Tag Archives: road trips

March for Life 2013

By: Clare

At the beginning of the school year, I decided I was sick of school. This was probably, oh, you know, around mid-August. Before school had even started. I decided I wanted to travel the country. So I vowed to travel to a different state every school quarter, and so far I’ve upheld my vow. I’ve logged in an impressive 14 excused absences, all while staying on the A-honor roll. Pretty good, if you ask me. The first quarter I spent a two weeks in Pittsburgh visiting Kate, and being able to greet my newest nephew Francisco right before we left.  It was so wonderful, and I had so many adventures, I was even motivated to write a blog post about it. Which is sadly something I do not find myself yearning to do, as I would much rather….wait..I wouldn’t rather do my homework, but I kind of have to.

The second quarter I found myself not far from Wisconsin, but still outside of Wisconsin and into greater hick country..Minnesota, for my wondeful cousin Cale’s wedding. This was amusing, as the weekend we Wisconsinites invaded Minnesotan territory was the same weekend as the playoff game between our rival teams – The Green Bay Packers vs. The Minnesota Vikings. As a kid, I tricked myself into thinking that I was a serious Vikings fan, but really, the only reason I “liked” the Vikings was because my cool older brother did, and I have always been one who likes to stand out in a crowd. But a Vikings fan in the midst of a bunch of Packer-Backers just gets lots of dirty stares, and not much admiration.

I started the third quarter out with an impromptu trip to Washington D.C. to attend the 40th annual March for Life, along with my brother, Robert, sister-in-law, Nicole, and adorable nephew, Lukas.

The March was extremely cold, but very inspiring, and as a bonus I got to realize that Washington is definitely not the place I want to live in when I grow up, contrary to what I used to think. Too many people, not enough space!

But even with all the people who were there, the body heat wasn’t enough to heat us all up. Except Baby Lukas, who slept peacefully all day in his warm cocoon.


And when he finally woke up, his stylish mother was there to transport him to a spot where he could better look around. I’m pretty envious of Nicole for being able to look awesome, despite freezing temperatures and a large baby strapped to her stomach. But definitely not envious of the large baby thing. I’d rather not be hunch-backed when I grow up, thank you very much.


Speaking of stylish mothers and babies, Nicole’s wonderful friend, Haley, and her adorable dinosaur son was with us as well.


And totally not speaking of stylish mothers and babies, Nicole’s not-so-little little brother, Joe, was able to make it to the March as well.


He came all the way from Kansas on a bus with his fellow college students to get there. Talk about dedication. If I spent a 23 hour road trip on a bus with 50 other kids on it, by the end of the road trip, it would no longer be me and 50 other kids.  It would be me and 49 dead bodies.

The speeches were great, and the number of people and level of passion and dedication for such a wonderful cause was great to see.


And then we got to the Supreme Court building, which turned out to be under a bit of construction, prompting them to put up a large banner in front of the building that fooled a lot of people into thinking it was the real front….well, it fooled me at least, until Carpenter Rob pointed out the hoax.


All in all, I’m so very glad I got to experience the March for Life, and I hope to do it again in the future. But for now, its just nice to be back home. Though thanks to this creative Wisconsinite’s flag, I still felt a little like I was being led home.


But, for all I know, I could have been walking behind a herd of cows, because let me tell you, that march was slooow going. Mooooo!


To Grandmother’s House We Go

By: Clare

I distinctly remember squeezing into the very back of a suburban along with my brother Raphael, wearing my puffy maroon winter coat and itchy, white hat whizzing down the interstate on Christmas day. By “very back of a suburban” I do not mean the last seat of a suburban, I mean the small space behind the last seat, right in between the seat and the back door. Suburbans can hold a lot of people, but they can’t quite fit all nine of the Slattery kids, plus a mother and father. I spent four hours lying on the cold floor of the that rusty car with my mopey older brother. Even though I was cold and totally uncomfortable, I was lovin’ life. I was on my way to Grandma Slattery’s, a land of clean carpeted floors, endless candy and cookies, brats & burgers, and cable TV. It was my haven, where I could eat junk food and watch Disney channel all day long without a care in the world. As the years rolled along, annual trips to Grandma’s house were a little less crowded, but just as enjoyable. It didn’t matter if it was the middle of summer, or the middle of winter, Grandma Slattery was always ready to welcome us. A lover of road trips and extreme laziness (this being my only job at Grandma’s house) I jumped at the chance to visit Grandma anytime there was an opportunity. I’m so glad I was able to spend the time with her that I did, as our grandmother passed away last week.

The trip we made exactly one week ago for the funeral to stay at her house one last time was extremely bittersweet for me. This time, several vehicles were taken, and I (being the sweet, sweet, youngest child that I am) chose to go with my parents. With Dad charging down the interstate at a  good 50 mph , I had plenty of time to contemplate. I realized that the trip alone to Grandma’s house was something I had cherished about her. So, I’d like to take you along. Virtually, of course. I’m not going to kidnap you and drag you there. As a matter of fact, I don’t even have my permit yet, thanks to my mother conveniently losing my birth certificate. But that’s another story.


We are here:

We need to travel across the land of milk and cheese to Sheboygan. This is a good four hour trip, so I would stock up on the Corn Nuts and bring along some good books. Be sure to have a small fleece blanket and a pillow. I like to stretch out in the back seat and get really paranoid and imagine the cops pulling us over and fining me for not wearing a seat belt and/or us getting into a serious accident and me dying tragically because I wasn’t wearing a seat belt. But that’s just me. You can take off your seat belt and think like a sane person if you would like.

Traveling with the Slattery  parents means if you want the radio turned on, it will be on one station and one station only- NPR, where they speak of intelligent things in very whimsical, intelligent voices. BUT, if you’re lucky and you’re traveling on the right day, you may just catch a Garrison Kiellor show! This I can enjoy. BUT, if you’re traveling on a Sunday in the fall, and you’re in Wisconsin, you’ll be stuck listening to the Packers game. At this point, I think I would have preferred actually getting into a car accident/being pulled over to having to listen to the game. I am seriously anti-football, anti-Packers, and in most cases, just plain anti-Wisconsin.

Eventually, you’ll make it out of the winding back roads and onto the Interstate. On the interstate, you’ll enjoy watching every single car behind you pass you, as Patrick Slattery obliviously drives on. Don’t look at the speedometer, whatever you do. It’s really frustrating watching someone drive a car as if it is a tractor. Sometimes I have to roll the window down and stick my face outside for a good minute or two to calm myself down.

The small town of Montello marks the halfway point.

Congratulations, you’re halfway there!

I have always loved Montello. Every single time I’ve gone to Sheboygan, we’ve never failed to stop and take a quick break at the local Kwik Trip. Kwik Trip is nothing special. Its just a gas stop- there are plenty of them scattered all over the state. Its what’s outside that certain Kwik Trip.

This little beaut’s the only waterfall I’ve seen in my life. The big hole that the gushing water’s filling up used to be a granite quarry, I believe. They made the best granite around. It was so good in fact, that granite was taken from this quarry to be made into the tomb for Ulysses S. Grant. I think I got those facts right…I haven’t ever really read the tourist sign very closely. In the summer, a few swans are released into the enclosed area, and make that their home. I used to love to throw chips at the big hissing birds, and watch their ugly black feet paddle beneath the glassy surface. I’ll miss those swans.

Continue on to Ripon-birthplace of the Republican party.

My father lived in Ripon for several years working as editor of the local newspaper as a young twenty-something. He was even voted “most eligible bachelor” of the small town.

Now on to Fond du Lac. As an easily embarrassed pre-teen, I used to dread this town. Every time we passed through, we had to stop, find a place right by the road where my dad would cajole us all into doing jumping jacks while shouting “BEAT FONDI BEAT FONDI!” This was an old tradition from his high school days, when Fond du Lac and his South Sheboygan High School had some kind of rivalry. Over the years, somehow this tradition had died down, and I, in the midst of a melancholic state, had decided we needed to bring it back one last time. So, we found a little field with a small set of bleachers, conveniently set back from the main road…



Hey, guess what? Fondi was our last stop! You’ve made it across the state!

I doubt any of you will be making this trip in reality any time soon, if ever, but I hope you enjoyed coming along for ours.

Sheboygan really is a neat place, and if you’re ever near it, be sure to take a look around. If there’s one thing you want to do, check out the magnificent Lake Michigan, a Slattery tourist spot favorite.

Whether summer..

..or winter..

We always take the time to stop and stare out across the big blue expanse.

Ah, Sheboygan travels, how I will miss thee..

West(Wisconsin)ward Ho!

by Colleen

Well, hey there.  It seems to have been approximately forever in the blogging sphere since I’ve written…but I’m back!  Even with midterms looming this week, I took my orders and am doing a blog post.  You know it’s serious when Mary actually asks you to do a post. I would put up all the paltry school excuses which actually are valid, but I simply don’t have the time to list them all.  And it’s not important.  What is important is this: in one week I will be back in Wisconsin!

Spring break starts next Saturday, and while most college students will be heading to the beach for booze and debauchery, I will be heading home with four of my friends to (hopefully) temperatures in the upper 30s.  And we’re all pumped.  I do feel a bit of pity for my friends, a group of Southerners from Texas, Missouri, and South Carolina.  In response to their questions about proper attire for the cold, I simply stated, “Do you KNOW how many hats, coats, gloves, scarves, and  mittens we have in our house??”

I feel that I managed to offer sufficient attractions, though: beer, cheese, bonfires, wood stoves, bluffs, my family.  What more could one ask for?  Okay, yes a beach with pearly white sands and sun.  And luckily, all my friends are optimists about the 18 hour car trip up.  Me, on the other hand, would gladly like to be unconscious for all driving.  Yup, please just knock me out.  Oh, the sacrifices I will go through to get home!

My Southern friends are about to get a taste of the Slattery household. complete with cocky little brothers mouthing off at the table

the beautiful St. Peter’s,

and there is bound to be some ping pong.

Get ready, my friends!  It’s going to be a long ride, but in the end it will all be worth it.  Spring Break 2012: Wisconsin!  Home.

A Saturday Away

By Clare

Yesterday I made the spur-of-the-moment decision to head down to Iowa for a relative’s wedding. I figured it would be more interesting than staying at home all day with only three other people wandering around the house, helpless without Mom to make food. Plus, I’d have to do the cooking with her gone, and when is that ever good? So I threw on some dressy clothing, made myself presentable for a special occasion, and we were off. That is, after everyone was found, all the vegetables to be delivered along the way were shoved into the van along with Grandma’s heavy suitcases (we were dropping her off at her aunt’s on the way back), and we were all uncomfortable enough for it to qualify as a Slattery roadtrip. After dropping off the vegetables, we all settled in a little better, and braced ourselves for three more hours in the car. We eventually made it to the 1 o’clock wedding (on time too!) and were escorted into the small church.

We arrived at the reception hall with some time to kill before the dinner, so Mary and I wandered off to stretch our legs. Mary had a lot of leg showing to stretch, wearing a dress that Mom deemed immodest (it’s really not that bad, just a horrible choice for a traveling outfit).

Still, she tromped across the grass in her heels, while I ran ahead in my smart footwear choice of gold sandals, courtesy of Colleen’s “clothes left behind before moving to Dallas for college”. Upon seeing a pond in the near distance I immediately ran ahead. I’m naturally attracted to water, while Mary thinks its something like the devil’s spit. Crazy woman. Squatting down by the water, a frog jumped and caught me by surprise.

Mary, remembering fairy stories where the princess kisses the frog and the frog turns into a prince out of the blue (woohoo), decided if she kissed it the same would happen to her.

Don’t worry, she didn’t end up kissing it. She’s too squeamish. We did have a little impromptu photoshoot though. It gave some entertainment to the golfers watching nearby. I took a picture of them, just to get back at them, but it’s not that interesting. Golfers, generally aren’t that interesting, are they? With the exception of Tiger Woods’ scandal of course. Again, this is just another one of my opinions.

We headed back to the reception hall where I stayed for several more hours surrounded in a moody cloud. There was no one my age there.  I realized that the building was perfectly equipped for six-year-old me to run around with James, Colleen, and Raph and make all kinds of mischief. But instead, I was left all by myself, grown up, bored out of my mind, when, if I had been younger, I would have been in heaven. I had to drink the free pop all by  myself, without the entertainment of seeing James and Raph down 10 cans or so until they felt like throwing up. Dad did provide momentary entertainment (and embarrassment) when he started doling out our homegrown garlic on the tables as decorations and for people to take home.

I did do a lot of people-watching, and found that Iowans like country music even more than Wisconsinites. We eventually left. After a long, long, long time. The ride home was long too, but thanks to Cale’s phone, I was able to text the dearly missed sister of mine, Colleen.

Until next time, when I stare deeply into more people’s souls, give them cold, moody looks, and form critical words in my head,