Tuesday, January 5, 2016

EAGLE ONLY MEANS GARUDASANA SOMETIMES

We haven't met before and we're having that getting-to-know-you interaction. When you ask me what I do I sort of stall and then say, “I teach yoga.” When you ask me where I say, “I teach at Juice Box and at Pure. I sub sometimes at Midtown—” then I mumble, “and I teach at aplaceoutinSparks.” I could just omit the last bashful part and pretend that I don’t teach yoga at a gym, but then I’d be failing to mention a place I love to teach. I so did not see that coming.

My name is Megan Romo-Elliker. I am a yoga teacher. A couple times weekly I teach yoga at a gym. 

There. It’s out.

I’d say that—sheesh!—I don’t know why there is this stigma about teaching yoga at a gym, except I do know. It’s gym yoga. It's not Yoga Journal yoga with expensive leggings, Krishna Das' latest album, a big Om symbol painted on the wall, and freshly swept environmentally friendly flooring. It’s yoga where there can be the clang of weights in the background, where students may not know to take off their socks for class, where sometimes—I am not kidding—the new front desk staff will come through the room during class to go out back to empty the trash, where students might show up without their own mat, where people are like, “Eh, what the hell? I’m already here, why not try yoga? It's stretching. How hard could it be?” The stigma surrounding gym yoga exists because since it’s not a yoga studio, that temple of middle class white lady pretension, it's not real yoga. So those of us who deign to teach there get bashful about it. Even though we may love it.

Yoga studio students can get so spoiled and entitled. They pay beaucoup bucks for their yoga and for those dollars they expect that their copious feedback on everything from the water pressure in the showers to the duration teachers have them hold postures will affect instant change. I’m about as fed up with it as I’ve ever been. It makes me appreciate that much more the humility of my Eagle Fitness yoga students.

I admit, the yoga environment at Eagle isn’t ideal. The props are rustled up from whatever students and teachers have brought in, the sound system is unreliable, the room is cold, there’s no good way to control the temperature; that place doesn’t have all the comforts of a for-real yoga studio. But it doesn’t matter. (And I perpetually argue that a shitty, uncontrolled environment provides for real yoga, this stuff that's useful off the mat, the yoga where you have to cope in difficulty and make real use of your breath.) Here's the thing, Eagle students don't need the pampering of a hipster ashram with a juice bar to get in their yoga.

These people arrive on their mats with the best attitudes. If it's cold they wear a sweatshirt. If a lightbulb is burned out, they make good-natured jokes about haunted yoga. If there's no music, they listen to their breath. Because Eagle doesn’t use fancy scheduling software like MindBody Online, students never know for certain who will be teaching their class. And they roll with it. They are grateful for any yoga at all. They are happy for the variation a substitute provides. They are eager to learn and they listen well. They respond to corrections. They enjoy each others' company. They try new things. They employ props. They fall out of arm balances. They respect their teachers. They are yogis.

The mythology about gym yoga students not knowing how to behave in class, e.g. talking while the teacher does, laughing at sanskrit, and fidgeting in savasana, it’s apocryphal at Eagle Fitness. I can’t be certain why we are exempt, but I credit Ella.

Ella is my friend who has been teaching at Eagle for, like, five years or something now and practicing for much longer. I tell everyone who will listen that she is one of the best teachers in town. I know; I've taken from just about everyone. The sincerity and study with which she approaches teaching gives the other Eagle teachers a standard to strive for and has inspired in her students a reverence and respect that results in a dedication to their practice that rivals that of any studio student. She gives them real yoga and they give back earnest devotion to their practice and to her. It bleeds into the other yoga classes offered at Eagle, and as one of their teachers, I am a fortunate beneficiary.

I'm feeling all cuddly about Eagle right now because I just came back from subbing a class there, one that I’ve never even attended before. The teacher needed a sub, I was available, I took the slot, and I then texted her asking what the class was like. They flow some. They work on strength. They are happy for whatever she comes up with. I showed up, introduced myself, heard a couple students say, “Oh, you’re the other Megan!” and then we went to the breath. My class was certainly different compared to what they’re accustomed to, but as expected, their attitudes were great.

At 4:30 I get to go back there and teach my regular Tuesday class, and once I plan the sequence I’m going to teach those fine yogis, I’ll be looking forward to it. Those fools got game. I'm thinking we'll play with Bhujapidasana.

Friday, January 1, 2016

DAY ONE?

I rarely know what day of the week it is. Since quitting my drug career I haven’t really had to know. I look at my calendar in the morning to see if I’m teaching, but other than that, my knowledge of what date it is barely extends to the current month.

Therefore learning that not only is this the first day of a new month but in fact the first day of a new year was unexpected. (Well, actually not much is expected. I have the immense privilege of floating through my days taking yoga, taking pole, teaching some, making out with a hot piece of ass, and eating lots of feta.)

But I did the significant day proper. I took Bikram this morning, went to Star Wars in 3D with Ben and Jim, and then picked up my two yoga teacher pals for a vinyasa class this evening. In class I laughed hard enough to fall out of postures. Then there was cake. And all day diet soda.

If I do that thing that all the people everywhere are doing and take stock of 2015 it’s clear that I done the whole durn year proper too—
  • I graduated from yoga teacher training.
  • I stopped selling drugs.
  • I discovered that it is possible to be sexually attracted to a car.
  • I started seriously working on my French.
  • I took up pole and got a pole in my house!
  • We got lost in Venice.
  • We lazed in Hawaii.
  • We partied at the Playboy Mansion.
  • I rattled around The Big Easy with my two besties.
  • I celebrated my first year of marriage to the best man I know.
  • I saw all five of my sisters at once.
  • I met a good looking newborn.
  • We got a Katelynn Hansen quilt.
And those are just the standout things. The everyday things add up to notable too. I enjoy Jim’s kids. I live to love that man. I get to text with my mom and my sisters most every day. My dogs are annoying but healthy. Jim’s company is thriving. While my eyesight sucks I have contacts and glasses for correct it. Netflix has The West Wing on demand. My body is sore and bruised and calloused from constant activity. My drawers and closet are full of clothes and shoes I like. Amazon exists. My knees hurt less. My bed is comfortable. My husband adores me.

Not only do I not know what 2016 has in store, I don’t know what day of the week it is tomorrow. But I do know that with Jim as my person the year and every next day will be entertaining and abundant. Aw, shit, I just used that word—abundant. I'm gonna go gouge out my own eyes now.

Monday, December 28, 2015

THIS CAR ENTHUSIAST

When someone stops me to talk about my car the order of their questions is predictable. And while I do wait to be asked, I could rattle off the answers people want before the first question leaves their lips:
  • Each charges goes for about 240 miles, depending on how fast I drive.
  • We plug it in in the garage every night, and it is fully charged in the morning.
  • We installed a 220V outlet in the garage, so it gets about 30 miles of juice/hour when charging at home. Comparatively, a standard 120V outlet gets you about 3 miles/hour.
So Jim and I think maybe we should just have some business-card sized answers handy for when someone wants to chat about my ride. “Is that a Tesla?” “It is.” “How—“ “Hang on,”—hands asker the preprinted answer card—“this is what you want to know.”

The conversations always start with questions about range and charging and then evolve from there. At some point I let slip my going-to-polluters'-hell environmental apathy and reveal that I couldn’t give a damn about the car’s zero emissions; I love the thing for how it drives. Read: fast. (And on its own. With auto-steering I can eat a bowl of fruit and yogurt at 50mph, both hands off the wheel and looking down in the bowl to make sure my spoon snares every berry all while driving more safely than I would with both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.)

One day I came out of a store to find an elderly couple circling my car—slowly—and trying to be discreet about peering in the windows. It wasn’t freaky. These days that kind of thing isn’t far outside my ordinary. Teslas aren’t the most common cars and presently they’re unlike anything else on the road. People are curious. I answered the couple's—the man's mostly—inevitable questions and went off on some of my favorite features.

“You seem like quite the car enthusiast,” the guy said.

“No,” I told him, “I’m a this car enthusiast.” I like it more than I like most people, and sometimes I want to pet it cooing, “Pretty car. Pretty, pretty, perfect car.”

By way of moving forward, yesterday afternoon we booted our Christmas decorations. It took ten minutes. Since we didn’t have the kids over the Christmas part of the holiday break Jim and I decided to forgo the tree. But the decor we did put up was bomb:


I made that. I took a family photo into Illustrator, traced it, slimmed my ever-substantial thighs some, colored the clothes to match our Bright Lab lights, and added a little one before his arrival. Jim hangs all sorts of things for me throughout the house, but this tapestry was the thing he actually wanted to put up. It’s his favorite piece of decor we’ve ever had, and when we de-decorated yesterday he wasn’t down with my tossing it. He just loves it too much. I should have it made into a blanket for him. He’s darling.

This week will see both Elliker men heading to Vegas. Jim just for a layover on his way to San Diego to look at a job and Dustin back to CFI school. CFI—that’s Certified Flight Instructor. He’s a pilot with a commercial endorsement and is now training to train other pilots. It’s how many new pilots build hours enough to be eligible for jobs with regional carriers. I know these things now. I only have to ask Dustin to reexplain everything to me again six or seven times whenever he’s in town.

And the baby. You want to know about the baby. We had our new little fella over on Christmas day. He was dressed as an elf and definitely on the nice list. He just makes little squeaks and squawks here and there. Katelynn and Nathaniel have managed to produce a very content lil’ critter. And while I was unabashedly rooting for a girl child mostly because of the baby girl offerings in Old Navy, I am happy for the arrival of a little dude and satisfied with the selection of baby boy wear out there. The Katelynn texted yesterday of tiny grandbaby in his green striped hoodie was more than enough to sell me on boy clothes being plenty rewarding for the shopper.

After yoga and errands, this day is about writing thank-you notes. The impending inconvenience of writers cramp signifies a life full of thoughtful and generous people, so I won’t whine about the ache. Much. Jessica gifted me a t-shirt that says My Life Rocks. It totally does. Other shoe, please don't drop.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

CONFOUNDING EXPECTATIONS

We didn’t expect life to look like it does now. Whoever does though? For one thing, I’m pretty sure I expected my hair to stay pixie-short for the rest of my life. I expected to be a drug rep—begrudgingly—for a long time. I expected I’d stay married to that other guy. I even expected that I would give in and have a kid and spend the rest of my life trying to to have a good attitude about being something that I never in my life wanted to be.

I’m just so glad, so grateful, that none of that is true. Life now is startlingly different than what I may have expected. It is startlingly so much better. 

Yesterday I asked Jim, “You know that saying, ‘If it seems to good to be true it probably is?’ Then how do I explain you? You seem to good to be true but with you what you see is actually what you get.” He is this great. And Jim is never shy about his faults or things he would have done differently in his life. I never have to be uptight about telling people things about my husband. He’d tell them himself. Even nearly three years into this relationship I’m still surprised by that. I spent ten years married to a guy who was nothing but secrets. Jim, however, couldn’t keep a secret to save his life. Or even my life. Anyone’s life, if we’re being all-encompassing and honest here. Keeping secrets takes more energy than he is interested in expending when he could be doing something useful. He is dead set on being useful.

This was the week of his Victory Woodworks holiday parties. One for each office, one here in Reno and one in Vegas. I love going along to those events. First off, Jim lets me hand out the crisp new money when people spin the wheel for cash which makes me instantly the most popular person in the room. And I love seeing how happy his employees are. Unless they are 85 of the best fakers in Nevada, these people like where they work. My husband is a good boss. He is genuinely interested in making Victory a place where his people are happy. And when he gave his little speech at the Reno party he got to announce that he missed work the previous day because he was at the hospital becoming a grandfather. He'll be good at that too.

You skipped over the relevant niceness of Jim’s daughter having a baby and went right to, “Wait! Doesn’t that make you a step-grandma!?” Snicker snort chuckle guffaw blah blah blah. You realize I’ve been getting that for a good eight months, right? I’ve also come to terms with it. If a grandma figure is someone who buys shit the parents wouldn’t and perpetually sends surprises to their doorstep and helps decorate their apartment, well then I fit that bill. I got to leapfrog all the hard parts of having a kid and jumped right to the part that all overworked mothers ache for. I’ll take it.

Something that Jim and I frequently say that we didn’t expect was how great things would be with his kids. We reasonably thought that it was going to be awful a lot of the time because family blending is just that. But I—thank you thank you thank you—didn’t come with kids, which makes things easier, and also, I am awesome. (Jim too, but let's talk about me for a sec.) The kids—I’d say especially the older two—have gotten the message that I’ll do anything to help them. In the beginning that was for Jim. I wanted to make him happy and that meant being nice to his kids. Now I enjoy them in their own right for the engaging people that they are. When I threw Katelynn’s shower I told Jim, “This isn’t for you. This is for her.” I love hanging out with Katelynn. And I’m going to enjoy watching her be the terrific mom everyone is certain she will be. I’m excited when Dustin comes home to visit. I’m ecstatically pleased at how he’s progressing in his pilot training. They’re not my kids but I adore them, I am happy for them, I’m proud of them, and feel what I guess could be termed a sort of stewardship for them. It’s a gift that the horror Jim and I expected to wade through didn’t materialize. Instead we all get along and even enjoy each other’s company.

All of that has been a boon lately since my yoga practice has been on a sort of hiatus and I needed other things to focus on so I didn’t drive myself—and Jim, the real sufferer here—to madness. A couple months ago I dislocated a rib in pole class, and then just as it was healing I had a minor foot surgery that developed an infection which absolutely wouldn’t heal if I didn’t stay off it (“for crying out loud” —nearly exasperated podiatrist who would really love it if I started wearing shoes once in a while instead of living my life barefoot). But I’m back on my mat, Dear Reader, heading to class now, in fact, and am really looking forward to putting my body in its place. (Said the girl who imagined she had some kind of control.) Peace out, y'all.

Friday, November 13, 2015

SHOWERING

This morning while eating his cereal and staring into the backyard Ben said, “What if shadows had shadows?”

Last night he asked me to cut out a Sponge Bob turkey that he made for school because, “You do everything perfect.” I will therefore give him anything he wants at any time. By which I mean I will execute the three clicks it takes to order his desires off Amazon. I bought him some rad snow boots earlier this week and am looking forward to inheriting them as a hand-me-up. We wear the same shoe size now. He’s nine and grew an impressive four and a half feet this summer.

I’m in my office where R2D2 and C3PO are bickering on the other computer screen, Sophie is lolling on my lap, and the lil’ space heater under my desk is doing its damnedest to upgrade my attitude. Cold makes me cranky. But a cadre of adorable boots that have recently come by way of Zappos should serve to make me less winter-rotten.

This weekend will be about doing nothing since last weekend was about a baby shower and in two weeks there’s Thanksgiving. We are staying in Sparks for the holiday this year as our teeny pregnant lady will be 36 weeks and doin’ no traveling. We get to host and if I have any sense at all I’ll delegate every food assignment and keep my own efforts to table decorations. For y’all, decoration is the thing I do decently.

The baby shower last week was—I’m pretty sure—a raging success. The house was tidy, darling, and full. Katelynn got showered with a boatload of gifts and left here with over a thousand diapers to add to the collection she’s got going. Tons of her people shuffled through our house, embroidering quilt squares here, filling candy bags there, writing on advice cards, and eating eating eating. Trust me here: use Whole Foods. I’ve got experience in this food-ordering thing, and using Whole Foods for catering is a sure-fire win.

For weeks before the day of, my world was about details for this quilt-themed baby shower. I'm not so much known for doing things halfway or even reasonably, really. 

The momma-to-be is an ardent and talented quilter and put together some quilts for her babe that she was down to display at the shower, so with that in mind I designed invites and advice cards that looked quiltish and matched the decor to the general color theme she put together, making garland after garland of mixed paper flags, having Jim hang 20-some-odd big honeycomb baubles from the ceiling, and staking giant—seriously giant—coordinating balloons to the lawn outside. Traci put together a charming quilt project where guests embroidered muslin squares and she will piece them into a quilt that matches Katelynn’s color scheme, which I think couldn't be more appropriate as Traci is Katelynn's quilting godmother.

As we were setting up for the shower the night before, Josie surveyed the extensive decorations and asked me to do her party. “What are you having a party for?” I asked. “I don’t know,” she replied, "it’s Friday?”

Jim flew my ma in for the shower, a thing of which one does not truly realize the value until the morning of the shower and Megan is losing her shit. It’s good that my life has few acutely stressful situations. Pretty much no one handles that worse than I do. Mama Sue got stuff done, handled me like a champ, and when Jim looked at her with wide eyes exhibiting the futility of dealing with me in such a state, she nodded her head in sympathy.

Shortly before the food arrived, when Jim was hanging a garland over the back doors, Ben asked what he was doing and Jim replied, “Trying to make Megan happy.” 

One notable part of the shower occurred just after Katelynn finished opening gifts. I was across the room fidgeting with something and Katelynn called out, “Hey Megan, it’s time for a Grandma photo.” Classily, I hollered back, “Go to hell.” Kathy, Nathaniel’s awfully super mom, headed for Katelynn’s chair and as I followed I mouthed at Katelynn, “I hate you” which was of course intended as a gesture of love.

Come December my husband will be a grandpa, and the parents-to-be are getting quite the kick out of calling his 33-year-old childless wife Grandma. I’ve come to terms with it. My job is to buy them cute stuff. I can do that. I can do that all day, son!

That gonna-be Grandpa and I did Halloween weekend in Vegas. The first night we went to Cirque’s Ka. Then the following evening we had tickets for Le Rȇve. And then after that show Jim said, “Wanna go to O?” So we did that too. Two Vegas water shows in one night means I spent three hours straight with a dropped jaw.

But in writing that out I realize that it’s not out of my ordinary. Living with Jim means that a minimum of 60% of the expressions you wear are stunned, impressed, or incredulous. (The next 30% are delight. And the other 10% are depression, dismay, and disgust as influenced by effing whoremones that sweet Jim can’t fix, though boy does he try. Poor perfect man.) He’s anything but average and funny as hell. Just ask him. Wink.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

SORTA SUMMED: THIS DAY

Both occupants lying in bed fiddling around on their phones—

Bed Side A: Throw pillows can be so expensive! Guess what a throw pillow costs.

Bed Side B: Uh, $25.

Bed Side A: Did you say $45? 

Bed Side B: No, $25. 

Bed Side A: Well if you’d said $45 you’d be closer. It’s ridiculous. I mean, the pillow I’m looking at right now is $71! For an 18x18 pillow! 

Bed Side B: I sure hope you’re shopping for pillows for this bed. We don’t have enough.

(The bed has six throw pillows, Dear Reader. Bed Side B is employing a vital element of compelling communication: sarcasm.)

Bed Side A: I guess if that is the throw pillow of your dreams $71 wouldn’t seem like a crazy price.

Bed Side B: I’d say if someone’s dreaming about throw pillows they’ve got problems. 

Bed Side A: [Silence.] 

I have absolutely dreamed up my ideal throw pillow and then gone hunting for it. 

House decorating stuff is a predominant hobby these days, and since Jim’s hobby is spoiling me, I’ve got carte blanche in making the house look however I want. Gotta say though that I value Jim’s opinion. We both lean toward a similar aesthetic, and he never had an opportunity before to learn that he’s got nice taste. (Especially in second wives.)

My latest Jim-supported acquisition is a hot pink velvet armchair for the guest room. Sometimes I go and open the door just to look at it. Then I sigh.

On a dog note, Sophie and I are the same person. We both have bad knees. We’re pint-sized. We don’t appreciate being woken up. We struggle some with our figures. We love to eat.

Today when I got home at 4:45PM from class I gave the canine children their second feeding. Sophie starts whining around 4:30AM for breakfast and 4:30PM for dinner. She was therefore starving to total and complete death. I was abusing her. Little bit of food for Gus. Little bit for doll. And whoops! I accidentally spilled some of Gus’ portion into their water bowl. Rather than cleaning it out I left it to see what would happen and went to go make my own dinner—a truly majestic melange of green lentils, pomegranate seeds, feta (always feta), Persian cukes, edamame, purple cabbage, and a splash of pomegranate vinegar.

They ate and then Gus joined me in the kitchen. Sophie did what she always does and stayed in the laundry room to lick Gus’s bowl for crumb ghosts. And then never came to the kitchen to beg for cucumbers as she always does. The laundry room—where their bowls are—looked as I’d expected: floor covered with water, Sophie’s face drenched, every last food morsel in the water bowl gone. Baby’d been bobbing for kibble. 

If a garbage can is too heavy for her, she gets Gus to knock it over. The bottom two shelves in the pantry are all kitchen paraphernalia and no food at all. It wasn't always that way. Coming home to raw potatoes with one or two bites taken out strewn across the living room and bags of almonds emptied and ripped to shreds, we learned the hard way and rather slowly actually. Those two have gotten into chocolate cake, loaves of bread, boxes of cereal, anything really. And I know it’s all her. Gus wasn’t like this before we moved in. He was a good boy. She’s the instigator and she corrupted him to use as her pawn. 

My ultrasonic jewelry cleaner scares the hell out of that little dog. If we turn it on downstairs, she’ll be under the bed upstairs for the next five hours. If we turn it on upstairs, she hide under the deck out back. So I’m considering just keeping it running all the time in the pantry and see if that takes care of her human-food binging. It’d be nice if that worked on me as well. 

Gus on the other hand has a whole-hearted passion for poo. And he doesn’t discriminate. Small. Large. Wet. Old. Coyote. He loves all of it equally and on our walks he must stop to smell every. single. piece of shit. And all the things that might be shit. Thus by then end of our simple mile-and-a-half morning march I hate his guts. (No advice on how to fix it please. This is one of those times where a girl is just bitching and not interested in a solution. Thanks anyhow.)

And now a brief bit on Bro-Ga. I just got home from teaching it at Midtown Community Yoga. Yoga for bros, for dames—for anyone who wants to do yoga a lot or a little. What's raddest about it is that there's a different teacher every week. So the people that come weekly get a sampling of all sorts. To me that's the genius part. Also, they have beer after. Whatever works, yo. I don't care what gets you in the room—just get there.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

SO YOU THINK YOU SHOULD SLEEP

I should be asleep right now. Or at least trying to be asleep. As it is I haven’t yet washed my face or taken out my contacts or downed my sleeping vitamins or taken my antidepressant. Oh, wait–are you so new around here that you didn’t know that I knock back some Wellbutrin XL every night? Even though I’m a yoga teacher and I’m supposed to keep my body pure and devoid of—gasp—chemicals? Yeah, bitches, I take a drug despite eating righter than I let on, doing boatloads of yoga, and even teaching that mind/body nonsense. I’m quite proud of it too. Proud because it’s damned responsible self care to down those lil’ white pills daily. Harp on me about it. I want you to. Because I will take down your self-righteous and potentially undereducated ass. (Huh, didn’t know ’til just now that I am feeling really feisty.)

Anyhow, I ain't sleeping but I should be. My hair needs to be washed, I haven't packed yet, and early tomorrow Jim and I are boarding an airplane, since, unlike the paranoid and pretentious disaster of a human being I was married to during my genius years, James isn’t afraid to fly. The handsome mister and I are heading to Los Angeles for a couple days. Day one is for hanging with Internet Jessica, Internet Jeff, and The Boy. And Day two is for going to a taping of So You Think You Can Dance. Because Jim is really damned in love with me and knows how to make magic. While I'm not the fangirl type, I love Cat Deely with all my heart. I shall not seek to, like, interact with her, seeing as I’m afraid of everything. But I get to witness my fave show go down. More than enough.

Instead of even trying to snooze I’m enjoying the sound of cute Jim snore and Sophie sleep-moan, listening to Chopped, and thinking these thoughts—

• You can’t wear heels or open-toed shoes to SYTYCD. So it was very nice of Jim to rush me to the Rack tonight for some pointy-toed flats that will work with my orange dress.

• All my problems could be solved if I’d just internally rotate my hips. That’s how insignificant my problems are.

• Everyone has a mirror face. Turns out mine is the same as my disappointed face.

• I love animals. I wish them long, healthy, happy, happy lives. 'Cept when they interrupt my sleep; then I feel differently. At 6AM some months ago a bird was pecking at the eaves outside our room. Jim was already up and downstairs, so I texted him, There is a bird outside our window. Please go kill it. I can’t be held responsible for the things I wrote when Woody Woodpecker stole my sleep. 

• Sponge Bob is not, in fact, a kitchen sponge that got chucked in the sea as debris and came alive. He is a sea sponge that just looks suspiciously like dish-washing sponges. Cameron teaches me the important things.

• I do not talk in my sleep. Except this one time Jim told me I said, “You can’t play with that in here. You have to take it outside.” So when he sleep-talks he says he loves me and that he’s proud to be my husband. He’s even said, “You’re just so delicious.” (What?) But when I talk in my sleep I reveal my full crossover into stepmotherhood in a house where fireworks are standard, waterfights common, raw eggs used for revenge, and where, for fun, we put children in human-sized hamster balls—in which, guys, they could, like, die if we don’t let them out (so I made sure that when they got those for Christmas they got pocket knives too).

• A couple weeks ago I decided that since I took six years of French in high school and college it's ridiculous that I don't speak any French. I'm therefore fixing that. My first few lessons made sure that I know how to say “I understand a little French not very well” and “Do you want to come have a drink at my house?”

• The Tory Birch fragrance smells like CK One. It smells like 1994.

• When your secondary degree is in writing don’t ever use the casual phrase, “I could write a book on—” such as, “I could write a book on how no housekeeper in the world is worse at making beds than ours is.” Because people will say, “Okay, do it.”

•••

Bonus: a couple more shots from the family shoot we did with Ash a few months ago—

I call this one “I Swear He Likes Me Back”:


And this one “Frame that Shit Stat”:


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

GOALS CAN KISS IT

Cat, Meg, Lo, Whit, Hay, Mal
These—these are my bitches, my broads, the dames I adore, mes soeurs, my sissies. For the first time in more than a year all six of us were in the same place.

I’m just home from a week in the ‘Tah where I got to see Mally’s new house, buy my nieces with $54 worth of candy, eat Whit’s stupid-good buttermilk cake, visit Cat’s new saloon, talk my parents’ ears off, go up American Fork Canyon with Amber, laugh so hard with Haley and Caitlyn that I couldn’t get my eyes to open properly, drag race on State Street, drop in at Lo’s new apartment, envy Ashley’s charming pad, and teach some yoga to my ma’s church gals. All the things: I checked them off my list.

On Monday I subbed a yoga class wherein a student inadvertently guilted me into, at the very least, slapping together this post. She is a literature teacher at the university. We got to talking Englishy things, and based on the kinds of questions I was asking about her job she queried, “So did you go to UNR or something?” I ended up confessing that I, in fact, have a Masters degree in writing. Of all things.

“Do you still write?” she asked me. (That hateful little shit.)

“Uh, well . . . ” and when a sentence starts out ruefully with an Uh, well you don’t need to hear the rest, for it certainly conveys a big fat Of course not.

The question irked me. Do you still write? Still? Did I ever? And is that a thing that you just up and stop doing? Evidently, yes. But here’s the thing, yeah, I did feel a certain amount of guilt when I answered that no, I don’t write really at all ever (except in my head which I actually do count just a little bit, because, and few non-writers know this, when a writer is sitting staring out a window, they’re actually working), but the guilt didn’t overwhelm me because that’s just not where I am in my life right now. And that is fine. I’m hoping that the copious amount of time I spent writing for school is kinda banked somewhere and when I seek to dust it off it won’t be totally worthless. But for now, in this meantime, however long I choose it lasts, I’m writing rarely and that is okey dokey.

As a nonfiction writer I’m living now what I’ll write later. I spend my time teaching yoga, doing yoga, enjoying the effing hell out of my a-damn-dorable, doting husband, being spoiled, growing my hair, and playing house (read: buying shit with which I decorate and redecorate the abode, a spectacular and spectacularly expensive hobby that my indulgent darling indulges).

I saw a post on Humans of New York a bit ago where the dude's quote was something like, “I’m taking a break from setting goals right now.” I’m doing that! I’m surely goal-oriented and I can’t successfully live any one day without a list of what I need to get done, but the big goals, the lofty things—I can’t believe I’m saying this—right now I don’t need them.

I want to be a better yoga teacher than I am now and that takes two main things: practicing my yoga and practicing my teaching. So I take and I teach as often as I can. And I want to be the best wife I can be because the man I’m married to merits all I am plus some.

Day in and out I can’t understand why Jim thinks I deserve all the good he is and does. But here he is being all amazing and shit every day, loving me even when I’m wholly unlovable. The man’s a certifiable lunatic who wakes to spoil me. And don’t misunderstand, unabashedly, I love it.

Any sentence I begin with, “Jim do you think we could—” or “Jim, let’s—”“ or “Jim, I think I want—” he immediately interrupts with, “Yes,” “Okay,” “Sure.” without even hearing what I’m asking. I have to be careful what I mention interests me; he’ll get it, make it happen, shift the moon and hand me the sun.

Honestly, I don’t talk about a lot of that amazing stuff because my friends get nauseous and jealous, and it makes the two of us loathsome and incomprehensible. It’s a small price for a life that’s pretty damn perfect. [Insert your—totally understandable—eye roll here.] So while life is real and has its inconveniences, you could be safe in saying that we’re still in that delirious newlywed phase. I mean, guys, I just heard him start his ear-splitting snoring in the other room and it made me smile. Cuuute

Friday, August 14, 2015

AT LENGTH: MAKING THE GARAGE SMELL OF THE DEAD

I haven’t practiced Bikram for the last two days. Don’t fall out of your chair—I did a double on Tuesday and I’m doing a double today. The world hasn’t split at the seams. I’m still certifiably bananas.

Since I haven’t done hot for a couple days, I’m sore. (I did do a few vinyasa classes.) Heat is magnificent stuff. It makes me more pliable, and it doesn’t leave me sore. When I practiced just power yoga for the first five years of my yoga life I was sore every single day. And happy about it. When I teach a particularly stretchy class I’ll tell the room, Hey when you get up tomorrow morning and your body hurts, don’t blame me. You did this. It’s your achievement. Be proud of it. And for those first five yoga years I was just that: proud of my soreness because I earned it. I must say though that I don’t miss daily muscular backlash. A Bikram practice has its own ball of inconveniences but daily soreness isn’t one.

Laundry is though. With Bikram yoga in my day-to-day, laundry is a significant part of my practice. Team, I am disgusting. Like, really gross. Many of my hot yoga friends wash their sweaty gear as soon as they get home. Me? I drape the sopping towel and mat and top and shorts over a drying rack in the garage. I let it all pile up for a week or so, then I drag it all off of the rack and wash it. Laundry every day? Yoga is supposed to make my life better not way worse. No matter how small the load, laundry every day is way worse.

But! However! I was totally jazzed to do laundry on Wednesday because I was running out of yoga clothes. Which is not actually the truth, for my yoga wardrobe is like a girl's big butt—it would be impolite to discuss its size in public—but my favorite yoga leggings were dirty so I was basically deprived and had absolutely nothing to wear. See, the washing machine broke. It gave up its greasy ghost. So in an act of sheer grownupness I ordered us new ones. I did comparisons on Consumer Reports, read reviews online, double and triple checked the measurements Jim gave me, prioritized features, and selected a darling set of Whirlpool helpers. Even Jim said yesterday that they’re cute.

The set arrived on Wednesday which means that there were a good two weeks worth of leggings, tanks, sports bras, sweat towels, shower towels, shorts and Bikram tops queued for their close up. Guys when I practice, I practice. There’s no lazing about on my mat. I leave it all on the field. I don't sweat as much as I want to, but I do sweat plenty. Therefore when you've got that much yoga gear waiting to be laundered, you have a seriously malodorous mountain of performance-grade fabric positively ruining the garage. See? Disgusting.

Now everything is clean and smelling friendly and ready to get drenched with drop after drop of straight up effort.

Have I bored you with all this yoga blather? I’ve bored myself. It happens. A few weeks ago I was with Cameron in the yoga room before teaching my class, pretending to help him clean the room after he just taught, and I sprawled across the podium and said, “I hate yoga. It’s the worst.” I think he understood. There has been a class or two where we’ve done our namaste at the end and bowed and under my breath I've said, “I effing hate this shit.” Yoga. Of all things. Not every hit can be a homer, Dear Reader. But that’s only 5% of my yoga life.

The rest of the time I do love it. I often close class by telling students that if they have questions afterward not to hesitate asking, ‘cause yoga is my favortie thing to talk about. (That’s almost true. Jim is actually my favorite thing to talk about, but the world at large is fed up with hearing about how adorable he is and how much he spoils me and how much fun we have together. Ah, the life of a trophy wife . . . ) But sometimes. Sometimes I’m just so sick of yoga.

When I start talking with Jim about my day I feel bad that three-quarters of what I have to offer him has to do with yoga—where I took class, who taught, where I taught class, and how I managed to sorta blow it yet again. As an example, in a class yesterday I called a student a jackass. Yup. It was appropriate given the environment, and I’d do it again exactly the same way, but I would say that as a yoga teacher it's generally frowned up on to call your students names.

It can be dangerous to make your hobby your job. Adding money into the equation will alway suck out some of the fun. It was certainly that way with my art, and check out just how much of it I do now. Near to none. In my situation I had to choose: art or money? Consciously or not, I chose money. I did big print sales; I did logo after logo, but the pressure of working with clients and feeling like I ought to be turning a profit nullified the enjoyment in the activitiy. 

But here I don’t think that I did a dumb thing in making my hobby my hobby “job,” because I really do love it and there is so much to still learn. I’ve always been geared to teach so it’s a reasonable step in the evolution of my personal practice. And more than that, it’s not about the money. If you are in yoga for the money, well, you’re not good at making life choices. Because of Jim I don’t have to think about that element; it’s a thing for which I’m neverendingly grateful.

Did you see that? You see what I did there? I slid in a little Jim-is-perfect factoid and you hardly knew what was happening to you. A splash of ninja boastage. I'd say stay tuned for more if you aren't gagging yet. 'Cause that man's adorable quotient is always on the rise.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

TRAVELING YOGI CAMPER

Danielle, this one’s for you. We've never met, but Whit said that according to your reading of my blog the Ellikers are still in Hawaii. Good point. That would be one long-ass vacation. Though Josie was pissed we had to come home at all, I was thrilled to be back in Sparks. I like my real life. I prefer it to vacation. Probably because my real life includes vacation.

While we didn’t end up getting to skydive in Hawaii like we wanted—apparently skydiving companies have ditched the Big Island (something to do with cost)—we did go on a helicopter tour and saw lava. We did go to a black sand beach. We did go swim with dolphins. Well, Jim and the kids did; my leave-the-animals alone self sat in the boat and got knee-weakeningly seasick. We did climb rad trees. We did hike around and see waterfalls. We did strip off our clothes and jump off rocks into a pool of water that very well could have but kindly didn’t gift us leptospirosis. Don’t worry, we didn’t strip off all our clothes; we were in our underwear. Which, yes, yes, itself actually is cause for concern.

Dunno where Ben and Jim were at the time, but Dustin, Josie and I were scrambling around some rocks at Rainbow Falls and saw teenagers jumping off lil’ 20-foot cliffs. Dustin was like, Oh, I’m doing this, which was convenient for him seeing as he was the one of us three wearing a swimsuit. He jumped. He climbed back up. He said it was fun. Josie and I were jealous. Josie and I were not at all sure what to do. Do we jump in our clothes? Do we go in our underwear? Oh dammit, I guess we do. Before stripping down to my stepkid-scaring lacy underthings I looked at them both and said, “As your technical stepmother, I apologize.” 

That same afternoon Josie and I brilliantly decided to trek down what has to be the, like, at least fourth steepest road in America, and when it occurred to us collectively that the further we walked down the further we’d have to walk back up we turned around took the hardest walk of our lives back to the Waikoloa overlook parking lot. We side-stepped with jazz hands. We walked up backwards. We bear-crawled on our hands and feet. At one point Josie started hallucinating fauna. Guys, we almost died basically. 

Since we survived I can say it was a good trip. It wasn’t where this spoiled white lady would have chosen to go, but Jim brought me a fresh-squeezed beet juice every morning from the nearby shop and I got to go to Bikram four times. Homegirl got what she “needed.” She can label the vacation Good.

Shit’s happening, Dear Reader. At this moment I’m writing from the Palms Place in Vegas. Jim had to come see his people down here and I came along so we could make a weekend of it. Sweet Cameron covered my Saturday class. Dunno what we’d do without that lil' nugget of a yogi; he’s also caring for the doggies seeing as—wait for it—Dustin moved out yesterday. Tomorrow, the boy is starting the next leg of his flight schooling in Utah. Yes, spreading wings. Only literally. Therefore better than everyone else.

So yoga. Last week I taught seven classes. Between Bikram and Power I probably took nine, but I don't so much tally that anymore. Teaching seven is the most I’ve done in a week so far. I know I’m a decent teacher. But I’m a new teacher. It’s gonna take forever to just graze good. A bit ago I passed the little 100-class milestone and it still feels like every class is my first.

One night last week when I got home from Bikram—as sexily sweaty as ever—Jim and Ben were watching Star Wars Episode II. I sat and we watched for a while, me answering Ben’s questions here and there because I was raised by a legit Star Wars nerd, and then Dustin got home and went we full out, talking technology, story line, comparing to LOTR. At one point I looked at Jim and said, “Your family is a bunch of geeks.” His lack of pride was confusing. 

Hey, so Jim took me by a camping ground last Saturday. (Had to retrieve a trailer. Don’t confuse yourself thinking I was actually camping.) It was nothing like what I expected. The campground was basically a big parking lot winding through the forest where people sit around all day and tell their kids to go play with sticks. Our neighbors at home aren’t as close as these camp sites were. I thought you went camping to, like, get away from it all or something? Apparently it’s actually just congregating closer with people you don’t know and coming to terms with being filthy. ’Til now my reason for not camping was that it was outdoors. But my relationship with outside has been improving of late. Now my primary reason for not camping is that it looks stupefyingly boring and if I want to get uncomfortably close with other stinky humans I can just go to Bikram. Which I do every day. So it’s as if I camp every day. I’m a camper. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

ISLAND REPORT

I went to Bikram. It’s the thing I want out of every vacation and holiday—get me to a studio—and it just so happens that there is a studio ten minutes from where we are staying. And it opened three days ago. So they were thrilled to have me. Because I was one of two students in class. They need bodies in there. And I will be getting my body back there a couple more times before we head home. Good thing I brought one whole yoga outfit with me. (It's my tried-and-true tactic of ensuring that I'll go to class more than once. Murphy's.)

After yoga I learned how to make an origami bow. Like to put on a package. One of Jim’s Facebook people posted a video on how to make a darling bow out of paper, he showed me the video, I produced origami paper out of thin air and now have a new skill. Quick, give me a gift to wrap and decorate.

The kids met a turtle today. We went to this one beach—drive three or four miles, turn left, drive a mile or so and turn right when you see mailbox 56, park at a 45-degree angle next to the rock wall, walk past the dumpster, and then turn to your left—in hopes of spotting things with flippers and shells, and a friendly local fella was like, “Hey, there’s a turtle that lives in this little cove. Here, have some fish, shake it in the water, and he’ll come over to eat it. You can pet him.” So the fam did just that. And I realized why the turtles in Finding Nemo are so chill. Because sea turtles are chill. This’n mosied over, snacked on white fish, nibbled Dustin’s toes, let the kids stroke his head and shell, and then the reptilian dude floated away.

Also, we saw lava goats.

On our drive home we came to the conclusion that dinner would happen at the Tommy Bahama restaurant.

“Do we have to, like, dress up?” Josie asked.

“We better not ‘cause I didn’t bring anything decent,” I replied.

“I just need to put on some real shorts,” Jim said.

“I’d like to put on some underwear,” Dustin added.


[Insert jolly laugh track.]

“Is anyone in this car wearing underwear?” Jim asked.

Silence.

So we got back to the house and everyone ditched their swimwear, added underwear, redressed, and we walked to the restaurant.

When I went to the restroom before dessert I discovered that my underwear were on backwards. I didn’t fix them.

Dessert was everything. I do mean everything. Our waiter brought out the dessert tray and described all of it in such a way that we had to order one of each. Chocolate this. Chocolate that. Key lime pie. Butterscotch pudding. Pina colada something. Pineapple creme brûlée. All five of us are going to look stunning in swimsuits tomorrow with our bellies poking out all malnourished-Somalian-kid style.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

THE PEOPLE YOU CLAIM

I am elevating my feet. Ankles seem to puff when on a plane for seven and a half hours. Aloha Hawaii. Since we’ve been up since 1AM Hawaii time, Jim is trying to snare a little bit of sleep before the ever-persuasive Josie ropes him into going over to the pool for an evening swim. We got her three-and-a-half new swimsuits, a few sun dresses, a Mraz hat, snazzy shades, and a terrific spray tan, so she’s equipped to enjoy an Instagram-worthy vacation. 

When our girl Jo found out that we would be going to Hawaii her first response was, I need to lay out and get a tan. Enter sun-phobic stepmoster Megan. Nuh-no, pretty girl. If you promise not to lay out I’ll buy you a helluva tan. So last night America’s most delightful 13-year-old came to my 8:30PM Warm & Mellow yoga class and then we zipped over to Bronze de Beaut for a 10pm tanning appt. Lil’ home skillet bronzed like a pro. We got home at 11 or so. And it’s not like we got any sleep to speak of. Ellikers be bushed, yo. I’m pretty sure Dustin’s passed out in his room too.

While we’re here fingers crossed that said snoozing pilot will be able to fly us over to Maui or something. Because he flies planes. When we were on our flight from LAX to Kona today and the captain got on the intercom and told us his name I turned to Jo and said, “Oh my gosh, someday we will be on a plane and we will hear, ‘This is your captain, Dustin Elliker.’ How cool will that be?” Really effing cool, Dear Reader. He’s extraordinary and getting to witness it is a pleasure. 

Speaking of pleasures . . . let’s see here, what kind of spoiled white chick/kept wife shit have I been up to lately? Ah, outdoor furniture. Our house—gotta level with you, saying “our” like that that still makes me a bit uncomfortable—has a rather terrific and sizable deck. Guys, it needed to be furnished. So I did the research. I did the measuring. I coordinated the colors. And we are gonna have a nice, livable outdoor space come end of next week. So when you come to visit we’ll go out back and sit a bit. I will feed you a salad of herbs and kale that I’ve got growing in containers near the lawn. That is if I don’t kill the darling gifted kale seedlings. Cameron is staying with our puppy babies and plants while we’re on vacation and, like the good Bikram teacher that he is, is ensuring optimal hydration in his charges.

Hey, so a few weeks ago we had Ashley Thalman herself fly out to Sparks to shoot some family photos. Jim’s got new office space and it needs updated family art. A sliver of a sliver of my personal favorites:

I'll sprinkle in more here and there later on.

Hey also, if you’re looking to rent a house in Spanish Springs, I’ve got one available as of this week. 2400 square feet. Two stories. Four bedrooms. Two and a half baths. A kitchen with two ovens that I miss. Two-car garage with one of those weird long bays that people think makes it a three-car garage. And I think by now all the my-two-faced-asshat-husband-isn’t-just-an-unsuccessful-and-lazy-failure-but-also-a-cheating-lowlife taint has leaked out of the walls. A fresh coat of paint and a whoa!-I-dodged-a-bullet-there! realization'll do that.