Maya the Malamute here again, with my report on What I Did On My Summer Vacation. It’s a very short report. Ready?
Ahem: It. Was. LAME.
Here’s me, heading out last month in the car of this new hooman Gretchen said was coming to “take me home”…or was it “re-home me”?
Sometime this spring she started taking lots of pretty pictures of me, saying stuff like, “I feel like a Picture Bride agent.”(Whatever that meant.) I even got to pose with wildflowers in the rain!
Then she threw a party for me. EVERYONE got treats. But I gotta say, it did seem like I got more attention than usual.
Next day: new hooman. Walkies. Talkies. Car. I noticed my old hooman Gretchen making funny faces and sounds as we drove away.
What happened next isn’t worth writing about. The new hooman took me on walks but then he had to “go to work,” and there wasn’t anyone else. I may have howled. A lot.
Some time passed. Not really sure how to describe that part. Two demolished stuffies’ worth of time? One very uncertain new hooman? I was definitely getting BORED.
So we got back in his car. We drove and drove. And then I got out of his car and there was Gretchen again. She was happy to see me. I got back into her car. We drove and drove. We stopped at a park for walkies. It was a hot day. Gretchen had a nap. I had a salad.
When we finally got back on the ferry, we both felt like we were right where we were supposed to be.
So now I’m back home with my main hoomans. They still talk about showing my pictures to other people, but like, of course they do! ‘Cause I’m gorgeous.
…although, come to think, if you do have any extra stuffies? I’m feeling a little peckish.
Road Trip XI …by the numbers: 8 weeks. 10,000 miles (best guess). 26 states. 62 far-and-dear friends and family members. 14 national parks/monuments. 20 state parks. 6 post-season Tarheel men’s basketball games (5 victories + 1 almost!)
…and by the category:
Best hike: Custer State Park, South Dakota, Needles region
Best bike ride: Colorado National Monument rim road
(Honorable mention: Bizz Johnson trail in Susanville, CA …but it doesn’t win because it gave The Mate a flat tire)
Best waterfall: Sioux Falls…even though conflicted feelings arose when I read about its blasted, quarried history
Best trees: California redwoods
Best wildflowers: Rogue River National Recreation Trail, near Merlin, Oregon
Best wildlife: tie between javelinas in Arizona…
…and [not pictured] wild burros spotted in Utah off I-70 (a first for us)
Best sunset: outside our Virginia motel on our loversary
Best restaurant meal: sushi in Chapel Hill with my parents
Best home-cooked dinner: our friend Ben’s roast lamb with chimichurri
Best gift from our hosts: kumquats/avocados/oranges from our Hollywood cousins’ trees
Biggest detour: dropping south all the way to Las Vegas in order to avoid dangerous, truck-toppling winds
Best silver lining: getting to hike & clamber in Red Rocks National Preservation Area (or whatever it’s called) just outside of Vegas, just before the winds hit
additional bonus to silver lining: the desert in bloom!
Longest day’s drive: Moab to Las Vegas (460 miles)
Scariest drive: crossing the Cascades on snowy lil’ Rt. 89 past Mt. Lassen in California
And now for a couple of less-traditional categories.
Best basketball game: UNC vs. Duke in the national semifinal (81-77)
Best dog: Ramses in Olympia
And finally, the Grand Travel Blog Award for Best New Discovery goes to…Oregon’s Rogue River Trail!
We’re already talking about how to get back there.
…but for now, oh my goodness–it’s good to be home, safe and sound and grateful as all get-out for this long, LONG getting-out.And now, as Wing’s World morphs back into its non-travel mode…thanks for traveling with me anyway!
I know, I know. This isn’t my blog. It belongs to my hooman–y’know, Whatsername. The one with the treats.
Well, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but ol’ Whatsername’s been pretty much missing in action lately, blogwise. Something about “I’m not really feeling the blogging right now,” or “It’s complicated.” Whatever that means.
So I’m stepping in. Y’know, just to keep this spot warm till Whatsername comes back to curl up in it. I can make myself comfy anywhere.
So. That’s it, really. I’m just here to say–stick around, ok? My hooman’s probably just out back sniffing something reeeeeeeally interesting. She’ll be back when she’s good & ready.
The other day I heard someone howling, and…hey. Wait. It wasn’t me!
I hurried over to check and found my hooman giggling at ANOTHER DOG on her little tappity-tappity thing. “Hahaha,” she was saying, “can you believe this?”
Well, that dog just crunches my kibble. When I make that noise, my hoomans yell “HUSH!” at me. They certainly don’t turn me into a picture on the tappity-tappity thing for thousands of other hoomans to laugh at. That Zeus dog is FAMOUS. And me? I’m just in the dog house.
I mean seriously. My hoomans make me “heel” and “come” and “sit” everywhere I go. We practice in the house…
…out on walks…
…even on the one “Staycation” they’ve taken me on! (This is a thing where hoomans leave their house and go stay in a different house. Lots of cool new stuff to sniff. But I still had to heel and come and sit.)
No way would I EVER get away with the stuff that Zeus dog pulls. Every now and then my main-walky hooman lets the leash loose to take my picture, ’cause I’m so pretty…
…or because the trail is too rocky for us to go side-by-side…
…but once we’re past that part, it’s back to heel and come and…
I don’t even get to chase whatever little yummy crawly diggy thing made that hole! Bet Zeus would get to eat it for breakfast.
So I’d just like to say to Zeus’s hoomans–Can I come live with you? I wanna howl and dig and be a doggy diva too, and my hoomans just don’t UNDERSTAND.
My one consolation? That thing they call “college basketball season” is finally over, so I don’t have to wear this stoopid scarf every time their “Tarheels”–whatever they are, probably NOT edible–throw that round orange thing at each other.
Maya here. ‘Bout time I checked back into my hooman’s blog. Missed me?
A lot has happened since I first took over my new realm household a couple of months ago. A LOT. …and no, I’m not talking about “Georgia,” or “Insurrection” or “Amanda Gorman,” or any of the other things my hoomans are always blabbing about. I’m talking tummy rubs, of course. I’ve had about 4,000 of those.
But also–well, let’s be real. I’m talking TRAINING.
For some weird reason my hoomans have taken it into their minds that I need to stop knocking people over with the strength of my affection act a little more “polite,” whatever that means. Actually I learned what it means: lots of walking in circles on my leash. That seems to be called “Heel.”
And there are lots of other funny words, like “Sit” and “Stay” and “Come.”
Some of it–honestly? Pretty silly. Like “Down.” Although I guess I appreciate how they want my snout to be closer to all that delectable rabbit poop…
But I gotta admit, they’re really starting to get the hang of this TRAINING thing. Look how long of a leash I have them on sometimes!
So all in all, I guess I’m pretty proud of ’em. Sometimes they even have their own partly-grown hooman puppy to come over and play with me, though apparently he needs a muzzle.
So we’re all good here. I may check back in again from time to time and let you know how they’re doing. Main thing? They’ve learned the proper way to address me. When I come in from relaxing in the yard, I’m called “Miss Mossy-Butt Bossy Mutt”…which I’m pretty sure means “Your Majesty.”
If you’re new to this blog, you might not know that I created it with little enthusiasm back, oh, nine years ago, when the People Who Know Such Things convinced me that I, as an Author, needed a Platform.
Then a funny thing happened. I started to enjoy blogging. Especially since “Wing’s World” has remained fairly untethered to theme. What’s not to love when you can blog one week about kale salad, and the next about how many times you’ve run around Planet Earth? As a writer, I did try to steer clear of two topics: writing about writing—boooooring—and politics: divisive.
Then an unfunny thing happened: the last four years. And I’ve found myself increasingly drawn toward topics of justice that need addressing, and increasingly uncomfortable blogging with my usual whimsy. While I appreciate lightheartedness in the writing of others, for myself it feels too much like fiddling while Rome burns.
But who needs more blog posts about everything that’s dire? And so I respond with…silence. My posting has gone from a robust twice-weekly clip to weekly…to biweekly…to whenever the hell I feel like it. And I haven’t felt like it.
Can I get an “Amen”?
Then on a walk the other day, doing my Mary-Oliver-best to let the wild wind and whitecaps and dripping mosses capture all of me, I thought back to a podcast I’d just heard, which reminded me of a hackneyed but super useful concept I learned back in the 90’s. That concept: the Circle of Control from good ol’ Stephen Covey—remember the 7 Habits guy?
EVERYONE should be able to relate to this. Life feeling out of control? Too much, too fast, too hard? Well…what are you in charge of? Eating a healthy breakfast? Reading a book to a child? Do that. Start there.
Now that I think about it, it’s quite similar, in fact, to the Serenity Prayer. Probably smarter people than I have already noted this.
Along her journey of discovery—that is, science discovering this woman and putting her power to use—Joy befriended another woman, suffering from Parkinson’s, whose mantra for living with her disease seems to be actually defeating it. This woman says that, in the face of terminal out-of-controlness, she simply tries to “do the next right thing.”
I like that phrase even better than “Circle of Control.” It’s more humble, more tender, more…real.
Throughout most of 2020 (or COVIDCOVID if you prefer), my “next right things” included working on my book, and working to help save America from Donald Trump. [Pictured: my phonebank tallies. Including the calls for the Georgia runoff (which already feels like a year ago), I made approximately 3,000 calls.]
Since that time, conditions in our country and our world feel more out of control than ever–all the more so from having spun away just in the budding of hope. My back pain is not improving. And my writing project is stalled (yes, I WILL write about that when I am able).
In short, I need some new, modest enterprises to function as Serenity Prayer. So here are three:
–a local online tutoring project for kids in our community
Are these projects blogworthy? We’ll see. Of course they’re wildly divergent in scope and tenor. But they do have one thing in common: for me, in 2021’s crazy start, they all feel like the next right thing.
The name’s Maya. Got any treats? Oops, I mean…pleased to meetcha. My new human, Gretchen, has been spending way too much time on this tappity-tappity black thing, so I thought I’d take over for a while. My house, my rules.
I just got here, less than a week ago, and I’m satisfied that I am now Queen of the Household. I just need to vent a little about the humans who brought me to my new realm.
They SAY they are dog people. Malamute people, in fact–I’ve heard them bragging to other humans that I am actually their third Malamute. They speak often of a certain “Mickey,” “Molly,” and…whatshername…”Juniper.” Mickey apparently died young, whatever that means. Molly lived as long as she wanted to, apparently a long-ass time.
This “Juni” seems to have acted more like a cat, if you can believe that. Seems she was very, very, VERY fluffy. Didn’t like getting dirty or wet. (Ughh. Can’t believe I’m talking about cats.)
She did like strong wind, they say–probably the only time the air could ever penetrate to her skin!
Anyway, it’s just hard to believe these new humans of mine are so “experienced.” They seem awfully untrained to me.
First of all, they brought me here to my new realm not just in a car, but on a boat.
I was not a fan of this. I drooled a LOT.
Once established in my new dwelling, they keep trying to take me places on a leash. Oh, humans. What’s the good of a leash when there are so many deer and bunnies to chase? I can just smell ’em!
And when we do go places? We WALK. No running! I hear both of my humans bragging about how they used to be “distance runners,” but apparently now they’re too old and washed-up to do more than trot with me. No chase! No catch-me-if-you-can!
They also complain that I want too much attention. Well, what do they expect? Molly and Juni had each other to play with. I have only…sigh…them.
The house is full of Molly & Juni’s puppy pictures. Well, how nice for them. Nobody wanted me when I was a puppy. That’s why I came to live here…and that’s why I’m for sure Queen of this place!
Never going anywhere again, furever and ever.
Anyhow, just wanted to say, to any of you other Kings and Queens out there: feel free to share your stories about how you whipped your humans into shape! Might be good for a howl.
Thanksgiving is still several days away as I write this. But the more I contemplate the fearful unknowns and the ugly knowns of my country, the more I feel like turning back into a third grader and writing my I Am Thankful For list. This is one is completely off the cuff; I’m not even wearing cuffs. Just letting my mind ramble over bright spots. Like…
–having a job where I get to work with interesting, supportive people, and to make stuff like this:
(Courtesy Stephanie Smith and Holly B’s Bakery)
–having friends to sing with at (very nearly) the drop of a hat:
(Photo: Anne Whirledge-Karp)
–being able to enjoy other people’s dogs vicariously, since we no longer have one:
“Which hand has the treat?” “Both?”
Road Trips to visit Cute Cousins (more on this later):
“Quick, hide their ice chest! Then they can’t leave!”
Will I be doing more of this in the coming months? Yes. Does it help? Yes. Yes. Yes.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Count whatever blessings you can, and be careful of one another.
Oh, and if you’d like to share some of your blessings here, I would love that.
Forget multivitamins or fish oil, or whatever’s billed as the secret to longevity these days. The REAL secret is not just to live long, but to live long HAPPILY. Right? And I know the secret to that: puppies.
It’s true; I have proof. The other day I called back home to North Carolina, expecting a nice long chat with my 80 year-old mom. My dad picked up, but instead of the usual, “Hi–let me get your mother,” he said, “Martha’s at a meeting.”
“Oh.” OK, this is going to be a short phone call. “Well, how are you? What’s been going on?”
Plenty, apparently. He started talking–mostly about the two new puppies he and my mom just brought home. They’ve been sending pictures, so this wasn’t news.
“We couldn’t choose between them, so we got them both!”
What WAS news was how much OTHER news my dad had to share. We talked about his recent trip. My recent trip. The puppies. A book he loved. A book I loved. The puppies. My children/his grandchildren. My cousin. Puppies.
When I hung up, my phone informed me we’d been talking on the phone for FIFTY-FIVE MINUTES. For my practically phone-phobic, 85 year-old, serious scientist dad? That’s a world record by more than double.
At first I couldn’t figure out what had made him so chatty. Then it came to me: he’s happy! He’s practically giddy with joy. And why wouldn’t he be? He has these guys to play with:
Don’t you just feel happier already?
I KNOW, right?
I’m not really suggesting anyone give up vitamins or fish oil. But I do think it’s worth considering the power of something utterly charming to boost the latter years of a long life. I’m going to remember that when I’m 85.