Archive for August, 2011


It can be incredibly difficult to see the bright side around here these days. Not only has this summer been quite gloomy weather-wise, but the air is thick with defeat and depression over Ireland’s ever-increasing economic woes. Between the nightly news reports on the mortgage crisis and the tabloids’ hysterical headlines about Ireland’s doomed future, it’s hard to stay positive.

As I stated in my last blog post, work has been quite slow and sometimes I feel like I will *never* make it here in Ireland. Though I still enjoy a decent amount of work from back home, it’s been an exhausting, uphill climb to get any work here. But with enough persistence and a positive attitude things do work out sometimes, and I’m happy to announce that I’m now writing restaurant reviews for The Dubliner magazine! The first review is out in tomorrow’s edition.

Make Flower

Part of the reason why I keep pushing forward is because of my friends here. Against all odds, they are making it work and I’m constantly inspired by their unending dedication to succeed in an utterly sh*t marketplace. When I first met my friend Catherine last year, she had recently lost her job and was on a diligent search for a new one. I’m certain she was aware of how difficult it would be in the midst of a terrible recession, but she plugged away and found one within a few months. She’s thriving and recently moved into a bigger rental (complete with a gas cooker, I’m green with envy!) with her partner.



Sometimes I feel like I just can’t get a handle on my professional stuff – for lack of a better word. As a freelance writer working from home, there seems to be two kinds of weeks: One where I’m super motivated and I’m pitching numerous publications while working on big copywriting projects for US-based clients and others when I feel absolutely wracked with failure from not having enough or worse, any work. 

Keeping myself motivated, especially during those weeks when I don’t get a single response from the half-dozen pitches I’ve sent, can be entirely overwhelming some days. It’s a real rollercoaster ride, the freelance lifestyle. When you sell a story and get a few bits of copywriting work, you feel productive and successful. The rest of the time you feel like you’re not doing enough and wonder if you’ll ever get consistent work. On those real dark days you think of things like retirement funds, health insurance and financial security – or the lack thereof!


ES 7

“Don’t you regret moving away?”

As I stood in the new Brown Hound Bakery, co-owner Reuven Diaz’s words hung in the air along with the luscious buttery scent of just-baked biscuits, cakes and scones. My senses were overloading at the scene: stacks of perfectly-crisp cookies under sparkling glass domes; steam whistling from the shiny espresso maker working overtime to fill coffee orders; and  piles of crusty breads peeking out of woven baskets.

ES 3

I didn’t say it out loud, but in that moment I did feel a pang of regret that I had upped sticks and moved to Dublin a few months ago, away from this haven of homemade goodness so sleek and gorgeous it would fit right into Greenwich Village. But Brown Hound Bakery is in unsuspecting Drogheda, next door to Reuven and wife Jeni’s *other* foodie show-stopper, the Eastern Seaboard Bar & Grill. Damn you, lucky residents of the Drog!

Though it opened only four weeks ago, Brown Hound Bakery is already causing a stir in this relatively quiet northeastern town. Rumour has it people line up in the mornings for BH’s fresh-fried pumpkin doughnuts and perfect coffee, a special blend made just for the bakery. So it was only natural to gather a group of Irish Foodies – cameras in tow – to take a look and investigate further, and last Saturday we met up with Reuven and Jeni for a first-hand tour of their new baby.


secretary_monkey_on_the_phone Dear Eircom,

I just wanted to write you a note to say “thanks” for the joy that is dealing with your customer service reps – a delight that I had the pleasure of experiencing for a whole two hours this morning. Of course by “delight” I actually mean an excruciating, dying-a-slow-death type pain that’s about as pleasurable as sliding down a razor blade into a pool of salty lemon juice.

I rang because I need phone service and broadband, which I assumed would be a simple enough request considering you are a phone and Internet company. But as they say, assume just makes an ass of u and me and never has this little nugget of wisdom been more true! I first spoke with a woman named Esther, who went over the offers with me. She said I could get broadband and a landline that covered my needs for €41.99 per month for the first six months and then €46.70 per month afterward. She also mentioned there would be a €29.99 connection fee for broadband, which I thought was rather excessive and that it would take at least 10 business days to connect both the phone and broadband lines and that they’d have to send someone out.


Clontarf Swim Man Sorry for the lack of posts lately; between being busy with a slew of copywriting projects and trying to enjoy the summer, time has slipped away from me lately. Both Mountaineering Man and I are amazed at how fast time flies (is it August already?!) -we’ve both been swamped with a variety of work and home-related matters.

It seems like only weeks ago that I moved to Dublin, though it’s been three months already (!!). Some days I feel I’ve been here for years while on others I still feel very much a square peg in a round hole. I’m very familiar with parts of Dublin now and even drive quite confidently down the busy corridors of the city. But there are other areas of Dublin where I feel completely lost and just one wrong turn can have me feeling like I’ve crossed over into another dimension.

Clontarf Bathing

As for developing my Irish-ness, I realized the other day that there are certain Irish habits that have become second nature to me. I use the word “nice” to describe food – something I found so odd when I first moved here. In America, people would never say “This lasagna is so nice!” Nice is reserved to describe people or animals – the way someone acts versus the way food tastes. Another noticeable change is that my adjectives have turned into nouns. Instead of saying, “This weather is crappy,” I now say “This weather is crap!”