Aby-a-Day – 10 Juli 2020: A hot day in July (Friday Flashback)

Today this memory came up in my memories on Facebook. I wasn’t even on Facebook in 2005, but okay. But it reminded me of that apartment I had in Somerville. It wasn’t the best, but I loved it.

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It was SO hot in that apartment in summer, though. The middle room was the coolest, because I had a window air conditioner…but it was still hot.

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Tessie turned two a month and a half after we got Kylie. Kylie loved her and copied everything she did.

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And here they are now, last week. They are still BFFs and have been for fifteen years. Tessie will be 17 next month. I do miss them, but they are so happy where they are.

Aby-a-Day – 7 Juli 2020: 12th Night in July (Cartoon Tuesday)

Back when I was active in the SCA, instead of Christmas cards, I made Twelfth Night cards, since this is the SCA’s “Chrstmas.”

I have posted a few of these drawings back in 2015, but I just found another card I sent to Björn in 1993. I had totally forgotten that I drew this! The joke was that Harri, my Siamese, was more popular than we were…so he got all the Twelfth Night gifts.

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Like most of my old SCA cartoons, it wasn’t exactly an exaggeration…

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The original card was red ink on forest green cardstock. I did a lot of cartoons on…interesting…colour combinations, and I don’t have any black and white copies. Thank goodness for Photoshop!

Aby-a-Day – 23 Juni 2020: A quick editorial sketch (Cartoon Tuesday)

Chatting with a group of friends yesterday evening, I had a sudden thought that I needed to draw immediately, because I knew it would amuse them. I drew this in almost exactly an hour; I asked for a breed suggestion at 19:33 and shared it with my friends at 20:31. I am not going to explain it here…if you get it, you get it. That’s the nature of editorial cartoons.

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I also exported the drawing stream, because they are so much fun to watch. Remember that this is all one hour, and you can see my idea evolving as I draw it (Click on the image to watch it in Flickr).

Aby-a-Day – 16 Juni 2020: Clan of Cats (Cartoon Tuesday)

When I woke up this morning, I had every intention of working on either my drawing of Kiipi and her kitten, or my drawing of Alfred the Cat Burglar.

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But instead of that, do you know what I did? I played a game

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I downloaded the game Clan of Cats years ago, but I never played it. Until today. For some reason, I randomly decided to give it a spin. And it’s actually a lot of fun. You’re a cat, and you gather your clanmembers, build your home base (apparently these cats use fire and build log forts, but okay), fight creatures to get magic, fight bosses and conquer other clans.

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It could be so much more; you could be able to interact with other players, you could be able to play it on a Mac or a PC, you could be able to really customise your cat…but hey. You can fight alligators in water and kill them with fireballs.

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See all the dead alligators? Good times.

Aby-a-Day – 3 April 2020: This Cat is PHOTOSHOPPED (Photoshop Friday)

I have been having a lot of fun with the Facebook group This Cat is PHOTOSHOPPED. Since we’re all staying inside these days, I have set myself a challenge to do one request a day, to practice my Photoshop skills and try things I might not normally do.

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One of the first was this one. It’s pretty basic, but the cat was a pregnant stray and the poster wanted to convince her husband to adopt her. One thing she mentioned was that they lived in Southern California and there were coyotes in their neighbourhood, so…(Spoiler alert: he said yes)

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This photo was just an average phone photo, but it was so sweet. The poster wanted it fixed up so she could frame it, so I did this.

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This is just a silly joke, really. That face! When I shared it, I commented, “Well…SOMEONE had to do it!”

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I did this Covid-19 illustration for a contest to be the header photo for the group. I saw the photo of Sylvy and had an idea…

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This was originally a cat lounging in a bathtub…and Jabba the Hut was the first thing I thought of. I was surprised nobody else had done t!

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Same with this one…I was surprised no one else made the connection between Salem and Toothless. I had a lot of fun working on this one! I even used my scale brushes to add some scales into Salem’s fur.

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This was today’s challenge: Mamanchi on the parquet floor. Someone said she should be herringbone, like the floor, and I knew what I wanted to do. I actually learned some tricks doing this blend, and I am pretty pleased with how it turned out.

But that’s not all. I also posted a few of the professional photos of Izaak and Lorelai from the Örebro show, including a couple I had already separated from their backgrounds. Yanna Spite made the top photo on this post using a phone app, and Helen Yang made all of these. Rory skydiving…

…Rory doing a little song and dance…

…Zak as a member of the cast of Cats (the stage production, thankfully, and not the movie)…

…Zak and Rory in the sky with sushi…

…Zak and Rory with Paula Deen and, of course, butter…

…and, um, this portrait. Still, it’s great fun and a great diversion from reading the news right now.

Aby-a-Day – 27 Februari 2020: It finally snowed! Actual real snow! (Thursday Things)

As I may have mentioned before, we’ve been having a pretty crap winter with almost no snow

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But on Tuesday, finally, it snowed all day Tuesday!

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And on Wednesday morning, when I looked out the window, I saw the cutest thing.

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Our upstairs neighbours’ girls were sledding down the small hill in our område, and Markis was just hanging out nearby, playing in the snow.

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He really looked like he was happy we finally had snow, too.

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He really seemed to be enjoying himself out there.

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All the while keeping his eye on his smol hoomans.

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Markis’ fun was not unnoticed by Dashiell, however.

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Although I am not sure if he was wishing he was out there too…or if he was happy someone else was out there in the cold, wet snow.

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Markis really seemed to be having a good time, though.

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He just plowed back and forth out there in the snow. It was adorable.

Aby-a-Day – 7 Juli: My first visit to a cat cafe…in Paris! (Special Sunday(

As I mentioned yesterday, whilst we were in London, we took a daytrip last Tuesday to Paris.

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Our first stop was Le Café Des Chats, my first ever cat café!

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I know, I know…cat cafés are a thing…but this is the first one I’ve ever been to.

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They had laminated cards with photos and backstories of every cat. Those came in wicked handy.

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One cat, Simba, decided it was his job to manage the front desk.

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Simba was up there, managing, most of the time we were there.

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It was so adorable, how seriously he took his self-appointed job.

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Then there was Zan.

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Zan spent almost the entire time we were there (from the café’s opening at noon) up on his shelf on the wall.

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The café has an ingenious system of steps, bridges, and old furniture mounted to the wall to create a “cat superhighway” (™ Jackson Galaxy). Seems like it’s working.

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The resident cats clearly knew that they were in charge. The only rules were “don’t feed the cats” and “don’t wake a sleeping cat.”

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This is Salem, owning his chair.

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Here’s Alaska.

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According to his bio, he was born in the street to a neglected housecat. Not sure why he’s called Alaska…but it suits him.

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The table we sat at had books that patrons could read. This book, “Secrets of the Cat,” was one of them.

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It had a two-page spread dedicated to the “indefatigable players” – notably, the Abyssinian and the Singapura.

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Abys’ playfulness needs no explanation…

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…But the part about Singapuras is particularly adorable. It says, “The Singapura is an expert in clowneries.” Sounds about right.

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The café also has this brilliant poster featuring famous felines.

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And it really is complete. Look at #62: It’s Zunar J-9/5 aka Jake the Cat From Outer Space!

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Then there was this old print in the washroom. That “wild cat” looks a lot like an Aby, don’t you think?

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But the best part about the café was this lovely lady.

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Her name is Izmir.

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At first, she looks like a white longhair…but she isn’t. She’s a lilac Turkish Van; you can barely see it in photos, but her tail is lilac, not white. She also has one yellow eye and one blue one.

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Izmir was a very polite cat. She came up to me and sat on the table, waiting for permission before engaging.

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Then, a gentle headbutt.

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Then she decided to crawl onto my lap.

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She has the longest whiskers I have ever seen on a cat.

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She settled down and made herself comfortable. The leather couch was rather slidey, so I was half sitting, half lying on it when Izmir settled. It was a bit awkward.

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But how could I move? She was so comfy.

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And she was purring!

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She stayed on my lap, purring and kneading, for the longest time. I didn’t really get to interact with many of the other cats…but after almost a week of not having any kitties to cuddle, she really made my day.

Happy 14th Birthday, Kylie!

Today is Kylie’s 14th birthday. She was such a tiny kitten when we got her…

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…and here she is on St. Patrick’s Day, ignoring the parade.

Aby-a-Day – 23 April: Release the Flerken! (Cartoon Tuesday)

Warning…this post contains spoilers for the film Captain Marvel. However, if you have read the comics, it’s not really that much of a spoiler.

I am not a huge fan of superhero comics (I’m more of an Archie’s Gang kind of girl) or the “Marvel Universe.” I enjoy Deadpool (because he’s funny) and I love Big Hero 6 (because Disney animation and because San Fransokyo is awesome). And it’s kind of cool for me that I used to work with Chris Evans’ mother’s sister (she lived in Somerville) and now he’s Captain America…but by and large the who Avengers/X-Men/Spiderman movie monopoly just leaves me feeling…meh.

Until I discovered Captain Marvel. Of course, I had heard of her, but didn’t know much about the comic. Then I discovered that she’s a Red Sox fan and she has a cat. So of course I had to see this movie, right? Well…in the movie, she’s in LA and the desert and someplace in the South, and there is no mention of baseball or the Red Sox, so it was a bit of a let-down on that front. But the cat…oh, the cat more than made up for it!

Goose the cat (a female, but played by four cats, mainly a boy tabby named Reggie, along with Rizzo, Gonzo, and Archie) is easily the best part of the film. Goose even has her own poster!

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For years I avoided Funko Pop! figures when I saw them in stores, because they are a) cute, b) have something for EVERY fandom you can think of (I am not kidding…they even have a figure of Joey wearing all of Chandler’s clothes!), and c) they are exactly the kind of thing I could get totally addicted to. But after seeing The Last Jedi, I had to get a Porg figure, because the Porgs in the movie reminded us so much of Logan

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And now, I have Goose the cat and Goose the Flerken figures.

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Aren’t they cute?

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But wait, there’s more! The Flerken version is swallowing a blue glowing cube called the “Tesseract”…which glows in the dark! There’s also a third version I like to call “The Slurp” with Goose retracting her tentacles. I haven’t gotten that one yet…but I will.

One last thing…movies like this almost always have a special extra scene after all the credits have rolled (and which most people miss because they leave to early). About halfway through the film, I knew what the bonus scene would be…and if I was wrong, Marvel would have missed the best opportunity for a joke ever. I was not wrong, and I was not disappointed. Here it is if you would like to see it (yes, it’s sideways, but it’s apparently the only one on YouTube):

Aby-a-Day – 15 January: Tattoo foxers (Cartoon Tuesday)

This is only tangentially related to Abys, or even cats, but I thought you might find it interesting.

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I had this snake tattoo…and I really didn’t like it. I got it for the wrong reasons, it hasn’t aged as well as most of the other ones I have, and it really doesn’t go with the other tattoos I have.

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So I finally decided to do something about it. I decided to get the snake covered up with a traditional Japanese fox design.

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Today was the first session. We got the outlines done, and then we coloured in the fox. I am not going to lie…this was the most painful tattoo I have ever gotten.

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Instead of a red fox, though, I wanted a North American grey fox. I have always loved the grey and orange colouration of these foxes.

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Also, the colouration of the grey fox is quite similar to Alfred’s…I call him my grey fox.

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When I got home, I was drained and exhausted. I was lying on the sofa and Jacoby instantly came and lay on top of me…and on top of the tattoo. But it was nice, actually. Soothing. We’ll finish this tattoo up next month.

Aby-a-Day – 13 November: Cat Mob (Cartoon Tuesday)

Okay, not exactly a cartoon, but I see this sticker grafitti stuck to a wall-ashtray everytime I go to Commerce downtown. It’s just so happy! I mean, I know it’s grafitti…but it’s adorable.

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They also hit a postbox with a Sharpie, and this time Cat Mob has a friend. I really love his tail. I have no idea what or who Cat Mob is, but I appreciate their mascots.

Aby-a-Day – 14 August: Pining for the fjords (Cartoon Tuesday)

Whilst working on a new project for the upcoming NEMO show, I came across an old drawing I did for Iris five years ago for the National Norwegian Forest Cat Breed Club’s show catalogue (the show was around Columbus Day, as I recall). I’d forgotten all about it, but considering where I live now, it was too funny not to share.

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Seeing it again also reminded me that I had always wanted to colour it. So, it being a rainy Tuesday, I figured, what the heck?

Happy 13th Birthday, Kylie!

Today is Kylie’s 13th birthday! She and Tessie are still living happily in Boston. They’re a bit older, but doing well.

Aby-a-Day – 26 March: Re Ment Pose Skeleton Cat (Miniature Monday)

Personally, I think cat skeletons are kind of cool. You may remember
my roughly life-sized skeleton cat, Os-car I found at CVS one Halloween. So when Björn showed me a picture of Re-Ment’s Pose Skeleton Cat, I had to get one.

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It’s one of those typical cool Japanese toys with tons of special touches. The cat comes with a litter box (I think…it might be a bed), a typical Japanese wand cat toy, and a belled collar. I added a Schleich cat tower and some food and water bowls I had from another set, and it seems that the scale on all of them is roughly the same.

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The amount of detail on this little thing is incredible. The collar has stitching marks and a leather look, and the bell has a seam and the hole at the bottom to let the sound out.

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Of course, when he heard the camera, Jacoby had to come see what I was taking photos of…and why I wasn’t taking photos of him.

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Jake was very curious about the little cat skeleton and tried to pick it up.

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He only succeeded in knocking over the cat tree. Then he wandered off.

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Thanks a lot, Jake!

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It’s really a tiny figure (as you can see compared to Jake’s paw), but it has eight points of articulation (tail, both hips, mid-spine, both shoulders, neck and jaw)! I really adore this little thing.

Aby-a-Day – 6 March: Sketches of Pyret (Cartoon Tuesday)

In anticipation of getting back to doing my full-colour, regular cartoons again, I have been working up “characters” for the new cats in the ensemble cast: Pyret, Alfred and Logan. You have seen some of the preliminary sketches of Freddy and Logan already.

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I also worked up a sketch for Pyret. Someday I’ll have to finish this one in colour.

Aby-a-Day – 1 March: StarClan is calling Pyret

As I am writing this, Pyret is still alive, but only just barely. She is dying. She is not suffering, and she is lying peacefully on one of Björn’s T-shirts in one of her favourite places.

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She is not in pain, she’s just 18½ years old and she’s simply slowly shutting down. We think that taking her in to the vet would cause her more stress than she needs, and the vet agrees. It’s a long bus ride, and she seems content to be here with us.

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The other cats seem to know that something is happening to her, and they have all come to see her during the day.

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I think they know she’s dying. They have all been really gentle to her…which is amazing, considering that she hissed and growled at them whenever they came near her.

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It was really touching to see each of them come and visit her.

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Especially Logan. The youngest and the oldest.

As I say, she is still here with us, but I don’t think it will be much longer. May StarClan light your path, Pyret von Rosenöra-Rosennos. May you find good hunting, swift running, and shelter when you sleep. There will soon be a new star in the night sky.

Aby-a-Day – 17 May: Finding Marlin (Cartoon Tuesday)

I was at a NEMO meeting this past weekend, and spent most of it drawing. I working up a new version of our mascot, Marlin, for this year’s show.

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That drawing isn’t finished yet, but I was reminded of these drawings of Marlin. The ones with the fish were done for a “Finding Nemo” scavenger hunt-type game we played at shows, and the one of Marlin as a kitten was done as an idea for kids’ activities…but I never did anything with it. I think I didn’t think Marlin looked “kittenish” enough, but didn’t ever get around to redrawing him or even colouring him in. Perhaps some day…

Aby-a-Day – 12 April: My first wedding – Part 2 (Cartoon Tuesday)

Last week, I posted the cartoon I did for the holiday card I sent out just before I got married to my first husband.

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This is the drawing I did on the invitation. Again, Harri the Siamese is prominently featured. I sent Björn and his then-fiancee an invitation…but they weren’t able to attend.

Aby-a-Day – 5 April: My first wedding – Part 1 (Cartoon Tuesday)

Despite meeting Björn in 1992, he will be my – gasp! – third husband! My first husband and I were both members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, and we got married in medieval garb. Our wedding was held on New Year’s Eve; we had the reception first and then got married just before midnight. The SCA’s big holiday celebration (and dress-up event) is Twelfth Night, and in the West Kingdom it’s typically held the first Saturday in January.

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This was my Christmas/12th Night card to our friends in 1992, and of course I sent one to Björn. He recently found it and, since we’re getting married in less than two weeks, I thought I’d share it because it also shows my Siamese, Harri. Harri actually came to the wedding as Best Cat and had a wonderful time. Harri was actually quite the party cat – I think he and Jacoby would have been great friends.