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I feel like a stranger...

Posted by SkyGirl Jun 29, 2018

It’s been so long since I’ve been here that I almost feel like I need to ask permission to come back.


It’s been a rough road the last few months.  I have had several health issues.  I won’t get into a long list of what ails me, because I always felt like only really old people talked at length about their state of health.  I will say only that I am still battling a mild case of MRSA which is a Staph A infection that is resistant to most antibiotics.  I also have a job-related injury to my right hand/wrist (the same wrist that was broken a few years ago) and I’ve put a lot of my attention into fighting for approval for my Worker’s Compensation claim.  It was finally approved last week, but I’ll be off work for another few weeks while I work on getting a release to go back to work!  It’s ironic; first I fight to get United Airlines to recognize that I even HAVE a serious on-the-job injury and once they finally do admit that——then I have to start fighting to prove that I’m recovered enough to go back to work!  Ah, bureaucracy is a tough enemy sometimes.


I have to admit that, several times in the past couple of months, I’ve thought that I will never feel good to plan EX 6.2.  I was overwhelmed.


But, I’m feeling good now (aside from the inconvenience of having a broken right wing!) and I’m BACK.


I’m ready to get busy now, and make EX 6.2 happen!


 If coming to an EX 6.2 gathering in San Diego/Oceanside CA (where Dale lives) is still important to YOU, please check in with me in the next few days.  


I’ve narrowed it down to two hotels.  But I’ll need to get an estimate of how many EXers are interested, to see if I can get a group rate.  


The dates that would work the best are either October 12-14 or October 19-21.  Take a look at your own calendars and let me know which weekend you prefer.


We don’t have to get a huge group to have an EX get-together!  Even a few people is enough!  So let me know in the comment section below if you are interested.  You can private-message me your personal email address so I can be sure to get all the information directly to you.


In the next couple of days, I’ll be putting out hotel information, a tentative itinerary (including the scenic train ride up to Oceanside to eat chile rellenos with DALE!), and a list of activities you might want to pursue on your own.


It feels good to be back among my friends!  And I’m really looking forward to getting to know some of the EXers that joined while I was away!


xxxooo,   Sky

In the first few months of your Quit, try to think of your Quit as a newborn baby.

During the first few days, you are like a brand new parent with your newborn Quit. You are a little frightened, unsure, worried. You think you may not be cut out for this. You panic easily. Your Quit is tiny and helpless.

Your Quit can't make it all on its own yet. Your Quit needs lots of attention. You must watch carefully over your Quit. Your Quit needs you to take good care of it. Just like a real baby.

So spend a lot of time nurturing your Quit. Do the things you need to do to make sure your Quit stays healthy. Spend a lot of time helping your Quit to grow stronger. Just as you would do for a real baby. Feed it healthy foods. Take it for a walk. Cuddle and coddle it when you first bring it home with you.

You may need to cut back on your usual activities in order to take good care of your little Quit.

Stay away from the places that might harm a newborn Quit. Don't take your sweet little Quit into bars. Don't take your precious Quit into the homes of smokers. You wouldn't take a real baby to these places, would you? Of course not.

Hang around with other new parents of itty-bitty Quits for support. Ask for the advice of older parents whose Quits are now toddlers, pre-teens, teenagers. Listen to their advice; they've already raised good, strong Quits.

Just as in the case of a real newborn baby, your Quit will grow every day. It will become stronger and smarter. It will learn to stand on its own without you having to cradle it in your arms all the time. But not right away. Right now, give your baby Quit what it needs to thrive.

Maybe someday, as your Quit grows up, instead of constant attention, it will only need a pat on the head or a kiss on the cheek to stay strong and tall.

It will always need loving attention from you, just like any growing child. But as it grows up, it won't need your constant hovering devotion. Just remember to make sure your Quit always knows how much you love it and how you will always be there for it, no matter how old it gets.

But until all that a parent can, and should, do to protect your precious newborn Quit.

xxxooo, Sky


Brenda and Aldo have a baby!!

Posted by SkyGirl Apr 13, 2018

Welcome to the world, Matthias Antonio!  He weighs 6lbs,11oz.  And he is 19” long.  Brenda had a c-section after a long night.  Mom and baby are doing well.  


I reminded her that all FIVE of my children survived having me as a mom (!!!) and that fact qualifies me to babysit when the opportunity arises in a few weeks or months.  Well... she didn’t say “No”.  That’s good, right?  On the other hand, I think she fell into a well-deserved (and probably one of her last uninterrupted for 18 years) nap while we were talking/texting.  


This is one CUTE newborn!!  Welcome, Matthias!  And CONGRATULATIONS to Brenda and Aldo!  So happy for you!!


And I’ll bet that this child will never smoke a cigarette in his entire lifetime!!  Just an educated guess...(if Brenda has anything to say about it, right?)


I am a Babysitter/Advice Giver/Shoulder to Cry On/Amazing Chef/Non-gross-outable House Cleaner/ Laundress/Just plain Hand-Holder when you need support.  I am ALWAYS available to you.  Just 30 minutes away from you, Girl!  Let me help.  Maybe not now...but after all the relatives have gone home.  That’s when it gets tough sometimes.  You can call me ANYTIME, day or night, because you know that I don’t live by clock-time.  United Airlines can do without me if YOU need me.





Brenda M was scheduled for an induction tomorrow, but her water broke tonight.  She and Aldo are at the hospital right now.  She loves you all, but politely asks for no hubbub or advice at this point.  If she gives me a green light, I will keep you all updated.  (I’M SO EXCITED FOR THEM!  She’s going to be such a COOL mom!)


xxxooo,  Sky



I know I’ve posted this at least once every year since I’ve quit smoking.  And I know that, on this new format, I’m not supposed to repost old blogs.  So I’m switching this “Broken Record” blog up a bit.


I believe that Newcomers who have just arrived here at EX need to see something right off the bat that makes them realize that we UNDERSTAND how they feel about smoking and about quitting smoking.


We want newcomers to know that we really do GET it when they say they want to quit but they REALLY don't want to quit at the same time. The dichotomy is REAL.  


We know they need to see something here on EX that gives them hope about their ability to quit and to actually be able to enjoy life without cigarettes. Something to help them believe that they CAN quit and that life after quitting isn’t void of those moments of reward and relaxation that ALL of us thought that smoking gave us.  


We know that Newbies, upon stumbling into EX, need to know that they are that WELCOME and WANTED here on this website.   This is not a closed circle of friends.  That we have been where you are.  That we want to get to know you and help you and walk this walk with you. 


Yes, there ARE a few of us who have long, successful Quits.  But we don’t stay here on EX for the friendships we’ve formed.  We stay here because we want SO VERY MUCH to help Newbies feel welcomed, accepted no matter what, and to help them believe that they can quit, that it doesn’t take something magic to be able to beat an addiction to nicotine.  It just takes knowledge about nicotine addiction and support from other Quitters.  Let us do this for YOU, as the Quitters who came before us did it for US.


So I’m reposting the following because these are basic truths.  Read carefully.  And don’t blow us off just because you don’t believe all of this right away...most of us didn’t believe it right away either.


1) Smoking a cigarette does NOT calm you down, ease your stress, make you happier or more able to cope. All that smoking a cigarette does is increase the level of nicotine in your body, which holds off the effects of withdrawal that started when you finished your last cigarette.


2) You do not enjoy smoking. What you are enjoying is NOT feeling a low level of nicotine in your body.


3) Educating yourself about nicotine addiction gives you a HUGE advantage in successfully quitting.


4) The way you THINK about quitting is absolutely KEY.


It is important that you banish the concepts of "trying", "attempting", "hoping it works", "wish me good luck".
It is important that you read enough about quitting until your thinking does a complete 180 degree turn from "giving up something", "sacrificing something I love", "doing without", "getting through this" into "FREEDOM".

Freedom from what? From a life that is ruled by an addiction, freedom to enjoy better health, freedom from guilt and shame, freedom from worrying when and where you can have your next cigarette, freedom from the panic when you realize you are out of cigarettes, freedom from smelling like an ashtray, freedom from hiding and making excuses.
And don't forget to think about all the free time you will gain, the money you will save, and the self-esteem that will rocket upwards when you quit. So get that thinking flipped around so you are ready to quit successfully.


5) You CAN quit. Your addiction is no stronger and no harder to beat than anyone else's. If we can quit, then you can quit. We can ALL quit.  Listen to me again:  You CAN quit.  We all believed we were different when we first found EX.


6) Yes, the first few days of quitting are not very pleasant. In fact, they suck. Completely suck. 


But if you prepare IN ADVANCE (hear that???) for how to handle those first days, you will make the whole process go a lot easier for yourself.


Listen to the advice of those who have already achieved what you came here to achieve.


Then FOLLOW that advice. Don't just read it in the blogs and think, "hmm, yeah, that sounds good" and shuttle it to the back of your brain.

You must actually DO the things that have been proven to help make you a successful quitter.  No matter how obvious or mundane or elementary that they seem to you.


7) Be HAPPY. This is one of the best decisions you will ever make for yourself. Be excited to do this. And be VERY, VERY proud of yourself. We are. And we will be here to help you all the way...  EVERY SINGLE STEP—no matter how you are feeling.  So, go ahead, post your head off!  Good or bad, you won’t scare us away and we won’t give up on you.



Let’s be honest.  Nobody comes to this site feeling all excited and happy about quitting. 


Most people who come to EX aren’t even sure that they really want to quit.  Or they know they SHOULD quit, but they don’t really WANT to.  Or...they’ve really wanted to quit for a long time, but they don’t BELIEVE that they CAN quit.


That’s the way most of us felt when we came to this site.   So you aren’t different.  


I know, I know...  


It’s easier to accept what you THINK is true;  that you are DIFFERENT, that other people who quit smoking simply didn’t NEED it the way that you do, that YOUR need for cigarettes, and the way you LOVE smoking, and the way it calms you down and helps you deal with life and gives you a break from stress is much more REAL and NECESSARY than what the other people here ever felt—ESPECIALLY the people on this site that have already quit successfully.  They just don’t NEED smoking the way you do.  In other words, YOUR addiction to nicotine is much stronger and much harder to beat than anyone else’s.  Maybe THEY could give it up...but you CAN’T.


But, here’s the thing... (now, listen carefully and read this again and again...)




Okay, now go back and read that again.  Don’t blow it off.


Whoa.  WHAT???  Okay, maybe that’s too much therapy for right now.  But put that phrase in the back of your mind and try to remember it when you are feeling like crap about something in your life...including quitting.


Because you have the ability to DECIDE how you will feel about quitting.


Let me guess how you are feeling...


You feel you are “giving something up”.  You feel that you are making a “sacrifice”.  You feel that life without smoking will feel BAD and that you will always feel that you are missing something good.  You feel that you are facing the idea of “doing without” something that really improved your life and made it easier.


Um, no.


What if you DECIDED to see quitting differently?  What if you DECIDED to see quitting as finding FREEDOM from your nicotine addiction?  What if you DECIDED to believe that life would be BETTER once you were free of cigarettes?  What if you DECIDED to listen to the people here on EX who have come before you and have quit and who tell you that life IS better without smoking?


What if, even though you can’t quite buy into that idea yet, that you just made the decision to BELIEVE that you CAN quit and that it won’t leave a hole in your life?  That life WILL be better after you quit smoking?


It’s not easy to quit.  And anyone who tells you that they didn’t struggle in some way may be not quite remembering it accurately.


But here’s the thing that we all grasped on to when we first quit:  “This is hard, but it will get easier and I will be so happy that I did this,  I will find that life without cigarettes is really good, even if I can’t make myself believe it yet”.


And we were right.  Life IS better.  And we don’t miss smoking.  It’s not easy.  But it’s SO worth it.  


And here at EX, we will help you.  All you have to do is introduce yourself and start talking to us.


You CAN quit.  We did.  And your nicotine addiction is no stronger nor any harder to beat than ours was.


xxxooo,   Sky

When I quit, everyone told me that cravings were predictable.  


It wasn’t about WHEN cravings would hit.  It was about predicting the path that cravings almost always take.  


Many studies say that cravings only last about 3-5 minutes.  That may be what the researchers found was the most common timing.  And that’s really about as long as all of mine ever lasted.  But, as many of us know, cravings can be longer.  And feel like the end of the world, right?  (But it’s NOT.)


Here’s the thing about cravings:  The more attention you give them, the longer they will probably last.  




It is for this very reason, that we recommend preparing a list of distractions to use when you feel a craving coming on.  

(If you want more advice on distractions, please see my blog titled “What’s in YOUR Toolbox”?)  


Distractions take your attention away from the crave, give you something to do with your hands, and something for your brain to think about. Distractions also include things that will divert your physical sensations, like brushing your teeth, red pepper flake on your tongue, etc.  


There are hundreds of ways to distract your attention from a crave.  If you need ideas, send a private message to ANY Elder and we will explode your mailbox with ideas.  Just remember, that NO advice or suggestion will work for you UNLESS YOU ACTUALLY DO IT.


But I have wandered away from the original idea of this blog: TIME.  You cannot predict the amount of time you will experience a crave.  And there are some very lucky Quitters who aren’t bothered by cravings.  (That wasn’t me and I still can’t believe there are Quitters who don’t experience physical cravings...but they do exist.  I wish...)


So...let’s talk about TIME.  I’m sure many of you have heard Elders talk about how, in the beginning, sometimes you have to just look at getting through the next day, the next afternoon, the next hour, the next MINUTE when you are experiencing a craving, right?


But, another way to deal with cravings is to actually pay attention to TIME passing.   NOT to the time it takes to get through a craving or the amount of time that a craving may last.


But to just plain TIME as it passes...


I love hour glasses.  Hour glasses come in all sizes and times.  Sometimes they are just called “sand timers” (because if it isn’t a timer for one hour, how can you call it an “hour glass” right?)


Did you know that sand timers come in increments as short as 30 seconds?  And there are sand timers for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 15, 30, 45 minutes.  And that they come in all shapes and sizes and colors?  Sand timers are fun!  Take a look at a shopping website.  They aren’t that expensive.


What if you just decided to ride out a craving by watching the time pass?  (Thomas called it “riding out a crave”.  He meant  that sometimes the best way to deal with a crave is not to fight it, but to just ACKNOWLEDGE it and watch it build, come to a crest and then subside.)


There is a hypnotic quality to watching grains of sand fall through an hour glass.   When I was a new Quitter,  I could usually distract myself from a craving long enough for it to pass.  (But it usually ended up involving chocolate or scrubbing toilets.)  How I wish I had thought of getting a set of colorful sand timers!  I could have sat down with a 30-second timer in the first days and stood firm for that long while I watched time pass.  And then on to 1 minute, 5 minutes, 10, 15, 30 minutes.  


By the time I got up to 15 or 30 minutes, I probably wouldn’t have felt the need to sit right in front of the hour glass and watch the colorful grains of sand fall.  Why not?  Because I KNEW that time was passing, that the sand was falling and that I could make it through anything for those short, ever-increasing amounts of time.  And that, with every hard-earned day that I didn’t smoke, I was getting stronger and that living without cigarettes was getting easier (even if I didn’t FEEL it at the time).  Because I was learning to live in my “new normal”. 


Time is not our enemy.  Don’t think in terms of  “never smoking again” or “the rest of my life without cigarettes”.  Take it 30-seconds at a time in the beginning of your Quit.  And be proud of every minute that you handle cravings without giving in to your nicotine addiction.


Watch the grains of sand fall through the hour glass.  And know that with every single grain of sand, you are saving your own life.  You are not “giving up” time as a smoker!  You are learning to love the time you are now living as an EX!


I’ve missed being here SO much.  I want to get to know all each and every new Quitter.  Talk to me!


xxxooo,   Sky@

Almost five years ago, on January 29, 2013, I posted a blog about a really difficult, emotionally-draining flight I’d just had.  A woman, whose daughter had just been killed the day before in a skiing accident, was on my flight from Orlando to Denver.  She was connecting to a flight to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to claim her daughter’s body and to find some way to comfort her other two children who had watched their sister be killed when thrown against a tree in a freak snow slide.  There was nothing to say.  I just held her in the galley as she sobbed in a way I will never, ever forget.  She told me about her bright, beautiful 28 year-old daughter.  She felt helpless in her own grief about how to comfort her other two children who had SEEN their sister die.  I still choke up just typing about it.  If you want to read that old blog, search for “An Emotional Flight”.


I took away something incredibly important from that experience.  And now, whenever I see online, or see on tv, or hear about any person who dies unexpectedly in acts of violence, or a random accident on the road, or even a medical mistake...I think about how innocent people with great futures ahead, or with wonderful histories behind them, die every single day in senseless, meaningless ways, leaving their wife, their husband, their parents, their children, their friends to  mourn them, miss them, want them back.  And these deaths were beyond the control of the person who died.


In contrast, here we are, all of us here on EX, who once smoked or are in the process of quitting...who CHOSE to do this.  We CHOSE to put poison into our bodies.  We CHOSE to kill ourselves slowly.  And, all the while, thinking that we were ENJOYING it. 


There are innocent people, young or old, worthy or not, going about the business of their daily life...and boom...something out of their control happens and they are gone.  GONE.  Their loved ones will never see them again. And they had no warning.


But smokers DO have warnings.  Lots of them. 


Ask us for help when you don’t think you can go another minute. 


Because you CAN.  And we will help you do it.


xxxooo,   Sky

Let me tell you what smoking does NOT do for you.


Smoking does not ease your stress.


Smoking does not calm you down.


Smoking does not make you feel more relaxed.


Smoking does not make you feel happier.


Smoking does not make you more able to cope.


Lastly, you do NOT enjoy smoking.


"But, wait!" you say, "Smoking DOES do these things for me!"


No. It doesn't. But it DOES do something. Here's what it does:


Smoking a cigarette will relieve the beginnings of withdrawal (which started quietly when you put out your last cigarette.)


Smoking a cigarette will raise the levels of nicotine in your body so that you mistake the feeling of feeding your nicotine addiction for a sense of calm.


Smoking a cigarette tops off the nicotine in your system, making your body less worried about maintaining the level of nicotine in your body. You mistake that rising level of nicotine in your bloodstream for relaxation.


Smoking a cigarette feeds your existing nicotine addiction. You mistake that sense of momentary relief for happiness.


Smoking a cigarette does the same thing for your body that you see on those police shows when a scary heroin addict finally tightens the band around his arm and shoots up. He's not less stressed, calmed down, more relaxed, happier or more able to cope with life...he's just upped the drug in his body to the point where he's not in withdrawal anymore. That "aaahhhh" he emits means his body had avoided withdrawal, not actuallly experienced something GOOD.


These are true and real and serious parallels, my friends. The ONLY difference between a nicotine addiction and an illegal drug addiction is that nicotine is legal, somewhat socially-acceptable and the addiction has fewer real life rock-bottoms (losing your job, your spouse, your car, your credit).


No, you may not ever be in danger of losing the important things in your life because of your smoking. Unless you die from smoking. And people do die from smoking, you know. And those folks lose EVERYTHING. And the people who love them lose EVERYTHING, too.


Please let us help you quit. We have so many tricks up our sleeves that help get you through!

xxxooo, Sky


Seattle, anyone?

Posted by SkyGirl Oct 26, 2017

I’m flying into Seattle tomorrow night (Thursday, 10/26) for a nice long 25 hour layover.


I arrive at my hotel, which is about five blocks away from Pike Place Market, at about 9pm tomorrow night.


I’ll be hanging out in Seattle all day on Friday, the 27th, until about 10pm, when I’ll be working the red-eye flight back to DC.


Do we have any EXers in, or near, Seattle?  


I would love to meet an EXer while I’m here!  It doesn’t matter if you have a successful Quit or if you are brand new to EX and don’t really know anyone yet.  Heck, I’d really love to meet up with someone who is even just starting to THINK about setting a Quit Date.


Lunch at a restaurant in Pike Place is on me.  Or brunch.  Or a snack.  Or even just a cup of coffee.  Or at any place you want to meet up that I can get to via public transportation or Uber.


Are there any EXers in Seattle?  C’mon, don’t be shy, please!  I WANT TO MEET UP.  (Photo op, too!!!)


Respond to this blog or send me a private message here on EX.  Or ask me for my phone or email in a comment on this blog.  


Let’s make this happen!


xxxooo,   Sky


What’s in YOUR toolbox?

Posted by SkyGirl Oct 23, 2017

You know how we are always talking about having the "tools" to help us when we are quitting? We talk about using our "tools" to make it through a craving. We talk about using the "tools" we've been given to protect our Quit. Let's talk about these tools.

It would be great if you could walk into a hardware store and say, "I'd like to buy some Quit Smoking tools, please." You can't. But if you's what you'd walk out of the store with:

1) Education: This would be articles, books, websites where you can learn about nicotine addiction. The tool of Education will be key in helping you learn that you CAN quit smoking and never smoke again. You will use this tool before you quit to get yourself ready and keep using it after you quit to keep you strong. This tool gives you knowledge and helps you benefit from the experience of others. Example: "The Easy Way to Stop Smoking" by Allen Carr and (my personal favorite) "Nicotine Addiction 101" on

2) Distractions: You should have plenty of suggestions and ideas from other people here on EX about ways to distract yourself if you need ways to redirect your brain when you can't seem to stop thinking about smoking or when a craving hits you. There are two types of distractions: Activities that will distract your hands/thoughts (examples: scrub your toilet, weed your garden, redo your nail polish, organize your tackle box, dance for an entire ABBA song, browse around on eBay, etc.) and Flavors/tastes that will surprise (or shock!) your tastebuds and sense of smell (examples: a spoonful of peanut butter, a drop of Tabasco, a shake of cocoa powder, blue cheese crumbles, a squirt of pancake syrup, a whiff of curry powder, Fruit Loops one at a time, Red-Hot candies, etc.) Make a physical list, written or typed, and keep it with you at all times.

3) Human Support: Online (like EX) or in person (family, co-workers, friends) can be some of the best tools you have during the first few weeks of your Quit. Obviously, it doesn't help to lean on someone who still smokes. Never-Ever Smokers can't understand what you are going through, BUT they can be your biggest face-to-face cheerleaders. Don't forget to educate Never-Evers before your Quit Date, using the "Letter to My Loved Ones". You can find this letter here on EX by doing a search for it. Many quitters have said it made a world of difference in the way their friends and family were able to understand and support them. EX is, of course, an invaluable support tool. I don't think I need to elaborate on why EX is so amazing, do I?

4) Common Sense: Your tool box should be chock full of common sense. Your common sense will tell you about things to do, things not to do, things that will help you, things that will hurt you, things to stay close to, things to stay away from. This tool is different from the knowledge you got from Education (#1 above) because it requires you to be creative and think for yourself within the details of your own life. It's that little angel/devil on your shoulder thing, right? Oh, wait. That's called "Conscience". Well, that's a good tool, too. But be careful of Conscience because that can cause a very UNhelpful thing called "guilt", which has NO PLACE in the tool box.

5) A Bottle of Water and A Big Yellow Lemon in a Baggie: Okay, okay, these both actually fall under Distractions (#2 above). But they are SO basic (the water) and SO effective (the lemon) that I felt they deserved the separate category of "Honorable Mention Tools". If you feel like you are losing control at any time during your Quit, take a big slug of water from the bottle. It's easy, it's available and it takes no great thought. Sometimes a few big swallows of water is all it takes to get you back on track. Or...take a deep breath and bite into that lemon, peel and all. It is not pleasurable. But it is a Hall of Fame Crave Buster. You will NOT want a cigarette after biting that lemon. I promise. (The baggie is so you can carry it with you. I got some very odd looks when I took out my lemon and bit it in airports! But...I don't smoke anymore, do I?)

6) Patience: Quitting doesn't happen in a day or a week or even a few weeks. As Youngatheart (Nancy) has said many times "Quitting is not an event; it's a journey.". It doesn't happen all at once and the road can be rocky, at times. Sometimes, all the best tools in your Tool Box aren't doing the trick. That's when you need this tool : PATIENCE. Thomas posted a blog about riding out cravings, experiencing the feelings, acknowledging the difficulty, not trying to fight it, and waiting for the urge to ebb away like a wave. It was a brilliant blog; go read it. Sometimes, you just have to be PATIENT. And patience in action means this: When you think you can't stand it another minute? Just wait a little longer. It WILL pass.

So, Quitters, go check your toolboxes! Are you missing any of these tools? And if you have counted "Willpower" as a tool, forget it. Pitch it out. It won't help you find a Fovever Quit and it's not a real tool at all! Instead of "Willpower", use Education.

xxxooo, Sky


Sharon (Shashort)

Posted by SkyGirl Oct 13, 2017

The banner photo was taken at EX5 in Virginia Beach last spring.  From left to right: Sky, Chris, jojo, Sharon, Pat, Pops and Laura (Michwoman).  Sharon is undergoing serious surgery on her hand and I would like to know if anyone has a hospital address for her and if anyone knows how long she will be in the hospital so we can send letters or flowers?  If she will be going home soon after surgery, please let us (me) know her home address so we can all send cards and flowers there while she recovers.


By the way, Sharon caught MORE water balloons than anyone else at the EX5 First Annual Water Balloon Toss.  So look out for Sharon at EX6 with her new thumb!


xxxooo,  Sky

September 27th came and went.  


It was my fifth year anniversary as an ex-smoker.


Granted, I was up to my eyeballs in wedding details just three days before my daughter’s wedding.


Even so, I really love the fact that this anniversary came...and went...and I didn’t even notice.


It’s the first anniversary that I wasn’t hanging around on EX all day, and loving the kudos I was getting.


It is bittersweet to think that I’m so successful at beating nicotine that a milestone like FIVE YEARS could just pass me by.


But, at five years...I’m so happy to be NOT thinking about smoking at all.


Love, love, love, love to all the wonderful people who came here before me and helped me to find my Forever Quit.


We find EX, we get involved, we support each other,  and WE QUIT.  Every one has a diffferent journey.  But the one thing we ALL have found is that SUPPORT MATTERS.


So please, let us support you.


xxxooo,  Sky

Sorry I’ve been MIA for a couple of weeks!   Both weddings in September were a huge success and I survived all the Mother-of-the-Groom and Mother-of-the-Bride planning and festivities.


I promise there will be something about not smoking in this blog, but if you guys could just indulge me for a few minutes, I’d really like to show you a few photos of the two weddings.  I appreciate your patience with me being the proud Mothership!


This first picture is me with all my “babies”!   From left to right:  Whitney (41), Max (33), me (old lady; age unknown), Spencer (30), Hayley (34), Oliver (36).  And to all you young mothers and fathers here on EX, this, yes, THIS is why you want to quit.  Because your “babies” need you to still be around when they are grown-ups and have children of their own.  Do you really want to miss being a grandma or grandpa?

This is the official family picture after Max & Jennifer’s wedding.  From left to right:  Peter (Hayley’s fiancé, now hubby after last weekend), Hayley, Whitney (with three of their four children), me (still an old lady), Max, his bride Jennifer (they’ve been together for SIXTEEN YEARS, since they were just teenagers.  We are so close after all these years that I sometimes forget that she’s not one of my birth daughters.), Spencer, his wife Evelyn, Oliver.  The kids in front are Claire (8), John (10), Graham (12) and then, at the far right, Oliver’s daughter, Vivienne (Vivi, age 6).  Missing are Whitney’s husband, Ben, and their oldest daughter, Addie (13).  Addie wasn’t feeling well, so Ben took her home.

Below, Max and Jennifer after their wedding.


Okey doke, that was the FIRST wedding in September.  Now, on to the second wedding in September, in which I was Mother-of-the-Bride (which I already knew was much more expensive and complicated!  But, to be honest, it’s also much more fun when the bride is your daughter.)


It was a smaller-ish wedding, with only 90 guests.  It was held in Glen Lake, Michigan at the Homestead Resort on the edge of Lake Michigan. This specific locale information is for @Michwoman (Laura!) and my other EX friends in Michigan because they will know how beautiful the entire Sleeping Bear dunes and Leelanau Peninsula is!  Michigan is my home state; I lived there from age 12 until age A-Lot-Older.  (Crap, I just realized that I have to count my decades in Ann Arbor on TWO hands!).


Anyway, I will post a bunch of photos of Hayley and Peter’s wedding (because I’m sure you folks are all getting tired of seeing pics of people you don’t know) without a lot of explanation.  Suffice it to say that it was an amazing wedding and I am so happy to have helped Hayley and Peter plan it.  But the very BEST THING about her wedding was when Hayley told me that she wanted me to come stay with her in her room at the Lodge on the night before the wedding.  The fact that she told me that she wanted to snuggle and talk with her Momma on the last night before she became a wife meant THE WORLD to me.  


So, in no particular order, here are a few pics from Hayley & Peter’s wedding.  I know I’m sharing WAY too much on EX about these two weddings, but I’m hoping my dear EX friends will understand...




And I said there’d be something about smoking in this blog, didn’t I?  Well, I had tripped and fallen during the night before the wedding when I was setting up the centerpieces.  I smashed up my right wrist AGAIN (remember when I broke that same wrist about four years ago?  Mascara applied with a left hand ain’t pretty!). It got kind of hard to hide how much it hurt during the reception.  So I slipped outside to just take a breather and to ice my wrist with a baggie full of ice during the festivities.  And what did I happen upon?  Four guests who had taken time out to go outside and smoke.  I am not one of those EXers who still loves the smell of second-hand smoke, so I got as far away as possible from them, but I overheard their conversation.  Here are some of the things they said: “I hope they don’t cut the cake while I’m out here”, “Do you think there’s anyplace around here that I can get cigs this late at night?”, “I’m so glad there are other people here that smoke”, etc.  It made me remember the days when my addiction to smoking made life choices FOR me:  How many cigarettes did I have left?  When is the next time that I’d be in a place where I could smoke?  Do I have enough time to go outside Security, smoke a few, and then get back though Security to my next gate?  If I buy a pack, will I have enough cash to give Oliver for his lunch money tomorrow?  This list goes on and on and on... 


I cringe when I think about how I let my nicotine addiction make my choices for me.


And I love that I found EX and GOT MY LIFE BACK.


To you smokers who are brand new here on EX or have stumbled into the site by accident:  You CAN quit.  Nicotine is a strong addiction; some studies say as strong as heroin.  But look at all of us who have broken free from that damn addiction!  Now listen to this carefully and believe it:  YOUR ADDICTION TO NICOTINE IS NO STRONGER OR MORE DIFFICULT TO BEAT THAT OUR ADDICTIONS WERE.  If we have found a way out of this addiction, SO CAN YOU.  There is nothing special about us.  We have no magic formula that you don’t have.   We were not stronger or more dedicated than you are.  So, please stay here on EX.  Start to blog so we can get to know who you are.  Ask questions.  Make friends here on EX.  And know how a strong support system can make all the difference.  WE can be your support system.


xxxooo,  Sky


What My Beloved said...

Posted by SkyGirl Sep 21, 2017

You know, I was just re-reading my blog from a few minutes ago. And I'm sort of embarrassed that I made it sound so hard.


I love to make it all sound like it's extraordinarily complicated and that I'm some kind of Superwoman...but really it's not that hard!  It's just taking care of business, one task at a time.


When I get overwhelmed by life, I always remember something that My Beloved taught me early on in our relationship.

Out of the blue, he asked me (when I was moaning and crying and carrying on about something), "How do you eat an elephant?"


"Huh?" I said.


He said, "How do you eat an elephant?".


"I dunno" I said "What does THAT have to do with my problems? Why are you making a joke NOW, when I have so much to deal with??" (Actually I didn't just say that, I GROWLED it that at the poor man.)


He laughed at me. And then he took me by the shoulders and sat me down on the couch. He turned off the oven and the computer and the TV. He took my iPad and my cellphone and set them aside. He looked me in the eye and repeated for the third time, "How do you eat an elephant?".


I was so impatient and frustrated at the way he was delaying all the crap I had to take care of! "Ok, I'll humor you. HOW?" I said, in a NOT-loving voice.


And that wonderful man said these words that have carried me through multiple stressful situations where I have felt SO overwhelmed and that I had SO much on my plate and just couldn't manage it all...


My Beloved said to me, " One bite at a time, Honey, just one bite at a time..."


It gave me a whole new perspective. It taught me to conquer one obstacle or task at a time, then move on to the next one.


And THAT'S how I got through those early minutes...hours...days...weeks...months...of my Quit.




How did I ever get so lucky to find this man? (Well, that's actually a good story...for another blog)


All you really need to take from this blog is that you don't have to eat the entire elephant in one meal! Just take one bite at a time.


Don't look at the big idea of never smoking again.


Just take it one moment at a time.


The moments will soon stretch into hours and days.


And you will LOVE yourself for doing this.


We promise to help you. All you have to do is ASK for help.


xxxooo, Sky