And all at once, summer collapsed into fall.

Hello Lovelies!!!! So glad to see you again!

The last week of August, I spent with my family at the beach. It was as serene as it sounds. We saw dolphins and sea lions daily and went into the surf sometimes multiple times a day.

My sister and I would go the roof of the house and watch the sunrise every morning.

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And we would sit on the beach to check out the sunsets at night.

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We promised ourselves this year, we would eat healthier than past years. Maybe we did. But probably not. Shaka and I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary with many friends and family coming to join us for a beach day.

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The whole trip was special and time moved slower. I even sat on the beach for probably an hour after everyone had gone back to the house just to watch the waves. It was so healing and personal that even when I wanted to walk back to join everyone, my body just wouldn’t. So I sat. And I let my mind wander.

I did a photo shoot with my niece and sister by these really cool murals at the end of the beach.

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Then on our last day, it was like Benny Hill music as we all scrambled to get everything cleared out and packed. My sister and family headed to LAX for their international flight, my dad and his wife headed back to AZ and Shaka and I headed back to Los Angeles.

It’s not the heat…it’s the humidity…and the fricking heat! GAH!

So many activities happened the next week. Summer heat was still there, but the vacation was over.

So much hot. So much sweat. So much laundry.

But you do what you gotta do. And if I am reapplying makeup and deodorant and bringing day to night outfits, then that’s what’s gotta happen.

Christia invited me to an Emmy’s rooftop party in Hollywood. She and I are working on a project that tbh is taking a little nap at the moment. We decided that this was going to be the night, the project gets reignited. We would socialize and make connections and see where the night takes us.

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It was…and I hope I am not overstating this…a BRILLIANT night!

We met so many incredible people. Publicists, managers, actors, creators, agents, writers…the list goes on. As the sun set on sunset and the market lights turned on, the drinks were flowing and the laughter continued.

One of the people we met mentioned this building used to be CBS Radio where they recorded Art Linkletter’s “Kids Say the Darndest Things.”

My dad had just told the story while were at the beach that when he was 7 years old, he got to be on the radio show. For years, there was a vinyl recording of my dad talking to the host about how his parents (my grandparents) met. Years later, a jilted lover of my dad’s broke the vinyl record in half. (she really was a BISH). But the story when he was on the show was that before the recording, the kids were given a tour of the studios. My dad was anxious because he thought the tour would make them miss the show (THEY WERE THE SHOW – lol) so he was not really paying attention.

The lobby of where the Emmy’s party was held was the same lobby that my dad had gone through to go to the recording.

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It was like a weird time warp.

A couple days later, I was invited to DreamWorks Animation’s wrap party for their new, upcoming release, “Abominable” and I LOVED IT!

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It was a great film and a fantastic party!

Saturday, I wanted to sleep in, but I had scheduled a long overdue facial (a Christmas gift from Shaka) for 9am, so off I went to European Secret Skin.

Usually, I look like I have measles after I have been for a facial (extractions + sensitive skin = no good look for me) but this facialist was great. I added on an oxygen treatment and voila…no measles look!

I get back home and Shaka says he is craving Pink’s hot dogs. I was like, “ugh…do you know how hot it is out there?”

And he replies, “I called and they have vegan hot dogs.”

I sat for a moment and thought…this heat indicates that summer ain’t over, so let’s have an adventure!

It had been awhile since I had been to Pink’s, and once I had agreed to go, I got a little tourist thrill.

We met some Kiwis in line behind us and our wait to order wasn’t too long.

The vegan dog was pretty good too!

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Here we were, two crazy kids with nowhere to be…the afternoon was ours. We were going to grab an afternoon margarita at either El Coyote or El Compadre, but found ourselves at Guitar Center. I checked out the mics and podcast setups, while Shaka played drums, electric guitar and acoustic guitar. We had tentative plans with Mads and ST8, so we headed back home.

Those plans fell through.

But the next day, I called Mads to see if she wanted to grab lunch, and she instead (in Mads magic fashion) invited me to join her to go to Universal Studios.

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It was late in the afternoon when we headed there. It was the perfect amount of time to wait in line for amusement (ha!).

We hit a couple of fun rides and ate linner (dunch?) in Simpson’s Land.

I got my steps in, for sure.

ST8 hates theme parks but was a good sport. Mads, MamaMads and I got our picture taken with Beetlejuice. He was just as creepy as Michael Keaton.

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As I left Mads’ to head back home and prepare for the week ahead, it hit me that summer wasn’t over at all. I was still enjoying events, friends, activities and the warm summer days (sure, we can call it warm, rather than satan’s breath) like anyone still experiencing vacation.

I know people are starting to go crazy for pumpkin-spiced items and for Halloween decorations and technically, the calendar would say it’s true that fall is upon us.

But maybe summer is a state of mind.

A state of mind, I will keep as long as my weird burn/tan lasts on my shoulders.

 

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.

 

 

The Challengers

On the walls of the day
In the shade of the sun
We wrote down
Another vision of us
We were the challengers of
The unknown     (lyrics from “The Challengers”)

I have been on vacation for two weeks.  Though it’s not the first time I have taken such an extended time off (people asked at work, “What are you?  French???” If only! Mais oui!), It feels like it might as well be since the change in me is profound.

The first week was spent with my sister visiting from Europe along with her kids and husband.  We rented a beach house near Ventura and Shaka and my dad joined as well.  Normally family vacations though well-intended can feel like a pressure-cooker of past grievances.  But it was such an enjoyable time (aside from my sister almost choking on rice and me panic-stricken in the ocean way past my depth trying to rescue my nephew, but I digress) and I even worked on my video projects.  First one is soon to come!  It was awesome to see dolphins and sea lions every day, as we surfed and chatted and fell down and laughed.  The sunsets seemed more vibrant while not having a rush-hour steering wheel clenched in my fists.

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As if time with the family wasn’t enough of an identity reminder, the next week, as Shaka went back to work, my dad went back home and my sis and fam headed back across the pond, I found myself in a staycation of the best sort.  I converted my old audio cassettes to mp3s and I got another shot in the arm of my past (I also realized how annoying I was in these old recordings – but bygones : )

And it comes out to this… I like where I came from (I never thought I would say that).  I like where I am today even more.  I feel more empowered by excavating my memories and putting them in appropriate mental files (as well as actual Windows files – ha).

So with all this blissed-out, love-fest, vacation-girl time, I wondered why I still felt a sense of panic.  A feeling that the other shoe was going to drop.  The internal dialogue sometimes sounded like an external dialogue of theatrical proportions as I was driving around town, working out my worries.

I decided I was going to put old fears in a suitcase that gets lost in a transatlantic flight.  And then dropped in a fire pit.  And doused with forget-me-nots…uh, I wanted it gone.

Progress was underway.  I was driving around, not realizing how hot it was getting and how exhausted I was.  That night, Shaka came home and noticed I seemed listless.  I had a headache and neck ache and felt like I had lost all strength.  Then, right after dinner (with black rice – sooo healthy – sooo hard to find), I threw up.  Shaka looked up signs of a female heart attack – I had most of them.  I scoffed.  It was just hot.  It was just a tiring day.  But I promised him that the next day, I would call the doctor.

I awoke very refreshed but keeping my promise, I called.  The on call nurse wanted me to come into the ER.  WHAT?

Now I was nervous and started to imagine that I was having a heart attack right THEN.

6 hours later, EKGs, Xrays, all kinds of lab work and consultations and a Dr. Oz episode with a segment of women under 55 who have heart attacks (naturally I assumed this was a sign that I was never leaving that hospital bed) – it turns out, I had just experienced a vacation-induced Panic Attack.  Drama much?  If my old cassettes had proven anything, I hadn’t changed all that much.

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A clean slate feels pretty good (see happy face above – No Pain)

This weekend, Shaka and I headed to our friends’ place in Corona to celebrate birthdays, anniversary, last days of summer (tell that to the weather) and to ground ourselves with a meditation.

Plus there was wine and lots of it.; yummy food, good friends and pool time.  We all felt a bit like we had been tumble-dried this summer with life events.  Many of us had been awakened by physical problems to shift our thinking.  It was very comforting to know that we were not alone with some of what we had been experiencing.  I mean, just turn on the news or sports and you’ll know – the world is crazy lately!

What a balm, a salve, a healing, a …you get it.  It was good.

I made a mixed cd for the hostess.  One of the songs was an older one from the New Pornographers called, The Challengers.

I love the tune. But there is something even more powerful about the lyrics – like we are cutting a swath through this strange plain of existence.

In the end, all these details, all these emotions don’t really matter.  We only have to exist from cradle to grave and experience it all – for good or bad.  But I am grateful for my family, for my relationship, for my friends, for the adventures of the past two weeks.  Grateful for the challenges of what it means to be human and for all these emotions and all these details because they are what make us unique in our common experience.  To be challenged is natural.  How we handle it, is how we learn.

“Until I see you around
Until we clear the accounts
Leave it there
Leave it to us
We are the challengers of
The unknown”