If you wrote a post about what you’d accomplished in the past year, would it begin with your spouse’s facial hair? ME TOO!
My husband recently grew a beard. I can’t remember exactly when it started – maybe 2 days after he stopped shaving; it’s not really the sort of thing one writes down. You can see it, along with the rest of us, in the photo above. While I used to have a personal preference for clean-shaven-ness, mostly because beards can be quite abrasive, nowadays I am loving it. Perhaps I have matured. Perhaps the beard has matured. Or maybe it’s because living in a land of lumberjacks like we do, in beautiful Portland (MAINE), they just seem right. All I know is that my husband’s beard is super soft and fuzzy, like a teddy bear he can wear on his face, and apart from the nuisance of his having to occasionally trim his mustache hair to keep it out of his dinner, he seems to like it, too.
Sadly there is a group of people in this world who, for whatever reason, DO NOT LIKE BEARDS. Call them Beardists if you will, or Beard Haters, or just plain Beardos, this group makes it their mission to interrogate any man sporting more than two day’s stubble. Whether they’re plants sent by BIC, Schick, or Gillette remains to be seen, but you can tell a Beardist by his or her behavior. The moment a man begins to look a little less than baby-faced, the questions begin. ARE YOU GROWING A BEARD? WHY ARE YOU GROWING A BEARD? WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO SHAVE? and so on. This barrage is more than idle curiosity; beardists seem downright suspicious of facial hair. Like the beard is going to leap from the face of its wearer and incite a revolution. Whether you simply prefer the smooth look and feel of freshly shaven skin, or have somehow been traumatized by a bearded man and do your best to eradicate all traces of facial hair on yourself and others, I do not care. But I warn you, Beardists. Make comments to my husband and things will get ugly.
OTHER HIGHLIGHTS OF 2012 (in no particular order):
While many Americans were watching fireworks, I spent the 4th of July SELLING MY CAR! Since Lil Blackie had been sitting in my driveway leaking oil like the Exxon Valdez most of 2012 (and quite a bit of 2011), this was quite the momentous occasion. Today the once-permanent rainbow coating the asphalt has finally disappeared, and in its place is parked my new (slightly used) FREE CAR! That’s RIGHT! I said FREE!! Technically it cost me $1 dollar, since I bought it from my parents, who bought it from my beloved grandfather who in his 90s should have stopped driving long before he actually did, but that’s another blog post altogether. I now have a beautiful new (slightly used) fully-functioning automobile, which I can drive without fear of being ticketed by state or local police (again! twice!)! Happy Independence Day, indeed!
After publishing my own cookbook, Kick the Can! in late 2011, I went on to write a second cookbook in 2012, this time for Adams Media. The Everything DASH Diet Cookbook took 10 grueling weeks to produce, was released in late October, and offers 300 quick, easy, and delicious low-sodium recipes. It’s available in stores, online, and for those desiring an autographed copy, through my (other) Daily Dish website. PS: no I am not getting any royalties (though WE ALL KNOW I $HOULD BE!)
In May, my husband and I came out of the cabinet. Translation: we went vegan. Apart from the erratic symptoms of Meniere’s, I’ve never felt better. My daughters have mostly embraced our new diet. And by mostly I mean I cook vegan at home, they eat what I cook, or they don’t eat. Kidding! (Not!) When they’re at a friend’s house, party, school, etc. they can eat whatever they like. I do not critique. They in turn don’t give me (much) grief about what I will not buy. Like pork loin. Or cheese. I’ve made a couple exceptions for times they’ve had friends over, but my husband and I remain steadfast in our decision. It’s been a whole lot easier than I’d ever imagined, likely because on my wonky salt-free diet I was already cooking next to every meal. The only added burden has been having to double-check labels while shopping, but I’d be doing that anyway.
Since going vegan, I have developed a theory. For now, I call it ANIMALS JUDGE YOU BY THE SMELL OF YOUR BREATH. I am hoping one day it will be proven scientifically and named Christy Ellingsworth’s Theory of Animal Preference, or something fancy like that. This theory states that animals have acute olfactory senses, far greater than humans, and that animals judge your worth as a potential friend (or foe) based on their olfactory information. Does this seem simplistic? Of course! But since going vegan, animals seem to connect with me in an even deeper and more meaningful way. They LOOK at me. I mean really LOOK. As in we lock eyes and there is a consciousness between us. Call me crazy, but it’s true. Say I meet a goat at a country fair, I stick my hand out and the goat gives it a sniff. Then the goat nudges me, wanting to be petted. When the goat looks at me, his eyes say I KNOW YOU DON’T EAT US. ALL I SMELL ARE VEGGIES. And Poof! like that, we are pals. I don’t know if this theory will extend to carnivorous animals, like lions and other humans.
In February, I became an aunt. Being an aunt is perhaps the greatest thing in the world, next to being a mother. (Between us, being an aunt may even top mother, but my daughters read my blog.) The only downside? My sister, her husband, and my beautiful niece live 800 miles away in Hotlanta. I do not fly. Long car trips are difficult. I have therefore seen my niece in person just one time since she was born. Don’t cry for me, Argentina. I do get lots of photos, videos, and updates. And I know that one day, when my niece is older and will appreciate me even more than she would today, she will come and stay with me and call me her favorite aunt in the world. (No offense to her other aunt.)
In October, I turned 40. Instead of the typical fanfare associated with the milestone, like black balloons emblazoned w/OVER THE HILL, my family and I celebrated the way we have the past few years. At the roller derby! My birthday always conveniently falls on MRD’s annual Good vs. Evil bout (story of my life), so we partied hearty with the kickin’est women this side of the New Hampshire border. Which brings me to my next highlight. After years spent dreaming of derby fame, I did the next-best thing. I joined Derby Lite! Derby Lite is everything you love about roller derby minus the black eyes. Basically it’s a class where you’re taught all the moves without the burden of the rules. Which seems to meld well with my personality. Our instructors are all MRD athletes or alums, who we skate w/side-by-side. To say I LOVE THIS CLASS MORE THAN YOU CAN POSSIBLY IMAGINE would be the understatement of my 40th year. More on this & soon, I promise!