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c2q Blog

121 posts

the common dreams

Posted by c2q Mar 5, 2018

I chanced upon a blog post that I wrote a couple years ago. I read this paragraph:


Most often, I dream the common dreams. Bits of my days, bits of my past, stepping through the lens of what makes me me. Last night I dreamt that I was exploring somewhere. A friend, or friends, were travelling with me. We were excited about something. We were in the middle of discovering . . . something. And then a sound or ray of light crept under my eyelids and I began to wake.


Today is my 2500th day of smoke-freedom.


I have woken from the haze of nicotine addiction. My friends are with me, and we are on a journey.

Thanks you, EXs.



Posted by c2q Nov 18, 2017

I few minutes ago I read a wonderful blog post by Tammyzhere. You can find it here. In it she talks about the choices she is making, and changes to her normal routine that she is making, to protect her quit. This is one wise quitter.


She also has added a comment that is a text image. It begins, "I choose to live my life by choice, not by chance."


When I read the whole quote there, it struck me: this is the secret to the universe:  choice. Think about the things you do every day and how many choices you make along the way. Think about the things you do really well, and the choices you have made that helped you get where you are.


Choice is the secret to being a good cook, and to being a good friend. It is the secret to saving money. And it most certainly is the secret to quitting smoking. 


What are the most important choices I make about my own life? Thank you, Tammyzhere, for the nudge that got me to write this list of my own life choices:


I choose ...

to focus on my happiness, not my pain;

to reach out to others with tenderness, not fear;

to believe what I have to offer has value,

and to offer it.

I choose to live here, in this moment,

not clinging to the past

or pining for the future.


I choose to live my life by choice, not by chance.


Nobody's Perfect

Posted by c2q Aug 28, 2017

ARRRGG! Dealing with frustration was always a smoking trigger for me. "Suck it up," I'd say to myself, and then I'd smoke. Over some period of time here lately, whenever I thought I had reigned in my frustration over the points and other issues on this site, I find myself "sneaking" in one "last" questionable comment.


I am trying very hard to be stop that. Fortunately, I continue to do better with my quit. 6 years, 4 months. pretty fair, I think. Why can I do one but not the other? What is the difference? I think it's because as far as staying smoke free is concerned, I can turn here to my friends and get a healthy dose of quititude. Take a deep breath of fresh air with Marilyn.H.July.14.14,  or get inspired by a blog. Go for a long ride on the Freedom Train. Throw peanuts out the window for the birds. I can actively participate in my own quit. 


Waiting for someone else to fix things to my liking has never been my strong suit. There is nowhere to go to rail against broken technology (is there??) At any rate, I cannot stick my fingers in the pudding, so to speak, and see if there's too much salt. I get frustrated because there's nothing I can do about ... stuff. So here is my commitment instead. Starting with the click of my mouse when I publish this post,


1. I'm upping my commitment to the blog form. More blogs from me.

2. I am going to do my own thing here, which is shake-shake-shake that "Commit-to-the-quit" thing and leave site issues to site administrators, thankyouverymuch.

3. And I'm going to be asking you all this question a lot:  would you like a meme with that?



Life Happens

Posted by c2q Aug 24, 2017

Life happens. In big ways and small, on and on and on. Until it doesn't. It will keep doing its thing whether you stub your toe, or paint your kitchen, or get your new shoes wet.


It will keep on doing its thing and you will keep on making decisions about how to respond. The choices you make are the ticket.



So crank up that jukebox up, Jules, I feel a party coming on.


Breathing is Work

Posted by c2q Jul 10, 2017

The body burns about 70 percent of its daily calorie intake when at rest or just breathing. When you breathe in, your diaphragm contracts. The muscles between your ribs work to expand your chest cavity. As your lungs expand, air travels down to your lungs, through your bronchial tubes, and into air sacs. Here the oxygen from the air passes into surrounding blood vessels, and carbon dioxide moves in the opposite direction out of your heart. Breathing out requires no effort on your part, unless you are doing physical activity. Or if you have a lung disease.


So if you think quitting smoking is work, remember that breathing is work too. And if you want to continue doing one, pretty soon you'll stop doing the other.


Acclimate to your quit

Posted by c2q Jun 12, 2017

How's the weather over there in your quit? Here in mine, there's lingering rain, with more isolated thunderstorms on the way. This kind of weather can make for a beautiful sky, like the sunset yesterday.

                                                      Maybe a successful quit is a matter of learning how to acclimate to our new smokefree selves.


Sunny days and rainy days don't impact my quit any more, but I used to let them be triggers. Bright hot sun? Give me a cigarette. Rainy and drippy? Hand me a smoke please. And my urge to smoke when it was cold seemed to be in direct proportion to how likely it was that my fingers would freeze to the cigarette paper. If there was weather, it was reason to smoke.


If you want to smoke, anything can be a trigger. If you don't want to smoke, nothing is.


Your body is designed to continually fine tune its operating system for optimum performance. Think about that.


If you go where it's hot, you'll sweat more. Hang out in cold climates, you'll get more hungry more often. Those are automatic reflexes. True acclimation takes time. For example, at higher elevations, it can take days or even weeks for your body to develop the extra red blood cells that will help you breathe the thinner air. In hotter climates, it will also take days or weeks for your inner thermostat to reset. But it will. You will begin to sweat at a lower temperature, you'll sweat more profusely, and you'll give up less salt in the process. That's acclimation.


So say "thanks" to your body for all that it does for you. The longer you stay quit, the more your body will find ways to say "thank you" back.


More MRIs? Yikes

Posted by c2q Jun 8, 2017

I have been messing around since sunup, taking pictures, commenting on blogs, riding the train. 

I left until too late this blog post about the MRIs and xrays I have scheduled for today.

Five years ago I went through a battery of MRIs on my back, from the base of my skull to my tail bone. On the second to the last one, the techs made my day by complementing on me on how well I held up over and over. On the last one, I couldn't do it. I had gotten this mental image from a movie of Tom Cruise being shoved over and over again into a drawer in a wall - I absolutely could not make myself get into that MRI machine, all blocked down so that I couldn't move, laying in pain on my crumbling spine.


Five years forward, living in a new town, new doctors, new insurance, and I am facing MRIs again because my old ones are too old.


This is not something I want to do. I am getting them done under anesthesia, which makes me feel like a coward and a flake. So, off I go, humility in hand. Wish me luck.


This image is of the sunrise this morning from my balcony.


Dear Nic

Posted by c2q Jun 6, 2017

That all you got?


Time to Become An EX

Posted by c2q May 30, 2017

Tobacco kills 7 million people every year, and that number is growing. By 2030, more than 80 percent of the deaths will occur in developing countries, which have been increasingly targeted by tobacco companies seeking new markets to circumvent tightening regulation in developed nations.

Tomorrow is World No Tobacco Day. The time to quit is now.


I'm never gonna ...what?

Posted by c2q May 29, 2017

Quitting smoking is an exercise in becoming. At this point in my quit journey, the things I do every day to nurture my quit do more than just further my quit, they help me become more me. I mean this in the most practical sense.


Do you remember the scene from Sandra Bullock's movie "28 days" when Gerhardt is in the plant store to return a dead plant?

Shop Owner: Sir, I can't replace the plant just because you killed it.
Gerhardt: I did not kill this plant, it was sick or something. I gave it everything. I was talking to it, telling it stories. I drew a sketch of it, and put it on my refrigerator.
Shop Owner: Did you water it?
Gerhardt: I-- I have-- It's important that I did not kill this plant, you understand? So if you're just saying that because that's how you're making your excuse, you have got to understand-- You can't mess with-- I'm never gonna get laid. 

Your quit is that plant. So is my quit. If I water it, be sure it gets the right amount of sun, keep it from freezing, it will thrive. If I don't, not so much.


Be kind to your quit. Think about what it needs to thrive. It might just bring you rewards you've yet to image. 

Do you remember learning how to ride a bike? Some people can hop on and just take off; some of us need more practice. But no matter how long the process takes, there's a set of individual skills you have to learn. If you look at riding a bike as mastering a set of skills, it's easy to see how it's done. You learn to:


  1. Keep your balance
  2. Use the pedals
  3. Negotiate obstacles
  4. Gain confidence by riding with others



Quitting smoking is the same. When you have mastered a few basic skills, you can cruise through your quit - pedaling hard on the uphill, coasting free on the downhill. It's the ride of your life: enjoy. Here's what you need to do:


Keep Your Balance

  • Build a solid quit plan. If you find yourself leaning left into a physical craving, you know what to do to. If you happen to  lean the other way, into an old addicted way of thinking, you can snap right back to your center.
  • Concentrate on the current moment. You can lose your balance at first by looking too far down the road. Think about quitting in this moment, right now, nothing more.

Use the Pedals

  • Every day, take a minute to focus on what drives your quit forward. Picture your goals getting closer as you move toward them on the road ahead.
  • Every day, remember the nasty business of smoking that you are emerging from. Watch all that mess fall behind you as you master your quit.

Negotiate Obstacles

  • You know how to keep an eye on the road ahead. You have a plan for dealing with situations where you used to smoke - that's your balance. but what about the whammy trigger that attacks out of nowhere? Ah yes, here it is - your emergency response kit. Take a peek into the quit kit of others, then put together your own. Maybe a nice "smile and back away," a call to a quit buddy, or a tasty straw stick to chew on.
  • Keep your Emergency Response Kit in your bike basket at all times. Don't be afraid to use it.



That's all there is to it - your successful quit is a few simple skills away. Come ride the road to smoking freedom with us!


Three: On six years quit

Posted by c2q May 2, 2017


Please enjoy a couple of the pictures I've been taking this week with all that free time I have now that I don't smoke.


Two of the many  parakeets in a big cage in the lobby of a rehab center 

A little poi pond nestled into an otherwise rather desolate yard

Shells I picked up at the beach about a dozen years ago, that now hang out on a shelf in my living room.



I am very proud of my six years. I want people here to know that being quit gets better and better. If you open yourself up to it, there is an immense happiness just being free of it all.


Meanwhile, I am having a ball learning what my new new camera can do. My mind gets farther and farther away from thoughts of smoking. As far as quitting goes:  try it. I guarantee you'll like it if you give it a chance.


Two: on six years quit

Posted by c2q May 2, 2017


When I was six years old, I was learning to roller skate. We lived on a dead-end street on a small hill. I would skate up the street from the corner to my house, which was 3 houses up, and then I would walk back down in the grass. I was very afraid of falling on the concrete. And I did this for hours.


One day, the newspaper boy offered me a ride down the hill on his bike. Let me just say that I accepted, he did not drop me off at the corner like he said he would, and I had a very scary experience. Did it scar me emotionally? Yes. Did I quit roller skating? Why would I?


In my 20's, I could dance all night. I did dance all night, lots of nights. I traveled around Europe with nothing more than my younger sister and the few belongings that would fit in my backpack. We slept under the stars in the top of a tower of an abandoned castle one night, just the two of us. She played her harmonica, and I looked out over the surrounding forest, full of some aching nostalgia and feeling like we were in a storybook.


In my 30's, I traveled around Australia with my then husband. We flew in a little four seater plane to a scuba camp on a very small island. The tiny airstrip stretched from ocean's edge to ocean's edge. We slept in cots in small wooden cabins and ate fresh fruit and vegetables in what can only be called a mess hall. With a trained guide, we were able to scuba amongst the brilliantly colored coral, with 9 foot sharks just a few dozen yards away.


Hmm.  There is no apparent point to number two, except to say that I am not dead yet. I keep travelling, I keep creating art, as best I can. If I can no longer do some of the things I used to do, I do new things instead. My crumbling back is a temporary situation. Let's face it - having a back at all is a temporary situation.


My rock pile of a spine, that paperboy, the sharks, the thousands of bees emerging from the woods when my sister and I came down in the dawn from that castle tower - they are just stories to share. Scary at the time, to be sure, but only fear can limit me, and I am not afraid of those things. 


One: on six years quit

Posted by c2q May 2, 2017

I have been writing this post in my head for nearly a week. I had thought it would be something else entirely, but then my brother got sick.


There are 3 things I want to talk about, each quite separate from the other. So I am going to write three blogs.


My brother is going to live. He was moved from the hospital to a rehab center this weekend after a frightening bout with pneumonia that had him in seizures. My brother is 11 months older than me - "older" enough to be my big brother, close enough that people often mistook us for twins growing up.


Seven years ago David was a well know artist in the twin cities area, a par golfer, an Olympic volleyball referee. Then he  had a stroke that left him a paraplegic. He is still a rebel, a crazy wit, a recovering alcoholic. He has the use of one arm. After much physical therapy, he can take a few steps by himself, with a railing for support. He is my hero.


A year ago he and his wife moved to Tampa Bay, where my husband and I had just moved. It has been great to have them live nearby after 23 years with half a continent between us. Yesterday, we walked around the rehab center where he will be for about a week, my husband, my brother and me. David in his manual wheelchair, my husband Tom pushing it. I was the one who had to sit every few yards. Not because of my lungs, because of my back.


I am losing my life as I know it to a crumbling spine. That is two. More on that later.


Back to number one. My brother quit drinking 22 years ago. On the day he got his 2 year chip, he quit smoking. He has been sober and smober ever since. He says he just "gave it up to God" and never looked back. That does not even remotely describe my quit. I had to face my demon emotions, rally legions of quick quips and clever remarks to keep Nic at bay. I had to create little storyboards in my head - push Nicodemon over the cliff, pound his hide to buttermilk, shrink him to a bug and squash him. That is my quit.


If I had tried to copy David's quit, I would have failed. I can look back now and see what worked for me, but at the time, I had no idea. If it helped my keep my quit, I did it. That is one.


Killing Us Softly

Posted by c2q Apr 6, 2017

This just in:

The number of deaths from smoking worldwide has gotten worse instead of better

An online article published today provides information about how many people smoking kills every year. It is worth the read. how many people smoking kills every year

Tobacco is big business. And it's the business of killing us softly, while we pay for the privilege. Death by tobacco is an ugly, horrible, painful process. You can quit.