5 Months, 8 Days, 14 Hours……….

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since I lit up and smoked my last¬†cigarette, according to my handy-dandy¬†QuitIt app.¬†If you’re a former smoker, you understand what the last few months of my life have been like.

It’s hard to believe as a 12-year-old, I thought smoking was oh-so-cool. Now, as a woman turning 45 this year, I regret lighting up that first cigarette. Let me clarify: I DID NOT smoke from 12 until 44. I didn’t ¬†join in as a ‘real smoker’ until I was around 15 or 16. My friends did it. My parents were chain smokers. It was a part of my world for as long as I can remember.

Another thing I remember is getting car sick on long road trips with my parents as they smoked. Looking back, I don’t know why they didn’t crack or roll down the windows during those endless miles. My complaints weren’t met with the obvious reaction. Instead, we’d pull into the nearest rest area so I could get somewhat of a break, as they continued to smoke.

I also remember learning in school, ¬†cigarettes would kill my parents. I rectified that situation by throwing away newly purchased cartons of cigarettes. Problem solved, right? Uh no! More like I ended up in trouble. I was worried about my parents but it was still a time where the Marlboro man was cool and smoking was just the thing to do. My parents weren’t concerned with the years worth of damage ¬†smoking was doing to their health. In fact, my mom ended up on an oxygen machine during the last few years of her life. Ironically, the first time I went over to see her and the new oxygen machine, she was sitting in bed smoking!

I will admit, I was the adult smoker, puffing away, warning the younger generation of the perils of the nicotine addiction. One of my most ironic and sad memories relating to smoking is: A good friend of mine, who use to babysit my daughter, was outside, you guessed it, smoking, when I arrived. I did what any good smoker does and lit up a cigarette to join her. Tears streamed down her face as she delivered the bad news: her grandmother had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. My heart sank and clenched with pain for my friend and her family, even as we both puffed and puffed away. Despite the news, neither one of us thought, it’s time to quit smoking.

Fast forward a few years. My daughter is in elementary school and has asked me to accompany her class on a field trip to one of our state parks. Sure, why not, I think. It’s Spring, the weather is perfect and I’d never been to this particular park. Yeah, lemme tell you. Little did I know her teacher and the teacher she partnered up with were evidently in training for an¬†Olympic¬†type of marathon! Initially, I did give it a good-hearted attempt to keep up with the teachers-determined-to-whip-me-into-shape. I even made sure to keep the stragglers caught up with us. That’s right, I was the BEAST! For the first five minutes.

Then my smoker’s lungs started kicking in. Sweat glands I didn’t know existed made their presence known. Luckily, I’d established with the teachers from hell ¬†I was in charge of the stragglers, so it became easy to slow it on down and walk their pace. No longer was I encouraging them to keep up, I was begging THEM to s-l-o-w down! I can remember at one point where they gave up on me trying to catch up with them. Not only did we finish the walk in 2.5 miliseconds, we also had to wait another 20 something hours for the other classes to arrive at the meeting point. Okay, okay, so I’m exaggerating just a little.

It was at that point I knew I had to quit smoking. There was no reason for me to be in my 30’s and ready to keel over from what should have been an invigorating walk. My mind was made up and I quit. For over 2 years. At least, in the sense that I didn’t buy cigarettes. I didn’t smoke cigarettes. But I never stopped feigning for cigarettes. It was oh-so easy to start back up. I’ll just smoke when: fill-in-the-blank. And then as I became more comfortable with the different allowances to smoke, I was a full-time smoker again.

Now, I am back into the world of not smoking. Again. After another attempt back in August of last year. I went three weeks before I just had to smoke again. I have been wanting to post about ¬†my non-smoking journey that began a few months ago but honestly, I was afraid that I would have given in again. I am trying, no not trying, I am succeeding at being a non-smoker. The first month really didn’t bother me. It’s been the second month going into the third that had me going absolutely bonkers! It was through a newsletter for people who have quit smoking that I read once you get to the third month and haven’t smoked, your chances for remaining a non-smoker increase tremendously. That is what I held onto for dear life as the days from 2 months into 3 months slowed down drastically.

I’m still struggling with the addiction part at times but not so much that I am willing to taint my non-smoking lips and lungs! The app does tell me how much money I’ve saved as well as how my body is healing. Like most smokers who quit, ¬†I have packed on the pounds. ¬†I can’t even say it’s because food tastes so much better. It’s because I want to SMOKE! The next phase of kicking the habit is to turn my eating habits around. I knew I would gain weight and gave myself a time period to substitute one oral fixation for another. Temporarily, that is! ¬†And so the determination continues into another day I can add to my time of kicking the habit. I’m off into the next journey of kicking the jiggly off my belly!

Any addictions you quit? How many times did it take you? What are some words of advice and encouragement you can give the rest of us?

My Laughter For The Week!

Mama Kat wants to know what made me laugh this week! I believe laughter and a sense of humor are extremely important. I can find humor in the silliest things. It’s not unusual for friends to quickly learn I can amuse myself like a comic on open mic night. ¬†Here’s some of the antics which put a grin on my face.

The crazy spam I get! No matter how many times I check, I just can’t find that part of my body which can grow an extra 3 inches by the grace of some miracle pill. But I don’t fret too much about it since I have people from all over the world wanting to put millions of dollars into my bank account. How lucky can a girl get? For that kind of money, I can buy any body part in triplet! No, I’m not interested in meeting a cougar. Honey, I AM a cougar! Just kidding. Kinda. In a way.

Jeannie’s latest thing, to do this week, is to hit me in my belly! Really?? If you read my A Super Sweet Blogging Award, you’ll understand why I find humor in this. But what cracks me up the most about it is she looks like a little kid who’s up to no good as she accomplishes her quest. ¬†And then today, she tells someone she likes hitting me in the belly because of the way her hand bounces off my fat!

How easily I can’t tell our cats apart from strays. I think there’s an underground network of stray cats telling each other to show up at my house for food because I can’t tell one cat apart from another. It doesn’t matter if my contacts are in or not, or if it’s day or night. WB went out the other night, a very rare thing, so when I heard him calling to come back in, I went out to get him. I called him, he meowed and came running to me. Only thing was, it wasn’t WB but some other stray cat! Who didn’t look anything like WB. Time for an eye exam, maybe????

I had a short but busy day of work and was looking forward to a fresh cup of coffee and the cheese pizza I cooked when I came home. Just as I was taking my pizza out of the oven, “R” called me. She wanted me to run to the office with her to check something out with her fan. Sure, why not? Turns out, “R” was interested in seeing if the fan would shock me. That way she could determine if it was static¬†electricity¬†or just plain ol’¬†electricity. Uh no. I wouldn’t do it.

I must have been harboring a secret fear the world was going to suffer an egg shortage. Came home tonight to put the groceries away to find two other cartons of eggs in fridge. Wonder what recipes I’ll find using eggs.

I don’t know why this granny was posted on Epic Fail. I think she has the right idea. Go to the gym to watch hot, sweaty men work out and have yourself a drink. Lot less than paying for tickets to watch Chippendale dancers, don’tcha think? Can’t wait for my golden years!

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Mama’s Losin’ It

A Super Sweet Blogging Award! :)

Why hello! It tis I! Yep, I’m still alive and around. I’ve posted a million times! In my mind. Things have been crazy busy and ultra life-changing on soooo many levels. It’s amazing what life can and will hand you when you least ¬†expect it. That being said, I was very surprised when Lisa nominated me for a bloggy award. ¬†I’d almost forgotten about awards until Lisa nudged a well-hidden memory.

Check out Lisa’s blog,¬† Road to Nowhere…

This is probably one of the more yummy awards! Ah, if only these were real!

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1. Cookies or Cake? This is an easy one for me. Although I love cookies, especially homemade chocolate chip cookies with walnuts, I will pick cake any day. Especially a chocolate cake dripping with ooeey, gooeey chocolate frosting. A close second, is a vanilla cake with ooeey, gooeey chocolate frosting. THE BEST CAKE EVER: My Oma use to make it for me, especially around my birthday. It was a three-layer cake, close to sponge cake, homemade whipped cream, and sliced bananas and mandarin oranges. Oh yes, my little snout and curly tail would appear each and every time Oma made this cake.

2. Chocolate or Vanilla? Picture it, if you will, *in my best Sophia Petrillo voice.* I am dancing,  head thrown back,  arms to the sides, flopping with each bounce of my feet tap dancing away. I resemble Snoopy doing his happy dance. And I owe it all to: CHOCOLATE! That is all there is to say on that one.

3.What is your favorite sweet treat: Cheesecake or  frozen Yogurt? Cheesecake. New York Style Cheesecake. Cheesecake with strawberries. Homemade cheesecake. Frozen cheesecake. Jello made cheesecake.

4.When do you crave sweet things the most? From the time my eyes¬†reluctantly¬†open in the too soon arriving morning until they close again for a night of slumber. It’s been 2 months since I’ve quit smoking and sweets have become my new addiction. Yes, the poundage does show I’ve switched addictions but hey, one thing at a time, right?

5. If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be? Quite honestly, if it was in the here and now, I would have to go with Jelly Belly. Cuz this girl has got a belly on her these days. No, better yet: Jello Jelly Belly. Cuz this girl’s belly got the jiggly that would put Jello to shame!

Those were fun questions to answer. Now I’m off to do my Baker’s dozen. No pressure to anyone I list. I thought this was fun and it’s been a good while since my last bloggy award.¬†

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Mama Kat’s Writing Workshop Prompt

One of the prompts for this week from Mama’s Losin’ It! is right up my alley. I chose:  Do you love YouTube? Share five of your all time favorite YouTube videos. Choosing which prompt I wanted to do was the easy part. Having to narrow down my favorite videos to a mere 5 was the hard part.

5. I can remember being a little girl and just singing my heart out when this song came on the radio. Of course, it didn’t really matter to me what The Manhattan’s song was about. I just liked the lyrics. However, I did think the song was about a man having to let his maid go. Don’t ask me how I came up with this but it did give me a good chuckle when, as an adult, I heard the song again and understood what it was really about.

4. If you read my blog, you know I like me some Tequila! No feet discrimination, I say!

3. Remember when you were just starting out with make-up? Did anyone else start off with the light blue and pink eye shadow?? Man, that was so popular when I was in Junior High. I think what makes me chuckle about men and make-up, is how much they don’t pay attention to the process we go through. Even when their wife does make-up videos.

2. One motivational speaker I NEVER get tired of listening to is Les Brown. I follow him on Twitter and have liked his Facebook page. Recently, he started a group on Facebook and I was excited to get an invite to the group.

1. I came across Katie Piper’s story as I was browsing through YouTube one day. Katie had the misfortune of meeting a man who changed her life in a way you wouldn’t imagine. Although Katie had a tough time at some points, she managed to turn things around and share her struggles with the world. I admire people like Katie because sometimes, just sometimes, it’s the not just the power of thought but having the strength to have that power.

Non-Bloggers Just Don’t Understand

It’s safe to say, Jeannie doesn’t bat an eye when I whip out my trusty ol’ phone and start taking pictures. She’s use to it and ¬†knows I’m always on the lookout for a blogging topic. But when you enter ¬†in the people who aren’t use to me taking pictures, they give me that odd look. You can see it written all over their faces: ‘Why is she taking a picture of that?’ Jeannie, on the other hand, will say, ‘Hey, you forgot to take a picture of your food!’ ¬†OR ‘Here’s a good picture for you take.’

So, to my non-blogging friends, I’m just a little camera happy but that’s okay. I capture funny and wonderful memories that make up the pieces of my life.

A great reminder of the evening spent
having dinner with family and friends.

Once he decided I was okay,
he was full face in my camera.

Jeannie couldn’t wait to try to pet the goats.
I was more leery,
picturing the goat trying to head-butt us!

Just a lil of the mess Jeannie prepared for “R’s” birthday. My birthday is next month and “R” has already promised some type of payback!

Who knew a ‘pig stick’ could be so pretty?

Why yes, horses wear leg warmers
and are big fans of the ’80’s!

3 Generations of A Pose

Some days, I find it hard to believe my mom is really gone. In the back of my mind, I’ve been aware this month will mark 6 months. Half a year. I’m weird that way. I mark time off by 6 month intervals.

¬†It’s those unexpected moments when something sparks a memory about my mom and my heart squeezes. I get through those moments, reminding myself of a conversation mom and I had a few years before she died. I remember her telling me not to be all sad and down when she’s gone. She’s going to be up in Heaven having a good time. And knowing my mom, I bet she is, too!

I had a productive day with unexpected good news about a few things. Not ¬†bad ¬†for a Monday overall. In fact, it was so good, I was even motivated to do some cleaning and picking up after a 12 hour day at work. With the house to myself, only my 4 legged-grandchildren as my captive¬† adoring audience, I belt out my favorite songs from the good old days. It’s bittersweet in its own way because they’re songs from the happy times in my childhood and my fondest memories of my parents. I glance up in the middle of a rendition to the framed pictures my mom gave me years ago.

There are pictures of my Oma, my mom and dad, and me as a child. My daughter once commented on how my mom took so many pictures of me with a scowl on my face. I’m pretty sure it was because my mom was ALWAYS taking a picture of me; even when I didn’t want her to. They are pretty funny to look at, so I don’t mind. I have one picture, tucked into the frame, of my mom, wearing the fashionable short dress of the 60’s and she’s holding our dog. When I’m in the heart squeezing moments, I take that picture down and look at it.

Tonight, as I put the picture back in place, I really noticed for the first time the picture of my Oma holding the dog she owned, years before I was even a thought. Then I glanced ¬†at the picture I’d just put back. Then another picture of me, around 10 or so, with me holding my childhood pet, Blacky. That’s when it hit me: we have 3 generations of us holding our dogs.

That put a smile on my face.

I know I’ll always miss my mom. I know I’ll have those good days of memories where I crack up at the antics of my mom. I know I’ll have days where I’m sad and that’s all there is to it. I know I’ll keep marking time by my 6 month intervals. ¬†And I know I’ll be okay.

Love you and miss you mom!

How A Friendship Begins

When I was in 7th grade, my parents decided to buy a house and move us off post. I was heartbroken because it meant leaving my friend, Mickey. Sure, we were only minutes apart  but it felt like miles. We talked on the phone every day. Eventually, I adjusted to my new school and friends. And I still did my daily talks with Mickey. 

Of course, a lot of our daily conversations centered around the cute boys! My topic of conversation was Tim. He was sooooo hot! He had that nice pretty light brown hair, styled to perfection. Deep brown eyes. The cutest face. Yep, I was smitten by hottie Tim. During one particular conversation, I noticed Mickey wasn’t keeping up with her usual animated chatter. Curious, I asked what was wrong. She kinda hem and hawed around. It took some prodding but eventually, Mickey spilled the beans.

A new girl, named Jennie, had moved on post after I left. Mickey and Jennie became friends and often talked. In fact, Jennie and Mickey seemed to be having conversations similar to ours. Hmmm, turns out Tim was not just my boyfriend but Jennie’s boyfriend as well.¬†

Oh no
he dit-int!


Mickey had put two and two together from the conversations. She thought we should both know he was two-timing us. Jennie broke up with Tim when she found out and asked Mickey to pass a message on to me. She apologized and said she hoped I wasn’t angry with her. Angry with her???!!! ¬†Oh, I wasn’t angry with Jennie. It was Tim who did wrong to both of us. I told Mickey to let Jennie know I was not angry with her because it wasn’t her fault. I promptly broke up with Tim!¬†

Jennie and I didn’t officially meet until we went to high school. During that time, we went to separate middle schools based on where we lived. It wasn’t until high school when the Army brats and civilian kids were put together. Tim had moved long before we could all be reunited.

Jennie and I hit it off in person and had a good laugh about our “introduction” to each other. We hung out from time to time during those years and remained friends. During our senior year, ¬†Jennie became a wife and a mommy. Not long after graduation, she moved to be with her military husband. I became a mom about a year after graduation.

Three years later, Jennie moved back. Her life had moved on from her marriage and she had fallen in love and was expecting her second child. Out of the blue, on a Saturday, I¬†received a call. It was Jennie. She’d looked me up and wanted to know if I was interested in taking our kids to the zoo. Sure, why not? My other alternative was to clean. ¬†During the hour drive, we caught up with each other and it was as if we’d never lost touch.

Jennie and I are so different. When you see us together, you will see Jennie: tall, auburn hair, freckles, blue eyes, very fair complected and oh so quiet. Then you have me: almost as tall, dark brown hair, brown eyes, darker complected, and talkative. We complement each other well. Jennie is the calmer of the two of us. I tend to be the one who can be more high strong.

We have similarities as well. We both have a great sense of humor, play off each other’s zaniness well, have each other’s backs no matter the situation, are each other’s voice of reason, and can spend hours on the phone not saying a word and content in the silence.

One of the things I love about Jennie is her sweet nature. She is the most non-judgmental person I have ever met in my life. You can tell her the most outrageous story of your life and she won’t make a judgment call on you. A very accepting person. But I will tell you this, you don’t ever want to tick her off. Through our friendship, we’ve met the men the other has dated. I always warn them, don’t make her mad. It takes her a looooooonnnggg time but when she gets to that point, duck! Yep, as you might have guessed, there’s always that one who doesn’t heed my warning! It kinda reminds me of the saying: Don’t take my kindness for weakness. Just because Jennie is extremely laid back and the quiet type, it doesn’t mean you can walk all over her.

Jennie has two adult children and eight years to go with the youngest. They are my god-children. The oldest is the spitting image of Jennie. The younger two are spitting images of each other. The two oldest have their mom’s laid back manner. The youngest is a spitfire and keeps us in stitches with her flair for the dramatic. She also bears my first name for her middle name. I call her Lil Chelle. (My daughter’s name is Jennie and my name combined.) We both share the heartache ¬†having lost babies.

At some point in our friendship, I came up with this extremely long, goofy nickname for Jennie. In fact, it was so complicated, the only part I could remember was BoBolicious. Don’t ask me where I came up with that. Over the years, it’s been shortened to BoBo. No matter the time or the distance, we’ve always remained best friends. We already know we’re gonna be the wild roomies in the nursing home! I look forward to that.

Yeah bay-beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

When people ask us how we met, we always smile and start laughing. We love to tell a good story. The typical response is: You weren’t mad at each other? Nope, why should we be? Tim was the one in the wrong, not us. Why would we be mad at each other? Besides, if Tim hadn’t been two-timing, I would have never met my best friend!

How did you meet your best friend?

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