Aby-a-Day – 11 May: “Whenever I see a tree that is climbable, it must be climbed” (Swedish Saturday)

As I have posted before, Lorelai loves to climb trees.

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Unlike Izaak, she can actually shimmy up the on her own without human intervention.

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She also seems to feel very comfortable in trees. She routinely naps on the top of our floor-to-ceiling indoor cat tree, and she walks up the side of it without a second thought, so that makes sense.

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Not only does she feel at home in the branches…

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…she seems quite eager to see if she can go higher!

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Oh, wait…what does she see now?

Aby-a-Day – 9 Maj: “The only time I can really relax is up a tree or somewhere outside” (Thursday Things)

Unlike Lorelai, Izaak doesn’t seem to be able to climb trees on his own. He tries…oh, how he tries. He runs up to the trees at full speed, but where Rory uses that momentum to go up the side of the tree…Zak just stops short.

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So, I decided to help him out.

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I put Zak up in the tree.

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He really loved being in the tree. It was as if his every wish had been granted.

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He may not be able to get up in the tree on his own…but once he’s up there, he knows what to do.

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First: Pose.

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Second: Try to climb higher.

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Third: Pose some more.

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In case you were worried, Zak wasn’t that high up…and Björn and I were right there in case anything went sideways.

Aby-a-Day – 3 Maj: Tacoby Friday (Friday Fashion Flashback)

In the States, Taco Tuesday is a thing. But here in Sweden, it’s Taco Friday.

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Because of Jacoby’s namesake, tacos always remind me of Jake.

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When he was a kitten, I had to get him some catnip taco toys.

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He loved those things! I wish I knew whatever happened to them. These photos were taken just a couple weeks after he joined our family.

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He even had a little taco charm that he used to wear on his collar with his tag. You can see it in this photo.

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A few years later, I found Jake a taco costume.

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Which he wore with his usual aplomb. Look at him! It might as well be a silk tuxedo the way he’s modelling it!

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Jake was always so chill when it came to wearing his outfits. People always used to ask me how I got him to wear his costumes. I would always kind of shrug and say, “I just ask him to, and he does it, because we’re partners.”

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Damn. Now I really miss Jake…and I am dying for some tacos!

Aby-a-Day – 25 Mars: “I think the loveliest time of the year is the spring…I do, don’t you? Course you do!” (Hipstamatic Monday)

It’s finally spring here in midwestern Sweden.

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We can tell because there’s no snow, the temperature is getting up above 5°C, and the swans have returned to our little lake (See those two little white dots in that photo up there? Those are our swans).

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Even though it was still a little chilly, I took Lorelai and Izaak outside to run around. It has been ages since they really got to run around, and run around they did.

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Rory got out the door and immediately started bounding down the hill, with Zak in hot pursuit.

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It is amazing how far they can get in such a short time. They are almost down to the road at the bottom of our hill.

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Rory was fascinated by something in those sticks…

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…Whilst Zak was more interested in trees.

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Finally I got them back up the hill…

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…and into the open area behind our apartment.

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They’re very familiar with the back of our apartment.

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We had an audience…apparently that other cat we saw on the balcony last summer has a roommate.

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As much as they enjoyed running around on the back lawn, it was pretty clear that there was only one ultimate goal…

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the sandbox!

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Rory did her usual digging holes in the sand and then running away from them.

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Finally we all got cold enough to go back in the apartment. But we had 45 minutes of fun and bonding before we went back in.

Aby-a-Day – 16 Mars: Bear necessities (Swedish Saturday)

In Sweden, we have a thing called REKO-Ring. REKO means “Real Consumption” (Konsumtion in Swedish) and is a way to shop for locally produced food, without intermediaries. Consumers and producers merge and start a REKO ring where locally produced products are sold directly from producer to consumer. In Skövde, our local REKO-Ring has a Facebook page where the producers post what they have available, and then people who want to buy something comment on the post saying what they want to get. Then, on alternate Wednesdays, we meet in a parking lot at a hockey arena two stops on the bus line from our house.

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Well, just as I despairing of finding a really great birthday present for Björn, I happened to check the REKO-Ring Skövde Facebook page. And I found a post from Lilla Spännefalla, and they had all kinds of game for sale. Including bear meat from Jämtland in the north of Sweden.

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I ordered a “Bear Box” and got steaks, ground bear meat, and chunks.
I have only had bear a couple of times, and it is delicious. The first time was in 2000, when I found it for sale in an Asian grocery store in Boston. I then had it again when we canned bear meat for sale in the duty-free on the ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki. Then I got to eat it again when we went to a medieval restaurant in Taillinn. But the thing is…The name Björn is the same as the Swedish word for bear. So when I found bear meat available for sale just before Björn’s birthday, I knew I had the perfect gift.

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Bear meat is delicious. You have to make sure all the fat is removed, because it can add a slightly rancid flavour to the meat. The basic rule of thumb is, “Season like beef, cook like pork.” This is because like pigs, bears and raccoons are omnivores, and their meat can cause Trichinosis if it is not cooked well.

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So, sorry guys…you don’t get to try it raw.

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Despite not getting to try it raw, the bear meat attracted quite a crowd.

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Lorelai, of course, had to get on Björn’s shoulder to supervise.

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Izaak made sure Björn cooked it thoroughly.

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And he did.

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Served with plain potato wedges and mushrooms, it was a delicious birthday dinner…

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…which some people in the house were eager to sample.

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Zak was the first to taste bear meat whilst the plates were still on the coffee table.

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Everyone else got their tastes in the kitchen. Rory LOVED it.

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Jacoby tried to steal her piece, but she managed to keep it for herself. But don’t worry, Jake got a couple of pieces of the bear meat.

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Alfred took his piece so quickly…

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…I couldn’t even capture it with my camera. Fast Freddy!

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Angel took her sample gingerly…

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…and ran away from all the other cats to eat it in peace.

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It took her a little longer to finish it, because of her three teeth, so she wanted to eat it someplace safe.

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I guess we can add bear meat to the things Abyssinians (and Singapuras) will eat.

Aby-a-Day – 7 Mars: Strange bedfellows (Thursday Things)

In my 50+ year association with cats, I have noticed several things. One of them is the fact that they have fads. Suddenly, a toy will become the best thing ever, food goes in and out of style, and sleeping places go from ignored to fought over.

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The last couple of months, the favoured sleeping spot has been our bed when we’re not in it. Because of course, when we’re in the bed, everyone congregates there. Jacoby and Izaak especially have to sleep either on or next to me.

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Lorelai joined Zak and Jake for a cuddle last week. Jake can get…resentful…of the younger cats.

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I don’t know…maybe Jake is actually enjoying cuddling with kittens. Or maybe he just likes them better when they – and he – are asleep.

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It’s usually Zak sleeping with Jake…

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…but yesterday I came across this. Lorelai with Jake but without Zak is a rarity. Actually, this may be the first time I’ve seen them napping together. Okay, they aren’t exactly cuddling, but they are sleeping together!

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Even back in Boston, Jake liked to burrow under the comforter in the winter. In Sweden, instead of one big comforter, we use two small ones (one for each person). It’s actually quite brilliant; it’s easier to put on the duvet covers, and there’s never a fight over who gets the covers.

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It’s also easier for cats to burrow under the covers and sleep in the middle of the bed. I think I’m not the only person who appreciates Scandinavian sleeping.

Aby-a-Day – 2 Mars: Surprise snowfall (Swedish Saturday)

We had a surprise snowfall last week, so I let the cats outside. Jacoby was eager to go outside…until he saw the snow. Then he noped right back up the stairs to our door. Alfred was a little better…he went outside, but the snow was still falling, and he didn’t seem to like that.

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But Lorelai…

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…Rory ran straight out into the snow with zero hesitation, stopping to visit her beloved rug rack first.

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She loves going outside more than she cares about being cold or having wet feet.

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Look at that happy tail!

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If you look closely at the background, you can see Izaak next to the apartment building, where no snow had fallen. He wants to be outside with Rory and me…just not in that wet white stuff.