Fireside Chats with Julia – Episode 1

Fireside Chats with Julia - Episode 1

Good morning! Oh hey, this is new! Posting on a Sunday AND no pictures of food? Whaaaat’s going on here?

For quite some time, I’ve been tinkering with the idea of starting a non-food related series on my blog. Ta-daaa! This is your first installment of Fireside Chats with Julia.

From time to time, I get a wild hair and have the burning desire to share stories, thought, ideas, confessions, and general banter that are too lengthy to include in my regular recipe posts. So this series is meant for just that. If nothing else, I can chat your ear off while we cozy up and drink a pot of coffee. Each.

With liquid courage coursing through my veins (seriously…I may or may not be hung over right now) and ego a-raging, I finally have the nerve to have a Fireside Chat with you. Possibly more than one. This is, after all, a series.

What are Fireside Chats? Other than me stripping down, baring my soul, showing you my raw insides, and ::insert ridiculous cliché here::? They’re basically a way of me upchucking information and giving you a State of the Union Address, real life-style. Are you a history buff? Do you remember learning about FDR’s Fireside Chats in high school? I piggy-backed off the name of FDR’s series for my own series. Clever? I’d like to think so.

Be forewarned, I don’t know how inappropriate Fireside Chats with Julia will get. So…there’s that. There will be profanity, profundity, inappropriate commentary, possibly some whining (and wine-ing), and general nonsensical banter. For Episode One (this episode), I share with you a little story. About how I can be a real asshole. Are you ready? Should we do a little pre-chat stretching to get the blood a-flowing? I’m ready when you are….and GO!

– – –

I have a confessional for you, and I need you to NOT be on my side.

As you know, I’m a spinner (that is what she said). No really, I go to spin classes. There’s this older English bloke who teaches the Saturday classes and his choice of music can be either AWESOME or….questionable. He sings along to every song while he teaches and spins. Every song. Annnnnnd AND! some people sing along too…

…Which I think is…which I find to be… I am of the opinion…Okay, I think it’s weird. Some people may find it endearing. I find it strange. It’s too early in the morning. I am likely only able to get half of the pot of coffee in me before running out the door for class, and while I’m on the bike, I push myself to the outer limits of breathlessness, so there’s no way in hells bells I could sing a single stanza. I would, in a word, implode. I can’t partake in the spinny sing-along, but have no qualms about those who do. Except for when I do have qualms. Which is always.

So the music. Like I said: it’s hit or miss. English Bloke’s Spin Saturday songs include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Lady Gaga – Just Dance  (True story. This is not a joke. A real crowd-pleaser in Saturday spin, in fact.)
  2. Led Zepplin – Stairway to Heaven (A classic, I’ll admit, but a little wah waaaah for spin class)
  3. Darude – Sandstorm (Great for spin class)
  4. Pirates of the Carribbean theme song (I’m a sucker for instrumental music. Former band geek right here)
  5. Santana – Black Magic Woman (I dig. God, I love Santana! Not really suitable for spin, though)
  6. Fleetwood Mac – Gold Dust Woman (I dig. God, I love Stevie Nicks! Not really suitable for spin, though)
  7. Dire Straits – Sultans of Swing (I’ve loved this song since I was a wee tyke and somehow it works for spin class. It somehow does)
  8. Delirium ft. Sarah McLachlan – Silence (Okay, what happened here? Too much. Too bold. Idle back.)

During one of our Saturday spin sing song sessions about three months ago, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Free Bird comes on. Period, end. Free Bird. I repeat: Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Free Bird.

If you’re on my same page, you LOL-ed just now. Hard. If you’re not on my same page, do this right now: pick up your cell phone and send this text to your best guy friend/boyfriend/whatever: “Your song today is Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd.” I guarantee…beyond the shadow of a doubt…he will text back, “you’re kidding me, right?”

Brief aside: Free Bird is 10 minutes long. That’s 1/5 of a spin class. Dedicated to the longest guitar solo from hell. End Aside.

Playing Free Bird while I’m trying to become the awesomest spinner on the planet, imagining myself winning at the Tour de France is…it just is. It’s damn un-pretty. But…but. Get this: We’re spinning to Lynyrd, we’re mid-hill climb, we’re all sweating (me especially < – – – it’s disgusting, really. Projectile Sweat. Sweat everywhere. It’s outtacontrol). We’re all breathless. He breathlessly (but from the diaphram) sings the chorus: “and this bird you’ll never chaaaaaaaaaaaange whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh.”

Insert record scratch sound effect.

How do I react to this? I do what any mature 27-year old would do. I laugh. Out loud. I LOL. < – – – it’s true. You hate me and you should. I laugh partially because of the adrenaline and partially because I’m an asshole. Mostly because I’m an asshole.

And during this particular class, I’m on a bike in the FRONT ROW. So, me laughing = me laughing in his face. See? Asshole!

And he notices. HE NOTICES that I laugh in his face! So he abruptly stops singing…for the rest of the class. God, I’m such a sheep. I feel sheepish. Baaaaaah. BOLLOCKS! WHAT HAVE I DOOOOOOONE?

The look on English Bloke’s face plus his sudden lack of singing knocks the very little wind I do have right out of me. I immediately feel like crap. I’m a feeler, you see? So for the rest of class, my tail’s between my legs, and the wind is out of my sails. At the end of class, I thank him…for the class…without making eye contact. I walk away. Just…walk away.

I swear, this story has a happy ending. Keep reading.

Each Saturday thereafter, English Bloke is pretty stoic. He’s less English. Less sing-y. And I can only deduce that it’s because of me. Mind you, he does sing every once in a while, when he reaaaaaaaaaaaaaally can’t hold it in…but when he does sing, it’s subdued, and more of an under-the-breath sing. A whisper-sing.

BUT! Get this – – – -> The other spinners keep singing every Saturday like it’s business as usual. And this makes me feel EVEN MORE GAAAH-AWFUL-ER because I can tell they enjoy the free spiritedness of the spin sing and they probably want his vocal stylings back in order to head up the sing-along song-athon.

I internalize much from this. I deduce that I have reaped these people of their leader. Will the sing song morale be lost forever? What do I do? How do I fix English Bloke’s broken voice?

There’s no answer. So I tell my mother everything. Because that’s what I do when I have done something bad. I confess to mom. Moms are for unloading wrongdoings because they always have the right things to say. Mom’s response? “He sings? No, Julia, that’s just weird!” < – – – it’s as though I’m my mother’s daughter.

Being the cheeky sonofagun I am, I do know that I just need to connect with this man on his level. I need to talk to him about music. So a few Saturdays ago, knowing that it was time to sack up and set things straight, I made my connection. After class, I sauntered up to good ol’ English Bloke and asked him, “what was that last song you played? I reaaaaaally like that song!” < – – – God, I’m such a tool (truth be told, I actually do like the song – which has no lyrics – and was on a mission to collect song data for this post, so I knew I couldn’t simply type, “do do do DO. Do do do DO. Do do do do do do do do do do do do do DO” into youtube and expect to get accurate results).

Anyhoo, me: “What was that last song you played? I reaaaaaally like that song!”

He, with THE BRIGHTEST BLUE ENGLISH EYES I EVER DID SEE, says: “the LAAAHST one? The really FAAAHST one? SandSTOOHM. It’s SandSTOOHM. Thah’s a lohnga veeehsion…an eight miiiiiinOT vehsion, buht then thah’s the shoht one. It’s DAHruhde-eh. D-A-AH-U-D-E. Wehll, goooogle SaaahnSTOOHM and it’ll cohm up! Whah’ts yoh name?” Oh shit, we’re getting friendly.


“Juhhhlia” < – – – he’s still breathless so this is a whisper.

And that’s it. Connection: made. Gap: bridged. Mission: accomplished.

I thank him…like ten times…very awkwardly…”Sandstorm. Darude. Thank you! Thank you so much! Have a good one! Thanks, AND. Thank you. Thanks so much! Have a great day.” and I’m giggling the whole time like a nervous nelly.

And I walk out the door feeling SO GOOD, because those BRIGHT BLUE-ASS ENGLISH EYES told me: everything’s okay. Phew! Sigh! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Pssssh. Mmmmmmmmmm. I’m okay now. I’m in the clear. I have made good. I will never laugh again, not at ANYYYYYYYTHING!

There’s a lesson that can be learned here. A take-away, if you will: don’t be an asshole. The end.

But not really. Because LAST SATURDAY, guess what song the English Bloke puts on? Can you guess? You can guess. You guessed it. Free Bird. Shit!

10 minutes of Free Bird and it’s all because I fixed something that I maybe should have left broken. English Bloke gives me a snarky, blue-eyed English-y look as he sings the Godforsaken chorus, and I am just beside myself. Edit – – -> Undo.

The second valuable take-away I learned from this (aside from: don’t be an asshole) is: this bird you’ll never change.


Never Miss a Post!


    1. Julia Post author

      Heeeeeeere I aaaaaaam! Oh jeez, I you’re a saint to welcome more me. Thanks for the support – I don’t know how one could not laugh in the situation, but out of a class of 10, clearly I was the only one who found it funny. I’m actually surprised I didn’t bust out when he played Lady Gaga…I was pretty proud of myself for holding that in. 😉

  1. Julie

    Bahahaha! Ok. Seriously, I wouldn’t take the class if everyone was singing. Truthfully, I have no idea what a spin class is, but that’s beside the point. The chances of everyone singing on pitch is zero. Zero, I tell you. The thought of exercising with a bunch of people singing off key is, without a doubt, one of the worst thoughts I’ve had in a while. You see, I can’t stand hearing off-key things. I’m sorry. It’s true. I’m an a-hole too, I guess. My little hearing just can’t take it. So, I’m not seeing where you were wrong because that’s just weird. Clearly, I’m going to be all about this series. 😉

    1. Julia Post author

      Ohthankheavens! Off-key singing does a number on me too….it makes my insides cringe. CLEARLY we need to watch The Voice together!! Thankfully the spinners aren’t awful singers, it’s more the principle of them singing in the first place. Spin class is just a bunch of people on fancy stationary bikes…biking their ass off to music while an instructor simulates hills and sprints by telling you to turn increase/decrease the resistance on the bike. It can be pretty badass as long as people aren’t singing to Free Bird mid hill climb. So glad you’re interested in my new little adventure 🙂

    1. Julia Post author

      Yeah, he’s an all-star…definitely one of my top 10 favorite teammates. So glad you like the chatter, and remember: be careful what you wish fooooor… jk. Have a great Sunday! 😉

  2. Kelly @ hidden fruits and veggies

    You’re clearly less of an asshole than I am, because I probably would’ve started laughing at him wayyyy sooner and not even tried to stifle it. I’m all for singing in the car, karaoke, maybe even way too drunk at the bar. But spin class? He’s leapt right over weird and into a crazy-pants territory I want no part of. Especially with Free Bird.

  3. laura kiralla

    He he. I laughed so much! And read half of this to Leo. Those are some horrible work out songs, but you know, it’s tough to find the right work out music. I normally wear head phones for just that reason and change the song about 80 times until I get the right rhythm for workout zen!

  4. Debra

    I sooooo hope you keep up this series. I was LOL at a number of different spots. FB is a little weird for spinning (and graduations) and most other somber occasions in life. 🙂 Can’t wait for the next installment. (You are not an asshole if you made things right with blokey fella.)

  5. Faith

    I love it Julia, feels like I have had the pleasure of sipping coffee with you just now. I hope to read many more fireside chats with your bum. (I typed that last part in my British accent).

    I do not know how you continue to go to this spin class with the singing, that would drive me insane. I used to also go to a British speaking spin class… And ended up just leaving the gym because I couldn’t handle her teaching style, wasn’t even obnoxious 5am singing.

    I admire your gusto Julia. Love you!

  6. Stephie @ EYHO

    If you ever need a guest chatter, remind me to tell you about the time my high school classmates wanted the valedictorian of the class (aka: me) to organize a kegger in a cornfield for our 5 year reunion.

    Keep on keepin’ on…being an asshole. 🙂

  7. Jennie @themessybakerblog

    Love this new series! I’ve been wanting to take a spinning class. I mean, I love to cycle on the trails, so why not spin, right? You’re right. Free Bird is the longest song ever, with Stairway to Heaven coming in at a close second.

  8. Katie @ Produce on Parade

    Haha this post was hilarious and I am already in love with this new series. Okay, my two cents…you should have song along enthusiastically after you laughed and it would have all been different! 🙂 I would have laughed to and people singing would either drive me completely bonkers or I would be singing along with the best of them depending on my mood. It’s really hit or miss with me 😉 Can’t wait to see the next post!!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.