Monday, November 30, 2009

Ho Ho Ho!

Boy, do Cambrias love Christmas! My poor, but very loving husband let's me have three Christmas trees, puts lights all over my house and has endured Christmas music nonstop all weekend knowing that it's not even close to over. We are also going to THREE, count 'em, three Christmas plays this weekend, seeing the Nutcracker, and doing lots of other Christmas-y things! If I had my way, the holiday season would be twice as long and people would be twice as nice and cheery. Wouldn't it be wonderful if it was Christmas time all the time?

Friday, November 13, 2009


It's been a while. I looked at other people's blog just now, just to see if other people were still blogging and I would still be properly cool if I blogged today, and it looks like I've missed out on a lot.
Blogging, it would seem, is still in. I started this other blog for my students when I was all gung-ho at the beginning of the year. "Maybe my kids will read my blog and then we could have discussions on the blog and it would be so cool." yeah, right. I haven't updated this blog since May so I'm pretty sure that I haven't touch my teaching one.
It's Friday, it's November and the holidays are fastly approaching and making me a happy Cambria.
I am killing time here while I wait for the time to hit 3:10 so I can leave school and go to the gym.
. . . .I guess I haven't blogged for a while because I have not had anything to say. Not to say nothing has happened to me, just not enough to cause enough emotion to say, "This must go out to webreaders everywhere!"
I switched schools and now work much, much, much closer to my house. Much closer. It rocks! Life at this school is pretty quiet, so there is no weird PTA ladies, no weird "poopy" students, no crazy committees that I have to be on. Just learning. Huh. Pretty cool.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sticks and Stones . .

You know? Whoever came up with the aforementioned statement needs to be punched (Please don't miss the irony here!). When you are little, you are taught by your mother, a teacher, some do-gooder grown-up that words are just words and that they cannot possibly affect you. . or shouldn't, because according to E. Roosevelt, no one can make you feel low without your permission. . or something cheesy like that. Fine Eleanor! You win! Guess what, my feelings get hurt when I hear from my boss that a bunch of house-wives hate me because they think I'm "harsh" with their lazy children!
Gosh! I mean, who are these people who are allowing their children to grow-up being able to be so darn sensitive and pass-the-buck-ish? How can your son failing my class be reflective on me and not that child? I consider myself a score keeper not an awarder of grades, otherwise, some of the kids getting "A"s would get "C+"s.
The funny thing is the perpetuation of a vicious cycle that is going on here. Student failing class + teacher being straight with student because he is a year away from driving and maybe that's the problem: is that we as a society are handing out driving licenses to whiners, who in turn are bad, dangerous drivers + student getting feelings hurt because he must be failing because teacher is "harsh" not because he is NOT turning ANYTHING in + mom being self-imposingly important + conversation with teacher's principal + conversation between principal and teacher = teacher getting feelings hurt. Weird.
Call me crazy, I just don't think this is a healthy way of dealing with things. If you have a problem, going to the source is always the best idea, the likelihood people are going to get their feelings hurt isn't as great as when you find out that you have been sitting in meetings with smiling grown women all year, only to find out that they secretly wish you would get dry erase marker poisoning. The best part is, this piggy-backs onto another situation with a different student who thinks I hate him. I wish I could have told my vice-principal, "I don't really care about him one way or another, I just want him to learn," but I think that may have been a little too honest.
You know? People think summer is for students, but it's really for teachers. If we didn't have a break to dust off our fractured little nerdy souls, no teacher would come back for the next batch. Is it summer yet?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

It's Here!

Jen Lancaster fans! Let it be known that Jen Lancaster's new book, "Pretty in Plaid," came out today. She is one of the funniest modern-day writers I've read, so much so that I literally laugh out loud when reading her.
You may remember me mentioning her previous works, "Bitter is the New Black," "Such a Pretty Fat," and "Bright Lights, Big Ass." All of these books carry with them comedic genius, and I am sure Pretty in Plaid, her memoir of her youth, will be as entertaining.
Go out and buy this book!

I'm Leaving on a Jetplane

I leave tonight to go to sunny California. Expected weather there is supposed to be 80 degrees and sunny. Don't be too jealous!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Two Years

During Our First Two Years. . .

We've had two first dates, our blind date with "buffers" and a "real" date with just us
We've had two living quarters together, our condo and our house
We've had two seasons of Utes football
We've had two Christmases
We've had two birthdays
We've had two books that we've read together
We've had two "parent meetings" to get through
We've had two bets, both of which I've lost
We've had two hour phone conversations late into the night
We've had two weddings we've been at together, one of them ours
We've had two years now, my husband that I adore and I; can't wait for more.

I love you, my one who makes me a two.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Disneyland! Here we come!

Do you like my art?

In five days my entire family will be going to California and to Disneyland! We have been counting down and now that we can count on one hand (for Sawyer), we are so excited that it is so close.
This will be Sawyer's first time to Happiest Place on Earth and we are sooooo excited. We leave on Tuesday evening and will spend three days in the Park before we drive down to Laguna Niguel to stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel for Mother's Day weekend (See, my second job pays off!) and fun at the beach.
This is my family's first Family Vacation in nine years and we could not be more happy to have all of us there. Jarom, my brother, leaves for Marine bootcamp on Monday when we come back, so this will be a bitter-sweet farewell tour to him.
My parents have been awesome to help implement this trip and I wish it was tomorrow.
Our first day there, we are surprising Sawyer by taking him to a "Character Breakfast" with all the Disney Princesses. He is just in love with them all and is going to flip out when they come right up to him and talk to him. My little mommy-disney-thrilled-heart is overjoyed and I know that the crazy magic that Disney conjures up for little ones is going to make my day. Sawyer has no idea what he's in for, but at almost five-years-old, he is at a perfect age and will think that Mickey in real-life is as real as in his cartoons. Our first stop will be Splash Mountain, as requested by little guy and I can't wait to get back to tell you all about it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Poem of the Day in Ms. Demke's Class

by John Lennon

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

. . . need I say more?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Poetry Continued

Last week I wrote about my students reading poetry and how one of my students thought that the dates next to Elizabeth Barrett Browning's name were the year in which she apparently slaved away at this poem, taking her about 60 years to write it.
Yesterday, we read The Tiger by William Blake. You may know him, "Tiger! Tiger! Burning Bright. Through the forests of the night. . . " I'm sure you were forced to read it in school, just like my students were yesterday. : ) Trust me, I see the irony.
Yesterday, same student from last week, saw the title of the poem, The Tiger, and yelled, "Oh boy! Is this 'Eye of the Tiger?'"
I'm not kidding. Thought you'd like to know. I wonder what Blake would think?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

36 Days and Counting

It's Spring! . . .sort of. It's supposed to snow today, but I am positive that spring is on it's way. Yesterday was gorgeous. Stuart and I (mostly Stuart) put together our new patio set and we are so excited for the warm weather, BBQs, and having friends over.
We were quite busy over the long weekend. We put in new carpet downstairs, got new couches, did yard work, babysat Mason, cleaned and organized the playroom, I hosted a baby shower, we had Easter celebration with my family, the Easter bunny came, we registered Sawyer for kindergarten, and went shopping at Home Depot, IKEA, Ross, etc. to name a few places. We kept pretty busy this weekend but got lots and lots done. We are so excited that our little house is becoming a home! For those of you in the area, can't wait to have you stop by!

After my awesome Spring Break spent with my husband and son, I do NOT want to be at school anymore. I am basically check out now and hoping the students won't notice. I'll start putting things away. Start cleaning. I don't think they'll notice. They are pretty checked out too.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

You Wanted to Know

How big a nerd am I? Seriously? You don't know already?
Yesterday, I went to a conference, it was entitled "The Best Books of the Past Decade for Teens and How to Use Them in Your Program."
This conference was like going to a Beatles concert for me (if that was possible), like finding a secret free stash of the great chocolate as big as the world, like finding a pair of cute Steve Maddens on a clearance rack. My husband texted me in the middle of the conference and I literally told him that I was so "into" this conference that I would have to talk him later, and "sigh, why are you interrupting me (just kidding, Baby! Exaggeration makes good stories into better stories)?!!!"
This conference gave my a list of Cambria-crack, that's right, over 300 titles of books for teens that Cambria NEEDS TO READ! I was so blasted excited when I left the conference that I drove straight to the bookstore and if I hadn't been for some self-conscience that my husband makes me have, probably would have blown all of our savings on books (But don't worry, Baby, I didn't.).
This conference made me realize (well, not really, made me reaffirm) how important it is that children (teenagers included) see grown-ups model how important/essential/life-or-death (okay, maybe not that)/FUN reading is. Studies show that if prekindergarten children are not read to or shown by example by adults how cool reading is, they will struggle, fall behind, and even-GASP-hate reading by the time they are in 6th grade-that means no "SuperFudge" for them. No Dahl references, no joy at Charlie discovering that golden ticket, they hate reading. Are you kidding me? You can't hate James and that Giant Peach, why it's delightful. I can't have one more student say to me, "I don't know who Charlotte, Old Yeller, Little Anne/Old Dan, Miss Nelson, BFG, and Sam Am I are."
These same studies show there is a direct correlation between these kids lack of literacy and their "behavior problems" in class. That means that as a Freshmen teacher, I have the daunting job of trying to get students who HATE to read, read The Most Dangerous Game, A Christmas Carol (and you already know how I feel about that book-I cry EVERY TIME Cratchit cries over little Tiny Tim's body-oops, I think I might tear up just thinking about it), and The Outsiders (come on! Who doesn't love gangs, swearing, and angst when you are a teenager?). And let me tell you something about teenagers, especially those with "behavior problems," they will tell you when they don't like something-EVERY TIME!. . . so, for many who hate reading, anything to do with a book is not in the cards in a Freshmen English class.
My point? PLEASE READ TO YOUR KIDS! AND LET THEM SEE YOU READ. . .ANYTHING! You have no idea what an impact you are making on your little ones one way or another. Read!*

*Ranting is read at your own expense and is in no way by any means meant as yelling directly at you. Remember, I am a nerd.

I'm Sorry, Poets

It is National Poetry Month. . .and yes, I am a nerd! I love my Poetry Unit that my students GET to do. I do NOT make students go through long poems, analyzing every line, trying to figure out what it all means. Instead, we read some cool poems, listen to some cool songs, and I teach them a little about poetic devices with some fun activities. I am not a believer in any way that students should be beaten over the head with poetry.. .which is why that everything seems to be going well.. . .until .. . . .Elizabeth Barrett Browning, "How do I love thee?"
I think this is an important poem, not because it is particularly good or profound, but because of the pop culture references that the kids need to know. What a shame that so much of satire toady is missed by teenagers because they don't have the original art to compare to.
As my students look down at the poem thinking, "what the heck does breadth mean?" One student notices that I have the years that Browning was alive next to her name (1805-1861). As the other students discuss why this poem is "cheesy," this student suddenly blurts out "It took her this long to write the poem?"
Followed by laughter, some of it my own (Sorry student).
That was almost as good as one student who wrote a metaphor (another poetic device we are practicing) that went like this (OH! And don't worry, he read it aloud)-- "Friends are like butt cheeks, they try to separate, but they keep sticking together." Thank you, student. I'm sorry great poets, they are trying.
Another student today told me that Bob Marley needed to stop crying and stop taking acid. Huh?. . .ah, excuse me, student, Bob Marley is dead. . and really, crying? Student said Marley needed to pick up a gun and fight! Did I mention, we have also talked about irony in class lately?
Who knows what they are going to do to poor Langston Hughes tomorrow?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

62 Days until Freedom

Is it too early to start counting down until the end of school?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Love, My Life

I am not someone who likes Valentine's Day. Not even a little bit. I figure that if he likes you, he should be showering you with love everyday. This year is my second Valentine's with Stuart. Last year, he spoiled me rotten. He got third row tickets to the ballet, bought me a yummy romantic dinner (the sure fire way to any Cambria's heart), and gave me my favorite band's new album. "Well, Cambria, what did you get Stuart?" Nothing. Not one thing. I told him I hated Valentine's and that he wouldn't get anything and I made good on my word, and I felt like the biggest jerk ever.
This year I did not make the same mistake. I got Stuart some new slippers. Again, as always, he spoiled me. . . and I am just fine with that, because really, he makes it feel like everyday is Valentine's Day.
I have never known any person to be so completely loving and self-giving as my wonderful husband is to me. I often feel completely undeserving and beyond grateful that he chose me. Although, Sawyer said to him in the car the other day that "[he] made a good choice in [me]."
Here is the very first picture that was taken of Stuart and I. Don't we look like sappily in love? I kind of think we were.

I love my husband, I love my life.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I Am the Proudest Aunt Alive!

On Tuesday night, I became an aunt. I can't tell you how excited I am about it! Little Mason Tyler Kingsford came into this world at 9:15 p.m. 7 lbs. 11 oz, 20 1/2 inches with beautiful dark hair and is perfect. Grammie and Opa (my parents) and Grandma and Grandpa (Tyler's parents) and myself were all there in the waiting room and got to share in Emilie and Tyler's joy moments after Mason's birth. It was truly a joyous occasion and made my grateful for my wonderful family. The only thing that would have been better is if Stuart and Sawyer would have been there, but they had gone home so Sawyer could get some much needed sleep.
Here are some pictures of my beautiful nephew! I swear I won't spoil you too much, Buddy.

And here's one with the proudest Grammie of all!

Thursday, January 8, 2009


This week at school has been rough. A situation happened that I got stuck in the middle of that made me realize that it really, truly is time for me to look for a new school next year. I don't know if I'm bored, tired of driving 1 hour a day (YES!), tired of middle school, or if I need new challenges, but this situation made my forthcoming decision all the easier.
Seriously, why do adults act like middle school kids? And interestingly, this week. . .my middle school kids have been acting like adults. In that regard, it's been awesome.
This situation, which as you can figure out now, I'm not going to go into in detail has made me somewhat depressed and pretty disgruntled at school, but yesterday something happened. On my way out, I ran into one of the seasoned teachers at school who has sort of taken me in under his wise wing since day one. He asked how I was, and I said okay. Then he asked how my hubby and son were. .. .And I knew that my demeanor changed in that question.
I said, awesome.
He said, that is great. You know, if you have a peaceful and fun home, that's all you need. You can make it through this job, you can make it through anything. I love going home. It's the only place where everything else doesn't matter.
He went on to tell me that he had spotted me one time out in public and had watched me with my husband and Sawyer, whose hand was wrapped around mine, and told me how close we all looked.
I almost cried.
I drove home in a quiet manner and really thought about what my wise, old friend had told me. It is so true. If you have the people you love surrounding you each day, nothing else in the world matters. You really can get through anything. Work, money, co-workers (grrrr), materialism, none of that matters when you are at home.
What a relief to know at work today, that nothing that happens to me here will have to affect me, or can creep into my peaceful home.
I've said it once and I'll say it again, I am blessed.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New Year's-Boo Year's

It's New Year's. . . .six days ago. Every year I say I'm going to do all these things tat I never end up doing. This year, the only resolution that I made (with my awesome husband) was to not eat out very much. We eat out ALL the time. WAAAAY too much. Every time the end of the month comes and we wonder where all the money's gone, we just have to look at your checking account. SICK! Wendy's, McDonalds, Iggy's, Cafe Rio, Paradise, Rio Grande, Squatters, more McDonald's, Subway, more Cafe Rio, Barbacoa, etc. Incredible! So, Stuart and I decided that we really need to get a handle on this whole thing and start eating things in our house, WOW, did you know that I have perfectly edible food in my pantry? Neither did I.
To celebrate our new found goal, we dined out at a cheap restaurant. . . . . .

Baby steps.


Oh the happy smile on my face when the Utes won on Friday and proved everyone wrong. Take that all you doubters, all you nay-sayers. Only undefeated team in the country. YAY!