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I want to break free

16 Apr

I have smoked exactly two thirds of my life: twenty-eight years. It’s high time I stopped. So I stopped.

It’s been only five days but that’s the longest I’ve achieved ever, so there is cause to celebrate.

The decision had been years in the making. Friends and family have persisted over the years and my son recently joined the lecturing bandwagon. I’m thankful because I was impervious! Much as they annoyed me, they were right and I knew it. Slowly I was getting closer to commitment: Quitting is the right thing to do, therefore submit.

I was brought closer to the decision last month by the prospect of tobacco deprivation at airports, during long flights –and basically of limited freedom to smoke–, as I prepared for a 24-hour or so journey to a two-day meeting, followed by a 24-hour or so journey back home. The actual trigger was the epiphany that struck me as I thought I was at last free to go smoke between two flights: that is not freedom, that is (nicotine) enslavement.

In “The Easy Way To Stop Smoking”, the book my good friend Amy gave me years ago, Allen Carr writes:

“It is […] slavery. We spend half our lives in situations in which society forbids us to smoke (churches, hospitals, schools, trains, theaters, and the like) or […] feeling deprived. The rest of our smoking lives is spent in situations where we are allowed to smoke, but wish we didn’t have to.”

I smoked my last cigarette Tuesday after dinner and patched up the next morning. I’ve got lozenges for when the craving is too intense but I don’t like them too much so don’t use them a lot.

The worse day was the day before I stopped.

I had made up my mind, purchased the patches and the lozenges at the pharmacy after picking up my son after school. I was still smoking as my pouch of tobacco was not yet empty –it took me another day to finish it as I let it drag on as much as possible by rolling thinner ones and smoking less.

The second worse day was the third. Possibly because I had not used a patch that morning. Good to know they are not selling squares of adhesive tape!

A couple parting thoughts:

  • Not lighting up is hard, but not as hard now that I have decided to stop.
  • Time goes quite slowly in the process.
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Goodbye, Facebook; Hello open Web

7 Apr

I grew weary of Facebook a long time ago. Yet I was drawn to it all the while. There’s one thing they got right: showing me snippets of the life of family and friends by suppressing frontiers, overcoming distance and time zones. That is what I’ll miss –its unique ability to show me, at my pace, inklings that are valuable, endearing, funny.

But I grew wary of it a few months ago, while after searching for alcohol ink techniques on my smartphone’s mobile browser the Facebook app immediately suggested I join a few groups on the subject. Whether this was relevant or useful is beyond the point. The Facebook app has hardly any business spying on the history of the browser app.

So I waved goodbye to Facebook’s intrusive practices a few days ago. So long, daily dose of comfort and social peep show.

It may take a bit of effort to write on one’s blog or maintain a Website, and probably takes a massive one for those unfamiliar with the open Web to open the garden wall door and explore the Web, use it.

Someone lamented that they would miss seeing my drawings. But Facebook was just an additional space that I shared those on —a space of crappy definition images— just because there’s a world of apps on smartphones and a population of app users who happen to find it convenient to be fed those.

My drawings go to my blog, in high-resolution definition. My blog has a syndication feed. It means that any update to my blog is signaled. And any feed aggregator can pick up that signal and relay it. This is the principle behind RSS (really simple syndication).

You can read more in a recent article at Wired.

Broken sleep cycle

10 Mar
Cat asleep on a cushion
My sleep cycle broke as stress took over a bit this week with work that is almost if not already late, and other worries in my life. I’m an occasional insomniac but nothing like that. Screens (TV, computer, hand-held sidekick) usually have no impact and most are now set up to display warmer colours after dark. This week, however, there was very little TV, a lot of computer (as often, so no drastic change), and a lot of tossing and turning!

Wednesday night I didn’t even sleep. I went to bed, tried to sleep, it didn’t work. I didn’t work either :) I got up at 2:30 am when I was hungry to have breakfast, went back to bed but soon after gave up and switched back the light to read a book. Then I got bored and chatted an hour or so with a friend from afar and read all that the Twitter mobile app displayed by scrolling down until there was nothing else to load. By then it was 5:30 am on Thursday so I hopped in the shower to get ready and was at work before 6.

I worked 14 hours on International Women’s Day. I noted with mild bitterness that by midday I had already worked 40 hours. The rest of the week was going to be pro bono. For the curious it amounts to 2 days of unpaid overtime.

I may seem to be complaining but I’m not really. First, what I work on is wicked interesting and I enjoy it, and the best people work with me. Second, I’m a workaholic. Not that I pride myself on it, it’s just a fact. Third, I’ve had more or less stress at work in this position for the 3 years since I accepted it. At this point, only a miracle can change this and I’m not expecting one.

I suppose the thoughts and bitterness were compounded by the discourse on International Women’s Day: pressing for progress, parity of salaries, equality in the workplace.

Mobilisation des troupes

7 Mar
love written on a wallIl a dit à demi triomphalement et à demi surpris «Maman se soucie de moi, finalement !» et ça m’a affectée. Et rassurée.

J’habite avec Papa. Ou plutôt, Papa habite avec moi. Quand mon fils est chez moi une semaine sur deux, c’est trois joyeuses générations qui cohabitent, avec le chat. Maman, elle, habite ailleurs. C’est compliqué. Compliqué, mais bien.

Alors quand Papa a manqué à l’appel (celui de Maman) un soir il y a quelques jours, c’était branle-bas de combat. Moi j’étais ailleurs. En fait, tout le monde était ailleurs !

Quand Maman n’arrive pas à joindre Papa, elle appelle mon frère. Lui m’écrit des SMSs. Moi j’en écris à Papa et à mon frère. J’étais prête à rameuter la voisine, mais mon frère s’apprêtait déjà à venir sur place.

Pas de panique, tout est rentré dans l’ordre dans la demi-heure : Papa a rappelé Maman une fois qu’il eu fini de causer dehors avec un voisin qui promenait Mirza.