Your Personal Best

Grange, Co Sligo- Summer has arrived and knowing the weather here, it will quickly leave us. Enjoy it while it lasts! I see my friends in Maugherow doing just that.

IMG_20180517_125620.jpg

Experimentally, I leave my phone home when I go out in Dublin. I find it so freeing, until I panic because I can’t figure out how to get back over the canal and out of the city center. Solution, take a side street and follow a taxi. Alas, paradise and my destination found at Clontarf. The downside to this equation is that you cannot take photos, except with your mind.

Walking about, I lost the sunset behind the clouds of a pinky purply magic act, before the two stacks and across the wooden bridge onto Bull Island. To my surprise on the trot back, the sun rose. Everything is silent when your heart skips a beat, there is such a feeling.

Back home my we garden is a growin’ and I love it so. I like planting from seeds because it challenges doubt, doubt about everything, an endless battle, a will they, won’t they melodrama that works out. Eventually, I end up singing to them and well, they did, they do, grow. The borderline radishes are successional and I pick them with care, as needed so it never gets too crowdy. I’m not one for food photos or being super healthy in general but God do I enjoy homegrown veg. It’s like a superpower.

Who doesn’t greet a daisy? Nobody.

IMG_20180610_141727.jpg

In other news, I’m finished with the latest cardboard series. This little number was dealt with on a 2am manic spree of epic proportions a few weeks ago.  At first I thought I was the tallest flower, then I thought I was the bird but really they are one in the same.  These types of revelations are why I choose art over and over again.

IMG_20180606_075530.jpg

Pretty chuffed with the new Courtney Barnett album Tell Me How You Really Feel despite the intense cover art. Sad that I missed her in Utrecht, blame the taxman.

Kind of a hodgepodge post, such is life. Bisous!

A Pretty Lady Plans The Garden

Sligo-  Travel brings a sense of uncontrolled euphoria coupled with a sweet smile from the unknown.  It is an addiction that leaves you lost, as many do.  Fortunately, I don’t know of any serious health issues that come with a natural influx of dopamine, except coming down from it I suppose.   It is a good thing that The Sun Also Rises.

Home becomes just a feeling.  I find that growing a garden grounds me.  You start with the soil, rich and complete.  Well, it is a good idea to lay down some seaweed as the professionals have come to know.  Carney’s very own Bug Hotel reminds me of all the small creatures that gardeners need.

IMG_0039.JPG

Last year I took on a large plot to which I am forever grateful.  Potatoes, onions, garlic, kale, spinach and two raspberry bushes brought a sense of confidence to my we personality, riddled with guilt.  IMG_8550.JPG

IMG_8581.JPG

Now, I will start growing just what I like.  Not to say potatoes aren’t a joy in their floury, buttery, creamy goodness, they totally are! especially when shared between neighbors, but they require more space.  I have moved house and a quaint timber planter awaits.  I decided what to plant but we will see if my brown thumbs can make it green.

Finished Girl on A Train by Paula Hawkins and I must say it was crazier than I.  However, I do love Emily Blunt and I recommend watching A Quiet Place which did give me quite a thrill.

 

 

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.

IMG_20180307_125901.jpg

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”

Goooooodnight.

Big Mama Had Twins

Co Sligo, Ireland- The cows are calvin’ and the farmers are balin’ for July in Agharrow.  I have harvested the new potatoes and my neighbors described them as “little flour balls”  (the Irish love a floury potato) so this is a good sign.  I will definitely plant them in abundance next year.

Gerry, the farmer had a big smile after I congratulated him on the birth of his twin calves!  A boy and a girl.  Walking the dogs down the lane is especially heartwarming as I spot the babes frolicking in the field.

IMG_0609.JPG

Life in rural Ireland moves much slower than what I am used to.  People are rarely in a rush, passing the time, enjoying the views.

IMG_0618

IMG_0851.JPG

I am still waiting for my nursing reg with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland.  I had a slight delay when my employer’s reference never made it to Ireland.  In the meantime I am volunteering at a nursing home.  This week we welcomed a choir from Mansfield, Texas.  I will admit it was charming to see a hoard of All Americans!  The residents certainly enjoyed their uplifting song!

IMG_0774

I am getting pumped for more family to visit Sligo and to share the views with my sweet sister.  Fingers-crossed for clear skies!

 

 

 

Maugherow and the Secret Beach

Co Sligo, Ireland- During the week we let the canines run on the somewhat uninhabited Lissadell Beach. And. they. LOVE IT.  Lately we have been wondering what is further along the way and today we took an expedition.  We found Maugherow Beach, and that’s not all!  Loads of people traveling there to play with their kids, BBQ, paint, camp and enjoy the abnormally sunny day in May.

IMG_8747Have you ever arrived in a new place, set out to explore, not really knowing where the hell you are?  We came to Maugherow Beach one day back in November after checking out the cottage by the sea that we now call home.  I had no idea it was the same place, not a “new” place at all.

With my wee caption you get a sense of just how enamored I was with this area when we first arrived. We were lost in exploration,  the winter fog totally clouded Benbulben Mountain and it was so muddy we barely made it back to Kiltyclogher for the night.   Now, a season later, I didn’t even recognize the place.  So cool and still enamored BTW!

IMG_8734

IMG_8701

The people here were an absolute delight.  As we walked through the grassy dunes, one artist with her palette and paints scattered, said to the other, “I am getting the horizon, plane and birdseye views.”  The other responded, “Yeah I can see, like, all the perspectives in one.”  If you can imagine.  I smiled with complete joy knowing that here, in this place, middle aged women were getting together to make art and not give a feck! (That’s Irish for fuck, for instance on the radio or in a professional setting).

 

Rolfe was able to play fetch with all the distractions- children, other mutts, hotdogs.  He is seven years old and still learning.  In this video my voice gets so high when he goes so far into the ocean.  I was so excited and scared! Such a nervous nancy I am!  Good craic, for sure!

We had such an awesome day and I am beginning to think the Irish rain is a myth.  It has been straight-up sunshine for a week.

IMG_8688

Note for travelers, I am just calling this Maugherow Beach, I’m just calling it that because it is otherwise unnamed by signposts. If you go through Carney Village, pass Lissadell on to Maugherow and take a left where a sign sits pointing right to Maugherow Church, you will arrive at this sweet spot.  There are also some old ruins that make a nice backdrop on an early winter morning!

IMG_8674

Hope you enjoyed my post! Until next time!

Makin’ it to Mullaghmore

Co Sligo, Ireland- Benbulbin in the back, rocky cliffs in the front, Mullaghmore or An Mullach Mór is Irish for “The Great Summit” and a couple of villages away.  Whenever I meet a local, the conversation usually reveals two things 1) I am not Irish 2) I have not been to Mullaghmore.  With a free day and some curiosity Rolfe and I hopped in the van destined for this famed surfer’s peninsula.

IMG_7908

My iPhone retired itself a while ago, so for navigation I usually jot down the directions and then forget them at home.  Out here, the rural roads tend to be too tiny for two cars to fit fairly, therefore it’s always a game of who has the nicer car.  Generally, I am the one who has to go off-roading.  The best advice I can give for riding around these parts is if the road seems like somebody’s muddy driveway, it’s probably your best bet.

IMG_7875

The waves were dwarfed with no surfers in sight.  I admit, I was a bit nervous, alone, well besides Rolfe, with the wind and wide open ocean below the cliffs.  I was mesmerized for a moment, like the nihilist in me saying “just do it, jump in there, go back to the sea!! let it take you!! Life in meaninglesssssssss!”

I did spot one soul up on the cliffs. I passed him later by the beach, umbrella down, enjoying a little ray of sunshine.  In Ireland it’s always worth it to go out even if the weather seems crummy.

I took Rolfe down to the sandy shoreline.  There were a few signs posted that cattle could be grazing…on the beach.  I kept Rolfe on lead while investigating.  We arrived with windy rain and left the place in the sunshine, typical for Ireland.

IMG_7917We got our daily dose of adorable on the way home.  The new life roaming around this time of year is the epitome of cute.  They use a paint by number system to match the lambs with their mothers.  This kind of takes away from the ambiance of sheep sightings not to mention that this little guy will probably be ordered for dinner sometime soon.  My heart is still warmed by their sweet existence.

IMG_7924

I will return to Mullaghmore to see the Classiebawn Castle and maybe some rad wave BOMBS over next winter.  But for a first run, it was worth the go.