He smokes She smokes

I’m off sugar again.  Well except for yesterday.  It hit me the same as when I quit smoking.  You know one of those habits where you know you should quit but you get too much enjoyment out of it so you keep going asking in your prayers for the strength to stop and then you just keep smoking or drinking or eating those hostess cupcakes.  Go ahead and laugh but an addiction by any other name…wait…what comes after that?  And addiction by any other names is….??

Well anyway, I started smoking (cigarettes) when I was really young.  I mean REALLY young.  I was in 6th grade.  I remember walking to Mikes Cash Market, which was probably a mile from my house, on a back road, in 6th grade, with Ellen, who was also in 6th grade. Nobody cared that it was a secluded country road and we were what 11?  I mean first of all I walked there without a thought.  My kids wouldn’t walk to the corner.  Second I was ELEVEN!  Perfectly acceptable behavior in our part of the world (the country) – not to mention that someone at Mikes Cash Market was selling me cigarettes as an 11 year old. I remember asking my dad, still in 6th grade, if I could smoke in front of them.  I mean can you just imagine????  Stephanie and I were talking about memories last weekend.  Sometimes you remember a snapshot, like a photograph, and other times you remember like a movie. She has some hilarious movie type memories.  But those are her stories, for her blog.  This memory I have of asking my dad if I could smoke is a movie memory.  He was calm and went to this little night stand he had and pulled out a white cloth handkerchief and blew smoke into it so he could show me the brown nicotine that goes into your system, which meant absolutely nothing to me.  So I asked again, “can I smoke or not?” – then he said no.  I don’t even think he was that surprised that I asked.  He probably smoked at 11 years old too.  I was pissed.  How dare he tell me no.  I mean aren’t I a grownup?  Dam parents.

I continued to smoke for many years…well not as many as some, but it certainly defined me for many years.  My friends smoked…and again I’m remembering a time when Diane and I went through the yearbook and picked out “he smokes, she smokes” photos. I think we may have been drunk.  I’m not sure about that but everytime she brings up “he smokes she smokes” we crack up.   So many smoking memories.  Jean and I smoked Virginia Slims, then I went to Marlboro’s and I finally ended on Marlboro Lights.  When I first started smoking I tried Kool’s.  Do they still make those?  They were nasty.

I remember picking butts up off the ground (butts, for those of you that don’t know, are already smoked cigarettes that someone threw out while there was still perfectly good nicotine left) –we’d pick those up off the ground and smoke em.  Unless they were menthol.  Daddy smoked Camels.  They didn’t have filters.  He was lucky I didn’t like them or I would have stolen most of his; although on occasion I would.

In highschool (and junior high) we would smoke in the bathroom at school.  I got sent to the office in junior high for smoking in the bathroom, but that could have been for skipping class too. Not quite sure.  In Jean and Stephanie’s highschool (they were in a different school district) they actually had a smoking lounge, in highschool.  I visited their school once.  I couldn’t believe it.  Smoking out in the open, in front of grownups!!.  I think all my friends smoked back then.  I’m trying to think if there was anyone that didn’t.  I’m sure there were people who didn’t smoke but they probably didn’t want to hang out with me.  Susie might have been a non smoker come to think of it.  All of my friends that went to the Academy (private school, I went to public) would tell their parents that the cigarettes they found in their rooms were mine.  You know that white trash public school girl.  But I found out years later that Linda’s mom knew better.  Parents are smarter than we give them credit for.

In college everyone but Sandy smoked.  Everyone.  It’s a bonding activity. You bum cigarettes off of each other, then someone else lights it. It’s a group activity.  Almost every picture of me back in the day I have a cigarette in my hands.  I don’t even remember thinking I was cool smoking, it was just such a part of me.  I never even considered quitting.

I married Dennis in 1982 – pregnant in 1982 also (don’t judge) – the doctor never told me to quit smoking.  He just said “don’t increase..but you don’t have to quit” – I smoked the entire pregnancy.  I smoked when I nursed.  I know it’s sickening, but it just never occurred to me to stop.  No one ever suggested it.  Zachary (that son born in 1982) once commented that he was short because I didn’t let him drink milk.  I was like WHAT?  It was definitely because I smoked.  Milk…pishawww…

Well anyway, all this background to say that when I was in my 20’s , married, with a child, my Dad started asking me when I was going to quit smoking (still never smoked around them) and I said “I’ll quit when you quit” knowing full well that was never going to happen.  Then he died.  Massive heart attack and all that unhealthy stuff that goes along with it.  He was 58.  The day of his funeral when I woke up I didn’t want a cigarette.  So I went with it.  When it would be time to have a cigarette I would think to myself…hmmm, not really wanting one…and then I would go longer…and it lasted three years.  A work colleague of mine at the time said when he quit he wanted a cigarette everyday, for 10 years.  I think he might have started up again.  I thought about it a lot but I can’t say that I wanted one everyday…

After 3 years though I was starting to slip, a drag here and there, and then this weird thing happened with Dennis (my husband) where he ended up in the hospital with this crazy condition called epiglottitis. The doctors said he could die in seconds…I was young, I was scared, and I couldn’t believe that I was mad at him for making me (he didn’t make me, he said he’d drive himself, but I took him out of guilt) take him to the hospital at 4 in the morning just because he had a sore throat.  Well it turned out to be this life threatening thing and had he not gone to the hospital he would have died.  DIED.  I started full-out smoking, right then and there, in the waiting room while he was getting an emergency tracheotomy.  Smoking in the waiting room.  In a hospital.  Have you seen the TV Show This is Us?  You need to watch the first episode (there’s a connection to this topic..I’m not just writing random things).

Anyway, I continued to smoke for about 9 months and this time I couldn’t stand it.  I couldn’t stand the way I smelled the way my hands smelled, it was making me sick.  I quit again and have never wanted another once since.  Even the thoughts of it make my lungs hurt.  BUT I loved it once.

I’ve given up a lot of things.  I believe I’ve blogged about this before.  Smoking, drinking, … but sugar is the hardest.  Obviously I have an addictive personality.  I was not able to only smoke when I drink (the envy of all smokers who wish they had that restraint) – I’m not really able to drink just a couple drinks…well maybe I can, but more than often I couldn’t…and I can’t eat just one Hostess cupcake.  If I open the pack they’re both goin down.  I know sugar is bad for me.  It’s bad for everybody but it’s been hard for me to quit.  And obviously I have to quit totally.

A couple of weeks ago I got through a day without wanting something sweet.  So I kept going.  3 days and supposedly you’re cured. It’s been 3 weeks, but I slipped yesterday so I have to start over. I will admit it’s easier after a couple of days but cured?  I don’t know that’s ever going to happen.  I already think I look better, I don’t know that I feel better as I didn’t really feel bad before, but I’m having less guilt about my unhealthy decisions. It’s a social thing though.  I mean who doesn’t like to go out for ice cream, split a dessert, talk about the delicious chocolate they had or bring in a cake they made?

Most of my friends have quit smoking. Most of them. Well some of them.  None of my friends have quit drinking to my extent but most of them will still hang with me.  But no desserts?  I mean really…everyone is going to be sick of my “not doing that anymore” rhetoric. I’ve been lucky to never have lost a friend over my quitting behaviors but I really might lose friends with this one.  Is it worth it?

Tomorrow I’m meeting Jennifer in Orlando.  She taught me how to inhale (cigarettes) when we were in 7th grade.  She was so much more mature than me. I have that memory as a movie memory as well.  We sat on her bed and she gave me inhaling instructions.  I’m pretty sure we had the window open, like you know, thinking that no one would know we were smoking.  Well anyway, after her excellent instruction I became a pro smoker.  It was a proud day.

Maybe tomorrow we can have a healthy quinoa salad with kale and carrots.  And for dessert share a smoke.  Just for old time’s sake.

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State of Affairs

I’ve been thinking again.  I know, it’s going to be one of those kinds of blogs.  It all started because I was thinking about the blog..and my blogging and not blogging and what I blog about or don’t blog about and I was thinking about my cousin Ira. (hi Ira) Ira is my cousin but he really is my mom’s first cousin.  I mean he’s my cousin too but I did not meet him until maybe 5 years ago.  He’s a few years older than my mom, looks so much like my Grandad to me, at least he reminds me of him, not sure he actually looks that much like him. Mom says when they were kids, she felt like Ira kept an eye on her, not too close, but kept an eye out walking to the bus stop that was miles away from the house for instance. And then when she lost her sight and needed help again he’s there.  I mean doesn’t that make you cry just a little?  To think about the people who come in and out of your life?  Especially relatives.  I’m thinking about Zachary and how much he played with my sister’s kids and his other cousin when he was a growing up and he has absolutely no contact with them now.  I wonder if when he’s 80 there will be contact again? Ya know? I have/had a similar relationship with my cousins.  I remember them from when I was little –like before 10 – and then nothing until I was about 20 – and then nothing again for maybe another 10 years, and then we had the big family reunion about 5 years ago.  Well anyway, I don’t know my cousins very well but I love them because they’re family.  At least that’s how I feel.  But I digress because this wasn’t supposed to be about cousins.  See how I am?  I get so sidetracked when I type.

I was thinking about Ira because he reads my blog and when he comments he makes very thoughtful comments and has complimented me on being open and honest…stuff like that…and well lately I haven’t been sharing any heartfelt stuff.  Not that my renewed interest in the male species isn’t heartfelt  but I guess maybe I should share this whole being thrown alone into the wilds of Florida experience and update my 5 readers (down from 20) on how it’s progressing. I have met a few people on this path of mine that have commented on how brave I am to be here, all alone, knowing no one etc.  I don’t know how brave it is but it can be trying at best. I attribute a lot of the success (for lack of a better term) of this experience on having so many different experiences.  This is what I thought about today…let me be more specific…for your weekend reading pleasure.

I have always had a lot of friends. I didn’t come here to make friends, which is good cause that’s not going so well, but at this stage of my life I’m not feeling like I need to find new friends.  Not that I don’t like new friends, it’s not that, but the fact that I don’t have any friends here yet doesn’t really upset me because I already have more friends than I can make time for.  So like I’m not sad or worried about that.

Now work, well my history in the work-a-day world has always been one of confidence.  I’ve never encountered a job I couldn’t do.  Well…maybe…there was this time I had a temp job and I couldn’t figure out how to print – computers were new at the time…give me a break…anyway I did walk out of that job at lunch. LOL.  That was a long time ago, obviously.  I mean I know how to print now at least. But moving here, I wasn’t worried about being able to perform in my job here in DeLand.  Now though, for the first time in my life ever,  I am a little worried about it just because it’s too much..it’s literally a job that two people should be doing!  But I sucked it up and brought home stuff and stayed up working until 1 am last night and again today until noon or so, so I just have to quit being a baby and get it done and just do it..for now.

Men, well men, I’m not looking for one.  I won’t mind having one in my life again some day but for the first time in my life, ever, I’m not consumed with being in a relationship.  At least today.

The town is great in the way that there is always something going on. Today there is a music festival on the streets, there is a big homecoming something going on (Stetson’s homecoming) everything within walking distance.  On Halloween they closed the streets off downtown and all these people were out in costumes just walking around.  Bunch of kids dressed up.  I did walk through it just to check it out.  There’s also sky diving, there’s weekend Stetson football games (when they’re home), there’s parades, there’s craft shows, it’s really a happening place.  Of course I do none of it because I don’t have a friend…yet. (see above)  I mean I’ll walk through a craft fair but mostly I stay inside on my weekend, or go to the beach.  But just now I watched fireworks from my window.  They set fireworks off for Homecoming.  See?  I’m entertained enough.

My apartment isn’t ideal but I really don’t mind.  It’s ideal for me at this time.  It’s kinda fun when I get all excited about buying myself a new pan, which I only do when there’s a recipe that requires me to have a different pan than I have now.  I mean it’s stupid but to me it’s fun. I have everyone at work cheering me on with my pan purchases.

I’m fortunate to have a whole lot of time to think about this kind of stuff, that is when I’m not watching my shows.  In education, in higher ed anyway, there is a lot of time after an assignment when educators are asked to “reflect” on their experiences.  My job specifically has me building surveys for people to reflect on their experiences.  This year I learned the word PREflection where you’re supposed to think about what you expect to learn before you reflect on what you have learned.  Sheesh…a lot of thinking.  Based on that mindset I am probably exactly where I need to be.

I am at the midterm of my life and I’ve been given this chance to reflect on what I’ve experienced so far.  Kinda like “go to your room and think about what you did Missy!!” Kinda like that.  I don’t know that I’m being punished, I mean I really do know that I’m not being punished, but I did have to have things taken away from me in order for me to just stop and think.  I think about the big picture things now like permanence.  I think about permanence a lot, and how fleeting and fast time is.  I am surprised that I am so nostalgic for many things. I’m sure empty nesters go through that a lot.  I surprise myself though missing my kids, missing my dogs, missing Fair Oaks, missing living in Moon Township and the fall sounds of Robert Morris sports that I would hear at my apartment or living downtown and walking around the Point on the weekends.  And of course I miss Palm Harbor and Treasure Island and floating in the Gulf and walking on the beach and everything that went with that.  Well I could go on and on but I wonder if I miss things so much, why do I leave?  Why do I change?  Why did I leave my apartment in Moon Township?  Obviously there are circumstances that are inevitable and we need to change with them. Kids grow, dogs die, but there are a lot of other choices that I’ve made that I question now.  Not so much regret, but just reflect on 🙂 That’s probably the first essay question on the midterm the universe is offering me now. Question #1.  Why don’t you stay put? (PS – there is no right answer)

I think about what kind of friend I am, what kind of friend I want to be.  What kind of new friends do I want to hang out with?

I think about what kind of house/home do I want?  Do I care about a “home” like I used to?  I’m down to what I would call the bare minimum, the bare minimum for me, but do I even care?  Ya know?  Like what do I care about in a home?

This is the gift I’ve been given.  The gift of reflection.  Sure I’m lonely sometimes, not really though, I mean I’m back to talking on the phone a lot, but I wouldn’t mind having someone to hang out with on occasion…but back to now, now I’ve been given the gift of time. My job keeps me busy enough that I don’t wallow in this stuff and my detachment from any outcome gives me perspective.  I have time to think.  Sure thinking at the beach would have been nice too, but…I digress once again!

I think my purpose here in DeLand, my goal in the short term is to get back to being self-sufficient. Apparently not too quickly, but still. That’s what I gave up in my last chapter. Not my independence.  I never felt I gave that up, but I did give up being self-sufficient. I’d give that up again in a heartbeat, BUT for now I need to get back on my feet on my own. That’s what this chapter in my life is about (I think).  I mean that whole issue is a reflection question in itself isn’t it?  Being self-sufficient or being financially supported? I reflect on giving back too. Like how to pay those times back? Not will I ever get the money to pay Chase bank back, or send money to people who gave me money (although won’t that be nice someday?) but more specifically how do I pay the world back for helping me get through that?  When I get back on my feet do I donate to charities?  Do I go online and give $20 or $200 to a random go-fund me page?  Maybe a 3 bedroom house on the beach where friends and family can come stay is a pay back option? More reflection and savings needed there for sure.

I really do feel like something good is coming up – at least something new and possibly big. Retirement is only a heartbeat away.  I think about that a lot.  I mean A LOT.  I am weirdly excited to get there.  I don’t want to wish away these times, like I am so apt to do, but I just have this feeling that the best times are yet to come.  It’s my PREflection.  I expect that I’m going to be having a lot of fun when those days come but for now I will just be happy to reflect on what I’ve done to this point.

So that’s all, some soul-searching stuff to share. I’m not sad. I don’t hate my job on most days, sooomme days I think wtf, but most days I’m fine, I’ve got the beach, I got my friends at a distance and I have my new pet lizard.

Seriously I have this lizard that I kinda like having around.  It started with me trying to figure out how to get him out of the house but he got away from me of course and then was hanging on the window blinds and I told him that we would figure it out in the morning, just stay out of the kitchen.  The next morning I checked on him and he was still on the blinds but after my shower he was gone. Sooo, I figured he got out.  A couple of days later I get the mixer out to make banana bread (for work) and there he was on the mixer.  We were both stunned.  When I told him that I specifically said to stay out of the kitchen and he didn’t listen that now I guess he had to go, but I couldn’t catch him.  So I’ve decided to keep him.  I’m hoping he eats bugs because that’s what I’ve heard lizards do and I’m not feeding him, although I did put some water out for him the other day.  I’m not sure if it’s too much water and he could drown so I’ll have to research that.  He hangs out with me now in the kitchen although he still stays to the edges quick to run under that cupboard so I don’t drop something on him (I did that the other day…felt really bad) and now it’s like having a dog or a cat or a roaming baby again.  I’m always looking down so I don’t step on him.  HA!!  I haven’t named him yet.

Well anyway, I kinda like having him around.  And I’ll just let you all reflect on that!!


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There she is….

Part of my job is to organize events.  Actually it’s a big part of my job.  So today was one of our Spotlight presentations.  Terry, our speaker, had a video in his presentation about Pygmy rattlesnakes and the AV set up wasn’t really working for him to show the video.  Luckily he left the room offering he knew exactly what he needed to do.  That was great news for me because this AV stuff has gotten away from me over the years.  Honestly I know that it’s not hard but in my experience it’s always been someone else’s job.  While at Thomson we’d call in an AV service.  At Federated that was Carmen’s sole purpose.  Point Park I think IT would have fixed whatever, so I haven’t bothered to really pay attention.  I mean really, I just don’t care enough.  Although I’ve been trying to act like I do.

So I was sharing with Julia that we needed to add a HDMI cord to our “meeting” box that we carry from meeting to meeting when here comes Terry back into the room with a helper.  Luckily we know to start setting up 1/2 hour before the presentation for reasons just like this.  It takes time to get that AV stuff up and running.  Plus there’s lunch.

So anyway, in comes Terry with the most beautiful human being (man) I have ever seen, prompting me to become even more interested in the ins and outs of AV business, all of the sudden. Although I didn’t realize it at the time I now know I did not take my eyes off of him. Just blatant staring. I’m not sure if my mouth was gaping open…I can’t be sure. It was probably extremely embarrassing for him.  I’m going to guess he is probably in his late 30’s…probably the age of my son Zachary.  Which normally would make me sick to my stomach but I don’t know, I think after 35 it’s kinda like we’re all the same age now aren’t we?  Well anyway, I could not take my eyes off of him because I just couldn’t get over how good looking he was. I kept looking for a flaw.  Bad teeth?  Hole in his face? Disfigured somewhere?  Nope.  Perfect. PERFECT.  So what does it all mean?

If you were my friend Diane, I think what would pop into your head is “there’s my Lynny.” I am not dead inside.  I am sure this man, whoever he is will keep one of those “stay away from this woman” pictures of me up on his desk.  But honestly I’m not even that embarrassed.  As a matter of fact if I see him again I think I’ll just admit to him that he’s the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen.  I bet he hears it all the time.  If not it is my duty to strike up a conversation and tell him, perhaps over lunch. When I was in college at Carlow, one of our nuns said she thought it was kinda like a sin to not give someone a compliment when a compliment is due.  And I’m no sinner.

I will have to go through my calendar and see what meeting I’ve scheduled is coming up.  I am sure to have AV issues and have to call someone.



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