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Posts Tagged ‘bourbon’

About two weeks back I was feeling pretty down, and wrote about it here (Feeling Charlie Brown).  I was feeling particularly low about the lack of opportunities for socializing in my life, and while I can certainly entertain myself quite well most of the time, I do have a side of me that craves the kind of human interaction that involves being around people you like being around, who also like being around you.  It’s something that I think a lot of people take for granted, but I can testify there can be paths life takes you down that leaves you with a dearth of those opportunities.

I mean, take the Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival that travels around the East Coast and made a stop in Richmond this past weekend.  I’ve written about it here before, and every time I thought about the festival, it just sounded like a helluva good time.  Who wouldn’t want to go?!  Well, apparently the vast majority of my friends, which just left me perplexed, on top of being bummed.

Thank goodness for friend and fellow blogger beautifulmess7, who rode to my rescue!  Even though she had plans with her family for late afternoon, she agreed that a Beer, Bourbon & BBQ festival sounded like a helluva good time and said she’d love to go with me if I didn’t mind getting back in time for her to make family gathering.  The event was open from 2 – 6pm, but I figured if we got there at 2ish and were taking shots (err… samples) of bourbon with some frequency that a couple hours should be plenty of time if we didn’t want to be crawling ourselves out of there.

Cheers

I thoroughly enjoyed myself!  The event was just as fun as I’d hoped it would be, and beautifulmess7 was the perfect partner-in-crime to enjoy it with.  She said it was a lot like wine tasting events, though I suspect a slightly different crowd was here for the bourbon.  I wouldn’t say it was rowdy, but it was definitely lively!

There were a ton of bourbons to sample, and beautifulmess7 ran around and tried each booth right beside me.  Most ranged from decent to delicious, though we did encounter a couple stinkers that actually forced us to dump them out.  There was even a token Vodka booth which felt a little like a fly in the ointment, but my liberal sense of inclusion prevented me from getting too offended by its presence.

BBBBQ04

This certainly seemed like an odd pairing, but… we love dark chocolate and we love bacon… two great tastes that go great together… maybe?  The very first time it hits your taste buds it’s odd… but it quickly grows on you and by the time we left I made sure to pick up a bag.

BBBBQ01

Early on there was apparently a place you could get your glass dipped in wax like they do with Maker’s Mark bourbon (see the glasses in the pic above) but we didn’t find out about it until they’d stopped doing it.  We also heard about some sort of clear bourbon that Jim Beam was featuring, that was apparently selling for quite the premium, but we were assured that it just tasted like regular ol’ Jim Beam.  When we went by the Jim Beam booth they’d run out of it.

BBBBQ03

I bought this late in the day when I had a good buzz going and my silly-buying-inhibitions were low.  Just seemed like a funny shotglass that I had to own.

The bourbons I recall being particularly yummy:  High West Double Rye (High West makes bourbon out of Utah!), Buffalo Trace Distillery Small Batch, Maker’s Mark (of course), and Knob Creek Rye.  There were others that were good too, but those made an impression through the buzz that crept up on me.  Maybe beautifulmess7 can chime in with some of her faves in the comments?

BBBBQ02

These guys had a fun booth with a wheel you could spin for silly little prizes.  Their bourbon however was mediocre.

I have to say it was so nice to have beautifulmess7 there with me.  She was fun, we chatted and laughed the whole time as we waited in line, circulated around, or sat for a bit listening to the live music.  She was more than willing to sample everything with me, and she easily struck up conversations with other festival-goers.  As it got late in the afternoon and we made our way to leave, I could tell she was up for staying longer if she hadn’t had other plans.

We took a taxi ride home with a hugely entertaining cabbie, who was from the Eastern Shore of Virginia and had us both craving seafood by the time he dropped us off.  I got beautifulmess7 a big glass of water and we sat in the AC and cooled off a bit in my living room and chatted while she made sure she was okay for driving.  It was just delightful talking about all sorts of things, a perfect cap to a really nice day.

To add to such a nice weekend, I’d been able to get some bonus time with my kids the night before.  My sister and her kids were coming through town and staying with my step-mom for a couple days, and it had been a really long time since our kids had had “cousin-time” together (she has a daughter and son too, and they’re all around the same ages).  It wasn’t my weekend with the kids, but their mom agreed to let me pick them up and stay the night over at my step-mom’s house.  We had a great time catching up, and I taught my niece and nephew to play Settlers of Cataan with my kids, and helped my 7 year old nephew win the first game.  He was hooked!

So last night before heading to bed, I was just feeling really great and put this up on my Facebook page before letting all the busy-ness and bourbon carry me off to slumber…

Yay

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Hi folks, I realize that I left some of y’all with a bit of a cliff-hanger a few weeks back when I wrote about finally getting together with my old friend JL for dinner after not seeing each other for years and years.  So anyway, here’s a quick recap of the evening…

I get a text from her about an hour before we’re supposed to meet and she says, according to her GPS, she’ll be about 15 minutes late.  No problem I tell her, drive safe and I’ll see you there.  I decide to head on over at 6pm to grab a table since we are meeting at a pretty popular Mexican restaurant at dinnertime on a Saturday.  I pause outside to send her a text saying that I’m here, but then see that she’d already texted me that she got there early and has nabbed a table already and tells me where in inside she’s sitting.

Again, I marvel at how nice smartphones are for socializing!

As I approach the table she hops up to wave me down, and then gives me a big hug.  She’s still beautiful– tall, lovely figure, and a smile that lights up the room.  The waiter arrives right on cue and she orders a margarita– a gal after my own heart!  I order the same, and we start with some small talk as we glance over the menu.  When the margaritas arrive they’re sufficiently large and sufficiently strong, and after we place our orders we start talking about life, the universe, and everything.

You know when you have a friend that’s just so easy to talk with?  Me and JL seemed to have that going on.  Our dinner and conversation lasted two and a half hours, talking about old times, our lives, my kids, her boyfriend, our exes (she was previously married too), books, movies, television shows, politics.  We chatted for so long I had to order another margarita!  Honestly, I think we could have gone on for longer but I thought that perhaps her boyfriend might start to worry about her, so I reluctantly said goodbye and we promised to get together again soon.

Oh yeah… there was also the matter of the gal she knows that she wants to set me up with!  We talked a little bit about her and she sounds like a sweet woman who has apparently been a bit unlucky in love.  JL said she was about ready to give up on men– Oh no!  I said, don’t give up!  I mean, I’ve been about as unlucky as you can get and I still hold out hope for love and romance.

Anyway, JL mentioned that she’d seen my Facebook event for this year’s Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival in Richmond.  After not being able to rustle up anyone to go with me last year — an utter tragedy — I made a Facebook event for it several months in advance and will be beating the drums and sending out notices to all my friends to round up at least a few of them to go with me.  JL mentioned that maybe she could bring her friend with her that weekend and they could go with us– sounded like a plan to me!

 

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I remember when I first heard about the Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival last year and was totally bummed I was working that weekend and really couldn’t afford to take the day off to go.  Now, I’m not nearly as into partying and eating as I used to be back in the day, but I do really like bourbon and really like BBQ, and the thought of spending the afternoon tasting bourbon and eating BBQ, listening to live music and checking in with seminars about how bourbon is made sounded freaking awesome to me.

So when I heard that it was coming up again this year, in June– the month that I’m finally able to not work on Saturdays anymore and can actually have the time and money to go to something like this– I was super-stoked!  My plot was to have everyone pile into my van, go sample bourbon and BBQ all afternoon, and take a taxi back to my house where we can sober-up or just continue the party, depending on whatever mood we were in.  I mean, to me it seemed like a can’t miss, good time right?

Sadly… I’ve not been able to rustle up anyone to go.  I had a couple friends I thought for sure would want to go, but they passed.  I put the event up on Facebook figuring maybe I’d get a surprise nibble of interest.  Zip.  Going alone sounds depressing, so I suppose I’ll be looking for something else to do this Saturday.

Here’s hoping the next woman in my life will enjoy going out to festivals and having fun like this, even spur-of-the-moment, because I’m not sure I’ve got a circle of friends who I can count on to do these sorts of things with.

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[I first wrote this post on Livejournal some years back about finally meeting a woman I’d gotten to know online.  I loved her writing, her sense of humor and her smarts, and one day we made plans to get together and hang out one evening (she lived in nearby Charlottesville).  Given that she turned out to be quite amazing both in person and online, I thought made it appropriate to repost on MyIdealWoman as an homage to a wonderful woman.  We hung out another weekend for the Virginia Film Festival and had a great time, but she now lives in San Francisco so I haven’t seen her in a while, but keep up with her on Facebook.  

NOTE:  I mention “my wife” in the post, this was originally written before we split up.  — Bennie]

On June 25th, my birthday, I knew I wanted to go see Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11. Now, I typically go see movies by myself for several reasons: first, my wife  is the polar opposite of me in terms of being a fan of movies– she doesn’t hate them, per se, but she can take ’em or leave ’em. Movies come out that she finds interesting, but not enough to make any sort of effort to work in time to see them. It used to drive me crazy when we started dating, because when a movie came out that she’d expressed interest in seeing, I’d hold off seeing it myself trying to get her to go with me and typically weeks would pass with her rather doing other things than going to the movies, and I’d eventually give up and just go and see it myself. I can’t remember the last time the two of us went out to the movies together– it’s been years.

Second, the rare nights when I might be able to slip out to see a movie, I have no idea when I’m actually going to be able to hit a theater. Getting my son home, helping to get both kids fed, bathed, and ready for bed is typically a variable affair dependent on how ornery either or both kids want to be. I can step out the door anytime between 7:30 and 8:30 or even later, which means I really can’t commit to a time and place. This makes it tough to meet friends to see a movie. So basically I hit the car, check the time, look at the paper and try to find a show that fits for a solo movie run.

June 25th was going to be different. It fell on a Friday, when I’m typically going down to the game shop to hang out with friends and I don’t usually get home until very late. So swapping “hanging at the game shop” for “going to see a movie” was pretty easy. What was really cool was that when Alena found out I was wanting to see the movie, she suggested meeting me there. I was finally going to meet Alena!

(more…)

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