Aby-a-Day – 1 October: Happy Singapura Day!

On this day in 2014, the Singapura was officially accepted as a breed in FIFe.

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While the Singapura was accepted for registration by the TICA in 1979 for championship competition and accepted in CFA in 1982 as a provisional breed and was granted championship status in 1988, Singas took longer to be accepted in Europe.

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The GCCF (the British cat registry organisation) finally granted Singapuras championship status in June 2005.

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And then, at long last, the Singapuras were accepted by FIFe, Europe’s purebred cat registry.

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Because I have known about Singas – and seen them at CFA shows – since I was in high school (at least 35 years), it’s a bit odd to me that they are a “new” breed here in Europe. In Sweden, Singapuras were registered in Sverak (Sweden’s branch of FIFe) since the early 1980’s, but in all that time, only 355 Singapuras have been registered in Sweden. And, as of right now, Sverak’s newest Singapura is…our Izaak.

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Which makes our little Polish import a special little cat, indeed!

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“Well DUH…of COURSE I’m special! Just look at me!”

Abys are Everywhere – Player’s Cigarettes cat cards

My friend Marsha posted a photo of a reproduction cigarette card featuring an Abyssinian the other day on Facebook. I actually managed to find an image of it in the digital collection of the New York Public Library!

Cigarette cards were the precursor to collectible cards in bubble gum packets, and date back the 1890s, when cigarettes were wrapped in paper packets instead of boxes. Manufacturers began inserting pieces of card to protect the contents, quickly realising that these would be useful for advertising their products. Soon this evolved into sets of cards featuring various things of interest, in the hopes that smokers would want to “collect them all” and continue to buy that brand rather than another.

Usually, they were marketed to men, and so featured sports players, pretty actresses, trains and ships…but there were some animal-themed sets as well, including a 24-card set of different British breeds of cats printed in 1936 by Player’s Cigarettes.

The originals are not dated, but these were reproduced in both 1986 (with blue ink and the Imperial Tobacco Ltd. logo on the corners)…

…and in 1997 (this time with red ink). Therefore they are not hard at all to find, especially from UK sellers on eBay. I got this one for about 80kr (less than $10 USD) including shipping.

Aby-a-Day – 20 May: The iconic Lisa Larson cat (Fashion Friday)

I’ve posted before about the iconic Lisa Larson cats.

Lisa Larson started working at the legendary Gustavsbergs Pottery in 1953. Her mid-century modern design manifested in more ways than just cats, but for some reason it’s her felines that are all over the internet (probably because that’s what the internet is for – cats).

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As a wedding gift, Björn gave me this modern cat figure designed by Lisa Larson. He picked this one because, well, “it looks like an Aby.” Can’t argue with that!

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But my love of Lisa Larson cats goes way back to the first time I saw one in 2000. I had gone on my first trip to Europe, to Amsterdam with people from work, and while they went to a conference, I spent a few days in Holland before skipping off to meet my old penpal Björn and his girlfriend in Sweden.

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I flew in and out of Göteborg, and one of the first places he took me was an antiques shop, where I saw this big kitty! And he is big, too – look at him compared with my hand! He was designed in 1957 for the “Stora Zoo” collection, and at the time he was pretty expensive (I think I paid around $100 USD for him)…and it turns out that he was a pretty savvy purchase!

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In fact, in this photo of me with Björn (the first ever taken of the two of us together), you can see my Stora Katt in the bag I’m holding.

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On that same trip, I picked up three small cats from the “Lilla Zoo” collection, circa 1955. I found them at various thrift shops and flea markets that Björn took me to.

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One of them had an accident when he fell through a hole in the paper bag and crashed to the cement floor. He shattered to bits…but Björn insisted that we pick up all the pieces, and that night he sat down at the table with some glue and did what all the King’s horses and all the King’s men couldn’t do…he put my cat back together again!

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Can you believe he did that?

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I was amazed. I hadn’t actually been carrying him when he dropped (Björn’s girlfriend was), and I was sad that he had broken but there wasn’t much to be done…or so I thought. I was absolutely blown away that he was able to repair the cat so well.

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I think that was when I started my crush on him forreals…

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A year or two later, Björn sent me this tall Lilla Zoo cat because he looked like Patrick

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He has stripes down his back!

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One of my more odd Lisa Larson cats is this Necono Digital Camera! The camera’s website even explains: “Lisa Larson is a world’s famous Swedish ceramist. She lives in the nature with her husband who is also an artist, and continues to produce ceramics even in her 70s. Before Japan learned about the Scandinavian ‘kawaii,’ she had always been teaching us how charming Scandinavian designs were.”

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Similar to how the Japanese appropriated Finland’s Moomins, Japan has embraced Lisa Larson’s cats, especially the cartoonish version of the Stora Katt called “Mikey.”

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Mikey is the star of this camera and matching bag.

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It’s a fun little remote digital camera. Not really sure why a digital camera needed to be cat-shaped, but…

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…Oh, right. Because Japan.

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Another modern usage of Lisa Larson cats is in the form of the typically Scandinavian pedestrian reflector. Born of a combination of the combined Nordic passions for creative design, the love of the outdoors, and safety, the pedestrian reflector is a extremely common thing, seen dangling from the snowsuits of toddlers to the fancy handbags of their grandmothers.

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So of course there are Lisa Larson cat reflectors!

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Finally, I have this Japanese keychain/hanging charm…another gift from Björn, of course…I guess he and these cats will always be intertwined in my memory.

Aby-a-Day – 13 May 2016: Ancestral Abyssinians (Friday Flashback)

This week, The CFA History Project published an article about Sedgemere Peaty, one of the very first Abyssinians.

There is also an article with a fanstastic wealth of photographs about a silver Abyssinian born in 1909 named Quizero Taitou (Or Ouizero…there’s some confusion over whether his name started with an O or a Q; Q makes more sense, though).

What is interesting about Quizero, though is that his father, Aluminium, also sired Ras Dashan, who sired Ras Djibute, whose granddaughter, Woodrooffe Aura was the mother of the famous (Djer-Mer’s) Woodroofe Ras Seyum, from whom Jacoby, along with many modern Abyssinans, are descended.

Ras Seyum was famously featured in the November 1938 issue of National Geographic. How fun to see Jake’s ancestors’ photos!

(Oh and also, while looking for these historical photos, I stumbled upon this article about cat domestication and was flattered to find one of my photos used – and credited! – as an example of a show cat! It was just published on 27 April, so there’s another nice surprise.

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And just for fun, here is a series of photos of Jake doing something he rarely does: Pole dancing! While many cats love to scratch the sisal post on the judge’s table, Jake usually prefers to post majestically. However, in his first ring at Seacoast with Gary Veach, he decided to have a little stretch. Although he does seem a bit bewildered, doesn’t he?

Aby-a-Day – 24 April: Tattoo you (Selfie Sunday)

I have several tattoos, but I wanted to get one to symbolise and commemorate my marriage to Björn. Many years ago, he gave me a silver necklace based on Bronze Age rock art from Sweden with a design of a man and woman kissing. The couple is known as “the Lovers,” “the Bridal Couple” or “the Holy Wedding.” It’s become something of a talisman of ours.

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So on 1 April, I went and got myself another tattoo of it!

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I added a cat-like creature from other rock carvings to the pair…if you look closely, you’ll see that the cat has a darker stripe along its back and a darker tipped tail! Just like an Abyssinian!

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While Björn was here for our wedding and honeymoon, he got a matching tattoo by the same artist, Deirdre at Redemption Tattoo in Cambridge – and she is awesome, by the way. If you need a tattoo and happen to be near Porter Square, look her up.

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Here are both of our tattoos together. Björn’s is about 2/3 the size of mine (I needed to balance out with the octopus on my other shoulder) and is feline-free. We are already planning on a trip to see the original rock carvings, which are conveniently located in Western Sweden, not far from where we will live. If we can, we want to get a photo of our tattoos and the original art…we’ll see how that goes.

Aby-a-Day – 11 April: Fie! (Miniature Monday)

I’ve lived in Boston for 16 years this coming May, but I only just yesterday finally went to the Boston Tea Party Museum. It’s really a lot of fun! I didn’t do the tour this time; my friends Ailsa and Stephanie were in town, and we just did the gift shop and the tea room.

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You can see the building I live in from the museum, which is located in the middle of the Congress Street Bridge. I could see the Tea Party Museum from my building, too, if it were larger!

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The gift shop is pretty elaborate, and they actually sell really good quality items along with the usual tourist stuff.

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They sell the types of tea that were tossed off the boat 16 December 1773.

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Mini-Jacoby was interested in checking out the replica ship.

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“Man the boats! The Wrecking Ball is aboard!”

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They also had these little colonial mice which he found quite interesting.

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After the gift shop, we visited the Tea Room, where you can get scones and other baked goods, sandwiches and soups, hot apple cider (with or without rum)…and, of course, tea.

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On the tables, there are period board games like Shut the Box and Nine Man Morris.

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At our table, we had a Nine Man Morris board with the flag of New England embazoned on it. Mini-Jake wanted to play…but he couldn’t quite move the pieces. I didn’t do the actual tour this visit…I am saving it for next week, when we plan to do not only the tour, but also the Tavern Night dinner.

Aby-a-Day – 18 March: Approaching the Finish Line (Friday Flashback…sort of)

One month from today, on Marathon Monday, Björn and I are getting married (finally!) in Manchester, NH.

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The 18th is a day for us. On 18 March 1992, I responded to that first letter he sent me, which started our 24-year-long friendship. We say that’s when it officially started, because it wasn’t a friendship until I wrote back. Before that, it was just a letter he sent to someone in the States.

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18 June 2014 is when we reconnected and started messaging each other again after a few years of just thinking about each other, but not doing much more than liking the occasional photo on Facebook and sending Christmas cards. 18 June 2015 is the day we got engaged, in part because that’s the day his ring arrived. And 18 December 2015 is when I landed in Sweden for our first Christmas holiday together.

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And now, 18 April will be our wedding. Considering how long we’ve been heading in this direction, what more appropriate date to start our marriage than on the day of the Boston Marathon?