Survival of the Hottest

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Egg Salad Bagel

Egg. Mayonnaise. Bagel.

It’s too hot to cook — it’s pretty much too hot to do anything — and my office lacks air conditioning. Right now, I’m thinking I might be able to make some extra cash by renting it out as a hot yoga studio. Bikram here we come.

For those of you who are working without benefit of air conditioning and are suffering from the heat, here are the things I’ve discovered are essential to survival

(1) fans
(2) ice water
(3) learning to accept the things you cannot change.

You cannot change the temperature of your room so don’t even think about it. Don’t talk about how hot it is, don’t think about how hot it is, don’t worry about it. (And whatever you do, don’t watch TV, you’ll be forced to listen to them tell you how hot it is and make up new metrics that make it sound ten degrees hotter than it actually is. Has anyone noticed this? They don’t tell you the actual temperature any more, they tell you what the heat index is — what it “feels like.” What it feels like to who? Enough with the damn heat index, just tell me what the temperature is, I’ll decide for myself how hot it feels.)

Go get yourself a giant cup — go to 7-11 and get a Super Big Gulp if you need to, you want a really big cup — and fill the whole thing with ice, all the way to the top, then pour cold water in then go sit in front of the fan and drink your ice water.

You’ll be fine.

But this post isn’t supposed to be about the weather, which we are not thinking about, it’s about my new favorite thing.

I wrote this a few weeks ago but didn’t have a picture, then I got the picture but then never made it back to the post to finish. But I had lunch at the Weathervane today and they had a Latta’s Farm egg salad sandwich on the menu for $8 and I was like okay I make that at home for fifty cents (with Latta’s Egg Ranch eggs and everything), so I’m definitely not ordering that. But it did inspire me to finish the post.

So even though part of me still thinks this is a really stupid thing to post, I’m not kidding when I say it’s my favorite thing right now, and it’s one of the cheapest and simplest things you can make — and you can boil a pan of water and cook a whole bunch of eggs at once and not have to heat up the kitchen again for days — so here it is.

I made this for the first time maybe a year ago when I was really hungry one afternoon and everything I thought of making was missing some key ingredient. After running through a dozen potential options in my head, all of which weren’t going to work for one reason or another, I was left with eggs as the only possibility. Scrambled eggs didn’t sound good or fried eggs either, I didn’t want breakfast, and then I realized I had mayonnaise and I could make egg salad.

Egg salad! Brilliant!

And it was fabulous. And then it was vastly improved the next time when I had it on an everything bagel.

So my new favorite thing is egg salad on an everything bagel.

And it seems sort of silly to give a recipe for this — like telling people how to pour a glass of milk — but I’m going to anyway, because it won’t hurt and it’s the first recipe I’ve put up in a really long time. You gotta to start somewhere.

My New Favorite Thing Egg Salad

[I think everyone knows how to make hard-boiled eggs but just in case … place eggs in a single layer in a pot and cover with cold water. Cover the pot. Put over high heat and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove eggs and chill.]

Makes 1 large or 2 small servings

2 hard-boiled eggs
1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon mustard

Remove shell from eggs. Slice eggs crosswise, then chop. Put the chopped egg into a small bowl and add mayonnaise and mustard. Stir to mix. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and paprika.

I use yellow mustard, cause I’m a yellow mustard kind of person, but I think whatever kind of mustard you like and/or have around should work.

Serve on bread or crackers or a tortilla or a bagel. If it’s your lucky day, you’ll have an everything bagel in your house and you’ll get to eat it on that.


Money for Nothing

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

So I’ve been thinking about fundraising lately.

We need to do a little fundraising campaign for The Scrap Exchange and I personally am going to try to raise $10,000. I’m putting in $5,000 of my own money and will try to match that with donations from friends/family/random people I run into on the street.

I had a morning meeting in Chapel Hill last week and took my bike on the bus and then rode home in the afternoon. It was lovely. (Between that and biking to a friend’s in South Durham to watch Women’s World Cup, I’m feeling like I should get a job just so I have a place to bike to every day. Though that seems like not the best reason to get a job.)

So I’m biking home from Chapel Hill and thinking about fundraising, and I was thinking about how when I did my food project and all these people were commenting and saying they were sad that the project was ending and they wanted to keep reading, one of my friends told me I needed to try to do something with this. She suggested I do some kind of pay-per-view thing where I tell people that if I get a certain amount in donations, I’ll write a post.

I’m not sure if that would have worked then, and it certainly won’t work now since I haven’t been writing enough to have any kind of following, but I was thinking about that as I was biking. I was wondering if there was any project that people would pay to see me do — if I get a certain amount in pledges I will do something and write about it every day for a certain period of time.

So I’m biking and thinking and really none of it is likely to bring in any money at all and it would all be a huge time suck. And I’m thinking about the meeting I just came out of and about how the person I was meeting with wants really a lot of things done and then I’m like wait, why don’t I just try to work like a normal person and get paid for it and donate that to The Scrap Exchange?

And I was thinking about how that would definitely make way more money per hour than anything I could do on the side, and I was kind of laughing about it thinking about the PR angle — Woman Works 40 Hours a Week to Make Money!

Could we pitch that to People magazine?

I mean I can just imagine the interview questions … Was it hard getting up every day and turning on your computer? Did you talk to a doctor before you started? Do you think this is going to damage your long-term health? How did you feel? This seems just crazy, where did you even get the idea?

I still like the idea of trying to raise $1,250 with 500 donations in every amount between one cent and five dollars but the logistics of that seem complicated, I’m pretty sure I don’t know 500 people who would make a donation, and I’m feeling pretty lazy right now. I’d rather just work and write a check.

But I am going to post some Scrap Exchange stories, things I like and what I like about it and why I think people should help us. So look for that coming up.

In other news I’ve been getting sucked in to the Pioneer Woman parody sites and have had a few nights down the rabbit hole where I learned a great deal of information I’d probably be better off not knowing about mommy bloggers, mommy blogger wars, and people who make loads of money off of their blogs. And I just have to say that that is totally not worth it. It’s like being reality tv star, Jon and Kate Plus Eight, you shamelessly expose your personal life for the sake of advertising income.

So if I wasn’t convinced before, I am now and the career as a professional blogger is definitely off the table.

Also I made food for Third Friday last week and two of the things I made were really good. So new recipes coming soon.

Hope all is well with everyone out there in world wide web world.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Still working my way through the things that needed to be done before the roof fell plus the things that always need to be done plus the new things coming in. One of the things that both needed to be done before the roof fell and always needs to be done is to clean off the porches, which tend to get things piled on them especially when I’m in the middle of something. Which seems like most of the time these days.

Before the roof fell I was trying to wrap up painting the garage, so there was a bunch of painting stuff on the back porch, and the front porch always ends up with a little bit of everything on it, so that needs to be gone through and beaten back into submission every few months. The front porch also happened to be the place where Scrap things ended up when they came home with me (for whatever reason) as part of the moving tumult so it was in worse shape than usual.

I’ve taken some of the Scrap things back already but I’m listing what I still have here because I think it’s funny and gives an interesting snapshot of life at The Scrap Exchange and what the move was like. This is what I ended up with:

  • a 90s-era all-in-one stereo system (receiver, turntable,  dual tape player, CD player) with a Japanese record on it
  • a can of gold glitter spray paint
  • a sewing machine
  • a 3,210-page Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary from 1934
  • a partially completed geometric art piece by Artie Barksdale
  • two rolls of paper towels
  • a container of table salt
  • a Mac G4 tower with a power supply problem that I’ve been needing to try to fix for the past year. It was on the porch for a week before I noticed that the VGA to DVI monitor adapter that I’d torn my office apart looking for in March was attached to the back of it. Oh right, that’s where I put that.

There you have it. Japanese LPs, unabridged dictionaries, sewing machines, and glitter spray paint. All in one store. What more could you want?

So today after tackling the porches I decided to wash windows.

Window-washing is a much maligned activity — all those cleaning people saying they don’t do windows has made everyone think it’s horrible — but I really don’t think it deserves the bad rap and in fact I find it rather zen. You get some nice exercise and you can focus all of your attention on looking through the glass and making sure you got everything which leaves no energy at all to worry about all the other things you end up worrying about when you should be doing something else. And nothing makes your house feel cleaner than shiny, clean windows.

Next time you feel like your house is missing something and you need to redecorate, try cleaning the windows first. That might be all you need.

And if you’re so inclined, here are a few recipes for do-it-yourself window cleaners.

Use the first if you have ammonia lying around that you’d like to use up, but don’t go buy it just for this. If you’d like to be less-toxic, use either of the last two. I find that the recipes with a little detergent work better than plain vinegar and water. Though I’m still working my way through a bottle of ammonia I bought in 1998 so I use that first recipe and it works great.

I use crumpled newspaper to wipe with and have no trouble with streaking. (Note: Do not attempt with your iPad.)

For any of the recipes, combine ingredients in a spray bottle and then LABEL THE BOTTLE so you know what’s in it. Don’t skip that step. You’ll regret it the next time you go to wash your windows and have to dump out the stuff in the bottle under the sink because you’re not sure what it is and you decide you’d better mix up a new batch just to be safe.

Window Cleaners

All-Purpose Window Cleaner with Ammonia
adapted from Cheaper and Better by Nancy Birnes

2 Tablespoons ammonia
2 Tablespoons vinegar
1/2 teaspoon liquid detergent
2 cups water

All-Purpose Window Cleaner
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 teaspoon liquid detergent
2 cups water

Vinegar Straight Up
1/2 cup vinegar
2 cups water

Happy cleaning!


Monday, July 4, 2011

As noted in a recent post, one of the articles I read when I was thinking about blogging said that one of the things to avoid when blogging is apologizing for not blogging. So I don’t think I’ve ever actually apologized for not blogging, but I’ve definitely felt the urge, and I’ve certainly seen my share of bloggers apologizing for not blogging.

I was reading the New Yorker tonight and there was an article about the artist Cory Arcangel, whose name I didn’t recognize but after getting into the article realized that I had heard about him in a great documentary I saw at Full Frame a few years ago called 8-Bit, about people creating art out of old videogames. (Cory Arcangel did a piece that consisted of the clouds from Super Mario Brothers; he edited everything out of the code except the clouds, and then made a video of that.)

Another of his projects mentioned in the New Yorker is a blog called Sorry I Haven’t Posted, which consists entirely of blog posts of people apologizing for not blogging.

So the next time I feel like I should be apologizing for not blogging, I’m just going to link to that. It’s brilliant.

(And, even better, Cory Arcangel is from Buffalo…)

Back Soon

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I know it’s been quiet around here. I was wiped out on many levels by all the moving and associated Scrap Exchange excitement — plus things like meetings with the Obama administration to talk about Fourth Sector Initiatives and whatever else was going on over there. Then had to try to regroup with my own work, which was not going so well with everything at Scrap Exchange still chaotic. Once things seemed mostly under control over there, I headed off to my secret undisclosed location for little bit to try to get through a very large backlog of emails and to-do items.

I work at night, and for a while had been thinking that I should try to adjust my schedule to be more normal. (Why I feel the need to be more normal, I’m not sure. It’s just one of those things I get hung up on sometimes.)

One good thing that came out of all of the chaos is that I realized that a normal schedule is not going to work for me right now. I need long stretches of unbroken time to work in, and the only way to get long stretches of unbroken time is to work when no one else is working — no one else working means no phone calls, no emails, and no real options for things to do other than work.

The times when no one else is working are either very early in the morning or very late at night. Working from six to ten in the morning would definitely be more industrious and Benjamin Franklin-esque, but working from ten at night to two in the morning is when I can actually manage to get things done. So in the battle of the Ben Franklin vs. the teenage boy schedule, the teenage boy schedule wins. Ten o’clock to two o’clock it is.

And you can’t work until two in the morning if you’re getting up at the butt-crack of dawn. So I’m back to sleeping in the morning and doing office stuff and meetings in the afternoon and serious work at night. And I’m getting more or less caught up with most things, work and household and miscellaneous life activities.

The one exception is here. It’s funny because I’ve had conversations with people where I talk about Bloggers, and the person I’m talking to sometimes says, “But you’re a Blogger.” And I say I’m not a Blogger, I’m someone with a blog. There’s a difference.

Bloggers write about whatever their blog is about no matter what is going on with their lives. They have to. They have many thousands of readers who come in search of writing on certain types of things, and their income depends on readers coming to their blog. People with blogs sometimes stop writing for weeks on end when things happen that they need to deal with.

I’m not a Blogger. I’m a person with a blog. And I’m really glad about that.

The main problem for me is that I write about food and I like writing about food, but when I’m in the middle of other things, my food gets very, very basic and is really not worth writing about. And during times when my food gets very basic, it’s also likely that I won’t be able to think of anything else to write about either, because I am consumed by whatever it is I’m trying to deal with, and my head is void of thoughts that would be of interest to anyone but me.

So my head is still a little bit empty, but I’ve started easing my way into my work day by reading things on the web, and most of it is bad, which made me feel like it was time to try to write something. Which also might be bad, but probably not as bad as everything else out there.

And hopefully soon I’ll writing something interesting. But for tonight, this is the best I can do.