Happy Little Writer Sarah, Journey, menagerie, Uncategorized, Words for Food

Culture Shock.  

It’s taken me two weeks to really get readjusted. Yet another thing I’ve never done before, this adjustment back–like grieving where you’ve been, its uniqueness and how impossible it is to both explain and replicate.

I returned from my month-long writing retreat in Ireland to a whole new ballgame. Really, it’s like I was playing golf and now I’m playing cricket.

I left my nonprofit work with a hard stop, spent four quiet weeks hibernating in the hills with the cows and kitties and fairies. And then I returned and within a week had a new gig as a social media/marketing wrangler, a new professional identity as a freelance writer, said the words “I’m working on my novel” out loud, put finishing touches on MFA applications, re-budgeted, reassessed, reconsidered…recovered from a kick ass headcold…

Here’s what I miss about my Ireland adventure:

Peppers--the writing annex, where everyone knew my name and what I was working on.

Peppers–the writing annex, where everyone knew my name and what I was working on.

  •  Druid Cottage
  • Brown bread
  • 2 hour-long walks in the country
  • Peat fires, specifically mine.
  • Silence
  • Simplicity—from food to routine, everything was barebones, accoutrement free
  • Walking into Peppers and feeling like I belong
  • Wind howling around the eves of my cottage making me feel strangely secure and cozy inside.
  • Not ever knowing what day it was or what time it was.

Here’s what I am so glad to come home to:

Here goes...

Here goes…

  • My menagerie
  • My new (fully functioning!) oven and it’s various culinary adventures (which may or may n to include baking brown bread).
  • OAK! The best burgers in Seattle. The best cozy winter bar. Happiness abounds.
  • Public transit (yes, really—it’s nice to not have to drive everywhere)
  • The right side of the road.
  • My new gig with these fun, creative, shit-kicking folks, Team Diva Real Estate. Taking buying, selling and renting to a whole new level. I love their commitment to relationships, neighborhoods, to knowing the quirkiest spots, to snark and pink.
  • IPA’s, especially this one. Guinness is oh, so good, but I’m a Northwesterner at heart.
  • Esquin and the Saturday wine tasting—what you’ve never been to Esquin? Best wine shop in Seattle. Nicest staff. Best back room with phenomenal deals.
  • A new adventure as a freelance writer (stay tuned)



Journey, menagerie

A Cow Followed Me Home Today

My biggest regret of this trip to-date is that I did not charge my phone last night.

Everyday I take a break and go for a walk through the lanes around my cottage. At home I run, but around here it’s cold and rainy and the roads are more like trails and hilly…walking is nicer. The loop takes me ninety minutes or so. I’ve collected quite a handful of canine friends on these hikes.

My canine companions.

My canine companions.

More pals.

More pals.

I have no idea where these dogs live. Every day I find them at a different house. They remind me of me and my neighborhood pals when I was growing up. To a tourist in my little corner of the world, this roving pack of children could belong anywhere. We were in every yard, ours or otherwise, crawling in every tree, on every porch. The world was our playground. These dogs are the same.

So, I’ve made friends with them. There’s also a blind little pot-bellied short-fat (Mr. B-speak for a dog with very short legs and a very round belly) that chases me at the top of the hill. And a black retriever of some kind that resides in my favorite house and tries to shepherd me away every time I walk by.

Beyond the kitties that keep me company in the cottage and the pack of semi-wild dogs, my animal encounters have been fairly limited.

Until today.

I was taking the last left turn onto the road that connects with my lane and just as I was rounding the curve I see a cow in the road. Not crossing the road, not on the side of the road, just standing stock-still in the middle of the road.

It stared at me.

I stared back.

Everything I was ever told as a kid came back “Livestock are not pets. They do not want to be your friend.” I stood a little longer and then decided that I was never going to make it home if I just kept staring blankly at cattle. So, I went around. The cow (I actually don’t know if it was a cow. I don’t know what gender this animal was. I don’t know the proper name for it. I’m just going to keep calling it a cow.) turned its head to watch me and it’s body followed. I watched it over my shoulder as it took a few steps after me, and I scampered along. All I could think is that the one thing I did not need today was to get rammed by a cow in the middle of rural Ireland.

Well, the cow scampered after me. It followed me at a trot. I cannot imagine what this must have looked like–I was running down the middle of the road (albeit a small road), followed by a cow running after me. I was out of breath mainly because I was giggling so hard I couldn’t keep running.

I stopped, turned around, hands on knees to catch my breath. “Are you kidding me?”

The Cow stopped too and looked at me. I took a few tentative steps. So did it.

“You CANNOT come home with me, ” I said over my shoulder. She (let’s just call it a she) kept following me as though she was pretty sure she could find a nice place to cozy up at my house.

I wasn’t sure what to do. I debated walked up to the nearest house and knocking on the door, but then I just couldn’t imagine what I’d say. Excuse me, are you missing some livestock? Because it’s trying to follow me home. The locals already know me. When I go to the pub, people I’ve only seen once ask me how my book is going. I’d forever be that American chick who had a cow following her around.

So, I just kept walking. I sorta hoped maybe a car would come along so that i could point at my new friend and ask if this was normal.

We passed Pot-Belly’s house and he barked and chased the sound of us and the cow began running at a gallop to get away. And then, out of nowhere, she turned and walked into someone’s front yard. She walked right past the front window of their house and over to the gate to the pasture and stood there. She looked sort of forlorn standing there, gazing out at her cattle-friends, unable to get back in.

I stood for a second and debated. Should I knock on their door? Point at the obvious and say Hey, brought your cow home for you. I decided that ultimately, someone else was better equipped to help this rogue piece of livestock than me. And maybe it’s not that weird to have a cow in the road, really. Just a few days ago I saw a herd of sheep run down my lane.

So, I left her. I ran into a couple more of my dog friends on the last leg home and they sauntered up for a pat and then went on their merry way.

I really wish I’d had my camera.