Friday Mercury?

Before Breakfast

Friday was just a weird day. Was Mercury in Retrograde? It started with yoga at o’dark thirty. I checked in and the instructor informed me there was a problem with my membership—I didn’t have one. They had charged my credit card twice, and while retracting one charge, they retracted both. However, my credit card said otherwise. The instructor still gave me a hard time, digging in her heels.

With a sweet smile on her face she said, “But you don’t currently have a membership…”

And that is what I hate about corporate yoga. Every transaction is catalogued, every correspondence notated, yet there is still a breakdown in their internal communications. Yoga Barbie might have been young and perky, but that is no match for old and jaded. I wasn’t about to succumb to charging my card a third time, just so she could feel better about covering her bases and following house rules.  I also wasn’t leaving without practicing

Now I’m seriously grumpy. It was too early for thissss… When she started the practice with a backbend, I contemplated whether this was a cruel cosmic joke. The Muses looking down and saying, “Well since you’re pissed off already, let’s just go for broke!”

Serious question: Who decided backbends were the perfect position for warming-up in yoga?

This isn’t actually a rhetorical question. The answer is anyone in their twenties thinks this a good idea and that’s about it. We warmed up in a backbend, and then proceeded to do every pose in our designated ‘flow’ with a backbend in between every other pose. As she demonstrated each position for her students while moving through them, I noticed how much she admired herself in the mirror while doing so.

Ah-haaaa. It all started to make sense.

Yoga Barbie didn’t wear her teensy-weensy little jog bra for nothing.  She had a great rack, knew it, and so did the rest of us after that.

I hate to sound like a hater (my sister informed me that’s exactly what I was), but is yoga class really the place to revel in your sexuality? The entire class I kept thinking, “Oh, that’s too much…Too soon!…Just put it away!”

Have I mentioned this yoga goes at warp speed and I must watch whoever is in my line of sight to keep up?? I tried to watch other students like me, but there were plenty of times she commandeered everyone’s attention. I’m all for sexuality, body confidence, whatever you want to call it, but maybe not right in my face first thing in the morning.

Like secondhand cigarette smoke. 

Boobs aside, backbends are for the END of class, not the beginning (or the entirety of class!).

Yep, I’m a hater.


The Hail Mary

Walking past one of our salesmen later that morning, I enthusiastically greeted him by the wrong name. Not just any name, but the name of someone well-known and not necessarily adored. The name I called him belongs to what you might call a smarmy guy. A couple of years ago, when I met this other guy for the first time, I told a coworker about our encounter. His response was classic.

Ahh, yes,” he said. “That man was born with a face made for radio.”

The funny part is the guy isn’t bad looking at all. I think this was just the nicest thing my colleague could think to say about him at the time.

Once the name left my mouth, I knew something was amiss, like a badly thrown football that wobbles through the air, only to land with a thud. I thought the guy was going to go into cardiac arrest from the shock of the verbal affront. I knew I had missed, I just didn’t realize the colossal mistake.

In the afternoon, I got a gruff “I forgive you,” as I was walked through the office. I stopped, realizing he was talking to me. He didn’t look me in the eye when he said it, but the sting had finally cooled…even though he added he would never forget what I said.

We are all remembered for something and not all of it is good.

What’s In A Name?

Later, talking to my dad on the phone, I informed him that I had finally changed my last name on all of my documents.

My dad said, “So Jenn Simmons doesn’t exist anymore. I need to update you in my contacts.”

He wasn’t asking a question. He was stating a fact.

I responded, “Well…no…I’m still Jenn Simmons, Dad. You can just add the Schuessler on the end.”

Just like the salesman, my dad wasn’t buying it. I changed my last name. Hence, Jennifer Simmons didn’t exist anymore.

It begs the question. What’s in a name? How attached should we be to our name? Or a new name, a different name? If you aren’t named Jennifer and in your mid-forties, then you can’t understand how annoying it is to go through life as Jenn S., or Jenn N., or whatever  letter your last name begins with. The name was so popular when I was born that a lot of other parents had the same idea. I went to school with no less than four Jennifer’s in my class. Now in my forties, it still continues (obviously). I joke with Russ that he must not know any other girls named Jenn because it has happened in the past that we’ve sat at a table with his friends and every girl present was named Jenn.

No joke.

How much of your identity is in your name? Even if you think your name is “’jenn’-eric?” I was supposed to be called “Mary Celeste” after my mom’s aunt. She was a librarian who loved to read. My dad took the Mary out and inserted Jennifer in front of the Celeste. I can tell you, as a kid, I wished my name had been Mary because I hated being one of the many Jennifers. Even as a kid, I didn’t see it as a “popular” name, but as a generic one. I was hard sell, even back then!

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet;

So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,

Retain that dear perfection which he owes

Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,

And for that name which is not part of thee,

Take all myself.




I met a friend for a movie last night. We had been trying for two weeks to go, but our schedules never lined up. Finally, I agreed to see the 8 pm showing, because I was never going to make the 5 pm. I was hoping to catch yoga between work and the movie, but I got done too late for that as well. I had enough time to walk home and change into jeans before walking to the theatre. I arrived first and ordered a nice glass of red wine to put an end to the chill from my walk.

When she arrived I said, “You have your Blundstones on, too!”

Removing her many outdoor layers, she looked at me and said, “Why yes I do. And I have on my black turtleneck, too.”

As did I.

My transformation to a Washingtonian is now complete.

I didn’t know there was a uniform, but apparently there is, and I was wearing it.

She added, “I just came from yoga.”

If I had made it to yoga like I had planned, we would have been twinsies.

We watched Parasite. It was a far cry from Bernadette Runs a Marathon, the movie we kept trying to see for the last two weeks. Parasite is incredibly dystopian, fitting in nicely with the Manifesto installation I keep visiting at the Hirshhorn. We walked out when it finished , feeling like we had been run over. It was that kind of movie.

We loved it.

I am writing a Manifesto because I have nothing to say. I speak only of myself since I do not wish to convince. I have no right to drag others into my river. I oblige no one to follow me and everyone practices his art in his own way….

—excerpt from Manifesto (Prologue)

The Village Pub

It was a cold walk home from the theatre. I had clocked a total of eight miles of walking by the end of the day. I really love that about DC. You can walk the city to your heart’s content, depending on how much time you have. It’s the best way for me to start and end my workday, commuting on foot there and back.

I opened the door of our apartment to the smell of peat moss wafting throughout. But now, the peat moss had its own pub to dispense the incense. Russ visited the Irish Store in Alexandria where he bought his original stash of peat moss many years ago. This time he came home with the Village Pub.

The day might have started in Retrograde, but it ended well with the Village Pub. 

Who doesn’t love that?

I did.







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