Aby-a-Day – 17 Juli: A curious series of events (Serious Saturday)

Okay. Today was…weird. Strange. Mysterious. And not a little bit scary. It has many layers to it. It starts earlier this week, when I bought a used tricycle.

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Since Covid, my balance is a bit off and my Dutch bike is getting harder to ride, especially when I am carrying things. But good tricycles are expensive, and cheap ones are…unpredictable. I’d been looking on a Swedish used item selling website, but there was nothing. Then, on Wednesday, I happened to check it again…and there was one listed, in Skövde, for only 2900 kr (about $300 USD – wicked cheap). The trike had been put up the day before, so it really was serendipity. He delivered it Thursday. It’s going to take a bit of practice to get the hand of riding it (bicycles and tricycles handle very differently) and it needs some lights and reflectors.

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Another point: Björn is away on a weekend gaming trip, since everyone is vaccinated. Last night, I was on my own, so I ordered those lights and reflectors on Amazon.se. As part of this shopping, I went out twice after sunset to look at the trike to see what I needed and where I could mount things. When I went out, I got a lot of mosquito bites. I also ran into my upstairs neighbours, who told me they were going on a trip in the morning (this becomes important later). I fell asleep watching Hamilton, woke up at 4am, and went to bed. Woke up at 10, itching like crazy, and took some Benedryl. I was reading in the bedroom (it’s cooler there during the day than in the living room) and the Benedryl made me doze off. When I woke up, it was almost 4pm.

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Which meant the cats’ breakfast was late. I immediately went to feed them. Izaak and Lorelai weren’t around, but that’s actually kind of normal for them; Zak has been hiding from me when I feed him, especially in the morning because he doesn’t want to be shut up in the bedroom, and Rory likes to hang out on the balcony and eats later.

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But it was bothering me. Afternoons, Rory sleeps on the end of the sofa, and Zak eventually comes out of hiding. Kalle and I searched the house; I had started a load of laundry and thought they might be shut in there, but they weren’t. Now I was getting worried. I started thinking they might be outside, but how? They didn’t get out when I went outside last night, because they were here for dinner. Around 5:30pm, I went outside, both to look for them and also to see if I could put the tail light back on the trike. As soon as I got to the trike, Zak appeared, yelling a blue streak!

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“WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN!? WHY WAS I OUTSIDE? WHERE WERE YOU!?” And I couldn’t answer that, because I have no idea. But that means Rory was probably outside, too. I put Zak back inside and Kalle and I scoured the område. Kalle suggested we check with the Anderssons, and I told him they’d gone on a trip this morning. We looked everywhere, but couldn’t find her…but it occurred to me that late afternoon is Rory’s nap time. WHen I messaged Björn about it, he thought she might be napping under some bushes in one of her favourite spots, like near the sandbox. So, we decided to wait for an hour and try again. Kalle mentioned that the door wasn’t locked when he went shopping; he had forgotten that until after we searched. Alfred, as you know, can open the front door if it’s not locked, and when the Anderssons load their car, they block the door open. Kalle and I started theorising: The door somehow was left unlocked (I don’t remember NOT locking it, but I don’t remember actually locking it, either) and Freddy opened it. Zak, Rory and Freddy go out in the hallway, and the front door is open because of the neighbours’ trip. The Anderssons see Freddy and put him inside, but they don’t see the other two. I also knew no one had found her; she’s pretty well known in the område and all the children know her by name. She has two ID tags and nobody had called or checked the Blanket ID site.

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Kalle suggested taking Zak with us when we went out to look for Rory, and I had been thinking the same thing. So, Zak and I go out to find Rory and Kalle was still getting ready…but there Rory was, right at the door, waiting to be let in! I have no idea when they got out, how long they’d been out, where they went…nothing. Just our theory of events, at least until the Anderssons get home. But, this shows that taking them outside often and in all seasons is a VERY good thing, because they know where they live. A lot of indoor cats don’t learn that, so if they do escape, they are easily disoriented and don’t know how to get home.

Epilouge: The Anderssons didn’t see the cats this morning. I just messaged Oksana, and she didn’t see Freddy, Zak or Rory this morning. The mystery continues. So much for all that CSI I’ve watched in my life.

Aby-a-Day – 12 Juli: Don’t let the cat out of the bag (Hipstamatic Monday)

Yesterday, we took some recycling out to the bins, and of course the cats came with us. Which, of course, drew the kids in like a magnet.

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This one little boy, who we’ve seen outside as long as we’ve been taking the cats out, loves the cats…

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…but his love tends to involve happy shrieks and picking them up. Alfred and Izaak generally get enough love and prudently run away and hide in the bushes. But Lorelai on her leash is a captive audience for his attention.

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It’s funny. This boy loves the cats, but is also a little afraid of them. I don’t know what he thinks is going to happen or what he thinks Rory is going to do.

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Eventually Rory went into one of our recycling bags. This fascinated the boy.

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It also brought a little girl to look at Rory in a bag.

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They had a pretty good time playing with the bag, Rory and the kids. It was cute to watch.

Aby-a-Day – 10 Juli: Silly sandy kitties (Silly Saturday)

I wanted to take the cats out today, but the weather had other plans. But I found these photos from an earlier. Lorelai just LOVES rolling in the sand.

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Izaak, on the other hand, likes to dig. They are so fun to watch!

Aby-a-Day – 8 Juli: There’s a new kitty in town! (Thursday Things)

The other day I looked out the livingroom window and saw a little girl and her mom waling her cat on a leash!! I took photos with my long lens through the window, so they are a little blurry.

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I don’t know anything about her, apart from she lives in the C block of our apartment building. I saw her in a first-floor window yesterday.

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She reminded me so much of Kylie!

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The white kitty was obviously very new to walking on a leash…

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…but she was doing an excellent job!

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I kind of wonder if I’m not a little responsible for this. I mean, back when I was in the SCA, I took Harri to events, and, suddenly, there were a lot of people bringing their cats out, too. I like to think I inspired this kitty adventure.

Aby-a-Day – 28 Juni: Lorelai brings all the boys to the yard (Mischievous Monday)

Since we’ve had to keep Lorelai on a leash, the neighbourhood kids are asking to pet her, hold her, and walk her on her leash. Interestingly, it’s mainly boys who are asking! They get so excited when they see us, and if we’re out without the cats, they ask us when we’ll bring them out again.

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It’s so much fun to watch them interact with Rory. And I get it…when I was a kid, I always wanted to “help” neighbours walk their dogs. There’s something about holding the end of a leash with an animal at the other end of it that’s like no other feeling.

Aby-a-Day . Shadowing Izaak (Hipstamatic Monday)

It has been raining really hard for the past two days – lightning, thunder, and a tremendous amount of precipitation. Last week, however was sunny and bright.

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When we went outside, I was struck by the way Izaak’s shadow looked. I had to take some Hipstamatic snaps of him.

Aby-a-Day – 19 Juni: Happiness is a warm puppy (Swedish Saturday)

A couple in the C part of our building recently got a Swedish Vallhund puppy. We’ve seen them walking him outside, but we had yet to be outside with the cats when they were training him.

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Until last Thursday, when we took the recyclables out. As we know, Lorelai likes dogs. But she’s never really met a puppy before.

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The pup is really young, and he’s squirmy and yappy. At first, Rory was a little taken aback.

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But eventually they touched noses.

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Then Alfred strolled up to meet the puppy, whose name is Toke (Pronounced “TOH-kuh”).

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It was pretty funny to see how big Toke made Freddy look. Toke looks a little intimidated. Toke’s humans were happy to introduce him to our cats; they want to get a kitten as well.

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And then Izaak joined the party.
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“That sure is a funny-looking cat!”

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“Wait…That’s no cat!”

Aby-a-Day – 7 Juni: A nice day outside (Hipstamatic Monday)

The other day I took Alfred, Lorelai and Izaak outside for a little romp.

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I let Rory go out offleash, but I had it with me just in case she decided to be naughty. She was happy to jump into the tall grass on the hill.

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Meanwhile, Zak investigated the big tree.

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Later on, we made two discoveries: Markis, and catmip growing in the grilling area! Not sure how we never noticed it before. Maybe it’s new.

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I wouldn’t have noticed it if it hadn’t been for Markis.

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Zak is so funny…he really wants to be friends with Markis.

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We also ran into the neighbour boy who loves Freddy. Freddy was sweet enough to let the boy pick him up, and the boy was thrilled. He knows all their names and calls out to them, it’s so cute.

Aby-a-Day – 23 Maj: Run, run as fast as you can! (Swedish Sunday)

Yesterday, we had Alfred walking.

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Today, he is running! When he wants to, he can go pretty fast.

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Because Freddy’s a bit of a chonk, and because I suspect he has mild asthma, he tend to run with his mouth open.

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I feel so fortunate to live where we do, in an area where it’s safe to let them run free, without worrying about cars or large predators or birds of prey to worry about. And I love that the cats are smart enough to know that if they don’t stay close, they get put on the leash and they don’t get to run.

Aby-a-Day – 16 Maj: “If you’re not in the parade, you watch the parade. That’s life.” (Swedish Sunday)

All my life, I thought boycats were more friendly, outgoing and social than girlcats. The females I had, apart from Crystal, were all aloof and, if we’re being honest, a little neurotic. Tessie and Kylie changed that preconception a bit, but they had their moments.

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And then I met Lorelai.

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We’ve been keeping her on a leash because of her heats, as you know. Which means when the neighbourhood children want to pet one of our cats, she’s kind of a sitting duck. Luckily, she doesn’t mind at all.

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In Sweden, at least where we live, kids run around outside and play all day long, a lot like I did when I was a kid, (*Ahem*) in the 1970s. It’s nice to see, especially compared to how sheltered children are in the States. It’s also a little annoying; why do kids feel the need to SCREAM when they’re playing?

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The last time we went outside, one of the kids asked Björn if they could hold Rory’s leash…and it lead to a little parade.

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And Rory loved it.

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It’s also really great PR for what cats as pets are capable of. Hopefully, when these children grow up, they’ll be cat people.

Aby-a-Day – 15 Maj: Tampopo (Singapura Saturday)

The other day, a friend posted an infomeme about dandelions. I think it has some very important things to know.

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We are lucky that our område’s lawn is a natural mix of grass, moss, yarrow, clover, and many different flowers including dandelions. They don’t mow it super-short or super-often, so it gets really nice and natural. There’s also no sprinkler system. If it doesn’t rain, the grass turns brown…c’est la vie. It’s so much nicer than those perfect, manicured lawns in the States.

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Dandelions are also wicked fun to gallop through. Just ask Izaak.

Aby-a-Day – 1 Maj: A bird in the paw (Swedish Saturday)

Because of Covid, I have not had the energy to clip the cats’ claws on our regular schedule (it takes a LOT of energy to clip five cats’ claws and do all the other necessary grooming).

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That turned out to be a good thing when we took the cats out for the first time in forever last Thursday.

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Because Lorelai ran right up a tree with the intent to catch a wood pigeon!

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She actually got wicked close, too.

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She was also fearless and überconfident up in the tree.

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Rory was in complete control up in that tree.

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And when she decided to come down out of the tree, even that was deliberate and measured.

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I mean, look at the focus on that face. She’s in complete control.

Aby-a-Day – 7 Januari: Snow day! (Thursday Things)

So, as you saw yesterday, we finally got a little bit of snow.

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Alfred, along with Lorelai and Izaak (who haven’t been outside in forever) were eager to get out, even if there was snow on the ground.

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Rory, of course, burst out the door. She never seems to feel the cold at all.

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Zak was happy to be outside, but he wasn’t happy about the cold. He mostly stuck close to the building.

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You can see the difference in their happiness about being out.

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Freddy immediately went around back to check out his bush. There wasn’t much to check out.

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At one point, Rory couldn’t hold it in anymore, and she burst off in her signature flying joyful bound.

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Look at her go! It doesn’t matter if it’s cold and snow-covered or the hottest day of summer…she loves to run outside.

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Eventually, she came trotting back to the shelter of the building.

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“Well? Was it fun?”

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Freddy also took off in his goofy gallop, and Zak followed behind him.

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We didn’t stay outside for very long, because it was breezy and felt colder than the -2°C that it actually was.

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Markis was also outside enjoying the snow.

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As were the neighbourhood children. Despite there being barely enough snow to cover the grass, they were all out there sliding down our hill.

Aby-a-Day – 2 Jaunari: A little socially-distanced celebration (Swedish Saturday)

On New Year’s Eve, we had a little socially-distanced party in the afternoon.

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It was pretty cold, around 2°C with a breeze, but being outside seemed prudent. Since Alfred has the most…insulation.., he got to come out with us. Johan, our upstairs neighbour, manned the grill.

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Meanwhile, Freddy charmed Johan’s mother…

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…and this little girl.

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Bruno was out with us, too, and Freddy was extra friendly with him. It was nice to spend time with other people…even if it was really cold and only for an hour or so.

Aby-a-Day – 10 September 2020: Runaway Rory (Thursday Things)

As I posted on Sunday, we took Alfred, Izaak and Lorelai out to the recycling bins.

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But what I didn’t tell you about is that Rory ran away.

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Like, away away.

Here’s a satellite shot of our område. At the top of the photo is our apartment building. At the lower right is the recycling bins. And at mid-lower left is where she ran…and where I lost her. We actually had her back at our apartment, the boys were ready to go in…and she ran all the way back to where that arrow is. And the sun was setting, and it was getting dark.

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We had no idea where she could be (I suspected she’d doubled back, since every time we lost track of her, she was heading back towards our building), and apart from the darkness, it was also getting cold and we had to have our dinner (pot roast, which was in danger of overcooking).

Shout out to BlanketID, here: their poster generating feature is wonderful. I created one in English and Björn translated it into Swedish. Kalle offered to go out and look for her, and at almost 11 PM, he texted me and told me he’d spotted her in the small parking lot near the tvättstugen (laundry building). Björn went out to help him lure her in with some treats and a laser pointer, and when they called her, she finally came out. Kalle caught her, and they put her on her harness and leash. She did walk back like a good girl, but she didn’t get her chicken neck that night.

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I knew she was in heat…but I also know there aren’t any whole tomcats in the area. Still, I thought that her training would kick in. I think I underestimated the power of hormones and instinct just a little bit. Welp…until she gets knocked up, she’s only going outside on her harness and leash.

Aby-a-Day – 3 Augusti 2020: While Freddy was filming (Movie Monday)

Whilst Alfred was busy recording yesterday’s post, everyone else was busy outside, too…even if Freddy didn’t capture any of it.

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In the shady areas of our område, right now there are a lot of house flies in the shady areas. And Lorelai was hunting them.

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She is an excellent fly-hunter inside, as well.

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Probably better than outside, since there are no birds to distract her in the house.

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Angel was watching everything from the balcony…lately, she’s been happy to join us via the balcony instead of going outside with the rest of us. But hey, she’s participating; who am I to complain?

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Meanwhile, Izaak was busy in the front of the building.

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He found a crane fly and had a lot of fun hunting it.

Speaking of hunting, here’s a video of Rory and Zak hunting flies, with some additional footage of Freddy with the GoPro.

Aby-a-Day – 29 Januari 2020: Wordless Wednesday (Friendly Freddy and the Cat Boys)

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