Aby-a-Day – 22 May: Thinking about Lorelai in class (Cartoon Tuesday)

Class is kind of boring.

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Can’t stop thinking about Lorelai…

Aby-a-Day – 24 April: Sketches of Logan (Cartoon Tuesday)

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Logan playing with his favourite fishes.

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I did a lot of work comparing the body type differences between Abys and Singas, creating the cartoon “characters” of Logan and Alfred.

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And also comparing them to the established characters of Angel and Jacoby.

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I wanted to make sure that Logan’s profile was Singapura, not Abyssinian.

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This one is my favourite, though. Logan’s telling Björn, “No, mamma hasn’t given us any food!”

Aby-a-Day – 13 February: Alla hjärtans dag (Cartoon Tuesday)

Last year for Valentine’s Day (called “Alla hjärtans dag,” “all hearts day” in Sweden), I had an early morning class, and I left for class before Björn went to work, so I drew him a little Valentine cartoon.

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Later, in class, I doodled Jacoby with some roses. And a little poem for Björn which says:

Roses are red
Violets are blue
I’ll love you
When you’re old and grey

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(It rhymes in Swedish.)

Aby-a-Day – 6 February: My upstairs neighbours’ cat (Cartoon Tuesday)

During that farce that was held in the months before the first Tuesday in November a year or so ago, my standard retort to any discussion of the male candidate was, “ANYONE would do a better job than that idiot. My upstairs neighbours’ cat would be better than him! And, he has better hair!”

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This is Marquis, our upstairs neighbours’ cat.

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He’s a domestic Swedish longhair, about three years old, and our neighbours cannot keep him inside.

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He loves going outside.

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He doesn’t like Jacoby very much, unfortunately.

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Which is too bad, because Jake actually seems to kind of want to be friends with him.

It is said Swedes aren’t social with strangers, but contrary to popular belief, we are very friendly with the other people living in our building. Our upstairs neighbours, Johan and Oksana, have two daughters, we share food and we take in each others’ cats when we need to. Our across-the-hall neighbour, Marita, comes in and feeds the cats who stay home when we go to shows. It’s really nice.

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Marquis is social, too. When he’s outside and sees someone heading towards the door to our block of apartments, he comes running to be let in. He then leads you up to his apartment and waits for you to ring the doorbell. He’s very smart.

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He is also an excellent hunter. He’s shown me mice he’s caught, and one morning I saw him pounce into a flock of birds. I didn’t have time to whip out a camera, so when I got to class, I tried to recreate his whirling attempt to snag a birdie.

Aby-a-Day – State of the Union (Cartoon Tuesday)

Sometimes, the sketches I do in Swedish class get a bit silly. I think we were talking about news when I did this…

Aby-a-Day – 16 January: Head study (Cartoon Tuesday)

Just a little head study I did in my Swedish language class the other day…can you tell who is who?

Aby-a-Day – 2 January: Holidays in Sweden (Cartoon Tuesday)

In my Swedish language classes (SFI, Svenska för Invandrare or Swedish for Immigrants – it works in both languages), I have reverted to a habit that sustained me through junior high, high school and university: Sketching in class alongside my notetaking.

I usually doodle things that go along with whatever we’re learning about, starring Jacoby, Angel and the kittens (collectively called “The LunaTicks”). Last holiday season, I did these three little cartoons. The first is Thanksgiving, or as they call it here in Sweden: “torsdag.” It’s not celebrated here, but turkeys are fairly easy to find. They are TINY (I can barely find one that’s 5kg (11 lbs), let alone the 20+ pounders I used to get back in the States. And instead of cooking on Thursday, I do the turkey on Saturday, but other than that it’s the same feast I always make.

Including the grabby Aby hands. Jake is saying, “My turkey…all for me…” and Angel is saying, “And me!”

After Thanksgiving, of course, comes Christmas, or Jul. It actually starts after Halloween here, with lights in every window to ward off the increasingly dark days. Sweden is an incredibly secular country, but they celebrate Jul to the hilt, combining a variety of Norse and Germanic traditions with a smattering of saints and advent and, of course, Donald Duck. Jul is a big deal here.

One big day in the lead-up to Julafton (Christmas Eve, the day when Tomten (Santa) brings the presents and the big meal is eaten) is 13 December, Luciadagen, a celebration of Santa Lucia, a 3rd-century martyr, who according to legend brought “food and aid to people hiding in the catacombs” using a candle-lit wreath to “light her way and leave her hands free to carry as much food as possible.” Her feast once coincided with the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year before calendar reforms, so her feast day has become a festival of light. 13 December also happens to be the first day of Christmas, 12 days before Christmas.

Santa Lucia’s Day is celebrated most commonly in Scandinavia, because of her name (Lucia = light) and she is represented as a young woman in a white dress with a red sash, wearing a crown or wreath of candles on her head. She is attended by other girls dressed the same (except for the crown) and boys portray stars and Tomtens. It is said that to vividly celebrate Santa Lucia’s Day will help one live through the long winter days with enough light. It seems to be a perfect blend of pagan and Christian traditions.

So of course I had to draw Angel as Lucia.

Another Lucia tradition are saffron buns called “Lussekatter,” Light Cats or Lucia’s Cats, so called because they look like curled-up cats.

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Of course, Jake was all over that part of the tradition!

Another Jul tradition is the Julbock – the Christmas Goat. Commonly, it takes the form of a straw goat, but there is also a depiction of a man dressed in a sheepskin and a straw goat mask who carries a sack over his shoulder filled with toys for all the children…it’s complicated.

But of course if Angel was Lucia, Jake had to be the Julbock.