Aby-a-Day – 22 Januari: Feel the Bern! (Photoshop Friday)

The best thing to come out of the Presidential Inauguration on Wednesday (apart from the obvious, of course), was this image of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in full-on New England winter gear, including mittens made from recycled materials by one of his constituents. The minute the cameras turned on Bernie, Twitter and the internet went berserk (in a good way).

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When I saw Bernie, the first thing I thought of was Logan in his coat. I thought maybe Bernie just needed some company at the Inauguration.

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But then I realised that the real meme is more about putting Bernie in places, including practically any place on Earth. So…Here’s Bernie sitting in my front yard, watching Jacoby and Olaf.

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Bernie loves him some Social Democracy, but maybe Sweden’s a little too far away for him to commute from his day job. Better keep him in New England. He seems like he’d enjoy Rolling Bridge Park. And if you were wondering what Bernie’s reaction is to all this, Seth Myers asked him about that, and here’s what he had to say.

Aby-a-Day – 18 Januari: “I climbed a tree to see the world” (Movie Monday)

When we were outside yesterday, I noticed that Izaak’s tree was looking pretty darn picturesque with all the snow and everything. Zak loves to pose in that tree, so I thought we’d have a little photo session.

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I was right.

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Since I lost Jacoby, Zak is pretty much my best poser. I can put him in his tree, and he’ll stay there and let me snap photos.

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He really likes this tree. It’s just the right height, and it has a little spot between the branches that he feels quite comfortable in.

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People were sledding down the hill, and Zak watched them from his vantage point.

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For being an engineered purebred cat, he looks really natural in a snowy tree. I love the snow flakes frosting his fur.

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I also love that I am reflected in his eyes.

After he got down from his tree. I made a little video of him walking back to our front door.

Aby-a-Day – 17 Januari: Let’s go outside! (Swedish Cinema Sunday)

We went outside with the cats today. Lorelai was the most eager, as usual…

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She has zero fat and thin, sleek fur, but she doesn’t seem to feel the cold at all.

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The boys, on the other hand, kind of hovered by the door.

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Finally, Alfred decided to explore. Seeing as he’s got the most insulation, he should do…

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Our upstairs neighbours were outside sledding. Oksana is always happy to see Freddy.

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He and Rory explored their sleds.

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Eventually, everyone decided they had had enough snow and wanted to go back inside.

I also made a little video of our outing. Enjoy!

Aby-a-Day – 10 Januari: The second day at the Swedish CFA show (Swedish Cat Show Sunday)

The second day of that Swedish CFA show was as much fun as the first, both for us and for Jacoby.

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We had a lot of judges come over from the US. At this point, I had only been in Sweden for six months, so it was fun to see some familiar faces and hear some familiar accents.

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This judge, Albert Kurkowski, was one of the few non-American, non-CFA judges; he was from Poland, and he was a guest judge from the World Cat Federation.

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I really enjoyed watching him handle Jake.

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There was a really pretty little Burmilla girl who was frequently benched next to us during judging.

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She reminded me a bit of Tessie.

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This judge, Inga Balciuniene, was also a WCF guest judge from Latvia.

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Pam DeLaBar is a CFA judge who lives in Finland. I actually hadn’t ever seen her at a show in the States. It’s nice having another ex-pat in the cat fancy.

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And our friend Russell Webb was there, too. He was always Jake’s lucky charm.

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Jake was Second Best cat in Premiership in Russell’s ring.

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As we did Saturday, when Jake got a little antsy we went outside to play in the snow. This time, I didn’t bother with the harness and leash. I figured, how far is he going to get in that deep snow.

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Famous last words.

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He started making off towards a little house. He went pretty far really quickly, too! I was surprised how hard he was to catch.

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I finally caught him, though.

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The cats we have now are awesome, and a lot of fun to show…but I still miss going to shows with Jake.

Aby-a-Day – 9 Januari: Scenes from a Swedish CFA show (Swedish Cat Show Saturday)

I never did post the photos from the CFA show we went to in 2017 I was reminded of yesterday.

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Jacoby seemed delighted to be back at a CFA show after competing in a few FIFe shows.

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And our friend Teresa Keiger seemed delighted to see Jake on her judging table again.

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Many CFA judges enjoyed showing off Jake’s “hands off” style on the judging table, and Teresa is one of them.

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People never got over how he loved to just stand and pose on the table, with absolutely no desire to run off.

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Jake really loved CFA shows.

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Even so, later in the day Jake started getting a little antsy, so we took him outside to play in the snow.

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The snow was fresh and wicked deep.

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I think Jake was happy for a break outside…but a little taken aback by how much snow there was.

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That didn’t stop him from exploring, though.

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He even plowed his way to a chain link fence.

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When he got there, he gripped the links and looked out through the fence.

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It was strangely reminiscent of the way he loved to look through the chain link fence in our little park along the Harborwalk back in Boston.

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After the first day of showing was over, we settled into our hotel. Jake knew where his food was!

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Jake and Björn chilled on the bed watching TV.

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There happened to be a documentary about cats on TV that night!

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Jake was very interested in it and watched intently. It was so cute!

Aby-a-Day – 8 Januari: Remembering Jacoby’s last CFA show (Friday Flashback)

Four years ago, Björn, Jacoby and I were at our first (and Jake’s only) CFA show in Region 9 (Europe). There in only one CFA show in Sweden annually, and it’s inconveniently located and so close to the beloved Örebro show, so we only entered it the one time.

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It was fun, though, and Jake really enjoyed himself. He always preferred CFA’s format to FIFe’s. And, entered in the show, were three Abyssinians descended from Instincts cats.

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It was fun to see old friends again. Pam DeLaBar, a CFA judge, is also another American expat living in Finland.

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There was also a lot of snow. When Jake started getting bored, we went out and played in it.

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This show was also the only show where Jake finalled in every ring. There were only nineteen cats entered in Premiership, and, interestingly, they were almost all older than five years. It was a fun time…even though the rosettes were printed on cardboard.

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We went outside again on Sunday to play in the snow. This time, I didn’t bother to put Jake on his leash. He went on a bit of a walkabout before I was able to catch him!

I’ll share more photos from that show weekend tomorrow and Sunday.

Aby-a-Day – 3 Januari: Festive fireworks! (Swedish Sunday)

We don’t have organised New Year’s fireworks in Skövde, but that doesn’t stop people from going out and buying them and setting them off. On Thursday night, someone shot a bunch of fireworks off just down our hill. And these were serious fireworks, too! Almost as big as the ones back in Boston! The cats were impressed; I don’t think they’ve seen fireworks this close before. Lorelai was mesmerised by them.

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Dashiell, not surprisingly, was a bit apprehensive.

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Alfred was fascinated by them.

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“Did I really just see that?”

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“Wow! I guess I did see that!”

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 – 25 December 2020: God Jul, Allihopa! (Friday Flashback)

This morning, Facebook reminded me of Christmas three years ago. We didn’t know it at the time, but it was our last Jul with Logan, and it was also our last Christmas at Björn’s mother’s house.

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We took the train to Jönköping Julafton morning. It was fairly chilly, so he wore Jacoby’s old snowflake hoody.

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Jake had a snazzy new sweater of his own.

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Jake had been to Björn’s mom’s house once before, but this was Logan’s first time.

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As I’ve said before, Björn&’s mom always made the perfect traditional Swedish Julbord, and it was marvellous. We had the cold courses (hard-boiled eggs with caviar, pickled herring, and smoked salmon)…

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…mustard-crusted ham, Jul cheese and red beet salad…

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…prinskorv and meatballs (before cooking, here)…

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…and sausage, cabbage rolls and Janssons frestelse, which is basically scalloped potatoes that are julienned instead, with anchovies added. It’s delicious, I promise.

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Anyway, I had found this special Jul apple at the grocery store, and brought it to Björn’s mom because I thought she’d like it.

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Christmas morning, Logan was sitting on a kitchen table chair, and he looked so cute I had to pose him with the apple. The rest is (Facebook) history.

Aby-a-Day – 17 December 2020: Merry Fishmas (Thursday Things)

Pickled Herring is one of the traditional foods on the traditional foods on the Swedish Julbord (Christmas table)…so of course there’s a version of Julsill for cats!

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It’s made by Mjau, the “low-rent” version of Bozita, which I’ve mentioned before (Both Bozita and Mjau are made by Doggy AB in Vårgårda). The main difference between the two brands seems to be the range of flavours and the ingredients labels. Mjau lists “meat and animal by-products” and “fish and fish by-products,” with 4% actual herring. Bozita lists the specific animals used, and doesn’t include “by-products.”

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But do the cats mind if they get a little Julsill along with their raw? Apparently not…well, except maybe for Izaak.

Aby-a-Day – 14 December 2020: Christmas candles (Hipstamatic Monday)

We’re putting up our Jul/Christmas decorations gradually this year, starting with the easiest things first. So first the wreath goes on our front door, and then we put the Julljusstaken in the windows.

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And, as always, it leads to some incredibly festive photos ops.

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Pair the candles with Hipstamatic’s holiday-themed films and lenses, and you can have a lot of fun. This film is called “Vixen-chan.”

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And this film is “Donner.”

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This last one isn’t one of the holiday films…but it feels Christmassy, don’t you think?

Aby-a-Day – 3 December 2020: Things we saw along the way (Travel Thursday)

Because of the pandemic and me being in a high-risk group, I haven’t travelled much at all this year. This trip to Stockholm was the first one I’ve taken anywhere since we took Lorelai to meet Io back in July. It was nice to see new and different things again!

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There had been some snowfall, and at a rest stop, I saw these lovely frosted leaves.

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On the road at dusk (around 15:00), there was this incredible moonrise.

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Considering I took these photos through the windows of a moving car, I think they turned out rather well.

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On Saturday, we went into Stockholm city to do some shopping. We passed by the Royal Palace, already decorated for Jul. I love the concrete lions guarding the entrance.

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As luck would have it, whilst I was taking that first photo, the Royal Guard happened to pass by!

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I took this one on the way back when we stopped at an ICA to get a snack. It was closed, but if we hadn’t stopped I wouldn’t have gotten to see the historic Åsgården.

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Still, out of all the things we saw last weekend…this was definitely the best!

Aby-a-Day – 22 November 2020: Remember when we travelled? (Cat Show Sunday)

Today Björn posted a memory from this day last year, with the comment, “It’s a year since the last cat show we attended, and when we could travel like so many times before. How things can change in a year…”

This was the train to the ferry to a Turku, Finland, where Izaak and Lorelai earned their International Champion titles. We haven’t been to a show since then. A whole year without a cat show…hard to believe. And I haven’t been anywhere at all since July! Because of my asthma I stay in as much as possible, especially since the health officials in Sweden are still saying masks don’t help against the coronavirus…especially on public transportation.

“We don’t see that we are at a point where we might recommend general use of face masks on public transport,” Karin Tegmark Wisell, head of the Public Health Agency in Stockholm, told reporters on Thursday. “Face masks shouldn’t be used as an excuse not to keep a distance.” That’s a direct quote. Yeeeeaaahhhh…I’m not going anywhere by train for a while.

Aby-a-Day – 17 November 2020: Bruno Liljefors’ cats (Cartoon Tuesday)

Last Saturday, Björn went to the second-hand store and discovered this amazing replica painting by Swedish artist Bruno Liljefors. It’s called “A Cat and a Chaffinch” and was painted in 1885. I was surprised to discover how old it is…it looks a lot more modern!

From Wikipedia: “Liljefors was a pioneer at a time when wildlife art was still emerging from its association with scientific depiction and taxidermy. He also set a standard of identification with the landscape that substantially influenced the development of wildlife art in the twentieth century.” Liljefors mainly painted wildlife and hunting scenes, but he also did a few cats.

Liljefors was a life-long hunter, and many of his works explored the predator-prey relationship. Interestingly, he also did sequential story paintings, and is considered one of Sweden’s earliest comics creators! So this post may not have any Abyssinians or Singapuras…but it is kind of a cartoon!

Aby-a-Day – 6 November 2020: Do you want to build a snowman? (Friday Flashback)

Along with everything else going on today, Facebook helpfully reminded me that, four years ago today, we had snow. That made me chuckle; today the high was 13°C (56°F), and snow is nowhere on the horizon.

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Four years ago, though, there was enough snow to build a snowman.

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So of course Jacoby and I had to go out and look at it.

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The kids were clearly trying to make Olaf, the snowman from Frozen. How adorable is that?

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Jake seemed to like him. Look at his smile.

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I miss how good he was at posing…I could just set him anywhere, and he knew what to do.

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I miss that face. I know Dashiell looks like Jake…but I can tell the difference.

Aby-a-Day – 1 November 2020: Feline Manoeuvres in the Dark (Cinema Sunday)

Admittedly, these are not the best photos. The iPhone 11 Pro’s night setting is great for photographing stationary objects…but cats, not so much. But I wanted to see how well it did at night videos. So what we have here are screenshots from the video.

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You see, Winter Time in Europe starts a week before it starts in North America, so we set the clocks back last Sunday. Which means that where we live, the sun sets around 4pm. Which makes running the ordinary chores we have to do get done in the dark. We needed to take out some garbage and recycling, and, as usual, Lorelai, Izaak and Alfred came with us. However, ever since the Runaway Rory adventure, she has to stay on a leash.

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But Zak and Freddy are still free to run.

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Hopefully, next year, we’ll be on permanent Summer Time, and winters will be a little less dark.

Here’s the video of the cats walking back after we dumped all the rubbish.

Aby-a-Day – 18 Oktober 2020: An Autumn Outing (Swedish Cinema Sunday)

Autumn is in full swing here in southwestern Sweden. We’re actually a very similar climate to New England, which is nice; it made the transition just that much easier.

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It was 7°C (44°F), but it felt colder. Izaak has a habit of holding one foot up when the ground is wet or cold…he was doing that a lot today.

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Lorelai and Alfred went out as well; after her escape escapade, we’ve kept her on a leash when she’s gone outside. Today, though, we put on her harness and had the leash on reserve.

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It worked; she didn’t run away…she barely ran at all. But at least she had free range. She finally went down the hill to see what Freddy was doing at the treeline.

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I guarantee Freddy is in this photo. Bonus points if you can find him.

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Eventually, Rory came back up the hill and sat under this abandoned, broken chair someone used as a base to spraypaint something. She looks so reflective.

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I wonder what she’s thinking about?

I also made a little video of Zak and Rory while we were outside. I love watching these two interact outside.

Aby-a-Day – 27 September 2020: Small cat on a giant chair (Swedish Sunday)

I took these last autumn after a trip to the vet with Dashiell.

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In the courtyard outside Commerce (our downtown mall), there was a giant Adirondack chair.

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It appeared randomly last summer, and then disappeared, never to be seen again.

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When I put Dash on it, it reminded me of Edith Ann on Laugh-In…and that’s the truth.

Aby-a-Day – 30 Augusti 2020: Lorelai outside (Swedish Sunday)

The other day when we went outside, I captured these portraits of Lorelai.

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Usually, she’s always running. This was an odd quiet moment for her.

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But she looked so pretty against the green grass.

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Fear not…she was running down the hill a few minutes after I took the last photo.

Aby-a-Day – 21 Augusti 2020: “It is very dangerous to believe face masks would change the game when it comes to COVID-19”

Hello from Sweden, where the nation’s head epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, tells the citizenry that face masks are “dangerous.” Well, he’s started to come under fire for his stubborn failure to change the advice he’s been giving since February. At least some Swedes are starting to stand up to him and wear masks!

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You may remember my post back in June where I showed off my collection of masks.

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Well, I just got this new “Six feet, people” mask from a company called Gossby. It’s a fun site, acutally: you can choose the phrase that appears on the mask, and you can choose the colours of the cat. Of course, I chose Abyssinian colours.

I also ordered this mask from them, but it hasn’t arrived yet. Sure looks like an Aby/Somali to me!

They have some cute masks, though. There are even some you can customise to look like your own cats and include their names. I like the wording on this one…the cats, not so much.

Especially when you have this mask, where the cats actually look like breeds. I mean, look at the Izaak cat; that is totally a Singapura! And the Dashiell and Angel cats…well, all of them! But I want the quarantining wording with these cats, so I am conflicted. Maybe I’ll send them an email.

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But, as I always say, no one reads this blog to see photos of me, so here is Alfred wearing my new mask.

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Be honest: Who wore it better?