Thursday, December 19, 2013


I'm on a bit of a Natalie Merchant kick with song titles/blog post titles.

My responses to "How far along are you?" have started prompting the response to the response, "Not long now!" as opposed to what I used to hear, "Oh you've got time." 

And people close to us are asking, "What's Jackson going to do?"

Our first son. We stare at him, watch him as he wakes, look on adoringly as he falls asleep. 
Kiss him, squeeze him, hug him.
They say we'll love the child even more. We just wonder how. 
But we know it's going to happen.

I think he found out. The crib has been set up. It was a moment. He realized something was happening. I had to have a talk with him. He's no spring chicken. Although I hope we get some spring chickens. 
He'll probably feel weird about that too.

So I decided to call a meeting with all of our kids. 
It was time to be upfront about what's around the bend.

You can see Big Kitty took it the worst. He started shaking her head (we don't know the sexes of these cats).  Blue over to the right was just quiet and still. She's always been the calm pet. 

It's okay, Big Kitty. You're going to love her/him!

Blue looks excited. I love this cat. When I get the urge to cradle something in my arms, I go find sweet Blue. She is a cool cat. Because he has been with us since he was a kitten and was handled by anyone and everyone, she is very social and not really afraid of anything, which can actually be annoying, but I love his little personality. 

 The Canadian family out back has grown to about 7. I didn't even say anything--just walked out of the porch, and they turned, showing me what they thought about that. Guess they heard the news already. They're pissed. They only come around on sunny spring or fall days anyway. Whatever.

We'll all be used to it in no time I'm sure. 

Liza Jane

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Walkin' After Midnight

I love this little thing inside me. I see it doing all kinds of tricks in my belly--the alien way my outtie bell button pops up and down. A wave of movement from within. These are the good times, I say to myself. I see its booty pop up, and I push on it. It pushes right back at me. Little spunky thing like its mother.

 But it walks all over me.

I imagine it in there (yes, I say's okay), just walking and punching my insides, and then doing a few somersalts. I'm happy for him/her that he/she is not defined by gravity right now. 
But her walking sends me walking. 

I keep hearing Patsy Cline on the radio these days--she's one of my favorites. 
I realize this might be the end of sleep as I once knew it. I wake up and every sense of my zen-yoganess is dissolved into fury and frustration (who am I kidding? We all know I have a breakdown at around 7:30 every night). I'm hot, I'm flustered, and damn it, I'm just not comfortable. And do I have to go to the bathroom or not? I don't know. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Will it rain or will it snow?

It could be my addiction to chocolate. It could be that for the first time in 3 years, I crave coffee like a crack addict. It could be my husband snoring and screaming in his sleep, "ARE YOU ALL RIGHT?" And later, "WHO WON THE GAME?" and an hour after that, "Baby, they said they already picked up the carpet." And then later, "That was a great game." 

Sometimes there is loud yelling, and sometimes it's just a simple, calm sentence. 

It could be the moon, it could be the sun. But it's definitely not the chamomile tea or the magnesium hot bath. It's not the huge man T-shirt I have to wear or the lavender oil on my pillow. It's not the yoga. 

It's my body. 

I talk about the body in yoga. It holds the essence of spirit. And spirit is the source the mind. So I have to trust the body knows what it's doing. Some say it's preparing me to be up all night with the babe. I say back, "Wouldn't it want me to get sleep right now while I can, instead of torturing me?"

But I have to trust it's the right thing. I'm trying this out. 
Trust the right things are happening at the right time. 

Sure, I wake up every 3 hours thinking about what packages haven't come in from Pottery Barn yet. Sure, I feel like crying and losing it all day long. Sure, I'm a big huge chocolate addict who can turn into a demon at any moment. Lack of sleep, lack of time. And the baby isn't even crying in front of me.

This is definitely a pregnancy post. But can you blame me? Two months to go. From the side, I look like an isosceles triangle. My boobs are huge, competing for space with my high belly. I try to put a bra on (a damn D!), and they're like, "Nuh-uh. Not here, partner." And I say, "Yes, boobs. I can't walk around like a braless hippy." They say, "Fine, be our guest. I'm telling you, we have enough support from your big-ass belly." And so I wear the bra, and it squeezes me all day long in the most crowded area of my body, and around 6:30, I just can't breathe any more, and it's coming off. Then my boobs jump up and down for joy.  My whole mood changes. I'm like a different woman with my bra off. 

No complaints though. Like I always say, I am madly blessed. Insanely. And sometimes I feel I don't deserve it. But it's true. Sure, things aren't perfect. But they're perfect for me.

Sleep deprivation? What to do? I don't know. I just have to trust it's happening for a reason. If you're going through this too, perhaps we can find the answers together. But I feel your pain. Boy, do I ever feel your pain. I think it's an individual thing. My thing may be that I need to cut out the morning chocolate, which has caffeine in it. Or maybe I just need to chill the hell out. 

Liza Jane

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Kind and Generous

I moved here a little over 2 years ago. Just followin' my heart, 
nothing but corn fields and a farm shop around.

I had some anxiety about a lot of the things. The smaller things were grocery store issues, driving gas issues (as in fuel for my car), being a vegetarian amidst a lot of meat-eaters (which led to the other kind of gas issues), etc.

The big things, there were two of them: how am I going to make money, do what I love and have some income? And how the hell am I going to make friends out here? A girl has got to have other girls. Everybody needs other people. 

So we'll talk another day about the gas and income issues. Today, we'll talk about the people issue.

For a lassie in her mid-20s, making friends has always involved some kind of school or job or project. So enters this new challenge: get to know and love people while living in the middle of nowhere, get over any awkwardness about it, and make the time (and gas) to see some people.

It's very lucky my husband is such a bubbly, popular guy. His friends have become my friends, and their women have become my girls, and eventually I got to know people.

And they blew my mind. They welcomed me into their lives, and I am so grateful. I'm not from here. And I'm also kind of an odd, little bird. So I know this is kind and generous. These people have beautiful hearts, and I've just begun to talk about their generosity.

Some of these people threw Will and me a baby shower Saturday night. A co-ed baby party. They made food. Kelli's home was so beautifully decorated. They stocked the bar (baby likes milk punch). They invited people. People brought gifts. They bought a big fat present for my offspring and me. It was beautiful and fun.

I saved the tears. I did not break down and cry. I am prouder than a lion about that. 

But I am so deeply moved. My new friends astound me. I feel truly blessed. And inspired.
They haven't known me that long, and they have chosen to make me feel supported and cared for. 
Now that really is something. 

Most of the hostesses: Katie, Nancy, Elinor, Whitney and Kelli. Missing in this pic: the lovely, sweet and graceful Eleanor who is truly an inspiration to me.
It's about how you make people feel. I will remember these women and their men when I think about how I want to make people feel: loved and supported. I hope to be as kind and as generous as they are.

And I only had about 6 ounces of milk punch so you can relax now.

Liza Jane

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Breakfast at Liza's...all day long. 

And this is exactly what I look like. Bright-eyed and beautiful with jewels in my hair, exactly like Audrey Hepburn. 
(When I was a little girl and first saw Breakfast at Tiffany's, I wanted that to be my life...wild and free in a beautiful, scant apartment in New York, being chased by men. But then I realized that Holly Golightly was a sudo-prostitute. Then I thought maybe it wasn't the life for me). 

By the way, a heroine named Holly Golightly would never fly with book critics now. Just making a note of how things have changed. 

And this song from the 90s bugs me so much. Even before pregnancy irritability. I mean, if you only have one thing in common and that's some movie from the 60s, I think, maybe, it's time to let go. 

Anyway, breakfast at Liza's is 24/7, non-stop, all day, everything and anything on the menu. 
You can have any type of weird or interesting breakfast you want over here. 

I could have breakfast all day long and often do these days.  I just had two. I'm about to have my third serving right now. Now that the yogurt course is over, proceeded by the waffle with almond butter on top of it. I think I'll have a helping maple brown sugar oatmeal now. And then around so-called lunchtime, I'll have an egg with some spelt bread. 

And so the breakfast never ends for me. 

If we're talking about breakfasts,  I'd like to pay homage to my favorite breakfast place, the Beacon in Oxford, MS. (Runner-up Pancake Pantry in Nashville). 

Everywhere I go, I search for a place like the Beacon. Recently, Will and I got to go. We sat in a cozy booth, drank an endless supply of coffee (don't worry, I restrained myself, and remembered pregnancy) and I ordered almost everything on the menu. I had the pancakes, I had the biscuits, I had the oatmeal, I had the grits, I had the eggs. Everything but the greasy meat parts of the menu (which I did considerably eyeball). 

Friend Sarah came here every morning in college. They stopped asking her what she wanted eventually. I was so jealous they knew her name. But she went there way more than I and so deserved that medal of honor. 

So here's to doing whatever the hell you want! Eat seven breakfasts if you want to. It might be weird, but you know there's something very sacred about being a weirdo. Unless you're a creepy type of weirdo. And then maybe get some professional help. 

Besides eating breakfast helps to boost the metabolism. Now that life is flying, 
I'm savoring my quick metabolism for all it's worth. 

Liza Jane

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Light My Fire

Come on, baby, light my fire...

Daddy Long-Legs built our first fire Sunday. I don't know where he got the idea that I like fires. Maybe it's because for the first two years of our marriage, I would scream "I love fires!!!!" and every night in the winter, "We should have a fire!!!" in total excitement. And so we did. Every night we were home.

I stare at it, sit too close to it, poke at it, throw stuff in it...I love fire.

It's probably one of the 5 things I like about winter (hot chocolate/warm drinks, boots, Christmas/holiday season, skiing/snow [if even available], fire). It's the same for everybody, I know. But my disdain for winter is so strong that I cling to fires like a life preserver. 
"I know it's only 58 degrees, but I had a bad day, so let's light it up."

It's energy, bright and warm. Something inside me resonates with that. I can feel that bright warmth, and when I feel passionate about something, I feel the fire. And I know how to stoke it. 
 I know where I feel it.

The third chakra (which is a swirling vortex of energy in the body), Manipura is located in the solar plexus. It represents warrior energy, self-esteem and transformation. It represents taking charge of one's life through selfless service, a get-up-and-go attitude. It is belly laughter and ease. It is warmth and vitality. It's the seat of personal power. It is, right now, my favorite chakra. 

courtesy of
A deficient third chakra is evident with digestive problems, low self-esteem, eating disorders, and feeling like a victim. In these cases, the fire needs to be stoked. I like core-strengthening poses for the third chakra. Navasana, which is boat pose, is great for this. Also, Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (fancy name for leg lifts) is also a great way to get into this chakra. Any twists too. The warrior poses. Making the sound "ram" will help too. Just do it.

Taking any kind of scary risk will help you to get into your third chakra as well.

Taking on too much stuff in life (sounds like someone I, perfectionism, anger and hatred can indicate excess third chakra activity. Backbends are a great way to cool off the Manipura.

All righty, we got some winter griping in, some yoga, and now you're set.
Done for today. Wishing warmth for those of you stuck in cold, dreary weather. Like all of America.

Liza Jane

Saturday, November 23, 2013

House of the Rising Sun

We get a show every morning. It doesn't always look like this. 
But something is always happening over that lake.

On this particular morning, I woke up mad. It happens. I knew I wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything because I had to leave at 6:45 to go to the doctor in Jackson. Testing for gestational diabetes. Great.

Not even water. But as I stumbled to the kitchen out of habit, not sure what I would have done in there anyway, tired and angry and hungry and thirsty, I looked out my window and saw this. 

Jackson and I went outside, breathing the cool air, and I stood in awe. Damn. It got prettier every second. Talk about meditation. Nothing takes you into gratitude like seeing something like this brilliant scene. God, the funkiest artist. The most radical, top-notch director of shows. My mood transformed, and all of a sudden, everything felt magical. I felt connected and uplifted. Jackson and I might have been the only creatures to see it exactly like that from where we stood.

So I felt loved. That was a crazy, busy day. I did not walk through it on a cloud. Three more hours of hunger and thirst and failing a diabetes test put me out. But that sunrise prepared me. I stayed pretty much uplifted throughout the day.

Not everyone chances upon magnificent sunrises every morning. A good way to get into the feeling of preparedness, of being loved and to try to hold on to that lifted feeling throughout the day is to practice a  few sun salutations toward the east, first thing in the morning.

(Courtesy of

Get the body moving and warmed. Get into the breath. Get into the moment. Get into worship mode.

The Sun Salutation A's that I teach vary from the one above, so feel free to change it up for yourself, do what feels right. Even if it's just standing there in Mountain pose, feeling the ground beneath you.

You know that I kind of fight against anything that is expected of me or of women "like me." I've always resisted any type of boxing and especially the labeling of that box. So consequently "free-spirited" is often the adjective I hear about myself, which I recognize as another box, 
but at least it has a prettier label. 

But you know? We're all going through the same things. I'm thinking about paint colors and house repairs, and I feel like a nesting mama. But that's what I am. Put me in a box labeled "Nesting Mama," because that's exactly what's going on here. 

I love this child, punching and kicking from within. I love my husband, helping and being sweet through all this. And I love my house, which I seem determined to turn into a cozier, prettier place this winter for us, my baby, and guests who come here. 

And maybe just for the house's sake. To show love for the house, wherein I see a show in my backyard every day. To show gratitude for living here, in the House of the Rising Sun.
(I realize this song was about a house in New Orleans that could have been a brothel/drug and alcohol haven and/or prision, but humor me as I try to turn something dark into light). 

Liza Jane

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Fire on the Mountain

This story starts with a romantic, gorgeous wedding and ends with a romantic, gorgeous wedding. 

At the end of September, we celebrated my close friend Caroline's wedding. Caroline is a sweet soul, a loving woman and a very talented artist. Her wedding was in Highlands, NC, the highest incorporated town in the Alps. I mean the Appalachians. She was beautiful. The gown was beautiful. The whole thing was beautiful. 

So there we were, celebrating one of my closest friends in the highest incorporated town in the Appalachians. It was still green, and the mountains just really called to me, you know? We were only there for a weekend, but I wanted more time.

I wanted more mountain.

The thing is pregnancy causes weird cravings. One minute you like spinach, and the next you're scornfully mourning the fact you bought some out of habit at the store.

I've been a tropical girl always. Low-lying tropical areas appeal to me. Or European cities. Sure, I like the mountains. Who doesn't? But that's pretty much it. Next thing I knew I kept picturing myself in wool socks, drinking hot chocolate by a fireplace at some B&B somewhere, looking out at the fall foliage.

A short weekend in the Highlands was not enough. Although every moment of the weekend was wonderful--driving up the mountain, seeing Caroline like that, getting to see old friends, witnessing a lovely union, eating delicious food, making new friends, and driving back down the mountain. It left a craving like the brownie craving I've been dealing with. 

Oh pregnancy. 

Yes. I'll be back.
So we took a picture on the way back down the mountain. And I promised myself I would be back in the mountain air before long. So strange the things you crave.  I had to have it. 

Back home, taking a little sunset yard break with Jackson.
 So when we got back to the flatlands from Caroline's shindig, I got to work. I knew we had to head back up into that Georgia-South Carolina-North Carolina-Tennessee corner soon. For a wedding at the beginning of November. I hadn't much time. And lots to do. 

Oh little Jacksey, little Jacksey poo. 
Will got to work with cotton and peanuts. I got to work with nutrition school, nursery, house, and yoga. Paint colors and repair men. Car accidents and mental breakdowns. Homework and reading. The bookstore, the spa, the recreation center. I decided we had to the end of the month to get everything done. And then we would go again--this time to Asheville.  

Wowza. Those Vanderbilts were loaded. 
 I found a magical little B&B in Asheville. The 1900 Inn on Montford. Best place to stay in the whole town probably. I got a good vibe from the place by just looking at their web site. And they had fireplaces in the rooms. Sold. 

The innkeepers were delightful, the breakfast turned out to be delicious, and the rooms were so cozy, yet spacious and clean. The sheets felt like whipped cream. The beds were king size. Plus, they had those little spa robes in the rooms. Listen, you give me a spa robe and a fireplace, and I'm like a little lamb in your arms. Not only that, the house was so charming and old. It was the quintessential, lovely old B&B. I have also decided I shall stay here again. 

The night we got there, we ate at a place called Rhubarb. Ok, folks, you know I'm no foodie, but I do know good food when I taste it. The chef from Blackberry Farms started this place, and it was magnifico! Go! If you go to Asheville, go there! 

View from the Biltmore.
 Then we're at the Biltmore, wondering around this monstrous mansion, and Will says he doesn't feel so hot. And he feels hot. 
He says he can tough it out. 
The conservatory in the garden at Biltmore.

Oh my the orchids.

I want a conservatory, Santa. 
AWESOME tree. I seriously stared at this tree for 10 minutes. 
But then I turned around, and all the color had left my husband's face. Okay it's time to get our asses the hell out of here.

He developed a fever. FIRE #2.
My motherly instincts kicked in. I went out and got soup, rubbed his head with a cold washcloth, ushered him Sprite and water. I didn't know where this was coming from 'cause I ain't no Florence Nightingale. But it happened. My baby got sick. We watched movies and lay in bed. I was cooing over him like Mary in the manger. Surprising, but I think I have a good shot at this Mommy thing.

It didn't take long for Will's spunky immune system to spring into action. He was almost well the next day. One thing he knew: he didn't want to sit around. Typical.

We went to town to grab some lunch to go before getting on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We were going to take it north to the highest point east of the Mississippi River--Mount Mitchell. We would hike up to the top, but my big belly wanted to make sure we had food to eat up there.

Needless to say, I ran into some things I liked in downtown Asheville. 

Malaprop's Bookstore and Cafe.
Two things my eyes are always searching for: little bookstores and yoga studios. When we were waiting for our food, we roamed downtown a bit. I swear a magnetic force brought me here. I fell in love. I love bookstores. This one, Malaprop's Bookstore & Cafe,,  charmed me like the others, like the one I work in.
I missed work. 
 Will had to pull me out of there with a fishing hook and a net. The food was ready around the corner. But not before we stopped to look at an old drugstore, some art, and an organic clothing store. Whatever. I live in the country.

Balsam Nature Trail leading to top of Mount Mitchell.
Oh yes. A whimsical walking trail on the highest mountain. The trees were short, little dwarf trees with moss and lichen. Huge boulders and smooth little rocks, fallen trees and fog. The firs and spruces smelled like Christmas. I felt like little elves and fairies might pop out and surprise us. We were in our own little world. It felt so cozy and haunted in there. Right up my alley. 

'Twas my favorite part of the trip. We saw rock overhangings (?), a natural mountain spring that began a creek that ended up in the Tennessee River, the Ohio River and finally the Mississippi River. We pretended to hear bears, though we might have really heard one. 

Then we made it to the top. Where it was extremely foggy. 

And I had some big fat biscuits from Tupelo Honey Cafe.
Those biscuits were so good. Dash of salt and pepper on top. Had me going. No kidding. The blueberry preserves were homemade too. Dang, where did this come from?

Later Will said, "Where's my biscuit?"
"I don't know," I said defensively, looking down and away in shame, my voice trailing off. 

So this cafe is another recommendation. If only just for the biscuits and jam, or whatever it was. 

Um, we've seen better views. Fog kind of got us here. But oh well. I couldn't wait to get back in that forest. 
The ride to and from Mount Mitchell on the Blue Ridge Parkway was truly half the fun that day. I mean the foliage was incredible. View after view of blanketed red, orange and yellow peaks and rolling horizons in the distance. And driving underneath all those leaves in the sunlight felt heavenly--the seemed to light up in their colors. The colors amazed me, and for once, I was thankful for my superpower pregnancy senses. 
What a special highway the Blue Ridge Parkway is. I loved every second of it. 

The next day sent us to DuPont State Recreational Park, about 45 minutes from Asheville. We wanted to see some waterfalls. See above. See below.

The one above is called High Falls. Breathtaking. 

We did some hiking around in this park. Loved seeing all the natural wonder. Waterfalls are crazy, you know? They are so damn pretty. 

We started to see who catch the most leaves. I totally won. Even if Will tells you otherwise.
I loved this little park. I especially loved the sound of the waterfalls. 

Then we came up on a waterfall called Triple Falls. 

There's the third one. 

The Biltmore has nothing on this place. Took my breath away. 

Boy feeling better. 
Letting it all hang out. 

This was our last day, and I walked away from this hike feeling like I got my mountain fix. I felt good about it. Like when I finally got my oven working, and made some damn brownies. Yet, somehow I did not feel right. All of a sudden. 

Little surprise when we got back. From the innkeepers.
Like I said, I can't say enough about the 1900 Inn on Montford. Seriously, if you go to Asheville, stay here. These people are so nice. They gave us a baby gift on our last day! I mean, that's so nice. They don't even know us. I started crying of course.  Just so moved by people sometimes. People really move me. Good people. The balloon said, "You're So Special." I wept and then I threw up.

I was sick. I got sick fast. It was Halloween night. All I wanted to do was watch the little trick-or-treaters in the neighborhood on the front porch, walk to a local restaurant and watch the leaves fall on our last night. I got no such thing. I got a fever and tossing-and-turning. FIRE #2. Thanks Will.

It was a long night, and I wanted an ambulance for the ride to Reynold's Plantation outside of Atlanta. Will packed me in the rental car at 7 in the morning along with all his other baggage, and we drive down. The last leg of our trip. A wedding for two fabulous people, Jack and Elinor. Will's closest buddy, and Elinor--a good friend of mine. 

We checked in, and I crawled into bed. Slept, ordered room service soup, slept, drank some water, slept, took a bath, slept. And then in and out of sweaty sleep all night. By the morning, I was 60%. After some more room service, I was 70% and by noon, 80%. After a walk with Jessie (one of my closest who was there for the wedding too) I was 90%! I would go to the wedding that night!

And I'm sure glad I didn't miss it. What a lovely celebration. Elinor was stunning. Her dress was to-die-for. 

I usually don't talk about this kind of thing, but man, good looking centerpieces!
 Everything was grand. The trip back wasn't so bad. And this week hasn't been painful at all. I'm back in black--barking orders for down-dogs and up-dogs, and updating bestseller lists.

That concludes my story about fire on the mountain. I guess the moral of this story is: follow your cravings but try not to get sick. I know I'm stocked with wisdom. Hell, you got some good Asheville advice. 

Liza Jane