Aby-a-Day – 30 Maj: Stroller Rage (Thursday Things)

Yesterday, I had an appointment to take everycat to the vet for a check-up and jabs. Björn didn’t have the day off, so I had to manage on my own. Naturally, I took them all in our new stroller. Our appointment was in the middle of the afternoon (not that Skövde really has a “rush hour,” unless you count when all the kids get out of school), so the bus wasn’t crowded at all.

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We have to take two buses to get to our vet, and the first leg of our journey was uneventful.

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The buses we have in Västra Gotalands have a dedicated space for strollers, with room for two (theoretically, as we will see).

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This isn’t the first time we’ve taken all four in this stroller (we had a trip to DjurMagazinet in April), and it was vastly easier than trying to do it with Jacoby’s old stroller! Still, I did feel a bit like that man in Tokyo who takes his nine Persians out in a stroller.

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As you can see, everyone fit very comfortably in the stroller. We also got lucky with the weather. It was sunny and warm. Today it’s grey and rainy.

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On the second bus (also empty), we started out comfortably.

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And then…it happened. Another stroller wanted to get on the bus.

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Of course, I instantly shifted over as much as I could, but she wasn’t very good at manoeuvering her stroller (it was one of those awkward raised car seat/stroller combo things).

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In fact, she was having so much trouble getting on the bus, the driver got up to see what was taking so long. And he glared at me like it was my fault and told me to let her on, like I was deliberately blocking her. As you can see, I was jammed in as much as I could possibly be.

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And then, on the way home, it happened AGAIN! This time, it was one of those awful double stroller, with one kid who looked about five…isn’t that a little old to be needing a stroller? Again, I shifted over and jammed in, but this woman was a LOT better at managing her stroller, and her older boy (the one not in the stroller, behind me) seemed to really love the cats.

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I understand that people with little kids need strollers, because I need a stroller to schlep multiple cats around. I couldn’t even imagine what it would have been like trying to manage three (we have one that’s a double) cat carriers on my own! And believe me, I am no stranger to controversy about cat strollers. My resentment and annoyance is not anything against parents or children. It’s the attitude I get from people (like the driver, and sometimes the other stroller owner) that somehow their strollers are somehow more important than mine. I have as much of a right to bring my stroller full of cats on the bus as they do with their stroller full of baby or child(ren), especially if I am running an errand that requires multiple cats to be with me. And I always shift as much as I possibly can. Yet, in these situations, the person with the non-humans in the stroller is always the “bad guy” taking the space away from “the person who NEEEEEEEDS it”. (Sidenote, it’s even more fun when we’re on a bus back from a cat show with other cats in strollers and a baby stroller comes on. The entitlement on the baby people and the shade thrown doubles.) Basically, it’s a case of “All strollers are equal, but some strollers are more equal than others,” which really isn’t fair at all.

To that end, I posted a couple of these photos to Facebook as events unfolded, and made a flippant comment that 4 > 1, and then added “Cats Before Brats.” A friend said, “That should be a bumper sticker!” So…

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…I made one. It’s available on Zazzle, and at the moment, you can get 15% off with code ZSWEETTREATS.

Grumpy Cat hunts with StarClan…

Sad news. Tardar Sauce, known worldwide as Grumpy Cat and possibly the most famous cat on the planet, died on Tuesday from complications from a urinary tract infection. She was seven years old.

She was an inspiration to all cats who wanted to become a meme, and if it wasn’t for her, Boston may never have had Strollercat. I was pleasantly surprised by her Lifetime show, Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever and I love the Grumpy Cat Weather App. I can’t believe she died so young.

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I drew her, once, in a cartoon about the “Aby smile.” She was surprisingly difficult ti draw!

May StarClan light your path, and you find good hunting, swift running, and shelter when you sleep, Tardar.

Aby-a-Day – 2 November: A Red Sox Therapy Visit (Fashion Friday Flashback)

On Sunday, the Boston Red Sox won their fourth World Series in fourteen years, which is incredibly awesome. Even more awesome, I was able to watch them every step of the way, because just this year, Swedish television started showing MLB games. I mean, I have been here for over two years, but when I saw they were (finally) showing baseball, I was so happy.

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It also reminded me of when they won five years ago. About a week before they won, at the beginning of the series against the Cardinals, Jacoby and I went on a therapy visit to the Fuller Center in full Red Sox regalia.

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We rocked it – I even found some real baseball pants to go with my jersey.

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Jake was so good about wearing his Red Sox hat.

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He actually wore it for most of the visit. He’s such a good boy.

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I actually miss going on therapy visits, with Jake or with anyone else (Lorelai and Izaak, I think, would also be great therapy cats), but there doesn’t seem to be anything like that in Sweden. Too bad, too…because Skaraborg’s Sjukhuset is really close to where we live and super easy to get to by bus

Aby-a-Day – 2 October: Strangers on a train (Cartoon Tuesday)

This is definitely not a cartoon, but a couple of weeks ago, I got this painting sent to me via Facebook Messenger, along with this note: “Hejsan. Träffade dej och din fina katt Jacoby på ett tåg här i Sverige för ca2 år sedan. Hittade visitkortet jag fick av dej häromdagen och målade ett porträtt efter fotot där, Bara för skojs skull, och ville dela med mej av resultatet. Målningen är i akvarell och A3 storlek. Hoppas ni har det bra!”

Maria quickly followed up with an English translation: “I met you and your cat (Jacoby) at a train here in Sweden 2 years ago and i found your card a couple of days ago and felt like making a painting from the photo. It’s aquarell and A3 size.”

This is the card I had given her. But isn’t that wonderful? It’s one of the sweetest, most random thing I think has ever happened because of Jake being Strollercat. I love it. Thank you, Maria!

Aby-a-Day – 13 September: Backstory to Wordless Wednesday (Thursday Things)

Yesterday’s post showed professional photos I had taken of Angel, Jacoby, Alfred and Lorelai back in May.

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When I saw the poster at our local DjurMagazinet, I jumped at the chance. Not so much for Jake, who has had his photos taken by Chanan as well as other professionals, or Rory, who will have plenty of opportunities to have photos taken at shows throughout her career, but for Angel and Freddy, who won’t ever get to go to a show.

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Unfortunately, Björn had to work that Saturday, so I was on my own with the four LunaTicks. I packed up the lot and put them in Jake’s Strollercat stroller.

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There was just one teensy problem with that. Jake didn’t want to share. This was the early days of his mystery illness, and he was cranky. So I let him ride on top of the stroller. He was actually fine with that arrangement.

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It was not at all easy to wrangle them over to DjurMagaznet…but at least it was scenic. Look at those gorgeous poppies!

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When we got to the store, Jake didn’t want me to unzip the stroller and let the others out.

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Too bad, Jake.

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Of course, all the LunaTicks were instant hits with staff and other shoppers.

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It’s one of the idiosyncrasies of Sweden that there are ice boxes full of ice creams for sale in all kinds of random stores. Even pet shops will sell you an iced lolly. And Freddy wanted one.

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He was disappointed- “Aw…Mooooooommmmmmm…!”

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Meanwhile, Jake occupied his stroller.

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And pretended to ignore that Rory was still in there.

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Meanwhile, Angel and Freddy were exploring the little café that the store has set up for customers.

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And Angel and Rory spent some girl-time together as well.

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This was Rory’s first really big outing with other cats.

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I wonder if she saw Angel as a sort of mother figure? She’d only been with us three weeks…

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Yeah.

Stay classy, Freddy.

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Rory especially drew a lot of attention from people…kittens have that effect on people.

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Jake occupied his stroller whilst shooting daggers at the other cats.

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When it was our turn to have photos taken, I had some help transferring the cats to the photo room. There are, of course, no “behind the scenes” photos…I was too busy trying to herd four cats!

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Towards the end of the session, Rory was starting to get sleepy.

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On the walk home, I was able to open the stroller and let them walk. They didn’t all avail themselves of the privilege right at first.

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Eventually, they all got out and walked a bit.

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Although it would have been a lot easier if they all wanted to go in the same direction at the same time, but hey.

Stockholm Arlanda Airport celebrates International Cat Day…with Jacoby!

In honour of International Cat Day, a representative of Arlanda International asked me if they could use this photo I took of Jacoby and Angel in their crate just when we arrived in Sweden two years ago. So today Jake is featured on their Facebook page and on their Instagram account! Be sure to like him!

Aby-a-Day – 21 May: Playmobil Purrfect Stay Cat Boarding (Miniature Monday)

I know Playmobil has kind of “Poor man’s Lego reputation, but they have got a lot more choices in the cat department. Playmobil Purrfect Stay Cat Boarding set.

Not gonna lie; overall, I prefer Legos. But Playmobil has some interesting pieces, and I have been known to mix Legos and Playmobil pieces in the quest for the perfect Strollercat action figure.

It kind of started when Björn bought me the Playmobil Woman with Cat Family set as a surprise. After that, I dragged out all my other cat pieces and scoured eBay for more.

Then we saw this ad for a contest in Kattliv where the prize was this set. Well, I needed that shiny device! So we found one in a toy store.

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Alfred was eager to help me build it.

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It’s actually a pretty cool set.

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Hauspanther would be proud of all the catification going on up in here. And the detail is fun, too. There are stickers to put on little cans of cat food as labels and a sticker for the litter box that looks like (clean, unused) litter!

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Only one problem: not enough kitties! So I added all the random Playmobil cats I had collected and added them in.

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Like this small cat tree (with carpet stickers for the shelves).

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And these two iterations of Strollercats. The little grey one is, of course, Lorelai.

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This one is my absolute favourite, though. Somewhere along the line I picked up a veterinary set which included this patient, complete with Cone of Shame.

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But the best part is, she even has stitches! I’m not sure which set this goes with; I must have gotten it as a random cat piece on eBay. I can find the cat with stitches as a part of this set, but she hasn’t got the cone or the bed.

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Here’s the house again with the extra cats added in. Much better.

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Oh, wait! Here, let’s add two more cats…

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Suddenly, the poor cat boarding house was attacked by Roryzilla!

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She’s already using her grabby Aby hands to pick things up, as you can see.

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Oh well. At least Freddy didn’t sit on it…

Aby-a-Day – 7 April: Another city, another StrollerCat

If we lived in Göteborg instead of Skövde, Logan would be every inch the StrollerCat that Jacoby was in Boston. (Actually, Jake might be every inch the StrollerCat he was in Boston if we lived in Göteborg…but we digress.)

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He is barely a year old, but Logan has this riding-a-train-in-a-stroller thing down cold.

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To the point that he was so blasé about the whole stroller-on-a-tram thing that he hopped out of the stroller and rode at the back exit door.

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In fact, he seemed much happier riding there than in the stroller.

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I didn’t mean to take this short video (which is why it’s vertical and not horizontal) (click on still to see video on Flickr), but I am ultimately glad I did. Look what a cool public transport customer Logan is! As I told Peter Hasselbom: I guess I do have a trademark with cats I raise. And that trademark is…bulletproofness. I raise cats that can ride a train or stay in a show cage with the door open.

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And that’s not bad.

Aby-a-Day – 16 February: Downtown stroller town…Gonna shut your stroller down (Friday Flashback)

Two years ago this month, Boston had an unseasonably marvelous Sunday afternoon. I needed to go to the Apple Store on Boylston, and I decided to walk there with Jacoby. Apple Stores, as a whole, are known to be pet-friendly, and the Boston flagship store is no exception.

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We were walking home after having my MacBook Pro checked by the lovely Geniuses, just enjoying the still-warm February evening and enjoying Boston, when…

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…We met a boy.

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A boy in a stroller. It was adorable. Jake was checking out the kid’s stroller, and the kid was checking out Jake’s. It was like when two vintage car owners see each other on the street, comparing chrome and fin height.

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It took him a little while to screw up the courage, but finally the boy reached out and petted Jake. I couldn’t tell with the pacifier in his mouth, but I think he was smiling.

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After we parted ways, Jake went back to looking at the fancy windows at Lord and Taylor. He always liked looking at those windows.

Aby-a-Day – 10 February: Welcome to Big Market! (Swedish Saturday)

We are very lucky in that we live extremely close to a very good pet supplies store. Skövde’s DjurMagazinet is the equivalent of five Boston blocks from our apartment.

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And they carry almost everything we need. The rest we can order online.

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But they have our Bozita, our Vaisto raw, and everything else we need on a regular basis.

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And of course they welcome pet visitors. And you know how Jacoby loves to help me shop.

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He always makes sure we have gotten everything we need before we pay.

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The staff all know Jake, of course.

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With our purchases safely stowed in Jake’s light stroller, we’re homeward bound!

Aby-a-Day – 6 April: Wordless Wednesday (It’s so shiny!)

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Aby-a-Day – 4 April: Strollercat rides again (Hipstamatic Monday)

When Jacoby and I went to the Apple Store, I took some Hipstamatic photos of him on the red line train.

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I love how riding the T is No Big Deal to him.

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Jake was so happy to be back in his stroller!

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He could not stop rubbing and head butting it.

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He could do without the really screechy wheels, though.

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He may look like a typical, blase commuter…

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…but he can be as outraged at the T’s service as any Bostonian. This is why we’ll never get the Olympics.

Aby-a-Day – 25 March: The first time Strollercat went to the Apple Store (Friday Flashback)

The very first time Jacoby went to the Apple Store was back in 2011, when we went to get our brand new iPhone 3. It was a Massachusetts sales tax holiday, so everyone was trying to get a phone to save money, and we had to stand in line for a while.

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That was his first, tiny stroller.

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He seemed to enjoy himself.

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And then, just for comparison, here we are on our most recent trip.

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He still enjoys coming out on errands with me!

Aby-a-Day – 24 March: Pulling up a stool at the Genius Bar

When you need to go to the Genius Bar at the Apple Store, you’re experiencing a multitude of emotions.

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Of course, you’re totally stressed out and worried about your machine isn’t working right.

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It’s almost like worrying about a sick loved one. Perhaps worse, since apart from AppleCare, your machine hasn’t got health insurance…which means it’s probably going to cost you.

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Admittedly, there’s a certain thrill when you get to the Genius Bar.

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And then, when you’re met and greeted by an Apple Store concierge, you feel so special.

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But, once you’re checked in, you wait.

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And wait…

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…and wait…

Aby-a-Day – 23 March: Wordless Wednesday (Strolling down Boylston)

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Aby-a-Day – 21 March: Apple Over Boylston (Hipstamatic Monday)

Of course I had to play with Hipstamatic while we were at the Apple Store.

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I love the randomness of it.

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It’s like in the old days, when I had a little Instamatic and used 126 Kodapak film.

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Except, you know, you don’t have to pay for the film and the processing.

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But the funny thing is, the same number of good photos come out regardless of whether you take 24 shots or 2,400.

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I thought I would miss using film…but you know, I really don’t.

Aby-a-Day – 18 March: Approaching the Finish Line (Friday Flashback…sort of)

One month from today, on Marathon Monday, Björn and I are getting married (finally!) in Manchester, NH.

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The 18th is a day for us. On 18 March 1992, I responded to that first letter he sent me, which started our 24-year-long friendship. We say that’s when it officially started, because it wasn’t a friendship until I wrote back. Before that, it was just a letter he sent to someone in the States.

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18 June 2014 is when we reconnected and started messaging each other again after a few years of just thinking about each other, but not doing much more than liking the occasional photo on Facebook and sending Christmas cards. 18 June 2015 is the day we got engaged, in part because that’s the day his ring arrived. And 18 December 2015 is when I landed in Sweden for our first Christmas holiday together.

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And now, 18 April will be our wedding. Considering how long we’ve been heading in this direction, what more appropriate date to start our marriage than on the day of the Boston Marathon?

Aby-a-Day – 14 March: Overlook at the Apple Store (Hipstamatic Monday)

When we were at the Apple Store, of course I posed Jacoby in front of the gorgeous Apple logo on the third floor window.

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It really is pretty impressive.

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And it’s definitely a photo-op.

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So, here’s Jake and a really enormous Apple logo.

Aby-a-Day – 13 March: Stairway to Genius

One thing the Boston flagship Apple Store is known for is its 3-story-tall spiral glass staircase.

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And it is gorgeous. A bit treacherous if you’re on the small side of the steps, but it’s pretty. Apple has even patented this glass cylinder staircase design.

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Jacoby thought it was pretty interesting.

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He seemed to really enjoy watching people go up and down the steps.

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Although I always try to remember not to wear a skirt when I go there…because reasons.

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Of course there’s an elevator, too. How do you think Jake and I got to the Genius Bar on the third floor? I don’t know what I’ll do in Sweden, though. The closest Apple Store is in Helsingborg; the other two are in Stockholm and Malmö. No more walking to get my machines fixed…

Aby-a-Day – 12 March: “Zow” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

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

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I’m not even sure that’s a real word.

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Jacoby calls shenanigans.

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“‘Zow’ isn’t a real word!”

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Yeah I had no idea how to illustrate this. So here’s Jake at the Apple Store, standing tall in his stroller.