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puffthemagicdragon Blog

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Thank you friends who kept track of my days for me and posted my 1000 smoke free day on the Freedom Train and via personal messages.  I haven't quite had time to read all the notices that've popped up in my email but I will.  In the meantime, thinking of all of you.  And ... 1001 is as good, (better,) eye candy in my book as 1000.


Love you all ... 


Be Healthy.  Be Happy.  Be Free!

Please allow me to introduce you to the newest members of our family:  Butts and Ashes.




This is Butts and Ashes peeking out of their ashtray.



I took this picture tonight.  Ashes is watching Butts chew a rock.  Yes.  A rock.  I didn't say they were smart.



Butts ...



... and Ashes.


The best part!  I have sole, physical custody of them.  I adopted them for my kids.  They wanted a puppy O' So Badly. I finally gave in.  Butts is my daughter's puppy.  She calls him Blizzard.  Ashes is my son's.  He calls his Midnight.  They were born August 4th, 2017, which makes them about fourteen weeks old.  I am enjoying baby sitting them when my kids are away.  Butts is a chewer.  Any tips for breaking him of that are greatly appreciated.  Both are working on potty training. So far so 'not' good.  They know to go outside, but they don't know to not go inside too.


Thought I would share them with you, my friends.  Despite my pet names for them, neither one smokes.  Dog breath is bad enough.  Smoker dog breath would be just too much.


Be well!  Be happy!  Be free!

Hey!!!  I'm back in NO MAN'S LAND!  Where'd everybody go?!?  HELP!  Where's my cave?  My friends?  Blogs!?!  Where are the BLOGS!?


= )


Exploring the all the new sights around this new site.  I'll find you!





I remember a friend coaxing me into smoking when I was about 12 yrs. old.  At the time, it seemed daring.  Before long I was sneaking cigarettes alone.  I remained a closet smoker through high school, college, and for seventeen years of my career.  Even before it became politically incorrect, I was ashamed of it.  It didn't fit the image I wanted others to have of me.

As an introverted, over-achiever, cigarettes became my constant companion, my support group, and my reward system.

Finally, after thirty years as a smoker, I quit to please my fiance.  We got married and started a family.  I couldn't have been happier.  Three years later, when signs of weakness presented themselves in my wife's commitment to our marriage, I returned to my old friend and support system with whom to commiserate. That didn't help matters.

My divorce was finalized two days ago, and I decided to make that my divorce date with cigarettes as well.  I have two young children for whom to grow old and for whom to set an example.  And besides, between my wife and my attorney, I really can't afford to smoke anymore anyway.

Brief Description

Down but not out!


No website in profile.




my children, collecting, reading.



Ouch!  That stings!

Yesterday I spent more time on EX than I have in the past 6 months, posting comments as I frequently used to.  I always go back and re-read comments later.  I like to see what other people have to say too.  It's a cumbersome process, (something I hope is improved with upcoming changes to ex,) but I like the conversational aspect.  Sure, we can have conversations of sorts on message boards, but the primary source for open communication is through the blogs.  That's were we can share thoughts, ideas, and opinions with quitters at large.

I was surprised this morning to see that comments I had left on a blog yesterday were missing today.  Gone!  Vaporized.  I scrambled around a bit to figure this out and this is how it appears to me.  I can delete a comment that I've posted on another Exer's blog, and I can delete a comment posted by another Exer on a blog I have written.  I did not delete the comment that I posted yesterday, which leads me to the conclusion that the only other person who could have, did.

This disappoints me enough to compel me to write my own blog critcal of censorship.  Sure, had I written something, flagrant, obscene, imflamatory or derogatory, by all means, take it down.  But deleting comments that simply offer another point of view, something other than "RIGHT ON!  AMEN!  YOU ROCK?"  That's sad.  = (

Personally, I thought my comments were quite benign, at least by my standards.  ; ) 

If all you are looking for are accolades, cheers, and applause for your blogs, just say so.  I'm happy to cheer for anyone who wants a cheer.  Just bracket [clap here] in the tags line.  Or, if you're writing a blog as a testimony to your skill as a writer, disable comments and let your work stand as a personal work of art.  But why publish a thoughtful blog, particularly one with statements such as, "and you’re going to think I’m mean for even typing the words, but here goes," or, "one final thing (before I rock the boat too much more,)" enable comments, and then proceed to selectively accept and delete comments according to how well they jive with your stormy thoughts?  Once you impose censorship on a public forum, your blog sinks to the level of  propoganda and detracts from the legitimacy of EX as a community for open discussion.

I realize "your blog is whatever you want it to be."  All I'm saying is, let your blog be what you say it is ... and if you opt to allow comments, allow comments.


Yeah Me!!!

Posted by puffthemagicdragon Aug 28, 2016

  In 2012 Time magazine posted the results of a survey of the top ten   most-broken new year's resolutions:
  1.   Lose Weight and Get Fit
   2.   Quit Smoking
  3.   Learn Something New
  4.   Eat Healthier and Diet
  5.   Get Out of Debt and Save Money
  6.   Spend More Time with Family
  7.   Travel to New Places
  8.   Be Less Stressed
  9.   Volunteer
  10. Drink Less
  But what if we just keep our resolution to quit smoking in 2016?
  We all agree that exercise is a great distraction for nicotine craves and that exercise actually releases positive dopamine ... so adding an exercise regiment to our quits helps us lose weight and get fit.
  We all agree that, as we progress in our quits, we come to a new self-realization, discovering life anew without the burden of addiction.  We learn something new about ourselves that is empowering in all aspects of our lives.
  We all agree that food is a normal substitute for smoking.  Adding a healthy diet as a sensible part of our quits, we find ourselves eating and feeling healthier.
  We ALL agree that the amount of money we save NOT smoking is phenomenal.  It adds up quickly.  Track it!  We are always pleasantly surprised.  I've already saved $549.00!  Whoo Hoo!
  We all agree that the stigmas, shame, unpleasentries, and obligations associated with smoking detract from our relationships with family and friends.  Quitting smoking frees us from the obligations and unpleasantries of smoking, which allows us to truly enjoy our social lives.
  With all that money we save, we are able to afford to travel to new places, like New Zealand or Iowa.
  We all agree that smoking does NOT relieve stress.  That is simply a lie we addicts tell ourselves to justify a quick, but fleeting, fix.  In fact, smoking increases stress ... it is   one more thing with which to contend in life.
  We all agree that blogging and commenting is helpful in staying mindful of our quits, and it's a great way to help others making the same journey we are traveling.  Being active here, we help others at the same time we help ourselves.  What better way to volunteer?
  We all agree that alcohol is a tripper for many a quit.  Protecting our quits is great justification to drink less.
  Newbies ... commit to quit smoking in 2016 and, very likely, you will ultimately get fit, learn something new, eat healthier, save money, spend more time with family, travel to new places, be less stressed, volunteer more, and drink less too.  It's a ten-for-the-price-of one bargain!
  I look forward to a caravan of New Year quitters!!!
  Be willing, be RESOLUTE, be well, and BE FREE!

I want to take this moment to express my gratefulness and appreciation for all of the personalities and friends I have discovered on EX this year.  You have all been a blessing and a joy to me, and I want to wish you all a very, very, very happy Thanksgiving this year.

As Jackie says, be blessed, be a blessing, be well, be happy, and be free.

Now go teach those turkeys what "gobble, gobble" really means!


On my way to work yesterday I witnessed this awesome, cold sunrise.  My photography does not do it justice but, c'mon, I was sitting in my car on the interstate on-ramp dangling my camera out of the car window; hoping not to be rear-ended ... but I wanted to share it with you.

Lo and behold ... this morning ...

and ...

Hey ... Evie!  Bring your shovel.

Have a great day, my friends.  Be warm.  Be well.  Be free!

  Two simple, familiar expressions that are so common that I often forget how profound they really are.  But when I acknowledge what they mean and accept them for truth, they are great filters for a lot of life's static and b.s.
  Talk is cheap.  Anyone can say they are or will do anything they want to say.  Talk is merely ideas declared: compliments, insults, hopes and wishes.  Talk can be hurtful or helpful; damaging or uplifting. It can be present, past, or future.  It is anything and everything.  Anything that can be everything is almost always worth nothing.  Or is it everything that can be anything is almost always worth nothing?  You see what I mean?  There really is no  truth in it.
  Truth lies in action.  Truth is.  It lies in the past.  For any particular idea, it is only one thing and it never changes.  Truth is final.  Truth is done.
  My ex-wife vowed, "'til death do we part," yet we are both living and we are already parted.  Is there a difference between being 'in love' and 'loving'?  More importantly, does it matter?  If there is no truth of permanency in love, then what difference does it make except on a day-to-day basis?  
  I call myself an ex-smoker.  So far I have been.  But am I really?  I can only   say that I am and that I intend to be, but the  truth, as in love, will only be revealed day-to-day.  That is why we say, "keep counting the days."  As one passes, it is always the next that maintains the truth.
  Commenting on a blog yesterday, I came to my own personal conclusion that the difference between talk and truth is a matter of character. Whether I am who I say I am and whether I do what I say I'm going to do takes integrity.  It's a question of how much value I put on honor, (honour for jimmypage?)  When keeping a commitment becomes uncomfortable, will I keep it anyway?  Do I put a higher value on my word than my  comfort?  As a soldier committed to a cause, will I run from the battlefield, or will I charge it and struggle through to the other side victorious or die trying?
  One thing I've learned from love and quitting smoking is that I am a terrible judge of character; that guessing for me is essentially a game of russian roulette.  My ex-wife hit the message home the hardest but some of my ex-friends have too.  I thought some would surely be successful who weren't and others, who I thought for sure would fail, are still here proving me wrong.  I've adopted a policy of keeping my own now.  I will keep my own heart and I will keep my own quit and I will be responsible for them; in-  deed, only I can be truly responsible for them.  Tell me   you love me, but live it day by day.  Tell me   you've quit, and live that day by day too.
  In many ways, love and quitting smoking are manifestations of the same concept.  Love is an exercise in self-sacrifice.  Breaking an addiction is an exercise in self-deprivation.  Both are difficult to maintain long-term and when the going gets tough, both take strength of character to persevere.  The only difference between a successful marriage and a successful quit is that the former takes two.  I may never know the joy of a successful, long-lasting marriage, but I love that I chose the day of my divorce as the day I chose to quit smoking.
  My forever love turned out to be just talk.  As for my forever quit, I can only take it day by day, one on top of another, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do I part.  Only time will tell if it is the truth.

A couple of weeks ago the peeping carp created a blog titled Beauty At 6:30 This Morning in which he captured an inspiring California sunrise.  I was going to bookend it with this picture from my back yard in Iowa.  Unfortunately, I couldn't get it to work then.  Now I can.

Goodnight sun.  Greetings day won!

Have a good evening, friends.

I am beat.  I just wrapped up the evening with my son and my daughter.  We celebrated my daughter's eighth birthday Halloween style with about 10 of her classmates, all girls with very high pitched voices, especially when they're screaming.  We played games, opened gifts, ate cake and ice cream and then we all went crazy making as much noise in the dark with flashlights and glow sticks as is imaginably possible.  A very good day, all things considered.

But as always happens when my children leave, cravings to smoke sneak in to fill the emptiness they leave behind.  The job-well-done mentality settles in; I am decompressing and re-adjusting from, "Dad? Dad? Dad?" back to dead silence, and quite honestly, if there ever is a good time for a cigarette, this is it.  During transitions like these, thoughts of cigarettes and my children skip and scamper around together in my mind.  Previously, though, while they shared the same playground, they remained on separate sides.  They were always two distinct entities doing their own thing, forced to hang out in each other's proximity purely by the circumstance that they're both simultaneosly in my thoughts.

Perhaps because my daughter turns eight tonight, perhaps because she is growing up, (she looks nothing like the infant I used to carry around in my arms,) or because she questions more now and is so much more observant and independent than she used to be ... for whatever reason ... tonight she didn't stay on her side of the playground like she used to do.  Tonight she went over to where the cigarettes were hanging out.  She picked one up.  She lit it.  And she began smoking it.  My eight year old daughter started smoking right there in front of me, right in my own mind.

In my mind, I was always suave and debonaire when I smoked.  Of course, I never actually saw myself smoking.  I'm not sure why I thought I was such an exceptionally attractive smoker because the truth is, I can't think of anyone I have seen smoking that struck me as looking particularly glamorous doing so.  Smoking actually looks extremely awkward when you stop and pay close attention to it.  Still, no matter how pathetic it looks, there is nothing more disturbing than watching your eight year old daughter smoke.  I can't imagine yet what my daughter will look like when she is twelve, the age at which I began dabbling with cigarettes, or sixteen, when most other kids I knew who smoked jumped on the band wagon, but however she looks when she is older, I don't think my impression of her smoking is going to be any improved.  There is just something heart-sickening to me seeing my daughter smoking, now or ever.

Seeing her smoking reinforced everything I know about smoking that I never want to admit when I'm craving a cigarette.  Smoking is horrible.  There's no reason why it should disturb me to see my daughter follow in my foot steps and take up smoking except for the knowledge that she will become addicted to cigarettes like I am, and then they will slowly rob her of her vitality, her health, her self-esteem, her social standing ... things I want her to have in plenty.  And just like that, my eight year old daughter stole my crave.  Standing there watching her smoke, I couldn't deny how hurtful it would be in return for her to see me smoking, knowing she loves me as I love her.

She doesn't know yet that I used to smoke.  Someday she will.  Someday I will tell her that I finally quit because I wanted to be a part of her life for as long as I could; hers and her brother's.  I'll tell her how it was hard, but not harder than as much as I loved her.  I'll tell her about the time I caught her smoking when she was only eight years old, shortly after she'd left to go back to her mom's house after that big Halloween birthday party we had for her at my house.  I'll tell her that I love her and for that reason I better never ever catch her smoking again, and for that reason too, I promise not to either.

Hey friends,

I'm having one right now.  A swelling crave to smoke.  Wow!  It feels good.  I'm smiling.  = )

Chuckling under my breath.  It tickles.  It's trying to seduce me.  I know it won't.  I'm just going to float with it.  UP AnD down.  Let it wash over me ... run tickling-vibrating through me ... relaxing.  A long-lost love whispering in my ear ... saying she is sorry.

Ed Sheeran's 'Thinking Out Loud' is playing.  I think that was the trigger.  Such a beautiful song ... depressing to me now ... everything for which I had hoped.

You lied to me.  Just let it go.  Let it drift away.  Shed a tear and say goodbye.  I can only control my own decisions and actions ... my evergreen.  Promise to myself, whatever else ... I will be true to me.

And now it's passed.

Deep breath ...  EX-haaaaaaaale.

And a Happy Thursday to you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Every morning I look forward to and enjoy your greeting and affirmation, first thing.  I wanted to share with you how nice that is.  But I know you are always up early, even before those folks that make the donuts, I bet ... so I'm leaving this blog here the night before, like cookies for Santa, so that you will find it when you arrive.

I hope you have a wonderful day and that your long days at work ease up soon.  But you are right.  However long they are, they are better because we don't smoke.

Good morning right back atchya, pal ...