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Strudel Blog

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Have you voted yet?

Posted by Strudel Dec 3, 2018

If you missed it, be sure to check out my blog about our next EX gathering! This is an informal gathering of friends here. Here is the blog - Are you ready for EX 7??!!!  - it contains a link to the poll where you can vote for our next destination. Please vote if you are at all considering joining us. Trust me - it will be a trip you will remember! Thanks! 


Talked to Tommy

Posted by Strudel Nov 21, 2018

I talked to Tommy (pir8fan) this afternoon. The air bubble is gone which is great. However, he still can not see out of that eye and continues to struggle with pain. The doctor has said that he should begin to be able to see in 30 - 60 days. (It has been 2 weeks since the surgery.) 

Please continue the prayers and good thoughts! 

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all! 


Are you ready for EX 7??!!!

Posted by Strudel Nov 18, 2018

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. Then, last year, the group went on a wonderful cruise! These are informal gatherings of EX'ers -and the experience is amazing! Personally I have attended 5 of them and only missed the cruise because of some vertigo issues. 


We are hoping to get as many “new “attendees as possible this year! 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!


We have used our base of about 40 people (former attendees and/or those who have had interest in the past gatherings) to select some places to vote on for EX 7


The top places nominated are:

  • Virginia Beach, VA (We had such a great time there in 2017, many folks picked it for a return visit!) 
  • Pensacola, Florida 
  • Baltimore's Inner Harbor 
  • California (San Diego/Oceanside area) - Although this was not nominated, it was greatly discussed as an option last year. Since many of the folks nominating live on the East coast - I wanted to be fair and add California as an option. If it doesn't win - it is certainly an idea for a regional gathering - as would be Chicago.) 


I will create a poll (either later today or tomorrow) for all of us to vote for our top selection. At this point - just take a look at the selections and begin to think about it! Discuss your thoughts here.....and/or if you have attended before - write a blog to drum up interest from new folks! Once we have selected a place, Laura (Michwoman ) and I will provide more details about the trip. We will also be voting on a date choice for the spring of 2019. People usually stay for 2 nights - on up to to several nights - that is totally up to you. We plan a few group activities and gather informally throughout the weekend.  I can promise you that a great time is had by all! 


The poll is now ready for you to vote! Please vote if you have any interest in attending EX 7 - no commitment - just have an interest......

EX 7 Place Selection 


More prayers please!

Posted by Strudel Nov 14, 2018

Just heard from Tommy (pir8fan) ....he wrote - 

“After getting disc out on Monday, I expected to wake up yesterday on the road to recovery! Not So Fast! I woke up to several objects stabbing my eyeball! Possibly lashes! Back to the Dr this afternoon to see if this problem has a simple solution! Last time the eyelid was torn lose at the corners! That required another surgery! Hope this is simple! Thank you for the love and support!”


Unbelievable!  So, please continue your prayers! Thank you!! 


Tommy Update

Posted by Strudel Nov 12, 2018

As Sootie mentioned yesterday, Tommy pir8fan had an appointment with his doctor this morning. It turns out that the disc which had been placed in his eye was causing damage to the surface of his eye......the surface has scar tissue (from previous procedures I presume) and the disc was rubbing on that. (Or that is my interpretation of what was happening.)  So, they took the disc out. It is still very painful but, he is hoping that NOW "the healing can begin"! So, faithful friends - keep the prayers and good thoughts going his way! Thanks! 


Tommy Update

Posted by Strudel Nov 11, 2018

I received a text from Tommy - pir8fan earlier today. He is not doing well at all....and he said that he plans to try to reach his doctor. He said he feels worse, rather than better. I asked if there was someone who could take him to the ER if needed. I haven't heard back. Has anyone else heard from him today? Thanks.....and please continue with the prayers! 


Tommy update

Posted by Strudel Nov 9, 2018

pir8fan - AKA Our Tommy - reports the following today when asked if there have been improvements - 

"Not yet! Drugs, ice, and sleep! Thank you for checking! Please let everyone know I am about 500 E-mails behind! HUGZ ❤️"

So  - please keep those prayers going! I know he really appreciates it! Feel better SOON Tommy!! 


(Tommy had a corneal transplant on Wednesday.) 


Update on Tommy

Posted by Strudel Nov 8, 2018

Tommy wrote this a short time ago - "Put amino disc In eye today! Pain is horrible." He has OxyContin and he plans to take it and hopefully sleep! So - please, keep those prayers coming!! Thanks! 


Keep prayers coming!

Posted by Strudel Nov 7, 2018

Tommy pir8fan had his corneal transplant surgery today. He reports that the surgery went well. However, he is in a great deal of pain. Please keep the prayers coming and send good vibes in his direction! Thanks! 



Posted by Strudel Nov 6, 2018

Tommy - pir8fan - is having a corneal transplant tomorrow. (You may know he has had some ongoing issues with his eye.) As he said in a text - he then  “Will be able to see the world through someone else's eye   ”!

Please join me in sending good thoughts and lots of prayers for a successful surgery and quick recovery! We love you Tommy! 


Update on Holly and Monet

Posted by Strudel Sep 23, 2018

I last reported that I had adopted a new cat. Her name is Monet and my other cat, Holly, took her time deciding to be nice to Monet! But - the patience Monet (and I) showed paid off!! Holly has finally decided that Monet is her pal! Here are some pictures. (Holly has not just swallowed a bowling ball! But - she is a little chubby - she came to me that way and is on a perpetual diet! Many of us can relate to that!) 

How does this tie into quitting - sticking to it and being patient pays off! You can do it! (For a while there - I didn't think Holly would ever learn to change her ways and be nice to Monet! But, it happened!) 

Congrats to all



Bird Watching! 


Holly and I have a new friend

Posted by Strudel Jul 23, 2018

As many of you know, one of my cats - my dearest Tootsie - died several week ago. I miss her so much - I still wake in the middle of the night and have that momentary feeling where you have forgotten such a sad event....and you have to that heart pain of remembering once again. I sleep on my side and she often slept on my hip - I miss that too! Mostly I miss her sweet and loving nature. What a cat! 


I have always enjoyed the company of more than one part for me - and I also like the thought of Holly having a pal when I am away. At one point several years ago, I had 2 cats and 2 dogs - I have down sized from that and now limit myself to 2! 


Since I quit smoking 8 years ago, I have lost 5 pets. Four of them were relatively older pets, close in age, when I quit smoking. The idea of losing one of them was my "what if" question when thinking about quitting smoking and then being faced with a terrible challenge. I knew that for me, the death of a dear pet would bring a deep pain and I wanted to consider ahead of time how I would handle that as a non-smoker. Each time it has happened in the years since - smoking has never occurred to me. It is so important to realize that smoking NEVER GAVE US ANYTHING! I convinced myself of that and it made such a difference when faced with the challenges life can throw at us. 


I have recently adopted Monet from a local rescue. (Please see pictures, a few of Monet and one of her with her kittens - they called them "Monet's Minis"!) She is lovely! She is considered a "dilute tortie" due to the muted colors. (It is a genetic mutation.) The rescue folks felt that her dilute colors reminded them of a muted painting by Monet - thus her name! I liked it, so I am keeping it. She was rescued in March from a shelter - but then they discovered she was pregnant. She had her 5 kittens while in a foster home and then was ready for adoption after the kittens were weaned. 


It is a work in progress, as far as Holly goes. I am taking it slow....we are up to supervised visits. There is a bit of hissing - but so far, things seems to be going well. Monet and I know that Holly will soon love her new friend! (Monet has a lovely temperament and is ignoring Holly when she is rude!) 

So - I had to share! Meet Monet......


Thank you to Missy!

Posted by Strudel Jul 1, 2018

Yesterday I received the sketch in the mail that Missy Mandolinrain had done of my dear Tootise. It is amazing - and so is she for doing such a beautiful thing for someone she has never met. I have always been truly astounded by this place and the wonderful people we meet here! It is so powerful! 


I have attached a picture of the framed (she framed it too!!) sketch she created. Plus another picture of Tootsie. (Also one my sweetie Holly who misses her "sister kitty" too.) Tootsie had a special vulnerable, soft, gentle look in her eyes and I think that Missy captured that so very well....which means she captured her spirit! 


Tootsie's ashes are now buried in my back patio garden - with a stone that says "When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure." I have many ways to hold her in my heart - including the very special gift from Missy! Thank you! 


Yesterday, my dear, sweet cat, Tootsie went to the Rainbow Bridge. (She is the one on the left in my avatar pic.) She was about 9 and was diagnosed with congestive heart failure over a year ago. She recovered, went on medication and managed to do well for quite a while. She was on many medications and they began to take their toll. Recently she began to have more and more issues and I felt that the quality of her life was just not good. The vet and I decided yesterday that it was time to let her go. She was such a special, gentle cat! I will miss her so much. I am thankful that my other cat, Holly, is here! 

Despite being very upset, it never even crossed my mind to smoke. I know, without any doubt, that smoking would give me nothing! My sadness is something I will just have to get through - I can't go around it, I can't avoid it - I will just need to move ahead. 

The poem below is one I have shared with others before...I love it. I found it when my cat, Scooter, died 6 years ago. 


Poem For Cats


And God asked the feline spirit
Are you ready to come home?
Oh, yes, quite so, replied the precious soul
And, as a cat, you know I am most able
To decide anything for myself.

Are you coming then? asked God.
Soon, replied the whiskered angel
But I must come slowly
For my human friends are troubled
For you see, they need me, quite certainly.

But don't they understand? asked God
That you'll never leave them?
That your souls are intertwined. For all eternity?
That nothing is created or destroyed?
It just is....forever and ever and ever.

Eventually they will understand,
Replied the glorious cat
For I will whisper into their hearts
That I am always with them
I just am....forever and ever and ever.


(Author unknown) 


Eight years and firing squads

Posted by Strudel Jun 12, 2018

Thank you to JACKIE1-25-15 for her very sweet blog and for the great ride on the Freedom Train. I am celebrating my 8 year anniversary today! And trust me - I celebrate each and every day!


As I started my guit on June 12, 2010, I wasn't sure about 8 hours...or 8 days! But, the support here made me believe that after 40 years, it was possible to quit! That support made the difference and to this day - I thank the folks who were here when I arrived and who gave me that support! And - as amazing as it may sound - so many of those beautiful people are STILL HERE - helping others. As I often say, that is the power of this place! 


When I was starting my quit, I heard a few people in my real life say that they had quit "years ago" - but that they still wanted a cigarette every once in a while. That alarmed and worried me - I wanted total freedom - I wanted to truly believe that smoking never gave me anything of value and that I never wanted to smoke again. That was a lofty goal! But, I really believed that unless I knew in my heart that I didn't want to smoke - eventually I might go back. The image from old movies of someone facing a firing squad and being given a "last cigarette" came into my mind. I wanted to reach a point when I would TURN DOWN that cigarette! That even when faced with that final moment - knowing that it wouldn't make a difference - I would still realize that N.O.P.E. (Not One Puff Ever) was the only way to live, or die! At first, early in my quit, as I imaginied this scenario - I couldn't picture turning down that final cigarette. I continued to work at it - I continued to unbrainwash my mind so that I would truly KNOW that smoking never gave me a darn thing. It took a while - but, it happened! 


Again - thank you to all of you who were here when I arrived in June of 2010 - and to all of you who have come here since - we all make this community what it is - and each of you make a difference in my quit! 


PS - Last Year, I mentioned my bracelet I purchased early in my quit. I just added a new bead! Also - notice the charm in the middle - a butterfly - such a perfect symbol for our FREEDOM!