I said the word. The big one. The queen mother of dirty words. The F-dash-dash-dash word.
But…what else is new?
No, I didn’t knock the tire bolts (?) out into the snow mid tire-change – that’s not the only time the word FUDGE is appropriate. For those who think I’m actually out there changing my own tires (thank you AAA), I’m actually referencing a classic scene from one of the funniest Christmas movies out there, 1983’s A Christmas Story. I, too, remember being a young’un and the fear that accompanied that word. And also the taste of bar soap. Now, ehh, it’s just another word I try not to use too often at work and one that’s mostly directed towards Boston drivers (You don’t stop on the rotary!) and slow internet connections.
So it’s December. The month of hilarious movies (see above), people putting reindeer antlers and red “noses” on their cars, using the word ” ‘Tis “, and my least favorite thing of all, the countdown. You know what I’m talking about. The lists on lists on lists! So many lists! The 22 Best Movies of 2014. Kim Kardashian’s Best Selfies of 2014. They’re Having a Baby! 6 Best Pregnancy Announcements of 2014.114 Free Best of 2014 music playlists. I fudging hate this crap. So let me get this straight… there are 114 ‘best of 2014’ playlists. Doesn’t that zap all the credibility of being the BEST of 2014 if there are 114 versions of it? I just googled “Best of 2014” to see what came up and I got 5,280,000,000 results. What is that, billions? 5.28 billion results? Way too many.
Is there really any appeal to these? Am I the only one who cringes every time I see one? I think it just seems very phony to me for some reason. BUT if that’s what the people want! I’m going to test this theory by creating my own ‘Best Of’ list to end 2014. You’ve read up to this point so obviously you are a teeny bit curious about what I can come up with. See, you love lists!
In an attempt to spare you from the watered-down, clichéd ‘Best of’ end-of-year fluff I present you with this:
Man, this would be so much easier if it was still 2002.
1. “Are you FUDGING kidding me with this view?”
This is the stunning and super famous Neuschwanstein Castle in southwest Bavaria, Germany. I mean, really, check this view out. Sleeping Beauty, that lucky bitch. This is worth the trip right here. Don’t even bother with the tour (seriously it’s so lame) just head straight up the mountain to Marienbrücke. Marienbrücke (German for “Mary’s Bridge”) is a bridge that spans a gorge between two steep cliffs, crosses over a waterfall and from it you get THIS view. This is not a professionally doctored photo ladies and gentlemen – this was taken by yours truly, albeit on a gorgeous day. You would never know I was elbow to bony elbow with so many European and Asian tourists all vying for a spot on the WOODEN bridge to take their selfies. OK, I took a selfie.
2. “What the FUDGE is that?”
This is Aloisius (pronounced al-oh-wish-us). This photo was taken at Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany inside the Hofbräu tent. This huge dude was hanging from the center of the tent quietly spinning in circles. Upon seeing German Mario I asked my husband, “What the fudge is that?” Since this was not our first beer tent of the day the answer I got went something like this:
“Oh that’s Alowishus or something. I read about it in that book you gave me! Alright, he’s a mailman. Annnnd uhhh I’m trying to think. I think it was something like God wrote a letter to Munich, something about beer, I don’t know, I guess he didn’t wanna send it but he just like, forever, sitting in Munich because whatever…” (This is literally word for hilarious word. I just called my husband for him to repeat the story to me and transcribed everything he said.)
So clearly I spent the whole day in the dark about this mysterious mailman. I never knew why he played the harp or why his feet are so incredibly tiny! Look at ’em! OK, so here goes my translation of the story of Aloisius…
So this man, Aloisius, lived in Munich and maintained a regular presence at the Hofbräuhaus, not too different from myself. Aloisius dies for whatever reason, I’m assuming something to do with his tiny feet, and goes to Heaven but Heaven sucks – there’s no beer! Whaaaa? Aloisius is all like, playing the harp all day and bitching about how much he misses Munich. I feel ya bro. Finally, God just-can’t-even with Aloisius anymore; he’s so grumpy! He decides to work out a deal for the cranky old goon. He assigns him the job of being the official messenger between God and the Bavarian government, allowing him to visit his precious homeland. (I didn’t know such an alliance existed, but I can see it.) However, the moment he arrives back in Munich he’s like, “Fudge this!”, and heads straight for the Hofbräuhaus for a beer where he continues to sit to this day. FYI – still no idea why he has such small feet.
3. “FUDGE! FUDGE! FUDGE! FUDGE! FUDGE! FUDGE!”
This is what I sound like running around in 30°F weather in a bikini. As I mentioned in the post Some Like it Geothermal, the quickest way to enter Iceland’s Blue Lagoon is to exit the spa into the frigid Icelandic air and
walk carefully sort of run/tip-toe to the pool. The water is about 103°F but the 10 second run from the spa is COLD. Even worse is exiting the steaming hot water and frantically searching for your towel on the rack while your exposed body parts begin to ice over. It’s all so very glamorous.
4. “FUDGE! That’s wicked spicy!”
I’m pretty wimpy when it comes to spicy food but damn, I love me some crawfish. Crawdads, crayfish, mudbugs. The “whose-a-whats-its?” as they are called in Boston. Living in New England, traveling home to Memphis is the only time I get to enjoy the likes of these delicious little critters. Memphis has a handful of decent (and one huge) crawfish festivals in the spring and I was lucky enough to find one during my trip. These pictured above were some of the spiciest I’ve ever tasted but man were they good. Oh, and though I haven’t lived in Boston all that long, the word ‘wicked’ is already an unfortunate staple in my vocabulary.
5. “Look at what the FUDGE we’re doing right now!”
Disclaimer: I should go ahead and mention that this is just one of about 450 examples of when the word ‘fudge’ was used the day we completed the via ferrata in Switzerland. Also making an appearance:
- Oh my god, she’s fudging crying.
- Just fudging go already!
- Ashley, I fudging hate you!
- What the fudge was I thinking?
- I feel so fudging alive!
6. “There’s no FUDGING way I’m sleeping there.”
On our drive from Boston to Ohio for Thanksgiving we found ourselves in a pretty significant snow storm, stranding us in Scranton, Pennsylvania. I had never been to the home of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Co.** before and my husband only knew of one place from when he used to visit quite often. He regularly stayed in the “haunted hotel” and tried to convince me to stay there that night. NO WAY am I staying in a haunted hotel. Just absolutely no way.
This is the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel. It opened as a train station in 1908 and later reopened as a hotel. Train stations and hotels – arguably the two creepiest things out there. The train station’s basement is said to have been used as a morgue during WWI, holding the bodies of soldiers killed overseas until family members could claim them. Basement, morgue, bodies? Oh, no no no. Kittens, butterflies, snuggles? Oh, yes yes yes.
I called my mother In Tennessee to book a room for us and she says to me, “You mean you will do all that crazy stuff in Europe but you won’t spend the night at a haunted hotel?” Oh hellll no! That lady be trippin’. We actually, accidentally, ended up staying at the Hilton right next door to the Lackawanna. My husband was super excited and I agreed to beers in the haunted hotel bar… and tortellini if we’re being thorough here. The hotel is actually quite gorgeous and still very train station-y which I love. I wasn’t scared at all until my husband said that all the people in the bar were probably ghosts. Like that scene in The Shining when Jack Nicholson is at that super happenin’ hotel bar but it turns out the bartender and all those dancing fools from the 1920s aren’t really there. No thank you.
And then this happened:
A glass just fell off the bar and shattered. I’M OUTTA HERE. #whoyagonnacall
— My Wanderlusty Life (@wanderlustylife) November 27, 2014
— My Wanderlusty Life (@wanderlustylife) November 27, 2014
So the verdict is still out on my opinion of haunted-ness towards the Lackawanna Station Hotel. It’s not as creepy as I imagined and I might, MIGHT, be willing to give it a stay. Whether or not I will actually get any sleep is another story. Good pasta though…
7. “Oh my lord that was FUDGING delicious!”
At home I maintain a mostly un-carnivorous lifestyle. However, when I travel abroad I do not deny myself the chance to sample signature local foods. In Iceland that means chowing down on some Icelandic hot dogs from the super famous Bæjarins beztu pylsur. I ordered “the Bill Clinton” (hot dog with just mustard) and it was kick-you-in-the-crotch, spit-on-your-neck fantastic! Now, let me preface this by saying that I haven’t had a real hot dog in about six years so my opinion may be a little skewed but really though, it was heavenly. They contain beef and pork, but mostly lamb (I may have cried a little). Icelandic “mustard”, whatever it is, is fantastic! It’s my opinion that sampling local foods is a crucial part of traveling, even if it may contradict your eating habits back home. Live a little! Besides, it was either that or whale… or fermented shark.
8. “How the FUDGE did those people ride in that boat so long?”
I’m of course talking about the Mayflower. This photo is of the Mayflower II, the exact replica of the original Mayflower, that floats in Plymouth Harbor, mere steps away from the actual Plymouth Rock. You can actually board this ship and walk around, scoffing at the conditions these folks had to live with, even if you are secretly jealous that they got to sleep in hammocks. Since you’ve probably forgotten everything you learned in elementary school, I thought I’d give you an early holiday present in the form of a School House Rock video, because that’s how much I love my readers!
OK back to business. First of all, the Mayflower was wicked, wicked small – about 25 feet wide and 106 feet long. It set sail with 102 passengers and approximately 30 crew members crossing the Atlantic ocean on a voyage lasting nine months. That is such tight quarters! How did they all sleep? How did they pass the time? Where did they keep all the food? Actually, what food could they possibly keep on a boat for nine months? Look at what these people did in the name of religious freedom! I can’t even be bothered to pick up the remote control when I’m already under a blanket on the couch. Luckily all these questions were answered aboard the ship. And by actual people in pilgrim garb in full character – love! Click here if you’re a history nerd.
9. “What the FUDGE? Look at those pigeons!”
I’ve told you before, I often photograph pigeons on my travels; I can’t help it! But this is a new one for me. Those pigeons are just walking into that apartment! There is a small open space between the air conditioning unit (still up in October?) and the window frame and these pigeons are just coming and going as they please, one after the other. I saw five pigeons enter this way together at one point. Is the apartment abandoned? Is there a crazy person inside feeding them Cap’n Crunch straight from the box and referring to them as “my babies”? Is the resident dead inside and the pigeons are just fearlessly raging it up? Should I have called SVU? We will never know.
10. “Those guys are FUDGING nuts!”
If I said the landlocked city of Munich had some of Europe’s best surfing, you’d probably think I’d been hitting the dunkel too hard, am I right? Wrong suckas! This surfing occurs on the Eisbach, a man-made river that runs through Munich’s English Garden. At a couple of points the river forms standing waves which are then harnessed by experienced surfer dudes who are probably not drunk. The river is shallow making it pretty dangerous hence the above quote. Not to mention it’s pretty narrow. Look how easy it would be to fudge up your ride and go sailing head first into that concrete wall. Do you think when a German hits their head they see tiny Aloisius-es circling their heads?
11. “This is too FUDGING weird.”
This is Dre Head, the shrunken head hanging inside the Knight Bus. You know, from Harry Potter? Come on, sheesh! Anyway, while visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida I encountered the Knight Bus. My friend and I were getting our photo taken in front of it when this head began making conversation. It moves around and looks directly at you while asking your name. I ignored it for obvious reasons. But then I asked the “Knight Bus driver” standing nearby if he really wanted to know my name. So I went back to Dre Head and answered, “My name is Ashley.” In his Jamaican accent he replies, “Wellll hello Ashley. Where you from?” I answered, totally amazed – maybe I’d had too much Wizard’s Brew! He then made some hilariously accurate joke about Boston. It got to be a little too much after a while of chatting directly with a shrunken head. But that’s just part of the magic you can only find in Orlando, Florida! See an example here.
12. “70 FUDGING dollars?!”
Yes, sadly that is a picture of a Domino’s pizza. Iceland is expensive, y’all! We stayed outside the city so the dinner options were quite limited, but this Domino’s was a five minute walk from our hotel. Between the five of us, we ordered three medium pizzas and a two-liter of Sprite. The cashier gave us the total, in Icelandic Krona, and my friends paid it no questions asked. I started doing the math in my head and, if I was correct (a rare occurrence when math is involved), we just spent $70 on our small order. Yes, I was correct. However, it was one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had (and I lived in Italy!) and the Sprite was just absolutely necessary to accompany my duty-free Crown Royal. At least in a place as expensive as Iceland you can still get your duties for free.
13. “I’m the FUDGING bird whisperer!”
I make friends everywhere I go. Animal friends, that is. I’m too loud for people; I get shushed a lot. This was at the summit of Mount Jackson, a mountain in the Presidential Range of New Hampshire’s White Mountains with an elevation of 4,052 feet. This was after three hours of hiking straight up a mountain, not on a clearly defined trail, but one made exclusively of tree roots and enormous boulders. I likened it to ascending Nickelodeon’s Aggro-crag, only without the confetti, but instead with blood, ripped pants, and bruised shins. There were times that we didn’t even know if we were on the trail anymore. My husband couldn’t be held back by our slow asses anymore and took off on his own. My friend and her husband used bird calls to maintain contact with each other (I have awesome friends) so it was only fitting that the birds joined us when we reached the summit! That, and we had Triscuits.
14. “Are you familiar with the word ‘FUDGE’?”
These are the friends we made at Oktoberfest. We never got their names (rule #1 of friend-making?) but Left is from Munich and Right is from Luxembourg, how awesome! We became fast friends when they walked by, reached in the bag of popcorn I was holding, took a handful, and kept walking. Ballsy. So naturally it wasn’t long before they were teaching us loads of German profanity in front of the Bavaria statue. We tried to reciprocate but not surprisingly they already knew all the good ones! Scheiße!
* BONUS: Here I am throwin’ up f-bombs in front of the Easter Bunny, as one does.
** I have never seen The Office.
WHAT WAS AN INSTANCE WHEN YOU -DIDN’T SAY FUDGE- THIS YEAR?