Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Year in Review (2013)

Okay, let’s do the year in review. I know it is a little early, but I am having dinner guests on New Year’s Eve, so I will be too busy for the next couple of days, getting a manicure, going to The Dry Bar, shopping and cooking.
Thanks to the old-school pocket calendar which I fill in throughout the year, I have been able to recreate the highlights of 2013.
 Movies: Anna Karenina, Django Unchained, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Salmon Fishing on the Yemen, Zero Dark Thirty, To Rome with Love, The Master, The Queen of Versailles, Searching for Sugarman, Quartet, Long Day’s Journey into Night, Central Park Five, All the President’s Men, The New World, Frances Ha, Before Midnight, One Eyed Jack, Cloud Atlas, The Seekers, Lawrence of Arabia, The Usual Suspects, The Prestige, The Graduate, Adaptation, Bernie, The Science of Sleep, Blue Jasmine, Rush, Captain Phillips, Giant, Nashville, Notorious
Cultural Outings:  Three plays: Good People, the Book of Mormon, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. I went to the Phillips Gallery twice, once with Peter and another time with Kathleen to see the preview of the Van Gogh show; I took Peter to the Holocaust Museum and I attended the National Book Festival to see Linda Ronstadt.
A Sound Reason to Visit Martha's Vineyard
Trips:  I went to Honolulu on business in February; spent spring break traipsing around the dreary NJ, CT, NY, PA area looking at colleges (only to learn that Franky wanted to go south); spent a week in Martha’s Vineyard, thanks to Peter’s best-ever summer job as a member of the Vineyard Sound a cappella group;  back to Cape Cod with Jane for a visit to Susan in East Falmouth, and then one more time to Martha’s Vineyard for Peter retrieval; and went to Saratoga Springs, NY for Parents’ Weekend at Skidmore. Conspicuous by their absence: New York City, Tucson, California and Maine. Gotta fix that next year.
Books: I now belong to two book clubs, so I am always reading for one or the other; sometimes they overlap so I have to skip one, but overall it has upped my reading and steered me toward books I would otherwise never pick up.  Here are a few we have covered in the two clubs: The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B., Sandra Gulland (Part One of a Trilogy); The Burgess Boys, Elizabeth Strout; War and Peace, Tolstoy (ongoing, four-part book club); American Pastoral (in progress)  and Operation Shylock by Phillip Roth; Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe; Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf; Age  of Innocence, Elizabeth Wharton; O Pioneers, Willa Cather; Madame Bovary, Flaubert; Therese Raquin, Zola; Excellent Women, Barbara Pym;  Cannery Row, Steinbeck; The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene; What’s Bred in the Bone, Robertson Davies; The Sheltering Sky, Paul Bowles; the Road from Coorain, Jill Ker Conway…okay I am going back more than one kill me. I didn’t do this exercise last year.

Who Can Forget the Nose Cast?
Accidents: I broke my toe; I broke my nose (tennis); and in an “unfortunate spinning accident” my foot came out of the pedal going at top speed into my shin and I required 11 stitches. First and last spinning class.
You Say Goodbye
And I Say Hello
Fitness and Glamour: I ran, played tennis and took yoga classes. I quit Equinox, an expensive health club, which I was under-utilizing at $140 a month; and became obsessed with The Dry Bar, and for $200 a month may never have to wash or dry my hair again. Ooops, $140 a month habit dropped, $200 a month habit taken up. Even I can do the math on that one.
Money/Miscellany/Mini: So as they used to say: “Mother is going to take in a little sewing.” I started freelance proofreading last summer and am very happily employed by HealthyLivinG, a monthly magazine based in Beverly Hills, which keeps me busy in my increasing spare time; and sends me checks which I am banking for our trip to Madrid to see Peter next spring; but after that, may apply to my new major purchase.
Who Says Mini Can't Buy Happiness?
College Bound...Somewhere
College bound and determined: Franky took over the search, found seven schools in the south and two in California; has been admitted to two early action, is waiting to hear from the rest.
 For a variety of reasons, I am much happier this year. Let’s hope the good times roll into 2014.




Thursday, December 12, 2013

'Been a long time since I rock and rolled. Been a long time, been a long time, been a long lonely, lonely time..."

Zeppelin's first
If you don’t love early Zeppelin, then I guess you didn’t grow up in the 70’s. When Jason Werth chose Dazed and Confused as his walk-up music, my respect for him soared. I am pretty sure I was at a Led Zeppelin concert in Phoenix. Almost positive.

Tools of the trade-good thing I'm not a photographer
Basically I’ve been too busy proofing and editing the work of others to have time for my own writing. Proofreading teaches you a lot about writing. I’m beginning to agree with Mark Twain’s opinion of adverbs: 'I am dead to adverbs; they cannot excite me.' I have delighted in deleting a ton of adverbs and throwing them in the dead word pile. Really.
Birthday week
In November a lot happened.  First it was my birthday for about 10 days.

Together again after two years

Then Peter came home from college and had a spontaneous reunion with his Beatles cover band at a pre-Thanksgiving party. "Ringo" arrived with his hair dyed blond. I guess this is what happens when you go to Brown.

The day before Thanksgiving I got this:

Mini Me-If I were a car this is what I would look like

On Thanksgiving I did this:
... cooked the turkey upside down.  Not on purpose. I am finally able to share this shame. I meant to, yeah, that’s the yarn we are spinning. Cooking it upside down allows the juices to flow to the breast and make it moister. But once my husband started to carve the back he noticed a paucity of meat. Flipped it and there was, well, the turkey as we expect to see it. All that malt barley glaze for naught.
Guy Poms

Smells like teen spirit
Senior year at high school has come to this: guy poms. It is also a time of uncharacteristic interest in the snail mail. Franky has applied early action to four schools, so any day now, or week, or month, we could hear something.
I'm still reading War and Peace, but I have made it to the half way point (600 pages), and now am very interested in what will happen to Boris, Natasha, Moose and Squirrel.

And now we slip into the stress-packed month of December. No I haven’t done the shopping,  shipped the presents, gotten the tree, written the cards or decorated the house yet. Could be a long time again, long time, a long lonely, lonely time until I return to the blogosphere.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Logue-ing Out Day 16, The Party's Over

No Mas

I think this is really it, I think I will be in a place called an office tomorrow doing something they call work.

But I will always fondly remember the furlough and my extended period of freedom. I am not one to look a gift horse in the mouth.

So, did I achieve all my Day One goals? I had a few LLLWOF (long leisurely lunches with old friends); I organized stuff--the college files, the bills and paperwork, the jewelry, winter summer closets; I read 157 pages of War and Peace. I exercised until I was forced to stop. I had a couple of manicures and blow-outs. I saw a couple of movies (Gravity and Rush).

I learned that I don't have enough exercise clothes to last a full week.

I learned that you shouldn't wait for a furlough to catch up with old friends.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Furlogue Day 13-Well,This Was Not Supposed to Happen

Luckily, it's my color

I had been sticking to my "exercise everyday" part of the furlough program. I even agreed to try some classes at my friend's new fitness club. Friday I went with her to a Zumba class, and that went fine, it's just getting cardio in a different way, and since we have had days of rain I can't run anyway.

Saturday morning I agreed to meet my friend for a spinning class. I have never spun before. I've never been keen on cycling, except for the fact that it is the only exercise you can do sitting down. But again, what harm could it do to try another round of guaranteed indoor cardio?

Halfway through class we were told to stand on our bikes and I did but my foot slipped out of the pedal clip and the pedal continued to spin around very fast, making a big gouge into my shin. Once I realized I was bleeding profusely, I left the class and the staff was very solicitous but agreed that I needed to go to the hospital for stitches.

My husband came to get me and drove to Suburban Hospital ER. There was a soothing volunteer who just shook her head when I arrived and said "It's always you women who exercise." I had just been there in May for the broken nose--from tennis, so maybe she has a point.

But a spinning class accident? Never seen one before. Or so claimed all the medical staff I saw. From RN's to ER Techs there was great laughter. Glad I was able to bring some levity into their day.

Finally the Physician's Assistant came to stitch me up. She was lovely and  we talked talked tennis and carrying heavy purses and raising teens. Then she said I needed to lay off exercise for the next 10 days. What?!

"No running?"
"Not even yoga?"
"How about mat Pilates?"
"No. You can sit."
"And sit."

Sitting out 10 days of furlough, I thought, I might as well be wor..., I mean writing.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Furlogue Day 10-Rain Delay

Rain, non-stop, all day. More in the forecast.
Today we the furloughed workers were put on rain delay.  It was pouring rain all day which meant we could stay home and do nothing, without guilt.[Note the importance of the comma in that sentence.]

I read some War and Peace and did a little work on my personal computer email which I have never bothered to sort/delete/or file since I purchased it a year and a half  ago.

At the suggestion of a friend I started Scandal Season One. I love it and could easily go binge watching.   I talked to a lot of people on the phone.

It is supposed  to rain like this for the next three days. So I signed up for an 8:45 a.m. Zumba class.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Furlogue-Day 9

At 6 p.m. we are pretty fluffy

My days during furlough are all front-loaded. They look like the inverted pyramid we learned about in journalism school. I wake up very early and get a lot done, but then face diminishing returns in the afternoon and evening.

Today I volunteered at the Writer's Center at the high school, helped a kid with his college essay; played tennis; did the grocery shopping and came home to do some editing. I have a baseball game to watch tonight.

If my furlough freedom ever leaves me stumped, I just turn to War and Peace, always there like a big lump.  I think War and Peace should be on every furloughed workers' required reading list. Certainly it is one of  those that books that you meant to read if only you had the time. Well, now you do. At the end we could have a big furlough book club online discussion.

The orange bookmark is where I am, the red is where I am headed

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Furlogue-Day 8, That's What the News Says So It Must be Right

There were some comments on the last few posts casting doubt on my claim as a Pioneer Woman. So this morning I did what any challenged Pioneer Woman would do. I baked an apple pie. I got this recipe from a friend who knew I didn't like making crusts.

The basic problem with this pie is its presentation.  It looks bad, tastes good. My son’s girlfriend, who attended "L'Academie de Cuisine" for five summers, declared it the “best thing I have ever tasted.”

 I call it: “Crustless Apple Pie for the Spineless Bakery Chef"

4 Honeycrisp apples (unpeeled)
¼ C sugar
1  t cinnamon

Slice the apples very thin, then mix with sugar and cinnamon. Spread out evenly on pie pan.
Looks like this:
Looking good

Then in a small bowl:

½ C flour
¼ C sugar
5 T butter
Mix until the butter forms little balls and then pack the mixture tightly on top of the apples, covering completely, like this:
Still looking good

Put in a 450-degree oven for 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to 350 degrees and cook another 30 minutes.

Then you come out with this:
I told you it didn't look too good

Does the garnish help?
Out of the kitchen and into my comfort zone. It is organize the jewelry day. It was easy to sort into three categories: the organized: bracelets on the bracelet bar and necklaces on the necklace bar, earring pairs finally reunited; silver jewelry in need of polish;  and hopelessly tangled necklace chains.  I can delegate the two problem categories.

Not sO pioneer after all.