Aby-a-Day – 18 Juli: My sweet summer child (Swedish Singapura Sunday)

You may recall, I have been working on a Four Seasons of Izaak project and a couple of weeks ago I took some Summer photos.

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I wasn’t completely happy with them compared to the Winter and Spring photos.

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Also, the tree looks more “summery” now than it did last month because now, the cherries are ripening.

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So, when we went outside yesterday, I put Zak up in his tree and took some more photos.

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Just like last time, he climbed up the branch, used it like a scratching post, and tried to eat the lichen.

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Zak is pretty good at moving around up in the branches.

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I think he really enjoys his tree time.

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In the end, this shot is the one I’ll use as Summer in the project. And, like the Spring photo, I may have touched it up a teensy bit in Photoshop…but only three layers, no big deal.

Aby-a-Day – 30 Juni: Wordless Wednesday (Abys enjoying the balcony)

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Aby-a-Day – 27 Juni 2020: An Angel watching from on high (Swedish Saturday

On one of our forays outside, Angel was on the balcony, and, as I knew she was happy there, I didn’t bring her out with us.

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And I was right. She joined us, in her way.

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She perched on the balcony and watched the other cats below.

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She was perfectly happy to be with us, but by herself.

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I love this photo of Dashiell looking back up at her.

Aby-a-Day – 19 Juni 2020: Glad Midsommar, allihopa! (Fashion Friday)

This weekend is one of Sweden’s two most important holidays: Midsommar, which celebrates the Summer Solstice.

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Much like Jul, the Winter Solstice celebration, the main celebration is on the day before the actual holiday. This year, Midsommmarafton is today.

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One of the Midsommarafton tradition is the making and wearing of flower crowns. You may recall last Midsommar, when everyone modeled a silk flower crown.

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So, the other day when I was outside with the cats, I sat on the lawn and made a little daisy chain with some buttercups woven in for more colour. Izaak came over to see what I was doing.

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So, when I finished the crown, I put it on his head to try it out. It wasn’t great. Sigh. Sometimes I miss the way Jacoby would pose with ANYthing on his head.

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I posted the top photo on this IS an airport, please announce your departure: aeroplane ear posting, and it’s even more popular than the one of Zak with Alfred! I posted the top photo 18 hours ago…and there are 2058 reactions!

And, oh…the comments! This one in particular really got me, because I just started watching Parks and Recreation a month or so ago.

This was my response…I love Ron Swanson.

(Editor’s note: Since this is a public Facebook group, I didn’t block out the names on the screenshots in this post. If you want your name blocked out on my post, please comment and I’ll edit the photo. But if you are here from the Earplane group…thanks for all the love this week! I really needed it!)

Aby-a-Day – 21 Juni: Who wore it best? (Fashion Friday Flashback)

Glad Midsommar, allihopa! It’s all downhill from here…

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Today is the greatest Swedish holiday apart from Jul, the day when we get the longest day and the latest sunset, and in a country known for winter, this is a big deal. When I posted about Midsommar last year, I included photos of Jacoby wearing the traditional flower crown.

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I recently found the floral crown again (it had fallen behind some books) this spring. I was thinking Jake could model it again, perhaps outside…but obviously that can’t happen. So I decided to try it on everyone else, and see who, potentially, could be my next hat model. I started with Angel.

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After all, Angel does have hat wearing experience.

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She wasn’t in the mood today…

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…this is the best I could get from her.

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So, Alfred, how are you at wearing a flower crown? You are a native born Swede, after all…this should be natural for you!

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Er…Where are you going?

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Oh, you think the top of the balcony tree is a better background?

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You may be right. Okay, give me looking off into the distance.

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Great! Now give me sensitive and thoughtful.

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Awesome! And now…give me the money shot!

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Perfect!

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Okay. Let’s try the other Swedish Aby. Lorelai, your turn.

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Once again, without the crazy eyes?

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Okay…better. But let’s keep going…

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Demure…demure is good…or it would be if you weren’t so frowny.

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There you go! That’s perfect!

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And, now…let’s see how the Polish contestant does. Here you go, Izaak.

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Oooookay…could you sit up, please?

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And could you lose the attitude?

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That’s a little better…keep going…

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…better…

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Okay Zak, now you just look like a Tribble with flowers.

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And…yeah, I think that’s the best we’re gonna get from you today. Thank you!

So, who wore the Midsommer flower crown best?

Aby-a-Day – 7 Februari: The possible inspiration of Emma’s drawing (Thursday Things)

Emma’s birthday is at the end of July, and she came to celebrate with us and the cats. As you saw yesterday, she also fell in love with Lorelai (and The Lego Movie).

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Björn always makes her a cake when she comes for her birthday, but this year she wanted to decorate it herself. She was pretty proud of her handiwork.

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Björn loves it when Emma comes to visit.

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You don’t need a DNA test to tell that she is his daughter!

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Emma loves coming to see her dad, and Kalle, and me…but we come in second to her excitement at getting to see the cats! She loves Jacoby, and Angel and Alfred…but I think she really fell in love with Rory. It’s no wonder, really…they have a lot in common, personality-wise.

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Emma and Rory had a lot of fun with the stick toy.

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She also played with both Izaak and Rory on the rug beating rack.

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Of course, Emma loved Zak, too…little girls especially seem to love that little guy.

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He seemed to like her, too. He followed her around outside the same way he follows me. It was so cute.

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Like I said on Tuesday when I posted Emma’s cartoon, the cat she drew could be either Rory or Zak, right down to the curly tail.

Shout-out to Summer!

I sent a few gifts to our Somali friend Summer in California for a (belated) Christmas gift. I know Summer and her roommates Binga and Boodie LOVE the European cat treats. And I also remembered that Summer’s human admired the miniature cat skeleton toy I posted about on a Miniature Monday, and when I bought mine, I ordered a few extra for friends and family, so I sent one along to her, knowing it would be appreciated.

You can read all about what they all thought of their gifts on today’s post on Summer’s blog.

Aby-a-Day – 28 May: Nothing butt the truth (Medical Monday)

Today’s post is…I’m not going to lie. Today’s post is kind of nasty.

Today’s post is about cats’ anal glands. Now, 99.9% of cat owners don’t even know their cats have anal glands. But if you completely ignore them, it’s (pardon the expression) a complete pain in the ass.

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It started with Jacoby, who has had a history of soft poops, which means that his anal glands don’t get expressed natually when he poops. When he started smelling “whiffy,” I would have my vet express them…but it was happening too often to make that a regular thing. He was young and trusting, and I used to have to do this with my old Siamese Harri, so I started expressing Jake’s anal glands the same way I used to do Harri’s. He let me…and now it’s routine. But almost every other week, I’m justified.

I know this is a completely disgusting topic. The stuff in your cat’s anal glands is related to the stuff that skunks spray when they feel threatened. There are two methods used to empty the anal gland sacs; I use the “squeezing a zit” method as opposed to the more invasive, “grab the rubber gloves and the lube” method. It works, and I can sleep at night.

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If you haven’t had the pleasure of dealing with cats’ anal glands.…well, it’s about as pleasant as the words “anal” and “glands” in the same sentence might lead you to believe. Tessie had a problem with hers that ultimately required an anaesthetised procedure, and when I helped my vet to hold her while she looked at the problem, Tessie nearly ripped my throat out. So it pays to get your kittens used to having their bums squoze before it becomes a problem.

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Because Jake needed his glands expressed on a regular basis, when we added Alfred and Logan, and later Lorelai, to our family I added “checking the bum” to the bi-weekly grooming routine of weighing, clipping claws, cleaning ears, scraping and brushing teeth (except Angel) and combing and rubbing with Bay Rum and a chamois cloth. I think it helps; at least, it should prevent any horrific issues.

The reason for this post is due to the fact that, this past weekend for the first time ever, I was able to express Angel’s glands. And believe me, she needed it done. It’s a not-so-nice aspect of cat parenting…but it’s an important one. As our friends at Cats Herd You say, why don’t we cat owners talk about these sorts of things more?

Edit: Our friend Summer suggested I post a tutorial on how to do this. Turns out there’s a Japanese YouTube video featuring an Abyssinian that shows pretty much how I do it (but not exactly). For more information on how I express the cats’ glands, read my reply to Summer in comments.

Aby-a-Day – 12 March: Takes a ticking and keeps on licking (Medical Monday)

Disclaimer: This post contains images of a disgusting, blood-sucking parasite…no, not the one currently occupying the White House…I am talking an actual arachnid. If you’re squeamish about creepy crawlies, you might want to scroll quickly.

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The first summer we lived in Sweden, Jacoby went out on several outdoor expeditions in the tall grass on the slope near our apartment.

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A day or two after one such outing, I petted Jake and felt…a lump. I inspected it more closely, and…EWWWWWWWwwwwwwwwwww!

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It was a tick! A big, nasty, swollen, blood-engorged tick! I don’t do exoskeletal, multi-legged things (except lobsters, crabs and shrimp), but Björn grew up next to a lake in Sweden and has dealt with ticks many times. He even had the appropriate extraction tool at the ready.

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Between cringing and making “ew” noises, I wasn’t much help.

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So I just held Jake still and took photos.

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I am so glad that Björn knows how to handle these monsters. It was hard enough just taking and editing the photos!

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All I know about ticks is what I’ve read in the Warriors books, and I was fresh out of moss and mouse bile.

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Of course, I could have always looked online for instructions on tick removal…but there was still that whole “I don’t do bugs” thing, so…

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…it’s a good thing I have Björn.

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Because…Ew! Ew-ew-ew-ew! EWWW!

Aby-a-Day – 26 January: Work in Progress (Cartoon Tuesday)

I’ve been postponing showing you all this one because I swore I’d finish it…but that was almost 8 months ago, so I thought I’d at least show you the sketch.

This goes back to when I met our friend Summer last May at BlogPaws.

As you may recall, I wasn’t allowed to bring Jacoby with me.

So I had to bring Flat Jake instead. This cartoon – which I had been planning to do about Jake and Summer finally meeting – is the result.

In some respect, Jake not going to BlogPaws is the reason I haven’t actually been able to finish this cartoon. Ever since I came back, things have been rather…interesting. But you know all about that.

Aby-a-Day – August 22: Peeping Queen

Well, a girlcat like Angel could hardly be called a peeping tom, now, could she?

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Angel loves to look out the window of our apartment. She actually is more into than the other cats.

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She especially loves the window when there are people swimming in the pool.

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I’m not sure what attracts her more, the people moving around out there or the sparkling sunlight reflecting off the water. But she’ll stay glued to that window til the sun sets and the people go back inside.

Aby-a-Day – August 14: The Cat Days of Summer (Cartoon Tuesday)

Cats, descended from desert-dwellers, know how to cope with hot weather.

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They also know how to take advantage of it.

(Click cartoon to embiggen, or you can view all cartoons in Slideshow mode on Flickr.)

Aby-a-Day – June 25: Lazy summer afternoon (Hipstamatic Monday)

It’s been really hot in Boston the past few days.

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Even though we have air-conditioning, the hot weather still makes for sleepy afternoons.

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Jacoby was napping in the “big bed” this weekend and I crept up to catch him in the act…

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…I woke him up.

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But that didn’t last long.

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As soon as he realised that I was just taking photos of him again, he quickly lost interest.

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“Okay, mom…I don’t need to be awake for this.”

Aby-a-Day – June 21: Summertime and the living is easy

It’s finally getting warm and sunny in Boston.

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The other weekend, Jacoby and I went for a little walk along the Harborwalk, and we had a little picnic lunch on Fort Point Pier.

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It’s really nice to sit there; the dock moves with the water and the gentle rocking is so relaxing.

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Jake, my little daredevil, insisted on perching on the bracket that holds the dock onto the piling. I held his leash very tightly when he did that, but I didn’t want to be a helicopter pet parent who never allows a cat to explore.

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Still, I wasn’t really able to relax unless he was on the wood Part of the dock.

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He didn’t let me relax for long!

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I think he just wanted to be as close to the water as he could get.

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I didn’t see any fish, but I know they’re in the channel. While we were on the dock, I saw a cormorant come up with one in its beak. Maybe Jake could see them in the water even though I couldn’t.

Aby-a-Day – September 29: Farewell, summer

Baseball season is over, Sunday is runined dominated by football, and the carcasses of dead leaves litter the ground. Autumn is here, it seems. And once it falls, winter is never far behind.

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I am sad that summer is over; because of my surgery and the nerve in my hip, I haven’t been able to walk as much as I usually do, and Jacoby and I weren’t able to have as many adventures as we should have.

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Not, of course, that we can’t still go out now that it’s October, but we do live in New England and with every day that passes, we have to bundle up a little bit more. It’s not as easy to go out in the cold as it is to go out in warm weather.

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And you can’t just lounge on the grass, basking in the sunshine on a lazy afternoon when the sun is already starting to set at 3pm.

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Ah, well. As we like to say in Boston (and we seem to have to say it a lot), there’s always next year.