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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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My Cup Runneth Over

By M Davies   /     Dec 03, 2014  /     Into the Void  /     2 Comments

It’s been a while.  I’d rather not give any excuses as to where I’ve been, but I’ll just say this….BUSY.  I’ve been extremely busy.  Ridiculously busy.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.  My apologies for abandoning this blog for a year and then months at a time.  I’m trying to get better about it.


So…where to start with this story….It’s probably going to sound like a rant or a ramble and won’t make much sense to the outsiders of my life, but here we go.  Bare with me.


A few months ago, my husband and I got into a discussion about the previous owners of our current house, mainly because 3 of our neighbors are all moving away for different situations.  The person who lived across the street from us was the brother-in-law of the woman who lived in our house.  He has since moved and the house has been sold and is occupied now.  Before he left we met with him and we thanked each other for being neighbors and looking out for each other.  He seemed genuinely upset that his time in Sweet Valley was coming to a close, but he’s moving closer to his son and he was happy about that.  I can empathize as I’ve been through 4 major moves in my life, although only locally.  Anyway, there’s the back story.


R. had brought up in passing that the daughter of the people who lived in our house had died in a horrible crash on 29.  I know that sounds morbid, but it actually was a discussion about why or why not I should spend money to get snow tires.  A few days later, he sent me a link to the news story about the girl, here it is (Courtesy TL Archives).  I get terrified driving in the snow and the ice, not only am I a girl driver (insert women driving jokes here), but people around here are nuts.  They are either riding your tail or speeding or driving too slow during the conditions.  I don’t think anyone can be an expert on winter driving, but there are some things you can do to keep yourself safer, however that’s another blog post for another time.  Also:  I’m from the Poconos.  I’ve seen my Mother drive after blizzards, ice storms and light snow.  It’s terrifying regardless of what you drive, who you drive with, or what kind of gear your vehicle has (unless you have a tank).  Winter is a necessary evil around here, I just want to be as safe and smart about it as I can.  If that makes me a basket case, so be it, I guess.


What’s interesting about Christy (the girl in the news story) is that we almost have parallel lives.  We live in the same house. We have the same love of the media (although different forms of it).  We both have families that love us dearly.  Communities that respect us.  It just goes to show that a senseless accident can happen to anyone and take a life away in the blink of the eye.  I guess what I’m learning here, is that life is too short to be unhappy.  I am tired of being a complainy pants all of the time.  I’m trying to do things that make me happy, one of which will be writing more.  Starting now.  My friend and NEPA BlogCon cohort Karla has given me a gratitude journal.  I started to write in it, but had to put it down over the holiday as things became too busy.  I will pick it up again and finish it and perhaps even turn it into a Tumblr.  I haven’t decided what I’m doing yet.  I’ll get there eventually.


Speaking of Tumblr….


I have this little project called “Sweet Valley Sunrises“.  It seems that people actually find it on Google and view it often which is interesting to me.  It was kind of just a spinoff blog that I was playing around with.  I kind of suck at photography, and just wanted to document some of the amazing sunrises that I see out here.  Why sunrises?  Because I’m up (to quote the Beastie Boys) at the breaka breaka dawn with my job.  If you haven’t visited that blog lately, I encourage and invite you to do so!  If that seems too overwhelming, watch my stupid crappy video.  Yep, in addition to being a bad photographer, I’m also a bad editor.  I’m multi-talented with badness.  I think?


Good Morning Baby from Michelle Davies on Vimeo.


Cheryl Elston, the sister of Christy happened to find my blog.  She recognized the garage and the shed and the deck of her childhood home and while there were painful memories in her past, she was so happy to get to see her home again.  I sent her a message on Facebook and expressed my sympathy for the loss her family experienced.  No parent should ever have to go through the loss of a child.  It seems too heartbreaking to imagine.  I received the following Facebook message back yesterday from Cheryl, and now I’m feeling all the feels.


Hi Michelle!! Funny enough, about 3 months ago I was trying to connect with other bloggers in NEPA just to see how others do it and i came across the blog page and your Sweet Valley Sunrise page. I thought… how cool i can see sunrises from my hometown! When i started to scroll down… i thought… boy, that looks familiar…. kept scrolling and my jaw fell open as i was looking at our shed and the neighbors house! What an amazing blessing to be able to see sunrises from my old back porch. Thank you!!! I have been meaning to reach out to say thanks and let you know I found it. Thanks for the candle for Christy. She would like that. She was also a total goober… so have a few glasses of wine and a laugh too. I am so happy to know that another family is enjoying my childhood abode and there are kids climbing the poles in the basement. Well, maybe they get in trouble for that like we did. Thanks again for the sunrises! We should chat sometime about blogging. Much love and a happy holiday to all of you! Cheryl


Of course, I would be amiss if I didn’t give a plug to Cheryl’s blog.  Please visit my sister from another mister, but we shared the same house:


And now my entire crazy life has gone full circle weird.  Again.  You’d think I’d be used to this kind of thing by now.


Anyway, thanks for listening.  If you’d like to learn more about the unabridged history of Sweet Valley, please visit Ron Hontz’s website HERE.

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Shit that happened when I wasn’t here

By M Davies   /     Sep 19, 2013  /     Blogging, Community Service, Events, Into the Void  /     2 Comments

I’m channeling my inspiration for today’s blog post from The Bloggess, who has recently followed me on Twitter (YAY, I can die happy!)





News from the Station

I’ve taken over the reigns of the @WNEP twitter account with help from Jim Hamill, Apal and a few others.  There have been bumps in the road, I’m not going to lie, but we are working through them and developing a “Best Practices” guide to Social Media at the station.  I’ve had several spoof accounts shut down in recent weeks and we are well on our way to Twitter verification.  It will be a glorious day when that special blue check mark appears on our account.


WNEP’s Facebook Page reached 100,000 likes 3 weeks ago.  At last check, the competition has approximately 20k likes.  We have more followers by roughly 80k.  It may not seem like a huge deal, but it is to me.  It warms the cockles of my icy cold heart and makes me smile.  LISTEN, I’m already fully aware I’m a huge geek, I don’t need you pointing this out for me.




BlogCon Media Blitz

The NEPA BlogCon frenzy is building week by week.  We are 15 days away from the conference and tickets are selling like hotcakes! This week has been a good week for us traditional media-wise.  We’ve had several appearances through the airwaves and TV sets in Northeast PA.  See for yourself:


On August 8th, I taped an episode of “Save the Kales”.  It was not scheduled to air until the new season began which Jaime said was sometime after September.  “Sometime after September” happened to be over the last week in RCN local programming land – and unfortunately, unless you are in the viewing area, you probably didn’t see the episode.  RCN local programming only airs in the Lehigh Valley/Delaware Valley areas.  FEAR NOT.  Jaime provided me with a Youtube link where you can watch a clip of the episode:


Jaime is up for an Emmy for “Save the Kales” and will be presenting at BlogCon….another reason why you should attend!


Yesterday – 9/18, Mandy joined my favorite morning DJ – Rock 107’s Prospector yesterday morning to promote BlogCon live on the air.  Did you miss it?  SHAME ON YOU.  We’ll forgive you for now, but you can go and listen over on Sound Cloud for a special promo!


Also, yesterday – 9/18, Karla and I made a trek to Lehighton, PA to tape an episode of ComputerWise TV with host George Roberts to discuss BlogCon.  The show went by in the blink of the eye and we had a great time chatting it up with George.  You wouldn’t be able to view this show unless you have Blue Ridge or Service Electric Cable, so the production staff at TV-13 was kind enough to provide us with a DVD of the show.  You can watch it in full below:


Ryan Leckey & I have a crazy Twitter stalker

Taunting online trolls is my favorite pastimes, but I had to put an end to it after this crazy threatened to “Call the Twitter Police” on me.  I reported all 3 (however, there may be more) of her accounts to Twitter Abuse, and they are in the process of shutting them down one by one.  The problem is, its super easy to setup a new Twitter account.  It’s extremely difficult to get one shut down.  She makes a new account every 3 days.  I wish Twitter had some better way of managing this type of abuse.  For now, I am steering clear of Ryan Leckey’s “wife”.  She be cray cray.






I’m sick? Or something.

I swear, I will try to keep this short.  This started festering about 3 weeks ago when I had found a painful lump under my jaw on the left hand side.  I went to the urgent care clinic where they told me that said lump was more than likely a blocked salivary gland or an infected salivary gland.  I started to take antibiotics which gave me diarrhea to the high heavens (sorry, TMI).  I decided to take the antibiotic sparingly.  Well, that backfired.  The following Saturday, I had pain radiating from my jaw all the way up to my eyeball.  I went back to urgent care…who yelled at me for not taking my meds as directed (rightly so) and then prescribed me something new/better.  I’ve been taking that since with no bowel issues, thankfully, but I’m still having a bunch of pain.  Then after working 15 hours last Tuesday, I also developed a cold/sinus infection/flu/whatever.  My throat was raw, my jaw was throbbing and I was in a hell of a lot of pain.  I went to the ENT last Thursday and they prescribed me Prednisone and hardcore pain meds.  I am also scheduled for a CT scan in another week.


Fun fact 1:  CT scans require a dye injection/IV.

Fun fact 2:  I hate needles.

Fun fact 3:  I have medical procedure related vasovagal syncope.

Fun fact 4:  Save a bed for me in the ER next Thursday, since I’ll be hitting the floor.  See also.

I additionally have a dentist appointment this morning.  Since no one knows what specifically is causing my pain, I’m trying to explore every avenue to get this resolved.  I also think I may have found a lump in my stomach that makes me think that the hernia I was concerned about all of those years ago has finally “erupted”, doctor appointment to check that scheduled for tomorrow am.


Apal mentioned me in his blog

Apal used one of the Instagrams I took for the station account on his blog.  He also mentioned me by name.  This is a first and I’m honored.  Read the post here:


Them’s all I got.

‘Til next time.

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Cruel Summer

By M Davies   /     Aug 17, 2013  /     Family, Into the Void  /     3 Comments

To quote Bananarama, it’s been a “Cruel Cruel Summer”.  I’ve been on an an emotional roller coaster since May.  It all started back in May, which may have only been 3 months ago, but feels like it was 3 years ago.  I was invited to my Aunt’s 85th birthday party.  It was also the weekend of Mother’s Day, when my car’s tire decided to blow up miles from home in Blakeslee.  I went to my Aunt’s birthday party Saturday and then worked on my Mother’s computer and took it back up her house on Sunday.  With the tire blowing up, I ended up having issues getting to work on Monday because I had to get it patched.  It was not a fun time at all.  A few weeks later, the tire got a huge bubble:





This was also the weekend I found out that my car doesn’t have a spare, the emergency road kit provided by Fiat does jackshit for a tire bubble, and the road side assistance package only covers tows to the dealership…which by the way doesn’t deal with tires.  Like at all.  I ended up taking the car to Firestone in Wilkes-Barre and having 4 new tires put on, along with them getting mounted, balanced and whatever other services they managed to con me into at the time.  How did I get a bubble in my tire you ask?  Well, it’s pretty much because Old Rte 115 and Hillside Road were in such disrepair that there’s no way to avoid potholes.  I attempted to call Lehman Township to complain about this, but they told me that these are county roads.  Great.  Basically, good luck talking to anyone at the Courthouse.  I don’t have that type time of to waste.  So I took to a letter writing campaign with my state representative Karen Boback and received this response back:




And within the last two weeks, all of the problem areas were patched/paved in Lehman Twp.  Bitches get stuff done.


In June, exactly 1 month to the day after my aunt’s birthday party, she was in hospice and died.  It was very upsetting for me because she was the last living member of that side of the family.  She called me every Christmas to catch up.  I’ve been missing those call in recent years because of work, plus she’d call my home phone which I never monitor.  She was there trying to comfort us when my Grandmother passed away.  The thing that kills me, is that she was found in almost the same way that my Grandmother was.  A relative came over to the house and she was found unresponsive.  It’s no secret that heart/stroke issues happen on that side of the family, but it doesn’t make it any easier to swallow either.  My aunt, who would give you the shirt off of her back, donated her body to science.  Hopefully, new medical students and the science community can use her to help find a cure for heart disease or something like that.  We didn’t have a memorial service for her at first because my cousin was in Afghanistan.  When he returned in July, we had the memorial service.


Here are some photos from the birthday party that I will cherish forever:



Also, on the same day that my aunt died in June, my neighbors had one of their horses put down.





The other horse was taken to a nearby farm.  So…no more horses next door.  It definitely smells better, but it’s upsetting not seeing them every morning.  The neighbors are working on taking down their electric fence and cleaning up the yard.


Last week, I visited Allentown to tape an episode of “Save the Kales” a vegan cooking show that airs in the Lehigh Valley on RCN cable.  The host, Jaime Karpovich, was one of the presenters at last year’s NEPA BlogCon, and she will be presenting again this year with Christina Hitchcock of “It’s a Keeper“.  Speaking of NEPA BlogCon, TICKET SALES OPEN IN 3 DAYS.  OMG.  I am going to be infinitely busy for the next 8 weeks doing the conference planning thing.  Please forgive me in advance if you find me in a corner rocking back and forth whispering the names of blogging platforms to myself.


Here’s a picture behind the scenes at Save the Kales:




Also last week, I went to the Raising the Roof Rooftop Party in downtown Wilkes-Barre with Karla and Stewie.  We made the Electric City.



Also, we had to put my dog down.  He was 13 years old and was having trouble with arthritis and controlling his bladder.  It was upsetting.  I still have a hard time thinking about it without tearing up.  Many people have asked me if there will be a new dog.  I just can’t even think of that right now.  It doesn’t seem right.




Last week, I was given a new responsibility at work of tweeting from the @WNEP twitter account.  It’s been an interesting experience so far.  We had an Amber Alert go out for a girl taken from Schuylkill county.  As information was coming out about the kidnapper, I was tweeting about it and also live tweeting the update when she was found.  I even got to use “BREAKING” in a tweet and have it be about a real thing.  My tweets were retweeted by many and I have no doubt that getting the information to go viral assisted in getting the girl returned safely home.  It’s amazing to see the power of social media in action.


Wednesday evening, after working two 10 hour days, I was contacted by a long lost relative.  “The missing link” if you will. My grandfather’s family has always been hard to trace because of the last name being spelled six different ways – so I turned to Facebook – and I found someone that’s spells it Hryvniak and sent them a message for the hell of it. Guess. What. His great-grandfather and my great-grandfather were brothers. Alex and Dmytro have been reunited at long last from beyond the grave! I cannot believe it.  I called John on Thursday night, and we decided that we are cousins based on what his Dad has told him so far.  He’s digging through his house to find more information about the family tree.  I am planning on writing an extended blog post about all of this very soon.  Stay tuned!


I’m ready for the summer to be over and for the roller coaster ride to end.  It’s just all been too much to cope with.  Here’s to more peaceful times.


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By M Davies   /     Jun 26, 2012  /     Family, Into the Void  /     3 Comments

Today is my 7th Blogiversary, controversy not withstanding.  I was nearly dooced halfway through this journey, by my employer at the time (Big Red Telephone Company).  My first post can be found here.  I’ve blogged for much longer than 7 years, but I deleted the content from my first Diaryland journal.  However, I never deleted the journal itself.  I keep it active to redirect previous readers to my new URL.  I’ve owned my own domain for even longer than that.  My first few posts talk about my journey with pregnancy and being a first time mother.  My daughter is now 7 bratty years of age and I have a son who will be 6 next month.


I have had 9 different jobs since I started this blog, not including the labor of love I perform on NEPA Blogs as one of the contributors.


I’ve had 3 different vehicles since I started this blog.


I moved to another house while authoring this blog.


This blog and I have been through some serious shit together, and with any luck, we’ll be through more.  I have no intention of stopping any time soon, despite my recent silences.



You only get one ride on this Merry Go Round of life, make the most of it.


Just blog.

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2011 Year in Review (Jan-Mar)

By M Davies   /     Jan 14, 2012  /     Events, Into the Void, Misc/Crap  /     0 Comment

I've been putting off writing these posts for a few weeks now, mainly because I'm lazy, but also because I wasn't sure what to write.  I started regularly blogging again in the second half of the year, so the first half of the year was a blur.  Luckily, I have my Facebook Feed, Twitter Feed and my Google Calendar to remind me what happened during that time.  So without further ado…I present to you the first installment of my 2011 year in review (better late than never).  I decided after writing out the first few months, it would be easier to break it down in 3 month chunks.  It's too overwhelming for me to write it all out at once.  I will continue with April-June tomorrow.


I was working at Kraft at the beginning of the year, and I just accepted a new Customer Service Coordinator position in December.  I was learning slowly that I hated the job and started looking for employment outside of the company.  I had an interview at a local paper company in Moosic on 1/14.  This was my second interview for this position at this company.  The last time I interviewed for the job was after I lost my job at Commonwealth/Frontier.  They passed on me then and passed on me again.  Oh well…their loss, not mine. 

I also got my performance review, in which I did really well, except Kraft restructured their rating systems, so I was only given an "average" review.  The company also did "average", so my yearly bonus was going to be next to nothing. 

I started taking my Spring semester class at LCCC – I only took one course – VB.Net.  However, with the stress of the new job, and all of the snow days that occurred, I ended up falling dangerously behind in the class.  More on that later.

I also started my Penn State SCM course which was something that was taken though Kraft at the office.  The latest course in this certificate program was "Transportation Systems"

I decided to join some of my former co-workers from my old department in a "Biggest Loser" competition at work.  Every Friday we'd pay 5 dollars and get weighed in.  Here's the problem:  I never seriously watched what I ate.  I think the first week I lost two pounds…anything after that, I stayed the same or lost maybe a pound. 

Oh yeah, and I thought I should maybe make the big switch to contacts from glasses.  I went to my doctors office to get fitted for contacts, which ended up being a complete nightmare the first time around. 

From my count Lake Lehman had 3 snow days, which means I worked from home 3 days – Jan 18, 21, and 31.


Another mainly boring and quiet month…this changes soon, I promise. 

There was a snow day to start off the month on February 1st.

Owen's Kindergarten registration started in February.  I took off time from work to take him to the programs, and before the end of the month he was ready for the fall. 

I had lunch with a "Senior" manager at Kraft….because I was forced to…not because I wanted to.  It was one of the "requirements" as a an employee new to the department that I moved to.  Don't get me wrong, the manager was nice enough, but I really hate eating lunch with people that I don't normally associate with.  I get terribly nervous that I'm going to say something stupid, spill something on myself or get stuff stuck in my teeth.  I made it out without any embarrassing incidents, thankfully.

I continued plugging away with my SCM class, the VB.Net class and the biggest loser competition. 

It snowed again on February 21st.  Yet another Lake Lehman snow day.  I usually like shoveling, but this was getting out of control.  On one of the snow days (although, I can't remember for sure which one…I interviewed with the Craft Oil company in Avoca for a Sales/Marketing Analyst position, I didn't get that job either)

I began to express how overwhelmed I felt with my new role to my supervisor and manager, we had a meeting on the last day of the month to discuss my concerns.



This is where things start to get interesting..

I took off 3 consecutive days on March 8th, 9th, and 10th to take care of some outstanding doctors appointments and also Owen had another Kindergarten Registration.  Owen's KG registration was on my first day off at 9am.  I was exhausted because the previous night, I had to pull an all-nighter because I needed to play catch-up with my course.  I think I maybe slept for 3 hours tops.  I got Gabby off to school without a hitch, and got Owen and myself ready and we went to the KG registration.  We were some of the first people there, so we got in and out pretty quickly.  After I returned home, I was called for a job interview at Geisinger in Danville.  It was a job I applied for in January, and they were just calling me….IN MARCH…to interview for the position.  After talking with the hiring manager, I decided it would be best if I drove down THAT SAME DAY to interview for the position.  Aye aye aye.  What is wrong with me?  During the drive, I was pretty sure that I was lost even though I had the GPS with me.  It took me through Millville and Iola, an area to which I've never traveled through.  If you haven't traveled through there, don't worry, you aren't missing much.  You could blink and be out of the town.  I felt the interview went positively, but I ended up not getting the job.  It was a shame, I really liked the hiring manager.

In the 3 day span that I was off, I also went to a hockey game.  Yay, I love going to hockey games!

Also, I decided to take my MOS 2003 exams, I passed the Powerpoint and Access exams with no issues.  Microsoft (those assholes!) decided to change the test requirements to get the MOS Master certificate.  Previously, you had to pass Word, Powerpoint, Excel and Access or Outlook.  Now you had to pass Word Expert and Excel Expert to get the MOS Master certificate.  I didn't think that this would be an issue…WRONG.  The expert test versions were extremely difficult and I failed them.  You can read more about it on my blog post here

In March, I signed up for 2 workshops at PSU for Adult CEU's.  They were taught by my VB.Net teacher!!  The first class was a Windows 7 overview, and the next class was a Transitioning into Office 2010 class.  I needed the training so I could prepare to take my Office 2010 MOS exams. 

I marched with Kraft Foods in the Wilkes-Barre St. Patrick's Day parade, which was televised on WYLN TV.  We had several costumed individuals, including the Kool-Aid man.  I suggested that we should have the Kool-Aid guy jump out of a brick wall, like he does on Family Guy.  We got some banner paper, drew a fake brick wall on it, and had him do that right near the mayor's judging station.  OH YEAH!  We also got the Oscar Meyer Wiener Mobile to show up.  Here's a photo with me and Gabby in front of it. 

After the parade, I put in my two weeks notice with Kraft.  I couldn't take another 10 hour work day and the stress that went along with having the work load of 2 people.  I did not have another job to go, but my mental sanity was at stake.  I left with the hopes that I would eventually find something better.  I had my fill of cookies and crackers.

I came to terms with the need to drop my VB.Net class.  I fell too far behind and there was no way to catch up.  I called my advisor and she understood my situation.  I made plans to stop on campus and meet with my advisor in person to formally drop the class.  I felt like a big fat failure.

I also scheduled surgery for women-related issues I was having, the surgery was to happen in April, but before that happened, I had to go for a slew of lab work before that could happen.  If you didn't already know, I FREAKING HATE BLOOD WORK.  You can read more on how much I despise it here

On the last day of the month, I had a job interview with the Topps Bubblegum/Baseball card company which ended up never materializing.  I was really starting to feel like something was wrong with me.  I kept going on all of these interviews and not a single solitary job offer.  I was seriously getting depressed.

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