Working on a Virtual Presentation for NASA while also Making French Toast Candles with Bacon and Pecans

A colleague recently emailed me to offer her congratulations on my forthcoming virtual presentation for NASA. Before any of you gasp with admiration, I’m not talking about the National Aeronautics and Space Administration which in better years sent Neil Armstrong to the moon. I’m speaking of the Nevada Association of School Administrators.

Prior to the end of the 2020-2021 school year, NASA called for educators to submit proposals for 90 minute presentations at a virtual conference that will be held on Monday, July 26th. Participants will earn CUs (credit units) which may be applied towards meeting our annual continuing education requirements. Since I’m autistic, I submitted a proposal to talk about how to work with high performing autistic students. When I didn’t hear back from NASA, I assumed that my proposal had been rejected. Given how I’m current with my need for CU credits for teaching recertification and how I’m transitioning from being a candle making hobbyist to running a small business, the rejection didn’t bother me.

It wasn’t until my colleague wrote that I was aware that my proposal had been accepted and that news regarding this acceptance had somehow gone missing.

“We thought you knew,” said the administrator who had organized this event. “We emailed an acceptance letter.”

Since I already had a presentation on file from a teacher workshop that had been scheduled but was never given after another presenter ran over schedule causing me to be bumped from the list of presenters, putting this presentation together didn’t take a lot effort. Having since taken some university coursework on teaching high performing students with autism, I simply needed to adapt new materials to the existing power point presentation that I already had.

I did this while making French toast candles that I topped with crispy bacon, toasted pecans, and maple syrup.

I started by first making French toast using Texas toast molds. I worked on the autism presentation while waiting for the wax to cool and set. After unmolding the French toast, acrylic paint was used to hand paint each piece. Once the candles were painted, I added wicks. I then resumed work on the presentation while I waited for the paint to dry.

I then added bacon, pecans, and a maple syrup made by mixing soy wax with medium density candle gel. To add a splash of color, I added a mint leaf to each candle.

The bacon was hand sculpted using nothing more than a butter knife. As the bacon colored wax cooled and started to set, I used a knife to add it to the French toast. I then used acrylic paint to add the reddish brown and black that’s associated with fried bacon.

These candles smell like French toast with buttered pecans and crispy bacon that have been drenched in maple syrup. While they aren’t as colorful as the cream cheese and mixed berries bruschetta that I have previously made, I really liked how they smell.

The French toast and bacon remind me of Saturday mornings as a child when our cook would make this for breakfast. Unlike weekday mornings when my parents had to literally pull me out of bed, the rich aroma of French toast with maple syrup and crispy bacon always had me scrambling out of bed on Saturday.

Since I’m still on a Keto diet, these French toast candles are about as close as I’ll be getting to real French toast for several months to come.

Lest any of you think that I grew up in a rich family, think again. My father was a doctor and a serving officer in the U.S. military. Since he specialized in tropical medicine, we were stationed in Bangkok, Thailand during the latter years of the Vietnam War. Since the dollar was all powerful compared to the Thai Baht, my parents hired a maid and a cook.

While I don’t know what my parents paid these servants during the 70’s, I do know that in Thailand, an English speaking live-in maid currently earns about 10,000 Baht ($306.28) per month. Given their specialized skill set, an experienced English speaking cook will earn even more especially if she is familiar with the production of western style meals like pot roast and spaghetti with meatballs.

To contrast these wages with our own standard of living here in the United States, live-in maids earn an average of just over $40,000. Top end maids earn $63,500. A cook (who does not live in-house) earns an average of $30,831

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