Aby-a-Day – 17 Mars 2020: Probably our last pub quiz for a while…(Cartoon Tuesday)

Last Wednesday, we did our usual pub quiz since Björn was working downtown and I had an appointment. Seems like such a long time ago, now.

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It seemed a little quieter than usual, but nothing out of the ordinary. I sketched some cats without names whilst I was waiting for Björn, as a bit of a test. He actually guessed wrong at first. Take a look at the two sketches above. Can you tell who they are?

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Well…this one is Dashiell. You can tell by his funny back legs.

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And this one is Izaak. You can tell by his cheetah markings around his eyes.

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The quiz started out being focused on Scotland and Scottish things, and one of the questions was “Vad är en ‘Scottish Fold’?” Well, of course we knew that one! And of course I had to illustrate what a Scottish Fold is, too. We won the quiz – 800kr, which paid for our dinner and drinks. I wonder if we got extra credit for the fold sketch.

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And, since today is St. Patrick’s Day, here’s a rerun from seven years ago. Sláinte!

Aby-a-Day – 15 Mars 2020: A little time capsule (Cinema Sunday)

I am not sure where it came from, exactly, but a while ago I discovered a short little video my ex took with his iPhone. It’s just Angel being cute, kneading a blanket on the sofa in our old (tiny) apartment, with a cameo by Jacoby.

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It seems to have been taken around the same time as the other photos in this post, sometime between January and March 2011.

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Jake would have still been recovering from his escalator incident when these were taken; he and Angel were getting along fairly companionably, too.

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Here they are on Valentine’s Day 2011. Two weeks later, Jake would be going to his first cat show…where I met my friend Meg, as it happens.

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In any case, here’s the little blast from the past I found on a random jump drive. Click on the image to view it in another tab.

Aby-a-Day – 13 Mars 2020: Coronavirus 1, St. Patrick 0 (Fashion Friday Flashback)

Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade has been cancelled out of concern for COVID-19. This is the first time in 26 years the parade has been cancelled. The city of Boston is also postponing the Boston Marathon next month and even the Red Sox spring training and regular season will be delayed.

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I went to my first parade when I moved to Boston in 2000, and stood in front of what at the time was a vacant building. Little did I know that I would eventually live in that very building!

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Naturally, St. Patrick’s Day and the parade was a big part of Jacoby’s life. Our apartment overlooked one of the staging areas, and Jake loved to watch the activity below. His first St. Patrick’s Day, I got him a T-shirt from a shop in Faneuil Hall. What could be more Boston than that?

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Later on, Jake added a shamrock tie and a Celtics jersey to his holiday wardrobe.

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I had actually forgotten about this shamrock sun-hat. I think he only wore it that one time, just for photos.

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He also had his shamrock patterned walking harness. When we lived on the 5th floor, we didn’t face West Broadway, so Jake and I would go downstairs to see the parade in person.

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Angel, on the other hand, was content to watch the parade on television.

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When we moved to the new apartment on the 4th floor, we could just watch the parade from our windows. I think Jake kind of missed going outside to experience it; Angel, meanwhile, was perfectly content watching the parade from our windows.

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It’s a little surreal to think of the parade just not happening. I mean, they even held it the year we had the record snowfall! Okay, it wasn’t as bad as in my cartoon, but it did snow on the day of the parade!

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The last year we lived in Boston, we just watched it from the windows again. Now, though, I kind of wish we’d gone downstairs.

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I’m pretty sure Angel wishes we’d gone downstairs, too.

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In a way, it feels a little bit right, not having the parade the first year Jake isn’t alive for it.

Aby-a-Day – 6 Mars 2020: The Big Boston Blizzard of 2015 (Friday Fashion Friday Flashback)

Five years ago this week, Jacoby and Angel experienced what would be Boston’s record snowfall for the first time.

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I couldn’t take them in the courtyard as usual because reasons. So I took them just in front of the building.

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Of course, they were fully decked out in their coats.

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It was…a less than optimal photo location. but we did our best. I am still proud to have lived in Boston the year of the record snowfall.

Aby-a-Day – 3 Mars 2020: Catatonic 2 (Cartoon Tuesday)

You may remember, six years ago, I made this wonderful cartoon with Jacoby, Angel, Kylie and Tessie as Kristoff, Anna, Elsa and Sven the reindeer from Frozen.

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Well, of course, Frozen 2 came out last November, which made me revisit my original cartoon. Of course, Kylie and Tessie still live in Boston, and Dashiell can take Jake’s place as Kristoff…but it occurred to me that I now have the perfect cat to play Olaf! Izaak! Of course, Olaf should be a Singapura! I started with a sketch and then a rough ink on my iPad in ProCreate.

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Then I did a clean ink outline.

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Switching to the laptop and Photoshop, I did a flat colour layer.

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On a separate layer, I added the whiskers and eyeshine.

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Then I switched to the background. I took a generic Frozen 2 background (there are plenty of wallpapers available online) and painted over it, the same way I created the background of the Zakdalorian.

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Then I added a swirl of windblown leaves, to give it the feel of the film.

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Then I painted the ticking and Zak’s other markings with my fur brushes.

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Finally, I gave Zakolaf a little shadow, to ground him in the scene. I wish this was a little brighter, but that’s just the way this scene is; it’s not as bright as the snow scenes, because it’s autumn. Can’t do much about that.

Oh, and don’t worry…I have characters for Lorelai and Alfred to play. Stay tuned…

Aby-a-Day – 28 Februari 2020: First Snows (Friday Flashback)

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Now that we finally have snow, I was thinking about the first times all the cats saw their first snows. The most recent, of course was the first time Izaak and Lorelai saw snow.

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Rory, of course, loved it.

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She loves any chance to go outside…and she honestly seems completely immune to the cold.

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Zak, however…

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…was less than impressed. I never bothered to put coats on Rory and Zak when we went outside, because of what Alfred did the first time he went out in snow

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I tried to put a coat on him. Oh, how I tried.

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Fred would have none of it.

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He preferred to experience the snow au naturel.

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Like Jacoby, Logan appreciated having a coat in the snow.

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He probably would have enjoyed wearing boots, too.

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Jake never went out in the snow without a coat.

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That was such a fun thing about Jake. He did love his coats.

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Angel’s very first snow did not involve going outside.

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But she eventually went out and experienced snow first paw.

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She was less than enthused. Well, she was born in California.

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But she did seem to have fun out in the snow with Jake. I’ll give her that.

Aby-a-Day: 9 Februari 2020: Instead of Örebro, a tale of Finland (Cat Show Sunday) (Part 2)

Sunday greeted us with a chilly, frosty morning. We checked out from the hotel, went to the show hall, and got ready for the second day.

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Our judge for the day was Marina Vinkel from Estonia. She was very thorough in examining Jacoby on her table.

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Koshka and Jake waited for the Nomination…but alas, it was not to be. However, that ultimately worked to our advantage.

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Not having to be on alert for the panels gave us a chance to explore the show hall and the merchants. Koshka was especially excited to see Arja’s Art, the woman who makes the harnesses the cats wear.

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Koshka raves about these harnesses, and was thrilled to discover that Arja also makes passport covers for the EU Pet Passports.

Because we weren’t Nommed, we were able to get permission to leave the show a couple of hours before it ended, as we had to get back to Helsinki, return the car, and make our way to the port to catch our ferry. It was lucky that they let us leave when they did, as it took a bit more time than expected before we were ready to go to the ferry.

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Jake was such a seasoned traveller, he lead the way to our cabin. After setting up our quarters, which was a mirror-image of the cabin we had on the way to Finland, we pretty much repeated what we did on our first trip, with a couple of exceptions.

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This time, we took Jake to the aft sun deck for some pictures and a final look as we departed Helsinki.

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We also took some porthole portraits with Jake in one of the elevator lobbies.

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After our ship exploration, we settled Jake in the cabin with a snack while we hit the buffet for dinner and then visited the duty-free shop, where we bought liquor, cosmetics and candy well below mainland prices. The seas were calmer on the way back.

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We arrived to Stockholm on Monday morning. A bus took us back to the railway station, where we caught the train for Skövde.

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Finally, 6 o’clock in the evening, we were back home. Jake’s first trip abroad as a show cat was over.