by emily on August 4, 2015

You know who doesn’t complain when he’s out hiking with me? Who doesn’t groan that he’s tired or his stomach hurts? Who doesn’t drag his feet? Who doesn’t ask me how much further it is or insist on a break or pointedly swat at the deer flies?

The dog, that’s who.

Marley is always delighted to go for a hike. He bounds up the trail, so pleased that—yet again—we’re spending the morning doing the same thing we did yesterday and the day before. Just tickled pink that the woods are still there today.

Sure, sometimes he runs off after a deer or a small bear. And he’s been known to take a wrong turn or go too far ahead. But he comes racing back eventually, tags a-jingle and tail… you get the idea. Or he’ll stop in the path, ears raised, and look back until the clumsy human with her two legs catches up, and then canter on again.

True, he runs right through streams—panting—and I have to call him back to point out the water. But that’s only because he’s so busy leaping and sniffing that he forgets to drink.

Marley doesn’t talk while he hikes. He doesn’t spend 45 minutes deconstructing Episode III of Star Wars or recount every single play in a recent D&D game or devote the entire descent of a mountain to verbalizing a fantasy war with his friend during which they battle for control of the world. He just hikes. Near me. Without speaking to me.

He’s even learning not to poop on the trail. Because trail etiquette like that is important.IMG_7468


The road more traveled

by emily on July 15, 2015

So, I took the dog on a hike today because, well, because that’s what we do. And we’re going to skip over the part where he chased a bleating baby deer and ignored me when I called him off and I failed to think clearly enough to grab for the deer instead of the dog and then he ran off into the woods and then the bleating stopped and the dog disappeared for fifteen minutes during which I can only assume he was consuming said baby deer while I called for him.

Deer are overpopulated anyway.

We got up to the spot I’d hoped to make and still had a bit of time, so I turned right and followed the sign for Clara Bow. This trail was a bit more challenging—narrow, next to a precipice, and so forth. We were doing all right until I got to this.


You see that blue arrow? That’s the blaze. It points to the next part of the trail. Which is this.


See that blue blaze down there? I’m supposed to hike down there to get to it. Now, granted, someone left a wooden ladder off to the side, so I could use that, if I were up for leaning across a chasm to grab a ladder, trying to balance it from the top, and then climbing down without anyone spotting me.

Or, I could turn around, go back up the narrow trail next to the precipice, turn left where I had turned right, and be rewarded with this just a few hundred yards on.


The dog liked it, too, although he was burping a bit. See above re: baby deer.


The man who went up a mountain

July 13, 2015

At 2651 feet, it’s a small mountain. Since the parking lot is up a steep road, you’re only hiking up an elevation of 1520 feet in the course of about a mile and a half. Hugh Grant movie jokes aside, however, it is a real mountain. We hiked it this weekend—Lilah, J, Marley, and me. […]

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Smarter than the average bear

July 3, 2015

Our neighborhood here in Vermont is an off-leash area. Dogs stroll through our yard now and then on their way to lunch dates or business meetings or somesuch. There are extensive hiking trails behind our neighborhood, and people are forever tromping down the road in various stages of sweatiness preceded by muddy canines. Marley, however, […]

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Buffalo Soldier

June 26, 2015

The kids wanted to keep the name the dog got in the shelter. Frankly, I was relieved. “Bob Marley” was better than what Zachary wanted to call him. What kind of a self-respecting dog can walk around with the name “Popsicle”? Lilah had some other ideas, but since she speaks some made-up language to her […]

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Happiness is

June 25, 2015

I’ve wanted a dog my entire life. Really, my entire life. My stepmother had this dog. Or at least this little thing approximating a dog. Ketchie, it was named. But as it belonged to my stepmother, one would be hard-pressed to imagine it being a source of dogginess for me. For the record, she treated […]

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On Baltimore and mothers and privilege

April 30, 2015

I’m seeing a lot of articles about why we shouldn’t call Toya Graham a hero. Graham, in case you don’t have internet access under your rock, is the mother who was video recorded smacking her teenaged son and chasing him away from the looting in Baltimore. The articles I’m seeing are taking (white) people to […]

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April 9, 2015

Sometimes, my husband jokes that he married me for my matzoh ball soup. At least, I think he’s joking. He might be a little bit serious. When we married, I made very good matzoh ball soup. Now, I make freaking fantastic matzoh ball soup. I’d tell you how I make it, but it takes several […]

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Why I’m Not Teaching My Son to Put the Toilet Seat Down

March 26, 2015

You may have read the title to this post and thought I had some deep philosophical reason not to teach my son to put down the toilet seat. Or you may have thought, “At least I’m a better parent than that lady.” Or perhaps you read it and shouted, “You know, a pilot intentionally slammed […]

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All My Life’s a Circle

February 28, 2015

It all started with the bananas. I was buying a snack for the after-school activity I was running at the kids’ school. I loaded six large bunches of bananas on the belt. They were fair trade and organic and all that crap, I promise. “It reminds me of ’30,000 Pounds of Bananas,’” I quipped to […]

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