. Okay, it was Third Place, but still.

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Meg and Drooley got 4th Place as the Unknown Comic and his cat!

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Jacoby placed 7th in the Rainbow Bridge class.

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And now for the actual judging classes. Izaak was 15th Best Cat in Championship in Teresa Sweeney’s “ring.” You know, this is actually my first CFA final with a Championship cat! All my other show cats were Premiers.

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Speaking of Premiers…Dashiell did the best of everyone, placing 6th Best in Premiership in Allan Raymond’s ring.

You can see all the finals on Nemo’s YouTube channel. Each one is pretty long, so clear yourself some time (or fast forward through it, that works too). Oh, and it’s pretty cool that my artwork is all over this show, too.

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 – 23 November: “Who’s a pretty bird? WHO’S a pretty bird?” (Friday Fashion Flashback)

Facebook, in its infinite algorithmic wisdom, reminded me this morning of Jacoby’s invitation to be Cat of the Year at the famed Westchester Cat Show and the fashion show where Jake first wore his fabulous Turkey costume.

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Hard to believe that it’s been FIVE YEARS since then! So much has happened since then!

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Jake clearly thought he looked amazing in his festive outfit.

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The beautiful cat costume, made by Golden CouturePet, was only meant to be a loaner for the fashion show…

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…But it seemed to be custom-made for Jake. The minute he put it on, it was his. The creator agreed and gave it to Jake as a gift because it suited him so very well.

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Jake being named Cat of the Year was such an incredible honour.

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We will never forget it.

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And we have this sparkly confection of a costume to remember it by. Thank you, Westchester Feline Club!

Aby-a-Day – 1 November: Happy Halloween 2018

Yesterday, of course, was Halloween. We haven’t had a Halloween dress-up party Chez Hellqvist since…well, since before we were Chez Hellqvist.

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So we dressed up this year. First up was Izaak, wearing the infamous “Honey Pie” costume. Let’s just say…he’s not a natural.

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He had a hard time with the hat in particular.

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And then he was very distracted by his hair.

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…Almost…

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In the end, he managed to get a couple of awesome shots, though.

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Next up was Lorelai. No real costume for her, just a pretty dress and a blonde wig.

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Rory had as hard a time with her wig as Zak did with his hat/wig combo.

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It would have looked cuter on her if she’d have stopped making faces.

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She didn’t mind the dress, though. Just the wig.

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Next we had Alfred, wearing Jacoby’s cowboy outfit.

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Given how hard it was to get him to wear his Red Sox outfit, I was pleasantly surprised at how well he wore this costume.

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He had a little trouble with the hat at first, but ended up rocking the western look.

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Jake, of course, has so many outfits to choose from; apart from the dresses, they’re basically all his. After going through them, I thought it would be fun to reprise his doctor’s scrubs outfit.

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It took him a second to remember how to wear the cap.

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His ears aren’t really airplane-angry. It’s just the hat’s elastic that makes them look like that.

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Last, but not least, we have Angel. Who, of course, wore her pirate’s costume.

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Which she wore like a boss. Of course, she pretty much only ever wears this costume and no other, while Jake wore one he han’t done in years, and the younger cats had never worn a costume at all.

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It’s not often that Angel is the best poser of the bunch…but there’s a first time for everything!

Aby-a-Day – 10 September: There ain’t no party like a South Boston party, ‘cos a Southie party don’t stop! (Medical Monday)

Last week, we went to the South Boston Animal Hospital’s grand opening party at their new 9 West Broadway location…the building I used to live in.

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After Jacoby and I toured the medical facilities, we went to check out the new exam rooms. At the old location, there were only two rooms…I don’t remember how many are at the new place, but it’s at least double that.

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One room was set up as a photo room, with decorations and props, and guests were invited to use them and take photos. As you can see, there was a luau theme. So we started with the lei, and shot a few poses…

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…before adding the grass skirt.

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Jake wasn’t sure about that bit.

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Okay, Jake, we’ll take it off and move on.

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In the new location, there were exam rooms specifically for cats! No dogs allowed.

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In one exam room, there was a rocking cardboard scratcher.

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I didn’t think Jake would go for it at all, but he surprised me. He ROCKED that thing!

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Then he noticed the mechanical mouse-in-the-cheese toy.

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The yellow plastic mouse would pop out of the white plastic cheese wedge at random.

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Apparently not randomly enough for our Jake.

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“When the bloody hell is this sodding thing going to pop out?”

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And then, finally…

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“Well, that wasn’t worth all the excitement, now was it?” No, Jake…and welcome to about half the TV shows I watch.

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Next we encountered a good, old-fashioned scratching post.

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Finally, a toy I can relate to! Thought Jake.

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“Oh, scratching post…you understand me.”

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In another exam room, there was a catch-the-string machine.

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Despite having a similar toy at home that has, the entire length of its career, been completely and utterly ignored.

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Oh, but downstairs, it’s the Best. Toy. Ever.

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And you know when we went back upstairs the toy we have? Totally ignored.

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But no playtesting session of the exam rooms would be complete without a bit of a schmooze with the vet.

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Jake and Dr. Natalie really did have a connection.

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I know I miss her…I wonder if Jake does, too?

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At the snacks table, there was, of course, ham…and Jake did get a bit.

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He handled it extremely awkwardly, but he got some ham.

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Finally, I just have to share this lovely painting of a white cat and a martini. It reminded me of Kylie.

Aby-a-Day – December 11: Angel’s third Christmas (Friday Fashion Flashback)

Last week, I shared Angel’s second Christmas, where she modelled her first Christmas outfit.

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However, that year, we put up a tree and a few little things, but it wasn’t as festive as it could have been.

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Angel’s third Christmas, however…

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That was very Christmassy, and I pulled out all my decorations.

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Some of which Angel probably liked more than others…

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Still, despite having a somewhat difficult start, Angel is still all Aby when it comes to modelling outfits. Not as good as Jacoby, perhaps, but she’s a good sport.

Aby-a-Day – November 27: Glorious Plumage (Friday Fashion Flashback)

It’s hard to believe that it’s been two years since Jacoby and I went to the Westchester Cat Show!

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And the wonderful Thanksgiving turkey outfit that Jake wore at the Fashion Show has become a part of our Thanksgiving tradition.

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The beautiful cat costume, made by Golden CouturePet, seemed to be custom-made for Jake. The minute he put it on, it was his.

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Talk about owning a look!

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Jake is definitely runway material.

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Oh, and don’t think for a second that he doesn’t know it. He’s very self-aware.

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Of course, the very best thing about the Westchester show was the fact that Jake was named Cat of the Year…that’s just such an amazing honour, I still haven’t quite gotten over it.

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Sadly, The Westchester Cat Club lost their usual venue this year and had to hold the show in August this year instead of the usual November. This was their 40th year…I hope the tradition continues!

Aby-a-Day – October 29: National Cat Day

Today is National Cat Day!

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According to the National Cat Day website, this holiday was canonised 10 years ago, in 2005, “to help galvanize the public to recognize the number of cats that need to be rescued each year and also to encourage cat lovers to celebrate the cat(s) in their life for the unconditional love and companionship they bestow upon us.” So let’s toast our bond with our feline buddies with a treat!

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What do you think, Jake from State Farm? Would you like a treat for National Cat Day?

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I guess that’s a yes.

Aby-a-Day – October 19: Just hanging out at the show (Miniature Monday)

I brought the Jake ball-jointed doll made by Ana Vonborowsky to the NEMO show. You saw him with judge Carla Bizzell last week.

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He also hung out in Jacoby’s benching cage when Jake was up in a ring so the spectators wouldn’t have to look at an empty cat bed.

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The rest of the time, he was on top of the cage with Findus, a little kitty from Sweden.

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But, best of all, he got to spend some quality time with the illustrious Jake from State Farm!

Aby-a-Day – October 18: “What are you wearing, Jake from State Farm” (Selfie Sunday)

While at the NEMO show last weekend, I had to take a couple of selfies with the famous Jake from State Farm.

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And of course, Jacoby obliged me, as he always does.

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Well, he mostly obliged me. But in this one you can really see the little State Farm pin I found for Jake to wear on the collar of his polo shirt.

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Here you can see Jake’s infamous khakis.

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Okay, so this one isn’t exactly a selfie…but you can really see our costumes and my prop cordless landline phone. Not only was this one of my most perfect costumes…but it was also the most comfortable!

Aby-a-Day – October 16: NEMO’s Infamous Costume Contest (Fashion Friday)

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“Who are you talking to?”
“That sounds like a really good deal…uh, it’s Jake, from State Farm.”

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“Jake, from State Farm, at three in the morning?! Who is this?”
“It’s Jake, from State Farm.”

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“What are you wearing, ‘Jake from State Farm’?”

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“Uhhh…Khakis…”

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“Well, she sounds hideous.”
“Well, she’s a cat, so…”

In case you haven’t seen the original commercial…I’ve been wanting to do this since I came up with my April Fool’s image back in 2012:

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But honestly, all the costumes this year were clever. We also had…

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…Homer Simpson and a donut…

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…Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf…

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…My friend Charlotte and her tortie Colorpoint Shorthair Arwen as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (last year, they along with Charlotte’s cream-point, were Galadriel, Legolas and Arwen from The Lord of the Rings).

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My friends Bob and Iris were Robin Hood and Maid Marian, along with Harold, a deer from Sherwood Forest.

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This little girl was a princess, and her shaded Persian was her Prince Charming.

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And last, but not least, we had a Harley biker gang.

And the winners were…

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Charlotte and Arwen as Fred and Ginger! And in second place…

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Jake! From State Farm!

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Charlotte and I were both thrilled to have won, having entered all three years with what were (according to other people and not just ourselves) ingenious and well-done costumes. As I told Charlotte, our victory wasn’t just this year’s costumes; like figure skating, our scores were based on our historical performance as well as the current one.

I’ll miss this contest when we move to Sweden, but FaceTiming with Björn while at the show gave me a brilliant idea. At the next show, I’ll FaceTime in during the contest, and I’ll be one of the judges!

Aby-a-Day – October 2: It’s time for NEMO’s Costume Contest again! (Fashion Friday Flashback)

Next weekend, Jacoby and I are going back to Sturbridge, MA to enter The New England Meow Outfit’s third annual CFA show. As always, the best and most fun feature of this show is the cat-human team costume contest.

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At last year’s show, Jake and I went all out: I was Marilyn Monroe, and Jake was President John F. Kennedy.

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We had a lot of fun with that combination. I worked hard to come up with the quintessential Marilyn ensemble, researching how her makeup was done and rewatching the famous “Happy Birthday Mr. President” video.

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I could barely walk in those shoes!

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Even with all that preparation, we still didn’t win the competition, which shows you how good the other costumes entered are!

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At NEMO’s first show, Jake and I actually wore three different outfits. We started out the morning as ancient Egyptians.

At NEMO’s first show, Jake and I actually wore three different outfits.

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Then, we changed into Nellie and Billis from South Pacific to perform “Honey Bun.”

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Finally, our entry for the contest: A sushi waitress and, well, sushi. In retrospect, we should have gone with Honey Bun.

And what will we do for this year’s contest? Well…you’ll see. Jake, to his dismay, will need to wear pants again for this one. But as for me, while I’ll still need to wear a wig, and I’ll need to carry a prop, I won’t need to wear any makeup, and I’ll be able to walk in my shoes this year!

Aby-a-Day – September 3: Wordless Wednesday (Joan Bernstein’s Costume Contest Photos)

(Source)

Aby-a-Day – August 29: The NEMO Costume Contest (Fashion Friday)

NEMO is actually becoming famous for its costume contest – which is a good thing.


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Not only was a photo of Jacoby and I featured in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, but our friend Linda told me that she came back to the show this year just because she had so much fun entering the costume contest last year.

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And I’m pretty sure she’d been working on her costume since last October, too. It was awsome.

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Linda was General George E. Pickett, wounded confederate soldier, and Pippi was Clara Barton, wartime nurse.

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They. Were. Incredible. Seriously. I’m so entrenched in the realm of pop culture that something like a Civil War general would just never occur to me.

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Linda also pays incredible attention to detail. Her crutch was a tree branch with sheep’s wool wrapped around the top. But everyone really stepped up their game this year.

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Amelia and Timbuka the Burmese dressed as Hiccup and Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon.

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I wish you could see it better in this photo, but Timbuka has a little tailflap thing tied to his tail. And he kept it on through the entire contest, too.

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Amelia’s mom, Stacie, dressed as Little Bo Peep with Bella the Burmese as her sheep.

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I didn’t get this family’s name, but they, along with their HHP and their Ocicat, dressed as a family vet clinic.

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My friend Charlotte was awesome, too. She was Galadriel, while her two Siamese Colorpoint Shorthairs Phoenix (the cream-point) was Legolas and Arwen (the tortie-point) was, well, Arwen. Charlotte had a stroller for the two of them, and she even dressed that up to match!

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Arwen had a little headdress and a gorgeous blue gown. Legolas had a little tiny bow and quiver full of arrows.

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They looked awesome.

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Iris and Harold didn’t enter (they were the emcees), but Iris was a Native American and Harold (a Siberian) was an early crosser of the Bering Land Bridge. Our costumes aren’t only clever, they’re educational!

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As you can imagine, the competition was pretty stiff. I don’t know how the two judges ever made up their minds. Linda and Pippi took second place, and the winner was…

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Geri and Little Miss Muffet the Himilayan! They were dressed as a cocktail and a can of beer. Geri won last year, too, with a different Persian as Harry Potter and Hedwig the owl.

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Jake and I are already brainstorming what we’re going to do for next year’s contest, and I’m pretty sure everyone else is, too! Not sure what I’ll do to top Marilyn, though…

Aby-a-Day – August 26: “This tiger has other ideas” (Cartoon Tuesday)

I’m not really old enough to make this joke, but I’m a sucker for Cold War jokes and I thought it would be fun to draw.

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Of course, this is is a riff on Jacoby’s JFK costume at the NEMO show this past weekend, and what might have happened had there been a Russian Blue there…as someone (Gary Larson?) once said, as long as one person gets the joke, I’m happy. Wish I’d thought of the Havana Brown Missle Crisis before I’d done the cartoon, though…

(Krushcat is saying “Support by United States rulers is rather in the nature of the support that the rope gives to a hanged man,” in case you were wondering……and the litter box says “We will bury you”…)

(Click cartoon to embiggen, or you can view all cartoons in Slideshow mode on Flickr.)

Aby-a-Day – August 24: “Happy birthday, Mr. President”

This weekend was our NEMO CFA show. Jacoby did quite well: he made five finals! He got 10th Best Shorthair in Premiership (twice), 7th Best Shorthair in Premiership, 2nd Best Shorthair in Premiership, and 2nd Best Allbreed in Premiership!

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But as last year, the best part was the costume contest. Towards the end of the Seacoast show last May, Meg, our friend Todd and I were brainstorming ideas for Jake’s and my costume. Todd said it needed to be amazing to win, and it needed to be something new. I mentioned Jake’s “Don Draper” suit and said we needed to come up with something to go with that.

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And then it hit me. With his suit, Jake could be JFK…and I could be…Marilyn Monroe!

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So that’s what we did. If JakeFK looks a little upset in some of these photos, it’s because he’s very concerned about the Havana Brown Missile Crisis.

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It’s really late, and I’m really tired…and I have about 1,000 photos to go through that I took this weekend, so I’ll have a more complete report on the show and the costume contest later in the week.

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But I knew you all were dying to see what we wore, so here we are.

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As great as our costume was, there were a lot of great costumes this time. Everyone really stepped up their game this year. Our friends Linda and Pippi the Somali (Gomez and Morticia last year) were Clara Barton (Pippi) and Gen. George Pickett (Linda); there was also Little Bo Peep and her sheep, Hiccup and Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon, Galadriel, Arwen and Legolas, a family veterinary clinic and a beer can of Meow Light.

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Jake and I didn’t actually win…but I got a lot of complements on our costume. I have to thank my friend Leza, for sewing the dress…it not only looked great, but it also was comfortable enough to wear to a cat show. I wish I could say the same for those shoes! Now to start planning for next year’s costumes…

Aby-a-Day – August 22: NEMO Costume Contest (Fashion Friday Flashback)

The NEMO Cat Club show is this weekend (Jacoby and I are actually in Sturbridge tonight, setting up), and of course we will be having another costume contest. It will be on Sunday, not Saturday, and Jake and I are only going to wear one costume (well…maybe two) this year – but that one will be a doozy!

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Last year, we wore three different outfits. We started out with our Egyptian outfit.

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Jake likes that one so much he can even sleep in it!

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Then we switched to our “South Pacific” ensemble.

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For the actual contest, however, we went with the “sushi combo”…which in retrospect may not have been the strongest choice.

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The competition was wicked fierce!

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I mean, there was Meg and Fire as Rastafarians (complete with nickel bag of catnip)…

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…And Dante Mooner and Marsha as a witch and his cat…

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…And my favourite, Linda and Pippi (a Somali!) as Gomez and Morticia Addams! And as great as those all were, none of them actually took home the prize. The two winners were…

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Iris as Queen Marie Antoinette with her Turkish Angora…

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and Geri as Harry Potter with Hedwig the owl!

Jake and I didn’t win last year…but as I’ve said, we have a great costume idea for this year . I hope to get some great photos of that, because I can’t wait to see them! If you’re in Western Massachusetts this weekend, stop by on Sunday and see the show – and the costume contest – for yourself! Tell ’em Jakey sent you!

Aby-a-Day – We have a winner! (Fashion Friday)

There were a few entries in the “What should Jake Wear?” contest. I have to admit, many of the suggested outfits were awesome…so awesome, in fact, that Jacoby already has them!

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Bluemoonalone commented, “I would like to see him dressed as a Biker with a leather jacket, little boots and a Biker hat..He would be so cool..”

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Maaike thought he would look “dapper” in something our friend Julie made (and Toki modeled)…but of course, Jake already has a top hat she made!

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Lori said, “I could also see Jake as a doctor complete with white jacket, stethoscope, prescription pad, and so forth. ‘Tell me where it hurts!'” And Brenda wanted to see Jake as Peter Pan…but ever since Peter Pan was portrayed on Once Upon a Time, well…Pan scares me!

Kim suggested a red onesie…which Jake doesn’t already have, but she already ordered – and received – one of their Aby shirts! So, who wins the Abyssinian Cat Star T-Shirt from Poutine Press?

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Saritarian commented, “Since Jake is a stoic leader whose curiosity for the world knows no bounds, I would love to see him dressed up as George Washington in Leutze’s painting ‘Washington Crossing the Delaware.’ I *know* he could pull it off perfectly!” And that not only cracked me up (literally, I started giggling out loud when I read it), but I had to see what it looked like, so…congratulations, Saritarian! Shoot me an email and I’ll get you hooked up with Simon and Sarah.