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MonaSahlin, in an anesthesia daze

Poor MonaSahlin went to the vet today to get some vaccinations and to get her ear marked. In Sweden they have this system of marking and registering dogs and cats so if they get lost they can be more easily identified. I guess it’s a tattoo, but as you can see she’s still got the bandage on her ear so I don’t really know what it looks like yet.

A woman from the animal rescue organization took her to the vet. When you adopt a cat they take care of the first vet visit, which is convenient. I was going to tag along, but it turned out the woman had to take a smaller car than she was planning to so there wasn’t room for me. When the woman brought Mona back, she was just waking up from the anesthesia. It was one of the saddest, most pathetic things I’ve ever seen, this sweet little cat wobbling around the apartment, falling over now and then, falling into her water bowl, falling asleep and being totally unresponsive, throwing up bile. She’s so heroic though: she still made it to her litter box when necessary. She’s such a good cat.

Now she seems to be more or less her normal self, albeit a bit orange from iodine and still a bit sleepier than usual. She’s purring again. Of course, she doesn’t like having the bandage on her ear. The cat rescue woman said eventually she’d work it off herself. She has already shredded the gauze a little so she looks a bit dissheveled. I feel so sorry for her, poor little thing!

Kostia and I have been talking about getting a cat for awhile, but we may never have got around to it if there hadn’t been a cat rescue guy in front of the supermarket yesterday with a sweet little cat who needed a home. He delivered her about an hour ago and after walking around the house and sniffing everything she is making herself at home.

Already discovered plants for nibbling on

Eyeing Kostia

Already getting fur all over the tablecloth

I’ve often lived in households with cats, but for the first time I feel like a real cat owner.

Kostia is a bit more ambivalent about cat ownership than I am, so I let him have the bigger say in what we’re naming her. And her name is… MonaSahlin. After the Social Democrats’ party leader. I don’t know if that’s supposed to be an honor or not, but the name suits the cat, I think.

Life has been kind of uneventful these past few weeks, hence the lack of blogging. I have been working a lot and shopping for boots in my spare time. The latter takes a lot more time than you would think. Finding tall black boots that don’t have stilletto heels, absurdly long pointed toes, ten million buckles, sequins, chains and god knows what else in St. Petersburg is pretty challenging. I need my footwear to be comfortable and tasteful, but I don’t want granny boots either. Then there are my chubby calves, which further limits the tall boot selection. I did see some promising boots last Friday… I just didn’t have enough money on me at the time.

Right, so you can see how exciting it’s been lately. But I’m not complaining.

At the moment Kostia is waiting most impatiently for a letter from our university in Sweden with his official job offer so he can go to the Swedish Consulate and get his work permit before next Monday, when the classes he’s supposed to teach are starting. He’s already been teaching two distance courses on the internet and they want him to teach several more in person in November and December. Since we don’t know whether there’s a longer-term job there for him in the future, I’m staying in St. Petersburg for now to keep working – I wouldn’t want to quit the language school and dump all my students only to find that we’re back here in January – and I’ll just visit for two weeks or so. Though I’m not looking forward to this six-week separation, I’m also not worrying too much about it yet, since bureaucracy and the Russian postal service may keep it from happening anyway.

So here’s a bit of a cultural-linguistic curiosity for you Russophiles. First, some background: Yevroset is one of several mobile phone retailers in Russia. As I think I’ve mentioned before, here subscription plans for mobile phones are rare; nearly everyone has pre-paid service. You can add money to your phone account at places like Yevroset and they get a commission for it. There are also automated machines where you can do this, which I think are becoming more popular than actually going into one of these outlets.

Anyway, Kostia wanted to buy Zemfira‘s new album, licensed copies of which are being sold only at Yevroset in what I think is some kind of crass marketing conspiracy, so we went to a Yevroset outlet, where I noticed they were offering some very amusing stickers as a gimmick for people adding money to their phones. My phone had plenty of money on it, but when I started fawning over the stickers, the guy behind the counter was kind enough to give them to me for free.


click to enlarge

The stickers say “I’m a hare”, “I’m a hedgehog”, I’m a snake”, etc, but here Yevroset is trying to be hip and cool by intentionally misspelling things in the manner of the internet writing style “Albanian” or “Preved“. Furthermore, the one on the bottom left is borderline vulgar – it says “I’m a fat arctic fox” but this phrase sounds like another common but very vulgar phrase that means something like “a FUBAR situation”. Kostia tells me it isn’t the first time that Yevroset has alluded to mat in its advertising – they once had a slogan which roughly translates to “Our prices will blow your f**king mind” (complete with asterisks – they couldn’t actually write out the equivalent in a public ad campaign). Apparently the company owner is a bit of a character.

In lighter news, the joys of living in small-town Sweden. Last week the local paper devoted the entire front page of the second section (with a leader on the front front page) to a follow-up story about a guinea pig.

In the original story, a dog found two guinea pigs that had been left out in the cold, and brought them to his owner, who brought them to the police. They were scratched up and starving and one of them died.

In the follow up, “What a transformation“, the surviving guinea pig had been adopted by someone who saw the original story. We learn that the dog who saved him was a golden retreiver named Zedd. The guinea pig has completely recovered, doubled his weight, fathered a litter of four, and won a ribbon for his cuteness. In one of the pictures he’s shown demonstrating his “fatherly affection” by “kissing his daughter on the snout”. Wow. He’s really pulled himself out of the gutter and turned his life around, hasn’t he.

On the one hand, I have to laugh that they found this story newsworthy. On the other hand, the tale is unbearably cute and touching, and if I can be that sentimental, well, I shouldn’t make fun of the newspaper for printing it.

Apparently they really do find guinea pigs newsworthy. When I did a search for “marsvin” (guinea pig) on the newspaper’s website, there were 39 results.

photo credit:

The Swedish Guinea Pig Association

About This Blog

I'm an American who started blogging when I moved to Russia in 2004. Eventually I moved to Sweden, where life is pleasant but uneventful, and stopped blogging for lack of interesting things to say. And then I joined Facebook, which further destroyed any motivation for blogging. Maybe someday I'll start blogging again, but for now, this blog is dormant, an archive of The Russia Years: 2004-2008.

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September 2020