Blog update and a big Hello!


Disgruntled blog reader

Good morning! I’ve gained quite a few new followers in the last few months and while I don’t have as huge a following as some blogs, my readers are important to me. So this is a shout out to All of my readers. Welcome to all and I sincerely hope you find something here you like. As you may be aware, or not, I write poetry, opinion pieces, fiction, and non fiction about nearly anything. I welcome all comments and am not afraid to discuss any subject. So bring it on!.

I’m still on my diet, hoping to lose about 30 pounds. I started at 200 and I’ve lost 5 pounds in two weeks. It would be great to see the weight just melt away but that’s not how it works I guess. I haven’t started exercising so I can’t expect things to move quickly. Changing your diet can be one of the hardest things to do. I quit eating pasta, bread, ice cream, (except maybe a little) soda pop, processed foods like sandwich meats, pepperoni, cheese, (except maybe a little) fast food, and more. So my sugar, sodium, and fat intake has been reduced. I’m eating chicken breast and fish for the most part, and frozen and fresh vegetables. Healthy snacks like popcorn and fruit with a little trail mix thrown in. And I’m drinking tea with honey. I’ve cut my calorie intake by nearly half and I’m trying to eat high protein foods. That includes peanut butter which is loaded with sugar of course, but I discovered powdered peanut butter. Powdered peanut butter has most of the fat removed so the calories are much lower. I use it in a protein shake that I have for a meal replacement every day.

Tarot cards

I started blogging about my diet here on a separate page but it’s not too popular so I’ll probably just give you updates from time to time. In other news, instead of blogging about how fat I am, I may start a Tarot page here on the blog. I’ve been interested in Tarot for years and I have a few decks of the cards and a book or two on the subject. I don’t believe in magic or telling the future but Tarot reading is fascinating for a number of reasons. It goes back to at least the 1500’s and has been incorporated into many different cultures around the world. Kings and Queens, presidents and dictators and even a Pope or two may have had tarot readers and astrologers in their employ. So it’s a hobby I have, among others.

Ogham stone

Something else I’m looking into is Ogham writing. Ogham (pronounced O-em) is the earliest known Irish Celtic writing. Consisting of lines drawn or carved, and extending from or crossing a central vertical line, the writing was mostly used for personal names. Some examples of Ogham have been found on wood but because wood deteriorates over time, most of these have been lost. Most of the examples found today are on stone and are found all over Ireland, with some in Scotland and Wales. There are also examples that have been found that depict other than personal names such as news or information. It is thought that messages were written in Ogham on short pieces of wood and carried by hand between recipients. Ogham writing was used from about the 3rd to the 5th centuries. So I’m learning a little about that and may try doing some of my own.

So once again, hello to my new and old followers. I’m thrilled that you’ve joined me and I hope to keep you informed and entertained. Please feel free to leave comments, ideas, arguments or whatever you have. Thank you very much for reading because without you, there’s no point!

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Settling In

The first couple days of travel are kind of weird. The time change from Minnesota to Ireland is six hours. That’s a big difference. You can find a bigger difference in time if you want to. For instance Tokyo, Japan is eleven hours ahead of Minnesota. But six hours is plenty for me, thanks. So it takes a couple days to get used to gaining or losing hours in your day. Once you do, you start to feel normal again. It’s called Jet Lag for lack of a better term. Actually, it’s called Jet Lag Disorder according to the Mayo Clinic website. So it’s perfectly acceptable to be a grumpy shit for the first couple days of your trip because hey, you have a bona fide disorder!

One of the first things you get introduced to when you go to Ireland is the world famous “Full Irish Breakfast.” I never heard of it until I went there so I’m not sure how world famous it is but, whatever. Apparently the Irish are trying to project the idea that they are a hardy bunch. You will be told, “You have to get the full Irish breakfast. You got to eat like the Irish.” Now I don’t know about anyone else but if I, “Ate like the Irish” I’d weigh 600 pounds and have coronary disease. I’m pretty sure the Irish don’t eat like this every morning. And here’s why. The typical Full Irish Breakfast consists of: Bacon rashers, (which is ham) streaky bacon, (which is bacon) pork sausages, fried eggs (or scrambled), white pudding, (which is nether white, nor pudding) black pudding, (which is nether black nor pudding) toast and fried tomato. Sauteed mushrooms are also sometimes included, and baked beans, hash browns, liver, and brown soda bread. Don’t forget the fresh fruit, coffee, and of course, tea. Oh, and orange juice. I have witnessed Americans try to eat all that thinking that’s what the Irish do. It wasn’t a pretty sight. Oh and by the way Black pudding, is Blood sausage. White pudding is Blood sausage without the blood. Just sayin’. So then, after your typical Full Irish Breakfast you’ll have to walk to the next town to feel better.

And so we moved on to Killarney National Park. The photos pretty much say more than I could.

The Jaunting car rides are there because there are no motorized vehicles allowed in the park. The ruins are from an old Friary all hand built by monks from stone. The waterfall is named Torc waterfall. A Torc is a piece of ancient jewelry worn around the neck and I’m not sure how that relates to water but, it was beautiful.

Torc

Killarney National Park is situated just Northeast of Macgillycuddy’s Reeks which is the tallest mountain range in Ireland. We didn’t come close enough however, to get good photo’s of them. And my recollection of what I saw on what days is a little fuzzy so I may get things a wee bit out of order. From Killarney we drove to the Dingle peninsula. At the end of the peninsula on Slea Head is the furthest Western point of Ireland and subsequently, Europe. Also off Slea Head lie the Blasket Islands. From Wikipedia: The islands were inhabited until 1953 by a completely Irish-speaking population and today are part of the Gaeltacht. (Irish speaking areas) At its peak, the islands had 175 residents. The population declined to 22 by 1953. The government evacuated the remaining residents to the mainland on 17 November 1953 because of increasingly extreme weather that left the island cut off from emergency services. The evacuation was seen as necessary by both the Islanders and the government. You can take a boat out there to explore but if bad weather comes, (which happens often) you could be stuck there.

Southeast of the town of Dingle a number of Ogham (pronounced Om) stones have been found. Ogham is an ancient alphabet dating anywhere from the 1st century B.C.E. to the 6th century C.E.. When it was deciphered it was found that most of the writing were personal names.

Ogham Stone

Now of course, you can buy necklaces, bracelets, hats and tee shirts with Ogham writing on them. Also near Dingle is Inch Strand. “Inch” is the Anglicized word for In-ish which means Island in Irish. Inch Strand is a beautiful beach that used to be an island.

Inch Strand

We spent two nights in Dingle to get a little down time from so much traveling. Dingle, a town of about 2000 people seems to be made up of a series of pubs, B & B’s, churches, restaurants, more pubs, and hotels. Nice town though.

Dingle also has its very own Bottle Nose Dolphin. “Fungie” showed up around 1983 and has been there ever since. He is so easily seen in Dingle harbor that regular boat tours are taken every day to photograph him. I think that’s enough excitement for now. After Dingle, we head North.