Aby-a-Day – 10 July: The Girl with the Aby and Singa Tattoo (Cartoon Tuesday)

You might recall a few weeks ago I was about to go in and get a magpie tattoo on my arm and plan my next tattoo with Linus, my new tattoo artist here in Slövde. Linus is amazing, and tomorrow I am going to get it coloured in. I can’t wait! Since the 21st, I’ve had a half-done, just black lines and shading. It’s going to be amazing to finally have it finished.

In the meantime, I have worked up two better-coloured versions of my original sketch. The one above was coloured in on my iPad Pro using pencil and an incredible app called Art Set which works well…except it hasn’t got layers. So I did more colouring using Photoshop…and the result is above.

Then I thought my rough-sketched maple leaves, pussy willows and cherry blossoms were kind of…lazy. So I found some Photoshop brushes and line art and created a better background. At least I have something to show Linus tomorrow during my appointment.

Aby-a-Day – 22 June: Sugar Oh Honey Honey (Fashion Friday)

When Gun-Hee died, I got a couple of different charms to put a bit of his ashes in, and I wanted to get something similar so I could carry a bit of Logan with me, too. Browsing different types of ash jewellry, I discovered Sugar Oh Honey Honey. They are a small workshop in Swindon, Oxfordshire, England, who make personalised photo and ashes jewellery. I am not sure how they make the ash jewellery (it seems like it might be resin casting, but it could be glass), but the results are stunning. Even better, there is a black Sphynx named Coco Beane supervising all the humans as they make everything!

logangemC06392

As “Boss Lady” Vicky Rose explains, she started her company in memory of her daughter Honey so she could help people through jewellery. And it really shows. The packaging was exquisite. I opened the little box to see a happy yellow card and sparkly tinsel.

jakelogangemC06396

Jacoby was there to help me open it, of course.

logangemC06398

On the back of the card was a hand-written note from Vicky.

logangemC06399

rorylogangemC06406

This is what I found underneath the card. Of course, Lorelai was very interested in the shimmery, rustly tinsel.

rorylogangemC06411

Nestled in the tinsel were two drawstring bags and a box.

logangemC06413

I opened this one first.

logangemC06417

It was a bracelet with a charm with Logan’s photo on it! This was such a lovely surprise because I didn’t order it! They just threw it in as a bonus. Isn’t that amazing?

logangemC06418

I opened this bag next. It contained Logan’s leftover ashes that weren’t used in the pendant. I mean, they could have just tossed them and said they used them all, but instead they sent them back in a pretty bag.

logangemC06421

Finally I opened the box. WOW! Isn’t it beautiful?

logangemIMG_3572

And the best part is, it glows in the dark!

After I ordered it, the “Tech Girl,” Megan Chase, sent me an email explaining how to send in a bit of Logan’s ashes and added, “We would also love to know more about the pet/person you are sending to us along with a name and pictures (if you have any) and a favourite song, as we like to play music while making each individual piece.” So of course I directed her to this blog, because clearly it’s the best way to learn about who Logan was. In a follow-up email, Megan told me, “Your blog is so lovely to read, I’ve found myself spending some of my spare time reading it,” which is just so sweet! So, Megan, I hope you liked this post!

Angel added this whilst I was away from my laptop: äòp0y………………u. I think it may be a message to Coco.

Aby-a-Day – 21 June: Glad Midsommar!

We have a Singapura in our family again!

zak1stdayC06662

As you saw in yesterday’s post, I went to Stockholm to collect Joy Minimali*PL, called Izaak.

zak1stdayC06633

I decided on the name Izaak for him (Zak for short, of course) because one of the Polish words for “joy” is “zachwyt.” Which is close enough to Zak for me! I didn’t like any of the variations of Zachariah…but when I discovered that Zak could also be a short form of Isaac/Izaak…well, it was a no-brainer. It’s also has a completely sound from all the other cats’ names, which is good. I had wanted to have a cat named Lennie (after Det. Lennie Briscoe), but with AngeL, ALfred, Lorelai, and Logan, it was a lot of L’s in the family aLready. Besides, with him already being named Joy, it seemed fitting.

Actually getting Zak was an experience. He came to us from a Polish breeder who happened to have two boys available in June. There were no Swedish kittens available…so we decided to go abroad. At first, we thought we might go to Poland to get him, but the timing didn’t work out for us to travel. Anna regularly ships kittens worldwide, so she sent him to us via air cargo. I’d done this before, when I got Tessie, but she was only sent from Portland, Oregon to Boston, not from another country. I thought it was hard to find the cargo area at Logan Airport…but as you can see from the above map, it was quite an adventure collecting little Zak!

cargocenterIMG_3609

First I had to get from Skövde to Stockholm. Booking a train to Stockholm is a bit like booking a flight, depending on when you choose to travel, the trip can cost as little as 195kr (around $22) and as much as 885kr (around $100) or more. You also reserve your seat, and seats at tables are very popular. Seats at tables in the (very limited space) pets-allowed cabin are even harder to get. Also I had to take into account that Zak’s arrival time was 09:30. So I booked a trip that left Skövde at 07:12. As most of you know, I am not a morning person and don’t really wake up until at least 10:00. I had to get up at 05:30 in order to catch that train. From Stockholm Centralen, I then had to take a bus (a 45-minute trip) to Arlanda Airport Terminal 5.

Then I had to take a Stockholm city bus #583 out to the Cargo City stop (second-to-last on the Märsta line). The bus drops you off at at one of those little shelters that looks like it’s in the middle of a quarry next to a prison with some parcel warehouses off to the side, and there’s absolutely no indication of how one might find the Cargo Center (nor was there a clear walkway). Luckily, the cargo place had called me to tell me that they had a cat for me whilst I was on that second bus, so I had their number and called them to ask how one might walk to their location.

tullverketIMG_3610

But here’s the really fun part. Once I managed to find Cargo City, I had to take Zak’s papers and passport and take them to Tullverket (Customs) to be reviewed, approved and stamped, and then go back to Cargo City to actually collect Zak. One would think, this being a common thing to need to do (pick up paperwork, go to Customs, and then come back and get your cargo), that the two buildings would be conveniently located somewhat adjacent to one another. But as you can see from the above map, you would be utterly and completely incorrect. I had to take the 583 bus back to Terminal 5, and from there take an airport shuttle to where the Customs building was located. And as you can see, when the bus dropped you off, it wasn’t immediately obvious where the entrance was.

zakziaIMG_3613

At Customs, whilst waiting in the queue, I met an Australian woman, Zia, who was on the same mission I was, trying to collect a large suitcase sent to her from home. She hadn’t yet been out to Cargo City; she went straight to Customs because her emailed instructions were vague. She still had to go out there to collect her suitcase, though. Knowing what I did about finding Cargo City, and needing to go back there myself, I waited for her so we could go out there together. It made the return trip so much easier!

zakziaIMG_3614

And, as it happened, Zia loves cats. She was completely charmed by little Zak.

zakziaIMG_3615

We ended up going back to Stockholm Centralen on the Märsta train, which turned out to be so much faster and easier than taking the airport bus. Definitely need to remember that the next time!

zaklushIMG_3620

Back at Centralen, Zia and I parted ways with a hug, and I had about an hour to kill before my train left. So, I grabbed lunch and did a little shopping.

zaklushIMG_3621

Zak was a huge hit at Lush! Both the shop clerks and customers just loved him.

zaktrainIMG_3629

We made friends on the train, too. An older woman from Göteborg and a guy from Romania were at our table, and we talked most of the trip back to Skövde. So much for Swedes not talking to strangers! The woman was the one who started talking to both me and the Romanian, and I am glad she did…it was a fun conversation.

zaktrainIMG_3637

Zak slept in my lap for most of the trip. Which was fortunate; he was going to need to be awake when we got home and he met his new clan.

freddyzak1stdayC06443

Alfred was the first to greet the carrier.

roryzak1stdayC06452

We took it into the living room and Lorelai was next to see who was inside.

freddyroryzak1stdayC06461

freddyroryzak1stdayC06479

We let the youngsters sniff a bit before opening the door.

freddyroryzak1stdayC06486

I wonder what Freddy thought when he saw a Singapura who wasn’t Logan?

freddyroryzak1stdayC06490

Even though Zak is an older male, Rory is still bigger than him.

freddyroryzak1stdayC06507

freddyzak1stdayC06526

…Um, Freddy?

freddyroryzak1stdayC06518

The point is to meet the new kitten, not eat the food in his carrier!

roryzak1stdayC06630

Rory was delighted to see Zak! Someone her own size to play with!

roryzak1stdayC06641

She tried to play with him right away.

roryzak1stdayC06644

Zak…wasn’t so sure. But I think they’ll end up being fast friends. I think he and Freddy will, too. But I am afraid poor Freddy won’t ever have the kind of bond he had with Logan with any other cat. But maybe Rory and Zak will have something like that as they grow up together.

Aby-a-Day – 19 June: Tattoo you (Cartoon Tuesday)

I have wanted to get a tattoo to commemorate Gun-Hee for years, but I never came up with a design. And then I got Logan, and he also died because of FIP. So my tattoo idea changed. It needed to include both Gun-Hee and Logan. So I came up with the above sketch. I am actually getting a tattoo on Thursday by Linus at Magic Man Tattoo here in Skövde…not cats, but magpies. I have always loved magpies, and I had one on my SCA arms (sable, on a maple leaf argent, a magpie displayed gules, marked and breasted argent (or, in other words, a black shield with a white maple leaf with a red magpie on it).

armsenamel

It looks like this…this is an enamel piece I made in university, sometime around 1988. But I digress. When I go in for my magpie tattoo, I want to talk to Linus about my next tattoo…the one I have wanted since Gun-Hee died.

FIPtattoosketch-colour1

This is my first colourised version of the sketch; I want to make a second version before I see Linus, but I’m not sure if I’ll have time to do it before Thursday. I can’t decide about the banner; I want to have something about FIP, but I don’t know if I like the location of the banner no matter where I put it. I want to have it done on it on my right calf. I am really pleased with the way Logan’s profile turned out, and Gun-Hee looks like Jacoby…but still looks like himself (it’s hard to explain). I can’t wait to hear what Linus says about it!

Aby-a-Day – 18 June: “Life is full of sniffles sobs and smiles. With sniffles predominating” (Medical Monday)

As I said yesterday, Lorelai has a small case of the sniffles. She had a goopy eye, but I gave her some Tobremycin drops, and it cleared right up, but she is still sneezing.

roryvetIMG_3540

So we went out to Skultorp to visit Min Vetrinär.

roryvetIMG_3539

It took a few moments, but Rory embraced the vet’s examination room.

roryvetIMG_3541

roryvetIMG_3542

She was very happy to explore the exam room.

roryvetIMG_3543

Even when the vet and her assistant were checking her over and taking samples from both her eyes, her nose and the back of her throat, she was still her usual happy self.

loganvetIMG_9951

This visit was a bit bittersweet as we were in a room we haven’t been in since I took Logan there September last year.

loganvetIMG_9952

loganvetIMG_9953

When this happened.

loganvetIMG_9954

loganvetIMG_9955

Not gonna lie, it was hard watching Rory move around the room I had last been in with Logan.

loganvetIMG_9958

loganvetIMG_9956

loganvetIMG_9959

I miss him so much…

Aby-a-Day – 16 June: Watch the birdie (Swedish Saturday)

We have a really cool little suction-cup birdfeeder on our living room window. We got it to help the birds have food in winter, but the birds actually eat more during the spring and summer than they do when there’s snow on the ground.

jakebirdfeederC09094

We also got it to entertain the cats.

angelbirdfeederC09111

angelbirdfeederC09156

Which it does. Everyone loves watching the birds come to eat.

birdfeederC09055

We get Blue Tits, Great Tits, and House Sparrows. The tits are a lot of fun to watch.

birdfeederC09117

birdfeederC09116

birdfeederC09039<

birdfeederC09054

Sometimes, they go inside the ball to eat!

birdfeederC03809

The sparrows are more aggressive and pushy. Which makes sense, when you think about it; after all, you never see the tits hopping around outdoor cafés stealing leftovers. I mean, there are five of them trying to eat at the same time in this photo!

birdfeederC03814

birdfeederC03816

birdfeederC03800

We rarely see the tits and the sparrows eating at the same time.

loganjakesofaIMG_9855

I put fat balls into the feeder because it’s hard to pour seeds in there. The fat balls are hard, and when the birds come to eat, they peck at the balls which makes a thumping noise on the window. It’s loud enough to wake a sleeping cat.

loganbirdfeederIMG_9844

loganbirdfeederIMG_9850

loganbirdfeederIMG_9852

So close…

loganbirdfeederIMG_9853

…And yet, so far…

jakebirdfeederIMG_8308

jakebirdfeederIMG_8309

Even though we got the feeder for the birds and the cats, it is a lot fun for us, too.

Aby-a-Day – 8 June: “Come, Ferries, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind” (Fashion Friday Flashback)

We have gone to cat shows in Helsinki twice and Tallinn once since I moved to Sweden. To get to these cities, we travelled by ferry from Stockholm. It’s quite a fun way to travel; you get on the ferry in the early evening, do a bit of duty-free shopping (alcohol, perfume and watches are the main reason many people take the ferry as the selection and prices are so much better), have dinner at one of the restaurants or at the fabulous buffet, lose some loose change at the casino slot machines whilst having a cocktail, then go to bed. When you wake up, you’re in your destination city. It’s brilliant, really. But the best part is that, when you board, they take your photos, and later on in the evening, you can go round and check out the photos and choose to buy the ones you like.

JakeFerryboarding

The ferries also carry cars, of course, and allow pets. So when you board with a cat, the photographers, who are likely quite bored of taking photos of arguing middle-aged couples and squalling children, light up and put extra effort in their snapshots.

JakeFerryboardingMag

Sometimes they make the photos into false magazine covers. I really love how this one turned out. This was on our first trip to Helsinki in October 2016.

JakeReturnFerryboarding

And this photo was the only one we really liked from the return trip from Helsinki to Stockholm…but we both really loved it. Sadly, when we took the ferry to Tallinn, the photographers packed up early, both directions! We were quite disappointed, and actually complained about it. They missed out on making some money, too, we pointed out; we would have purchased at least one taken each way!

The next time we went to Helsinki, we took Logan, as Jacoby had decided he was finished showing for the time being.

LoganFerryboardingDSC_0106

It was a bit chilly when we left Stockholm, so Logan had his parka on. He enjoyed the warmth the parka gave him…but he wasn’t thrilled about wearing it.

LoganFerryboardingDSC_0105

The photos are a bit awkward, but I love them anyway.

cocoLoganFerryboardingEMBY040004

The problem with the cat photos is, they always look good in them, so you want to buy them all. It’s the ones of ourselves we never really like. This one was tolerable, mainly because Logan looked so happy to be boarding the ferry and have his photo taken on the way back!

LoganFerryboardingDSC_0049

Either that, or because it was warmer, and he didn’t need to wear his parka. These are a bit blurry, but I love them because of how utterly happy he looks in them.

LoganFerryboardingDSC_0050

This one turned out lovely as well. I can’t wait to see how Lorelai looks on her first ferry trip!