Sunday, December 01, 2013

More Thankfulness and a Long Drive

We spent the last week in Arizona, visiting my family for Thanksgiving. I managed to get my Tungsten Hippo book recommendation and quote up on time, but I got nothing written for my usual Sunday evening/Monday morning Tungsten Hippo post. I even got to spend the better part of Wednesday without the kids- Mr. Snarky, my Mom, my uncle, and my sister took them fishing. They didn't catch a thing but were surprisingly patient and had a great time casting their lines out, for hours. I spent the time reading and writing a post about toys and tech industry arrogance, though, and didn't write anything for Tungsten Hippo.

I thought maybe I'd write something later in the week, but I was too busy seeing family for that. Which is as it should be. Before I knew it, it was Saturday afternoon, and time to head home.

We typically split the drive between my parents' place in Mesa (a suburb of Phoenix) and home into two, driving to Yuma in the evening, spending the night, and then driving the rest of the way the next morning. The kids do better with the two shorter drives rather than one long one, and we have a favorite hotel in Yuma that has suites for under $100 per night. This feels like a fair price to not have to listen to anyone complain about how bored she is or how her car seat makes her butt hurt, particularly since I can sympathize with both of those complaints. Because of this arrangement, the drive from Yuma to San Diego is usually done during daylight. There is no denying that the scenery for most of the drive is stark, even barren. But some of it is quite beautiful, and there is something about that drive that loosens my mind. I almost always find myself with a fairly complete story idea by the time we hit Alpine. If I wrote fiction, I'd set off for Yuma whenever I lacked a story idea. As it is, I write the ideas that come to me down in my notebook, in case I ever decide to try to write fiction or come up with some other use for story ideas.

Today, we got an earlyish start from Yuma. We stopped for morning snack and some playground time in El Centro and then drove home for lunch. The kids slept most of the time between El Centro and home, making for a quiet ride, except for the steady stream of trucks hauling dune buggies and dirt bikes on the road. There is a big gathering in the dunes just West of Yuma every Thanksgiving, and the dune aficionados were heading home, too. Mr. Snarky was driving. He and I talked a bit, but I stared out the window a lot, with details of the story idea filling in around the outline that had formed earlier in the day. The line at the immigration checkpoint was long enough that I was able to jot down most of the ideas while we waited.

We got home so much earlier than we expected that even though we got a little crazy in our chores list we got through most everything before dinner. I took on most of the "regular" chores (laundry, menu planning, grocery shopping, unpacking...) so that Mr. Snarky could get our Christmas lights up. We had almost decided not to hang them this year, since the remaining weekends before Christmas are pretty full. When if became clear we'd be home for lunch, though, Mr. Snarky decided he'd do it today. While he was making dinner, I took the kids outside to appreciate his handiwork. They were so excited to see the lights, they danced around in our driveway and literally jumped up and down with joy. Then they ran back inside and thanked Mr. Snarky (at my suggestion- they're not that good). This was ample compensation for the busy afternoon we had.

But... there is still no Tungsten Hippo post.

I do, however, have a few more links that should have made it into the "thankful for the internet" link roundup.

The pseudonymous English sheep herder Herdy Shepherd (@herdyshepherd1) does an excellent job describing part of what I love about Twitter.

I rather enjoyed reading these posts about the possible economic structure of the Star Trek universe. But I have to say: I think my most recent short eBook recommendation, Chicken Little by Cory Doctorow, is a better, more believable, and more thought-provoking look at a possible economic future.

Posting might be a little light through the end of the year- as I said, we have a fairly full schedule of holiday fun- but then again, it might not be. We'll see.

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