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Strudel Blog

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Strudel

No power

Posted by Strudel Oct 30, 2020

Tropical Storm Zeta had a pretty big impact - even as far inland as here in Greensboro, North Carolina!  Yesterday we had strong storms and gusty winds. My power has now been out for over 32 hours. I am doing okay....but have not been on EX much. It may be late Sunday before we get power back - so, I just wanted to say hi - thinking of all of 

you - and I am fine! Take care all and I will be back soon! 

Kathy

If you signed up for the EX Zoom reunion on Sunday, you should have received two emails yesterday from Mark, EX Admin. They should provide you with the info you need to attend. If you have any questions - please, let me know here.

PLEASE - check your “messages”! If you are a newer member here, I may have sent you a private message asking for a question to use during our “Ask an Elder” session which Giulia will be doing. If you did not receive the message, or you can’t find it - please submit a question here in a comment below. Even elders - feel free to join in and ask an “elder to elder” question! Thanks! 

 

 

Just a reminder - each participant will be called on to introduce themselves- giving their name, screen name, quit date, location, and to answer one of the questions below. (Just let me know by private message if you would prefer not to be called on.) Thanks again! 

 

Answer one of the following questions:

  • What is the best advice you have received on EX?
  • Why is EX special to you? 
  • What is your favorite blog (yours or another person’s)? Please share. 
  • How long have you wanted to quit - describe your quit journey.

Since 2013 some of us have gathered Informally at locations around the US. It has always been a wonderful experience! This year we were scheduled to meet in Virginia Beach in May and of course we had to cancel that. So, we have decided to do a virtual reunion this year. 

 

If you haven’t already - please sign up to attend the Zoom EX 8 Reunion on next Sunday, July 26th at 6:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time). Go to Virtual Reunion - EX 8  and add a comment with your interest in attending. (Please include your first name, quit date, state or country.) Mark will start the meeting ahead of time for anyone who is new to Zoom and may need some extra help. In addition, I can explain how to download Zoom to your PC, laptop, phone, or tablet. Just let me know if you need assistance. 

 

Please sign up on the blog https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/blogs/Strudel-blog/2020/07/02/virtual-reunion-ex-8   by this coming Wednesday, July 22 - that will give us the time we need to plan for this gathering. Thanks! 

 

 

If you have already indicated on the blog that you are interested, you don’t need to do anything. Mark will email you after the 22nd with directions on joining the Zoom meeting on Sunday the 26th. 

Strudel

Virtual Reunion - EX 8

Posted by Strudel Jul 2, 2020

Register by Wednesday, July 22nd to be included.

 

The date/time of Sunday, July 26 at 6:00 PM (EST) has been selected for our virtual EX 8 Zoom gathering! So - MARK YOUR CALENDAR! 

 

For the past several years, we have gathered informally for a reunion. It has been an amazing experience for each EX’er who has attended! Unfortunately, we had to cancel EX 8 which was scheduled for May in Virginia Beach. We have decided to do a virtual EX reunion on Zoom! 


We will need to ask people to sign up ahead of time in order to properly plan for this event. When we have the list of people attending, Mark will send you an email with the details needed to join on Zoom. You can sign up here in this blog. As long as you would like your invitation to go to the email you used to sign up for EX, that is all you have to do. However, if you would like to have the invitation sent to a different email address - please send me a private message with that email. (DO NOT post email addresses here.) 

 

This will be an informal event - just as our “real” reunions have always been. If you need any instruction regarding adding the Zoom app on your PC. Laptop, tablet, or phone - just let me know and we will get that info to you. It is best to add that app before the meeting.

 

 

The folks listed below are a part of the planning committee for the reunion - so, if you have any questions or concerns, please let one of us know. 

 

 

Thanks! Please respond below if you would like to attend! (Or - you can reply to the email I will send to previous attendees.)


Kathy Strudel 
Laura Michwoman

Giulia Giulia

Jackie JACKIE1-25-15

Brenda Brenda_M

Nancy SkyGirl

Mark Mark 

Strudel

Vote on Poll for EX 8 Reunion

Posted by Strudel Jun 29, 2020

The poll to determine the day/time for the EX 8 reunion on Zoom will end in a few days. Please vote  - especially if one date is better than the others for you. Thanks! Virtual EX 8! 

 

We will announce the date chosen by the end of the week so you can put it on your calendar! 

Strudel

Take the poll - please!

Posted by Strudel Jun 24, 2020

Please take the poll at - Virtual EX 8! 

 

For the past several years, we have gathered informally for a reunion. It has been an amazing experience for each EX’er who has attended! Unfortunately, we had to cancel EX 8 which was scheduled for May in Virginia Beach. We have decided to do a virtual EX reunion on Zoom!
Let’s vote to pick the most popular date and time for the event. Keep in mind that the time choices are Eastern Standard Time, so please adjust for your own time zone. Once we have a date, we will ask folks to register to attend. You will then receive additional information, including the Zoom link (and instructions on using Zoom if needed).  Thanks!! (We will gather votes for a week and then make a choice.) 


Kathy Strudel 
Laura Michwoman

Giulia Giulia

Jackie JACKIE1-25-15

Brenda Brenda_M

Nancy SkyGirl

Mark Mark 

Strudel

Special Day - Ten Years!

Posted by Strudel Jun 12, 2020

Today marks ten years since I quit smoking! I am so amazed to say that....it has been incredible! I wrote blogs years ago about walking on my anniversary for the number of years quit. I can no longer do more than 3 miles (knee issues) - but, I did want to do something special today. I live very close to Guilford College (Greensboro, NC) which is where I graduated from...it is only a few miles from my house. So I drove there, parked and walked around campus. It is beautiful! It is also very historic. As a Quaker institution it was opened in 1837. The area was part of the Underground Railroad. I knew that several years ago they had set up a trail through the woods behind the college in commemoration to the Underground Railroad - but I had never been there. I walked to the woods behind campus and eventually found the trail. I got lost a few times on the trail....but finally reached the end which has an incredible tree which has been there since the days of slavery and the UR. It was all such a special experience.....being in such a sacred and spiritual place. I did manage to walk 3 miles...not 10 - but that’s okay! 

Here are a few pics I took in the woods. Also a picture I have shared before of a bracelet I bought on my 2nd or 3rd anniversary to celebrate my quit. I think I will now retire it - it is pretty full. It has 8 beads and then 2 charms (a starfish as reminder of EX 5 and a butterfly because they are “free”) - to total 10 charms for 10 wonderful years!! 

Thank you to all of you here at EX - those who were here when I arrived in 2010 and helped me - and those who have come along the way in my journey - you have all made a difference in my life and in my quit! 

Love you all!

Kathy

Strudel

Another clear CT scan

Posted by Strudel May 29, 2020

As many here know, I was diagnosed with lung cancer last February and had the right lower lobe of my lung removed in March. Thank God - and this site - it was Stage 1 and treatable by surgery alone. I say thank you to this site because not only did the support here help me quit smoking almost 10 years ago, it also gave me the knowledge to know I should have a low dose CT lung scan to screen for cancer. I had no symptoms and it was the screening that led to the discovery of the cancer. Early diagnosis is so important - by the time you have symptoms, it is often sadly too late. 

Since the surgery, I have had another CT scan every 6 months to check for any recurrence of cancer. The one in November was clear, as was the one this week. Hooray! So, I just wanted to say “thank you” again to the wonderful site! 

I got quite a chuckle from this...... 

DIY Face Mask Tutorial With Kay - YouTube 

We have known for a while of course that we probably would not be able to gather for EX 8 in Virginia Beach in mid- May. With the announcement of a “stay at home order” for Virginia until June 10th, we knew it was time to make it official. It is very sad of course - but, as Giulia said this morning about it -   "because we can't get together this year just means the next get-together will be that much more meaningful and precious."

This is what we wrote in an email to folks last night - 

 

“As most of you have probably expected, we have decided to cancel EX 8 as planned in mid May. The governor of Virginia has announced a “stay at home order” until June 10th. Even if that is changed, I think that it just is not a safe time for any of us to travel. 
Even trying to predict when this will get better would be difficult at this time. Therefore, in my opinion, it will be best (at this point) not to attempt to set a new date. We will have to wait and see....
Please contact the hotel to cancel your individual reservations. 
Of course in the overall scheme of things in our world right now, this is a small thing. However, I know we will all miss seeing each other! The really important thing is that we all stay safe during this very troubling time. 
Please take care dear friends! 
Love, 
Kathy, Laura, Brenda, and Jackie”

 

The song - “We Will Meet Again...” has always been a special to me - and I thought of it the other day in terms of missing all my friends. And now - thinking of missing seeing my dear EX friends - I am reminded of it again. The woman who made it famous in WWII - Dame Vera Lynn, turned 103 by sharing an inspiring message reminding listeners to 'keep singing'. (You can hear her voice at the end of the song.) 

“Music is so good for the soul, and during these hard times we must all help each other to find moments of joy. Keep smiling and keep singing."

(Hope that works - I don’t often post videos!) 

Strudel

Please join us!

Posted by Strudel Jan 29, 2020

Each year, since 2013, people who have met here on EX, have gathered informally. It has always been an incredible weekend of laughs and tears - of making new friends and of thanking folks we had met here for making such a difference in our quits and in our lives! I realize that for some of you the thought of traveling far from home to meet folks you have met online seems pretty outrageous! However, I can assure you, that you won’t regret it! 

 

 

I will post the details below. Please let me know if you have any questions. 

 

 

Dates - MAY 15 - 17, 2020

 

Place - Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Virginia Beach - Location - 2809 Atlantic Avenue Virginia Beach, VA 23451

 

Drive or fly into Norfolk, VA 

 

The rates given to us by the group sales person, Amy are listed below. You will also see the directions on how to book your room below. PLEASE, reserve your room as soon as possible. Rooms fill up fast at the beach in the spring. Amy has saved a block of rooms of both types for us....and she will hold those open for a while. These are refundable rooms - if canceled at lease 3 days before.  Also, many folks often pair up to share rooms. So, please feel free to do that. Or, you can discuss it on the site in order to find someone to room with. Of course also feel free to book your room through any other method - using any site or discount you may have. Or, you may choose to stay at another hotel. Sometimes folks who live in the area - drive in from home each day.

 

Once you have booked your room, please make a comment on EX - or send a private message to me. (Strudel ) - so that we can keep a list of attendees. Some people come for the weekend, others stay longer. Quite often folks start coming in on Thursday and stay until Monday. It is all up to you!

 

RATES for weekend of May 15-17 -  

Ramada Plaza - Oceanfront rooms Friday and Saturday - $159.00 and $139 for Sunday – Thursday

Ramada - Non-Oceanfront - Across the street - Friday and Saturday - $119  and $109 for Sunday - Thursday

 

Amy, the group sales person at the hotel has confirmed our block of rooms. Since they have changed brands, the oceanfront hotel is now called the Ramada Plaza and the non-oceanfront building is just called the Ramada. The reservation phone number for both hotels is (757-428-5370). Tell the hotel that you are part of the “Become An EX” group. If you would like an oceanfront room - ask for the Ramada Plaza and ask for the Ramada if they want non-oceanfront. Unfortunately, breakfast is no longer complimentary, but will be available for purchase from the ala cart menu in Shoreline Grill. As in previous years, we will use the Shoreline Grill as a gathering place. We will also communicate by text once we get there, as we have in the past.  

 

The committee will be working on sharing information and ideas on activities while we are there. Folks are always free to do things on their own too. Things are very informal. We usually plan a big group activity on Saturday morning and then another on Saturday evening. Any ideas on activities - please let us know! Thanks! Kathy

 

PS - Be sure to visit and follow the group - EX Weekend 2020 - Virginia Beach 

Strudel

EX 8

Posted by Strudel Jan 14, 2020

As you may know, Brenda Brenda_M  recently conducted a poll to select the location for the EX 8 gathering. (This is an annual informal gathering of anyone from EX who would like to meet some of the friends you have met here. I can tell you that it is an amazing experience and I hope that many of you will consider attending.) Virginia Beach, Virginia was selected for our spring gathering.

 

We thought we would be able to attend during the weekend that the “Beach Music Cruise In” was taking place. We were given the dates of May 15-17 for that event. We contacted the hotel we have used for two previous reunions and we were in the process of reserving a block of rooms. Unfortunately, we have just learned that the folks who are planning the “Beach Music Cruise In” have changed the date to May 8- 10. Sadly, the hotel we are using does not have the block of rooms we would need for that weekend. We have had good feedback on that hotel - especially since it offers the option of staying across the street for a lower rate, which many of our attendees like. Also, the weekend of May 8-10 is Mother’s Day weekend and we felt that might be a conflict for many. Choosing a weekend earlier than that means taking a bigger chance of cool weather. After the weekend of May 15-17, we would run into Memorial Day and much higher rates.

 

SO, our little planning committee (Brenda Brenda_M, Jackie JACKIE1-25-15, Laura Michwoman, and myself Strudel) have made the decision to stick with the May 15-17 weekend. We are sorry that means we will miss the beach music - but, we know there will be plenty of fun things to do! We hope you agree! And, we hope that you will consider attending! So, please mark your calendars for MAY 15 - 17, 2020

 

The hotel has changed names. It is now called - Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Virginia Beach - Location - 2809 Atlantic Avenue Virginia Beach, VA 23451.

 

The rates given to us by the group sales person, Amy are listed below. You will also see the directions on how to book your room below. PLEASE, reserve your room as soon as possible. Rooms fill up fast at the beach in the spring. Amy has saved a block of rooms of both types for us....and she will hold those open for a while. These should be refundable rooms. Also, many folks often pair up to share rooms. So, please feel free to do that. Or, you can discuss it on the site in order to find someone to room with. Of course also feel free to book your room through any other method - using any site or discount you may have. Or, you may choose to stay at another hotel. Sometimes folks who live in the area - drive in from home each day.

 

Once you have booked your room, please make a comment on EX - or send a private message to me (Kathy - Strudel ) - so that we can keep a list of attendees. Some people come for the weekend, others stay longer. Quite often folks start coming in on Thursday and stay until Monday. It is all up to you!

 

RATES for weekend of May 15-17 -  

Ramada Plaza - Oceanfront rooms Friday and Saturday - $159.00 and $139 for Sunday – Thursday

Ramada - Non-Oceanfront - Across the street - Friday and Saturday - $119  and $109 for Sunday - Thursday

 

Amy, the group sales person at the hotel has confirmed our block of rooms. Since they have changed brands, the oceanfront hotel is now called the Ramada Plaza and the non-oceanfront building is just called the Ramada. The reservation phone number for both hotels is (757-428-5370). Tell the hotel that you are part of the “Become An EX” group. If you would like an oceanfront room - ask for the Ramada Plaza and ask for the Ramada if they want non-oceanfront. Unfortunately, breakfast is no longer complimentary, but will be available for purchase from the ala cart menu in Shoreline Grill. As in previous years, we will use the Shoreline Grill as a gathering place. We will also communicate by text once we get there, as we have in the past.  

 

The committee will be working on sharing information and ideas on activities while we are there. Folks are always free to do some things on their own. Things are very informal. We usually plan a big group activity on Saturday morning and then another on Saturday evening. Any ideas on activities - please let us know! Thanks! Kathy

 

PS - Be sure to visit and follow the group - EX Weekend 2020 - Virginia Beach 

Strudel

Delay on EX 8 Plans

Posted by Strudel Jan 10, 2020

We are having to double check the date for the “Beach Music Cruise In” - there is some conflicting info about it on the internet.  Also we are still trying to confirm the hotel rates - so please hold off at this point on making any firm travel plans. We should have things in place to begin making reservations early next week. Sorry for the delay!! 

Strudel

Be sure to vote!

Posted by Strudel Nov 4, 2019

Some of the blog below is copied from last year’s blog about attending the annual EX gathering: 
Each year for the past several years, many of us have met and celebrated our freedom and the special friendships we have here at EX! 

 

We have been gathering since 2013. That year we met in Las Vegas. Many of EX'ers have attended every year since then – 2014 in Orlando, 2015 in Nashville, and then 2016 returning to Las Vegas. In 2017, we met in Virginia Beach, VA. In 2018 the group went on a wonderful cruise! In 2019 for EX 7, it was back to Virginia Beach. These are informal gatherings of EX'ers -and the experience is amazing! Personally I have attended 6 of them.

 

Each year we are hope to get as many “new “attendees as possible! We have all bonded and made lifetime friends – so many of us will be attending once again! However, we want to meet YOU!!! This is not only a wonderful way to meet folks from the site, put faces to avatars, thank those who have helped you along the way, have others thank you for your contributions here – it is also a perfect way to cement your quit!

Be sure to vote on the location for EX 8.....Brenda has created a poll found at - EX 8 - Pick the Place! 

Strudel

Lung cancer 5 K

Posted by Strudel Nov 1, 2019

I am walking in a 5 K in the morning to raise money for lung cancer research. For those who don’t know I was diagnosed with Stage 1 lung cancer back in February. I didn’t have any symptoms- but decided to have the “low dose CT lung scan” recommended as a screening for former smokers. I smoked for 40 years.  (That is the reason for this blog - to remind others to consider this test. Please discuss it with your doctor.)

 

The scan showed a suspicious nodule which was then tested further with a PET scan which showed that it was cancer. They removed the right lower lobe of my lung where the cancer was located. That was 7 months ago. Although I still have some discomfort on that side of my chest, I feel fine overall - and I am back to walking 2 or 3 miles regularly. 


When I met my oncologist back in May he mentioned this lung cancer 5 K. He said I would be a perfect candidate to participate - since I like to walk and I am in good shape. (Having quit 9 years ago made a huge difference!)  Many of his lung cancer patients aren’t as lucky. I am very thankful that I had that screening test. So often lung cancer isn’t diagnosed until it is Stage 3 or 4. 

 

I picked up my packet and my shirt for the walk this afternoon. On the back of the shirt it says - SURVIVOR! That’s me for sure! 

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