Dear stats students,

I was grading your time management projects with the bar graphs.  Many of you have pleasant, cushy schedules.  Some don’t.

I saw a couple of things that saddened me.  Though you seemed to recognize that the canned answer for a school time management project is always “study more,” some of the areas to cut seemed to be areas that are too vital to cut.   They included sleep, time with children and/or family, and time with friends.

Consider my caution as one who constantly over-plans time and is constantly looking for ways to establish balance again.

Sleep – many of you are 18 and 19 years old.  Sleeping sufficiently is normal.  Sleeping until your bodies are done sleeping doesn’t make you lazy; it makes you healthy.  Let me be a little clearer.  Not sleeping until your bodies are done sleeping will make you unhealthy.  Develop habits that will set you up for success in the future.  What do you want to do with your lives?  My dad used to say that it is of the utmost importance to stay healthy because not staying healthy will inhibit your ability to be who you want to be in your lives.  You can’t be as effective at work, school, play, caregiving, art—or just life if your lack of health keeps you having the energy to accomplish whatever is set before you.


Children and family – my children vie for my attention.  I grant it to them.  I have had to make a section in my planner where I have to check off daily that I spent time with my children and likewise a section for my husband.  I can’t screw up being a mommy or a wife.  Who cares about all of the math in the world if I don’t bond well with my family?  That requires going on walks one on one with one of four other family members.  That requires reading stories when I can think of a million other things to do if my lap would be vacated.  It requires the time to come home and retrieve a child to run errands with me instead of finishing it quickly on my own just for the chance to ask the kid how his or her day was. They are important.


Friends – are these good friends?  Do they inspire you to positive outcomes?  If so, don’t avoid cultivating a relationship because you feel that you need to hold your noses to the grindstone.  It is human to connect with others.  It’s a beautiful part of humanity.


Statistics may be a thing that gets you to where you want to go in life.  Statistics is valid.  You should aspire to understand it thoroughly and become proficient at the art of making sense of quantitative data.  Statistics, nor any other class, IS your life.  It’s a worthwhile stepping stone in your life.  Your education serves a beautiful and utilitarian purpose in your lives.  If you need to give up something to make more time to study, don’t give up your lives to do it.  What inspires you?  Don’t give that up.


Finally, a shout out to the many of you who are holding down jobs.  It’s hard.  I hear you.  We are all cheering for you.

When I was in high school, there was a nice young gentleman who used to talk to me about physics. We discussed at length why it was so fascinating. At this time in my life, I was destined to do something in the linguistics field and math was a beautiful and mesmerizing diversion that I thought was much too fun to warrant the laborious connotations of academic credit. Physics, naturally, was a brilliant extension of the loveliness of mathematics with all of the equations and derived units. So, I put down the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson and indulged in the conversation that was intended to captivate me. As it turned out, the young mister believed that chemistry was much more appealing, but back then, I was none the wiser. In retrospect, I think it was an adorable gesture. Though this gentleman was anticipating cultivating a relationship of a dual nature, he gets innumerable brownie points for appealing to my intellect first.
Presently, I am the instructional support/creative outlet for a math department and I have been happily married for 13 years. I expect to interact with men on a daily basis. I expect that I serve an academic purpose. I expect to play a role that is full of intellect and camaraderie. I would anticipate that my long-lasting monogamy, my small litter of children, and extensive familiarity with all things algebra would deter, if not completely prevent, any men from ever acknowledging my femininity.
Now, let me dispel the myth that men comprise the more logical gender. My intellect is available for public use. My femininity is not. My womanliness is obviously inaccessible, and yet, I have been blindsided three times in the last three weeks by men who find my inaccessible femininity so distracting that they can’t make adequate use of my intellect. It’s certainly not a pragmatic approach. So much for the gender who is touted for the ability to compartmentalize.
Granted, the social ineptitude that accompanies my nerdiness and the residual poor body image from days of yore contribute to the shock factor. I don’t see it coming. I never see it coming. I find the thought of me being lauded as some sort of tartlet to be humorous. I’ve been known to say, “Ha! You must not know that I’m a geek. Allow me to enlighten you.” It seems as though many are given to exaggeration; I own a mirror and can attest to the antithesis of the accusation/exaggeration.
A couple of different male friends have observed this behavior have asked, “Aren’t you FLATTERED?” No, and let me explain why not. I have been referred to as a “that” instead of a “who” by three twenty-something students. My brain has been characterized as an adorable accessory instead of the primary feature. My message of scholarship is lost. I imagine that the men have an inner dialogue of, “Oh, you like physics? Don’t care. You’re a girl.” No, I’m not flattered. I’m disregarded for the qualities where I place my identity. I am reminded that I have no value for anything that I find to be valuable.
Then again, the flip side of that coin where I make a point to blend into the backdrop of academic things, I’m presumed to be frigid and incompetent (apparently, those two are assumed to work in tandem) and my brain never even makes it to the assessment round.
I’ve been repeatedly disappointed by mankind. I do believe that there are some wonderful exceptions. To quote Winifred Banks of Mary Poppins, “while we adore men individually…” Feel free to sing the next line. But it is certainly a man’s world and will continue to be a man’s world as long as men are bound by the persuasion that biology is the most important subject at school. Mankind will continue to be disappointing as long as they believe that monogamy is merely a suggestion. A wife’s femininity is only pragmatic to her husband and outside of that, she is unattainable.
So, gentlemen, please stop suggesting that my very existence is an accusation against me. Skirts are comfortable, not alluring. My glasses don’t make me a “naughty librarian” or a “naughty teacher;” they make me able to see. I am aware that parts of me are disproportionate, but I would rather discuss the eight different ways to write the equation of a proportion. When I discuss curve fitting, assume that I’m talking about regression. Now, if any of you would like to discuss the finer points of translating logarithmic functions, I’m available.

In order to become a hipster, one must first segway into geek to fully become a hipster.

Burr Settles applied a coordinate system to words that frequently appear in tweets with the words “nerd” and “geek.”  The x-axis represent the frequency with which a word that was used with the word “nerd” and likewise, the y-axis with “geek.”  I underlined words that I would either use to describe my interests, words I use often, or words that I frequently hear other people use to describe me.  It’s pretty heavy on the nerd side.  Hipster is nestled in with the geek side (noted in red) but just by a smidgen.




















When my son was a preschooler, he didn’t subscribe to ideas of mythical figures.  He, like I did as a child, felt that it was his humanitarian service to other children to expose the hoax.  We agreed to esteem the wholesomeness of the mythical figures, but agree in front of other children that we would save face and share an inside joke.  Being firstborn, we assumed that he would set the standard for his siblings.  Apparently, his sister marches to the beat of her own drummer.  She is not privy to the ruse, but wholeheartedly embraces it. (Then again, I’m not entirely sure. She may be playing me too.)

My daughter lost her third tooth.  She had heard a rumor that sometimes the tooth fairy brings chocolate instead of money.  She lost the first two teeth on the same day, so she’s only had one experience before this with the tooth fairy.  She’s still learning the ropes.  I inquired, “What do you think the tooth fairy brings?”  Her face was suddenly all of the beautiful things of childhood.  She paused and answered, “I think it must be money and chocolate.  I know!  It MUST be those gold coins that are filled with chocolate.”  I was imagining Venn diagrams in her head coupled with the wonder of a snaggle-toothed child.  I had to make this happen.

My son and I set out on a late night adventure.  The short version of the story is that we went to four stores, ask a lot of clerks foolish sounding questions, but finally found success (chocolate replicas of monetary units) in the store very close to our house minutes before it closed.  Aha!  This tooth fairy was already a little exhausted, but effective to this point.

When we returned home, I heard the little voices of my daughters (much too late) and my husband upstairs.  They were too excited to sleep, according to my four year old.  My husband had visited them to remind them that they needed to put more effort into sleeping.  So, I took the opportunity to verify that the tooth was in an easily retrievable apparatus and placed properly…for the tooth fairy.  I also reminded them that fairies don’t visit little girls who stay up to see them.  I was anticipating the excitement the next morning when my daughter found that the she really did get gold coins.

Eventually, I crashed into my bed and woke up the next morning in a panic to replace that tooth with the ever important gold coins.  I crept into the room…only to find my toothless darling missing.  I checked her sister’s bed.  I found a pile of blankets and stuffed animals, but no little girls and no tooth.  I was beginning to develop a second reason to panic.

I checked the closet.  There, in the brightness of fluorescent lighting were my two sweet princesses.  I felt under the pillow for the tooth but found nothing.  I reached again and pulled out…a fake pirate coin?  I was utterly confused.  But right before I hunted again, my daughter woke.  I had been caught.  I was holding both the fake coin that was under the pillow and the gold coins in the other hand.  I was confused.  So was she.  She said, “Good morning, Mommy.  The tooth fairy came but she only left me this fake coin.  What are you holding?”  Off the cuff, I insisted, “That doesn’t make any sense!  The tooth fairy was confused.  She knew that there was a tooth under your pillow, but she couldn’t find it.  She told me that she would leave the gold coins with me, but I can only trade them for the tooth so that she can come back and get it.”

My four year old chimed in, “It’s over here in the night stand drawers.  I hid it and replaced it with a coin so that my sister would have something.”  Now, let me get this straight.  The four year old knew that no magic would really be taking place, so she high jacked the tooth herself before I got to it…to preserve her older sister’s spirit.  That’s both endearing and frustrating.

The girls shared the chocolate coins, but I missed sharing the moment of discovery.  I hope that in a few years, she appreciates the humor of the backstory of her gold coins.  Then again, it might be sooner rather than later because she found my back up stash and asked why I had two packs for only one tooth.

I’m a nerd.  It makes me kind of a dork.  I can’t be a dork.  It is imperative for my jobs that I am perceived as adept at being a fully functioning human being.  I have to convince myriads of students that they are, in fact, capable of performing algebraic tasks.  When left to my own nerdy devices, I give the impression that they can only become proficient mathematically if they become robots as I am a robot.  That causes self-efficacy to tank.

I have assessed that the only way to correct this is to give the impression that I am one who possesses an awareness of social norms and is proficient in understanding interpersonal interactions and therefore, can make informed choices about behavior accordingly.  I need a bridge from nerd to some form of savvy.  That bridge can be best completed by becoming a hipster.

A hipster is one who is aware of what social norms are, but chooses a unique path instead.  If I become a hipster, I can be perceived as one who is choosing a rather eccentric, nerdy path instead of one who is predestined by social awkwardness.

I think that I can pull it off because I think I’ve accurately compiled a list of achievable characteristics of hipsters.  In fact, I already exhibit many of the characteristics.  I wear big, geeky glasses half the time.  I don’t drink coffee made in regular coffee pots, but instead, I have three apparatuses for making coffee without the appliance.  I have been known to make my own laundry detergent and do other things in the realm of what I prefer to call pragmatic naturalism.  I don’t participate in a large portion of mainstream media.  I dress oddly.  If I’m correctly identifying characteristics of hipsters, I’m on the way!

The glasses.  We must begin with the glasses.  When I was 16, I determined that I never, ever look like myself when I wear glasses.  It didn’t matter which pair of frames I picked, people always stared at me in glasses as if they were trying to figure out why I looked like an inaccurate version of myself.  So, I decided to go all out.  I got the biggest, most terrible, large black frames I could find.  I wanted glasses that were so prominent that they were the obvious thing obscuring my face instead of better ones where people couldn’t figure out why I looked weird.  The reason for looking weird was unmistakable.  Fast-forward 15 years.  After using frames that were electric purple, black cat-eye, brown studious, and rimless, it was recommended to me that I get “nerd glasses” because they were very “in.”  This is as backwards as genuine hipsters saying that they wear things that are “ironic” to be cool, thus losing the irony.  My self-named “nerd mask” glasses are in?  Sweet.  That means an increase in supply.  I am back to two “hipster” or “nerd” glasses (one black, one powder blue) that are very reminiscent of ones that I had when I was in high school (the ones that my mother described as an effort for me to try to be ugly on purpose).  It’s really out of necessity that I wear glasses, but if I can get hipster cred, so be it.

Coffee.  I love a good, hot beverage.  I frequent coffee shops.  They have the beloved hot beverage and pseudo-office workspace.  I don’t like the taste of old coffee residue that comes out of household coffee makers from the second use and beyond.  I once heard of common hipster practice of being so pretentious that they only drink fresh coffee from a French press.  That’s sort of true for me.  Here’s the reasoning.  Old coffee is gross; fresh coffee is fantastic.  So, the rule is that I will use a coffee making apparatus if all of the parts can be soaked and then washed in the dishwasher.  I have a French press, a stovetop espresso maker, and a Turkish kettle.

Now, the next one confuses me.  Making pragmatically natural choices (natural childbirth, choosing herbs over medicines that I can’t pronounce, etc.) sometimes earns me the title of hippie (or neo-hippie) but it’s often associated with hipsterism.  Whatever it is, it’s a practice that I will continue to embrace.  I think that the hipster part might come in when naturalism meets craftiness, like making laundry detergent and altering thrift store clothes at home (being super cool and keeping things out of landfills and all).  Not just using a natural product, but making it.  Bonus points for a craft that has an aroma of Pinterest is made from eco-friendly, materials where I can say, “That is sooooo much better than the conventional method.  I’m never going back.”  I’m still not sure on this one, but I might qualify.

Concerning media, I don’t own a TV.  I don’t have time to watch it.  Hipsters don’t like mainstream stuff.  Check.  But they instead like indie stuff.  Hmm…gonna have to work on that.  I don’t listen to enough of a variety of music or read a variety of books (they’re mostly of the same themes).  Frankly, I’m not sure what hipsters are supposed to be into, just that they’re not interested in things that the majority of people like.

Being a professor, I thought that dressing like a librarian was very appropriate.  A couple of years ago, I was told that everyone dresses to fit his or her personality…except me.  I was much too drab for my eccentric personality.  Furthermore, I was not pulling off “librarian;” I was turning it into “dead librarian.”  The project of rebranding me began.  I asked for characteristics so that I may replicate what was being done to me.  Sometimes, there was a blessed pop quiz (I love quizzes.).  Now, I usually feel like I’m wearing a costume.  That’s okay.  I am not naked and people look me in the eye assuming that I’m conscious enough to clothe myself so weirdly on purpose instead of the dead librarian before where people treated me as though I was scary and probably devoid of compassion.  Whatever.  If one is not astute enough to be trendy, she might as well be consciously eccentric.  I typically find weird things at thrift stores and swaps (because I’m a cheapskate) that other people wisely overlooked.  Uniqueness is a characteristic that hipsters strive for, right?

Let me be clear.  I’m not saying that I fully understand all things hipster nor that I’m a card-carrying member.  I’m just saying that I have enough characteristics to give it the good ol’ college try.  Finally, this will come to fruition when I seem capable of participating in relating to the general population.


I started scribbling (digitally).

It really had nothing to do with January first, but the beginning of a new semester (because that’s when I clean out my planner).

The scribbles turned into sub points of four categories of resolutions.


  1. Listen to the (whole) Bible



  1. Spend more time with kids
  2. Blog more
  3. Figure out how to love work
  4. Become a hipster



  1. Weekly 10k
  2. Google “better booty”



  1. Read hunger games?
  2. Spend three weekly events learning music

Then, it took form and became a lot of words.


Listen to the whole Bible – I have always had success with auditory learning.  I used to listen to large chunks of the Bible (instead of read) to increase my reading comprehension and recollection.  I drive a lot, so I have more time to listen than to read anyway.  So, this isn’t as daunting of a task as it may seem.  I need an audio Bible and a reading plan to make it perfectly palatable.  I installed an audio Bible on my phone and started thinking about what reading plan I could use to accomplish this goal.  The interesting part of this resolution is that I picked up my phone (as a passenger in the minivan) to look up plans to read the Bible in a year.  My phone vibrated before I hit the search button.  My dear friend sent a message to a bunch of ladies asking us to join a group where we would read the Bible together in a year.  She had picked out a plan and spearheaded the creation of a discussion group.  She is my easy button.


Spend more time with the kids.  This one is a no-brainer.  These awesome little people aren’t getting any smaller.  This one might be described better as “more saying no to work and yes to the kids.”

Blog more.  Done.  Now, I need to continue this therapeutic practice instead of making lists of what I would blog about if I took the time.  I doubt that anyone reads this but my husband, but he thinks it’s funny and I get words out of my head.

Figure out how to love work.  Work is not what I wanted work to be.  The work that brings home bacon is time consuming and becoming more so.  It’s gotten bigger than the job that I signed on for with phrases like “We think that you would be great for this new task and we think that it should be part of your 40 hours.”  And on the flip side, “Well, we’re not going to give you more hours to use for staff (the hours that I would be now busy with all of my new tasks).”   I really appreciate that they think that I can sneeze magic rainbows and make it work, but every magic rainbow that leads to a success at work is a look of disappointment from my children or my husband treating me like I’m an outsider to the groove that they have going in my absence.

I love the other “work” though.  It brings little to no bacon, but I love it.  That’s where I’m alive.  The only problem with that is that my family can’t seem to handle me being gone for the little bit extra to do job #2.

The thing about the bringing home bacon job is that I think that it’s what I’m supposed to be doing right now.  My gut says that I need to be here.  Furthermore, as long as I’m there, I’m thrilled.  Every morning, I begrudge going.  Every night, I regret that I wasn’t home.  But I love my job while I’m there.  Therefore, I need to accentuate the positives and find fixes for the negatives.   I don’t like the commute?  Listen to the Bible.  I don’t like the extra time?  Leave and play with the kids instead.  But I need to be happy with the job where I’m going to be spending a large portion of my life.  Happiness is a better choice than misery.

Become a Hipster.  This one requires a longer explanation.  But I think it would be occupationally and possibly socially beneficial.  I need to learn how to do that though.

Physical – Let me preface this by saying that I read an article on New Year’s Eve that used the term skinny-fat.  This refers to one who is reasonably small and therefore appears to be skinny when fully clothed, but is much too unhealthfully flabby where it’s hidden.  I’ve lost 45 lbs.  I’m hearing, “No!  You CAN’T lose any more!”  I beg to differ.  Actually, my wads of jiggle beg to differ.  It’s not about small.  It’s about replacing jiggle with strength.  Between bellybutton and knees, major changes need to take place.

Weekly 10ks. I have run an experiment 3 different times in the last decade and a half.  Every time, I’ve reached the same conclusion.  Running makes me thicker; walking makes me slimmer.  This was a painful conclusion because outside of the experiment, walking seems like the wussy version of running.  Who wants to be a wus?  I have decided that I need to change the parameters of the experiment.  I called the distance the constant and the activity the variable.  So, a three-mile walk was compared with a three-mile run.  However, research suggests that mom metabolism doesn’t reach a fat-burning zone until 45 minutes into the cardio.  A 3 mile run takes less than half an hour.  That’s not enough time to get into a fat burning zone.  So, the new experiment is to make time the constant (well, time range) and distance the variable.  Cardio activities should take between 45 to 75 minutes.  At least two activities per week need to start with a 10k run.

I must add that for the first time in years, I have lost enough weight that if the experiment goes awry and I get thicker, it won’t crush my soul.

Google “better booty.”  I’m not really sure what that means (hence the googling), but two things are for sure.  1) No matter how small the rest of me becomes, this thing will always be large.  I should probably be a better steward.  2) I have a long list of stuff to work on already, so this one is not urgent.  So, it’s not a January goal, but maybe a June goal.


Read Hunger Games?  Let me explain the question mark.  I have a hard time calling fiction of any sort academic.  It’s still reading, so it has academic potential.  However, fiction (reading that which is not factual) seems counterproductive academically.  Now, I think (the scheme that so far resides in my head) that the path from nerd (current state) to hipster is bridged with geekiness.  That is, things that have the aroma of nerdiness, but have saturated popular culture that they warrant a fan following.  Then again, from what I understand about Hipsters, I need to read the series prior to becoming one so that I can scoff as if it was some unimportant rite of passage that was so last fad.  Therefore, it’s still a question mark.  Then again, I thought that of Harry Potter.  I was going to read it to preview it for my young son.  I was captivated.  For the first time in 25 years, I read fiction willingly and it was intended for children.

Spend three weekly events learning music.  My brother-in-law drew my name for Christmas.  He gave me a piano arrangement book and then goaded me for not sight-reading fast enough.  (FYI, I doubt that he could find 5 Facebook friends who are not professional musicians who sight-read anywhere near as well as I did.)  It’s about the level that I played when I stopped spending time learning new music (end of high school).  So, really, it’s a perfect starting point.  I need to grow that skill back to where it was.  It’s merely wasteful not to do so.  So, I want to spend three sessions (no specific time, just until I’m done) per week learning more music as opposed to playing the same things over and over by memory.  This resolution is vague (not piano specific) because I learned the viola conceptually when I was 25 and promptly put it down.  Now, I still sound terrible and I still have the tapes on it like a middle-schooler.  Also, my left hand understands guitar chords, but my right hand thinks strumming is weird.  So, there’s LOTS of room for musical improvement.

Dearest husband of mine,

I am a hypocrite.

You have wanted to use family resources for work for years.  Whether it was time, or camera lenses, or incentives for people to come to your room for training, I grumbled that you were allowing the family to suffer without you while you donated time and resources to your job.  I have since spent several unpaid hours working, used your camera to take pictures that I used in 4 presentations and my webpage, and have spent money out of pocket to enhance my room and (often impatiently) create things to use in my office.  I have unabashedly used you as an accomplice as you have willingly created materials for me to use as teaching aids.

While I may be able to conjure up some reasons why it’s different and totally acceptable for me, I must concede that it is a double standard.  How do you ever put up with me?  I’m sorry that I have been a miser of both time and money, but I will afford you the grace that I have liberally and selfishly given myself.  <3

Last week, I asked my nearly 4 year old daughter what she wanted to be be when she grew up.  She said, “I don’t know, Mama.  What do YOU want to be when YOU grow up?”  I answered, “If I ever really grow up, I’ll probably still be a math teacher.”
Much has changed. For the first time ever, I have a full-time job.  I’m the coordinator of hands-on learning in the math department.  That’s a fancy way of saying that I use toys to teach math.  I have messes of toys with a thousand pieces to clean up and stuff to organize.  When I don’t have what I need, I make it.  I’ve spent a lot of time in the craft sections of various stores.  Truly, it’s really very much like being a mommy of littles.
I went to Starbucks this morning and used my laptop until I felt ready for my day.  Then, I stopped at Target for yet more craft supplies to use in my office/lab.  (The Target is across the street from the college where I teach a different level of math at night.)  I realized that I sorta kinda became who I wanted to be when I grew up.  I wanted to have an office where I felt that I was doing something uplifting for people during the day and I would split the evening between the gym and volunteer work. I wanted to be educated.  I wanted to surround myself with interesting people. I wanted to travel.  The vision of myself, of course, didn’t include a husband or children or an occupation in education.  I help people (in my office/lab) conquer a fear of mathematics.  I am appropriately degreed.  I spend my evenings teaching college algebra and caring for my household.  I don’t leave work and go directly to the gym, but I can work out in my neighborhood after bedtime.  Yes, many days, the workout’s warmup is taking each child on a walk individually and hearing about their adventures.  I don’t focus on a social life, but my wonderful children keep me from ever lacking for good company.  I don’t travel, but I land securely in my husband’s arms daily.
The picture in my teenage head of who I would become looks a little different, but I am so blessed to have grown up (sorta kinda) to be a very happy and satisfactory version of myself.

My son takes a sandwich to school almost every day.  He likes mayonnaise.  I don’t like modified food starch (nor do I like paying out the nose for a prepackaged condiment without the aforementioned gunk).  Being the recovering (former) vegetarian mom that I am, I packed sandwiches with mustard, fresh guacamole, or hummus.  We had the same conversation after each time.

Son: Mom, I really like the lunches that you send me.  I just want to tell you that you’re super awesome.  You’re the best mom ever!  I really appreciate that you take the time to send me lunch.  You’re so thoughtful.

Me: I’m glad, buddy.  Did you eat it all?

Son: Um, I ate the strawberries…and the celery…and the oat cookies…and most of my sandwich.  I took off the slice of bread that had the hummus on it.  I scraped the hummus off my cheese and meat and ate it open on the other slice.  It was just fine like that.  No complaints here.  You’re amazing, Mom!

Now, that’s a kid who I want to please.  Had he whined or threw it away (in order to buy a school lunch containing slime that the kids think is cheese), I would be inclined to mandate, “I am your mother!  You WILL eat this plant!”  But he was nice about it, not only to be respectful, but also not to hurt my feelings.  I want to give that kid the world.  Maybe I should start with mayo.

I read about how to make mayo from scratch.  I found that the ingredients are things that I always have on hand.  It seems to me that people don’t make it because the science is too easy to mess up.  However, if one does the steps in the right order, science is happy and mama is happy too.  Here’s what I found to be effective.

Step 1) Set three eggs on the counter, run a load of laundry, and go take the kids to preschool.  Wait…that’s me again.  Leave them on the counter and come back to make mayo when they’re room temperature.

Step 2) Prepare ingredients.

  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tsp of acid (The acid could be lemon juice or white vinegar.  My son likes lemon, but I like vinegar because the flavor of the mayo more closely resembles the mayo in a jar.  My son accurately based his preference on taste and not mimicking what other people have decided is normal.)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (or more) of oil (whatever oil is in the pantry will probably work.  I’m trying to reduce soy intake in our family, so safflower, sunflower, olive, and sometimes corn)
  • Other desired spices

Step 3) Put the egg, yolks, acid, and salt into a blender.  Blend on high for about 30 seconds.  The egg yolks hold the mayo together.  Mayo is acid and oil.  Without the egg yolk base, acid and oil can’t be friends.  Think of how oil and vinegar dressing separates.  Egg yolk allows them to blend together.

Step 4) Keep the blender running.  Drizzle (do not dump) a cup of oil into the churning egg 

and oil mixture.  Dumping overwhelms it.  Then, yellow yolks, yellow lemon juice, and yellow oil fluff into a WHITE, creamy mayo.  Cool, huh?  Some use more oil here.  Taste it and make sure it’s salted/spiced as desired.  Let it churn for a minute or so, helping the tornado of mayo move if needed in order to get all of the oil blended.

Step 5) I highly suggest putting it in a ketchup bottle (either one that is for picnics or an empty one).  Speed up the school lunch packing process.  Refrigerate.

Step 6) Go make an egg white omelet…or a homemade face mask.  You have at least two egg whites that need not to go to waste, especially free range!  Crush up the egg shells for the garden while you’re at it.  :)

I have an awesome kid (three awesome kids, but one with a particular affinity for mayo).  I’m going to relish    the times when he still believes that my supermom cape is an apron.

My father taught at my high school.   I wish that my peers had understood how much he was bridling himself in order to have to spend the day with teenagers.  Being his student, I had an interesting vantage point to tell stories at the dinner table about my English teacher.  He provided many.  Here are a fistful of my favorites.

Because our high school doubled as a church building, there were often stacks of unclaimed Bibles in the lost and found.  My dad chose one of the unclaimed Bibles to keep on his desk in the classroom.  It had been engraved.  A student asked, “Mr. Gordon, who is Retha English?”  With an absolutely deadpan expression, he told the high school student, “That was my name before the operation.”

My dad is a very strong man.  When I was in the 9th grade, one of my classmates (who has since become a marine) believed himself to be large enough to challenge my father.   They got in position to arm wrestle.  My dad signaled, “Go.”  The fifteen year old heaved, grunted, and finally, started pulling with two hands.  My father had an expression on his face that made him seem belabored also.  But his expression suddenly changed, exhibiting that my dad’s “struggle” was a ruse.  The student now seemed an unworthy opponent for my dad.  My dad asked effortlessly, “Are you ready?”  The student, groaning and now confused, bellowed, “Yes!”  “Are you sure you’re ready?”  “Yeah!”   SLAM!  My dad soundly won and said very innocently, “Well, you said you were ready.  Would you like me to let go?”  The student begrudgingly admitted defeat and my dad was never challenged again.

After extensively teaching the forms of adjectives, my dad assigned an exercise where we were to identify and label all the adjectives in their forms.  When the students said that they didn’t understand, he patiently explained again, noting the lessons that he had painstakingly taught all week.  They still contested.  With a hint of exasperation (and it is noteworthy that he never uses profanity), he said, “Underline all of the adjective forms in the passage.  Then, label the KIND of adjective it is.  There are determiners (what our curriculum called articles) like ‘the’ and ‘that,’ regular adjectives like ‘juicy’ and ‘red,’ and modifying nouns like ‘brick’ in ‘brick house’ and ‘feather’ in ‘feather duster.’  If it’s a determiner, write a big D (he demonstrated by writing a large letter D on the board behind him without turning around).  If it’s a good ol’ fashioned adjective, write a big A (and wrote likewise on the board.)  Finally, if it’s a modifying noun, write MN (and modeled on the board without looking at his handiwork).  This (pointed to the board behind him) is what I want you to do!”  He did not realize that his labels were an acronym.  (This was especially entertaining and surprising because my dad never used the, ahem, acronym on the board behind him.)

In 12th grade British Literature, the class watched Macbeth on video after studying the unit on the Shakespearian play.  Near the end, Lady Macbeth began disrobing to deliver her monologue.  My father, who despises public nudity even for the sake of art, would never have shown that to a class, but had been assured that it was safe for school.  When he saw, to his horror, that it was not, he employed his high school football tactics and ran to tv avoiding desks the way that he would have run to an in-zone avoiding defenders.  He wheeled the tv backwards out of the view of students and fast forwarded until all of the characters were decent.  As he was fast forwarding and watching the distorted picture of the VHS tapes, the students were laughing.  They knew that he intended to be above reproach.  One of the boys in my class asked, “Hey, Mr. Gordon, does she look good?”  Without missing a beat, my father responded, “not as good as me.”

One of his classes (eighth graders) was so ill-behaved that he decided to use a Dictaphone to list referrals to write later.  Despite the frustration that he felt for students squandering their education, the silver lining was listening to the “highlight reel” as he wrote referrals and called parents at night.  We heard, “So-and-so is talking out of turn.”  A voice in the background would be murmuring loudly, stop, and respond, “I am not!”  One of the “So-and-sos” did an impression of my dad (years later) using his Dictaphone.   I thanked So-and-so for being such insolent child that he had provided hours of laughter around our dinner table while my dad wrote out his referrals.

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