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WooHoo! Over 500,000 Hits!

When I started this little blog over a year ago I wasn’t expecting much. I mean, who wants to hear what I have to say? Well, obviously some people do at least once in awhile because last night I topped the 500,000 hit mark.

So to everyone that has ever stopped by my little corner of the world, Thank You and especially a big Thank You to those of you crazy enough to come back as I really appreciate it.

Freegan Lifestyle – Strange or the Way of the Future?

I like to watch shows like “Secret Lives of Women” because you see just how varied we are and how all sorts of lifestyles are out there though we all,  or almost all,  look like everyone else. Being a woman with tattoos I can appreciate how some can question or look down on those of us that don’t fit into the definition of “normal” that some people have. But what is “normal” really? The perception that we have been convinced through television, movies and magazines of what normal should be? Or is normal more what you are used to?

I found myself questioning a lifestyle after an episode I watched today. It involved diets and the changes that these women had made to their lifestyles. One went the total raw diet which is mostly vegetarian and nothing is cooked just some things are warmed. One went with a combination of sensible diet strategies plus prayer and religion with every meal. One was a Freegan which, at least to me, was the one I don’t think I could get into as much as she is.

I realize that we waste a large portion of everything we use on a daily basis. I also realize that going “green” seems to be the new way to live and I can get on board with quite a bit of the movement like recycling and trying to not use products that aren’t biodegradable. Freegans take this concept to a whole different level.

Here is a quote from the Freegan.info website on the definition of what being a Freegan is:

Freegans are people who employ alternative strategies for living based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources. Freegans embrace community, generosity, social concern, freedom, cooperation, and sharing in opposition to a society based on materialism, moral apathy, competition, conformity, and greed.

Now while I can agree with the fundamentals of this movement I have a difficult time with some of the practices. In an effort to cut waste, Freegans dumpster dive or as they prefer to call it, “urban grazing.”

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stock photo from Freeganinfo.com

I know that tons of eatable food is tossed daily from bakeries, grocery stores and restaurants all across this country. I wish that these businesses would donate the food to homeless shelters or offer it for free to the public prior to disposing of it but the practice of people going through the garbage for food just for a cause as being questionable. I can understand people that are on the streets having to do this to survive but these are individuals that have chosen this as a way of life.

They also see nothing wrong in being squatters, train hopping or basically living off of other people’s trash. I think that the underlying principles are admirable but not some of the practices.  Riding a bicycle everywhere is great if you can do it. Since the closest large town is 32 miles away, riding a bicycle there for anything is not practical.

Some Freegans believe that housing is a RIGHT not a privilege so squatting in abandoned and decrepit housing is an acceptable practice. Uh, no. That is not a safe way to live as an individual let alone for a family. Freegans are almost against working for a living since that promotes commercialism. Yes, we work hard to have a nice home and yes, a lot of things we could live without but going to the complete opposite side of the spectrum isn’t necessarily the answer either. I feel that somewhere in the middle is more of a way to go since it would be an  easier goal for most families to reach.

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There was a TV show that  had families not buy anything for a week and cut out television, video games and computers so they could see how much waste they had. Waste of money, time and products. For some ultra consumer families this was the most difficult week of their lives as well as a great eye opener. This is a challenge I could get behind and would recommend so all of us would waste fewer resources.

Basically, I can’t see by choice, living more like a bum or homeless person just to waste less. Homeless people for the most part are not there by choice but by circumstances that make living each day a struggle to get by. They are not necessarily striving to live in a overpriced house living a consumer’s dream of buying anything and everything you can imagine. More just wanting a safe and comfortable living situation.

Could you see yourself living a Freegan lifestyle by choice? I know I can’t. I will just strive to be less of a consumer and more waste conscious.

For more information on a Freegan lifestyle go to Freegan.info/

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Meet My New Tattoo She’s a Beauty

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Any of my regular readers will  know that I am a nut for tattoos and have been for the last five years. I now have my fifth tattoo and it is my second larger one. I know, I know…

“Hi, my name is Delaney and I am a tattoo addict.”

I think there should be a support group for tattoo addicts. No, really…I do! Everyone that has one will tell you to your face that getting tattooed is very addicting. Problem is we don’t believe it when we hear this. I know I thought I would only get one, maybe two when I first seriously thought about being inked. We see how long that lasted!

I am not addicted to the discomfort of being tattooed. I could live without that and for the two that are on my wrist and inner arm, I hardly had any discomfort at all let alone downright pain. Now the two I have on my back? I earned those babies, let me tell you!

Each person is different and has different parts of the body that accept tattooing with little notice or that will peel you off the ceiling. My back below the shoulder blades is very touchy.

Nolan did my newest tat and he did the dreamcatcher as well. I love his art and he is a very gentle tattoo artist without a heavy hand. We decided to do the outlining and the black/gray shadings first, then come back in three weeks or so to finish up with the colors. That was the part that about did me in.

Here is a  picture from the initial session and yes, I am swollen and red:

 

 

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Here she is finished but not healed up yet. I think that Nolan did a fantastic job and I absolutely love it! I did feel every single bit of the coloring in of the roses though and I will admit to being glad when it was over but I have a great piece of art for the discomfort.

I tell people that are thinking about getting their first tattoo to watch out because they are addicting but I know they won’t pay me any more attention than I did to the people that told me that. You learn it the hard way unless you are a total wimp and can’t handle the occasional discomfort.

My daughter tells me she will probably have to explain why one grandma has tattoos and one doesn’t but I’ll just tell her that I’m the artistic one. My daughter is predicting that before her baby is 5yrs old I will probably have a full sleeve. I laughed at that…at least initially then I thought “Hmm, that could be cool and interesting.”

See, she’s putting tattoo visions in my head and encouraging my addiction, but I still love her and apparently she still loves her “unconventional and colorful” mother. What more could a mother ask?

 

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Jamaica is a Great Vacation Destination

Jamaica is a very poor country and the recession has hit them even harder than the USA. When we went 2years ago the currency exchange was $1 US = $37.50 Jamaican, now it is $1 US = $88.00 Jamaican. Tourism is their #1 money making industry followed by the exportation of their Blue Mountain coffee.

Check out the price for gasoline and this is per liter not gallon.

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Unfortunately for Jamaicans, most of the plantations have shut down, the bauxite mine is closed and a lot of the smaller resort hotels have shut down as well. This leaves over 1/3 of the adult population out of work.

Despite this situation, the Jamaican people are warm, friendly and very glad to see tourists. Between the great weather and wonderful beaches, where else would you want to vacation?

The ocean is so clear and there are practically no waves since the corral reefs break the waves prior to them hitting the beach. Swimming is great because the water is somewhat warm and very relaxing.

I love the swim area at Sandals Resort in Ocho Rios because it has a pier surrounding it which is built on cement blocks which creates a “mini reef” effect. In less than 7 ft. of ocean you can see the fish, coral, sea urchins and even an octopus if you are lucky like I was. This makes snorkeling in this area a whole lot of fun and extremely easy to do. We went snorkeling farther out in the ocean and all I could see was the reef since it was deeper water and I’m fairly blind without my glasses and can’t dive at all. Surface snorkeling was way more fun when you can see the fish.

Lots of homes in Jamaica look like they are abandoned but they aren’t. Jamaicans mostly can’t afford to have construction companies work on their homes so they work on them a little bit at a time which makes for interesting neighborhoods. There will be fancy homes next to ones that look like they are falling apart or derelict.

Neighborhood in Jamaica

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Home of “voodoo” practitioners and you have to cross a thin walkway bridge after paying the entry fee to see the voodoo priest. Not set up for tourists this is the real local voodoo den.

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The views of the ocean and the rest of the island are really pretty.

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This was our room for the 10 days. Backside/poolside of the villa, we are the one with the towel on the railing. We had a big bedroom, medium sized living area, bathroom and small kitchen which is the window on the left.

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The pool was for the four villas only and we usually had it to ourselves which was great.

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We had a few visitors that kept us from missing our pets

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The pool at the Manor house which was the main hotel portion of the resort and where the main desk, tour desk, restaurants and spa are.

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And food? OMG! Such great choices! The actual Jamaican jerk chicken and pork is terrific but they have that for lunches and pull out the stops for dinners. Here is some pictures of a buffet they had set up on the evening I got injured. Hubby went and took pictures and brought me back some goodies.

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I recommend Jamaica as a place to visit on vacation even if you don’t  stay at Sandals but I highly recommend them as a resort of choice. There are six Sandals resorts in Jamaica to choose from and they are really super!

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Happy to be Home Again

We had a great time in Ocho Rios, Jamaica but I am so glad that the trip home is over. Gah…never book a trip without really looking at the flight itinerary. I failed to notice that we had two stops and one was a 6 hour layover in Miami. This was the same both going to Jamaica and returning so we had to get up at 1am to be in the lobby by 2am to leave by car for the hour and a half drive to the airport in Montego Bay for a flight that left at 7am. We got into Wichita at 11pm and fell into bed at about midnight. Never. Again…I will read the dang itinerary before agreeing! My fault, not theirs.

I’m going to start off with the end of the trip instead of the beginning so please bear with me as you will understand why shortly.

First off I want to state that I absolutely love Sandals resorts. This is the second time we have stayed at one of their Jamaican resorts and Ocho Rios was just as fantastic as the Montego Bay resort was two years ago when we last went to Jamaica. All of the staff are warm and friendly, extremely thoughtful as well as helpful and this is not because they are waiting on tips, Sandals resorts only allows tipping for the butler services, not the rest of the staff so there is no extra financial incentive for them to be so great.

If you book like we did when they run a special, you can get a great room for a reasonable rate considering it is an all-inclusive resort and you pay nothing extra for food (fantastic) or booze (plentiful and top of the line) and they have great maid service, drivers, porters, desk help, etc. all there to make your stay as enjoyable as it can be.

This last Monday, we had an excursion to do the Blue Mountain Bicycle Tour. Now the Blue Mountain is where the best Jamaican coffee is grown and Hubby absolutely adores this coffee though we can’t afford it unless we purchase it in Jamaica where it goes for about $15/lb as opposed to around $50-$80/lb online which is the only way to get it in America.

The trip from Ocho Rios is about 2 hours or so and you get to see a lot of the country. Jamaica is only 145 miles long and 51 miles wide so you can get anywhere in a short amount of time.

Here are some of the pictures from the trip to Blue Mountain:

Now we get up the mountain and let me tell you this is an experience. Back roads in Jamaica are one lane – 2 way traffic and they are narrow as hell. Jamaican drivers use the car horn constantly to warn on coming traffic that they are coming. Sometimes the tour bus and the small cars we passed had only a few inches between them which is a bit scary because the drivers are so used to this that they still drive remarkably fast for the terrain yet don’t have fender-benders very often.

Now this is the incline and the width of the road on the mountain and is what we are riding bicycles downhill on. Yep, Princess of Klutz thinks she can ride a pedal brake only bicycle down this incline.

NOT!!!  But of course, I tried.

Before we start downhill:

We are actually at the very end of the pack when we start rolling downhill. I find myself going way too fast and attempt to slow down. Not happening. I see a hand brake on the bike and try it…nada. Try pedal brakes….nada.

I now have two choices, go left and go off the cliff or go right into the side of the mountain. I chose the mountain. Of course a guy stops his bike just before I start toward the mountain and he winds up right in my path. I hit him then continue into the ditch/side of the mountain. He is a bit pissed off but really unhurt thank goodness. Me on the other hand? Not so lucky.

My wrist connects with rock and my chest and leg connect with the bike. Hubby and one of the tour guides immediately pull me up and my (of course) right hand now swells up about three times normal size in less than 60 seconds which makes everyone immediately say “OMG! it’s broken!”

This happens about noon and needless to say, we did not finish the rest of the tour. Blue Mountain Tours was fantastic though. They got me to the nearest ER which was an experience in itself. Don’t bitch about health care here in the USA because I sat in the “waiting room” which was outside with the chickens. They were incredibly busy so they drove me back to Ocho Rios and took me to a private doctor and that office was very clean with friendly staff but they had extremely old equipment and set ups.

I am glad and thankful to say I did not break anything even though the doctor I saw even thought I did until he read the x-rays. Just a very, very nasty sprain and bruises on my chest, leg and hip.

These are the pics from when we got back to the resort.

I have nothing but great things to say about both Blue Mountain Tours and Sandals and their treatment of me after my wreck. The tour company paid for all my medical bills, refunded the tour and checked up on me until we left to come home. Sandals gave us room service for the rest of our stay and they had a jitney available whenever we needed one so I didn’t have to walk that far for anything. They had their nurse checking in on me as well as various staff throughout the day.

They did not have to do this because I signed a waiver before getting on the bicycle and I took my chances. Like an idiot, I should have known that a 54yr old, fat klutz that hasn’t been on a bicycle in years, should not have attempted this tour. But I did and I suffered the consequences. I was just very impressed with how genuinely concerned that the staff at both the Blue Mountain Tours and Sandals were about me.

I am doing better but still battered and bruised. Of course since I am right handed that is the one I injured so it has been logistically a nightmare since I am very right dominate and can’t do much left handed.  Doctor said it will probably take 2-3 weeks for it to completely heal but I am just thankful it isn’t broken.

I have lots more pictures and more to tell you about the trip and will post more on Monday. Until then I am resting and hopefully healing. Stay tuned for more.

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Busy Weekend and then Jamaica

vacation Pictures, Images and Photos

We are headed to KC, MO for the weekend to visit our daughter and go to her baby shower then we have to get back on Sunday to get packed and ready for our 10-day trip to Jamaica.

I think we are going to need a vacation from our vacation at this rate :0)

We will be back on September 25th and I will post photos from our trip. I look forward to checking everyone’s blogs out when I get back to see what I’ve missed and I hope you all check back with me then.

Momma Got a New Tattoo

Yes I did!

There is a tattoo shop in Andover, KS where my son lives that is a two man operation. King Pete’s is owned by Pete,  the only non tattooed tattoo artist I have ever met and a young guy named Nolan who has been tattooing for about three years now.

Nolan tattooed my husband a couple of years ago and seemed very likeable and talented so when I decided I had a couple of tattoos I really wanted done I went to see him.

I have a tattoo already on my left wrist that is about my daughter and you can see it in the pictures of me knitting. I have always wanted a dream catcher on my other arm that is  a representation of my Native American heritage and my son who is sort of my dream catcher in life. He is always there for me when I need him. He supports me in anything I do and I love him to death. He is my only son and my baby.

Here is my new tattoo:

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Hubby doesn’t see the “J” for our son’s  name nor does he see the heart – do you?

If you don’t, here is where to look:

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and the heart:

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I think that Nolan did a great job and got exactly what I wanted. Now it is still healing up so it still looks a bit rough. I have to admit that Nolan is one of the gentlest tattoo artists I have had so far. Not a bad experience at all and I could hardly feel him working which is high praise in my book. Being artistic as well as having a gentle touch with the needles makes me want to come back and I plan on it the first of October.  Yes, I am getting another tattoo done after Jamaica and it will be another bigger one on the other side of my shoulder/back to balance out my Geisha. I look forward to seeing what Nolan comes up with for the different styles I showed him that I love. Should be interesting and I look forward to my next tattoo.

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