Aby-a-Day – 29 November: De-Frosty the Snow Cat (Thursday Things)

Since it’s gotten colder outside, we’ve been able to store food outside on the balcony. Last night, we used that to our advantage and defrosted our freezer.

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Not without help, of course. All the cats were there, of course, because they know food is involved with the big white cold box in the kitchen, but only one thought it would be a good idea to hop inside.

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I wonder what he’s going to do when he sees snow for the first time.

Aby-a-Day- 22 November: Happy Thanksgiving, or, as we call it in Sweden, “Thursday”

Today is Thanksgiving back in the States, but we actually had our “Thanksgiving” dinner last Thursday.

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The reason for this is more utilitarian than anything else. Since last year, I have wanted to cook a goose. In Sweden, geese are traditionally cooked for St. Martin’s Day, celebrated on 10 November. I didn’t know this last year when I first saw whole geese in the shops last year…I wanted to get one for Christmas, but by the time I was ready to buy one, they were nowhere to be found! Because they are only available in early November.

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This year, I was on full alert for geese, checking all the stores for geese. And I found them at two stores. I snagged a better deal than the above for the one we had for our early Thanksgiving, but Björn (who works at the same mall that the supermarket I took that photo at is in) got a second one we froze for a third of the price. But for the first one, I wanted to cook it fresh, not frozen, and the use-by date was the 15th…so, we decided to have Thanksgiving a week early.

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I have cooked whole chickens, turkeys, pheasants and ducks, but never a goose. I followed my usual Chinese-style, boiling-water-to-tighten-the-skin trick, and I even found a kick-ass Asian-style roast goose recipe.

The thing to keep in mind, here, is that the goose weighed 5kg. Of our five cats, the one who weighs the closest to that is Alfred, who, the last time I weighed them all, came in at 4.7kg. Yep, that’s right…Freddy officially weighs more than Jacoby!

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None of the cats was the least bit intimidated by food that weighed more than they did.

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Freddy even tried to take a bite!

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Lorelai is our smallest cat – smaller even than Izaak! She only weighed 2.4kg the last time I weighed them. She was very impressed with the goose.

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Another trick I use when cooking birds is to start cooking it breast down (upside-down from the way people usually roast a turkey). This way, the juices run DOWN into the breast and keeps it moist. Then for the last hour, the bird is flipped over so the breast can brown. Goose cooks a lot faster than turkey, though, which I was not expecting. I’ll know better next time.

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Zak was very interested in the cooked goose.

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So was Jake.

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Cheeky bugger actually licked it!

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I don’t cook my birds with stuffing per se, but I do stuff the inside cavity with ginger, garlic, scallions, and, for this particular recipe, orange wedges. It adds flavour to the meat from the inside. I also boil them down with the carcass when I make stock, which makes for very tasty soups.

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The meat inside is so much richer and more flavourful than turkey…but overall, it seems there is less edible meat per kilo than a similar-sized turkey. All in all, an interesting exercise. I can’t wait to try it again!

Aby-a-Day – 8 November: We’ll be right here if you need us…(Thursday Things)

A life with Abyssinians (and Singapuras) is a life of being “helped.” All. The. Time.

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Kalle is making toast with cheese. With enthusiastic help from Lorelai and Izaak. Very enthusiastic help.

Aby-a-Day – 8 August: Wordless Wednesday (Imma just help you pack, k?)

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Aby-a-Day – 2 August: Catatouille (Thursday Things)

As I have mentioned in previous posts, Lorelai is a confirmed shoulder cat.

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She has also declared herself to be a dedicated sous-chef.

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She loves to “help” Björn when he is making our dinner. She usually jumps onto his back from the countertop behind him.

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She’s actually usually pretty good at keeping her paws to herself…I guess it’s harder to balance when you’re trying to swipe food.

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Izaak also likes to “help” in the kitchen.

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He just prefers to supervise from the ground.

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All in all, Rory and Björn make a good cooking team.

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Is that a kiss, or are you seeing if there’s any traces of food on his mouth, Rory?

Aby-a-Day – 30 July: Mars Liv 1980’s bronze cat statues (Miniature Monday)

One day Björn and I were at one of our favourite second-hand stores, and we came across three very interesting bronze cat statues from the 1980’s. The detail was rather marvelous on them, and they were quite solid. Of course, I couldn’t leave them behind. All three are signed by Magnus G:son Liedholm, who, we discovered, is well-known Swedish metal artist.

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All of the cats have “MARS LIV” and a year on a separate bronze plate. The oldest is dated 1985 and is a rather plain standing cat.

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The next one, dated 1986, is a stretching cat.

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I love that the two front paws are not together.

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My favourite is the third statue, dated 1988, with a cat rolling playfully onto its back. I love the one paw in the air!

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No matter how hard we Googled, we could not find out what “Mars Liv” is or was. But we did discover that there is at least one other statue out there, a sitting cat with several kittens (?) inside. It also appears that they used the same cats for different years and also multiple cats for the same years; we found the standing cat also dated ’83 and ’84, the lying cat dated ’84, and the stretching cat dated ’85. I wish I could discover what they were made to commemorate, because they are just so wonderful.

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But you knew I couldn’t get through a post without a little help…

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Oh, hello, Lorelai.

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What would I ever do without you, Rory?

Aby-a-Day – 21 May: Playmobil Purrfect Stay Cat Boarding (Miniature Monday)

I know Playmobil has kind of “Poor man’s Lego reputation, but they have got a lot more choices in the cat department. Playmobil Purrfect Stay Cat Boarding set.

Not gonna lie; overall, I prefer Legos. But Playmobil has some interesting pieces, and I have been known to mix Legos and Playmobil pieces in the quest for the perfect Strollercat action figure.

It kind of started when Björn bought me the Playmobil Woman with Cat Family set as a surprise. After that, I dragged out all my other cat pieces and scoured eBay for more.

Then we saw this ad for a contest in Kattliv where the prize was this set. Well, I needed that shiny device! So we found one in a toy store.

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Alfred was eager to help me build it.

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It’s actually a pretty cool set.

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Hauspanther would be proud of all the catification going on up in here. And the detail is fun, too. There are stickers to put on little cans of cat food as labels and a sticker for the litter box that looks like (clean, unused) litter!

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Only one problem: not enough kitties! So I added all the random Playmobil cats I had collected and added them in.

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Like this small cat tree (with carpet stickers for the shelves).

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And these two iterations of Strollercats. The little grey one is, of course, Lorelai.

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This one is my absolute favourite, though. Somewhere along the line I picked up a veterinary set which included this patient, complete with Cone of Shame.

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But the best part is, she even has stitches! I’m not sure which set this goes with; I must have gotten it as a random cat piece on eBay. I can find the cat with stitches as a part of this set, but she hasn’t got the cone or the bed.

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Here’s the house again with the extra cats added in. Much better.

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Oh, wait! Here, let’s add two more cats…

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Suddenly, the poor cat boarding house was attacked by Roryzilla!

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She’s already using her grabby Aby hands to pick things up, as you can see.

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Oh well. At least Freddy didn’t sit on it…

Aby-a-Day – 26 March: Re Ment Pose Skeleton Cat (Miniature Monday)

Personally, I think cat skeletons are kind of cool. You may remember
my roughly life-sized skeleton cat, Os-car I found at CVS one Halloween. So when Björn showed me a picture of Re-Ment’s Pose Skeleton Cat, I had to get one.

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It’s one of those typical cool Japanese toys with tons of special touches. The cat comes with a litter box (I think…it might be a bed), a typical Japanese wand cat toy, and a belled collar. I added a Schleich cat tower and some food and water bowls I had from another set, and it seems that the scale on all of them is roughly the same.

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The amount of detail on this little thing is incredible. The collar has stitching marks and a leather look, and the bell has a seam and the hole at the bottom to let the sound out.

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Of course, when he heard the camera, Jacoby had to come see what I was taking photos of…and why I wasn’t taking photos of him.

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Jake was very curious about the little cat skeleton and tried to pick it up.

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He only succeeded in knocking over the cat tree. Then he wandered off.

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Thanks a lot, Jake!

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It’s really a tiny figure (as you can see compared to Jake’s paw), but it has eight points of articulation (tail, both hips, mid-spine, both shoulders, neck and jaw)! I really adore this little thing.

Aby-a-Day – 1 June: Wordless Wednesday (This is what happened yesterday)

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Aby-a-Day – 16 May: Photographer’s assistant (Hipstamatic Miniature Monday)

When I was taking the photos for last week’s Hipstamatic Miniature Monday, I had a little help.

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Well…perhaps the assistance was somewhat driven by jealousy..?

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But I was taking photos of mini-Jacoby…

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…real Jacoby decided he needed to be involved.

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“Involved” as only an Abyssinian can be.

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Jake had to distract the attention – and my camera – away from his Mini-Me and onto himself.

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Jake, you do realise you’re competing with an inanimate object, right?

Aby-a-Day – 7 April: House wine

I tend to prefer red wine, but when I drink white I prefer Pinot Grigio. I’ve also taken to drinking wine in boxes because it’s lighter, more convenient, and better for the environment! It’s also easier to store.

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Over the weekend I went to pick up some more, and discovered this Original House Wine from Walla Walla, Washington.

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Well, the moment I saw it, I knew this had to happen.

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Because, seriously, what could be better than opening your fridge and seeing Dr. House glaring at you?

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Of course Jacoby helped me.

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If you’re an Abyssinian, you help. It’s what you do.

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(Sounds like an ad for Geico, doesn’t it?)

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Jake approves of my handiwork! Dr. House, on the other hand, thinks I’m an idiot for drinking wine in a box.

Aby-a-Day – 7 March: Makin’ Bacon (Hipstamatic Monday)

I decided to make some more garlic-maple baked bacon…and of course I had help.

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After trimming off all the fat I could, I marinated the bacon in the pureed garlic and maple syrup for two days. Then I spread it out on the baking pan.

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Jacoby really wanted to try some.

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I will share raw meat with him (and Angel) if it’s beef or lamb, but there is no way he’s eating raw bacon.

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This is him sulking after I told him he couldn’t have any.

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Undaunted, he made another attempt.

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I would have thought that the garlic and maple syrup would act as a deterrent…but apparently Abys don’t mind it.

Aby-a-Day – 18 February: Dis iz mah fort. No gurls allowed.

Jacoby has this crazy fascination with the laundry closet.

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Whenever the door is opened, he bolts into the closet and hides behind the washer. I mean, he literally comes running when he hears the door opening.

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And once he goes in there, it’s nearly impossible to get him to come out. Not even treats will dislodge him from his lair.

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I’ve even tried shutting him up in there for a few minutes so he can see how boring it is in there. Apparently, it’s not boring to him. He’ll stay in there as long as he can.

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When he wants to come out, he just pushes the door open if it’s closed. I just don’t understand what he finds so interesting in there. There’s nothing behind the washing machine! What are you doing back there, Jake?

Aby-a-Day – 20 January: Wordless Wednesday (Just TRY to take a photo of something that is not an Aby…)

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Aby-a-Day – December 14: Getting Ready (Miniature Monday)

Mini-Jake loves to help me get ready in the morning!

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He comes into the bathroom with me and helps me put on my make up.

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The nicest thing about his help is…he doesn’t actually get in my way and knock things over the way the real Jacoby does!

Aby-a-Day – November 26: The bird is the word

This year for Thanksgiving, I wanted to try something different, so I cooked a Pheasant instead of the usual Turkey.

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Over the years, I have developed a marvelous and awesome technique for cooking birds of various species. It involves several secrets. The first secret is: Pour boiling water over the bird’s skin. It tightens it up and seals the meat. And do it at least a night before you cook the bird. My second secret is: Even if you aren’t planning to eat it, season the skin. The flavour leaks into the meat. These two I learned from a Chinese duck recipe.

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The third secret is to stuff the bird with onions and garlic cloves. This also flavours the meat – it makes a huge difference! The fourth secret is, start the oven at 500°F (260°C) and then put the bird in and immediately lower it to 325°F (163°C) for the actual baking. It sears the skin. And when you put the the bird into the oven, start out with the breast down, not up (natural, as if the bird was alive posture as opposed to the typical “Thanksgiving turkey” position). The juices will drip down into the breast meat while cooking instead of out into the pan. Trust me…yes, it can be a huge pain to flip the damn bird over halfway through, but it’s worth it.

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And the fifth secret is…Bacon!!! While the bird is cooking breast down, trim the fat off some good bacon, marinate it in maple syrup and garlic (plus any spices you’re in the mood for) and let it sit at room temperature (I recommend the microwave, aka the “cat proof food safe”).

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Of course, one person can do this all alone…but it’s always nice to have some help.

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Jacoby is very helpful!

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I think he’s trying to grab a fork for me here…

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Jake carefully examined the pheasant at the halfway point.

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He also supervised me while I applied the bacon.

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Once all the bacon was placed over the breast, the bird went back into the oven.

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Jake was so excited!

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He sat down next to the oven to wait and enjoy the wonderful smells.

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“Is it ready yet??”

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I think he started to get a little impatient.

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Here’s the pheasant about halfway through the breast-up cooking. I’m also baking the neck with it…this is an old and long-standing tradition of mine. When I was a kid, my mom would always cook the turkey neck and that would be my Thanksgiving preview snack. I always look forward to the neck when I cook a bird.

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“I love you, food-to-be.”

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I’m not sure what Jake’s more annoyed at: Tessie photobombing him, or Tessie stealing his bit of the pheasant neck!

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And here is the finished bird! The bacon was absolutely amazing – this was the first time I’d tried this – and the pheasant turned out wonderfully. This method will also work on a turkey or a chicken, and it should work on a duck…but bacon on a duck may be a little too much fat.

I was documenting my Thanksgiving meal for Björn because we couldn’t celebrate together this year…and it occurred to me that you might want to try my methods out with your Abys! Happy holidays!

Aby-a-Day – October 8: The cat’s in the bag

So Roche Bros. opened a store in Downtown Crossing. This instantly became the easiest place to buy groceries, because it’s only two T stops from our building.

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The last time I went, I forgot to bring any bag with me.

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So I picked up this cool, folding, box-bag thing. I think it’s meant for the trunks of people’s cars. Jacoby clearly thought it was for him.

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So I gave him a little ride in his box-bag.

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As you can see, he hated that.

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Jake just loves to go for rides in things.

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He seemed a little disappointed when I set the box-bag down on the floor and went to put away the groceries I’d bought.

Aby-a-Day – September 30: Wordless Wednesday (A Scanner Darkly)

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Aby-a-Day – September 20: More FaceTime with Björn (Selfie Sunday)

Just TRY to have a FaceTime date with your fiance with an Abyssinian in the house!

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It’s like having a chaperone!

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Yeah, thanks Jacoby. I do have a dad already, you know.

Aby-a-Day – June 25: Light of my life

Abyssinians are just so helpful.

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This is what happens the moment I get out my light table to draw cartoons.

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The thing about this is, it’s an LED light table. It’s not warm at all. Not in the slightest. Absolutely no warmth emanating from its surface whatsoever. He’s just sitting on it to be “helpful.”

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Hi, Jacoby. Yes, I love you too. Now get off.