Monthly Archives November 2011

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Presidential visit in NEPA

By M Davies   /     Nov 30, 2011  /     Uncategorized  /     1 Comment

I got to see the President of the United States on Wednesday when he visited Scranton. You can check out my Flickr Set of pictures to view how close we were.

Late last week, Karla Porter walked around the office and asked everyone if they would like to go see the President.  My answer was, of course, YES!  She had a connection to get tickets for the event and needed to respond quickly to reserve them. Fast forward to Wednesday morning.  I got to work late that morning because my son forgot his bookbag at the house, and was having a pantyhose-related wardrobe malfunction.  In addition to that, River Street was an absolute mess, so I detoured through Kingston.  As soon as I step foot into the office, Karla and Pam were ready to leave to start our journey to Scranton.  Literally, I walked into the office, set my stuff down, and walked right back out.  Best day of work ever!

Our first stop was Perkins in Pittston.  We needed the carbs to keep our energy up while standing in line.  I had already stopped at the McDonald's Drive-Thru in Shavertown on my way down, so I ended up only getting a plate of bacon and coffee.  It's a good thing that I did, because I didn't eat again until 8 or 9pm later that evening.  At the Perkins, we met up with Pam's friend's son who is a Political Science major at an area college.  After we finished up our breakfast we all hopped in the same car and headed to Scranton High School. 

No trip to Scranton, no matter who I go with, is complete without getting lost at some point.  I never know where I am going in that town.  In our case, the GPS was giving us two options for the same exact street address but with 2 different zip codes.  I had this problem a few weeks ago when I traveled to Harrisburg.  We ended up pulling over and asking someone how to get there, and luckily he pointed us in the right direction.  We parked the vehicle in some strip mall and getting on the shuttle bus, which took us right to the high school.  Then it was time to get in line.  We were almost toward the front of the line, but it was early and the doors were not opening until 12:30.  Here's a picture of my ticket w/ a glaring typo in it:

"Please not parking is limited".

Notice the "Admit One" yellow strip?  I quickly noticed that people standing around us all had different color strips.  I seen some blue strips, some red strips, yellow and orange.  I asked if anyone know what this meant.  No one was really sure if it meant anything or if the printer they were printed on ran out of ink.  I later found out that this strip determined which section of the Scranton High School Gym you were allowed to stand/sit in.  Yellow = Right in Front; Blue = Behind the podium of the president; Orange = Behind the yellow section.  I'm not sure about the red section, but I'm thinking they were probably in the bleachers. 

We stood in line for about 90 minutes which isn't a big deal if you consider how many hours I stood in line during the Black Friday nonsense (see previous post), however, it was COLD.  And….I decided to wear a skirt.  Not the brightest idea I've had in recent months.  Also, the pinched nerve in my foot was still bothering the crap out of me, so standing on the concrete was really taking its toll on me.  By the time we did get into the High School the only thing that I wanted to do, other than get warm, was to sit down.  Karla did not want to sit.  She wanted to get right in the front row so she could be face to face with the President.  I wasn't happy about this at first, but looking back, I'm so glad she dragged me (kicking and screaming) to the front row.

This is how far away we were from the stage:

You could have literally spit on the President, or threw a shoe at him (like some of my Facebook Friends were egging me on to do).  By the way, those lights on the upper right were messing up my photos.  Everything I was taking was super washed out in the upper right hand corner of my photos.  I was alternating taking pictures with my iPhone 4 and regular digital camera (a Fujifilm FinePix F72EXR).  

While standing in the front row, waiting for the President, we connected with some friends from Facebook that happened to be at the event as well.  Duke Dallas was sitting in the bleachers and Beth Hartman came down to stand with us in the front row.  I have photos of them in my Flickr gallery.  Someone decided to mention that I was going to be Live Tweeting the visit on Twitter, and my battery was running low the entire day (even with the charging case on my iPhone).  The word spread, and before I knew it, I went viral.  I felt responsible to share the experience with the Twitter community, so to conserve battery life I restricted my iPhone to the Edge Network, joined the wifi in the High School and turned the brightness on my phone ALL THE WAY DOWN.  These are all techniques I learned during Hurricane Irene (you have to learn to be stingy with battery life after not having electricity for 5 days).  My other challenge was finding a way to temporarily unlock my Twitter account without having access to a PC.  I had my brother do that.  I had to guide him how to do it through text message.  The Scranton High School wifi thing was funny.  They had the SSID and password to join on a paper taped to the floor, btw…password = 12345abcde.  At least it wasn't "hello" or "password".  I'm thinking this was probably for the members of the press that were stationed in front of us:

There was an Invocation, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the singing of the National Anthem.  President Obama was supposed to arrive at 2:45, but I feel like he got there before that.  I wasn't watching the clock though. Here he is, in the flesh:

I'm not much into politics, but President Obama is a great speaker, and you couldn't help but feel inspired after listening to him. 

After he was done speaking, he walked around and shook hands.  I got to shake his hand, although there are no photos of this because normally I try to be behind the camera, not in front of it.  This isn't the first time that I shook a President's hand.  I also had the opportunity to shake President's Clinton's hand back in the early 90s when he was campaigning.  He stopped at the Avoca airport and my Mom was able to score tickets from campaign headquarters.  After the hand shaking was complete, it was time to head home.  However, I received a direct message on Twitter from Chris Hughes at "Go Lackawanna" wanting to know if I'd do a phone interview with him.  Of course, I said YES.  Here's the article:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/Middle-class_message_receives_a_favorable_response_12-01-2011.html

Michelle Davies, of Sweet Valley, was in the front row for the speech.

“I was kind of hoping to hear some positive news about jobs and the economy,” she said. “I’ve been experiencing some trouble with the economy. Prices are all going up, and you’re not making any more money. I have two kids, so I have to be concerned about saving money for college along with trying to go back to school myself. I’m trying to balance my budget just like the president should be balancing the United State budget.”

After reading the comments from the TL article online, I think people misconstrued my quote.  I didn't mean for it to sound negative as much as I did "cautiously optimistic". 
 
Here are some of the other Blogger's takes on the Visit:
 

I'd just also state for the record that I did not break Gort42's blog.  Blogger broke Gort42's blog.  I trust Blogger with HTML code about as much as I trust my daughter left alone with a pair of scissors. 

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Black Friday 2011 Recap

By M Davies   /     Nov 29, 2011  /     Events, Family, Medical Issues  /     2 Comments

I know everyone hates me and will throw things at me for posting that I went Black Friday shopping this year, but oh well.  I've been going Black Friday shopping every year for as long as I can remember with my Grandmother, Aunt and Mother.  It's kind of a sick and twisted Thanksgiving family ritual.  We put the fun in dysfunctional.

This year, our Black Friday actually started on Thursday evening…at 7pm to be precise.  The players:  My Mom, My Aunt and me.

Stop 1:  Toys R Us in Wilkes-Barre

They opened at 9pm on Thursday evening.  We got there early and found parking without a problem.  We then stood in line for approximately 90 minutes.  Toys R Us would only let in so many people at once due to the fire code occupancy regulations.  We got into Toys R Us easily enough, it was getting out that was the problem.  They had the store blocked off with various shelves, so you could only go into certain sections if you wanted to checkout.  The checkout line wrapped around the store.  Thank god I didn't have to buy anything!  Here's a picture of the line wrapped behind Toys R Us:

Stop 2:  Wal-Mart in Wilkes-Barre Township

I specifically recall a TV commercial from Wal-Mart that said "Don't stand outside in line, come inside where it's warm."  Yeah, not so much.  By the time we got to Wal-Mart (around 10:00pm), every parking spot in the parking lot was taken and two lines formed outside at each of the entrances to the store.  My Mom dropped of my Aunt and I to get in line while she tried to find a parking spot.  And, when I said every parking spot was taken…I literally mean, every parking spot was taken.  People even resorted to parking in nearby restaurants, hotels and quadruple parking (forget double parking)!  My Mom eventually found a spot, where no one else parked….BECAUSE A GLASS BOTTLE WAS SMASHED ALL OVER THE PARKING SPACE.  So what does she do?  Pulls in, and parks it.  I'm like "Well, at least we are at Wal-Mart if we need to buy a can of fix-a-flat."  I received a text message from a friend that told me that Wal-Mart was "at capacity" and the police made them lock the doors because of fire code regulations.  There was security standing at the door letting in people only as others were exiting the store.  After waiting around for about 20-25 minutes, we all finally got in the door.  The Wal-Mart commercial was chalk full of lies.  Here's a picture taken from the line at Wally World:

Wal-Mart has THE WORST setup for Black Friday that I've ever seen.  They have doorbusters, some started at 10pm, some started at 11pm and some started at midnight.  However, all of the electronics were at midnight.  If you wanted any of the electronic items, you needed to get a ticket and stand in a line which is nice because it makes it fair for everyone.  I'll give them that.  But here's what I really want to know:  How do they expect people to leave the building to make room for the others coming in if all of the specials start in 2 hours.  You have to stand in line for 2 hours to get something…therefore no one is leaving the store.  If no one leaves the store, no one else can get in.  I guess I'm the only person that is missing the logic in this setup.  Why not start the deals ALL AT THE SAME TIME?  Does an hour really make that big of a difference between the specials?

My aunt wanted a 13" TV that cost 98 dollars.  Both her and I got a ticket and stood in the line.  We had the third ticket issued for this item.  Once we got to the area of the store where the line was, we decided to sit on the floor and wait for midnight.  OH MY GOD.  You'd think we had just committed a mortal sin.  The Wal-Mart lady who was assigned to watch our line yelled at us and told us we were not permitted to sit on the floor because we could be trampled.  I looked around at the other people in line with us.  Two old ladies were in line with us.  Yeah, I'm sure Grandma will take us out with her Hoverround if we're not careful.  Are ya kidding me?  Meanwhile, we watched people walk past us with printers, computers, DVD players, freezers, and other "big ticket items" in their carts, but yet we have to wait until midnight to get a fucking 99 dollar no-name brand TV.  Makes perfect sense to me! 

Anyway, we people-watched for the next hour while waiting for the stupid TV.  Can I just ask….what the hell is wrong with people?  Do they not think about what they are wearing before leaving the house?  If your shirt doesn't cover your beer gut, don't wear it.  I think your jammies are adorable and all, but I don't think they are appropriate to wear in public.  Finally midnight arrived and we got the TV with no issues.  There was no trampling.  The line moved in an efficient and orderly manner.  By the way, I was up to Wal-Mart earlier today, and check this out: 

Look at how many fucking TVs are there now and at the same price!  Why does God mock me?  I'm debating on whether or not to sue Wal-Mart to get the 2 hours I wasted of my life in line back as well as other punitive damages.

Stop 3:  Target in Wilkes-Barre Township

All told, I'd say we got to Target around 1am.  Parking was no issue, because at that point they were already open for an hour.  Once again, here's another place that was easy to get into, but IMPOSSIBLE to get out of.  I forget who was going for what at this store, but I ended up walking out with a cheap DVD, a bottle of lemonade, earbuds and a tube of facial cleanser.  4 items, 30 dollars and 90 minutes of following the leader in the line maze that started way over in the frozen food section and we were finally on our way to our next destination.

Stop 4:  Kohl's in Wilkes-Barre Township

We got here about 3am.  We parked right up front and got right in.  There was hardly anyone shopping in the store…know why?  BECAUSE THEY WERE ALL STANDING IN LINE.  Don't get me wrong, every register had a person working at it, but it was the person at the beginning of the line directing people that was clueless.  They would make it so that only one person would go to one line at a time.  Wow.  Why not stack each line with 3 or 4 people to get things moving?  Why does it have to be so nitpicky?  I got all the way up to the check out and realized I didn't have my wallet.  Thus, my first panic attack of the evening began.  I figured I had left it at Target, or it was stolen or I dropped it somewhere.  Then I started thinking about all of the credit cards and ID that was in there and started hyperventilating.  My Mom tried to steer me in the direction of her car to check the back seat.  Yeahhhhh, it was back there.  Apparently, it fell out of my purse and I hadn't noticed.  Who can keep track of these complicated details when you've been up for close to 24 hours?  I took my wallet back inside and paid and left feeling like a big embarrassed dumbass.  Oh by the way, I seriously considered buying these shoes:

I get distracted by shiny things.

Stop 5:  The Mall / JC Penney's

At this point, I could not be more thrilled to see the sight of the Wyoming Valley Mall.  We rolled in here at 4:30, and my iPhone's battery was completely dead.  Twitter was keeping me entertained, so I had to figure out a way to charge the battery.  I took a walk down to FYE which did not have any iPhone battery chargers that would work for my purpose.  I needed an emergency charger.  The AT&T store did not open until 5am, so I had to kill some time.  I decided to walk around in Spencer's because I noticed that they had some funny hats.  I ended up buying one.

Also, did you know that they make Pacman Snuggies?  I had to take a picture to show to my friend Brian, because he'd never believe me.

Finally, the AT&T store opened and I was able to purchase the most awesome charging device known to man.  It's called the Mophie Juice Pack.  It's a charging phone cover.  Instead of charging your iPhone, you charge the cover essentially giving you double battery life.  You can check out more about it here if you are so inclined.

Stop 6:  Toys R Us in Wilkes-Barre

Yep.  At around 7:30am we went back to Toys R Us, because going once wasn't enough abuse.  This is the part where I began to get irritated with my Mom.  She wanted to buy Gabby and Owen something each for Christmas and Gabby's birthday.  Fine.  But, I don't know what to tell her to get because Gabby lost her wish lists.  She kept asking if she should get this, or get that.  I DON'T KNOW.  JUST PICK SOMETHING AND GET IT.  I was less than amused.  We were in Toys R Us for what seemed like an eternity.  I was seriously considering committing suicide with a nerf gun. 

Stop 7:  K-Mart

After the hell that was Toys R Us part deux, we made a pitstop at Dunkin Donuts to have a quick breakfast.  We couldn't go to the one near the mall because there was no where to park, so we stopped at the on on 309 by K-Mart (after the big cow).  The girl behind the counter screwed up my order three times over.  I mean really, how hard is it to get a sausage sandwich and a coffee wrong, but I digress.  According to my Foursquare, we got to K-Mart at 952:am.  K-Mart was pretty busy, but nothing like Wal-Mart or Toys R Us.  We had no trouble finding parking or getting checked out here.  I didn't buy anything, but my Mom did.  I forget what.  She was also picking up stuff for people she worked with so it may have been for one of them.  She's nuts.  I found these rejected gifts for your the special people on your Christmas list this year:

A Santa Thong, with free included Santa Sack.  I laughed so hard when I seen this (probably because I was punch-drunk due to lack of sleep).  How can you go wrong when you are getting Santa's sack free with this purchase?  You know what I say, if its free its for me!!!!  Anyone who's on my "naughty" list this year will be getting one of these.

Come on, is this for real?  It can't possibly be real.  A THREE WOLVES SHIRT IN MY LOCAL K-MART.  This is almost too much for my giddy geek heart to handle.  By the way, if you aren't getting the geek reference on this, then you need to check out this:  http://www.amazon.com/Mountain-Three-Wolf-Short-Sleeve/dp/B002HJ377A – Read all of the comments, from top to bottom.  You will piss your pants with laughter.  I think I originally learned about this from Slashdot.

Stop 8:  Boscov's in Downtown Wilkes-Barre

You know, I love me some Boscov's.  If I ever met Al Boscov in person, I'd probably pinch his cheeks.  At around 11:15am we rolled into the parkade at Bosco's.  We headed for the curtain section first which is on the 4th floor.  I sat down on the floor, indian style and waited while my Aunt and Mother perused the selection.  I was just there last month, and didn't feel like looking through everything again.  Yeah, sitting in the curtain section.  I am a rebel. 

Something you should know about Wilkes-Barre Boscov's….in case you have never been there before, know that it is hotter than the surface of the sun inside of that building.  Do not bring a coat.  I don't care if it's 35 degrees below zero outside.  Do not bring in a coat, trust me.  You will melt.  On Black Friday, the temperature of Boscov's seemed ok.  However, I found out something new.  The lower the floor, the hotter the temperature.  It's like taking the escalator to hell if you go down to the basement.  We spent most of our time in the basement, because that's where all of the kitchen crap, toys and savings auditorium are located.  I just about damn near had a heat stroke.  I didn't bring my coat, but I was wearing a light sweater layered under a tank top.  MISTAKE.  I found a new toe ring!

My Mom was feeling ill after that, so this was our last stop, we drove back to my Grandmothers, and I drove home after that.  This was around noon.

The damage:  I figure I spent about 150 on stuff I probably didn't need.  I got a few Christmas gifts.  We shopped for close to 18 hours.  I was awake for roughly 32 hours. 

Also, I think that all of the walking and activity injured my foot.  I woke up writhing in pain and couldn't feel the toe and outer step of my left foot.  I thought for sure I was having a stroke or the diabetes grim reaper was coming to pay me a visit. 

Cue late night, Black Friday-related panic attack #2 (this happened on Sunday evening).  As soon as I was able to, I called the doctor in the morning.  After looking over my foot and poking and prodding around, he determined that I have pinched nerve somewhere in the left part of my left foot.  There apparently is no magic cure for this.  Basically, you just have to wait it out.  Let me just tell you….I'm not happy about this.  I'm ready to call for a second opinion.  Like, I know my pinky toe is physically there, but I can't feel it.  All I feel is numbness and tingling.  It's not a fun time.  At all.

Still in all, I look forward to the Black Friday adventures again next year. 

I must be crazy.  But between me and you, all of the good people are.

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Project Norway (a photo blog)

By M Davies   /     Nov 28, 2011  /     Uncategorized  /     4 Comments

Back in 8th grade, I participated in a Student Exchange type of program.  I guess the best way to put it is, it was a mini-Student Exchange program.  Me and members of my Geography class went to Norway, and then the Norwegians came here for 10 days each.  This was back in 1994 and 1995, long before the Oklahoma City bombing, the TWA flight 800 plane crash and 9/11.  This may be the understatement of the century, but traveling on an airplane then was nothing like it is today security-wise.  My teacher at the time, Mrs. Barbara Braithwaite, had a teacher friend that she regularly exchanged letters with that lived in Norway.  If my memory serves me correctly, the two teachers lived next door to each other in Norway when Mrs. Braithwaite’s husband was stationed there for the army.  After discussing ideas back and forth, they decided they would create a learning experience for their students by exchanging letters and places in each others lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mrs. Braithwaite & Anne-Marie “Mia” (the Norwegian Teacher, who’s last name escapes me):

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the Norwegians visited the states, we took them to Philadelphia to see the touristy things, as well as Washington DC.  We actually were able to tour the United States Capitol building and the White House.  These days, that would be unheard of.  I believe the Norwegians also went to New York City as well, but we were not able to go with them because they didn’t want us missing too much class in the 10 days that they were in the US.  The Norwegian kids loved NYC because the exchange rate from the Norwegian Kroner to the US Dollar at the time was ridiculous.  I think it was 1 Kroner = 1.70 in US Dollars.  They bought a bunch of stuff in New York City because everything was dirt cheap to them and their money went further even with the ridiculous clothing tax in NYC.  Each of the Norwegian kids was housed with an American family.  My family didn’t take any of the kids in, mainly because there were only boys left and god forbid there be a boy the same age living in my parents house for a week!

When it was our turn to go to Norway, we had to make a pit-stop in Iceland for a few days.  I can’t really recall the reason, but I think it was because there was a national holiday going on in Norway at the time and everyone was occupied with that.

 

Here are my friends Joel and Julia standing in the Reykjavik Airport:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The name Reykjavik always cracks me up because it’s pronounced almost identically the same to my my maiden last name of Hryvnak.  The “H” is silent and all of the consonants together produce an “eh” sound.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we were in Iceland, we stayed in Youth Hostels, which are a cheap way to stay when traveling.  I shared a bunk with Courtney Biggs, Julia Prusek, Jackie Doerflien, and Rebecca Meixell.  There was a bunk of boys directly across the hall from us, and one of my first boyfriends stayed in that room.  We all played poker late at night once until we got in trouble from the chaperones, then we exchanged notes back and forth egging each other to come out of our rooms.  Nothing ever happened, but the exchanging of notes helped me get to know my crush, Jim Byrns, better.  Here he is (photo taken in Norway):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I ended up moving on to greener pastures, relationship-wise after some snafu of him pretending to call me as another boy to see if I’d go out with who he was pretending to be.  You gotta admit, that’s pretty clever, even by 8th grade standards.  I think I sat behind him in 12th grade English.  It was awesome passing up all of my failing reading comprehension tests from Othello for him to see, let me just tell you.  I think he’s a math teacher or something like that these days.

 

Anyway, we did a lot of sight-seeing when we were in Iceland, because there wasn’t much else to do.  Here are some random photos from these excursions:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Tom K, Julia, ex-boyfriend Rob)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courtney, Me, Rebecca and Jackie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Same photo as above, but with none of us standing in front of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also rode a horse with some very unfortunate hair.

 

When we finally arrived in Norway a few days later, we got to meet our host families for the first time.  I was staying with a girl named Camilla Johannsen.  Her and her family were very sweet people….very kind and generous.  They lived in a flat (another word for apartment) in Amotveien, Norway…which is a small town.  Probably very similar to Sweet Valley actually.  Only Camilla and her mom spoke English.  Camilla had a younger sister (who’s room I stayed in) and a father who did not speak or understand the English language.  Here’s a photo of me with the family:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The family took me into downtown Oslo to experience some culture on one of the weekend days I was with them.  Here are some photos from that:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changing of the guard at The Royal Castle in Oslo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me standing next to one of the guards from the Royal Castle.  They aren’t supposed to smile or talk or anything, just like in London, I guess.  More unfortunate hair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ski jump in Oslo.  We got to climb to the top of this to see the view.  Oslo was home to the to the 1952 Winter Olympics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s me with the host family in front of a statue by the ski jump.  I’m not sure who the statue is of, I’m sure if I research it more I can find out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When touring Oslo, we ran into more host families with kids from my Geography class.  It seems as though everyone traveled to Oslo on the same day.

 

Camilla, Me, Courtney, Yensi, Dawn and her host friend (I forget her name), and Mrs. Drake.  I wish I could burn every picture of me with bad hair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We took a trip to Bergen (another city) at some point.  Bergen is pretty far away from where my host family was located so we were bussed out there – I would say it seemed to be at least a two hour trip.  Its a quaint town filled with little shops that look like cottage houses.  On the way back, we stopped off at Lillehammer, where the 1994 Winter Olympics were held.  I have pictures of this somewhere, but I can’t find them after the move.  We got to see “Vikingskipet” a.k.a. the Viking Ship where the speedskating competitions were held during the Winter Olympics.  There was a bad flood going on at the time that we toured the building.  They were worried about the facility being flooded.  It didn’t thankfully.  I bring bad weather with me wherever I go, apparently.

 

When we arrived back to the host families, one of the other Norwegian girls invited Camilla and I to hang out one night.  One of the strangest things about visiting Norway in the spring, is that the sun never sets.  You could go outside at midnight and it looks like twilight.  We were outside playing basketball at midnight on that night – and there was no need to flip on a light.  Norway is often referred to as “The Land of the Midnight Sun” for this very reason.

 

Before we left for home, the Norwegian families and school threw us a party.  All of the Norwegians got dressed in their formal dress, here’s Camilla’s outfit:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s me and fellow bunk-mate Rebecca.  God, I am committing so many fashion crimes in this photo.  Note the camera perma-attached to my arm.  I’m sorta like that now, except with the iPhone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Norwegians gave us all matching T-Shirts.  Here’s me in my shirt….I still have this shirt.  I can’t bare to throw it out.  Camera in hand and scrunchie bracelet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s some more of the Norwegians in their formal dress.  Note the placement of the American flag.  It’s hung backwards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The shirts, of course, made for a great group photo-op in front of the backwards flag.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mrs. Braithwaite and Rebecca made speeches at the party and presented the Norwegians with a Pennsylvanian flag.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In closing, I had a great time on this trip.  It was a valuable learning experience about other cultures and myself.  It was probably one of the most defining moments of my life, all thanks to Mrs. Braithwaite.  I’m not sure if she’s still out there or not.  Last I heard, she retired from teaching in the early 2000s.  Before then, she did a similar successful exchange program with students in Russia and the US.  One of the guys I knew from Project Norway participated.  After they returned, a big assembly was put on and I’m very jealous that I didn’t get to go.  It looked amazing.  Someday I hope to get there and also get back to Norway.  Both are amazing places to visit.  I dedicate this post to Mrs. Braithwaite…one of the best teachers I’ve ever had.

 

One Last Pic:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for revisiting the memories with me, everyone.

[12/01/11 Edit:  Mrs. Braithwaite and I connected on LinkedIn recently and I sent her the link to this blog post.  She made some adjustments to things I have remembered incorrectly.  You can check out the comments of the blog post to read them.  More importantly, she alerted me to the State Farm Good Neighbor she won because of Project Norway.  I’m enclosing the photo of the magazine photo advertisement below.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Click little picture for pop-out)

I’m so glad that I had an opportunity to be a part of this learning experience.

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Google this!

By M Davies   /     Nov 26, 2011  /     Quotes, The WTF File  /     0 Comment

My husband is the self proclaimed "Network God" of a CLEC (competitive local exchange carrier) telephone company headquartered in Maryland.  He messes with routers, switches and various routing protocols all day long (and night too if he happens to be on call).  As much as I respect his knowledge for the business and the realm of the computing world, there is one thing that I can't respect.  And that is his incessant need to stalk what I Google for.

In this house, the utilities are in my name, which includes the phone, cable, Internet, and electricity.  His company foots the bill for the Internet, since he works from home, but this shouldn't be considered a free pass to question everything I search the internet for.  I realize that most people reading this are probably like….what the hell do you mean?  Well here's an example:

I woke up at 4am at some point last week due to this most recent bout of insomnia I've been facing.  My internal clock is all kinds of fucked up from being on second shift and then suddenly switching back to first shift again.  I think that I have work shift related jet lag.  Also, you should know that I sleep with the TV on.  The background noise helps lull me to sleep.  Sleeping in silence drives me nuts because I can't turn off my brain, I just keep thinking about things all night and end up being restless and unable to fall asleep.  So there's your premise.  Anyway, I woke up at 4am, as I previously said, and some Motown special was on PBS.  I absolutely LOVE Motown music.  The special closed with Stevie Wonder singing "Sunshine of my Life", which I decided to Google to check the lyrics because I also have a sick obsession with lyrics to songs.  Anyway….  I came home later that evening to a barrage of questions. 

"WHO IS THE SUNSHINE OF YOUR LIFE?" 

"Huh?"

"You googled for "Sunshine of my Life", why?"

"Um….because it was on the PBS Motown Special last night, and I couldn't sleep.  I wanted to know what the lyrics were."

"Oh."

This isn't the first ocassion that this type of thing has happened either.  This is just the most recent example I can think of in an ongoing pattern.  Spying is such an unattractive hobby.  I got to talking to Harold about this, and we started going back and forth about things I should Google just to freak him out over AIM. 

 

mhryvnak:  Did I ever tell you…

mhryvnak:  He watches everything I google for

mhryvnak:  And then questions me after the fact…

DataBoy Echo:  Hah, no.

mhryvnak:  "Why did you search for this…."

mhryvnak:  "Why did you search for that…"

DataBoy Echo:  where can i purchase thallium

mhryvnak:  Hahahahahahahaha

mhryvnak:  Omg

Databoy Echo:  how to dispose of a body

mhryvnak:  I like where this is going

Databoy Echo:  won't the brake fluid leak when I cut the break lines?

Databoy Echo:  taking out insurance policy without husband knowing

mhryvnak:  "What does it mean when your husband doesn't know the definition to marjoram?"

mhryvnak:  Hahaha.  Omg.

mhryvnak:  Quotes that your husband messes up

Databoy Echo:  definition of spachela

mhryvnak:  recluse husband

mhryvnak:  I used the word recluse in a sentence the other day and he didn't know what I was talking about.

Databoy Echo:  husband likes hot dogs what does this mean?

 

Don't take this post too seriously.  I'm just rebelling against big brother constantly looking over my shoulder.  I have no plans to purchase thallium or cut brake lines.  At least at this point, anyway.

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11/25/11’s Friday Five (posted on Saturday)

By M Davies   /     Nov 26, 2011  /     Friday Five  /     0 Comment

"Leftovers"

1.  Leftover from April 17, 2009:  What’s a creature comfort (practically unnecessary) you must take with you on an overnight trip in the great outdoors?  Please consider a phone something that has practical necessity!

My iPhone and iPod plus car charger cable.  I really can't tell you the last time that I took an overnight trip in the great outdoors, though.

2.  Leftover from August 31, 2007: What did yesterday cost you?  <– Thanksgiving in the U.S., but answer it for wherever you are and whatever you did!

The gas to get from Sweet Valley to Hanover Township and then later Nord End Wilkes-Barre (I have no idea what this ends up costing), 20 or so dollars to buy supplies to make a Sweet Potato Casserole (blech!  I hate Sweet Potatoes, the hubs makes it to take his family gathering though because they love it), and 60 or so dollars in the new cost of outfits that I bought for Gabby and Owen to wear yesterday. 

3.  Leftover from January 25, 2008: What was your excuse the last time you were REALLY late for something?

I was late for work a few weeks ago.  I blamed it on my daughter forgetting the money for the book fair at school.  It wasn't totally true, but it wasn't totally false either.  Which makes it NOT be a lie.

4.  Leftover from February 18, 2011: What was your first online purchase?

I think I actually purchased a VB (Visual Basic) 6.0 book from Amazon.

5.  Leftover from December 25, 2009: Which of your gifts do you think you do not put to its best, fullest use?

Probably jewelry that people get for me.  I hate when other people buy me jewelry.  I have my own style and just need to pick it out for myself.  I have a lot of necklaces, chains, bracelets and rings that I hardly ever wear because they are not "my style".  I really hate gold jewelry.  I prefer silver.  When I receive a piece of gold jewelry, I'm just like….what am I supposed to do with this? 

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Thanksgiving vault

By M Davies   /     Nov 23, 2011  /     Family, Uncategorized  /     0 Comment

This video was probably taken in 2005 based on Gabrielle's age.  What's especially great about this video is my Grandmother pulling rank on my Mother by telling her to make the bed.  This is the type of dysfunctional family interaction I'll be up against tomorrow. 

Also: 

In 2004, I missed my first Black Friday in a long while because of having to work and being 9 months pregnant.  I was just preparing for Gabby's arrival.

In 2007, I was just trying to get my Blog re-established after being laid off from Big Red Telco provider.

In 2008, I was thankful for just about everything that you can imagine.

I seemed to have skipped posting on Thanksgiving in 2005, 2006 (due to nearly being dooced), 2009 and 2010. 

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