Thursday, March 27, 2014

Back to School

Combine travel, good food, friends, and a sort of spiritual retreat, and what do you have? School!!!
That's right. Regardless of how crazy it may sound! I am so excited to return to Frontier Nursing University in Hyden, Kentucky! The school is perched on the side of a mountain just above the quaint little town of Hyden, about 100 miles southeast of Lexington, Kentucky.

I won't bore everyone with details, but please check it out if you love nursing, history, women, babies, families, and pretty much anything else having to do with human life at Frontier. I was so fortunate to find this wonderful school and to be accepted for their bridge program.

I started with an associates degree in nursing (registered nurse). I completed a one year accelerated program to gain the equivalent of a baccalaureate degree and start a graduate program for a masters degree in nursing for family nurse practitioner (FNP). I went to Hyden, Kentucky for the 1st time in November of 2011 to prepare for the bridge year, and then returned in November of 2012 to "Cross the bridge"! I have now completed the didactic work(the book work!) for my masters degree and I am returning to Frontier for 8 days of intensive skills training, then on to 675 hours of clinical practicum in my own community prior to GRADUATION! I could not be happier.

Every time I return to Frontier Nursing University, I learn valuable things about myself and the world around me. I have opened my heart and mind in the past 2 & 1/2 years more than I could have ever imagined. This school is a special place, a retreat, a place for me to grow and hopefully return as a better person capable of helping those in need.

I'm extra excited about being at Frontier Nursing University in the Spring instead of the Fall. I know the campus will be beautiful and I cannot wait to take advantage of the scenery and serenity the campus offers.
Who knew school could be so amazing??!

My dream is to combine my love for travel with my passion for nursing! I'm working on figuring out how to best do that.....I'm thankful I have a husband ready for adventure and up for a challenge!
Main dormitory and dining hall where the kindest ladies prepare home cooked meals
 and we may or may not raid the fridge late at night!!

The school is perched on the side of a mountain
 providing beautiful walks!
An area dedicated to bonfires, fellowship, and wine in our free time

Our "Upperclassmen" Dorm rooms, equipped with living room and kitchen!!

Originally the barn that housed horses for the Frontier Nursing Service,
 now houses a library and media center!

Dorm Rooms (our 1st year, subsequent trips we were upperclassmen and got much nicer accommodations)!

The Chapel-Photo by Melissa Lawler

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Austin, Fredericksburg, and Gruene in 28 Hours

I was tired of work and school. I needed a break. I announced to Mike on Wednesday, that the next day when he woke up from working night shift, we were out of Kerrville, Texas, for a much needed break! We quickly talked about where we might go. We only had one night. Temperatures would be cooler at the coast, just 3 hours south of us, so we decided to head north, to Austin! 

We left Kerrville after Mike woke up around 2:00, and headed towards Fredericksburg. We stopped at Opa's Smoked Meats, a German sausage maker since 1947, and got jalapeno cheddar smoked sausage, pimento cheese, and crackers. We drove into downtown Fredericksburg and stopped at Grape Creek Winery for our free tasting (we're wine club members, always free 2 tastings, all of one wine=2 free glasses of wine each visit)! We found a lovely table in the warm sun, on the patio and enjoyed our goodies.

We've stayed near the Capital building in Austin before, in some beautiful hotels, but this time...we wanted something special and different! We stayed at the Austin Motel. It's located on South Congress Street, just over 2 miles from the Texas Capital Building. This is significant because I think it's really cool that you can see the capital from the motel! More on that in a bit...The Motel was great. It was quirky, dated (retro), within walking distance of great clubs, shops, and restaurants, and very comfortable! The following pictures were all taken at the motel!

 See the capital building, all the way at the end of the street?? I was SO excited about this!

So, as I said, the motel is in a great location! Doc's, an iconic Austin hangout, is right across the street. We met up with a new friend that we originally met in line (4 hours) for Franklin's BBQ (yes, it is worth it)! Jennifer W., founder of Austin Free Events has been a great resource, helping us find new places to discover in Austin. We met at Doc's, had $5.00 Nachos, which are more like tostados covered with meat, beans, and cheese, with an assortment of toppings! I love a good deal!

Then, we took off to the fairly new, Rainey St. district, where several...ummm...kind of ghetto houses, have been converted to great restaurants, lounges, and bars. We went to Bangers, a sausage house with over 100 beers on draft. Our kind waiter photo bombed us! Let me just say, at first, 100 beers on draft sounds exhilarating for beer lovers.....but really, it is just overwhelming! We were very excited about the sausage, but kind of disappointed with the results. Sometimes, it might be best to specialize, I mean really specialize in just a few great things instead of offering a lot  of mediocre things. Mike was smart...he said "stick with what you know" and ordered the chili cheese dog. It was ONE HECK of a chili cheese dog! Jennifer W. and I were both adventurous  and disappointed! Still, I would go back. It is my responsibility to keep it simple sometimes (something I really struggle with)! They had a great atmosphere, live music, and great service! 

Great Service

 Fancy sausage, I don't even remember what it was....Jennifer W. said it was TOO salty and essentially picked it apart for the more edible components.
 Mike's Chile Cheese Dog was Amazing!

So, after a long night, we retired to The Austin Motel, where I had the best sleep in a long time! It was a great experience I would highly recommend. It's not a fancy hotel, but it is a great place with a great location! We woke up and visited the The Snack Bar, which we fondly remembered from our last visit as having the BEST coffee we've ever had! We were not disappointed!

Then, the time had come to visit Guero's Taco Bar per the recommendations of a good friend, The Nomadic Texan! I met the Nomadic Texan (virtually), prior to moving to Texas. He helped me find a home, and has continued to offer helpful advice regarding Texas travel, dining, and adventure! He also inspires me to keep chasing my dream of travel! He told me that presidents dine at Guero's when in the area, so of course I had to go! We would've preferred to go at dinner time, but time was of the essence, so we went for lunch. We had a great lunch. Once again, Mike went for what he knows and got the Burrito Especial, which was amazing!
Again, we had Great Service!

After lunch, we strolled along South Congress Street...
After a great lunch and some window shopping, we went to the Capital of Texas for a tour! I was oddly excited about this! Texas is the most prideful state I've ever encountered and her people take their heritage very serious. It is inspiring. It is really something one must see and experience for themselves to truly understand. I wanted to experience it to its fullest and what better way than touring the Capital?!

T-E-X-A-S and the Texas Star can be found everywhere in the Capital!

After a great tour of the Texas Capital building, we went for a stroll around the grounds. So many monuments and memorials...Mike was definitely touched by the Peace Officers of Texas Memorial.

We eventually left Austin. I was sad. But, alas....we were going a different way home. There must be more to see??....absolutely!! I baited Mike with the Harley Davidson Shop in New Braunfels, Texas. Then, since it was nearing dinner time, I "googled" nearby restaurants. Much to my surprise, the cutest little town I've ever seen was just a couple of miles down the road! Gruene, Texas (pronounced green), home of the oldest dance hall in Texas, and Texas is pretty serious about their dance halls!!  The main street is lined with trees, shops, mansions, and restaurants that back up to the Guadalupe River. During the summer, this river is bumper to bumper, raft traffic! We stopped in to a few places, enjoyed some views , and had a nice dinner at the Del Rio Cantina!

 The Dance Hall is empty now, but come 8:00, it will be hopping with young and old...another thing I love about Texas, there are so many places that all age groups can gather for a good time!

My happy meter was definitely at about a 9.5 for our entire trip! We had beautiful weather and the scenery just got better and better! I don't know that a travel guide could ever duplicate such a great trip! Our anniversary is coming up, February 28th. It will be hard to beat this trip, but I certainly will try!! Stay tuned....

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Celebrating Mike's Birthday

Mike, my husband, is a pretty special guy, so he deserved a 2 day birthday celebration! We decided to begin celebrating the night before because he had to work the night of his birthday.

We started at Grape Juice, a local bar/restaurant here in Kerrville, Texas. They have a decent selection of craft beer and Mike loves to try new beers! We were pretty much treated with astounding arrogance. Really. So...we left and went to Azul's, a bar in the basement of a historical building downtown Kerrville. The place reminded me of a Carey Grant movie! The bartender was personable and the drinks were superb and reasonably priced. We will go back. From there, we walked to Thai Ocha, a new restaurant in Kerrville. We have been craving Thai food so we were thrilled to hear about the new restaurant and we were very pleased with our dinners.

We had talked about going back to Azul's to hear live music, but by 8:30 the old guy was ready to go home and relax! We rented a movie and settled in for the night! 

Fast forward, Saturday morning, I woke up at a decent time, got Brandon up and we headed to the grocery to gather some goodies for Mike's birthday! We had a big breakfast of biscuits and gravy, bacon, eggs, fried potatoes...I know, horrible, right?! Brandon made peanut butter cookies from scratch with no help from me (made me pretty proud)! He topped each cookie with a chocolate kiss.

Today was beautiful. It was in the low 70s and sunny, naturally we headed out for a motorcycle ride! We rode about 100 miles round trip. We saw beautiful mountainous terrain. The views were so striking I couldn't look! Yep, that's right, I can't look. As soon as I start admiring the view, my front wheel starts going everywhere except where it's supposed to go! The hills were so big and we were so high, it was dizzying if I looked around me! I'm a novice rider and I was white knuckling the grips so hard, my hands went numb! The speed limit on many of these "country" roads in Texas is 70 MPH, my bike feels that 55-60 is plenty fast enough!! Maybe I'll feel different in time!
No Digital Screens or Pay at the Pump Here!