Professing * Reflecting

Friday, July 29, 2005

Twelve Days, People

Smoky McSmokerson is still smokeless after twelve days. Still some rough patches but overall it is getting easier. I find I only really think about it excessively when I am home alone. (Wouldn't Home Alone have been a much better movie if Culkin had started engaging in some seriously addictive behaviors?) I cannot tell you how much your comments have helped me through this whole process. I hope to return the favor at some point.

Taking a bit of a break from blogworld (and my real world work world, for that matter) to go visit my beautiful nieces who happen to be in Best City in the Entire Wide World this week. If you see me, say hello. I'll be the one without a cigarette, laughing.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

I wonder if Thoreau ever did that (Days 7 and 8)

Yes--I am still obsessed with quitting smoking, with counting days, with tracking symptoms, with rediscovering who I am (emotionally, physically) without my familiar smoke screen. No--I am not going to say what the "that" of the subject line is, but I can say that I am pretty sure Henry David never did it.

Day 7, the one-week mark, was glorious. Did not make it to the beach but went instead to a favorite swimming spot with The B. Could not have been a more perfect day. That boy mellows me out like no one I have ever known. He gave me a one-week present--a pure white rock shaped like a seven he found in the water. I have been keeping it in the car, rubbing it when I drive (as car/driving time was once prime smoking time).

Day 8, yesterday, sucked balls. I woke up in a terrible mood--alternately angry (and I mean fuming, irate, ready to explode) for no reason whatsoever or on the verge of tears, also for no reason whatsoever. I did exactly the wrong thing--went to school to clean up office, print some things, steal paper, return overdue books, etc. Every second I was there made me want to smoke as many cigarettes as I could fit into my mouth at one time. I did Pilates for an hour, but it only made me want to wring the elongated and relaxed neck of the instructor while screaming "You wanna piece of my 'power center'? Huh? Really? Are you sure?" Fussed around all evening and finally went to sleep, still in terrible mood and tipsy from a little too much wine (sipped steadily at home, alone), but could only manage about 3 hours. Tossed and turned for 2 more and finally gave up at about 6 a.m. This is unusual, as sleep problems are not my thing.

I want to be happy again. Even in the throes of last week's withdrawal, I kept a certain basic cheerfulness or hopefulness or optimism, which is--when all is said and done--the natural baseline of my personality and has been since I was a child. Yeah, I can be a monster, but it--except for the occasional Medusa mood from hell--is usually for a damn good reason. I am worried that my ex-shrink was right, that I use smoking to keep my feelings at bay.

How am I supposed to control my feelings now? I feel like a raw nerve. How especially am I supposed to control the stress of the looming semester? What I realized yesterday is that I cannot stand that place. I felt completely suffocated the entire time I was there. I do not know if that feeling is real or if I am just not ready to be back or if all is blown completely out of proportion because of the quitting smoking thing.

Today I am just tired and fidgety (already at 8 a.m.). Supposed to have lunch with The B., which is not nearly enough for me as I feel like I want to eat him up with a spoon for about 18 hours straight. Tomorrow night I will be hanging out with The B. and with Feste, Demetrius, Falstaff, Cassio, and Ex Turned Friend Whom I Adore Completely (do not know if I ever gave him a pseudonym--let's call him Horatio) for the first time in a long time. Even that does not seem fun at the moment.

What's wrong with me? Tell me to snap out of it.


Sunday, July 24, 2005

Ticking Ever Closer

In a little more than four hours it will be one week since I have smoked. And I had four ginormous margaritas last night (I know, I lost my friggin' mind) and I still did not smoke, even though I was a blithering idiot by the end of the night and could have hit any one of the 5200 people smoking within a 50 foot radius (ok, I exaggerate, but only a bit) up for a cigarette. I am godlike. I am also hungover. I am going to the beach.


Saturday, July 23, 2005

Pissy Day Six

I am in a pissy mood for no reason. It's an absolutely gorgeous day outside. I am pretty much free as a bird and could do anything I want to do on this gorgeous day. (Yes, technically I should be doing work and I am going to be in a world of shit in a few weeks if I do not start doing work, but I am giving myself permission to do whatever the hell I please--except smoke, of course--while I am quitting smoking.) I am fairly certain that I will be seeing The B. tonight, the thought of which makes me smile and smile and smile. Even if I do not, there's a good show in the neighborhood that I would like to see. I feel good. I am not exactly craving a cigarette. No headache. No dizziness. The only tangible thing annoying me is that I am becoming extremely sensitive to the smell of smoke in my house (on clothes, rugs, etc.) and cannot seem to get rid of it.

Still--pissy, pissy, pissy. I still want to be enthusiastic and proud that I am achieving this long-time goal. Instead I am thinking, "Yeah, so you quit smoking. So what? Get over yourself."

Grrrrr . . . maybe I will go buy things. Reward myself with material goods. Problem is there is really nothing I am dying to buy and funds are low (even though I am saving $7.50/day on cigarettes--astonishing, isn't it?). The impulse is nevertheless there. OK. When in doubt, consume.


Friday, July 22, 2005

Dr. Medusa's Quit Smoking Guide (Part 1)

Day One: Decide you will tell no one what you have decided to do for at least a week or until they notice. Take great pleasure in the idea of surprising everyone with your great news. Smoke your last cigarette. Tell yourself you might have one later if you really really want one but that will really really be the last one. Clean and put away all ashtrays. Do not smoke the cigarette you told yourself you could if you really really wanted to later.

Day Two: Tell everyone you have ever known that you quit smoking. Tell them exactly how long it has been since you smoked a cigarette. Freak out. Panic. Make everyone you know freak out and panic. Convince self and others that you might actually die. Drink two glasses of red wine, take a Xanax, and go to bed.

Day Three: Rediscover your lungs. Take a long walk to smoker friend's workplace. Give her all of your cigarettes. Take longer walk home.

Day Four: Make out with bassist in the back room of a guitar shop for entire afternoon. Sweat. Go running at sunset. Sweat more.

Day Five: Float in deep part of spring-fed pond for hours. Take walk with cute boy to favorite Mexican food joint. Drink margaritas with cute boy. Kiss cute boy all night long.

Yes--life at the moment is very very good. And I can breathe. I do not feel that I am out of the woods quite yet, but the cravings and physical symptoms (headaches, dizziness, lack of concentration) are not as insane. Friends, family, and my blog peeps have been absolutely amazing. That's the key--the support. I do not know how anyone could do this without it. And the kissing. Maybe not key but . . . wow, nice.

And check it (the counter, that is)--less than 48 hours away from the week mark. Sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet.**

**Do not know when gratuitous use of punctuation and modifiers will end. Maybe this is an undocumented symptom of nicotine withdrawal. Or maybe I have smoked all of these years in order to control this impulse (in which case my editors are going to be pissed).


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Dark Night of the Smoker's Soul

I fear that this is fast on its way to becoming a quit-smoking blog, but--hey--it's my life at the moment so whatever. (Are there quit-smoking blogs by the way? I do not have the energy to do a search. The standard quit-smoking sites are just pissing me the fuck off.)

So this is supposed to be getting easier, right? THEN WHY THE FUCK AM I SO FUCKING PISSY AND ANGRY TONIGHT? THE FOURTH FUCKING NIGHT?!???! Grrrrrrrr. There I go with the gratuitous punctuation again.

Ok, to be honest, today was great.** I feel so so much better physically. I am getting withdrawal headaches and dizziness, but overall I have more energy. When I was smoking, I used to get tired all of the time. Just not happening now. I also feel better mentally, in spite of the irritability. I feel somehow clearer and steadier and . . . more mellow. It doesn't bother me to be around or to see people who are smoking. In fact, it makes me feel relieved (as I think, "Oh, wow, I don't have to do that anymore").

Tonight though? What the hell is it with the nights? Very very very difficult. (Hmmmm. . . gratuitous use of punctuation AND adjectives.) I felt the surliness coming on just before sunset, so I went for a run. That felt incredible. But then as soon as I got back, took a shower, and settled down a bit--brick wall of intense irritation.

I think this is actually the worst night. The first two were bad but I expected it. The third night I just kept thinking "This is the worst of it. After day three, it's much much better." But tonight? I would like to rip my entire sofa to shreds with my bare hands. Smashing any and all things breakable also seems highly desirable.

Crazy, huh? This is addiction. Amazing.

Okay, I am getting sick of hearing myself repeating myself AND Maggie Gyllenhaal's about to be on David Letterman. Love love love the Gyllenhaals, come addiction hell or high water.

Thanks so much to all of you who are sending your support. It is truly truly helping me, and I hope to return the favor someday in any way I can.

Ooooohhh--Maggie's on! She looks lovely! Yes. Better now. It's all going to be fine, right?

**It probably didn't hurt that I spent most of my afternoon kissing a cute boy. Thanks for your sage advice, Profgrrrrl!


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Wrestling with the demons

Why is this so hard? I feel like I am somehow weak because I am having so much difficulty with this. This is so fucking hard.

Thanks to Lucyrain, Clare, and Profgrrrrl for your encouragement. Your advice helped me today. I did work. I went for a long walk. I felt healthy. I even felt euphoric at times.

At the moment I feel like a goddamned junkie. I do not remember it being this hard on the last three attempts. Jonesing. This is incredible. I cannot believe how much I want a cigarette while at the same time I know I am done and that I do not want a cigarette. Bloody insane addiction. I have even managed to convince myself (with my terrifyingly "astute" analytical skills) that cigarettes will not kill me at all but rather the idea (i.e. negative "propaganda" related to cigarette smoking) that cigarettes will kill me will lead to lung cancer, etc. This is so fucked up.

What the hell? Why can't things in this world that we become insanely and utterly addicted to be good for us? Is life completely perverse or what????

Please excuse this melodramatic rant. I am sure I will retract these statements when I am out of the throes of withdrawal. I am already fairly certain, for example, that I will scorn the gratuitous use of question marks. Four? Give me a fucking break.

Any words of wisdom (or links or smack or crack or ANYTHING) you can send along will be greatly appreciated.


43 hours, 4 minutes, 15 seconds

So I have begun on my birthday resolutions. I quit smoking on Sunday afternoon. It's bloody hard. Sucks, sucks, sucks. That's as articulate as I can be at the moment. Please send any advice or encouragement you may have (or send cigarettes--lots of them--and come hang out and smoke them with me).


Friday, July 15, 2005

Go Get Yourself Some?!

Greetings Medusa--

Here is your horoscope for Friday, July 15:

If it's intense, you'll be fascinated by it -- so much so that you'll want to spend all your time doing it. If it's not, forget it. You're interested in only one thing now: adrenaline. Go get yourself some.

Dear Ms. Fox, Internet Astrologer--

Let's not be coy. You are talking about sex, right? Intense sex, right? Let's be clear: you are supporting, enabling in fact, a desire to "spend all [my] time doing it." Yes, you could be suggesting that I spend all of my time this weekend (or in this star cycle?) bungee jumping, on a race car track, or perhaps diving off cliffs on the west coast of Mexico. You could even be suggesting that I pick up a drug habit this weekend, perhaps go score some crystal meth in order to simulate the adrenaline rush I so astrologically desire. (And what about all those summer-baby meth heads who are looking to you for good, solid advice today? You have just sent them out to get themselves some crystal meth. Tskk, tskk.)

Have you no social responsibility? Have the stars no social responsibility? Yes--I appreciate that you are not telling me to bake some cookies or decoupage some end tables, because that is what my sign loves best (as you tell me on the other 364 days a year). I do feel a little thrilled that you are mandating that I be a wanton slut and/or hook up with the crystal meth crowd (most of them are Geminis and Libras, right?).

But let me tell you something, missy! I have work to do! I am a professor! I have . . . professor-like things to do. Serious, serious things to do. All weekend! Alone! It's the middle of the summer and I am behind on doing these serious professor-like things! Have you no shame??

Look, lady, I have a half a mind to follow up on my threat to get my daily horoscope delivery switched to my ascending sign! HA! How about that? And you would never know that you are sending advice meant for a Capricorn to a cookie-baking, decoupaging meth fiend! Don't think I won't do it.

Please understand that you have a great deal of power and with that comes a great deal of responsibility. You are Internet Astrologer to millions. And we are not deleting those horoscopes, either. We are listening. If I end up spending all weekend in bed with The B., having great intense sex, I am blaming you and only you.



Thursday, July 14, 2005

Reunited . . .

. . . with my laptop. But it DOES feel so good. Trouble is now I have NO excuses. Must don the tiara and get back to work. Made list upon list today, none of which make much sense to me. Tonight I am seeing The B . . . hmmm, he needs a new pseudonym, as it doesn't seem to fit anymore. Then yes, most definitely, tomorrow--back to work. Serious, serious work.


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Psssst . . . .

Professor Self: Psssst . . .hey, Medusa. Yoo hoo. Hello?? Do you realize that you have not done any actual work this week? And, no, leisurely reading that novel that you think you might teach but are pretty sure will not work at all does not constitute "designing a new course."

Self Who Apparently Fancies Herself a Princess or at the Very Least a Member of the Landed Gentry: Shush. I am reading blogs.

Professor Self: Ummm . .you have two articles to research and write, a major paperwork-intensive project due to the department, and you need to order the books for that class you are not designing. And you are planning to take two weeks off at the end of August.

Princess Self: How many times do I have to tell you that the laptop is in the shop? How am I supposed to do work without a computer?

Professor Self: You are on one right now.

Princess Self: Ah ha! My eBay auction is ending in 1 minute and 54 seconds. Quiet.

Professor Self: Are you bidding on another tiara?

Princess Self: Please, for the last time, HUSH!


Monday, July 11, 2005

Birthday Resolutions

I obviously can not take a break from computing, so I have fired up The Dinosaur for some birthday reflecting and professing.

I tend to be more serious about making resolutions at birthday time rather than in the dead of winter when all I want to do is bury myself in a hole. My New Year's resolutions tend to be mock the whole process, e.g. "Learn How to Drive Drunk," "Budget for Cocaine," "Adopt Cambodian Baby Named Maddox," "Get Maggie Gyllenhaal's Email Address," etc.

But the birthday has rolled around and I am reflecting on the past year. Professional progress: very good but to the detriment of my mental, physical, social health. Physical health: fair; could become much worse considering smoking, lack of exercise, poor eating habits, weight loss; Mental health: I am not crazy yet, but I am often extremely stressed; short bursts of (circumstantial?) depression. Social health: Portrait of a year in Medusa's relationships--dumped by ex-boyfriend with whom I unwisely became involved with again after break-up two years prior; brief affair with long-time friend, Cassio; ongoing silliness (falling into bed a dozen or so times) with long-time friend, Demetrius; two-month whirlwind romance with The Grand He, chief counsel for Fuckwit, Wanker, and Sons; currently not-dating The Bassist who is also not-dating his best friend; perhaps a one-night stand or two thrown in for good measure (ohhhh, remember Romeo?). Social health diagnosis: borderline retarded.

Some resolutions seem to be in order.

1. Quit smoking, new diet plan (eat something green besides the frosting on St. Patrick's Day cupcakes), resume serious exercise program

2. Work gets done when it gets done and does not prevent me from making plans for travel, family, and friends (i.e. no more "I will think about all of that when the work is done")

3. On a related note: Make actual plans, which is to say IN ADVANCE of more than five minutes or so, for non work-related activities

4. On the relationship note: What can I even say? Grow up? Settle down? Do I want a serious, stable relationship? Hmmmm . . . figure out answer to that question and in the meantime, follow these guidelines:
--Thou shall not fall into bed with Demetrius
--Thou shall not fall under the spell of any associate of Fuckwit, Wanker, and Sons
--Thou shall not play Medusa to The Bassist's Perseus

5. Find a way to control stress, anxiety, and depression (exercise--yes; medication--???)

6. Catch up on long overdue correspondence (and keep it up)

7. Work goals: keep blazing but see #2

8. Finally find a way to avoid pressure from family to visit for 3+ weeks a year, to move to the Deep Red, to quit career "because it is too demanding and you need to have a family" by a) giving up on trying to make them understand; and/or b) explaining tactfully and with love ONE MORE TIME how your life is your life, how it is not flawed because it is not theirs, and how hurtful the constant pressure is

9. Possibly change identity and move to Peru



Saturday, July 09, 2005

Medusa kills logic

My logic board is fried. I am not surprised. I am in fact convinced that the article (and not the "manufacturing issue" that the techs claim) is to blame. It may have seemed like any other Word document but the logic board knew better and imploded.

Will return to blog when they return my sweet machine, as all other computers now seem like tin cans attached by strings to me. Doesn't 7-10 business days seem like a ridiculously slow turn-around time, by the way? Can't believe how spoiled--and how utterly dependent--I am. Maybe the break will do me good (though I cannot seem to say/think/type that without clenching my teeth).


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Quick Weekend Update

Treats I spoiled myself with:

Manicure & pedicure: Check.

New Shoes: Opted for old comfy flip-flops. I know, Manolo, I was not as super-fantastic as I could have been.

Bassist: Check. What a bunch of drama this is turning out to be (I know, I know. . . duh, Medusa, you--twenty-year veteran of band-boy drama--should know better), but we did spend some incredible days at an incredible beach or two and I got a great dose of the cure.

Now trying to make sense of the chaos that is my home office. How can one person generate so much paper in one year? Astonishing. I need to get started on the Grand Plan for how to make family trips happen, finish one more article, get started on Very Important Paper for Very Important Conference and Very Important Related Publication on tap for next academic year, and design one new course for the fall semester.

For now, though, I am trying to bask in the glory of having finished the first task and to revel in the laziness.


Saturday, July 02, 2005


I actually have time to do a meme!

1. What were three of the stupidest things you have done in your life?

Hmmmm . . .aside from the all the things related to drug running? (Kidding . . really . . . KIDDING!)

1. OK, I guess I will admit it: As a child, I was the one--you know the one--who could not pass up the temptation to touch that cold steel fence with her tongue. It's a small miracle that I am not still there.
2. Again, as a child, decided it would be a fun trick to try to ride my bike with arms crossed (left hand on right handle bar, right hand on left). I think this ended up on an episode of "Jackass."
3. Started smoking? Dated that actor? I think it's a tie.

2. At the current moment, who has the most influence in your life?

It's a toss-up between Jacques Lacan and Manolo.

3. If you were given a time machine that functioned, and you were allowed to only pick up to five people to dine with, who would you pick?

I love how the meme maker felt the need to put "that functioned" in the question. This is tough. I do not want to invite any of my literary favorites as that would spoil my imaginary relationships with them. And do I go with good conversation or fun? I guess a little of both . . .as well as someone to make out with under the table.

1. Grammie (who was the most fun ever)
2. Catullus (for the dirty jokes)
3. Bette Davis (need someone to smoke and gossip with)
4. It's a somewhat lame choice, but I am so making out under the table with John-John.
5. OK, I'm giving in. Pablo Neruda

4. If you had three wishes that were not supernatural, what would they be?

Boring but . . .

1. Right wing wankers . . .out.
2. Cures for AIDS and cancer . . .nearly simultaneously found.
3. Family . . . happiness and success.

5. Someone is visiting your hometown/place where you live at the moment. Name two things you regret your city not having, and two things people should avoid.

As you know I have no hometown, so I will go with current place.

Two things you regret your city not having: 1) street signs; 2) space

Two things People Should Avoid: 1) driving; 2) intimacy

6. Name one event that has changed your life.

Going back for the degree I wanted in the first place

7. Tag 5 people

Hmmm . . . do not know who has been tagged, but Cadence, Melancholia (where are you?), Daybreak, PowerProf, and New Kid.



Article done and sent! Done, done, done! Sent, sent, sent! [Insert sounds of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" here.] I was so excited when I woke up this morning and realized that I didn't have to get out of bed that I got out of bed! Will read blogs guilt-free! Will walk out into sunshine guilt-free! Will spoil myself with treats--manicure, pedicure, new shoes, bassists! [Cue allegro vocals: Freude trinken alle Wesen / An den Brusten der Natur / Alle Guten, alle Bosen /Folgen ihrer Rosenspur!]

I know--I am huge geek! I do not care! Happy like a child! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!