Nervous Flying

This is how I internally feel on a plane.

“Elyse, do something.” 

Lana was annoyed with me.  She was leaning back in her seat, relaxed and reading War and Peace for the fiftieth time.  My knuckles were white from clutching the arm rests.  I was sitting straight up in my seat, tense.  I had been staring at the side of her face since we took off.  I was looking for any sort of sign that our airplane was in fact going to crash.

Lana is fearless.  The idea of dying doesn’t scare her, and she has a sense for adventure that I don’t.  She has been all over the world, once going to Shanghai to shop for the weekend.  Her independence and fearlessness are merely two of the many things I admire about her.   We often go on trips together and make good travel partners.  She once told me my strengths while traveling are my easy going nature, no need for a schedule and my willingness to get drunk at any time*.  However, my fear of flying is a giant weakness.

I have always been a nervous flyer.  I also suffer from occasional anxiety, which is not so occasional when it comes to flying.  It comes out in full force.  The butterflies start a few days in anticipation of the flight and then as I step into the airport, the irrational thoughts start.  And unlike Lana, dying scares the crap out of me.  I have a great life, and it makes me sad that one day it will all come to an end.  So when it does happen, I want it to be fast.  Unfortunately, on a plane, I imagine there is at least thirty seconds to think about the inevitable as the plane plummets and twirls to the ground – or worse, the seat comes loose and I free-fall buckled in, wind in my face, praying I have a heart attack prior to peeing myself. 

“Did you hear that?”  Continue reading



I have an abnormal pain in my right arm.  It feels bruised on the inside of my elbow, but it doesn’t look bruised.  And when I straighten my arm, it feels like the tendons are stretching.   Today, my hand has started to get the tingles.   After a lot of thought, worry and internet searching, I have come to only one, logical conclusion: my arm is going to have to be amputated.

In college, I discovered a small, pea-sized lump on my neck.  I had never seen anything like it.  I called my Mom immediately in tears to get her diagnosis.  She told me it was most likely a swollen lymph node.  I had seen my swollen lymph nodes before when I had a sore throat, and they never looked like a pea.  They were much bigger.  My mom was wrong.  I needed expert advice so naturally I turned to Google.

SEARCH:  pea-sized lump on neck

A single tear rolled down my cheek as I inhaled sharply.  I knew it.  I have cancer, I told myself.  I stared at the computer mentally preparing for the next search.

SEARCH:  symptoms of lymphoma

Oh god.  Oh god.  I have every symptom.  I panicked.  I started pacing the room, turning in circles in confusion waiting for my roommate to get home so I could collapse in tears. Continue reading

I’m going home.

Tomorrow, I will be boarding a flight to the small, Southern town I will always consider home.  My excitement cannot be expressed in words.  It is my annual mid-year trip to spend time with my parents, brother and his family and high school girlfriends.  I always get the warm and fuzzies as I walk out of the airport into the heavy, humid air to wait for my parents’ imminent arrival.  The hour and half drive home is filled with a lot of laughter and catching up; it’s a wonderful welcome. 

Seriously, I can’t wait.

A Sweepstake Mistake

I have recently become obsessed with sweepstaking on the internet.  It’s fun, free and much like the lottery, lends itself to a lot of dreaming.  I don’t discriminate against prizes because what I’ve learned after reading the rules and regulations, most have a cash option in the fine print.  While I loved the last HGTV Green Home, I really have no desire to move to Georgia but after reading the fine print I learned there was a $400,000 cash option plus the car. Count. Me. In.

The sweepstakes don’t require a lot of information or time so it has been a fun, side hobby.  I stick to reputable companies, well at least ones I have heard of so that I always feel good about my entry.  After a few weeks, I haven’t seen any negative affects to my entries…until yesterday.

I was perusing Facebook looking at my friends’ pictures – it’s either babies or the wasted singles (there really is no in between).  Anyways, I looked to my right and an engagement ring sweepstakes caught my eye.  I was ecstatic.  I LOVE jewelry, specifically sparkly rings.  The last time I was promoted, I bought myself a ring as a reward.  Lately, I have also been obsessed with engagement rings.  I have been designing my own on Blue Nile to see what I like.  I admitted this obsession to Tom and let him know I will be an excellent resource when the time comes.  So, naturally, I instantly clicked on the ad, pleased with my latest find. Continue reading

Breaking Neighbor Barriers

“Hey!”  I shouted while trotting across the lawn with a beer in my hand.  I could hear my friends giggling and talking in the background.

He didn’t hear me.

“Hey!”  I shouted again.  I moved closer to his property line careful not to get too close to his dog’s run. 

I took a moment to take a deep breath while I waited for him to notice me.  It was the perfect summer night.  Behind me, my friends faces were dancing in the fire light.  I could hear Tom singing along to our favorite country music song.  And when I looked up, I gasped.  The sky was filled with thousands of twinkling stars.  A grin spread across my face as I saw the Big Dipper above me.  You don’t see stars like that in the city, if you see any at all.  I am really starting to settle into my suburban life.  It’s a quiet life but I’m in love and happy.   

I still aspire to have friends in the neighborhood.  Friends in general have been the most difficult part of the move.  My life, Tom’s life – our life is in the city but if we’re going to be out here for at least another year, we need to make the most of it.  My book club is in it’s third month and today, I have an interview to become a volunteer at the local library.  I’m making progress meeting new people but our neighborhood has been a tough nut to crack. 

We’d all had a few beers when our neighbors showed their faces in the backyard.  I immediately perked up in my seat.  I have been dying for any excuse to talk to them, and yet, I haven’t even managed to get a wave out of them yet.   Continue reading

Fifty Shades of Grey – My Review

**Warning: Spoiler Alerts in this post**
When I first heard of Fifty Shades of Grey, I was immediately intrigued.  Being a Danielle Steele reader, I knew this book would be right up my alley.  It sounded like a steamier, NC17 version of her books.  I am also a pop culture nut.  If someone is talking about the latest show or fad, I am on the bandwagon faster than you can snap your fingers.  I like to be in the know.  I find the show Dancing with the Stars boring, yet I read about the show weekly so I can keep up in water cooler conversations.  It really is a sick obsession. 
I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the book.  Unlike most women, I was not embarrassed to read it.  I had no need to wrap it in a paper bag to hide the cover or act like I had never heard of the book.  In fact, I have talked about it a lot, much to the dismay of anyone participating in the conversation.  I don’t understand why sex makes people so uncomfortable but that’s another conversation. 
I finished the book a few weeks ago.  And just like the Twilight series, I am developing a love/hate relationship for the story and its characters. The book is about Anastasia Steele, a young lady on the cusp of graduating college with aspirations of a career in journalism.  When her roommate, Kate, the yearbook editor is unable to make an interview with the renowned, elusive multimillionaire Christian Grey, she sends Ana in her place.  Ana begrudgingly obliges and heads to Seattle for the interview.  It is here she meets Christian Grey, the most beautiful man with deep auburn hair and gray eyes.  His beauty mesmerizes and silences everyone that meets him, including Ana.  She stutters through the interview, yet impresses Christian.  He is as equally mesmerized by Ana, as she is by him.  

When Christian invites Ana to stay for a tour after the interview, she politely declines missing a blatant cue that he is interested, which becomes a common theme in the book.  Christian stalks Ana throughout the story and is borderline obsessive, yet, Ana is always insecure about his feelings.  This insecurity stems from Christian’s dark secret – his need for a dominant/submissive relationship.  He entered his first relationship at the age of fifteen as a submissive to a forty-year old woman.  While he sees nothing wrong with the fact he was sexually abused, and in fact praises “Mrs. Robinson” for saving him, Ana, as well as myself, is very disturbed by this discovery.   After six years as a submissive, he moved on to become a dominant.  Continue reading