Jazz Brunch

Jazz at Cafe Frida

When I was thirty-four, I leased my first home by myself. Before then, I shared places with my boyfriend in my early twenties and roommates after our break-up. My first solo home was a cute Victorian cottage near the downtown. I walked everywhere. I walked to the bookstore, the cafes, and to work.

When I first moved into my place, I didn’t have any furniture. I remember sitting on the floor of the living room visioning how I wanted the place to look and feel. Before the month was out, I found a Middle Eastern furniture shop. The owner, a young Persian Woman my age helped me pick out sitting cushions for the floor in bright silk covers of burgundy, aureate, and the deepest of ruby reds. A beautiful table formed the centerpiece where I ate and served my meals. For many of my guests, it was the first time they sat on the floor to eat.

On Sundays, I walked my Golden Retriever puppy Melanie downtown to shop for CDs. I would buy at least three to half dozen from the Jazz, Blues, International, and Classical sections. Back home, I would fix a decadent breakfast with more coffee, and play my cds entranced by music I wasn’t familiar with.

I remember describing my Sundays to Scott. At the same time, back then, he was visiting stores in Berkeley, and through-out the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento picking out records, cds, and listening to as much music as he could, especially the Grateful Dead and Neil Young. His passion was music. His tastes were so deep and varied, it’s hard for me to mention just a couple of names because there were hundreds if not thousands of musicians and bands he followed. He never abandoned it. I did over the years, finding other interests, reigniting my desire for listening to jazz and blues, and other genres when I met Scott.

Today, I listened to live Jazz, at a local cafe near downtown with my sister and my mom. It was so wonderful sitting outside in the sunshine, having brunch, watching the parade of dogs enter the outdoor cafe. I am grateful to live in a dog friendly town.

Listening to the music, I thought of Scott. Last year, he played Chet Baker for me. It was the first time I really listened to Chet Baker. I fell in love with the music, taking me back to a time that I felt free and independent longing for a partner to share my life with. And here was Scott playing jazz for me on a Sunday. I remember feeling grateful that my prayers were answered. Up to the day, he transitioned, Scott was playing music, I remember him placing his headphones around my ears, so I could listen to a piece of jazz he found, so excited to share it with me.

I am so glad live music is back in our town. I feel close to Scott when I listen to music.

As the music played, the cafe filled up quickly. We almost had to step over dogs to find our way out of there. I’ll be back. The coffee is so good and the food presentation is delightful at Cafe Frida.

Meditation Bells

This morning, I was practicing a guided meditation. The soothing male voice encouraged us to use our senses to see and hear everything around us. In my room, I noticed for the first time the beautiful shade of green on the walls, my stack of books on my nightstand waiting to be read, the comforter in soft colors that keeps me warm at night, the closet that holds my new clothes, and the way the morning light beams through the shades on my window. For the first time, I felt how aesthetically pleasing and beautiful my room is.

The soul hungers for beauty and meaning.

At the end of the meditation, the Catholic Church a couple of blocks away rang the bells for Mass.

I listened as the bells sweetly called people to prayer.

Terrace Dining

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”

Change your Mood, Change your Life

Roses on my Walk back from Lunch

“And the Day Came When the Risk to Remain Tight In a Bud Was More Painful Than the Risk It Took to Blossom.” – Anais Nin.

Yesterday, I wrote about being in the Goo.

What I really wanted to write was in the Gloom, but I didn’t want to bring the energy down. I try to be as honest as possible describing where life takes me.

Yesterday, I was not in good spirits.

My clothes didn’t fit right, I grew out of them. When did that happen? Instead of not eating and losing weight during my journey with grief and loss.

I ate. A lot. Go figure.

My clothes felt awful. I felt awful. I was starting to spiral downwards.

I picked myself up and walked to the mall by my home. I asked for guidance and help shopping for clothes. At one of the stores, I have detested in the past for long lines and a mess to sort through when you are desperate for something to find to wear.

I found five tops that fit beautifully.

At home, I took my time, putting away my clothes while listening to Wayne Dyer and Esther Hicks. On YouTube, if you search for them together, you will find an interview of Dyer interviewing Esther Hicks on manifesting and creating that is one of the best I’ve listened to.

The next day, I decided to take myself out to a cafe for a nice lunch. The weather is beautiful. I put on a new blouse with my jeans and headed out, walking. At the mall, an older gentleman with a pink shirt (my blouse was pink too) set up his keyboard to play music for the shoppers and lunch crowd. I greeted him and continued on my way to the cafe.

At the latin cafe, I ordered a nice salad with greens, pineapple chutney, avocado and grilled chicken. My new challenge is to find the best salads in town. This one did not disappoint. It was huge, I packaged the rest for later.

While I was having my lunch, the young waitress serving the tables on the other side of restaurant came over to my table, to let me know that she loved my silver hair.

I paid my check with my spirits high, and went back to the music guy to listen to him play the keyboards for a bit.

Walking home, I admired the pink and red roses starting to bloom. Within minutes of being back home, putting my leftover lunch away, and getting comfortable, I received a call for an interview for a job at a non-profit that I would love to work for.

I don’t know if the job will materialize, but I trust Abraham-Hicks. If it’s not this job, it will be a job that is as good as this one or even better.

“When you begin to understand the vibrational nature of thought and the way the law of attraction responds to it, you then begin to understand how it is that you are the creator of your own reality” –The Amazing Power of Deliberate Intent by Esther and Jerry Hicks

In the Goo

Today, I felt stuck in the goo.

My clothes didn’t feel right. I am uncomfortable. I am growing towards a new vision that is not here yet.

I am in an awkward stage in my life.

After shopping for better fitting clothes and going out to lunch, a disappointing lunch that did not satisfy, I walked home feeling even more out of place.

In my room, I turned on a recording of Wayne Dyer, who always manages to help me think outside my box and in the process I feel better. Wayne Dyer was one of Scott’s favorites.

Listening to Dyer, I pulled a card from my Intuitive Wisdom: Color Your Deck Tarot Cards. I’ve read tarot cards since my twenties, most of the time without the book that comes with the deck.

This afternoon, I pulled the Caterpillar.

I asked my question from within and wrote it down in my journal.

What do you want me to know Caterpillar?

I am the essence of the butterfly. In the goo of the cocoon we dream. We dream the vision of who we came here to be. As our dream evolves and expands, our wings grow pushing forth the energy we need to burst into the light and fly.

Today, I felt like a tired caterpillar.

My reading reminds me that this is a time of dreaming and forming the vision of who I am going to be. The wings are not ready to grow just yet. The energy has not arrived yet to push forth the vision of what will be.

“Whatever we build in the imagination will accomplish itself in the circumstance of our lives” -W.B. Yeats

Lucky Cats

Today I received my last shot, the second booster for COVID.

In celebration, my sister and I decided to go to lunch afterwards. I was craving a Poke Bowl like the one I had in La Jolla when I visited San Diego last month. Searching google, I found a restaurant downtown with outdoor seating.

Walking a few blocks to our destination, the warm breeze brought happy feelings of summer around the corner, live music, and spending as much time as possible outside. During our first summer together, Scott got me hooked on live music from May to September. One summer we worked only part-time, less than twenty hours a week freeing up our time to attend as many summer concerts as possible. A jazz, blues, or classic rock cover band played for free almost every day of the week. In our bedroom tacked to the wall was a monthly calendar marking the bands and venues we wanted to check out. I will never forget that summer with Scott and the ones following. Music was a big deal in our lives.

Rounding the corner to downtown Santa Rosa, we found the Asian Restaurant. We were the only ones or first ones there for an early dinner at Miso Good Ramen.

Finding a comfortable table outside, I noticed right away Maneki Neko, the Japanese Lucky Cat.

There are many stories about the Legend of Maneki Neko.

My favorite one about Maneki Neko tells the story of an impoverished priest who cared for the Gotukuji Temple. In the face of his poverty, he shared his humble meals with his cat.

One day, a Samurai took shelter under one of the temple’s nearby trees.

Maneki Neko, the priest’s cat beckoned the Samurai over by waving a paw. As the Samurai approached the cat, a bolt of lightening struck the tree sending it crashing to the ground. The Samurai would have been killed if it had not been for the cat’s gesture calling him from the shelter of the tree.

Thankful for Maneki Neko, and appreciative of the cat’s interception, the Samurai who happened to be a very wealthy man rewarded the cat by funding the Buddhist Temple.

Today, many people visit Temple Gotukuji in Japan where Maneki Neko is buried.

Today, was a fortuitous day. I don’t take for granted getting my last COVID shot and feeling the world open up again.

Our early dinner was beautifully served and one of the best Japanese meals I have ever had.

It was extra special having Maneki Neko, the lucky cat for company.

Athena’s Owl

After our trip out to the beach, we stopped at our favorite shop in a town called Sebastopol near where I live. The shop sells candles, incense, books, crystals, art, small sculptures of spirit animals and powerful goddesses.

The owl caught my attention at Milk & Honey.

The tiny arrow like object in the owl’s beak is Athena’s spear. In Greek mythology, the little owl accompanies Athena the Goddess of Wisdom. Athena’s sacred spirit animal symbolizes Athena’s power to see where others cannot. The owl is her source of wisdom and judgement.

Fascinated by the owl in the shop, my sister encouraged me to take a photo. Both of us are on the simple journey to save space and money. Instead of owning an object, why not take a photo instead, where I can carry it with me at all times.

Back home, this morning, I woke up remembering a journey in my dreaming class with Robert Moss.

Robert Moss described the beginning of our journey that morning, by showing us an impenetrable wall, a gate covered in locks and barriers. During our Shamanic Journey, we needed to face our own gate to see what laid beyond.

During the drumming, my gate appeared before me. I tried to open the locks. They would not crack open. I tried to climb the gate, it was too tall and wide. I couldn’t get a hold of it, to climb up.

Before growing frustrated and tired, I called for help from my guides.

Within moments, a small owl flew over me landing on the gate. She found a small opening at the top right corner, a space I had missed. She hopped a couple of times, looked back at me, and than pushed her way through. I followed her easily, finding my way to the other side.

This was the same little owl that helped me on another journey by dropping a tool (the spear) from her beak that opened a window I was trying to climb out of.

Back at Milk & Honey, I admired and thanked the little owl, her tools, her wisdom, her ability to see in the night.

It is tempting to buy the beautiful sculpture of her perched on top of the books symbolizing her wisdom, her tool, a spear gently held in her beak. For now, I will carry her in a photo and call for her again, in hopes she will come to my rescue, if I need help along my path.

There is No Place Like Home

“If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with! Is that right?” 

-Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz

After a lunch of clam chowder, barbecued oysters, fish tacos and glasses of Chardonnay looking out over Bodega Bay, I felt happy to be home and not traveling for now.

I’ve been traveling away from home on and off for almost three years plus, always finding myself returning.

I do want to travel this summer. I also want to stop running.

Bodega Head was one of Scott’s favorite spots for us to relax and watch the sunset on our days off or on extremely hot days during the summer, we would pick up sandwiches or pack a picnic lunch.

Today, the flowers were popping with color, calling me home.

“In every out thrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.”

– Rachel Carson

Pink Moon Dreams

Pink Moon April 2021

Walking home from dinner last night, I delayed rushing back to appreciate the pink moon shining in the night sky.

During the night, in my sleep, my dreams were filled with versions of myself, a woman vibrant and full of life. A woman wanting to explore and find truths about herself and the world around her.

Who Am I in my Dreams?

This is a question, I never thought to ask until last night.

Who I am in my dreams is a pretty powerful woman.

I want to get to know her better.

Last night, during one of my dreams, I observed her sitting with a friend, a woman friend. Both of them looking out into the distance at the mountain range, a silhouette of beautiful alluring dark shadows cradled by lavender and pink mist. My dream self turned to my friend asking her if she wanted to swim in the lake nestled between the mountains. Her friend shook her head no, answering she was too busy with work. My dream self did not hesitate to leave and follow her heart’s desire, to swim and be free in the mountains underneath the indigo sky.

Last night’s dreams reveal hidden truths about myself, the woman who wants to be, the woman I have held back many times through the years.

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