How That Vegetarian Thing is going

If you are a frequent or even sometimes reader of this blog, you know that since January 1 I have been living a meatless existence.

I’ve been a pescetarian. Or, if you’re my mom and don’t fully listen all the time when I tell you things, a “presbyterian.” Even though I really am that, too.

Anyways. No meat, just fish. And limited if any, cheese, which has nothing to do with meat really except it comes from the same place and the animals can stay alive and you still will get cheese.

For any of you that might be new, or, to refresh your memory, I gave up cheese after some sent me to the emergency room, and I gave up meat soon after because I found that it was entirely too easy to go to Wendy’s all the time, I felt like crap a lot and I realized it wasn’t even that good.

And it’s gone well, so far.

Sure, sometimes the aroma of Chick-fil-A makes me want to say “nevermind that whole thing, I’ll just grab breakfast nuggets this one time.” And when the new Smashburger showed up downtown, I didn’t enjoy a delicious burger, so much as black beans that wouldn’t stay together in burger form and gave me gas.

Speaking of gas, I also now am officially lactose intolerant. Doctor hasn’t told me, but I know. I. KNOW.

Anyways.

As I said, it’s gone well. For the most part. You see, there have been a couple of setbacks.

My family went out to eat at The Blind Pig like, a month after I made my declaration of almost-vegetarianism. This restaurant is an almost entirely meat-full restaurant. They have bacon ice cream, kids.

I found the one fish item on the menu and was forced to taste the aforementioned bacon ice cream, much to my chagrin. It ain’t bad. And I spit out all the tiny bacon pieces that were in it, so that doesn’t really count.

Then there was the time I was trying to be a good person and didn’t realize my meal had been compromised until it was too late.

I went to pick my grandma up from a short stay in the hospital. She had fallen and broken her wrist and my parents were otherwise unavailable so it fell to me to pick her up and take her home. Not a problem, of course, I love spending time with the little lady. Problem was, we got home and everyone had already finished dinner.

I sat down for dinner with her and was so preoccupied with making sure she was eating OK and wasn’t leaning on her broken wrist and everything that when a plate was put in front of me to eat with her so she wasn’t alone, I blindly took a bite. And then another, and then another. And then realized it was pot roast.

Shit.

I called my mom all anxious and frustrated because I’d been doing so well and how pathetic that I couldn’t even make it more than a couple months without eating a four-legged animal.

You guys, my stress dreams now are about eating meat. Before? They were that I didn’t actually finish school – I’d forgotten to take a class or turn something in or pass a class or whatever and my whole high school or college education was invalid.

Now, when I’m stressed? I dream about eating a hamburger. WTF.

After that, I vowed to pay more attention to everything I ate. Make sure places have a vegetarian option or shrimp or fish. Don’t go to BW3s. Potato soup does have bacon bits in it, even if it looks like it doesn’t.

Which brings us to The Incident.

It happened this past weekend, at a bridal shower for Rebeck.

I’ve been in wedding mode since, like, November, keeping track of showers, bachelorette parties, gifts, cards, invitations, save-the-dates, planning and whatnot.

Kind-of-related: Made a kick-ass ribbon bouquet for Rachel at her two showers. I’m so crafty!

But yeah…you know what a lot of people make to eat for showers of the bridal and baby variety? Pimento cheese.

Ahhh, pimento cheese. You live in or attend a party in the South, there’s a 97 percent chance something there will contain either benedictine or pimento cheese. Yummm.

Naturally, Rebeck’s shower, in Tennessee, was no exception. Except these pimento cheese sandwiches were panini. They were cut up in those cute little triangles and I loaded my plate up (and by load up I mean I took 3).

Delicious. Deee. Lish. Us.

I’m at my second bite of my third sandwich and a sort-of-familiar bit of food hits my tastebuds.

It can’t be.

Noooooooooooooooo.

I look at Rebeck.

“Do these have bacon in them?”

“Yup.”

“Shit. Well. I’m not a vegetarian anymore.”

And I had been doing so well! Obviously this was sabotage. How was I to know these usually meatless sandwiches were now tainted with That Food I Had Vowed Not To Eat?

So, I had three more and vowed to go back to the meatless diet the second I left Sarah’s house.

And I am sticking to it.

Until another Meat Sneak Attack.

But beware. I’ve got my guard up now. I think.

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Well when you put it that way, it does sound ridiculous…

That whole meat-free thing? Still going strong. Well, correction, not strong, because Friday night I got a whiff of a McDonald’s hamburger and I know they’re horrible but for about 40 minutes I really missed them.

I only was near McDonald’s because that’s where I took my favorite six-year-old, Will, to dinner while babysitting him. Usually I’ve got him and his sister, Claire, who is seven, but she had plans tonight so it was just me and the little dude.

You guys, he’s one of the funniest people I know. And it’s 98-percent unintentional. I love talking to kids and asking them serious questions to see what their answers will be because they’re always funny. And usually when I’m with Will, I post them on Twitter at some point (follow me, if you like, my Tweets are near the top righthand corner of this page).

Well, Friday night was no exception and he had a lot of good ones – from wondering why I was a grown-up woman and not married (he had suggestions for who) – to telling me “I don’t care for them” (them being onions, but he talks like a 40-year-old sometimes).

One of my favorite conversations of the evening, however, happened when we were talking about getting his dinner at McDonald’s. I told him I wasn’t eating a burger like he was because I’m a vegetarian, kind of, but I just eat fish, no meats or chicken or anything like that.

His response? “I’m that, too, a vegetarian, except I only eat steaks, but no chicken or fish.”

I feel that I am not being taken seriously in my endeavors..by a six-year-old anyway… #pescetarianproblems

Yes (wo)man

There’s this movie called “Yes Man” with Jim Carrey. He’d said no to everything, been afraid of new experiences until all of the sudden he decided to try and do the opposite – to say “yes” as often as possible.

I wouldn’t say I’m going THAT far, but 2012 is definitely the year of new experiences. And so far, so good.

I’m trying things I would have called crazy before. Crazy only meaning something I would likely never do, or it would take a lot of coaxing to get me to.

I’m also signing up for new experiences that aren’t crazy at all, but that are things I’ve been meaning to get off my ass and just do already.

Remember my resolution to go without meat for a year? Still goin’ strong. I’ve developed a greater love for fish and, to the dismay of The Roommate, an addiction to shrimp. When I tell people I’m doing this, the first reaction is “What? A year? Why?”

My answer is usually along the lines of “Why not?” And that’s kind of the mantra I’ve adopted from here on out, starting with 2012, the year of new stuff.

I’m running. Not as much as I did in January, but to be fair this month has been NUTSO and I’m looking forward to getting back on a regular schedule and hitting up the gym a few times a week and even running outside now that its not -19 degrees. I’m planning to do at least two 5Ks so far. Baby steps, friends, baby steps.

I play volleyball every Monday night. And I plan to, well into the next couple months. I’m in a league and on a team that’s second place in that league. And though I’ve come home with a ridiculous amount of bruises from hitting the ball the wrong way, I’m getting better. And I’m loving every bit of it.

I tried guitar for a minute, but I’m afraid I don’t have the patience. My youth group kids are learning each week and it was originally my intent to sit in and learn something as well. But I’m finding it cooler to watch them learn and play and be proud of themselves when they hit that note, that chord, that drum beat. I’d be missing that if I was playing too, because I’d be entirely too stressed out trying to get my fingers to bend in ways they’re not used to – FYI a C chord on guitar is hard as shit.

I’m going to volunteer more of my time this year, I’m going to help others. For example, last weekend I worked the scoreboard at a Special Olympics Basketball Tournament. It’s not much but it’s a start. I worked a little bit with the organization in college through the sorority, but I want to do more. I want to give back, I want to make friends with these amazing people.

I’ll be Walking again later this year and hope to have just as much incredible support as we did last year.

I’ll be taking a more active role with the youth group and working with them to help them grow in their faith and in their relationships with each other and do some fun and interesting things the rest of this year to learn more about themselves and the world around them and how they fit into it.

Oh, and get this. I signed up for yoga. WTF.

There are so many things wrong with that sentence – “I signed up for yoga.” When I think of yoga I think of gracefulness, which is not a word associated with me. I also think of flexibility, which I have none of. Also, I’m afraid I’ll get too relaxed and fart in the class or something.

But seriously, a co-worker bought a Groupon and happened to catch me on a day where I was particularly motivated and, well, now I’ve paid for 10 yoga sessions and what in the bloody hell was I thinking?

There are other new things coming this year – I’m watching three of my favorite people in the world get married to great guys. Two more of my closest friends are becoming baby mommas for the first time, one of whom will do so in the same city I live in! My girl Katie and her husband are moving to town and I couldn’t be happier. And even though I’m a three-hour drive away from the other baby we’re welcoming into the world, she’s going to get just as spoiled by me as if she lived here.

For a long time I’ve been a pessimist. And that’s not gone away. But right now, at this moment, I can’t help but feel optimistic. This so far has been, and I have no doubt it will continue to be, a great year. And I have a sneaky feeling that this year’s just the beginning.

Notes on a meatless existence

• A lot of restaurants make up for their lack of a vegetarian option by offering a “veggie sandwich.” Veggie means no meat, of course, but what they lack in dead animal they make up for with cheese. No bueno.
• Hamburgers smell better than they ever have when you’ve told yourself you can no longer have them.
• I still hate olives.
• Peanut butter and jelly has more calories than a tuna sandwich.
• I really don’t miss bacon.
• If you close your eyes and pretend really hard, a salad tastes just like ribs.
• This has been the longest month of my life. It seems like I haven’t had meat in years.