Sunday, July 18, 2010

Friendly's isn't so friendly anymore

Wow, I didn't realize how long it has been since I posted anything! Sorry!

Well, inadvertently following along the previous vein of thought, I felt the need to share some comments on the local Friendly's restaurants today. They just don't live up to their name anymore. I've been at the one on Monroe Ave twice now this summer, and each experience has left me kind of blah.

In June, I was babysitting, so I took the child whom I was watching to Friendly's to share a summer sundae. She had never been there, and I have such fond memories of going as a kid. The sundae itself was fine, but the service seemed a little blah, and they didn't give her a kids menu. It was just a blank white piece of paper, with four crayons, that of course broke before she did anything.

Then, this morning, I felt like having someone else make my breakfast for me. I almost stopped at a local restaurant, but their parking lot was too full. So, I went a little further down the road to the same Friendly's. No one was really in charge of seating people at tables, so I waited for a couple of minutes while the servers watched me standing there and the manager was readjusting the ice cream display in the freezer.

I was seated, and the server came over promptly to take my drink order. I got coffee and water, then perused the menu for a while. I finally settled on the Lumberjack which came with eggs, sausage, and pancakes. I will be literally running around with a 9 year-old in a few hours, so I need some good fuel!

When she came back with my coffee, I got a filled coffee cup and a bowl of three creamers in ice. Kudos for putting the creamer on ice to keep it cold! But then there was also a carafe of coffee so that I could pour my own refills when I wanted them. Really? There were about five other tables in the restaurant. You can't take two seconds to fill a coffee cup? If they were busy, I guess I could see it, but really they weren't. In fact, the one server who was working was leaning against the counter in back, reading today's newspaper. And these are young girls.

The food came out, and really wasn't too bad. I liked how they brought out a caddy with four different options for syrup: maple, caramel, swiss chocolate, and strawberry. But, no one came over to see how my food was until my plate was about 2/3 empty, and I wasn't wolfing it down. And it wasn't my server who came over, it was the manager. I do think it is important for managers to be in touch with the consumers, but shouldn't a server be checking on me first? She didn't even stop by until I was almost finished.

They have now changed their policy to where you are supposed to pay your bill at the table, instead of going up to the register. I like that, because I can pay my bill and finish my coffee. Although, I find it odd that the bill is brought to you when your food comes out. Anyway, it came to $9.70 because apparently you have to pay $1.99 for the privilege of pouring your own coffee! All I had on me was a $20, so I stuck it in the holder. When my change came back, she gave me two $5s with the change. Ok, I never waited tables, but first rule of thumb: If you want a tip, you give back $1s, because no way in hell is someone going to tip $5 for a $10 bill! I had to ask her to break it down, and she seemed distraught over that.

I stayed to finish my coffee. After all, I had paid a lot for it, and was still trying to organize my thoughts for an article I have to do today. But I really struggled with the tip. I didn't have any coins on me, and a 15% tip should have been $1.45. I ended up leaving only $1.30, thanks to the change I had gotten. Had there actually been some service, I would have left $2. I usually overtip. Having worked in restaurants in the past, I know how important that is. But I also expect something in return.

All of that ranting having been said, I have had decent service at the Friendly's on 31F outside of East Rochester. But, usually when we go there, we are on a lunch break from work, and need to get the food to go. Even when the one guy was fumbling over himself on one trip, you could tell he was just having one of those days, and he was extremely apologetic. They were also busy and other servers were yelling at him to help them with all of their stuff as well. Perhaps I just need to quit going to this particular location?

I may also be spoiled based on the other restaurants I have been visiting lately. I hope to get back to sharing those experiences with you soon!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Rochester Restaurant Vacation Part Four

Today I decided to change it up a bit, and ventured out for food for lunch, instead of dinner. I had to tutor this morning, and was eager to get back home to work on more writing. Today I headed out to the crossroads of 250 and 441, and went to a family restaurant called Duchess Restaurant.

It's a typical family-friendly restaurant, with those old school rippled plastic glasses for water, windows between booths in case you have a large party, waitresses who are lifers, and lots of down home choices on the menu.

When I came in, that classic "Hostess will seat you" sign was posted, so I wanted a few minutes for the hostess to appear. People were also waiting up at the register to check out. Finally, I was taken to a nice booth toward the back. I appreciated having some space to spread out, as I had brought in my notebook for outlining other articles.

A waitress finally came over to get me something to drink. I asked for a water. When she returned, I asked for one more minute to make up my mind. About two minutes after I set the menu to one side, a second waitress came over to take my order.

The food came out quickly, and was delivered by a third waitress.. At least, the wrap and the fries did. I didn't get my salad. I started eating, anyway, because I didn't want the food to get cold. I kept my eyes open for my waitress, or anyone else, to pass by so that I could ask for the salad.

The fries were those really good, extra crispy, kind that seem like they have been dipped in some kind of batter. Really good means really bad, I'm sure. And a Philly steak in a flour tortilla is really good! I have a sensitivity to yeast, so I try to order wraps instead of sandwiches, whenever possible.

I was almost finished eating everything, despite deliberately slowing way down, by the time a waitress walked past my table. She was yet another one, whom I had not yet seen. I told her my salad had never come, showed her my bill/slip (which was placed on the table when my food had been brought). Had I actually finished the rest of the meal, I would have just asked for it to have been taken off, but I also really wanted the salad.

Waitress #4 walked into the kitchen, hollering, and almost immediately walked back out. Something tells me it was sitting there the whole time and no one realized it. I found it almost amusing, especially as they use that archaic system of assigning each server a number, then ding a little bell and the number lights up at the kitchen when her table's food is ready. Of course, I'm not really sure who my waitress was.

The salad was interesting. It had one tomato section, lettuce that was obviously bagged, and sliced mushrooms? The croutons were very rich and buttery, and the ranch dressing ROCKED, of course.

The bill was under $10, so I had no problem leaving $1.50 for tip. I have no idea who is actually going to get it, and I really don't care. I may be willing to give the restaurant another chance, because the food was really good, but that service obviously sucked. Some people may have raised a big stink, but I'm not the type to do that. I worked in a restaurant part-time for a couple of years when I moved out here. I realize that they were just coming off of the lunch rush, and people were changing shifts. But all of those things never negate quality customer service. But I won't go further into that right now. I can save that for a different post. :-)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Rochester Restaurant Vacation Part Three

This morning I had to go tutor one of my favorite kids. After hanging out for a while, I was getting ready to leave, when I asked where I should try to go eat today. His mom kept suggesting more Asian restaurants, which I would love to try, but I already had Asian once this week. Suddenly my young friend yelled out, "Quesadillas!"

Mexican always has been, and always will be, one of my favorites. But I wasn't sure where to find a restaurant close by. This family lives in the city, I didn't want to drive down to Henrietta in this yucky, rainy, slushy snow, and I've already been to the one I know in Webster. My friend recommended Moe's, but alas, I have been to the one in Victor, so that can't work. His mom finally mentioned Salina's.

I have heard of Salina's, but didn't know where it was located. And yes, it is sad that I have lived in Rochester for almost seven years and did not know where Village Gate was located. Turns out it isn't dreadfully far away, on Goodman. And I didn't realize that Village Gate is actually a mall!

Village Gate is the kind of mall that I like. Most of the stores are old, but with lots of character. I wandered through a few of them. I found a used bookstore that had Peanuts books for ridiculous prices - $1 and under. There was an antique Edgar Allen Poe for 50 cents that I put back, because I couldn't believe how cheap it was. Very tempting to go back for it now.

There is also a music store, that specializes in vinyl....oooohhhh.....luckily, I didn't have a lot of extra cash, and STILL haven't gotten a needle for my turntable. I could have gone crazy in there.

Following that, I wandered into yet another used bookstore, only this one was 99% antiques. I drooled over a first edition Louisa May Alcott book from 1877 that ran for $60. I have my eye on another one, that is significantly cheaper, but I haven't yet decided. I'll let you know later.

I wandered around the almost deserted place, that feels like it is a bunch of stores thrust into an old warehouse. I went out the wrong door and got drenched in the snow as I found my car, so that I could put my books away, then went back in to check out Salina's.

Naturally with my luck, I walked in at 4:02, and the lunch menu ends at 4 p.m. But, the restaurant was quiet, and I was seated right away. Unfortunately, I felt like it took forever for me to get greeted. I don't like it when you barely have your coat off and the server is breathing down your neck asking for a drink order, but I don't like to have already read through the menu about five times and know everything I want before she even stops by to say hi. But when I looked at my phone, I guess only about 5 minutes had passed.

I ordered a cosmorita to start, which is a cross between a cosmopolitan and margarita. It sounded intriguing and different. Then, I got a Salina combo, where I could choose two items to go with rice and beans. I went with a shredded beef and been hard taco and chicken tostada. I haven't had those exact combinations before, and usually I do not care for rice.

I guess things were extremely slow, because the server brought me my water and chips ans salsa, then not even two minutes later my drink and my dinner also arrived. And it was pretty good!

One thing I liked about their beef is that it isn't the traditional ground beef. Instead, they use shredded beef. And the refried beans are nice and chunky. The combination tasted great in a taco, that also included lettuce, cheese, and tomato.

The tostada was okay. Shredded chicken was topped with lettuce, tomato, and cheese. I felt that the chicken was slightly dry, and it would have benefited from some guacamole or sour cream. Unfortunately, it's a ridiculous amount to add one of those to the side, so I dealt with it.

The side of beans wasn't my favorite, but they were still very tasty. I like when they melt cheese right on top of the beans. And the rice was actually good! I liked it much better when I was able to scoop up some beans with the rice.

As for the cosmarita - YUM!! Definitely more potent than a traditional margarita and had flavors of both. I would definitely have another one.

To allow the drink to settle, I finished most of the basket of chips and all of the salsa. That was probably some of the best homemade salsa I have ever had. I think by the end of the bowl I had discerned that the unique taste was a lot of extra cilantro. I really need to learn how to make my own like that.....

So, all in all, yet another good experience. I think I will definitely be returning there at some point in the future. And I will definitely be frequenting those fun used bookstores some more....:-D

Rochester Restaurant Vacation Part Two

Tuesday night's adventure into the Rochester Restaurant Vacation was a little different. I am so dedicated to watching the scant coverage of the Olympics on NBC that I only had about 2 hours to get down to Barnes and Noble, then find a new restaurant that piqued my interest.

I kept my eyes open on the drive down Monroe Ave, looking for something new to try. I noticed that most of the places seemed to be Asian, which I love, but didn't want two days in a row. There were a couple of little pubs, which are also fun, but not as much by yourself. Or, there are the really high-end places like Wegmans' new restaurant, Next Door. I can't afford to visit all of those if I want to keep this up all week.

I got lost in Barnes, like usual, for well over an hour. So, I figured I would try something quick and local to take home with me. I started making my way up to the Tom Wahl's on Empire. (And no, I have never tried this local hamburger chain, despite living here for the past seven years.) Fate would not allow it to be, though, as there was a major accident blocking up traffic.

I gave in and decided to check out the Boulevard Grill, also on Empire. It is located right next door to Guida's Pizzeria, which is probably my favorite place for pizza, wings, salads, and more in the area. I have seen B.G. numerous times, as I often pick up my Guida's dinner after work, but have never gone in.

It is a bar, but there are actual tables for those who prefer to eat that way. I just went straight up to the bar and requested to order food for takeout. Food is the usual bar fare, a lot of fried foods and burgers and what-not. But I noticed a lot of salads, and then one of my favorite entrees: Chicken French. Though a little more than I really wanted to spend, $13.99, I decided to go for it, anyway, because it is one of my favorites. Sides included veggie of the day (green and wax beans with baby carrots), fries, and a tossed salad (with ranch, of course). While waiting, she asked if I wanted a drink, so I decided to add to my new restaurants by trying a new beer: Saranac Irish Stout.

I sipped on my new beer, which is very close to the loveliness of Guiness, but perhaps with less bite, as I watched the TVs. Unfortunately, every single TV at the bar itself was tuned in to the MSU v. Indiana game. I wish I liked basketball more - I am trying. If I looked in the mirror, I could see the reflection of the Olympics - Men's Figure Skating Short Program, and some other sports channel. I kind of wished the TVs at the bar would have been showing different things, and probably should have asked.

The food took about 20 minutes to finally come out. I forgot that these places take a lot longer preparing the food, because they want you to sit and drink. I won't have more than one beer, because I have to then go home. But it smelled absolutely fantastic.

I tried the salad first. It was probably of the bagged variety, but I loved how they put chick peas on top. And there is something in bar restaurant ranch dressing that makes me supremely happy, wanting to go into the kitchen to steal a vat because I am yet to find a comparable version on the store shelves.

Their fries are of the steak variety, of course. They were meaty and tasty. One thing I noticed that was unique was they used a seasoned salt instead of regular salt, which really added to the flavor of the fries. I like to use that if I make homemade fries from scratch.

The veggies were good, as it is often tough to mess up beans, in my opinion. They were extra flavorful because they were in the same box as the chicken, swimming in the extra sauce.

The chicken was okay. The chicken breast half was absolutely huge, but the breading on the chicken had a telltale taste of being done on a grill with hamburgers, or something else that was greasy. I guess I should have known better than to try a fancier dish at a bar and grill for that exact purpose.

But overall, Boulevard Grill was a decent experience. Rumor has it they have a kick-ass karaoke night, which I will have to check out sometime. :-D

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Rochester Restaurant Vacation Part One

I declined to go anywhere for this year's February break. My goal was to finally get caught up on some of the writing and reviewing that I do. I didn't get much accomplished over Christmas break. But sitting at home doing absolutely nothing is completely boring. I thgouth about becoming a tourist in my own town, and I have elected to do so via food.

Rochester is famous for having tons of locally owned restaurants. Sure, we have our chains, and I enjoy visiting those on occasion. But there is a wealth of untapped local yumminess. I decided a while ago that I should start trying more of the local fare. So, I have been trying one new place a month. This "vacation" I am going to a new place every day.

I waited until Monday to get started, because I wanted to enjoy a lazy weekend. So, last night, I drove around the Penfield/Webster area before deciding to check out the Asian Buffet on Empire Blvd. The layout is the same as any other version of a Chinese buffet, with the same paper placemat detailing the Chinese Zodiac.The waitresses are young Chinese women who speak little to no English and are saying, "Drink?" before you have even taken off your coat. The options are always Pepsi products.

I did like their variety of choices. Most of the food seemed to be Chinese, with some Thai and Japanese thrown in. They actually had a salad bar, on which you could build a true salad, and lots of fruit choices. There was also a dessert bar with the usual tasteless, yet pretty choices.

I had a couple of my usual favorites: General Tso, pork egg roll, seafood, sushi. I tried their sushi varieties, which were all either crab or vegetable, with no raw fish as the father in line ahead of me erroneously informed his daughter. My new taste was "butter shrimp" which appeared to be fried in a butter sauce - horrible for you, I'm sure, but oh so good! And I tried a Thai chicken thing, but forget what it was called. I even decided to give the French fries a try. They were pretty gross - almost tasting freezer burned and definitely baked in the oven instead of fried. But I wasn't expecting much, as this would not be their specialty.

All in all, the food was quite satisfying. The price wasn't too bad - $9.99 - considering they had four complete bars from which to choose food. Drinks were $1.49, with free refills. I'm used to the place back home that is a couple dollars cheaper, but this is a different community.

While it won't be a regular visit for me, I will probably visit again if and when I am really feeling a craving. Let the restaurant tour begin!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

On Daphne DuMaurier

@BNBookClubs on Twitter had this interesting tweet this afternoon:

Daphne Du Maurier said, “Writers should be read, but neither seen nor heard.” Do you agree?

Without even reading the link, I stopped to ponder for a moment. I think that times are a-changing, and that could have been true once upon a time. But there were also fewer writers being published, and they were revered more than now. These days, especially with all of the smaller independent publishers, and self-publishing, the list of books available to read is endless. Authors who wish to make some money doing what they love must get their name out there. So, without promotion, they could very well only sell a book to their closest friends and family.

Blogs and articles are ablaze with tips on how to get yourself noticed. A common way to do so is through venues like Twitter and Facebook (where I will shamelessly plug this blog post when I have completed it). They also recommend book blog tours. A good publicist can get you onto local talk shows, and the really good ones get you on national TV, if you have a buzz about your work. As for my own writing, I am getting more readers, slowly but surely, as I send out my links and network. So, I think it does help.

But perhaps what DuMaurier meant was to not blatantly throw yourself into the public eye. Today, it would be along the lines of staying off of the reality TV shows, and don't do something stupid like Tiger Woods and get caught. Keep some element of mystery about yourself, and don't share too much about why you chose to write about anything. Sometimes that mystique adds to the appeal of your written word. Reveal yourself through your stories.

DuMaurier was a fantastic storyteller. I have read Rebecca numerous times, as well as some of her smaller, lesser known works. And one of my favorite facts is that she was the true brainchild of the story that Hitchcock made famous in The Birds. But she wasn't outspoken about everything, so perhaps you didn't know that? Perhaps all writers should reflect on that thought before they send out their next tweet or Facebook link.....

Saturday, January 16, 2010

My Sister's Keeper and Julie & Julia

It's been a long, rough couple of weeks back at work, and now I have a quiet long weekend. So, I decided to rent a couple of movies. I went with My Sister's Keeper and Julie and Julia. And therefore, I broke my usually steadfast rule about reading the book before seeing the movie.

I started with My Sister's Keeper. That is the one starring Abigail Breslin and Cameron Diaz, where Abigail's character was born solely for the purpose of donating cells and body parts to her sister who is dying of leukemia. Abigail's character decides she wants to have control over her body, and sues her mother, played by Cameron Diaz. And the not-so-secret secret, of course, is that the older sister wants to die.

As I figured would happen, I did blubber the whole way through it, because that is what I do. The story was very moving, and I have to say I was on the side of the children.  While I agree that stem cell research could be beneficial when treating cancers, I don't think it is appropriate to genetically engineer one child to save the other. You're still sacrificing one life and using that one human being as a thing, with little to no regard for her being a human. Maybe I would change my mind if I were in that situation. Maybe I don't know enough about how it would work. But it just bothers me.

I love the story, though. And watching with a more critical eye, I felt that while Cameron Diaz got out the emotion, her acting abilities fell short. Abigail Breslin did well for an 11 year-old. I think the guy who played Taylor was obviously way too old for the older sister. (And when I looked them up on IMDB, it turned out that I was right.) If he was supposed to be that much older, I guess I didn't realize that, because I haven't yet read the book.

It's a movie that I may enjoy a couple more times, and will watch when it finally hits those TBS-type stations, but don't have an interest in owning.

And then there is Julie & Julia. As I am typing, I am trying to watch it for the second time. It didn't hold my interest last night, and I fell asleep. It is not holding my interest this morning, either. I have to say that I am disappointed.

I adore Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. Meryl is simply classic, and Amy has potential to become classic in her own right. But the pace of the movie is slow, though the concept is interesting. I am learning a lot about cooking, but I can't help but think about my kitchen, which is current need of a big clean-up, and that I should really be doing that, instead. I do enjoy the scene where she tries to cook the lobster, and can't bring herself to kill it. I would never be able to kill my own meat - not even a lobster - not even a fish. And I admire the tenacity and determination of Julie, to maintain her pace through an entire year. I've already lost my battle to write one blog post and one article per day, simply because teaching and tutoring pays the real bills at this point.

It also doesn't help that Meryl does a relatively accurate portrayal of Julia Childs's voice, which makes me absolutely batty!! She made me crazy when I was a kid, too!

I have a feeling I won't get through the movie this time, either, and will just have to tune in when it hits the movie channels. I don't want to waste another dollar by keeping it another night from the Red Box, if I am not going to watch it. That's what the movie channel subscriptions are for. :-)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Breyer's Yo Crunch Yogurt

Always on the lookout for a healthy alternative to traditional desserts, I was ecstatic around Halloween to discover a yogurt that had Reese's Pieces in it. Even better, it was only about 140-160 calories, which is comparable to the Stonyfield Soy Yogurt that I love so much.

I decided to try it, and it did taste almost as good as a Reese's Pieces sundae, but without that sugary coating staying behind on my teeth. So, on another shopping trip, I decided to try a few more.

I don't really care for the Nestle Crunch version, but I don't really like that candy bar, either. Butterfinger wasn't too bad, and I do like the M&Ms. Oreo Cookie tastes like eating an Oreo cookie, and has only 120 calories.

Another bonus is that as yogurt, it has acidilophilus and all of those other fabulous probiotics, which my doctor is telling me to increase in my general diet.

So, check them out, and try them as a healthy way to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Staying warm and being green

My house was built back in the 1920s, so it isn't exactly the most energy-efficient. I would love to do some updates, but I can't really afford to do so. Plus, who wants to get rid of those gorgeous leaded-glass windows? They don't make them like that anymore!

I also despise paying ridiculous amounts for gas and electric, so I am always looking for ways to reduce those costs. I have been replacing bulbs with those energy efficient ones whenever the other ones burn out. I try to have those bulbs in the lights that I leave on for security, as well.

I updated my furnace and air conditioner a couple of years ago, to a newer, yet used version, which dramatically reduced my heating and cooling costs. (Word of advice - though expensive, keep up on your furnace and a/c cleaning and service calls every year - saves you lots of money down the road!)

Only one room in the whole house gets a full blast from the furnace, so the majority of time is spent in there. The rest of the rooms split on two levels, which has never made any sense to me. The advantage of this is that you can close the door and retain most of that heat.

I've also become a believer in closing the doors to any area that isn't used as often, so that the heat isn't wasted going into them, and somewhat blocking the vents. Again, because they are split amongst levels, I can't block them off in the basement, as I would like, but what are you going to do?

I also play the thermostat game. For a while, I wasn't convince that it was really working. Perhaps that is more in the summer with the air conditioner? But, over time, I have finally noticed my utilities costs going down. (With the price of cable going up, this is a good thing!)

To do this, I leave the heat down at 55 when I leave the house for any period of time (unless it's literally just leaving the house for 15 min). I bump it up a bit when I get home and am cooking, then up again a bit when I decide to do other work. When it is time to go to bed, I nudge it down a bit and make sure I sleep with all of my blankets on.  I sleep with numerous blankets and a down comforter. Sleeping in the cold actually helps you sleep better. I also wear numerous layers and stay warm enough.

When it is particularly cold outside, I make sure I leave it closer to 57, to make me worry less about freezing pipes and the animals. I've even bought Snuggies for the dogs, lol, but haven't gotten to that point for myself, yet. It has been becoming a little tempting, though.....

Other ways of keeping warm have included drinking hot beverages and foods, of course. (Adding a touch of Baileys to coffee at night warms you up from the inside!) I love to cook/bake in the winter, because then the house stays a little warmer. I leave the oven door cracked open a bit for a slight bit of cheating heat afterwards. I am not sure if really does much, but it keeps the kitchen a bit warmer while I finish preparing food.

I'm curious to know what others do to keep warm........:-)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Fudging the New Years Resolutions tonight

Tonight, I have to fudge the NY resolutions a little bit. Technically, I posted an article, because my latest article at Associated Content was published tonight. And then I had to slightly edit one for Suite 101 and repost it. I was hoping to actually write one piece per day, but maybe I wrote it as as posts? Like I've said before, I think that times when I over-write, like the one weekend that I posted 26 book reviews, more than make up for these slower days. :-)

I did do a blog entry this morning, on my Montessori blog at

I'm not slacking off tonight to be lazy. I had a full day of work and what-not, and a friend needed me. Out of respect for her family, I will not divulge details. But it was enough to warrant about an hour on the phone, strategizing and sharing.

Other than all of that, the fun news of the day is that I bought Snuggies for the dogs. I hope to actually try to get them on the boys soon, and then maybe I will post some pictures?

I have about 87,000 other thoughts racing through my brain right now, but my eyes are closing, so they will have to be shared at another time......

15 minutes late

Argh! I told ya Wednesdays would be hard! (Didn't I?) It's officially 12:14 am on Thursday, but this is serving as the Wednesday post. I had a long school/tutoring day and what-not, and had an AC article due. The outline had been in my head for days, and I jotted it down while the child was working at tutoring. But after dinner and an author phone call, I just couldn't get the words out!

Hold it against me if you want, but I'm still going to count this posting as Wednesday's blog post for the day. I forgot to include a book review in yesterday's count, so that brought me up to 5 articles and three blog posts. So, my average was at least ahead. :-)

I have to say that having Grumpier Old Men on in the background doesn't help matters any, but how can you resist this movie? I've been trying to put my favorite quotes up on Twitter as cheap entertainment. It was my hope that laughing hysterically at some of the lines, such as Grandpa's perverted Hawaii comments would help loosen the words in my head.

So, I shall now post at 12:20 a.m., crawl into bed, and will be cursing myself when the alarm goes off in less than 6 hours.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Biggest Loser, Writing, and Resolutions

The new season of The Biggest Loser premiered tonight. I am finding it amusing that my BFF and I both have namesakes on the show. I am getting a kick out of hearing Bob yell at Andrea to stop crying and to keep working. I may have to record the season, or certain clips of the show, and play them to get my a$$ in gear!

As for my personal writing challenge, I feel like I did pretty well tonight! I had to tweak part of an interview to resubmit to Associated Content, then tweaked four others to also submit. I managed to put up a piece on Montessori Examiner. This morning I did a short blog entry on my Montessori blog, and have another one that will go up in a couple of minutes when I am done with this one. My goal was to put up one blog and post one article per day. (And if I have to, then average it out for the month.)

Can I maintain without losing my mind?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Tweaking those resolutions

I am a glutton for punishment, a creature of habit, and a dedicated worker. So, I am tweaking my writing resolutions for the year.  I figure that I have enough time to post at least one blog entry and one article per day, even on my busy school days. Blog entries are quite easy. And with sites like Examiner, I can easily crank out one short piece, right? Then, on those lovely days off, I can work on a slew of pieces while I relax watching TV. Yes, to me, writing a bunch of book reviews all day long could actually be quite relaxing. I'm weird. :-)

So, today I managed to put up a new piece on Suite 101, and added an entry to my Montessori blog. Then, there is also this blog entry. I'm off to a good start! lol

And it just occurred to me that on Women Who Write Online, we tried a similar task once. I think we ended up agreeing that as long as you published an average of one a day for an entire month, it was okay. My goal is to not fall behind!  We shall see.......

Saturday, January 2, 2010

NY resolutions and #writerlbsoff

I came across something interesting on Twitter yesterday. Fellow writers kept using the hashtag #writerlbsoff. Apparently, there is a movement amongst writers to band together to dedicate time to writing and to getting healthy. They sound like two great plans, and typical of New Years Resolutions. (I'll admit to having done my own writing resolutions, yesterday, following in the footsteps of @professorbeej). But actually having a plan in place is going to require more than just blinding writing out ideas on the spur of the moment. Plans such as losing weight, as well as writing more, require a great deal of thought as to how they are going to be implemented.

When I did the resolutions for yesterday, I did not blindly put those up. I have been trying to think of ways to do more writing and how to stick with it, while improving it, for quite some time now. It was just a good time to do so.

As for leading an otherwise healthier lifestyle, for right now, it's simply trying to take a daily walk with my friend. We try to head out either after AM dismissal, or after bus dismissal if we need to. I try to not eat too much crap, which is always easier said than done - especially when not at home. But both of those should be amplified, and can probably be claimed by just about everyone I know.

I wish my fellow writers the best of luck with #writerlbsoff, and will probably check in with them time to time to see how they are doing. And I will be a quiet cheerleader, on the sidelines, perhaps following along quietly.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Obligatory New Year's Resolutions

I've been putting off doing this all day, but after @professorbeej tweeted about his New Year's Resolutions on his blog, I decided I should probably do the same now.

1. Build the book reviewing sites.  I love to read. I have been reading since I was two years old. My mother just found my evaluation prior to kindergarten, which showed that at the tender age of 5 years and 1 month, I was already reading at a grade 5.9 level. My nose has been almost permanently stuck in a book ever since.

I started my two book reviewing blogs over the summer, Andi's Kids Books and Andi's Book Reviews. I also joined as another source for gaining books. I was just made the Children's Books Examiner for Rochester. The holidays and parent-teacher conferences at school in the middle of them have set me back, but I'm working at catching up.

I also just joined a new one today called NetGalley. I only requested the children's books, as those I can review much faster. To be a good writer, one must be a good reader.

2. Query my children's books.  Yes, I actually have some children's books drafted. It's time to suck it up and start querying and submitting. It's just a little scary!

3.  Focus on Montessori.  I've slacked off a bit from my Montessori postings. I have needed to be away from the classroom for over a week, so that I can rediscover what it is about teaching that I like so much. I also recently became the Montessori Education Examiner for Rochester, so, I have some work to do!

4.  Find a good writing rhythm.  I write for a ton of websites. I like all of them, and I do tend to focus on the ones that I like the best. My goal is to find a good rhythm and balance between them all, to maximize exposure and earning opportunities.

These are my four biggies. I have more, but they are a little bit more personal.

Happy New Year!