Radical Self Care

When I was younger, summers seemed to last forever. But then again, so did the school year.

Time is funny that way. And also…just saying “when I was younger” is strange since I was younger when I typed that sentence. That time of my life when summers were long was probably the span of 8 years maybe. Think of how long 8 years go by now.

Poof!!!!!!

and

Splat!!!!! (that’s my brain exploding).

I don’t think it’s so much that we are older or younger, but it’s where our attention goes. As we get “older”, our attention is spent on other things…more “adult” things than when we are kids. Ruts happen, bills get paid, time takes on a new meaning.

In talking to a co-worker yesterday, we discussed the ripples that get created in your life when you practice RADICAL SELF CARE. Sounds extreme, right? And it kind of is…at least in thinking.

It’s not only about pampering yourself.

Though, that can totally be part of it.

It’s about having your boundaries in line, about knowing yourself, and about being your best advocate.

This past weekend, I did fun things that we had planned, and some spontaneous things. I napped. I wrote. I cooked. I colored my hair. I massaged my feet. I turned down a few invites. I checked up on friends. I called my parents. I sewed missing buttons back on my clothes. I ate blueberries (I don’t normally like them). I stretched. And the most important item for me of late…I meditated.

I find that just taking 5 minutes of breathing can lead to carving a different path in your thoughts. Those 5 minutes turn to 10 and then to 15 and so on and so on.

I know not everyone has the same time constraints and obligations. But you have 5 minutes. FIVE MINUTES! In those 5 minutes, you can breathe into a new universe of potential. Will it happen overnight? Probably not, but it could.

If meditation isn’t your thing, put on your favorite music. Or read an excerpt from your favorite author. Watch a trailer for an upcoming film you are dying to see. Sign up to volunteer. Leave a vm for a congressperson for a cause you are passionate about. Play with your dog. Listen to kids laughing in a pool. Or…shut a window to drown out kids laughing in a pool and enjoy the silence.

It’s all about raising your vibration to get you back to taking care of yourself. And those vibrations begin to create action rather than reaction. In action, you start to radically change moments around you.

rad·i·cal
/ˈradək(ə)l/   noun
plural noun: radicals      a group of atoms behaving as a unit in a number of compounds

Self care should be something we do as regularly as brushing our teeth.
But since we are in a hyper-stimulated lifestyle these days, we have to amp up things just to get back to regular.
Get radical!

And if you think it takes a lot to get there, just close your eyes and take a breath.
And then another.
Before you know it, your breaths and time will start behaving as a unit in a number of ways.

And you will be able to find wormholes of time in those breaths.

Just like summer days when you were younger.

And if you happen to schedule a massage, there’s nothing wrong with being radical like that, either.

 

 

Big Little Expectations

This season of HBO’s “Big Little Lies” has left me feeling a little cold (and not in that Monterey fog kind of sit on your deck with a glass of wine cold). The first season held such beautiful imagery and mystique of a No Cal beach community. Paired with the amazing soundtrack, I, like every other fan, was hooked and was excited for this season. Meh. But every Sunday, I still tuned in.

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I was tepid about tonight’s finale. That’s only because I had such high expectations for it. I am not a believer in keeping expectations low and you won’t be disappointed, though I understand that line of reasoning works.

I am more of a “let’s aim for the moon and land among the stars” kinda gal.

A long work week for both Shaka and me, made us exhausted and ready for Friday evening in the biggest way. That isn’t to say it was a bad week. It was just very long.

Heading into this weekend, though, I realize, my expectations were high. I had big plans…HUGE PLANS! But I detest Sundayitis when the realization hits that all wasn’t accomplished before you begin a new work week.

But I am ahead of myself.

Every Friday, my department at work begins the weekend off with a bar. I haven’t gone in some time, but was happy to join in last Friday. We even secured a little turntable and were ready to play some cool vinyl that has been inherited or procured by Sutton, my cool co-worker whose stories are really cinematic and true! oxnard paakIt was a great way to make my way to Shaka. After a little deliberation of where to go for dinner (how come you have so many ideas of where to eat until the moment it’s time to eat?), we headed to Hugos (https://www.yelp.com/biz/hugos-studio-city-4). I hadn’t been there in awhile and it was delicious!

Saturday morning, while getting ready for a friend’s epic bday celebration at their newly renovated house, I began watching some season 4 Queer Eye. queer eye

I was in it for every emotional heart tug. I love those guys. Jonathan’s comments give me life!!!! I wish I showed some restraint to savor and not binge, but I know who I am. And well…by the end of the weekend, I am finished.

Sorry not sorry.

Then we headed to our friend’s pool party. The house is amazing! And there were kids everywhere. The last time we went to their house for a party, the house was a quarter of the size and many of the children weren’t even born. It was so much fun seeing Coll and Roo! And then Mads and (and correction here…her husband wanted to be called Sugar Tush 8 and not Sweet Tush 45. So his new moniker is “ST8”) ST8 arrived and we savored the tacos being served and marveled at the spaciousness of the house.

Nice people, fun times, happy birthday Roo!

In the evening, Shaka and I saw Awkwafina’s new film, “The Farewell.” farewellI really enjoyed it. I am still processing parts of it and will most likely discuss with my walking partner, Zam tomorrow.

My dreams were filled with Queer Eye moments mixed with The Farewell. I am sooooo on the nose sometimes. Even in slumber.

Today, was pretty chill. Shaka has been re-recording the first song he ever wrote and getting it just right, so it’s on repeat in the background. Even when it’s not playing, it’s STILL in my head. It’s really good! I can’t wait to share it here once it’s finished.

After running a few errands, I came home to Shaka sauteeing mushrooms in garlic and onions and it smelled heavenly. Even though I had been milquetoast on the BLL season, I was still invested and ready to watch. The vibe of wanting to drink a glass of wine, while watching the waves as the weather turns moody was alive in me. Though, the weather at the moment, is hot hot hot and there are no waves nearby, I decided to open one of Moondoggie’s wines.

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Sipping this delicious vino, eating good pasta with my honey, I was in the right head space to watch Nicole Kidman go head to head with Meryl. And you know what? I LOVED that finale!!!! Loved it! And I don’t think it was the wine mellowing me into saying that. It checked all the boxes for me of mostly what I loved about the first season. Was there a lot unanswered? Sure. But that last song with the montage of the last few minutes got me in my heart meat. And was there for it!

As I clinked my second glass with Shaka, I had to admit, I had met my expectations for this weekend. And there is no Sundayitis in sight. Only dreams of all I watched, accomplished and wanted mixed with what I hope to see play out this coming week. Clink!

 

Quicksilver People finding IT

When I was a kid, my biggest goal was to become an actress.

I didn’t do anything about that dream other than performing in elementary school plays and then in high school, auditioned to be ONLOOKER in a few other children’s shows.

Finally, in my mid-twenties, I bit the bullet. I went looking for representation where I was told by my potential agent: “Sometimes, you meet someone and they don’t have a lot of experience. But…they have IT. You just know. My dear…you’re not one of those. You don’t have IT.”

Believe it or not…she ended up becoming my agent after I took her suggestions of things I could do to do in lieu of having IT. I got head shots, took classes and ran into her at a workshop. She was surprised I was better than she expected.

That isn’t to say, I was a good actress. I wasn’t really.

Comedy? Yes. But Drama? Not so much.

I actually was a receptionist at the time and had an audition where I played a receptionist. I didn’t get the part. I got bit parts here and there and did a film where I played a woman who died of frost bite. Made my mom cry cuz the blue lips and ice on my lips in my death scene were too much for her. If you look closely, my eyes are shut and I do look dead…except for when you see my throat swallow.

Ugh.

But one of the best things that came out of my acting time, was a friendship I struck up with a girl in one of my classes. The teacher was very dramatic, go figure. And the class was vibrating with wannabe actors like me, all wide eyed and filled with open intentions. This girl I befriended, Debbie, was a raspy-voiced, blond spark of light! She smoked, drank and talked really fast. Her mind was quick. Her loyalty was fierce and her determination was unrivaled. Debbie and I became a squad with a few others in our class. We were all each other’s biggest fans.

Debbie and I grew closer. I didn’t realize she had an alcohol problem. I wasn’t a big drinker back then. And I had grown up in Venice where many of the feral surfer kids were constantly high. I just assumed they were zen from the ocean waves. And with Debbie, I just attributed a lot of her personality of addiction to being part of her charm. I wasn’t the brightest.  What I did notice about Debbie was that she was talented and met people very easily. She was quicksilver in human form. Her parties were epic. Her friends were all characters. Boring wasn’t part of this world.

Skip skip skip…she moved to California (we were in Oregon at the time) and then back to Oregon after working a variety of jobs from personal assistant to valet.

Then, one snowy December, I got a call from her asking if I could drive her to rehab. I remember that driving was a little difficult due to icy roads.

But we made it.

And so did she.

Soon after, I went to a rehab group meeting with her as well as AA and I even went to Al-Anon.

But her world was shifting to a sober focus. I wasn’t a user but I wasn’t a teetotaler either. I am sure that was hard on our friendship.

Eventually, I moved back to California and she and I drifted apart.

Facebook reunited us. And to my excitement, she not only was still sober, but she had carved out an amazing life. She had gone back to school and become a conservation research scientist and the executive director of the KOTA (Keepers of the Ark) Foundation for Elephants.

Just last month, she released her book, “The Will of Heaven” about her recovery and her journey to be an advocate for elephants.

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She always had IT! But she also made IT happen when it looked like the cards were stacked against her.

I highly recommend this book. Not just because I know her and am quite proud. But because it’s really good!

I decided somewhere along the way, that my acting career was to be replaced with writing, comedic storytelling and voice work. Shifting like quicksilver looking for its groove.

But because of finally taking the leap to pursue acting, I met some amazing people. I am still in touch with a few. Many no longer act. But all are thriving in various ways.

We may no longer be a squad, but I still always root for them and their accomplishments. And Debbie as the leader of the squad, has my utmost admiration, both for her personal journey and for helping to save the elephants.

Maybe IT is in the eye of the beholder. And like quick silver people, IT shifts when IT finds the right moment in time to find the right fit.

 

 

Piñata Lady Geeks

My mom has a lot of opinions.

And two opinions she had about me are these: 1) she likes my writing (more than my singing, comedy or acting) and 2) she thinks I should be an eyeglasses model.

I used to have better than 20/20 vision, but things have changed.

I used to be vain about my excellent vision, but things have changed.

I now wear glasses for reading.

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These days, I lean into the vision challenge I face when I am trying to read something in tiny print or in low light.

One such place was dinner the other night. Zappy, Mads, Jazzy and I reconvened to sip margaritas and celebrate. I hadn’t seen Jazzy since Palm Springs. Both she and Zappy had had birthdays in the interim.

Happy birthday, ladies!

All three women had experienced a week of highs and lows.

Like an exhausting roller coaster.

Uncharacteristically,  my week had just been a little tiring, but not turbulent.

So I just listened.

At one point, Mads and Jazzy were talking among themselves. Zappy, with a little margarita verbosity, turns to me to ponder deep thoughts. Her comments felt like they were seeking an answer. To clarify, I asked, “do you want me to weigh in? Do you want to know what I think?”

She did. So I told her what I thought. When I was done, she looked at me and said, “You’re good.” Aw.

As the dinner was coming to a close, we had gone back to laughing and gabbing and celebrating their birthdays. All their troubles seemed far away from this moment. Zappy pulled out her glasses, and I don’t know how or why it happened, but we all took turns wearing them. And then we took headshots with them.

Mads said, “it’s the Sisterhood of the traveling computer glasses.”

I almost peed my pants I was laughing so hard at all our expressions. Especially Zappy’s. And they were HER glasses!

Jazzy sent us a collage of all the shots the next day and told us her co-worker called us: a Piñata of Lady Geeks.

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Kind of true. IF our faces were a piñata, like Dora the Explorer or Nemo.

I think I will send the shot to my mom, in case she gets the inclination to send my photo in to an eyeglasses modeling agency.

Or just on her fridge so she can tell people who come visit her how I could have been a contender. Or a piñata.

Waves and Particles

I have spoken about my meditation journey here a little bit. But what I haven’t mentioned is how I came into a group that is still a very big part of my life, even if we don’t meet as often these days.

Here’s the short-ish version:

Mads worked with a woman she thought I would get along with. The three of us met up for after-work drinks. Another co-worker of theirs joined. I didn’t like her (the newest addition). But she would interrupt something I would be saying and say something like, “your guides want me to tell you this…” and she would proceed to tell me stuff about my life that she couldn’t have known. Apparently, she is a psychic. Shortly thereafter, she quit her “day job” with Mads and did the psychic healing stuff full time. My initial thoughts about her shifted when I went to a class she taught. We were never gonna be friends but I softened on her.

Not everyone makes a good first impression (case in point…I have no idea what the name of the woman Mads wanted to introduce me to was. I doubt she would remember mine either).

So this psychic sent out an email blast that a friend of hers was starting a meditation group. For some reason, even though my meditation skills were pretty rough, I jumped at this chance. I met up with this group of total strangers like 14 years ago. The people in the group have shifted. Some have left, some have passed on, some come and go, and some, stay in your friendship group. The woman who created the group and leads the meditations is still a dear friend.

There was also a couple who joined a few years later. Sula and Moondoggie came from quite a distance to join us to meditate. They are like-minded souls seeking answers like the rest of us, but had it not been for this group, our paths would have never crossed.

Moondoggie is in the wine business and after every meditation, he breaks out a sampling of some really good vino.

He has taught Shaka and me a lot about wines. I can even say, we have a quite a collection these days.

His IG account (which I prompted him to create http://www.instagram.com/itsallvine ) has a nice array of various varietals from affordable to high end. He has great stories too and knows a lot about the different wineries.

Sula is an amazing artist and is in the process of illustrating a children’s book.

We live quite a distance from each other so we only visit twice a year outside the meditation gatherings.

Last night was one of those nights!

A hot July evening was the perfect setting to try Ice Wine, exquisite chardonnay and pinot noir. A BBQ dinner with a seasonal salad paired nicely.  We played catch up with our lives (the highs and the lows) and talked music. We connected on a social level and then also on a very spiritual level. Waves and particles. We come from different worlds, backgrounds and ages, but nonetheless, in these moments, we are quite connected.

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Shaka and I brought desserts (a nice sampling from chocolate to raspberry and passion fruit macaron) from Portos (https://www.portosbakery.com/) which is always a hit. I almost didn’t bring the carrot cake but I am glad I did.

And as the wine kept pouring, things got dancy and singy.

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We ate dessert on the patio with the sounds of crickets and other neighbors having a similar evening. We talked about the cosmos and tv shows. We told off color jokes (mostly the fart variety).

I hate cutting myself off when the wine is so delicious but I know my limits and started to let the water (with lemons, of course, cuz Sula pays attention to those kind of details) be my libation way before it was time to head back home.

It seems random how I came into the mediation group. But after being in this group for so long, I know things aren’t usually random.

The universe is vast. But last night, two couples from different SoCal cities met up to cause a ripple in the time space continuum.

 

It might have been our deep conversations about quantum physics, or our laughter.

Or it might just have been our fart jokes. We are deep like that.

 

Om and Getty It

When I meditate now, I can go deep.

I can release myself to the practice. That wasn’t always the case. I would say things like, “I just can’t turn off my thoughts,” like that was what made me special. I hear it time and again from other people and I try not to laugh cuz, I too, believed it about myself.

Shaka and I have a group we go to 4 times a year or so where we are led in a guided meditation. It is as much social as it is spiritual. And there’s usually really good wine too.

I have also led some smaller groups in mediation.

I think that meditation can cure a lot of what’s ailing us. And voting blue in the next election…but I digress.

So when Zappy and Roni were headed to the Getty for a record release/group meditation and asked if we wanted to join, I was like OM, Yes!

Lest you think that my years of mediation have made calm my natural state, I am actually quite prone to irritation and freak out. Just ask Shaka.

There is a question that you ask yourself in doing this kind of work:  “Do conditions need to be perfect for me to be happy?”

I used to want to say no, but felt that conditions DID need to be perfect.

Now I know better. So even if there is noise, or thoughts or physical issues, I can just release them. Most of the time.

Zappy and Roni had already arrived at the Getty on a beautiful So Cal summer evening and were seated on the lawn with these big pillows that the organizers had handed out. By the time we arrived, all the pillows had all been claimed.

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Some ambient music started playing, so we just assumed the meditation had started. We lay down on the lawn and listened to the sounds of the music, Getty patrons and others like us who were there to get their spirituality on. A slight breeze became a little cooler though the sun was still shining in a blue sky with a few clouds.

I closed my eyes. I let the natural waves of sound blend into a rhythm with my breath.

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And then…

She started talking. She, the woman behind us. She, the woman who decided it was a good time to chat with other blanket owners. She, who was mentioning she was an influencer (I was getting as curious as I was heated).  I was proud of myself for letting her sharp tones and jabbery ways sink into the background noise. UNTIL…

She stood over Zappy (whose eyes were shut) with a piping hot coffee (I was as much in love with the smell of her coffee drink as I was pissed at her audacity) and said, “Excuse me. Where did you get those pillow things?” Zappy opened her eyes and told her the Getty passed them out earlier.

“Cool cool cool, so are they like, gone?”

“I would imagine,” Zappy said, friendlier than I would have.

“Cool cool cool, okay so there are like no more?”

“Guess not”

She went back to her blanket right behind us.

I was fighting my own demons of impatience and at how conditions don’t need to be perfect for me to be happy. But they could be a lot less rude. We are at a meditation. SHE is at the same meditation. What in Gaia’s name is this madness????

Stewing stewing stewing, I sat up. I tried to relax into breath.

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And then, just as I was getting back into a good rhythm, a voice came on the mic.

“Hi, everyone, thank you for coming to my record release. We will begin the GUIDED meditation in a few moments. I would like to thank ____[ambient musician recording we just heard]___ for opening for me today.

I looked at Zappy and Shaka and started laughing. The meditation hadn’t even begun yet.

We were so anxious to relax, we found ourselves in knots at “rudeness” (I still stand by the fact she was rude…but more your average “bother someone while their eyes are shut rude” and not “interrupt a mediation rude”).

The guided meditation was great. Decompression at the Getty. How LA is that?

I don’t think it lasted longer than a half hour. Maybe it did. Time is slippery like that when you breathe into moments. The sun was starting to set and the lovely weather made all of LA shine below us.

After we made our way walking down the hill, we met up on Fairfax for some Ethiopian food at Messob. It was delicious and a perfect way to end the evening.

 

My take away from the Getty Medi, was a chance to see where I can still improve when pushed into my irritation zone.  I have heard that there is a universe between every breath.  If that is true, mine went from a universe of anger to a universe of savoring good food with good friends on a very LA night. Breathe in. Breathe out.

Follow the Martini

How do you know if someone is Vegan?

A: Don’t worry, they’ll tell you within the first 2 minutes of meeting them

That is how I used to think too. I have never been a huge meat eater, but I do eat turkey and chicken and until recently, would gobble up cheese and drink milk in my lattes. I still partake of some chicken and turkey (and sometimes eggs), but have really started limiting my dairy intake (HELLO Oat Milk!). So although I am not a vegan, I try and eat a more plant based diet when I can.

My friends are foodies. And not at all vegetarian or vegan. So when they go out to a steak house for dinner, they usually wouldn’t call me.

But recently, Shaka mentioned he had never been to Musso and Frank’s.

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He suggested we go. It had been awhile for me too. We didn’t have reservations but decided to take our chances at the bar. We invited Zappy and her hubs (Roni) and Mads and her hubs (who I think wants to be referred to as “Sweet Tush 45 (ST45)”). To our surprise, all were available and ready to join us. Zappy and Roni were already there. Everyone laughed when I said there was a smell of wealth in the air (starting with Zappy’s awesome fragrance), but I wasn’t trying to be funny. There is just something that happens in certain moments on certain nights with certain people. And this was one of them. Quentin Tarantino’s new film “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood” was starting to preview, but I don’t think that is why this place is hopping. It’s an institution that could have gone the way of the Derby but it didn’t. And it was full. Full of people who were all there for different reasons.

Zappy ordered a shrimp cocktail and martini. I love vodka. But strange as this sounds, I had never had a martini. Not sure why. So when in Rome and all that…I ordered one.

Zappy looked at me and smiled, “You’re about to have an amazing night,” she said in a tone, reminiscent of a hippie turning a square onto LSD. She wasn’t lying.

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Our bartender, Sonny, kept calling me Bella. “He’s calling everyone Bella,” Zappy says in a tone reminiscent of Bea Arthur on the Golden Girls talking to Rose.

I AM Rose. I am drinking my first martini. And I am happy.

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Mads and ST45 show up. They are exhausted and are in hospice care for their dog. This is the first night out for them in awhile and they won’t be out too long so they can rush back to tend to their pooch. I look at ST45 and say, “this is my first martini!” He is used to my nonsense but is not in the mood. “I can’t tell if you’re kidding,” he says eyeing the bar. Cue eye roll when I tell him I am not. I don’t feel the shame he intends and I give him a hug. He needs a drink and a good night. As does Mads.

After trying to get a seat for dinner (and being laughed at by the hosts for such a question this late in the evening), we head down the street to dinner.

A few weeks later, Shaka and I want to take our friend Faye out to Musso and Frank’s. She is newer to LA and is soaking it all up with excitement. We head there for drinks. The parking attendant warns us that there may not be room at the bar either. We take our chance. It works out (as it always does with Faye and me combining our wonder twin powers).

Sonny is our bartender again. He calls us Bella (I guess Zappy wasn’t wrong) and I eat it up.

Or drink it up as I am now excited to order another martini. Shaka and Faye opt for gin and I stick with vodka. We are asking Sonny about people he may have served. He is cryptic but charming and has us laughing. He tells us he’s a poet. He comes back to us a few minutes later reciting some of his work. I ask him where we can get a copy. He comes back a few minutes later with his book.

We buy it. He signs it to all three of us. He is a character and we are here for it!

The martinis are perfect! We hate to leave but we have reservations down the street at Lono. Happy birthday, Faye! See ya soon, Sonny!

A few weeks later, Shaka and are car pooling home and he says he’s craving a martini (what has happened to us???). We head to Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks. Different vibe but delicious food and tasty drink!!!!

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Even though I love wine, I learned awhile ago to have a drink other than vino when you go to a bar. My choice was always vodka and soda.

What have I been doing NOT ordering martinis all these years?

Now in the going out mode with our hard-to-wrangle-schedules friends, we attempt another Hollywood night. We head to Sunset and Vinyl (a little hidden bar upstairs from a pizza joint).  Guess what I order? Guess! Guess!

Yup.

And it’s good.

Mads says, “why do you think I always order them? It is a great drink and you only need one.”  She’s right. Zappy and Roni show up and we head to dinner somewhere nearby.

A few weeks ago, Zappy and Roni invited Shaka and me to Taylor’s

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It had been so long since I had been to any of these places cuz…I don’t eat steak (and contrary to the joke I started this with, I actually applaud vegans, even if I only dabble). But my goal has changed to follow the martini. I don’t eat sushi either but I go for the sake. Same theory here.

A co-worker has told me about Colombo’s in Eagle Rock. She said the drinks are good and strong and the ambiance is dark and red, which I seem to be drawn to these days.

Guess where I will be heading next?

I love a good martini chase!

Long live vermouth! Cheers!

 

 

 

 

PS I LOVE YOU

After taking a hard look at my diet and debt practices, it was time to face reality. I had been doing a lot of “investing” in me, ha! But I wasn’t yet getting a return on that investment other than in hiking poundage and interest rates. I used to live much cheaper, but I also wasn’t happy. I wrote about how I shifted into happiness through a process I called Katification. https://poppeacock.com/2014/07/14/katification-of-me/ The miraculous thing to me was that it had nothing to do with making more money or cutting costs. It had everything to do with shifting focus on what I wanted and what I felt I deserved. It worked. But as with anything, if you stop paying attention to your life, you can slip, even if it’s in too much “self-care.” So here I was, knowing that summer spending was upon me, Zappy wanted to do our annual girl’s trip to Palm Springs. It was going to to be a little tight financially. But Zappy is about to go back to school and we never see Jazzy anymore since she is always on the go go go with work and her man. So this felt like an important trip we just HAD to to take. My dad once said to me that you won’t remember the bad stuff around getting to a fun trip…you will only remember the fun experience. So I said yes!

It was exactly what I needed. I think it was what we all needed. Even though the film, “Wine Trip” was a bust (though I love all the actresses in it), it’s that kind of reunion with your friends that needs to be fostered and happen as often as schedules and your wallet will allow.

Every year, we rent a mid-century modern home with a pool. This year’s was perhaps our favorite (that bar is pretty high already). 

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Because I had been doing a LOT of spending on myself, I forgot that I needed to be being good to myself. And that meant living on purpose. Being present. And I found it was quite easy to be just that. It was absolutely fantastic!

Our friend J has a condo in PS and happened to be there as well that weekend. His place was just a mile away, so it was like the best of all worlds! Visits and instagram-worthy dinners and late night swimming conversations but not having to double up on accommodations.

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His place was a dream as well!

 

 

I was reminded that so much of what gives me fulfillment is connecting with my friends. They have such great taste, personalities, stories and love, that just hanging out with them made me feel a certain level of wellness that I had lost.

 

 

I also love these trips because we drink, eat and partake of the merry herb with no place to be but at the house. We burn palo santo and set intentions. We sing karaoke and play games. We watch cheezy movies like, “Always Be My Maybe” which will now remind me forever of PS even though it doesn’t take place there. And it turns out Randall Park is a crush of one of the ladies (I won’t say who, but just know, we ran with it, since he is nothing like anyone she has ever dated or her husband).always be my

We share summer beauty products (I mean…self care, right?) like hydrating hair cremes or (not sponsored) Supergoop Sunscreen oil. It smells amazing and works.

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Before leaving LA, I got my first spray tan. It was probably my last too because I can’t be trusted to maintain that kind of beauty treatment. Plus, I couldn’t tell that I had missed certain areas of sunscreen and came home with a nice red sunburn when the spray tan wore off. But that first night…I looked super tan and rested!

Zappy made an amazing orzo salad and Mads made a rice noodle salad both with fresh mint and fresh basil. We drank refreshing cocktails and sampled delicious, homemade romesco.

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The next day, J left back for LA and our other friends Roo and Col were in town celebrating their anniversary sans enfants. They stopped by for a cocktail and we all almost forgot this is not our normal lives. Bossa Nova played on the speakers and we cranked the A/C as we shared more stories and connected as you only can on vacation.

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The next morning, Jazzy had to leave back for LA before we did.

We bid adieu to the house.

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Zappy, Mads and I were not ready to call the vacation done and headed downtown for breakfast. Where to go? So many options, but not wanting to have a crazy wait, Mads brought out her superpower. She can find THE perfect place in ANY situation. Though I am prone to hyperbole, this is not an overstatement. She really is that good.

We were getting hangry.

And *poof* out of nowhere and very casually, she’s like, oh, let’s go to the Purple Palm. So we did. And no regrets. In fact, I want to go back with Shaka. If our weekend had a more 60’s mid century vibe, this breakfast locale (part of the Colony Palms Hotel) had an old California, adobe, bougainvillea vibe.

 

 

It was the perfect way to end a pretty perfect weekend!

Like a retreat from another time, I was in the best head space to conquer the real world with the diet/debt situation that was still waiting.  Stay present. Stay connected.  And find the fun, meaningful moments in between the obligations.

 

 

Lake AroHay – Memorial Day Weekend (Part 3)

The Sunday of Memorial Day weekend (no need to shame me that we just passed the 4th of July weekend – that’s coming – probably right in time for Labor Day – HA!) we planned to head to my cousin’s mountain home in Lake Arrowhead. Chachi said that his mom (who was from Japan) would pronounce it Lake Aro Hay. We kept calling it that all the way up there. It made it feel like she was still with us.

The last time we went to A’s place was Thanksgiving weekend a few years ago. It was moody, rainy, inclement and my car was having transmission smells. But it was around the time that Chachi had just gotten his Contractor position at the Mouse House and we were happy for it!

This time, it was summer and my car’s transmission was a-ok, so we were good to go!

We weren’t staying the night, though there is room. We thought we would be hanging with A, L (A’s hubby) and PinkyStrong (her 8 year old daughter you never want to find yourself in a pinky war with. She will win. And you will cry).

But when we got there, we saw A’s bro and his fiancee out front with L.

We walked inside and found 2 other families: children and animals!

If we had wanted to stay, room was looking slim. But A, being the kind of hostess like my mom, would have just made it work.

A’s friend wanted to go for a hike, so A, Chachi and I all invited ourselves along.

It is so pretty up there. A is kind of a fitness beast and says she runs this trail back and forth sometimes just to alleviate some of her energy. I got tired just listening to her, let alone ACTUALLY hiking. Chachi was impressed I was doing so well since when we hike, I take way more breaks. That’s what public shame will do when you are vain like I am – you suck it up!

On our hike/walk, A got a call from some friends of hers who live near her in the city but who also have a place up there. They were having their own little Memorial Day soiree and wanted to know if she could come.

She did, with the caveat that her 11 guests could come. No problem, said the hostess! We would just have to bring a little extra food.

These friends of A’s are very unique: genius, friendly and generous, but odd.

Chachi and I looked at each other and thought, we will stay for maybe a half hour and then head back. We got our hike in. We got our family time in. We got our mountain adventure in. We could leave the party and take a gander at the lake before the sun went down. That was the plan anyway.

Our party caravaned it to the other party.

We all got out, with mouths agape at the size of this “cabin.” It was HUGE!

The minute we walked in, we were noticed someone playing the piano (the host’s brother-in-law – also a genius intellectual) and some delicious food being prepared by the hostess. Homemade pesto filled our nostrils and wine started pouring. On the grill, the host was making grilled fish with a marinade. I don’t eat fish, but it looked like it would be good. This party, like my cousin’s was filled with more children and more dogs. Both groups were awesome! The kids later put on a dog show for all the adults. I swear some of the dogs looked at us like, “Thank god you arrived. These kids are making us jump and sit and stay – and they can barely do that for themselves!”

The other guests were just as interesting and just as nice! It was the kind of party that felt cinematic! Awesome stories, unique adventures and lots of generosity, all surrounded by high ceilings and a lit fireplace.

We stayed much longer than intended, but it was worth it. Chachi’s philosophy is to say yes to as much as he can. He figures that better things happen when you do that. He wasn’t wrong.

Regretfully, we finally peeled ourselves away and drove to see the lake just after sunset.

We pulled the car over and took it in.

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Down below, amidst the lighted homes, you could hear the sounds of people having a good time and the smells of bbqs.

Lake Aro Hay hadn’t disappointed at all. If fact, with all the planning we had done the entire weekend, we hadn’t planned on feeling as content, blissed out and surprised as we did.

With a slice of the various adventures feeling like mini vacays in our pockets, we smiled and drove back to the city.

 

 

 

 

 

Guess…who has a museum – Memorial Day Weekend (Part 2)

As we quickly approach 4th of July, it is apparent that I am behind. I wanted to do a 3-parter, if you will, about Memorial day weekend. It was quite packed and unexpected.

Saturday, after tripping the town fantastic with Mads and Mr. Mads, Chachi and I had a relaxing morning. There is a facebook friend and real life acquaintance who is in the art world. Lately, whenever he posts anything, I tend to pay attention because it is usually awesome. He had been at the 14th Factory right as it opened (we followed suit and loved it!)

 

He had also posted about the Marciano Art Foundation which had just opened (yes, Marciano as in Guess jeans). After seeing that online tickets weren’t available until June for July entry, I somehow was able to get in (persistence and distrust of being told NO- pays off). Chachi and I made our way through town to the looming building (former Scottish Rite Freemasons building). We loved it! If you know Chachi and me, you know that we have a lot in common. We also are VERY different. I am fast and intense. He is more deliberate and chill. So it was in our best interests to separate at our own speeds to savor the exhibits.

When the Marcianos bought the building from the Freemasons, a lot of things were left behind. Like wigs the men would wear in performances. So, naturally, there was a wig museum

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There is an area that is a library or a relic space, where they exhibit all the other left-behind Freemason stuff (photos, documents, outlines, rules, awards, etc). That is one, weird cult. Think Eyes Wide Shut with wigs for men. Wait—were there wigs for men in Eyes Wide Shut? It’s been awhile – I digress).

One of the guys working there told me that some of the most illegal stuff happened here. Whoa! What does that even mean. What makes something more illegal than something else? Sinister? Twisted? My mind was reeling and it made the photos of this closed fraternal organization leap out with even more bizarre chills.

And the signage from some of those meetings and performances were kind of WTF-ish.

There were several levels to the museum. Some interactive, some visually stunning and large.

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Hollywood is backwards

Hollywood is backwards

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Some were small, but gave quite a punch.IMG_0067

Farts and nose-picking make me laugh. Unless I am trapped in a car when you are doing either. Then I will scream, “this is why i can’t have nice things!”

Some of the items and artists have work at the Broad downtown, so it was slightly familiar but nothing that I don’t mind seeing again.

There was one film that really moved us. It was by artist  Yael Bartana called “Inferno.” The music in it stayed with me long after we left.

There was a sign/art that I was drawn to.

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But I tend not to tell jokes, I tell truths that make you laugh. Boom!

At least I hope you are laughing. Are you laughing? Please laugh. I need you to laugh! Who needs you anyway.

Maybe the joke is on me. Shit.

Perhaps I am too sensitive for the sign/art.

It was a gorgeous day, and from a balcony that looks out on LA, you almost feel as if you are in LA from another decade. Or maybe that was what it looked like when we were there. Or with the filter I used.

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With all these museum trips, you might think Chachi and I are cultured and shit.

Well, you would be right. We are cultured AF!

You can tell by our language. Lol.