Aby-a-Day – 6 Augusti: “Railroad trains are such magnificent objects, we commonly mistake them for Destiny”

The thing about going to cat shows in Sweden is, you have to travel all over the country (and also to other countries). We sometimes rent a car, but usually the rail and bus system is good enough that we don’t have to. It’s tough sometimes because the luggage for cats and humans gets heavy, and if the elevators are broken it can be a struggle.

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But our new super stroller makes it a million times easier. We can put things on top of it, or inside with the cats, and it can be steered with one hand (that was a problem with the previous strollers).

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And we get to see a lot of interesting things. This is Södertälje Syd station, closest to the show and our hotel. The swoopy thing is just a shelter to wait for taxis or cars to pick people up.

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I just thought it was wicked cool. It could have been plain and boring, but instead they made it look interesting. I like that.

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Riding the train is nice. Sometimes it can be crowded, or there can be screaming children or annoying people having FaceTime conversations. Since we have to travel in the pet compartment, sometimes we share it with dogs.

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Usually the dogs are well-trained and polite, but on the trip to Södertälje, there was a Labradoodle who was not so nice. His human was seated across the aisle from us, and he was on the floor at my feet. Lorelai was chilling on Björn’s bag under the table, and Izaak was on my lap, closer to the dog. Zak’s okay with dogs, but he’s more used to small dogs. At one point the Labradoodle lunged at the cats with no warning! It even surprised the dog’s owner, it was that sudden. After that, Zak decided to sit on the table and shoot stinkeyes at the designer mutt. (I wanted to get a photo of it, but after the altercation I was afraid the woman would see me take the picture. But it looked almost exactly like this.)

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Even Rory, who likes dogs, decided that sitting on the seat next to Björn was a better idea after that.

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Sometimes Zak gets bored on the train and walks around. He likes to climb up the backs of the seats, too.

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This is from the trip home, which was blessedly canine-deficient. Rory was fascinated by the passing scenery.

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Zak also had to check it out. I love watching them crawl all over Björn…it just shows how comfortable they are riding the rails.

Aby-a-Day – 15 Juli: Do they miss us when we’re gone? (Monday Mystery)

Do our cats miss us when we’re gone? Alfred and Angel are used to us going away, I was particularly curious how Izaak and Lorelai would react to our being away, since usually when we go off on a trip, they come with us.

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Hero the London Lion which I had seen in a shop in Covent Garden, but we were too tired and hungry to go in and look at him. Later, after a rest and some food, I wished I had stopped and gotten the “Lion in a British jumper” because he was wicked cute!

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As luck would have it, I found him at the airport as we were leaving!

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I introduced Hero to Rory…but she didn’t seem very impressed.

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“Really mom? Really? You left us ALONE. For a WEEK. Without taking us with you! And you bring this thing back with you?

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“Look at me. My eyes are bigger, and I am way cuter!”

In the end, I am not sure if Rory missed us…or the fact that we take her outside to run.

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Meanwhile, the moment we walked in the door, Zak was yelling for his chicken neck.

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After he had demolished it, we sat on the sofa and I gave him cuddles. At first, he seemed happy I was home…

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…but then…

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…I think he remembered how much mommy kisses him.

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I have a deep suspicion that he didn’t miss the kissies.

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But he did miss me.

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So much so that he is clearly contemplating his escape from my dastardly clutches.

Aby-a-Day – 12 Juli: Cat toys trump all (Fashion Friday)

In Kensington High Street, I discovered a brilliant card shop called Scribbler. But not only did they have cards (of which I purchased many), but they also had cat toys. I was not expecting that.

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And these weren’t just any cat toys…these were none other than the leader of the flea world, Donald Trump cat toys.

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Well of course I had to. In case you were wondering, the UK really dislikes Trump – the rumours are true. He’s the only non-UK political figure to be made into a cat toy. That’s saying something.

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It was our last full day in London, and it occurred to me that we hadn’t gotten any souvenirs for the cats. So, I Googled “best cat shop London” and found Pet London. It’s not a big, fancy store, but it is awesome and a definite must-see on a trip to London if you need souvenirs for the kitties, especially since most of the shops I found catered more to the canine crowd.

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It’s definitely a hidden gem of a shop. It’s on the top floor of a rather ordinary office building in Marleybone. We almost didn’t see it.

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You ring the buzzer to be let in. There’s a tiny elevator (Björn and I were very cozy) and, of course, stairs.

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But it is so worth it! They had an amazing collection of cat items – including kitty clothing!

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A lot of their items were their own designs, too. They even have a plushie of their feline mascot (I told them that if they ever mass-produced them to save me one).

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That’s not all they had…they had a different Trump toy, this time for dogs.

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And they also had a catnip Vlad Putin to go with that catnip Trump I bought earlier!

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Shirtless, of course…complete with cowboy boots. Of course I had to buy it. Oh, yeah.

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And nifty story, the catnip Putin and Trumpy chew toy are from a company based in Vermont.

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I also got this Catnium credit card…

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…and a Catberry, both with their signature kitty on them.

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Both of them have catnip inside of them. The credit card rattles, and the Catberry has feathers on its antenna.

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But, as we’ve seen before, cat toys that appeal to humans don’t always appeal to their target audience. So, did the cats enjoy their British gifts? To be continued…

Aby-a-Day – 6 July: Poetry in Paris (Special Saturday)

On one day of our trip to London, we took a daytrip to Paris on the Eurostar.

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We were only in Paris for nine hours. Not long; just enough time to see some sights, grab a bite (about which more later), and wander the streets looking for adventure. At one point, we came upon Shakespeare and Company, the famed English bookstore and sister store to San Francisco’s City Lights Bookstore (you can see a tribute to the SF store above the door). I used to walk down Jack Kerouac Alley, alongside City Lights, when I was living in SF and swing dancing almost every night. So seeing this bookstore kind of resonated with me.

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They have interesting snippets from news articles written on chalkboards on either side of the storefront. This was my favourite.

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But the best thing about the bookstore was this guy outside with his manual portable Remington typewriter. His name is Leo, and as you can see, he would write you a poem upon request. Leo only asked that you decide to pay what you think it’s worth only after you’ve read the poem. So I asked him to write a poem based on my tattoo of Gun-Hee and Logan. He was impressed with the concept, and only asked what the breeds of the cats were, and confirmed that the plants were maple leaves and pussywillows. Then he thought a moment and started typing.

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This is what he wrote:

singapore, abyssinia
maple leaf and pussy willow

meeeeeoooooow

stare into these eyes
deeper than the wisdom
collected through the course of
nine lives
wider than the stream of
time into which so much is
washed away

meeeeeeoooooow

we are they who traverse
the limits you imagine

we are they who were once
worshipped and are glorified
still, have you discovered
why, in the course
of your one
life?

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Leo signs the back of every poem he types.

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Of course I loved it, and I paid him 10€ for his work. I also explained the story behind the tattoo, how these two boys died ten years apart from the same awful disease. About a year or so ago, I found an awesome antique glass frame that I’ve been saving for the perfect thing to put into it. I think I finally found what the frame has been needing.

Aby-a-Day – 2 Juli: Sketches in London (Cartoon Tuesday)

Even though the posts have been coming regularly every day, Björn and I have been in London since last Thursday evening. We came mainly because I got tickets for both games of the two-game series of MLB games between the Yankees and the Yankees, the first time major league baseball has been played in Europe. Even though Boston was the official home team for both games, and despite there being more Red Sox fans in attendance than there were Yankees fans…the Evil Empire ended up winning both games. But it’s been a lot of fun, and we’ll be home Thursday afternoon.

When we weren’t at the games, of course, we have been doing a lot of sightseeing and shopping. One necessary stop, of course, was Harrod’s. Whilst in the souvenir shop, there was a display of pens, 3 for the price of 2. Whilst Björn hunted for pens, I decided to test them out on the provided pads.

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First, I drew Jacoby…but I didn’t like the way it turned out; the ears were too small. So I tried again, with Izaak. This one turned out much better. Still not as good as I’d have liked…but then, the pen I was using wasn’t the best.

Harrod’s is known for its souvenir shopping bags. I bought a rather generic one back in 2002 the last time I visited…but this time I found something much, much better! And, not to mention, Cartoon Tuesday-appropriate.

One last thing: at the first baseball game, we were sitting just in front of a Red Sox fan, Charles, from Connecticut who had come all the way to London to see a game. After the first inning, he started sketching, saying he was “a bit bored.” He was a wonderful artist! Here is the drawing he did of the game; Björn is in it, but I am not…the lines to buy merchandise were insane, so I sucked it up and went to stand in those. For four innings! If you ever happen upon this post, Charles…it was great to meet you!

Aby-a-Day – 2 Maj: Thanks, Facebook…(Travel Thursday)

Love it or hate it, Facebook is a reality. It’s annoying as hell, but it’s also a great way to stay in touch with friends and family (like friends from second grade and several of my cousins in Canada). And then there’s the “Memories” it likes to show you.

This photo was today’s memory, four years ago. Jacoby and I were on our way to the Seacoast show in New Hampshire, one of our favourites. We’re riding the T on our way to meet the friend I was staying with. Interestingly enough, I never included this photo in a blog post about the show (and I made several posts about it, too)!

So bittersweet…a happy memory, to be sure, but I miss that way he gazed at me.