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.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Furlogue-Day 39

Oh, no wait, it’s only Day 6. I have quickly adopted the ways of those retired people who completely lose track of time, they never know the day of the week and sometimes are hard pressed to tell you what month it is. My sole prompt that it was Monday morning was that the Prince had to be awakened for school.
The Basket

It was a good morning for filing and running, I thought. By 8:30 I had the bed covered in paperwork I had thrown into a basket for the past 10 months. I like to let it pile up and then eventually organize it and put it in files. None of this pay-the-bill-and-immediately-file-the paperwork-thing for me. I need the basket to reach overload.

Running Like Gump
Then I went for a run and it was cool and raining lightly so I was having a good time, a Forrest Gump kind of run, I could easily have run into the next state. Usually I am more like Forrest Lump. But I had my iPhone with me and first it beeped to provide me with the National Weather Service alert of a “SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING.” I carried on, bravely clutching the metal keys in my hand.  Then it beeped again with the NWS issuing a TORNADO WATCH.  Real buzz kill that 411-911 feature.

So I came home and had to wash and dry my own hair. The Dry Bar, as the name indicates, only guarantees its product until your hair encounters moisture of any kind, sweat, showers, rain. If you go to Dry Bar and then go out in the rain, it is the same as digging around in your purse after a new manicure.

In addition to drying my own hair I made a new batch of granola for the week.

Sometimes it gets a little “Down on the Prairie-ish” around here.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Furlogue goes into weekend

Michael at The Tastee Diner

I only work half a day Friday, so technically my furlough time was over by noon. I checked off the long leisurely lunch with old friends box by having a short and frantic breakfast at the Tastee Diner with my friend Michael. We have known each other since 1976. He was my next door neighbor when I got my first apartment in Tucson.

He was thrilled with the furlough--"I can never reach you, and now with the furlough I can see you again!"  There was much catching up to do between 8 and 9 when the parking meters start requiring payment, so everyone races out. He bought my breakfast, I guess I ought to contact more private sector friends. They feel for the furloughed. I missed out on the Kraze Burger's offer of free burgers for Feds. They put an end to it after giving away $600,000 worth of free food.

The only problem with this gift of time is that it can be removed at any time. Hard for planning purposes. I haven't made the trial desserts for the wedding shower because I don't know if I am having the wedding shower Tuesday.

I got rid of a three foot stack of Sunday New York Times, assuring myself that I was missing nothing by skipping a few July and August papers. If that was not on my list, let's add it. So we can cross it off.

I only had a few minutes with the Prince after school because he was racing off to an outdoor concert with several members of his court. They had the carriage waiting for him, so he was here only long enough to ask for and receive his usual Friday night fee of $20.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Furlogue Day Two

Shameless plug for the Dry Bar

This was a day for me. I can check off the spontaneous pampering appointments. And who knew I could book an appointment with the Dry Bar as early as 8:15? Oh yeah, the women who get their hair done before work. Some consider this a self indulgence to the max, but for $40 someone will wash, blow dry and style your hair. They can do things I cannot do at home, like give me straight Gwyneth Paltrow hair. Best of all, you can read the whole time, so I was able to multitask  by reading War and Peace.

Gywneth Paltrow hair--do not try this at home
I will give The Dry Bar a shameless plug, I love it there---they play good music, show classic chick flicks, and have used good word play in their marketing. Their hair styles include Cosmopolitans, Manhattans, Southern Comfort; an Extra Shot is something extra like a scalp massage, there is a conditioner named Detox. They serve coffee and cookies.

I went from there to Acqua Nails for the total 20, mani and pedi, spent that whole time reading War and Peace. Between the hour at the Dry Bar and another at the nail salon I think I read only about 30 pages. This book is either dense or I am. I think I spend too much time testing my college French skills before relenting and reading the translation. Then I wound up the glamourization trifecta by getting my eyebrows done. [My favorite part of Orange is the New Black is wondering how they are getting their eyebrows done to such perfection in prison.]
It's thick, I am not
I came home to do more editing and help the Prince with his  transcript requests.  He is now practicing with the male poms, I think we will have Chinese tonight.  
PS: I am not quitting Nicorette very successfully, yesterday I broke bad and bought a small pack of 20 in the flavor I most despise.  I think Augusten Burroughs called the original flavor "essence of Dupont Chemical."

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Fuloughed but Not Forlorn--Furlogue Day One

Federal Government

There is no better gift than the gift of time, and that’s what the federal government has given me. So it is my duty to spend this time efficiently. Here is a list, by no means comprehensive, of my furlough plans:  exercise every day; catch up with old friends over long leisurely lunches; write every day; switch over winter/summer clothes closet; do home office paperwork/filing;  make spontaneous appointments at the Dry Bar and Acqua Nails;  make test desserts for wedding shower I am hosting next week; get back into yoga; read Part Two of War and Peace (an assignment from my underachieving book club); and, it goes without saying, helping the Prince with whatever he demands.
I thought sleeping late might be a part of this plan but apparently not, I woke up at 4 and 5 and finally gave in and got up at 6. My immediate duties were to make lunch for the Prince and prepare him for his senior portrait. He asked his personal valet to bring his clothes to school and leave them in the front office so that he wouldn’t “have to carry them around.”
So I found that by 9:30 a.m. I had already gone to the high school, gone to the pharmacy, gone on a 2.5 mile run, done two loads of laundry, and read the paper. Only 12 and half hours until I go to bed.
Yesterday, the first half day of furlough, I came home and worked all afternoon on my other job,  freelance editing for a health magazine, where finding typos gives me inordinate joy. Good timing because the magazine is at the peak of its production schedule. Lots to do.

Yum, Yum, My Gum
Something else is happening this week. I am on Day 2 of stopping Nicorette Gum which I have been chain chewing for about a decade.  Oddly enough it was the expense, at least $50 or $60 a week; that drove my decision, more than concerns about long-term health.  So now I am going through nicotine withdrawal which leaves the mind a little scattered. My brain looks like Morning Joe when they have 7 screens of pundits on at the same time. One screen is looking through pockets of winter coats for the odd piece of gum. One is chewing Cinnamon Trident and then when the brain realizes the trick, says, ”Where the hell is the nicotine?”  One is figuring out how to get all the furlough plans done; one is writing this blog and I guess the other screens are screaming about extremist Republicans and moderate Democrats.
Gotta go make granola now.

Homemade Granola-What is Happening to Me?