Adventures in Airsickness

I get motion sickness. I have to sit in the front seat during long car rides. I have to take a Dramamine every day on cruises AND wear the goofy pressure-point bracelets. Luckily, because I fly for work all the time, the vom-inducing waves of nausea don’t ordinarily come a-knockin’ when I’m flying. Ordinarily.

Last week I flew to Boston via Virgin America (an airline I want so badly to love, but they make it so hard…). I was in the window seat, happy as a clam googling and watching TV and charging my laptop, minding my own business. Over the loudspeaker the captain said “Folks, we’re about to begin our descent into Boston, I’m turning on the seatbelt sign and it won’t go off again until we’ve landed”.

Just then the Luna Bar I’d called breakfast at SFO said “Wait, were you talking to me?” and starting doing a very suspicious dance in my stomach.  I turned to the gentleman next to me, who’d proven himself an ally when my headphones were too loud and I was going to miss the Diet Coke lady, and announced that the landing had better be smooth, that my stomach was unhappy. He tried his best to distract me, he asked questions about my job and what I was doing in Boston and if I’d ever flown Virgin then OH SHIT.

I must have turned green, or my eyeballs rolled back, because dude knew it was coming. He handed me a red paper bag, I turned over my left shoulder, could see the tarmac out of the window and BARFED.

Right there. In the window seat.  I barfed. How. Embarrassing.

As I was frantically sealing my barf bag and wiping the tears out of my eyes I kept repeating “Oh my god this is the most embarrassing moment of my whole life.”

Then I felt the man next to me gently rub my back while saying “it’s ok. I have kids and I fly all the time, I’ve seen this before”.  I felt better instantly, sealed my barf bag, grabbed my carry on, and ran off the plane.  I hid out in the ladies room until all of my fellow passengers had retrieved their bags from the carousel. 


 14E: if you’re reading: thanks. I wish I’d caught your name. I’d send you a Luna Bar as thanks for your kindness.

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A mountain out of a mole(hill)

Last week I suffered the embarrassment of having mole removed.  The mole in question lost the battle when I could no longer tolerate its insolence.  Smack-dab in the middle of my back, ripe for rubbing against my bra.  And once surging pains began to shoot down my back when I’d lean against anything, I called in to the professionals.

I had to call five different dermatologists before I finally overshared with a receptionist, who after telling me the next available appointment with the doctor I’d called for was in two months, offered up that another derma in the building had an opening in two days.  I told her to book it, I couldn’t wait anymore, and I didn’t need to know why he was the only one without a wait list.  (I briefly considered canceling when it dawned on me that they might want to weigh me since all medical professionals love to do that…then I realized ditching the mole would technically make me lose weight. WIN.)

I showed up for my appointment and I was taken back to the examination room.  A small, eastern European nurse asked me questions and entered my answers into the computer.

Nurse: “Does zee mole have any bleeding?”

Me: “Uhhh…I dunno.  I don’t think so.  I haven’t noticed any blood.”

Nurse: “Does zee mole appear to have changed in shape, size, or color?”

Me: “I can’t really say.  I don’t get a chance to look at my back very often.”

Nurse: “Does zee mole work for an enemy nation and intend to sell secrets for a profit?”

Me: Silence.

Nurse: “Just a leeetle dermalogical humor.”

And so went the questions.  Once we finished she instructed me to take off my top and put on the paper shirt she was fetching.  When she opened the drawer where the gowns were stored, she kept digging toward the bottom.  My insecurities set in like a flash: could she have really sized up my boobs and been searching for the largest paper sheath they stocked?

The nurse pulled the curtain around the table to give me privacy (hah!), and told me the doctor would be in shortly.  I changed and waited awkwardly in the not-quite-opaque blouse I’d been given.

The doctor came in and got right down to business.  He looked at the mole, told me it appeared to be normal, and asked me the same exact questions the nurse had. Literally, I was giving the old, “I can’t see my back!” answer all over again. I don’t know if the nurse had just pretended to enter my responses or if they just wanted to see if I could keep my story straight.  Then he took a picture of the mole on a digital camera and proceeded to show it to me.

Doctor: “You see the top? (Zooming in) Do you see how there are scales?  It’s scaly.”

Me: “What?!”

Doctor: “Yeah, it’s perfectly normal.  Don’t worry.”

Sure.  You just described something that grew out of my body as “scaly.”  I won’t give it a second thought.  I won’t silently freak out and compare myself reptile getting ready to shed its winter skin.  Me, worried? Nah.

In an effort to calm his nerves told him I’d had moles removed before. I didn’t want him thinking I couldn’t handle a little snip on the ‘ole back. He said there were two ways to do it:  lancing it off the surface of the skin or cutting it out and stitching me up.

Me: “Why would you need to cut it out?”

Doctor: “Because it could have roots.  Like a tree.  If we don’t cut it out and it does have roots, we risk that it could grow back.”

Once I was done throwing up in my mouth, I responded that whatever he thought was necessary would be fine with me. Who am I to argue with a professional? In one minute flat I was signing a liability waiver for the surgical procedure and preparing for the worst.

He pinched my skin in order to” distract me from the pain” of the sting of the local anesthetic.  This is a favorite move among doctors when doing painful things to patients who are awake.  Why they think trading one kind of pain for another will decrease the level of discomfort is totally beyond me.  Thankfully it was over really quickly.

He stitched me up and we went over the aftercare instructions.  He repeatedly kept telling me that I couldn’t do pilates for the next two weeks or I might risk tearing the wound open.  Not once did I mention that I do pilates, because I don’t—so I can’t help but wonder if it was a subtle hint or a weird compliment.  I agreed there’d be no pilates, canoeing, or weight-lifting in my near future.

He let me go with a handshake, a reminder to wear sunscreen, and a pretty hefty payout from my insurance company.  I left wishing I could bleach my brain clean of the memory my scaly, rooted mole had left behind.


my mole sprouted legs and lept off the table

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Hello Anonymous!

I’m contributing to this blog because I have ideas, opinions, questions, and concerns that I want to share with you, the faceless, anonymous, internet.

My name is Ashley, and my biggest fear is that I’m not living up to my potential.  How do we know if we are accomplishing everything we’re capable of? There are so many options today for women: we can be professionals, we can be scholars, we can be philanthropists, we can be bohemian, we can be athletes. Along with all of these great options comes the pressure to be all of those things. I look at friends, colleagues, strangers on the internet and think “Damn, she’s thin, fashionable, smart, ambitious, how does she do that?” 

I want to eat good food, and I want to be thin. I want to be content with what I have, but I want to be current and fashionable. I want to be taken seriously in a professional environment, but home in enough time to prepare a meal for my boyfriend complete with a cold beer and ice cream sundaes. I want to surround myself with rich things and go on exotic vacations, and I want to live humbly within my means.  I want to be active and healthy, and I want to sit on my couch and watch reality TV for hours.

 I’m 26 and love this age…young enough to be occasionally reckless but old enough to be taken seriously. I work full time in an industry that I love for a company full of smart, dynamic people I enjoy.   My job encourages me to travel all over the country meeting new people and experiencing new places, which I love. I live with my boyfriend J$ (who is very charming) and Ryoji The Cat (who does not pay rent, make the bed, or vacuum ever), and Ryoji’s girlfriend, Girlfriend Pillow. (I wish I could promise that would be the last cat pic…)

 I’ll be blogging about who I am, what I’m accomplishing and what I hope to accomplish. Also, because I’ll go crazy if I take myself too seriously, expect me to be commenting on pop culture and the cult of celebrity, lusting over clothes that are out of my price range, and ranting about humanity and the state of affairs. Thanks for reading!


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Transmission: Fembot 1.0

Hello, world!

So, here’s my pitch, the talking head behind the computer screen.   Summing myself up without the accompanying/endearing facial expressions is a difficult task for a hambone like me.

But eff it, I’m up for a challenge.

I want to write a blog because I’ve got a lot to say: sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s not.  I hope to only subject you to the former, not the latter.  I used to write a lot, but then life and work happened—it fell to the wayside, along with my willpower to resist chocolate covered pretzels.  I hope to get back on the wagon toot de suite.

I’m a tall blonde from California (born and raised), recently married and currently working as the pit boss of the menagerie I like to call my home. (Two borderline-obese cats and one incontinent dog make for a lot of work.)

What keeps the lights on is my five-day-a-week gig doing marketing for a social gaming website geared toward tweens and soccer moms.  My coworkers and I like to take long lunches and discuss the divine properties of frozen yogurt.  I can’t complain too much, they pay me after all.

My interests vary from unicorns to feminism, and everything in between.  But let me set something straight: just because I have a vagina doesn’t mean I like going to the mall, watching romantic comedies, and the color purple.  I like all those things because they kick ass. (I had to put myself on a three-month ban from Sephora because at the rate I spend money there I should be a majority stockholder.)

I think Billy Crystal was spot-on in When Harry Met Sally:

Harry Burns: “There are two kinds of women: high maintenance and low maintenance.”
Sally Albright: “Which one am I? “
Harry Burns: “You’re the worst kind; you’re high maintenance but you think you’re low maintenance.”

Let’s just say there’s a lot of Sally Albright in me; hold the mayo, dressing on the side.


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