First French Class

Today was my first French class. I am taking French 1 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Friday’s in the Cathedral of Learning during my lunch hour. I am just going to practice my french. The professor gave me permission to attend, even though I am not paying tuition for the class, which was super nice of him.

I walked over to the cathedral with Dr. E, a professor I work with in the Sociology Department. He is taking Italian. Our class rooms are next door to each other. I thought the class was going to be in the French Nationality Room. I was a little disappointed. The class room was basic. I took a seat near the back.

In the beginning of class, the professor asked us a question in french, and wrote the response on the board for us to respond back in French. It was fun. He asked a few of us why we are taking French? He called on me and I said, “I am obsessed with the French culture for as long as I can remember. I took French 1 and 2 in high school, and my husband and I just visited Paris back in May and managed to navigate France with knowledge of French 1 and 2, so I am here to practice my French.” the professor smiled and said, Merci. I smiled I was so excited to be there. I didn’t really participate too much because I wasn’t a paying customer. I wanted the students to get the most out of it. I was just there to practice and absorb.

At the end of class, he let us out early. I was excited for Wednesday! I am not sure how long I can keep this going. As long as my grad classes don’t keep me too busy, but my first French class since high school was a success!

Court side Pitt Panther’s Game

Court side Pitt Panther’s Game

After work Drew and I went to the Pitt Panther’s game. We took a shuttle to the Pete and we picked our tickets up at WillCall and then went inside the Pete. When we got inside, we went through security and made our way to our seats.  We were told to go to the sign that would take us down the stairs all the way down to the floor. I looked back at Drew and smiled. We made our way down the stairs. We found our seats. we were on the court, in the same area as the athletics staff. We were in front of where my contact would sit in athletics. We were in the big shot section. Drew was so happy his face lit up. I can’t think of a better way to start winter break.
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Division Christmas Party

Today, was our Division Christmas Party. The party started at 11am. It was supposed to go until 3pm. We had to dress like our favorite Christmas character. I was going to be a sugar plum fairy, but that would just be too much. I thought about Cindy Lou Who. I am not sure, if I feel like doing my hair like that and putting all that much effort into it.  I decided to be Sally from the nightmare before Christmas. I already had the costume and the make up. I changed into my costume around 10:30am. 56692952443__a5827abc-0f60-4596-8535-f22ded82f533
I was ready. I didn’t go all out with the make up. I just did a little. Nancy dressed up as an Elf. We loaded the cart up with things to take up to Africana. There weren’t any faculty around. The staff were ready to party.
When we arrived up to Africana, we set our grab bag gifts under the tree in the conference room. Then, we went to into the kitchen and surrounded around the food. Everyone was dressed up for the most part. We were all waiting on Linda to arrive with fried chicken. She was going to surprise everyone with her costume. I had a feeling that she was going to come dressed as Santa.
Eventually Linda arrived with the chicken, and she was dressed as Santa! I knew it! We all ate lunch first in the conference room. Then we played games. One of the games we played, was we had to build a gingerbread house in teams. Each team had to have a leader. Everyone else was to be blind folded except the leader. I was the leader on my team.  The leader couldn’t touch the house, but could touch the supplies. My team consisted of Wynn, Nancy, and Lynn, the blondes. Our house didn’t stand.
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It was fun. We had a good time doing the team building exercise. After the gingerbread game, we played a game of family feud Christmas style. We had to an answer a questionnaire before the party and Jenna gathered the answers and put them into the game. We all had so much fun and made so much noise.

After the jeopardy game, we did the grab bag gift. When it was my turn to choose a gift. I chose the sparkling box. I opened the box and inside was a picture frame. The picture in the frame was a selfie of Linda my division administrator. I cracked up laughing. Everyone thought it was so funny. This gift was made for me. I love it. I have it in my office. At the end of the party we took a group picture. We truly do have such a good group of people in our division.
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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.
Image may contain: people sitting, table and indoorThe 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.

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. Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, outdoor 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. 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. At the tailgate, it was all you can eat game day food and 2 alcoholic drinks per person.
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 them 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!

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
Image may contain: 3 people, including Danielle Hornyak, people smiling, people standingChancellor made his speech and he said, “there is something in the air tonight.” We were all hoping  Pitt was going to 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 beardAfter 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.
Image may contain: people playing sports and stadiumWhen 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.

 

 

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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Pitt Stronger Than Hate

Pitt Stronger Than Hate

In the morning, I went and got my  free Pitt Stronger than Hate t-shirt at the William Pitt Union. At 12pm, Nancy and I went to the Memorial for the Tree of Life victims. The memorial was held on the lawn of the Cathedral in between the Cathedral and Heinz Chapel.  There were thousands of people there.
Image result for pitt stronger than hateChancellor Gallagher made a speech, and so did Bill Peduto and Rich Fitzgerald. This was the first time I seen Bill Peduto in person. It was a cool experience.

On the way back, Nancy and I stopped at Taco Bell in the William Pitt Union and got lunch, then went back to the office.
After work I had the politics and history of higher education class. Julia and I had to give our oral presentation on Title IX. We both were ready and prepared for it. After a group did an engaged learning activity, we went up to present. We did so well and we made the time limit. I was so proud of us.

When I got back to my seat, I fired up my computer and she posted the grade of our presentation 60/60. Whew! Now I need to find out what I received on my second paper. 2 more assignments left. One more summary to complete, as well as the final paper on my philosophy of education. I am going to start the paper this weekend I think. I am ready for the end and for Christmas break!

Porch with Frank

Around 12pm I met up with Frank at the Porch. He handed me a poster for the Pitt Jazz seminar and concert (I have it hanging on my office door.). We talked about the jazz seminar and the committee. I  think Frank is doing a great job and I am glad he was chosen for the position and not me. I am also glad that a friendship came out of that situation. He asked if I could still work the jazz concert event at the raffle table like I did last year. I told him of course I would. I am hoping that this year goes smoother than last year.

I took a closer look at the dates on the poster. I am thinking of attending the Jazz kick off event, which is on October 29th at 12pm in the William Pitt Union. I will probably sit with Paula during that event. I know she likes to go. It shows support to for the music department and the Pitt Jazz Ensemble.

Then I checked the date of the Jazz Concert and that will be on November 3rd in the evening, which is the same day as the event I am working for RMU. I have already told RMU that I would help with their event so maybe it will end in time for me to head to the Jazz concert. I didn’t let Frank know, I will soon if there is a conflict, but I doubt there will be.

After lunch, I went back to my office and hung up my poster on the front door. I made sure my calendar was up-to-date.