Kuhlman Cellars – Stonewall, TX

Our kickoff blog features a nice, homey winery in Stonewall. Enjoy!

Texas Bite & Sip

Date Visited: 12/29/2019

Kuhlman Cellars is situated in the Texas Hill Country along US Highway 290 just outside of Stonewall (between Johnson City and Fredericksburg).  Founded by Chris and Jennifer Cobb, they opened to the public in October of 2014 and is named for Kuhlman Creek which originates on their family farm and is a feeder for the larger Pedernales River (source).  Their winemaker is from France and makes wine in the French tradition, with Texas-grown grapes of course.

When we pulled up, the winery was well-signed from the roadway – you just could not miss it.  Their hours of operation are posted right on the front gate.  We arrived a few minutes before opening, but the gates were already open so we proceeded into the non-paved yet smooth, open, and ample parking lot with logs designating parking spaces, as well as two handicap parking spots with ample…

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New Blog: Texas Bite & Sip

Hello my friends!

In my last post I eluded to a potential new blog for Texas eatery and winery reviews. Today, that blog was born: Texas Bite & Sip!

Texas Bite & Sip is a collaboration between myself and Laina Eartharcher. In this blog, we will visit and review a variety of Texas restaurants, wineries, dives, etc. together – each giving our own perspective. We might agree or agree-to-disagree, but we’ll give it to you straight from our respective viewpoints.

We do not pretend to be experts in this field, just everyday people like you who want a down-to-earth review. That’s what you’ll find.

If you are interested and so inclined, please visit and follow! The site is still under construction, but hopefully we’ll have our first review live in the very near future.

Holiday Fun, Some Personal Updates & A Look at 2020 Ahead

So I’m chilling in my apartment this morning resting up from a past two fun-filled days. They’ve worn me out for sure but wow has it been fun.

Our holiday fun started on Saturday the 14th when Laina and I caught up with my best friend from high school and one of her close friends for a stroll down the San Antonio Riverwalk to see the lights. They do it up in a huge way, let me tell you what! We walked down and up, stopped in for a quick bite to eat on one of the restaurants on the strip (and a couple of spicy margaritas for me – which were heavenly) and just took it in on a lovely, warm-ish December night.

Christmas Eve we went over to Laina’s BFF’s house for some fun and games as well as food and drink. Upon Laina’s BFF’s request, I made what has become my signature dish – a paleo-style Asian stir fry using spaghetti squash instead of lo mein noodles, boneless chicken thighs, sliced carrots, onions, celery, zucchini, red bell pepper, chopped portabella mushroom and diced peanut and garlic bits, with a mix of San-J (all gluten/MSG free sauces) Thai peanut and spicy Szechuan sauces. (Oh, and sliced green onions on the side for those who wanted them). Everyone seemed to love it.

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We ate, I cracked out my new Taylor 12 for awhile, then we played some Bullshit (a hilarious card game where the object is to lie like a dog and get away with it!). After having killed two full bottles of wine and some Peruvian brandy, I was in no condition to drive so we stayed the night.

Laina and I woke up at 6 AM sharp yesterday morning to run back to our places, tend to a few things and then hit the road to Abilene to see my family. We stopped in at my parents’ place first thing for some small gift exchanges and to fill up on my mom’s famous ham/pineapple before heading over to my paternal grandmother’s house for her last Christmas in her place before moving to assisted living.

Needless to say yesterday wasn’t as fun as the day before, but I made it through. I’ve always been the black sheep of my family but I felt obligated to go. After some light conversation with the group, Laina and I got right back on the road to SA (in which I promptly changed out of awful full-length jeans back into my signature Dukes – lord knows my conservative, Bible-thumping extended family would have thrown a fit over me wearing them!) and met up with Mr. Kitty for dinner and hard ciders at Flying Saucer. It was a great way to cap off the night.

As far as other personal updates, I continue to heal as my health continues to improve. I’ve lost a considerable amount of weight without even trying – no calorie counting or anything. Take this photo as a prime example. These “light wash” Dukes are one of my smaller pairs. This time last year I struggled to button them. This year, I need a belt with them!

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Now that’s progress!

Sorcha is doing well. She goes into the vet again tomorrow (Friday) for her third round of vaccines and to schedule spaying/microchipping. She’s become a little Houdini – she’s snuck out on my back deck once and out my front door once, going halfway down the stairs. Methinks she’s wanting to chase some tail (as do most female cats when they hit puberty), but the last thing I need is a litter of kittens so that’s not happening. She has stopped pissing on my bed (after switching her to a full-sized litterbox) and sleeps with me in bed at night – on my pillow behind my head!

Here’s a cute little picture I took of her exploring my wine glass. Like father, like daughter I guess!

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So, what’s on the docket for 2020 for this blog? Well, more of life in San Antonio as I continue through this major transitional step in my life, exploring a newfound love life, and some collaboration work! Laina and I have been visiting several wineries in the hill country lately (mostly on Highway 290 between Johnson City and Fredericksburg), doing like a superficial once-overs and some tastings. We are planning to launch a joint venture in which we review the wineries we’ve visited, from atmosphere, decor, staff, and of course the wine itself. As our wine palates run totally opposite (she’s into light, sweet whites/roses as well as ports whereas I’m more of a big, heavy, dry red type person) we’ll each have a different angle to approach with to give you more variety. Stay tuned, you won’t want to miss this!

December 19th, 2002 – “The Day”

December 19th is no doubt the toughest day of every year for me. For the past 17 years, I’ve kept why largely under wraps as I’ve not really felt open or comfortable discussing it with anyone. Sure, I’ve mentioned in passing the very unfortunate significance of this day, but I feel I can finally open up more about it and maybe this can help someone suffering from a similar type of feeling.

So the story actually starts a few days before when I contract some upper respiratory illness that was very much like the flu, even though I question whether or not it was actually the flu. I was a Freshman in high school and a manager for the basketball team. We had been traveling for a tournament and I swear I picked up the virus probably in the course of that travel (close quarters and all that). Well, with myself and four others living in a little trailer house, someone was bound to get it from me, and the person who did was probably the worst person it could have happened to: my 84-year-old great grandmother.

Though she was active and seemingly healthy, my great-grandmother had recently been battling early stage kidney failure. Her nephrologist actually wanted to put her on dialysis but she adamantly refused (and quite frankly I don’t blame her – that just sounds like a miserable existence).

Anyway, I digress. The evening of the 18th comes around and I get home from school and my great-grandmother is incredibly ill. Of course, this shook me hard and combined with the stress of upcoming finals in school, I was freaking out probably too much over my own situation instead of worrying about hers. I probably shot my mouth off in the process (as I often do under extreme stress) and my mother got pissed off at me and said I was being selfish because the illness could kill her (as if I didn’t already know that). What she said next are words that have repeated in my head nearly every day for the last 17 years: “and you’re probably the one who gave it to her!”

So then my dad gets in on the action, pulls me into my bedroom and told me if I didn’t shut up he was going to ram my head through a wall (yes, he had physically abusive tendencies in the earlier days and that was starting to resurface given the situation). Anyway, needless to say the evening of December 18th, 2002 was high-stress all around and my nerves were fried. How I was ever going to take a final exam the next day totally fried me.

Anyway, I wake up the morning of the 19th and go to school for finals. I actually only had one final exam – 2nd period. First period was gym and I had chosen to exempt my 3rd period final (biology).  This was good, as I just had this sick feeling within me.

So I was done that day by 10:30-ish if I remember right, came straight home and saw my great-grandmother. Her breathing was very labored and heavy, drifting in and out of consciousness. She asked me for an ice cube to suck on as her mouth was extremely dry. I gladly went to the freezer and got her one.

As the day wore on, I would frequently check back with her, and she asked for a couple of more ice cubes as the hours wore on into the afternoon. I stayed with her as much as I could (balancing that and study time, which was largely unproductive) knowing I probably didn’t have much time left with her. As time wore on, she spent more time in an unconscious state and her respiration was tainted with sounds of sloshing fluid (is that what they call “aqualung?” – I know it’s a medical term and not just a stupid song by Jethro Tull). It was at this point I held onto her hand for the last time, silently saying my goodbyes, then left the room as my dad called 911.

First responders came and wasted no time strapping her to a gurney and hauling her to the ambulance, but it was too late. She died in route to the hospital – DOA. When my parents got back, they broke the news. I was crushed to say the absolute least.

However, I didn’t have much time to dwell as I had another series of finals the next day. I had to shelve my own pain and power through my next round of finals. As such, I never really had a chance to grieve initially, but my mother’s chilling words never left my head. They stung like daggers through my heart, and on some level I came to believe she was right. I felt 100% responsible for her death. The guilt was crippling and would remain so for the next 16 and a half years of my life. Though I’ve kept it mostly under wraps, I’ve largely suffered from “complicated grief” over the loss since.

Fast-forward to Sunday, March 24th of this year. Laina and I had just gotten back from the IndyCar race in Austin and stepped out on her deck for some wine (and a cigar for me, of course). This topic came up in passing. Something I’d bottled up since that awful day. Yet somehow, I felt comfortable opening up to her about it – something I hadn’t felt with anyone else. She felt “safe” to me.

So I did just that, but out of my pain (and it was painful for me to talk about – I will admit that) the floodgates got opened. Floodgates that would spawn something beautiful out of my pain – the bond we share today. Opening up and telling my story to her set the stage for us to bond the way we have.

Between that and going on my recent health journey, I’ve begun to finally come to terms with it. It isn’t my fault. She was ready. She stuck around long enough to make sure I’d be alright before she crossed over (as I had gotten my diagnosis of Aspergers not too long prior and things with my parents were finally starting to smooth over). She made sure they understood me on the level she did before her departure. She was my rock growing up, as I’ve mentioned prior. She stuck around long enough to make sure my parents knew who they were dealing with, and for that I am eternally grateful to her.

It’s been 17 years to the day since my great-grandmother departed this world. Though gone from the physical realm of the living, she lives on in the little things – my tattoo, my peony scented soap, her old clock. As I continue to heal physically, so does my inner brokenness. I’ll always miss her. I’ll never stop thinking about her. However, I’m finally starting to come to terms with it, 17 years later. I couldn’t have written this post even last year. I feel a lot “lighter” finally being able to tell the story without the feelings of sheer guilt coming back.

Well, thanks for those of you who read this post to the end. I’ve gone on for 1,200 words now, which is probably way more than enough so I’ll shut up now, go light some candles and reflect. Have a good day everyone, and always remember to remind those who mean the most to you just how much they mean to you, for they might be gone tomorrow.

A Day For Reflection

So I’m taking today off of work, for a dual purpose. Today is a day of reflection, celebration, and mourning all rolled into one. Two major events happened on this day, 98 years apart.

First things first, my great-grandmother would have been 101 years old today. I think back to my childhood and am so relieved she lived with us growing up. She seemed to be the only person who understood me. Not even my parents understood me nor did they really try to until my high school counselor pleaded with them to have me evaluated for autism spectrum disorder. In that way, my great-grandmother was my rock growing up.

She passed away 9 days shy of 17 years ago, at the age of 84 years and 9 days. Not a day goes by I don’t think about her. It’s the little things, too – the peony scented hand soap I have in my dwelling place (her favorite flower), the tattoo I have on my left calf, her old anniversary clock that I’ve kept even though it quit working years ago, those kinds of things.

Though she’s gone from the realm of the living, I feel her presence still. Her energy is with me. Sometimes at night, when it’s really dark and quiet and I’m lying in bed, I hear her voice calling my name.

It’s been a long 17 years, and I’m still processing. So much of my deeper-seated feelings about the whole ordeal I’ve bottled up all this time as in a lot of ways I’d always felt responsible for her death (contracting a flu-like illness myself, then she contracted it – I assumed from me). Alas, it could have happened anywhere. I’ll never know for sure. All I know is I’m finally to a point I no longer blame myself and can begin to really heal from it.

Anyway, another major event today. Three years ago today I stumbled across a certain blog that seemed to catch my eye. One with a life story similar to mine, yet different in its own way.  I felt inclined so I left a comment. Little did I know what that little comment would blossom into 3 years later.

We started off by having a lovely dialog on WordPress, commenting back and forth, which then found us in the world of Facebook where we messaged each other through the blog “page.” Eventually this led to us exchanging numbers, blowing each other’s phones up by text, friending personal pages, and continuing blog dialog.

We finally met in person for the first time in April 2018 when said blogger adopted two kittens from my family (who have grown up to be quite happy and healthy I should add). We would meet again in person toward the end of March 2019, which set up my move, but something else was happening too – we were falling for each other hard.

Little did I know three years ago today I encountered who I truly believe to be the love of my life. My twin soul. Happy WordPress anniversary, Laina. You mean the world to me and then some.

Here are some pictures from this past Sunday. We went out to the Japanese tea gardens here in San Antonio, very close to the zoo. It was a lovely, sunny afternoon with a high of around 75 degrees so it was something to take advantage of. It was so serene, and though much colder today we might be heading back for a bit today.

All photos credit to Laina Eartharcher. signal-2019-12-08-180020signal-2019-12-08-175955-3signal-2019-12-08-175955-4signal-2019-12-08-175955-2signal-2019-12-08-175955signal-2019-12-08-175955-1

It’s very interesting to note how quickly my body composition has changed in just a few short months, and I haven’t counted a single calorie or struggled/toiled at a gym either. I’ve only changed the way I eat – going gluten/dairy free, more fruits/vegetables, cut processed foods. My Davy Dukes are actually kind of loose now – not loose enough to go down a size, but loose enough to need a belt. Laina swears I’ve aged backwards even.

Anyway, she just dropped in so I better jet – we’ve got some celebration and reflection to do. Have a good day everyone.