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.

Friday, May 15, 2015

TODAY: WED ONE YEAR

One year ago today, after my 10AM yoga class, Jim surprised me at the studio with a giant Diet Dr. Pepper. Three and a half hours later in our backyard I wore a dress I'll never need again and became his wife. Then our family and best people ate lemon cake. Then we all went to the go-kart place for our inevitably unique “reception.” A kick-off that aptly indicated what we were in for.

We've been married one year. In my life, I've never been happier. I've never been more spoiled, more loved, or more in love. I still think that everything he does is adorable. As an example, Jim has a habit of leaving his chewing gum on his bedside table at night. When I zip past and snap it up to toss in the trash I think, “He’s so cute.” But I'm right. I mean, gawsh—


Mid-morning on Wednesday I took a call from a third-party company that Sanofi hired to do my exit interview. Was the company compliant? Would you work for Sanofi again? Why did you leave? Are you currently employed? And then the interviewer paused and said, “Do you mind my asking what you’re doing now?” “I left the industry,” I told him, “I’m teaching yoga.” He laughed and commented on the significant departure from my previous life. “Why did you choose that?” he asked. “It makes me happy.

At that moment I was perched on the edge of the kitchen table facing the backyard. I had the sliding doors open a few inches because I’d just come in from checking on my herbs and before that I’d been taking our chubby puppies for their daily march. As I answered his questions I thought, “Sheesh. This is a good life.” I’m grateful to Jim. Jim is grateful to me. I thank him often for convincing me to quit. He thanks me often for quitting. And he’s glad that my time plugging away in the workforce granted me a perspective that can appreciate what it takes to support a family. I don't take what he does for granted. He makes success seem like a foregone conclusion and hard work look easy. But it isn’t and I know that and it makes me all the more thankful for what life my sweetheart enables.

I do house stuff—laundry, grocery shopping, morning tidying after everyone’s left, bringing in the milk, writing the check to the housekeeper—but I also get to do things beyond what I could when pedaling drugs. On Tuesday I had time to make a four-layer cake. (Ended up decent but not better than that. I’m learning.) Yesterday I took three yoga classes—one for strength, one for sanity, and one to check out a new local studio. In between I got a facial. I drink more water. I eat more vegetables. Guys, I’m just happier. 

But here’s the thing—while my job got to a point where it was making me white-collar cross and that was beginning to bleed into my personal life, my personal life was already splendid. This husband I have can’t be real. When I get jealous of someone—like, oh they have such a great body or they are so pretty or smart or all the other shit we think—I scuttle my envy by thinking, Yeah, but they don’t have Jim. I actually think that. And it actually makes me feel better.

I’m so taken with this man's quirks. He leaves me love notes on 3x5 cards ‘cause they’re what’s handy. His favorite part of our Playboy Mansion experience was the technology of the hyper-cool MirMir photo booth; that’s the thing he can’t stop talking about. He sees cheese and crackers as an acceptable dinner. He always gets the same smoothie at Jamba juice but orders it as, “Give me whatever has the most pineapple in it.” He thinks water is disgusting. He falls asleep listening to The Office. And while everyone thinks my husband is funny, no one thinks Jim is funnier than Jim does. 

He teaches me things. On a drive from Los Angeles to San Diego he taught me about handicapping and how sports betting works. He taught me the difference between welding and soldering. I now know a bit about what’s going on in my car when I turn on the A/C. I’ve learned exactly why Teslas are inconceivably bitchin’. And I’ve independently come to the conclusion that unions are, like, the third worse thing ever. 

He is the most fun person I know. That anyone knows. His hobby is spoiling the hell out of his kids. (We’re trying to balance that out with foreign things like “discipline” and “responsibility.”) He’s down to go anywhere or do anything. He likes desserts enough that when we were in Vegas at Rose Rabbit Lie and he ordered the entire dessert menu so we could try everything. He took me to “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” and then the following morning we went to breakfast with Bill Kurtis. He is constantly bringing home new remote-controlled gadgets and has lately been playing remote-controlled battling tanks with Benjamin. People, there’s a professional-grade ice shaver in the garage. He buys me feta cheese in bulk. We did the VIP tour in Disneyland.

Read: fun. 

He knows that the thing I want out of every trip we take is to find a yoga studio. (Right after our breakfast with Bill he dropped me off at the Funky Door while he went to a job site.) He came with me to class in Milan. A couple weeks ago he practiced with me at a Bikram studio in North Hollywood where the room’s temperature read 110 degrees Fahrenheit before class got started. He’s a guy who’s in it for the experience even when that experience is sweaty and inconvenient. 

We have a trip to Hawaii with the kids planned for next month. If you know me much you know that Hawaii isn’t so much my bag. I went there for college. The novelty wore off. I loved my education but learned that island fever is real. Also, I’m the color of printer paper and avoid the sun like it’s cyanide. After Jim booked the plane tickets I told him, “I love you so much that I’ll go to Hawaii with you.” His reply: “Have you ever gone somewhere with me and not had fun?” Of course not. Naturally it’ll be a blast. Wherever he is is where I want to be. Always.

Also I’ll get to see his exquisite legs in shorts. I never get sick of that.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

WIFE LIFE

What day is it? I figured out that it’s Sunday but it’s not all that strange for me to lately have no idea as to the day of the week. This is my post-drugs life.

I just checked into our hotel in San Diego. Jim has meetings for the next couple days. I tagged along. Because my life is unduly splendid and I’m gleefully—yet gratefully—spoiled. We drove in from L.A. where we stayed for the last two days. We were at the Mondrian on Sunset Boulevard and I specify where so if you are in West Hollywood and looking for a pool area with nonstop really damn loud music where you can surround yourself with impossibly beautiful people who certainly don’t have jobs—and that token pensioner who wore dress pants to the pool—Skybar at the Mondrian is a suitable option.

We flew down to L.A. for a weekend of partying at both ends of the spectrum. Friday night was at the Playboy Mansion. Saturday: a benefit for a Catholic organization. Same shoes. Very not the same dress.

Allow me to disappoint you and say that our Playboy Mansion night was PG-13. You want to know if we saw boobs. We did not. It wasn’t that kind of night. We did see barely-dressed-and-dead-in-the-eyes young ladies gyrating on huge lucite cubes but not too much more racy stuff than that. We were at the event by way of one of Jim’s entrepreneur organizations so while I wouldn’t deign to call it classy, the gathering could have been much trashier. I mean, at one point there was a parrot on my shoulder. I’ll say this though: if you have the hypothetical opportunity to get a lil’ frisky with your person in the Playboy Grotto you’d be a dummy not to take it. I’m no hypothetical dummy.


Our Saturday event was a benefit for St. Anne’s, a social services agency in Los Angeles. My Jessica friend co-chaired the board that put together the event, and since we were in town we got to go. The thing went off without a hitch—I mean, of course; it’s Jessica we’re talking about here—and four killer brownies consumed to the tune of conversation with one of my besties sealed the evening as ideal and the weekend as perfect.   


On Friday morning when I was jamming shit into my suitcase I said to Jim, “It will seem like I’ve packed the entire bathroom because I have. I have no idea what all I’m going to need for this weekend, so I’m bringing everything.”

“No big thing,” he said, “The life of a trophy wife requires a lot of luggage. You’re getting whisked from party to party.”

Trophy wife. Sheesh. This guy.

But until I can figure out what the hell I am now, we’ll enjoy the kick of going with that tongue-in-cheek title. See, you go to enough events where there are folk you don’t know and you’ll get asked frequently to label yourself and then suddenly a merry soiree morphs into an existential mess. Yes, what even am I? Well, at this point, hungry. Once done with post this I’m gonna mow down a Trader Joe’s hummus wrap. But in, like, life, what’s my title? What do I identify with? Ask me that common, “And what do you do?” and you’ll get met with incertitude. I was a drug rep for a decade but I’m not that anymore. I’m a yoga teacher? I’m strongly considering making something of my Masters in writing? I’ve designed things but I sort of don’t want to do that anymore? I do laundry on Mondays and shop for groceries on Thursdays? I’m obsessing over slimming down our dogs? It’s all true but it doesn’t fit under a simple title. “Drug rep.” was an easy answer. That activity took the most of my time. But now, while my day is so full I can’t figure out how I ever had time for the drug career and at the end of the day I wonder if I sat down for even fifteen minutes, there isn’t a thing that takes the most time. I get to divide it out more evenly and do all those things on my own timetable.

Thus it is best to meet “And what do you do?” with “Whatever I want.” All hail Jim.

Prior to our Saturday event, the evening included a spell of panic when I got out of the shower, coated my wet hair with styling goo and subsequently discovered that our room didn’t have a blow dryer. My call to housekeeping didn’t procure one fast enough. So I perched on a chair overlooking the hip AF pool area and fretted that my hair product was going to dry hard and my hair would be weighed down and I’d have to shower all over again to start fresh and we just didn’t have time for that nonsense. Jim phoned housekeeping and said that, yeah, that blow dryer that the lady just called about, we need it immediately. As in now. As in where the hell is that thing and if they don’t get it up here pronto he’ll have to call back every 90 seconds until they get his wife her damn blow dryer before her—[totally justifed]—distress triggers an arrhythmia. Dryer was delivered. Tragedy was assuaged. Absurdly cute and catering husband gets the credit for my satisfactory hair night.

JiMegan: blissfully making friends and family gag and roll their eyes since 2013. 

On the home front, I keep asking Josie when she’s gonna suck. She’s a teenager. 13. As her “stepmother”—as a human, really—I’m supposed to find her incredibly annoying. Can’t. She’s delightful and a piece of really good cake. A sentence not uncommon—from either party—in JiMegan conversations, “How freaking great is Josie?” Very.

Monday, April 20, 2015

FLEXIBLE SCHEDULE

• Sometimes I play messenger at home. The other night I told Josie, “Hey, public service announcement: if you don’t get on top of your laundry your dad is gonna lose his shit.”

• Apparently my hair color has been hiding my dosha. Last Tuesday a student said that since he can now see my roots it all makes more sense—my dark hair was misleading, and now that he can tell that my hair is actually lighter and more consistent with my complexion it's evident that I’m a Vata. (Prayer hands and a bow if that made sense to you.) My actual concern here: you are examining my roots? Wednesday’s hair appointment couldn’t have been more welcome. Evidently it’s time to schedule them even closer together.

• I got a food dehydrator that hasn’t stopped humming since I took it out of the box. Kale, apples, potatoes, pineapple, and bananas over the weekend. Next up, mushrooms and tomatoes. I’m a dehydration pro in the hot yoga room and will be in the kitchen too.

• Dustin’s greeting to me lately: “How’s retirement?” Lotta yoga. I “retired” a week ago. I took class and taught Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday. So retirement looks an awful lot like pre-retirement just without a day job that was, quite honestly, making me miserable. Now I have a flexible schedule. Get it? Flexible? Yoga? Oh forget it.

I legally changed my name to Romo-Elliker. Megan Romo-Elliker. Up until now my hyphenation has been informal. But it’s official. (Fish fish, Tanya.)

• Benjamin’s sweats were getting short so Jim dropped in at Old Navy and snapped up a few more pair. Problem is, he got Mediums and those were the size of the ones that are too short. So I exchanged ‘em for Large. Ben tried on the new sweats and they were way too big. “Medium is too small,” I said, “And Large is too large.” “Too bad there’s not an Extra Medium,” he replied.

• Vanilla almond butter.

• When talking with a friend about how she plans to one day live off the grid, to give up internet and phones, my immediate response was, “But how will you go online to order your life from Amazon?”

• The other night I was chatting with a fellow Juice Boxer and he asked after Jim. “Where’s that adoring husband of yours?” I told him that Jim works out every weekday at 5AM so I don’t expect him to come to late classes. “He loves you,” he told me. “I know,” I replied. “I can tell when he looks at you. I saw you look at him and him look at you and I thought, ‘That man has a twinkle in his eye!’ You guys look so in love.” Aw. We are. It makes people nauseous.

• Last week I met the fluffiest Bernese Mountain Dog in America. Her name is Maya and she is as big as me.

• My Lola sister came in for the weekend and left yesterday. She was here to hang. We dehydrated things. She took my vinyasa class. (Which I totally crushed, by the way. Afterward a student told me that because of my enthusiasm he tries things that he otherwise wouldn't and he's loving it.) She, Jim, and Dustin went to the GSR and played poker. She came with us to Ichibahn to celebrate Dustin and Nathaniel’s birthdays. She helped me transfer all the stuff out of my soon-to-be-gone work car into our other car. It was relaxing yet productive and completely delightful.

• Convenient how Jim already had a car for me. Forward thinker that he is, he got the thing last year with this very scenario in mind. Wife may quit job. Will then need own car. This car can be that. He’ll drive his truck and I’ll take the little car. Done and done.

• I've got some kind of yoga-clothes disconnect going on in my brain. On Thursday I forgot to put something to wear in my yoga bag, so I used the back-up clothes that I keep in my car. On Friday I forgot my yoga bag altogether and I hadn't replaced my back ups so I borrowed clothes. And yesterday after class I was nearly home when I got a text telling me that I left the bag of my sweaty shorts and top in the dressing room. I wonder what fun apparel screw up awaits me today.

• I wrote “mushroom fluff” instead of “marshmallow fluff” on my grocery list. My subconscious wants me to make nasty smores.

• Some evenings I ask Jim, “Do know what happens tomorrow?” “What?” “Breakfast!” I rise to eat.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

GIVING UP DRUGS

Growing up we sixchix had our classic movies, the ones where my sisters and I still know all the words. On an afternoon in Italy while her kid napped, Mal and I found ourselves at the dining table pounding Jelly Bellies and singing every word to “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast as if we’d watched that show yesterday and like we were six-year-olds.

While on my way to a drug lunch in South Lake Tahoe earlier this week I called my sister Whit. As soon as she answered I said, “Help me. This will sound weird.”

“Okay.”

“There’s this movie. And there are two guys and they are talking. I know this sounds stupid.”

“I’m with you.”

“And one sings, ‘I—I quit. I quit. I quit. I quit, Mr. . . . ’ First, what the hell movie is that and second what’s the name of the Mr.?”

“That’s an easy one,” she replied, It’s That Thing You Do and it’s ‘I quit, Mr. White.’ You should have known that. It’s a Peterson classic. I think you’re getting Alzheimers in your old age.”

Here, the clip she sent me as follow-up:



Why did I call her to ask about the movie? Well, I quit.

I had slivers of that flick clip knocking around in my noggin because I was thinking about quitting my drug job.

I got hired into drugs a month before I turned 23. In two weeks I turn 33. For this venture, a decade was enough. I've sold 15 different drugs for 12 different disease states. I’m done.

Jim has been encouraging me for months to leave pharmaceutical pedaling and pursue stuff I love. My drug job has had benefits galore, and though there have been lots of things to appreciate about it, this career wasn’t what I chose for myself. It was what funded the other choices, and with my marital situation what it was, that job was what I had to do not what I wanted to do. Instead, the three “jobs” I did choose for myself—art, words, and yoga—traditionally have the lowest fiscal yield in the history of ever.

But Jim says he wants to support me in doing what I love, and because, well, I tend to be pretty good at whatever I do and I’m a dedicated little thing, he knows it’s not like once I leave pharma I’ll be sitting at home wearing Old Navy flannel pajama pants and watching Netflix all day. No, instead I’ve got lots of plans, things I’ve been wanting to do and trying to do but haven’t been able to ‘cause the day job was really effing demanding.

So add Exceedingly Supportive to Jim’s ever-lengthening list of perfect traits. You wanna write, Megan? Stay home and write! You wanna learn how to be a better yoga teacher and then teach the hell out of yoga? Do that. Make pretty pictures. Wear jeans and flats. Screw pharma. Go be you.

As the option has become more realistic to me I’ve worried some about what this does to my lil’ identity. In talking to my dad about moving on from the drug years I asked—honestly starting to tear up—“But if I’m not this, what am I?” I’m the things I’ve always been, just without the inhibition of the pharma career. Jim is enabling me to be what I want. He just gifted me 40-some-odd more hours in my week. As if I wasn’t in silly in love with the guy already.

I’m also looking forward to being able to be more available to him and the kidlings. Honestly, I haven’t had time for a damn thing that wasn’t work or yoga. Some days I would leave at 8AM and get home at 10:30PM. Now I can work on the food situation around here, organize more, and slim down our fat, fat dogs. (Enough already with being so bashful about Gus’s sausage middle and the fact that we can’t find his ribs whenever I take him to the vet. Poor boy.)

It’s all a little bit scary and a lot bit exciting. But as excited as I am I think Jim is twice as thrilled. Homeboy loves that I quit. Pharma schmarma.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

ELLIKITALIA

I am in a hotel in Modesto, CA. They have hotels here. Which surprised me because I can’t figure out why anyone would visit. (My regrets tendered to Modesto residents.) For me the reason to be here is a two-day meeting. A make-up meeting. My company just launched a new drug (read: big deal) and I missed the gigantic launch meeting week before last. So: here now.

I missed the meeting because I was in Italy doing vacation things with my person. Jim and I left on a Saturday and returned the following Saturday. We landed in Milan and started the trip with a few days in an airbnb flat in with my sister, Mally, and her guys, Husband Nick and Child Sy. One of the days Jim and Nick went over to Switzerland to ski the Matterhorn. (Fancy, yes. They did not, however, get to ride the roller coaster through the famed peak and zip by the abominable snowman, therefore the day trip was only so-so.) Then Nick and Mal and kid left for their home in Belgium and Jim and I rented a car and headed three hours thataway to Venice. We stayed on Lido. We stayed in Venice. We stopped in Verona. We went back to Milan. We flew home.

JiMegan's Italy-visitor activities look like this—taking a shady taxi ride to our flat, a drive during which I passed out and Jim planned out how he was gonna save our lives when this driver pulled over to kill him and sell me into forced prostitution. Forget entirely about changing to an international cell plan before leaving the U.S. and finding ourselves without a way to get into our Milan home when we arrive. Walk to a studio to take a couple Bikram classes. Stroll to the Duomo in Milan where outside the cathedral Jim and Nick tell me that its ground floor houses a sit-down McDonald’s and, appalled, I believe them for a second. (They really rode the lie off the rails though when they said that it also had Europe’s only Chick-fil-A.) Completely melt the insides of my flat iron by plugging it into a 220V outlet without an adapter. Get me a new flat iron. Hit up a rad modern art museum in Venice. Wander into an art gallery where upon entering I immediately start making bets with myself as to how long until Jim nudges the art installation with his toe to see if it is secured to the ground. (I love that he loves to see how things work.) Trace our way through Verona looking for more above-average gelato.

Also, we got lost. We got stuck on Lido at 1AM and decided to just stay there for the night. Thus on one night of our trip we two had three hotel rooms: the flat in Milan that we’d rented for the week, a pre-paid hotel in Venice, and a hotel in Lido with Italy’s most delightful hotel clerk, Paulo.

A lil’ adventure made itself into a memory.

And of course we did what you do when you go on vacation of any kind really: sleep more than usual and eat too much. This body will be on its way back to my normal size for the next two weeks. Ah, discipline. (Frown.)

The trip wasn’t structured. It was unhurried. It was out of the country, so aside from the moments of WiFi here and there, I was cut-off from my at-home communications. Perhaps that was the best part—being away from everything with my husband. Because that was what I liked best, I’d really have been happy to vacation pretty much anywhere. I go places to be with my people. I got to spend a couple days with Mallory and her family. I got to bum around with my husband. The environment was unique and compelling, but being with my people is the reason to go. Friends ask, “Did you see this? . . . Did you go there? . . . Did you shop?” Yes, sort of, and not really. Because neither Jim nor I care all that much for what tour books call highlights. He’s the highlight. I’m the highlight. Our people are the highlight.

On our drive back to Milan Jim told me that I’m “a good little traveler,” a compliment that made me feel spectacular since doesn’t the stress of travel so often bring out the worst in people? It’s true I think, but see, Jim brings out the best in me. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

CHIPS AND SMIDGES

• My breath stinks right now. Onions. And whatever else those wizard Mexicans put in their crack salsa. After yoga I met Jim and Dustin and his lady friend at Miguel’s for dinner. I polished off a basket of chips single-handedly, consumed at least a pint of salsa, made a quesadilla disappear in seconds even though there was a smidge of guac on the tips (ick), and then battled Jim for the last bites of fried ice cream. Yogis eat, people. We eat like nobody’s business.

• I have a bald spot in my left eyebrow right now and I don't want to talk about it.

• Lately—and justifiably methinks—my arms are my pride and joy.

• Something very important has happened. I found jeans that fit. I am 32 years old, and I finally found jeans that fit. I’m short, I’ve got thighs, and I do not have any chest to speak of. It is therefore a royal pain in my ample ass to find me clothes that fit. If pants are short enough they’re too tight through the thighs. If a shirt fits around my waist it’s too baggy in the bosom. Enter Banana Republic Petites. All my work clothes that fit without alterations are BR Petites. In a blow of brilliance I realized that those people make jeans too! I now have three pair and Goodwilled all of my ill-fitting denim. 

• Today I got new perfume. My mom got a new knee. 

• Last week it was a year since my sweet James made a Tiffany box descend from the sky in yoga class in order to ask me to marry him. We were already happy together. We're happier now. He makes me feel secure and protected. He feels loved and supported. We complement each other. We're partners. He is my best friend. Please God, never let him die.

• I startle very easily. I get so far in my head that Jim will bang on the walls and stomp his feet up the stairs so that I hear him coming, because if he doesn't and then walks in the room without my having heard him, I scream. “But you don’t live alone,” he’ll tell me. This is true. It is also irrelevant. Yesterday I apparently forgot that there is a mirror on the wall in the closet, peripherally glimpsed the shadow of my own reflection, and screamed.

• Ben had a bad dream this morning and when he came in our room frightened—as kids do—and told me about it he said that he dreamed that “there were bad men in the house and they were teleporting out.” I was torn between sympathy for his distress and delight that an eight-year-old used the word “teleporting” straight out of a dead sleep at 5:30AM.

• On Sunday I tore through my closet for ten minutes looking for this one bra. I found it on me.

• To answer everyone’s absolute favorite question of late: No. Despite the line local church leaders have been fed, absolutely no one mistreated in the infidelity disaster has received even an attempt at an apology from Mark and Carrie. Not wronged spouses. Not kids. No one. So probably don’t believe that made-amends garbage. It’s garbage.

• Yesterday my dad texted me to say that he “nearly worships” my husband because he “is a warrior.”

• My grandma did the whole boat-from-Ireland-to-America-and-signed-the-leger-at-Ellis-Island thing. It’s not infrequent I’m told, “You look Irish.” No shit. I’m pail as paper. My hair turns reddish even when it’s dyed brown. Most of those splotches on my skin are freckles. I dig The Chieftains. I look dynamite in green. Notwithstanding, I forgot that it was St. Patrick’s Day. 

• I have a hair appointment tomorrow. Hence by law today was my very best hair day.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

TEACH TIMES TWO

I used to sleep late on the weekends. Until, like, ten or something. But I was up this Saturday morning by 6:20. I woke up when Jim and the kids were getting ready to head out to Carson City for Josie’s all-day volleyball tournament. The tournaments are most Saturdays, and Ben, not exactly thrilled about it, goes along for the day. It’s one of those things that a youngest child has to deal with that an oldest really doesn’t; you're constantly going along with whatever’s happening and when you have a lot of siblings who are involved in a lot of activities you sorta grow up in the car. This one’s at dance practice. That one soccer. Play practice. Art lessons. That’s how it was for my youngest sister, Lo, and it made her an easy-going, spontaneous lil’ soul. When she was bitsy, she spent more time in her carseat than anywhere else, and since my mom digs tunes and it was the early 90s, she learned the words to Hootie and the Blowfish’s “Only Wanna Be with You” before she learned stuff like “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” Which was fine by us. It way cuter to hear a 3-year-old singing “I only wanna be wif you-ooooo-ooooo" than the pedestrian ABCs.

I'm not at all miffed though about being up so early on this particular Saturday. Today’s the first time I’ve taught two different yoga classes in one day. I’ve taught two classes, yes, but not two different ones back-to-back. I’m subbing a beginning yoga class at 9:30 at one place and then driving out to Juice Box to teach Yoga Motion at noon. The classes will share certain sequences, but most of them will be different. The beginning class is actually a beginning class and in the Yoga Motion class I get to push them more than you would standard beginners.

That’s the truly beautiful thing about teaching a new vinyasa class at a Bikram studio. The students that come are already accustomed to working hard. When I get the room’s temp down to 90 degrees they say it’s chilly. They have cultivated good body awareness. They know how to engage muscles in a static posture. So while it is certainly a Level 1 class for the amount of over-explaining I do for stuff like the new-to-them and very vital chaturanga, we don’t have to move too slow. On this day though, I'm hoping that I at least pull from my muddled mind the right bits and pieces in my brain for what I've planned to teach. The muddle inside sounds like Wait, which class was it that we are holding goddess? Is that both? Both have prasarita? No. Just the first one? Definitely not working on an arm balance in the beginner class. Can’t forget to instruct on using blocks though in the noon class. Loop the straps in one or two. Two? Are we starting standing at noon? Wait. On our backs? . . . 

When you start a new venture there are things that experienced people don’t necessarily spell out. Like how much—just how much—out-of-class time it takes to be a good yoga teacher. It’s not you show up, you say words, you leave. You plan your sequences. You make them logical. You make sure the music isn’t obtrusive. You work on modifications. You try to anticipate confusing parts. You learn more anatomy. You practice adjustments. And all the while you remind yourself that not everyone can make their bodies do what yours can and you try not to take for granted that every one knows the little yoga phrases teachers automatically use. “Roll over your toes,” for example. We all say it. Someone brand new to a vinyasa is like, Huh? Or “direct your tailbone downward” even “tilt your pelvis.” You want me to do what with my pelvis? Students do pick up the jargon quickly—Josie walks around the house saying “open your heart to the sky” and arching her back—but initially you really do need to clarify. It’s work upon work upon work. But like Cameron reminded me last night: I truly do love it. And my students can tell. They tell me so.

Although I've been perpetually engaged in building the classes and refining sequences, I’m not sure I can trust what I’m coming up with these days. I’m tired. Like, sleepy tired. The drug job is kicking my ass more than at any time before in this decade that I’ve been slinging pills. (Burning the candle at both ends is sort of my specialty. Which means that at some point burn out will be too!) To illustrate: my current definition of a successful yoga class is one where I don’t fall asleep in savasana*. Which is none over the last week and a half. You guys. I never do that. I’ve taken thousands of yoga classes, and until last week I could count on one hand how many times I actually passed out in savasana.

And all this busyness has been prohibitive in my getting excited for our trip to Italy next week. I just haven’t had the RAM to be able to give any of my thinking to happy anticipation. Good thing is we’ve got, like, 17 hours on a plane. I’ll use then for getting excited. Surely that will make the getting-there part more bearable. Surely it will.

*Savasana is corpse pose. You lie flat on your back with your eyes closed. It’s the last posture of yoga classes and is also interspersed throughout the Bikram floor series.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

RIGHT NOW

I am sitting on the floor in the intersection between two hallways at Victory Woodworks. That’s Jim’s biz. They make sweet shit. Victory just moved offices, and right now Jim is fifteen feet thataway drilling into concrete. Something to do with the two five-foot-wide barn doors he installed this afternoon.

I’m wearing a long down-filled parka ‘cause winter showed up for a few hours. I’ve still got flip flops on, but at least my upper self is insulated. I’m sure I’ll ditch the coat soon though ‘cause when we came in through the warehouse space—where Jim put the ping pong table, pop-a-shot basketball hoops, arcade game, picnic tables, and dart board—Jim showed me how to hot wire the heater. It’s on now and blowing toasty well wishes. For three seconds there I felt like I could commit a crime and get away with it. Never mind that all I had to do was bend and cross a couple wires; I turned something on without using a switch. 

When I get up from this floor it will hurt. My hip flexors and adductors are stiff and sore. I taught the inaugural Yoga Motion class yesterday at Juice Box and I at least worked myself plenty hard.  I've discovered that there’s something pretty spectacular about telling a student to do something, seeing them look at you like you’re nuts and it’ll never happen, and then watching them do the thing you directed. It happened yesterday when I was teaching the yogis Baby Hopper. Their eyes get wide. They smile. You smile. It’s a lovely exchange. 

Teaching yoga makes me happy. It also stresses me the hell out. Yesterday morning before teaching that Yoga Motion class I was basically bat shit crazy. My heart was beating in my throat. I was snippy. I couldn’t focus at all when I was taking class beforehand. I wandered around the house dropping to the floor to try postures and whispering to myself, “This is what I know. You know this stuff. This is what you know. You're prepared. You’ve studied for this.” I was right. I did know it. So far as I can tell—and was told—it went well. But it doesn’t mean that the nerves won’t start all over again for next Saturday’s class.

Victory's new digs are swingin’. They moved so that everyone could be under one roof—Engineering, Estimating, Project Managers, Management, and so on. The halls are wide. The layout is friendly. Jim’s office is dead center and welcoming. And, well, when the decor is done it’s gonna be top notch. Jim’s letting me do it. I say, “Buy this.” He does. I say, “These go here.” He hangs them. I appreciate that he trusts me, and I’m careful with that. I know I could say, “This wall must be neon yellow!” and he’d call a painter. I want the space to be fun but to also sensibly match the demeanor of the business. Therefore, among the decor we have a wire moose head, retro Vegas and Reno posters, big prints of patent designs for woodworking tools, salvaged letters, and maybe best of all—an idea Jim came up with—a window display thing of sixty-some odd old screwdrivers hung across a window.

Jim trusts my taste and will go with pretty much whatever, but it’s important to me that I’m not the only one making decisions about the decor. I want my fella to like what we put in there, for it to suit him and his people. So when one of his guys said that he should have a couch in his new office—a suggestion at which Jim initially balked; I’m not that guy! That guy is pretentious! No, sweet James, you’re the guy who wants employees to come sit in your office. It’s welcoming, not douchey—and the one that Jim fell for was a retro, sea foam green leather number, I was delighted. His taste is much better than he has been led to believe. Do get what you like, love, we’ll make it work.

And we are.

And we do.

And we will.