Lent 2014 – 13: There is Beauty to Be Found in Sadness

But there is also sadness to be found in beauty. I attempted to draw a venn diagram to add to my post today, but my computer wouldn’t cooperate. I am confident that you all remember what a venn diagram is though, at least two overlapping circles where they each have their own unique traits, but then share similar traits at the points where they overlap. As I drove from Detroit back home to Cleveland tonight, I couldn’t help but think about the venn diagram that is my life. The one circle is my life in Cleveland and the other circle is my life in Detroit. Both lives are valid and unique and something worth holding onto, but every now and then I wish that I could make the circles overlap just a little bit more.
For as long as I can remember I have always sought out my own adventures. I have never waited around to see if someone would join me because life is too short and I didn’t want to miss out on something just because I had to go alone. And, for as long as I can remember, this mentality has served me well. There are, as I was reminded tonight, some serious drawbacks though. As I drove down the Ohio Turnpike the moon began to make her ascension into the night sky. As first, as I caught a glimpse through passing trucks, I thought I was seeing the top of a building or water tower. But as she continued her climb I was struck by her commanding presence and her beautiful orange hue that could make a sunset jealous. Since I was driving east, it appeared that the moon was rising directly over the turnpike. I found myself mesmerized by the unfiltered beauty of it all. I felt the breath catch in my chest in one of those rare moments when you are so moved by something that you almost want to cry. And then I felt the darkness set in; the darkness that is the inevitable loneliness I feel when I realize that I have no one to share this experience with.
The funny thing though, is that I didn’t just want something to “ooh” and “ahh” with, I wanted to know that I wasn’t the only person seeing this gift. I wanted to know that someone else appreciated all of the beauty that God shares with the world. I wanted to know that I wasn’t alone. But… maybe that was His way of telling me that I wasn’t.

Until tomorrow….

Lent 2014-12: It’s St. Patrick’s Day

I could feel bad about not writing a whole post today. I could, but I don’t. Years from now my future self will look at this and say, “Don’t worry, past Erin Elise. I just hope you enjoyed your day.” And past Erin Elise, who is actually present Erin Elise, will tell future Erin Elise, “Oh don’t worry, I did.”

Lent 2014 – 7: 10 Steps to Successfully Staying Single at 32

  1.  Never ask a man for help.  From cutting your own lawn to shoveling your own snow to even learning to change your own oil if need be, never ask a man for help.  Once I needed to get an elliptical machine down to my basement. I could have called a guy in my “damsel in distress” voice, but I didn’t.  Instead, I took that bitch a part and got it downstairs myself.
  2. Whenever a man talks about wanting children, make sure that all of your facial expressions look like he is talking about wanting an STD, because, well…. The similarities between the two are uncanny.  This will let him know that you do not share similar life plans.
  3. When uploading pictures to Facebook, make sure that at least 75% are of your cat.  Dudes really dig a chick with a cat and this will let him know that you have your priorities straight.
  4. When you go to a bar, be sure to bring at least five of your own dudes with you.  This is helpful in a few ways:
    1. It always leaves the possibility that you might actually be dating one of them.
    2. It lets a potential suitor know that you have options and he needs to step up his game.
    3. A potential suitor will assume that you have had relations with one, or all, of the men at some point in time. Or, possibly, all of the men at one point in time.  Either way, he’ll assume that there is history there and that you’re going to be drama.
  5. Always shit talk whatever he’s into. Cars, investing, sports, it doesn’t matter.  You just have to let him know that his interests are invalid.  And, your shit talk doesn’t even need to be that creative. For example, whenever I see a guy wearing an Avalanche jersey I just yell two words at him, “Red Wings”.  He knows what I’m talking about, no need to elaborate.
  6. Correct any mistakes that a guy makes.  Men especially love it if you correct their text messages and send them back to them.  Seriously though, “your” and “you’re”, it’s not that difficult.
  7. Be a good cook, but don’t be afraid to eat like a man.  Salads are for side dishes, not the main course.
  8. Spend more time on your punch lines than you do on your personal appearance.  Eye liner?  Not today.  Well timed, clever sexual innuendo?  Any day of the week.
  9. Become friends with his family.  While a guy ultimately wants you to get along with his family, he doesn’t want it right away.  Their initial objections fuel his desire for you.  Let him know that you and his mother are already discussing your wedding day.
  10. If some dude manages to see past 1-9 and you end up having sex, never let on that you’re interested… or enjoying yourself… or even know that you’re having sex.  If he seeks out positive reinforcement be very factual in your assessment and say things like, “You possess all of the complimentary parts that I was looking for.” Or, “You put that exactly where I intended it to go.”

Bottom line, don’t compromise on any aspect of yourself; compromise is how people end up married.  You’re young, you’re adventurous and you still have at least eight years until you start to look really desperate.  So enjoy your porterhouse, snuggle up with your kitty cat, and take pride in the fact that no one can drive a man away quite like you can.

Lent 2014 – 4: It Smells REALLY Fishy in Here

While you may not personally be a member of USAA, of if you are, you may not use the mobile app, this is a cautionary tale for anyone who uses mobile apps.  While they have become the norm and while they are incredibly convenient and entertaining, please stop and ask yourself what you are giving up and what terms you are agreeing to for that convenience and entertainment.  If nothing else, at least read what the app is able to do before you blindly agree to download it onto your phone.  Our privacy isn’t stolen from us; we give it away bit by bit. 


Dear Maj. Gen. Josue Robles Jr.,

I have been a member of USAA Insurance since 2003 and I have always been a huge supporter of the company and what you stand for.  On your own website you maintain that, since 1922 you have “remained true to their founding values of service, loyalty, honesty and integrity. “  In my eleven years as a member you have been with me when I was in an accident and my car was totaled, when my vehicle was broken into and valuables were stolen, and when my home was struck by lightning and burned to the ground resulting in a total loss.  In each circumstance I viewed my membership as a God send and I felt that you had epitomized the values of service, loyalty, honesty and integrity. This last week I found myself questioning if you really understood what those values meant, of if you, like so many corporations before you, have begun to lose your way. 

After experiencing such great service with my insurance through USAA, I signed up for a checking and savings account as well.  I do almost all of my bill pay online and USAA has been very easy to use to transfer money from one account to another even between different financial institutions.  Since you do not have any brick and mortar locations, online banking is absolutely necessary.  I was thrilled to discover the USAA Mobile App, which made things even more convenient for me.  When you added the feature that allowed me to take a picture of a check and have it directly deposited into my account, I was practically over the moon.  So when I received a notice on my phone that there was a newer version of the USAA Mobile App for me to download, I almost clicked on it without thinking twice, because why would I? You have proven to me that you demonstrate service, loyalty, honesty, and integrity, so what harm could there possibly be in upgrading an app that I have been using for quite some time?  No harm, just the total sacrifice of any and all personal privacy as well as the privacy of my friends, loved ones, work associates, and company of employment. 

Under the New Features section you have included the following information:

NEW: Record audio

Allows the app to record audio with the microphone. This permission allows the app to record audio at ANY time without your confirmation.

Take pictures and videos

Allows the app to take pictures and videos with the camera.  This permission allows the app to use the camera at ANY time without your confirmation.”

Please explain to me the possible reason why you would need the app to have these capabilities.  And then, once you’ve done that, please explain to me how any of this mirrors the values of service, loyalty, honesty, and integrity which you supposedly stand for? It doesn’t!  You can tell yourself that it is not a violation of privacy because people are agreeing to use the app, and if that allows you to fall asleep at night so be it.  But I promise you that it IS a major violation of not only my privacy, but also my trust in a company that I have grown to respect and support for eleven years!

It disgusts me to know that you have positioned yourself in the niche market of supporting our military service men and women and their families.  So while they are literally dying to defend the American way of life, you are busy taking advantage of their trust and using it to spy on them. 

This is how the mighty fall!  Large corporations don’t collapse because they simply “wake up” one day and make one bad decision that ends it all.  Large corporations fail because they make little decisions each day that slowly and quietly compromise the very moral fiber that is the thread holding the corporation together.  Like a leaking roof it is one drip at a time. Drip, drip, drip, drip and before we know it, without even knowing why, the ceiling has collapsed.  Your roof, dear USAA, is leaking and I suggest you have it fixed before the ceiling collapses.   

Sincerely and disappointedly,

Erin Elise