Many years ago (I thought it was 10+, plus recently figured out it was actually 9), I wrote a blog post recapping American Idol. This was when everyone was aghast at the fact that Sanjaya was still in the competition.
I wrote the post on March 7, 2007, and on March 9, someone named Kerri commented on it. She, too, was incredulous that Sanjaya was still there. Kerri continued to comment on my Idol posts. I started reading her blog too and on March 21, I made my first comment over there.
Over the years, we read and commented each other's blogs on a regular basis. At some point we exchanged email addresses and started to communicate that way. We had a lot in common--we're both left-handed intoverts, we tend to like the same TV shows, movies and books, and we have the same sense of humor. Her BFF shares my last name AND my birthday. We got along really well in words and it felt like we were meant to know each other. She's so talented and I bought some of her CDs. She started making jewelry and I bought some of that too. At some point, Facebook came along, and then last year we exchanged cell phone numbers--we didn't talk, but we started communicating even more often via text.
(A couple of years ago, there was a chance that her husband's job was going to be relocated to my area--I was so excited at the opportunity to meet her and get to hang out. Unfortunately, that fell through, but it was in my mind that one of these days we would meet.)
Well, that day came on Thursday, March 31, 2016!
It was almost exactly nine years after our friendship started. In January, I had come across some cheap flights to Dallas, and jumped on it and told Kerri I was coming to see her.
After refreshing at my hotel, I drove to her house. I was so excited, and could tell she was too because when I pulled into the driveway, she came out right away and gave me a huge hug. (An aside: I was a little slow on the uptake because my rental car was a Prius and I was trying to figure out how to turn the damn thing off. You have to push a button to park, and another button to turn the car off. Each and every time I drove that car, I said, "this car is so weird." But, for what it's worth, when I went to fill it up back to full, it only took $3.50!)
ANYWAY, it was so good to FINALLY meet each other in person! It was just like seeing an old friend after a long time. We never had any awkward silences and we got along great right from the start. I met her husband, Fermin, and her dogs, Lucy and Ricky, also known as "The Ricardos." We chatted for a while at her house and then we went to the Dallas Arboretum, which was nearby. It was a beautiful day and we walked and talked (and talked). Kerri showed me where her wedding had been. We were off to a great start. Kerri also pointed out that my first comment on her blog was a post about one of her visits to the Arboretum so it was fitting that we were there.
After the gardens, Kerri had some family business to tend to, so I headed to the grocery store for some snacks for my room (which had a fridge and kitchenette) and then we met up later for dinner at a Mexican restaurant called Meso Maya, which was delicious. Her brother joined us, and it was great to meet him as well. I had seen him Shark Tank a few years ago and it was fun to meet him in person.
On Friday we went to a cute little crepe restaurant called Whisk. Delicious. We then went to downtown Dallas to go to Dealey Plaza with the intention of going to the Sixth Floor Museum. Well, those plans were squashed when we saw how many people were there. There was a 90-120 minute wait to get in, and then the tour was 90 minutes. I didn't have time because I was meeting another friend for dinner that night, so we just checked out the "grassy knoll." See? I have proof. (That sign cracks me up.) I'll definitely be back to Dallas in the future to visit, so we'll plan better for this tour.
There's a small X in the middle of the street that shows where President Kennedy was first shot. It's a little strange that it's not more prominently marked, but maybe that would draw more people into the middle of street/traffic than that little X already does.
We then went to the Dallas Museum of Art and did more walking and talking (and art watching). We stopped by the Northpark Mall (which is a beautiful mall) on the way back before going back to my hotel. (The mall was right near where I was staying.)
On Friday night, I met my friend Allyssa who also lives in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, and whom I also met years ago through the internet. (When I told Kerri that I was meeting another friend that I had met online, she said, "You've done this before?!" It is kind of crazy, really. Meeting men and online dating hasn't worked at all for me, but I've made some great female friendships via the interwebs.) Allyssa and I went to Mudhen Meats and Greens, which was also delicious. We shut the place down after talking for 3-1/2 hours. It was great to see her, and I look forward to seeing her again in August when she's up my way in DC.
(Note: I haven't mentioned here on the blog that I was recently diagnosed with Celiac's disease and have to eat a gluten-free diet. It was great to find so many GF options in Dallas. Even Whisk had GF crepes, which was great.)
On Saturday, Kerri and I met for lunch at Spin Pizza (GF crust!). Another great meal. After lunch, I headed back to my hotel to await the arrival of my aunt and her husband, who live in Ft. Worth. She is my mom's half sister, and I had only met her once before many years ago. After she and her husband arrived, she told me that her sister (another aunt) was coming too. And then, her husband's son and fiance also joined us. It was great to meet "new" family and we had a good two-hour visit in my hotel lobby.
That afternoon, I went to Kerri's where she worked on designing some new jewelry for me that will re-purpose some of my grandma's jewelry. I can't wait to see how it comes out. We then went to visit White Rock Lake, which is a huge man-made lake with a 10-mile circumference with a bike path and trails all around it. It was beautiful. And, we finally decided to take our cameras out for some selfies! I wish we had thought of that all along. Duh. (Doesn't it feel like you've been part of a cliffhanger? You've probably been wondering, well, where are the pictures?! What does Kerri look like for crying out loud?!)
There she is...so pretty, inside and out! And I love that photo! Photo credit to Kerri--hers came out the best!
After the lake, Kerri, Fermin, and I went to meet some of their friends (Kevin and Allyson) for dinner at a neighborhood restaurant called Thai Opal. This was a place where everyone knows Kerri and Fermin's names. Again, the food was delicious and the company was fun. I already mentioned that I'm an introvert, but I'm also usually rather shy when meeting new people. On this trip, I never felt shy at all. I think it's because I've been hearing about them for years, so it's like I already knew them anyway. After dinner, we went to a neighborhood dive called One Nostalgia Place. I just found this article about it, which cracks me up: "One Nostalgia Place Is the Shitty Bar of My Dreams." When Kerri and friends were talking about going for cocktails and dancing, I thought they meant the activity of going for drinks and dancing until I saw the sign (check out the link to the article) and realized that Cocktails Dancing was the destination. We had a couple of bad drinks, did the Wobble, and watched Kevin do some karaoke. We weren't there long, but it was fun.
More photos credit to Kerri!
After Cocktails Dancing, we parted ways with Kevin and Allyson and then headed back to Kerri's to watch American Idol. (How could we not? This all started with American Idol!) After the show ended, we made plans for me to come by in the morning for breakfast before my 1pm flight out of Dallas.
Well, on Sunday morning, just as I was getting ready to head to their house, I checked the American Airlines website to see if everything was on time, and oh jeez! I just about had a heart attack because my flight didn't leave at 1pm--it was leaving at NOON! YIKES! How did I mess that up so badly? I had 1pm in my head the whole trip. Anyway, I ended up driving to Kerri's just to give her a goodbye hug and then was on my way to the airport. It was sad saying goodbye and I became emotional and teary. (Kerri said we're even because she had the same thing happen when I first got there. She said it was a good bookend to our visit.) I got to the airport with no issues and got home safely.
It was a fantastic trip and I had so much fun. I know more visits will happen in the future and I can't wait. I'm so happy to have actually met my longtime dear friend! She's one of the best people I know.
p.s. Kerri also convinced me to get back to blogging more regularly--I'll try to give it a go.