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Dinner in Dallas???

Posted by SkyGirl Jan 29, 2013

I have a layover near the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport tomorrow night.  The hotel is actually in Irving, TX, but I know it's not far from DFW.   I'll be arriving at about 2:30pm and leave the next morning. 

Any EXers around Dallas?  Anyone want to meet me for drinks and/or dinner????

xxxooo,  Sky


An Emotional Flight...

Posted by SkyGirl Jan 29, 2013

Today I had a woman on one of my flights who seemed tired and unfriendly.  Not snarly-type unfriendly, just sort of non-responsive when the other flight attendants and I spoke to her during the flight. 

When one of the other flight attendants asked her if she would like something to drink, she just shook her head and turned away without a word..  The younger flight attendants were in the back galley, complaining about how rude she was.  I can't fault them for that because, as in ALL customer service jobs, customers who don't acknowledge that we are real human beings are sometimes hard to take, especially when we are really trying to make their experience with us be a good one.

But, for me, one of the most wonderful things about growing older is the realization that things are not always what they seem to be, that rushing into judgement about someone can be unkind, unfair and unwarranted, and that a little patience and tolerance goes a long way sometimes. 

I was still in the back galley, talking to the two younger flight attendants about not taking it personally, when the woman walked into the galley.  She stood for a moment, saying nothing, not going into the lav, not asking us for a drink or doing any of the usual things passengers do when they come to the galley. 

She seemed unsteady all of a sudden.  I asked her if she felt ill.  She began sobbing silently.  And I don't mean fragile, feminine sniffling.  Her shoulders were heaving, she wasn't making a sound, and she was obviously in complete emotional hell.  She leaned against the galley counter and stretched her hand out to me  (I was the only one left in the galley; the two younger girls had fled in the face of such raw emotion).  I took her hand and said, "What is wrong and what can I do?"

And the woman sobbed, "My daughter is dead.  She was killed on a ski slope in Jackson Hole yesterday.  I don't think I can live through this".   There was no way I could alleviate her agony, and giving her kleenex and a cup of water was so pitifully inadequate.  I put my arms around her as she cried like a baby.  She told me that her daughter was 28, studying to be a physician's assistant, was beautiful and vibrant and full of life.  She told me that she was on her way to Jackson Hole (our flight was from Orlando to Denver) and that she didn't think she was strong enough to help her two other children, who were there on the ski slope with their sister when they saw her hit a tree during a snow slide. 

My God.  What do you say to someone in that kind of pain?  I have five beautiful children of my own, aged 26 through 35.  I can't even process the kind of pain that the death of one of my children would cause in me.

Why am I telling this story?  Because when there are beautiful, healthy young people with bright futures that die under sudden tragic circumstances  HOW IN THE HELL can any of us continue to CHOOSE to die, slowly, bit by bit, by putting poisons into our own bodies????

My heart was breaking, and there was nothing I could do to ease her pain.  How could ANY of us ever have thought that it was okay to smoke poisonous cancer sticks and MAKE ourselves die?

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Two of the best reasons I have to be a non-smoker!  Show me your reasons!  xxxooo, Sky

There are a lot of Newbies here on EX tonight.  That's great to see.  And there is a lot of very serious talk about smoking that goes on here.  That's great, too.  In fact, it's the reason we are all here on EX, and it matters more than anything else.

But, once in a while....we need a party!

So, joyeux and I are both wandering around in No Man's Land (which is what EX calls the months 2,3 and 4 after quitting).  There are a LOT of us out here in NML in the same time frame right now.  It's kind of an odd place to be because the newness and the excitement of Quitting has worn off and yet, you aren't really firmly established as a non-smoker.  The urges can still hit you, unexpectedly and very strongly.  It's a time to be vigilant and protect your Quit carefully.

But it's also time to relax and have some fun!  Let's have a party in No Man's Land!!!  Everyone is invited.  All you have to do is make a comment on this blog.  Newbies, don't be shy!  We want to meet you and get to know you!  Oldbies, you know how this works, so get your imaging going!

Because we're going to the BEACH for this party, folks!!


Murphy's Law just got me...

Posted by SkyGirl Jan 25, 2013

Darn it, darn it, darn it! 

I arose at 3:45am this morning and left the house at 4:45am to drive to the airport for my assigned trip.

So, I'm on the parking lot shuttle bus, on my way to the terminal.  My phone rings.  It's the Crew Desk.  My trip is canceled. The whole trip.  No Houston.  No Denver.  No Chicago.

Worst of all...No Philly. 

No dinner with jojo.  I'm very sad.

Flight attendants have their own version of Murphy's Law.  It goes like this: "If you make plans with family or friends for your layover, invariably the trip will fall apart."

The good thing is that the thought of smoking never even entered my mind.  Killing one of the Crew Schedulers certainly did...but not smoking.


Calling all Philly EXers...

Posted by SkyGirl Jan 24, 2013

I've got a 17-hour layover in Philly tomorrow night (Friday, 1/25).

jojo and I talked about getting together for dinner, but we haven't talked about it lately and I don't know if she's still available.  I've written her and expect to hear back from her soon.

And I know there are other EXers in Philly, aren't there? 

I'm staying at a hotel near the airport.  I expect to be at the hotel by 4pm.   And if that's convenient for anyone, I would like to invite them to join jojo and me for dinner.  Newbies, Oldbies, anyone who is an EX!!!!  I would LOVELOVELOVE it!

So...anybody up for it?  (It's a great photo op, guys!)  Just respond here or send me a message.



Stonecipher brought something to my attention this morning (thanks, stone!!)  It's worth mentioning, I think.

I gave up my 23-year Quit on the last Inauguration Day back in 2008.  No, that's not a typo.  Yes, I said TWENTY-THREE year Quit.

It had nothing to do with the fact that it was Inauguration Day.  That was just peripheral.  My sister came down to DC to go to the Inauguration and stayed with me for a week.  She smoked back then.  We went to the Inauguration and when we got home that night, we opened a bottle of wine.  We bundled up and went out on the patio so she could smoke.

I said, "Lemme have one of those".  She said, "Are you sure?".  I said, "Of course!  I quit 23 years ago.  I hardly remember what it's like to smoke.  I just want to try one again."

Yeeeeah.  That was all it took.  The next day, I bummed three cigarettes from her.  The day after that, I bummed seven cigarettes.  The day after THAT, she said, "Go buy your own!"  So I did.  And I smoked a pack a day, every day, until I quit again on Sept 27, 2012.

And THAT, my friends, is a cautionary tale if there ever was one.  The Nico-Demon in your brain is a sleeping giant.  Just one cigarette, or even just one puff, can wake him up and turn him into a raging monster again.

The GOOD news is that here we are, on another Inauguration Day four years later.  And I don't smoke.  And I never will be so naive again to think that "one won't hurt...".

Now I'm sleepless in Houston.  I usually don't pay any attention to time zones.  But I flew early yesterday morning from DC to Seattle, had my "nighttime" sleep during an afternoon hotel layover and then flew all night, arriving in Houston at 5:30am today.  And for some reason, my body clock won't listen to me today.

Now I'm BORED.  It's an unusually long layover (27 hours!) in downtown Houston.  But not a particularly nice part of downtown and I'm sort of stuck in this hotel room the entire time.  Room service doesn't operate until 5pm and I'm down to the celery sticks in my lunchbox.  And how many episodes of "Property Brothers" can you  watch in 27 hours?  (I'll let you know; I'm on the seventh one now, with 16 hours to go in this boring layover.)

If I still smoked, I'd have been up and down the elevator 400 times by now, going to stand outside the hotel entrance on a busy street to smoke.  I cringe when I think about how I would try to hide my lit cigarette when anyone who looked athletic and healthy walked by on the street.  Yeah, like they didn't know what I was doing just standing out there on the sidewalk for no apparent reason.  Who did I think I ws fooling?  Only myself.

I was ashamed of my smoking.  I knew that while I was talking to, or meeting, new people, when I pulled out a cigarette, their opinion of my intelligence went down.  But it didn't stop me from smoking around them...

But I AM bored.  Boredom is a dangerous state to be in.  I know I won't smoke. But when I'm bored, I do find my mind flirting with thoughts of smoking.  Not as in craving.  Just a memory that you edit in your brain to only remember the parts that you WANT to remember.  Funny how the hacking, the smell, the cost, the burn holes, the shame never enter into those fleeting "fond" memories, isn't it?

But, not to worry, the eighth straight episode of "Property Brothers" is starting.  Sheesh.

Hey, Folks!  Do you find yourself "romancing the cigarette" tonight?  Are you thinking that just one cigarette would be wonderful, would satisfy you, would help you relax, would be all you needed to feel "better"???  

Well, stop it.  You are mistaken.  "Just one" little cigarette will blow your Quit and all the hard work you've made it through so far.  And it might not be "just one" because cigarettes travel in packs.

AND...because I have a better idea.  Let's romance CHEESE!!!

Oooey, gooey macaroni & cheese...

Creamy, warm baked brie in pastry...


C'mon folks, I know you want cheese! 

xxxooo,  Sky

Hi, Everybody!  I actually have a couple of days on the ground.  I'm seeing more and more new folks here, which is wonderful!  And it's good to be back blogging, even after only being gone for a few days. This site is vital to me and my Quit.

In truth, sometimes I DO get to feeling like I just keep saying the same things over and over in my blogs.  About doing the reading.  About tracking triggers. About separation exercises.  About making the lists of "Things to Do when a Craving Hits".  About preparing a Quit Kit and keeping it near you during the first few days.  About realizing that quitting is not about "trying" or "attempting" or "hoping it works this time".  About also realizing that it's not about "giving up" or "sacrificing" or "doing without".  About feeling the lightbulb go off in your head when you finally understand the freedom you will GAIN by beating your nicotine addiction.

I guess the reason I often can't think of any new or original advice to give is because...there just isn't any need for anything new or original.  The Elders and EXperts have done the thing that the Newbies want to do: QUIT FOREVER. 

The Elders and EXpers have got this quitting gig all figured out.  They know what works and what doesn't work.  There is no need to go looking for a new way to pull the rabbit out of the hat.  Just listen when the Elders and EXperts tell you what will WORK. 

Then DO all the things they recommend.  No matter what YOU think about it.  Because it's really very simple to understand.  Think about it:  They have quit.  You haven't quit yet.  So who knows more about how to do it? 

Please don't ignore the wisdom of the Elders and EXperts.  Be a student.  Let them teach you.  They KNOW.

I got back from a rather grueling two-day trip.  I flew into and out of six different cities all within 42 hours. Have you ever seen what happens to your plastic bottle of water while your plane is descending?  You know how it contracts and shrinks and gets all sucked in?  Well, I hate to deliver bad news, but there is a similar effect upon your body as your airplane lands while under cabin pressure.  For those of you who fly occasionally, there aren't any effects that you notice.  But when you are a human water bottle that is pressurized, depressurized and repressurized several times each day...  Well, I'm a glass-half-full person, so I'll just say it's an experience that makes you appreciate bedtime. 

But despite feeling like a Dansani bottle that's been through the wringer in the last two days, I wanted to come here and tell you the coolest thing about my trip.

I didn't say anything to anyone (my crew, passengers, pilots, gate agents, layover hotel clerks, van drivers, etc.) about having recently quit smoking.  Yup.  That's all.  That's it.

Not a word about smoking passed my lips in the last 42 hours. 

Now, I'm not a fanatic who preaches to everyone---Bob forbid! (see the nod to my dear friend, Jordan?).  But I do talk about it, usually to explain why I choose not to hang with the crew in certain areas outside airports and hotels, sometimes just to sort of reinforce my Quit by talking out loud about it, even sometimes to explain the weight gain that I'm so embarrassed about...

But I got home tonight and realized that I had not felt the need to speak to anyone about that fact that I just quit smoking.  I was a non-smoker on this trip.  I just WAS.  In fact, at the end of the trip, as we were on the shuttle to the employee parking lot, I thought to myself, "Wow.  These people that I've just spent the last two days with, in close quarters, don't even THINK of me as a smoker or a reformed smoker.  They would probably be really surprised to hear that I was a smoker until very recently".

So, not really a milestone.  But yay me, right?   xxxooo, Sky



Posted by SkyGirl Jan 10, 2013

I was making pasta for lunch  (vegan mac & cheese...but that's a whole 'nother blog.  Yuck!)  The timer said the pasta still had to boil for six and a half minutes.  Out of NOWHERE, my brain said to me, "That's just enough time to smoke a cigarette.  Let's go out to the patio.  Where are your cigarettes?"  Out of the blue, I wanted a cigarette! 

Not badly. I wouldn't even call it a craving.  More like an ingrained response to having 6 free minutes.   It was more the surprise factor that took my breath away for a second.  I knew that I could still have that kind of an automatic thought at Day 106, because I'm in No Man's Land, but nevertheless, I was taken aback.

But I booted that thought and peeled a Clementine orange instead.

I don't smoke anymore.  I don't want THIS anymore:

YUCK.  Or this...


Well, now patio smoking haven never looked THAT bad!  But I hope you all get a sensory sense of disgust at those photos.  Yuck.

You can't smoke when you are choking with laughter...


Dear Tech Support,

Last year I upgraded from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and noticed a distinct slow down in overall system performance, particularly in the flower and jewelry applications, which operated flawlessly under Boyfriend 5.0. In addition, Husband 1.0 uninstalled many other valuable programs, such as Romance 9.5 and Personal Attention 6.5, and then installed undesirable programs such as NFL 5.0, NASCAR 3.0 and Golf Clubs 4.1.
... Conversation 8.0 no longer runs, and Housecleaning 2.6 simply crashes the system. Please note that I have tried running Nagging 5.3 to fix these problems, but to no avail. What can I do?


Dear Desperate,

First, keep in mind that Boyfriend 5.0 is an Entertainment Package, while Husband 1.0 is an operating system. Please enter command: ithoughtyoulovedme.html and try to download Tears 6.2 and do not forget to install the Guilt 3.0 update. If that application works as designed, Husband 1.0 should then automatically run the applications Jewelry2.0 and Flowers 3.5. However, remember, overuse of the above application can cause Husband 1.0 to default to Grumpy Silence 2.5, Happy Hour 7.0 or Beer 6.1. Please note that Beer 6.1 is a very bad program that will download the Farting and Snoring Loudly Beta. Whatever you do, DO NOT under any circumstances install Mother-In-Law 1.0 (it runs a virus in the background that will eventually seize control of all your system resources). In addition, please do not attempt to reinstall the Boyfriend 5.0 program. These are unsupported applications and will crash Husband 1.0. In summary, Husband 1.0 is a great program, but it does have limited memory and cannot learn new applications quickly. You might consider buying additional software to improve memory and performance. We recommend Cooking 3.0 and Hot Lingerie 7.7.

Good Luck!
Tech Support

Thank you, everyone, for all your concern and for all the sweet messages you all sent. 

I had all the symptoms of a heart attack while on a flight to Sacramento, and spent seven hours in the ER in Sacramento.  They wanted to admit me for more tests, but nothing bad had showed up on any tests so far, so I talked the doc into letting me finish my trip back to DC. 

I had the same scary symptoms on two of the three flights.  I went straight to the ER when I got home to DC, where they kept me for a day, re-doing all the tests and still finding no evidence of a heart attack or even clogged arteries. 

I was released with follow-up appointments over the next couple of weeks.  Very frustrating to have scary symptoms and not know why! 

The symptoms only came on while flying.  This would point toward a lack of oxygen in my blood, because a pressurized cabin is only about 70-80% of the oxygen level at sea level.  Beyond that, there is no explanation.

And one doctor actually said to me: "Maybe it was a panic attack.  Are you scared of flying?"    Um, no.

Anyway, I'm fine and I'm back.  And I don't smoke!


Day 100

Posted by SkyGirl Jan 4, 2013

I am seriously lost in No Man's Land today.  I don't even care that it's Day 100.  Probably shouldn't post this because I am NOT looking for attention or sympathy or encouragement.  But I just wanted to let my friends here know where my head is today. I keep doing stupid things today.  I should just go to bed. 

Just a quick blog before I leave Jackson Hole, WY for a grueling 13 hour duty day of flying.  Good thing I love my job.

About how I got to Day 99:

I made a decision to quit.

I committed to that decision, no matter how I felt during the process.

And I never wavered.  Not once.  It wasn't easy.  Sorry, Allen Carr.  It wasn't.

But I quit.  This was my FIRST "try".  And it worked because I never saw failure as a choice.

And because I never SAW it as a"try". 

It was a commitment I made.  And I live up to my commitments.

You can, too.  My addiction was no less severe and life-crippling than YOURS is.

You CAN do it.  It's all in about the way you THINK about quitting.



I decided it's time to work out.  I don't get much opportunity with my job.  However, I have a well-kept secret.  Back in the early '90's, I was an aerobics instructor and certified personal trainer.  Yup.

Well, you'd never know that now.  I got divorced in 1994.  To support myself and five kids, I bought an ice cream store and six hot dog stands in lower Michigan.  From one extreme of the cholesterol scale all  the way to the other extreme of the cholesterol scale. Probably a bad idea.  But, oh, all that ice cream!!!  And it was all MINE!!!  Yup.

The kids grew up and left home, I switched from being a small business owner to flying.  I hit a certain age (and all the vintage women here on EX know what THAT does to your metabolism...). Yup.

Then I quit smoking and found out that nicotine had been cranking up my metabolism at the same time it was messing with my brain function.   I had always thought people who quit smoking gained weight because they substituted food for cigarettes.  Wrong.  It's a physiological effect.  Yup.

But, hey.  New year, new challenge.  Checked out exercise programs on the infomercials tonight...

TurboFire? (Isn't a fire something you cook hot dogs over?)  

Beachbody? (I'm not trying to wear a bikini; I just want my clothes to fit.)

Body Shaper?  (That's what Spanx do, right?) 

BioSlim? (I haven't been SLIM since I was 18) 

Daily Burn?  (Is that about cigarettes? Because I don't do that anymore.)

Fluidity Bar?  (What?  Is that where I can get a drink?)

Insanity?  (No thanks, I can do that on my own...)

Metamorphosis?  (Now I'm a caterpillar?)

This is not encouraging.  I will think about it tomorrow.  Good thing My Beloved likes me the way I am.

I'm a non-smoker.  And that's pretty darn excellent.  Yup.