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The greenhouse and garden, Eagle River, AK PHALL PHOTO 2014

The greenhouse and garden, Eagle River, AK
PHALL PHOTO 2014

Almost SIX weeks, and you know what I’m talking about. But I don’t want to make a big deal about it. Well, okay, I do want to make a big deal about it. Just give me a paragraph or three and then I’ll shut up about it. At least for today. More than anything, I feel that giving up cigarettes (and the caffeine addiction) has given me more freedom. The biggest freedom, is the freedom to go after a healthier life style.

No matter how many times that I have attempted to quit in the past, I always remained a slave to cigarettes. Even if I went as long as eight months without one single drag off one single cigarette, I was still chained to the addiction. I thought about the lack of them, more than I thought about anything else. Secretly (and probably outwardly) the drama was intense. It went on almost every waking moment that I didn’t smoke. “Should I? Could I? I can’t. I won’t! Damn, I’m weak. Man, I’m strong. I can’t go one more minute. If I can make it one more hour, I can go to sleep.” The internal drama was intense, as I’m sure the external was. Poor family.

This time no one suffered; not me and not my parents. That’s how I knew that the addiction was broken. For awhile, I waited for the other shoe to drop. As hours, days and then weeks passed (6 of them!), I kept waiting for that slam/slap on the shoulder and a rousting voice saying, “Fooled ya! You are about to have the worst withdrawals in the history of cigarette/caffeine withdrawals!” It never came. One of my reasons for diet and exercise, was to head off any shoe-dropping slam/slap on the shoulder. If it came, I’d be ready with a healthy routine and a new excitement for living without the chains of addiction. So far, so good.

It may very well be an illusion, or even a delusion, but I honestly think that I’m out of the woods, and that the damn shoe could never be thrown THIS far out! (Knock on wood, or whatever superstition will keep that big bad shoe away.)

On the home front. Mom goes to her first Physical Therapy session today. She has been moving less and I’m hoping that they will pick up the slack and get her into a good routine to further her recovery from the hip replacement. Dad is still fighting a painful-sounding cough. Hopefully, this last batch of meds will help him.

The best thing about the Olympics these past few weeks, has been watching mom and dad enjoy them together. Whether, mom was laying with her feet in dad’s lap, or sitting up and holding hands with him, I had the best seat in the house. They cheered and gasped in awe together at the inspiring wins, losses and injuries, while I just smiled at the two of them.

The low carb diet is going well. Really. Today will be day 5 of my crazy idea of joining a gym…wait, that was mom’s crazy idea. I’m a little sore, but it has been fun. I kind of earned another free pass by story-telling. Yep, the membership woman loved the story of Kevin and I, so much, that she promised more free passes for my future visits. Cool.

I just stepped out and took some shots of the light pastel pink and blue sunrise. It is a balmy 14 degrees this morn. I’ll share a few photos from yesterday, then I have to get ready for my next yoga class. Yikes.

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Funny, I started writing this about the transition I will soon be dealing with; from living alone in Maggie (my cave at the beach) to living with my folks for the past 2 months in Alaska, to making a new life with Kevin in the foothills of the mountains. Somehow, I never got to that…maybe next time.

Peace,

Patti

PHALL PHOTO 2014

PHALL PHOTO 2014


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Shifting Directions and Quitting A Few Addictions

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You are all going to think that the cold has gotten to me.

Since I first started packing to go to Alaska, in the middle of flippin’ winter, and leave my stormy beach life in Washington State, many things have…shifted within me. I came here to take care of my mom (and dad, somewhat) while she recovers from hip replacement. I may stay longer to help my younger brother if the docs decide to repair his back. This is where I need to be for now, but it feels different somehow.

As most of you know, I’ve been carrying on some kind of long distance…something? with my brother-in-law’s brother, who I knew when I was 15, and have spent exactly 1 day with since then. We’ve been making plans for a few summer activities when I get back from Alaska. The main thing is that we’re having fun getting to know each other and we smile and laugh a lot. So that’s a big shift for this solitary gypsy/cave woman who has been in the depths of grieving for almost 5 years. Okay, a gigantic shift.

Reuniting with my long lost girlfriend, Leslee, caused a profound shift in my thinking. Her recent brush with death was tough to hear, but her renewed energy for life had a seriously positive impact on me. You know how sometimes 7 people can say the same thing, or give the same advice, but you don’t really take it in until you hear it from the 8th person? I think that’s what happened with Leslee. I think that she offered similar grief advice that I’ve heard or read from others, but she was just the right person, who said just the right words, at just the right time and they clicked into place in my pea-brain.

Other shifts: Day 14 in Alaska, Day 8 since mom came home from hospital, Day 5 since I QUIT SMOKING AFTER 35 YEARS, Day 4 since I QUIT COFFEE AFTER 24 YEARS, Day 3 since I stopped eating evil things to make up for smokes and coffee:>)

So, there’s some pretty big shifts (I deleted all the perfect cuss words that fit so well into this sentence). Mom and Kevin are the only ones that I told. They have been my mini, but mighty, cheer leading squad (great visual). Mom told dad tonight, but he was pretty quiet about it.

I’m as shocked as you are. I don’t know, I just wanted to keep it close for a few days. It wasn’t something I planned at all; no big X for quit day on the calendar. No pills or patches or magic potions. I was just about to open my last pack, when I decided I’d quit. I smoked that pack over a couple days, then I quit. The next day I quit coffee. I’ve had no headaches or…any other withdrawal symptoms

Yes, my dad’s frequent lectures, mom’s heartfelt pleading and having to sit out in the freaking cold to smoke may have all contributed to my decision. However, my visit with Leslee, my cousins and my grandchildren also contributed. As did my word (and plans) for 2014: HOPE.

If this is going to be a year filled with hope, then I could have hope for health and happiness and maybe even hope for a partner to share it all with. I did write that. Am I sure? Hell no, just minutes ago I thought I was going to be alone the rest of my life. Really. And that was okay then—a minute ago. Maybe not now. Oh, well, stranger things have happened:>)

Peace Out,

Patti, who has no more secrets (damn!)

P.S. My writing is not on hold, but has also shifted in another direction. As I watch several of my writer-friends publishing, or getting very close to publishing, I can only look on and cheer and wonder if I’ll ever get back on track. I will. I know I will…