July 4th

In the morning, we drove to a parking lot of an office complex and took a walk around the parking lot. We wanted to take in some sun and enjoy the gorgeous weather. We met a couple who was also doing the same thing. We wish them a Happy 4th of July and kept on walking.

As they were leaving, we were getting ready to cross the street and walk in a different parking lot. We ended up talking to the couple at a safe distance about the holiday plans and managed to steer clear of politics and we practiced social distancing. It was a nice conversation.

We took one lap around the office complex across the street. Then we headed home to get ready to go to my parents. I made buffalo chicken dip and off we went. When we arrived, we sat around as my dad grilled hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill. It was a relaxing July 4th.

We took pictures by the American flag in honor of what July 4th stands for which is Freedom and Independence.

Seizing the Beautiful Day

This afternoon, I met up with my supervisor from CMU, and I returned to him the lap top, HDMI cord, mouse, and my CMU ID. He handed me two gifts and a card. One gift was a set of CMU wine glasses, the other is a bottle of wine. The note was so sweet. I will miss my colleagues at CMU. I am not sure what is next for me. I have a call set up for tomorrow with my advisor to see if there are any opportunities for the Fall semester that I could apply for. I am hopeful something will come up.

When I got home, I got changed and put on some walking clothes and seized the beautiful day.

I thought about how I used to go trick-or-treating in this neighborhood and how I used to think these streets were so big, and so long. Now as an adult the streets don’t seem as big. I thought about how I have grown since living at my parents, and the opportunities I had. I walked up one side street and down the other. they kind of connect at the bottom of the street.

When I walked up one of the side streets, and looked over to my right and up some. You can see a little view of Downtown Pittsburgh.

I thought there she is. Downtown Pittsburgh. In the image way off to the left you can see the Cathedral of learning. I took a minute and thought about my opportunities and all that I accomplished. It as a very existential moment for me. Even though NSYNC and the bops from my pre-teen years were in my ears playing through my Beats ear buds, but I have come so far and have had so many amazing opportunities. Something is going to pull through. I am grateful for my skills, abilities, and opportunities.

After my walk, which was 5 1/2 laps totaling 5.85 miles. I was whooped. I haven’t felt this good in a while. I am loving this walk. I will miss it when it is time to go back home.

2nd Spin Class

After CMU today, I went home changed for spin class, then heated up some keto hamburger casserole from last night. I hung out for a while, and watched Jersey Shore reruns before heading out the door to spin class.

Once I arrived to RMU, I parked at the campus recreation center, and swiped my card at the front desk. I walked into the spin room and saw John was there stretching. I greeted him with a “what’s up.” I picked out a spin bike in the back next to two other girls. We chatted about the semester being almost over and thanksgiving break. I adjusted my bike a  little. I forget how to do this. The last time I did Spin was almost a year ago. It was last year at Winterfest.

Once class started, we hit the ground running full force. John is a great spin instructor. He plays awesome tunes and keeps us motivated to make it through the class. I probably didn’t push as hard as I could, but I already got my walking in today. I walked from Pitt to CMU and back to Pitt to where I parked my car, so my legs were already worked out! It was a good class over all. I was sweaty after and that is how I know I got a great work out. As soon as I got off the bike, my legs started to feel like jello.

After class, John and I talked about things I could assist with in the Spring semester. He and Maureen still want to utilize my help with events even though my internship class will be complicated and my hours will no longer count towards my internship. I was glad to hear that I was still going to be able to help as needed. Ideally, I would love to work at RMU full-time after graduate school. I am so grateful to John and to Maureen for giving me the opportunities to be involved and to build my social capital.

 

A Break in the Day

Mondays, after CMU I typically have to go to the Petersen Events Center and advise the baseball players, and help them plan their schoolwork. However, I did not have to go today, so my parents picked me up and took me to dinner at Hanlon’s cafe.

When we arrived at Hanlon’s, I ordered a BLT. I was in the mood for something simple. I love hanging out with my parents.

After lunch, I went back to my parents. My dad gifted me this necklace today.
72609206_10157695887344712_7418136873630957568_nIt is hard to see in the picture, but the text reads To my Daughter. You are braver than you believe, Stronger than you seem, Smarter than you think. And so much more than you know. Love, Dad”

I love it. Thank you daddy for this beautiful necklace and it will serve as a reminder for me. I love you! 

My dad took me back to Pitt’s campus in time for my night class. I had such a blessed day. I am one grateful girl.

 

Pitt Game

This morning, we slept in a bit and then hung out until it was time to go to the Pitt game. We had tickets in the chancellor’s suite. I volunteered to be a Lineup marshal last Spring for the Ph.D commencement Ceremony. The chancellor offered everyone who volunteered club tickets and a parking pass! Of course we were going to go! We are so blessed!

The club seats were so awesome! It is definitely a game changer to how we want to go to games, but this was a once in a lifetime experience at least for now, that is. 🙂
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We stopped at tailgate and talked to Dr. E. He was a professor that I worked with in the Sociology Department at Pitt. We chatted about the department, and about Pitt athletics. I told him who I am tutoring and how I am working with the baseball team at Pitt, as well as being a Grad Assistant at CMU. He was happy for me. We do need together together soon. He is such a good guy.

Also, at the tailgate, I ran into Scottro from 96.1 kiss. I used to work for the radio stations. While, I was a receptionist there,  I was asked to do voice overs for Blush gentlemen’s club, and a few other companies. I also did the voice imaging for the station. 96.1 kiss still uses my voice. I can hear myself when they play the bumpers and I said, “An iheartradio station!” I loved that job. Leaving that place, was the hardest decision ever so far in my life. Scottro told me that he wants to get me back in and record some more imaging for the station. We set a date for next Friday! I am so blessed and so grateful.  I am excited to be back in the studio.

The Pitt game was amazing! We won against the UCF knights 35-34. It was a last minute touchdown but a win is a win. I am so proud of our boys!

Lunch with Audrey

Around 11:30am, I went to get lunch with Audrey. She is our facilities lady in our department. She comes around everyday empties out the garbage cans in each office and is such a wonderful sunny presence. She is such a sweet woman. I took her to lunch at Mario’s. I wanted to thank her for everything, and for just being herself. We ate wings and fries. She only had a half-hour to eat lunch.

After lunch, I went to Panther Central and exchange my staff ID for a Student ID. It feels so weird, but it is all coming together!

Wednesday

This afternoon, I got to meet three University of Pittsburgh football players. Marquis Williams on the left, and Paris Ford on the right. This is probably the best part of my job.
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Also, I got to meet Maurice Ffrench.
IMG_1343.jpegI have more pictures to add to my Pitt board!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
In the afternoon today, I met with a graduate student in my department. I met with her yesterday for the first time. She wanted to go over a plan to meet her milestones. She brought me flowers. I was so touched and so grateful.
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CLA Committee

After work today, I went back to RMU. My internship supervisor teaches a class on Wednesday nights, so he wanted me to go in his place. I was so nervous. I  wasn’t sure what this was all about it. I  had dinner with Drew in the cafeteria before the meeting. I stopped down to the Center for Student Success to see Dr. Spradley. I wanted to introduce him to Drew. They shook hands and Dr. Spradley asked Drew to give him a 30-second run down of his story. Drew said, “wow okay.” He gave his 30 seconds run down and Dr. Spradley invited us into his office for some tea. I told him I was on my way to the CLA, but I wanted to pop in and see if you were around so I could introduce you to Drew.” He said, “that is one of the things I love about you.” He is getting ready to leave and wanted to know if I was still interested in speaking with him at the workshop, Titled “Communicating your Vision.” I said, “Yes, of course.” He said, “Great, I am going to send you some information next week. We can get started on building it out and fleshing out what we are going to say.” Drew asked, “would it be okay if I could attend the event and be there to support her and watch her speak.” Dr. Spradley, looked at Drew and said, “Of course, but better yet…” He turned to me and said, “Do you want him there?” I smiled, and said, “of course.” he said, “Great, that is admirable that you both support each other.” He asked me if I wanted to quarterback and be the only speaker. I said, “no, this was my first time, public speaking.” He said, “I don’t believe it, but we can co-quarterback it.” That way when the next one comes around you will be ready.

Colonial Leadership Academy. Colonial Leadership Academy is a program for student-athletes who are interested in developing their leadership abilities. They focus more on after athletics instead of their role in their sport. The CLA hosts speaker events and workshops in different leadership topics. The student-athletes have to apply to get into the academy, in the past, they have accepted everyone who applied because they want to be there. The student-athletes, who applied for this are the students who are exceptional.

After we left Dr. Spradley’s office, we walked to Hopwood Hall where my meeting was going to take place. He kissed me before he left. I walked into the auditorium and there were two people sitting in the back of the room. I approached them and asked if this was the CLA? They said, “Yes.” I said, “I’m Danielle, John Locke’s graduate intern.” I smiled and shook their hands. I met Nelle and Danny.

Before the presentation got underway, Nelle and Dan gave me a rundown of the CLA. The Colonial Leadership Academy is a program for student-athletes who are interested in developing their leadership abilities. They focus more on after athletics instead of their role in their sport. The CLA hosts speaker events and workshops in different leadership topics. The student-athletes have to apply to get into the academy. In the past, they have accepted everyone who applied because they want to be there. The student-athletes, who applied for this are the students who are exceptional.

This is so cool. Student-athletes are my research interest. I was glad to be apart of this. Nelle told me they are looking for two more speakers to come and speak about leadership at the end of March, and early April. I reached out to my advisor in the program and my friend Alicia. Hopefully, they will be able to come and present.

After I get situated in my career, this would be something I would like to do is speak about leadership. I feel like I have somethings I could say now, but I am not sure if it is exactly what they are looking for, but I will keep documenting for when it is my time.

After the CLA, I went home to my husband and spent the rest of the evening hanging out relaxing. I am so grateful for Drew and how supportive he is.  I feel so loved.

 

 

Christmas with My Parents

The day after Christmas Day we celebrated with my parents. We opened gifts. I got my Dad a gift card to the movies. My mom got some pieces to her Winterberry collection. I was anxious to see what we got from my parents. I think I already knew what I was getting, but Drew knew for sure we were getting the Nintendo Switch. I had asked for it for Christmas. Drew and I can’t stop playing it when we go to Best Buy.

It was our turn to open gifts, Drew got some beer glasses for his man cave. The glasses have his name on it. My parents gifted us with a Nintendo Switch, the Mariokart game, and a Paris calendar for our kitchen. We both received a little bit of money from them as well. I was so thankful and so happy. We couldn’t wait to go home and play Mariokart.

When I was younger, my dad and I used to play Super Nintendo. I am not a gamer, but I remember playing that console for hours. The graphics have come such a long way since the 90s. It looks so real now.

As the day went on, I started to feel a little sick in my stomach, but I was going to pull through it was Christmas. I wasn’t as bad as Drew, but there was something going around, plus we were eating all this different food.

At dinner, Drew and I prepped the food, and served my parents. It was nice and relaxing to finally be able to celebrate Christmas with my parents.

 

Game Day

This morning, I didn’t feel hungover at all. We drank a bottle of champagne together, had drinks at dinner, wine before dinner, and a can of rose spiked sparkling water. I felt ready to go for the game day! We got showered and went down to breakfast. The front desk attendant escorted us to the dining room. I immediately was in another time.

The table looked so beautiful. We took a seat in the back at the small two seat table.  We got to talking with the hostess, and she poured us some coffee, while we waited for our breakfast.
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Our table even had a little bell on it, if we needed anything we could just ring the bell. I thought oh my God no way! I have always wanted a bell. For breakfast, I had waffles with bacon and Drew had pancakes with sausage. I didn’t want to leave. I wish I could live here.

After breakfast, we took an Uber down to where some of the pregame stuff was happening. It was still a bit too early for anything, but it was cool to go and experience it.

When we arrived at the park where the pregame stuff was happening, we saw ESPN radio doing a broadcast. It was cool to see and to be a part of.  it was still too early to do anything game related. We explored the area a little more and decided to walk back to our bed and breakfast.  It was cool to see and to be a part of.  it was still too early to do anything game related.

We explored the area a little more and decided to walk back to our bed and br
eakfast. On our way back, we were crossing the street and some people approached us and said, “Hail to Pitt.” We said, “Hail to Pitt.” It was a father and son. He said, where do you guys get your umbrellas?” Drew told him about the 7//11 on the corner that is we got ours. He said, oh cool. He asked if we’re going to the Pitt tailgate before the game. Drew said We weren’t. we didn’t get tickets in time, but it would be cool to go. He said, “I might be able to get you in. we are on the way to meet my wife at the French Quarter restaurant. Why don’t you guys come to have a drink? and we can plan to meet up later. Drew looked at me to make sure I was cool with it. I nodded and said, “okay, we will go for a drink.” I thought why not.

When we got to the French Quarter restaurant, we met his wife and sat at the table with them. They had a special and Mimosas were like $3.50, so that is what I got. The guy’s wife asked me what I got and I said, “a mimosa” and smiled. We introduced ourselves and exchanged contact information for later. The guy said how he is an alumnus of Pitt and knows all the people in athletics and the chancellor and etc. The names he was dropping I didn’t know of, but when it was my turn to drop names he didn’t recognize them. Drew told him how we both work at Pitt and he laughed and said, “Oh like in the book store? or ticket sales?” He was trying to be funny, but I found him rude. I didn’t really like him from the start. Drew said, “no I am in a branch of IT called CSSD.” I said, “and I am the academic coordinator. I build the class schedule for the sociology department and I am in grad school at Pitt, as well.” he said, “oh okay.” He didn’t have too much to say. I think he might have embarrassed himself. I went along with it because it could mean that we could get into the Pitt tailgate.

After we finished our drink, we exchanged contact information for later and then went back to bed and breakfast. I had to change into my rain boots. We went back to the French Quarter restaurant around 3:00pm. We wanted to grab an appetizer before we went to the Tailgate (assuming were going to be able to get into the Tailgate).

Around 4:30pm, we the man, his wife, and son on the street with some other couples they knew outside the restaurant and we all walked to where Pitt was having their tailgate. I had an awkward feeling, but I didn’t share it with Drew. I just hoped it would all work out for the best. We got in line and people from alumni hall and the office of special events were checking people into the event. I recognized the staff from the special events office, and I knew who they were, but I may have to tell them I am someone else so I can get in if this guy was going to give us other people’s names to use.

After he checked everyone in that was with him, there wasn’t a way we could get in. He said, “sorry guys” and walked away. I looked at Drew and I said, “I knew it. I knew that guy was full of it.” We got out of line and I tried to call my friend in Athletics. He said, he was at a team dinner but would text his contact when he told me her name. I thought we have a chance now at getting in. I knew exactly who she was. He told us we should go to graham’s pour house. There were Pitt people there we could party with until we heard back.
When we arrived at Graham’s Pour House, I have never seen so many people in one bar in Blue and Gold in my life. There was a closed in patio section on the roof. They were letting people up as people came downstairs and left. They were almost at full capacity. My contact in Athletics told us to go back at 5:30pm and see if we could get in. We passed the time away and drank and sang the Pitt version of Neil Diamond’s song “Sweet Caroline.” Everyone was so pumped. We flirted with the idea of just staying there and not going to the tailgate, but I was determined to get us into the tailgate and show that guy how ridiculous he was.

At 5:30pm, I approached the Pitt alumni tailgate. I told them that so and so (I am not saying names) said we should come back at 5:30pm and see if we can get in. She said, “Yes, you can! Did you pay online or are you going to pay here.” Drew was so happy. I said, “We are going to pay here.” They handed us our lanyards and we were in!
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We walked in and immediately took this picture of us with our lanyards. We did it! We were in the tailgate! We walked right past the guy and his wife. The guy said, “They got in.” I smiled my fake smile said, “Yea, have a good time.” We walked over to where the food was and they had a tailgate food buffet style. They had little bags of chips that you could just take and go, they had cookies that you could just take and go. They had a couple stations set up for wine and beer. I had two glasses of Pinot Grigio.

After we ate, we heard someone making a speech. We went over to where the podium was set up and we saw Heather Lyke and Chancellor Gallagher alongside the podium waiting to introduce. Heather Lyke was first. She talked about the spirit and Pitt Panthers and Hail to Pitt. We got a selfie with her afterward. It was too cool. Then the
Chancellor made his speech and he said, “There is something in the air tonight.” We were all hoping for a Pitt win. I got another picture with the Chancellor after he made his speech. The best part is he remembered me from our last conversation. He opened his arms out for a hug and then we took a selfie with him.
Image may contain: 5 people, including Danielle Hornyak, people smiling, people standing and beard

After this picture, I texted Nancy and said, another one for my Pitt board in my office! I am so glad I was able to make this happen for Drew and for us. I am so happy and proud of all that I accomplished so far. Hail to Pitt!

After the tailgate was over, we made our way to the stadium. It was pouring down rain. I was so sick of the rain at this point. When we entered the stadium, we found our seats. We were pretty much the only Pitt fans. This was clearly the Clemson side of the stadium.

When the game started, Clemson was the first to score. It was going to be a long night for Pitt. I texted my friend in Athletics who was on the field. He and I shared text messages throughout the game. We only stayed until the half time when we left. Pitt was losing, it was rainy and cold. It was a good experience and cool to be a part of.

Once we got back to the bed and breakfast, we got showered and laid our clothes out to dry. We got packed up except for things that we would need in the morning. We had to be out of there at 4am.