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IN HEAVEN ALL YOU DRINK IS EGGNOG

If eggnog were available year-round it wouldn’t be special, I lie to myself while sobbing into a glass of milk.

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FUN IN 60 SECONDS

From the people who brought you “Place the Token” and “Don’t Eat the Instruction Booklet.”

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BUT ONLY IF IT’S A TRIPLE

BUT ONLY IF IT’S A TRIPLE

I hope I never have to choose between everlasting fame and a Baconator.

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REGARDLESS OF FAITH, EVERYONE CAN AGREE ON HEDGEHOGS

Happy Easter, from Brillo and me.

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STILL TOO DAMN WINDY – A YEAR OF IRELAND PART FOUR

I’ve already covered Howth pretty well. Just in case, though, here’s a quick recap.

The first, most important thing you need to know about Howth is fudge. It’s also got a phenomenal weekend farmers market, which is perhaps best know for its fudge.

STILL TOO DAMN WINDY – A YEAR OF IRELAND PART FOUR
Fudge

This little patch of flowers is locally famous for being the most colorful area for thirty kilometers.

Recycling jokes because I care about the comedic environment.

We had some absolutely gorgeous weather for our day in the seaside village.

STILL TOO DAMN WINDY – A YEAR OF IRELAND PART FOUR
Relatively speaking.

Here’s the harbor itself. In the background is Ireland’s Eye, a small island uninhabited aside from some ruins.

STILL TOO DAMN WINDY – A YEAR OF IRELAND PART FOUR2

Weird old churches can pop up almost anywhere in Ireland. Here’s one above a bike shop:

STILL TOO DAMN WINDY – A YEAR OF IRELAND PART FOUR

Another angle:

STILL TOO DAMN WINDY – A YEAR OF IRELAND PART FOUR

This seagull lives life on the edge:

STILL TOO DAMN WINDY – A YEAR OF IRELAND PART FOUR5

Ireland is ridiculously strict about cleaning up after your pooch.

An old fishing boat tied to the breakwater.

STILL TOO DAMN WINDY – A YEAR OF IRELAND PART FOUR

Check it out:

We decided to walk out on the breakwater towards the lighthouse. Now, if there’s one thing you should know about Howth, it is that the town is exceptionally windy.

STILL TOO DAMN WINDY – A YEAR OF IRELAND PART FOUR7
This picture was taken between gusts.

Howth gets more wind than most wind tunnels. NASA considered testing their designs here before realizing the weather surpassed any extreme they could possibly encounter. Residents call Chicago the “Breezy City,” and then only because they’re being generous.

STILL TOO DAMN WINDY – A YEAR OF IRELAND PART FOUR8
We were there on a calm day. By our next visit this was all white froth.

While walking out, we got a closer view of Ireland’s Eye.

STILL TOO DAMN WINDY – A YEAR OF IRELAND PART FOUR
Ireland’s a cyclops. Who knew?

The lighthouse:

STILL TOO DAMN WINDY – A YEAR OF IRELAND PART FOUR STILL TOO DAMN WINDY – A YEAR OF IRELAND PART FOUR

Past the lighthouse was a little vantage point.

STILL TOO DAMN WINDY – A YEAR OF IRELAND PART FOUR

Then we walked back towards the town.

STILL TOO DAMN WINDY – A YEAR OF IRELAND PART FOUR

We decided to head up around the bend towards the hiking trails.

STILL TOO DAMN WINDY – A YEAR OF IRELAND PART FOUR

We’ll get to those in the next post. Until then, I have to go save Brillo from whatever trouble he’s gotten himself into now.

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SNOW PROBLEM

SNOW PROBLEM

You know when your neighbor stops you and says, “Haha, if you don’t like the weather just wait ten minutes!” and chuckles quietly as he pats himself on the back? It doesn’t matter where you live, two things are guaranteed: One, you have weird neighbors. Two, everyone everywhere thinks their state has the strangest weather. Turns out, unless you live in New England, your neighbor is dead wrong. Also you should probably keep an eye on him. Trouble brewing there if I ever saw it.

Now, I have stories out the whazoo about New England weather. There was the time our house got lifted off its foundation and replaced slightly off-center by a gust of wind. My parents’ trampoline once got blown twenty feet up a tree and bent in half, also by a gust of wind. Some time later, my grandparents lost a two-story barn door and their best maple sap producer to, well, a gust of wind. It’s pretty windy here. But that whole “wait ten minutes” business is not truer anywhere else in the States than here in the Northeast.

This week started at eighty degrees. On Tuesday it snowed. This afternoon our grass turned green. The following photos are all from a single day, within a few hours.

I got off the bus at the Champlain College campus, because it’s gorgeous and also I go to school there.

SNOW PROBLEM
Though by this photo you’d never guess graduation was only a few weeks away.

After my morning class, I walked home to get ready for a lunch date.

SNOW PROBLEM
A stroll normally accompanied by flowers and warmth.

That morning’s high was twenty degrees with a biting wind. It’s practically tropical compared to the thirty below of this past winter, but still, it’s spring. I was sweating bullets on Monday, and now I’m bundling up before venturing into the frozen tundra beyond my apartment. It’s nuts.

On a more positive note, check out this art I made:

SNOW PROBLEM
Alert the Louvre.

As I walked back downtown for lunch, I passed the University of Vermont:

SNOW PROBLEM

Keep in mind I took these photos well after the snow had stopped. Even though it was cold, the sun was intense and many patches had already begun to melt. We didn’t get buckets of the stuff, but based on the previous night’s exploits I’d guess there was a solid inch on the ground. We also had copious amounts of ice, which I got up close and personal with several times.

The UVM campus is absolutely massive. It covers probably a good half of Burlington and the surrounding towns. The path I take into town goes straight through the heart of the school. Here are some of the dorms.

SNOW PROBLEMI love taking pictures of this intersection. I have no idea why. I have like a hundred of them. SNOW PROBLEMMuch as I love the architecture of Champlain, UVM is truly awe-inspiring. Check this business out: SNOW PROBLEM SNOW PROBLEM SNOW PROBLEM

It’s like an Adirondack Hogwarts.

Looking down towards the lake:

SNOW PROBLEMCheck out these sweet dorms: SNOW PROBLEMThis is not a dorm: SNOW PROBLEM

It’s an apartment building.

I got arty with a bush next to the apartment building.

SNOW PROBLEMMy boyfriend’s apartment: SNOW PROBLEM

Yup, snowed here too.

We went out for Chinese to celebrate the end of his student teaching episode. He’s now just days away from becoming a certified teacher. No jokes here, just pride.

SNOW PROBLEM

Eight bucks of all-you-can-eat Chinese food’s worth of pride.

By the time we rolled our bloated bellies out of there, the snow was almost gone.

SNOW PROBLEM

From Nanook of the North to San Francisco in two hours.

As I walked home through my suddenly snowless surroundings, I noticed that not only had the scenery changed, but it was at least twenty degrees warmer than when I walked downtown.

SNOW PROBLEM
“It was a dark and stormy night, and then suddenly it wasn’t.” – Excerpt from Vermont’s memoir

I took some pictures at the same angle as my earlier ones:

SNOW PROBLEMThe dorms. SNOW PROBLEMThe lake. SNOW PROBLEMThe Hogwarts. SNOW PROBLEMThe Hogwarts. SNOW PROBLEM

The Hogwarts.

SNOW PROBLEM

The intersection.

New England doesn’t have seasons, it has hourly temperaments. I really can’t stress enough how truly weird it is to have snow in the morning, and walk home sweating in the sun just hours later. We even had green grass.

SNOW PROBLEM

For months, the only green I’ve seen is the handle of my shovel.

You remember that snow-covered school from earlier? Well, here it is by the end of the day.

SNOW PROBLEM

What the hell.

Check back for the exciting conclusion of the Snow Blown series whenever I get around to writing it.

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NOTHING IS BAD ON FREE CONE DAY

Yesterday was Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry’s. It’s a global event, but it’s extra-special here in Burlington where the company began. The scoop shop on Cherry (Garcia) Street is arguably the most famous outside the factory itself, and often appears in their promotional material.

NOTHING IS BAD ON FREE CONE DAY

You thought I was kidding about the street, didn’t you?

Well, the snow is just about gone, and to celebrate its death hundreds of Vermonters stood in damp 30º weather waiting for ice cream. In our defense, it is very good ice cream.

I’ve gone to this event every year since I moved to the Queen City, save when I was in Ireland. There’s always a long, snaking line, and it never takes less than an hour. There are tricks of the trade – always go before school lets out, for example – but it’s still an adventure. We usually just play cards while we wait.

This year, though, there was no line in sight. We were early, yes, but even then this was highly unusual.

NOTHING IS BAD ON FREE CONE DAY

Even on Paid Cone Days, this sidewalk is bustling.

As we approached the shop, there was still no line in sight.

NOTHING IS BAD ON FREE CONE DAYHad we done it? After all these years, had we finally beaten Free Cone Day? NOTHING IS BAD ON FREE CONE DAY

Of course not. Don’t be stupid.

Turns out, this year the line snaked in the opposite direction. But don’t worry! You weren’t worried, were you? Honestly, this is a relatively minor thing to worry about, but in case you were, don’t, because this year the line was super speedy. I don’t know what the lines look like elsewhere, but the wait is legendary in Burlington. It’s hard to describe just how mindblowing it truly was to arrive, be served, and leave, all within fifteen minutes.

As we approached the door, each of us decided on a flavor. I chose Phish Food, because I enjoy the finer things in life.

NOTHING IS BAD ON FREE CONE DAYAlmost there! NOTHING IS BAD ON FREE CONE DAY

The end is in sight!

NOTHING IS BAD ON FREE CONE DAYThere’s a band for some reason! NOTHING IS BAD ON FREE CONE DAY

And we’re back outside!

Yeah, I don’t have any pictures of my ice cream. I ate it.

We were considering going to UVM and swinging by their Ben & Jerry’s, but it’s a good thing we didn’t.

NOTHING IS BAD ON FREE CONE DAY NOTHING IS BAD ON FREE CONE DAY

And then it rained.

See you next year, Ben & Jerry’s!

NOTHING IS BAD ON FREE CONE DAYOr tomorrow. I’ll probably see you tomorrow.

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SNOW BLOWN

Spring has long since sprung, but snow loves the frozen Republic of Vermont more than a Deadhead stoner with a craving for Cabot cheese. Finally though, it’s begun the long process of melting, gradually reminding us that there is soil beneath the permafrost and what a major pain in the ass that soil’s going to be come mud season. The snow has been with us for so long it feels like an old friend. And old friend who everyone pretends to like because nobody can admit that, frankly, they are sick and tired of seeing his stupid face every time they make plans for the weekend. To commemorate and celebrate the passing of our dearly departed inconvenience, here’s a timeline of a Vermont winter more bitter than Almond Tonic-Water Swirl Ben & Jerry’s.

The first major snowstorm hit us mid-November. Here’s the parking lot of my apartment building a few minutes into the dusting:

SNOW BLOWN

You can actually see the windshield reflecting the little spark of hope and joy in my eye before it was extinguished by the next storm.

Oddly enough, by December we actually had less snow.

SNOW BLOWN

Old Man Winter felt bad about the lack of snow and gave us subzero temperatures instead.

The lack of snow did not last, though, and two days later we got this:

SNOW BLOWN

Thank goodness we kept the -20º air.

At this point, all the native New Englanders knew we were in for a doozy. Before winter even started we’d had more storms than I cared to photograph. Lake Champlain froze over, which has happened only a handful of times in decades. And of course we had that pesky polar vortex. Enjoy the next few pictures, because I almost lost my fingers taking them.

SNOW BLOWN SNOW BLOWN SNOW BLOWN

Yup, those are all frozen over.

The new year showed no sign of being any less cold or white. On New Year’s Day I drove back to Burlington after spending the holidays with family. My boyfriend’s parents were getting married, and damned if I was going to miss the ceremony. They couldn’t have chosen a more beautiful day.

SNOW BLOWN

Though considering the temperature, I really wish they could have.

Church Street was no less gorgeous, but much less capable of sustaining human life.

SNOW BLOWN

Eventually the snow stopped falling, and froze over instead.

SNOW BLOWN

…turning our cul-de-sac into a skating rink.

Everything froze.

SNOW BLOWN

There’s a metaphor in here somewhere.

Main Street – which is one giant hill from the lake to the highway – was coated in black ice. The sidewalks were impossible to navigate, but the Main Street Slalom was the most fun I’ve had in years. Just avoid the cars.

This winter may have been the coldest in ages, but I’ve found a way to keep warm.

There’s too much snow for one post so check back later. We haven’t even gotten to the big storms yet.

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BRILLO’S BUDDY

So you know Brillo as my abrasive little global travel partner. Well, recently he got a brother. I named him Kartoffel. Brillo gives him noogies.

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WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS

The other day I was walking downtown for a meeting, when I reached the end of the world.

I found myself drawn to the blankness, walking out on Perkins Pier and looking into the vast expanse of nothing.

In that moment, I felt hopelessly small. Helpless, even. I was a tiny, insignificant dot on an immense lake, on a massive continent, on a gigantic planet that barely registered an existence in the overwhelming enormity of space. I was forgotten, forsaken, and lost.

Actually, I was just really fucking cold. I made that other stuff up.

Interestingly, this is what that view normally looks like: