Friday Five

Over the holidays I spent time visiting my parents in Tennessee. Here is a little recap of the trip.

1. Cows on the move. Across the street from the house is this cow pasture. I usually don’t have the opportunity to be so close to animals this large, and let me tell you, when they inhale it sounds like all the air in the world is being sucked out.


I’d never thought of cows as curious creatures until now. Whenever I went to the side gate they would slowly begin lumbering over to greet me. Before long, the whole group on the hill came down to check me out. Kind of peaceful, no? (The one on the left was a bit uncooperative.)

Then they would get quite close.

Cow Nose

How you doin’?

2. Dog is my co-pilot. Reggie and I make the long drive from NYC to Tennessee. For most of the 15-hour ride, he curls up in the back seat and sleeps, except when I get out of the car for gas or a snack. Then he stares mournfully out the window like this, always glued to the last place he saw me.

Now if I could only teach him how to drive…

Reggie in Car

3.  Fried Okra. Okra is a vegetable, so… this is good for me, yes?

4. Inspiration in the unlikeliest of places. This is why I always carry a notepad with me. I’m always looking for interesting character traits. On the drive back to NYC, somewhere in West Virginia, we were stopped on the highway for about an hour while snow plows tried to make some headway. The temperature was below freezing and as you can see, it was snowing quite a bit. This guy cracks me up. This guy is the reason I love creating characters. He was standing there, stomping his feet to keep warm, smoking a cigarette. As someone who was never a smoker, the thought wouldn’t occur to me. Seems that the person driving was like, you ain’t smoking in this truck, my wife’ll kill me. Author 1, Writer’s Block 0

Snowy Roads

5. The Winningest of Winners. When I got back, a special gift was waiting for me.


Tori, you wrap gifts like a pro! Mucho impressivo!

Tori’s Tiny Sparks series features people like you and me who have made lemonade out of lemons. One of the first Tiny Sparks was Becky Matakas, creator of The Grace in Life. Becky runs a cool Etsy shop selling her original artwork and prints. I won a framed print of one of her creations.

The Grace in Life

This print is a quote by Anne Lamott: “I do not understand the mystery of grace — only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.” (If you’re a writer, I highly recommend her book Bird by Bird. It’s an invaluable tool.)

On that note, have a great weekend, everyone! 

Tell me…how were your holidays? Did you get sniffed by any cows? 



  1. I didn’t get sniffed on any cows, all the cows in my backyard are tucked safely away in a barn over the hill now. But they are a hoot to watch. Sometimes they’ll stampede across the fields all of a sudden, then come to a stop. I posted a little video of it once, hysterical!

    By the way, I am already halfway through The Age of Miracles, great book, thank you!


  2. Well this post made my little, twangy heart happy. And about #1, after 25 years of living in Tennessee I just realized the other day that EVERYTHING is across the street from a cow pasture. There are really only about 20 humans that live here. The rest of the population is livestock. SO happy your Tiny Spark box got to you safely. I felt a little like a sophisticated city girl just mailing something to New York 🙂


    1. I think the cows are all set to start a rebellion in Tennessee. Volunteer State? No, it will be the Stampede State soon.

      I love my Tiny Sparks gift. It’s sitting on my dresser right now. Thank you so much!


  3. Didn’t interact with any cows. I love their eyes–so big, curious, and loving. And Reggie–can he teach Miles how to behave in the car. The entire time he jumps into the front seat then the back then the front. Drives me bonkers. Happy Friday


    1. I have a secret to tell you…Reggie is seatbelted in the back. 🙂 Otherwise he would A. try to eat all my road snacks, and B. try to escape every time the car door opens.
      With nothing else to do, he just goes to sleep! 🙂


  4. Glad the travels South and North went smoothly, Jackie. The weather was certainly active, eh?
    It is so nice to visit you again on a Friday. I’ve missed your posts greatly.
    Our holidays were uneventful, with regards to cows and other large animals. (smile) I would have loved to hang out with those cows you pictured and videoed, though. So cute.
    Happy new year, Jackie. Happy new year, Reggie, too.


  5. I love the bird sounds in the cow video! Such a peaceful place! And wow – that was some weather you drove through! Reggie is his adorable self, and that gift reminds me of all of the people I haven’t yet sent holiday greetings to – but January’s still a good month for that! 🙂 Oh, and fried okra. Mmm.


    1. I’m so glad you pointed that out, Carla. I didn’t notice the bird sounds until I played the video back the first time. Funny that I didn’t notice it in person as much. Reminds me to pay attention with all my senses. I guess I was too focused on the cow trying to lick my hand. 🙂


  6. Cows are generally underestimated. They really are quite curious but anxious as well. So you are from Tennesse orginally. I don’t know why but I always loved the ring of it.


    1. I think I was as fascinated by the cows as they were by me. They didn’t rush over to the gate but moved steadily. There has been a new addition to the group: 2 donkeys. I asked around and apparently donkeys tend to keep the cows calmer and act as protectors.


  7. No cows here either! Thank you for sharing your travels, my friend. And that picture of Reggie holding down the fort in the backseat made me smile–what a perfect travel companion he makes:) So glad you got to be with family over the holidays.

    Here’s to a beautiful, peaceful and healthy 2013!


  8. I see cows every morning in a pasture opposite where we take Abby to romp (she has no interest, but I do! and I love your video!). Like Erika that picture of Reggie made me smile. And I agree about carrying the notebook for story/character ideas. I am never ever bored with stopped traffic, always an idea for something (that guy def. would’ve been a character for me, too)… and I’m so into taking photos right now of potential characters so I’m glad to see you did it too, with him AND the cows 🙂 Happy New Year, Jackie!


  9. Cows usually don’t approach me. I think they’ve heard rumors of tipping. 😉
    I’m happy to hear you had a safe trip, Ms. C… looks a little slippery (on top of the low-visibility)… and that’s never much fun!


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