Ding dong, the diet is dead.

 

Okay, so I wasn’t really on a diet.

(That’s a four letter word in our house…. and one I try to refrain from using. It’s vulgar and quite upsetting.)

But I was trying to watch what I ate lately so as not to frighten any holiday party goers I haven’t seen all year. Nothing like an abominable snowman waddling into your Christmas soiree to put the evening off kilter.

 

 

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The culprit?

These.

(…and let me preface it by saying I had never eaten a Ding Dong before in my life.)

(Stop snickering. You know what I mean.)

 

 

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But I skipped lunch and went grocery shopping hungry last week….

 

 

(Shut up Justin, I know that now.)

And grabbed the first high calorie, sugary sweet, instant gratification I could find.

OH. MY. GOD.

 

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I had one on the way home.

And one after dinner that night.

And yes, one for breakfast the next morning. Don’t judge.

At first I wanted to rail at all my friends for never telling me of it’s high fructose chemically enhanced goodness.

I was in a sugar induced haze.

 

 

Where had it been all my life?

But then, when I’d finished half the box and could hardly walk past the cabinet without salivating,  (I swear I heard them calling me by name)

I realized –

I was hooked by white crack!

I saw my future.  A 350lb addict walking the streets with a 3 a day habit, shaking from sugar withdrawal and Jonesing for a fix.  Accosting perfect strangers, begging for a taste. It wasn’t pretty.

So I heaved them in the trash then and there. And took the trash out to the garage before I changed my mind.

Heed my warning friends… don’t be tempted.

Run… don’t walk, past the White Fudge Ding Dongs on your grocer’s shelf.

 

 

Don’t be taken in by their siren song, wear ear plugs if you must.

Ignore my advice at your peril.

There’s only room for one abominable at every party, and it’s going to be me.

 

 

What fresh Hell is this?

 

Do you ever wonder, “Why does this crap always happen to me?”

It seems to be the story of my life. When I had a simple hospital procedure that you can go home an hour after completion? I started to bleed out, set off a code blue and heard the doctor say,

 

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When my new car died unexpectedly a week after I bought it and had to be towed to the shop? It sat there for days because no one could figure what was wrong. The mechanics all said,

 

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Yes. I’m the girl who goes to a party, bellies up to the buffet line… only to have the table leg collapse and crash onto her foot.

 

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To which the host replied….

 

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So when I went to Verizon to buy a new cell phone last week, I should have known things would not go smoothly. I chose the iPhone XR, and the tech set it up for me with no problem.

By the next day? Problem.

 

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I think we’ve established the fact that I take a lot of pictures. And while I always upload them to my computer, I do tend to keep a lot on the phone itself. (Okay, I keep thousands of pictures. But I have the storage capacity, so who cares?)

My new phone was happily restoring from iCloud  when I got home, until it wasn’t. It froze after loading less than half my pics. And if that wasn’t bad enough, I kept getting an alert message saying my storage was almost full. What? 9,304 pics on my iPhone 6 took up 2.2g of space… and now the newer,  expensive A.F.  better XR is saying 3,708 pics are taking up over 50g? Not possible.

So I gave it a few more days but nothing changed. Which led me to live chat with Apple support for 3 hours on a Sunday. I went through 5 different techs, a supervisor, and a senior advisor. Boy, that was  like having a hot sauce enema  fun. None of them knew what was going on… and to a man all said,

 

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They even had a specialist call me on the phone and try to walk me through solutions remotely. Nothing. He kept telling me to download the new software…. which you can’t do if it’s actively restoring. When he tried to force it through my computer, the session timed out.

I know we have a broadband connection out here in Boonsville, but still,

 

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The Apple geniuses were stumped. And I wasn’t pleased.

The specialist basically washed his hands of me, told me to take it back to Verizon and oh yeah, when I figured out what the problem was… call back and explain it to them.

 

 

Bright and early Monday morning I was at Verizon bitching up a storm, only to have their tech tell me he had over 12,000 pics on his XR and… you guessed it,

 

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He conferred with all the other techs and they decided it was a speed and/or interruption issue. When they had set the phone up in the store it was drawing on their high speed connection, when I left the store it was drawing on my cellular data, and when I got home it was drawing on my  slow as a Wal Mart line at Christmas  broadband wifi. That’s 3 different speeds and basically there was so much being pushed…. it  said screw this went haywire. They fiddled with the phone, did some ninja warrior tech stuff I couldn’t keep up with and got the storage level back to normal at 1.47 g.  But I still only had half my pics and that was the original problem!

 

 

I was told to go home, wipe the phone completely back to default and start a new restore while on a steady, one source connection. It was also suggested I go into iCloud and delete unwanted photos. ( WTF? Is there such a thing? )

So here I sit, slogging through 9,304 iCloud pictures unhappily hitting delete at the speed of …

 

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And you wonder why I drink?

 

 

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program…..

Vacation posts are over,  (for a while anyway)  and it’s time to get back to normal, every day nonsensical blogging.

I have lots of odd stuff to catch up on , so let’s get started shall we?

#1…  A while back my husband had his truck restored and painted. It cost a fortune, but he loves that old thing. And apparently, so did this robin.

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Every morning at 6:00am ( before the snow started to fly) this bird showed up.

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He’d hop all over the bed, then the cab… pooping on everything.

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He got very aggressive and fought off other birds if they flew too near.

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The little bastard even dive bombed me a few times.

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#2…  And speaking of dinosaurs,

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We had a visiting Pterodactyl.

(Okay, it was a raven I named Roderick, but damn. He was big.)

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*Note to self – buy bigger bird bath.*

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#3… I saw this in a parking lot last month –

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Clearly this man had been waiting for a long time.

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#4… Good news!

I finally found a pair of jeans made for women who eat too many double stuff Oreos  real women.

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#5… Remember the mutant brain abomination that was growing on my driveway?

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Well, we came home from vacation….

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And found it dead.

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It had turned brown, shriveled up and fallen off it’s stalk. Which was quite a relief.

Until I started thinking that maybe it just….

Hatched.

#6….. You know it’s Christmas time in Maine when you see the holiday trees popping up everywhere.

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Of course, in Maine… trees are made from lobster crates, so make of that what you will.

#7…. And speaking of Christmas, here’s a great gift idea from Vermont.

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Because nothing says I love you better than a wheel of cheese, and a cow you don’t have to clean up after.

You’re welcome.

Homeward bound….

Yes, we’ve reached the end of yet another vacation series.

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We checked out of our Vermont mountain resort and walked by the required giant Adirondack chair….

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Which had a non required tiny snowman.

With horns.

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As we were leaving I noticed this sign…

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And thought, damn.

The only reason I left mine at home was the lack of decent parking.

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My husband had serious barn envy on our drive home…

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Which is easy to do in Vermont.

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And farther down the road,  I saw another interesting sign.

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Clearly Hula Hooping is a road hazard in the Northern Kingdom.

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The mountains loomed in the distance….

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And made for quite a scenic ride.

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Sadly, the Water Wheel…

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One of our favorite lunch spots…. was closed, and we had to make do with a local watering hole.

(For Martin, who constantly gripes there aren’t enough food photos.)

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A decent clam chowder for me.

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A mediocre French onion for the husband.

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A really good turkey club for me.

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And some nice homemade chicken fingers for the husband.

(Happy now Martin?)

We ate our meal under this watchful eye…

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And elected to pass on the specialty cocktail.

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I love bacon (and bourbon!) as much as the next girl, but bacon bourbon?

No.

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Yes.

Yes we are.

The Vermont vacation is officially over.

The Dog Chapel.

If you love animals, grab some Kleenex.

If you don’t… move along, you’re not my people.

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The Dog Chapel, on Dog Mountain, built by dog artist Stephen Hunecker.

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This is Stephen, and his dogs.

The following is the story of his near death experience…

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And a few words about the special space he created.

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I’d heard of this place, but wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

A chapel… for dogs. Okay, got it.

But I hadn’t.

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The pews are hand carved and supported by dogs.

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The stained glass is hand made…

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And filled with dogs.

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But what takes your breath away as you stand in this unassuming little building….

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Is love.

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And an outpouring of grief so heartfelt, I wept.

Non stop, for the entire time we were there.

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The love surrounds you.

Engulfs you.

From floor to ceiling, every single inch.

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People from all over the world come to this obscure little spot on the map to leave pictures and memorials to their beloved 4 footed friends.

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If you’ve ever loved a dog, this place will move you.

If you’ve never loved a dog, this place will move you.

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It was silent, and haunting….. and beautiful beyond words.

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The loss is palpable, and deep.

But the love?

The love is overwhelming and chokes me up even now.

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So I left a memorial of my own, for a very special beagle we had when I was growing up. Hiram… my father’s steadfast companion. Who happily romped the fields and gardens with him in the good times, and lay devotedly at his side through the bad. The dog that was inconsolable when my father was hospitalized with heart attack after heart attack… as if he knew.

Hiram.

His death was the only time I ever saw my father cry.

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Oh, yes…

Yes they do.

The Stephen Huneck Gallery

 

The Dog Chapel has long been on my list of places to visit in Vermont, and while I would have preferred to go in warmer weather and walk the lovely nature trails… we happened to pass the sign so I screamed,  “Let’s go!”

Up a steep hill, and over a narrow and rutted dirt road you’ll find a 150 acre farm.

 

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The Chapel…

 

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And a frozen, peed upon pumpkin.

 

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(I’m guessing dog, but wouldn’t put it past my husband.)

 

 

 

 

There’s also a gallery/shop that houses the owner’s folk art, which as you might guess….

 

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Is clearly dog-centric.

There are dog chairs…

 

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Dog benches..

 

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Dog lamps…

 

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Dog borders…

 

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Dog railings…

 

 

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And dog mounted trophies….

 

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Don’t laugh…

It beats the trophy mounted vegetarian on this butcher shop wall.

 

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Even the bathroom was dogged.

 

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It’s pretty clear the artist loved dogs.

 

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And why wouldn’t he?

 

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They’re marvelously talented creatures….

 

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Bugs and dinner.

 

 

Please note I did not say bugs for dinner. That would just be weird.

Although, admittedly…. a 3 piece cockroach musical ensemble would have been stellar.

 

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No… I’m talking about the last (and best!) part of the Fairbanks Museum.

Bug art!

I turned the final corner, and came face to mandible face with this beauty.

 

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Isn’t it wonderful? I would totally display this on my front lawn, and perhaps pet it as I walked by.

 

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As you can see, it’s a little large for the living room.

 

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So while the husband was examining some ancient knives and swords, ( He glanced at the bugs and kept on walking. Go figure. ) I delved deep into art made from bugs.

 

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Apparently it’s pretty rare, as evidenced by the fact there were only 8 pieces.

And if you’re not a fan of the creepy crawly…

 

 

You might want to scroll down to dinner… which thankfully, was bug free.

But if you’ve always wanted to see a beetle and moth likeness of Abraham Lincoln?

 

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And George Washington?

 

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I’m your girl.

 

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Yes, those really are all bugs.

 

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And bug art really is a thing.

 

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Ain’t it grand?

 

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General Pershing thinks so.

 

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And so do I.

 

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Now for the (boring in comparison) food part of the blog.

 

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Dinner was at a highly recommended little place called The Creamery….

 

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Which, to be honest, felt like someone’s basement.

 

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The bar was full of locals who gave us the stink eye as we walked in…

 

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But the margaritas were large and tasty….

 

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And while the menu was small, everything we had was perfect.

 

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From the crispy green bean appetizer….

 

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To the goat cheese and maple vinaigrette salad…

 

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My fresh, succulent baked scallops with stir fried vegetable medley…

 

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And the husband’s perfectly prepared shrimp scampi.

I would have loved to try their dessert but…

 

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I hate when that happens.

 

 

 

 

 

Stay Spot. Stay….

 

The Fairbanks museum has something for everyone.

 

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Samurai helmets?

 

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And swords?

 

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Check.

 

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And for those who are as fascinated as I am with the rich  history of Japan…

 

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There were dinosaur fossils…

 

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And mastodon obedience training manuals….

 

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Somehow I doubt that turned out well.

 

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There were more dead fine feathered friends..

 

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And a display about sheep back in 1840…

 

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Which begs for the old saying –

Vermont! Where men were men.

And the sheep were afraid.

 

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Although from the look of the numbers, maybe the men should have been afraid.

 

 

The rotating exhibit was a collection of photography from rural Vermont.

 

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They were quite good, but I won’t bore with you with photos of photos…

 

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Except for this one.

 

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That was my reaction too.

I was beginning to rethink my  “Isn’t Vermont a quaint place to live?”  attitude. I mean, really? Who cuts off their wife’s hands, nails them to the barn door and then photographs them?

Who?

 

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Slightly mollified, although vowing never to look at a muskrat the same way… we moved on.

Inching ever closer to the famous bug art.

 

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Yes, apparently it’s quite famous in these parts.

 

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And in case you just can’t wait till tomorrow’s post…

 

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Here are a few beauties to keep you company.

 

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(The bugs, not me.)

 

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You’re welcome.

More Fairbanks oddities….

 

As we made our way down the left side of the top floor of the museum, we encountered a replica of my Monday morning hairdo…

 

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And an  outfit to wear on a Match.com date  entire coconut fiber set of armor.

 

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Yes, coconut.

 

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And fish skin. What’s not to love?

 

 

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I’m not sure that puffer fish helmet would have deflected many blows, but it does have a certain punk rock era appeal.

 

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And as I was oohing and ahhing over the Egyptian section…

 

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I do love me some mummies and canopic jars.

 

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(Not sure where to put your intestines after death? The ancient Egyptians gave a whole new meaning to kitchen canning.)

And then, I saw it.

Across the rail… on the other side.

 

 

Be still my heart!

 

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Could it be?

 

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Yes!

 

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A giant bug sculpture.

 

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And an entire section of bug art!

 

Bug art?

 

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I could hardly contain my delight!

I wanted to run right over, but forced myself to breathe deeply and finish the rest of the museum first.

 

 

I know, I know.

Good things come to those who wait….