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As many of you may know, I have been furloughed two days a month for the last six months.  Our furlough schedule has no real rhyme or reason that I can figure out. It’s not like its every other Friday (although some months it is).  For instance this month I had the 8th off and I have the 19th off.  In March my furlough days are the 23rd, 24th, 25th, and 26th (this month gets four days to make up for the fact that we didn’t get any furlough days in July). See- no pattern or anything.

Anyway I was telling a coworker last week that I have this constant worry that one of these furlough days I am going to forget and show up at work- and what’s worse is that I will be sitting in my office and not even realize I shouldn’t be working that day because most of the people on my floor are faculty and they have a completely different furlough schedule than I do.

Now you are probably wondering what on earth this has to do with Tony Stewart…well Office Depot had Tony come up with his top 10 organizational tips- all based on items that can be bought from Office Depot…. First one on his list?

  • “I have a frequent nightmare about showing up at the wrong race track during the NASCAR season…so, yes, I WILL take that new day planner, thank you very much.”

Kind of similar to mine- except I never worry about what race track I am going to – those are my vacations.  If you go to their facebook page now you can get yourself a 10 percent discount coupon for Office Depot on organizational supplies too. I already got mine- because as I have mentioned one of my weaknesses is office supplies (seriously I can not go into Office Depot and leave empty handed. Same thing goes for book stores). Defintely check out their facebook page because it’s humorous if nothing else…I mean seriously- check out this tip:

  • I might not know how to play the accordion…but Office Depot accordion folders with expanding pockets? Those I know and love. A lot.

Because this picture is the freaking best (pre)birthday present a (female) Smoke fan could ask for:

Photo Provided by: Edelman

Photo Provided by: Edelman

Well and maybe this if anyone is looking for suggestions for my birthday (on the 14th):

You know…just in case you were out of ideas or something.

So my weekend last weekend started on Friday since it was another furlough day. I spent Furlough Friday sitting in a too small chair at a too big table with my macbook working with two school librarians, a retired school librarian, two high school volunteers and a parent to try to get a school library back up and running. Why was it not running in the first place? Well the school was closed a couple of years ago because the district opened two brand new schools.  That school was dismantled and the library was split amongst the two new schools. Now there is a need to reopen it as a k-2 school and needed a library.  I worked for 7 hours straight trying to get that library set up and while me made a dent in it- it wasn’t nearly enough.  I hope they are able to get it going soon- but since school starts tomorrow I seriously doubt it will be ready by then. Close- but not ready.

On Saturday I went to the fair to check out my pictures and see how I placed. I got my highest placing yet- a Third in the Agricultural Photo competition. I got an honorable mention for my crash picture in Photojournalism. And my pelican picture didn’t place but animals is a hard category to place in and I knew that going in.   I always study the pictures that win- and I think the problem with my pelican picture was that it wasn’t colorful enough for the judges. My dad thinks so too because technically it was extremely sharp but it was taken of a gray bird sitting on a gray rock with just a piece of ocean behind it. I ended up Saturday evening turning down an invitation for Pizza at my brother and sister-in-law’s house because I had the worst headache that just wouldn’t go away. Finally it did…but it cost me free pizza- damn it.  I did get to see my nephew for a couple minutes though- he was wearing a Tony Stewart outfit I bought him before he was born that he now fits in.  Unfortunately it reminded me that I really need to get that kid some 14 clothes. Maybe for Christmas.That just gave me a GREAT idea for a toddler shirt for Old Spice. You guys who make up Tony’s shirts and stuff- should really tap my brain for ideas because I have some great ones!!!

Sunday I was actually up before 7! Can you believe that? Me neither- but Roxy needed to go out early for some reason and I may have grumbled at her but I would rather get up then clean up if you know what I mean. Then my dad invited me to go the HIstoric Car Races at Laguna Seca- which I turned down because I honestly didn’t want to spend the fifty bucks to go.  It was a good thing I was up that early though because there was a knock on the door and who was visiting? My brother and my nephew….still in his pjs (I was still in mine so I didn’t feel so bad). We had some breakfast…and then my nephew played while my mom tried to figure out her new camera. Mostly she has it down but we still occasionally end up with pictures like this:

My nephew had been ignoring the pre-race until Tony came on. Then he dashed over to the TV and turned him off. I may have said "NO NOT DURING TONY!!!" at which point he giggled.

My nephew had been ignoring the pre-race until Tony came on. Then he dashed over to the TV and turned him off and giggled - like he KNEW it would get a rise out of his Auntie. And it did."NO NO NOT DURING TONY!!!!" causing everyone to laugh!

My nephew looking up at Grandma who is trying to show him a flashlight. See how he is ignoring the prerace?

My nephew looking up at Grandma who is trying to show him a flashlight. See how he is ignoring the prerace?

Roxy gets a big hug from my nephew

Roxy gets a big hug from my nephew. Awww!

My dad sent me this picture from his adventures at the Historic Car Races at Laguna Seca

My dad sent me this picture from his adventures at the Historic Car Races at Laguna Seca.

Cupcakes

Yummmm cupcakes

So there was the end result of my first attempt at the Sprinkles cupcake mix from Williams & Sonoma.  They don’t look half bad considering that I had to use a much to big offset spatula to ice them. I have remedied this situation and purchased up a small one as the directions originally stated.  Now whether they actually tasted like Sprinkles cupcakes I can not tell you. I may have baked them too long or not long enough. I say this because they definitely fell after they cooled and they had an odd crumbly yet not dry consistency. I don’t know if that is normal either. It was something fun…and the neighbors seemed to appreciate them.  The dots on the top. They were Eh. Kind of odd tasting. I gave Roxy the one off of mine. She liked it. Of course Roxy will eat nearly anything…except for pickles and wasabi peas.

I actually really like baking- I love the precision involved in measuring things out and mixing them up.  I am NOT a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of cook. My dad can throw whatever in a bowl and get the result he was hoping for. Doesn’t matter if he is making cookies or stew or beans. This frustrates my mom because she will want to replicate what he made and can’t because he doesn’t remember what exactly he did.

So…for some unknown reason I decided to get up at my usual work time my last furlough day.  I have no idea why I thought that would be a good idea…I am definitely sleeping in. I think it contributed to the feeling I had all day- that guilty feeling you get when you call in sick even though you really aren’t sick. That feeling plagued me all day- to the near point I felt bad going out of the house (of course it didn’t stop me from leaving- especially since my mom offered to take me to lunch).  I spent my day doing cupcakes, laundry and other little chores so that I would have a full weekend with nothing to do. Well that didn’t pan out so well either since I spent most of my Saturday doing stuff for others. My dad usually takes my grandma shopping so I did that because he had to work Saturday and I know he wanted to go to the airshow on Sunday (he is such a plane geek).  I also mowed the lawn for him because my dad is the kind of guy who would forgo something fun because the lawn didn’t get mowed this week.  Urg I forgot how BIG that lawn was! And his lawn mower pinched me and gave me a bruise…then it hurt my hand. Its a funky lawnmower that basically powers itself and then I have to walk behind it and steer it but to engage the blade you have to push down this button while flipping this lever to engage the self-propel part….the vibrating of holding the button down and squeezing the lever at the same time kills my left hand.

Anyway this month our second furlough day is this Friday since the beginning of the semester is nearly here we need the time to ramp up for the onslaught of freshmen.  I have no definite plans for this friday- except to NOT get up at the time I get up for work. Ahhh sleeping in is good for the soul!

So here I am on Furlough day one and have decided today is the day I make cupcakes. These aren’t just any cupcakes though. Nope, I making SPRINKLES cupcakes thanks to a mix I picked up at Williams and Sonoma (I splurged on the mix with my last full paycheck)…it even comes with the famous dots for the top. Of course, never having had a Sprinkles cupcake (if I weren’t getting a pay cut I might even consider going up to Palo Alto just to try some because I LOVE CUPCAKES) I won’t really have anything to compare it to.  We will see how they actually come out though because I suck at icing things.  I love baking- but suck at icing- I am just not patient enough I think.  Of course I will document the process with my camera and let you know how that goes!

I am still at a loss as to what to do with myself during my furlough days right now. My schedule isn’t regular enough to be able to get a regular part-time job.  I have all these ideas…I just wish I could figure out how to funnel them into actual funds coming my way. For instance:

1. Over the past year I wrote a book. I know! It was an accident! But indeed I have it. It’s in infancy….I would say in draft 1.5 maybe. But it’s a full on book. (All I will tell you right now is that it’s fiction and I am already formulating an idea for a second book). Don’t ask to read it but like I said…right now it’s in infancy and not ready to be read.

2. BFFM and I came up with a great idea for a clothing line…seriously! We even drew up prototypes of shirts and off-shoot products…(well she did the drawing since I can’t draw).  Of course we have this idea…and nothing to do with it.

Maybe I should just try to do new things during my furlough days. Have any suggestions? (remember that they shouldn’t be expensive- I am losing 10 percent of my salary afterall. Oh and  crazy-ass things like bungee jumping, parachuting, etc that might make me throw up or cry might not be too fun). As always leave em in the comment section.