Aby-a-Day – 21 Juni: Who wore it best? (Fashion Friday Flashback)

Glad Midsommar, allihopa! It’s all downhill from here…

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Today is the greatest Swedish holiday apart from Jul, the day when we get the longest day and the latest sunset, and in a country known for winter, this is a big deal. When I posted about Midsommar last year, I included photos of Jacoby wearing the traditional flower crown.

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I recently found the floral crown again (it had fallen behind some books) this spring. I was thinking Jake could model it again, perhaps outside…but obviously that can’t happen. So I decided to try it on everyone else, and see who, potentially, could be my next hat model. I started with Angel.

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After all, Angel does have hat wearing experience.

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She wasn’t in the mood today…

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…this is the best I could get from her.

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So, Alfred, how are you at wearing a flower crown? You are a native born Swede, after all…this should be natural for you!

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Er…Where are you going?

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Oh, you think the top of the balcony tree is a better background?

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You may be right. Okay, give me looking off into the distance.

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Great! Now give me sensitive and thoughtful.

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Awesome! And now…give me the money shot!

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Perfect!

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Okay. Let’s try the other Swedish Aby. Lorelai, your turn.

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Once again, without the crazy eyes?

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Okay…better. But let’s keep going…

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Demure…demure is good…or it would be if you weren’t so frowny.

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There you go! That’s perfect!

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And, now…let’s see how the Polish contestant does. Here you go, Izaak.

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Oooookay…could you sit up, please?

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And could you lose the attitude?

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That’s a little better…keep going…

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…better…

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Okay Zak, now you just look like a Tribble with flowers.

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And…yeah, I think that’s the best we’re gonna get from you today. Thank you!

So, who wore the Midsommer flower crown best?

Aby-a-Day – 17 Mars: The return of the Silly Shamrock Hat (Silly Sunday)

You may remember that silly Guinness St. Patrick’s Day floppy hat I posed Alfred, Logan and Jacoby with last year?

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Well, it’s baaaaaaaaack!

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Freddy was a lot less intimidated by the hat this year than he was the first time.

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Rory was…

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…not impressed, shall we say.

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…Izaak, on the other hand…

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…Zak really seemed to have fun with it.

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It actually has a lining in it so it will fit on a person’s head, but if that wasn’t there, Zak would have gone all the way inside it.

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Zak playing with the hat renewed Rory’s interest in it…a little.

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But ultimately she just left it to Zak and found something else to play with.

Aby-a-Day – 24 December: Julafton and Kalle Anka

It’s hard to describe how important watching Kalle Anka (Donald Duck) at 3pm on Christmas Eve is in Sweden.

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Jacoby…seriously. It’s a big deal. Go sit down and watch.

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That’s better.

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Having experienced four Swedish Julaftons now, I can attest. Donald Duck and Christmas are a thing.

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The annual broadcast, shown in Sweden since 1959 consists of Jiminy Cricket presenting about a dozen Disney cartoons from the 1930s to the 1960s, only a couple of which have anything to do with Christmas. There are “Silly Symphonies” shorts and clips from films like Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and The Jungle Book. The special is pretty much the same every year, except for the live introduction by a Swedish host and the addition of one new snippet from the latest Disney-produced movie (This year, it was a scene from Wreck-It Ralph Breaks the Internet and a scene from The Incredibles II).

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The first year we lived here, we went to Jönköping and watched it at Björn’s mom’s house. We have done that every year…until this year. In a manner of speaking, Jake spent Christmas at Björn’s mom’s house before he even lived here.

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This year, we had Julafton and watched Kalle Anka at home in Skövde.

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But it was hard to not think of the Juls we had spent at Björn’s mom’s house. That defined Christmas in Sweden to me…and Christmas in general to Björn.

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We did miss Björn’s mom’s Christmas tree, decorated with hand-cut paper hearts.

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And also the weird straw pig that lived underneath the tree.

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Björn’s mom also had this display of her collection of Dala horses. Jake tried to fit in.

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“Ugh…these guys are a bunch of stiffs!”

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Like his mini-me, Jake posed with the row of Tomten, too.

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This Julafton was wonderful…but I miss the holiday in Jönköping.

Aby-a-Day – 23 December: “Momma, don’t make me wear that old thing again…I got them ugly sweater blues” (Silly Sunday)

If you’re a regular follower of this blog, you know that one of our holiday traditions is dressing up the cats. This year is no different. Especially since I have this little red dress with a plaid skirt that I knew would be just perfect for Lorelai.

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And I was right. She rocked it.

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…And then she went off to fight with Izaak, still wearing the dress…like the tomboy she is (She won, too).

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Jacoby, of course, put on his Santa sweater and Mistletoe Hat like the pro that he is.

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He gave me all his best poses.

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I love him so much. Good old stable, reliable Jake.

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What would I do without him?

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Angel, too, is no stranger to the annual holiday dress-up routine.

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She’s not quite the show-off Jake is, but she knows how to pose. Her ears aren’t really mad, though. That’s just the elastic on the hat.

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She also knows that if she gives me a few good poses, I’ll take off the stuff and let her go.

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Alfred didn’t get dressed up last year, so this was his first experience with our tradition.

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It took him a second to really get the hang of it.

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But he soon realised it really wasn’t all that bad. In fact, it was kind of fun!

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“Freddy the Elf…what’s your favourite colour?”

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Zak got to wear the infamous Christmas Tree Costume.

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He…was less than thrilled.

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He decided he wanted to leave.

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I tried to tell him that trees have roots and can’t move, but he wasn’t having any of it.

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Logan also wore the tree costume last year.

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Who do you think wore it better?

Aby-a-Day – 7 December: “I joined the Navy to see the world…what did I see? I saw the sea” (Fashion Friday)

When I first moved to Sweden, I found a Baltic pet life jacket at a second-hand shop. Björn’s brother has a boat, so who knows? Jacoby might go on a boating trip some day. Besides, it was too good a deal to pass up. In pet shops, these vests are at least 200kr (about $22), but I got this one, in perfect shape, for 25kr (about $2.75).

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Not only that, but it’s a perfect fit, and Jake rocks it.

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He knows how good he looks in it, too.

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That feel when you know you’re spectacular.

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Then Björn got the idea to put a little sailor’s hat on Jake to finish the outfit.

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Which, of course, Jake wore with panache.

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If anything, he was even prouder of himself than he was before!

Aby-a-Day – 23 June: Små grodorna, små grodorna är lustiga att se (Swedish Saturday)

Yesterday, Sweden celebrated Midsommar, the second biggest holiday after Jul (Christmas), on par with the States’ Thanksgiving in terms of gathering together and feasting. The Nordic countries love their solstice celebrations.

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Swedish Midsommar is celebrated on the Friday nearest the Summer Solstice. It has varied origins, much like Christmas, but mainly comes from pagan rites. It has a lot to do with Freya and Freyr and the worshipping of fertility and a rich harvest during the Viking age (The fact that many Swedes, including both Björn and Kalle, have March birthdays may or may not have anything to do with all that fertility worshipping). Traditions include erecting a leaf-and-flower covered midsommarstång (or majstång – maypole), which Swedes dance around (this post’s title comes from the “Frog Dance” song, which involves hopping like a frog and croaking. There’s also a verse about pigs).

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Traditional foods eaten at Midsommar include lax (salmon), boiled new potatoes, sill (herring) and strawberries. People also have barbecues and dinner parties. And they drink (it’s best to get to the alcohol stores early before Midsommar, because the lines can get wicked long and they can run out of your favourites,

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Beer, wine and especially snaps (something like aquavit) are the beverages of choice. There are several nubbevisor (drinking songs) which are often based on popular tunes with the lyrics changed to booze- and food-related themes.

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Ironically for a summer celebration, the weather is almost always cloudy and/or rainy. My first Midsommar was sunny and bright, but the last two were grey. Yesterday was overcast all day…but of course today the sky is blue without a cloud to be seen. Perfect hangover weather.

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Another tradition is to wear a wreath of flowers on your head.

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Usually you see women wearing them, but men can wear a flower crown, too. The wreaths can be made using real wildflowers or silk flowers, and of course you can buy them ready-made in stores.

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I made this one for Jacoby for our first Midsommar, which happened about a week after we arrived here. As you can see, he rocked it.

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Treats may or may not have been involved in the making of this post.

Aby-a-Day – 17 March: My goodness, my Guinness (Silly Saturday)

At this local pub we go to for book club meetings and the occasional pub quiz was festooned with these silly Guinness pint glass St. Patrick’s Day floppy hats when we were there last Thursday. Of course, we had to snag one to show the LunaTicks. It turned out to be just the boys…Angel, sagely, made herself scarce.

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Logan was in his favourite brown nest bed and I couldn’t drag him out just for some silly photos. So, I just put the hat on his bed. I think he liked it.

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When Alfred came into the room, I moved the hat to our tree stump cat tree.

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He was actually a little afraid of it.

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He’s usually so brash and fearless, it was highly amusing to watch him be so wary of a new thing.

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I tossed it on the floor, and I think for a second he wondered if it was alive.

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He examined it thoroughly, inside…

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…and out.

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Then I did that slightly mean thing that all cat people do…I made the “Pssssst! sound and he jumped back.

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Which actually might be a good thing. Maybe I can put it on places I don’t want him to go.

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Jacoby, on the other hand, was unfazed…or should I say, unfezed?

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This is Jake’s 8th St. Patrick’s Day, of course, and he used to live at Ground Zero for the legendary Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade. I guess it’s all old hat to him.

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Meanwhile, Logan came out of his bed and joined us on the sofa. I came up for a different way for him to “wear” the hat.

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I’m not sure if he liked it or not. With that face, it’s hard to tell sometimes.

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Okay, then. Guess he didn’t like it. Well, St. Patty’s Day isn’t really a thing in Sweden anyway, apart from some bars.