The river ran thin, the water barely reaching the waists of the people wading in it. Where did the water go? Is it the droughts that haunt us every winter before the winds blow balls of fire from mountains and hillsides surrounding the valley? Or is the rushing river water held back by the dam?
Whatever the reason, Johnson Beach, the Russian River of my childhood, my twenties, my thirties, fading into my forties and fifties is drying up from the burning sun, a pile of rubble for beach resembles a graveyard of white bones. Towels and chairs blanket the coarse hot sand in the middle of Spring while music blares on radios and children cool their feet in ankle deep cold green waters.
My sister and I left, disappointed in not being able to resurrect our past youth and carefree years.
We turned the car around and headed to Occidental stopping at Joe’s Bar at Negri’s, the Italian Restaurant my parents took us to when we were little, sitting three in a row in the back seat of the station wagon, starving on the way there. An hour ride from the city felt like it took all day. By the time we reached the restaurant, it was dark and felt like we were eating at midnight.
At Joe’s my sister and I ordered Truffle fries and fancy drinks, the bar is upscale now ready to serve a more refined, not easily impressed fickle crowd.
Sitting in the bar at a table in the back with a view of the sun slowly moving down for the evening, I remembered the time I was a naive nineteen years old, on a date with an older man, a thirty-six year old man, to my surprise finding out later, a married man.
He picked me up after work, driving me to San Francisco over the Golden Gate with the top down on his sports car. It was exciting and thrilling. I felt sophisticated. I could feel my skin come alive as tiny rushes of pleasure moved through me.
Until we got to the bar.
My date paraded me through a crowd of adults, picking two bar stools right up to the bar where everyone who walked in or walked out could see us.
I remember the bartender’s disapproving looks. The shiny bottles lined up against the large glass mirror filled with mysterious elixirs in otherworldly colors of green, reds, and blues.
It was too late for me to turn back. Everything inside of me wanted to run. I pushed down the anxiety, the shame silenced me turning me mute. I sat, feeling like a child while the older man, my boyfriend for the night ordered a shrimp cocktail and a “real” drink. In a whisper, I shyly answered him, requesting a soda and sat there, feeling like a wild animal caged on display.
I don’t remember the rest of that evening. I just remember feeling out of place, not comfortable in my body, realizing I had no idea who I really was.
Tonight, at Joe’s Bar, with my sister, thirty-five years later, my life is still a mystery to me. I still don’t feel completely comfortable in my body.
The difference is, it’s rare for me to feel out of place. I am grounded in who I am. The anxiety is gone. I could care less about disapproving looks.
I am reminded of the often quoted bible saying “You are in the world, but not of this world”.
After Scott crossed over, I feel like I am traveling through the world. Before, my sister and I left for a drive out to the river, I fell into a vision. I was talking to Scott. We found ourselves in a commercial kitchen, I kept glancing at the dumb waiter near the stainless steel counter tops. I was waiting for something to appear, a plated dinner or meal ready to be served. The dumb waiter’s mechanical cord didn’t move, there was nothing for me to do. The contraption was empty. In the quiet kitchen, both of us dressed in chefs whites, I faced Scott and asked him, “What am I supposed to be doing now? I don’t understand why I’m still here. What is my job.”
Scott looked at me and said “Janet, your job is to give people hope.”
On the way back from Joe’s Bar and the River, I described my vision with Scott to my sister. At the stoplight, we watched a male pigeon swirl about in a provocative dance trying to impress a female sitting next to him on top of the lamp post. He was giving everything he had to win her over.
While the pigeon danced, waiting for the light to change, I explained to my sister, the message from Scott about Hope. How it is true, I try to give people hope, I bare my soul, my authentic life on this blog to give people hope that they are not alone.
Hope that their loved ones are not truly lost. They are still right here loving them, pouring their affections through the thin veil the same as they did when they were here.
Hope that they are not alone in their thoughts and feelings. Their fears and anxiety.
Hope that there are amazing dreams awaiting them as the ones they were promised fall through their hands, sandcastles disappearing in a moment, waiting to be reborn into the next.
My sister made homemade flour tortillas and beans today. I ate them for lunch. Tonight, we will have them for dinner with a glass of red wine while we watch travel videos on Mexico. Sixteen tortillas and a big pot of beans were a labor of love that cost less than five dollars to make.
“I’m going to keep on traveling until I meet my friends on the other side. I have more people and animals over there than I do here. In the meantime, I have to appreciate and live this life fully while I am here.”
The text to “B” doesn’t tell the whole truth and reveal the work I’ve been doing since Scott crossed over. Not only do I travel here, I go through the portal and meet up with my loved ones, people and animals on the other side. My sister goes through the portal too.
It seems crazy, doesn’t it?
Especially if you have never experienced traveling in other realms.
I thought it was pretty wild and crazy too, until I learned how to travel through the portal after I read Christina Rasmussen’s book “Where Did You Go?.” Christina didn’t give up her search for her husband after his death, until she found him. Her groundbreaking book combining spirituality and cutting edge science was written to bring comfort and help to those of us who have lost loved ones.
Christina’s book was my first travel guide through the portal to the other side. Her podcast interviewing Doctors, Scientists, and Spiritual Leaders provided me with research I hungered for.
Robert Moss takes us through the portal to multi-dimensional realms by teaching how dreams are the way our soul speaks to us and how we can travel through time and space into other dimensions meeting with our departed loved ones, bringing gifts back to this world, and expanding and deepening life into the adventure it is meant to be. The spirit world, our guides and teachers use symbols and synchronicity not to confuse or frustrate, but to expand our way of learning, seeing, and expanding ourselves. Robert Moss, through his books, podcast, and classes is a rich canvas of exploration and deepening that is enriching my life beyond anything I have ever experienced before.
Tonight, my journey begins with watching videos of Mexico while eating tortillas with my sister while we vision future travels to Isla Las Mujeres and Baja.
Later, when I fall asleep, the mystery and adventure continues as I travel to places beyond this one.
I am becoming comfortable with eating alone again.
Last night, I had dinner alone in an Italian Restaurant. I wanted to try their carbonara.
Years ago, I read a recipe for Pasta Carbonara in the New York Times. I lived in a new house, a four bedroom home in Cloverdale in Northern California with my three dogs and parrot. It was a beautiful suburban home with a kitchen garden, fountains, and lights in the backyard. I bought the lot and plans unseen. I knew it was a good deal. I picked out the Spanish tile for the kitchen and dining room. My furniture was ordered and delivered from Pottery Barn. I designed the gardens and put Art on the walls.
I spent almost all of my meals alone except for the occasional family guest or friend who visited sporadically over the two years I lived there, later leaving the house to buy my farm for my horse Reanna, who I met and bought earlier when I was stung with the horse bug.
I spent days in the suburban house kitchen perfecting the recipe for the pasta using parsley that I planted near the faucet in my backyard. The parsley loved living near the faucet. I still haven’t tasted parsley like the fragrant rich herb that grew for me in Cloverdale.
The pasta last night was good, but not mine. The wine was okay, not great. The best part of the dinner was I didn’t get hit by grief. I thought about Scott and smiled with good memories and I enjoyed my dinner alone.
Of course I miss Scott. I loved eating out with him. When we ate at home or out in public, we always sat next to each other, our legs touching, sometimes my hand resting on his thigh. We never sat across from each other, unless it was impossible to sit close. Rarely did we look at our cellphones unless we were searching for information to plan something together.
Last night, eating out alone, was the first time I enjoyed my solo company. I glanced at my cellphone. The rest of the time I savored my meal out and my own thoughts.
I remember eating out alone in my twenties when I first ventured out solo dining. My hands tied in knots in my lap, anxiety raising, I would race through my meal barely tasting what was on my plate.
I kept at it. I had a feeling I would be single most of my life. I love food. I love cafes. I love going out. I love travel. I didn’t want to eat over the sink like some singles. I didn’t want to eat alone in an hotel staring at four walls. I didn’t want to miss this part of my life. So, I kept at it with a journal or book on the table to keep me company.
My celebration and break through was in my thirties, sitting down for an indulgent six course extravagant meal at a French Restaurant. It was impossible to rush through.
I don’t know if I am going to remain single the rest of my life since Scott has crossed over. I have a strong feeling I probably will. I have no desire for a partner and I enjoy my time alone.
No matter how painful and uncomfortable losing Scott is, I am going to keep pushing forward and living my life, doing the things I enjoyed before Scott, with Scott, and now without him.
Green trees, green grasses, the scent of sea in the air, the hills and valleys opened up leading us home to Sonoma. It was a long day on the road and the spirit of home, the San Francisco Bay Area where I was born, raised, and the place I keep returning to welcomed me back forgiving my transgressions.
I am home. I feel home.
Going home is one of the sweetest rewards of traveling.
At home, I completed the transfer of my blog to Word Press which I figured out how to do with Tech Support from Google and WordPress helping when I got stuck. The transfer took less than a day. From what the techs chatted back, sometimes the domain transfers stall for seven days. Divine intervention and good techs kept me sane during the process.
After a long day, driving back from LA, transferring content, subscribers and domains, my sister and I decided to go on a shamanic journey.
After such a successful day, you would think I would be up for an adventure, maybe visit a palace and sit down for a fine dinner in good company, or ride my flying grey mare through the skies to a magical realm, or soak in sacred waters lost on a Greek island.
During the shamanic drumming, I stomped through the portal, got tangled up in spider webs, battled it out with pirate skeletons trying to keep me away from the tunnel of light, and forced myself through demanding answers to my questions.
Only to hear one answer repeated over and over again.
Don’t Try to Figure it Out
Great. Great answer.
You would think I would have figured that out by now.
Don’t figure out.
Today I rest. And I am not going to try and figure things out.
In my defense, I did figure out how to transfer this blog. That worked.
The grey and clouds have lifted. I am feeling hopeful witnessing the sun do its work this morning bringing light and blue skies. In the distance I can see patches of smudge, an exhaust of fumes, human activity layering the city with a filmy substance clouding the picture from my window with blurry edges.
Buddhist monks visited me in my dreams last night. They invited me to walk the city streets with them. I joined them following their orange robes billowing in the slight breeze as they pointed with long fingers, at a lizard basking on the sidewalk absorbing the sun’s rays. The monks turned to look at me, patiently waiting to catch my eyes, to make sure I didn’t miss what they were seeing.
We continued walking the streets of Los Angeles and one by one the monks found something beautiful to show me. A bonsai garden, a sanctuary of perfectly cared for plants and rocks in the middle of the sidewalk bordered by abandoned lots and garbage, a tiny bouquet of wild flowers pushing through the crack of pavement.
I followed the monks and their silence as they searched for beauty and meaning. We flowed together through a world on pause from noise and commotion.
Before the dream last night, I was talking to my sister and telling her about a beautiful garden and business I can see from my window. One of the few businesses not tagged and wiped out with graffiti. Through-out the day I look out of my window at this small business holding it’s own energy and beauty. I watch as people carefully walk around the small garden and storefront windows.
I think to myself how can I be more like the monks. How can I flow through this world looking for beauty pressing through the chaos.
\”God. I remember you gave me Paper Life by Tatum O\’Neil
and I read that before and during my flight. I said to the lady
next to me while the captain said we\’re approaching LAX.
\”Wow, LA is sure cloudy today\”.
The Lady looked back at me \”Honey that\’s not cloudy, that\’s smog\”.
My Best Friend B texting me back after I wrote to her about my
thoughts on Los Angeles late last night
I know for sure I was the oldest one at Taco Tuesday last night. For sure, the oldest one. And the only one with grey hair. It didn\’t improve my mood to hear the waiter call me \”Girlfriend\”.
At least a half a dozen times.
Thanks \”Girlfriend\”, I will get your order right up.
Here\’s your water \”Girlfriend\”!
Don\’t worry, I gotcha, \”Girlfriend.\”
I am not, I hope I am not a grumpy old lady. Although at fifty-five, I looked in the mirror this morning and I swear I am looking more like my grandmother everyday than my mother. And I love the phrase \”girlfriend\”. I use it too. I just didn\’t feel like a \”girlfriend\” last night. I tried. I tried to have a good time.
My nephew ordered me sweet potato tacos that were probably some of the best tacos I\’ve had. It\’s just that I was missing Scott and holding back the tears during dinner. I didn\’t want to cry around all the \”girlfriends\” half dressed up for the night, baring skin in overcast grey (smog?) cool weather.
That\’s the thing about grief. You think it\’s lifted. You think Grief went on vacation until it gobsmacks you in the middle of West Hollywood on Taco Tuesday among the Kardashian look a likes and some hoping to catch a glimpse of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. Or is it Ashton Kutcher these days?
I made it through dinner holding back the tears trying to lose myself in the pink glow of lights and chips with salsa.
Another thing, it kills me I\’m losing spending time with my nephew when my thoughts are on missing Scott. He wouldn\’t, doesn\’t want that. I know he wants me to live a good life.
After dinner, my nephew drove me through West Hollywood to Beverly Hills. I caught a glimpse of The Beverly Hills Hotel when we drove by and I saw the mansions, a third of them dark (second homes?) and the rest with gates, fancy cars and lights. I tried to feel the energy, feel the neighborhood beyond the opulent wealth.
I felt nothing, almost nothing except for the faint ghost of isolation and loneliness.
Driving through the boutiques in Beverly Hills, I noticed right away the absence of garbage, not one cigarette butt in the gutter, not even a flick of ashes. The garbage cans were neatly lined with nothing in them. No bags skipping across the pavement like plastic tumbleweeds. No tents, no encampments. No homeless, not one person losing his mind in public on a drug trip. The sidewalks were washed. The windows so clean, not even a thumbprint could survive.
I was missing the graffiti before we reached the end to the other side.
The day started with coffees at Blue Bottle and donuts, one Raspberry Frosted with peanut butter and one Fresh Apple from The Donut Man at Grand Central Market in Downtown, LA.
Today and tonight, it\’s all about food. The day is not half over and we are going out later for taco Tuesday and I can barely move, I\’m so full as I write this post.
Two donuts, a meal onto themselves with fresh fruit at a place established in 1972 still making them on-site fresh everyday cost $5.50. In Sonoma, they would cost at least double and half the size. Oops, I promised I wouldn\’t compare.
It\’s the food here that makes cents, sorry:) couldn\’t help myself.
On our way downtown, I couldn\’t ignore the dozens of people, a rainbow of human souls tripping out on drugs, talking to the air, passed out on the sidewalks, ranting at antagonistic invisible opponents. There is a choreography embodied in my own being that instinctively knows how to move around them like I did as a child growing up in San Francisco. Only back then, it wasn\’t so much drugs, it was booze. Every few feet, a drama plays out. A Grub Hub bicyclist gets side swiped by an SUV, police car pulls over, pulling witnesses to the side like a normal day at the office. My eyes are not big enough or focused to take it all in no matter how hard I try not miss anything.
The traveler in me loves it, even the thumping noise, the car alarms constantly going off, the honking and beeping, the constant play of bad music recycling on the same loop pounding out notes that make the skin on your arms crawl as you walk by buildings falling into decay until they are refaced and birthed into something else.
I can feel my spirit jumping up and down inside like a child. More. More. More. My soul sits back like a quiet zen master living inside a deep green forest, untouchable. The human, my human wants to find a quiet place to retreat to, to keep the nerves from going on edge, the mind tries to race fearful of this kind of living, life. What kind of life is this, and oh no what if. What if this was my life? The forever judge of a situation, always fearful of the consequence of choice calls witnesses preparing a case.
The mid-day stop was vegetarian ramen, rice bowls and beer. It\’s overcast, grey, murky, and gloomy out. This seems like the perfect choice and it was. After lunch back in Koreatown, I am going to finish up this post and try to find my inner peace in all of this by reading one of my dream books. The only nature I\’ve been close to his human nature, pigeons and a pair of crows or two.
I can feel the loss, deep in my heart of the tuning out, the constant chaos and noise, and scramble shutting out voices of animals and trees, flowers, and honeybees, coyotes and bear.
It\’s really not enough to just see the spirit animals painted on murals and spelled out in graffiti. My hope is the animals, nature are truly not forgotten, just lost in the business of loud competitive dreams cascading and drowning out the quieter ones of peace, harmony and a sense of serenity.
On the way to Seal Beach and back, I took photos, my senses on overload. My experience, words, and pictures feel like a collage of feelings, emotions, and color.
While traveling, it\’s best not to compare places I visit to \”Home\”. Home being the Sonoma Valley. Although the last few years, I haven\’t felt at home in Sonoma County. I don\’t feel at home anywhere after Scott crossed over. My sense of home is disintegrating, changing, evolving.
Today, I found myself gravitating towards photos that were aesthetically pleasing. My nephew. My nephew\’s dog. Food.
The view from where I am staying.
But this is not the whole story. I am not an Instagram blog. Spending a couple of days in Los Angeles doesn\’t bring me any closer to the story I want to write or the photos I want to post here. A few words, a paragraph can not sum up my short stay, my experience or what this place is. There is a much more interesting fabric of stories here to tell and write.
Refineries, miles and miles of them near
Seal Beach, California
When we arrived at Seal Beach, we parked close to the beach, leashing Luna who excitedly pranced about sniffing the sea air. Within minutes of touching the sand, we were asked to leave, \”no dogs allowed\”. The Lifeguard was pleasant enough, suggesting we move along down to another beach that welcomed dogs a few miles away.
We chose to stay and walk the neighborhoods and shops instead.
No dogs are allowed at the beach. No dogs are allowed at the restaurants. I didn\’t see more than a couple of dogs walking near the cafes and shops. It felt oddly strange and barren without them.
Lifeguard within minutes asking us to leave the beach
since we had a dog with us
Seal Beach, California
We took a stroll with Luna on the sidewalk near the shops and cafes winding in and out of gardening stores, t-shirt shops, seashell and beach themed stores, and coffee houses. I bought a soft burgundy Seal Beach T-Shirt. I usually don\’t buy expensive tourist stuff, but something inside nudged me to spend the thirty bucks.
Shops in Seal Beach
Getting back into the car, I asked my nephew to drive down the road a bit to see what else we could find. We continued down the road following the boardwalk along the coast making a turn that found us stuck in a development area with blocked gates, building materials and lots of cement. Turning back making a detour, we noticed a wharf area out in the distance.
We found a clear pass leading us to the waterfront. Crossing over to the wharf, my nephew was surprised to find his favorite brewery. He didn\’t know his beer was brewed in Long Beach. We looked at each other and smiled. Getting lost, detoured, and finding the perfect lunch spot felt like Scott had a hand in this fun roundabout route.
After lunch, heading back, I mentioned to my nephew how I wanted to see the parks where people might experience nature. We visited a couple of parks in the area close to where we are staying. I noted the parks, both of them partially filled with tent camps, a soccer area was active with players, and flocks and flocks of seagulls picked through overflowing garbage cans and bins. Police were near the encampments writing tickets. Some children were scattered about on bare patches of grass around a large cement lake with a few ducks languidly paddling in the middle.
Surrounding the park, buses forged ahead, people flooded the crosswalks, cars maneuvered in and out of lanes, and creative home made businesses prepared and marketed their wares on card tables. A chaotic shuffling of order unfolded as the ashen sky clouds melted together awaiting a hazy sunset.
MacArthur City Park
Los Angeles, Ca
I\’ve spent most of my time in a high rise looking over the city and in the car going back and forth to beaches and cafes. On foot, I feel like I would get a close up, a better sense and feel for the area. So far most of the time I\’ve spent with people is in the elevator going up and down inside the building or briefly being served food. I hope to take a walk in the area tonight or tomorrow to gain more perspective and photos.
Checking out the Skyline
There is a good sized dog park, a gym, pools, saunas, and hot tubs on the Roof