Aby-a-Day – 22 Januari: Answer your cats’ questions day!

Today is Answer Your Cats’ Questions Day! I did this last year with Pyret, Angel, Jacoby, Alfred and Logan, but this year we lost Pyret and Logan and gained Lorelai and Izaak, so…I thought I’d do it again this year.

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Angel’s question, whilst about a different Singapura, is the same as last year…

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No, seriously.

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Jake’s question is fairly basic…

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Cuddly Freddy has a friendly, helpful question.

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Zak asks me this question every single day.

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Everytime I go into the kitchen.

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Finally, Rory just wants to know one thing…

Aby-a-Day – 1 Januari: “For breakfast she makes coffee that tastes like Cham – poo…” (Cartoon Tuesday)

This is a repeat cartoon, but it’s one of my favourites. In case you missed it the first time, I hope you like it!

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 – 22 December: Julljusstaken (Swedish Saturday)

A huge holiday tradition in Sweden is putting up Julljusstaker in every window.

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Jacoby, unsurprisingly, is a master at posing with the Jul candles.

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He’s got the contemplative gaze and the slight smile down pat.

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Somewhat more surprisingly, Angel is pretty good at it, too.

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I mean, who knew, right?

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“What? Don’t look so surprised…I AM an Abyssinian, you know!”

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Alfred is also pretty good at it…

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…when he can keep his focus and not get distracted.

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I wasn’t sure how well Lorelai would pose with the candles (she flitters about almost as quickly as her caffeinated namesake), but she did really well.

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She’s a natural!

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For about a minute. Then she gets bored and goes off to do something else.

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Izaak did pretty well, too, for his first time.

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He’s got the “looking into the candles thoughtfully” thing down cold, for sure.

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Until he, like Rory, gets bored. Kittens these days…no attention span whatsoever!

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Even Pyret was pretty good at the candle-posing thing!

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I never did get a photo of Logan with the Jul candles…but I did get one of him with this Jul Äppel!

Aby-a-Day – 15 December: Jólakötturinn (Swedish Cat Show Saturday)

There’s an interesting holiday custom in Iceland: the Yule Cat (Jólakötturinn). According to legend, the Yule Cat eats people who don’t get new clothes for Christmas.

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It’s actually kind of hilarious. When I went to Sweden for Christmas in 2015, I had a stopover in Reykjavik and I saw him for myself. It’s like happy little santas and elves, pretty white angels, sparkly snowflakes and snowmen…and then, WHAM! ANGRY BLACK CAT!

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The Yule cat is associated with the Yule Lads, thirteen troll-imp brothers who show up starting 12 December and don’t leave until 6 January. They harass livestock, steal random objects, and generally do bad things. It’s so different from any other holiday tradition I know of. I absolutely love it.

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Drinking is also a significant part of Scandinavian Jul celebrations…so naturally, Yule Cat bottle covers are a thing.

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Of course, I had to buy some Yule Cats whilst I was there!

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Since seeing the Yule Cat for myself in Iceland, those ornaments have become a part of my holiday tradition. He plays a prominent part of our decorations. And to that end, I made my own Yule Cat. When I discovered the Japanese Scratch cats, plushies with scowly faces and extended claws who generally look pissed at the world who were designed by artist Tamiho Maita, I knew the black one would make a marvelous Yule Cat. So I took one of Jacoby’s Santa hats and scarves, and voilà! One Yule Cat plushie!

On a whim, I brought him along to the cat show last weekend. He attracted a bit of attention, and one of the club’s members even posted his photo on the club’s Facebook event page!

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I tried to get Lorelai and Izaak to pose with him in their show cage…it didn’t go as well as I hoped.

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Look at Zak’s face! He looks like he’s trying to out-anger Angry Black Cat!

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- 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!