Grad School Orientation

After work on Thursday, I had my Orientation for Grad School. Thankfully the Orientation took place in the same building, as my office. I was a little nervous, but mostly excited. I was anxious to hear how the program works, and meet the other members of my cohort, as well as my professors.
When I arrived up to the 5th floor, I knew the room number, but the way the building is laid out. There are so many corner hallways and then one hallway leads to another hallway. It is confusing. I just followed the room numbers, which I guess is what anyone else would normally do.
Once I found the conference room, I took a seat at the table. On the table, were two sheet of papers. One sheet of paper was a powerpoint presentation, and the other was a plan of study. Once everyone arrived, the orientation got underway.  Dr. S was one of the professors, as well as Dr. F, and I can’t remember the other professor’s last name, but her name was Linda. Most of us in the cohort, already worked at Pitt, and were planning to attend school part-time. There was one woman, who did not work at Pitt, and was unemployed outside of the home, and was going to attend classes part-time, while she looked for a job. She received her undergrad from Penn State, already someone that I know I won’t like (just kidding).
Dr. S congratulated us on our acceptance, and then explained how the program is designed, and how important it is to stick to the course plan, and is there to help us along the way. He gave us the days and times of our first two classes next semester. My first class will take place on Monday from 7:15pm-9:15pm. The second class will take place on Thursdays at 4:30pm-7:15pm. I originally thought I would have two classes back to back on Monday, but I think the times have changed. I am happier with not having classes back to back, but regardless I will have a long week, and a lot of work ahead of me.
At one point, in the Orientation, someone asked how we will be graded? And they said, through papers, reports, discussion board posts, and participation. I immediately got so nervous. Most of you, you have visited my blog, know I am a decent writer, or at least like my writing, or my content, because you follow me right? ;p However, if you couldn’t already tell, I have a punctuation problem. Truthfully, I do not know most of the rules behind punctuation. I write like I speak. I love to write. I think I am a good writer, and I have good ideas, but at the same time this whole punctuation thing really throws me for a loop, sometimes. (I am even thinking did I get my punctuation and grammar right, as I write this? lol)
At the end of the orientation, we were able to branch off and meet with our advisors. This man named, Mike, who is my in my cohort. He and I share the same advisor. Our advisor is Dr. F. Dr. F, Mike, and myself took a seat in the lobby at a random set of chairs and a table. She asked us about our background, and when it was my turn. I told her how nervous I am about the writing part. I told her that I believe I am good writer, but the punctuation and the grammatical errors are challenging for me, and therefore take away from my content. She encouraged me to visit the writing center. The people at the writing center are there to help you fix those errors, and to help you learn from them, or you can pay an editor, but you won’t gain anything. I agreed. If I am going to do this, then I should learn from my errors. Also, I thought how am I going to find time to go to this writing center, work, and attend grad school, as well as be a wife, and a mom one day!? I know I am getting ahead of myself.
When I left Orientation, I went to meet Drew. He was on the second floor of my building, by my office entry waiting for me. Thankfully, I work in the same building as my grad classes. When I saw him, I just looked at him and I mean really looked at him. He was going to be there for me every step of the way. I knew right then in that second, that I could do this. Even though I had thoughts, as to how. I still knew that I could do this. I wanted to.
When he saw me, he gave me a hug, and asked me how it went? I said, good and smiled. They told us we are going to be graded on our papers, reports, and discussion board posts. There really isn’t an exam. He said, “Well that’s good babe. You love to write.” He is right. I do love to write, so I said, “Yes, I love to write, but I am terrible at knowing the rules behind punctuation, and I just am so nervous that my writing won’t be good enough, and how am I going to have time to visit the writing center?” He said, “Baby, you will do what you have to do. I am here to support you every step of the way. ” I smiled. One thing about me is I will freak out over every detail right away. I am all about the moment, and the second guessing, and the questioning of myself, but somehow in the end it always seems to work out. I do know this will be hard work, time consuming, but at the end of the day, I know I will find time to do what it takes.
When we left Oakland, we drove back to Moon, and stopped at Primanti’s, we sat the bar had a beer, cheese fries, and sandwiches. We met a guy at the bar, who was in the Marines. He is out of the Marines now, 53 years old. We thanked him for his service and bought him a beer. He asked Drew, if he was still in school? I laughed. Drew always asks me if he is getting old, or if he has grays, and this man assumed he was younger than he is. I thought it was cute. Drew told him, that he isn’t in school anymore and works at Pitt. The guy asked what he did? Then he asked me and I told him what I do at Pitt, and how we are celebrating my Grad School Orientation was tonight. He congratulated me. We talked about his time overseas, and the state of the world today.
When we left Primanti’s, we went home and went to bed. We both had to get up for work in the morning, but I was thankful for tonight, but nervous for the work ahead.

 

The 30s are for Paying for your Drinks

On Saturday, we went to dinner at my cousins’ in Monroeville. Angie was so excited to see us. We had carb loaded dinner. potatoes, chicken casserole, green bean casserole, rolls. It was good, but so carby. I felt so full after dinner. Mackenzie asked me what we were doing later tonight. She said, “I am trying to get out of here for a while. Want to go have a drink?” I said, “Ask Drew. he is the deciding factor.” I was hoping he would say no. He didn’t care if I wanted to go out, but I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to go.
Mackenzie drove her car back to our house in Moon. On our way back to Moon, I texted Anthony and asked if he wanted to go to Tequila Cowboy with us. He said, “Sure, I will let you know when I leave the Airport.” When he called me, he just got home. Mackenzie and I were going to drive over there to his house before we went out to pick him up. Drew was letting us take his car. Now I know I had to be extra careful. Mackenzie did my hair and put in my hair extensions. I loved wearing them.
When we got to Anthony’s, he just got out of the shower. We all hung out for a bit, then we left to go to the Northshore. Mackenzie wanted to play her rap music, but I told her no. Anthony can play his music. I already listened to her music, while we were getting ready she complained and bitched. Then she made comments about my driving. I said, well this is not my car, I need to be careful. This is Drew’s car, and people stop out of nowhere on this highway all the time, and that is how accidents happen. She is a know it all because she is 21.
When we got down to the Northshore, I parked in a lot, it was $7. I paid the lot attendant and parked. We got out of the car and walked to McFaddens. When we walked in, it was so busy. I forgot what it was like to be out again. Everyone looked either really old, cougar, or freshly 21. The freshly 21-year-olds looked 12. I looked at Anthony and he looked at me. We kind of shared glances like what did we get ourselves into. Mackenzie drank a couple cranberry and vodkas. I stuck with Coors Light. Anthony had a Coors Light. We did a Green Tea shot.
Then we went to Tequila Cowboy When we arrived, it was so packed. They all thought were in the wrong bar, because the entrance said, “Little Red Corvette.” I said, there are multiple rooms. This was the R&B and 90s room. There was a karaoke bar and a country room. The bathrooms were all in the back by the Karaoke bar. It was as so packed. The crowd was a mixture of everyone but mostly, the type that would be at Barroom and Saddle Ridge, before they tore it down. This is where everyone went now.
On our way to the bathroom, I spotted Todd the bartender, that I went on one date with back in 2009. He was a bartender at Saddle Ridge back then. I remember he used to always hook me up with free drinks. I approached the bar, on our way back from the bathroom. He noticed me, and we chatted for a bit. He asked what I was drinking and what my cousin was drinking. I told him. He didn’t charge us. He said, good seeing you again. We walked off. I was feeling so big headed, that was about to change.
When we went back to the 90s and R&B room, we were dancing and the more Mackenzie drank the more she wanted attention. She was craving attention. She wanted a guy to notice her, or approach her. She noticed that guys were looking at me and giving me attention, and I think it bothered her. If you look like you are craving it, you won’t get it. If you smile, and are confident then you get attention. She isn’t confident and I think it shows. I understand it maybe hard for some people, but it’s no one’s fault and it shouldn’t keep you from having a good time.
At one point, we went back to get a drink from my bartender friend, and he charged me! I gave him cash. I looked back at Anthony and Mackenzie, and handed them their drinks. I said, “So the Thirties are for paying for your drinks, and the 20s were for getting them for free.” They all laughed. I was a married woman now, and 30. I felt so cool there for a second.
Around 1am she wanted to go back to McFadden’s, she said, that she was hoping she would see more guys there that would notice her. Anthony and I just kept sharing glances we knew what was about to happen. It was only a matter of time. I could have stayed at Tequila Cowboy, but anyways. We went back to McFadden’s, it was closer to where the car was parked.
When we approached McFadden’s, it was a $5 cover. If I had known that, then we would have just stayed. I didn’t like the crowd there at all. Thankfully, Mackenzie paid the cover for all of us. I didn’t drink anymore. I was over it and ready to go home to my Husband. While we were at McFadden’s, Mackenzie was drinking a double vodka and cran. I am not sure how many she had at this point, but she went to a table and started to cry. I approached her and she said, “I just want someone to think I am beautiful. Someone that is my type.” I said, “You can’t go looking for attention in places like these. These guys are just looking to hit it and quit it. You are worth so much more than that.”  She is in a dark place right now. I understand that place, but I never questioned myself worth and I know what kind of men are at these bars. I had to learn the hard way. I dated one I met on my 21st Birthday; huge mistake.
After a while, I told Anthony it is time to go. We left McFadden’s and went to the Eat n Park in Moon. She cried the whole way there. She apologized and just broke down about EVERYTHING. Anthony and I did our best to listen to her and give her advice, but this was too much. When we got to Eat n Park, we sat down in a booth and then I ordered fries and cheese, Anthony ordered the sampler platter, and Mackenzie got chicken strips and zucchini. She was pretty drunk, but I was so over it at this point.
When we finally got home, I got changed, brushed my teeth, and crawled into bed with Drew. I was so happy the night was over and I found my Prince. I am so happy to have him in my life and to be the woman I am today.

Pedicures & Thanksgiving Break

At work today, I got out at 3:00pm. I couldn’t wait to leave. I quickly locked everything up and said, Happy Thanksgiving to Linda, then I went down to the escalator. I found Nicollette there waiting for me. She and I jumped up and down and hugged. We walked to the Nail salon in Oakland, where we both had appointments. We were going to get pedicures together and start our Thanksgiving break off right. Our pedicures didn’t last long, but they were relaxing.

When I got home, Drew and I went to dinner at Yai Fei, and then to Kirklands to look at Christmas decorations. We bought an ornament for our tree. It is a reindeer with an “H” on his belly. After Kirklands we went home and made the cheese and cracker tray to take to his parents tomorrow. We made it in the shape of a turkey. I am so excited for thanksgiving.
Thursday, we picked up Aunt Tootsie and then drove to his parents. When we got to his parents, my parents were already there. My mother-in-law arrived shortly after, she had to help transport grandma. I had so much to be thankful for, my family was there all together. It was so nice. Dinner was yummy. We have so much left over. We will be eating Thanksgiving all week long and perhaps longer.
After we left his parents, we went to visit Grandma, she seemed to be doing well. She just had the heart cath put in for the valve that will get replaced next month. She will be joining us for Christmas, but wasn’t able to come to Thanksgiving dinner. Grandma was so happy to see us. She looked pretty good. After we visited with Grandma, we went home and relaxed for the rest of evening. I was so tired.
Black Friday, we were slow to get ready. We went to the gym for a bit. It wasn’t all that packed. Then we went to the liquor store and picked up some Kahlua for when we decorate the tree later. I like to have Kahlua and cream while we decorate the tree. When we got home, we got showered and I changed into something festive. We put Christmas music on and decorated the tree and the house with Christmas decorations. Andrew put his arms around me and said, “Our love is like Christmas pure and beautiful!” I was like, “Awwwe!” He is so sweet when he wants to be. After we decorated, I heated us up some Thanksgiving dinner and then we watched Star Wars the Empire Strikes back. I love Vader.

Grad School Acceptance

Today, I moved my office into a brand new more private office, in order to accommodate graduate students, who maybe having a personal issue and want to talk about it in private. Since I work with both undergrad and grad, I needed more private space per the grad dean’s office. I was so excited, finally privacy.
At one point, I was coming back to my desk, and I noticed I had an e-mail from the School of Education. It said, the application decision has been made, click here and enter your PIN to view the decision. I was so nervous. I quickly typed up in my information. I clicked the link to view the decision. There it was my letter of acceptance. I saw the word, “Congratulations!” first. I took a deep breath and said a thank you prayer to myself. I then told Nancy I got accepted. She said, “really? congrats! Now you got to figure out what the hell you are going to do.” I laughed. she is right.
Quickly, I called Drew and told him. He was so happy for me. He said, “Congrats baby!” He asked how I found out. I told him about the e-mail, and the letter when I logged in. He said, that is so awesome! I can’t wait to celebrate.
After I got off the phone with him, I face timed him and told his mom and grandma. They are so happy for me. Grandma thought I was going to tell her I was pregnant. I hate to disappoint her, but nope Grad School here I come. I called my mom and told her. She said, and you found out on my Birthday!
When I got off the phone with her, I spoke to my graduate enrollment manager and she told me about Orientation on November 30th, that is where I will register for classes and meet the professors. I was so excited and so nervous. This is going to be so much work. I think I have one more degree in me, and that is it.

Image may contain: 2 people, including Anthony Lombardo, hat, closeup and outdoor
After work, I met up with Anthony downtown. He and I were going to go to Harris Grill for dinner and then go Ice Skating. This was my Birthday dinner, a month late. I told him about Grad school! He is so excited for me. I am excited and so nervous. After dinner and ice skating, I went home to Drew, who was so excited to see me and we are planning our celebration soon.

Thirsty Scholar

After work today,  I went to Happy Hour with Paula, AJ (he brought his student Paola), Michael Heller (Surprised everyone by showing up), and Stephanie (The new grad admin). I was glad our Happy Hour family was growing, but at the time Phil was missed. He had family commitments.

Thirsty Scholar is a bar that used to be a bookstore, so one half of the venue is a convenience store that sells beer and 6-packs to go. The other half of the venue is a bar/restaurant. When everyone arrived, we migrated to the back of the venue, which was more like a dining area with a bar.

That night, it was Taco Tuesday, so you got 4 tacos for some price. Paula had zucchini sticks, but the rest of us had tacos. They also gave you chips and salsa. I did have a few beers by the time I got home, I probably shouldn’t have been driving, but I had a good time with my Music Friends.

Pitt Panther Game

This morning, we took the T into downtown, we were going to the Pitt game after work. When we arrived in town, we ran into my cousin Marilyn, who I haven’t seen since that day at her house, when she told me to put my phone away. I really haven’t spoken to her, and she hasn’t made much of an attempt with me either. When we saw her, Drew spotted her first. She was walking to her building. She talked to Drew more than she did to me. I didn’t really care, but I was ready to get to work.  After we talked to her for a bit, we got on the bus into Oakland. Work was good, but I was ready for the Pitt game.

At the end of the day, I met Drew at the bus stop and we took the bus back into town. We were going to freeze at the game, but we were excited. We decided to go somewhere to eat, once we got to the Northshore. Once we were back in downtown, we took the T to the Northshore. Even though I had a parking pass, we were closer to the stadium where we were parked, so thankfully the lot attendants, let us pay ahead of time, without having to pay game day price.
When we stopped into Burgatory, it was going to be an hour long wait, so we walked to Bar Louie and put our names in, but people with bigger parties, we’re going in front of us, and a table for two wasn’t opening up any time soon, so after our drink. We left and went back to check out Burgatory. I spotted a space open at the bar. He told me to sit down and grab it, eventually, something would open up for him to sit next to me, and it did. It felt weird not sitting with him at the bar.
After dinner, we walked to the stadium and got checked in. They were giving out free banners. They opened up and said, “Hail to Pitt” on one side. The other side said, “Pitt for Life.” It was pretty cool, kinda chintzy. I have it up on my board in my office, where all my Pitt pictures are.
After a while, Dr. E. came into our section with his wife and their friends. They said, where were you guys at the tailgate? I said, we ended up going out to eat, and didn’t have anything to bring. They said, so what you could have come to the tailgate. We had all kinds of food. I just looked at Drew and he said, “We should have gone to the tailgate.” I kind of agreed with him. I just can’t go empty-handed to that kind of things.
As the game went on and the wind blew it was cold, but it was a good time. Even though, Pitt lost. We still had fun being there. We were going to be tired in the morning.  I wish it was Friday, but tomorrow is Friday and that is good enough.

Baby Jackson & Jazz Seminar

This morning, I had a hair appointment in Crafton. It was time again. I really needed it. This was the only time I was going to be able to relax all day pretty much so I wanted to enjoy it.

When I got to the salon, she got started on my hair. Applied the color, and it was so relaxing to just sit there and have the color brush tap against my head, that is one of the best feelings in the world. While my color was setting, I got to talk to Leanne for a bit and her nail customer Maribeth.

When my color was rinsed, I got a small trim on my ends, and then she dried my hair and styled it. I love the darker blonde at the roots, and lighter throughout. I love the job she does on my hair. I hate how long it took me to find her.

When I left I went home, I texted Tricia and told her we were going to be a bit late. She was okay with it. I felt bad. I hate being late. When I got home, Drew and I hoped into his car, and we stopped at Giant Eagle first. I can’t show up empty handed to someone’s house. We picked up a pepperoni tray with cheese and crackers.

Finally, we arrived to Tricia and Ben’s I just wanted to get there and meet baby Jackson. When we walked in, Tricia and Ben greeted us with hugs. I looked down and saw him laying on a play mat. I asked if I could pick him up. She said, “Sure, yeah grab him.” I bent down and picked him up. He was so small and so tiny.
Image may contain: 2 people, including Danielle Hornyak, people smiling, closeup

When I looked down at him in my arms, I started smiling and talking to him. He had his eyes open and focused the entire time. Ben and Tricia said, that they loved how interested in me he was. Typically, when people hold him, he just falls asleep, but not with Danielle. I kept wondering if I was really ready for this? I feel like I am most days. I really do want children and I would love to have them soon.

Eventually, I gave Jackson to Drew. He wanted to hold him. Ben said, “just do it dude. it’s no big deal.” I handed Jackson to Drew. and when I laid him in his arms. Jackson went right to sleep. I have to admit. Drew looks so hot with a baby. I am so lucky. I can’t wait. I really can’t. He held him for a bit, then he wanted me to take him back. I think he gets nervous with other people’s children.
When we left Ben and Tricia’s, it was about 3pm. We went home and I laid down in bed for a minute. I was so tired. Miles to go before I could sleep. I got up and got ready for the Jazz Seminar. I put on a nice skirt, and top with black heels. I grabbed a little sweater, as well. I wasn’t sure where Drew and I were going to be posted.
When we left the house, we stopped and grabbed something to drink at Getgo and got gas. Then it was off to Oakland. When we arrived in Oakland, he dropped me off outside the Music Hall. I couldn’t remember from years past where to go in? I know they probably had the main doors locked. I called Frank, no answer. I called Amy and she told me to enter through the stage door, which was passed Dippy the dinosaur. I thought she was on drugs for a second. I said, “Who is Dippy the dinosaur?” She said, the giant statue of a dinosaur by the Carnegie do you see it?” I did see it, but I didn’t know his name was Dippy. I hung up with her and went through the stage door, and asked the security guard where  Frank was? He said, that Frank went that way. He pointed towards the lobby. I walked to the lobby and he saw me. He approached me, and gave me my assignment. Drew and I were to man this survey and raffle table.

Image may contain: Danielle Hornyak, smiling, indoor
As I started displaying the raffle table, Drew approached the table and helped me set up. Once I was set up, Frank gave me instructions. Then he was off to the races. We would see him walking rapidly past our table every so often. The lady from the Carnegie, Sue, approached me and introduced herself. I introduced myself and told her that I was in Frank’s position last year. I said, “I think Eileen was our contact last year.” She was familiar with me, but glad to meet me again. She told me that Pitt Arts can’t log on to the WiFi. I said, Oh that is a problem. Drew went to the computer and took a look. Thank God for him being in IT.
While Drew was away, people started pouring into the lobby, I had seen so many familiar faces. People came up to me and hugged me and asked me how I was doing and where I was since I wasn’t at Music anymore. I also got to talk to the Chancellor and his wife for like 5 mins. It was so cool. I wish Drew would have been there. He was so jealous, when I told him.
Once the concert got underway, I started packing up the prizes. I wasn’t sure what to do with them, so I left them with the work studies. I was getting ready to leave, when Sue approached me and said, that Frank fell and hit his head and he is vomiting. I said, “oh wow, okay I should go check on him.” She said, “They won’t let anyone back there. Ora is over top of him, and Nicole is with him.” I said, “Okay, well Frank and I are really good friends, so I am going to go back and check on him.” I grabbed the Pitt Police officer, who was on duty that night and asked him to go with me and wondered why he didn’t know.

When we arrived backstage, Ora asked me, who I was? I said, “Ora it’s Danielle, it’s okay.” I got down on my knees in front of Frank and he was crying and so upset. The medics were around him. The Pitt police officer was asking him questions about his name, his address, his phone number. Ora kept saying to everyone back off, let him catch his breath. I said, “Ora, they are doing their job. Frank is a big boy.” I can’t stand this woman. She is so annoying. She will tell anyone and everyone what to do, so annoying. The medics asked him if he wanted to go the hospital. Frank said, “No.” The Carnegie Stage Manager, said, “Frank I can’t have you working here, if you don’t go to the hospital. You need to go get checked out.” I did agree with him. Ora said, “please stop talking to him like that you are getting him upset.” I said, “Ora he has a point, if Frank collapses again and refuses medical treatment, then the Carnegie could be in trouble.” Frank said, “No, I don’t want to go to the hospital. I won’t collapse again. I just had an episode I am fine.” I said, “if you decide to go, I have it covered. I will stay here, whatever you need.” He said, “No, you and Andrew don’t need to stay, you guys probably want to go home.” I said, “No, we will be here if you need us.” Eventually, the medics had Frank sign a form saying he refused treatment, and Frank asked me if I would witness it. I said, I would and I signed the form. He asked me to check on the work studies, get the will call and hold tickets, and then come back and report back to him.
So I did, I went to the work studies and they handed me the will call tickets, and asked what to do next? I went back to talk to Frank and my heels were making a loud noise on the wooden floor. Ora told me to be quiet. I said, “Ora, it’s my shoes, I can’t help it, it is what it is.” I just wanted to tell her to fuck off, plainly. I didn’t have to listen to her anymore. I gave Frank the will call tickets and told him the work studies want to know what to do next? Frank said, have them take the prizes back to my office and lock em up. I said, okay, he said can you get my Pitt ID and my keys out of my bag? I grabbed his keys and walked back to the work studies. I gave them their assignment to take the prizes back to Frank’s office and lock em up and then bring the keys back. I wanted two people to go together, buddy system. When they came back with the keys they were done for the night.
When I went back to give Frank the update, I helped him walk to the lobby. He stopped to check out the concert as he passed. Then he took a seat at the survey table and was flipping through the tickets, back to business as usual. I was proud of him, so perhaps maybe he did make the right choice and not going. I just hope he is okay in the end.
When Andrew and I left, I texted Paula and Phil and gave them an update on Frank. They were glad that all was well. Paula wanted to talk to me on Monday. Drew and I went to Industry Pub for a drink and chili cheese fries, before going home and finally going to bed. What a day!