Monday, November 29, 2010

The Year or Two of Months

The Year of Months is going to become the “Year or Two of Months.” Many of y’all know what the Year of Months is, but some don’t so here’s a little refresher:

The Year of Months was a personal experience I took part in from November 2009 through October 2010. Every month, I would commit to a different personal challenge designed to broaden my horizons. For example: One month I tried a different recipe every day. Another month I walked/biked everywhere within six miles.

Since November is always NaNoWriMo for me, it automatically extended to 13 months. Now, I want to participate in #reverb10 and I still have a few other month ideas I wasn’t able to cover over the past year.

So I’m going to continue on with the months. I don’t know when I’ll stop; probably when I run out of ideas. I may even repeat some of the months that didn’t work so well. Leave a comment below if you have an idea for a month.

I’m going to create a page on this website dedicated to my Year of Months project so keep an eye out for that.

Now, I wanted to tell y’all a little bit about #reverb10 and invite you to join me. This is from their website:

“Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next… Starting December 1, check in here for daily creative prompts (some of which will be from published authors). … Respond to the prompt. In a post on your blog, through a tweet, with photography, or however else you desire. … Participate and share your reverberations using the #reverb10 hashtag (on Twitter, Delicious or Flickr).”

I hope you’ll visit their website to learn more and think about joining me. If you will be participating in #reverb10, drop me a link to your blog in the comments and I’ll link to it in my sidebar.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Indulgent Gifts for the Writer In Your Life

On Black Friday, shopping for Christmas gifts is on everybody's mind, even those who are desperately avoiding the crowds. Writers are sometimes hard to buy for; I know I am. So I'm creating this list for those poor folks shopping for a gift for the writer in their life. (And if you're a writer, you can drop this link in your Facebook stream as a hint ;) Perhaps with a number. )

Keep in mind, not all these gifts are going to be right for every writer. So make sure you think about whether or not your writer will enjoy that specific gift before you spend the $$.

1. Writer's Conferences. For most unpublished or up-and-coming writers, this is the biggest expense related to writing. Not only are the conferences themselves expensive, there's hotel and transportation to consider. So this gift can come in the form of hotel gift certificates, airline miles, or conference tuition. Or you know, cold hard cash. FYI, here are some conferences your writer might be interested in:

2. A writing retreat. By this, I don't mean the ones that are planned by a group. If the writer in your life is working on a first draft or is doing some heavy revising, they may enjoy a few days at a hotel or cabin, away from kids, pets, housecleaning, or any other kind of responsibility.  Or, you know, just the moolah. A few things to consider:

  • Does your writer like to have internet access when they're working (I do, many don't)? If so, make sure the location has wi-fi.

  • If they want to focus on their writing, they probably don't want to have to hunt down food for every meal. Either make sure there is food available there or make some kind of other arrangements.

  • Even the most dedicated writer can't write for sixteen hours a day. Make sure there is something around for them to enjoy during breaks.

  • Good examples: a bed and breakfast in a small-town historical type setting with restaurants and shops within walking distance, a larger resort with restaurants and on-site activities, a cabin stocked with food and everything they need to make dinner.

3. Writing Yummies. Many of us have our succulent writerly *ahem* crutches. Mine is wine. Many like chocolate. There are others like: gummy sharks, coffee, cashews, bacon. Why not give them a yummy-of-the month club? Or, you know, just the $dough$.

4. Computer. If the writer in your life has to tape the battery of their laptop in, use a tin foil dish to make the wireless work, and hold up the screen while typing with one hand... I'm sure they'd appreciate a new computer to help them in their authorly journey. Or, you know, a stack of benjamins.

5. Books. Any writer worth their weight loves books. If you're lucky enough to know a writer who keeps a public list of the books they want, this is going to be easier for you. (Unless, of course, they just buy the book before Christmas) However, this one you can kinda cheat: give them gift cards to their favorite book store. As fun as buying books is, it's even MORE FUN if it's not our money we're spending. Or, you know, some dead presidents.

  • Also, if your writer is the type, they might like an e-reader. The big guys: Kindle, nook, Sony, Kobo.

6. A Research Trip. If the writer in your life is writing a book where the location is of special importance, they might appreciate a trip to scope the place out. Sure, Google Maps and websites are awesome, but there's nothing like actually going there. Or, you know, just the loot.

7. Pens, notebooks. If your writer likes to write the old-fashioned way (I'd be happy if I never had to write anything by hand ever again), they may enjoy a really nice pen or some nice notebooks. I (obviously) don't know anything about this area, so I don't have any recommendations. Or, you know, just the dinero.

8. Literary Jewelry. Just make sure she's not one of those writers who hates Shakespeare or something :-) Or, you know, some type of currency.

9. Website Design. Many up-and-coming writers are in desperate need of a professional-looking website. If your writer isn't too tech/graphic savvy (or is and just doesn't have the time), they may appreciate a professionally designed website. As with everything, make sure you do your research on the vendor. If they won't show you examples of sites they've done before, run the other way! Or, you know, some greenbacks.

10. Randoms. Here's a list of random cutesy things your writer may or may not like:

Hope that helps! If you have anything to add, leave it in the comments :-)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

(Two For Tuesday)^2

I’m approximately 20,000 words behind on NaNoWriMo and it’s the week of Thanksgiving. One of these is why I’m phoning it in with a short (but GOOD!) post for Two For Tuesday.

What is Two For Tuesday? You post two of anything. Doesn’t matter what it is, they don’t have to be related. And since I’m apparently incapable of sharing only two things with you, I’m going to call this one (Two for Tuesday)^2.

Good News. Times Two.

These days, spending about 45 seconds on any news site is enough to send you reaching for the Prozac. Sometimes, you may need reminding that there is good stuff happening too. I know I do. I recommend these sites:

  1. Happy News - This site has posts in all areas of news, including columns. I suggest the Reasons to Be Hopeful column. Thanks to my Phi Rho sister Becky for pointing me toward this site.

  2. Tonic - This website has good news as well, but is more along the lines of encouraging others to be a positive force in the world. Right now they have a widget running at the top of the page where you can answer the question, “Who is your hero?”

Cool Project. Times Two

  1. #reverb10 This one is for all my creative types out there. It’s an annual online event designed to “reflect on your year and manifest what’s next.” In summary, they’ll post a prompt every day in December and they want YOU to respond to it with a blog post, a photo, a poem, a tweet, or any other medium you want. If you sign up for this one, let me know and I’ll link to you in the sidebar (under the #reverb10 badge over there <--) when it gets closer to December.

  2. how i knew you were the one - People post short messages about how they knew their significant other was “the one.” A little corny, yes, but fun when you’re in the mood for something sappy that will make you believe in love again. :-)

So there you have it. It seemed I was getting nothing but bad news and everybody was in a bad mood, so I wanted to do a 100% happy post.

What are some of your favorite websites when you need to be cheered up and/or have your faith in humanity restored?

Friday, November 19, 2010

It's All Subjective. Really.

I’m querying right now, so I’m sorry, but it’s all I can think about. Last night I had my SFF crit group look over my first ten pages again.

One guy didn’t like the way I introduced the characters. He wanted more info about why they treat each other the way they do in the opening scene. He didn’t like the main character because she continuously failed at a very difficult task and soldiered on, not letting the failures get to her because she knew she would be able to do it eventually.

Another guy liked the introduction of the characters. He wanted to read on so that he could figure out why they treat each other the way they do. He liked the main character because she continuously failed at a very difficult task and soldiered on, not letting the failures get to her because she knew she would be able to do it eventually.

Both of these gentlemen’s opinions are valid and I respect what both of them have to say. They read the same 10 pages, even had the same exact reasons, but had differing opinions.

Can you say “frustrating”?  (No seriously, a lot of people say “fustrating” and it makes me want to kick them in the shins.) I try to take comfort in the fact that they both at least saw Miranda’s tireless commitment to the task and were affected by how the characters interacted, even if they had different reactions to it.

The writing business is subjective. We’re all told that; it’s hammered into our heads – especially by form rejection letters. No one’s opinion is “wrong,” by the very definition of the word.

I even hear rumors of people who don’t like THE HUNGER GAMES (‘tis true! though I’m not sure what kinds of people these are). I seem to be the only person in the world who didn’t care for THE TIME TRAVELLER’S WIFE and I’m getting to the point where I don’t want to see a movie if Johnny Depp is in it.

So when we get that rejection that really stings and only says “Not right for us,” we must remember that the phrase “it’s subjective” is not simply lip-service. It’s not just something people say to make us feel better.

It’s a Truth.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It's As Bad As You Think It Will Be...

I started querying THE DEMONS YOU KNOW... on November 2nd. That's exactly two weeks ago. I know it doesn't seem like a long time, especially in the glacially slow publishing world, but in waiting-to-hear-back-on-my-query time, it's like a gazillion years. Seriously, it took me about an hour to press that "send" button for the first time.

Dear Readers, I'm going to be entirely frank with you. I'm not an emotional person. It takes A LOT for me to get upset or happy or worried or ... anything. So when I saw/heard other writers talking about how emotional the submission process is, I didn't entirely believe them. "Oh, that won't happen to me," I thought.

But...... it did. And it kinda scares the crap out of me. I don't know how to handle the butterflies in the stomach or the heart-wrenching agony of a rejection.

I heard about writers who read anything into an agent's innocuous tweet after sending in a query letter, and laughed at them. But then a favorite agent I just queried will tweet something like "Having sushi and martinis with my BFF" and I'll be like, "Is that a metaphor? Do they love my book so much it's their BFF now? Or did they hate it so much that it drove them to drinking?" Seriously, guys: it's that bad.  And that's coming from me: the person who ONLY cries when the ASPCA commercials with that Sarah McLachlan song comes on TV. Of course, it didn't help when Nathan Bransford, his literariness, left agenting the VERY DAY I queried him! Seriously, Nathan, was it really that bad?

And the worse part? You know you're being crazy but you can't seem to make the thoughts stop but, luckily, you have the self control to not make the thoughts public (until you write a blog post about exactly how crazy you are) and to not act on them.

And the form rejections! I used to scoff at the authors who tried to "read between the lines" of these things, which I'm sure agents take extreme pains to make as vague and uninterpretable as possible. But now I'm, like, trying to use a UV scanner to read the hidden text or something.

And then the JOY. Oh, the wondrous, beautiful joy of a partial request. AND THEN! And then. You receive a full request from an agent you just adore and you think your heart might explode in that very second. OH GOD, OH GOD, but what if they don't like it? Will I ever recover?

But you know you will because you have the most amazing (Matt) writer (Lisa) friends (Adam) ever, whom you only know on Twitter (Erica) (and maybe met, for like a minute, at a conference (Tiffany)), but are awesome (Nina) and brilliant and loving and all the positive adjectives you could ever come up with. :-)

So... that's the first two weeks of a first-time-querier who actually isn't that emotional, so, dear Godiva, I really pray for those of you who actually HAVE emotions. Oh, and thank GOD for all those in my life who don't completely understand, but celebrate and mourn with me anyway (Hi Jen, Melissa, Chels, K, and mama!).

And for those interested? Stats!!

  • Queries sent: 17

  • Rejections: 6

  • "No Longer an Agent": 1 (Great excuse, Nate B.)

  • Partial Request: 3

  • Full Requests: 1

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thanksgiving Came a Little Early This Year

You know it’s a crazy week for me when I don’t even participate in YA Highway’s Road Trip Wednesday! It felt like I was strapped into an emotional rollercoaster with a few ups and plenty of downs (which I like on an ACTUAL rollercoaster, btw).

Oddly, despite the setbacks, I’ve been practically singing all week, my head held high and a smile on my face. See, I signed up to send a Thanksgiving package to a platoon in Afghanistan through Adopt A Platoon. AAP had a list of suggested things to include in the package, including a list of things you’re thankful for.

There were 30 men in the platoon, so I decided to come up with 30 things. It was hard at first. Y’all know I’m not the most sentimental person in the world. Except for the really big things, I don’t tend to see life in shades of what-I’m-grateful-for and what-I-wish-was-better, but rather this-is-what-it-is and this-is-what-it-isn’t. But the more things I put on the list, the more I wanted to put on it. I didn’t want to stop at 30. (but I did! Hey, it’s NaNoWriMo, I don’t have time for everything.) Nothing was too small to put on the list. I stayed away from the clichéd “my health and my family,” not because I’m not thankful for those things, but because they’re general and everybody says them – I wanted to be specific.

“Thanksgiving was never meant to be shut up in a single day.”  ~Robert Caspar Lintner

  1. electricity

  2. running water that’s safe to drink

  3. that I was able to go to college and choose my degree

  4. the freedom to write and read anything I like

  5. puppies

  6. I can walk, run, skip and dance

  7. friends who will come over with a bottle of wine and/or chocolate ice cream at any time of night if I’m feeling down

  8. fingerless gloves

  9. air-conditioning

  10. chocolate chip cookies straight from the oven

  11. Irish folk-rock music

  12. my sister & best friend

  13. my family supports my dreams

  14. a steady paycheck that covers all my needs

  15. air flight

  16. a complete lack of allergies

  17. I can sleep safely in my bed at night

  18. people who love me

  19. the internet

  20. people who honestly try to make the world even a little bit better

  21. artistic expression, both mine and others’

  22. engineers, who design everything we use but never get the thanks

  23. access to basic medicine and healthcare

  24. my eyes can see and my ears can hear

  25. lavender-scented anything

  26. policemen, firefighters, soldiers and everyone else who risk their lives and don’t get paid enough

  27. stores entirely dedicated to office supplies

  28. the invention of the printing press

  29. washing machines & dishwashers

  30. bubble gum

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”  ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

This is when it hit me: I have a really great life. Then I began to wonder, does everyone else realize this? In general, most of the people I know also have it pretty good. I only ever hear people complain (I’m not judging, I do it too. We all do it, it’s part of who we are as humans), but I wanted to know what others were grateful for.

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”  ~Thornton Wilder

And thanks to the internet (#19), I was able to ask. I put this message out on Twitter and Facebook:

“Working on a little project. Tell me please, what are you thankful for??”

The responses? (with my comments)

  • “I’m thankful 4 Friends like…” He goes on to list 14 people (including me!) and then says he doesn’t have enough room to list them all (on Twitter).

  • “Aside from the usuals like family & health, I’m thankful for video games & the world they let me escape into on bad days.” I don’t do video games, but I know a lot of people who have found solace in them

  • “My family, people who love me, knowing who I am and the ability to be that person, the privilege of education, and Batman.” A LOT of these were also on my list! I forgot Batman though…

  • “I’m thankful for my family and that I have a job.” There’s family again. Also, in this economic situation, I think the people with steady jobs are realizing their good fortune.

  • “Thankful for 2 healthy children… I’ve seen one too many sick kids this year, and I’m just happy & thankful that mine aren’t in the hospital battling an illness. (Sorry, kind of a downer, but it’s true… People take their health for granted.)” It’s not a downer, and I agree: people do take their health for granted.

  • “My amazing roomies who can always cheer me up, and make me feel loved, no matter what.” (Hey Chels! Love you, too)

  • “Breath” She’s a poet, can’t you tell? Perfect answer.

  • “Heidi (her dog), a stable career and good books!” See writers, someone’s even thankful for us! ;-)

  • “I feel extremely lucky and thankful for a very caring husband, dear friends and family (all healthy thankfully). I’m also thankful for being able to enjoy life and experience so much.” Yeah, I’m ditto on that last part.

  • “I am thankful for every lungful of air I take in… honestly… because without it I couldn’t be thankful for anything else thereafter!” She’s got a point.

  • “I’m thankful for having great loving friends and family all around me.” So simple, but something that so many people take for granted.

  • “I’m thankful for a wife that keeps me happy and sane, and I’m thankful that I’ve got a pretty good life altogether. I’m also thankful for science, cause science is awesome.” Oh SCIENCE! I’m so sorry, didn’t mean to exclude you. I <3 science. Especially the kind that let me do this entire ‘experiment’ via my mobile phone.

  • “I’m thankful for the vlog brothers. I think it’s time for some positive pranks!!”  DFTBA (links are mine)

“And though I ebb in worth, I'll flow in thanks.”  ~John Taylor

So this is what’s put me in such a great mood this week, despite receiving four (!) query rejections. I know it sounds cheesy and sappy, but next time you’re feeling down – maybe write down some of the things you’re thankful for. (I know I wouldn’t have done it if it had been suggested in this way, but the world managed to trick me into it.) We all do this at Thanksgiving in some way, but one day a year isn’t enough.

“Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.”  ~Edward Sandford Martin

Friday, November 5, 2010

I'm not a leper

My skin, especially on my head, constantly itches. Every time you see me, every time I tweet, every time I blog, know that my head is itching and I’m barely containing the urge to scratch it.

That may not sound too bad to you – and it’s not for a little while – but it’s a constant companion, every day, every hour, for four years now. It’s like Chinese Water Torture.

And that itching? Not only does it leave little white flakes everywhere I go, it portends of a far worse future. A future where my immune system will start attacking my cartilage in addition to my skin. Where I’m far more susceptible to heart attacks and strokes. Where any children I have will probably suffer the same fate.

What’s even worse? Despite the 7 MILLION AMERICANS who suffer from the same disease, nobody else seems to know about Psoriasis. Pay attention, I didn’t say cirrhosis. It’s not a skin disease, it’s an immune disease. You can’t catch it by swimming in the same water, breathing the same air, or touching us. In fact, if you weren’t born with it, it doesn’t affect you at all; which is part of the problem.

We’re tired of being treated like lepers. We’re tired of wearing pants and long sleeves in 97 degree weather to keep you from staring. We’re tired of paying too much money to try treatments that don’t work anyway and might give us cancer. We’re tired of our kids being bullied. We’re tired of being misdiagnosed by doctors who should know better. We’re tired of being kicked out of public pools, daycares, sports teams and even jobs. We’re tired of having to have a doctor’s note to prove we’re safe to be around.

The National Psoriasis Foundation not only funds research that will one day find a cure, they have fantastic educational and advocacy programs that make life easier for psoriasis sufferers. They are, quite frankly, the sole reason I have the courage to write this post, the guts to discuss my red scaly lesions with complete strangers.

Tomorrow, I’ll be participating in the Tampa Walk to Cure Psoriasis to raise both funds and awareness. Please, check out my personal walk page to read more. And if you can spare a few bucks, I’d appreciate your support.

I’d also like to thank the following people who have already donated in support of our team on the walk:

  • Donal

  • Jacob S

  • Aunt Susie

  • The Rands family

  • Jeff and Kim

  • The Trews

  • Tyler

  • The Humor Mill Orlando

  • Mike B

  • And several others I don’t know personally

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Road Trip Wednesday: If I were the supreme ruler..

Today’s question over at YA Highway’s  Road Trip Wednesday is:

If you were made supreme ruler of the publishing world, what would be your first ruling?

For me, this is going to be a two-step process.

Step 1: First, I would declare that we are no longer going to publish YA books about girls where the only thing interesting about them is that some super-hot, mysterious, abusive jerk is in love with them. This goes double if the only reason the jerk is in love with her is because of what she is, not who.

I mean, really, authors? Can’t we move past this? What kind of message are we sending to girls when our books are the supernatural novel version of that Rihanna/Eminem song?

We can write teen romances where the girl (who is the POV character, need I remind you) is allowed to make her own decisions and has her own personality, and they still end up in each other’s arms. Can’t we?

In my opinion, we need more heroines like Katsa, Nya, and even Hermione.

I remember seeing Maureen Johnson tweet about how a lot of the time people say a book has “a strong female character” when what they really mean is it has “a female character.”

Ok, whew. Rant over. Now it’s time for…

Step 2: Run and hide.

Seriously. I don’t want to mess with that crap. Sure, I want to publish, but I have no answers for all the troubles facing the publishing industry. I settle for following them, understanding the changes that take place… but I don’t know how to fix anything.

I can’t see any better way of (for lack of a better word) validating novels than the current system. I know for a fact that people who don’t follow the publishing world have no idea exactly how much crap is out there. They think if everyone could publish, it would all sort itself out. Personally, I think it would be a mess.

So, after step 1, I would hand the reins over to one of these ladies:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Two For Tuesday

Two for Tuesday is something a few of my blogging friends do where you pretty much can post two things - whatever you want, they don't have to be related. Unfortunately, I can't follow rules, so you're going to get four things :-)

1) In honor of my ocean-based NaNoWriMo novel, you should check out this AWESOME octopus. I want one!

2) The Gutters is a web comic done by the same guys as Least I Could Do (my favorite!) and Looking For Group. They basically make fun of the comic book industry in a fun, loving way. Issue #54 deals with a topic I've often wondered about myself: How does Professor X never draw the attention of cyber cops?

3) Here's an great quote from Elizabeth Aston, for all my fellow WriMos out there:

"It is all very well, when the pen flows, but then there are the dark days when imagination deserts one, and it is an effort to put anything down on paper. That little you have achieved stares at you at the end of the day, and you know the next morning you will have to scrape it down and start again."

4) I started rebuilding my blog roll when I changed websites, but it kinda fell to the back burner. If you want to be on the blog roll, please leave a note in the comments and I'll link to you!

Monday, November 1, 2010

My Month of Living Meatlessly

Whew! You guys have no idea how hard Vegetarian Month was for me! In the scope of Year of Months themes, it was easy in that I didn’t really have to do anything extra, but was hard in that I really wanted bacon.

I know some people were taking bets against me, but I did, in fact, make it the entire month without eating a single bite of meat or meat juices! *pause to pat myself on the back* I had a few almost-slip-ups, but managed to stop myself just in time:

  • On the 31st, the last day of the month, I was feeding Jasper the burnt parts of Chelsea’s grilled chicken sandwich at the farmer’s market, and almost licked the juices off my fingers! I stopped a few inches away from my mouth.

  • When I was home with my family, we had pizza. K always picks her pepperoni off (we also had cheese, which is what I ate) and I always eat it. I reached over, grabbed a piece of pepperoni, then immediately caught myself and dropped it like it was hot.

  • We did a soup, salad and breadsticks thing at work for a coworker’s birthday and my coworker Jen was kind enough to make the soup without chicken broth so that I could eat it (and it was delicious!).

  • When I was throwing a mock temper tantrum, trying to get K to make me some pancakes for dinner (I had a craving, ok? and she makes them better than me), I picked up a piece of Chelsea’s popcorn chicken and opened my mouth. Chelsea, not thinking, said, “You can eat it, I’m done.” K opened her eyes wide and said, “No! I’m making you pancakes!”

Around the middle of the month, it really started getting difficult. I am constantly surrounded my meat! My coworker was eating a tuna fish sandwich and I had to leave the area. When I went home to visit my parents, they made bacon for Saturday morning breakfast and the smell filled the house. We also had about a 40 minute discussion on Sunday, trying to figure out where to eat dinner that would have something I could eat besides salad (I really don’t care for salad. like, at all). After I got over that hump, I was pretty OK until K brought home Sweet & Sour Chicken and Pork Fried Rice at the end of last week for dinner. I was *thisclose* to cheating that night.

I did not eat any form of fake meat. Truthfully, I’ve always kind of objected to the idea. I like tofu and eat it from time to time – but not the kind that’s trying to take the place of meat. And I don’t have a problem with black-bean burgers, but a veggie burger? Not my thing.

In the true spirit of The Year of Months, this month opened my eyes to a lot of things. Most of my friends and family were pretty supportive; though my dad was seriously afraid that it would become a long-term thing (he doesn’t eat any meal without meat). I started seeing things a little differently:

  • I began to think of restaurants in terms of how many choices I had. Most of the time, they could be counted on one hand, if at all (looking at you, Applebee’s!).

  • I ate at Moe’s a lot, because it was one of the few places where I could get something low-calorie and meat-free quickly. One day I was there and had to wait in line for 13 minutes (no lie, I checked) because the guy in front of me ordered chicken and they had to cook it. So I sat there, watching my beans get cold. THEN, in their hurry, they dropped chicken in my burrito. I asked the girl to remove it and she gave me serious attitude – like I should be thankful for the piece of free chicken or something. I was a fake vegetarian and I was offended.

  • On the other hand, I was at the café at the Orlando library (which has about a gazillion vegetarian/vegan options, BTW) and ordered an egg and cheese sandwich. When the guy brought it to me, it had ham on it because he thought I had said “ham,” and I told him I was a vegetarian and he re-made the whole sandwich. Usually, especially in customer-service-deficient Orlando, they’ll try to pull the meat off and give it right back to you, but this guy even used a different croissant. I was impressed and touched by his thoughtfulness. Can you say “big tip”?

  • I also think that in restaurants where there are exactly zero vegetarian entrees (*cough* Applebees *cough*), you shouldn’t have to pay full price for an entrée sans meat. I know a big portion of the cost of the dish is the meat and they didn’t even increase the portion of the other stuff to make up for it.

  • Seriously, girl at that Mexican restaurant in Key Largo, how difficult is “I want this entrée, except with beans instead of steak” to understand?

  • When I worked third shift at Gaylord, I had to bring my lunch because there are some days where they’ll have nothing but three different kinds of meat entrees and French fries in the cafeteria. (The other shifts have many more options)

  • At many restaurants, they make the meals on the same grill (*cough* Pita Pit *cough*) and you are pretty much guaranteed to get meat juices on whatever you order.

I saw my vegetarian friend Todd on Saturday and he asked me how I was feeling. My response? “I feel like I want a burger.” But seriously, there were some days when I know I didn’t feel quite right and it was probably due to a lack of protein. I ate a lot of beans and eggs, but it’s still a challenge to get enough protein on a vegetarian diet. I lost 10 pounds in October, but that’s more as a result of my limiting of calories (actually harder to do as a vegetarian when you eat out as much as I do. All the low-cal dishes at restaurants are chicken or fish) than not eating meat.

I know I’ve been whining/complaining a lot in this post, so I’ll end on a positive note. Here’s a list of some of my favorite dishes this past month:

  • The lasagna at Olive Garden (not sure what it’s called) with like 6 different kinds of cheeses on it. Plus the breadsticks! YUUMMMM! Olive Garden is probably one of the most vegetarian-friendly major chains – not vegan though!

  • The Veggie Stir-Fry bento box at Bento. You get broccoli, carrots, bamboo shoots, snap peas and sprouts stir-fried in a garlic sauce, plus green beans, steamed rice, stir-fried noodles, a ginger salad and a little desert!

  • When I ate at home (I eat out a lot due to my super-busy lifestyle) I favored scrambled eggs, cheese and a spoonful of salsa all mixed up and stuffed in a pita.

  • The Art Vandalay at Moe’s was my stand-by for when I needed something quick.

In summary, I’m glad to have done it and to know that I did, but I don’t want to do it again :-)

For those keeping track, October marks the END OF THE YEAR OF MONTHS!! However, I will be participating in NaNoWriMo again this year. I’ll probably do a year wrap-up later in the week