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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hmph....."better the devil you know".....I wonder

My sage Mother always uses this quote. Usually after I've complained about some inane infraction involving my husband. "Oh well dear........better the devil you know...." I think she got the quote from my paternal Grandmother. Sounds exactly like something Gramma would have said.

All this to say, that the constant hunger I managed to by-pass with my famous cleanse has come back with the vengeance of a spurned wife! OUCH. I am afraid. Very afraid.

I just fought the Devil himself and now He sends his little brother to taunt and torment me. With, of all things, my other FAVORITE thing in the world-FOOD. I'm doomed. Doomed to never see a size 8 on a label, doomed to constant treasure hunts to the kitchen cupboard and fridge, doomed to constant cravings, usually of the sweet and fattening kind. Doomed I say, doomed.

But I do keep trying...................God Bless me.

Like this morning.

I thought I would try my hubby's routine for breakfast for a change since he swears that his morning concoction of porridge, banana, walnuts, Chilean raisins and brown sugar "holds" him until lunch. "Sticks to your ribs M," says he. I ate a bowl at 7am. Actually enjoyed it. I went to work at 9:30. Ribs feeling "stuck to". Good.

11:oo: Hunger pang. Gave in, and ate. Not too bad though. Just yogurt and blueberries and 5 mints.

11:15. Hunger pang. Yikes. Held it off until 12:30. Ate 10 mints.

12:30 Ate BIG lunch. AHHHHHH.....satisfaction. Belly full.

2:30 Ate 10 mints. (would have eaten 10 cookies too had they been anywhere in sight)

Now 4:07. Thinking of BIG supper.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Its Officially 1 month today!

The writing that I'm doing really helps. The fact that people that I love as well as people that I don't even know, take the time and energy to read this, means the world to me.

I hope I don't let you down. I have often felt that by sharing my thoughts and emotions with the "you" out there, keeps the "me" of the blog on the straight and narrow. Like we're not merely "living" together, but that we're "married". All legal like.

Gee, I hope I never become you're ball and chain. ;)

So, THANK-YOU one and all, for reading, commiserating, understanding.

One door shuts and a window opens..........

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Second semester.....grade A-

Well, I had my first dinner get together, complete with good wine, great food, dear friends, family, and NO cigarettes...................well, at least not for me.

It was a perfect fall day . The house was clean. No soccer games. Husband cleaning up the old potted plants, kids cleaning their rooms. All in all, the perfect day.

I always seem to invite friends and family to my table when I feel so contented. Somehow sharing the feeling helps to create a solid "memory". Don't ask me why. Probably can be explained by my Italian roots. Happiness=food. (but then again, ANY sentiment in an Italian household =food!)

Only after the menu was planned and the guests were invited did it occur to me that all but 1 person would be a non-smoker. YIKES.

What the hell am I going to do now?

Thoughts of parties passed floated through my head all afternoon. The nostalgia was intoxicating. I craved a cigarette. I would have sold my soul for one.

But I carried on, cooking, preparing for my guests, and wanting......

You know sometimes the anticipation is much worse than the actual event. Thankfully it was for me, this time, anyways. We drank, we ate, we laughed, and then THEY went out for their "after-dinner' smoke. Dread.

But you know, it wasn't so bad after all.

They're a considerate bunch. They went far away from me, so I could not see it or smell it. I busied myself with the clean-up ( come to think of it, NOT fair, since I did all the cooking!) but I digress.

All this to say that I passed test number 2. Maybe not with flying colors because I did let it corrupt my thoughts all afternoon, but I still didn't have nary a puff!!! To someone with absolutely no discipline, this is a milestone.

I also realize that just because I chose to quit, I cannot put it upon others not to indulge when in my presence. Something my beloved husband tried so hard to do last night. Although I appreciated the thought, I knew that I was the one who had to change not everyone around me.

Yeah, yeah, I know, I'm building character.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

If loving you is wrong...I don't wanna be right!

Week 3 and 3/4!

I spoke with a colleague from work today. She's sick as a dog. Has been for 7 days. Fever, chills, sore throat, sore muscles. You name it, she has it.

She's also a smoker. About half of a pack a-day smoker, to be exact.

We had the strangest conversation.. Only you "real" hard-core puffers will relate to this.

Me: How ya doing?
Her: I want to die!
Me: Tell me you're NOT smoking!?
Her: I keep trying, but they just taste awful.


The passing of Patrick Swayze made me reflect upon this. I saw him give an interview with Barbara Walters the other night, where he admitted to her that he had not given up smoking--even after being handed down, what is no less than a death sentence from his Doctors. He saw the incredulous look upon her face to which he replied. "Look Barbara, I am dealing with enough stuff right now, I can't add quitting smoking to the list."

To millions of non-smokers out there, that comment was construed as ridiculous, weak, and showed a total lack of discipline on Mr Swayze's part. I could hear the spurned sighs of millions of viewers after he said that.


As if all of us would not completely immerse ourselves in our guilty little pleasures given those same circumstances.

I would be at the corner convenience store in a flash....indulging.

Or would I?

I can't say for sure anymore.

But I can say to Mr. Swayze, that I understood him, and didn't for one second judge him. I'm happy that he had something comforting, something from his life before the big almighty CANCER took it over, to enjoy.....

He knew the smoking wasn't helping his cause, but can you really help a lost cause?????

R.I.P Mr. Swayze

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

By George, I think I've got it!

This may be premature, but something has definitely changed.

I told you about the triggers I feared- visiting family in Montreal, casino with my pal C, good wine good food.....

Well, I am happy to report that I was faced with my first "temptation" and didn't succumb. On Friday night C and I went casinoing (yay). We were there for 4 fun-filled hours. This outing usually translated into at least 6 or 7 cigarettes for me. I HAD NONE, zero, nil. I actually felt strong enough to accompany C outside and stand right beside her and not need even a puff. Honestly, it wasn't even that hard to do. THAT night. I am not foolish enough to think that other times will be just as easy for me.

I feel a bit like an empty water balloon. Weird comparison so let me explain.

You know how a balloon, water-filled or not, is round and light looking? Not until you try and pick it up would you know it was filled with water, right?

If you looked at me when I smoked, you would never know that my chest was laden down with what felt like gallons of water. When I breathed, I would sometimes wheeze like the air escaping the top of a balloon. I think I still looked healthy, but I knew. I knew that my body was screaming at me to please stop smoking. It was warning me that I was about to enter a new place without an escape route. Careful lady, that balloon's gonna give.........


I am finally listening to that inner voice-my health.

I know you've always been there, but I never needed to pay much attention before. I was feeling rather super-human. Ha!

I'm listening. Be patient with me.

I know there's a heart in there that needs more than hugs, kisses and an occasional soppy love story to beat a little faster. I hear its faint cries too now.....

I know the right thing to do, now I just have to do it.

baby steps.........

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"Light my fag, would you darrrling....."

Three weeks........

I have been reminiscing of late about how I came to smoke in the first place.

In short. WPTZ T.V. Plattsburgh. Seriously. Let me explain.

When I was young and very impressionable, I used to watch these fabulous "old" movies, circa 1940's and 50's. The women were always immaculately dressed and coiffed, they were all beautiful and oh, so glamorous. To my 10-year old psyche , they were PERFECTION itself. I wanted to be exactly like them, and they all smoked, every last one of them.

It looked so "gentile" in those lovely old movies--nothing as crude as today's portrayal of smokers. These "ladies" all used slender, polished, cigarette holders. Lovely silver tipped holders that would keep the smoke away from their perfectly powdered faces. How I would search the house for a spare pipe cleaner or straw and try my hardest to push out my non-existent chest and preen about "smoking." What a sight I must have been!

It didn't help that I was surrounded by smokers. My father smoked 2-packs a day. To me he WAS the Marlboro man. A real man's man. That cigarette suited him somehow. I was his sidekick my entire childhood and so his cigarettes were as familiar to me as the crook of his neck.
Sounds strange saying that in 2009-but nonetheless it is the truth.

The women in my young life were all smokers too. They were all beautiful, classy ladies. They didn't have bad teeth or bad skin and they were as feminine as can be.
They always smelled sweet, looked beautiful, never "common." (a term my mother loves to use) The cigarette was an accessory, like an extra bracelet, something they used to accentuate their point. They were mesmerizing to me. I loved the smell when first contact was made between the cigarette and the flame of the match. It was sweet. I especially loved that smell in the confinement of a car. I loved that when they spoke, the smoke would slip out of their lips, keeping time with every single syllable. It was so sexy to me. They were so sophisticated. They had ARRIVED, and I was just crawling.......

So you see, to me, smoking is not vulgar.

The women in my life who do still smoke are still beautiful, classy women who smell as sweet as their perfume.

Not a commoner amongst them!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fido....jump Fido....sit Fido.....STAY. Good Fido.

2 days sans patch.

I can honestly tell you it doesn't creep into my thoughts EVERY SINGLE MINUTE of every single day anymore. That has to count for something.

Thankfully, right now, my days are full of work and home. Period. No brainer.

My triggers are all social. The next dinner party complete with fine red wine and great food, the next casino jaunt with my pal C, (who smokes), the next time I go "home" to a family of smokers (ugh). These events haunt me. I have no willpower when faced with my guilty little pleasures. The things I love-I truly LOVE.

As a child, I would not merely kneel on the ground making neat little mud pies, taking care not to soil my clothing. NO NO. I was the kid lying on the sidewalk, hand immersed to my elbows in the gucky muck, feeling its texture and wetness, taking in its earthy odor, waiting for it to dry and cake onto my skin.....enjoying every facet of that dirt. See? Go Big Or Go Home. I haven't changed....much.

The real question is Can you teach an old dog new tricks?????

Time will tell. Today, Wednesday September 15th, I will not smoke. i hope.

*thanks for the support J and C, it means the world to me.

Monday, September 14, 2009

TWO WEEKS!!!!!! Feels like forever.

To weeks have come and gone, already. AND it seems like it took an eternity to get to this milestone. Both are true.

Physically: no more coughing, no more constant phlegm and throat clearing , no more congestion every morning, no more stinky hair, breath, and my clothing smells of my perfume not like an ashtray. You'd think I'd be ecstatic.

Why then do all my senses perk up when I walk by a smoker? My head contorts just to sneak a whiff of that second-hand smoke that should revolt and disgust me...... tell me, how can that smell good to me? Most people (like my best friend V. ) make "that face" when they smell tobacco--usually followed by a terse "ugh, my friend, you stink.!" To me, it conjures up memories of leisurely walks and intimate conversations and mountains of cups of teas and coffees shared over a cig. It never failed to surprise me at outings, that all the nicest people were huddled together outside in the rain, snow, sleet or wind puffing away, sharing their stories and lamenting how we were being prosecuted simply because we were part of the "undesireable" smokers club.

Smokers ARE the nicest people.

I miss being one of them, yet I know I have to be.

I hope to discover the joy of exercise. (I NEVER HAVE BEFORE-but I'm told by loved ones that this is the logical "next step" in conquering the quitting battle. Yeah, right. I HATE exercise-always have, probably always will. But I am left with little will to fight them.

Its good for the heart.

But what about the soul??????

Ok Ok.

I'll go for a damn walk.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Day 11........I wo wo wo wo wonder.....

Hmmmmmmmmmm, how would it taste if I had just 1 wee little puff? Just 1 WEE little one.

This makes me think of "Fiddler on the Roof", when Tevye asks God "Would it spoil some vast eternal plan??????????????" If I had a wee wee wee wee puff?

Pitiful, aint it. But its the truth. It's Friday-- quitting time. I'm leaving early. Sun's shining. Its 25 degrees out there. I want to get into my car, roll the windows down and HAVE A SMOKE!!!! Dammit.

I don't know how much longer I can do this. Just one, one.......

Hopefully I will not rob my co-worker (they're in her purse). Nor will I casually go to the corner store, which, JUST HAPPENS to be right on my way home.......


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Day 8 ,9 and 10. All shades of beige.....

Here we are Day 1o, already.

It's been a weird few days.....

The high highs and the low lows have subsided. I am left in this valley of "beigeness". I just feel blah. And, I HATE beige.

I can't explain the feeling. Like I can't quite put my finger on whatever it is I'm trying to indicate. Words come out like I have marbles in my cheeks. I know!, like the Claritin commercial where there's a veil in front of all these people until they finally try the Claritin and then POOF! the veil is lifted and they are all in clear, colorful, perfect focus.. Well my veil is still all around me, Im afraid.

I feel like Im missing out. Everyone is allowed to party except me. (can you say, wallowing????) I know, I know.

For those who really know me, let me put it to you this way. EVEN GOING SHOPPING BRINGS ME MINIMAL ENJOYMENT. yup. In a funk.

I realize that, this too, shall pass.

I like living life in technicolor, even the darkest shades of blue are still, well, blue.

See you tomorrow

Monday, September 7, 2009

A little sugar, a little salt....

Day 7. No patch. HUNGRY AS HELL.

Today was an experiment of sorts. Could I go an entire day without a steady stream of nicotine entering my body. The answer is yes. All day.

HOWEVER, my ingenious, connniving, treacherous, turn-coat of a body craved something else. Food. And lots of it. It didn't care if it was sweet, salty, hard, soft or even fresh.

Thank God I am still cleansing.

I fed it. And fed it. And then fed it again. All day.

So--" na na na boo-boo", body, heh heh , sorry I didn't give you your usual fare of cakes and cookies and chips!!!!! I indulged you, yes, but with "cleanse" stuff (gag) all day long. Needless to say I cannot wait to just go to bed in anticipation of a better day tomorrow. Fingers and toes...

No complaints from the family today. I think I played nice in the sand. My mouth was too full to speak maybe.....


Sunday, September 6, 2009

There's a bit of parsley stuck between your teeth.....

Day 6.

Lasted unitl 11:30 am before I had to put the patch on. Didn't bite anybody's head off, maybe had a nibble or two on my hubby's bald crown (but trust me, that has nothing to do with quitting smoking). That, my friends is about being with the same man for over 32 years. EESH......that subject I will leave for my next blog.

Quite frankly, I thought I was being downright cotton-candy sweet, until my patient, encouraging, in-my-corner-daughter, gently reminded me that "perhaps" just "perhaps" it was time for me to put my patch on. " WHY??????" I clenched through my teeth? "Am I acting like I'm in a bad mood?" "Oh nooooo Mom its, umm, just that its almost noon and"....... OK OK I don't need a mack truck to hit me. I get it. Thanks for telling me that there's parsley stuck between my teeth before I make an even bigger fool of myself. Point taken.

We spent the rest of the day happily, smoke-freely, shopping for back-to school clothes for my youngest. And believe it or not HE LIKED EVERYTHING I CHOSE FOR HIM! YES! Touchdown! (Im doing a little jig right now)

Then....still high from my day, my "in-my -corner daughter" asks me to stop at the gas station. No problem sais I. Pregnant pause. Elephant pregnant pause in the car. "Er, Mom, would you please go in and buy me some smokes. (she physically cringes at this point, seriously, shutting her eyes tight and waiting for the explosion) I am stunned. Speechless, but not for long. Trust me. ARE YOU FOR REAL?

I went in and bought her cigarettes. Bad, bad mother. I know. But I refuse to be one of those high and mighty, condescending people I hated when I was a smoker. Oh, you know the ones, the cursed looks, the fake cough as they walk by. Even worse are reformed smokers who preach and don't remember that they too were part of the 'undesirables' once. We talked all the way home about quitting and she is resolved to try and cut down in the hopes of being a quitter one day too. Soon. Baby steps. Hopefully, a seed has been planted.

I apologize for the rant yesterday. I re-read it today and realized that between my PMS and the big "quit" going on, I was a bit, well, er, hard on certain offspring.....

I warned them about the dragon lady, maybe I should have an Emergency Warning System broadcast when she is

My bad.

I'll be better tomorrow, I hope.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Injustice of it all... Day 5

Ok. I made it to day 5. Haven't had a meltdown or a "serious" craving yet. Even had company for dinner last night and I didn't rush out before my last bite was fully swallowed to have that "after dinner" smoke. Couldn't even soften the blow with an extra glass or two of vino thanks to this %$#$%$# cleanse.

The injustice? Gee, I don't know. A little acknowledgement from my children, perhaps, would be nice. Me, who's driven to every practice, baked every cake, cookie, pizza and casserole known to mankind, hosted all those damned "welcome to the team" parties not to mention freezing my pittoottie off watching the little darlings play into the wee hours of the night.......Bitter???Me???? Psahw!!!! Perish the thought.

Of all the things I thought I had taught my children, I thought I had done a good job at teaching them how to be encouraging. I tried to do this by example.

I guess I wasn't as good a teacher as I thought.......

Who knows, maybe I'm reading too much into it. But it just seems to me that people are quick on the draw to judge and " tsk tsk " you, but not so quick to offer you praise and encouragement.

Could also be me.

So there is day 5 in a nutshell. Not comical today folks, sorry.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Don't push that button.......

Day four. The dragon lady has arrived.

Let me set the stage. Long story, short. New neighbors are building a MONSTROSITY of a house at the back of our property. 7500 square feets worth, to be exact. This has caused us to have to replace all existing blinds with ridiculously expensive new blinds to fit our ridiculously oversized patio doors. Did I mention that the existing blinds were broken last week? They sag on one side and THIS DRIVES ME INSANE!

..........earlier this morning.......

(scene 0ne) Husband happily sipping coffee, eating his oatmeal and reading the paper. In walks in the dragon lady.

(scene two) Dragon lady eagerly pouring her first cup of coffee, when, gasp, she notices that the blind is askew---AGAIN! Hurriedly she sets out to "fix" them as her husband innocently JUST SITS THERE. Not a smart move on his part. Dragon lady gets so frustrated she simply grabs the scissors and cuts the blinds right off the window.

(scene three) Husband then makes fatal mistake of saying "now I'll have to hang a towel in that window" to which the dragon lady responds with spewing fire balls. Don't much remember the conversation after that. All I know is that the husband quietly left the house without usual kiss good-bye and well- wishes for the day. Good riddance. How DARE he question me? I am, after all, the mistress of this house and I have not yet put on my patch for the day!!!!!!!!!!

On the outside, I look like I have it beat.

But I do miss the "act" of smoking, I really do.

To the ones I love most, I heed this warning, "please don't make the dragon lady come out".

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Day-Three-"where's the loo?"

I made it to day three. Miracle of miracles.

My pre-occupation of having a cigarette (such a pretty word, isn't it?, kind of like "cake"-another one of my favorite words, Im afraid) has now morphed. The "cleanse" has kicked in and I am constantly running to the loo. Aye ya yaye. Who knew? Quit smoking AND lose weight. Such a concept! It really does help to re-direct your efforts.

I proudly announced to my youngest son (15 and EXTREMELY unenthusiastic) that I had conquered day two and he nonchalantly answers "'ve done this before and started up again". I was crushed. I guess I should have known better. Unless I'm carrying hot food, am behind the wheel, or am opening my wallet, he really doesn't pay me much mind these days. Boys... Experience has taught me that this too shall pass and that within a year, my sweet boy will be comfortable enough to show me he loves me again. I live in hopes....

One ray of light is that my beautiful vivacious daughter is chirping about quitting too. They are just rumblings right now but I am hoping that she will follow my example. Doesn't hurt that I have banned all smoking anywhere even remotely in my vicinity.

Funny how our children can go from needing our constant direction to directing us. It all happens SO quickly. My eldest son was the one who, quite frankly, shamed me into this last attempt at quitting. He made me realize how selfish it would be to him, to not have me in his childrens lives. I know that there are no guarantees, but I am a gambler and I also know that you have to play smart, and that its not all about luck.

I lost my own Dad at 15. He was a 2-pack a day smoker. Like I said....I should know better. He never got to meet any of his 11 grandchildren and let me tell you, they were all worth sticking around for. No one is bulletproof.

I guess you've noticed that Im not counting the hours any more. One hurdle jumped.

Thanks for letting me vent, it really helps.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Day Two-Resolve still strong

Day two-hour 27. So far so good. I daren't take off the incredibly itchy patch though.

I must say that yesterday was relatively easy, as is today, so far. My workmate goes out to "have a puff" and I haven't had the urge to tackle or disfigure her at all------------yet. My mission is to get her to quit too, misery SO does love company.

Did I mention that I am doing a full body cleanse at the same time? This was the suggestion of my boss, who is annoyingly slim and healthy. It helps. Lord knows I cannot permit myself the 20-oreo a day addiction I indulged in the last time I quit. There's already an extra 20 pounds on me since then. Sigh.

Did I also mention that I am premenopausal? I wasn't kidding about the disfigurement. .... Oh to be a middle-aged woman on the outside and still feel like a 23 year old on the inside...... the injustice! I'm hoping that quitting may slow down all those ugly lines now appearing with lightning speed around my lips and in the corners of my eyes. Look, that's the fantasy, so just nod politely and agree, ok?

The best thing about writing this blog, is all the encouragement I am receiving. Heartfelt testimonies that people have taken the time and effort to share with me. Thank-you so much. Your words and experiences have not fallen on deaf ears...

And so, I will continue on with my day and hopefully will make today another day I chose NOT to smoke. (Thanks Betty)

So far, no casualties.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Day One-The patch is itchy!

Well, today is THE day, hopefully. I smoked my last cigarette last night at 8:30 pm, outside on my deck. I smoked it to the filter, burned my lips. Tasted soooooooo good. Funny how I know I will always remember the date of my last cigarette and not the day my firstborn took his first step. Sad.

Why quit? I can assure you, that I am not putting myself through this hell for myself. I love smoking. I love the anticipation of pulling it out of the package (and No, the disgusting images of rotting, festering teeth do not make the cigarette less appealing to a smoker), the inevitable search for the lighter, the way the flame and the cigarette meet and then, yes, oh yes, then, that first sweet puff, the deep breath, the pure joy of having that smoke permiate your lungs and of course the release of the sweet smoke, out there somewhere......Sounds wonderful doesn't it?

I am doing this for my children, for the chance to see my children's children. I have to mention at this point that my motto in life is and will always be "Go big or go home". In otherwords, I have no discipline. Zero. Nil. I am my own best friend, I never deny myself anything.

Yeah, go ahead and laugh. Well, here we go, day one, hour 5. So far, so good. Co-workers still alive. We'll see if I kill a husband later....stay tuned.