Don’t Be A Chicken – Order the Skate travel

Don’t Be A Chicken – Order the Skate

If you asked my friends and family about my personality type, a few of them might say fearless or courageous. Ha! Nothing could be further from the truth. Inside, I am a scaredy-cat, a nervous nelly and yes, the cowardly lion. So, when I tell you to get off the couch and venture out into the big world, it is because it is vital to your well-being. You have to make yourself do it. You will always be scared of something new, you are human. But if you let the scales of your life tip in the fear direction, you are wasting a precious and limited resource. It is okay to be a chicken inside and a courageous adventurer on the outside. Don’t be a chicken – order the skate.

So, here’s my story for today. As a little girl growing up in Westbury, Long Island, I listened to my dear father, Patrick and his Irish family speak about how they longed to return to their mothership, Ireland. That desire was burned into my soul and after a three-day blitz to Dublin in 1998, the ember dimmed without my really noticing it much. That is, until the day my youngest left home and moved halfway across the country for a wonderful job. Such an abrupt turn of events. When my oldest moved it was a shock as well, but he left his little brother to keep me company. The much dreaded empty nest had arrived. One day you’re roasting a chicken and the next you are looking around the empty closets for evidence it’s not happening. Get over yourself, it’s happening.

The Dreaded Empty-Nest. Yes It’s Happening

As I was trying to come to grips with my what-the-hell happened existential crisis, the little ember started to glow. Since my father and my grandparents were born in Ireland, I was eligible for dual citizenship. It was there for the taking, but was I brave enough to go for it? Who was I kidding? I was stalked by AARP for 15 years until I had to join, I was single, full of allergies and afflictions, carrying the baby weight from my now 27-year-old son and as I mentioned above, a coward. There was really only one thing to do in the light of day.  Get my shit together and do something so drastic, the cobwebs of Blue Bloods family dinners would be shaken from my memory for good.

I pulled the documents together for my Irish passport. Ok, now what, Nervous Nelly was fond of asking. She is the old lady who lives inside my head along with the crazzzy bitch who put on her makeup and curled her hair and had passport photos taken in two locations (a long boring story best served over Bailey’s Irish Cream on ice.)

The game was afoot, my friends. Now I had bared my soul to my loved ones and encouraged them to be brave: who was going to win this game of life: Nervous Nelly or Crazzzy Bitch. We all waited for the express delivery. Would it come in time for my imaginary escape from normality? The date was picked, April 1, 2017 and wham!!!! Life smacked me down (yes a long boring story best served over ice.) I was going nowhere that year.

Words of Wisdom from My Loved Ones During the Year from Hell

Now that I’ve gone the long way around Mary’s barn, let me share the where from whichCon and Maura Pub Clonakilty Ireland I am writing this blog post. My room over Maura’s pub in Ireland. Here are some words of wisdom from my loved ones in the year from hell:

  1. Mom, if you buy the ticket you will go. (Thank you Aer Lingus for two payments)
  2. You’re staying over a pub? Have you lost your mind? (Yes, said Crazzzy Bitch)
  3. Go have fun, we’ll catch you if you fall.
  4. Spend all your money Aunt Maureen and you can always live with me.

Which leads me back to the title of this essay. Don’t be a chicken – order the skate. After I arrived in the beautiful coastal town of Clonakilty, Ireland, in my safe sweet room above the pub, I ventured out trying a new restaurant every day. This particular night it was the fabulous Farm Restaurant.

Dinner at the Farm Restaurant – Five Stars

I wasn’t ready to cook yet and have life take on the familiar cloak of living. My only rule at that time was to try something different for dinner, and now we are back to the skate. I’m ashamed to say that Nervous Nelly was running the show as she read the menu, too embarrassed to ask what the hell skate was. She figured it would be some mild white fish. Crazzzy Bitch chimed in, “Don’t be a chicken, order the skate.” So we did. It was beautiful and looked like some sort of alien life form. None of us knew how to eat it. Crazzzy Bitch wouldn’t let that stop her.

A mouthful of fish bones later, I took back the reins of my life and pulled them out of my mouth as gracefully as one could in a room full of happy diners. The man at the table next to me reflected on the question I should have asked my waiter, “Yes, it’s full of bones.” After a few pensive minutes and cuts of the knife, I figured out that you needed to scrape along the cartilage and you would experience the delicate and delicious white fish. Chef Jason, like his gourmet counterparts, serves the fish whole for more flavor.

Am I sorry I ordered the skate? Absolutely not. I cannot experience this enchanted land if I’m not willing to try new things. Would I do anything different moving forward? Let me just say this on the subject. I let Nervous Nelly, google things like chicken goujons and courgette and then I send Crazzzy Bitch out with the credit card. Bon Appetit my friends drink up this life, it’s the only one you have.



  1. Mary Jane Hurley Brant

    Maureen, my Queen, how fun are you? I’m laughing back here in the states at your wild-eyed language and adventurous spirit. I wanted to blog on your stop at the Cathedral in Galway City and tell you that when I was there a gypsy kissed me on the cheek. Yes, when you go to Ireland anything can happen so don’t forget your prayer cap and weekly confession!

    It doesn’t surprise me that you ordered the skate. You’re practicing what you’ve always believed: be yourself and just do it. And you are doing it, Agent Diva, with class and sass and swinging that ass.

    Love and kisses,

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