Self Love What?

“You can only love others as much as you love yourself.” – Brene Brown

When this sentence came out of Brene’s mouth while listening to her audio book “Daring Greatly” I hit the rewind button. Again. And again. And again. Since entering into counseling in September 2020 one of the themes that we keep circling back to over and over again is self love. I honestly had no idea what that phrase meant. To the point I asked my counselor “what do you mean when you tell me to practice self love”?

For me, at that point of my depression, it was stuff that should have been easy like eating and showering. For anyone who doesn’t struggle with depression you simply have no idea how hard those two things are in the middle of a really bad dip into the black hole of depression. For those of you who have been there – you know what I mean. Weeks upon weeks of just daily thinking about “did I eat today”, “what did I eat today”, “when was the last time whatever I did eat stay with me”, and “when was the last time you showered” ruled my life. Feed the dogs daily? No problem. Fuss at my kid to make sure she ate? Again, routine. Show even the smallest amount of kindness and mercy to myself? Not a chance.

As I sit now somewhere about six feet above the very bottom of the place I got to in my my mind (but by no means anywhere close to out of the black hole) in the last year I am thankful that showering has become routine. Food is still a daily thing but that has extenuating circumstances that coincide with my ongoing gut issues. Some days eating really is just not worth the trouble. Having gotten somewhere a mile up the road past those issues my brain circles again to “what is self love”? My counselor now talks about thinking about the 8 year old little girl inside me who has been through physical and emotional abuse and how I would have protected her if she was my child. The things I would have done for her to make her happy. Those are the things I am to be working on now. When I get all that figured out I’ll let ya know.

But I think the reason Brene’s statement echoed like a gunshot in my head is I have always given 1000% to those that I love. Or in my mind I did. That one sentence opened up the Pandora’s box in my mind…if I had been able to take care of myself all these years could I have done better? If I could have told myself “good job”, or “it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks if it makes you happy”, or any of those things that we should be telling ourselves when we are happy and whole…could I have done it better?

As I am in a season of my life where maturity and time on my hands has given me reflection it’s easy to armchair quarterback now. To cringe and go “geez I probably could have done that better”. Hell, it’s easy to see why others are judging and re-writing the past with no knowledge of what it was like in the moment. It’s also easy to see where those around me are struggling with loving themselves enough to be happy and whole. My “fixer” nature wants to jump in and share what I’m learning. On some occasions I do, but I recognize now that we each have to know ourselves and love ourselves enough to recognize the unhealthy cycles we are in and make the changes for ourselves. I’ve spent to much of my life TELLING people how to fix their lives instead of just leading by example.

The Happy Girl I WANT to Be

I know I’m not done fixing myself. I also know I’ve always put myself last. Isn’t the best form of self-love now to keep working on ME the way I should have done all along? Will I be able to love those I love most better if I keep on with this journey I am on? The answer is a resounding “YES”. Since I have no desire for the second season of my life to be as pain filled and traumatic as the first season…I’m gonna figure out this self love thing. I’m gonna figure out how to tell the girl in the picture that she is worth something – if not to anyone else than to the creator who made her.

Blessing y’all.

Amy

Nashville Nights

When I see the title “Nashville Nights” that song from Grease starts playing in my head…”oooh, those summmmmmmer nights…”. You know the one! LOL That is about where I would put the nights we had in Nashville. I am 43 years old and I am still a little kid when I discover the fun that is to be had out in the world when I loosen up a little and just let go. On one hand I hope I always have that naivety as it brings appreciation…on the other damn I wish I could let go more often.

Holland Gray of Whiskey, Cash, & Roses

We arrived in Nashville on Monday. We spent Monday evening at The Stage listening to a newfound fav band called Whiskey, Cash, & Roses. Lemme tell ya – the lead singer Holland Gray? That girl has some pipes. Didn’t matter what the audience threw at her as far as requests…she nailed it. One of my favorite things to ask of these singers is Fred and I’s song – Pat Green’s ‘Wave on Wave’. I’d never asked a female singer to sing it before but I was so impressed with this lady I requested it. She moved me it was so good. My Fred would have been “leaking” as we call it.

Now I can’t even tell you who the next band was because at that point the evening got even better. Somewhere in all that a group of people showed up and started talking to Bev and I. I got pulled out on the dance floor – without time to do my usual “I have two left feet”. Before I knew it I was literally doing the old “whirling and twirling to a steel guitar”. We were having a blast. At 1 am Bev insisted it had been a long day and it was time to go. Pretty sure this old girl would have gone until closing time but ya know… 🙂

Don Schlitz – Song Writer of The Gambler (and many more!)

Tuesday night we had tickets to the Opry. Gotta admit I was excited to see it as far as it being something any country fan knows about but less than excited because I literally knew nobody on the bill for the night. I was pleasantly surprised at how the evening went. Don Schlitz, writer of The Gambler and several other songs I recognized, came out and played and it was moving to see an old man reduced to almost tears when Larry Gaitlin came out and sang with him as a surprise and the audience gave him a standing ovation. Love and Theft (a duo) had a row of friends in the row in front of us and one half of the duo came out after they sang and sat with his friends – clearly thrilled to see it from the audience perspective. It was even more cool when he was spotted during intermission and he spent the entire intermission taking pictures with fans.

We, of course, wound up back on Broadway after the show but it was a short night. A long day plus too much gin made for bedtime. LOL

Kalie Shorr (and a kick ass friend named Stephanie that I didn’t catch her last name)

Wednesday evening we hung out with these two ladies in the hotel lobby for a couple hours. It wasn’t very crowded and they asked for requests so we threw it back to 90’s female country. It was the most up close and personal chilled out evening of the week. Both of these two ladies can sing their little behinds off AND entertain with jokes and running dialogue.

Of course we made another run at Broadway hoping for more of that Monday magic but other than watching more than one drunk bridal group hit the floor (literally) it was slow evening. The bartender we met earlier in the week had already warned us that Wednesday’s were slow…she wasn’t kidding!

Cory Farley – my fav of the week!

Thursday was my BIRTHDAY 😳! I had warned Bev to get a nap in…we weren’t going to the hotel until closing. Or until I couldn’t hold my liquor respectably anymore. LOL. We had dinner at Dolly Patton’s White Limozeen in The Graduate Hotel to kick off the night. Food was good, concept was overdone. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Back to Broadway to get the music going in my veins! We bar bounced between The Stage, Second Fiddle, and Tin Roof. We wound up finally sticking to Second Fiddle. The band playing was the same one that closed Jenn and I’s weekend in February. And he is SOOO good. Now, normally, I’m the shy one. Can’t get me in front of a crowd to save my life. But when Cory called for the birthday girls I was up on stage before Bev could blink. We danced and laughed and sang until closing. I can’t remember another birthday so fun!

Broadway looking all innocent in the daylight

Before leaving town Friday I wanted one more look at Broadway. It had been such a great time in Nashville. Something about good music and a sweet spot in the South just made this Texas girl’s heart so happy. ❤️

Blessings y’all!

Those Music City Days

Nashville is rich with history – especially for one history buff (Bev) and one music lover (me). We didn’t go into the trip with a ton of day time activities planned which was a little bit of a blessing and a little bit of a curse. Having your days open to wing it is a different way to travel for me…having to make a decision on the fly when neither of you is good at saying firmly “this is what I want to do”? A bit of a challenge.

Belle Meade Plantation

Tuesday we took the opportunity to venture out to the Belle Meade plantation. While I might not be the bigger history buff of the two of us I am definitely one that love those old plantation homes of the south. I think sometimes I was born in the wrong century – I could have been a great Southern belle. Eh. Maybe not. I do like AC and cell phones an awful lot.

Our tour guide was fabulous. The interior of the home is so well preserved and the stories of how the house came to and flowed through the family over the years was just fascinating. The fact that it was a horse farm was different for me. I’ve been in plantation homes where they raised cotton or sugar. Never horses.

Minnie Pearl – WITHOUT the mask she had on in February when I was there!

Tuesday afternoon was one of our “what do we want to do” afternoon struggles. I had done the Ryman tour (or so I thought) when I was in Nashville in February. But Bev hadn’t so since it was within walking distance of our hotel we decided to give it a whirl. Come to find out I had only done the self guided tour. We managed to get in on the last guided tour of the afternoon! Seeing backstage…being in some of those dressing rooms and feeling the presence of those who had been before…it was really amazing! We were again blessed in the tour guide department and he had many stories to tell as we toured.

Slow Day in The Lucky Bastard Saloon

Wednesday after our AirBnb experience we did what girls do best. We went shopping. All along Broadway checking out all the western stores and tacky gift shops. When I was hangry we ducked into the Lucky Bastard Saloon because the music coming out of there was good and the place was almost empty. After almost a week there I never did figure out what really makes you choose one bar over another. For me it’s whether I’ve been there before and the music coming out of it. We befriended a bartender named Jazz. Sweet girl that she was she put up with me having her pick my food and drink because making choices isn’t a thing for me when I’m hangry. Spot on with her choices on both I might add. She put up with us when we talked her ear off anytime the music wasn’t playing. It was a great place to just kick it and relax and listen to music! For me it was also a bit of a personal triumph as I sent Bev back to the room when she was ready and I wasn’t – staying alone in a bar. That was a fear I conquered and harder than you might think.

For the tourist who prefers to do more than we did we missed The Country Music Hall of Fame, the Opry backstage tour, and tons of off Broadway activities. We literally could have been busy sun up to sun down. Thankfully we did something different this time and took it pretty chill. So many times in my life I didn’t take time to stop and listen to the music. One of my favorite parts of this vacation is that this time I did.

Blessings Y’all – Amy

Here’s to new experiences!

How many of y’all know that AirBnb has an “Experiences” component to their site? That almost any town you are visiting has something fun to offer that is usually some hidden gem or something you wouldn’t normally think of doing? I can’t remember exactly when I found this now favorite thing but it is something I look into everywhere I go now. My most recent vaca into Nashville was no exception!

This adorable sign was hanging in Nicole’s (our host) kitchen

Our first stop in Nashville (literally) was a biscuit making class. We left Memphis early Monday morning to make an 11:30 class where we were lucky enough to have the class to ourselves. Now, I don’t know about y’all, but I definitely was sure making biscuits is harder than it turned out be. I’ve steered clear of them because I grew up with the notion that they were a chore. Our host, Nicole, made them not only seem easy but also fun. Her kitchen is dreamy…one all us girls want…and so organized. The class flowed because she had all the prep work done. Just like you see on the cooking shows!

One of our finished products…makes ya hungry don’t it?

My favorite that we made by far was the biscuits and gravy. True southern biscuits in gravy that are the right color and not greasy or lumpy or anything of the things you get from those that just think they can make gravy. Of course, having well made biscuits under them probably helped! We got to leave with leftovers to take to the hotel for munchies. Besides the biscuits and gravy we made a flavored biscuit and some sweet biscuits and toppings. Definitely did not need lunch after…did I mention we got to have mimosas during all of this?

Probably the AirBnb experience I was the most nervous for of the week was the one we did Wednesday. We booked a Photowalk with Christy. One – I don’t like having my picture taken. Two – I definitely don’t like to do it out in the open where people walking by can stare at me. Three – did I mention I don’t like having my picture taken?

Our host Christy was AMAZING!

There wasn’t a worry to be had though. Five minutes into our experience our host Christy had us relaxed and talking. Christy took us around on foot to several of the murals down in the Gulch – including the butterfly mural that everyone is so crazy about these days. Christy gave us tons of tips on things to see and do in Nashville. Introduced us to locals and seemed to be a favorite in the area.

We are goofballs!

When we got the pictures back a few days later I was surprised by how many of them I liked! (Also by how flat and gray my hair was but that’s a story for another day!) As the weight as come off it’s been easy to see the me that has been hiding under 80+ pounds that are now gone. Still takes a bit to pull her out but she’s in there. Christy did a great job at getting us to relax, smile, and capture more than a little of the amazing time we had in Nashville. This is one experience I am so glad we pushed outside the box to do and will definitely look to do again in Nashville and probably in other cities.

Ok, here’s the links for both experiences.

https://www.airbnb.com/experiences/290704

https://www.airbnb.com/experiences/276316

Check those out! Blessings y’all!

Amy

Thank you, Thank you very much!

After a one night stay in Hot Springs (which I’ll circle back to later) vacation kicked off in Memphis with a stay in The Guest House at Graceland and a visit to Graceland. I will admit I went into the experience more as a “bucket list” everyone should do it once than any real fan based desire to go or an actual knowledge of Elvis. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Our Room at The Guest House

The hotel was just phenomenal. From start to finish. The staff was thoughtful and hard working and there wasn’t one person you ran into that didn’t want to help. I didn’t really care for the food on site but I think that was more a me issue than a hotel issue. My stomach wasn’t super kind to me this trip.

We rolled into town mid-afternoon Saturday. We opted to just hang out at the hotel and chill the rest of the day. Live music in the lobby and a friendly bartender seemed like a good way to just chill out. True to bar form we made new friends and stayed up talking into the night.

Our sweet bartender Taylor at The Guest House

Sunday morning came too early after a late night of gabbing. But it was time to check Graceland off the bucket list! We had booked the “ultimate” tour which basically meant we skipped all the lines, had a very educated tour guide, and got to see some of Elvis’s personal items up close that aren’t on display. We got to hold the keys to the pink Cadillac!! I was dumbfounded at what a generous man Elvis was. I had no idea. I am scrambling to get my hands on a biography so I can learn more.

The Jungle Room

I wasn’t feeling very well after Graceland so we went back to the hotel and crashed. Hard core crashed for over two hours. It took me a couple days to shake off whatever that was about but 🤷🏻‍♀️.

We circled back to Memphis at the end of the week. Got back in Friday evening. This time we stayed at The Peabody Hotel. We had done a slow and easy drive from Nashville so we opted to eat at the hotel and hang in the lobby bar Friday night.

Saturday morning we got to see the infamous ducks March into the fountain at The Peabody fountain.

The ducks march in…

Memphis was odd as far as being able to find things to do outside of Graceland. I had felt that way since before we left on vacation and that feeling did change throughout our time there. After the ducks we wandered down to Beale St for lunch at BB King’s place and to listen to some music. We made our loop of Beale St, bought all the required souvenirs for home, and headed back to the hotel.

We had asked around and had been told several times to go to Sun Studios. I wasn’t sure what the big deal was (being honest) but we didn’t have anything else to do so we figured what the heck. I am SO glad we did. We took the tour and the feeling of standing in the same room as legends like Johnny Cash, Elvis, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis….still gives me goosebumps. It was a small place but a great tour!

We made new friends in Memphis. Both around the bar and behind the bar. Some may judge where I choose to make friends but people relax when they gather and if you have a great bartender they make people feel comfortable enough to get to know each other. I was least sure about Memphis as a pit stop coming and going on our trip but I’m glad we included it. I learned a lot there and am anxious to go back.

PS – will blog the food experience later on 😉

Another Trip Around The Sun

43. Who knew? For a girl that literally thought when she was 18 she never would see 30…43 is like getting bonus years.

In all seriousness, some of you know (but many don’t) that this time last year my depression was so bad I would have told you I didn’t want to live to see another birthday. I was locked in a battle of wills between a past I couldn’t let go of and a future I didn’t like or want. The result was a paralyzing soul crushing “there is no point” place. Only the thought of leaving my daughter with no parents on this Earth kept me here. And I’ll tell you openly there was more than one day even that was a slim slim thread. The darkness and pain had life so unbearable I honestly would have rather have been dead to have relief from it.

Many toss around terms like “crazy” or “nuts” for covering their own inability to understand the effects that depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts have on a person. It is so much easier to judge than wrap your brain around how terrifying it can be. “Just doing it for attention” or “all talk” are two of my least favorite pass offs I hear when someone is talking about someone else’s suffering. It is because of that type of non-understanding that those who suffer from those illnesses push them down. Hide them. Keep them away from the people who love them and need them despite the voices in their head telling them all those people would be better off. It’s those types of judgements that led the great Robin Williams to leave us instead of face his fan’s judgement if he told anyone how unhappy he was. Despite how far society has come in understanding mental illness it has SO FAR to go in grace, compassion, and kindness for those who suffer.

Through so much love and support this last year – support coming from places I didn’t expect – I am deep in counseling and medical treatment of a disease I will never be rid of. It was a genetic “gift” from both sides of my lineage and one I finally understand I’ll never escape. I can manage it. I can ask for help on the bad days. I can watch for signs I’m hurting the ones I love in my own pain. I can be open and honest in my struggle so someone else will make the right choice in that darkest hour.

But I’ll always be a little bit broken. God made me that way. Perfectly imperfect! I may not know or understand His purpose for me every day but right now I think some of it is to use my voice to share my journey so maybe others have a shorter path to recovery. Life is messy. It’s ugly. Feeling alone and hurting in the agony is excruciating.

As I reflect on starting another year on this planet I can tell you I have hope. I believe God has me exactly where I am supposed to be. I have faith each of my children are firmly in His hands and that God can protect them far better than I can. I have peace that Fred and I raised good kids who will put good into the world. I have hope there is someone out there for me to share my life with. Not someone to replace my Fred – there is no replacement. But someone who can love me understanding all that I have been through before him. I have God protecting me and the ability to talk to Him daily for probably the first time in my life. I have a job I adore that supports all the changes this past year has brought me and pushes me to follow through with taking care of myself. I am grateful that I am still here. I have far to go but from where I was a year ago? Sheesh. I feel lucky to be alive.

Ok.. enough pontificating. Birthday celebrations about to happen.

Peace y’all. Love each other. Be kind. Life is precious and short. Make every moment count. ❤️

The Greatest Men I Ever Knew

Reba McEntire has a song “The Greatest Man I Never Knew” that is one of the saddest of her songs. When I hear it though what I think of is my grandfather and my husband…and how they were the greatest men I EVER knew. I grew up with my mother marrying the worst examples of men on earth. Men that should never be fathers. Because of that my grandparents house was my refuge. I can remember hiding behind the door at my grandparents house to jump out and “scare” my grandpa when he came home from work…after having watched at the window for him for what seemed like hours. He always played along though I am sure looking back now as an adult he always knew just where I would be.

My grandparents

I can remember going to the lake with them and sitting around the domino table with them and their friends. The ribbing and joking being so different than what I was exposed to at home. I’m pretty sure I asked my grandma one time if PawPaw was “mad” at one of his friends after just such a domino game. I can remember my grandma freaking out when PawPaw was fixing something. I get my temper and sailor mouth straight from him when something isn’t going my way. I remember fishing with him. And him baiting the hook and cleaning the fish when I couldn’t.

I remember the day I found out I was pregnant with my Em. I think my biggest fear was that I had let my grandpa down. I was so scared as I drove to their house. My aunt had called ahead. My grandparents met me at the door, my grandpa put his hand on my shoulder, looked me in the eye, and said “we’ll do anything we can to help”. The steadiness in his face gave me the courage to realize just how scared I was. When I was pregnant with her we must have gone to 100 garage sales looking for Sesame Street baby items because of course I picked a baby theme that wasn’t en vogue while I was pregnant. PawPaw never wavered from those early words and when my daughter was born holding her stopped the tremors in his hands the entire time he held her. That was magic to watch. And if you think he adored me? I was chopped liver compared to my kids – especially that little girl.

An Old Picture But A Favorite

My Fred was so much like my grandpa it fully supported the adage women choose men like their fathers. Thank God I chose him and not someone like any of the abusive men my mother brought around. Fred and PawPaw were best buds. I think Fred being a fellow Aggie probably had a lot to do with that. #haha They could sit and talk for hours. Neither were afraid to give me the what for. Both emulated Godly men that I wanted my children to be around and grow up to be like. The picture above is one of my favorite. Taken about six months before we lost PawPaw it is one of the only ones in existence. Only missing is my Ames.

Fred was…Fred was our rock. The most interesting part of that is he led our family without doing it in an overbearing or authoritative way. Nothing was more important to him than his family. He silently and quietly supported us without us ever knowing just how much. I took care of the day to day stuff, no question, but what we didn’t realize until he was gone is how much we would miss all the simple things that became huge things when he wasn’t there. Him being in his chair when we walked in the door. Him asking about our day or our latest travel adventure. His silly dry humor jokes. Our “fashion shows” when we went back to school shopping and came home and he wanted to see everything we bought (no doubt grateful he didn’t have to deal with the crowds or fitting rooms). Simple questions to him that became sage life advice from him that all four of us would sell our souls for now. Fred’s guiding light was family. His was his whole world and what made him the happiest. He and PawPaw were a lot alike in that respect.

I often wonder what they think when they watch us now. I’ve been to hell and back in the last seven years as they have both left my life. I’d like to think they would be proud of me. They both taught me what it means to be strong and never stop fighting for my family. I lost some of the connection with God during those years but they would both be pleased I’ve turned back to Him. The last lyrics of Reba’s song “He never said he loved me, guess he thought I knew”? I am so blessed. The greatest men I ever knew? Told me every day, in every way, that they loved me.

I knew.

Happy Father’s Day Fred and PawPaw. I love you.

Let’s Get Sailing!

It’s time. It’s happening. The crew is in stateside and in quarantine. The CDC has finally backed off the industry. The ships are in place. CRUISING IS BACK.

If I didn’t already have a summer vacation in place as an alternate because I had no idea what the cruise industry was going to be allowed to do I would be on that first ship sailing on July 3rd. I would be kneeling at the end of the gangplank worshiping my favorite form of travel. There would probably be tears.

Some of you think I am kidding. Those of you who really know me? Know that I am absolutely 100% not kidding. Ships being shuddered to a stop this last 18 months has impacted my health. My mental health.

You see some people travel just for fun. I travel to keep my sanity. I operate daily on a breakneck all out pace. My mind never stops and never gets a break. When I step on a ship I stop. Just full on stop. I sit on a bar stool (geez that sounds bad) at my favorite bar either with old friends (my last cruise was literally booked to be with two of my favorite bartenders before they went on vacation) or with people who will be friends by the end of a week. It is so polar opposite in behavior it’s sinful in it’s blissfulness. Factor in on top of that having someone else cook and clean for me for a week. And my astrologically signed Cancer heart being surrounded by water for a week? PARADISE.

So to say I’m excited about those beautiful ships setting sail? Just a little. I have massaged what is left of my vacation time nine ways to Sunday to see if I can fit in a cruise between now and my Thanksgiving cruise. (Did I mention I scheduled one of those as soon as the industry was green lighted?) Unfortunately I can’t make an extra week work but I am counting the days until Thanksgiving. Meanwhile I’ve checked in with the friends who became family (Carnival crew members) to see who is landing on which ships so I know who’s neck I get to hug first.

Let’s sail away people!

The Southern Napa Valley

Venture to the heart of Texas and you’ll find a sweet little town with so much charm you just don’t want to leave. Fredericksburg, Texas has become THE southern destination for girls’ trips, bridal parties, couples weekend getaways, and childless vacations. Here you can enjoy hills filled with vineyards as far as the eye can see, a Main Street full of treasures to explore, and country air to help you relax and sleep.

With four of us traveling in from Lubbock, Houston, and Dallas meeting in Fredericksburg is almost a dead center 4 to 4 1/2 hour drive for all of us. Not an unpleasant drive and not so far that you lose an entire day on either end of a trip driving.

In a single weekend we managed to do tastings at six wineries. Five of the six were laid back relaxing experiences where the mood was quiet and we were able to converse and hear the sommelier tell us about the wine we were trying. One vineyard we could have been at a bar based on the noise level of the three bridal parties not knowing how to conduct themselves as ladies. I don’t hold that against the vineyard other than management not stepping in to protect the ambience of their establishment.

I think my favorite of the weekend was a last minute edition at Texas Heritage Vineyard. Our driver recommended it after our disappointing aforementioned stop. We were pretty late in the afternoon for a tasting at Texas Heritage but they welcomed us and didn’t let on that they probably wanted to go home.

As we sat trying wines one of the owners came and sat down with us and just made conversation. He was charming and adorable. I missed the details on the last two wines because I was enjoying a totally separate conversation with him. 🙃 When our tasting was over there was one type of wine that wasn’t offered on the menu that day that my niece really wanted to try. Our sommelier was happy to bring around a taste. It was just a Texas type experience. Needless to say, they gained a couple new wine club members before we left.

We also had amazing food experiences while here. Friday night we ate at The Club at Barron’s Creekside. While I personally didn’t care for the blues music (not my fav type of music) the place was pretty much packed. The food was amazing and the sunset view over the vineyard was stunning. A wonderful start to our weekend. With the added bonus of the owners nephew being from Austria and him setting us straight on what our Saturday night dinner plans needed to be.

Saturday night we were directed to get our name on the list at a little German place called Otto’s and to head next door while we waited to a French market called La Baruche. Both experiences were mind blowing. Starting at La Baruche…the sommelier didn’t stop until she had us paired with a wine that was perfect for all four of us. (A couple of us were just about wine-d out for the day.) We then had a warm Brie that was unlike anything I have ever had as an appetizer. Since the restaurant had slowed down we got to spend some time with the sommelier getting some more recommendations on wines we might not have chosen for ourselves normally. It was wonderful.

Our call came that our table was ready at Otto’s. Whatever personality our waiter lacked was made up for by the food and drinks. Our driver for the day had told us to get the mushroom appetizer – it was great. We also got the pretzel. Still not sure what the sauce was that came with that pretzel but I will be thinking about it for weeks to come.

I got the salmon. I haven’t finished an entire plate of food in months. Save for a couple shared bites for the others to get a taste I ate the whole darn thing. It was that good. AND we got dessert. Apparently sunshine and wine drinking makes you really hungry.

Duck Schnitzel
Beef Tenderloin
Strawberry Shortcake w/Honey Lavender Ice Cream

We got the added bonus of being able to stay at a friend of mine’s home. The kind of home I dream about owning someday. Creaking original floors, wide trimmed doors and floors, sprawling garden, chickens roaming, open floor plan. If I was more educated in architecture I could tell you year and style but I can only speak from how it makes my heart beat to walk around it. Staying in a charming place instead of a box hotel definitely added to the experience!

It’ll be hotter here than Napa this summer. But it’ll make up for it with Texas hospitality and charm. I personally can’t wait to get back here. ❤️

It’s Greek to Me!

October 2019 was so long ago. September 23, 2022 is…exactly…469 days away. The world in which I have lived in between those two dates has been upended, set back down, shaken a little more, and may be *finally* finding some footing. When in Greece on that first trip overseas in 2019, the little stop we SQUEEZED into our Italy trip so Lee could dive the Mediterranean, I fell in love. I’m an island girl. This we know. But the people here? Amazing. The views? Stunning. I did not want to leave.

I was planning a trip to go back before we even left it seemed like. Making the connections via social media so I could stay in touch with the time difference. Looking at my vacation days to see when/how I could stretch them. Then COVID hit. Don’t we start almost all stories that way when we talk about 2020? My travel plans came to a screeching halt. I feel fortunate we got to Mexico for 10 days before even that became taboo.

Slowly as the world has opened back up I’ve watched for info on when this beautiful place was gonna let us Americans back in. Finally the news came in May. If you are vaccinated you are welcome! (Yet another destination factoring into my vaccination decision.) Despite all my best stretching and figuring I couldn’t get back in 2021. Not monetarily or vacation days wise. #poutyface

So 2022 will be the year. It was so wonderful when we went to go at the end of the tourist season. But a some things were beginning to close for the season. So I am choosing to go about a month earlier when things will be less touristy but things still open. I have two friends with rental properties there so accommodations are easy (that is so stressful usually when planning a trip)! I can’t get flights yet – I sure wish we could book flights way out like we can cruises.

Santorini is just such a beautiful place. Cats roam freely amongst the shops and restaurants. At sundown it seems like everything just stops and you sit and watch the beautiful sunset. The people are friendly and welcoming. For a sheltered American it was Greek to me! 😉

And I can’t wait to go back. Just 469 more days. #sigh