Tag Archives: travel

Shannon and Lauren and Mike and Me

I did a lot of driving this weekend. Luckily, I don’t mind driving…in the right conditions. And I had those conditions this weekend. I like my car and enjoy driving it on nice days, windows rolled down, on traffic-free roads when I’m not in a real hurry (unlike when I’m making that annoying commute to and from work Monday through Friday). It doesn’t hurt, either, that I love my little red sports car.

I can do a lot of thinking on those drives…when there are few, if any, other cars on the back roads (I always prefer the back roads). And I can work on stories or poems in my head. It’s nice to have that quiet time. It’s also nice to turn up the radio and just not think about anything–work, chores, all the misery and violence on the nightly news. It’s relaxing. I like the scenery and find it calming. Whether it’s the stately old trees lining stretches of pavement for uninhabited miles or charming country homes with cows in the fields beside them, it’s almost as entertaining as any TV program I could be watching.

I like to imagine stories about the people who live in the houses dotting the countryside I’m passing through–areas so rural the streets are named after the few people who live on them: Shannon and Lauren Lane, Mike McConnell Ave. I wonder who Shannon and Lauren are. What are they like? Are they the much-loved small children who live in a house at the end of the lane: the sign to honor them, the miracle of birth prayed for finally arrived? Are they two unmarried old siblings still living at the family farm years after their own parents have passed, trying to keep it afloat in an uneven economy in which farming is no longer a viable way of life. What are their days like? Do they share morning tea with sunrise each day on the porch that begs for a fix-it man? Do they go out to a barn to milk a cow or collect chicken eggs before the sun even comes up?

And who is Mike McConnell? What kind of man is he that would have a road sign named for him? Is he a narcissistic sort? Loves seeing his name in print? Territorial, putting his name on his road to announce to the world it’s his? Or is the sign a matter of practicality, easier than giving directions to his middle-of-nowhere homestead by use of “landmarks” that look the same mile after mile: “Just look for the sign with my name and turn right” instead of “When you pass the eighty-third oak tree…”

That’s how I spend my drives and part of what makes me enjoy those longer drives, with the warm wind in my hair and the worries of my real world behind me.

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Check the Back Seat!

I’m not a parent, so I don’t get it: how do you forget your kid is in the car? Our local news paper reports that child deaths in hot cars are on the rise.  In that article, they interview the Kids and Cars founder ( who knew there was such a thing?). She had this to say:

“The worst thing any parent or caregiver can do is think that this could never happen to them, that they are not capable of inadvertently leaving their child behind. This can and does happen to the most loving, responsible and attentive parents.”

She then provides tips for how you can avoid accidentally leaving your kids in the car while you go to work:

  1. “Put something in the back seat, so you have to open the back door to get it.” (Surprise! Your kid is still in there, too. You forgot to drop him at day care!)
  2. Put a stuffed animal in the child seat when it’s not in use and move it to the front seat when your child is in the car. It will serve as a reminder that the child seat is in use.”

I can see how both of these options might help you remember there’s a tiny human in the backseat of your car.  And I know parents are busy and get frazzled and, thus, forget things.  But things and kids are different. I guess babies fall asleep in the car, so since they’re not making any noise you could forget them. But I don’t know. I check my backseat before I get out of the car at work just to make sure I didn’t forget an umbrella or a bag or something (I have accidentally taken my gym bag in to work because I did that). I feel like I’d be even more paranoid if it could potentially be a child (of course, I’m super paranoid anyway–I check to make sure the car is locked at least 3 times before walking away from it–and to do that, I have to look back through the window at least once). But I don’t know–like I said, I don’t have a kid (so I’m not judging–just saying I do not understand it).

If you do, check your backseat! Because I also cannot imagine what it would be like to be responsible–accident though it may be–for your own child’s death. I’m not sure how one might get over that–ever.


Filed under Ripped from the Headlines

Hello, Phoenix!


After 9 hours of airports and airplanes, we (my colleague from SC) began a search for dinner (It was only 4:00 here, but our east coast bodies thought it was 7: 00). None of the resort restaurants would open until 5:30 (8:30 EST). We were starving after a 4 hour flight; we wouldn’t make it that long!

We finally found a bar that served appetizers. I had a HUGE app all to myself: a buffalo fry bread. Yum!


Then, it was straight back to the room where I took a nice hot bath to wash a day of travel off. This place has great tubs for that:


Then I crawled right into bed exhausted. I thought I might just rest a while, but no: right to sleep. It was 6:30 here.

This morning I took a shower–scalding hot water. I turned the knob down towards cold: still too hot. Finally put it all the way to cold: just bearable. No cold showers on the reservation, kids.  I hadn’t really noticed too much withthe bath because I always make those too hot. And I’d been too tired to care when I brushed my teeth the night before. This morning though, I paid attention. I turned on the cold water in the sink to brush my teeth, gave it a minute…best I could get was lukewarm. Is there no cold water in Arizona?!?

In other news, this place–The Sheraton at Wild Horse Pass– wants $12.95 a day for Wi-fi access. I think that’s ridiculously exorbitant! So until I find out if Pearson’s gonna put that on their Amex, I’ve just got 3G on my little Samsung Galaxy Tab. So expect short updates, possibly riddled with tiny keyboard errors! Off to breakfast!

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