North Carolina for the ACC Championship Game

Today, I took a personal day so we could travel to North Carolina. Earlier in the week, I received my grade on the rewrite that I did. I got 93%. I was so happy. I was so surprised. I have a much better grade walking into the final paper. I submitted my final paper for revision to Nikki before we left for North Carolina. I am going to try not to check my e-mail while we are away. I just want to enjoy North Carolina.
In the morning my dad picked us up and drove us to the airport. It was 3am and way too early! We hugged my dad goodbye and then we made our way to the gate. After traveling to England and France, we were pros at flying. I honestly like flying. It’s relaxing. On the way to the gate, I bought some magazines. I need to read on the plane. It’s hard for me to sleep. It was going to be a short flight to Chicago. Southwest is crazy. Pittsburgh to Chicago, then Chicago to North Carolina. It’s insane.
When we landed in Chicago, we made our way to the gate for our flight to North Carolina. I couldn’t wait to be in North Carolina and see our Bed and Breakfast. The layover in Chicago wasn’t too bad it was only an hour or two. I bought the book a Simple Favor. It was a movie that was in theaters recently. I do want to see the movie, but in most cases, the books are always better than the movie.
When we landed in North Carolina, there was some drama with the communication between the pilot and the guys on the ground, who unload baggage. The pilot pulled up to the wrong gate, and you could see the guys on the ground directing him to another terminal, but the pilot wasn’t following directions. It was kind of funny. This delayed us getting our bags. Eventually, our bags appeared on the conveyor belt. We were meeting my cousins for dinner at some point around 4:30pm or 5pm. We took an Uber to our bed and breakfast. The place where we were staying was called the Morehead Inn. The woman at the front desk, who greeted us her name was Philomena she was from Ireland. She told us about the history of the place and gave us a tour. She kept saying how beautiful of a couple we are.

When we walked into our room, it was called the Dilworth room it was so cute. it looked like a quaint hotel room. There was a door to the balcony. The balcony was a shared space among other guests. Philomena treated us to a glass of wine. While we waited for Philomena to bring us our wine, I got a shower. Apparently, she brought the wine while I was in the shower. I wanted to get cleaned up and ready to go to dinner tonight. When I got out of the shower, I saw there was a glass of rose there for me. She surprised me!
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How am I ever going to leave this place? After we drank our wine, we left the Bed and Breakfast and went to go meet my cousins. My cousins live about 3 hours away from North Carolina. We were meeting them at the Dilworth Grille. We walked to the restaurant and took in this little part of Charlotte that we were visiting. It was raining, but not an insane downpour type of rain.  It was a calming kind of rain and it was bearable to walk in. We saw there was a liquor store next to the shop. We went into the liquor store and picked up some champagne and a can of rose seltzer water from France. I couldn’t wait to head back to the bed and breakfast and drink with my husband.

After the liquor store, we went to the Dillworth Grille. They seated us at a table and we waited for my cousins. We took a seat and ordered drinks. We were starved. While we were at the table, Drew and I talked about how much we loved North Carolina. It has always been my dream to go back to the South to live. I have always been in love with the South. North Carolina everyone is so nice and they say, “Yes ma’am.” They are pleasant. I would love to end up there.

When my cousins arrived, we stood up and hugged them. My cousin Gretchen has a daughter Dorcas. Dorcas is married to Steven and they have 4 boys.  I haven’t met the youngest yet, Edison. All in all, I haven’t seen them since my wedding. It has been 3 years. It was so good to see them.

After dinner, Drew and I went back to the bed and breakfast and wandered around the house a bit. I was in love with the staircase.  Ever since England, I have been obsessed with staircases. I can appreciate a good staircase. I can just imagine old southern belles who are aristocrats walking this staircase in ball gowns, so jealous.  Drew took a video of me walking down the stairs, pretending to be an aristocrat.
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The house was all decorated for Christmas. It looked so beautiful.

 

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Sushi with Stephanie

During the week, I got a text from Stephanie Drew’s cousin, she wanted to go get dinner together. I wrote back, “Couples thing? or girl’s night.” She said, girls night! I said, “Awesome! yes!” She wanted to go for sushi, so I suggested that we go to Slippery Mermaid in Sewickley. I love it there. Drew and I love it there.

Today, I took a vacation day. I needed a mental health day before things pick up at work with the start of the semester. There was going to be a lot going on next week around campus. I just wanted to relax and catch my breath and sleep in.

At lunch, I met my mom and dad at Rocky’s in the Rocks. We love that hole in the wall restaurant. I brought my book that I have to read for school by September 10th. I am waiting for the Courseweb shell to open up, then I have to plan out my assignments, but for now, this is what I have to do.

Lunch was yummy, I had a grilled cheese. It didn’t sit well on my stomach in the afternoon. I was kind of bummed about that, but at the restaurant, I ran into Mike Dugan. I went to kindergarten with Mike’s younger brother. Mike is also friends with my friend Leanne’s husband, Dan. It is a small world.

After lunch, I went home and watched the Man in the Iron Mask. I had never seen it before and I do love some Leonardo DiCaprio. When it was time to meet Stephanie, I got ready to leave and made my way to The Slippery Mermaid.

Thankfully, there wasn’t too much traffic, except for the Sewickley bridge. There is always traffic on the Sewickley Bridge.

When I walked into the restaurant, I was seated right away. It was still early like 5pm. I slipped some Pinot Grigio and waited for Stephanie to arrive.

IMG_6202 2.jpgI saw her walk past the window and into the restaurant. When she came over to the table, I stood up and hugged her. I hadn’t seen her since Kelly’s wedding.

At dinner, we split the shrimp roll, but I had a sexy mermaid roll, and she had the California roll, and the Philly roll. We ended up splitting another roll, and I had the California roll. She also ordered the sexy mermaid roll for herself. I can’t believe we ate that much sushi. It is expensive, but you have to eat a little more of it for it to fill you up.

We swore to do this again soon now that they live a little closer now. I do miss her and miss having girlfriends. I brought Drew home a roll and was able to see him when I got home.

Sunny Sunday

Sunny Sunday

In this moment, I am sitting on my parent’s back porch. They say you can always go home. I feel at home today and I feel good today. I am sitting here relaxing with my mom, and catching up on the buzz and seeing my dog, Louie.  He hates to be snuggled. He likes it on his own terms. I am not even sure if he likes pictures. He is hard to get a picture of straight on.

On the way here I stopped at Starbucks and got a venti caramel macchiato. I could tell when the barista handed it to me, through the drive-thru, that it was going to be so sweet. Keep in mind, outside of having one yesterday, that was a tall size, I really haven’t had a caramel macchiato in a while and at first sip it was gross. I wanted to throw it out, but I didn’t want to waste the money. It was so sugary and sweet. I have been away from it for so long and I actually prefer my Red Eyes (iced coffee with a shot of espresso) over my macchiatos. This will be the last one, unfortunately, it is the end of an era.

When we left to go to Monroeville, we took my mom’s car. I didn’t feel like driving. I could have, but I decided not to. Once we arrived, I walked into my cousin’s house, and Angie wasn’t there to greet me at the door like she always does. I was kind of upset about that. Mackenzie greeted us at the door, we hugged and I complimented her shoes. They were cute.  As soon as we turned the corner, to go towards the kitchen. There was a table set up for demonstration. It had all the things there that people could buy. I thought this was another direct sale promotion thing. I already knew what to expect. I have done this before. I used to sell Partylite, but I have been to Mary Kay parties, Tupperware parties, Home and Garden Parties, etc. I do love Partylite. Home and Garden has nice things. I just know what this is all about. It is a pyramid scheme.  I don’t want to get involved in this again.
When I saw Angie, she was sitting at the kitchen table eating Ramen Noodles, chicken flavor out of a mug. She didn’t seem herself. She had her hair in her face and these huge classes on her face. I gave her a hug and she just said, “Hi.” It breaks my heart to see her like this. She is not the sweet bubbly little girl. She is going through some intense stuff right now and teenage years were on the horizon and they are not the easiest years, but if she can just hold on and get the right help, she will enjoy them. I enjoyed my teenage years. I sort of wish I could relive them again, the same way. I wouldn’t change a thing. Does anyone else feel that way?
I said hi to my other cousins, Eileen, Katie, and Dorcas. They are all sisters and they are mom’s cousin’s too.  It was good to see Eileen. I am not sure when was the last time I saw her. I don’t think she attended my wedding or my shower. She is kind of distant. I don’t let it bother me.
Eventually, I gave Angie the little gift I had in my purse for her. I handed her the little box. Her mom stood next to me as she opened it. When she saw, the Eiffel Tower keychain she screamed. She was so happy. She gave me the biggest hug. I said it is from the gift shop in the Eiffel Tower, even the tag is in French! Her mom hugged me and said, “Thank you, she really needed that right now.” I smiled and I was glad I could make her happy.
Once the demonstration got underway, I sat on the floor in front of my mom so other people could sit on the chairs in the living room.  I am more comfortable on the floor. The couple who did the presentation talked about the three key things that Amway could provide; natural green and safe for you and the earth laundry detergent and household cleaning products, vitamins like Double X and etc. Lastly, Amway teamed up with Artistry’s makeup line. I looked down at the order form, at parties like these you have to buy something. I wasn’t sure what. I went into the family room where Angie was and called Drew. Angie was watching TV. When Drew picked up, he was out to dinner with his parents, but I told him the situation and the costs and everything that they offered on the order form. The last thing I needed was more lip gloss or makeup. He said, just get the popcorn it was like 40 bags of popcorn that was garlic and olive oil flavor for $16.00. We honestly didn’t need anything at all.
After we placed our orders, I hung out with Angie little. She was down in the dumps and I wanted to try to be there for her. I know it is a lot to take in, but I just wish I could protect her and make her snap out of this, but it’s not that easy. Before my mom and I left, Angie’s mom confided in me about Angie, and what the next steps were for her. It is so sad. I never went through any of this growing up. I just hope she gets better, but I know it is easier said than done.
On our way home, I was so hungry. They didn’t have any snacks at my cousin’s, so I asked my mom to stop at McDonald’s for me. I haven’t had McDonald’s in years. I typically don’t eat fast food like this, but this was a desperate time. I got the two cheeseburger meal with fries and a drink. It tasted so good, but I was going to regret it later. Once I got to my parents, my dad had just finished making hamburger helper. He is so cute. I couldn’t wait to get home to my husband.
On my way home, I talked to Anthony for a bit, and we got caught up on his life. When I walked in the door, Drew was sitting at the dining room table. I told him about Angie and how sad it is to see her the way she is. He feels bad for her too.  I asked how dinner was with his parents at the cafe, and how Grandma was doing. He said, that dinner was good and Grandma is okay. She was so glad to see him, I bet. Just like that, it was time to get ready for another week ahead.

Easter

Easter

This year we had to divide Easter up into two. We spent most of the time at my parents. We arrived at 1pm. I helped my mom with dinner. Drew and my dad hung out in the living room and watched TV. I had a couple beers. Drew was driving. 🙂 My cousins arrived around 2:15pm. My little cousin Angie, she is going through a hard time right now and needs all the love and support. She and I have always been close ever since she first arrived from Guatemala as a little baby. When she first met me, she reached for me to hold her. We had an instant connection. I will always want to protect her and love her like a sister.

After dinner, we took some snap chat pictures. It made her laugh all the different filters and videos to choose from. Some make your voice sound so funny and high pitched. Others just make you look weird. Angie starts a new school tomorrow and I hope all goes well and she has a good day.  Her cousin Danni is here for her.
Drew and I had to leave around 5pm to go see his Grandma in the nursing home. Thankfully she was discharged from the hospital and is back at the nursing home. I wasn’t sure what we were going to walk into when we saw her. When we arrived she was sleeping. I went over to her bedside and slowly put my hand on her shoulder and said, “Grandma.” She woke up, opened her eyes, and her eyes lit up. I said, “Happy Easter!” She smiled and said, “Happy Easter,” She looked over at Drew and he wished her a Happy Easter and kissed her check. She said that I looked beautiful and drew looked handsome. We told her she is beautiful too. 🙂
Awhile after we arrived, his mom arrived. When she walked in, she said, “Hi Mama!” It was so cute. Grandma’s favorite people were all there to visit her. She asked us what we had to eat? Poor grandma can’t eat whole foods right now, she is fed through a tube. She is a choking risk. I was glad that we got to see her.

When we left we went home and prepped for the week. We packed up our lunches and then I changed into my PJs I was so tired. I didn’t have the energy to shower. I was so tired from the events of today and didn’t want to go to work tomorrow.

Monroeville

Today we had to go to Monroeville to see my cousins. This was supposed to be our Christmas celebration. Drew and I spent Christmas Eve alone this year and Christmas Day with our families, at his parents. Our traditions have changed a bit, so we don’t get to see my cousins on Christmas Day anymore. It is different, but it is what it is.
When it comes to going to Monroeville, the drive out there is semi-long for Drew and I living in Moon Township, so that is annoying, it is not such a nice area, and it’s a huge chunk of time spent out there when we visit my cousins. It’s not that I don’t like seeing them. I would prefer to see them at my parents or have them come to my house, but Katie is getting older and it is harder for her to get around anymore. I get it.
On the other hand, Drew hates going to Monroeville. He would much rather not go, but he attends because it is important to me. When we arrived, my parents were already there. We walked in, and Angie immediately wrapped her arms around me and hugged me. I smiled and said, “hey.” I hugged Angie. I did notice that she is dressing differently these days. She is less girly and more tomboyish, and almost like a boy. Her hair is cut short, and she wears jeans and flannel along with a knitted hat. I don’t know why. She looked so cute when she was dressed all girly. What happened? Angie had a friend over Asia. We met her before. She said some really disturbing things about her home life, the last time I met her, and I was shocked at what I was hearing.

Well, Dorcas, went to get the pizza. Drew and my dad went into the living room and my dad was watching basketball. Angie and her friend were running around, laughing and screaming.

Finally, Dorcas arrived with pizza. She said they didn’t have it ready when she arrived she had to wait for it. At one point Mackenzie, came downstairs to grace us with her presence. She was in bed sleeping! How could you sleep through this? Plus two dogs are jumping around.  It was madness. We ate pizza and I was just trying to be surface level with Angie. I didn’t want her hanging on me. I wanted her to know that I was not having it anymore, so I kind of ignored her a bit, and only talked to her, when she addressed me. I was not in a good mood.

After we ate, I noticed that Angie and her little friend were in the living room, so I went into the living room see them. I didn’t want to be mean to her. I just don’t want to be hung all over. I don’t want her thinking that is okay. I sat on the couch with her and she came over to talk to me.
When we finally left, I talked to Drew about it and he was like I think you handled that well and you are going to be a great mom. I said, don’t ask me how I did it. I was floored, but then again, I did kind of call this years ago. . When we got back to Moon, we did some grocery shopping, then it was home to relax with what was left of our evening.

Cousins

Cousins

 

Well we decided to go over on Thursday. They were calling for some bad weather and we weren’t sure if it was a good idea to go anywhere on Friday. When we stopped over, we had dinner with them and it was good to see Nev and Crystal. Nev was fine for the most part, but towards the end she was getting a bit cranky and moody. She didn’t really seem to want me around at the end of the evening. She was more interested in Drew. The picture in the header says it all. Oh well, she is the only little kid, that is not infatuated with me.

Grad School Prep

All weekend, I prepped for grad school for the most part. I finished my readings for the second class. I had to finish this book by Keller and watch a documentary. I watched the documentary on Friday. Drew watched it with me, which was nice. I took notes. It was so depressing. It was a little over an hour long. It basically talked about having a college degree is a middle class dream, but it is not attainable for the middle class anymore. They discussed lower income families turning to community college, but dropping out due to the stress outside of school, it discussed how college is becoming less affordable, the difference between private education and public education (University wise), and the documentary shared the views of some professors and students both in Private and Public Universities. It is crazy the differences and the issues that surround education.

On Sunday, I thought I was finished, so I wanted to go to my parents to see my cousin, who got into Pittsburgh last night. Drew didn’t really want us to go. He wanted me to be prepared for school on Monday, and I can respect that. We are also supposed to see my cousins next Friday, so I wasn’t totally missing out. I just didn’t like how Drew came off at first. He kind of turned into this big discussion, and seems to complain when my family comes up and we all have to get together, it is what it is.
After breakfast, I refreshed course web and noticed that the professor from the first class Intro to Research Methodology, finally put up the syllabi and course documents. I noticed that I had some reading to do. I didn’t have any assignments until next class, but I thought damn. I thought I was in the clear. Drew said, “do you want to hold off on the gym then, so you can study?” I said, “Yea, probably best.” I went upstairs, took a shower, and got changed into some comfortable clothes, and then got to reading. I wanted to get out and go shopping with Anthony, or do something.  It’s not going to happen. I read until my eyes fell out.
After I finished my reading, Drew went to the gym, and then I went to my parents. I saw my cousin for a bit, and he was loaded. He had so much wine to drink already. I was surprised how drunk he was off of wine. I hate drinking wine after awhile. I can’t get drunk off of it. We all talked for a bit, then I took him up to mount Washington. He and I sat on a park bench and he told me how things aren’t going well with Crystal and how he feels like she complains all the time. He isn’t happy and I don’t think she is either obviously. They just need to break up. I know it will be hard because they have a daughter together, but this is bad and it will only get worse.
When I got home Drew had dinner ready for me and I was so happy. He is so supportive. I told him about the visit with my cousin, and how drunk he seemed. It is such a shame. It really is. That evening, I was so nervous about grad school starting the next day. I just hope it’s going to go well. I just want to do well.