We can’t avoid having faith. We have some degree of faith in ourselves…friends, truth, education. But it doesn’t take any courage to have those kinds of faith. But it takes courage to have love for people who are different from you…inferior to you. 

I’m paraphrasing the wisdom of Jimmy Carter and his appearance on Colbert. I’m not particularly religious, but I like the basic principles of religion such as trying to be a good person. As a person living in modern times, I feel that I can pick and choose the good bits versus the bad bits out of the bible. An easy example would be that I am glad that I won’t be punished with death by stones. Although oddly enough in 2018 that is an actual thing used to scare away armed killers (sorry Pennsylvania).

Returning to the positive, as this holy week/weekend comes to a close, it’s refreshing to see and hear someone give prayer and faith a good name, so thank you Jimmy.

To conclude my luxurious Spring break where I lived my life as usual and worked at the brewery, I just wanted to share some special moments that I had. I got to hang out with little Campbell. He is an ever growing nugget and will no longer be a nugget which is sad but true. I also am 1/4 into a book that I am enjoying.  Now I will probably have to stop and then re-read once summer hits, but c’est la vie.

I’ve been keeping up with my Duo lingo lessons of German every morning with my coffee and my dorky notebook where I write down as much vocabulary as I can. If anyone spoke to me in German would I have a clue what to say? Nein. Absolutely, nein. But according to the app I am 38% fluent, so I will keep going forward.




I’m also celebrating and congratulating myself for doing a grand total of about 5 hours of school related work this break. That’s not even a full day. That’s like 30 min per day max. Not a math teacher clearly, but you get what I’m saying. But also, It’s my break so I’m really proud of myself for minimal effort.


Little Walter just got dropped off for a sleepover. The anxiety of  the Easter festivities would be too much for him. His best self really shines when It’s just him by himself, no other animals and maybe 1-2 other humans. We are both having a spa like experience right now as he sniffs his surroundings, eats random scraps of garbage and glitter off of my floor and I conclude this blog while contemplating a nap.

outside the box





I started doing some of my online readings for this class I’m taking called “Motivation Matters” and suddenly I decided to look at Pinterest which led me to a quiz called what kind of tattoo should you get (which I’m not even considering AT ALL).

Watercolor TattooApparently the results are based on the fact that I like beautiful, artistic and unique. So I should get a watercolor tattoo. Gross. Terrible. This all started because I wanted to do laundry and then didn’t have detergent so I’m finding the strength and money to go to the store. Not sure how it always ends up that someone with a decent job and a masters degree experiences a few day every month where their bank account is $43.72.

Turning thirty has changed many things, but not all. For example, the money thing is exactly like college. The going out part is the exact opposite, and now I look for reasons to not go out. I’m glad that I don’t have a child, but it sure would be a great scapegoat to not attend certain events. I am beyond content just being an aunt, and I love seeing Campbell every chance that I get.

It will be better when he can take care of his own poop and food though.

campbell-6 months

I only feel thirty if someone asks me how old I am and I have to say out loud “I’m thirty.” That conversation doesn’t come up a lot, or it hasn’t yet. I would prefer if it didn’t. I think I look young, feel young,  and act young (do dumb stuff all the time, can’t even get into it).

bulls game

There I am at the bulls game realizing that all of these ballers that have established lives and more money than I will ever know, are literally an entire decade younger than me.

While I behaved the weekend of my actual birthday, the weekend before I spent Sunday accomplishing nothing until 4pm when I went to the gym and sweated out tequila shots. So fine, I went to the gym. That’s the big 3-0 I guess.

My dear friend Maia gave me some pretty yellow flowers and I don’t own a vase. So I used the bottle of rose that we just drank. At what point in your life (or age) do you realize that you should have a vase? Is everyone else getting flowers with such frequency that they go to the store and think, better get a vase. How do I get to that level?

No complaints though. I got to have one of the best meals of my life, see my family and friends and wear a low cut super short velvet dress. Thirty.

I also get to kick off my Thanksgiving break with the anxiety of having my formal observation next week. Every year I try to go into it knowing that I’m doing a good job so it doesn’t matter that I can’t control what 28 teenagers may do or say in that 50 minute period…but that’s “my job” I guess. Don’t make robots, but also sort of make robots.

GIRLBOSS QUOTE: There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing and be nothing. -Aristotle


Will probably google new jobs for a few hours now as another great use of my time.


I’m really bad at questioning. I have always felt that in a science-y way, it was best to accept the mysteries of the universe. That feeling comes from a Disney channel original movie that I saw long ago about a girl maybe being a mermaid. Unclear, but probably best for me to move forward.

This feeling to move on was most recently inspired by some street art that I zoomed past on the bus.  If you’re in Chicago and on Chicago avenue, in that confusing little triangular area where the blue line is and Big Shoulders coffee (which looks like a nice spot) you will see this…


Would it be better if it weren’t a gold toothed lizard spreading that message? For me, yes. But it really made me think. I still don’t know quite what that thought is, or what I will do with that message inside of me moving forward, but I do find it illuminating.

In other life news, I am taking a mini pause from my double life of being teacher and a beer maid so that I can attempt to be social. As an introvert in a profession where I act extroverted most of the time, I need my weekends to cool off and be away from people, yet I feel pressure to take advantage of that time to have fun, live my best life, etc.

This school year I give myself top marks for effort. I have gone out during the week at least three times, attended PD’s during the week that went late, took a weekend trip to New York and somehow taught the whole next week through, likely wearing the same pair of black pants everyday. Not to mention, working every Saturday (minus two). I’m sorry, but single people have to brag like this because the only other people that care are parents and it’s like yeah that’s nice but also my mom loves home made poorly written poems and misshapen mugs that you can’t grasp, and hold one drop of liquid. #doinggreat


Last year It was easy to convince myself that I had become a much better teacher. I’d made it to year three, growing each year with experience and reflecting upon my observers critiques and feedback. It was super easy to get a big head when I taught honors kids. You say read, and they start reading? Wildly different things are happening in regulars, and it is teaching me how to be a better teacher and how to make them better learners.  It is essential to me that they actually learn things and not just rest upon their laurels; in the process of being discovered.

Another fabulous Angela Ritchie ACE camp -- I did an ACE camp in Sweden with Camilla Engman in 2011 and it was life-changing.  Martha Rich | Be Your Own Authentic Artist | New Orleans, Louisiana | September 4-8, 2014 — ace camps

I hoarded all of their work from Quarter 1 for three reasons. One, so that they couldn’t throw it away. Two, so that they couldn’t compare their grade to the person next to them. I guess the culminating reason that I didn’t think of initially was so that they could create “portfolios” which by definition is a whole other thing that requires much more work than what I’m doing. Basically they picked two things that they were proud of or perhaps disappointed by, and then tucked them into their little barf green folder until Q2.

I asked them, what does this show you about yourself as a learner. Why did you pick the things that you did? Who were you Q1?

a lazy person

I don’t know if that will change who they are moving forward, but they were quite honest.  As an adult I have gone through a lot of life experiences and milestones, but ultimately haven’t changed, so I really don’t have any answers.

aliceI posted this on my Facebook 5 years ago today to represent that I wasn’t sure where I was going with my life or what I was doing. Now I still have a lot of questions about what happens next. I certainly didn’t see myself where I am now. That god damn cat could just give me some clues.


What I want to know about this photo is, if I’m not looking at the happy couple kissing, where am I looking and why? Blissfully unaware….

Also this entire post would lead you to believe that I exclusively wear flower crowns to special events, or even on a daily basis. If only.

it happens everyday.

Deep thoughts,



Summer of…

I am sick of hearing my name. My last name anyways. I’m even sick of hearing the way that kids are starting to spice it up-Ms. Camby, Camby-bell- K-bell, or just Ms. Ms. Ms……..uhhhhh. Somehow I remember 130+ names and you can’t keep track of 7 teachers. #Getmeoutofhere


And while this time of year is the time when we are all the most drained, and the kids are also the most drained, there is more of an ease with the management because you really know each other. And then it ends.  And you have to figure it out all over again in the fall over the course of several months.

end of school

You guys keep working, I’ll just be over here “grading”


I guess that’s what keeps me coming back though.  Those kids that I roll my eyes the most about; I couldn’t do it without them. I could probably do a way better job, but it wouldn’t be as hilarious in retrospect.

I finally ditched my coffee stained lunch box that was 45% ombre brown for about 6 months of the year. With just a week left, I took the plunge and got this new little lunch box. Honestly, if you’re having a bad day, you have to at least have something good for lunch. And at the very very least, a cute lunch box. This year I pretty much isolated myself during lunch because it took me all the extra minutes of getting rubber bands in and out and brushing up afterwards that it just didn’t make it worth it to go downstairs. I also still never got those nerve endings back in my lower lip/chin area so I often find little dribbles there and I am constantly wiping that area out of habit.

lunch box

The good news is that I got my braces off, and that makes things a good 90% easier. Non- braces people know that you can still get food in your teeth, but getting it out is much simpler.

braces day1-end

teacher emma

I also get to be an aunt to this little nugget of joy below featured in his baby-aviators…baby-ators. As far as he knows, I’ve had a dazzling smile for his entire life, and not just half of it. While I have tons of pictures of him and am so proud and giddy, I don’t think we have a photo together. I’m not against it, but when I see a photo of a person as old as me with a baby, I figure that it’s their baby. To clarify, it really depends on the pose and the location. I wasn’t about to grab him for a photo-op in the hospital because I randomly looked worse than the person that had just given birth and all of the nurses on hour 37 of their shift.


In conclusion, just trying to get a feel for if being an aunt is a pick up line or not, because despite what I was imagining, there was not a line of suitors outside of my door the day after I got my braces off. I think I came home and did the same things that I always do, in no particular order….eat something with a lot of olive oil on it, 2-3 episodes of something on Netflix, complain to myself about dumb things, try to go to bed by 10 pm.

That photo of the article “Single in Chicago” was something that my dad handed to me approximately four years ago. I might have been back from Spain and just starting my little Chicago life.  A lot has changed since then, and in the fewest words possible, I’m ready for the summer of Emma.


The final countdown (probably)

Last time I checked in I was still uncovering clues as to what “June” meant to my orthodontist. He said the beginning of June. But then he said I will “graduate with my students” so I was like…damn, when do they graduate? But then he said maybe even by the end of this month. This month is May BTW.  I’m talking about getting my braces off BTW.

Let’s just say, nobody knows how many days that I’m counting, but I am counting down.

teacher things

I am also counting down to the end of the school year, which us CPS teachers can now accurately do. Somebody came around and thought it would be a good Idea to go until the bitter end, and I think we can all agree that the kids need it and the teachers(*) would have needed a little more warning and money to prepare for the loss of those final paychecks (*me). More proof we’re all in it for the ca$h!

As you can see, I can’t even keep a cactus alive until June, so there’s a reason we get “summer off”

teacher life

During those joyous months of debt accumulating anxiety, I tried applying to a couple of summer jobs. I didn’t come across much, mainly because I have no other skills aside from teaching Spanish, inventing smoothie recipes and buying things on amazon prime. I was also being a little snot and refused to consider anything that had to do with Spanish, children, students, school, children, babysitting, uhg. #nogracias.

Well a miracle happened and a brewery decided to hire me. One excerpt from our phone interview: “Can you name some breweries in Chicago?”

“Lagunitas.” “Yep, any others”

“Two Brothers is something I see at the store.” “Well, no. That’s in _______” (I forgot, but it’s in Illinois).

“Well hey pretty close, same state…, well so yeah then I’m not going to embarrass myself any further”

Aside from that, I’m not a moron and I’m fun.  I was so excited when I got my gear and employee handbook that I ran home in the rain and laid everything on top of myself and took this flattering photo for you all to enjoy. And now I guess you know where I work.

on tour

Back to my teeth/jaw update. I’m pretty sure I will be living out my days with a numb lower lip and chin. Could be worse. That’s the risk you take. It’s not like I was a professional food taster. Probably could have been. Now we’ll never know.

week 8 month 8

I had captioned the photo on the left something along the lines of “can’t wait to compare week 8 to month 8!” Well here ya go self!

Mouth before surgery/braces. Mouth at month 8 (closer to 9) post op. I think I can see the differences in my lips and chin. Slight of course… but also my nose.


And finally, it’s hard to catch a good selfie these days, so that’s just scraggly me at the end of a relaxing day of teaching. The one one the left is the day that I got my braces on a year and a half ago. I think I look a lot less tooth-y if you catch my drift. Obviously my surgeon went ahead and tucked my upper jaw back into my face more. That’s the technical way of explaining it.

In other news, I deleted my Instagram off of my phone for a little social media cleanse. It’s only been a week now and I think I’ve lost weight and gained self esteem. I was getting so obsessed with looking at all of the healthy meals people were making and all of the workouts that they were doing that I was just bumming myself out and making myself worse. I was literally COUNTING calories. Waste. Of. Time. To.The.Max. I’ve also had snap chat off of my phone since I got my iPhone which was months ago. Haven’t missed it.

But don’t worry folks, I’m not better than you. I’ve left my house just a handful of times today and I just wrote this blog so that there was enough space in between me eating my lunch, taking a nap, and having dinner. The only reason that I may be slightly better is because this morning I moved my oven and fridge and sucked up all of the mysteries that were lurking underneath them. If you call it a black jelly bean, it’s a black jelly bean.  love yourself