November 20 13

Yesterday was kind of a big day for small miracles around here. I managed not to murder a certain annoying stuffed animal in cold blood, I MacGyvered up a pair of black boots with a Sharpie, I didn’t breathe for an entire hour during Sons of Anarchy, I ate fish for the first time and didn’t die, I made Hanukkah cookies with my kids, I found a One-Eyed Willie-worthy treasure** in the pockets of my winter coats, and I started The No Yell Year project.


Which, now that I look at it, is relative.

I kind of always thought I was just allergic to fish. There was no real reason why, except for the fact that my gag reflex kicked into high gear at the mere thought of eating it. Also, I’m allergic to just about everything else on this planet, so it would be easy to just pile on another food. But the probable scenario involves a lifelong distaste for the smell of a can of tuna being opened (hurl) and the way a whole fish looks at you with desperation when it’s lying on the plate, all, “Really, dude, you’re going to scoop my insides right out of me while I’m lying here? Have you no soul? Can’t you just eat broccoli?” In other words, I have always preferred my food not to smell like rotting corpse and/or be staring at me during the eating process. So, I just never ate it. EVER.

But for a while now I’ve been wishing that I could eat fish, as it always shows up on lists for being a really healthy protein. Also, I felt really stupid when we went to a restaurant in Ireland called Fishy Fishy and I was the only one in the entire establishment eating NOTfish. Mentioning this to my food blogger husband was maybe a mistake, as it became an immediate challenge for him.

And then last night he served me perfectly spiced tilapia. And I ate the whole thing. I didn’t exactly love it and kind of wished it had been cooked a little bit longer—the texture was weird for me—but there were no eyeballs and it smelled the opposite of what tuna smells like (hurl) and I ate the whole thing and survived and all that jazz. And now I feel like I won the Survivor food challenge and totally deserve to wear THE IMMUNITY NECKLACE around my shoulders all week. Clean the house? Oh no, can’t be done, I have immunity, you see. Laundry? Not going to happen—I ate fish!

So I guess I eat fish now and celebrate even the smallest of miracles.

Like finding $15 and a Banana Republic gift card in the pockets of last year’s winter coats. When I usually play this scavenger hunt game, I find, like, crushed-up crackers and half-dissolved just-in-case xanax pills. This year, though, my findings bought me a dress with sleeves and birds on it.

Thanks, Last Winter!


Also, there’s the No Yell Year project.

I’m a yeller.

I completely and totally loathe that I’m a yeller. I come from a family of yellers. It’s all I knew; it’s all I know.

Ron: Leslie, what do we do when we get this angry?

Leslie: We count backwards from 1000 by sevens and we think of warm brownies.

And I try. I really do.

When the {insert thing my children are doing that frustrates me} starts, I count, I think of brownies, I leave the room, I take deep cleansing breaths, I try to distract, diffuse, do something other than raise my voice. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I want it to work—I need it to work.

“A year is just ridiculous, Mama. $20 bucks says you can’t even make it a week.”

“Maybe even a day. She’s doomed.”

But, well, if there’s something I am more than a yeller, it’s a stubborn fool. I love a challenge.

So, here it is.


Of not yelling.



** This, friends, is a reference to one of the best movies of all time, The Goonies. I’m hoping you were able to make that leap. If not, you need to watch it again. And then again. And probably once more. And then get your minds out of the gutter. *wink*

  1. Ha! Ali, I ordered that dress online a couple of weeks ago (have yet to see it in a store), and the biggest miracle of all is how amazing it is!!! I want to write to BR and tell them that I will buy that exact dress in every fabric that they ever make it in, the fit and style is that perfect. Enjoy (and please let me know if you’ll be wearing the dress next Tuesday, because we may be bird twins…)


    ali replied on

    I ordered it online too…about 18 seconds after I found the gift card. I can’t wait to have it in my hands. Also, yay petite!


    Comment by Jennifer on November 20, 2013
  2. A YEAR OF NO YELLING?! I can’t even imagine.

    Also, nice job with the fish. I am in the exact same boat, but I don’t know that I can get past the gag factor. Maybe I need Gav to make me Tilapia.

    “Bye bye, boys!” “Have fun storming the castle!”


    Comment by Meghan on November 20, 2013
  3. I am a huge yeller!


    ali replied on

    I haven’t yelled once today!

    …but my kids have been at school for the last 4.5 hours…


    Comment by Allison Zapata on November 20, 2013
  4. After my yelling this morning, I think I need to do this. But, I know I can’t last more than a day without yelling. Greeks yell. I think it would be almost impossible to not yell unless I was medicated. How sad is that? Okay, I don’t yell A LOT but I do raise my voice because I swear, it’s the only way my KIDS HEAR ME. They don’t hear normal.


    ali replied on

    I always thought that too…Jews are just yellers. I mean, have you see The Goldbergs? But then I realized that there are tons of Jewish families of non-yellers. I really want to be one of those :)


    Comment by Loukia on November 20, 2013
  5. I read the whole post, I did, but I couldn’t get past the “one-eyed-willy” thing about your winter coat. You know what that means, right? NOT money and a gift card.

    Good luck! I couldn’t even get through an hour of work today without raising my voice.


    ali replied on

    Wait..what do you mean? Because of One-Eyed Willy, they got the money to save the Goon Docks. BOOTY!


    Kristabella replied on

    Yes, I know that’s what YOU meant. But that phrase has a whole other urban dictionary meaning.


    Comment by Kristabella on November 20, 2013
  6. Love the article and the project! But I have to day, the pic and quote isn’t from the goonies-it’s the Princess Bride. All time family favorite and just introduced our 5 year old to it a few weeks ago. :)


    alimartell replied on

    Ha. Yes. The Goonies reference actually refers to the One-Eyed Willie reference at the top, as someone pointed out that it also refers to a certain mail body part.
    We are more than familiar with both the movies in our home, they are fan favorites :)


    Comment by Marti on November 22, 2013
  7. Princess Bride photo, not Goonies!!!


    alimartell replied on

    Ha. Yes. Like I told the commenter above,

    The Goonies reference actually refers to the One-Eyed Willie reference at the top with an asterisk, as someone pointed out that it also refers to a certain male body part.

    We are more than familiar with both the movies in our home, they are fan favorites around here :)


    Comment by Jennifer on November 24, 2013

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