Wiggle End: Our Fluffy Little Havanese Dog

Our Wiggle End-Fluffy Havanese Girl

So, when my wife and I picked up our new dog and brought it to her grandmother, the grandmother said I don’t know if she has a name but you should call her Cuddles. The dog, a havanese, was bred by an elderly lady and just lit-up with joy, danced, and wiggled for my wife’s grandmother.

By the next day the grandmother was calling her Wiggle-End. The name surprised us. We don’t know how she thought of that name but it fit perfect. It’s not the dog’s real name but it fits. Our puppy isn’t so good at cuddling and isn’t yet a lap dog. It’s full of wiggly energy and enthusiasm for life.  It loves to eat, sniff for food, runs it’s heart out, kill its toys, chew raw hide and bones, sleep, and repeat.

We were amazed the dog won her grandmother’s affection so easily. After sixty-five years my wife’s mother hasn’t been able to get the approval of her 91 year-old mother. But we’re glad at least the dog did, it makes life a lot easier for my wife and I while we are living with her grandmother.

Wiggle-End Our Fluffy Little Havanese

Over the past five years my wife and I have been casually researching dogs. We were looking for a companion dog that would be good in city or country living, great with kids, intelligent, outgoing and sturdy enough to jog or hike. We came upon the havanese and it seem like it might be a good fit. She wanted to meet one first, as neither of us had. This past fall she did and she loved it. I think we hit the nail on the head . As a kid I’d wanted an old english sheepdog and now I feel like I have one–just a little smaller:)

The breed is the havanese named after Havana, Cuba. They were developed in Cuba from bichon-type dogs and were bred for companionship. Their fluffy double coat protest their skin from the sun, but isn’t terribly insulating against the cold. The breed existed primarily in Cuba until the 1950’s when a number were brought by their owners to the United States. The AKC recognized this breed in 1996 and it is currently one of the fastest growing breeds in the states.Our Wiggle-End Happy Energetic Havanese Running

My wife and I had hoped to adopt a dog rather than buying one from a breeder since there are so many dogs that need good homes. We found a good mach in the Madison, WI area and contacted the shelter to fill out an application. We weren’t allowed to adopt the puppy since we don’t own our own home and are living with my wife’s grandmother. We decided to go ahead and find a good breeder and purchase a havanese.

Our Wiggle-End Havanese w: her Cute Little Rump

We talked with a number of breeder and asked lots of questions. We settled on one where everything felt right, she was in no hurry, and had plenty of time to answer our questions. We settled on our dog who the breeder described as her little buddy. Energetic, entertaining, smart, and eager to please. Since she was already six months old the breeder was able to describe her personality compared to her siblings. We passed over the siblings that were more dominant, shy, and less eager to please.

Wiggle-End Our Havanese With Her Holiday Moose ToyShe is amazing. She’s an 11 pound ball of energy in the morning that loves to play in the snow but soon wears herself out. She likes to nap on the cold fireplace tile for a good part of the day. One thing I’m a little disappointed about, though I know it’s a temporary puppy thing, is that I’ll have to teach her to be a lap dog and a little bit of a couch potato. When I pick her up onto my lap she wants down. I’ve only gotten her to stay for a while by having a few of her kibble in my hand to occasionally reward her with one for lying still.

We’ll work on that. But she’s already getting me ten times more active. I’m running and playing with her outside and I haven’t run in a while. She’s a lot of fun and so cute. She dances on her hind legs to get treats or out of sheer excitement. She also army crawls when she’s playing or being coy to try to get a treat. We use regular kibble or little pieces of cooked chicken breast for treats and she couldn’t be more excited.

Our Wiggle-End Havanese All Tuckered Out

She keep tracks of what everyone in the house are up to and constantly sniffs every room out nose-to-the-ground. I can’t help but be a little proud that I ended up with a foodie for a dog. We feed her a half-cup of kibble in the morning and another half in the evening, but all day that dog dreams about food–well to an extent. 
Our Havanese All Worn Out

I gave her a bath last weekend and blow dried and combed out her hair. I am in love with her hair but my wife and I have both come down with sinus infections this week. I have no idea if it has anything to do with the dog’s dander but we’re afraid it might. This is somewhat regular for my wife, but I’ve never had a sinus infection in my life. Tomorrow I’m taking our dog to get a puppy cut, where her hair is trimmed down to 2″ all around, just incase. I’m sad. The grey tips at the end of her fur are from her puppy coloring and won’t grow back. Our dog is about to get a lot lighter and there’s no going back. 
Our Fluffy Little Havanese With Her Kong Rope Toy

I’m one that likes preserving things. I kept my toys in their boxes as a kid and have a hard time closing off options for good. But here we go. I’m trying to tell myself it’ll be nice to have some shorter fur we won’t have to comb so much. But I know I’d choose aesthetics over practicality any day of the week. I’d comb that long fur every day to have my cute little sheepdog with her cute little badonkadonk. My wife say’s her personality won’t change, so there’s that. I hate to be shallow but I just secretly hope she’ll be just as cute. If not, it will grow back out and hopefully then it won’t bother our sinuses. And that’s a post, I think we’re all tuckered out.

Our Sleeping Havanese Taking a Nap

Our Stained Glass Snowflake: Warmth and Giving

Stained Glass Snowflake Prism Christmas Gift PresentSo my wife’s god mother who bought her a glass vase for her birthday came by today to visit. My wife and I realized this morning that we probably should have gotten her something neat for Christmas.

We made a quick trip into town our tiny little town to see if we could find something that would be right for her. We went to a folk artsy/antique store/wine room that sits in a semi-repurposed old hotel from the 1800’s.

I wasn’t feeling anything we saw but on the way out caught sight of a glass snowflake hanging up on one of the store’s front windows. I was beautiful. The glass was a prism in the light and it was perfect. We bought it for $55 which is maybe a lot or a little depending on where you live and what you’d pay. I like that we bought it local, was made local, and its more unique that anything we could have bought at a regular store.We’re happy we found it. 

Snowflake Prism Stained Class Crystal Snowflake Christmas Gift

It seemed like the right gift because her godmother has big floor-to-ceiling windows wrapping a third of the house–looking out to the backyard from the living room. I imagine it will be stunning on the window as it twists the bright winter sun into a thousand little rainbows scattered across her living room. The warm inside light, little rainbows and beaming show will certainly create the welcome illusion of warmth through this bitter cold stretch of season in Illinois.

Maya Baby Carriers: A How To

WARNING: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CARY AN INFANT OR CHILD BASED ON THESE DIRECTIONS.

So, this post is for theoretical use only. Please do not try this at home with real children.

I posted earlier on my fascination with woven baby carriers, or cargadores de bebes, used by the modern Maya and wanted to post a step by step post on how to fold the baby carriers.

I am no expert and at this point would NOT carry any child in a baby carrier that I folded. I learned how to fold them in Guatemala, but by no means am an expert.

And That’s A Post specifically states that you should not mistake this post for training on how to fold a cargador de bebé for real use. Please, get trained by an expert if you ever intend to use this method to transport a child. DO NOT jeopardize the safety and well-being of any child by placing them in a baby carrier based on this post. If not used correctly, an infant or young child could potentially fall out or suffocate in a misused carrier.

Now, most woven textiles in Guatemala used for carrying babies are two long textiles woven on a back-strap loom. Both textiles are stitched together along a side to form a large square textile. The textile is opened into a square and then one corner is taken diagonally across the cloth to meet is opposite corner–forming a large triangle.

The baby is placed in the center of the triangle with its head facing out on the hypotenuse. The two ends to each side of the baby are then pulled to meet over the baby. They are tied in a square knot.

Right over left and left over right.

The knot is then pulled tight.

Now, the right angle part of the triangle, is pulled up and folded over the baby’s feet. This secures the baby in the blanket.

Lift the sling up supporting the baby with one arm. Slide your left arm through the sling. This will enable your right arm to be free for other tasks while you are carrying the baby. Place the knot over your right shoulder. This is for carrying the baby in front. This is particularly useful for breast feeding or holding the baby while sitting down.

If you would like to carry the baby on your back, de la espalda, then grab the knot with one hand and place your other arm under the baby. While rotating the knot forward over your breast, rotate the baby backward over your back.

You may then want to untie your earlier knot and pull the baby tight against your back. Then retie your knot very securely.

Right over left, and left over right. Tighten securely.

And here you have it. My happy, secure baby. Or, well pillow.

WARNING: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CARY AN INFANT OR CHILD BASED ON THESE DIRECTIONS.

An Unexpected Trek North

So my wife’s mother was unexpectedly in the ER for two blood transfusions for reasons she hasn’t quite made clear to us. We thought it was a diabetes medicine side effect but now she says no. Anyway we decided to make an unexpected trip north to Illinois to check in and make everyone’s day. We told my wife’s 92 year old grandmother who immediately made a date for us to have a roast. To avoid the hassle, I convinced my wife to tell her mother only when we were halfway through the 2 day drive.

We got to spend some time at my wife’s grandmother’s farmhouse. It was built at the turn of the century as one of the first homes in the area with electricity and updated with new carpet in the 70’s. Her grandmother is a riot. She is a tough old bird who is damed and determined to keep the whole place running if it kills her.  We enjoyed the couple days together had the obligatory midwestern meat and potatoes dinner and pancake, bacon, and eggs breakfast. It amazes me how a meal is meat and refined grains. All else is peripheral .

My wife’s father and I have a slightly awkward relationship. After meeting my wife and I lived with her parents for a few months two separate times during the first two years before we got married. He’s not particularly religious but he is a little traditional. He didn’t want us sharing her room, so we played the charade awhile until her mother, in a proactive move to try to ensure we’d never move away, cornered her husband and let him know we could sleep together.

I never asked him if I could marry his daughter and we asked him to “bless this woman to be married” rather than give. Subtle change of semantics and values. I don’t know if he notices or thinks about it, we don’t talk about it, but my being uncomfortable make me analyze it and wonder.

All this to say he offered to make breakfast before we left. I was inclined to politely refuse but knew he was being nice and we’d eat it so I said that sounded good. Well he pulled some pancakes right out of a magazine like I’ve never seen before. Perfect shape color texture. I was impressed.

On the way back south we pleasantly and accidently found ourselves around some surprisingly harrowing bends in some quite thick forest. Life-long Illinoisans we were surprised to find ourselves in Illinois in such a foreign un-flat land. I quickly surmised we might be in the fabled Shawnee National Forest I’d heard existed north of Cairo. Only now, googling, I learn that I was correct, we were specifically in the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge skirting Devil’s Kitchen Lake. We stopped at the lake for a quick moment to catch the peace of the shying sun. The only thing the picture doesn’t quite capture was the cold. It was cold.

Just south of Memphis we stopped for a burrito. If you’ve never been to the south. You have to go to a chain here. It’d funny how chains have their standards that are tightly followed nationwide ensuring a universally uniform product. Well it doesn’t work in the south. In the south people have values.

Take Subway. Southern value: Sandwiches have meat. Result: You will get a Subway sandwich that has more lunch meat than four Subway sandwiches ordered anywhere else in the country.

Our northern Mississippi Qdoba experience was true to form. Meat like you’ve never seen packed into a burrito with so much cheese and sour cream, it reached the point I couldn’t quite enjoy it. Anyway I think the pictures and the phenomena are worth appreciating, if only to chuckle the subtle undermining of corporate efforts at homogenizing America.

We stopped again outside of Jackson, Mississippi with my baby just about pooped. We managed to rally for Barnes and Noble, got a fresh salad, and finished the drive back home that night through Port Gibson and Natchez, Mississippi.

Seem to be places we definitely will have to take a weekend to explore. Port Gibson was sketchy at night but going through it during the day, on the way up, was beautiful. During the Civil War, Grant said it was too beautiful to burn. Another day, another adventure, another beautiful, interesting place. The hard part is waiting.