Road Trip IX: Let’s Get This…Brrrr!…Party Started

If you’ve been following Wing’s World for a while, you know that The Mate and I take a 6 to 7-week pilgrimage this time of year, from our little island in Washington’s Salish Sea, all the way across the country, back to our former lives (and my folks, and Tarheel basketball) in North Carolina.

If you’re new to this blog–well, now you know. Welcome! This is the only time Wing’s World morphs into a travel blog; please join me!

The Mate cleared out our bike garage in order to load up Red Rover without getting snowy.

That is, if we ever get going. When driving across the country in February and March, weather is always in charge of your route. Every year we’ve diverted around something. But we’ve never found ourselves stopped in our own driveway! We were planning to leave on February 12, but now it’s snowing like crazy, so that is NOT gonna happen.

I’m pretty much packed. Cleaned out the fridge. Nothing to do but go for a walk!

Snow falling on cedars…and salal…and bracken…

…and moss…

…and reindeer lichen…

…and even kelp!

You know what, though? This extraneous walk gave me exactly what I needed: the reassurance that, no matter where we go, there is no more special place than where we already live.

G’bye, Gorgeous…see you in the spring!

The rest of y’all? See you on the road…whenever we get there!

“Go on, already…we’ll take care of this place while you’re gone.”

Return To Kiwiland, Take 2: Author’s Cut

A quick catch-up: twenty-two years ago, my family spent an academic year in southern New Zealand.

Two years ago, the Mate and I returned, with two objectives: 1) tramp (hike) the Milford Track (Trail); 2) learn about the Coast to Coast cross-country multisport race for a novel I’m writing.

Objective #2 was mine, not the Mate’s. And this time, the purpose of this trip is ENTIRELY due to the demands of my book. But lucky me, the Mate’s coming along anyway, and so is Wing Son Two, who can keep him company when I’m off learning about sheep farming and Maori culture.

There will always be sheep.

Will this trip feature some adventures? Of COURSE–this is NEW ZEALAND we’re talking about.

Rugged rivers? High probability.

Aoraki (Mt. Cook)? Could be!

Tree ferns there WILL be. (I love me some tree ferns.)

But when I return, will my accounts of New Zealand be travelogue, or Author’s Notes? Stay tuned. Ta for now.

Celebrating Family Piety In The Church Of The Great Outdoors

Since our children are grown and flown, we count any holiday we can spend together as extra specially blessed. This year we have been basking in this blessing (as much as one can bask, in a Pacific Northwest winter), and celebrating by going to church.

Our version of church, that is: the Church of the Great Outdoors.

While I was raised as a Quaker and still attend Meeting, we did not find Quakerism attractive as a family unit when Sons One and Two were growing up. The Mate was not interested, and I was loathe to leave the kids behind after being away from them at work all week. Also, the Meeting I attended in Tacoma was so small that if I did bring them, I usually ended up having to do my own childcare, which felt silly. Might as well stay at home together…or go for a hike.

And so evolved our family religion. We weren’t that hard-core; after our kids reached the age of two we ceased riding them atop our backpacks–too heavy! And once they got into team sports, our weekend forays became fewer. But still, on holidays, the mountains called, or the ocean, and we always came. Hell, that’s why we became Northwesterners to begin with! (You’re welcome, boys.)

And the only place we all actually enjoy shopping? REI. Going there is like a down payment on beauty.

So, two days after Christmas, here we are, in deep worship:

Easiest liturgy in the world.

A little snow just adds to the reverence.

Amen.

Peace be unto you.

Glory be…

…and all praise.

That Annual Thanksgiving List We All Love to Write

Pretend you’re in third grade. It’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and your teacher just gave you That Assignment.

Now pretend it was your idea all along. With me? Let’s do this. Here’s mine:

This year I am thankful for…

…the good health of my family, myself, and most of my loved ones.

…the communal strength, love and support that continues to go out to those in need of it.

…the power of Nature’s everyday beauty that she keeps surprising me with (Spiderweb! Lichen! Wing of thrush!)

…really DARK chocolate

…the way gardening and eating local food is re-awakening in America

…my amazing amalgam of work, which allows me to get my hands sticky, get paid, interact with lovely people, and still retire to the quiet of my writing bench

…those hard-working folks still teaching and nursing and fixing pipes FULL TIME (y’all know who you are; I am so grateful to you–please let me make you pie!)

…friends who push me to improve my Spanish and my guitar-playing.

…mis hijos. Los dos.

…my Mate. Always. Always. But somehow, after 37 years–increasingly.

So...freakin...grateful!!!!!

So…freakin…grateful!!!!!

Know what? I could do this all day. How ’bout you? What’s at the top of your gratitude list? HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

PS–don’t forget to #optoutside this Black Friday!

 

My Favorite Catalog is the One I Don’t Receive: Do You Know About Catalog Choice?

Do you love receiving unsolicited catalogs in the mail? Then by all means, don’t read this.

You know that scene in “Dead Poets Society” where Robin Williams’ character makes his students rip the intro out of their poetry textbooks?  “Begone, J. Edwin Pritchard!” “I don’t hear enough rrrrip!”

That’s who I think of when I use Catalog Choice to rid myself of the disturbing wasteful downright stupid unwanted catalogs clogging up my mailbox. “Begone, ‘Bed, Bath & Beyond’! Never darken my doorway again, ‘Jockey’! ‘ Walmart’–I said good DAY.”

I LOVE Catalog Choice. I love knowing I DO have a choice, and a method, of reducing the amount of costly junk mail swirling around me–and when I say “costly” I’m referring to the whole process, from cutting down the tree to my fellow citizens having to haul all that recycling off our island.

Never tried it? Here’s all you do: Go to catalogchoice.org and create your profile. It costs nothing. (They do ask for a donation, but again–your choice.) From there, every time you receive an unwanted catalog, all you do is log in, type the name of the catalog you wish to divorce yourself from, enter the codes printed on the back of the catalog, and–hey presto, it’s out of your life. (Catalog Choice even includes a way for you to report bad catalogs who refuse to listen to you the first time and keep showing up, though this hasn’t happened to me yet.)

Of course there are those catalogs with whom I enjoy a happy, lifetime relationship. (Talking to YOU, REI–and thanks again for opting out of Black Friday.) I would never “Catalog Choice” them out of my life. ‘Cabela’s’? No thanks. But ‘King Arthur Flour,’ you can snuggle on over here…

REIphoto1

We probably all have more “losers” than “keepers” when it comes to catalogs. Want to share your top 3 keepers? I’m listening. (But for the rest–tell ’em to get lost.)

 

#OptOutside (Like I Need Another Reason to Love REI): Turning Black Friday Into National Go Outside Day

Except for an old jacket and an even older daypack labeled LL Bean, from back in my former life as an easterner, ALL our outdoor gear is REI, either their own brand or bought there. The Mate and I are faithful citizens of REI Nation. Which is why I’m extra pumped to feel so proud of Recreational Equipment Incorporated for their recent announcement:

REI will close for “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving, the most important shopping day on the U.S. calendar. They want us to go outside and play.

I LOVE this. “If only this would catch on,” was my first thought. And guess what: it has! According to King 5 News, Seattle retailers Outdoor Research, Gregory Packs, and Clif Bar, have Opted Outside now too.

The #OptOutside movement speaks for itself, so I don’t feel the need to say more here.

rei-no-black-Friday

Except this: how about supporting the idea? Save our shopping urges for another day? Anyone who can, let’s all go outside on Friday, November 27–anywhere outside, just nowhere near a mall– eating our Clif bars and wearing our REI gear proudly.