Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Thursday, January 24, 2013

DANTE: BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER

Dante's outside again, taking shelter in the basket chair on the porch.   However, just like some folks who take a plunge in icy waters for sport, Dante is preparing to take a bath 'al FURResco'!  The fact that it's winter only heightens its allure.



This is the "BEFORE" shot.  Dante's already looking pretty clean, but that urge to wash up just won't quit!





 Here's the "DURING".  While ENDURING the cold, Dante doesn't hold back in spite of it (or should I say in SPIT of it!).




 And here is the "AFTER", or "AFTERMATH" as I like to call it.  Dante's already doing the calculations in his head.



"256,923!" says Dante.  "Is da numbah of furs dat I licked.  Now duzn't I look good?"

It seems that not only is Dante indeed a handsome mancat, but he's also a mathematical genius.  He may not  be a "Rainman", but he's a "Mainemancat" AFTER all.

NOTE:  You may recall in the movie "Rainman" that when a box of toothpicks was dropped, Ray could count in his head, in seconds, how many were on the floor and what was left in the box.  Dante, our "Maineman Cat" can count each individual hair that has passed by his tongue while he was licking it.  And believe me, there's lots and lots of hairs to count!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

DANTE'S BIRTHDAY PORTRAITS

After the ice fishing and before the ice skating party, Dante posed for some birthday shots for me.  It's nice to have a record of exactly how he looked that day.


Here is Dante looking forward to Sascha's arrival so they can get a start on his ice skating pawty.





While he was waiting, Dante thought he would sing 'Happy Birthday' to himself!
"Happeh Birfday to me ... Happeh Birfday to me ... Happeh Birfday dear mee-ee ... Happeh Birfday to me!"




Daddy, looking something like "The Old Man and the Sea" gives Dante some treats and some birthday scritchens.



And here is THE o-FISH-all birthday portrait -- eleven's looking good on you, Dante!  Here's to many more.

Monday, January 14, 2013

DANTE'S GOT THE 'ICE-ING' ON HIS BIRTHDAY CAKE!

It's Dante 11th Birthday today and he is celebrating by having an Ice Skating Pawty!


Of course, his gorgeous fiance Sascha of "Brian's Home" is by his side to help him celebrate.  This is her first time on ice skates, so Dante has to help her along a little, but for the most part, she's getting the hang of it -- by hanging on to Dante, that is!

So, all of you are invited to come and skate, too.  First I'll tell you a little more about it.

Dante lives in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, which is our nation's capital city.   The picture below shows our Parliament Buildings in the background on the left side.  On the right is the 'Chateau Laurier' which is a luxury hotel.  This is where Dante and Sascha are staying tonight.  It's very romantic and looks like a castle.

One of the biggest tourist attractions in the winter months is the Rideau Canal, part of which is iced over and becomes the largest skating rink in the world.  Called the Rideau Canal Skateway, it is 7.8 kilometers long.  The total length of the canal, though, is 202 kilometers and in the summer is used as a waterway for pleasure boaters.

The Rideau Canal is the oldest continuous operated canal system in North America and was opened in 1832.  It was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.  It opened for skating for the very first time in January 1971 and 50,000 people skated on it the very first weekend!






Some of the skaters are a little tentative at first ...


... and others are show-offs!





(Whatta hoot!)
But most manage just fine after 'breaking the ice', so to speak (hopefully not with their rear ends).




There are lots of food stands, rest-stops and warming huts along the Skateway.

  Here you can rent skates or a skate-buggy to push your tot.  Walking is also allowed on the canal.  There is no charge for the use of the Skateway, itself, so if you bring your own skates, it's absolutely free!  

So Dante is inviting you all to come down and help him celebrate.  If you've never skated before, don't worry because you'll fit right in.





And you don't have to go very far if you're hungry -- although you may have to wait in a line-up.  If you're visiting Canada's capital, trying a 'Beavertail' is a MUST (but hold the mustard)!



I said 'Beaver Tail' not 'Belieber Tail' (although Justin IS a product of Canada as well)!

"Ouch!"


Beavertails actually have nothing to do with real beavers.  They are whole-wheat pastries which are hand-stretched to resemble a beaver's tail, then float-cooked and served piping hot, topped with butter and your choice of delectable flavours, which are:  Apple Cinnamon, Cinnamon & Sugar, Chocolate Hazelnut, Chocolate Banana, Chocolate & Peanut Butter with Reese's Peeses, Cocoa Vanilla, and Maplebutter.  You can get Hot Chocolate with marshmallows to warm you up or frozen yogurt for those who want to be extra cool.




This is the standard Cinnamon & Sugar Beavertail.




And here is President Obama about to taste one on his first trip to Ottawa.




If you're in the mood for something more savoury, some of the food stands serve another Canadian deliCATcy -- or indeliCATcy, depending on how you think.  Poutine is pronounced like 'poot-in' without the actual fart.  This decadent dish originated in the Province of Quebec but has become something of a national guilty pleasure.

RECIPE:

"In the basic recipe for poutine, French fries are covered with fresh cheese curds, and topped with brown gravy. In an authentic French-Canadian poutine:
  • Fries: Usually of medium thickness, and fried (sometimes doubly) so that the inside stays soft, while the outside is crunchy.
  • Cheese curds: Fresh cheese curds are used to give the desired texture. The curd size may vary but is usually slightly smaller than bite-sized.
  • Gravy: Generally a light and thin chicken, veal, or turkey gravy, mildly spiced with a hint of pepper, or a sauce brune which is a combination of beef and chicken stock, a variant originating in Quebec. The gravy should be thin enough to easily filter down into the mass of fries and cheese curds. These sauces typically also contain vinegar or a sour flavouring to balance the richness of the cheese and fries. 
Heavy beef or pork-based brown gravies are rarely used. To maintain the texture of the fries, the cheese curd and gravy are added immediately prior to serving the dish. The hot gravy is usually poured over the cold cheese curds, so that the cheese is warmed without completely melting. It is important to control the temperature, timing and the order in which the ingredients are added, so as to obtain the right mix of textures which is an essential part of the experience of eating poutine."

And if that isn't enough, Dante thought you should all have some PURRotein as well.  So last night he went out 'ice fishing' on the Ottawa River at Petrie Island which is one of the top spots in Eastern Ontario.   Luckily, Petrie Island is very close to where we live, so Dante didn't have far to travel.





Dante snacked on worms while he waited.  He said "Doan worry, dere's plenty more ware dat came frum!"



Indeed, Dante had opened a whole new can of worms!  And he even brought back some for you all to try.  Mmmmm, yummy!  Try them as a side to hot dogs, or bacon and eggs, instead of beans sometime.



Ice fishing takes lots of patience ...



... but it pays off in the end!



Dante put his catch in a bucket and brought them to the Rideau Canal as party fare.  (I'm sure the fish didn't think it was fair, but them's the breaks!)  So for those of you who like sushi, have at it!  Eat your fill.


But for those of you who preFUR your fish a little crispier, here's a bucket of the fried stuff, too!



And of course, no birthday celebration would be complete without a birthday cake.  This is a Baskin-Robbins ICE cream cake, of course!  What other kind would you have at a skating PAWty?





So now please efurrybody gather round in a circle and let's sing to the Birthday Boy.  "Happeh PURRthday to yoo, Happeh PURRthday to you ... Happeh PURRthday dear Dante, Happeh PURRthday to you!"

Yay!!!




The day may have passed quickly but the party goes on into the night.  The canal doesn't close until 10 p.m.  so stay awhile!  You'll need to do quite a bit of actual skating to burn off all that rich food, though.

And as for Dante and Sascha, when it was time to leave the Skateway, they had a brief walk to their hotel.  You can see its turrets lit up in the last picture, above.  They meowandered along slowly to enjoy the crisp night air, and stopped to kiss under the lamplight before heading inside.





"There's nothin' I love more in this SWIRLED than you", said Dante just before their lips met.

And what happened next -- well, we'll just keep that on ICE!


Thursday, January 10, 2013

DANTE 'IN' PROTEST!

Today I have a couple of Dante videos for you.  I brought Dante out on the front porch for the first time since before Christmas.  We've had several weeks of unbearable cold and now there is a little respite, as the temPURRatures have climbed above freezing.  I thought Dante could really use some fresh air.  He, and the other 'D's' have been going stir crazy cooped up inside.

However, even with his Maine Coon coat, Dante wasn't too happy about it, and yowled to get in as soon as I shut the front door.  I put him on his chair and he stayed awhile, but still under protest.  If you've never heard a Maine Coon's vocals before, they are quite unusual.  Dante can go from sounding like a little kitten mewing to a deep guttural howl, and everything in-between.  Here, he is mainly yowling, though.

Are you ready for it?  Here we go.


Oh, and in case you think his fur looks choppy, it is.  I took the scissors to it to cut out some fairly big mats that just weren't brushable.


And here Dante does his nesting dance!



"Wot duzn't she unnerstand about da word 'IN'?  Is jus' not dat complicated!"

Sorry Dante, but there's just no room at the 'IN' right now.