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Bay's Travail Blog

22 years, 2 packs a day - now Chantix is trying to change all that. What's a formerly happy smoker to do but blog about it?

Updated: 2014-10-03T01:01:58.781-04:00


I can't believe I forgot


I can't believe I forgot to post on this blog when I celebrated my first year's anniversary.

That was a few days ago.

I have gone an entire year without smoking.




I can't believe it.

I never would've believed it possible. I tried to quit before. I tried to quit smoking, and I failed, and I failed so spectacularly that I really thought I wasn't going to figure out a way to quit smoking before I was old and decrepit.

Then Chantix came along, and it changed all that.

I'm so glad that it's still available. I know it has been linked with some questionable and worrisome side effects. So if you are considering taking Chantix, or if you've just started taking it, and you're worried, then here are my warnings:
1. Be aware.
2. Don't push yourself.
3. If you're scared, stop taking Chantix.

Otherwise, I hope that if you -- like me -- can make it through the slightly scary side effects without trauma, then I wish for you the life that I have. I wake up and I feel good. I don't cough. I got through a whole winter without bronchitis. Food tastes fabulous. I can walk uphill without worrying that I'm dying. My hay fever isn't so bad. I'm saving money. I'm saving LOTS of money.

This can be your life. Don't give up!

Chantix rocks. Chantix bloggers rock even more.

I made it a year. You can, too!

Six Months


Just a tiny FYI -- I have made it six months without a cigarette. I told Wesley, "This is my six month anniversary!" He asked what I wanted to do to celebrate it, and my son interjected, "Go to Disney World and walk past ALL the smoking areas!"


And of course, I did dream that I smoked half a pack of cigarettes and was very upset with myself. But it wasn't a Chantix dream -- not vivid enough to make me think I really did smoke. I do miss those vivid dreams!


Seriously, I never would've made it this far if it hadn't been for Chantix. I feel so badly for all the people for whom it didn't work.

Get Quit: No good at math


Today I received from Get Quit, the spiffy online-support system provided by Chantix, an email which congratulated me for having been with Get Quit for six whole months.

Let's see.

I signed up for Get Quit on August 1st.

I tried to quit smoking on August 8th.

I didn't actually quit until August 20th.

So... how, exactly, does January 25th qualify as a six-month anniversary of anything?

Well, I shouldn't split hairs. I mean, I did quit smoking, after all. And I still haven't smoked yet.

I dreamed that I smoked two nights ago. I'm going to Las Vegas on Monday to visit my beloved sister Amy. (She quit smoking using the nicotine patch because she is Iron Woman.) (*I* tried to quit smoking using the nicotine patch THREE TIMES. And I never got anywhere close to succeeding.)

Anyway, I dreamed that I was smoking, and when I realized I was smoking, I felt bad. I worried that if I smoked, would Amy pick it up, too? Augh!

Later on, I woke up and realized it was a dream. OH! That's something worth noting. I, personally, feel that my dreams are still quite vivid. I've not taken Chantix in a month, but the dreams... still feel vivid. Maybe I just got spoiled. I always loved the vivid dreams.

So I dreamed that I smoked, but I felt awfully guilty about it. And I didn't actually smoke just because I dreamed about it.

Tonight I was in Knoxville, and I suddenly remembered that I was supposed to pick up something for my dear husband. Wesley smokes cigars. He has never smoked a cigar in the house, but he does enjoy a good cigar and he has, in fact, belonged to a cigar club for... well, I think about 7 or 8 years now.

I'll be honest, I do not like the smell of cigars. I just don't. I never liked the smell of cigarettes, either, but I put up with the smell in order to get the nicotine. Anyway, Wesley smokes cigars.

He asked me to pick up a humidifier thingie for him from Leaf & Ale, a shop in Knoxville where you can get tobacco and home-brewing products. I happened to be in the neighborhood, so I stopped in.

And dang it, there were people smoking cigars in there.

I could hardly stand it. The stench and the smoke were just *thick* and choking and *awful*. I tried so hard to be polite and not gag or cough, but the whole time I was thinking, "Oh, please, let this be fast so I can get out of here and breathe some clean air."

I made it out. I didn't gag or cough, and I *hope* I didn't look too hysterically desperate to the guys in the shop. After all, I do still support people's right to smoke. Tobacco is still a legal substance. I would still be smoking... if it weren't so darned expensive, and if Chantix hadn't been such an effective helpmate in my effort to quit smoking.

Whenever my six-month anniversary really is, I hope I start feeling like a real non-smoker then. Part of me is concerned. I'm flying to Las Vegas. I'm landing at an airport. Every other time I've flown to Las Vegas to see my sister, I've gone outside to have a cigarette while waiting for our luggage to get to the luggage carousel. If I don't have something else to occupy my time... and my hands... what will I do?

I don't know. But I'm looking forward to finding out.

Here's the thing, dear Chantix readers: If you found this blog because you're starting to take Chantix, then read all the posts on this blog. But if you're reading because you became accustomed to my take on things, then you need to switch over. I'm going to be posting my trip report -- as usual -- at Bay's Travel Blog. It was my original, and my favorite. Bay's Travail Blog has served its purpose. Time to return to business as usual!

Smooches, y'all!

Chantix, the sequel


I had this fabulous idea today.

I'm hoping that some scientist already had this idea and is already working on the next version of Chantix.

What the world needs -- other than a pill that helps you to quit smoking -- is a pill to help some of us eat healthy.

I'm not saying "a diet pill," because that's not what I mean. I mean, wouldn't it be fabulous if there were a pill we could take that would re-wire our brains so that we didn't looooooooove chocolate and butter and cream and things with sugar in them? Wouldn't it be fabulous if our brains were programmed to think that raw carrots and celery were yummy treats? Wouldn't that make it so much easier to eat right and lower our cholesterol?

If they made a pill that could make me stop loving cigarettes... how far are "they" from making a pill that convinces me that potato chips are not the delicious crunchy delights that I think they are right now?

The thing is -- if they *do* invent a pill like that, I would like to be able to stop taking it now and then. Like, on my birthday. And on Independence Day. Because honestly, one should be able to have apricot nectar cake or big, sloppy chili dogs loaded with cheese *occasionally*. I mean, that's just fair.

Isn't it?

So scared!


So. My sister called me and told me to go see "I Am Legend."

In her defense, she knew I already was thinkin' about seeing it.

Against her, though, she knows I'm a total weenie when it comes to scary movies. I cannot tell you how many scary movies I've walked out on because I was too scared to keep watching. I walked out on M. Night Shyamalan's "Signs." Too frickin' scary. I had to wait until my husband watched it on DVD, and then he had to tell me EVERYTHING that happened in it, and even then, I kept pausing it and running away and crying before I could finish it.

I just realized... I am a huge weenie.

("The Exorcist"? I didn't see it until I was 12 years old. AND! That was the edited-for-prime-time-TV version. No cursing. Very, very clean. And I still slept with the lights on... through all of 7th grade.)

(Not kidding!!!!!)

So, OK, my dear stister tells me to go see "I Am Legend." I take my 19-year-old daughter and my 15-year-old son. We are seated in the second row, and there's a teenager three seats down from me who talked NONSTOP through the whole movie, even though her own friends were whispering, "Shhhhh," and "Hush now," at her.

I saw that movie on Wednesday.

It scared the wubba out of me.

I didn't walk out, but only because I didn't want to traumatize my own very delicate children.


On the night that passed between Wednesday and Thursday morning?

I had nightmares every hour or so. I walked around the house, looking for zombies. I was very, very worried about the mutating zombies who would expose themselves to daylight. I tried to hide in closets. In my dreams.

I am ... *such* a huge wimp.

Darn it, my darlin' husband wants me to see "I Am Legend" with him on Saturday night.

Why can't we go see a romantic comedy???

At least, no matter how freaked out I got? I never did smoke a cigarette.

Next time, remind me to blog about how irritated I am with the lack of black markets. I paid $130 for my last box of Chantix, and I only used three-quarters of that box. Seems like a huge waste of moolah! On the other hand, I'm not spending $11 a day on cigarettes. So I guess it all evens out!

J'ai oublie


When I was 14 years old, when I was finishing my freshman year of high school and my brilliant sister Amy was finishing her freshman year of college, she said her favorite phrase in French was "J'ai oublie."

OK, I can't figure out how to make all the accent marks. I wish I were Canadian. But I'm not. So Amy said, "J'ai oublie" was her favorite French phrase ever, and I asked, "What does it mean?" and Amy intoned imperiously, "I ... FORGOT!"

Turns out that "j'ai oublie" means "I have forgotten." ROFL!!! Amy is exactly that kind of person, which is exactly why I love her so much.

And I still can't do the accent marks, especially in blogs, but that phrase is pronounced "zhay ooblee yay." So now, you forgot, too!

Anyhoo. The whole reason I'm posting this post is to tell you that while most people were dealing with the holidays, I was dealing with both the holidays and... the forgetting to take Chantix.

J'ai oublie.

I forgot...

To take Chantix.

And I had un-set my morning alarm, but I was still getting the nighttime alarm to remind me to take my 1 milligram of Chantix.

Even with an alarm... I still managed to forget. Christmas was crazy. I mean, it always is, and I still was ahead of the usual schedule this year. Yet, even with all that work and the alarms, I forgot to take Chantix. For *days* at a time!

So. Here it is, and we're almost at the end of 2007, and I haven't had Chantix in more than a week, and I haven't had a cigarette in more than four months.

This is *so* weird. I haven't gone through Christmas without a cigarette since 1984. And trust me, Christmas is WAY more stressful than it was back then!!!!

But I made it through.

I think I have quit smoking. I feel nostalgic when I think about all those holidays when I went outside to smoke. But I got through it all.

I am going to miss the vivid dreams. So far, I still have the vivid dreams, and yes, I have been sleepwalking a good bit. (My husband tells me that on Christmas Eve, I led him on a merry chase while I wandered around the house, totally asleep.) I'm going miss hanging out with Mama. The vivid Chantix dreams have been such a fabulous god-send in terms of dealing with my perpetual longing for Mama. She died in April, 1993. I think *anyone* who has lost their mother is going to tell you how hard that is to deal with. Mama was my best friend, and the vivid dreams have given me such marvelous hours of visits with my best friend. I did have one vivid dream of visiting with my father -- who died when I was 8 years old -- and *that* dream was not fabulous. It was just weird. But since I got on Chantix, every time I've dreamed of Mama... Honestly, y'all, it's like she's really here. And that's... such a blessing.

I hope I haven't totally scared some readers. It's not maudlin. It's just... really cool.

So, anyway, I haven't had the Chantix, and I haven't had the vivid dreams.

And I haven't smoked. In fact, I am still totally disgusted by the whiffs of smoke I smell in public.

2007 was such an amazing year!!!

I'm almost ready


OK. I didn't post last weekend, like I said I would. I still keep up with a few of the Chantix bloggers, but only every other day instead of every single day. And I no longer read their blogs because I know that they're going through exactly what I'm going through. I keep reading them -- because they're interesting. Because I feel like they're my friends. Because they're fun. But not because it's going to bolster my resolve not to smoke.I still make way more stuff out of paper than I ever did before. I am way more productive in the cards and the scrapbooks and the handmade boxes and books and doodads. But it's not because I'm desperate to keep my hands busy and to get my mind off smoking. It's because I became accustomed to it, and I enjoy it. Here it is almost Christmas, and I have some seriously kick-ass crafty things to give to my relatives. - Piles of handmade greeting cards that they can send to their friends. - Stacks of nifty little books filled with photos of loved ones. Heck, I even have tiny message boards that can hang out on the fridge door. I mean -- I have seriously made a whole ton of paper things, and it's not ALL because I'm jonesin' for a cig.My doctor originally prescribed six months of Chantix for me. She said it was because I was such a longtime, heavy smoker. I smoked about two packs a day for 22 years. (Ya know what? I smoked more like 3 packs a day for a while there. I try not to remember that, I would love to deny it, but it's true. I smoked 3 packs a day for about a year during 2005-2006.)Even though Chantix itself recommends 3 months, I was glad that my doctor prescribed six months of the drug. After all, Chantix itself recommends quitting after 7 days, and I failed miserably at that. I didn't quit smoking 'til the 20th day. Having the extra three months of drugs made me feel ... more secure. If that's possible. I mean, come on, quitting smoking is not an activity which actually qualifies for use with the word "secure."But I am in my fifth month of the pill. I learned long ago to eat before I take a pill. I had to set an alarm on my cell phone to remind me to take the pill after several weeks. My sister quit smoking using just the patch -- and when she forgot to put on a new patch, she stopped using the patch.My sister... is a *real* quitter. She amazes me. For all sorts of reasons for as long as I've known her, my sister amazes me -- but for quitting smoking and then giving up the patch before the recommended time, she *really* amazes me.Anyway, here's the thing: I'm pretty sure I will not be filling my prescription for the sixth month of Chantix. I keep forgetting to take pills now, and that's with an alarm to remind me to take it.And most importantly -- and I have so resisted this way of thinking ---- Smoke repulses me.It really does.For weeks after I quit smoking, if I smelled cigarette smoke, I thought it smelled delicious. Just *divine*. Oh, if only I could bottle that irresistible aroma and pour it all over me! I would walk through clouds of smoke around the grocery store entrance, and I just wanted to hang out with those happy smokers and smoke with them! I would stand on the street outside the restaurant in Knoxville, and deeply inhale the delectable second-hand smoke like a dieter outside a doughnut shop.I just ... so loved the smoke.But recently --If I run into a cloud of smoke outside the grocery store, I run through it faster than normal, and I hold my breath. The smoke smells so bad. So evil and bad and disgusting. It's like... Oh, I hate to say this, because I'm Southern and we just don't speak of these things. But cigarette smoke smells like... someone... had a bout of intestinal distress. It's literally repulsive. And I can't stop myself from making faces and running away from the bad smell.I do not *want* to smoke.And I never thought I would feel this way. I thought I would always be a smoker who simply wasn't sm[...]

I'm here, I'm here somewhere!


I'm here, I swear! I'm fine, too, and I keep meaning to post. I just... want the post to be *right*, darn it, and I have spent so much time lately cleaning house and baking and washing china... I am worn out when I get to the computer. But I do want to write something, and soon, about where my head is at, as far as quitting smoking and taking Chantix are concerned. I am in my fifth month of Chantix. I have not smoked since August 19th. And I honestly forget for large chunks of time that I ever smoked. Which is weird.

So this weekend, I promise, I will post something profound. Or funny. Or maybe both!

In the meantime, after watching a film (documentary?) about Don Rickles, I'm convinced the world would be a better place if we were all more like him.

Think about that. And then try to fold laundry without cracking up.

And happy Chanukah to all my Jewish friends!!!! Y'all know you're lovin' it! Light a candle instead of a cigarette!!!! Yeah! Very cool holiday!



What's Your True Color? My Result: Blue You're blue — the most soothing shade of the spectrum. The color of a clear summer sky or a deep, reflective ocean, blue has traditionally symbolized trust, solitude, and loyalty. Most likely a thoughtful person who values spending some time on your own, you'd rather connect deeply with a few people than have a bunch of slight acquaintances. Luckily, making close friends isn't that hard, since people are naturally attracted to you — they're soothed by your calming presence. Cool and collected, you rarely overreact. Instead, you think things through before coming to a decision. That level-headed, thoughtful approach to life is patently blue — and patently you! Take this test > Mm'kay. Can I tell y'all the truth? I know I can, so I will, anyway.I'm a big ol' psychological freak.I know I am, because one of my many shrinks told me I am over 17 years ago.(Like I hadn't figured it out before then. Snort!)If any of y'all out there are into Myers Briggs Type Indicators -- and I am, in a huge way, because, frankly, that's what my Type does -- I am an INFP. And if you know anything about MBTI, then that says everything.The thing was, when that one shrink told me my type -- after a really long test -- she said, "You are the weakest personality type."I think she must have been an ESTJ, the exact opposite of INFP. Because only an ESTJ would think an INFP is "weak."Just because we're introverted. Hmph.I happen to think the Tickle test result that I quoted above fits me perfectly. However, I should say that I know a lot about personality tests, and therefore, I could've predicted I would be a Blue. I just know how they word the questions to skew answers in a particular direction. I can't help it. I'm an INFP. I'm a Blue. That's. What. We. Do.I've done a lot of things over the last 17 years to try to expand myself beyond my personality restrictions. I work really hard at remembering that money is a real thing and that numbers aren't just a bunch of pretty mumbo-jumbo. I have *totally* overcome my inherent inability to stay on track when emptying an ice tray. I *always* refill the ice tray. That's a big step for us INFP's.[Bunny Trail: I once found a website with individualized prayers for every MBTI type. The INFP prayer said, "Dear Lord, Please help me finish just one th--"]I've learned how to load the dishwasher at least halfway, although I'm still unsure how to start the thing. To be honest, I really think it's enough for me to cook the meal. I shouldn't have to wash the pots and pans on top of all that work.The point is, I'm still a work in progress. I know my limitations, and I'm trying to push past them. At least a little.And in the meantime, sometimes I really do console myself with the fact that my serene veneer is in place and intact. People usually think I'm a lot more calm and trustworthy than I think I am.So Blue? Yeah! I can take it!And by the way, I saw someone smoking outside a restaurant tonight, and for the first time in a long time, I thought, "I don't want to join him."That's growth. Even for an INFP or a Blue.[...]

Broccoli Casserole


Many, many years ago -- OK, really, it was November, 1998 -- my sister asked me to refresh her memory about Broccoli Casserole, since she was bringing it to Thanksgiving dinner at my house. I wrote back to her and tried to make the experience humorous.Joke's on me -- the casserole is *delicious*! And I was almost making it up off the top of my head at that time.From:[]Sent: Monday, November 23, 1998 3:53 PMTo:; ltturner@cococo.netSubject: Remedial Broccoli Casserole, Lesson 1Dear Student,Welcome to the wonderful world of broccoli casserole! Soon you, too, will amaze and astound your family and friends when you bake this tasty and nutritious sidedish for your next holiday gathering! Ever wonder what it takes? Well, we here at the Broccoli Casserole Institute have done years of mind-numbing research, sacrificing our figures, our tastebuds, and our gastronomical tranquillity working on this wonderful, much-loved dish. Sit back, and reap the benefits of all our knowledge![Editor's note: Please make sure we have your credit card number correctly before you begin reading the Lesson One. Our computers will automatically charge the low, low Beginning New-Student Cost of ONLY $2,419.38 the moment you begin reading. Also, be prepared for a finger-tip scan at the conclusion of the lesson. If technical difficulty is encountered, just lean toward your terminal for our amazing new retinal scan.]REMEDIAL BROCCOLI CASSEROLE***WARNING***This recipe involves really hot things like ovens. And after the baking portion of the activity, the dish is really hot, too. Please use appropriate, government-approved, ULA-certified pot holders and aprons.Do not stick your face directly into dish upon removal from oven. Contents are hot.Do not remove dish with your bare hands. Dish is hot.Do not try to climb into the oven. It is hot. It is also too small to hold the average American adult.Do not try to filch cheese from the measuring cup. Cheese is addictive.Do not try to eat casserole immediately upon removal from oven. Dish is too hard and may break teeth. Also, food is hot. Allow to cool 7-10 minutes before eating. When feeding to birds, allow small portion to cool for at least 30 minutes. Can re-heat in microwave.Do not try to climb into microwave.Do not use thermonuclear weapons to reheat. Thermonuclear weapons are hot.Do not attempt to bake casserole in a plastic Tupperware-like container. It will melt in the hot oven, affecting the taste of the casserole for the worse.Use fork or spoon to eat casserole. Knives can cut tongue.Do not use knives.Do not drop knives.Do not even look at the knives, dammit, you're obviously too stupid to handle them.Do not try to iron casserole.And do not attempt to breathe casserole. It is thicker than air.When transporting casserole from one location to another, do not drive with casserole in lap.RECIPEYou'll need this stuff BEFORE you begin your fabulous, new cooking project!!!2 10-oz packages of frozen broccoli1 can of cream of mushroom soup1 cup of mayonnaise1 tablespoon finely chopped onion1 egg2 cups of grated cheddar cheese2 cups of smashed up cheese crackers(Another warning: Do not attempt to smash crackers by running over them with your car. Your car can do considerable damage to your kitchen.)Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook broccoli according to directions on the package. Drain. Set aside to cool while you assemble the rest of the recipe. Mix together soup, mayo, onion, and egg thoroughly. Add in broccoli. Add in grated cheese. Smush into casserole dish, which you've thoroughly cleaned before this project. Cover with cheese cracker crumbs, smush into casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes, or until the crumbs have turned slightly browner than they were before.See above for warnings.Thank[...]

Turkey & fireworks & shopping, oh, my!


OK. I'll be honest. I had one of the most truly, spectacularly bad Thanksgivings ever. My evil mother-in-law did things previously unseen by mankind's delicate eyes. She was evil. I have said for years that she is evil, but she really raised the bar on evil this year.(See, a week before Thanksgiving, she called me and told me not to bring my green-beans-and-horseradish-glop side dish that I have been making for thirty years. She said, and I'm quoting, "Nobody likes it." She also said, and I'm still quoting her directly, verbatim, "Only Steve ever liked it," and the Steve to whom she is referring is my sister-in-law's ex-husband, and whenever his name is invoked, it's kind of like saying "Satan" in their language, so what she was really saying was, "Only Satan would like your green beans and horseradish dish." I mean, my MIL was quite thorough about this point. She even told me that my own husband doesn't like my green beans and glop, which isn't true, but who am I to argue with the woman who gave me my husband in the first place? OK. So we get there, and I bring marinaded asparagus, which everyone loved except the evil MIL, who pushed one spear of asparagus around on her plate for half an hour and finally sighed in disgust, "I just don't like asparagus." But wait. It gets better. Another relative gets three bites into her dinner and asks, "Bay, why didn't you bring the horseradish stuff for the green beans? It's my favorite part!" And I'm sittin' there, trying to think how to answer this without making the evil MIL look like a total bitch, and MIL jumps in and says -- and I am NOT making this up -- "Yeah, Bay, how COULD you be so SELFISH? Where is that horseradish stuff???" OMG. OMG. OMG. I was so shocked by this total, bald-faced lie -- after having been insulted to the core of my being when she claimed that no one liked the horseradish stuff - I honestly couldn't think of anything to say. I aspire someday to being a total bitch who can confront evil-doers when they're in my face and completely wielding their evil lies. I am not that person yet, because I just sat there and said nothing. I shrugged at the relative who was disappointed over the green beans without horseradish sauce. I promised to send her the recipe. But I never said, "The only reason there isn't any horseradish glop is because my evil MIL said no one liked it, and she forbade me to bring it." Like I said, it was a pretty bad Thanksgiving.)So on the day after Thanksgiving, I went to the grocery store and I bought a turkey breast so I could make a decent Thanksgiving dinner at least for my little family. I totally lucked out, and they were marking down the fresh turkey breasts from $1.49 a pound to 89 cents a pound. Yea, sales! Yea, me! I got a bargain turkey breast and took it home.Wesley's homemade dressing was leftover from the actual meal at his mother's house. (Not only does she have no taste in green bean dishes, but she has NO taste in dressing, because Wesley makes the most marvelous cornbread and sausage dressing, but evil MIL preferred stupid Stove Top stuffing. She's clearly unhinged.) I made more green beans, and I made the horseradish glop from scratch. I also made our traditional Jello salad. (We do the green Jello with cream cheese and crushed pineapple. Evil MIL prefers Orange Fluff, but she didn't even do that this year, after telling me that my own husband doesn't like my green Jello Thing.) (That bitch.) (Hmph.)We ended up having a totally fabulous Thanksgiving dinner only 24 hours after Thanksgiving had been served for the rest of the country. Sure, I missed out on Black Friday sales for the most part, but we now have real leftovers and totally fabulous food.Next year, I really am not going back to my evil MIL's house. It's just too awful to contemplate.Yet, even wit[...]

How Thanksgiving is testing my strength


I am once again going to my mother-in-law's house for Thanksgiving dinner.

I used to host dinner at my house. My sister Amy would come with her husband Paul, my sister Martha would come, and sometimes another guest or two would join us.

This occasion has been blogged about before on my Travel Blog. I love Thanksgiving. Mostly because of the food. I love my menu for Thanksgiving, and I love my cooking. When Amy moved to Las Vegas, I decided it was too much trouble to cook Thanksgiving for only five people. (Also, Amy's contribution was always the world's best broccoli casserole, so it wasn't much of a Thanksgiving without that dish.)

One year we tried eating in a restaurant, which was a horrific and sad excuse for a holiday.

I can't even remember what we did in 2005. But it was probably even more horrific and sad, and I've blocked it out of my memory.

Last year we decided to join our mother-in-law at her fest.

Louise has a different take on Thanksgiving than I do. She's not all about homemade. And she's not faithful to a bunch of specific, fabulous recipes that have been passed down through the years to the point that it just isn't Thanksgiving without those foods in attendance.

So, OK, different menu. It's still better than eating in a restaurant.

I am trying really hard to deal with it.

But here's the thing: Whether it was Christmas, Mother's Day, or Thanksgiving, any day that I spent at Louise's was always accompanied by the fact that whenever I needed an escape, I could always go outside and smoke.


I could go outside. And smoke.

And no one would go outside to hang out with me, because they all hated smoke, anyway.

Now, no one is going to stop and think, "Hey, Bay isn't smoking any more -- doesn't that make her more good, virtuous and perfect like us?" Nope.

And I no longer have a built-in escape route. If I want to go outside, I'll have to just say, "Uhhhh... I think I'll go see what kind of birds are hanging out in... the... bare trees..."

Next year, I'm doing Thanksgiving for five people. If my daughter moves away and doesn't come home, I'll do Thanksgiving for four people. If my son leaves on a ski trip, I'll do Thanksgiving for three people.

Whatever it takes.

Because I no longer have an excuse to step outside of my mother-in-law's house.

This is, like, the first time since I quit smoking that part of me kind of wishes I could still light up a cigarette now and then. Mostly my cravings to smoke are for stupid reasons like, "I always smoked at this time of day." But seriously, smoking to get away from the madding crowd -- that was a good excuse, wasn't it?

Oh, well. I'll take some gum with me. And bird seed. Maybe I'll see a black-capped chickadee. I haven't seen one of those since... uh, last year.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!!

Spoiled & feeling guilty


I'm feeling a little strange.

It's kind of like... almost like... I'm ... sort of ... almost ... *spoiled*.

I am not wealthy. In fact, I started taking Chantix and quit smoking because I wanted to save moolah.

Sometimes I go shopping and complain inside my head about how everything costs more now than it used to.

My dear husband Wesley -- who has supported me and the kids for 20 years almost non-stop -- makes more now than ever before, yet we seem to have less and less money available for non-essentials. And even the essentials are becoming more difficult to handle. I'm gonna have to get a loan to take care of all our dental needs this year. And that's ... very upsetting.

Still, we're so much better off than some people, and I can't help but marvel at how serendipitous it all seems when you think about it.

Tasina posted this article --

Food for thought, eh?

In the meantime, I have 8 days of Chantix left on this month's prescription, and I'm pretty sure I'll buy at least one more month of the stuff.

But I'm beginning to worry. A non-smoking friend of mine asked me about how things were going on Chantix, and I was telling her that I still have my unsteady and needy days. Then I thought, "Do I really?" When was my last really needy day? I don't remember.

My sister Amy -- or Iron Woman, as I call her -- quit smoking using nothing more than a nicotine patch, and she didn't even stay on it as long as some people do. When she started forgetting to put on a new patch, she quit putting them on. And she still didn't smoke.

In the meantime, I am a little scared to stop the Chantix.

Then my friend asked, and I happened to mention that I love the vivid dreams. My mother died 14 years ago, but when I dream about her, it's like she's still here. And y'all, honestly, my mama was my best friend. I miss her a lot. So with these extra-vivid Chantix dreams, if I dream about Mama, it's *really* cool.

So now I have to worry that I'm addicted to the vivid dreams. ARGH! No one should have to give up tobacco *and* her mama in the same calendar year!

Oh, well. I guess I'll figure it out right around the time I stop taking the Chantix, huh?



I saw a t-shirt tonight that absolutely cracked me up -- and probably not for the reason it was intended. This perfectly normal girl at the gas station sported a shirt that said, "i don't do drama". [Sic on the "i".]

Oh, come on. You went to a store, picked through 863 slogan t-shirts with bunnies and fairies and skulls and probably SpongeBob SquarePants, all of which had varying degrees of sardonic phrases, and the one you picked out was a black one that proclaimed, "i don't do drama"?

Girl, you DO drama. You just do the quiet kind of drama, so you can feel superior to those of us who weep and wail and wring our hands and make faces all the time. Personally, I love the face-making kind of drama. If it isn't loud enough to be noticed, then it's just not a parade.

And everyone loves a parade.

Including me.

I totally forgot that today was the Great American Smoke Quittin', or whatever they call it. I always hated that day. The last time I liked it, I was a freshman in college and hadn't *started* smoking yet. But since 1985, perky perfect people with gleaming white teeth were always exhorting me to give up for "just one day." Seriously? Just one day? Impossible. Now look -- y'all made me feel all inferior and slimy.

And those Great American Smoke Quittin' days just kept piling up. I've made it through, what, 21 of those days. And I smoked on every single one of 'em. Ha HA! Take that, you perky pod people! You can celebrate your white teeth, but I shall smoke cigarettes and sing like Bonnie Tyler, so there, ha HA!

Ahem. Those were the old days.

So I went to the grocery store this evening, and everywhere I looked, there were people crouched on the far side of their cars, outside in the cold, puffing on cigarettes. I was genuinely curious about this until I finally passed one of these crouching smokers and asked, "Uh... why don't you get in your car to do that?" He replied that if he did, his wife would be disappointed in him because he was supposed to not smoke today.

I nodded and said, "Ah. You know, I quit smoking three months ago. You might wanna try Chantix."

"The commercials with the turtles?"

"That's the one."

Then I went inside and bought some Starbucks Sumatra coffee beans, because I am spoiled rotten and can't drink normal coffee any more.

On my way back to my car, where a fresh new crop of crouching smokers were polluting the parking lot, I decided that if I were to buy a slogan t-shirt today, it would have to say, "Coffee Snob."

They make t-shirts like that, don't they?

Real? Or Memo-Chantix?


The other day, I was ruminating about how my husband found it odd that I wasn't pushing my alma mater on my daughter.

See, Emily, my daughter, is almost ready to go to college. This is so mindboggling, I can't even begin to blog about the enormity of it. I mean, it was just last week that Em was a sweet little cooing baby in soft cotton pajamas, playing happily on a baby blanket that I laid out for her.

Now I have to contemplate the reality that she will go to college.


Anyway, I could have sworn that Wesley commented on my lack of pressure to send Emily to the same college from which I graduated.

This train of thought had me looking up all sorts of things online and thinking, "No, I really am not being a snob. I'm just being realistic"

I mean, my BA came from TWC -- Tennessee Wesleyan College. I pursued some hours of a graduate degree at the University of Tennessee/Chattanooga -- for one semester. Then I got pregnant with my second child, and my mother had cancer, and I didn't finish my graduate degree.

The thing is...

I'm not a big fan of TWC.

I wasn't a big fan of TWC when I was in high school.

I think every teenager thinks that she is going to break out of the mold, escape from the hometown sameness, and become something incredibly special.

I started out my college career at Hollins College. (Now it's Hollins University, but it's still a same-sex school.)

I didn't thrive at Hollins. Parts of that school definitely contributed to the adult I've become. But probably not in the way that Hollins intended.

But the fact is, I only went to Tennessee Wesleyan because it was the college at home. My college experience wasn't so much a part of who I was destined to become, but a part of the fact that it was at home.

It was at home.

It turned out that -- a semester and a half into my freshman year of college -- I discovered that I didn't really belong that far from home. (OK, really, I was bawling my eyes out just a few days after my freshman year started, so I should have figured it out sooner.) I would have gone anywhere if it meant being closer to my mother. If I had lived in the same town as Brown University or Harvard or Cornell of Southern Cal -- that's where I would have gone.

It just happened that the town I lived in had a small Methodist college named Tennessee Wesleyan. My mother worked there. And it was a nice enough school. I got my liberal arts education, and that was important to me. I wanted a BA, not a BS.

But -- I'm sorry -- here's the thing: I'm looking at schools for my daughter. And I thought my husband asked me why I wasn't pressing to send her to my alma mater, which I clearly am not doing.

It turns out that he never questioned that. I can only guess that I dreamed it in one of my vivid Chantix dreams.

How weird is that? I don't know. I just know that it is -- to date -- the most vivid dream/circumstance of my Chantix/quitting smoking experience.

My sister caught a cold


My sister Amy, who quit smoking before me using nothing but the patch (that bitch), caught a cold. And she didn't develop pneumonia or anything.

She says that she thinks this cold is actually less bothersome than the colds she got when she smoked.

I know that every time I caught a cold, it turned into bronchitis or pneumonia, or, hey, almost a year ago, I caught a little cold and developed total laryngitis. Seriously. Couldn't make any sound at all.

That makes it really hard to podcast, y'know.

The coughing -- well, I'm trying to figure out if I cough less now. I smoked menthols for 22 years. I kinda doubt my lungs have totally recovered. But I don't *feel* as if I'm coughing as much.

Amy says I need to go catch a cold and compare notes with her. I think I'm going to think about that before rushing headlong into a free clinic to lick the walls or anything just to give Amy comparative notes.

I'm just sayin'. Is all.

I continue to keep my hands busy with paper, as evidenced with the little book above. I actually made that book and 17 scrapbook pages in the last couple of weeks. I am slowing down on my frantic pace, though. When I think about it, yeah, I still marvel at the way non-smokers sit there without anything to do with their hands. On the other hand, it's kind of relaxing not to constantly be waving the smoke out of my face.

That's Sunday. I thought about posting about dinner -- steaks on the grill, marinated asparagus, roast rosemary potatoes -- but then I thought, "Nah, too much info."

So instead, I'll just complain about my lack of a cold. Amy gets all the fun stuff. Hmph!

10 Weeks, 3 days


I keep starting posts and not finishing them. I really hope I finish tonight's post, because it's significant. Especially if you're one of those new readers who's trying to find out how Chantix might help you.

I have not smoked in 10 weeks and 3 days.

More significantly -- tonight, at least -- today, I didn't even *think* about smoking.

Not once.

Not until I was checking my email and thinking about the podcast that I was listening to. (They were talking about candy corn on How Much Do We Love. Love that!) Out of the blue, it occurred to me, "I didn't even think about smoking today."

I didn't even think about how long it had been since I had had a cigarette. (That's the 10 weeks and 3 days part.) I keep patting myself on the back about not smoking.

But it has honestly gotten to the point that if my cell phone alarm didn't chime twice a day, I would not remember to take the Chantix.

Just a few days ago, when I picked up my fourth month's allotment of Chantix pills, I was bragging to the pharmacist excitedly.

Today, I'm wondering, "If I totally forget I was ever a smoker... does that mean I've really quit?"

Bolstering my resolve is Tasina's report that a lungful of smoke tasted awful after her little slip-up. I had been wondering about that. Sometimes I really would like to smoke again. Sometimes I get a whiff of smoke and think, "Oh, that smells delicious." But I remember what smoking tasted like the last few days before I quit [with Chantix]: I thought, "Gah, this tastes terrible," and "Why, WHY am I smoking if I get nothing out of it???"

If it was that bad on just 20 days of Chantix, what would it taste like now on 93 days of Chantix?

And... OK, I have to admit that I like the look of admiration that I perceive in my husband's eyes. He was never very vehement or violent about my smoking. He was never mean about it, or derogatory. But I know he was disappointed when I tried to quit and went back to smoking. I know he was.

My children? OMG, they can't even remember that I used to smoke or that I have quit now. I do need to repaint the house, because they have started asking, "Why does the house smell like a hotel room?" ARGH.

But that's a project for another non-smoking day. For now, I just have to say -- I have made it 10 weeks and 3 days, and for a while I actually forget about smoking. Considering that I smoked two packs a day for 22 years... I think this is a freaking miracle.

Thank heaven for Chantix.

Thank heaven.

Twice as much double trouble


Double trouble in a single window.

Here's the trouble with making so, *so* many things out of paper -- they look easy, and everyone wants to copy them.

And then I'm left wondering -- if they're so easy, why am I the only one doing them?

Truth is, I did these a couple of week ago. Since then, I've moved on. And I sit here wondering if I should sell them on eBay instead of keeping them. Not that I don't love them. In fact, I do love them. But if they would bring in money, shouldn't I sell them?

As I've said many times in the last ten or twelve weeks - stress happens. I can't just say, "great week to quit smoking," because, frankly, *any* week is a terrible week to quit smoking. Stress never quits. It always happens. If you leave your family and move to a cave, the cave is going to start leaking or flooding or becoming infested with fleas. That is the nature of the human condition. As Gilda Radner herself always said, "It's always something."

And I can't even claim to one fraction of the brilliance that Gildna Radner displayed in her pinkie finger. So I'm just left here quoting her and clinging to my delusions of -- if everyone goes through this, then OK, those of us giving up nicotine go through it, too. And at the end, maybe some of us are one fraction as cool as Gilda was.

But not me -- I'm just some nobody in East Tennessee, trying to quit smoking.

Where was I? Oh, yeah, the wilds of East Tennessee. I got my prescription re-filled today. It was back up to $ 129.99. I don't know why, and I can't begin to explain the thinking of Blue Cross Blue Shield. I'll pay whatever I have to in order to get my Chantix prescription. They can charge the market rate, or they can charge more. I would spend more on cigarettes. And I think that quitting is healthier than smoking, although I do miss smoking.

I guess I'm a lemming. Where's the cliff? I'm gonna throw myself off of it. But i'll take some paper and stamps with me, so if you want a professional scrapper to make a scrapbook for you, please email me. The taxes are killing me. I could use the extra income.


Chantix Day 85, Quit Day 65


I soooooo suck at math. The last time I tried to post my days, I think I had it all screwed up.

Anyway, here we are at Quit Day 65. I'm into the last pack of Chantix for this month, and soon I'll be buying another month's worth of Chantixes. Chantii. Chantices. Hmph. There is no smooth way to pluralize this drug!

That's OK, I still love it, anyway.

Today was a funny day in the quitting-smoking effort. (Funny odd, not funny ha-ha.)

An acquaintance PM'ed me to ask about my experience with Chantix. And I wrote back to her and told her my experience so far. I'm always hesitant to say I "love" it. There are people who heard nothing but lightness and roses about Chantix, and then they discovered that it didn't work for them. And that sort of thing tends to make people feel bitter. And I don't want *anyone* to feel bitter. Ever. About anything. Your hair looks fabulous. Don't look in a mirror, take my word for it, *everyone* should have purple and green streaked beehives.

Anyway, I PM'ed my friend back and told her that I've only had mild side effects. Nausea for the first few weeks, and vivid dreams. Nothing that would keep me from taking the drugs. And in the meantime, I actually quit smoking against all odds. Because I *loved* smoking. And here I am -- not smoking. Cool.

Then I went to the dentist, and I was again asked about my Chantix experience. So I had to do the same thing all over again, but out loud. I'm thinking that I should get cards printed up.

But here's the thing: I had a really bad time at the dentist's office. It's a long story, and Mama always said if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all, but I have always had bad teeth. So... there's pain, and there's blood, sweat, and tears, and then they give you a bunch of instructions on your post-op care. And the number one rule is, "Don't smoke." Apparently, smokers get dry-socket all the time. Ya don't want dry socket, from what I understand. It sounds like it hurts as much as the conditions that lead a person to go to the dentist as often as I do in the first place, and that's not any fun at all.

I left the dentist's office crying -- Wesley was there to drive me home, and Emily fixed me some sugar-free lime jello, and I had tomato soup for dinner -- and sometime after the pain meds kicked in (it still hurts, but I don't care, uh huh, uh huh) I realized, "This would all be so much worse if I had a cigarette right now."

See, every cloud has a silver lining.

I'm going to go eat some ice cream now. It's going to be much, much tastier than cigarettes ever were.

Still... quit.


I have so many thoughts.I don't blog as often as I think of blogging. Is that a conse-quence of being busy, or a conse-quence of being in denial?First of all -- Vivid Dreams:I have had some really strange, really vivid dreams in the last couple of weeks. Dreams that I thought about writing out. Dreams that could be movies, they're so darned weird. But I didn't write them out, and I didn't go knock on my neighbor's door and get myself shot. OK, I'm lucky.Vivid Dreams, Part II:My children tell me I was sleepwalking one night last week. Did I already confess this? I picked up a towel and said "sleepy" several times.Vivid Dreams, Part III:I dreamt that I bought a pack of cigarettes, opened it, took one out, lit it, and smoked it, and THEN I thought, "Oh, no! I'm not supposed to be smoking! ... Oh, well, I guess I"ll finish this pack. Don't want to waste the money." Then I felt guilty when I woke up. That's how vivid these Chantix dreams can be. I *really* thought I smoked, for heaven's sake.Celebrations:I have not smoked in more than 8 weeks. To celebrate 8 weeks without cigarettes, I went to the dentist for the third time in as many weeks and cried over how much work needs to be done on my teeth.Temptations:Friday night, I attended the theatre. I would love to post a review of the play I saw, but no one would read it or believe me. I saw a production of "Major Barbara" by George Bernard Shaw at the Clarence Brown Theatre's Carousel Theater in Knoxville. I thought the hardest part would be intermission. I have always run outside to smoke during intermission. The hardest part was actually keeping myself in the tiny, tilted chair. It tilted forward so that you have to brace yourself against your legs to keep from sliding out of the chair. "Major Barbara" was produced unedited and uncensored, so it was more than 3 hours of Shaw rantings. And only a fraction of the actors could actually pull off those rants and raves, so I was gritting my teeth, digging in my toes, and trying *desperately* not to spill out of my chair for more than three hours. When the play ended and the audience finally stood up to run away screaming, a woman three chairs down from me collapsed into the aisle because her legs were exhausted from the exertion of keeping her in the chair for more than three hours. That has nothing to do with smoking or quitting smoking, but it bears commentary, because apparently Chantix quitters are not the only people doing weird things to get through a day.Ahem. Also, I really *did* want to smoke during the intermission. But I didn't.And Then, Part I:Tennessee really has passed a "no smoking" law. I heard somewhere that someone is challenging the constitutionality of it, and I say, more power to 'em. However, after the play when we stopped at Waffle House for a very-late-night supper -- I was relieved not to be around smoking. I am always iffy on how I'm going to react if someone smokes near me. Right now, I think cigarette smoke smells *delicious*. I just want to inhale it like mad. But I don't want to smoke for myself.Keeping Busy:I made 16 scrapbook pages this week. I should sell them and make some moolah, because even though I'm not spending more than $10 a day on cigarettes, I'm absolutely poverty-stricken. My teeth are going to cost a small fortune to fix. At least playing with paper and stamps keeps my hands busy and keeps me from thinking about smoking.And Then, Part II:I keep wishing we would go back to Cades Cove to go hiking. It's so ridiculously warm, even here at the end of October, I can't believe it. [...]

The smell of success


I've been scrapping an older beloved kit -- Road Trip. This paper has a distinctive, fabric-like feel to it. I actually made a layout for publication using this kit's papers 'way back in 2005. Then I re-ordered more paper. I made another spread using the paper for another batch of papers, but it wasn't on assignment. And I ordered more of the paper. Blue, yellow, and white is one of my favorite color combos. I don't know why, exactly. But these colors have always made my heart trip a little faster.Anyway. I play with paper. I no longer play with paper professionally. I used to write for Memory Makers magazine, and I was a freelance artist, too. For a few years there, editors would call me and ask me to write about this aspect or that, or the craft editors would call and ask me to make a layout about this thing or that.I got burnt out.Throughout that entire period, I was a smoker. I knew that smoke permeated my craft room, and I really didn't care. I couldn't create if I couldn't smoke every once in a while. Although -- smoking did force me to stop playing with the paper and glue and stuff. You need both hands to make a scrapbook page. I needed one hand to smoke.So I smoked.And now I'm not smoking.Was it just the other day that I was saying that I don't perceive an increased ability to smell or taste?Well, my tastebuds are still waiting to be awakened, but I think I am now officially perceiving a greater ability to smell.I'm working with these gorgeous Road Trip papers, and I made a stack of the pages I had finished so far and put them in a plastic sleeve for safekeeping. And as the stack slid into the sleeve, I couldn't help it. I inhaled. And darn it... the paper smelled like stale smoke.Dang, dang, dang.All the precautions I've taken over the years to protect my most beloved batches of paper... and for Road Trip at least, it was all for nothing. Smoke permeated my paper.Dang it!!!!Now, the pages still *look* sublime, and that's what really counts, right? But ... I'm so disappointed. Stinky smoke smell! What a bummer!On the other hand... the very fact that I can *tell* the paper smells rotten... that's a good sign, isn't it?I am two weeks away from the recommended stopping point on Chantix. As I've already reported, my sister Amy is already off the nicotine patch. AND... she still isn't smoking. I think she has successfully broken the habit!!!!!! YAY, YAMY!!!!!!!!!But me?Time will tell. My doctor gave me the option of staying on Chantix for *six* months. I'll decide how I feel some other week. Right now, I still want my crutch! But I'm going to use it go smell the roses. Figuratively speaking.Hey! Do I smell a skunk? Oh, no, the windows are open to let in the cool night air! I'll go close them. And then I'll be grateful for my increased sense of smell!![...]

Third Time's the Charm, Pt. II


Well, I can't blame Blogger this time. The truth is, I've tried twice before to write this post, and both times, I wrote something the length of a meaty novella.I swear, this time I'll be brief.I just thought it would be interesting to say how I first heard about Chantix. On Maggie's brilliant blog, we all know that she found it because her friend J mentioned it to her. The rest is -- literally -- history. Maggie trusted her friend, she asked her doctor for Chantix; she didn't have traumatic side effects; and Maggie quit smoking. (She also inspired a slew of Chantix bloggers to keep up the good work, but that's another story for another day!)So I thought -- do you guys know how I heard about Chantix?Of course not. You don't dwell inside my head. That's OK; that's why I write.The truth is, as I have mentioned before, I was just being polite this summer when I said I was gonna quit. I think people are polite that way. We always declare, "I can quit any time," and if we don't mean it, we are being polite and saying what our loved ones want to hear. We say all kinds of things to be polite, from "how do you do" to "that's a lovely scarf!" If you're Southern, you say those things so many times per day, you don't even think of them as polite declarations. They're part of normal conversation.For smokers, saying, "I'll quit someday," is akin to these daily forms of conversation.I have tried to quit before. I did not succeed. I tried hypnosis once, cold turkey twice, and the nicotine patch twice. I quit when I had my first child. I quit for almost a month then. Between 1985 and 2007, that month was the most successful quitting period in my life. And that was in 1988. It honestly felt to me as if I could NOT quit smoking.But I was raised to be mannerly, and that meant that every once in a while, I would have to declare an intention to quit smoking, and then I would have to give it the old college try.I honestly hated trying to quit smoking. I honestly loved smoking. So I didn't mean it when I said I was going to try to quit again. I was just being polite.Fortunately, I was really, *really* polite, and I told everyone who would listen that I was going to try to quit smoking again. (I had to warn them in advance of the terrifying mood swings.) (That's just polite, after all.)My sister Amy had mentioned that *she* was going to try, too, and I really thought -- to be ultra polite -- that I should bolster her attempt by trying to quit, too. Especially since she had never tried to quit before. I didn't want her to feel like she was all alone.Two of my dearest friends -- both online and off -- are nurses. One lives in Scranton, PA, and the other lives in Tampa, FL. They both rock. I see them every other year when I meet my girlfriends in Disney World for a romp around the Food & Wine Festival. Anyway, entirely separately of each other, and without any prompting whatsoever, both Linda (PA) and Diana (FL) wrote enthusiastically and said, "If you're going to quit smoking, are you going to try Chantix? Lots of people are having great success with it!"I had never heard of the drug. There weren't commercials on the TV for it. I didn't read about it in a magazine. I -- and I consider myself fairly well-informed, if only because I read everything that passes in front of my eyes -- had no idea what Linda and Diana were talking about.So I looked it up. And I called up a doctor, and I made myself an appointment. Iiiii ... needed to make that appointment. I am not a spring chicken a[...]

3rd time's the charm


I've tried twice over the last week and a day to leave a message, but Blogger opposed my trials. Hmph! Here's the third try --

I continue to keep my hands busy by playing with paper, and Club Scrap continues to keep that a worthwhile pursuit by their incomparably gorgeous materials.

I am fine. I have not broken down and smoked. One of the Chantix quitters -- an anonymous one, so I shan't break her veil of secrecy -- wrote to me and confessed that she was quite distressed by my last blog post.

Let me make this clear: Last weekend's crisis wasn't a result of Chantix. It was just a hard weekend for me. And I made it through without smoking. So if anything should encourage new quitters, that's the one that should do it for you.

If anything, I credit Chantix with making me a quitter. I still think I was just being polite when I said I was going to try to quit smoking. Chantix made that polite disclaimer a reality. Not me. Chantix.

And I still don't check the GetQuit website every day. It has not been as good as the bloggers for me in terms of inspiration!

As for busywork to keep my hands from reaching for cigarettes... I guess the card-making and scrapbooking has done its job. I really don't reach for cigarettes the way I used to. I'm almost quit for 7 weeks now -- I understand why the Chantix prescription suggests taking the drugs for 12 weeks. Sometimes I feel very strong, and sometimes I still feel quite vulnerable....

But the vulnerable moments are waning, while the strong moments are definitely waxing and growing in strength!

Someday soon I shall be able to declare myself an ex-smoker. In the meantime, I still look back on those momentous moments in the smoking sections, and I find myself hoping that the fun, vivacious, and warm smokers I met in smoking sections will soon find themselves in non-smoking sections with me, showing the uptight non-smokers how to behave in a party setting!

Quit Day 41; Chantix Day 60


Edited the Title: Because I really can't do math! Snort!Wow -- seriously, was today the 60th day on Chantix? No wonder.....Many, many posts ago, I noted that stress happens. It happens all the time. Traffic stinks or the kids get mouthy or North American marsupials try to move into your laundry room. Stress happens all the time, to absolutely everyone, and it's only us nicotine freaks who start lamenting, "If only I hadn't quit smoking!"Today, though... Today was my day to totally flip out.I made it to Franklin and back yesterday without smoking. In fact, I got stuck in traffic behind a bus that broke down and caught on fire, so I was actually in my beloved Prius for four hours instead of just 2 hours and 45 minutes. And I was late for the workshop. And it was nerve-wracking. And blah blah blah. It's stress, y'all. Everyone goes through it all the time.And I didn't smoke.I got home around 2:45 in the morning, and then I realized how very little I understand about the business. If it were a matter of being invited to go someplace and teach people how to scrapbook -- and to get paid for it because they really just loved me to death or whatever -- that would be one thing. But the business inherently comes with math-related issues. Like, supplies. Supplies must be purchased. Supplies must be shipped. Supplies must be paid for. And -- if the supplies are not strictly part of the workshop process, then supplies must have state sales tax applied to them.And computers have to be told which supplies to purchase, and computers must be told which taxes must be paid.And -- I have never been particularly good at these kinds of tasks. The Tennessee state resale tax code is written in a language that I am pretty sure doesn't originate on this planet. It looks like English, but when you read it out loud, it's like the words don't go together to make coherent thoughts. In English. Maybe they make coherent thoughts in other parts of the universe, but not here at my house, they don't.Don't ask me about the ordering process. I will literally start crying again. I do not understand that computer program. I do not. I do not. I am embarrassed beyond all comprehension to admit that, because my favorite sister in the whole wide world is a computer programmer, and I know that if she looked at it, she would be embarrassed for me to be so utterly clueless when it comes to filling out those forms.So. OK. I woke up this morning, and I was out of Chantix. Friday afternoon was beyond hectic, and I didn't have a chance to refill the prescription. I have missed the occasional dose, so I just finished 56 days' worth of pills on the 59th night. I was due another dose by this afternoon.I tried to figure out the computer programs. I didn't succeed. I tried to calculate state sales tax. I didn't succeed. And then I realized, "This is just like math," and then I started crying.Wait -- let me check the calendar -- No, I really am not being unduly hormonal. Sorry. I know every guy reading this blog is probably shaking his head and rolling his eyes, but no, it's not the phase of the moon. It's just an unusual amount of stress, that's all.I cried and cried and cried. I left the computer. I couldn't concentrate on TV. (Why can't I find a decent newscast during the day? CNN Headline used to be news. Now it's news-ertainment or some giddy crap with excessive computer graphics and buxom broads chirping the headlines at me and exhorting me to send her [...]

Pop quiz


(image) Well, Friday night brings a test to my resolve. Here I've been breaking my arm, patting myself on the back. Tomorrow night should be the real test.

I'm driving to Nashville.

Without cigarettes.

I haven't taken a significant road trip without smoking since my freshman year of college.

I wonder how this one's going to go?

There are other various points of stress and interest. Like, I'm teaching a class. Like, the supplies for that class haven't all arrived yet. Like, I have to drive three hours without smoking, teach a class, and turn around and drive home again.

Without smoking.

In the meantime, I was sick Thursday morning. I woke up feeling very, very profoundly unwell. I won't be too specific, because upchucking in my opinion is an indelicate behavior at best and darned uncivilized at worst. So let's just say I felt entirely unwell Thursday morning and didn't take any Chantix until very late in the day. Since I have to take it on a moderately full stomach, and I didn't eat anything until late in the day.

It throws off my entire schedule, but hey, I haven't smoked anything. So I guess I had enough Chantix in my system to get me through the indelicate part of the day.

Honestly, I am looking forward to the day that I don't *think* about it all so much. It's so much effort some days. It's easier on other days. I am conflicted at the moment.

Maybe Monday will be a nice, easy day.

No, wait, I have a dental appointment Monday. Darn it!

Oh, well, at least I know I'm not alone!