Friday, October 14, 2005

Not about smoking - about VA Governor's race

I'm typing this as I'm on a conference call. If it doens't make any sense, that's my excuse.

The VA Governor's race is getting tight. For those who don't know, the election is on November 8th - NOT the 1st. There are two good diaries up at Daily Kos.

This one talks about the latest polling between Tim Kaine (D) and Jerry Kilgore (R). It's a statistical dead heat. Kaine trails Kilgore by one percentage point, well within the margin of error. Further, Kilgore's well-funded smear machine has lauched a host of despicable swift-boat type ads against Kaine and is trying to close in the final weeks. In the diary you'll find a link to the Raising Kaine PAC to donate some money to help defeat the big money smear tactics of the Kilgore campaign. Kaine needs all the help he can get.

Another diary talks about google-bombing the despicable Jerry Kilgore and sending everyone who googles him to this site instead of to his campaign website. If you can, link back to the diary. It may not help, but it sure can't hurt.

Finally, on a personal note - you don't have to be a Virginia resident either to donate or to help Tim Kaine in the final push to defeat Jerry Kilgore. You can donate to the PAC which I link above, you can do the suggested google-bombing (which I've done liberally and annoyingly in this post), and you can volunteer in the 20 for Tim program to contact potential Kaine voters. We know for a fact that Kilgore's campaign is using out-of-state resources to contact voters - we need the same level of effort at a minimum.

Monday, September 12, 2005

I'm past the one-month hump.

So so sorry that I haven't posted over here for a while. If you note the date of the post before this one, you see that it was August 28th - a day before the Katrina disaster began unfolding. I have been ass over teakettle with Katrina entries to my political blog since that day, as well as blogging over at Daily Kos.

So the totaly bitchiness thing seems to have subsided a great deal. The times when I miss smoking are less acute than when they were, but a few things stand out as sure-fire God-I-Want-A-Cigarette moments:

  • When I get off an airplane.
    • That was a weird one - I flew to visit my parents on September 2nd and when I got off the plane, it took me quite some time to come to grips with why I wasn't running outside to smoke while my baggage arrived.
  • Anytime I've been in awful traffic.
    • Something about the stress of traffic - I used to always pile out of the car when I arrived at my destination and light up. I STILL miss that - bad.

  • When playing golf.
    • Everyone has their smoking things - mine was always when playing golf. Something about waiting at the tee box and being outside and what have you. I played for the first time yesterday since quitting and I fought, from about the 4th hole onward, against totally wanting a smoke.

There are odd things, though, that I thought would bug me that haven't.

  • In the morning.
  • After dinner.
  • When I'm around other smokers.
  • When I'm in a bar.

Go figure.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Quick Day 19 update

Ok. So I've made it 19 days. No weight gain, sporadic cravings.

I'll put this out here as delicately as I can - let's just say that I'm a bit hormonal right now. That has coupled, I think, with the no nicotine thing to give me the massive shakes today. It's a weird feeling of total excess nervous energy.

I also have a friend who has quit several times in the past (currently he is smoking again). What got him, he said, was real trouble with persistent insominia. I'm not contending with that - it abated after the first week and my sleep patterns pretty much returned to what they had been. What I DO deal with, however, is pretty consistent low-grade headaches, even now, nearly three weeks in (sigh). I can live with it, but I'll be happy when my energy levels settle down (they range between frantic and exhausted) and when this mild but persistent headache lets go. :-D

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Day 16

Well, I feel kinda normal today. No doubt I'm hopped up on coffee, though. I had a 7am breakfast meeting this morning and have been up since 5am. I'm not a morning person so the caffeine infusion has been imperative. ;-)

So far I've done the following things right:
  • Watched my diet like a hawk. My typical "day of food" is as follows: Breakfast is coffee. Always coffee and then a bit more coffee. Lunch is enormous. If I have a day without lunch meetings, it's a big, organic salad with very little fatty stuff and lots of omega 3 stuff. No bread with lunch. Dinner is not really dinner - it has become low-calorie low-fat low-carb rice cakes (7 of them at 35 cals., 0g of fat and 8g of carbs) and some kind of carb-conscious meal replacement bar. Before I go to sleep I always always always drink 2% milk.
  • Exercised on schedule. I work out four days a week and the workouts are an hour a piece. Three days is kickboxing aerobics which is a GREAT workout combining heart-rate work, stretching, and isolation floor work. The four day is an hour of advanced floor pilates focusing on arms, abs and legs. I haven't wavered with that. When I get jumpy from lack of smoking I walk around outside for ten minutes.
  • I still go outside. Before I quit, outside was always social/relaxing etc. but involved smoking. Now I still go out - talk to neighbors, bring my laptop out and sit on the front porch, etc. I just don't smoke.
  • I chew LOTS of gum. LOTS and LOTS.
  • I haven't played golf. That will be the challenge - I haven't had any trouble yet when singing with the band, which brings me into direct contact with smokers and cigarette smoke. I'm not and never have been much of a drinker, so that's not an issue. For me, golfing and smoking go together. I won't be playing until Labor Day weekend when, hopefully, I'll have enough time under my belt to fight the smoking demons.

I have been irritable and intermittently (and sometimes severely) depressed. I've substituted a little kick of caffeine when that happens.

Here's a secret - my goal, when I quit, in addition to staying quit, was to actually see if I could lose a little weight. I don't need to lose any - I'm only talking a pound here - but I wanted to prove to myself that I could use quitting to reinforce dietary and exercise discipline. So far I'm succeeding.

Thanks for all the feedback!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Two Weeks Today

I've hit two weeks. I'd be thrilled if I weren't so jangled.

Just a sidenote, here, for everyone who has been reading and has been supportive and what have you. I have not only been dealing with quitting smoking - that's quite enough, thankyouverymuch, to cause my stress level to skyrocket. I have also been dealing with life issues, centered around my stepson and around my husband.

On the husband front, I worry about his health a bit - I wish he would take better care of himself. If you've been reading the blog you know that we had to take him, via ambulance, to the emergency room about a week and a half ago - he would like to view the whole incident as the exception and not the rule, and I would like to embrace that. But the fact is that he'll be 49 in November and I wish that he would eat better and get some exercise. Both of his parents have died this year (that's a whole different story) and the mother of close friend of ours just passed as well as a contemporary in the Washington DC music industry. There comes an age when your parents start to dwindle and then the next age where your friends start to dwindle - he's now dealing with that. Because I see him dealing with that it makes me think of him and wanting him to guard his health carefully. It makes me worry.

The second issue is stepson related. He's utterly and totally adrift. I won't go into the details but he has definitely had his problems in the past. He's gotten through some of them but his propensity to lie or, at best, to omit the truth is getting taxing. He's 20 years old, will be 21 in March, and has NO prospects, gumption or drive. That's disturbing enough - he has lived with us for nine years now - but my husband, because he loves him, wants to make excuses for him. We worry and we fret and we try to coordinate in compelling a change in the stepson but my husband always relents. The problem is further exacerbated by the fact that relenting isn't doing the stepson any favors. It's just frustrating - and another constant worry - because I've been here before and I know that the whole situation is speeding towards some dramatic and complicated flare-up that will take my time, effort and money to correct. That's the way it always goes. So I stand between the two of them, trying to work with EACH side to see the right path (or at least the right steps to the right path) and I don't always make much progress. Again - frustrating and stressful.

So that has been added into the quitting smoking thing. It hasn't helped, I'm sure, but hopefully the quitting smoking thing will get easier and leave me more room for all the other things.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Day 13. Ugh.

I have been remiss in posting. Truthfully, there are a few reasons for that.

Let me start by saying one of the reasons is NOT that I've fallen off the wagon - I haven't.

I have, however, been in a foul, shitty, depressed mood. I'm tired. All the time. I don't understand why that isn't going away.

I haven't laughed much or smiled since I quit. I don't understand that, either. While I know that this is a ridiculous thing to say, I'll say it anyways: am I a naturally sour person with a shitty disposition and NOT having nicotine or cigarettes has caused that to finally assert itself or ...? You understand the question. I am so not myself that it's troublesome.

I just... I don't feel up for anything. I didn't get things done around the house the weekend, things that I would normally ensure happened. I wanted to nap - or sit - or whatever - but I wasn't productive at all. There are three things I've kept together, and that's work, my diet, and my exercise schedule. Other stuff (like housecleaning, yard work, washing my car, etc.) I just don't seem to have the energy for and I would have always attended to that stuff whether I wanted to or not.

So I haven't blogged because the tenor of my posts have been SO bad that I didn't want to depress everyone.


Thursday, August 18, 2005

Day 9 - Observations and Responses to People Who Have Emailed Me. :-), a support and resource site that many of you kindly referred me to, says the following about my quit:

Your Quit Date is: 8/10/2005 7:40:00 AM
Time Smoke-Free: 8 days, 3 hours, 7 minutes and 9
Cigarettes NOT smoked: 122
Lifetime Saved:
22 hours
Money Saved: $24.00

Let's see... that's one more day to bitch and moan (almost) and about half a tank of gas. Not very exciting!!

Today I feel ok... Not great, just ok. The tired thing is kicking my ass. I'm a pretty high energy person, so feeling overly tired for an extended period of time takes an emotional toll on me. I don't know if I would call my symptoms physical - I mean, theoretically, at Day 9, if I went and got blood work done there would be no evidence of my ever having smoked. But does that mean that withdrawal stuff is gone, too?? I don't think so... I'm still struggling with mild headaches (intermittent), nasty irritability, and insomnia. Can anyone out there farther along than I tell me how much longer I'll be tired and kind of out of sorts? I just want to know - having it seem indefinite and indefinable is really depressing.

A LOT of people wrote me after I sent out an email indicating that the blog was fully updated a week in. Here's an excerpt of something from my Dad:

"The only concern I had was your statement to the effect that "smoking may kill
me but stress will kill me". I would argue that stress can be harmful but you
can do other things to mitigate it. Whereas, there is no mitigation for smoking
other than stopping. "

Understood - just so all of you know, I don't consider there any choice in the matter and it occurred to me that it may have sounded that way. In other words, I do believe that, overall, stress is a more pervasive and dangerous condition than smoking. It affects so many systems in your body - for me, my skin and brain and stomach and breathing. However, I do NOT think that there is a choice to be made between smoking and stress. Nicotine, I think, lowers stress levels - but so does heroin. That doesn't make it right, now does it?? So don't worry Dad - I won't talk myself into smoking again for the sake of stress. If I fall off the wagon it will be only from pure weakness, not some silly rationalization.

My Godmother wrote me as well:

"Anyway -- you GO GIRL! It is not only your commitment to this but your
commitment and strength in everything that makes me so proud of you. You
are ONE STRONG person. You are brave to take this on as you start a new
job. Or, it might be the best time to do it."

There is never a good time to do it. But there's also never a good time for cancer. I just chose my date and stuck with it and planned for it.

I went to a solidarity vigil for Cindy Sheehan (the mom camped outside of the President's ranch in Crawford, Texas) last night. It was nice - about 400 people with candles and signs lining Reston Parkway (my hometown in Virginia). Lots of people were smoking, though. I longed but I wouldn't call it an actual craving.

So there you have it. Let me know what types of things those of you who have quit smoking are experiencing.