I’m finding eating out at the cafes and restaurants that offer outdoor dining within walking distance from my home is preferable to eating home alone, especially during the Spring weather in Sonoma. It’s been consistently in the mid 70’s to 80’s.
The walk to the cafes and shops by my home is giving me something to look forward to and brightens my day.
Until I start working again, I am finding myself with too much time on my hands at home. There is only so much reading, writing, and coloring I can do. I don’t watch TV and YouTube grows old after awhile.
I am finding myself adopt a cafe culture of going out that reminds me of my European roots. I haven’t been to Europe yet, but I’m told going out and meeting friends at the Tapa Bars and Cafes is a big piece of the social fabric in Spain and I’m pretty sure pretty common in the mediterranean climates.
Going out motivates me to get out of my lounge sleepwear, get dressed up, and see the world beyond the room I am renting.
During the COVID shutdown, I cooked most of our meals. I baked bread. I pored over my cookbooks trying different recipes. Scott and I packed picnic lunches to take with us to the park, one of the few restricted places we could go during the quarantine.
Last summer, we lived in our van, camping through-out the West Coast from California to Washington state for over three months. I did most of the cooking over the campfire, breakfast through dinner. Scott didn’t expect me to cook for him, in fact he let me know several times that it wasn’t my responsibility to take over the camp cooking. I wanted to. It was a challenge coming up with interesting meals, using the camp stove, and the fire pit grill. I loved making us breakfast with our cast iron pan.
Before COVID hit, I worked as the Bistro Manager, cooking and serving meals for low income seniors at one of the local senior centers during the week. Before that job, I worked in a Culinary School assisting the Chefs during class.
I’ve spent a lot of time in the kitchen.
I’m ready for a break. Going out to eat is more expensive than home cooking unless you eat off the dollar menu at fast food franchises.
I am finding ways to cut the cost on eating out.
Sometimes, I split the meal in two bringing the other portion home for later. Other times, I order off the appetizer or tapa menu. Items are usually less expensive than an entree and large enough to serve two, so they are perfect for one with leftovers or just enough for a good meal. Salads are another good choice and usually reasonable. Scott and I found Happy Hours to be a great time to find deals on food and drinks. Once in awhile, I will order a glass of wine. Most of the time, I have ice water. Drinks with booze or not are expensive.
Another reason, I love going out. Now, that I am alone, I want to be around people. I want to hear the buzz of conversation and life. I want to take walks and see the world outside of my room.
If I reach a time where I am too old to go out, I will have more than enough time to stare at four walls and a television set, although I am sure I will find ways to put up bird feeders, watch wildlife, garden and do art instead.
One of the big reasons, Scott and I got along so well was our desire and lifestyle to go out and see the world even if that was restricted to walks around the neighborhood following the creek immersing us in nature not too far from home, sharing a beer at the local brewery listening to music or taking the bus to another town to check out something we hadn’t seen before. We left the house everyday to explore on foot, public transit or by cars when we owned them.
We still had more than enough time at home for our hobbies, chores, and getting ready for work.
I have family and friends who prefer to stay home instead of go out. They can stay home for days at a time and find things to keep them busy or just be.
Staying home for more than a day is not good for me. It’s not in my spirit to stay home for too long.
My next challenge is to find the parks and nature within walking distance and public transit near the neighborhood I live in.
“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson”