Aby-a-Day – 31 Maj: “Expose yourself to as much randomness as possible” (Hipstamatic Monday)

Good news, everyone! Last Wednesday, I got my first Covid vaccination (#teampfizer)! However, it also kicked my butt for a few days; today is the first day my arm doesn’t feel like I was hit by a stick. So, here: have some random Hipstasnaps taken around the house. First we have Alfred and Izaak cuddled up next to Jacoby on my leg.

hipstadashfreddy1

It’s interesting to see the pair-ups that occur amongst the cats. Dashiell and Alfred hang out together quite a bit.

hipstazakangel2

So do Angel and Zak. Sometimes, it’s Angel’s choice…

hipstazakangel5

…other times, not so much.

hipstafreddydash7

I wonder if I should be concerned about what Dash and Freddy are plotting…

hipstazak4

Not quite sure what’s going on here. Moving on…

hipstarory3

Lorelai looking at me hopefully. She always wants to go outside to run.

hipstazak8

This was taken today. Zak was looking particularly smexy this afternoon.

Aby-a-Day – 29 Maj: Dashiell with hair brighter than the sun (Swedish Saturday)

As I mentioned the other day, Dashiell is gradually becoming more comforatble outside.

dashoutsideC02910

dashoutsideC02911

You can see it in his eyes and in his gait.

dashoutsideC02914

dashoutsideC02918

He’s getting much braver. We still have to catch him and bring him outside – he doesn’t eagerly race out like the other three – but once he IS out, he enjoys it.

dashoutsideC02752

But look how incredibly shiny his coat is! I don’t remember Jacoby being quite this shiny. I think it’s because Dash eats more raw food. Jake refused to eat it. He would eat his other food and leave just the raw behind (kind of like Izaak in reverse). I can’t wait to take him to a cat show!

Aby-a-Day – 11 April: A sad anniversary and an update (Serious Sunday)

I haven’t posted since Thursday, because…Björn and I have been sick. Björn is actually in the hospital with Covid, and I have a wicked cough but no fever yet. It’s also the second anniversary of Jacoby’s death, so with all that going on I haven’t felt very inspired. Kalle and I will get tested for Covid on Tuesday, and hopefully Björn will be home soon. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Aby-a-Day – 5 April: Thanks for the memories (Monday Memory)

Facebook gave me some wonderful memories this morning. The first was the time a shirty MBTA conductor made me miss my stop to meet Meg for a cat show.

The second was of Tessie, happy with a box. Facebook can be evil…but it’s good for something, at least.

Aby-a-Day – 4 April: Dashiell meets Jacoby (Silly Sunday)

Yesterday, Dashiell was lying in a bright, warm sun puddle, and I commented that, in that light, Dash really reminded me of Jacoby in the sun. So Björn got the idea to introduce Dash to Pancake Jake.

dashpancake_6606

Dash was actually a little afraid of Flat Jake.

dashpancake_6607

He actually backed away from Flat Jake.

dashrorypancake_6608

Lorelai came to see what was going on. Flat Jake sits in a window that Rory frequents, so she’s more familiar with him than Dash is.

Aby-a-Day – 30 Mars: Happy Birthday to my sister, Karen! (Cartoon Tuesday)

My sister’s birthday is tomorrow. I got her a card, but things being what they are, I didn’t mail it in time. So, I reckoned I’d just sent it to her electronically. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I always draw a little cartoon in the cards I send people. But if I’m Messaging my sister her card, what’s the best way to add my traditional drawing?

KB Birthday Sketch

With Procreate and Photoshop, of course! And this card drawing is better than most, because I was actually able to do a sketch beforehand. Usually, I just freehand the drawing in ink.

KB Birthday Ink

This is the ink version, done in Procreate.

KB Birthday

If you’re interested, you can watch the Procreate time-lapse video of the sketch and ink on Flickr. Click the image to view the video in another tab.

KB Birthday Card Inside

And here is the inside of the card that my sister will get tomorrow. The Swedish translates to: “If you were a cat, you’d be turning a hundred and eleventy-twelve years! Congratulations on your Birthday!”

Aby-a-Day – 17 Mars: Wordless Wednesday (Remember St. Patrick’s Day with Jacoby and Logan)

loganguinnessC02220

Aby-a-Day – 12 Mars: Origin of the species (Photoshop Friday)

The origin of the Singapura breed is not without controversy. While some people say that the breed occurred naturally, on the island nation of Singapore, others believe the breed is a deliberate hybrid. And it creates a bit of a rift in the Singapura community; not unlike, say, mask-wearing, both factions can be rather…attached to their viewpoints.

Where do I land on the subject? I have been following Singapuras since I first learned about the breed in the early 1980’s. I even wrote a letter to Tommy Meadows, the founder of the breed when I was in high school (and which I wish I could find, because I’m sure I have it somewhere), even though I have only recently joined the Singa community, I have a lot of book knowledge about the breed. So, I lean towards the Burmese/Aby hybrid theory.

This is not without a lot of though, so let me explain: First point: Tommy Meadow’s cattery name, USAF, is attached to both Abys and Singas; she worked with both breeds. She also had Burmese (haven’t been able to figure out if she bred them, too). She imported some cats when she moved from Texas to Singapore, and these were listed as Burmese and “brown Abyssinians” on the import manifest.

Second point: Singapore is an island, and, like mosts cats native to islands (Japan, the Isle of Man), the majority of Singapore street cats have some sort of tail deformation. Singas occasionally have tail deformation, but no more so than appear in other breeds (Siamese, for example). Of course, some long tailed Singapore street cats may have been used in breeding programmes, but that’s quite a bit different from an actual native breed (In Japan, you see feral cats that look almost exactly like purebred Japanese Bobtails).

Third point: Singapore was a British possession colonized in the early 1800’s. Given the British interest in exotic cats from foreign lands (Siamese, Burmese, and particularly the Abyssinian, purported to have been brought back from soldiers after the Abyssinian Wars) and the increasing Victorian interest in creating purebred animals and the Fancy, if the Singapura really was a native breed running around Singapore, don’t you think the British would have jumped on them and exported them back to England they way they did with other cat breeds?

At the end of the day, this is just my opinion. I know there is a romance in the “party line,” but honestly, so what if they ARE a Burmese/Aby hybrid? What’s so awful about that? Ocicats are Aby/Siamese/American Shorthairs, and that’s okay. Pointed Persians (Once the Himalayan breed) are Persians bred with Siamese. Burmillas are Chinchilla Persians bred with European Burmese. That’s all okay. You believe the origin story you feel most comfortable with.

All of this backstory has a point: Last week, I got the newest issue of Kattliv, featuring the (European) Burmese. I was struck by how much some of the photos reminded me of Singas, and I got an idea. I took a photo of Jacoby, and a photo of Butters, the cream EuroBurm we met at a show in Groton.

Aby layer

First, I reduced opacity on Jake and softened some edges.

Burmese layer

Then I did the same with Butters, and erased his eyes.

Aby-BurmMerge

Then I superimposed the two layers, and added a Sepia (of course) photo filter. But the eyes still just weren’t quite right.

SingaEyes

So, I made a layer with Izaak’s eyes, reduced their opacity, and added a green photo filter.

Aby-BurmSingamerge

And…Voilà! Okay, so it doesn’t look exactly like a Singapura…but it looks like it could be a computer-generated witness-descibed wanted poster image of a Singa.

Aby-a-Day – 2 Mars: Remembering the Cat Pack (Cartoon Tuesday)

The other day I was reminded of the “Cat Pack” of 2013. They included Strollercat (of course), Rosie and Louis, my friend Kathy’s two Abys; Jafari the jogging cat, my friend Christopher’s Aby; and, of course, Jacoby’s cousin Toki Nantucket, my friend Julie’s supermodel Aby. I did a little sketch of the famous cohort.

redcarpetruddies

2009 was a good year for Abyssinians.

Aby-a-Day – 30 Januari: Off the wall (Swedish Saturday)

These photos are from May 2017. Before Logan died, we had entered him in a cat show in Göteborg. Since we had already paid for the entry, we took Jacoby instead. But he was not allowed into the show because the entry staff misread his vaccination records (they said he wasn’t up to date on his jabs, but he was). It was the same trip where Jake explored Göteborg’s future.

jakesurfer09367

So, we went for a walk around Göteborg with Jake. At Östra Larmgatan 13, we found an interesting black and white mural.

jakesurferC09362

We were particularly enchanted by this cat surfing/skateboarding on a fish.

jakesurfer09370

Oh, everybody’s a critic.

This is the whole mural – it’s actually a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Vans shoes! (Photo from Google Earth)

Aby-a-Day – 22 Januari: Feel the Bern! (Photoshop Friday)

The best thing to come out of the Presidential Inauguration on Wednesday (apart from the obvious, of course), was this image of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in full-on New England winter gear, including mittens made from recycled materials by one of his constituents. The minute the cameras turned on Bernie, Twitter and the internet went berserk (in a good way).

bernielogan

When I saw Bernie, the first thing I thought of was Logan in his coat. I thought maybe Bernie just needed some company at the Inauguration.

jakesnowbernie

But then I realised that the real meme is more about putting Bernie in places, including practically any place on Earth. So…Here’s Bernie sitting in my front yard, watching Jacoby and Olaf.

jakeangelberniesnow

Bernie loves him some Social Democracy, but maybe Sweden’s a little too far away for him to commute from his day job. Better keep him in New England. He seems like he’d enjoy Rolling Bridge Park. And if you were wondering what Bernie’s reaction is to all this, Seth Myers asked him about that, and here’s what he had to say.

Aby-a-Day – 10 Januari: The second day at the Swedish CFA show (Swedish Cat Show Sunday)

The second day of that Swedish CFA show was as much fun as the first, both for us and for Jacoby.

jakeCFAswedenC05747

We had a lot of judges come over from the US. At this point, I had only been in Sweden for six months, so it was fun to see some familiar faces and hear some familiar accents.

jakeCFAswedenC05769

This judge, Albert Kurkowski, was one of the few non-American, non-CFA judges; he was from Poland, and he was a guest judge from the World Cat Federation.

jakeCFAswedenC05766

I really enjoyed watching him handle Jake.

jakeburmillaCFAswedenC05813

There was a really pretty little Burmilla girl who was frequently benched next to us during judging.

jakeburmillaCFAswedenC05506

She reminded me a bit of Tessie.

jakeCFAswedenC05805

This judge, Inga Balciuniene, was also a WCF guest judge from Latvia.

jakeCFAswedenC05829

Pam DeLaBar is a CFA judge who lives in Finland. I actually hadn’t ever seen her at a show in the States. It’s nice having another ex-pat in the cat fancy.

jakeCFAswedenC05688

And our friend Russell Webb was there, too. He was always Jake’s lucky charm.

jakeCFAswedenC05725

Jake was Second Best cat in Premiership in Russell’s ring.

jakeCFAsweden_4127n

As we did Saturday, when Jake got a little antsy we went outside to play in the snow. This time, I didn’t bother with the harness and leash. I figured, how far is he going to get in that deep snow.

jakeCFAsweden_5068n

Famous last words.

jakeCFAsweden_3661n

jakeCFAsweden_2294n

He started making off towards a little house. He went pretty far really quickly, too! I was surprised how hard he was to catch.

jakeCFAsweden_2147n

I finally caught him, though.

jakebjornCFAswedenC05787

The cats we have now are awesome, and a lot of fun to show…but I still miss going to shows with Jake.

Aby-a-Day – 9 Januari: Scenes from a Swedish CFA show (Swedish Cat Show Saturday)

I never did post the photos from the CFA show we went to in 2017 I was reminded of yesterday.

jakeCFAswedenC05376

Jacoby seemed delighted to be back at a CFA show after competing in a few FIFe shows.

jakeCFAswedenC05391

And our friend Teresa Keiger seemed delighted to see Jake on her judging table again.

jakeCFAswedenC05482

Many CFA judges enjoyed showing off Jake’s “hands off” style on the judging table, and Teresa is one of them.

jakeCFAswedenC05469

People never got over how he loved to just stand and pose on the table, with absolutely no desire to run off.

jakeCFAswedenC05741

Jake really loved CFA shows.

jakeCFAswedenC05567

Even so, later in the day Jake started getting a little antsy, so we took him outside to play in the snow.

jakeCFAswedenC05624

The snow was fresh and wicked deep.

jakeCFAswedenC05632

I think Jake was happy for a break outside…but a little taken aback by how much snow there was.

jakeCFAswedenC05593

That didn’t stop him from exploring, though.

jakeCFAswedenC05638

He even plowed his way to a chain link fence.

jakeCFAswedenC05646

When he got there, he gripped the links and looked out through the fence.

jakeCFAswedenC05661//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

It was strangely reminiscent of the way he loved to look through the chain link fence in our little park along the Harborwalk back in Boston.

jakeCFAswedenC05744

After the first day of showing was over, we settled into our hotel. Jake knew where his food was!

jakebjornhotel_7530

Jake and Björn chilled on the bed watching TV.

jakehotel_7540

There happened to be a documentary about cats on TV that night!

jakehotel_7537

Jake was very interested in it and watched intently. It was so cute!

Aby-a-Day – 8 Januari: Remembering Jacoby’s last CFA show (Friday Flashback)

Four years ago, Björn, Jacoby and I were at our first (and Jake’s only) CFA show in Region 9 (Europe). There in only one CFA show in Sweden annually, and it’s inconveniently located and so close to the beloved Örebro show, so we only entered it the one time.

FBmemoryJake2

It was fun, though, and Jake really enjoyed himself. He always preferred CFA’s format to FIFe’s. And, entered in the show, were three Abyssinians descended from Instincts cats.

FBmemoryJake3

It was fun to see old friends again. Pam DeLaBar, a CFA judge, is also another American expat living in Finland.

FBmemoryJake4

There was also a lot of snow. When Jake started getting bored, we went out and played in it.

FBmemoryJake5

This show was also the only show where Jake finalled in every ring. There were only nineteen cats entered in Premiership, and, interestingly, they were almost all older than five years. It was a fun time…even though the rosettes were printed on cardboard.

FBmemoryJake6

We went outside again on Sunday to play in the snow. This time, I didn’t bother to put Jake on his leash. He went on a bit of a walkabout before I was able to catch him!

I’ll share more photos from that show weekend tomorrow and Sunday.

Aby-a-Day – 25 December 2020: God Jul, Allihopa! (Friday Flashback)

This morning, Facebook reminded me of Christmas three years ago. We didn’t know it at the time, but it was our last Jul with Logan, and it was also our last Christmas at Björn’s mother’s house.

loganjultrain_1621

We took the train to Jönköping Julafton morning. It was fairly chilly, so he wore Jacoby’s old snowflake hoody.

jakejultrain_1628

Jake had a snazzy new sweater of his own.

loganjulmums_1633

Jake had been to Björn’s mom’s house once before, but this was Logan’s first time.

julmatC08422

julmatC08418

As I’ve said before, Björn&’s mom always made the perfect traditional Swedish Julbord, and it was marvellous. We had the cold courses (hard-boiled eggs with caviar, pickled herring, and smoked salmon)…

julmatC08426

…mustard-crusted ham, Jul cheese and red beet salad…

julmatC08417

…prinskorv and meatballs (before cooking, here)…

julmatC08431

…and sausage, cabbage rolls and Janssons frestelse, which is basically scalloped potatoes that are julienned instead, with anchovies added. It’s delicious, I promise.

godjulappleC08410

Anyway, I had found this special Jul apple at the grocery store, and brought it to Björn’s mom because I thought she’d like it.

logangodjulapple_1637

Christmas morning, Logan was sitting on a kitchen table chair, and he looked so cute I had to pose him with the apple. The rest is (Facebook) history.

Aby-a-Day – 23 December 2020: Wordless Wednesday (Gone but not forgotten)

jakegunheeXmas_5585

Aby-a-Day – 20 December 2020: Surprise! Another final! (Cinema Cat Show Sunday)

Surprise! On Friday, when I posted about Jacoby’s victories in the “Haute Cat-ture” category, I didn’t realise that there were two judges in the competition. So Jake won AGAIN, earning 6th place in Millenial Exhibitors Judge Romain Attard’s “ring.”

You can see him narrating his final on YouTube.

Aby-a-Day – 18 December 2020: Good fortune in the fashion show (Fashion Friday)

This morning, I got the following email: “Thank you for participating in the 2020 CFA International Top Cat Challenge, benefitting the WINN Feline Foundation. Your cat has WON in the Haute Cat-ture competition! We will be sending your cat a treat or toy via Amazon Prime, sponsored by ZYMOX pet products, in the near future.

Here are our top 10 winners:

Coconut
PinUpCats Pichu
Khufu
Jasper
Milo
Leonidas (Abysaurus Rex)
Pellburn Jacoby Stealin Home
Snowball
Fury
Gememerald A Million Voices”

jakecouture3rdplace

Yep, Jake made it into the the top ten…twice! He was Ninth Best in his snow boots and knit cap, and Third Best wearing his Don Draper suit. I had also entered him in his turkey outfit and in his Red Sox uniform (including socks), but those two photos didn’t make the final.

You can watch the final, narrated by CFA Region 9 judge Teo Vargas Huesa, on You Tube.

Aby-a-Day – 11 December 2020: Remembering Jacoby’s helpfulness (Friday Flashback)

As Facebook does, it reminded me this morning that four years ago today, I was trying to put the duvet covers and fitted sheet away.

jakelaundry_7230

However, my attempts were thwarted by a very cozy Jacoby.

jakelaundry_7231

Somehow, I was not bothered by this interference then, and I am still pretty okay with it.

Aby-a-Day – 6 December 2020: International Top Cat Challenge (Cat Show Sunday)

I finally got around to entering the CFA International Top Cat Challenge finale. After the results of the last show, I was a bit hesitant, but ah, what the hell?

So I entered Izaak,

and Lorelai in the Championship class,

and Dashiell in the Premiership class, using the regular photos.

The entry fees were $10 each, with the fourth entry being free. So, I entered Angel in the Household Pet class.

But the main reason I entered this show was for the “Haute Cat-ture” fun class. Cats…posing in costumes? Um, yes please! I entered Jacoby in four different outfits: His Red Sox uniform…

…His Don Draper suit…

…His super posey snow photoshoot wearing his knit cap and his boots…

…and of course, Jake’s fabulous Thanksgiving outfit! Wish me luck!