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New Years, Knitting, and Football

Happy New Years to all of you!

I thought about posting yesterday…a couple of times throughout the day…but chose instead to vegetate.

I had a swatch to knit up and an OWL proposal to submit.  I’m going to make the Laminaria Shawl.

My yarn is Malabrigo Lace…

The color is Indigo.  I’ll use the pink if I see that I’m running low by the time I hit the edging charts…

The pattern uses Estonian stitches.  Below, is the swatch, which is the 3-into-3 star.  I have notes on my Ravelry project page for how to correctly execute the stitch should you decide to make this shawl.

An OWL is a three-month project that must meet certain requirements.  This term in my Harry Potter knitting group, I’ll be working my magic on a Charms project…one that requires a lace project and a minimum of 800 yards of fiber.  My proposal was accepted today, so I can officially cast on and begin!

I managed to find time to eat the most delicious vegan mac and cheese!!  Oh word, but this stuff is DIVINE!  I’ve been lactose-intolerant since I was seven months pregnant with Rooster.  Being able to eat this comfort food is like having a taste of heaven on earth.  I’m now on a mission to find a good recipe to make at home.

I watched a lot of football and knit a beanie…

I chose Auburn colors…

Watching my team lost in overtime wasn’t fun, but it was par for the course this season.

Meanwhile, I kept knitting…and watching more football.

I might be a teensy bit happy…Go Oregon!

And the following…

Um…no.  The game was a blowout.


And I kept knitting on that beanie…

While watching the other school in Alabama get beat by Ohio State…

While I looked like this…

I finally finished the beanie, but it didn’t fit the Mr., who I’d knit if for.

My head is obviously much more inflated, because it fits me perfectly.

I submitted it for my Flying assignment in my Harry Potter group.  It’s supposed to be an upside-down cauldron.

Be impressed.

Oh, and before I turned out the light, I had to watch a couple of episodes of Downton Abbey.  I love, love, love this show!  It’s so smartly written and makes me tear up frequently!  The one-liners are hilarious too!

Here’s one from my viewing yesterday…

I hope you had a good first day of 2015!


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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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.



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


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.


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.


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.


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.”


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.


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.


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.




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.


The First Graduate

On Wednesday, high school athletes around the country put pen to paper and signed Letters of Intent.

If you’re not familiar with this event, it is when the kids who have worked their hineys off for years and years sign the dotted line and commit to play their respective sports at two and four-year colleges.

My school was incredibly blessed.

Fourteen of our guys signed letters.

Three more will be attending prep schools for the first semester and transferring to other colleges to begin their playing careers.

Seventeen young men.

Most of them from impoverished homes.

They are going to college.

With much of their schooling paid for.

Some of our boys are going as far as California.  Others are staying closer to home.

It was an event that was televised through our school’s TV system.  Nearly every class tuned in.

It sent a strong message to the underclassmen.

Work hard.

Study up.

Stay out of trouble.

For me, there was an especially touching moment that day.

A young man I blogged about a few months ago, “T,”…the one who enveloped me in a strong bear hug as I exited a guidance counselor’s office in tears over another student’s situation, signed a football letter.

He will be attending college on a full ride.

This is something that would make anyone’s jaw drop; however, it’s even more incredible when you know the rest of the story.

He will be the first person in his family to graduate from high school.

Yes.  You read that right.

High school.

He was the last person called up to sign his letter during the long ceremony.

I think the applause given to him was the loudest.

His story is inspiring.

As soon as the ceremony was over, I was the first to hug him.

He has grown to mean so much to me…always quick with a greeting every time he sees me.

Now, don’t you dare start commenting with words such as, “You touched his life.”

That, in my opinion, isn’t quite true.

HE is the one who has touched MY life…changed it…with his gentleness…his thoughtfulness…his humbleness.

The average person can turn on the television or open a newspaper and read similar stories…students rising above their circumstances to do great things.

I used to be one of those people.

The stories were so remote.  They didn’t directly affect me.

And then I started working at my school.

And now I’m in the midst of these stories…watching them unfold before my very eyes.

Tears threatened to spill over as I returned to my classroom after the signing ceremony.

I am constantly reminded what an honor it is to do what I do every day.

Teaching is an AMAZING profession.

It’s not about getting a paycheck.

It’s not about having summers off and “supposedly” going home at 3.

For me, it’s not about what I do for my students.

It’s about what they do for ME.

I am different.

Because they are a part of my life.

I am different because I get to watch as young men like “T” become the first in their families to graduate.

National Champions!

Monday night, Auburn fans everywhere gathered around televisions.  The lucky 50,000 or so got to watch the action on-site.

With baited breath, we waited…

It came down to a field goal in the last four seconds of the game…

A hearty celebration followed…

Young and old alike joined in the jubilation…

Players could not stop smiling…

Good job, Tigers!  Thanks for an incredible season!  Let’s not wait another 54 years to grab the next championship!

(More photos can be seen here.)

Since Always

My online name is AuburnChick.

In the past, it’s been assumed, by some, that I gave myself this nickname because I have auburn hair.

I do not.

My long-time bloggy friends might remember that I grew up in Alabama.  When I moved there, I quickly discovered the following truth:

You become an Auburn or Alabama fan either by birth or by a split-second decision.

Because I was not a native Alabamian, I fell into the second category.

You see, it matters not in which way you enter the Iron Bowl family.

What matters is that your choice affects the generation after you…namely your own progeny.

Observe the following Facebook conversation, which transpired immediately after the Auburn/Alabama game, between my Chicky and one of her friends:

Chicky’s Status: It’s great to be an Auburn tiger!!

Friend: haha since when?

Chicky: Since always

Nuff said.

Except for one more thing…



My Week – In Pictures

The cheerleaders threw this into the bleachers during Friday nights game.  It landed right by my feet.

The cheerleaders threw this into the bleachers during Friday night's game. It landed right by my feet.

Chick-fil-A Nugget Party Platter - A treat to eat during the Auburn/Mississippi State game

Chick-fil-A Nugget Party Platter - A treat to eat during the Auburn/Mississippi State game

Pele must maintain his public image as a lovable, lazy dog...

Pele must maintain his public image as a lovable, lazy dog...

Typical male...keeping the remote close within paws reach...

Typical male...keeping the remote close within paw's reach...

Buckets of rain poured down on us this week...

Buckets of rain poured down on us this week...



I finally turned the heel of my newest sock.  I hope to start on #2 next week.

I finally turned the heel of my newest sock. Can you guess which pattern it is?

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