Monday, June 16, 2014

The Egg Sandwich: Summer lunch perfection

I am a huge fan of hard-boiled eggs and mayo, so it would stand to reason that one of my favorite lunches is an egg sandwich.  This simple little sandwhich consists of just three ingredients (5, if you count salt and pepper) and can be assembled in mere minutes.  It is wholesome, relatively healthy and packs the punch of two of nature's most perfect foods: eggs.  It is best enjoyed on the back porch with some cheetos and a slushy or a glass of milk (nothing beats a cold glass of milk on a hot day). 

For sandwhich nirvana, follow these simple steps below:

1. Peel your eggs.  Duh!!  Some vinegar in the water when you boil the eggs will help the eggs peel easily.

2. Lightly toast some bread.  Personally I'm a really big fan of white bread for egg sandwiches, but rye bread also works great as well.  I hate wheat bread--judge away!  The real key is to lightly toast the bread, you don't want it too hard and crumbly.  It should be just a little crunchy and retain its chewey-ness.

3. While your bread is toasting, slice your eggs.  An egg slicer comes in handy here, but in the absence of one (or if it's in the dishwasher because you used it yesterday), a vegetable knife and a steady hand will do the trick. 

4. Remove your still-warm, lightly-toasted bread from the toaster.  A nice 20-year old standard-issue Tupperware plate is the best way to serve the egg sandwich.

5. Slather both pieces of bread with mayo.  This is not the time to be skimping on calories, you should apply the mayo to the bread as liberally as you would spread Coppertone on a baby at the beach.  The mayo helps bind the sandwich together. 

6. Arrange the eggs on one side of the bread.  I try to overlap the whites and the yolks so that they're evenly distributed throughout.  Season to taste with good old-fashioned salt and pepper.  No need for fancy sea salt or fresh-ground pepper.

7. Place the other piece of bread on, smush lightly and enjoy!

If you're into veggies on your sandwich like lettuce and tomatoes, you could add those as well, but why ruin a good thing. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Teacher's Apology

A few months ago, my brother and sister-in-law both got pretty big promotions that were accompanied by significant raises.  The whole family was bursting with pride and my parents and I told anyone who would listen about how great Bubba and Jules were doing in their careers.  After an evening that I spent with my parents and some family friends, I found myself apologizing to my parents.  For the fact that I'll never get a promotion, or a big, merit-based raise for them to brag about.  Teaching isn't a profession where one moves up the rank, we just gain seniority and one day are appointed department chair and are expected to do a lot of extra work for a measly stipend.

I felt bad that I'll never accomplish anything of great stature for my parents to brag about and they told me I had better put those thoughts out of my mind, that while the things I do might not be recognized by society, they still matter.  Like being in charge of Key Club, the school's service organization and inspiring my students to help, understand and love others.  Like being involved in our Freshman orientation program to make the freshman feel so much more comfortable when they first come to Mercy.  Like when I come home late because I stayed after school to help a struggling student.  Like when I go on retreat and share part of my story with them and help them realize that even though I'm a grown-up, I still have a lot of the same thoughts and issues they do and that it's okay.  Like when I have to cut off the number of recommendation letters I'll write in the fall (10 is my limit!) because I have a lot of kids that want me to write theirs.  Like when a senior comes and asks me to be the one to cut her hair that she is donating to Beautiful Lengths.

I felt so honored that one of our sweetest and brightest seniors asked me to be the one to cut her hair for donation.

These things won't get me a raise, they won't get me bragging rights at the next family gathering or HS reunion, but they're the reason I get up every morning and come into work.  They're the reason I continually work on my patience, why I always try to go to bed on time, why I eat a big breakfast every morning, why I live my life the way I do and act and dress the way I do: so that I can be my best for my students, give them the love and respect they deserve and hopefully serve as a role model for some of them.  At the end of the day, their successes, accomplishments and happiness are my raise because it lifts me up and reminds me that what I do matters. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Where the elephant men are KING

I have spent many an afternoon riding my bike on bike trails since I was a kid.  As I've gotten older and returned to riding, I've noticed a prominent fixture on all the bike trails around town: the elephant man.  You know the men I'm talking about: big bellied, big chested, precariously but perfectly balanced on their skinny little tires with their knees jutting out away from their bike.  They always sport the bike-shorts-and-t-shirt look, which makes them look so cool with their shirt flowing around them while you feel like you can't catch a breeze. Hardly any of them wear helmets because they never leave the trail.  They all ride really nice road bikes, the kind of road bike their wives let them buy when they tell her they want to buy a motorcycle after retirement. 

The thing about these guys that really gets me is what makes them king: they just speed around that trail.  Going in the opposite direction I'll see them 2-3 times over the 8-mile loop.  When they pass you from behind, you don't know how someone so big can go so fast, but they do.  They're biking machines.  These guys spend hours and hours on their bikes every week.  Escaping their wives for a few hours, or burning off some calories so they can have a beer at dinner and some cookies with their grand kids without too much of a disapproving glare from their wives.  I just don't get how they can ride so much with their knees angled out like that and how that doesn't slow them down.  The most distinguishing feature of these men is their calves: they all have the most beautifully sculpted calves you've ever seen on a human being.  That is the true mark of the elephant men, their calves. 

Now, get them out on the road, or on some big hills, I could probably out-ride them, but on the trail, they rule.