Wednesday, October 1, 2014

PERFORMING A PRACTICE

I follow—and then unfollow and then follow again and unfollow—a bunch of yoga people on Instagram. KinoYoga, CarsonClayCalhoun, Casa_Colibri, CoffeeAndRainbows, etc. They are all fancy asana all the time. In photo descriptions they’ll sometimes blab about peace and meditation and all that other metaphysical mumbo jumbo that bolsters and blooms from an asana practice, but 85% of the postures they post are super elaborate shit. And while I understand that it’s the advanced poses that draw in subscribers and sponsors and are pretty to see and that high-level flow videos are galvanizing, I’m getting a bit fed up with the lip service and mislabeling. 

I think these Instagram yoga posters are giving people the wrong picture of what yoga is. They’re giving the picture that yoga is about the picture. It’s about the aesthetics. It’s a thing I’ve battled since stepping on the mat for the first time.

I’ve battled the idea that anything aside from the postures matters. I’ve battled the idea that reaching for postures is the right approach to a practice. And right now I’m battling the pervading idea that just doing a handstand is doing yoga.

Is this because I’m bitter that I can’t do a decent handstand? Very probably. That and the forearm balances like Pincha Mayurasana are my holy grail. I can’t seem to get there. You would think after so much vigorous time on my mat I’d be more capable upside down. It’s just not that way. I’m a bundle of fear when it comes to the world of inversions; I’m afraid to further damage my shoulders. Also, I’ve got, like, the weakest core ever. Yeah, I do strength training on that bit of me here and there, but my inversion progress is nil. So I’m trying to stop caring, and in my trying to stop giving a damn I’m reconsidering my approach to the practice and getting to a place where I feel like all the fancy postures internet yoga celebs post aren’t yoga-like at all.

Where I’m at now is a belief that we shouldn’t reach for postures we aren’t ready for. Yeah, we should work hard, and I do, but I think we should approach the practice as that, a practice, and not a performance. 

And this sounds like total hypocrisy coming from me. Some of the aesthetics of yoga come easily for me. I bend well. Most arm balances aren’t outside my abilities. So it would be easy to believe that that’s why I do yoga. But I really asked myself that a few months ago—Why do I come to the mat? What do I get with the sweat? I get patience, which is foreign to me. I get humility, which, if I’m leveling with you, despite my hateful self-talk, doesn’t actually come easily for me. I’ve got awesome flooding my veins. I’ve got talent to spare and a knack for expression; it turns me into this beast of reckless confidence and ego. I tell Jim that no one has more confidence in me than me and no one has less confidence in me than me. I like how my yoga practice brings me down a couple notches. Revolved triangle may look easy, but it’s perhaps the worst posture of all time. I still can’t kick out in standing-head-to-knee. Gomukhasana used to be cake, but then I beat the shit out of my shoulders and I have to vary my arm positions in order to avoid exacerbation. During my competitive weightlifting days I learned how to care for and strengthen the small muscles in my shoulders. How I wish I’d followed through with what I learned.

Don’t get me wrong, I do give in to the tricks a lot. I learned an inverted compass variation a few weeks ago, and I can’t stop doing it. It looks stunning, and I like that it is so much harder on my left side than my right. I like having a place to reach for. I like to make my body do things that look weird and miraculous. But I am settling in this place where I look for the postures and flows that will make me strong and calm yet not necessarily make me look like a yoga rockstar. I have been backing out of postures I can do to their full expression in order to revisit the form. I have come to believe so strongly that form must must precede depth if you want a longterm practice free of pain.

Too many new practitioners bust into the yoga scene and blow past the basics looking only for the postures that will make them online sensations. But guys, yoga isn’t about the pose. It’s about the progress. And I don’t even mean the progress into a pose. Yoga’s about the progress you can’t see. Maybe it’s confidence. Maybe it’s healing. Maybe it’s respect. Most of the time it’s none of my business. Much of a practice is personal.  

I don’t have an issue with taking and sharing photos of favorite poses to show visual proof of progress in postures. Now and then. I don’t have a problem with it if it’s a here-and-there thing. If you worked for something, it’s satisfying to share it with the people who care about you. But not every damn day. I did that photo session with Ashley Thalman a few years ago and I’d like to do another. My practice has changed. So has my body. Occasionally documenting the shifts of something that I do every day is valuable.
A favorite from Ash's shoot.
The negative space speaks of possibility, doesn't it?
It thrills me when the people I practice with, most specifically my Juice Box Yoga family, reach one of those asana milestones, and when you’re part of a healthy yoga community sharing that experience whether it be with words or with a demonstration or pictures is a blast and it can be helpful for others. I’m a total monkey-see-monkey-do practitioner. Watching a pose go down is more valuable for me than just being instructed with words. But if your practice is only about sharing the photos and the videos I think you’re missing the point.

People come to the practice of yoga in their own way. Some start with meditation, find pranayama (breath) and then progress to asana (postures). Some start with asana and use pranayama as a tool to discover meditation.

Once we’ve settled in a practice of our own, I believe that it’s our responsibility to care for the new people. A vinyasa practice generally isn't satisfying for me if there isn’t an arm balance in there somewhere, so I take one in order to get what I came to the mat for. But I try to only do that if I’ve determined that it’s not disrespectful to my fellow yogis in the room. (If you want to do whatever you want, do a home practice. Practicing in a class is a different discipline.) If we introduce beginning yogis to a practice that’s all flash and no substance, we’re doing them a disservice. And that’s why I’m bummed out about all the fancy Instagram yoga folk. What they demonstrate multiple times every day is just a practice in acrobatics. Maybe they should hashtag it that way—

#doingthisforlikes #shouldjustjoinacircus #whatdoyoumeanyogaismorethanadhomukhavrksasana #waitwhatisadhomukhavrksasana #doyoumeanhandstand

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

NIBBLES

• Sometimes it’s unbelievable how freaking old I look. Then I stand in the right light and I’m like, Dayum girl! You got it goin’ on!

• Today in a medical building a sweet old gal offered me a blueberry donut. We saw an oxygen rep taking bundt cakes into an doctors' office—actually we saw her get off the elevator and take the boxed bundt cakes into the restroom with her, which is inappropriate and totally unacceptable; I’m not a germophobic person, but that just ain’t right—and we both said, “I want those.” And when we got in the elevator together we started talking about how we wanted some sweets but it was only 10:30AM and then she said, “Oh my! I just remembered that I went by Jelly Donut this morning and got some blueberry donuts! They’re in my truck. Do you want one?” I was thisclose to accepting. Also—blueberry donuts? Whaaat!?

• One of the medical buildings in my territory is adjacent to an elementary school. I was there during the afternoon exodus and was surprised by how many dads there were retrieving littles. So high five for antiquated thinking, Romo.

• Yesterday after I got home from work/yoga I told Jim that I ran out of water. “What, during your shower this morning?” “No, before yoga. I drank all I had with me. Wait, why? What was wrong with the shower.” “You were in there for-ev-er.” Oh.

• We are in legging season now, bichis, which means we’re on the cusp of boot season. “Megan, what’s your favorite season?” “Fall.” “Why’s that?” “THE CLOTHES!”

• For my birthday last year Jim got me some Birkenstocks I’d been eyeing. I wear them. I want more. And whenever I slide ‘em on I remind myself to apologize to my mom for spending my whole youth mocking her footwear choices. But then I get distracted and forget. So: sorry, Mom.

• Makes me nutsy when people review a movie or a book and talk about how strong a female character was as if that’s out of the ordinary.

I’m startlingly pale. Like, oh-my-is-that-girl-okay kind of pale. During the summer, as an act of service, I use a self-tanner because when in swimwear my skin color makes other people uncomfortable. This is strange because I practice Bikram yoga which means that my year round workout wear doesn’t provide much more coverage than your average bikini. Apparently I only care about protecting the peepers of people who see my pale skin in the sunlight; those who see it in fluorescent light are on their own.

• I got my little office on wheels an oil change. When the car dudes are all done with their procedures they take me out to my car and show me that this cap is tight and that viscose stuff is full and this light is off, and I stand there thinking, I drive the thing. It’s a fleet car. Do I have to know about all the stuff under the hood?

I don’t have a lick of fashion sense. My sisters got that. Instead I have formulas. My work formula = interesting blouse (may include ruffles, ties, bright colors, patterns, etc.) + pencil skirt + mid-heeled shoes. And I just mix and match the hell outta what I’ve got. In the winter I add a belted trench and swap the shoes for boots. Bam. Effort averted.

When I enthusiastically bailed on my juice cleanse I wasted some money. While I do have a juicer gathering dust in the pantry, it was much more convenient to have someone else acquire the fruits and vegetables and do the juicing and equipment cleaning for me. So I ordered a 3-day cleanse from Jüs for $150. After I picked it up and brought it home, I told Jim that maybe if I liked it he would want to do it too. (That is where I let my crazy really hang out.) An equally enthusiastic fan of paying other people do tedious stuff for him, Jim asked what I paid for it. I said, “Uh, perhaps more than I think I should have spent. You guess.” One of his talents is correctly guessing costs and odds. Of course he'd nail it. “$270” he said. Considering I bailed 4 bottles into an 18-bottle plan, I’m thrilled he was way off. 

• Remember when I had the privilege to perform a wedding? The anniversary was Sunday. These two are just as adorably infatuated with one another now as they were then. May we all be as in love as Evangeline and Andrew—Evandrewline.


• My planet was an ugly and disappointing place in the years before I learned about Ctrl+Z/Command+Z.

• Some days Jim roasts potatoes for dinner. When he does he leaves a little bowl of the crispy treasures out on the counter for me to find when I get home from yoga. I found them. I ate them. I want more.

Friday, September 26, 2014

JUICED

I want to eat my steering wheel. Yours too. I’m on day one of a three day juice cleanse, and all I can think about is chewing and swallowing. Hey look! A spruce! I bet it would taste fantastic. A deflated beach ball! Choice! Would it be bad to eat all my patient education brochures instead of handing them out to doctors’ offices?

I don’t normally do this kind of thing, the clean-eating-pure-hippy-food-nonsense thing—I love candy and diet soda for Pete’s sake—but I need a clean slate. I’ve been working my body hard lately yet feeding it poorly. Which is unfair. I’ve ever said that the thing I get from my yoga practice is a respect for my body that I never had before. Well if I do respect the little form that’s been toiling on my behalf, I gotsta do a food about-face.

The hard work the body’s been up to? It’s all yoga. (Duh.) There was a day last week when I did two Bikram classes back to back and then followed up that sweatfest with a power yoga class. That's a good four and a half hours of not-easy yoga. And, like, on purpose. Of late I’m averaging 8-9 yoga classes of various styles each week. It’s like an asana binge. Which, weird.

My practice turned 10 back in July. In those ten years I’ve done around 2,500 hours of class, spent thousands upon thousands of dollars in yoga clothes and studio membership fees, attended festivals and conferences, read books, subscribed to magazines, and most recently enrolled in a yoga teacher training. The right teacher training. I started a different training six years ago. Mistake. I wasn’t ready. I needed a stronger practice of my own before I had the foundation to fiddle with other folks’.

We started the training last weekend. Therefore now I listen to Sanskrit in the car, dream about sequencing, and walk around mumbling stuff I’m working to memorize, which makes me look like a crazy person which goes right along with how I want to gnaw on whatever's in front of me.

Upon hearing that I’m doing this yoga teacher training thinger friends have asked, “Oh, so when you’re done will you quit your job?” Oh my, no. Next to Jim, spending money is my favorite thing. (An exaggeration, yes, but not a big one.) Yoga teaching: not lucrative. Therefore, not a career for me. Hobby, yes. Main source of income? Nope. But I will learn a lot, and I intend to acquire a new skill set, a thing of which you cannot have too many. 

One of my Bikram teachers, Cameron, is also doing this training. That’s right yoga “purists,” a Bikram teacher adding vinyasa to his yoga repertoire. Worlds collide and it’s about time. I couldn’t be happier that we are plowing through this together. See, Jim and I love Cameron to bits. After a full day of training on Saturday we had him over for dinner, and I’ll be damned if Jim didn’t surprise us with a seriously extensive salad bar, a key lime tart (zing!), and a spread of fancy cheeses all labeled for our sampling pleasure, for cheese is what makes Cameron's heart sing.

Mmm. Food . . . 

Jim is real, team. I’m not making him up. Yet for how dreamy he is and how unimaginably fantastic he treats me, the guy sounds straight out of a summer RomCom. We meet for lunch. We got to yoga. We hold hands in savasana. We text. He’s proud of me. We respect each other. We talk business. We walk the dogs. He builds me stuff. We watch Iron Chef. I want to be where he is. He surprises me every day. We are happy together. He’s happy. I’m happy. Friends and colleagues see it on our faces. And we are constantly stunned at how great we’ve got it. I mean, I could be so delighted with another human? He feels the same way. He says, “You're so good to me. I don’t deserve you!” I reply, “No, you deserve better!” We are pathetic. I’m digging it.

Also, I just swallowed my gum. Not on purpose but that’s very probably frowned upon when in the throws of a fatiguing, rage-inducing juice cleanse.

UPDATE—

I wrote all that yesterday during lunch but wasn’t near a hotspot so I didn’t post. During yoga last night Teacher Grace said that if we listen to our bodies they’ll tell us what they need. Mine said pizza. So I bailed on the cleanse, and Jim, Dustin, and I went to Blind Onion.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

LITTLE SOMETHINGS

• The yoga teacher training thing I’m doing starts this weekend. When an email with our homework arrived last week it occurred to me that this might actually require some effort. Part of the homework: reading chapters from an Eckhart Tolle book. I am reading Eckhart Tolle. I hereby welcome y’all to The Twilight Zone.

Jim and I love that Dustin lives with us. And in saying that I do mean that I personally love having him and not just because it makes me happy to see his dad enjoying having his son around. Dustin is considerate and hilarious and is therefore a treat.

• I've said before that different yoga necessitates different types of mats. Mats for Bikram need to be able to stand up to rivers of perspiration and not hold onto the rancid sweat funk. Power yoga mats need to be durable. Power yoga mats, like, say, a Manduka, do not belong in the Bikram yoga room. They are so dense that they soak up the sweat. And then they reek. Earlier this week I was next to a guy in class who uses a dense vinyasa mat for Bikram yoga. Now I hate him. When we got to the floor I identified where the fetid smell was coming from. I started inventing new ways to breathe through my nose without actually taking in the stink. I spent the mid-class corpse pose fantasizing about spilling bleach.

• When Jim brought me flowers the other night he apologized for not doing it more often.

I can’t stand the abbreviation “veggies.” Really, it’s gonna kill you to say vegetables? (If you’re reading this and thinking, “Yikes! Have I said ‘veggies’ in front of Megan?” as I know some of my friends do when they read this kind of thing, please know that I have no recollection if you did and you don’t need to try to avoid using that word around me. I really am going to make it through either way.)

• Today I had Jim listen to my knees as I moved them. They are total shit and have the crispy crackle of plastic wrap. 

• The other night as we were putting away the groceries Jim told me how there had been some hiccups in the online ordering system, and instead of the grocery people bringing out his order like they were supposed to, he had to go into the store. He told me about the nettlesome interruption in his day when the personal shopper called to say that they didn't have the quantity of ClifBars that he ordered and would it be okay if they just gave him what they did have. We’re jabbering on about these immense inconveniences and Dustin says, “Do you hear how stupid you guys sound? ‘Ugh. I had to, like, go into the grocery store!’” He wasn’t wrong. We sounded exactly as stupid as I sound when I complain that this housekeeper doesn’t tuck in the flat sheet on our bed like I like.

• I walked into a doctor’s office that I’ve been calling on for seven or so years and when the receptionist greeted me with, “Hey, tiny!” it didn't feel wrong. I am tiny and being tiny isn’t a bad thing. I’ve always been one of the shortest kids and I finally like that about myself. But if I were big and she said, “Hey, fatty!” or “Hey, giant!” it would be inappropriate and I’d be devastated. The first is an acceptable term of endearment. The other might get you killed.

• In this house there isn't a door closing off the master bedroom from the bathroom, just an arched opening. When Jim gets up early and has to turn on the lights he doesn’t want to wake me. He solved the problem with a handsome barn door. It is eight feet tall, gray, and finished with a high gloss. He skipped yoga class on Thursday so that he could install it as a surprise. I love coming home from class to a house smelling like varnish. A scent of love.

• Hi, Captain Amy.

Monday, September 1, 2014

LOST: WORDS

While I can’t conceive of being more happily married than I am now—the bliss I feel actually has a color; I can see it. It’s that saffrony color but more gentle and it’s also a dusky blue and it's cobalt, actually my ecstasy is all the colors, even ones that I’ve never seen; they're in order, out of order, tinting stuff that used to be in grayscale—even though I've got all of that, sometimes my sense of loss is overwhelming. Even though this, my new marriage, is weighty and important and came about by way of things like signatures and witnesses and includes cohabitation, sometimes I feel like the affair is the only thing that’s ever happened to me. 

I can’t figure out how to write around the damn thing. The loss I feel and mourn so certainly isn’t for the ex-husband. I’m glad for that. The loss I feel is for the ability to write and confidence that I could do it well.  

When the affair happened and the marriage cracked, tritely put, splitting the one back into two, I forgot how to do the things I knew. No, I just couldn’t do them anymore. Before the merger started dissolving I was writing so much. I felt fluid in my design work. The words and the images came easily enough. But then the affair and then nothing. At a low point when the rise and fall of my chest seemed just too hard and I wondered where I’d gone, my mom assured me that the me I knew wasn’t dead, that I’d be myself again. I’d again be able to do all the things I was proud of being able to do before. I’d even be able to put away the clothes strewn through my room.

A year later I conceded that she had been right. I could pick up my clothes and do the dishes again. I could feed myself more than Swedish Fish. I could build muscle instead of lose it. I noted those points of progress and thought, “Okay, she was right. I’m me again.” But in acknowledging and celebrating those triumphs, I forgot about the other things. The words and the pictures. Those things still haven’t come back.

With the artwork what’s gone is the impetus, even a slim desire. I don’t have it. Before, I was compelled to take fonts and words and make them marvelous together. I could put together a decent logo. I don’t at all want do to any of that anymore. My drug career helps; I can use it to fill the spaces of time that I used to use to design things that people hang on their walls.

And with the writing, well, I feel like that’s just gone because I can’t figure out how to write anything that doesn’t have to do with the damn affair. Somehow my fingers on keys think that it’s my only story, and while I’m not opposed to writing that story and I’m interested in how my tone in writing that story has shifted, I’m tired of it. I’m tired of writing that story. When I think that I need to be writing I can’t figure out where to start because I don’t have subject matter anymore. Greedy, bloated, and moaning, the infidelity ate all my other stories. 

There was such a clear break. On June 28th in 2012 I could write and write and write and my writing was working. But after that day, after finding out about the cheating? There’s nothing. Yes, I’m back to being able to keep the house tidy and I can eat normal food. But Mom, where’s the rest of me? Will that come back too? Is it just gone? Were those tens of thousands of dollars on a Masters degree designed to teach me how to artfully string words together a waste? Because I just don’t know how to do that anymore, and it leaves me lost. I don’t want all the time I spent on school to have been naught more than a costly lark. I was supposed to do something with all this word stuff. I can’t even figure out how to be creative in an email. Dammit, I used to have words and they aren’t there anymore.

So I land here: while losing my first husband was the single best thing that has ever happened to me—dead weight lost, I was left open for a happiness that I couldn’t have sketched up in a dream—the fallout of the infidelity, those months of ache and mourning and hope and hell, stole completely my talent and my drive. I'm in therapy. Emotionally, I've been good at moving on from the affair garbage. It's my writing that won't progress or even come back to me, really. I’m mourning that loss and sort of waiting for its resurrection. But just waiting won’t do it. I have to actively pursue the writing. I have to write in order to be able to write. But I can’t avoid writing about the affair and that’s just not what I want to do right now. So, stuck. And lost.

Friday, August 29, 2014

LITTLE MORE THAN JIM REALLY

• The tree in the front yard at the rental house fell over during the new residents’ first week. It rotted. I’ve had that house for seven years, and it wasn’t until new people moved in that the tree decided to give up its ghost. Tacky timing, tree.

• When I see a “Galt/Rearden ’12” bumper sticker or something like it, I think, “Ah, there you are kindred soul, there you are.” But pretty much all other politically-minded car stickers, no matter their sway, make me think, “Go home, get a razor blade, use it scrape off that dreck, and if you slip up a couple times and slash your precious opinionated fingers, well, you deserved it.”

• We watched Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on Sunday, a movie to which I know every word of every song and most of the dialogue in between. It was a 2:12 sing-a-long. For me. Later that night as I was rubbing Jim’s back while he fell asleep I said, “You know how I’ve commented that if I ever want anything from you I know that this time of day is always the right time to ask because you’re feeling so loved, and you’re so happy and basically desperate to make me feel equally loved?” He hummed a yes. “Well, sweetheart, I’d like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Please get me a flying car.”

• Today I saw a fellow who bore more than a passing resemblance to my husband, and I wanted to approach him and say, “Hey, so while the goatee thing is working for you, have you ever considered a closely-trimmed full beard? And maybe some black plastic-framed glasses? You could get younger chicks that way. You know, if that’s something that interests you.”

• Last week I round-brushed my hair for the first time in probably five years. When I had Kitty pixie-cut my hair so long ago I threw out the round brushes. I bought a new one a few days ago. I used it. Rather than messily blowing out my hair and then ironing it all back in place, I used the round brush and then just touched things up with my flat iron. Oh my the difference! So bouncy and manageable! Then I went to yoga, sweat my 'do flat, let it air dry, and looked like myself again. It’s okay though. Jim likes my hair “wild.”

Put your toilet lids down. At least do it when you’re taking a photo of the bathroom. It turns my stomach when I see home improvement or real estate photos of a bathroom and the toilet lid is up. I’m a lid-shutter. It’s at least once a day that I walk past the half bath downstairs and have to detour to close the toilet lid before I can sally forth.

Jim routinely asks me to marry him. I came out of yoga the other night and there on my car was one of his red business cards stuck in the driver-side window. On the blank side he wrote, “Will You Marry Me? Love, Jim.” He turns over in his sleep at night and mumbles at me, “I really want to marry you.” It’s like that all the time.

• It’s smart of Lululemon to include their signature reusable bags in every online order. They’re good bags. I can’t help but use them. Thus I do their advertising for them. Nice of them. Nice of me.

• Lightweight bikes are so yesterday. Evidently Jim’s 35-minute ride to work on his 30-pound commuter bike wasn’t hard enough. Last week he did is problem-solving thing and doubled its weight with a 30-pound barbel strapped to the back.

• I'm antsy to watch Sesame Street. I just finished listening to Street Gang: the Complete History of Sesame Street, a book that was 85% blisteringly tedious and 15% gripping. The gripping bits are compelling me to give my Netflix account a break from The West Wing and fire up some once cutting-edge preschool-age educational television.

• James took the kidlings to Great America (four hours from here), so I’m home alone-ish. They're amusement parking without me because of a piece of advice from a friend who is a step-kid: give the kids alone time with their dad so it won’t feel like they’ve lost him. Last week we all went to the ropes course at Squaw (where I lost my footing on some sky bridge thing and whacked my ankle all bruisey) but this week the children and their pa get to do their thing without me. Which means I have basically no distracting excuse not to file all the garbage lingering on my desk. Wait, I could write! Snort laugh. As if.

• Remember when this blog was, like, about more than just Jim? It's somehow become just a string of bragging anecdotes about how sensational my husband is. Today I'm that girl. His fault though. He's just too awesome. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

MITES

• This morning Ben disposed of a lame mouse for me. I walked into the kitchen around 8AM and there was a tiny mouse in the middle of the floor, disabled and so not moving. Therefore, in a blast of allegiance to my gender, I became hysterical. “Okay. Okay. I can do this. I can take care of this. I can handle this. This isn’t a big deal. It’s just a mouse and I can handle it. I’m in charge . . .” and so on as I zipped in circles around the kitchen hoping furiously that a solution would stop me. I came up with a ziplock bag and a paper towel tube. So then I’m standing over the thing trying to figure out how to use the tube to get the vermin in the bag. I can’t, like, bend over such that I’m closer to it! Ben, who is eight, leaves his video game, walks to me, coos about how cute the mouse is, says that he'll do it, scoops up the mouse and puts it in the bag.

• A better name for the pantry is carbs.

• I made ice cream from Werther’s candies. Nailed that smooth toffee goodness. Nailed it hard.

• I went to a lunchtime yoga class and then to the adjacent raw foods cafe for sustenance before heading to my next doctors’ office. I chose the falafel. I have no idea what those hippy dippy frutarian-types put in there, but that falafel wasn’t anything approaching normal or even good. I couldn’t swallow a bite. I trashed the $8 falafel—eight bucks for three falafel!? Did the prophet Muhammad make them?—and went to Qdoba for rice and beans instead.

I like where I live. Decent weather, not too much snow in the winter, a yoga community beyond compare, people who are kind to each other, friendly doctors’ offices. The qualm I’ve got with Reno is its drivers. Be aggressive! Take initiative! Merge already!

• I’m registered for a vinyasa yoga teacher training that starts next month. Non-refundable deposit paid. In it now. Evidently, I up and do stuff like that.

• When Ben says a prayer and I’m in the room he prays “that Megan will do good in yoga.”

• A fellow drug rep recently changed companies. He left because his manager was an arse. In what way? The guy perpetually belted my friend with his Mormon dogma, criticizing him for living with his girlfriend, always asking when he was going to “pop the question,” etc. Makes me nutsy. Believe what you want, team, but don’t use your beliefs to tyrannize people. For pity’s sake, ya douche, be respectful.

• Is there anything finer than perspiring buckets in a Bikram yoga class. I say nay. But it means we’ve got sweat to deal with afterward. One of my yoga pals’ teenaged son said that her car smells like sweaty balls. She told him that she was impressed that he was flexible enough to know what that smells like and he should therefore join her in class.

• If you haven’t read Ruth Reichl you haven’t read writing about food the way it’s meant to be written.

This house beeps. The dishwasher goes ape shit when it’s done—beep! beep! beep! beep!beep!beep!beep!BEEP! I finished! I’m the best in the class! Teacher’s pet! Dean’s list! Astronaut! beep! beep! beep! beep!beep!beep!beep!BEEP! When the garage fridge doesn’t get shut tight, it squeals at surprising intervals until somebody soothes it. The washing machine congratulates itself as soon as it’s scrubbed duds clean and the dryer follows up its work up with a succession of beeps designed—effectively—to annoy us into folding submission. And while all these things are first-world obnoxious, it’s the robot vacuums that induce stroke symptoms. They whine at full volume when they get stuck, when they want their dust bins emptied, when they get confused, when they need a battery recharge, when they’re lonely and just yearn for a listening ear. While we appreciate the excellent work these codependent devices do, it comes at a cost.

• When my youngest sister Lo was wee thing she called breasts “beeps.”

Sunday, August 17, 2014

IOTAS

• Jim got a new yoga mat a month ago. His old one went on the lam. Holy goodness, I’ve got a husband who needs a yoga mat. Seems the gods grin upon me in perpetuity.

• I asked Dustin if there was anything he wanted me to add to the grocery order. “Normal bread,” he said. Like what? “White.”

• Did you know that a major part of being a drug rep is compliance training? There are boatloads of regulations that drug companies and their reps have to follow, and I am constantly doing another online training on things that I am and am not allowed to do. Believe it or not, using pens and food to buy doctors’ devotion to my drugs is a big ass no-no.

• Lame that there isn’t a teen Wipeout. Josie and I agree that she would be a terrific contestant.

• My boss rode along with me two weeks ago, and after one call we got back in the car, shut the doors, and I exclaimed, “Whoa! This is important! It’s awesome that you’re here for this!” “What?” I held my head still and, from the corner of my right eye, looked at her in the passenger seat and replied, “My hair is caught in the door. This is huge! My hair is long enough to get caught in a door!”

• Jim bought bananas last week that went from beautiful to bad in under three days. So I heaved out my binder cookbook, the one with family recipes and others that I’ve collected over the years, so I could morph the browning nanners into bread. I made two different recipes, my mom’s banana bread and one from a lady I knew in Hawaii. See, in this house we love blind taste tests: one fancy olive oil pitted against another, cheap olive oil vs. expensive, teriyaki sauce or soy sauce on potstickers, bakery-bought lemon cake compared to home-made boxed-mix lemon cake, brand name cereal against bargain. In this contest Jo dubbed my mom’s baked good the winner.

• I told Jim that I can do a pushup. “Of course you can,” he said. I replied, “I mean, like, a real push-up!” “Yeah, of course you can.” “Well, I didn’t know I could do that. I could do tricep pushups all day, but a real, wide-armed, dude pushup? That’s new. And I can’t just do one. I can do 10!” He just looked at me, his eyes saying, “Duh, dummy.”

• When I met one of Jim’s employee’s on Friday I shook his hand and then said, “Oh, whoops. Sorry, I’ve got cotton candy on my hand. So I guess now you’ve got cotton candy on your hand too.” “She is very sophisticated,” Jim told him.

• I’ve had the first two lines of the chorus in Phil Collins’ “Against All Odds” on loop in my head for two weeks now.

• In therapy my shrink gave me a suggestion to which I replied, “That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard!” She is still letting me come back for more sessions, which is magnanimous since I was quite the punk.

• Benjamin’s best friend, also eight-years-old, is the most polite child perhaps ever and has a mohawk, a combination that makes him perfect.

• Gus the Labradoodle:
(Photo by Ashley Thalman Photography, btw.)
He has taken to spending at least half of every day under our bed. He’s there right now. It’s a squeeze getting there, and he has to army crawl to get out.

• My dad called me about a photo that I posted on Instagram. “I’m calling about your lipstick,” he told me, “It’s very red.” “Yes, it is.” “Like what my mom used to wear.” “Yes, Dad. It’s fashionable. She was fashionable.” “Oh, okay.”

• On the way to church this morning Josie mentioned that she needed new church shoes. So during sacrament meeting we bought a pair, and they'll be here Wednesday. Amazon has my heart. 

• Habanero-hot husband has been applying his skills to installing another barn door in the house. This one is in our bedroom, which basically makes it foreplay.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

LABOR-SAVING APPARATI

Caitlyn got my KitchenAid mixer—that I had for, like, three years and used maybe ten times—leaving me the opportunity to get a merrier hue than gunmetal. Cornflower blue won my heart. So now I have a cornflower blue KitchenAid mixer. I’ve decided to initiate it with snickerdoodles, crispy ones, sweet James’ cup of tea. Maybe tonight. Probably tomorrow, based on projected yoga-class conclusion times.

Now that I’m thinking of it, here’s how Caitlyn got my mixer: Whitney accosted me at a family event and told me that while I don’t need a stand mixer, Caitlyn does, so I should give mine to her. I said, “Uh, no,” giving Whit her cue to launch into a pressure-full, logic-laden pitch after which she closed me, saying, “Will you commit to giving Caitlyn your KitchenAid mixer?” Baffled about how Whit was able to best my years of corporate sales training worth thousands of someone else’s dollars, I sort of said yes and then a couple weeks later I was mixer-less, which didn’t matter at all until I realized that there were cornflower blue ones, and I was therefore in sore need of a new kitchen contraption.

There’s some other new cooking gadgetry ‘round here too these days. There is a kitchen torch because I should get to brûlée sugar atop lemon curd on my English muffin in the morning. There is an immersion blender that won’t be useful until soup season, and even then will get used maybe three times all winter but will be worth it since I won’t be pouring portions of hot soup into the blender and thus risking the kinds of burns real cooks suffer from and subsequently display as soup merit badges. I got a kitchen scale because using my postal scale for baking was weird. Oh, and a cast-iron skillet. I finally have one of those.

If Jim did so at all he did it covertly, but my husband probably shook his head as all these kitchen things arrived. It’s not like I cook or have turned over some new leaf in the home’s heart. All these instruments were just things I’ve been wanting for a while, and now seemed like a good time. So if I decide to crack open one of my many cookbooks and use it as more than reading over breakfast and actually make something other than a big salad, I have tools.

Reconsidering, maybe Jim didn’t shake his head, because the garage is stocked with tools that don’t get used regularly, but are great to have when he needs them. Eh, but he’s actually fluent with those tools—I think he really got a kick out of the look on my face when he showed me how to use the glass cutter; Whoa, I say—and I, on the other hand, am a self-admitted kitchen dunce.

That’s another something about Jim that’s great. He “lets,” so to speak, me do whatever I want. “I’ll support you” comes out of his mouth even before I finish saying what I’m thinking I want to do. I think he trusts that whatever it is that I'm planning is something I've considered with my bright little mind and so is at least not the worst idea.

It’s not lip service either. An example: I’ve been thinking I want to do a local yoga teacher training workshop, and yesterday I sent him the link asking what he thought. “I’ll support you” was what he thought. But he doesn’t just divorce himself from the conversation either. When I was deliberating on a new computer I was all over the place on which one I wanted. We talked it through, he made sense, I went with the one he thought would work best for me, and, as I type these very words on it, I’m happy with my choice.

Happy with my choice in regard to laptops. Happy with my choice in regard to a second husband.

It feels odd and sensational to be so dizzily enamored with my spouse. I didn’t feel that way before. When my first marriage happened at 20 I treated the marriage as a strategic achievement, which it was, and a failed one at that. This is different. I’m itchy to have Jim hold me. I always can’t wait to talk to him. I respect the hell out of his mind. He’s someone I feel that I need to live up to not make excuses for. 

I keep wondering when I’ll get past the differences in my new life as compared to the old. Time will do it, I’m sure, but I’m not there yet. The contrasts are too stark, and they come out in such simple things. At five this morning Jim went mountain biking with some friends. After ten years married to the other “man” I’m still so blown away that Jim a) exercises, b) does so outdoors, c) does so before work, d) has a for-real job, and e) has friends. It’s such a simple thing to him, going mountain biking before work with friends, but to me it’s a pile of ways that he’s an improvement on what I dealt with before.

How in the hell did I get so lucky? I ask that a lot.

Also, Sophie has taken to having crabapples from the backyard as her second breakfast. I’m guessing that will lead to some puppy gastrointestinal upset that will bum me out. At least she was unsuccessful in opening the food coloring that she dragged out of the pantry yesterday. Mine is a very rotten little dog.

Friday, August 8, 2014

BY THE BY

• My boss called me an "amazing sales person" this week. I have elected to believe her and therefore feel like a million bucks that is under pressure to pull off some miracles.

• I was going through my notebook, the spiral bound thing that holds my life together and is rarely more than 10 feet from my fingertips, and on one to-do list it said "Wednesday--Do not eat." Nearly certain I blew that play.

• My car is really common. It's a fleet car, after all. So yesterday out in the parking lot after making a call in a doctor's office, I walked up to the wrong car and opened the door to throw my drug bag in the back seat. Cigarette smoke smell and giant pieces of sandpaper on the back floorboards clued me in to my mistake. But larger than that--there are people who don't lock their cars?

• Certain things should never be photographed. Beef stroganoff is one.

Being cute but not beautiful makes you approachable.

• Wearing very high high heels every day means that every day people will stare at your feet and "whisper" to their companion that they have no idea how you can walk "in those things."

My dinner tonight included a potato poblano hash and a wrap with hummus and quinoa and then a brownie with a pretzel crust. One meal to make me like a room with out a roof. (Happened.)

• When conversation reveals that you are newly married people start glancing at your left hand every few seconds for a surreptitious look at your ring.

• On that, how's married life, Megan? Really effing splendid, y'all. We have fun every day. Our conversations consistently broaden my scope of understanding. I'm gaga for him. He loves the hell out of me. My in-laws are spectacular. I still think his astonishingly loud snoring is cute. (Blessing, that.) He admires my talents and honors my independence. We respect each other. All the people everywhere agree that he is adorable.

• Here are a few of Amazon's current recommendations for me:
Malden smoked sea salt
Black lava sea salt
Calvin Klein thong
HydroFlask ice cube trays
Double-sided origami paper
Chiyogami paper
Low-odor chisel tip dry erase markers
"Made in 1964" t-shirt
The book Little Quilts: 15 Step-by-step Projects for Adorably Small Quilts
MiaBella balsamic vinegar
• The way people cooperate in a 4-way-stop style when traffic lights go out leads me to think about the concept of maybe having a little bit of faith in humanity.

• The chipper CVS clerk: Do you have a CVS card?
The me: No (lying)
The chipper CVS clerk: Well let's get you signed up for one--
The me: If I have to sign up for one more card I will poke out eyes. Maybe mine. 
The now wary CVS clerk: I'll just scan the store card for you, ma'am . . .

• I take pride in being able to walk in high heels without looking like an idiot.

Money makes me happy. I'm not ashamed of it, and I really couldn't care less that joy in such sounds shallow.

• My name badge is my security blanket. I sort of don't know how to do my job without it.

"Entitled" is the filthiest word.

• Jim and I just spent an entire dinner out talking about construction companies' estimating processes and billing practices.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

BUTT HOLE

Usually busy months zip by, right? Not this one. This July has felt three months long. We’ve had some something going on every weekend since the beginning of the month. It’s not a bad thing to be spoiled with so much friend and family time, but I may be coming up on fatigue.

For Christmas this last year I told Jim I wanted one thing: get me to a yoga class; at 7:15AM, pull me from my bed and put me in the car no matter what excuses I may give. I want the same thing from every work-off holiday. “What are you doing for the Fourth of July, Megan?” “Yoga.” “Anything else?” “Probably.” “Like what?” “No idea. Not important.”

Independence Day morning we left the house at a quarter to eight and drove up to the lake so Jim could ride the Tahoe Rim Trail. I waited for him, folded origami, and then we drove back down the mountain to yoga class. Dear Reader I have a husband that has three bikes—road, mountain, and commuter. He, like, exercises. In case you didn’t know, this is my second marriage, and I can tell you that the husband I had in the first marriage, well, I’m not even sure he knew how to ride a bike. That’s how often I saw him on a rider-propelled device. I dig this upgraded iteration of a spouse. He likes to sweat and has these things called “muscles.”

That same weekend we had Benjamin’s baptism. Family. Friends. Cake.

The following weekend was the annual Victory Woodworks summer party that Jim and his business partner sort of live to throw. They reserve the Sand Harbor pavilion up at the lake and invite 500 of their closest friends for breakfast and kayaks and crawdad catching and lunch and paddle boards and tacos and ice cream and shade. A full day of all manner of lake things, really. My family came out for it. Nearly all of them. Eighty-percent of my loud and loving family drove out from Utah to experience the fun that is Jim.

A few days later we returned the favor and flew out to Utah to spend days in my mom’s pool, eat grilled pound cake, take class at Brick Canvas Bikram Yoga, visit Jim’s Utah sisters, enjoy our over-from-Belgium family, eat Whitney's perfect cinnamon rolls, drink nothing but diet soda (and probably some pool water), and take the kids to Seven Peaks.

It’s been a good 17 years since I’ve been to Seven Peaks water park in Provo. But Josie read about it somewhere and got her determined heart set on a visit. I am therefore suffering from a burn on my tailbone acquired while going down some terrible slide on which the send-off lifeguard told us to lift our bums in the tubes, which I did not do, and so, at the speed of sound, scraped my tailbone against the fiberglass. The swimsuit I wore? Yeah, it’s in a trash can at the SLC airport. Not lifting one’s butt as one is told may result in a hole in one’s swim bottoms. At least the hole didn’t go through the lining.

Two of my sissies, Cat and Whit, got sitters for their kidlings and came with Jim, Josie, Ben and me to the water park. They were the perfect companions for water tomfoolery, which included but was not limited to: trying and failing to trade places on double tubes while careening down a dark water slide, untying Whitney’s swim top—twice—on another trip down that same slide, getting swimsuit wedgies from very tall and fast water slides (tip: while getting clobbered by gravity, do keep your ankles crossed as the life guard instructs), lazing, and listening to Jim comment at least thirty times regarding how genius it was to get a cabana, for without it the day surely would have been unbearable. We went right from the water park to the airport and made it home at midnight on Monday.

Last week Jim said, “Hey, I think I’m going to need you to take off next Friday. I may have tickets for something.” So tomorrow Jim and I will continue July’s perpetual par-tay with a trip to San Francisco for—wait for it—Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me! The delish husband figure knows the way to his lady’s heart: tickets to an NPR news quiz show. I’ve always wanted to go one of the live shows and Jim’s the make-it-happen kind.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

LONE WIFE

I’m always taken aback when a gal says something like “Jeremy and I have been married for a year and this is the first night we’ve spent apart!” Seriously? In an entire year one of you didn’t have occasion to go someplace without the other? Not that you wanted to get away, but in the course of living your lives you didn't have to go on a business trip or there wasn't far-off family to visit and your spouse didn't have the vacation days to spare? I've heard that line often enough, and it's ever sounded rather pathetic and codependent. (Eyeroll face, for independence is, like, my nurtured knack.)

Jim and I have been married a bit over a month and he had to go out of town. I am spending two nights without him. And I’m fine. I miss him, yes, yes, and I send mawkish texts and he sends mawkish texts, and I wish he were here instead of there, but real, grown-up life means that you don’t always get to spend every night with your significant other even if you’re technically newlyweds.

It just occurred to me that I need ice cream. I’m going to go root around and see what I can come up with. Hold please . . .

Okay, handled. It appears I polished off with the mint chocolate chip a few days ago, so vanilla was my only option. Boring. I like my ice cream to have lots of stuff in it. I think you should be able to chew your ice cream. So I spiced up what we had with add-ins. Butterscotch chips, chocolate syrup, whatever I could find. Now finished, I can say that my dessert was satisfactory, by which I mean that I will regret eating it.

After yoga yesterday, I spent last night, my first solo night as Jim's wife, unwrapping new yoga clothes that came in the mail, trying on the clothes, liking half, and writing “send back yoga clothes” on my to-do list. I caught up on So You Think You Can Dance via Hulu. I did a charcoal/black sugar mask. I had frozen yogurt for dinner; actually with the amount of add-ins I dump in there, it was more like a bucket of candy with a little froyo mixed in. I roasted some artichokes (gag) for Dustin. I logged my calls.

This morning I went to yoga. On the way home I swung through the grocery store because we were out of rice vinegar (totally unacceptable in this household; without vinegar all the vegetables in the fridge will rot 'cause ain't nobody eatin' 'em), Dustin mentioned he likes Asian pears, so I thought I’d be rad and hook him up, and the fridge didn’t have any cauliflower in it. After the groceries were put in their place and Brussels sprouts were roasting, I did laundry. All day I did laundry. (New for me.) Five, maybe six, loads. Not even all of it is folded yet. Will be before I go to bed though. See, there’s a season of Psych on Netflix that I haven’t seen yet and Shawn and Gus will keep me company as I fold what’s left of the stuff.

While the laundry laundered I cleaned out and organized the laundry room. Even though Jim and I got a ton of house stuff done before I moved in, there are still things that need doing. I knock the tasks off when I've got a few extra minutes and am out of avoidance tactics.

Tomorrow it's on to the fridges and freezers. Those cold boxes won't know what hit 'em. 

Typing this out has been painful. My hands are slow on the keys. This because I took an aerial silks class this evening and even though it ended two hours ago my forearms are still trembling and my knuckles are tender to the touch and throbbing. Lifting the spoon to get the ice cream from bowl to mouth was grueling, but I’m no quitter, so shaky spoonful by shaky spoonful I handled that sugary soup with the resolve of a champion.