A bit nostalgic

So many nights after having dinner with Kathy and her family in Winter Haven, I would sit on my patio, candles and twinkle lights lit, a nice fire in the fire pit, jasmine blooming, Boney James’ “Pure” album on and sit with my dog on the swing drinking a glass of wine. Curled up with a blanket for the cool Florida winter nights and fall asleep on the patio. Memories. Sometimes you do not realize how good a moment is until long after. So simple yet so luxurious.
I am trying to keep every day this simple and luxurious for at least an hour.  Weather it is a new fruit for a quiet breakfast over the lake, a sunset with a nice bear overlooking the lake, a picnic lunch over viewing the region from the top of a mountain, a nap, or playing jazz music instead of listening to the reggaeton around.

This is possibly sexiest song ever.

 

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Dancing in Asheville

Hey everyone! I finally got the Drum Circle video from Asheville up! Believe me, it took forever for me to figure it out. I am an idiot. However if you change the < > from the embed code Photobucket gives to [ ] and use “gigya” in place of “embed” at the start of the code it works!

In Asheville, they have a drum circle every night starting around five or six on Patton Avenue in this little park and lasts until later in the night, which we didn’t get to see. There were people of all ages watching, drumming, dancing, hooping, and other things around the drum circle. You can bring your own drum and join in! People just show up. I want to go back some time and dance the night away.

I also went to the Asheville Movement Collective for a Dance Wave. No pictures or videos are allowed. It is where you can go in and dance how ever you want, as long as you do not invade someone’s space without permission for an hour. They start of with slow soft music and build up slowly to louder more rhythmic music and then go back down to soft slow music. It is a bunch of free spirits being free and there is always a theme. For some people this is their “church” and it is indeed available for two waves on Sundays. Including one wave with child care. I went on a Thursday night so it was not as busy, but still very welcoming. I had a great time. They threatened to do this when I was in the Hostel in the Forest, but never did. I was scared. I guess I am getting a bit more brave!

The direct link is here!

Final Good-Byes pt 1

Rough Beginnings

It has been a crazy weekend full of emotions, food, and of course some drama.  It started out with a bang, or a fire.  less than 5 minutes after leaving Kathy’s, red in the face and in tears, of course, I realized my car was burning oil.  Not little wisps of smoke, but billows of black smoke were leaving my tail pipe.  I pulled over to the closest parking lot and amazingly enough there was Valvoline Express Care (I do not see an entry on Google Maps but it is behind Advance Auto Parts – I think – in the Win Dixie Plaza). Thank you fate!

I pulled in hoping they could just make the car work enough to get me to the closest shop, and provide a referral for a shop, but when I got out of the car, they immediately saw how upset I was.  I explained, through choked sobs, that I had just said good-bye to my best friends and, yes, all of those bags are because I am leaving.  They kindly calmed me down and told me they would take a look.  And wonders of wonders it was just a part of the fuel pressure sensor that needed to be replaced.  A $20 dollar replacement, plus since I opted to get an oil change also (I was going to get one the next day any ways) no labor fee.  Thank you again fate.

So, I did get on my way and right when I got to I-4, the sky just opened up to a full flow down pour.  Of course, this means that people drive like even bigger idiots and there were around 10 accidents on the way back to Altamonte Springs.  So much for making one last happy hour yoga.  I finally got here and immediately had to get ready to go out.

Something about it reminds me of a part of Paulo Coelho’s book The Valkyries.  When they were out trying to see their guardian angels at night in the desert, their guide forgot the flashlights.  While the guide goes to retrieve the flash lights, he takes his time and Paulo is getting annoyed.  When the guide comes back he explains that when he forgets something or something takes him out of his way or takes extra time, he knows that it is his guardian angel helping keep him safe by changing his path.  I am going to think my car problems in this light and be thankful I am safe.

Girls Night Out

First up, Jazz Tastings in Maitland.  Jazz Tastings is a Jazz bar that serves a limited amount of wine, small plates, and has live jazz.  There were about 10 tables and a small 10 seat bar.  The only problem, reservations had been sold out for three weeks.  My fail everyone. What I gathered for the small amount of time i was there is that it is an okay place.  The sound was ok, the band was great, the wine was ok, the ambiance was good, but there is no room to just stand around and wait to see if a table opens up.  There is no room to dance, even sitting was cramped.  It is a great concept that the area has a great demand for, but it is not that comfortable and does offer the options that famous smaller jazz clubs, such as the Blue Note, offer. The chairs are plush and huge, I think if they got smaller chairs, or instead of a set up for tables of four, offered more social seating or just had a bigger space, it would be a great concept.  If, as a single person, I have to get there at 7:00 or 7:30 to get a bar spot for a set that starts at 8:00, but really starts closer to 7:30, and I do not even have a full menu to keep me entertained there is not a lot to get me to come back.

Final Stop

After having just an ok glass of Pinot Grigio, we decided to leave to the second stop for the night early.  We got to Tilted Kilts in Lake Mary an hour or two early.  Craig Thompson from the local band In Transit was playing that night and UFC was on the TVs.  It was not very crowded but there was a large group of people in front of Craig for a while, so we enjoyed conversation and some good food.  I had fish tacos and their home-made potato chips.  both were yummy.  Had a couple Sam Adams Summer Ales that always remind me of summers in Boston.

When the party in front of us left we got to listen to Craig better.  I suggested the place because he was playing there.  He played at the Rasa Lila Yoga Fest last year in Orlando during a flow class and it was the perfect match.  He is a great musician with a great voice and the band played really well also.  Craig can sing anything but my favorite is his more soulful jazz reggae fusion style.  Laid back chill. His version of Purple Rain was really amazing.

This was not taken at Tilted Kilt, but is Craig performing with his guitar and key board.

Anyways, we ate, we drank, we laughed, we swooned over Craig and over all it was great.

Rainy Days

When I woke up I was tired and had a head ache.   Thankfully the guy I was supposed to walk the trails with was not in town so I got out of getting up early.  The rest of the day it has been spitting rain on and off so I did not want to risk carrying my camera around the trail.  It is however, thankfully, cooler out outside.

Stay tuned for Final Good-Byes Part II and the beginning of my Road Trip to Michigan!

Chris Botti at Ruth Eckerd Hall Clearwater

A couple of months ago I was looking at trying to find things to do with my friends before I leave.  I used to go to several Chris Boitti concerts a year with a group of friends.  Chris Botti plays trumpet and I first saw him opening for Josh Groban in 2004.  There were two good seats in Row G left.  It was fate.

After worrying if Kathy and I were going to be able to make it on time, Kathy was able to move her schedule and have someone cover the end of her class.  We were off for the normally 1.5 hour drive before 4:30.  At 6:30, after a fun detour through Ybor City and a drive by Tropicana Field (where the Tampa Bay Rays play), we were still on the causeway over to Clearwater.  Traffic was crawling and we were starved, starved enough to grab Checkers down the road and scarf it down in the parking lot.

First off, I really loved Ruth Eckerd Hall.  I have been trying to go to a show there for years, it is just so hard to get to Clearwater since there are always tons of people going in the few ways there are to get in.  The place is a little old and outdated in looks, which is a common thing in Florida, especially for nice places near/on the beach. The seats were velvet covered and cushy and most importantly, the sound was AMAZING.  Definitely the best sound I have heard in Florida.  The seats were great.  Not the closest seats I have ever had, great for sound though and overall view.  Pictures were not as good as at the Hard Rock though.  The lighting was not as good either, which is my excuse :).

Best part was probably the fact there was no opening act.  That is right, all Chris, no sitting through another painful opening act.  Makes me happy that the entire time was to Chris.  Only it was not just Chris.  Chris has always had a top-notch band backing him up.  Only this time it was all mixed up.  His long time guitarist was out and the other members were a mash-up of new and old.

Robert Hurst was on bass.  He went to Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp like I did, makes me like him even more, though it is not necessary.  He is awesome and always gets a great groove moving.  Geoffrey Keezer was on keys.  I really loved he and Chris playing my Funny Valentine at the end, very smooth.  On drums is the always there Billy Kilson.  I only think he missed one show I have ever been at.  Billy rocks.  He is always chewing gum and is really a machine. I could not remember the name of the violinist and I believe Mark was replaced on guitar by Leonardo Amued, an amazing guitarist from Brazil.

The most amazing part of the band to me was Lisa Fischer by far (does she have an official page any where I can link to and get info from?).  She might have been the highlight of the whole show.  When she started the look of love she did this vocal playing at the front of the song that was just so amazing.  I cannot explain it.  This does not give it justice, but here is a You tube Video of a performance of her with Chris.  I do believe Billy and Geoffrey are there too.  She has sung with so many great people, Rolling Stones, Sting, Luther Vandross, etc. but she steals the show.  Really, look her up and see her in person.  It was amazing.

Kathy and I decided that this was the best sounding concert we have been to.  It was truly amazing.  Also, before we left her daughter was crying because she thought that was the last time she was going to be able to see me.  However, it was just the last time she was going to be able to see Jack, my dog.  So, I bought a ridiculously priced poster and after the show we had Chris sign it to Helen, don’t cry.  It was cute.

So, since I cannot remember the set list and the funny details of our adventure since I did not write this fast enough, I will let pictures tell the rest of the story…

The many expressions of Mr. Billy Kilson:

And, Kathy, Chris and I after the show!

If there is an easier way to get photos in a slide show or presented neatly let me know please!

More photos here.