• Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 143 other followers

  • “Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers” — Isaac Asimov

  • Recent Posts

  • Pages

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Blog Stats

    • 167,621 hits

Road Trip – Part 3

Day 3 of our little road trip began with me getting up at 7 for another trek on the treadmill.

I knew that I’d be spending some time in the car, so getting my legs moving, while I could, was paramount.

Once the Mr. woke up, we packed our things and prepared to load up the car.

I had to chuckle when I compared my pile . . .

With his . . .

To be fair, that red laundry bag should have sat between the stacks of bags since both of our clothes were in it.

As we headed out, sans kids (boo), the weather wasn’t looking that great.

I was reminded, once again, of God’s grace the day before when the weather had been spectacular for the game.

When we were planning this trip, we had decided not to go straight home.

Our next destination: Auburn!

Atlanta sits less than two hours east of the prettiest town known to man, so we couldn’t allow the opportunity to visit pass us by.

We made a pit stop at a Chick fil A to potty, and I was struck by this dispenser in the rest room:

Something to fight the chicken biscuit bad breath, I guess. I wouldn’t know since I’m a vegan.

Anyhoo, it didn’t seem long before we entered Auburn’s city limits, and things just felt so good.

We headed into town to grab some lunch.

One of the kids had told us about a place called Pieology, which has similar pizzas to Blaze. Coincidentally, there was one right across from Toomer Drugs. Here’s what we saw when we went in . . .

When I first saw the crust advertised, I was excited. Then, I asked the girl working behind the counter if it was vegan. She told me that it had dairy in it. Dang! Their gluten-free crust is also vegan, though, so I opted for that.

There was also this sign . . .

Y’all, the world is slowly becoming a vegan-friendly place, let me tell you!

For the record, I am a vegan who doesn’t necessarily miss the taste of meat. I’d never been a huge fan of ground beef, and sausage was okay, but hey, I was up for trying new things, so I ordered my pizza with half “meatball” and half “sausage.” They were out of the “chicken.”

See that cheese? That’s Daiya – one of my favorite vegan cheeses. The gal had been extremely helpful when preparing this. She had a lot of knowledge of the products I could eat since she has to watch her diet as well.

I must have been hungry because I ate the entire thing!

Fueled by the delicious food, we were read to shop!

Now, if you’ve never been in Auburn on game day, you wouldn’t be able to compare the shopping experience we had during our road trip with a game day foray. There were some people out and about, but we were actually able to maneuver inside the stores fairly easily. We found several things on sale, and I tried on a few items.

I also purchased a few things because, well, when you’re in Auburn, you must buy all the things.

It’s tradition.

The Mr. and I did discover, after a long, hot walk, that the University Bookstore (my personal favorite because of its size) wasn’t open. Dang! Classes don’t start for another month, so they had no need for such silliness quite yet.

The Mr. was not happy.

As I said, it was hot, and our walk had been a long one.

We made our way back across campus, and he reluctantly posed with me for a selfie in front of Samford Hall.

We headed back towards Toomer’s Corner because of this . . .

This place is known for the VERY best lemonade you will ever have.

In fact, ESPN Game Day once did a story about this very special corner of lemonade heaven. I kid you not!

Of course a photo was in order – just to prove that the above pictures aren’t Google images. Ha!

What you don’t see in the picture above are the bottles I bought for later.

They’re labeled as being good up to four days post-purchase. I’m here to tell you that they can last up to a week (I drank the one above yesterday).

Ahem.

We rode around town, enjoying the scenery, talking of how much things have changed since we lived there almost thirty years ago, and enjoying the foliage, which we don’t have much of anymore because of stupid Hurricane Michael.

Then, we hit the road – destination home.

This was the hardest part of our road trip – returning to what we knew would be a house with one member missing.

I immersed myself in my knitting as a distraction and reflected on the wonderful trip.

I was thankful for its timing.

No, it hadn’t been great for Gambit, bless his heart.

For us, though, it had been a welcome respite from the stress we’d been under caring for an ailing pupper. Oh, we had enjoyed taking care of him and would have done it for years just to keep him with us, but if you’ve ever cared for a sick person or animal, you know that it wears on you.

The time away with family – especially after pretty much staying local since last October – had been a blessing as well.

Except for our trip to see family during Christmas and a couple of shopping trips to Destin after Thanksgiving, we had not left town since the hurricane.

The change of scenery and routine had suited us well.

A huge thanks goes out to the Mr. and Rooster for planning this, our children who worked the trip into their schedules, and those who prayed for us while we were gone.

Someone’s Ready for Auburn Football

Look who’s ready for some Auburn football…

Don’t you just love the collar that Gambit is sporting?

I saw it on my friend’s Instagram feed.  Kelli and I went to high school together, and she married a guy in my class (she graduated the year after we did).  I remember her being artsy back then, so it didn’t surprise me when I discovered that she has an Etsy store, KM Designs, where she specializes in themed dog collars but has a variety of other hand-crafted items as well.

As soon as I saw the Auburn collar, I knew I had to splurge.  Gambit is Rooster’s dog, and Rooster is fond of wearing bow ties.  In fact, it’s the thing in Auburn right now.

I had some questions regarding which collar size to get, and Kelli immediately responded to my messages…within the same hour…on the weekend!  Needless to say, my order went in the same day!

The collar is very well made.  Kelli did a great job!  The collar is good quality; the clasp snaps together tightly.

Gambit seems pleased with all of the extra attention he’s getting.

Oh, and if you’re looking for hand-made jewelry, check out Madelyn’s Etsy store, The Frilly Fox.  She’s Kelli’s daughter and equally beautiful and talented!  I ordered my mom this necklace for Mother’s Day.  Delivery was super fast, and the hand-stamped necklace is so pretty!

No Ordinary People

I just got home from a wedding.

The bride…a young lady I’ve had the honor of knowing for about twelve years.  I am not a numbers gal, so let’s go with twelve, give or take a year.

She and Chicky formed an instant friendship when we moved to Podunk, USA way back when Chicky was beginning the seventh grade.

“J” and Chicky attended school and church together, and they were also on the same school and travel soccer teams.  Her parents, the Mr., and I quickly formed a strong bond (those of you who know me personally will get the pun).  🙂

I’m proud to say that it was my family who took J to her first Auburn football game, taught her the fight song on the way up, and nurtured that love…one she carried through her college career when she later attended and graduated from Auburn.

War Eagle, y’all!

J married her “buddy” a few hours ago, and the wedding was Christ-centered and full of fun.

I had known, when I received my Save the Date flyer, that it would be a wonderful evening.

Now that it’s come and gone, I can honestly say that my expectations were more than met.

My heart is full, and I almost want to cry now that it’s ended.

As I saw people arrive for the wedding, I couldn’t wait to hug their necks.  I couldn’t quite yet because the ceremony was about to start, so I eagerly awaited the reception.

You see, these were no ordinary “people.”

They were my fellow soccer parents.

Over the years, we had traveled far and wide together (all over the United States, in fact), rejoiced in victories, and dried tears after losses.

We had agonized over teenage/parent frustrations while cheering our girls from the sidelines.

We’d shared countless adventures together.

Holler if you remember getting lost on back roads in Virginia.

Ahem.

If you’re a sports parent, you know the unique bond that forms in such circumstances.

We had broken bread together at all hours of the day more times than I can remember and at more restaurants that I probably want to recall.  Hello, hotel oatmeal.  heehee

It’s a very good thing that social media wasn’t a thing back in those days.  😀

As the girls got older, we attended their college signings and cheered them on when we heard their names on the news or read about them in the paper or online.

And now…

They are getting older.  Many are either finished with college, almost finished, or in the case of K, the youngest of a LARGE crew, about to embark on a college career.

And then today, there was J’s wedding…

The most recent event to bring us together.

I cried a little when I saw her groom’s eyes fill with tears as he saw her.  It was absolutely precious to behold.

I saw J take a deep breath as she held her father’s arm and passed my aisle…on her way to her groom waiting for her.

She was drop-dead gorgeous, her dress conservative but so feminine with its lace and train.

The ceremony was so sweet – especially because they incorporated promises to forever cheer on Auburn in the vows they wrote for each other.

War Eagle!

After the ceremony, I greeted the other soccer moms with the hugs I’d been holding back.  We talked non-stop as we walked to the reception room.

Chicky, the Mr., and I were seated at the table with our soccer peeps.  Whoever made the seating arrangements, thank you!!

What fun we had describing past times.

Watching J and her guy dance their first dance…well, my goodness…I think we soccer moms all shed a few tears.

And then the dance floor was opened up to everyone.

I am not going to lie.  I danced.

A lot.

I pulled one of my friends, L, to the floor with me, and honey, that girl had moves!

Song after song played, and we parents had as much fun as the kids.  Seriously.

At one point, J’s mom got in the middle of the moms and totally cut loose.  My friend, L, looked at me and said, “I have goosebumps right now.”

You see, after our girls, in their senior year of high school, won the regional playoff game that sent them to the state playoffs, we had stood in the school’s parking lot, and J’s mom had gotten in the middle and danced in celebration.

It felt like deja vu.

We boogied our behinds off and did dances I didn’t know how to do.  I just followed the lead of S, one of the soccer dads, who had, apparently, been taught by his five kids.  🙂

We did the Wobble, which I had learned how to do on the cruise.

I learned that to dance like the young folks, all you have to do is point at someone or something every now and then.

heehee

The night went by too quickly, and before I knew it, the Mr. pried me off of the floor.  He and Chicky were ready to leave.  I could have partied all night.

#teachersonsummervacation

As I hugged L, she said, “I don’t want tonight to end.  I’ll probably be depressed tomorrow.”

I told her to focus on the positive memories, but now, I see what she meant.

We, despite having grown children, have gotten busier (who would have thunk it).

We aren’t required to meet up every few days for practices or tournaments.

Simply put, our lives don’t intersect very often any more.

Because we are family, this makes letting go of each other when we are together even more difficult.

You see, when you’re a soccer [insert your sport of choice] parent, you automatically adopt every player on the team.  You walk away from the experience having parented more children than you originally intended when you signed up for the sport.

Your heart gets bigger at the same rate that your “family” grows.

I’ll forever be grateful to J for including us on her special day.  Not only did we get to watch her marry the man God had planned as her soul mate, we got to do it together…like we always did…from the sidelines but with as much enthusiasm as ever.

I’ll carry these memories in my heart for a very long time and will look forward to the next celebration that reunites us once again.

Star-Struck!

Last Friday began as an ordinary day.

Oh sure, it was Friday…and it was pay day (a very good thing indeed)…but still, it was a fairly regular sort of day.

Things were about to change, though.

I’d heard that an Auburn coach was on campus, but when he walked in my room, I was struck dumb when I saw his name…

Dameyune Craig!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hello?

Do you not know who this is?

Um…well…just read these stats, which I copied from his bio page on Auburn’s website

Craig played quarterback at Auburn from 1994-97, where he still holds numerous Auburn passing records, including completions (216) and passing yards (3,227) in a season as well as a single-game record for most net yards gained (445 vs. Army in 1996; 75 rush, 370 pass). Craig, who led Auburn to an 18-7 mark in 25 career starts, was an exceptional student-athlete on and off the field, earning Academic All-SEC honors as a senior in 1997.

Now are you properly impressed?

Not only that, but he is one of our coaches now, one of the country’s top recruiters, and in case you’ve forgotten, we just finished a STELLAR season!!!

THIS man was standing in MY classroom.

I am not normally at a loss for words, but I became speechless.

My students were looking on, and they laughed!

You want to know what I did?

Just wait for it, because you’re not going to believe it.

I…

Asked…

If I could HUG him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah.

I’m kind of awkward like that.

He laughed and said yes.

SO I DID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My students were totally cracking up by now.

He spent about fifteen minutes in my room, and let me just tell you that he was the nicest famous person I have ever met!  In fact, he’s one of the nicest of all people that I’ve ever met.

He was selfless during our discussion and asked ME about my kids (he could see pictures on my bulletin board).  He asked me about attending Troy, having been told by someone that’s where I’d gone.

Seriously.

We talked about how the Mr. and I want to move to Auburn when he retires.

For the record, Dameyune recommended that we build…much cheaper than buying something already built.

He asked me what I taught, and we discussed State of Florida graduation requirements.

Seriously.

He was gracious to a fault and hugged me A SECOND TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have the picture to prove it.

And yes, I realize that I haven’t (except for yesterday) ever shown my picture on my blog.

When you meet Dameyune Craig, you break your own rules.

heehee

My students were still talking about my fan behavior yesterday when we returned to school.

I’m cool like that.

For the record, I talked to a math teacher who is also a huge Auburn fan, and she said she totally would have hugged him too.

Of course, she probably would have talked football stats with him.

She’s way cooler than I am.

So yes, I hugged Dameyune Craig TWICE.

He’ll probably ask for someone else to visit my school the next time Auburn sends a recruiter.  I can hear the conversation now…”You see, there’s this crazy Reading teacher, and she HUGS, and, like, you can’t really say no, you know what I mean?  So you’ve gotta send somebody else.”

heehee

What a wonderful experience this was…one I will NEVER forget!

From Last to First

Source: USA Today

I love the way USA Today opens up its article about Auburn winning the SEC Championship last night:

From last to first. From winless in the Southeastern Conference to confetti-splashed champions. From dysfunction to destiny.

You guys know I am a die-hard Auburn fan.

My students often give me a hard time about my allegiance, but I do teach mostly Alabama and FSU fans, so what can you expect.

😉

Last year was particularly brutal, so I, along with the rest of my family and Auburn fans everywhere, held my breath when the 2013 season began.

I can’t say Auburn was impressive at the beginning.

It took several wins in a row to build trust.

I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but after only a few short weeks, Auburn fans began smiling…genuinely…as we watched our guys, so full of character, come back time after time to win improbable games.

My Rooster was fortunate to attend the Mississippi State, Georgia, and Alabama games…nail-biters to the end.

He came home exhausted and nearly voiceless from stress, fatigue, and excitement.

As the mother of an athlete, I’ve watched hundreds of games and sat through many, many close finishes.  My heart has fluttered with nerves for the mamas and daddys watching their young men out on that field.

I cannot tell you how much I admire the Auburn players and coaches.

They dared to dream when hardly anyone believed in them.

They dared to defy the odds, disproving so-called “expert” predictions.

Led by a fearless group of coaches, they attempted the impossible and pulled rabbits from their hats.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget this season.  It ranks up there with the 2010 season when we won the National Championship.

In some ways, this year has been even sweeter because of how the team rebounded from the previous season when the stands were often half-empty and fans left at halftime.

I am definitely in the minority where I live…in a state dominated by Florida college football loyalty and, for some odd reason, Alabama too.

I am so proud to call myself an Auburn fan.

Thanks, guys, for showing, by example, what it means to pick yourself up and not allow anyone to label you as failures.

You are a wonderful example to the struggling readers I teach, and I nod my head in respect to your accomplishments this season.

When AuburnChick Screams at the TV…

When I, AuburnChick, scream at the TV, you know something big is happening.

Especially while watching sporting events.

I’m fairly laid-back when watching a game, race, or soccer match on TV.

But…

That changed last night as I watched the Auburn-Georgia game.

As you might infer from my name, I am an Auburn fan.

No, I do not have auburn-colored hair, as some have asked.

I grew up in a small town in Alabama where the choice to be an Alabama or Auburn fan is decided for each person while that person is still in the womb.  Long-standing family traditions are the deciding factor.

I moved to Alabama when I was nine years old and had to make a choice.  I liked the way orange and blue looked together, and I also liked the way Auburn played, for I was watching football in my room, by myself, while most girls were playing with Barbies.

Anyoo, I am digressing.

That was all a setup to explain how deep my affection runs for my team.

But still, it is usually a quiet affection.

Last night was different.

I’d begun removing my Auburn-themed jewelry as I sat and watched the game.

Heck, we were up by twenty points.

I’d even thought of a good friend of mine…a Georgia fan…and considered posting something on his Facebook wall.

Ha.

The football gods laughed at me as Georgia began making a comeback.

The score got closer and closer, and finally, to my dismay, Georgia was ahead.

Auburn was not looking good.  Our quarterback had lost the mojo he’d been finely displaying earlier in the game.

I looked at my jewelry sitting on the table and wondered if I’d jinxed the game.

I quickly put it back on as Auburn got the ball back.

We were sucking, let me tell you.

It came down to the 4th down with eighteen freaking (yes, I said that) yards to go for a first down.

I frantically ate my way through a bowl of Cajun boiled peanuts, my fingernails digging into each shell…taking out my nerves on those poor, innocent peanuts that were refusing to come out of their shells, just as Auburn was refusing to put up good plays.  (I’m still digging peanut guts out from under my fingernails.)

And then the following happened…

This is when calm and collected AuburnChick began screaming at the television.

My next-door neighbors might have thought someone had died.

My dogs started barking.

And still I screamed, at the top of my lungs.

I’m sure the volume was similar to that of the stadium.

But there were still 25 seconds to play.

I dug into more peanuts and watched, horrified, as Georgia’s quarterback led his team down the field making one good pass after another.

Dang those amazing college athletes.

It all came down to three seconds…one last play.

It was do or die.

We sacked the QB, and once again…

I started screaming at the TV…

And the dogs started barking.

Oh.

My.

Gosh.

My Twitter and Facebook feeds blew up.

I got up to get something to drink.

As I tried to pour Chick-fil-A sweet tea (this is the South) from the gallon I’d purchased earlier, my hands shook.

It was all I could do to prevent a huge spill.

I sat back down on the couch, and I promise you that my legs were still shaking.

It was an amazing game that could have gone either way.

Georgia certainly deserved a win given how the team had come back from a large deficit.

As a mom of a college athlete, my heart went out to those boys on the field.

For a second anyway.

At my core, I’m all about Auburn…one of the only teams that will turn THIS mild-mannered Southern girl into a raving lunatic who screams at the TV during college football season.

 

Whatever Gave You That Idea?

Think I’ve had a busy couple of weeks?

Hmmm…maybe I should let the pictures do the talking.

Between lessons on Question-Answer Relationships (QAR)…using song lyrics to help get students interested and to simplify the question-making process…

I was beginning preparations for vocabulary lessons…ordering books on Amazon and doing some hard-core thinking about how to implement what I was learning…

I also received goodies I’d ordered from Kagan training I’d attended in August…

That vocabulary book you see in the picture above is AMAZING, so I spent a lot of time reading, digesting, thinking, and planning.

Meanwhile, I was having fun playing with my fancy new timer…

But wait!

In addition to new resources, toys, and teaching (after all, that’s what they pay me to do), I was also incorporating three new students into my mix and bemoaning the move (out-of-state) of one of my favorite students (his seat was quickly filled with one of the new students).

I gained three this week and lost three.

Strange.

But not altogether sad.

One of my classes is STILL presenting a lot of behavioral problems for me, so they have not seen a happy side of Mrs. AuburnChick in a while.

This does not please me, let me tell you.

I won’t say more except that my life this week was STRESSFUL.

Sigh.

Despite being up until 12:30 lesson planning every night, I did take breaks…

No, I didn’t get to buy these because the Mr. would not let me.  He claimed that the shoes looked like something a *cough* Alabama fan (aka GAG fan) would wear.

I really wish Bear Bryant had preferred ugly old purple or something (don’t tell my friend, Barbara, I said that).  heehee

The shoes stayed at Kohl’s.

I also had to prepare more goody bags for my football players…

After every outing, I returned home to lesson plan.

It’s my new routine.

Work, eat dinner, work, sleep.

That.

Is.

All.

I.

Do.

I did manage to squeeze in time to figure out how to connect my iPad to my Smartboard, via my desktop computer, through a program called Doceri…

That’s my iPad above, and below is a picture of the iPad and my Smartboard in the background!

The dogs are getting quite miffed at me, though, as I have had no energy to play.

They’ve taken matters into their own paws…

So, to answer to the question, “Why haven’t you been blogging much this week?” I’d have to respond with a, “Whatever gave you that idea?”

:::Yawn:::

%d bloggers like this: