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Posts Tagged ‘new friends’

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.

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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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So I decided to go to the party!  After 12 hours of work, I was still feeling peppy enough (after a diet Mountain Dew) to feel up to a little partying, so I took the long drive out to Powhatan County, arriving about 15 minutes before midnight.  As I drove up I noticed most everybody was outside milling about with their drinks.  A man and a woman I didn’t know directed me to a parking spot and came over to my car as I got out.

“Do you want a beer or your nipples red?” the gentleman asked me, and the woman laughed.

“Ummmm… well, I just got here so how about let’s start with a beer?” I replied to the totally unexpected question.  Nice recovery eh?

Actual real fireworks began to launch into the air.  We’re way out in the country, so I suspect the law won’t be coming ’round to stop it.  I hear a few people shout “you’re early, it’s not midnight yet!” so as I walk with the gentleman to get a beer I raise my hands.  “Thank you, thank you– fireworks are a great way to celebrate my arrival!”  I got some laughs.  Considering the only people I knew were Ellen and her boyfriend, I was hoping to hit it off with these new folks.

I came back outside with the beer, found Ellen and gave her a hug.  The initial man and woman came back around to me.  “Okay, I got your beer, are you sure you don’t want your nipples red?”  The woman giggled again, and I was just perplexed, really unsure how to answer.  She put her hand on my arm and said “Well, I can read both palms and nipples.  You can tell a lot from someone’s nipples and it’s more fun!”

The lightbulb went off.  Not nipples red, but nipples read, as in the past tense of read.  Ah, English can be such a damned-able language sometimes.

I laughed and explained how I misunderstood what they were asking– how I assumed they were basically asking if I wanted someone to tweak my nipples until they were red in color, and was wondering just what they hell sort of party I’d come to?  We all laughed, and it was pretty obvious that everyone had been “celebrating” for quite a while before I got there.  I had a lot of catching up to do.

“So,” the woman said.  “Want me to read your nipples?”

“I reserve the right to answer that once I’ve had more beers,” I replied.

After that first beer though I switched to liquor.  There was no way I could catch up to the general level of inebriation by drinking beer unless I was willing to rewind the clock 25 years and shotgun them, and I’d brought vodka and bloody mary mix to indulge with.  There was even a veggie tray I could use for celery stirrers!

I got my first bloody mary drink fixed and initial sipping done when the countdown on the TV said it was 2013.  Everyone cheered and started kissing everyone — ooooh, my kind of party!  Ellen looked around and then shrugged.  “Well, since my boyfriend is no where to be found, you’ll do!” and gave me a kiss.

Nipple-reading gal — who’s name turned out to be Tammy — came over to me.  “I’ve got this mistletoe following me around,” she said, gesturing to the imaginary evergreen hovering over her head.  “Well then, we better do something about that,” I said, and kissed her too.  60 seconds into 2013 and I’d gotten kissed by two women.  A damn fine start to the year!

Over the course of the evening — which lasted until 5am or so — I got to know Ellen and her boyfriend’s friends and really enjoyed hanging out with them.  They had that nice easy rapport of folks who’ve been friends a long time, and yet were also very friendly and open to this stranger from Ellen’s past.  I’d brought some fixings for B-52 shooters (a layered drink of Kahlua, Irish Creme, and a dollop of orange cognac)  and that made a pretty good ice-breaker for those willing to give it a try.  I brought the drink for nostalgia’s sake, because back when Ellen and I dated I used to make them for us at parties.  Everyone who tried them liked them.

I found it pretty easy to be comfortable with this group of friends, and tried to make sure to join in as many conversations as I could.

“I must confess to being a nipple reader myself,” I joked at one point.  “However, I must also confess it’s been a while so I’m probably a bit rusty…”  I got some laughs.  It felt good.

The party finally started to wind down super-late.  We’d been hanging out in his huge garage in the back of the property, and it had rooms attached to it that included a “mother-in-law suite” where one couple bunked down, and another room with two double beds where Tammy and her male friend both grabbed a bed.  My crash place was on a futon in a little den area near the bathroom (which seemed like a decent place to be).  I was having a tough time getting comfortable when suddenly I noticed that Tammy had walked in.  She waved.  “Hi.  I’ve slept on that futon and it’s not very comfortable.  I’ve got room if you want to sleep on a real bed.  Think about it, I gotta go pee.”  By the time she was done I had my pillow and clothes and ready to take her up on the offer.  Alone on an uncomfortable futon or beside a woman in a real bed?  Was there any question?  We get over to the room and her friend is snoring away in the other bed.  We snuggle up together, chat for a little while before sleep overtakes us.

I remembered to drink some Gatorade before bed, so when I woke up 5 hours later I didn’t feel too bad.  Everyone was slow moving, but eventually got in gear enough to go ahead and drive on home.  As I made my way back to my side of town, I couldn’t stop smiling.  I’d had such a great time– meeting some cool new people, had a lot of laughs, got some New Year’s kisses and went to sleep snuggled up with a woman for the first time in… well, too damn long.  If the way you start the new year can be indicative of how the rest of the year unfolds, 2013 is shaping up to be quite nice!

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