Thursday, May 22, 2008

Fading Past in a Tattered Box

The past few weeks have really made me think a lot about my life. Nothing in particular happened, but I've realized a few things. Since last fall, May/June has been jam packed with things to do. Commitments we felt we couldn't get out of. A family reunion and two weddings. Initially, I was really looking forward to the weddings because it meant I got to hang out with friends from college who I never get to see.

The first one we planned for was Aldon's. It's in Nashville on June 7th. We bought our plane tickets, reserved our rental car, made arrangements to board the dogs , got a hotel and couldn't wait for the trip. Since we were going through the trouble of going all the way there, we decided to take a few extra days and explore Nashville since I hadn't been in about 11 years. The trip quickly turned very expensive. Then in December, Leslie announced she too was getting married..2 weeks before Aldon up near Charlottesville, VA. That would be this upcoming Saturday..the 24th. So..3 out of 4 weekends we're going to have to board the dogs at $51 a night. Ouch.

Jeff's parents agreed to watch the dogs for Leslie's wedding, but we're stuck paying the $310 to board them for Nashville. Anyhow, I started wondering why I'm going through all this trouble. I don't think they would've gone out of their way to attend my wedding or come visit. I can't even get them to return emails. I thought for sure Leslie would've kept in touch since we were roommates, but I hardly know her now. We forward emails to each other here and there..but that's where it stops. I am no longer a part of her life and haven't been for quite awhile. Aldon and I were never really that close and I have no idea why I'm spending so much money to see him get married. I think I just wanted to feel like a part of something and belong again.

I realized that I don't really have any close friends other than Jeff. There's my sister, but she's moving and about to become a mom so I feel it'll be harder to keep in touch. All the friends I used to have are now internet and email friends. A Myspace message here, a Facebook Superpoke there, an "are you alive" email every so often..but that's where it ends. I have no one to go out and have girls night with. No one who calls and says, "Hey girl! DSW is having a huge sale this weekend..I was thinking Mexican food and in?" I know a lot of it is because I work 12 hour night shifts and it's next to impossible to schedule things with those in the "normal" world.

My closest friend here I met at work and since she took another job...I can't get her to call me back. I haven't seen or heard from her in months despite leaving numerous messages. This brings me to a key question...why do I keep trying to cling to a past that I've outgrown?? Or maybe it's outgrown me..I'm not sure. Either way..I've changed quite a bit since college and maybe since that's behind me, I should leave the friends I met there behind too. Some things just cannot be moved through time and stay intact.

I see no benefit in trying to hang on to the strings of these relationships. The only thing I get from them is wistful memories. I still care for them, but I did my part to try to stay in touch and the actions weren't reciprocated. When I saw Leslie at our little reunion in Oct. of 06..which was the first time in 7 years that I'd seen her....she said.."I'm so glad you're back in my life!" That surprised me because in my mind..I'd never left to begin with. I feel a sense of loss and sadness over the fact that I'm no longer in their little group. Leslie, Candi and Mick have all stayed really close and the rest of us have gone our own way. It's not too surprising though..we're all so spread out that it's hard to see each other. Do I still call them "friends" or do I now refer to them as "acquaintances"?

I'm just lonely and feeling a bit down, so I think that's why I'm going so far out of my way to go to these weddings. Maybe it's so I can see them and determine if the friendships are worth saving. Or maybe I'm going to see them one last time before I put my memories of them in the tattered keepsake box of my mind. Maybe all I need is closure as I watch small pieces of my former life fade away. I hope it'll be enough to help me move on. I no longer want to feel the need to cling to what was. Life is too short for that.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Retarded Childrens Thrift Store

I know..sounds bad, right? It's real. Yes..a real place. When Jeff and I were in California on our honeymoon back in 2001, we stopped in Ventura, CA to have dinner at a very yummy mexican restaurant called Yolanda's. On our way down main street, we passed the store, whipped our heads around and then just stared at each other. So..Jeff drove around the block so we could go back by it and get a picture.You can look it up on Flick'r or Google Images. I tried uploading it here..but it wouldn't let me.I recently found this news article on Ventura's newspaper website, The Ventura County Star . I have highlighted what stands out to me.

Nonprofit's name change to show up on thrift stores

By Jennifer Saturday, September 1, 2007

Visitors to the Ventura and Oxnard locations will see a noticeable change at the Retarded Children's Thrift Store and Retarded Citizens Thrift Store.

Both stores will read The Arc Foundation Thrift Store by Sept. 10 if all goes according to schedule.

Replacing signs is one of the final steps to complete two official name changes. The Association for Retarded Citizens of Ventura County will be called The Arc of Ventura County, and its counterpart, the Foundation for Retarded Citizens of Ventura County, will be called The Arc Foundation of Ventura County.

The Arc of Ventura County is a nonprofit organization that provides education, vocational and residential services for people with developmental disabilities, including case management, job placement, job coaching and independent-living training.

"I've been encouraged to have this change for a while," said Fred Robinson, its CEO.

He said the organization has used The Arc of Ventura County unofficially since the early '90s, after the Association for Retarded Citizens of the United States became The Arc of the United States in 1992.

Further motivation came in November, when the American Association on Mental Retardation changed its name to the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

As part of the official name change, anywhere "retarded" appears it will be removed, including signs, documents and literature.

Several years ago the athletes of Special Olympics came to management and expressed how hurtful they regarded the word "retarded," said Leslie Aun, Special Olympics International spokeswoman. Although the word goes back a long time, today it is outdated and often misused, she said.

The Arc of Ventura "is joining the recognition that it is a hurtful word, and in many ways, it's often used negatively," said Aun.

The Arc of Ventura County, established in 1954, serves more than 800 people through its programs. The original name, Association for Retarded Children of Ventura County, came about because of the founding father's children. In the '80s, the word "Children" was changed to "Citizens."

The Foundation for Retarded Citizens of Ventura County, now The Arc Foundation of Ventura County, was established in 1989 as a nonprofit corporation to raise funds to support the nonprofit's programs and services.

The thrift stores are at 265 E. Main St., Ventura, and 625 N. Oxnard Blvd., Oxnard. Both are open seven days a week. in 1992 the Asso. for Retarded Citizens of the US changed their name to the ARC of the US.'d think that maybe Ventura would've caught on and just gone ahead and officially changed their name..but no. They've been trying to get Mr. CEO to change the name for quite awhile apparently and a complaint from several years ago...from the S.O. athletes no less.. finally gets acknowledged. While I find the name of the store a bit offensive and's because of it's tactlessness that I also find it funny. Naming it the Retarded Children's Thrift Store is just evidence of some big cojones. I about just putting it all out there, you know? They've refused to join the "politically correct" society and I'm not sure whether to applaud them or smack them.

My question however, is why did it take so long for them to realize that "retarded" is a derogatory word and is meant to insult people? Could it possibly be that perhaps they are retarded? Oh..I'm sorry.."developmentally disabled"? Probably not, but's a question worth pondering. I am glad that I got to see it before it's name was changed. My pictures will now be safeguarded by robots and flying monkeys.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Um...what?? Bacon Vodka?!?!

I don't understand this. Bacon flavored vodka?? Seriously?? Yes, it's real! Check out this article I found on (orignally from ) :

The scoop on bacon vodka

I did it.

I drank ... drum roll please ... bacon vodka. At Capt. Larry's.

Oh yes.

You: So, stop stalling and tell us how it tasted, Sessa!

Me: OK.

Do you know those dog treats Beggin Strips? That's what it reminded me of.

Not to say I've eaten Beggin Strips. But I've smelled them.
And, oddly enough, they were the first thing to come to mind when I did the shot.

If I were reviewing bacon vodka for the New York Times, I would describe it thusly:

"The drink had a robust, meaty aroma that pleased the palette, grounded by a sharp undercurrent of liquor. It will surely stimulate the senses of breakfast aficionados." --Sam Sessa

Wow. What next? Baked beans vodka? Sausage & Egg Vodkatini's...and instead of an's a chunk of sausage...rimmed with sausage fat and biscuit crumbs instead of sugar? Yum yum..makes you start to salivate, right?? I'm kinda grossed out...but it's a concoction that represents the good ol' American diet. Fatty meat and liquor. Both are good in their own right..but combining them..I just don't know. I'm not the biggest bacon fat..I mean fan... in the world...and vodka makes me ill, so I imagine this would leave much to be desired for my palate. Jeff however, would probably love this.

Last weekend, we went to a housewarming party at his friend Matt Cheeley's house. The last time we saw him and his wife Kristie-Sue (sp?--sorry if it's wrong!) was at Adam's Christmas party. He served water chesnuts wrapped in bacon and it sparked the conversation that it was just an excuse to eat the bacon. Then, Cheeley commented that someone should just bring bacon to a party because everyone would be saying.."Bacon?? Why would someone just bring bacon to a party?"...all the while..chowing down on it. husband brought Cheeley's ideas to fruition and brought bacon to the housewarming party. Two packs of it actually...and wouldn't you know, Cheeley was right! Everybody was devouring the bacon all the while saying things like.."Bacon? Well this is unusual" and "Mmm..this bacon is awesome!" or "This is some good bacon!" I think there were only a couple of pieces left by the time we went home. So for your next party..if you have no idea what to bring..bring bacon. It's cheap, easy and a huge hit. We took Gwaltney's Brown Sugar Bacon. The key is to cook it on a low comes out perfect.

So..on to other things. Cheeley's party was a lot of fun. His house is awesome and very unique. There's lots of holes in it..going from room to room..we're assuming for air circulation. While really neat to look at, you can also hear everything going on in the house from any room...this must be why the one to the master bedroom was sealed off. The house is in a secluded woodsy area just on the outskirts of you still get the rural feel while only being a few minutes from the city. We had a great time, good food, some laughs and ended up with a free dog house which we get to display when we throw our party in August. We were volunteered to throw it by some of Jeff's friends since we live in the middle of nowhere. I just know the words guns, bonfire, and beer were mentioned. Oh boy...great combination...LOL! I think we'll tell people to bring tents if they wish so they can crash somewhere if they drink too much. We have some room in the house, but plenty of space for everyone to pitch tents. Hopefully by then we'll have the fence finished and the moulding in the den back up.

Anyhow..the only other news worth mentioning is that Summer..a girl I sporadically work with gave me a bunch of stuff to give to Kelly since she's having a girl. I went to pick it up this week and it included a Pack and Play playpen, a lot of clothes, toys, a carrier, bottles, bottle liners, a wipe warmer, bottle warmer, a walker..and that was just this time around..she still had a ton of stuff left. I also got to talk with Summer for about 2 hours and play with her little girl Aspen. I hadn't seen her in awhile, so it was nice to catch up.

The last bit of news is that Jeff and I bought another car today. He's been eyeing a new Miata for MONTHS and finally found one worth going to see. It's a 91 british racing green Miata with tan leather seats and a tan top and it only has 46,000 miles on it. It was owned by a guy who collects cars so it's been garaged for 17 years. It has a couple dings here and there but that's to be expected on any car. The engine is super clean and it runs great. We also got it for about $3,000 less that what it's worth b/c the guy didn't know what he had. There were only 4,000 of that particular car made that year with that package in that it's fairly rare. We hadn't really intended on buying a car right now, but at the price he was asking..we couldn't pass it up. He's going to try selling his Caprice and then I'm going to use the red Miata he's been driving as a commuter to save the mileage on my Nissan.

Ok..I think that's all for now. If I think of anything else worth mentioning..I will. Hope everybody enjoys their weekend and has time to kick back with a nice glass of bacon vodka!!