Sunday, December 9, 2012

Farewell to Mr. Fancy Car & Yummy Mummies

Yaris and I in happier times, the day we met...

As every part of my life seems somehow tied to yoga these days, I thought I might share with you the story of Mr. Fancy Car, to whom I bid a tearful goodbye this week.

Those of you who have been in my little Toyota Yaris know that it is the opposite of a fancy car.  The responsibility of the passenger in the front seat is to shout "LOCK YOUR DOORS!" (training buddy/roommate Kelly is still the champ at that particular role), you have to blast the heat for ten minutes before you feel a thing, there is no cruise control (which made my cross country drive a challenge), and even the windows have to be rolled up manually.

Oh yeah...high tech.

Nevertheless, I love my little car, and it has served me well.  I took it in for its first official Pennsylvania inspection a few weeks ago and the mechanic said "usually I see an average of $500 worth of work for these, but all you needed was a little windshield wiper fluid."

A few days after that (as it turns out, weirdly prescient) statement, I came home late after my first Steelers game, and as there was no parking on my street, and I knew I'd be up to teach a 6am class (well before metered parking kicked in), I parked on desolate, empty Liberty Street. 

Five hours later I walked back to my car to drive to the studio and saw this:

In my half-awake early morning state I couldn't really figure out what had happened.  ...Is this my car?  Did I make a mistake?  What happened to my door?  Then I started peering around my car and realized that the huge chunk missing from my car door was nowhere to be found...the giant truck/dinosaur that had destroyed my drivers side door had cleaned up very nicely behind him.

Well, I still have to teach class, I decided, so I crawled into the drivers seat from the passenger side door (yay, yoga flexibility).  The car started off I went.

Maybe these hooligans were the culprits...

Once I was at the studio, I did some googling of "hit and run" and realized I'd better call the police.  Of course that meant there was a friendly neighborhood policeman standing at the front desk as the students started to arrive for class.  You think seeing your car's door peeled off in the early hours is baffling?  Try a policeman at the front desk of a yoga studio at 5:30am!

Long story short (too late!), after a few days I took my car into the shop - where they all agreed that it had to have been the work of a dinosaur, and that I REALLY shouldn't have been driving around those three days - although the looks of shock and pity I would get from fellow drivers were pretty amusing.

Daylight view of the damage...and yes, that is totally a coconut water can

Turns out I have good insurance (thanks to the advice of my long-ago boss & mentor at Big Brothers Big Sisters, Joanne) so I would have a rental car paid for for 20 days, and Enterprise would come pick me up at the autobody shop.

When the guy from Enterprise rolled up, I figured it must just be fancy car shuttle service, like for a nice hotel or something.  Nope.  This was my new car:

I don't think Enterprise guy had ever had someone react with fear and trepidation to this car. The friendly front desk lady at the auto body shop even came out to tell Enterprise guy "she lives in Bloomfield.  How will she park this?  It's too big!"  So, a little bemused, he drove me back to this office to see if there were other cars available.  There weren't.

"I know it seems like a fancy car to you," he said, "but to us it's just a piece of inventory.  We have forty more like this in our fleet.  Just think of it like that."  So, heart pounding, I pulled into the street and drove to Starbucks to wake myself up a bit before taking the 10am class.  I had some trouble finding the beverage holder...then slid back a fancy drawer to discover cupholders with THEIR OWN INDIVIDUAL TEMPERATURE CONTROLS.


Later than day I drove two of my fellow yogis to Trader Joes in my fancy car (they said I ought to have a chauffeur cap on while driving this monstrosity).  As we walked back to the car, laden with bags, Leigh Ann said "there must be a button that automatically pops the trunk."  Oh yes, there was a button.

Thus, over the course of 20 days, Mr. Fancy Car stole my heart. 

My car singing will never top these guys, of course

Other amazing things Mr. Fancy Car provided: 

- Satellite radio - I'm not ashamed to admit one of my personal favorites was On Broadway,

- Built in navigation, that would reduce the volume of the radio to tell me the next turn in a friendly voice, then bring the volume back up,

- A fancy backing-up camera, although it still took about four times as long to park the first few days, and...

- Not just heated seats, but a HEATED STEERING WHEEL.

This is so amazing I want to punch you in the face! 

I must say, I got used to this.  I mastered parking him.  I stopped holding my breath every time someone else got a little close.  I learned how to drive with a little more caution and care (which I've never done with my poor Yaris...who had hupcaps taken off at the mechanic because I'd always determined if I was close enough to the curb by scraping the hubcaps along the curb...turns out I'm not supposed to do that?)...

And then Thursday, my insurance ran out and I took Mr. Fancy Car back to Enterprise.  Since my real car is still in the shop (by the way, my deductible is $500 - see what I mean about that mechanic's prescient statement?), after I dropped the car off, I dug through boxes in the basement to find my bike helmet, and hopped on a bicycle I borrowed from the lovely Leigh Ann to get to the studio for my next class.  You win some, you lose some...

From this... this.

Moving on (and speaking of the lovely Leigh Ann!)...a few weeks before all this happened, my sister and I made the trip out to Glenshaw a few times to try a free week of yoga at V3 Yoga and Pilates.  You know Leigh Ann's competition exploits from this blog, but did you know she's a fabulous yoga teacher in her own right?

Hot Vinyasa Flow was a lot of fun, but I absolutely loved Yin Yoga.  In Yin, Leigh Ann acts almost as a meditative guide, setting you up into some sort of passive stretching posture, where you just hang out for several minutes, getting deeper and deeper.  It was glorious.  

I MAY have fallen asleep a few times (hey, I'd already taken and taught a few Bikram classes that day!) but I left feeling so refreshed and stretched.  And my hip joints were wide awake (i.e. so sore) the next day.

Turns out Leigh Ann is a great teacher, knowledgable, approachable, down to earth.  A lot of studios have introductory specials but hers is the only one I know of that offers a FREE week, no strings attached - so give it a try.

Moving on (and speaking of great teachers!) Mary Jarvis was here!  It was just as marvelous and inspiring a weekend as last year.  I've been using a lot of what she shared in both my teaching and practicing.  

Hold for

For example, here's a good tip - when you're ready to come out of a posture (especially the long standing balancing ones, like Standing Head to Knee or Standing Bow), before you do it, give yourself three more counts.  Count down 3...2...1... and a lot of the time, you bring yourself back into the moment, away from the anticipation of the end, and realize you have the capacity to stay even longer.

It's also really fun to see the impact of Mary's teaching on the students - for example, she spent a lot of time on Floor Bow, and now, when I'm teaching and looking out over a roomful of Floor Bows, I'm AMAZED at the post-Mary view.

Bikram Yoga Concord's got the right idea...six inch gap between knees and feet!

Not only did Mary teach two packed-full classes and seminars, she took over the interior decor of Zeb's new studio, with shopping trips galore, and all the students have been a big fan of the new carpets, decorations, mirrors, and couches that make the space a little more cozy.

Moving on (and speaking of the studio! okay, that's a reach) have you read the most recent Bikram Yoga Pittsburgh newsletter?  There's some great stuff happening this month...

Someone actually made this last year!
Holiday Party on December 22nd!  Have you ever been curious to see your teachers and fellow students with real clothes on and hair that isn't matted to their neck with sweat?  I went to this last year while I was still living in Cleveland, and it was so much fun - I really enjoyed getting to know my new community outside of the yoga setting.  It's in the classy upstairs area at Olive or Twist, and there will be food and drinks, and I will be wearing very shiny shoes...don't miss it!

 One of my very favorite songs this time of year.

New Years Eve Class on December 31st!  I confess that I'm not sure if I'm able to make this yet, but I highly recommend it to you all..what better way to ring in the New Year with a candlelit New Years eve class?  Plus you'll wake up January 1st feeling revived and optimistic about 2013, not hungover and's win win!

I think that's all I've got for today my friends...hope your holidays are bright and merry, and see you at the studio!

 Too cute, right?  Stole it from this guy.

P.S.  San Franciscans, mark your calendars...Southwest had a sale & I bought a plane ticket to visit early February!  Can't wait to be reunited with you all and take a good three classes a day (I want to take EVERYONE's class!)

P.P.S. Have you read this article yet?  It's the most delightful mishmash of Bikram Yoga talking points.  Joseph's juvenile arthritis!  Lady Gaga!  Bikram's fleet of Rolls Royces!  Yummy mummies!


  1. You and that car, I swear.... I can't believe you actually drove around with it like that though - wife, such a safety hazard!

    Also, anytime someone mentions bicycle, my mind automatically goes to BICYCYLE! Bicycle! I want to ride my bicycle!

    Keep up the great work Danielle!

    Ps. can you next post be about celebrity sightings?