Monday, April 13, 2015

End of an Era - Saturn is in it's Last House

My first car was a 1975 Oldsmobile Omega SX and I did a post about it HERE. My mom and dad bought me that car as a graduation present from high school. I was allowed to keep it until I finished high school and then while I completed a 2 year junior college and then I was to give it to my sister, which I did.

My second car was sort of a gift from my paternal grandfather. He wanted to give it to me, but my dad wouldn't let him, my dad said I had to buy it from my Tata. So dad and I went down to good ol' Bank of America and dad co-signed my first auto loan and I made every single payment on time to my Tata.

From then on every car was a purchase with my husband. The last car my husband I purchased together was a red Ford Explorer. When we divorced I got custody of the Explorer and of our two kids, all in all I got the better deal, as my ex only ended up with himself! But that's another story and we won't go there!

Back in September of 2003 my poor little Explorer's transmission just decided it had given it's all for me and my little family and it died. So with a heavy heart I had to go out shopping for my own car. No dad, no husband, just me.

I remember the day like it was yesterday. September 9, 2003. I headed out that day on my own to buy a car. I had never bought a car on my own. 

I remember test driving cars at Honda and Toyota and Ford and while they all approved me, the monthly price and the down payment was way more than I was comfortable with. I didn't know what to do. I drove away dejected and defeated!

As I came around the corner I saw a salesman showing a couple a car that had these super fantastic doors. I didn't know what this car was but the doors intrigued me as they opened like this:

I thought that was the coolest thing ever and I bravely stopped to ask about this car. A salesman by the name of Ron came up to me as I stood there looking, with my mouth open, at this car. I asked about those doors and told him I wanted one just like it!

We looked at a few but by now I could do the numbers in my head and I knew that I couldn't afford the car, so I told him so. He said he was going to show me a car I could afford...and he did. 

Did it have fancy doors? A cool paint job? Great wheels? No...but guess what? It was affordable and it had dent resistant doors. I know this because Ron beat and kicked the door of the car I test drove and when I decided I wanted to go in and go over the numbers on it I remember telling him I wanted a different one, not the one he beat up (even though there wasn't a scratch on it). He said no, that car, the one I test drove, that was going to be my car. He said as long as I had it I was never going to have to worry about dents and dings because of the doors Saturn had put on it. 

Well there...I let the cat out of the bag and told you what kind of car it was. It was a brand new 2003 Saturn Ion, and 12 years later, this is that car.

See...not a scratch or a ding on those doors! This was the first car that I ever bought on my own. This car and I went through so many things together. Twelve years is a long time and I'm going to miss her. She kept on trucking like a trooper until one morning she gave her life's blood (oil) all over my driveway and my mechanic said he could fix her, but he wouldn't because I couldn't afford it and he wasn't going to do all that needed to be done because he physically wasn't able too anymore. My car and my mechanic both got old on me.

So I have a new car and I'm sure that I will make many memories and have good times and bad with the new one...but nothing will ever be as special to me as that Saturn Ion. The first car I ever bought and paid for all on my own! Goodbye Sweet Saturn, I will always miss you!


Friday, April 10, 2015

Don't Lose Your Loved Ones a Second Time

March 28, 2015 - I started this post on March 28th but never posted it. So sorry, but here it is.

"It's a little like Facebook meets Google Maps but for Dead People" - Pacific Coast Business Times

That's part of the advertising on the brochure for a company called And it really is like the quote above says. 

Photo taken at the Booth
This weekend my sister Lisa and I are in San Luis Obispo for 57th annual conference put on by the California Association of Public Cemeteries. We arrived on Thursday and that evening there was a "meet and greet" put on by the vendors, one of them being 

A hosted bar meant the wine flowed freely. There were sharply dressed waiters cruising the room with trays loaded with different delicacies, Pot stickers with peanut Sauce, Teriyaki Beef Sticks, Cheeseburger Sliders, Sausage and Vegetable Kabobs and Sushi. There was also a buffet table set up with assorted meats and cheeses, various fruits and veggies, a beautiful assortment of olives and guacamole and mini taquitos.

While we gorged on the delicacies so graciously provided by the vendors, we toured the room stopping at the various booths set up by the vendors with their wares. One of them was the one I've already mentioned,

What caught my attention about them was the brochure they had on a table for interested parties to take with them, and the catchy slogan that said, "you've already lost your loved ones once, don't lose them a second time."

Front cover of Brochure. Those pearly gates open up.
Inside of Brochure
Back of the Brochure with their contact info
I thought this brochure was so clever and eye catching and modern...most of all modern. Funeral Service as a whole has always been stuck in the dark ages as far as I'm concerned. Not a whole lot of technology has been applied, but that is all changing. Fresh ideas and young minds see things in a different way. Not that funerals shouldn't still be respectful, but they should be a celebration of life. 

It was great to be around people that understand that. There were those there that had been in funeral services for years and had lots to teach the young ones coming in of course, but they also learned new things from the young ones. It was a lot of fun as cemetery conventions go. (The great thing was that in this crowd Lisa and I were still considered kind of, sort of...young!)

Of course Lisa and I have fun no matter what whenever we are together. Even surrounded by a bunch of cemetery folk! After we took the picture below we had dinner and then we danced the night away! Well as much as you can dance the night away when the dance ends at 9pm, but we took advantage of it and danced every single one!

We had some great food! Wish I had taken pictures of everything, it was all so delicious, but I did take a picture of some of my favorite things.

This is my absolute favorite dessert in the whole world!

Creme Brulee - with lovely berries
Lisa invented a drink that everyone was calling "The Lisa", it was 7 and 7 with a splash of cranberry juice and a twist of lime. She loved it and so did everyone that she made try it!

And pardon me for taking a bite of this chocolate cake before taking a picture of it, but c''re lucky I didn't just inhale it with no picture!

Poor Lisa had to attend classes and seminars and I got to go shopping and wandering around.

Here we are the last night of the convention, Lisa is have "The Lisa" during the hotels happy hour and I'm having a margarita, just to switch it up from all the wine I had been drinking.

That night was a long dinner and presentation of the new officers of the board and awards presentations and by the end all we wanted was to go up to our room and go to we did!

The last day we were invited to the Tap-It Brewery in San Luis Obispo. We sat outside on their beautiful patio enjoying the gorgeous sun and a slight breeze, sipping our craft beers and enjoying a delicious BBQ. A perfect way to end a perfect weekend! Thank you so much Lisa for taking me with you!