Monday, December 19, 2011

Quick Check In

I've totally slacked on blogging this month.  I've been so scattered in my mind since my last blog that I just haven't had opportunity to calm my thoughts and come up with a well thought out blog.  And speaking of last blog, when my mind is going in circles is when it's the hardest to not smoke.... back to square one.

Over the last couple of weeks I've been questioning a lot about what I REALLY want out of life at this point.  I have a dream job, I have the best dog ever, I feel mentally sound.  I've been loving being single but in my heart always lay love, companionship, and family.  Perhaps one day I'll give a go at it again because I really cannot see myself as one of those people who chose to forever be single, however finding someone compatible and trustworthy is the hard part.  Dating truly sucks and may be in the end what drives me to being the cat lady.  HA

I really want/need a new/used car as well as I'd rather be living in a house than an apartment.  So then comes my choice because I can only do one or the other this coming year... go for a more comfortable living situation or get a more reliable ride.  Though the decision should be cut and dry very easy, a rational mind would say reliable car is more important, but I still cannot help but wish for the comfort of not dealing with apartment living and having a yard for my awesome dog.  Getting a degree has been in the forefront as well.  I've done really well without one, however I could be doing a lot better with one I know. 

And then there are about 72 billion other things spinning around in that mind of mine.  I think that my mind has been going since it's a new year upon us.  So now I can't help but wonder what I'm going to do with myself next.  Really I need to find 7 billion dollars, buy and island, and retire there.  It could happen right?  As usual the universe will deliver me where I need to be.

I'm not one for making New Year's resolutions.  I never have made one.  But I always ponder what the next year will bring.  Whatever happens I'll be moving forward and making my life better as I always strive to do!!!

Step it up this year and do something to make your life better this coming year!

I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season and I hope that all is well in your world.

Much love!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Blonde Girl Vs Quitting Smoking

Sign Pictures

Monday, December 5th, 2011 was my one year quitting smoking anniversary.

I started smoking I guess when I was young.  At school, in Jr High, in Texas in the mornings someone always had cigarrettes in the alley.  Both of my parents smoked, and back then it wasn't as big of a deal to smoke in the house or the car with kids sucking in the second hand smoke.  So really I guess I've smoked somehow or another all of my life. 

I went for about 2 years when I was 18-20 I had quit smoking, though it was not by choice, I just happened to live somewhere that I could not smoke.  When I left there I almost immediately picked it up again.  One time someone had told me how they did 90 days in jail and they were not allowed to smoke so when they got out the first thing they did was start smoking again and I asked them why because they had kicked it by that point and they said they spent the entire 90 days thinking about how they couldn't wait to get out and start smoking again.  It's pretty crazy how controlling such a nasty little thing can be.

I quit smoking a couple of other times after that.  Once for about a year or so and picked it back up because I worked with a ton of people who smoked and at one point I was like you know what I want a smoke.  So I went and bought a pack of cigarrettes and instead of smoking 1 I smoked the whole pack and figured I may as well keep going. 

At one point I had a heart issue and my dr told me to quit or die.  So I chose to quit.  That time I actually didn't smoke at all for 2 years.  However my exhusband refused to quit smoking on top of me, it was pretty ridiculous.  His younger brother lived with us and he smoked as well.  So despite living with two smokers who constantly shoved it in my face I was determined I was going to be healthy and not smoke and stuck it out for those 2 years.  Then dun dun dun I decided to leave my husband, when my decision was final I went out and bought a pack.  As you are reading you may start thinking my leaving husband timelines aren't matching up from previous blogs, however this was the first time I left him, then there was this reconcilation and seperation and then there was a second time leaving him which is the timeline I usually refer to in my blogs, however in this blog the smoking restarted the first time I walked and now throwing off everything you thought you knew about me and my timelines.  I was crazy and stressed and about to make a drive moving from CA to FL and had flown out a friend to make that drive with me and she smoked so I figured I'd smoke for the drive.  I told myself I'd quit when I got to Florida.  Ha fast forward to four years later....

I finally quit smoking again last year days after my breakup with my exboyfriend that I talked about in Blonde Girl Single Anniversary.  Over the 2 years that I lived with him smoking was a constant battle between us because we'd both say we wanted to quit and then we wouldn't, or we would try but hours into it we'd be at each other's throats.  I found myself constantly having to buy him packs of cigarrettes as well for some reason or another and it was annoying that I was not only buying them for myself but another person too, especially after that huge price increase.  After we had broken up we actually decided to live together for a couple more months because I needed to save up a deposit for an apartment and he needed to get a running vehicle.  I was running out to go grocery shopping and as many times before he asked me to pick him up a couple of packs of smokes and he'd "pay me back" which he never once did and I just thought to myself how freaking sick and tired I was of supporting my habit and his, kind of having this mental breakdown over finances and knowing I couldn't afford this crap anymore. So instead of buying us smokes I bought nicotine patches and told him I had decided to quit and he was welcome to use one too or he could go buy his own smokes.
Unfortunately there were no cute Hello Kitty patches like Lisa used.
It may sound like I was just being a bitch, maybe I was, it was a really really hard week, I had some job worries, I was living with my ex boyfriend, and being treated like an asshole by his family and the list goes on of stress I had right then.  I sat there and smoked 2 packs of ciggs in 1 day, my normal habit was 1 pack a day, and I felt like crap.  My chest was congested more than normal, my heart was hurting not only emotionally from the breakup but physically from the smoking, my sinuses and eyes were burning and gooking up, my head was hurting, and I was phening ciggs more than ever.  So after sitting there and smoking 2 days worth of ciggs in one day and driving on my way to buy more I stopped and thought to myself how almost exactly 4 years before I had started again and told myself it was only for a few days.  So I guess I decided I wanted to do the opposite, instead of diving into what I knew would be a smoking binge that would possibly be something I'd continue on with as I had a family member who actually smoked 5 packs a day, so what was to stop me from continuing with 2 packs a day or more, and smoking till my heart exploded or my lungs shut down... I decided I needed to just stop and deal with the stress a different way because stress plus feeling like shit from smoking that much just felt like hell. 

I had never tried patches or gum or anything, when I quit before it was cold turkey.  After the before mentioned blow outs with the boyfriend when we tried to quit together and all of the stress I was under and a certain major blow out I remember I had when I had quit smoking cold turkey 6 years before after the heart incident I decided I'd take the easier route and use the help that was available to me in the form of nicotine in bandage form.  If you've ever tried to quit cold turkey you probably know all about the sweating the shakes and the emotional freakouts. 

For your amusement... The major blow out I had 6 years before I was a few days in it.  I had all the classic symptoms, I was standing in line at a grocery store and just had 2 things, ginger ale and crackers because I felt like hell and was hoping they would help.  The cashier saw an elderly woman behind me, who had a cart full of stuff, I had been in a very long line waiting for quite awhile which felt like about 16 hours, and I guess the cashier decided that the elderly lady should come before the girl who was sweating and coughing and hacking and only had 2 things so she told the elderly lady to please step ahead of me and I flipped the fuck out.  Never in my life have I seen a cashier actually pull someone ahead in line like that and never have I since.  I've seen cashiers open new lines and pull people out, but not rearrange the line that was already in front of them.  If I had been in my right mind I would have not said a thing and would have probably thought awe that's nice yeah the old lady is probably tired of standing... that wasn't the case this time.  I'm pretty sure the entire store heard me cussing that cashier out and when I asked for a manager she turned out to be the manager.  I left called with my cell phone and cussed her out again, and I'm pretty sure I wrote a blog about how pissed off I was.  Quitting nicotine pretty much turns you into this insane person.  So living with my ex and trying to quit without help I decided wouldn't be a good idea because I knew my history... which kinda looks like this...

The patches really really helped me.  I couldn't believe it.  I thought about smoking but I physically wasn't craving them, it was all mental and always passed when I'd wait it out.  Since I've quit the patches I've been able to be around friends who smoke and not feel like I need to.  I think I'm in a different mental state than I was for the rest of my adult life.  For one the cost is out of control and I refuse to spend that much on it anymore and for two I am on a quest to not let such a stupid addiction control me. Over the year there have been times I was super stressed, like when something was happening with my old job and I was craving ciggs.  I am a big girl and can admit that yeah over this year there has been those times that I've said screw it and went and got a smoke, but the difference has been instead of keeping smoking I tasted it and was reminded it tasted like shit and then I smelled like a giant terd ball.  Actually when the job thing happened I did smoke a whole pack over a few days instead of in 1 day like before (things were really bad, no excuse, maybe I should have gotten some patches instead).  For the most part though when I'm stressed and driving past that store and know it holds my disgusting smokey release I keep going and usually by the time I get home I've forgotten I even wanted a smoke.  I'm not going to start my quit date over just because I "cheated" because I'm proud of myself that I didn't keep going like I did 4 years ago, I was able to use some self control and stop again.  And I guess when it comes down to it I'd still rather smoke a cigg than drink when I'm stressed.

Is this a forever quit?  I don't know, I really really hope so.  I know that I feel better when I'm not smoking.  My coworker who quit over 20 years ago still thinks about it.  So I know it'll always be a battle and every day I'll be quitting (and shuffling).  I heard a stop smoking commercial on the radio this morning and it was so perfect because they said "stop smoking one cigarrette at a time".  That's kinda what I've been doing and I hope I can keep doing it.  I hope not to beat myself up if I break down again and smoke 1 and say screw it I may as well keep smoking, I hope I can continue on this path I've been on this year and be thankful for the blessings I have despite the stresses I may be experiencing and hopefully this will be a forever thing.

I know many smokers are looking for motivation to quit, many of my smoker friends have asked how I finally got to the point of doing it... well in all honesty it took a freaking mental breakdown and deciding enough was enough.  Perhaps your motivation can be to be healthy, or to save some money or refusing to be controlled by anything anymore.  Whatever finally motivates you to start stopping smoking, just keep on pushing through, even if you break and smoke, move past it and keep stopping.  Good luck to us all!

Much Love!
Hilarious song if you've ever tried quitting smoking you can relate.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Giving Season

It is that time of year when people are out buying gifts for one another, their children, themselves.  Giving to the one's you love is usually pretty gratifying especially when you get the looks of excitement and the words of gratitude.

There are volunteers ringing bells for money donations and boxes at the front of every store collecting food donations.  Giving to the needy perhaps isn't as gratifying to some because you do not actually get that smile or hug and the thank you praises.  However is that really the spirit of giving?  Self gratification.

I think it is wonderful if you are able to donate money or food to a good cause that you can find on every random street corner this time of year.  However there is a good cause that doesn't always get as much attention and that is the cause of children without gifts.  Sometimes families are in a tough spot at Christmas and just do not have the means to buy their child a gift.  It's easy for someone who never had one of those Christmas' as a child to say "Christmas isn't about stuff, we were taught..." I've heard it time and time again.  It kind of reminds me of some lyrics in one of my favorite Everclear songs...

"I hate those people who love to tell you money is the root of all that kills, they have never been poor, they have never had the joy of a welfare Christmas"

True, Christmas is not about stuff, and hopefully families teach their kids that.  However children are innocent and know that their friends and classmates and other children they are related to are receiving gifts at Christmas, and they see other children opening gifts in abundance on tv and in movies.

How heartbreaking do you think it is for a kid to wake up on Christmas morning knowing that to them billions of presents are being opened that morning by other children around the world and to not find a single gift has been given to them...

If you can find it in your heart this Giving Season please donate a gift to a needy child.  There are usually angel trees at every mall.  Local children's services usually have lists of needy children as well.  Usually hospitals accept gifts for the children in their care because a lot of them are terminal and the families are completely broke due to their child's medical expenses.  Perhaps ask your church minister if they know of any needy children. And there many organizations that you can donate to online as well.

I know I may sound like I'm contradicting myself from the blog, Thankful Reflections.  I was talking about people were spending hundreds of dollars on each of their children buying them insanely extravagant gifts. Kids do not need tons of super expensive gifts, but nothing at all... I do not feel is right.  Unless the family does not celebrate Christmas and the child has been taught to not expect anything.  But the rest of the kids out there who do celebrate, they may not expect anything but they have hope in their heart.  Why not give them some joy and turn that hope into what can be a long lasting reassurance that there actually is some good in humanity.  You never know what kind of situation this kid is living in, perhaps they need that reassurance.

To be honest I feel so strongly about this because I was one of those kids.  I mentioned on my about me, Blonde Girl's Narnia Quest, that when I was a kid it was feast or famine in my childhood and that is just how it is for some families.  Not every Christmas was the greatest.  But one of the greatest Christmas' I can remember was a year when there were no gifts for me or my brother, on Christmas morning my mom's boss showed up with a sack full of presents just like a real life Santa.  It could have been like 2 gifts for each of us, I don't remember how many there were, but to me it was the equivalent to him dumping a semi-truck load of gifts in the front yard.  I do not remember how old I was, but I wasn't very old, and it's always stuck with me.  It was an early lesson on how good a benevolent heart can make another person feel.

If you decide to participate, a lot of times when you see a child's wish gift or list you'll see what you possibly feel like are extravagant things, sometimes these are things the parents wrote down because it's what they wish they could give the kid, and sometimes kids just want cool things.  I saw on an angel tree today a parent wrote down for their child they would like a wii racing game, my first thought was well if they can afford a wii then why can't they afford gifts and I immediately had to check myself.  We had video games as kids, but we didn't always have the means for gifts at Christmas.  I saw MP3 player, kids do not think about the cost of gifts, they just know they want what other kids have, my exboyfriends child asked for an iPod when she was 5, but meant MP3 player for music, it's just the typical thing they ask for, when I was a kid it was all about the Walkman.  A cheapy MP3 player is not so hard to get, 10-30 bucks is not a lot to spend on a child, especially if that is possibly the only thing they will be getting this Christmas.  Also, it's easy to think "can't the parents just go get them some cheap stuff at the dollar store"... or something similar may run through your mind, perhaps they can and unfortunately many really can not. It is no reason to validate yourself not helping out the kid because of resentment towards a hypothetical situation.

Even though you may not get that gratification of seeing a child's excitement when they open up their gift, and we as adults all know Christmas is not really about stuff, we need to remember it's also not about personal gratification. However it should feel good to know you are helping a child!

Perhaps find a place in your heart to help out a kid because no kid should have to wake up Christmas morning without at least one present to bring some beauty to their small world.

Below is the video to one of my favorite Macy Gray songs.  Enjoy.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!!

Much Love!