Connacht Gold

Sligo- When I was a schoolgirl, an Irishman stared into me and asked,

“Haley, can you tell someone you love them with your eyes?” I stared right back into him with a gentle reply,

“Yes, you can.”

It was unlikely that I had kept up with the readings he assigned but I knew something about the character of Hester Prynne.  It was my wild eyes and not my wit that got me through a vast amount of formal education.  I revel in my unlearning.

Photo on 2009-09-21 at 23.08

8 jaars ago

For St Patrick’s I decided to honour the Queen of Connacht with a we hill walk.


Benbulben from Knocknarea

The north west of Ireland has a dense concentration of megaliths.  These can include dolmens, cairns or burial grounds. Bones, tools, white quartz and beads are often found during the excavations of these sacred sites.

I walk the 40 minutes up to see the Queen, who was said to be married many times.

These could be actual marriages or ritual weddings wherein kings would symbolically marry the “one who intoxicates and brings great joy,” Maev, Meadhbh, Méabh, medu, mead, St.Patrick’s Day, male dominated debauchery, nuns marrying Jesus- see where this is going?

Anywho, I am no historian.


I make it to the top and around the cairn (this is one of three potential burial sites so it may just be a pile of lucky rocks, who.knows.) I find myself walking down the path into Maev’s Forest.  On a previous night walk up Benbulben a fella told me that the English cut down all the trees here.

So now, you will find these little pockets where the people have attempted regrowth and they are called forests.


Once down the opposite side I continue into the village of Strandhill. When you use google maps here, hitchhiking time is estimated which I find hilarious and quite comforting now that I am far from my car.


I arrive at Hangar 1 of the old airport, The Strandill Markt. There I meet my friend Sarah of the Black Sheep Bakery with Larry her mascot. We are friends at our day jobs wherein I go to her and complain, she laughs and then we drink tea.

I stop by the Sushi Sisters serving it up to the hipsters of Sligo.  I enjoy seeing the movement of a country, refining simplicity and up for anything.  With my father’s words buzzing in my brain I continue on my way.

He has always told me to follow my heart.  Recently he has added “and stay attractive.”

I will take a holistic approach to this advice as it serves me best.  He sends me a selfie from a ski lift in Taos.


Queen Maev by JC Leyendecker

Whatsapp has informed me that it will save all of my voice recordings to my Gmail account. Why? My data footprint will now consist of an 80/20 blend of appropriate and inappropriate images, epic anti-intellectual monologues and a blog about the possibility of being me.

As always thank you for your time, continue wasting it, and read this week’s poem.

All the Lines of Her Face

Sligo- I have joined a writer’s group. We meet in the Yeat’s memorial building with books so dear, nobody has been let in for decades. As I sit, I wait. I yearn to sniff the books locked behind the glass. I meet my cohorts, four, 40-50 year-old writers. I write my poem in the spirit of showing up, but I let a man read it aloud. Tonight, I read it to you.

I skate along the jagged peaks of my mind.

I skate for you, searching for that familiar song.

I skate in places I should not go, tempt me.

I skate for my mother so she can cheer me on.

I skate for my brother, his fears released.

I skate in and out, and up and down.

I skate. I could skate forever.

I skate to a cafe for a nice cup of tea.

I skate, so I breath deeply. My breath is your breath.

I skate until there is no warmth in my hands or in my feet.

I skate in the forest through the trees and I listen.

I skate through the wind, through the rain.

I get on the ice.

To skate.

Poem meet portrait. The more beauty within a person, the harder it is to capture them. A piece of her soul, her energy lives here with me now in my little place by the sea and we listen to Ray LaMontagne’s debut album and drink red wine and do all the things that good sisters do. Some critiques say that you can’t paint a portrait from a photo because you cannot capture the person’s essence. Well, they can go away. Others say that the real painting is found in the palette which in some strange abstract subconscious alternative universe, is the waar.


Looking forward to St.Paddy’s, a national holiday that is celebrated around the world. The Irish get the award for best traveled, best sense of humor and for having pride without imperialism.

Currently listening to

First Aid Kit “Ruins”


Florida Girls

Amsterdam- Oscar season, art and self-care teach me how to play.  I enjoy visiting a city I know so well.

Conditioned for sex, I wrote-in The Florida Project for best picture. The main characters engaged, Mooney and Halley.  The ghetto queen myth, debunked. Animatism (also seen in Two Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,) sexualism, no boundaries, Dafoe delivers like a love stain.  Better Than Sex.


Medical doctor and photographer Erdal Kinaci’s The Third Eye captivates me. Sensitive and raw, pretend to not see (read Blindness, Jose Gonzalez-don’t watch the film, ugh).  This is 1/100 and I am terrified to bring her home.

20 x 30

The canals did freeze and we lived in a painting for a day. People enjoy being in places they normally wouldn’t be, walking on water.  The joy and safety in that, is enough for me to keep going.


See you in Sligo.

PS Frances is the real AmWo

Cheeky Monkey

Amsterdam- I rise with the screeching of the tram wheels. I promise a friend I will advise the instructor.

“Can I practice in my underwear?”

I purchase a pair of yoga pants made entirely from recycled hot plastic. Class begins. I laugh a lot. My thoughts entertain me. I take sips of air until I can deepen my breath again.

My next stop is Keren de Vreede’s gallery on the Prinsengracht. I ask Ido for a tissue and I ask for the name of the piece.


“I’ve never done this before,” I say.

“Well, think about it.”

I shuffle down the gracht into de Jordaan and stoppen into Rosereijn for a thee. I buy a map of the world. Now, to see a friend.


A beautifully built man with the eyes of royalty is in soft light.

“Goedemiddag” I say stepping into the groene doored garage.

He replies, but I do not understand him.

“No spreckt Nederlands, Anglaise astublief.”

At the time I met him on Overtoom he invited me for thee in the jardin.


I didn’t take one then, but I will take one now. He leads me up the stairs.

“We did yoga on the beds.”

I leave him.

Back out into the wild winds. I finish my shopping in Nieuwmarkt and take the tram to Museumplein. I know Roy will be there.  Did you know Dali has a cookbook?

I am in love again.

Love it or Hate it

Amsterdam- On an early morning mission to find a cigarette, it’s pitch black, freezing and I don’t smoke. I am breathless.

“Yes, of course,” a frank commuter replies as he offers up a pack with just three left. Light included I walk the 500m back to my hotel room. I will watch the sun try to rise through Vondelkerk and decide.

Which moves me more? The overwhelming grace of God in nature or the backbreaking, beautiful reality of a city made by men?

We spend so much time searching for the connection that we lose at birth.

Unfortunately technology doesn’t quell the human condition, but it does help us share the feeling.

Happy birthday to my good friend Roman, caring for my friendbeast at home, under Benbulben.


Slieve League and Silver Strand

Co Donegal, Ireland- When I got news that my baby sister was headed to Ireland to kick off her Eurotrip Birthday Party… I had a panic attack.  Where will we go, what will we see, just how many ounces of Instagram gold will.she.mine.

I spoke with my brother who just welcomed his own baby girl into this magnificent world and he said, “you know you’re going to have to do everything she says, go everywhere she wants and be happy about it.”  I am glad he understands the female psyche.  As she runs on rad daydreams and DMs from her hometown squad I knew the pressure was on.

It was this big.

Catching up on GirlTalk


She had fucking brilliant weather.  So I didn’t have to do what I normally do when people visit me in Ireland and it rains, which is, “Pssttt! you are in Ireland.” As far as viewing nature’s bounty, the possibilities are endless in one of Europe’s most beautiful countries, rain or shine.  My sister sent me “The Plan” in a Whatsapp a few weeks before her arrival and it goes as follows.  See the Donegal Mountains (easy from ma backyard bishes!!) No really, but we ventured up to Slieve League (Sliabh Liag) for a closer look.


Number 2! Climb Benbulben.  I climbed the bad boy a few weeks before, in preparation of her demands with the Sligo Leitrim Mountain Rescue Team.  Follow me! I know the way AND I know who to call when my lungs collapse due to a profuse cigarette smoking habit.  Nummer drie, Giant’s Causeway– holy shit, houses of the holy, hold my half-moon press, this had a lot of anticipation riding on it.  And, finally visit Enniskillen Castle aka McGuire’s Castle to reclaim our lands!

The Fiesta was loaded up.  My pack with peanuts and dark chocolate, a thermos of tea and dear sweet baby sister brought all of my CDs…from highschool.  Yes, Dave Matthews Band and Haley’s Mega Mix 3000 on repeat.  From the looks of it I had really mastered Napster and those songs took me right back…to listening to Neil Young and eating lunch alone while everyone else was (insert rude backstabbing comment.)  Those were the days!

Here we are at the highest sea cliffs in Europe.


So happy though, seriously, that she came to visit the Northwest of Ireland which is truly astonishing, wild and perfect for two crazy sisters that couldn’t be more different (except that we both like the XX).

We stopped for a breather and a Smithwick’s at the Rusty Mackerel where the bartender promptly poo-pooed our next stop: Giant’s Causeway.  “It is underwhelming” he informed, go to Silver Strand.  We gulped the rest of our beer and started on an improptu adventure to…Hawaii.


Seriously, no filter, just my awesome photog skiilz and again, the amazing weather.  Really, who would have guessed this was Ireland?  One hundred and seventy one steps down to the beach and three decades worth of anxiety blown away in this easy, breezy, fucking beautiful, my sister- the cover girl.

It was actually quite crowded for a typical stop along the Wild Atlantic Way.  We weren’t the only ones cashing in on the nice weather.

Cheers to Emily and Happy Birthday! I hope you cherish your last years in your 20s and see that your 30s might not be so bad.  That will be it for sunshine, until next year people! Ta!




Garden Guru Over Here! JK!

Co Sligo, Ireland- First timer (in Ireland that is)! But, leave it to nature and sha-zam! This mother will grow you some pretty sweet goods.  I started the season with all the fervor and excitement after being held captive by the bleak and blustery winter.  But once the sun came out, I wanted to do as much sightseeing as possible.


Silver Strand, Malinbeg

Even with minimal effort sans the big digging extravaganza in the beginning, I have been eating fresh spinach, radish, snap peas, Swiss chard and kale for a good bit of the summer along with lots of Guinness because we all need balance right?

I sniffed the garlic and onions in the garden for weeks.  Finally, after 6 months, I have harvested them. Their sweet/pungent/armpitty fragrance slaps you right in the face once you enter the messy storage shed where they will dry out and I’ll eventually braid ’em up.

Once I harvest the rest of the potatoes for storage, I will put my beds to bed for winter and plan for next year.  I hope to share more of my sister’s visit for my next post as she brought with her a week’s worth of Florida sunshine and it was basically phenomenal.


Isn’t she the sweetest- Tullan Strand