Monday, November 25, 2013


In case you've been living in a cave and haven't noticed, it's NoShavember, also known as Movember, during which men proudly sport mustaches (Movember) or allow all their facial hair to grow unchecked (NoShavember) (If you've been living in a cave, this is probably every month for you, so I don't blame you for not noticing). Ostensibly, this is done to raise awareness of various forms of cancer*, but in practice, I think it is more of an excuse to gleefully neglect shaving for a month and/or prove one's manliness by sprouting a bush on one's jaw, and the cancer card is just convenient to reach for when someone criticizes it.

My boyfriend is an avid participant in this sport cause, despite his less than stellar ability to grow facial hair. I have to say that in the last week of the month, he still resembles nothing so much as a dog with the mange. When he was just starting to look scruffy in the first week of the contest campaign, I told him, "I'm going to stop shaving for November, too!"

His response was, "NO!" Imagine the most horrified no a person could utter—the kind of no you might say if I offered to cut off your finger—and that's the no that came out of his mouth. If my boyfriend has one fault, it's that he has very parochial views on female beauty...but to his credit, he didn't break up with me when I did it anyway.

My reasons for refusing to shave in November are not so much based on cancer awareness (as I feel that not shaving is a kind of misguided way to support a cause, especially when there's no incentive to learn more about the disease or donate to research efforts or whatever, but since I brought it up, here's the Movember Foundation's donate page), and it's certainly not out of a spirit of competition (the last thing I want is to be known for having copious body hair), but it's pure and simple because of that vehement "NO!"

What do you mean, no? Don't I have a right to choose whether I shave or not? You bet I do, and I'm not going to!

It annoys me that society as a whole is so ardently opposed to body hair on women. It's ridiculous that hair on our legs is considered "gross" (like, on a par with "unsanitary") while the same stuff on men's legs is considered OK. And the same stuff on our heads is considered required (god forbid a woman ever shave her head—the world even freaks out every time a star gets a pixie cut).

This is largely a futile gesture, because ever since I've laid off the razor, I've been careful to keep my legs and armpits covered up. If I end up going to a beachy locale for Thanksgiving (which right now is a possibility), I will shave it all off, even though November won't have ended. Even though I want to be free to make the choice not to shave, the societal pressure is still too much for me. And that kind of sucks.

I hope that some day the rest of the world will realize how stupid their hair phobia is. And I enthusiastically applaud all the women brave enough to give it their own dose of aversion therapy. Maybe my little blog post will help.

Until then, I will proudly stride onto the beach with my unnaturally hairless legs and armpits, and wait in cowardice for the tides of popular opinion to change.

*At some point during the last month, I know I saw a website, no doubt left open by my boyfriend, stating that growing hair is a way to remind us of the hair that people lose when fighting cancer of any form, but I can't find that now. The Movember Foundation was started to raise awareness of testicular cancer.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Cracker Barrel Macaroni and Cheese

I had another bad macaroni yesterday.

It was from Cracker Barrel, a restaurant at which I haven't eaten in a long time, but which I remember for having a fun country store and puzzles on the table, but an absolutely terrible menu—at least for a little mostly-vegetarian selective eater like young me. When I was a child at Cracker Barrel, the only thing on the menu I wanted to eat was macaroni and cheese...I haven't changed much!

Cracker Barrel hasn't changed much either. They still had a puzzle on the table, a store and rocking chairs in front, and a menu full of disgusting meat products. The waitress was even kind enough to tell us (there were two vegetarians in my party) that the biscuits were made with lard, so we couldn't eat them either!

So I ordered a side of macaroni and a side of broccoli and prepared to relive my childhood. When it arrived at the table, I was underwhelmed by its size. I mean, you can't expect much from a side dish, but this was smaller than most.

I was definitely underwhelmed by its taste. The first bite revealed the dreaded Velveeta-texture of Doom! You might not know it, but search my blog for Velveeta, and you will soon discover that anything that reminds me of Velveeta gets an instant downvote.

It lacked any kind of crunch or exciting flavors. The only thing that redeemed it was the noodles were slightly less mushy than they could have been.

I give it a sad noodle for feeling like Velveeta and another for tasting like, um, um, did it taste like anything?

 1sad noodle 1sad noodle

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Skittles Gone Bad

I opened up a bag of Skittles today, and my world was crushed when I tasted the flavor

Granted, it's probably been a couple years since I ate a Skittle, but they used to be one of my favorite candies, and I distinctly remember the green flavor being lime. But I checked the bag, and it said "green apple," just like that's what it had always been. Could I have been mistaken all those years of my youth, just imagining that green Skittles tasted good because I liked the rest of them?

At this point, I should probably mention, if you haven't figured it out already, that I do not enjoy green-apple-flavored candy.

Well, as I discovered on Candy Blog (which is an excellent idea that I wish I'd had myself!) that they did change the flavor from lime to apple earlier this year. I guess I can't fault them for wanting a little less citrus in the mix (after all, lime is only a few notes away from lemon and orange), but I can gripe enthusiastically about them replacing my favorite fruit flavor with one of my least favorite.

If I had to rank fruit flavors (of the sort that are used in candy, not actual fruits, which sometimes taste quite different), here's how they would go:
  1. Lime
  2. Orange
  3. Lemon
  4. Raspberry
  5. Cherry
  6. Strawberry
  7. Green Apple
  8. Grape
  9. Banana
Just thought I'd share, in case you ever need to know this helpful trivia when I'm famous!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

My yoga flip

I'd just like to take this moment to admit I was wrong.

Three years ago, I publicly announced my distaste for yoga and ridiculed most of its practitioners as posers (get it, that's a double entendre!), but in the past year, I have become just the person I once despised.

It's been a long journey, from scoffing when a friend suggested I try it in 2006, to learning some respect for the practice in 2007 through a housemate who did it and yet didn't seem like a show-off or a lemming, to being grudgingly willing to try it on vacation (but still feeling relieved when it got canceled) in 2011, to taking my first class earlier this year, and finally to having used up the 10-class pack I bought on Groupon and feeling sad that it was over.

In those years, I have learned something: I like yoga!

Although it is hard to explain exactly why I like yoga more and more while other exercise programs demotivate me over time (I'm still making better and better excuses to avoid the gym), here are a few reasons that come to mind:
  • It's usually slow-paced, so I have ample time to get my uncoordinated limbs into the right positions (unlike dance, for example, which I've also tried).
  • No pain, no gain, but with other workouts, it is a huge effort to keep moving through the pain. With yoga, when it hurts, all you have to do is stay still. That's so much easier.
  • Unlike other types of workouts where you stretch after you're finished (meaning you're not really finished, are you?), in yoga the stretching is built right in, and you get to end by lying flat on your back and resting. It's such a nice way to tell your body you're done.
Yoga is not the perfect workout. I don't think it burns as many calories as a really vigorous weightlifting session, and I'm sure it's not nearly on the same cardiovascular level as a 10-minute run, but yoga has one huge thing going for it: While other workouts make me miserable, I can go into a yoga class grumpy and come out happy.

And that alone makes it worthwhile for me.

Though some purists would like to make me feel guilty for considering it a form of exercise rather than a more spiritual practice, I like yoga in the form it has taken in America in the 20th Century! A way to work out your body and balance your mind.

Although my 10 studio classes have been used up and I am too cheap to pay full price, I will probably keep doing it at home. Fortunately, there are free podcasts and websites for home-based yoga.

And in the meantime, I've started ice skating lessons, which I also love!