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.)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0Da2j–NjE?rel=0]

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? 

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