Aby-a-Day – March 20: Two into one (Photoshop Friday)

Here’s a simple one for you:

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I had this photo of Jacoby…

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…And this photo of Angel…

Which, cropped, make two absolutely lovely photos:

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One of Angel in the snow…

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…and one of Jake.

But I was rather intrigued with the little bit of Jake visible in Angel’s photo, and the little bit of Angel’s tail that you could see in Jake’s photo, so…

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…I put them together! Actually, I put the photos back together, as this is how they were standing when I took the original photos. I just knitted the two photos back together by making the canvas double the original width and pasting them next to each other (with a natural overlap), cleaning up the scene, merging the layers and then cropping them as a single image with the original proportions. I will say, though, that it is much easier to do this with a winter scene than with a summer one!

Aby-a-Day – March 19: California girl in the snow

Angel and I have one thing in common: we’re both native Northern Californians.

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Of course it does snow in California; they once even hosted the Winter Olympics. But it only rarely snows in the Sacramento Valley or the San Francisco Bay Area, which is where both Angel and I were born.

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I absolutely love the snow. After 15 years, I still haven’t gotten over the thrill of seeing a white-coated landscape.

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Angel, on the other hand…not so much, I think.

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At the very least, she has a lot to say about the snow.

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And I don’t think very much of it is G-rated.

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She was actually sitting on my lap, here.

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She did go off an explore the snow, though.

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It was deep, and there were many interesting holes.

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While Angel isn’t as outgoing and gregarious as Jacoby is, I do think she enjoys the occasional outing.

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Despite what she may tell you!

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After all, Abys are busy, curious and full of energy. It’s good for all cats to get a change of scenery and a little fresh air once in a while, and I think it’s especially good for Abyssinians.

Aby-a-Day – March 15: “Let’s go home…”

I thought this was cute. Once I decided we’d all had enough of playing in the snow, I stood up and told Jacoby it was time to go home.

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“Come on, Jake, let’s go! Get in your stroller, buddy!”

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Once I’d gotten Jake to where he could actually see his stroller, he started trotting down the path to where I’d left it.

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(Pausing to examine an interesting hole, of course!)

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But the most adorable thing was, as soon as Angel saw Jake walking towards the stroller, she started to follow him.

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I think she was following him more to see where he was going, rather than because she knew where the stroller was, though.

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It was awfully cute to watch her trundle along after Jake down the little path. They’re such good friends when I take them outside together…I wish she’d get along with him in the apartment like she does when they’re out in the park!

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“Come on, Angel! Hurry up!”

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“Okay, Mom! We’re all ready…let’s go home!”

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Also, just for fun…here’s what this area looks like in the summer!

Aby-a-Day – March 14: “Nest” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

This week’s Photo Hunt subject is “Nest.”

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Jacoby’s stroller makes a nice, warm, rolling nest for trips out to play in the park in the winter.

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Not only is it cozy and warm with two cats inside, but…

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…there’s a little heating pad inside to warm up little kitty toes after walking through the snow!

Aby-a-Day – March 13: Jacoby’s first snow experiences (Fashion Friday Flashback)

The first time I took Jacoby out in the snow, it wasn’t really very snowy at all.

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It was a very light snowfall, but enough to let him get the feel of it.

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Jake didn’t have a coat of his own then (this was only December 2009, just four months after he came to live with us).

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So, he wore Gun-Hee’s old parka. That parka has gotten a lot of use!

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Gun-Hee was never as big as Jake is (Gun-Hee was 9 pounds at his heaviest), and even though Jake was only 8 months old here, the jacket was already a little short for him.

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I think he was a little surprised at how cold the snow was!

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This was actually when I got the idea to try to find him some boots…

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The second time Jake went out in the snow, he didn’t even need a coat!

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There was still snow on the ground but it was a balmy 54° – on New Year’s Day!

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It was melting fast, though!

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Still, there was enough to get a real “snow” experience.

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It’s kind of fun to play in the snow without a coat!

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I don’t think Jake was cold at all.

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Just a few weeks later, it snowed again, and this time, Jake was dressed for it.

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We had gone to the post office on the T, and walking back through South Station, I set Jake down on a bench to take some photos, and he dove right into the snow!

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The snow was deep there – up to his chest.

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There’s a reason you don’t see him wearing this coat very often. It hasn’t got a leash hole, so the leash tends to pull the coat up over his shoulders.

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I finally got him back onto the bench for some photos.

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He poses so nicely…

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Most of the time!

Aby-a-Day – March 12: “I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn’t show. “

Last Saturday was bright and fairly warm – almost 40°f/5°c – so I took Jacoby and Angel out for some more snow photos.

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We were going to try to go into the courtyard, but the snow was still blocking the door, so we went to our little spot near Rolling Bridge Park behind the Welder’s place.

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Jake has been to this little park many, many times, and Angel has been there, too…but never with snow on the ground.

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Since it was fairly warm, I didn’t make Jake wear his boots (and I didn’t even try to put them on Angel). I think he was actually happier without them!

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It was really cute the way Angel stuck to Jake like glue. In the house, she hisses and growls at him if he even looks in her direction. But outside…

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…she loves him!

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(You may remember this from June 2013…at the same park!)

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Jake, of course, knew where we were, and went off to explore.

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Angel did not like that.

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When we’ve been here in the summer, Jake likes to go watch the cars go by through the chain link fence.

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At least, I think he’s watching cars. I really have no idea.

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I’m not sure why he likes to do this…

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…but sometimes he sees his friend Romeo from the welders’ place next to the park.

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Winter is apparently no different than summer to Jake.

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He went to the fence to watch the cars (or whatever), the same as always.

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So Angel went, too.

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I’m not sure if she wanted to see what he was looking at, or if she just didn’t want to be alone…

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…but dammit, she was going to go look at whatever Jake was looking at!

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She had a hard time finding a place to settle where she could see.

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I don’t think Angel knows what Jake’s looking at, either.

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Jake decided to move to a different part of the fence.

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“Are you kidding me!?”

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Apparently there were better things to look at through the fence over under the trees.

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Needless to say, Angel went trudging after him.

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And off they went to look through the fence, together. I wish they got along this well in the house, because it really is cute to see them as a team.

Aby-a-Day – March 11: Wordless Wednesday (Walking in an almost spring wonderland)

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Aby-a-Day – March 1: Snow fall

When I took Jacoby and Angel out in the snow for some pictures, I had a hard time finding a place to take photos that had good lighting and clean, untouched snow.

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One of the best places I found was on top of a solar trash can and recycling bin that’s right in front of our building.

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It was admittedly a bit awkward up there…

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…but the snow was really deep, and it hadn’t been disturbed, so it was white and fluffy.

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Angel had a little trouble getting herself situated on the trash can…but then, she was barefoot in that snow!

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I will say this for Angel…she’s not afraid of buses and trucks, just like Jake!

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Angel may hiss at Jake when they’re inside the house…

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…but when they’re outside together, Angel seems to really appreciate him being nearby!

Aby-a-Day – February 27: The importance of being layered (Fashion Friday)

Before you can go outside in cold weather, it’s essential to dress properly for the weather.

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Layers are the key to keeping your core temperature up and trapping heat to keep warm.

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When we went out into the snow, Jacoby wore his green leopard print shirt since it works so well with his coat.

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I put his harness on over his undershirt, but under his warm coat. This helps to keep the warmth in, especially since his Fishtail Parka hasn’t got a hole for a leash.

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Angel had never been in the snow, so I used her purple Pirate Kitty T-shirt to keep her warm.

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Like Jake, she wore her harness over the T-shirt.

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Despite her early socialisation issues, in some ways, Angel is 100% Abyssinian.

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Wearing a T-shirt doesn’t faze her at all.

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Once we had the undergarments on, we put on our coats and headed outside. Angel wore Gun-Hee’s old parka, which not only fit her wonderfully, but also has a hole for the leash which lines up perfectly with her harness.

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That helped to keep her a little warmer, since the leash wasn’t pulling up the back of her coat the way Jake’s leash pulled his parka up. You can see his undershirt in this photo.

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Of course, his feet were warmer than Angel’s, because he will wear boots, so it probably evened out. I had boots for Angel but…I didn’t try to put them on her feet. I think the parka was enough for her! I think they stayed fairly warm. We weren’t outside very long, but neither of them was shivering or seemed uncomfortable. When we came back inside, the tips of their ears were a little chilled, but they both seemed perfectly happy. I do want to take them both out again for some more photos once we can get into the courtyard.

Aby-a-Day – February 26: A short walk in some deep snow

Usually, when I take photos of Jacoby in the snow, we go into our enclosed courtyard. There are many reasons for this: it’s easy, it’s sheltered, it’s pretty, and it’s nice, clean, unadulterated snow. However, as you saw yesterday, going out in the courtyard wasn’t exactly an option.

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So we had to go out front.

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Since Jake is used to wearing coats and going out in show, and because he was also wearing his boots, he and I went out first to scout a good location while Angel waited in a carrier in the lobby.

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The biggest problem I had was with the lighting. I could not get the “automatic” settings on the camera to work with the snow…and the manual settings were even more problematic. I ended up fixing them majorly in Photoshop after the fact.

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Part of the problem was the time of day, I think. The building blocked a lot of the sun, but at the same time I didn’t want to go too far away in the cold. I tried a couple on a crossing median…

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…the light was really great there, but…

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…it was a pretty precarious place to take photos.

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Also, I couldn’t really put both Jake and Angel on the island and take good photos.

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A+ for lighting…D- for location.

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So we came up closer to the building and I went in to get Angel.

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As I said last week, Angel refused to wear any boots.

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I made sure the rest of her was bundled up well.

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Gun-Hee’s old parka fit her perfectly.

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For being out in the snow for the first time in her like – and barefoot – she handled it amazingly well.

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She walked around a little and was very interested in all the white stuff.

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She had a lot to say about it!

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I really do want to go back into the courtyard with her at some point. Hopefully we’ll be able to get out there after the snow has melted somewhat…but not completely!

Aby-a-Day – February 25: Wordless Wednesday (“Nope.”)

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Aby-a-Day – February 22: National Walking the Dog Day

Yeah, you read that title correctly. Apparently today is “Walking the Dog Day.” Well, screw that.

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According to Jacoby, Angel and Summer the Somali, today is “Walking the CAT Day!”

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On Monday I took Jake and Angel out in the snow for a little winter experience.

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This was Angel’s first time in snow.

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I had some boots for her, but considering the struggle I had to put her coat on, I didn’t try to put them on her feet.

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Jake wore his boots but he didn’t like them.

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Well, he liked them in that his feet were warm and dry, but he doesn’t like things on his feet, especially the one back foot that was injured in the escalator incident.

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These photos are actually from after we went out in the snow. I’ll post the other photos of our outing later this week.

Aby-a-Day – December 25: Behind the scenes with Santa

Here’s some photos of yesterday’s photo being taken:

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I was a little bit amused that the photos were just taken with a little digital camera. Ah, progress.

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I really liked the manager’s commitment to the Santa outfit. I mean, really, he only needed to wear the top half of the suit, right?

Aby-a-Day – December 21: A visit to St. Nicholas

Last week, Jacoby went to see Santa at Petco.

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This is something I’ve wanted to do with him forever. I used to take my Siamese, Harri and Sigrid, to see Santa back in San Francisco.

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So when I learned Petco was doing photos with Santa I leapt at the chance.

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Luckily, it was a nice warm day, in the 40’s. I bundled Jake up well, but really, it wasn’t that cold at all.

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It’s been a while since we went anywhere in Jake’s stroller. I think he was happy to go out somewhere.

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We actually went to an Unleashed by Petco store. This one just opened on Washington Street in the South End back in July, and it’s so close to where we live! It was less than a mile’s walk, closer than the Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller Center. We’ll definitely have to come back more often.

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The staff is awesome. And they were thrilled to see a cat come to shop.

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The manager, Jim, was playing Santa. He left his post to come meet Jake.

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Now, that’s special treatment, when Santa comes to see you.

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I’m not sure who enjoyed the petting more, Jake or Santa!

Aby-a-Day – November 22: “Feather” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

This week’s Photo Hunt subject is “Feather.”

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Birds, of course, have feathers. And when we went to Petco last Sunday, Jacoby was very interested in the budgies.

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Or maybe he was just hungry?

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The birds didn’t seem very upset that a big brown predator was just outside their enclosure? Maybe they knew he couldn’t get at them?

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I really wonder what Jake would do if he ever encountered a bird that wasn’t behind plexiglas.

Aby-a-Day – November 20: Shop therapy

After Jacoby’s assessment, we passed a Petco on the way home and decided to stop and pick up a few things since it was right there…and Jake could come inside with us.

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Jake was all for a little shopping excursion.

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He sat in the shopping cart’s baby seat very nicely and didn’t even try to get out and walk around.

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He was, however, very interested in this display of dog and cat beds.

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I think he saw something he really liked!

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As if we don’t have enough cat napping spots in our house already – there’s more cat furniture than human furniture!

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For a boycat, Jake is a very good shopper.

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He waits so patiently in the cart.

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And he advises us on our selections.

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He really does enjoy going out and helping us shop.

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We buy a lot of litter in one trip, especially in winter, so we are sure never to run out. Currently, we use a blend of Blue Buffalo Walnut and EverClean.

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When we got to the canned food aisle, Jake really perked up.

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It’s really interesting – even though cans of food have no food-like smell, he definitely recognises the cans as “food.” He even tried to get onto the shelf with the cans!

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“Heeeyyy…why’s the bag with the Aby on it marked down?”

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I think he’s sulking a bit here because I told him he doesn’t actually get to eat any of this food. The ProPlan is the girls’ food; Jake is, of course, on a strict UT prescription diet.

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The least fun part of any shopping trip is checkout. But even then, Jake just sat in the cart and observed.

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I think he was having a good time watching the clerk scan all the little cans of food.

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I was so proud of how nicely he sat while we had our purchases rung up.

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All the Petco salespeople were pretty impressed, too. They don’t see many cats come into the store in general, let alone one who’s so blase about shopping.

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I was happy that Jake enjoyed the trip to Petco so much, especially after his hissing and growling at the assessment. He didn’t growl or hiss once the entire time he was in the shopping cart. He didn’t even meow very much. It really proved to me that it isn’t being away from his home – or his stroller – that upsets him, but it’s something about the actual therapy visit process. So I think the break will be a good thing.

Aby-a-Day – October 12: “In fourteen hundred and ninety two…”

Whether or not Columbus Day should even be a holiday anymore is up for debate…not that I care, since I never get it off anyway. But Christopher Columbus is kind of a big deal in Boston.

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At least, his park is. Christopher Columbus Park was Boston’s first waterfront park, opened in 1976 for the Bicentennial.

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A large Carrera marble statue of Columbus is a central feature of the park. In more ways than one; Chris’s statue gets beheaded and vandalised with red paint quite a bit by people who aren’t big fans of Columbus’ adventures in the New World.

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Be that as it may, here’s Jacoby and Chris hanging out at the park, waiting for their ship to come in.

Aby-a-Day – October 3: Strollercat’s first stroller (Friday Flashback)

Strollercat wasn’t always Strollercat, you know. Like most legends, he had humble beginnings.

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Jacoby first started out in a Snoozer Roll Around. That was a bit like a rolling carryon suitcase, and it worked okay, but Jake didn’t really like it. It was too low to the ground, and he hated facing backwards and being behind me. He wanted to see where we were going!

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Back in 2010, cat strollers weren’t as common as they are today. Not knowing any better, I got an inexpensive Pet Gear Travel Lite folding stroller for about $50 on eBay.

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It was a vast improvement over the Snoozer. I needed to modify it somewhat; it had no “seatbelts” so I had to make a way to leash Jake inside the stroller.

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Jake loved it.

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There were some problems, though. The wheels were small and flimsy, and the ride was pretty rough. It was also too short for me! I’m 5’8″ tall, and with this stroller, I had to kind of hunch over. That’s hard to do when you’re on a long walk.

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It wasn’t really comfortable for either of us. Despite that, we used it a lot that summer. Jake and I went to the Apple store to get the new iPhone 4 in that little stroller, and we also took a day trip to Gloucester with it.

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It wasn’t long before we both needed an upgrade, though; it was clear that going out in the stroller was definitely something we both enjoyed, so I got the PetZip 1st Class Jogging Stroller. It was immediately apparent that this was a huge improvement, not only because of the taller and sturdier handles and the bigger, more shock-absorbing wheels, but also because of the storage space underneath.

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It took Jake a little bit to get the hang of riding in his new stroller…

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…but it wasn’t long before he was riding in it like a pro! And don’t get me wrong, Pet Gear does make some nice strollers – Jake’s “mini” stroller is a Pet Gear Happy Trails, which is taller and sturdier, yet still light and easy to fold.

Aby-a-Day – September 22: Street Art (Hipstamatic Monday)

At the SoWa Open Market, there isn’t just finished art to see…you can also see art being made.

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Jacoby and I watched these spray paint artists working on new pieces.

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It was really intriguing to watch them as they created these paintings. I do art, too, of course, but I don’t know the first thing about spray paint art.

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Jake seemed to find it interesting, too.

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Looking good!

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We watched them for several minutes. It was fascinating to watch them work.

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I don’t know why Jake turned his head when the artist looked at him, though!

Aby-a-Day – September 15: Jacoby gets all the girls (Hipstamatic Monday)

The best thing about taking Jacoby to the SoWa Open Market on Sundays is watching him with children.

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Like this little girl.

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She absolutely loved Jake.

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She was thrilled that there was a kitty at the market.

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When her mother finally told her they had to go, she gave Jake a sweet goodbye hug. I think it made everyone’s day.