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The standard shovel bitch

By M Davies   /     Jan 28, 2015  /     Annoyances, Wacky PA Weather  /     2 Comments

Snow in Northeast Pennsylvania.  It’s nothing new.  It happens every year.  I know this.  You know this.  Still it doesn’t get any easier.

 

On Saturday morning, we had our first major snowfall in NEPA.  The official measurement at my place of employment was 5.5″ of the evil white powder.  Unless you are filthy rich and pay someone to do it for you or use a blow torch, chances are you probably have to clear said evil white powder from something you own.  If not, consider yourself lucky.  Much like most of Microsoft’s software, snow is a necessary evil.

 

To give you a little background, the road that I live on is a private shared right of way, so unless someone plows it, the snow will sit there until spring.  Some days the neighbor that owns a quad/four-wheeler will plow it.  There’s also another neighbor who may be related to a person that drives a plow truck or something.  Anyway, once in a while, he’ll come by and do the road and offer to clear out driveways for a nominal price.  It’s worth the money if its a big accumulation and/or heavy snow.  I usually can make it down my road with no problems…it’s the roads from my house until I hit I-81 that worry me the most.  PennDOT seems to forget about Rtes 29 and 118.  They are usually a mess.

 

For that reason, I tried to hold off a little bit on the drive in on Saturday morning in hopes that a plow would come by my house.  Fat chance of that happening at 3:30am.  I would have felt guilty calling off, so I had no choice but to risk death and drive in.  I warmed up my car for a good 20 minutes while I shoveled a path from my house to my driveway.  I spent another 10 minutes clearing the snow from my car.  Once all of that was done, it was finally time to make the drive to Moosic.  A ride that would normally take me 40 minutes took me 90.  I didn’t get to work until 5:30am.  It was not a fun time for me, but the roads were mostly empty, so even if I did spin out it wouldn’t have mattered much.  The only tricky part was surprisingly Rte 309 and I-81.  People think they can still drive 75mph in poor conditions and gave me a damn near heart attack while trying to pass me.

 

Once I arrived at work, my nerves were shot, my arms ached and I was mentally exhausted.  No time to think about that because it was TIME TO SHOVEL AGAIN.  Ugh.  All told, I probably shoveled for 2 hours taking frequent breaks.  I think I burned up every calorie in my body.  By the end of the day I couldn’t move.  The next morning I ached all over like I was an 85 year old woman.  I am still not quite right.  I think I tweaked my back.  Last night I took a muscle relaxer to relieve some of the stiffness and it was the best sleep I’ve had in weeks.

 

I honestly don’t mind shoveling.  My husband always calls me a “Poconos Princess” because I spent the better half of my life growing up in Blakeslee.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  My Dad always made my brother and I work hard.  I shoveled coal, split and stacked wood, and shoveled snow.  The only thing he wouldn’t let me do was drive the tractor/cut grass because “I couldn’t drive in straight lines”.  To me, shoveling snow meant a day off of school.  Shoveling snow still takes me back to High School and having snow days.  Unfortunately now, it just means a lot of manual labor, messed up schedules and terrifying driving.  I miss the old days.

 

That brings me back to the original point of this post….what the hell is with “ergonomic” shovels?  I appreciate the thought of trying to make me more safe, but lets be real.  These are the fucking worst.  At work we have one of these bad boys:

ergonomic-snow-shovel

 

It was the only one I could find on Saturday morning and I have to say it is honestly the most awkward shovel I’ve ever used in my life.  I’ve used a lot of shovels….good and bad.  I can tell you for sure.  This is the worst.  It was so awkward to lift the snow and the snow kept sticking to the shovel.  I had to keep banging it off of stuff to get the snow off.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it doubled the length of my work.  I will never ever EVER buy one of these shovels.  They should all be melted down and recycled into something useful.

 

Like this shovel, for example:

 

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I own something similar to this shovel at home.  I bought it in Sam’s Club sometime in the mid 2000s and it’s held up good ever since.  It’s easy to handle, holds a lot of snow and as an added bonus, it has an ice chopper on the end.  The ice chopper especially came in handy during this ice storm.  I’m sure you remember it.  I know that I do.  I had to chop roughly 2 inches of ice from my sidewalk.  My wrist ached for weeks, but it got the job done.

 

We also have one of these at work (below).  It’s a good idea in theory, but it’s awkward to handle and heavy as all get out.  I’m not a fan.

pACE3-8715059enh-z8

 

 

I’ve used several of these standard issue models (below).  They flat out suck.  They don’t hold enough snow to be useful and they break down easily.  Maybe they are built more sturdy now then the last one I bought, but I doubt it.  Avoid if you can.

 

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I’d be curious to see how one of these works (below):

pACE3-8715078enh-z8

 

 

The next time it snows, I’m probably just going to bring my shovel from home.  BYOS.  I am not trying to be nasty, it’s just that I don’t want to spend any more time outside than I have to.  Fin.

 

Oh my god.  Did I just write an entire blog post about snow shovels?

Yes.  Yes I did.

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Rigby on the Swarm

By M Davies   /     Jan 26, 2015  /     Family  /     4 Comments

It’s been over a year since my dog Trumpy and the neighbor’s horse was put down and I’m still not right about it.  I’m not sure that losing a pet is something you ever completely get over.

 

I really don’t know how this conversation started, but my husband started looking into new pets over the late summer…mainly cats.  We talked about Bengal cats before in passing, mainly because my friend/pen pal Jacqui has two rescue Bengals.  I talked about the funny antics they get into and their intelligence level (a.k.a. basically Gabby in feline form).  I guess at some point, this sold my husband and he began researching them and looking into breeders.  Really, I’m not sure how this whole process got started.  I just know, one day we had no pets in the house (besides a guppy fish tank) and the next we had put down a payment at a breeder for a cat.

 

My daughter always wanted a cat.  I secretly always wanted a cat too, however, I am HIGHLY allergic to cats to the point that my throat closes when I’m around them.  For this reason, cats were never a pet I seriously considered.  I don’t want to die, thankyouverymuch.  I was also extremely worried about my son who has been plagued with breathing and skin issues since he was 6 months old.

 

Well first of all, and this is all based completely on my Internet research*, there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat.  They all have saliva and they all have dander.  Dander and saliva are the two biggest things that humans can develop an allergy to.  And no, I’m not sitting here and spending 8 bazillionty hours researching why.  You have Google.  Use it.  I’m not a cat scientist or veterinarian.  At any rate, after spending several weeks with this cat, we haven’t had any MAJOR medical reactions to him.**

 

At his first vet appointment, the front office spelled our cat’s name as “Rugby”.  STOP THE PRESSES.  He’s a Davies!  The cat’s name is actually “Rigby” based on the Regular Show character, but based on the track record of misspellings with our names, this makes him fit right in.

 

Rigby_character

(Rigby, Regular Show)

 

Many people spell my name with one L.  Wrong.  It’s always been two.  Many people call Gabrielle “GABRIEL” or “Gabriella”.  Also wrong.  All of us have been called “DAVIS” at one point or another.  Again.  Wrong.  It’s Davies.  There’s an E in there, please don’t ignore it.

 

Alright, I’ll shut up and show you the thing the Internet was truly invented for….CAT PICTURES.***

 

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(Five seconds before I snapped this photo he was dive bombing my slipper)

 

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(He’s on the hunt for my foot, however, I’m a terrible cat mom…I gave him a plastic bag to play with)

 

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(The damn thing only likes sleeping on my desk)

 

You can find more obnoxious cat photos and videos on my Instagram, Youtube and Flickr.  See you there!  If you want to learn more about Bengal cats and their bratty behavior, check out Bengals Illustrated.

 

 

*Alert:  Take this with a grain of salt.

**I’ve broken out in hives and have swollen up after he’s scratched me.

***With apologies to Al Gore and Mike Burnside.

 

 

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Northern Wind

By M Davies   /     Jan 25, 2015  /     Blogging, Misc/Crap  /     6 Comments

I’ve been falling behind on reading some of my favorite blogs lately.  I try to binge read when I can, but it can get overwhelming.  As of this morning, I was mostly caught up on all of my favorites (most of which can be found in my sidebar), but I was saving one for last.  The one I’m specifically referring to is PostSecret.  For those of you that don’t know, Frank Warren, the site’s founder, has been blogging photos of secrets on postcards all written in anonymity since 2005.  I’ve been a fan and loyal reader since the beginning.  It really is a brilliant, beautiful, moving and intriguing blog (along with a million other adjectives).  Some Sunday mornings, I laugh. On other Sunday mornings, I cry. But mostly, I’m thankful that people are brave enough to share their secret with the world.  Don’t take my word for it – go and check it out for yourself if you haven’t already.  I own 3 of the 6 books that Frank has published.  Someday, I will get my hands on the others.  I hope to go to one of his live events one of these years as time allows.

 

With planning NEPA BlogCon, attending MN BlogCon, the PTO Vice Presidency, work and the holidays… I haven’t had much “me” time.  I’m slowly, but surely getting caught up on my email, cleaning and whatever else I’ve allowed to fall to the wayside (*ahem* blog reading).  According to my Digg Reader, I haven’t read any of the Postsecret posts since late September.  Whoosh.  I was excited and overwhelmed to “Digg” in.  It was an emotional roller coaster to say the least and I loved every second of it.

 

One of the postcards really spoke to me.  I clipped the part that I loved most to share with you (below):

 

“Northern Wind”

Northern Wind

 

 

 

I can relate to this postcard in so many ways so I was curious to find the author of the “poem”.  To Google, Batman!  It turns out it was actually a song that the anonymous author quoted.  The song is by the singer “City and Colour“.  I immediately opened my Spotify and listened to the song and fell head over heels in love with it.  It’s been saved to my playlist.  Music is probably my only salvation on my long-ass commute back and forth to work daily, so I’m always looking for new stuff to listen to.

 

I’m kind of embarrassed to admit I’ve been listening to a bunch of hipster snotty indie rock lately and I feel weird about that.  I pretty much love all music (save for Cawk/Jawk Rawk), but this wasn’t necessarily a genre I’ve explored before.  I’ve Shazamed quite a bit of indie stuff lately and I solely blame Sirius XM for this.  Sirius exposes me to stuff I wouldn’t hear normally on Top 40 terrestrial radio.  Here’s my list of recently Shazamed stuff that I’ve fallen in love with and am listening to.  Feel free to suggest more to me!  Caring is sharing.

 

Song Name – Artist

1.  Electric Feel – MGMT

2. It is What it Is – Blood Orange

3.  Hummer – Foals

4.  Come A Little Closer – Cage The Elephant

5.  Trojans – Atlas Genius

6.  At The Show – Marco Benevento

7.  Dangerous – Big Data feat. Joywave

8.  Geronimo – Sheppard

9.  Trying to be Cool – Phoenix

10.  Habits – Tove Lo (probably more pop, but I can relate to the lyrics)

 

Shazam and Spotify are excellent ways of discovering new music and I highly recommend them.  Getting an honorable mention: Pandora and Slacker Radio.  The free listening limits of these music streaming services kind of drive me batshit as I always hit my limit before the end of the month.  As a result of my music addicition, I finally broke down and bought a full membership to Spotify.  It is worth it’s weight in gold because I can stream it from anywhere with an internet connection….tablets, laptops, phones, my car, my TV, etc…..

 

And as for PostSecret, I highly recommend that too.  Not only is it an amazing blog, but as I found out this morning, also a great source for finding new music!  You can send your own secrets by using the address below:

 

postsecret_address

 

 

Enjoy enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

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It’s Oh So Quiet

By M Davies   /     Jan 03, 2015  /     The WTF File  /     0 Comment

I’ve been on a vacation from work since 12/31 which continues until 1/6.  I didn’t get much time off over the last few months because I was rationing and was out of time.  It’s my own fault, and I fully take the blame.  Shit happens, and etc.

 

While I was mid-REM cycle on 1/1, social media bombarded me with questions about what caused the loud noise in the Wyoming Valley.  Huh?  What loud noise?  I was out cold.

 

Apparently, around 2pm EST on 1/1, there was some loud noise that rocked the Wyoming Valley.  Like I said, I wasn’t awake.  I didn’t hear it and did not see anything.  I was just thankful to have the opportunity to catch up on some much needed sleep.  My husband said he heard a loud bang and went outside to investigate.  The below is a contrail photographed from our backyard (which made it to the 4pm news on WNEP).  Whether or not the contrail is related to the noise remains to be proven.

 

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I am by no means an expert.  My most logical guesses for the source of the boom would be:  gas company related, sonic-boom, fireworks, or mass hallucination.  Again, I’m thankful for being asleep for this.  Of course, the conspiracy theorists are already having their field days.  To each, his own.  See Harold’s post here for more details.

 

I will leave you with this article from The Sunday Independent.  I don’t remember what year that it appeared because like an idiot, I forgot to write down the dates when researching, but APPARENTLY, my Great-Grandfather and Great-Uncles witnessed a UFO from their porch many years ago as well as several others in the Wyoming Valley.  COINCIDENCE?  I THINK NOT.  #IWANTTOBELIEVE

 

ufo

 

Bless my relatives.  I love them, but they didn’t know any better back then.  There was no Google or Facebook conspiracy theorists.  And for that, I wish I could hug them from beyond the grave.  More than likely, it was probably a meteor shower or something of that nature.  Calm down everyone.  There’s a logical explanation for this “flying saucer” sighting and the big boom I’m sure.

 

PS – Did this post sound bitchy?  I honestly didn’t mean it to be.  I’m a sarcastic ass.  It’s my nature.  Sorry.  Here’s an awesome Bjork music video to help you through it.

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“Writing for Him”

By M Davies   /     Dec 24, 2014  /     Into the Void  /     5 Comments

I’m just going to make this as vague as possible.  You should never.  Ever.  EVER.  Write for “him”.  You should always write for you.

 

I’ve tried to do that so many times, and have failed.  Miserably.  This him may or may not know who he is.  Or maybe there are more than one “him”.  Either way.  I tried.  And failed.

 

Another post coming soon….

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