Aby-a-Day – 21 Januari: Junie-Purr, Bugsie…and StarClan (Thursday Things)

After a day of joy…a day of sadness.

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Dashiell’s sister, Junie-Purr, had a singleton kitten five weeks ago. She was very sick with pneumonia during her pregnancy and needed emergency antibiotics. Then, suddenly, last Friday, Meg found Junie dead in her bed cuddling her kitten. She isn’t sure what caused it, as Junie seemed to be doing better, but she has sent Junie’s body to Tufts Veterinary for a necropsy to find out what happened.

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Yesterday, Bugsie, Dash’s little niece, started refusing to eat.

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Meg cuddled her and kept her warm and tried to get her to eat whilst watching the Inauguration.

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Later in the evening, little Bugsie seemed to be perking up a little. She cuddled Meg and they watched the Inauguration Celebration together. Then they went to bed.

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Unfortunately, this morning, little Bugsie was gone. She just wasn’t strong enough. Meg’s vet says it is likely she was damaged from the strong antibiotics the ER vets had to use to save her mother. Her little gut was not able to handle solid food, and her little bones were soft.

My heart has joined the Thousand, for my friend has stopped running today. Sleep well in Tuonela, dear, sweet Junie, with your beloved kitten Bugsie.

Aby-a-Day – 20 Januari: Wordless Wednesday (History has its eyes on you)

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Aby-a-Day – 17 Januari: Let’s go outside! (Swedish Cinema Sunday)

We went outside with the cats today. Lorelai was the most eager, as usual…

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She has zero fat and thin, sleek fur, but she doesn’t seem to feel the cold at all.

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The boys, on the other hand, kind of hovered by the door.

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Finally, Alfred decided to explore. Seeing as he’s got the most insulation, he should do…

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Our upstairs neighbours were outside sledding. Oksana is always happy to see Freddy.

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He and Rory explored their sleds.

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Eventually, everyone decided they had had enough snow and wanted to go back inside.

I also made a little video of our outing. Enjoy!

Aby-a-Day – 14 Januari: More snow, more fun (Thursday Things)

Since I posted last week, we’ve had a bit more snow here. I took the cats outside again on Tuesday; it was actually rather warm and the snow was perfect and not too wet or icy.

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Lorelai, of course, went pelting off into the whiteness.

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The boys, however, were less enthusiastic (and yes, I made Dashiell come out with us).

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Eventually, Alfred stretched his legs.

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Dash even took a little walk around the building.

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Izaak…was displeased.

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Rory, on the other hand, was playing with the snow.

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She was having so much fun out there.

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One cool thing happened, though. Watching Rory run, I saw some movement in the background. At first I thought it was Freddy, but it was a hare! I wish one of the cats had seen it, though. I’d love to see what their reaction would be!

Aby-a-Day – 11 Januari: Serious cuddle puddle (Hipstamatic Monday)

The other evening there was a pretty serious cuddle puddle going on at the end of the sofa involving Dashiell, Izaak and Lorelai. The whole his was pretty adorable.

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But the absolute cutest thing was Dash’s leg over Zak’s back.

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I mean, isn’t it just the sweetest thing?

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At least, it is until you realise that Dash was probably sleeping on the bed all by himself until Zak wormed his way in there.

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Rory joined them afterwards.

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However it happened, it still makes for some super cute photos.

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All right, Rory…you can go back to sleep now.

Aby-a-Day – 4 Januari: Happy 2nd birthday, Dashiell!

Today is Dashiell’s second birthday, and of course he got the usual cat food cake. He was a lot less intimidated by the flame than he was last year.

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If anything, he was almost too unintimidated. We were afraid he was going to singe his ears!

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We gave him his cake in the bedroom, for two reasons: one, he was already on the bed and he feels secure in there; and two, to protect the other cats from trying to eat his cake before he had a chance to even sniff it (and by “other cats,” I mean Alfred).

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Izaak, however, insisted on being with Dash for moral support. I reckoned that was okay, because Zak doesn’t really like regular wet cat food.

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So Dash got to celebrate with his best friend.

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Zak did check out the food…but once he sniffed it, he retreated, uninterested. Maybe he’ll change his mind in three weeks when it’s his birthday.

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“Oh, well…more for me!”

Aby-a-Day – 3 Januari: Festive fireworks! (Swedish Sunday)

We don’t have organised New Year’s fireworks in Skövde, but that doesn’t stop people from going out and buying them and setting them off. On Thursday night, someone shot a bunch of fireworks off just down our hill. And these were serious fireworks, too! Almost as big as the ones back in Boston! The cats were impressed; I don’t think they’ve seen fireworks this close before. Lorelai was mesmerised by them.

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Dashiell, not surprisingly, was a bit apprehensive.

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Alfred was fascinated by them.

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“Did I really just see that?”

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“Wow! I guess I did see that!”

Aby-a-Day – 31 December 2020: 2020 hindsight (Thursday Things)

So. 2020 is almost over. And what a year it’s been.

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Think about it…one year ago today, would you ever have dreamed of even one of the things that happened? Let alone ALL of them! From the pandemic, to the fires in California, to the rioting and unrest in the cities, to the hurricanes, to the antics of the American “president,” to the absolutely bizarre events following the election…Just because I live in Sweden doesn’t mean that I am not affected by what happens back in the States. I just hope things get better in 2021, with a new President and a Covid vaccine.

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2021 cannot be worse than this year, can it? Let’s hear it for 2020 hindsight!

Aby-a-Day – 29 December 2020: Not throwing away his shot (Cartoon Tuesday)

It’s finished! I finally finished Dashiell Hamilton! It was a real process, too. But as I mentioned last week, I got a new Paperlike screen protector for my iPad, and it makes drawing on the screen so much more natural and organic. In fact, I did most of this in Procreate. Only the last few bits were done in Photoshop.

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And the very first bit. I started with a photo of the suit and a photo of Dash in Photoshop. Then I went to Procreate and did the sketches.

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Getting the suit just right was my biggest challenge. It took five layers to make it look the way I wanted it to. I did two base colour layers in Procreate, and a low-opacity layer of the actual suit (done in Photoshop) to add the sheen and texture. Then the ink layer was moved above the colour layers. Finally, I discovered a lace brush in Procreate, which was perfect for his sleeves and cravat.

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Dash himself was a little easier, because…well, I’ve done more ruddy Abyssinians than I’ve done 18th century emerald-green silk suits. All layers except the top fur texture layer were done on the iPad.

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Put all the layers together, along with the whiskers and a little shadow, and put him onstage…and, finally, history has its eyes on Dash!

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And, just because I can, I saved the video of the whole Procreate process for anyone who’s interested. Click on the above image to watch the magic happen in Flickr.

Aby-a-Day – 27 December 2020: Welcome to the rat race (Cinema Sunday)

We got the cats a remote-controlled rat toy for Christmas. We thought it would be a lot of fun for them.

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It…didn’t go quite as planned.

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I’m not sure if it was the motor noises or the crazy, self-righting wheels, but they seemed a little intimidated by the thing.

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So, Björn got the idea of putting a bit of ham on the back of the rat. Well, that got Alfred’s attention.

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And then the ham fell off.

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And…then Freddy ate the ham. So much for that idea.

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So we stopped the rat to see what they would do when it wasn’t moving.

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Dashiell grabbed it and started dragging it off.

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He was growling as he pulled it along!

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I don’t think any of us saw that coming.

Here’s the video of the whole encounter. I sped it up a little bit, so you may not be able to hear Dash growling.

Aby-a-Day – 15 December 2020: Dashiell Hamilton inked (Cartoon Tuesday)

I finally got the ink layer done on my Dashiell Hamilton drawing.

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But, since I wanted a thin ink line, it’s not very visible, so in Photoshop, I added a stroke to the lines to make it more visible. Now it’s time for colours and textures!

Aby-a-Day – 8 December 2020: Wordless Wednesday (Dashiell is recharging)

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Aby-a-Day – 7 December 2020: What’s the first thing you see in the morning when you wake up? (Hipstamatic

Me, it’s usually a cat.

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Or two.

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Usually, it’s Alfred and Dashiell.

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Many mornings I waked up with my arm around Freddy, like he’s a stuffed animal.

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Dash likes to purr at me, bump his head on my hand, and pat my face with his soft little hands.

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Unfortunately, both these boys are drooly purrers.

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Still, if you have to wake up, I can’t think of a better way to do it.

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Oh, and if you’re wondering where Izaak is, he’s on my legs, under the comforters, licking the insides of my knees.

Aby-a-Day – 5 December 2020: Egyptian virtual cat show results (Cat Show Saturday)

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about entering the Cairo Cat Party virtual cat show. I looked up the results yesterday, and…well, it’s a bit disappointing.

Not only did Jacoby not win the Egyptian costume contest (but a Photoshopped photo made the top three), but only one cat finalled in one ring: Dashiell! He was 14th Best in Premiership in Suki Lee’s virtual ring. You can watch his final on YouTube below:

Aby-a-Day – 29 November 2020: Good morning, Abyssinians! (Selfie Sunday)

Dashiell loves to pat my face and purr when I am in bed in the morning.

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He pats my face with one paw, although I haven’t been able to capture it with my camera. Yet. (Please forgive my face…I just woke up, eh?)

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But there’s more to it than that…

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…here’s Angel on my pillow, leaning on my head. I have stereophonic purring between the pair of them! I just wish Dash wouldn’t drool when he purrs.

Aby-a-Day – 26 November 2020: Sausage party (Thursday Things)

The other day, I went into the bedroom for something, and I discovered all the boys in a pile on the middle of the bed.

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I joked that there was a sausage party going on in our bedroom.

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Then Alfred started to…move.

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Freddy, I don’t need to see any sausages..!

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Completely non-plussed, Freddy carried on with his grooming. I love the expressions on the other two boys’ faces.

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Also, can we all just take a moment to admire Freddy’s grabby hands action?

Aby-a-Day – 25 November 2020: Wordless Wednesday (Catching the blue dot)

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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 – 20 November 2020: Photoshop fun with the professional photos (Photoshop Friday)

I submitted some of the professional photos we had taken at DjurMagazinet to the Facebook group This Cat is PHOTOSHOPPED. I thought they’d have a bit of fun with them, and I was right. I made the one at the top of this post…and here are the rest.

Miguel thought Dashiell belonged on a record album.

Another person said Dash looked “toasty,” and Laurel made him into a marshmallow.

Ashley thought Dash’s tail looked like a knife.

The photo of Lorelai standing up was rather a hit, too. Beatrice thought she looked like one of the mice from Coraline.

Renee turned Rory into a kangaroo.

Tom put Dash and Rory into a scene with Godzilla.

LaLa had Rory playing piano with Tom Jones.

Lita put everyone into a dinosaur scene, and turned Dash into a boss.

Lala turned Alfred, Izaak, Dash and Rory into emperors and an empress.

Beau thought Zak looked like a gargoyle.

And this one is my absolute favourite…but I can’t find who made it. Zak on Ron Swanson’s desk! I love it.

Aby-a-Day – 14 & 15 November 2020: Learning curve (Serious Saturday and Sunday)

Okay, so the new laptop arrived on Friday. I spent the rest of the day and part of yesterday transferring data from the old MacBook Pro to the new one.

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Problem is, I had to upgrade the system. I don’t have a choice; there’s a Magic Keyboard that I don’t think will work with the older software. However, I must say, the thing is wicked cool. The functions you have change depending on which application you’re using. In Facebook, you get predictive text like on the iPhone. Listening to music on iTunes, you have the play, pause and skip functions. And in photo apps, you get controls for whatever you’re doing.

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Also, no need for passwords; there’s a Touch ID button so you can log into everything with your index finger.

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However…I am absolutely bereft without Photoshop. I did everything I could find to work around it…to no avail. I have been using Photoshop since…1997, I think. I can do everything so reflexively…Why, Adobe, why?!

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Well, I absolutely do NOT want to pay $20.99 a month for a subscription. So I’ve been investigating other apps that have very high ratings. I’ve downloaded a couple of trial apps. The first one I tried was Acorn. It is highly rated, especially for Macs, and it’s only $29.99. It’s pretty nice…but I couldn’t figure out how to do simple tone, colour and contrast corrections (the things that are so easy to do in Photoshop). I’ll go back later and play with it. The other one I am trying is Affinity Photo, which is a LOT easier to figure out. It’s much more similar to Photoshop, and it can open .psd files. I can also import all my special brushes into both Acorn and Affinity, which is awesome. It’s $49.99…but it seems worth it (and, okay, it’s a lot less expensive than Photoshop was).

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As a bonus, in learning about these two apps (and another one, Affinity Designer, which looks interesting), I discovered I can also import my brushes into Procreate. That means no more having to finish drawings in Photoshop…I may just be able to do everything on the iPad now.

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Still, I really want Photoshop back. I have a lot of work and research to do in the next ten days.