Family Birthday Party

Around 4pm, we arrived at the Haufbrauhaus for my Aunt’s 75th Birthday Party. I was nervous and excited to see everyone. There has been some drama with my family in the past, that makes me nervous when I am around them. There has been a lot of hurt and tension. Things are better, and more tolerable now. I think people are getting older and are finding things need to change for the better, but the quirks of their personality still remain and remind me of the drama that was once there.

Of course, I was nice to everyone and we had a good time. The beer flowed for my Aunt’s birthday, cake, and gifts. My cousin, Marilyn, and her husband paid for everything. I was surprised. It is good to see everyone.

At one point, my Uncle Tom was teasing us about having children. He said, we better get a move on. We are running out of time. I just smiled and said, “well we are enjoying taking care of each other right now.” He said, “I know, but the clock is ticking.” I said, “Well are you going to pay for them? Do you have money?” I know how to handle these questions and how to play it. Drew, on the other hand, was feeling some sort of way about the comments, and I hadn’t realized it.

After the party, we went home it was around 8pm by the time we left. I didn’t expect to be there that long. I kind of had an idea that we were going to be there a little late, but not that late.  When we got home, we changed and relaxed with some Smallville. Another Birthday party in the books.

Don’t get me wrong about my family. I am not bitter. I am just over it. I am ready to start a new chapter with my own family and decide who I want to continue a relationship with when it comes to my family. I love my cousins, but there is still some awkwardness and some of the personality quirks, that I just would rather not be around. I don’t have time for weirdness and prefer to avoid it, if possible.

Andrew’s 33rd Birthday

At lunch today, Nancy and I got pizza for lunch and invited Gene, Patty, Lindsay, and Kim. We never sit down and eat lunch together. It was nice. I was so over pizza. Drew and I ordered pizza last night for dinner. I am excited about the concert tonight. It is going to such a chill night.
After work, I met up with Andrew at the fountain, outside of the cathedral. He was walking down the steps and I got a good look at him. You know when you look at your spouse and you see them for the first time in a long time and they just look so good to you, even though you have looked at them 100 thousand times, but this time just seems different. We kissed, and then walked to the bus stop together.
Once we got to the bus stop, a bus that we needed to take was sitting at the red light. We still had time to hop on, but he seemed as though he didn’t want to open the doors and pick us up, but he did anyway. Once we got on the bus and sat down Andrew asked me, “What was his problem?” I thought the same thing, but I just shrugged and said, “It’s your birthday!” He smiled and we kissed again. I don’t want him worrying about stupid petty drama on his birthday.

At the stop for the T-Station, we got off the bus and walked across the street. We took the steps down to the T-Station. We took the T to North Shore and walked to our car. We dropped off our stuff and our bags and then went to get something to eat at Southern Tier.

On our way to Southern Tier, we had to walk a little ways past the stadium. I didn’t mind the walk. It felt like the first time we walked like this since, Paris.  I do miss walking all over Paris and London. We walked past the concert venue Stage AE where the concert was tonight and some people were already standing around. I didn’t think this was going to be a packed show, but I could be wrong. When we bought the tickets they were buy one, get one free. I wonder if the hype for nostalgia is slowing dying. I hope not. I love the 90s alternative music, and the nostalgia.
When we walked into Southern Tier, I gave the hostess my name, they said about 30-40 mins. I looked back at Drew he said, he was cool with it. They were going to text us when our table was ready. We figured we would just go to the bar and if something opens. At the bar, they so many beers on draft. I didn’t know what to choose from. I decided on the Lemon Sun Drop beer. It was like a Lemon Shandy. Because it was Drew’s birthday he got a free Crowler.  I guess it is spelled like Growler typically, but not at Southern Tier, they spell it Crowler. He chose the Lemon Sundrop to have in his Crowler. We were going to walk it back to the car before we went to the concert venue. I was glad he didn’t drink all that beer before the concert, although he probably would have in the past, but we can’t party like we used to anymore.   There were two guys standing at the end of the table, they ordered their food, and put the food menu back on the bar. Drew and I were talking about just standing here and ordering food. Drew asked the guys at the end of the table, and they said, they just put the food menu on the bar. One of the guys went and got the food menu from the bar top, and then handed it to Drew. He didn’t have to do that, but he did. He seemed like a nice guy.  Drew bought him a beer. While Drew was at the bar, I asked the guys if they were going to the concert tonight. They said, “No, but who is in town?” I said, “Gin Blossoms and Tonic.” They nodded their heads they said, they were in town for a golf outing. I smiled and said, “Very cool. where are you from?” They said, “Ohio.” I said, “Oh are you brown’s fans?” They said, “No, we are not.” They laughed. I laughed and I didn’t really talk to them too much anymore I didn’t want them to think I was flirting. I have to be careful about that. I am naturally friendly and bubbly, but it comes off very flirty.

When the waitress brought our food, we ate and then had to cash out, so we could walk to the car, before going to Stage AE. I wasn’t all that hungry, so I just ordered a soft pretzel. I am so sick of carbs. Drew had a pork roast sandwich and fries. He didn’t have pizza for lunch. 🙂
After we got back from the car, with his growler tucked away safely, we were on our w way to Stage AE. The line of people didn’t extend too far. We were right by the ramp, that leads up to the grassy area. Once I was there for Breaking Benjamin, a few years ago the line wrapped around the sidewalk.
Once inside the venue, there is a Coors Light stand, and the restrooms are like trailers that line the back wall. They are really nice if you go before the show starts, if you wait until after, then they will be a mess. I made sure to go before the show starts. Stage AE is such an awesome venue. If you want to be in the grass you have that option, if you want to be in the pit you have the option, there is not a bad seat in the place. If you are a high roller, than there is a section of tables and chairs, but that is no way to see a concert. I prefer the pit, but Drew has a complex about him being so tall, so we stick to the grass, but I have been in the pit before and it nice to be close to the band. Stage AE was giving out free sunglasses that night. Drew got them when he went to get us drinks. He said, “I figured you would want them.”
Stage AEWhile we were waiting for the opener to come on stage, I started  talking to this couple next to me. The one said, he used to work for iHeartMedia, the radio stations in Greentree. I said, “Oh wow no way, i was there 2014-2015. The guy said, he left before I got there. He told me how he did on-air stuff and promotions for 96.1 kiss, and 96.1 the river. I remember right before 96.1 Kiss FM happened, there was a station called 96.1 The river. It didn’t last long though. He knows all the same people that I know. Drew was so cute he was talking me about how I did on-air stuff with Scottro, recording the bumpers, and practicing my airchecks, I was flirting with the idea of trying to become an on-air talent. After talking all about radio, we then talked about where all we went to high school. He said, “I went to OLSH.” I said, “No way, I went to OLSH.” He said, “Oh my God, what year did you graduate?” I said, “2006.” He said, “Oh i was gone long before you got there.” I forget what year he said, he graduated, but I think it is the same year that our neighbor graduated OLSH. He is a bit older than us.
The opener came on and it was a band named Punchline.  They weren’t all that great. However, they sounded similar to Yellowcard. I loved Yellowcard. While the opener was playing, we saw someone walk through the walkway, that looked familiar. Andrew said, “I think that is Sarah Woessner.” I looked over and leaned over the railings and yelled, “Sarah Woesnner!” She turned around walked over to me and hugged me. I hadn’t seen Sarah in so long! She was with Jess Rogers. They both hugged me, and then came up and around into our grassy area. Drew hugged them both. he didn’t remember Jess right off the bat, but he did remember Sarah. Sarah looks the same.  It was good to see her. We caught up for a bit, and then she dragged Drew and I down to the pit and told Drew to get over his height complex.

Once inside the pit, the view is so much better. I love seeing a concert from the pit.  I took a selfie with Jess as well. I don’t think I have seen her since high school.   Jess told me how much she loved me in high school, she thought I was so nice and just a good person. She reminded me of a time when people were bullying her and I stuck up for her. I guess I apparently cussed some people out for making fun of her. I laughed when she told me about the memory. Yea, it sounds like something I would do. I just laughed. It felt so good to hear. Jess was a sweet girl and still is a sweet girl.

The view from the pit was incredible. I love seeing concerts from the pit. After the opener ended, Tonic’s set began.  They opened with “Open Up Your Eyes.” The lead singer, Emerson Hart’s voice has definitely changed. It is a little noticeable. However, they were still good to see live. This was our second time seeing them. The best is when they played, “If could Only See.” Jess, Sarah, and I danced together like we were in high school again. It was so cool, but this band came out long before we were in high school! Sometimes the lead singer, tells the audience the backstory of the song. “If You Could Only See”, is about a relationship that the lead singer had with an older woman, and his mom did not approve of the relationship. I was like oh wow I did not know that was true. Drew told me this was the back story, but part of me didn’t believe him. They also played, “You Wanted More.” I didn’t know that song was written only for the American Pie movie. The things you learn when you attend 90s concerts.
After Tonic, Gin Blossoms came on stage, and we haven’t seen the Gin Blossoms since 2013. We were due, but man they aged a bit. It is amazing what a couple years can do. They played all their hits and some new songs. We didn’t care so much for the new stuff, we wanted the old hits. Robin, the lead singer came down into the crowd and played his tambourine with some of the people in the audience. They finished with “Follow You Down.” I love seeing them live. It truly was so awesome.

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Traveling Back to the States

This morning we got up early, got dressed, ate our last hotel breakfast in England, then back to the room to make sure we had everything packed up. I did not want to leave at all. This was the best trip ever! We had an 8-hour flight ahead of us back to the states. Once again, another layover in Philly. I was so bummed, so was Drew.
When we arrived at the airport, we got checked in and went through security, and decided to check out the shops in the airport. I was checking out Harrod’s. They had two stores one that was just clothes, and high-end designers. The other was their name and accessories.  I forgot to go to Harrod’s when we were in London, but it was nice to go there now, even though we were at the Airport. Drew realized he forgot his Fitbit in security, he went over and gave them his information, and said they would page him if they found it.
Then we checked out Harrod’s accessories in their brand. Drew bought me a super cute tote bag. He surprises me sometimes. We got coffee from Starbucks and picked up a London mug. It was from the Starbucks anywhere collection. Then it was time to head to our gate. It was soon time to board the flight. We got on the plane, got settled in our seats. As we circled the runway, I said goodbye to England. I was so upset. I had to hold it together though.

When the plan was in the air, the flight attendants eventually came around with the beverage cart. We ordered our drinks. I had two vodka tonics, and Drew had two whiskeys over ice. Dinner was yummy, it was a roast, potatoes, and veggies. It was hard to be sad about heading home when you had such good service.
At one point, I finished the last episode of the Miniaturist that was uploaded on to the televisions. I can’t believe what happened and how the guy died, but his wife will be just fine I know it! I was hoping to catch more episodes at home, our Firestick. I also wanted to check for GoggleBox, as well. I am already missing English television.

After the miniaturist, I watched I, Tonya.  It was pretty good, better than I thought it was going to be. I was surprised. Margot Robbie did a good job. I do feel a little bad for Tonya Harding, so crazy though! I do remember that controversy and what happened to Nancy Kerrigan. I was young, but it was a big story.  After the movie, I read some more of Hemingway. I couldn’t sleep. I was running on adrenaline.

When we arrived in Philly, it was 3:00pm. We were in desperate need of a beer. We were drained from our flight. Drew said, the first bar we find. We found this one bar, (I forget the name) everything is a touch screen. We took a seat, ordered our first American beer.  I chose a Summer Shandy. We ordered some cheese fries to hold us over until we got home. The fries were so salty and the beer made me feel so bloated. Ugh, I already miss the food and the beer over in England, it had no preservatives and just made fresh and so good.

After our beer, we made our way to the gate and waited to board the flight to Pittsburgh. I couldn’t believe it we were in the states. Once we landed in Pittsburgh, my mom met us at the baggage claim area. Once I saw her I gave her the biggest hug. I did miss my mom and I know she was glad we were home safe and sound. She helped us with our luggage and my dad pulled up the curb and gave us both a hug. He loaded up his car with our luggage. They had so many questions for us about our trip and wanted to hear all about it.

When we arrived at our house, we brought our stuff into the house and then we ordered pizza. They wanted to hear all about our trip. We gave them their gifts. We bought my mom a little plate with Harry and Megan’s picture on it from the Royal Wedding. We bought my dad a shirt with Union Jack on it. He requested one. We showed them the gifts we bought for ourselves and they were so happy we had such a good time.
After the pizza arrived, we sat down and told them more about our trip, but we were ready for bed. I couldn’t wait to just lay in our bed and go to sleep.

Grad Committee & Pitt Game

Today, I had my one-on-one with Phyllis. I didn’t really have anything for her, but I told her what I was working on, and my documentation. I told her about my one-on-one with Linda, and how she liked my documentation. We talked about self-appraisal reviews that are coming up. They are due in May, but to start thinking about how I am going to answer, some of the questions that are on the appraisal. I need to make a list of the workshops I attended, etc.
In the afternoon, I had my meeting with the Grad Committee. Sometimes they take forever in the meeting. I am to take notes and document the meeting. One of the items on the agenda was how to keep track of our alumni. I wanted to interject, but I didn’t know i was supposed to play the role of the silent observer, so I raised my hand formally and offered a suggestion to their alumni tracking issue. I proposed the use of the software Advance. I was already pretty lucky to have gained access to Cognos. Now didn’t have to fill out a data request form anymore and can generate the data ourselves. I explained what advance is, and how CMU and Pitt’s IA department use to keep track of alumni donations, and how we as a department can use it to track alumni, and eventually develop our alumni campaign if we are able to solicit for donations or not is another discussion. They all were really receptive to it, even the one I didn’t think would be, was and Melanie told me to look into it and get back to her. I was so excited and so ready to go on this project.
My experiences with talking to Alumni have been so positive, and so fun. I loved it when I used to call the alumni at RMU. Even though my main goal was to get a donation for the Presidents Fund for Engaged Learning, but still I was able to hear their stories and connect with them. I wanted this project. I wanted them to get Advance.
Another reason, I want to learn Advance, is because it is a widely known tool in Higher Education. If you know how to use it, you are more marketable within any University position, between that and Cognos. I am golden. I am sure there is more, but that is the only two I can think of now. I couldn’t wait to get started.
After the grad committee meeting, I went back to my desk and did some work before meeting with Ellen. Ellen is a grad student in the sociology department. We were going to go grab a beer at Fuel and Fuddle, then I had plans to go to the Pitt Game. After I locked up the office, Ellen and I walked over to Fuel and Fuddle and it was a bit packed at the bar, so we sat at a table. We chatted about the department, about sociology, about her dissertation. It is awkward to build a friendship from the start because you are so new, you almost don’t know what to talk about. I think we did a good job and avoided awkward silence. We shared a tomato and basil pizza. We both had one beer, then we went back to Posvar.
When we arrived back to Posvar, I had every intention of studying for my midterm until Drew was ready to go the game, but then I went to the Porch and had another beer with Mark. We talked about England and about the Sociology Department after a while Drew texted me and told me to meet him in Hogwarts (which is the first floor of the cathedral of learning).
When I finished my beer, Mark paid for it. I felt bad. I offered to, but he didn’t mind. I left to go meet Drew. Once I saw him I knew it was a long day for him. He has been so busy at work. We walked to the car so he could drop his things off at the car, then we took the shuttle to the Pete. I was excited for the game. This was probably going to be the last home basketball game we go to this season.
When we arrived to the Pete, we went up the escalator, and showed the guy our tickets, he read them, and said, “Wow lower right-hand corner. You must know someone.” I smiled and said, “yeah, I like to think I do. thank you.” I truly had no clue where our tickets were. I think Drew had a good idea but wasn’t sure. We walked down the walkway to our section. We then had to go down some stairs. The attendant looked at our tickets and said, all the way down on the right-hand side. We walked down the stairs, and I looked back at Drew. his face was all lit up like a child. It was so cute. We walked down the stairs, we were practically on the court. The players were right in front of us, and the faculty suite was right next to us on our left-hand side.

This was going to be a once in a lifetime experience probably to sit this close. We saw the one professor that I work within the faculty suite. We said hi to him and his wife. I introduced Drew to Mike, my contact in athletics, who got us such great seats! I was hoping for a Pitt win.

I really wanted them to win. The first half they looked so good and they were on point. However, things turned around in the second half, and the Pitt Panthers fell to Boston College. They play again on Saturday against FSU. The best we can hope for is a win, but no one is really optimistic about the Panthers. It is sad to see, but I still consider myself a Panther fan. Throughout the game, Mike came to talk to us. He brought us goodies. He gave Drew and me t-shirts. I was touched and so grateful.

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers 40th Anniversary Tour

I was so excited about the concert. I couldn’t wait to see Tom Petty. When we got to Hanlon’s, we sat down in a booth and ordered our food. I had a chicken salad, coffee, and water. I needed to amp up and get excited about this concert.

After dinner, we made our way to PPG paints arena. We parked in the parking garage and walked past my dad’s building. We stopped into my dad’s work and I met two guys he works with. They are security guards. They talked about shop talk, then it was time for us to go to the arena. We had a bit of walk, and it was a little hot outside, but when the wind blew it felt so good.

When we arrived at the arena, we weren’t allowed into the building until 6:00pm, which was an hour before the show started. The crowd was a different kind of crowd mostly older, but there were some 80s looking groupies, and some young people, as well.

When we got inside, we got our drinks. I bought a beer for myself, and my dad a coke in a souvenir cup. I thought it was the least I could do. When we found our seats, we sat down and waited for the show to begin. Joe Walsh came on first. I knew a couple of his songs, but I didn’t really know who he was. The crowd around us was calm at first, the only people standing where the ones on the floor. Right before Tom Petty came on, we decided to go to the bathroom, and then get back to our seats. I knew they were going to take a while to set up.

When we came back to our seats, Tom Petty came on and everyone stood up. It made it hard to see, so we stood up for his first song, and hopefully, everyone would sit back down. We did stand for most of the concert and ended up moving down some to the last two seats in the row for the rest of the show, so my dad could still see and sit at the same time. We enjoyed the concert so much! We got good pictures, and videos of him. I was so happy to finally see him. I have been a Tom Petty fan since I was in diapers.

After the concert, I went home and crawled into bed with Drew. He was half asleep. I missed him so much. Last night, I went out with Anthony and Dylan and tonight the concert. I missed him so much.

Memorial Day

This morning, we went to the gym. Traffic was a nightmare due to the Memorial Day parade that was happening in Sewickley. Drew had serious road rage. I was a little annoyed. We finally got to the gym, and I hopped on to a treadmill. Drew texted me while I was on the treadmill, and asked if I wanted to play some basketball? I said, “Sure!” It has been awhile since we played and there was no one in the court.

After we shot some hoops, he went into the weight room, and then I went on the elliptical, and did my 30 mins. After that, I did some machines and BSed with Claylene. I feel like I never get anything done when she is there. We just BS, while I do reps. It was fun. Erin was there. She complimented my weight loss. She said, she can tell in my face that I lost weight. I was glad it is noticeable to other people.

After we finished at the gym, we stopped and grabbed 2 twelve packs, and then we went to the grocery store and picked up ketchup, lemon cake mix, frosting, chips, and salsa. We were finally going to have a cookout to ourselves. When we got home, I showered and put on a cute dress which I ruined while I was baking the cake, so there goes that. I went up to change, and then sat outside for a bit, while Drew grilled. We listened to some classic rock radio, and we had so much fun. I love when he cooks out. He enjoys it, and it makes me happy. After we ate dinner, we got ready to watch Black Sails, so far a lot of the key characters are dying since it is the final season of the show. I was not looking forward to work the next day.

Andrew’s 31st Birthday

Today, we went to the pool until about 2:30-3:00pm. Then we went home, the storm clouds were approaching and they were coming in fast. We went home to get ready for Andrew’s birthday party tonight. We wanted to to the Haufbrahaus there a little earlier, grab a table, and order some beers and the pretzel bites. We thought they were going to be packed since it is a Saturday.

When we got there, we got a table in the mess hall, and we had a huge long table for just us and our friends and family. We had some time together alone before people started to arrive. We also had the same server as two years ago, who waited on us, which was so cool! She remembered us, as well.
My parents arrived, and brought Drew his gift and two birthday cards. One was funny, and the other was a sweet son-in-law card. My dad bought him a picture framed with two tickets to the Steelers game, a picture of Franco Harris, and a program from the game. Drew loved it. Something for his man cave, then his parents arrived, and Zach came. After Zach arrived, Ben and Tricia showed up. Drew was on his 3rd beer at that point.

andrews-31st-birthday-weekend-2After we had dinner, and some drinks Ben and Tricia showed up, as my parents and his parents were leaving. We all went outside to the Beer Garden. Andrew at this point was on his 4th huge pint of beer. I knew this was going to be a long night. When we were in the Beer garden, Anthony and Dylan arrived for drink, and left. Then Patrick, Zach’s brother showed up, and he had a drink with us as well. It was nice to see most of Andrew’s friends show up.

At around 12:30am, it was time to get the Birthday boy home. I made sure I had his cards, he had already put the gift my dad got him in the truck, so that was safe, now to get this man home, who keeps saying it is his name day; too many episodes of Game of Thrones!

On the way home, I am driving. I reach over to touch Drew’s hand. We are a few feet away from almost being home and getting on the Thorn Run Exit. I had to pull over on 376, and he got out of the car, and managed to get vomit on the door, before getting out of the car, and vomiting up the rest. I felt bad, but I wasn’t sure what to do. I looked in the mirror, there were no cars coming. It was about 2am. It would be my luck if a cop pulled up right now, at this very moment. I got out of the car, and rubbed his back, he had vomit and snot dripping from him. I felt so bad for him, but at the same time, he did this to himself. I helped him in the back seat. I had nothing to give him to wipe his face, because we didn’t have any napkins or paper towels (I keep a roll in the car with me now though).

I finally got us home, and got him inside. He kept apologizing and I felt so bad for him. I got him wiped up and he started crying. He was so drunk. He told me how much he loved me and how sorry he was that he got like this, and that he let me down. I said that he didn’t let me down and it was okay, I forgive him, but he can’t get like this anymore.  He agreed. I got him in the shower, and I got random clothes on, so I could go outside and clean the car after I got him settled.

Once he was in bed, I went outside and cleaned the vomit out of the car. Surprisingly, it did not smell and thank God it did not, because then I would have vomited. It looked white like oatmeal. It didn’t take me long, then I went back inside, dressed in some pjs and climbed into bed with my lush husband.