Some Like It Hot

Years ago, my friend Becky and I talked about opening a Hot Yoga Studio. We had attended a few sessions in Nashville and were sure this was our next calling. We even reserved the name “Some Like It Hot” because honestly, is that not the best name for a hot yoga studio?

We would drive down to East Nashville together, attend our yoga class, grab a smoothie and all the way home chat about meditation, chakras and downward dog poses. Except for the mini-van, we were some pretty cool chicks.

Unfortunately, “Some Like It Hot” never got off the ground. Probably because after googling it, we realized that those who actually taught yoga needed actual certifications — and owning five pairs of yoga pants didn’t score either of us any AP credit.

“They offer the classes for certifications in California,” Becky noted while reading off Google. “It’s a couple weeks long and then you have to train under someone. And it’s pretty expensive.”

“Hmmm. Well, maybe we should open an ice-cream parlor instead,” I answered.

And just like that, “Some Like It Hot” shut its doors. Although, to this day, Becky and I still laugh at the fact that people often “check-in” on FB to the “Some Like It Hot” Yoga Studio Page we created.

Somewhere, that studio is going gangbusters!

So when my oldest, home from college, asked me to attend Hot Yoga (now in Wilson County!!), I figured I was an old pro. I mean, I basically almost started a multi-million dollar hot yoga franchise and was only weeks away from being an instructor myself.

I donned all the requisite cool chick yoga wear (which interestingly enough is exactly what I wear on Saturdays to grocery shop) and eagerly awaited the first class where I would show my 20 year old that her mom was pretty cool.

Yoga mat, towel and cool persona. I was ready.

First off, I don’t recall it being this hot!

Granted, Becky and I only lasted about 6 weeks of being all cool and driving to Nashville. Plus, back then, I probably didn’t know what a hot flash was but now, I’m pretty sure I just experienced a 45-minute hot flash, with 20 other people, with molten lava thrown on top of me and then I was set on fire!

Second off, yoga, surprisingly, is more than yoga pants and deep thoughts.

It is a form of exercise! Right? Who knew? Shocker!

They say that when you begin your yoga class, you should set an intention as to what you will get out of the class.

After the first ten minutes, my first intention was to not embarrass myself by being the girl who ran out of the room to stick her face in a fridge! My second intention was to just keep up with my daughter.

Mission accomplished! And I loved every hot, sweaty minute of it.

Day 2 was even better!

On my way home that evening, I called Becky.

“Do we still own the name, “Some Like it Hot”?”

“Yes, why? Did you go to the new hot yoga place? It’s amazing, but we could never do that. You have to know what you’re doing to own one of those places.”

“Oh I know,” I responded, “I’m thinking we open a coffee house/ice-cream parlor right next door!”

“We could call it, “Some Like It Hot, Some Like It Cold”. We don’t need certifications for that plus we could wear our yoga pants and eat ice-cream.”

Now that’s an intention!

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Holding Down the Fort

A few weeks back, Brody and I and the kids went out to dinner. It was one final meal before he and the girls left for Nicaragua on their mission trip.

They wanted one, last, hot dinner before 7 days of warm bottled water, granola bars and raisins became their staples. They had been before, and they knew what to expect.

My youngest, Neill, would be staying home with me.

He expected this might be his last, hot meal, as well.

Cooking has never been my thing. I can live on cheese, crackers, chocolate chips and coffee and be perfectly happy. A fact my children know well. A fact that caused Neill concern.

“You are going to have to feed me! Real food. Every day!” noted my 14-year-old growing boy.

Got it. Feed Neill.

Yes, I knew I would have to do that because 1) I’m his mother and 2) Brody put it at the top of the list he left for me.

Followed by, 2) feed dogs, 3) feed chickens, 4) gather their eggs, 5) take Neill to football practice, 6) mow the lawn, 7) clean the pool and the list went on and on…..

So for the past week, while Brody and the girls have been sleeping outside, bathing in rivers and building wells, Neill and I have been dealing with our own first-world problems.

  1. The Chickens. Three of our chickens were raised by a sweet young man from baby chicks and are very tame. The other two were purchased at an outdoor flea market, and I’m pretty sure were used in cockfighting. All were fed. All were watered. We even shared their eggs with our neighbors. There was one prison break from the coop. It lasted about an hour. A battle ensued between the dogs and the chickens. I did a lot of screaming. It didn’t help. Those flea market chickens play dirty. Came in handy. Chickens 1. Dogs 0.
  2. The Storm. Neill and I were thankfully home when the storm hit that weekend. The power went out. The alarm then went crazy. Lawn furniture hit our window. A small tree came down. We didn’t know where Brody put the flashlights. I made Neill sleep downstairs. I am now an official storm watcher. Neill probably has PTSD from all the weather updates I made sure to share with him.
  3. The Pool. During the storm, with all the power going in and out, something happened. Loud noises ensued. Burning, smoking pump. Pool pump is no longer running. Call made to have it fixed. Will take a week. Silver lining — no point in cleaning the pool. It will be green by the time Brody gets home. Not my fault.
  4. The Cows. We don’t have any. Now we do. Somehow, they got loose from somewhere. They staged a sit-in on my front lawn. I wasn’t sure who to call. I made Neill and the dogs stay in. The chickens had to fend for themselves. Chickens 2. Cows 0.
  5. Football practice. There is this rule about not missing. Although Brody had limited telephone service, somehow he climbed a mountain just to get service to remind me of this fact. So, yes, Neill made all his practices. All is well with the world.
  6. Feeding Neill. One warm meal was prepared by yours truly, at least once a day. Sometimes even two. I ate crackers and cheese most meals. We shared a bowl of chocolate chips, which made us both happy.

And a few times, we even did things not on the list.

We spent a whole day watching every episode of “The Office” on Netflix and laughed for hours. He walked at the park with me every day just because he didn’t think I should go by myself. I taught him how to bake a cake from scratch. He showed me how to kick a football. And each night, he hugged me goodnight before making sure all the doors were locked before we went to bed.

As memories go, I’ll always remember the week Neill and I didn’t go to Nicaragua.

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Appetite for Destruction

I never fully appreciated the amount of food my parents had to purchase between 1974-1999.

During that time, one or more of their six children were teenagers. This means that on any given month, they were spending more on food than their mortgage, electricity and water combined. No wonder we didn’t have cable! I don’t know those numbers for a fact, but now that we have three teenage boys living at home, I feel this is an accurate assumption.

I don’t know those numbers for a fact, but now that we have three teenage boys living at home, I feel this is an accurate assumption.

Growing up, there were several food items on lockdown: orange juice (on the rare occasion we had any), Chips Ahoy cookies (again, same rule applies) and anything processed with extra sugars and included artificially colored, desiccated marshmallows.

At the time, I couldn’t understand why my mom would come unhinged if we filled a 24-ounce tumbler with orange juice and didn’t drink it. Turns out, they were just sick and tired of buying food for children with endless appetites and no concept of how much work it took to feed a group of little ingrates who were always ready for their next feed cycle.

A few nights ago, everyone had gone to bed. This is the time of day I LOVE. I get to start the latest season of Orange is the New Black without interruption and decompress.

*This is the part of the story where my latest diet sees its tragic end.

This is the time, I like to have something to snack on, something sweet, sometimes chocolatey.

So, I’m getting everything set up. I’ve got the first show of season five ready to play. (Side note: Anyone else still grieving over what happened to Poussey?!) I decide to make a snack before starting. Thanks to a trip to the grocery store the day before, I know exactly what I’m going to have. A scoop or two or three (don’t judge! I’m still grieving, remember?) of Heavenly Hash frozen yogurt.

I open the freezer. At first, I think someone probably accidentally put a package of frozen chicken nuggets on top of it. Nope.

Maybe it’s in the back behind pie crusts that should have been thrown out five years ago. No.

Finally, I pull everything out of the freezer. It’s not there. Did I forget to bring it in after returning from the grocery yesterday? I checked. Not there either.

There’s no way it could be gone, right? 24-hours isn’t enough time for three teenage boys — who don’t like “health food” — to eat an entire half-gallon. They did. All of it. IN 24 HOURS.

The following Sunday, I tried again. This time, my snack was going to include Nutella. I keep it hidden in the back of the pantry. Everything’s ready to start OITNB…again. I find the “Happy Birthday” cookie jar I keep the Nutella in and NOTHING. It was gone. Not completely gone. They left the empty jar.

This is the part I’m not proud of. I came unhinged. I went upstairs and told all three boys that if they eat the last of anything chocolate in this house, they are to replace it or at the very least warn me. They agreed. Liars.

My husband said it was no big deal. They are growing. We are their parents. One day, we will miss them being here and paying a king’s ransom to feed them. Blah, blah, blah.

The next day, I came home and Jay was tearing the pantry apart.

“I just bought an industrial size box of Slim Jim’s, and they are gone. GONE. There’s none left. They ate all of them.”

We found a new hiding place for our snacks. It feels like college again. Only now, we can afford better snacks.

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Epidural

There was a time when I was the definition of carefree. I would come home from work — just in time to watch Jeopardy (or “Must See TV,” if it was Thursday), nuke a frozen dinner and later curl up with a book. In the morning, I’d wake up in time to hit the gym before work.

When I married, very little changed. We were both too wrapped up in our jobs and each other to think about having children. Not to mention, we lived in different states five days a week for the first nine months of our marriage. But one day, something was missing. No sooner had we decided it might be a good idea to have a baby, a home pregnancy test confirmed that there would be no turning back.

I can’t recall anyone telling me how hard it was going to be. It being the labor, the mood swings, the weight gain, the weight gain and more weight gain. If anyone tried to tell me, I most likely ignored them. I was too busy reading books on the benefits of a drug-free birth, taking Lamaze classes and eating my way through the bakery aisle to pay attention.

I remember daydreaming about life after my little guy arrived. In this daydream, I was super thin. Someone would even whisper, “Don’t lose anymore weight.” Four words that have never been directed to me. Back to the daydream. I’m rocking my chunky little cherub while he nurses. His little dimpled hand is clasping my finger. He looks so alert. Natural childbirth, duh! Did I mention that I’m thin in this daydream? AND my house is immaculate. If my imagined scenario was any indication, this was going to be breeze.

We arrived early for my labor induction and presented the nurses with our birthing plan. For those of you who don’t know, a birthing plan is a handbook the expectant mom puts together that shows the medical staff your expectations for the birth. I wanted a natural experience and no amount of rolled eyes, “just wait until her first contraction” looks or secret bets on how long I’d last drug free would change my mind. After my water broke and my husband’s circulation returned to his hand following a remarkably painful contraction, I declared the medical community needed to rethink the term natural childbirth.

Not long after the much-needed and deeply appreciated drugs wore off, my clueless husband and I were on our way home. I realized this was a bigger deal than those moronic books made it out to be. As soon as my body (now only 7 ½ pounds lighter than the 80 I’d gained) returned to a more recognizable state, I was going to write those authors a strongly worded letter insisting they update their barbaric opinions on the subject. How dare they imply that there’s anything natural about a drug-free birth. How do they know?! Little did I know that the real pain wouldn’t begin until something called “milk letdown” occurred. AND I didn’t want to even think about the day when #2 would happen.

How dare they imply that there’s anything natural about a drug-free birth. How do they know?! Little did I know that the real pain wouldn’t begin until something called “milk letdown” occurred. AND I didn’t want to even think about the day when No. 2 would happen.

The first two weeks were a blur. Middle of the night feedings were the worst. I would peel myself out of bed and nearly fall on my face because of the weight from my breasts, which now looked and felt like I had two deformed spaghetti squash attached to my chest. Eventually, we got the hang of it. At our first appointment with the pediatrician, we found out our little one gained 10 ounces. 10. OUNCES. After 45 million hours of nursing. 10 ounces. When the pediatrician recommended I continue this little song and dance for two more years, we switched to the female partner in the medical group.

So we made it through those rough times as new parents and felt confident enough to give it another try four years later. These days, our worries have shifted from sleepless nights and childproofing to curfews and dorm selections. We aren’t the carefree individuals we were way back when, but we have managed to raise two very carefree boys, one of which will leave for college in a few weeks. Now worrying about late-night feedings seems like a picnic.

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