Frittata and More

April 23, 2014

Sunday I got the bright idea to make an Easter brunch. It would only have to feed my husband, two year old daughter, and me so nothing over the top required. I decided to make something I hadn’t cooked before. Not because it’s a difficult or complicated dish, but why would anyone want a quiche with no crust? That’s basically what a frittata is. But seeing as how we had two cartons of eggs and no flour…

The recipe seemed simple enough. Whisk eggs with cream, and sprinkle in salt and pepper. I added a cup of grated cheddar, undoubtedly more than the recipe called for, then slowly poured the mixture over my butter-sautéed onions and spinach. As an after thought I threw in some garlic because garlic/onion/spinach go hand in hand. Right?

I followed the directions in my Cooks Illustrated cookbook, gently drawing my silicon spatula through the eggs, until large curds started to form. I waited “patiently” while the crust formed on the bottom of the pan before shoving it under the broiler. Two observations: first, don’t cook a new dish when you are blindingly hungry and second, read the instructions more than once. How did I read 5 to 7 minutes when it clearly says 3 to 4? That’s a big difference.

The frittata sat under the fire for just 90 seconds too long. When I pulled it out, instead of a lightly browned and bubbly top, it was crisp and unmoving. When I cut into my hastily prepared Easter brunch for my family, instead of fluffy and moist, the eggs were rubbery and dry. I sliced it up anyway and brought out our plates with the frittata and a freshly made fruit salad. My daughter yelled “pizza” upon spying the triangular shaped concoction. Sadly, it was not.

As I bit into my crustless quiche, I was immediately met with an overwhelming garlic taste. For years I have claimed that there is no such thing as too much garlic. I stand here today, head in hands as I admit I was wrong. My quick toss morphed into nothing short of eating a clove of raw garlic encased by burnt egg and cheese. Needless to say, my good intentions also fell a bit flat.

The moral of this story is making a new dish is comparable to writing a first draft. Often times it’s going to be terrible, perhaps even unrecognizable. Perhaps you toss in random things you have lying around in hopes of creating something special, innovative. When you offer it up your inner voices may try to convince you writing (or cooking) should be left to people with innate talent, good looks, and most importantly, not you.

But I tell you now, I will make more frittatas (and more quiche because crust) and I will write more stories. First attempts are meant to work out kinks and find a good balance of ingredients. Keep cooking and keep writing. Garlic blobs or bad dialogue be damned.

Piano Lessons

April 11, 2014

Everyone in my family has some sort of musical talent. And I mean everyone. Both my dad and my step father play the guitar and sing. My mother can still play the flute and sings. My step mom is the church choir director and plays sax. My middle sister Sarah has a beautiful voice and has won state singing competitions. And my oldest sister Lis always got the lead in her high school plays: Oklahoma, Prelude to a Kiss, and some play where they were on a boat. And then there’s me. Sure I can hum and sing along to a song, but only if my slightly nasal voice is masked by a group or I am in the privacy of my home. But no one ever heard me sing and thought, I should try to develop that. 

I’m sure many people can relate to parents cajoling you in to one form of creative musical expression or another. Mine was piano. I wasn’t asked if I wanted to learn the piano, my parents informed me they had signed me up for the lesson slot following my sister Sarah. Sarah could already play pieces that required both hands at the same time. Though I hadn’t asked for it, there I would sit in the back room at Carolyn’s hippie house. Her lesson room was carpeted in old beige shag. Plants and Tibetan tapestries covered every square inch that wasn’t used by the upright piano or Carolyn’s chair, where she would watch and correct. 

“No, no, no,” she would say. “You have to have more of a delicate arch, your fingers should want to move on their own. Your body wants to play the piano.”

Instead of the dainty arches Carolyn wanted, my fingers more closely resembled hands that had gone into rigor mortis. But despite my body’s protest against the piano, every Wednesday afternoon I thumped out Row Row Row Your Boat while her cat judged at me. 

After my half hour of brain-searing torture was over, I would hand her a check one of my parents had written and wait out on the concrete stoop. She welcomed me to wait in her house, but I felt thirty minutes was enough. Plus I ran the risk of breaking things. 

Once I had waited inside—my parents were always late—and I was inspecting all of her books and ornamental figurines. She had been in the restroom when I accidentally dropped a glass Buddha statue and it chipped. Horrified I set it back where I had found it, put the broken chip in my pocket and stood stick-straight by the glass door until my father rolled up in his blue Dodge. From then on I decided it was better if I just waited outside. 

Carolyn instructed me to practice everyday but it was hard to find time. Between school and not wanting to practice the piano, I really couldn’t fit it in. The one time I did choose to practice outside of my weekly lessons it was 7am on a Sunday morning. This was around Christmas time and I was wearing a matching teal sweat suit with a polar bear on the front and pink and grey striped gloves. My mother and step-father liked to keep the house Arctic cold. 

Given I didn’t often rehearse, my repertoire was limited and somewhat plunky. Our piano sat in the living room off the hallway that led to my sisters’ and my bedrooms. Keeping with the season, I decided to try to play some of the Christmas hymns out of our Hymnal. 

I must have been giving it all of I had because my oldest sister, who had ten years on me, stormed out of her room in her nightgown. Her hair was all over the place and she had made her hands into fists that were held in close to her hips, her arms locked.  

“What are you doing at this ungodly hour?” she wailed at me, her face red with rage.

I thought better of reminding her that it was Sunday, and therefore all hours were Godly. I shrugged and continued hammering away at my rendition of  “O Little Town of Bethlehem”. 

“Stop playing right now, Rebekah.” She used my full name to try to get under my skin.

 I wouldn’t so she took one of her fists and punched me across the face. I was stunned. She hadn’t really hurt me. I mean I was only seven, how much force could she really have used? 

“I’m sleeping. Why are you trying to ruin my life?” She stomped down the hallway, not missing the two by four metal air grate that graced the floor in our hallway and screamed one final time. 

 After she slammed her door, I started to cry. Me and the door, victims before 8am.

My mother’s feet barely grazed the sky-blue shag carpeting on the stairs as she descended down on me. 

“What is going on down here? Are you making all that noise?” she said.

“Lis punched me.” I said.

“What? Why on Earth would she punch you?” she said.

“Because I’m playing the piano at an ungodly hour even though it is Sunday.” Of all people I thought my mother, a Methodist minister, would understand.

“Rebekah, 7am is too early to play the piano on any day. Go to your room and apologize to your sister when she gets up.”

I couldn’t believe it. The one day I had gone out of my way to practice the piano, no one gave a shit about it and I was being sent to my room. 

“Well, I’m never going back to piano if my hard work is going to be met with violence,” I said.

“Rebekah, you don’t want to quit do you?” She said quit with such malice I didn’t argue. I guess I didn’t want to be a quitter.

Lis must have felt guilty for punching a seven-year-old across the face. For the next year, she bribed me into going to my piano lessons with clear Pepsi, Cheetos Puffs, and an on-time pick up. The arrangement satisfied me for a while. But eventually after months of Carolyn’s cat and I scowling at each other, I realized I couldn’t play one more stinking note of sheet music.

I decided to bring this up with my mother on the way to school one day. My mother was driving and nodding along to a story on NPR about recycling and composting. Lightly running my fingers over the peeling window tint, I kept my gaze safe from hers.

“Mom, you know how I hate piano?” I started. 

I felt her eyes on me. “Hate? Hate is a very strong word. Are you sure you hate piano? Don’t you think it would be better to reserve such a strong word for things that merit hate? Like Nazis?” she said.

I dropped the subject, because what could I counter with when Nazis were brought up? But she didn’t make me go the following week. Or the week after that. Or the week after that.

What’s for dinner?

April 9, 2014

It seems so simple. The ingredients can vary. You can choose whatever you like. There are probably one million options to make the perfect burger. You could almost say having a good burger directly correlates to your quality of life.

I take a good meat, cheese, lettuce, pickle, onion, bun concoction as seriously as the next gal. I prefer a toasted bun with mustard but that’s me. I’m simple that way. When I was younger my dad like to grill burgers. They were pretty good. My mom preferred to drive us through McDonald’s or Whataburger. I thought they were pretty good too.

When I was fifteen, I went to Paris on a modeling audition. I had been invited to go after an agency had viewed my portfolio. I know what you’re thinking. Burgers and modeling? Hardly the grilled meat and cheese combo.

Before arriving in Paris I was super excited about being cultured. That’s what I would think as I stood in front of my full-length mirror, donning my most American outfits-smoky eye included-and tell myself. I’m just going to be so cultured and sophisticated. One thing I hadn’t really considered was that I wasn’t what one would consider an adventurous eater. More blatantly put, I was not cultured in the art of fine food. Now, you might be sitting there thinking what’s so adventurous about French food? It’s basically a pound of butter and myriad ingredients. Am I right?

However, it all looked different once having arrived in Paris. I mean, you order a plate of french fries and they bring you a fork and a gravy-boat sized serving of mayo. So after my mom would indulge herself in delicious and authentic French cuisine we would run to the local McDonald’s and get me a cheeseburger. BigMacs were too weird. They have this sauce that isn’t pink but isn’t red. But it’s definitely not food whatever it is.

After I had enough of trying to be a cultured French model my mother and I were having our farewell to Paris dinner at a tiny cafe. My mom was pleased that I was going to try to eat at the same time as her and I was excited because they had burgers on the menu. No, reader, it didn’t matter that I had eaten McDonald’s everyday, at least once, for the previous 11 days.

My mother was busy people watching and smiling and I was busy missing cheerleading when the waiter brought our dinner. My mother’s plate held a perfectly grilled white fish with buttered (of course) green beans. My “burger” was a steak with a fried egg on top. The “fries” roasted potatoes. I burst into tears at the table declaring France the anti-Christ when it came to food. You might be wondering if I ate it. Oddly, I ate the egg and potatoes, deciding it was breakfast.

Looking back now, I laugh at myself. Who wouldn’t want a steak, cooked perfectly with crispy and buttery potatoes? Me. The girl who loves fast food and hates steak. Also, feta. Really hated feta as a young person. Now, I think I could subsist on feta and steak for quite some time.

Once back home in the States, I was able to leave that scary French burger impersonator behind and get back to normal food. You know, bun, meat, cheese, pickle, lettuce, mustard. And fries. Always fries. As time does, one hopes, my tastes matured as I grew older and I began to appreciate what you might say was cultured and fine food. I started eating peppers, eggs, and greens other than iceberg lettuce.

This was fortunate because when I turned 21, I moved to Chicago with my sister who had little tolerance for my unique eating habits. I lived in Chicago for eight years. Chicago felt most like home. I had family, routine, stability, and fun. Everything a girl could want. Except a great fucking burger. Over all of those eight years, I never found the perfect burger. I had tons of perfectly good burgers, some even considered gourmet. Most though were a far cry from a place I would consider going to 11 days in a row.

Now I live in New York City. A city that I should love, by all intents and purposes. This is a place where one can never be out of place. It should be perfect for me. There are more than one type of every single human. Hippie, angry, goth, douche, bro, model, normal, boring, loves food, hates food. Then there’s me. I don’t know what type of category I fall in to so, after being here for 14 months, I still haven’t found where I fit. Sometimes I worry that I’m an alien or a French person. Then I remember how much I love cheeseburgers and sigh happily that I’m just an average American. Self-absorbed, convinced I’m one of a kind, and constantly seeking perfection.

However, in this concrete jungle, I have found the most delicious burger. Maybe one of the best I’ve ever had. My husband and I wandered in to this East Village eatery after being refused from another haughty East Village establishment. “We take reservations, you know,” the 19 year old spat at us from behind the hostess stand.

Anyhoo, they fill my burger with pimento cheese, top it with briny pickles, and grill it to a perfect medium heat. The pimento cheese steams just so that it melts as you bite into it, but not so melty it runs down your chin. It’s fucking perfect.

What does all of this have to do with anything you might be wondering. Well, gentle reader I’ll tell you. Nothing. I love a good fucking burger and don’t care where I get it. I suppose I could also be saying that food is important and has significance in your life. Home is where the perfect burger is or something. For some it’s an aromatic mushroom, others a crumbly gorgonzola, perhaps butter pickles. Me? A pimento cheese filled burger in New York City, a griddled and slathered with tangy mustard burger in Austin, and my husband’s homemade burger salads. Sacrilege, I know.

Don’t Mess With Texas

June 26, 2013

Here I sit in my Upper West Side apartment on my sofa with dog, my husband, a cup of hot coffee, and no one threatening my rights or privacy. I was not up until after midnight last night praying, Tweeting, posting, rallying, or protesting. My senate was not working to pass legislation that affects me and not them. I didn’t have to worry that should I ever face the impossible decision of whether to carry a pregnancy to term, I would have to find clandestine, dangerous, illegal, and possibly life threatening alternatives to the safe clinics in existence.

Last night I closed my computer after fussing over an inconvenient iTunes problem and went to bed at 10:30, safe and sound with no worry of my fellow New York women’s reproductive rights or privacy being at stake.

A different story played out at the Capitol in Austin, TX. In my home state- a state that I love for its beauty, food, kindness, and family- women were fearful that they were not considered humans worthy of making a very personal, a very private, and a very hard decision. Women were fearful their rights were being stripped from them. My sister, my mother, my friends. These women, and some men, prayed, Tweeted, posted, rallied, and protested well into the night to protect their rights and their fellow Texan women’s right to a safe and legal abortion.

No one denies that abortion is a controversial topic. It pulls at our heartstrings, wrestles with our moral fiber, and makes us question when life begins. What is unfathomable to me is another person, man or woman, encroaching on a family’s decisions and personal life. That a pro-life defender believes that a woman can get “cleaned out” in an ER is just plain bonkers. (See quote from Rep. Jodie Laubenberg regarding rape kits.)

What has our great country and my great state come to when our elected officials are allowed to write legislation without fact, reason, or logic? In haste to appeal to future voters and conservative Christians the real issue is being ignored. Instead of inhibiting and drastically limiting a woman’s choice and her options, why aren’t we educating our youth (and elected officials) on sexual education and forcing stricter punishments upon sexual predators? Why are women being denied a choice?

The bill that one fearless women, Wendy Davis, stood on her feet for thirteen hours to filibuster doesn’t make special allowances for women in cases of rape or incest.  It is estimated that 1 in 6 women will be a victim of sexual assault in their lifetime and over half of rapes aren’t reported out of fear and humiliation. Is no one willing to stand up for these victims? Is no one willing to read biology books to learn about reproduction?

I’m glad of the outcome from last night. I’m glad that, for now, women are protected. But I am saddened by the circumstances in which our voices had to be heard. There are countless women and families faced with the option of late term abortion due to fetal abnormalities so severe, some medical professionals would call it cruel to carry them to term. What about those families? Shouldn’t they be allowed to make their choices in private? What hell that must be for those mothers and fathers. How dare anyone in this society inject their opinions and vitriolic hyperbole into these people’s lives and pain.

Some questions and answers are better left to those whom are faced with these difficult realities. That law does more than close clinics and eliminate late term abortion, it denies women validity. My body, my choice.

I stand with Texas women and I stand with Texas parents.

Who Am I?

April 16, 2013

Since moving to New York my whole identity has shifted. I am a real stay at home mom with no job, my yoga practice has suffered and changed, and I feel like a newlywed and not in a good way.

I worked, albeit part time as a yoga teacher, from three weeks after my daughter was born. It was only a few hours a week but it was a way to keep intact part of my pre-child identity. I still got to be there for nearly every moment of Sadie’s first year (is that a good thing?!) but still got to do my own thing a couple times a week. After we moved I’ve struggled to figure out how best to reenter the teaching world. It might surprise you to learn that New York is different from Chicago. Aside from being saturated with teachers itching to book teaching jobs, I don’t know any studio owners or have friends who can make introductions. No one has heard of where I got my teaching credentials and to be frank, the style of yoga here is a bit different.

When relocating to a different state, there are obvious things that you are leaving behind:  friends, family, your home, jobs, routines, familiarity, etc. I get that. My challenge now is the little nuances that made each of those relationships meaningful. Walking down the hall to visit my sister, brother in law, and nephew is no longer an option. Just being able to see them regularly was great enough, but throwing in a last minute baby sitter or a shoulder to cry on or Friday afternoon cocktail hour was pure gold.

I took for granted having a yoga studio be a constant in my life for three years where I knew the teachers, the smell, how to get there, and that each class was going to give me exactly what I needed.

I feel so alone. My husband works and is gone for about fifty hours a week. I don’t know any other mothers with children my age and I am sometimes bitter that I have to make the effort to form new relationships. I feel like I gave up my entire life and don’t know who I am anymore. I liked things the way they were and am mourning my losses. People like to share their envy and excitement for me when they learn where I live. It’s nice and they mean well. But sometimes it’s hard not to shout in their faces that I could care less about moving to New York and sacrificing everything I had. I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed the comfort of familiarity until it was gone. My days are spent going through the motions, ensuring that all my baby’s needs are met when they need to be met and doing my best to keep her fulfilled. My days are not spent fulfilling my own needs.

Often, I am resentful of our move and sad. And this is where I come to the biggest challenge of all. My husband wanted this. He wanted this job and wanted this change to better himself and our family. It’s hard to remember that his intentions are noble and meant to improve our lives. How do I support him? How do I grieve and mourn without blaming him? How do I find purpose? This guilt is thrown on to my already large pile of self pity, sadness, and anger.

What does this have to do with feeling like a newlywed? Going through such a big move , with so much sacrifice has caused us to revisit all those new things you learn upon getting married:  compromise, selflessness, over communicating to avoid a battle when your partner didn’t read your mind. These were hard the first time around and they are hard now.

I’m scared. I know adjusting to a move takes time, it’s one of the biggest life changes one can make. When we moved to San Francisco, sure it was hard. But we were able to throw ourselves into our new community. I found a job that I really liked right away, Scott made friends for us that lived nearby, I found yoga, and most importantly we found wine country and good brew pubs.

Most days I know it will get better, others I contemplate the logistics for moving back to Chicago the upcoming weekend. Grief is a process where you explore what was lost and try to find a way to move forward. Letting go of the past and what I had is the hardest part. And the fact of the matter is I have little choice in remaining in the past. Time keeps moving on, so should I.

New York: Day One

March 6, 2013

God, the past two days have been so boring. No offense Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Jersey but I need more to look at than an RV Hall of Fame and signs for a restaurant called A Real Burrito. Gross! And what was up with the hour and a half wait at the Olive Garden? It’s not even real food, people! Not that we ate there or anything.

This traffic is starting to pile up. Where were all you people yesterday? Well dear, I guess this is the last moment before we “move”  our sweet baby and dog buddy with us to New York.  WTF, we have to pay a $13 entrance fee or “toll” as they like to call it?  Mild enough weather, nice to see the sun. Parking spot on the street in front of our home away from home? Don’t mind if I do! This weather not mild enough for my baby to be outside sans jacket and socks.  Get her dressed! Hurumph, dear.

No, I booked this place. Why? How bad can it be? It’s just for a couple of days until we get our stuff delivered to our $17,000 apartment. No it’s fine that I have to walk sideways to get through the entry hall. Hmmmm. I mean, I can see where they are going decor wise with trying to represent every eastern philosophy and using every available square inch of their real estate here, but I wouldn’t have made these decisions. How bad can it be?

Shit! Baby is crawling over to that broken mirror at perfect baby level. I thought they said this was baby friendly. Baby girl what do you have?! OMG this is crusty roach killing gel she just found under fridge. Sweet baby, you are covered in dust and lint from crawling around on these allegedly clean floors. Buddy, don’t eat that! Hmmmm.

Dear, can you run and take our rental car to a garage, where our fully packed car will remain safe from burglars trying to fence stolen bed linens, the dog crate, plants, and hangers?  I’ll set up the Pack n’ Play in the second “bedroom”, baby is getting tired.  Shit, she just closed the door and some huge and heavy metal thing crashed on her tiny little legs.  I haven’t heard her scream this badly in a while. OK, this could be better but so far could also be worse.

Time to bathe the baby! Is that old soap crusted to the bottom of the their mauve colored, cracked tub?  Gross!  Oh, well.  Came off easily enough.  Great, either scalding hot or ice cold. You gotta wait angel baby, I have to alternate between the water temperatures. This bath water looks kind of filmy. Wait, what’s that floating around in the bath water? Sick! Hair and more dust and lint!  I swear to god that’s a pube. Sick! Gotta get this baby out of there!

I’m going to put your PJs on baby girl, but I don’t really want to set you down because you’ll get dirty.  OK, fine, I guess just get down, you must have gotten most of the dirt of the floor before your bath.  Shit, covered in dust bunnies already.  At least we have wine and can watch the Oscars.  Don’t mind if I do!

Pizza is on the way, baby is in her bed.  It’s kind of cold in here.  I need to find a sweater.  I hope she’s OK.  Pizza is good!  Wine is good!  Oscars are meh.  I’m pretty tired, geeze dear, you still have that cough?  Well let’s go to bed.

Hmmm. I think this is a futon mattress masquerading as a bed.  My feet are falling off the end!  Oh, buddy it’s ok.  I know we can hear every sound every person and every dog makes and every slam of every door, but it’s ok.  Fine, you can come in bed with us.  Shit, there’s not enough covers for both of us. It’s still pretty cold in here. I hope the dog warms me up.  Do you think she’s ok, dear? Buddy, you don’t have to be on high alert for every sound.  Please, let’s just sleep. I’m so tired.

Dog shifting, husband coughing, me freezing. This won’t work. Time to “wake” up, it’s 6:30a. I’ll go get the baby out of her room. Shit, this room is basically an ice box. Didn’t seem to bother her but I hope she doesn’t suffer long term damage. Can you get hypothermia later?

So I see a coffee pot all the way up there but we don’t have any ground coffee or filters or counter space to place the pot. Thanks dear, yes please go find us coffee.  And breakfast. Wow it is really hard to feed a baby with out a high chair. She only had a few bites of food. Hopefully she will eat more at lunch.

Oh crap! I need to schedule our sofa bed delivery time for today so we can get the hell out of this shit hole! What do you mean lady? I was confirmed for today. Yes please, tomorrow at the earliest time will have to do.

Tears, tears, and more tears. I can’t stay here until our stuff comes. It’s gross and cold and uncomfortable and I’m so tired. I haven’t slept a full night in almost two weeks. Sniffle, sniffle, yes an air mattress on the floor of our $17,000 apartment will be fine. I don’t want to move to a hotel and then move out of here and then move into our apartment. I just want to be in our place. Yes, that makes me feel better. Thank you.

OMG, yes please take the dog with you to work. That would be so wonderful. I’ll call you after I get the keys. I’m so excited to go to our apartment! At least she is napping and there is wireless internet here. Call mom, sob, complain, sob. Call sisters, sob, complain, sob.

Time to get the baby up and see if she will eat! NO??? Please, sweet baby. I’m worried about you. You were sick last week, you’re still not fully hydrated. Please just eat or drink. NO??? This is a nightmare! Cold piece of pizza? Don’t mind if I do.

Time to go to our place. Wow, so sunny! This will be a nice walk. Here we are, at our building. It’s so pretty. I forgot to put on real socks and now I have blisters. Oh well. We are home! Home is where our $17,000 is! I wish that saying didn’t end in a preposition.

Hi! Yes I am here for my keys. I’m new. Up the elevator, oh yes I remember those weird but kind of ok wall decals in the hall. I wonder if they are only on our floor. Here’s our place. OMG, I’m so excited. I think Sadie and I should just stay here. She can sleep in her stroller. Wait, why are there men working? Our lease started four days ago. This looks serious. What do you mean we can’t stay here until tomorrow at the earliest? No, no that will not do. Tears are coming, must stop them, tears are coming, must stop them. Yes, we are fine with opening the windows, it’s only 35 degrees. That’s balmy compared to Chicago right now. Sure, fine we will all sleep in the back bedroom. Can I at least leave all the shit in that closet that I lugged over a mile? Great, thanks.

OK, sweet baby. I guess we have to go back to our other place. Please eat or drink, my angel. I’m so worried about you. Please eat something. Alright, well you have to try to nap. Call Mom, sob, complain, sob. Call sisters, sob, complain, sob. I just need to get the hell out of here.

Time to get the baby up! Hopefully she will eat or drink SOMETHING. She’s in good spirits I guess. What was that? Did you just…? Sweet baby, that is some nasty diarrhea. I can only find three wipes! Please eat, baby girl, I’m so worried.

Yes, dear, I need you to skip that meeting or risk the baby and me hightailing it all the way back to Chicago. Please come here now and help us move all our stuff to our $17,000 apartment. Pack, cram, pack. Ready to go!

Sure, I’ll watch Friends.

Cold piece of pizza? Don’t mind if I do. Yay, they’re here! Let’s go right now. Baby girl please get out of the trash. Seriously, we have to go. You drive the car, I’ll walk the babies and meet you there. Do you know how to get there? Great. See you in 20.

Oh, hi. Great parking space! Here is your door key, I have mine. I’ll watch the kids and start airing out the apartment. You bring the stuff up. Hey that’s a lot for the first load! Wait, what? What do you mean you lost your key? I just gave it to you. Where did it go? What do you mean you lost it in the door? How does that even happen. I guess take mine. Shit. Hurumph, dear.

FUCKSHITGODDAMNIT. Well there goes our coffee mugs I so expertly packed so we could have coffee. Oh, hi. Yes, I’m fine. The bottom fell out of this box and I broke some stuff and the baby is trying to escape into the hallway. Totally fine. What’s wrong? What happened? You broke my Nowhere Man. Are you sure? ……………… OK. It’s ok. Let’s just get this done.

Hey! You’re moving at quite a clip! What do you mean you lost the key? My key? That can’t be. Where did you lose it? You think in a bag? What bag? Did you LOOK in that bag? Just move, for fuck’s sake. Stop helping. I’ll find it. Oh, thank god. Here it is. Put it in the same place, every time. Please.

God, that took forever. Ok, you go take the car back to the rental company and I will order food, put the baby down and blow up the air mattress. Please eat sweet baby. I’m so worried about you. Fine, just go to sleep. Please wake up in the morning.

OK, air mattress, let’s do this. I’m so tired. “Place blow dryer directly to valve, put on cool setting and watch your bed inflate!” Uhhhh, nothing is happening. I am going to have to blow this damn thing up manually. I haven’t slept or eaten all day, really. I hope I don’t pass out.

Dear, I can’t get this fucking thing to inflate. What? Oh. Oh, yes I see. Well, fine. Thanks. That was easy.

Want some wine? God, that food was incredible. Yeah, the smell is bad but it’s better than that other place. I hope we don’t poison the baby. Let’s make the bed and go to sleep. I may die if I don’t sleep. You still have the cough, huh? At least it’s warm in here. Nyquil? Don’t mind if I do!

Forgive and Move On

January 6, 2013

Happy New Year. Or is it? For most, the New Year is a time to reflect on the past and resolve to change our bad habits into good in the future. It’s easy to look over 2012 and say, wow I sure did eat and drink too much with out exercising nearly enough and boy I wish I had read more books and not watched that episode of Law and Order for the seventeenth time while drinking copious amounts of coffee instead of water. So this year I vow to fix all of that!

(note: I do not intend to fix all of that)

How many of our well meaning resolutions can we actually take and implement? I, for instance, have a child. That lends little time to self improvement. I don’t mean to imply those with children are incapable of taking the time to make better decisions and improve their quality of life. But let’s be honest, out of the sixteen or so hours that I am awake, ten of them are spent feeding, chasing, getting her napped, and cleaning. Forgive me, but for my remaining six sometimes I just want to sit down and watch House Hunters! And I’m pretty sure people without kids have just as much on their plate.

So what’s with all the pressure to change one’s self at the beginning of the year?

After asking around as to some of my well respected friends and family members, I was surprised to learn that everyone planned to make resolutions! Are we that dissatisfied and/or disappointed with our life that we all have to change and improve each year? Or is it that as we get older our priorities evolve (hopefully) and so each new January creates a new set of values or life decisions that reflect our shifted selves?

The best resolution I have heard, no disrespect yall, was from a friend of my husband who has decided that this year he plans to tell better stories. I love this! Not so much the actual resolution, though it is very laudable and kind to those hearing said stories, but he plans to try to improve on something he already likes doing. He has shoved aside the age old adage of out with the bad in with the good and traded it for hey, I’m already doing alright, but maybe I could do a little better!
My husbands friend has inspired me to change the way I view the gift of a clean slate at New Years. Instead of trying to stop certain unhealthy habits and choices cold turkey, this year I am going to try to just do better. And if I don’t, I am going to forgive myself and move on. Parents, wives, husbands, family members, geeze, let’s face it, everybody deal with enough commitment as it is. The last thing we need is to feel like a failure when an obligatory resolution falls through the cracks as the days of January fade away. I can list a few things I think I am good at, could perhaps enhance a bit and go from there. Having awareness of one’s shortcomings and feeling motivated to be a better person are good things. So to those who are chucking the potatoes for carrots and replacing the couch cushions for yoga mats (shameless plug, get over it) I commend you! But if one rainy Saturday finds you curled up with a fresh bag of Doritos and a marathon of Homeland, that’s OK, call me and I’ll join you.

Second Fall

October 19, 2011

Some businesses feel they are successful if they have managed to stay open for one full year.  If that’s the case, count us in the “we made it!” group.  This past August our little-yoga-studio-that-could celebrated its one year birthday.  We had a lovely celebration of yoga, cupcakes and good community.  I’m always shocked at how quickly time can pass and how much STUFF can be crammed into just one year.  This past year has held many teacher changes, a growing yogic community and several studio identities.

As any small business owner can surely understand, finding an identity that works can be the trickiest part of business longevity. When we first opened I attempted to trace the blueprints of my favorite Chicago yoga studio, without recognizing that since that yoga studio already existed and was doing quite well, maybe something different was needed.  At the time, I thought that meant we would easily find eager similar yogis willing to give us a try.  However, after a few months and taking several steps back to assess how things were going it became clear that my initial idea wasn’t the best one.  That realization led to our identity renovation in March.  We completely revamped our schedule, fine tuned our philosophy and dropped all of our prices.  Seven months later I am happy to tell you that we have realized an identity in which we can believe.

Is it a challenge to have lower prices and all-levels classes?  Absolutely.  We aren’t raking in the big bucks and it can produce a quandary when you have a room full of seasoned yogis and one yogi who is attending their first ever class.  But that’s the beauty of yoga!  It’s humbling to remember my first yoga class, having to crane my neck to see if in fact the other students also heard the teacher calmly ask us to lift our toes of the floor and balance on our hands (what??) in something called crow pose.  So, at times, while I admit to being a bit flustered by the wide eyed newbie yogi, it can be pretty powerful watching them go through an entire class without throwing up their hands and saying screw this, I’m out. By having all levels of students in the same room, moving through the same poses a visceral sense of coming together fills the studio to an almost tangible point.  Last but not least-let’s be honest, it takes a lot of balls to come into a room full of strangers, take of your shoes, move around in a confined area and breeeeeeeathe.  Or even just breathe.

It’s hard to explain the feeling when you hear students after class meeting each other, exchanging contact information and planning yoga dates.  Times like this remind me that yes, while I initially opened this studio for selfish reasons (to have a studio within walking distance with awesome teachers), it’s so much bigger than that.  I sadly often forget that I didn’t continue practicing yoga because it made my physical body toned and super fly.  I continued to practice yoga because how it made me feel inside:   the natural high, a strange sense of optimism, the feeling that everything seems a little easier and peace. Some people get “that feeling” when they go to church.  I get it when I teach and practice yoga.

All in all it has been a great year for the studio.  We’ve gone through shifts and waves, we made it through a Groupon, and we still get new faces everyday who leave with that just done yoga serene smile.  I’m proud of what we’ve built.  I’m proud of who we’ve become.  And I’m excited to see where we go.

Whoops!

October 18, 2011

Basically in May I went on two vacations, subsequently got knocked up and forgot how to think clearly enough to write. Anything. Stay tuned, I actually have lots to say.

Confessions of a Yogi

April 12, 2011

I admit it.  I am a yogi and teacher that wears a lot of lululemon clothes.  Is it because I am vain?  No.  Is it because I need to wear labels?  No.  Is it because I am trying to sell my yoga studio by wearing really tight, brightly colored outfits?  No….I don’t think.Kidding, the answer is still no.

The reason I wear lululemon is simple.  I own a studio where I teach everyday, usually more than once.  Also, I have a daily practice.  And finally, I sweat. A lot.  This means, for me, that I need clothes that are going to last a long time, being washed at least once a week.  This also means that they need to not grow three times the original size while I am pouring buckets in the middle of pincha mayurasana during my 90 minute class. And by the way, I want clothes that fit me well even when I am doing the most convoluted yoga pose. It’s no fun to come out of compass only to realize that I’m showing a whole lot more skin than necessary.

I know, I know.  It’s my duty as a respectable yogi to rail against those who try and force the men and women doing downward dog to pay inflated prices to be what one dork calls lemmings in stretchy pants.  But if part of the problem with LLL is their arguably high pricing, why not call out the studios who are nearly pricing people of their practice?

I recycle, I’m a vegetarian, and I buy local when it’s an option.  I do my part to be a conscious human on the planet.  My practice and teaching aren’t compromised by the fact that my butt sometimes features a label that is either the outline of a lady with 60s hairstyle or the omega symbol.  I can’t tell.  Besides, it seems a bit counter-productive to judge a yogi by his or her tank top.

In closing, I would just like to remind us that everyone who comes to a yoga class is in some way trying to better themselves.  That’s a good thing.  So who cares if they decided to go with a LLL outfit or whatever else.  We’re just glad you’re here.


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