We just had one of those memorable meals that sneaks up on you. Went for a quick, stand up dinner at the Bitzinger wurst stand near the Opera House here in Vienna, and ended up being spoiled for ever eating another hot dog in the US. The grilled cheesy one is the best, though there were other varieties that we couldn't decipher in German as they were like 20 letters long and the wurst nazi wanted to keep the line moving. Washed down with some sparkling cider, it was the best bang for the buck, food wise, of our Europe trip.
Or maybe it's just babies in general. A few of our intra-Europe flights have been on SAS, an airline I've never known before, much less with an infant.
Lap children get a separate infant seat belt that attaches to the adult seat belt. It's just a loop, and it seems a lot less safe than wearing the baby in a inward-facing bjorn. But, the flight attendants were adamant about it so we put it on her. we also got a separate infant life vest and instructions on putting it on.
Going through security was a breeze - in Manchester, we got to go in a special stroller line with no wait, and the airport security personnel helped us get all our gear on the belt. At the gate, they boarded us first so there was always room for our stuff and we had plenty of time to get settled in. At check in, we were also lucky enough to get a row to ourselves. (so far we are 3 for 3 on intra-Europe flights).
The Little Dictator got cooed over by men and women when we were in Copenhagen. At our first dinner, in a small, cellar like restaurant called Puks, we sat near two tables, one of older men and another of older women. The LD fussed through dinner, so I ended up nursing her while eating. (Always find a restaurant with booths - you can do so much in a booth.) No one stared or even looked our way.
(perusing the menu at Puks: smorrebrød and more brød)
Eventually, the LD decided to put an end to our dinner - No dessert for you! - and as we were putting her back into the stroller, she decided to put on the full-on scream. We looked around apologetically, and all we saw were benevolent smiles. This happened every time the Little Dictator made her presence known in a restaurant which, unfortunately, ended up being most of our meals in Copenhagen. Surprisingly, each time we were met with smiles from the other diners and complete nonchalance to nursing her at the table and changing her in public.
The capper was on our last night in Copenhagen, when we went to Tivoli, a little amusement park in the city. Not only did Tivoli have a baby changing area, but they had free diapers and an indoor nursing area with comfy armchairs.
And ... Most restaurants are kid and baby friendly, even ones that serve grownup food. Here is Cap Horn, a lovely restaurant where we had lunch in Nyhavn.
So says the Little Dictator's sleep sack. It has ducks on it. That's cute.
It also has drool, sweat (the LD's head sweats profusely - this she got from NOT my side of the family tree), and dried spit up that smells of sour milk (my side of the family tree = guilty). Not so cute.
It also ended up the target of one of her "open air accidents", a euphemism for "pee fountain that she likes to wave arms and legs in." Again, worth some marks in the "not so cute" column.
So there we have it - ducks on the one hand, and at least 4 varieties of bodily fluids on the other.
Before the Little Dictator arrived, a major component of our travels had involved dining out. We had been warned by a friend who had lived in London with a toddler that London restaurants were not the most baby friendly, and we steeled ourselves for fast food and takeaway for dinner.
What we found was surprisingly good food at several receptive, casual restaurants, though the intricacies of pub licensing eluded us -- if they have a patio they may be able to seat you, but if they only serve alcohol and no food, they cannot allow you in even though the infant is sleeping? Not clear on all that -- and we never did have the courage to try a proper afternoon tea, even with a sleeping dictator.
For the most part, however, we worked out a routine of feeding the LD, walking her in the stroller or bjorn until she fell asleep, and walking her some more, and then venturing into the restaurant, hoping for a somewhat isolated booth with understanding neighbors. We had excellent fish at Fishworks and superb fish and chips at Ses Shell, both in Marylebone, and surprisingly good and affordable Italian at Felicini in Manchester, and, with limited success, a gastropub called Sam's Chop House, also in Manchester. We did have a few takeaway and fast food dinners, and found a friendly gay bar/restaurant in Manchester (Taurus) as well.
If we weren't working on colleagues' recommendations and assurances that the restaurant was baby friendly, our process for dinner involved circling the unsuspecting restaurant several times and then stalking our prey with a sleeping LD to make sure she wouldn't wake. Upon entering, we looked for improvisational baby changing and feeding facilities, such as high booths with comfortable benches, and baby soothing nooks for walking the LD in case she woke up. Sometimes all the best planning didn't keep the LD sleeping peacefully through dinner, but luckily that did not become much of an issue until we got to Copenhagen, where they seem to love kids and babies everywhere, even when they're screaming.
Having some slight problems with BlogPress, so here are some random pictures of the Little Dictator in England:
We encountered our first travel snafu as we were trying to leave London for Manchester. Due to some overhead wire damage (we think) our Virgin train to Manchester was canceled. We had first class tickets, but had to hustle our asses and luggage and baby and stroller over to a different train station and wedge our way onto an overcrowded train on a different train line, where we will have to change trains in Sheffield. It's a good thing we got to the train station early - had we arrived to take our non-operative train we would have missed the last train to Manchester. S is angry and discombobulated; I look at it as a chance to experience the craziness of a poorly-planned backpacking trip that I missed in my 20s. Then again, he is standing with our suitcases between cars, while I found a seat. Of course, if I were in my 20s I would not have a screaming baby with me either....
And on another note - while I am not militantly pro or con breastfeeding, I'm really, really, REALLY thankful that I chose to breastfeed and stuck with it. Because no one likes a screaming infant on an overcrowded, standing-room-only train, and ramming a boob in her mouth is a good way to keep her quiet. I just hope she puts up with a dirty diaper at least until we get to Sheffield. Sorry baby.
My blog has been hijacked. Come to think of it, my life has been hijacked. But being a dog there isn't much I can do about it. I just accept my new role. There's a new sheriff in town and her name is Keilani.
I had been asking for a puppy o my own but Momma and P-Daddy decided to make a human puppy instead. It's taken 2 long years, because there were 3 false starts in between that had Momma and P-Daddy very sad. Also during that time they remade my den and we had to live in a teeny shoebox while Momma got bigger and bigger. As Momma got bigger and bigger, my walkies got shorter and shorter.
Like I said, my life has been HIKACKED.
Even Momma and P-Daddy have been hijacked by The Little Dictator. Nobody eats until The Little Dictator eats. Nobody gets walkies unless The Little Dictator says it's ok. If The Little Dictator barks, everyone (including me) rushes to take care of her. I never got such attention when I bark.
On the plus side, Momma is home a lot more (like, all day every day!!!!), and the grandmas and lots of other favorite people have been visiting me and petting me. So maybe having a little dictator around might not be such a bad thing.
Also, it's been pretty nice, momma and p-daddy sent me to camp last week to give me a break from my guarding duties. Even working dogs need a break sometimes. Momma said when I'm at camp she is going to use my blog to talk about The Little Dictator. See, she's got everyone in line already! And she seems so little and harmless! Clearly I must get on her good side so she can demand some things for me too. This picture show our relative stature in the household now.
Hi everyone! I know, I know, I have been really bad at blogging lately. I have a really good reason, though, and soon I will be able to tell you all about it. It involves Momma having the sickies for a while but she seems to be doing better these days. So first order of business when I get back is to finish the long-defunct Dog Pile contest and then I will post my BIG news soon. (Some of you already know, but please let me make it a big surprise.)
It was one year ago today that Momma got the awful phone call that her nephew Josh had died. It has been a very difficult year for everyone. You can read more about Josh on his Mom's blog here. Josh's mom and his sister are running a half-marathon and full marathon, respectively, in Washington DC on Saturday. They are running in Josh's memory and also raising money for his memorial fund, which will be used for education and prevention of teen suicide. If you are there, give them a shout out. They or their supporters will be wearing shirts with "33" on them. Tell them Biggie's Momma sent you.
Hug your teens and tell them you love them. No problem they face is so insurmountable that they should feel so alone and lost.
Hi all Dog Pile contestants and spectators. What can I say? My Momma has all this work piled on her before and after her sickies and she is also realizing she's a little more HTML-challenged than she thought. Also she almost didn't make it home because she ABANDONED me to go to a conference somewhere and then she said it snowed so much here in NYC that she couldn't get back. Excuses, excuses. I had no problem at all walking and rolling in the snow, so I don't know why an airplane would have all that trouble.
Pardon the grainy discolored image. P-Daddy took it with his cell phone at midnight when he took me out. This is what happens when the Mommies leave - the boyz have no routine and we eat food from a box and I get my picture taken in an empty bus lot at midnight. As you can see, snow not even up to my belly. I don't see what the big deal is.
Anyway, don't worry, she is fine. She is just being LAZY. And she will finish the Dog Pile postings soon.
FIRST OF ALL: A BIGGIE GIGANTIC THANK YOU TO ALL OF THE COMPETITORS AND THANK YOU TO MANGO FOR HOSTING MANGO MINSTER! As you can see, this was a very tough competition.
I will do the judging and good stuff in a later post after I get the Big Dogs posted. In the meantime, enjoy! Momma worked a little on her bloggy skills, so click on names to find their bloggies and click on pictures to Biggie-fy. Excuse me while I find some fresh snow to FacePlow... brb...
TEN items!! stuffed dog, big bird (balanced on my neck), purple bird, 2 bones (orange and white), snuffaluffagus, demon deacon (mommy's college mascot), bear, stuffed girl animal, ostrich (covering up my girly parts)
SEVEN: 1. A rope toy 2. A knot bone 3. A green hippo stuffie (My Favorite) 4. A fat head Rhinocerous stuffie 5. A blue Care Bear Stuffie 6. A fat head beagle stuffie 7. Another Rope toy (We're not sure this one counts since it is partially touching the bed on the end.) (Ok, we'll count it.)
SEVENTEEN: 1. Brown pilgrim dog with hat 2. White bear with broken arm 3. White dog with black eye spot 4. Black lab 5.Basset hound 6. Pooh Bear 7. Black cat 8. brown boxer dog 9.Squirrel 10. Rattie 11. Grey Cat 12. Pink Mouse 13. Orange Bug 14. Lammie Pie 15. Brown sttuffed rat 16. Chiwawa with pink foof on collar 17. small stuffed giraffe
SIXTEEN: 1. I have a blue & pink fabric toy on me (looks like a squid) 2. Reindeer 3. Star 4. Moon 5. Sun 6. Gator 7. Rope Toy 8. Santa (red looks like blanket) tug toy with 16 squeakers living in him (you can see his leg) 9. Lobster 10. Starbarks Coffee (white toy) 11. Saxaphone (cat toy) 12. Blue Bone 13. Blue Mouse (cat toy on my neck) 14. Gray Mouse (cat toy on my neck) 15. Skunk toy 16. Santa Mouse Toy
FOURTEEN things, not including the duck and the jack toy, they is kinda on my back legs but have fallen off a bit, so dunno if they count. ok, I got a puzzle toy on my head, a blue scarf, a felt ball (pink thing) a tiny teddy toy, a blue toy, a pen (the pink and white bit just behind the tiny teddy), A santa toy, a catnip toy, a tug rope, a watch, 3 balls and a pink bone toy.
That's me sporting the 11 ribbons that I won in agility that weekend. Well, I actually won 12, but they ran out of the green "qualifying" ribbons, so we didn't have that one for the picture (come to think of it, they still owe us that one...). Because of the flash it's kinda hard to count, and one is overlapped almost completely. So call it 10 if you need to.
NINETEEN items (that can be seen from lower right to lower left): Orange key, green bottle toy, yellow-green duck, AKC squirrel, PetSmart red stuffed bone, blue crinkle rabbit, blue Nylabone, pheasant, blue star, blackdog w/red nose, AKC skunk, camo deer, brownish-orange ASPCA lamb, fuzzy AKC mouse, blue denim ball, 2 Merrick dog bones, AKC Malard duck, yellow loofa head.
From top to bottom:
SEVENTEEN: 1.baseball mitt 2.rawhide bone 3.match box car 4.beige stuffy 5.candy cane 6.banana 7.brush 8.yellow/black stuffy 9.pink headband 10.yellow comb (under brush) 11.white hangar 12.book under hangar 13.white diaper 14.crayons 15.blue popsicle holder 16.snowman
17.red/white dishcloth (it is draped across her back and hangs over the side)
FOURTEEN items (loosely as seen from lower right to lower left): blackdog w/red nose, PetSmart red stuffed bone, fuzzy AKC mouse, blue denim ball, pheasant, brownish-orange ASPCA lamb, blue crinkle rabbit, camo deer, Dog Whisperer squirrel, AKC skunk, AKC squirrel, 3 Merrick dog bones
"I got TWENTY SEVEN items, but the shoe slid off and was leaning against the couch so it doesn't count. The other items, going left to right, are a glove, lotion, measuring tape, eyedrops, a pen, a cell phone, a paper flower, scissors, a sock, a clip, a candle (shaped like a pink flower), a bone, another clip, a medicine bottle, a glass dog, a peppermint, another cell phone, a clicker, a Tide pen, another regular pen (next to the Tide pen almost hidden), a lighter, a light bulb, a CD, stamps and two pennies (on my leg)"
I finally got Momma to get her rear in gear and I am happy to say that she's uploaded all the pictures in the "small" dog category. Next up, the big dogs and then she has to make links to all your bloggies and THEN the hard part begins ... the judging. I showed P-Daddy a preview of the "small" dog pictures and first he said,
"That's not a small dog!"
and then he said,
"I like THAT picture!"
and then he said,
"No wait, THAT one is really good!"
and then he looked at another one and said,
"Where's the dog in that one?"
and another one he BOL'd.
I can see that P-Daddy is no help at all.
By the way, the picture at the top of this post is of me and Auntie Pita when she came to visit in November. I am doing my best snuggly suck-up dog, because she gives the best ear scratches. Just a random picture that bears no relation at all to anything in this post.
Momma is really good at human pile. Unfortunately she isn't so good at techie bloggy stuff since she's out of practice! Here is the almost as big as me contestant list. If you don't see your name on EITHER list please pee-mail me ASAP at Biggie.The.Kuvasz@gmail.com because that means Momma is being a ditz and she has to find your entry. (Yes, I finally have my own pee-mail address).
By the way... I almost didn't really need 2 dogergories of contestants because you all were very creative with your dog-piling, which made this event VERY hard to judge! Also, I know the sizing was somewhat arbitrary, but really, there are so many of you in the 45-70 pound weight class and I know that most people think of you all as "big" dogs but from the Great Dane/Kuvasz/Mastiff perspective, well, sorry. But remember, especially if you are a boy dog. SIZE. DOESN'T. MATTER.
(Momma's note: I'm just the secretary; all the commentary is Biggie's)
"Almost as Big and Great Danes" Contestants
Humans name(s): Alex
Bloggy Address: hopeandgreyz.blogspot.com
Bloggy Address: northfordmaggie.blogspot.com
Name: Randi the Lab/Newf
Human name(s): Angela
Bloggy Address: randithelabnewf.blogspot.com
Breed(s): Lab/Newf (duh!)
Bloggy Address: www.bighoneydog.com/honeys-blog
Breed(s): Great Dane - hubba hubba!
Bloggy Address: doggoneit-byronsblog.blogspot.com
Breed(s): St. Bernard mix - same size as me!
Human name(s): Momma Dana
Bloggy Address: dewdana.blogspot.com
Name: Miss M and Mr. B
Bloggy Address: pittiesinthecity.blogspot.com
Human name(s): Ms. K
Bloggy Address: kit-dogdaze.blogspot.com
Breed(s): Blond lab (my favorite kind of lab!)
Human name(s): Sanne
Bloggy Address: elbouwii.blogspot.com
Breed(s): English Mastiff
Human name(s): Miche
Bloggy Address: sammiegolden.blogspot.com
Breed(s): golden girl (more hubba hubba)
Human name(s): Ina
Bloggy Address: ina-offret.blogspot.com
Breed(s): standard poodle
Human name(s): Denise
Bloggy Address: kashathedaintydane.wordpress.com
Breed(s): Harlequin Great Dane (hubba hubba)
Human name(s): Allie
Bloggy Address: guidedogawareness.blogspot.com
Breed(s): yellow lab
Human name(s): Brooke
Bloggy Address: evolutionofdarwin.blogspot.com
Breed(s): Great Dane (Sorry for the gender confusion, if Momma would let me smell you we wouldn't have this misunderstanding. Will you be my Valentine?)
Human name(s): Laura
Bloggy Address: doggyadventures.wordpress.com
Breed(s): Great Dane girl (7 months) I am already in love with you since my #1 grrrrlfriend is also named Lexi. xoxo
Name: Master Teal'c
Bloggy Address: dogslifedownunder.com
Breed(s): Staffy (but with a name like MASTER Teal'c, I put him with the big dogz)
Human name(s): Anita
Bloggy Address: pawsandpastries.blogspot.com
Breed(s): Great Dane and other stuff
Human name(s): Tucker's Momma (wow, what a coincidence her name is Tucker's Momma!)
Bloggy Address: greatdanetucker.blogspot.com
Breed(s): Great Dane teenager (Ok, Tucker, I'm guessing YOU are a boy. I would know for sure if Momma would let me sniff your butt. Don't you go sniffing around my Great Dane grrlz, ok?)
Sorry, Momma was in a human pile competition by piling work and sickies on top of herself, but I finally got her to stop moaning and groaning and get to work on my contest. There ended up being so many contestants that I had to make 2 categories. They are, arbitrarily, "not as big as me" and "almost as big as me through bigger than me" groups. Since this will take a bit of time and I know you are all waiting for results, so check back here for the judging and updating. When you get into the lab/pittie sizes I just had to make a judgment call on big or small - Mango and I call Dexter "Pee Wee" but to most dogs he is pretty big. So there you go.
Edited to add the ORIGINAL Pee-Wee and Mrs. Magoo. I'm so embarrassed.
Sorry I haven't been around lately - I had to go take care of my Momma cuz she went and got sickies AGAIN! Anyway, she wanted me to say we have been getting your entries and she hopes to do some bloggie updating and visiting your bloggies soon. She's just had a lot of stuff on her mind. I tried to tell her that is why doggie minds are better. You can't pile so much stuff on them. She doesn't listen...
That being said, I decided to send some artistic inspiration your way. They're not the most colorful pictures, but they show off my favorite daily-use Buddy Biscuits, which are great for dogs with tummy issues. They are organic, human grade and corn, soy, gluten, dairy, egg, salt and sugar free. In fact, they smell so good that my Momma has almost eaten them thinking they were people cookies! (Actually the Itty Bitty Buddy Biscuits are the best size for training - and really cute - but they don't sell them in the 10-pound bulk cheaper boxes, so Momma breaks up the regular size ones. I have never gotten to eat a whole Buddy Biscuit before.)
Also they are really good to stick in your pocket because they're not greasy or smelly.
This year, I am sponsoring a special talent event called DOG PILE. The rules are simple:
1. Take stuff and pile it on yourself (yourself being the dog, not your human).
2. Have your human take ONE picture of it and pee-mail it to me at Biggie.the.Kuvasz@gmail.com BY FEBRUARY 1.
3. In the email, include the following information:
-your human's name if they want
-your bloggy address
-your breed or predominant breedS (like the rest of Mango Minster, mixed up confused breeds is ok)
-your approximate size or surface area
-the number of things you have piled on you and a list of what they are
-NO PHOTOSHOPPED or otherwise altered pictures!!
4. Winners with the most # of things piled on will win a $20 donation made in their name to Kuvasz Rescue or a dog product or toy of my choosing.
5. The decisions of The Great White (that's me, judging) will be final. If we get enough entries I might arbitrarily make small dog/large dog categories since a dog with a large surface area can have more stuff piled on him than, say, a toy poodle.
-each thing piled on the dog must actually be ON the dog, not next to or touching or leaning.
-stuffies, shoes, toys, pieces of biscuit or liver, all count so long as they are visible in the picture without Biggie-fying the picture.
-blankets, appliances, grandfather clocks, other cracker dogs and children (and stuff like that) are not appropriate
Here I am demonstrating a proper Dog Pile contestant entry:
My score with this entry would be 4: the duck, the gingerbread house, the squeaky truck and the rope bone. The fluffy ball does not count. I am also not capitalizing on the small toys - I think there is something INSIDE the gingerbread house but you can't see it without Biggiefying the picture, and it is not directly ON me, it is inside the gingerbread house that is on me. So it doesn't count.
Here is a sad Dog Pile entry that would get a score of ZERO:
The dog bed is all tangled up in me and I am using it to pin my Orvis chicken. Not a good entry, despite the laser eyes.
How better to ring in the new year than with my 200th post! 2009 was a pretty rough year all around. We lost Josh and we'll probably never know why, and my Uncle Jesse went to the Rainbow Bridge unexpectedly. Also this year many of my kuvasz friends lost loved ones, so we kuvs had to be strong for our people.
I've been cooped up at home with my humans this weekend and it's been boooooring. Momma walked me a few minutes after midnight on Jan. 1 and there were all these weird people out. We live near where the ball dropped and so there were lots of loud drunk people. I'm a one-dog temperance society. 'nuff said.
I did have some fun this year, and after lots of pestering Momma finally made a movie of one of my more fun days in 2009 - I got to wrassle with my girlfriend Lexi while my Auntie Pita was visiting. Enjoy. And yes, I like me some dominant grrlz! (P.S. some of this video is PG-2 so you might want to screen it first for your puppies.)
Just wanted to introduce another kuvasz blog, SKYY in Minnesota! (link also to the right) He is probably a distant cousin of Biggie's, as both Biggie's mom and pop are from the same kennel as SKYY. All I can say is that looking at SKYY's puppy pictures looks like Biggie's puppy pictures. The sure grow up fast. Sigh.
Note to SKYY's humans: take lots of pictures and video! It will be hard to imagine but someday you will look at SKYY, and look at the puppy pictures, and look at SKYY as he rests his head on the table, and marvel that they are the same dog.
Well, my post was a little delayed because my humans needed to get away from the blizzard that hit NYC. I'm now at camp and playing in the snow and guarding the sheep and cows nearby. I love it.
Momma made me take this picture to wish all you doggies some happy holidaze.
As you can see, that Santa hat is WAY too small for me. Some of my friends who were treated to a preview of my Holidaze picture said that I should never ever forgive my Momma for making me look so ridiculous. (The Santa hat finally came off the Christmas hedgehog that my brother Tex sent me 2 years ago. Sometimes I suck on it because it reminds me of Tex.)
But 'tis the season for snow, and lots of it, and Momma plays in it with me. So I guess I can't hold it against her too much.
HAPPY HAPPY HOLIDAZE ALL YOU PUPPIES. Make sure to give your humans extra snuggles and slobbers, I bet you will get extra treats for it!