Thursday, September 23, 2004

Smoking is stupid

Smoking is stupid.
Smoking is stupid.
Smoking is stupid.
Smoking is stupid.
Smoking is stupid.
Smoking is stupid.
Smoking is stupid.
Smoking is stupid.
Smoking is stupid.
Smoking is stupid.
Smoking is stupid.
Smoking is stupid.
Smoking is stupid.
Smoking is stupid.
Smoking is stupid.
Smoking is stupid.
Smoking is stupid.
Smoking is stupid.
Smoking is stupid.
Smoking is stupid.
Smoking is stupid.
Smoking is stupid.
Smoking is stupid.
Smoking is stupid.

GAH! I need something to do with my hands.

I've been smoke-free for 10 days, 16 hours, 20 minutes, 39 seconds.
I've been nicotine-free for 7 days, 17 hours, 55 minutes, 51 seconds.

It is still freaking hard! I got very frustrated at someone on the phone today and almost cried. Then I got shaky and sick. Now I am second guessing my trip to my cousin's wedding this weekend. I sure hate to duck out of something that important, but I don't know if I'm up to an entire weekend with Chris, my sister, mother, and aunt, and the whole wedding thing, and the 5 hour drive there and back, and NO DENNIS... Hrm, not sure if it is safe.

I am going to eat something now just in case it is a blood sugar thing. I didn't have a regular lunch today.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Fire Tower Tour

The three of us went on a small expedition this afternoon. Dennis and I found this cool fire tower a little while back on one of our long cruises around Jefferson County. We didn't have time to climb it that day, but we did today :)

I have zero coping skills right now, so I only made it up about four flights before I gave up. I will climb it some day. Just not today.

Dennis and Chris both made it up. What brave boys I have :-D They took pictures from the top for me.

That's how I know I'll make it. I've just gotta see that view. I love the hills. Maybe I'll find the hill I'm going to live on from up there. Actually, the hill it is built on is quite a nice one. It's got a good round dome top, and as you can see, it drops away into long valleys from that point. There is a great view.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Freaking out and Caves

We took a family trip to Meramec Caverns today. "Come visit the most exploited cave in America!" It is sometimes hard to see the caveness of the poor thing, with the paved walkways, multi-colored electric lights, and handy handrails everywhere. It feels like you're in someone's basement. It is an amazingly beautiful cave, and big(!) if you remember to look at it - I mean really look at the cave behind all of the other stuff. I am never sure how to feel about paying $35 to see a place like that.

Oh, if you ever see the assholes who drive around in the Ameriquest Mortgage Airship, tell them I said, "Hello, Fuckers!" They very kindly ran me straight off onto the shoulder of Interstate 44 while we were going just over 70 mph. The thought it was quite hilarious, but I found the thought of my beautiful 8-year-old son hurdling towards the guard rail anything but.

(It was the box truck that actually ran me off of the road, not these van guys, but I bet they got a kick out of it too.)

In other news: quitting smoking screws up your blood sugar! I was already having a hard time today with my nerves and being exceptionally crabby. I sorta forgot that I planned my smoking cessation and my PMS for the exact same weekend. Oops :) Then I didn't eat lunch because I was in a cave for an hour and 20 minutes. So by the time I got out, I was totally crazy!

Dennis already knows that I need to eat at fairly regular intervals or I get sorta nutty. I didn't realize what was going on today with my blood sugar. I kept trying to fight it off like it was a nicotine thing, and I kept trying to yell at him for telling me to eat. I think I just yelled at everyone all the way home.

Friday, September 17, 2004


Dennis, Chris and I went for a picnic this evening at Sandy Creek Covered Bridge. The mosquitos were out, but it was worth it. The fish seemed to enjoy eating some of our bread crumbs. I love the air this time of year. It is still warm, but it is drier and it feels so much better than the heavy summertime air.

I felt just fine today at work. I was happy and so proud of myself! It isn't as easy later in the day. I am finding that I have absolutely no idea how to deal with anything. It's a combination of the fact that I used to be able to "escape" by going outside to smoke, and the way nicotine screws up your brain chemistry.

"Your mind is in the process of resuming control of the more than 200 neurochemicals that nicotine had directly and indirectly taken hostage, including select adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin pathways. In resuming control the brain is making sensitivity adjustments associated with mood, reward, stimulation and anxiety. In trying to protect your mind from the deadly pesticide nicotine it actually desensitize important neurochemical circuits by reducing receptor sites and diminishing the number of transporters. "

Thursday, September 16, 2004

I Put My Finger in My Eye

At least I feel like putting my finger in my eye.

Good GOD! I cut way back on lozenges yesterday. I haven't had one today. I figure there is no sense in messing around with it anymore. I am not going to smoke anymore no matter what, so I'm just going to go ahead and go through the whole process all at once. Why put it off?

Holy crap this is hard. It's made me cry a few times already. I mean tears and bawling and snot. My official fall-back if it is too hard is lozenges, but I've avoided them so far today.

I had to go back to the doctor because my Pap from September 2nd came back "ASCUS." (Atypical Squamous Cells of Undetermined Significance.) They didn't have enough tissue left over to do the HPV test, so I had to go give them some more. Hooray! I shouldn't have HPV, because I did not have it when I was pregnant with Chris. I know I was tested for it then. Since I met Dennis, I've had three normal paps. I have a feeling this was just a bad test for some reason and the HPV will come back negative. I gather that around 60% of the time that is the case.

I will know when this test comes back in two to three weeks. If I do not have any HPV at all, then I just got a "bad Pap" for some reason or another. If I do have HPV, I will know if I have "not bad" or "bad" HPV. Apparently there are different kinds, and only some of them are associated with increased risk of cervical cancer.

From Dr. Paul Indman:
The Atypical Pap (ASCUS)
This is the category that drives women crazy! This means some cells that are slightly funny looking, but not abnormal enough to call dysplasia. (ASCUS stands for "atypical cells of undetermined significance.) This category could also be called "probably normal, but I want to keep a close eye on things." There is a tremendous variation between labs on how many pap smears come back with this reading, which corresponds to the old "Class 2" classification. Some labs will be very liberal in calling normal variations "atypical," which causes women to worry needlessly. Other labs have stricter criteria for this classification.

Damn You, Oprah!

So Oprah announced her new book yesterday...

They're reading The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. Ok, so here's a snippet of my reading list:

A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway
Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
The Giver, Lois Lowry
The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck

I'm reading A Farewell to Arms right now. Unless I get hung-up with my cousin's wedding gift, I should be to The Good Earth in about three weeks. (I'm sewing a wedding sampler for Emily, and I need to get on it because the wedding is on the 25th of this month.)

C'mon, Oprah! You did this with Anna Karenina too! What the heck? Are you trying to steal my reading list? It is so hard to get books from the library when they are make your book club. I hate feeling like an Oprah joiner! I know the librarian is judging me. Damn you!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

A "Told Ya So" for Dennis

"Anger is a part of the quitting process. Don’t try to resist it. Accept it, safely vent it, and take some time to feel it. You feel angry and testy. You don’t have to have a reason to feel that way, you just do. "

The American Lung Association has a free smoking cessation program on their website. If you are thinking of quitting, you should check it out. If you are a smoker, and are not thinking of quitting, you should still check it out :-D

I thought the quote above was amusing. That's exactly what I told Dennis last night while we were watching a movie together. "I'm crabby, I'm cranky, I'm mad at everything. Deal with it. I deserve to be." If you are quitting cocaine, you get to go to a special swanky hospital. I have to go on with my daily life as if nothing special were happening to me. GRR!

So Far, So Good

It has been more than 36 hours since my last cigarette! According to this, my risk of heart attack has already decreased, and my carbon monoxide level is the same as a non-smoker now. (Yeah, but does that count the exhaust huffing I did on my way home from work yesterday???)

I've been cranky, but I really haven't had overwhelming cravings. One big difference is that I've really made up my mind that I don't want to smoke anymore. I know other people who have already quit successfully have said that deciding they didn't want to smoke is what finally worked for them.

The Commit is ok except for two things. It is hard to plan not eating 15 minutes before you take one, and they last for about 30 minutes. That makes eating breakfast and getting my morning coffee a challenge, especially the days that I work. Oh, add one more thing - the lozenges are kinda large for my mouth. I have a big mouth, but apparently "between the cheek and gums" is just a little bit too small. Sometimes it starts to hurt having that big old hard lozenge stuck in there.

I'm trying to convince myself that I want lozenges when I go get cravings.

I'm starting to get productive coughs. Ew. I know they'll go away after a while though, because I've been through this part of quitting before.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Goodbye to You

I quit! I set my quit date for today, September 13, 2004.

I had a ceremony last night after my last cigarette ever. I threw away my ashtray, lighters, and about 1/2 a pack I had hanging around. (Except Dennis wanted to keep the lighters for his torch, so I let him.) I was trying to pretend that they were things left behind by a terrible boyfriend. (But that wound up just being silly :) )

I've only packed enough money for lunch today ($2, I'm having a McChicken and an apple pie), and left my credit and debit card at home. I can't buy cigarettes even if I really really really want to that way.

I'm trying Commit lozenges this time. I know I can't do the patch because they keep me up at night and give me strange dreams when I do manage to fall asleep.

Here goes nothing.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Photo. Blog.

We finally got FTP access to our host back up and running.

Pictures from Chris's Birthday Party and the State Fair are up in their posts. Yea!

Birthday, Birthday, Birthday

Today is Cathy's (Dennis's mom) birthday. I don't know what we've got planned, but I hope the boy is going to get her a gift and go see her tonight. Otherwise I'll have to spank him ;)

I finished reading Ethan Frome yesterday. Dennis tells me I read too fast. Bah, even if I do, I'll never read everything. The New England winter was the most interesting "character" in the story for me. I've never been to that part of the country, and while I have seen bad snow storms from time to time, that kind of weather never takes over in St. Louis. I know what a moonlight snowscape looks like, but I don't know what it feels like to be socked in for the whole winter. I suppose that is a commentary on how things read to individual readers. I'm always excited by meteorological descriptions in print. I like the way talented writers can pratically make us feel the rain drops falling on us, or the cold winter wind whip through us.

Edith Wharton dealt with time in Frome in an interesting manner, with an outside narrator telling a story that happened a while ago. This device is very common in modern movies, so it isn't a shock to the modern reader. It is even less suprizing to find it in a short story. It is a very good way to establish a 3rd person narrator and cut through chrolonogical details, which is sometimes necessary in order to fit a full narrative into such a small space. It is certainly not as interesting as Arthur Miller's use of time in Salesman. Still, Frome is an excellently put-together piece that absolutely deserves a look.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Lazy Heads!

We both had the day off today, and we did NOTHING. Labor Day my ass!

I finished reading James Joyce's Dubliners today. The last story, "The Dead", was my favorite. It made me cry. Something about that story and the residual from watching this documentary, "A Family Undertaking," on PBS last night. I definately cried last night. What a touching film! If PBS is rerunning it in your area, you should watch!

I also finished off Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman today. It's an interesting thing to pair with Dubliners. I'm certain there is excellent fodder for a college lit. class essay there! I think James Joyce was living Biff Loman, because he felt the disallusionment and was able to articulate it, unlike Willy Loman. Whew, that was a brain workout, finishing both books and the documentary all together in less than 24 hours.

We ran down to Festus to eat BBQ with Dennis's folks earlier this evening. We sat outside and watched the hummingbirds for quite a while. They've got quite a herd down there! We must have seen 30 or 40 of them at one time.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Air Show

Dennis took me to the St. Louis County Fair & Air Show today. His company, Jetcorp, hosted a catered BBQ in their new hanger. It's (obviously) right out on the tarmac, so we had a great view of the planes. It was fun!

Saturday, September 04, 2004


Oh boy, if you think getting along with your in-laws in a challenge, you should try having your ex-in-laws over for the afternoon!

Paul called me yesterday wondering why I didn't pick Chris up after school. I didn't because Labor Day is his holiday this year and he's supposed to have Chris for the whole three-day weekend. Duh! Paul had "just learned" that he had to work today, and wanted to know if I could watch Chris. Hrm, if I am ever in that position, he says, "I can't believe you didn't arrange for a babysitter!!!" in his most incredulous tone. How many times have I been stuck driving to Litchfield so that my parents or sister could watch Chris? Oh well, getting to see Chris unexpectedly on Paul’s holiday is a nice bonus for me. I didn’t have anything else going on anyway, Dennis was scheduled to be out of the house most of the day working on Dave’s turbo car and selling his Shelby Charger anyway. So besides it being good to see Chris, it was also really no particular trouble at all. Hooray!

The catch was that Paul’s family was coming to town for his other birthday party. I wasn’t going to give Chris back to Paul, I was going to meet his parents at their hotel and drop him off there.

I got to Paul’s on time (9:00 a.m. on a Saturday *grr*) and they had literally just rolled out of bed. Chris and I stopped on the way home to walk across the Page Extension bridge. It’s pretty cool, and I think Chris really enjoyed it. He hadn’t had breakfast, so we went to Denny’s together. We came down Lindbergh from north county, and it would up being almost 11:30 before we got back to my apartment.

Oops, Paul’s parents called around 2:00. They’d moved hotels and decided they would just pick him up at my house! CLEANING FRENZY!!! Luckily it wasn’t very bad, since we’d just been through the extra cleaning for his birthday party here last week. Still, plenty of stress for a few minutes there! Everything worked out fine, Barb (ex-MIL) seemed to approve of the apartment, they were nice, and then they left. Not as bad as I thought it was going to be. :)

Paul's Family:

Aunt Jeana, Grandma Barb (Gummi), Chris, Aunt Katie, and Grandpa Paul