Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Progress report on quitting smoking.

Insanity like this deserves an insane meme. And damn, I want that cigarette.

Seriously guys, I think I hate this more than when my wisdom teeth came in and nearly crushed my skull. I think I even hate it more than being pregnant. This has got to be the hardest thing I've faced in my entire life. Naturally, I've suffered many setbacks and pitfalls and learned a few things.

A.) Quitting smoking is worse for people who suffer anxiety disorders...because face it, one of the main side effects of quitting IS anxiety.

B.) Holy crap, addiction is painful and your brain is one deceitful son of a bitch, always trying to trick you into falling back into old habits.

C.) Drinking makes me want to smoke, so I've had to dramatically cut back on drinking. This is probably good for me, but damn I don't get to have any fun.

D.) This struggle has really screwed with my mind and emotions, so I'm going to refrain from making any rash decisions until I'm myself again... Please, God, let that happen.

So, without further ado, I give you my 11 day progress report, written in journal form. I also realized I was PMS-ing during the 1st week. Yay. Couple that with my cat dying and you get the worst summer vacation ever.

Smoking Progress report

Day 1.) Still hung over from my 30th birthday bash so I didn’t even want to smoke for half the day. When the cravings sank in, I did my best to occupy myself with a jig-saw puzzle and cinnamon gum. I HATE gum. Tried to get an electronic cigarette but all the stores were closed. Ended up cheating and having 5 cigarettes. Still, when comparing that to my usual 20 +, I’d say that’s pretty good.

Day 2.) Got my electronic cigarette and only had two real cigarettes. Still, spent most of the day sitting around like a shell-shock victim unable to focus on anything but the torturous cravings for a real smoke.

Day 3.)  Puffing on the e-cig like a mad thing and actually getting a bit of writing done. Almost made it 24 hours without a smoke and beginning to feel optimistic….then I found out my cat died. Totally bought a 6-pack of hard cider and a pack of cigarettes. I think I smoked like 10.

Day 4.) Remembering my friend saying if it’s not that, it’ll be something else to make me relapse. So gonna prove him wrong. Back to not smoking. Hating life. Devastated about my cat. Forced some more writing. Tried my friend’s homemade cherry wine. Really liked it, but drinking makes me want to smoke. I smoked 3.

Day 5.) Damn, everyone in the neighborhood smokes! Locked myself up in the house until I was half crazy but did get a fair amount of writing done.  Begged one of my only non-smoking friends to hang out over there. Went to the Idaho Writer’s league book fair. (My first out in public appearance since quitting) I made it an hour before a panic attack began to threaten. Hung out with my friend and didn’t think about smoking the whole time…. But I smoked 2 when I got home. Ranted to Shelley Martin and felt better.

Day 6.) Went shopping and didn’t think about smoking for most of the time. Got enough writing in to feel proud of myself. Hung out with friend again and was even more distracted from smoking. Thank you, friend for providing the distraction and putting up with my craziness. But…smoked 2…again… when I got home. Ranted again to Shelley Martin and felt even better.

Day 7.) Tested myself by hanging out with one of my smoking neighbors. It went pretty well until the religious solicitors came by. No, I do not want to punch this well meaning little old man in the face…wait… yes, I do. I better go. Crushed my Red Bull can in my fist and walked away. Blared Mercyful Fate loud enough for the whole block to hear so they knew not to knock on my door. Got some dishes done and a bit of writing. Friend stopped by to check on me. Had some insane writer’s block and decided to loosen it up with a few drinks. It helped, but then I wanted to smoke. Another neighbor gave me a couple cigarettes too.   

Day 8.) Had to drive to Spokane to pick my husband up from the bus station in 101 degrees. I HATE driving in Spokane. Husband was supposed to be quitting but was smoking when I picked him up. I was pissed and tempted, but only took a drag of his. Had a little hang-out reunion with neighbors and friends. Only took a couple drags of his smokes until I had a beer and stole one. Made it last, smoked it in halves. We also split his last one.

Day 9.) Had to go to the college and pick up my textbooks for the semester. Aggravating, but made it without smoking. Looked at my bank balance and felt even better when I realized we would have been screwed if I hadn’t quit. Had a pickle-making party with husband and friend. Doing great until I had more of that cherry wine and decided to visit neighbors. Smoked 2 cigarettes.

Day 10.) Stepdaughters back home along with my son. Full house is making me want to scream. Writing not going well. But still holding strong on the not smoking. Had an hours-long panic attack. Then the full body aches sank in. I’d heard of those but hoped they were myth. Took son to hang out with friends. They played video games and I got a bit of writing done. I wanted a drink, but didn’t because drinking makes me want to smoke. Felt better. Went home and straight to bed. Another panic attack set in along with worse body aches. Felt like coming down off of acid that was cut with too much strychnine. Was awake nearly all night.

Day 11.) 36 hours without a cigarette. Still aching and wanting to crawl out of my skin, but if I’ve made it this long, I can do it longer. Today’s plan is to make pot roast, clean the kitchen, and finish up my launch materials for book 2.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Memorial Post: ISIS, A.K.A, "My Preciousssss..." 11-?-2005 - 8-?-2012

When I was very young, I saw "LADY AND THE TRAMP" for the first time and fell in love with the Siamese cats. Shortly after I declared: "When I grow up, I'm going to get a Siamese cat and name her Isis. She will wear a jewel studded collar and eat out of a crystal dish and I will love her and spoil her rotten."

And so I did. The "crystal" dish didn't last long thanks to the kids, and the jeweled collar made her itch, but Isis was indeed loved and spoiled rotten. I'd hold her and pet her and croon "my precioussssss." We couldn't watch LORD OF THE RINGS without her tripping out, thinking the TV was talking to her. :)

Yeah...steak and lobster spoiled.
When I got Isis, she was small enough to fit in my purse...which she often rode around in until she was big enough to perch on my shoulder. Unlike all previous cats I'd brought home, Isis didn't hide under the bed for three days. Instead she strode right up to the dog (who was like 20 times her size at the time) and started growling. Then she pounced on him....then they were wrestling...and then he belonged to her, heart and soul.

Isis LOVED her dog.

Like most Siamese cats, Isis was very territorial and protective. She used to guard us and our property with extreme vigilance. For a long time she'd watch me bathe and try to grab me when I ducked under to wash my hair because she thought I was drowning. She chased the deer out of our garden and often attacked them. The neighbors would laugh at the sight of her perched on a doe's back, biting and clawing it like a miniature lioness. I wish we had pictures or videos of that.

She also watched over me when I was sick...along with her consort, Isuzu.

Isis was completely fearless. She was a master huntress. One time, she even took down a crow. If she wanted something, she was pretty good about getting it, whether it was a few licks of my ice cream cone to half of my string cheese. She would perch wherever she wanted.

In the cupboard...

On my back...

On my brother...

And blocking my computer if I ignored her too long.

Last week my husband was out of town. Isis went missing, but it wasn't unusual since she stays out for days in the summer, especially when she's mad at us. I figured either she was angry at my husband for being absent or she'd gotten trapped in my neighbor's shed again.

Two days after my birthday... (and quitting smoking), my neighbor approached me and asked if I was missing a cat. My heart rose with hope because usually after he asks that, he says he got dive-bombed after opening his shed.

"You found her?" I asked.

He nodded sadly. "She's dead."

Sure enough, there she was on his property. It looked like she'd been dead a few days. Maybe it happened on my birthday. She was too far away from the road for it to have been a car, and she wasn't bloody and mangled, so it wasn't the psycho killer dog next door. My other neighbor said he's been watching her chase deer just the other night, so I'm thinking she tangled with the wrong one.

I like what one of my friends said: "She must have been one balls to the wall cat to have burned up her nine lives so quickly."

Indeed she was. Goodbye, Isis, the most bad ass cat I've ever known. You will be missed and never forgotten.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

6 reasons why I'm quitting smoking, damn it.

...And yes, that "damn it" was supposed to be ambiguous. That was a "damn it" of determination as well as agony in anticipation of the suffering I shall endure.

I started smoking for the dumbest reason ever: To kill time waiting for the school bus. Some golfer had dropped a pack on the ground at my bus stop and there was my damnation. That was 16 years ago and I've been smoking a pack a day (2 packs when I'm drinking) since.

Why I decided to Quit:
  • My youth: Okay, I admit it. A big part of me subscribes to stupid stereotypes about youthful looks and feminine beauty. It really sucks that women get "older" while men get hotter. Though society brainwashing aside, I must admit that my complexion and teeth will likely improve with abandoning tobacco. 

  •  My Health: Yeah, there's all the PSA's and blah blah blah lung cancer, blah blah emphysema etc. But in the throes of addiction you don't really think about it. Hell, as I'm craving a cigarette right now, I'm not thinking much about it. But I am thinking about how in the last decade I've been getting colds easier and taking longer to bounce back from them. I'm thinking about the times I cough and wheeze like an 88 year old man at the worst moments. I'm thinking I don't want that anymore. I'm also realizing that I have a career I worked my ass off to achieve as well as a family I want to be there for.

  • Money: Yeah, all the non-smokers rant about this being an obvious point, but as we smokers watch them spend five bucks or more a day on fancy coffee, gum, candy bars, etc, we don't see much difference.... Until the income level becomes really tight AND one has smoked since a time when cigarettes were waaaay cheaper. It was like $1.75 for a pack of name brands 16 years ago. Now I have to shell out $4.00 for one of the cheapest brands. On a tight budget this is quickly becoming unacceptable.  

  • Scorn for my weakness and will power. Really, I feel like the weakest, most pathetic person in the world for being such a slave to something so stupid. For needing something so bad. Needing something that's slowly killing me.

  • Those obnoxious non-smoking situations. Movies, some bars, writing gatherings, you name it. It really sucks to miss an important part of something because you have to step out for your fix. I'm going back to college in a couple weeks and they've turned the place into a tobacco free campus. For the most part I think that's an abusive intrusion on people's rights. My last time there, we smokers had to stay 20 feet away from the entrance to any building and away from any shelter in the freezing cold and pouring rain. Apparently that wasn't good enough for the precious non-smokers. Now if you want so much as a drag, you need to leave campus, which means you won't make it back in time for your next class and thus you'll fail and never get a degree. a new non-smoker, I kinda get it. I haven't seen my brother in a long time, but today... because he had a cigarette, I told him to get the hell away from me before I tackled him like when we were kids and snatched that sweet cancer stick from his fingers.

  • My singing: Yeah, even when I was a first Soprano in high school choir, I was no Sarah Brightman. And childbirth, age, and smoking have deepened my voice and I'm still no Bruce Dickinson. But there are times when I can sing something and I can feel that I nailed it...and then the damn cigarettes make my voice crack...or worse, I cough. I'll never be a superstar, but damn it, I LIKE to sing.

  • The Cute Guy/ A.K.A. The Oh, damn, I smell factor: Don't worry, I adore my hot husband (who is quitting too but out of town so we don't kill or enable each other) and I'm a good girl, but hey, I'm sure we've all encountered "the cute guy" and wondered how he kisses. But, even if I wasn't married, the cute guy is a non-smoker (I think all of them are) and likely wouldn't want to taste ashtray breath. That thought got me thinking: during the times I was single, how many guys have I lost a shot at because of my smoking? Again, the non-smokers may see this as a giant "DUH" but A.) I've only dated other smokers and B.) You miss details like this in the throes of addiction.     

So there you have it, all my reasons from the serious to the ridiculous. I hope one or more are enough. In the next couple days I'll post an update of my progress. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Book one is soon approaching copy edits. Book 2 is with my beta readers. I have just begun book 3 and I am scared sh*tless.... but also really excited. The hero is introduced in book one and I got to know him better in book 2. He is very, very damaged. Seriously, I haven't worked with a hero this damaged EVER.

I got chapter one finished with relative ease, and let me tell you, it really begins with a bang. But now the worries seep in. Can I live up to such a big promise? Can I convincingly redeem this hero? Can I give him a HEA worthy of his suffering? Can I keep the reader turning the pages?

I think of many books I'd anticipated that did not live up to my expectations...and I pray this will not be one of them.

However, despite my trepidation, I truly AM excited about this book and thrilled to be writing again. I love editing, but I miss the magic of creating a new world and story.       

Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday Updates and Rambles

For being on vacation, I've been hella busy. In fact, I'm actually on my way to help out at the bookstore and I just woke up, so this post will be a mish-mash of rambling thoughts and news.

1.) Huckleberries are awesome. I've been up in the mountains with my man and friends picking them by the gallon. Sold a few, made some money, and made milkshakes.

2.) People in Hollywood do not understand how lady parts work. This randomly popped in my head when I was trying to sleep. I'll give 2 movies as an example.

WAITING:  The movie was hilarious, but near the end one of the female characters drops her pants to reveal what looked like a toupee glued to her crotch and really fake squares of toilet paper stuck to the top... nowhere near where toilet paper would be used.

LOST HIGHWAY: Some cop says: "That guy gets more p*ssy than a toilet seat." Um... maybe a toilet seat for really drunk, clumsy women.

3.) Why can't the world just f*ck off when I'm trying to write. Seriously, I just started book 3 in my historical paranormal romance series and I keep getting interrupted. People are lucky I'm not violent.

4.) Gardening seems to be more of a man thing these days. Seriously, we rent out gardens every season and all the renters are men. They do a damn good job, too. My husband does all the gardening for us because I have a brown thumb.

5.) Holy Crap, I'm turning 30 in a few days.

6.) Double Crap, I'm quitting smoking when I turn 30

7.) OMG, I'm going back to college in a few weeks!