Skinny Daily Post


I have just two days left of my vacation before heading home to a maelstrom of backed up mail, family duties, work projects, social commitments. Business as usual.

As much as I do miss my home life and work buddies. I am sad today. I had great goals for this vacation. I was sure I’d do more writing, more running, more walking, more of everything. It sounded like so much time, a month away.

But it’s over quickly. And it feels the way every vacation ending has felt since I was a kid. I feel petulant and a little cheated about it. Grumpy, damp, hung over, and pressed to see all the things I haven’t seen before we leave.

I know what I need to do. I need to let go. Remember and celebrate all I have done and seen. Spend this little time left making myself glad for this chance, my good luck.

Last night we were given a wonderful dinner in the home of the founders of the college where my husband has been teaching – the Burren College of Art, Newtown Castle, Ballyvaughan, County Clare. We enjoyed a great meal of fresh salmon and new potatoes, and green beans, too much good wine and Irish whiskey. Melon and proscuitto. Cream and strawberries. Their 11-year-old daughter playing many traditional tunes on her tin whistle. The wind, the north Atlantic, the fresh, fresh air. Their son building our shopping list of Irish music we’ll gather before climbing on the plane.

We’ll pack up our new sweaters and books and photos and journals that document our hikes, cab rides, runs, dances, new wildflowers and birds. Our pub crawls, castle climbs and picnics, the gardens, cliffs, crashing waves, rolling fields.

I’d like to find a way to bring home the stone walls and mist, the seaweeds. A feral sheep or two. There are burros and cows and dozens and dozens of dogs I’d like to keep. Orchids and gorse. Magpies for sure. (Yes I know they’re unlucky, but their comedic awkward road dances look anything but foreboding.) I’d pack trunks of bacon, pudding, yoghurt, the whole full Irish breakfast. There would be crates of just the brown soda bread that hates me as much as I love it. I’d fill a boat full of the fresh farmer cheeses and cheddars. Smoked mackerel can be stuffed in my shoes, I think. Could I put wheels on a keg or two of Murphy’s stout, I wonder? I will roll up hundreds of kilometers of switchback roads that run past stone age ruins. Would I pass through customs with these things? The wild roses would hate my sandy acid Michigan yard, so I’ll need a few meters of this limey soil too. Maybe Zip-Loc bags for that?

Packing will be a challenge. But not as hard as renovating our house to include a tower with winding stone steps, or building a fortress ring around our home, or finding a way to keep a couple of sheep happy in wooded sand dunes.

Well, alright. That’s better. I feel better now.

If I write it down, I make it mine forever. That’s my theory. That’s the point of this post. One simple point.

I will be back, posting daily, starting Monday. I’ve missed The Skinny Daily Post most of all. Thanks everybody for your patience with my absence. I hope you’ve been writing all along.

Assignment today: Write out a memory you fear you may lose. Any one. A good one. From your recent or distant past. Write it down and keep it or give it to somebody who might want to remember, too. Maybe not a weight loss or an eating memory, nothing about fitness today. Pick a time that made you glad just to be living. A time when you felt lucky.

Back soon,


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