2005 Wrap-Up

Okay, so it’s now a week into 2006 and it’s time for my wrap-up of last year.

2005 started out with a whimper and not a bang. I had spent New Year’s Eve alone in my apartment, and I don’t even think I had bothered watching the festivities on television. In fact, I was probably watching The West Wing or some other thing on DVD. For at least part of the evening, I was speaking to a friend on the phone. I probably went to bed at a pretty reasonble hour.

The beginning of 2005 was not great for me, but it wasn’t entirely horrible, either. I had lost my job in June of 2004 and had started a new one in September. The resulting debts and financial issues weren’t easy to deal with, but I was definitely in a better place in, well, almost every way.

Except the actual place I was in. The apartment I live in is about 50 miles from my place of business, which means that at the height of the gas prices in 2005, I was paying out more then ten dollars a day, just to drive to and from my job. It seems virtually impossible to find decently-priced single-bedroom apartments, though.

In June I got a raise. While it wasn’t as much as I was hoping, a raise is a raise, and it was welcomed. I was still recovering from the unemployment thing the year prior, though.

Then, in July, I lost someone I thought was a very good friend. That hurt, especially because I had really done nothing except try to be a good friend, and it ended up getting me burned. That event has kind of weighed on me since then, and it’s rather depressing.

I try not to let it get me too down, though. I’m trying to keep things positive, and for the most part I’ve done pretty well with that. Things are fairly stable and steady, if quite a bit boring. Work was crazy for a little while, as I’ve mentioned previously, but it paid off in the end and things are back to normal now.

The year ended, though, with quite a bit more bang than it had the year before. I was with friends and while it wasn’t anything crazy, it was fun and not nearly as lonely as New Year’s 2005.

And I’d say that was a fitting close to a year that was, start to finish, represented quite adequately by its beginning and end.

Some Quitting Info

This is as much for my own benefit and to remind me of what it is I’m trying to do as it is to share with other people.

This is what the American Cancer Society lists as the health benefits of quitting:

20 minutes after quitting: Your blood pressure drops to a level close to that before the last cigarette. The temperature of your hands and feet increases to normal.
(US Surgeon General’s Report,1988, pp. 39, 202)

8 hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
(US Surgeon General’s Report,1988, p. 202)

24 hours after quitting: Your chance of a heart attack decreases.
(US Surgeon General’s Report,1988, p. 202)

2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Your circulation improves and your lung function increases up to 30%.
(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp.193,194,196,285,323)

1 to 9 months after quitting: Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce infection.
(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp. 304, 307, 319, 322)

1 year after quitting: The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.
(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, p. vi)

5 years after quitting: Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker 5-15 years after quitting.
(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, p.79)

10 years after quitting: The lung cancer death rate is about half that of a continuing smoker’s. The risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas decrease.
(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, p.110, 147, 152, 155, 159,172)

15 years after quitting: The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker’s.
(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, p.79)

Something to think about.

QuitJournal Update

I had a pretty rough time last night. Not sure why, but I think it probably had something to do with it being the end of the week and everything.

As of this moment, I have officially gone 4 days, 17 hours without a cigarette. According to QuitMeter, I have not smoked 65 cigarettes during that time and have saved myself $16.25. I’m pretty damn proud of myself.

This whole ordeal has actually been a lot easier than I thought it would be. That’s not to say that it hasn’t been at least a little challenging at times, especially those times when I would be almost definitely smoking, like the drive to work, or right after I eat something. Those times have been the worst.

There’s also the additional problem: I LIKED smoking. Stopping something that you like makes it that much more difficult. I find myself thinking about how much I liked it sometimes, and realize that it’s just my brain trying to fool me into having a cigarette. That makes it a little easier not to do it.

Still, it was kinda my only vice. I think I need to find something else that’s bad for me to take up the space, like skydiving.

Jon Stewart to host the Oscars?

Stewart to host this year’s Academy Awards ceremony

I’m so watching this year’s Oscars.

My favorite part of the whole article is the comments at the bottom. It’s amazing how ridiculous people can get over this stuff.

A quick update

I have yet to write up my wrap-up of 2005 (which will come at some point soon, I think), but I just thought I would share with those of you who are interested that as of this moment, it’s been more than 36 hours since my last cigarette, and I seem to be doing okay. I don’t want to make a huge deal out of it—for one, I don’t want it to be a huge deal if I start up again, and for another, I don’t like to put a lot of pressure on “New Year stuff” like that.

But I’ll take whatever support I can get.

Who are “three people who have never been in my kitchen,” Alex?

Just got back from hanging out with my friends, doing Trivia Night at a local pub. Well, local to Mystic, anyways. It happens to be more than an hour home for me, hence why I’m writing this at almost 12:30 am. It always feels so great to hang with people. Makes me feel, I dunno, like I have friends. :)

The other shoe drops

I got in my car tonight to drive home after work, and my one remaining headlight went out. Luckily, I had a new bulb in the glove compartment, since I couldn’t put it in the opposing headlight, because of the clip that fell off.

I replaced that headlight no more than two months ago. I was absolutely incensed, and yet there’s nothing I can do about it. After all, headlight bulbs don’t have any warranty on them.


Long as I got a job, you got a job.

I would normally be in bed right now, but I happened upon the West Wing episode “Noel” on Bravo. I can’t even use words to describe how much I love this episode.

That’s all; on your way. Nothing to see here.

It starts again

Starting tonight and going on for the next week, I’m the Secondary On-Call. Starting next Monday, I’m the Primary On-Call, and that goes on right through Christmas and the 26th.

Woo, hoo. I’m over the moon. This is my over the moon face.

Tis the (long) season

Had my first “Christmas” of the year this weekend. My dad and I went up to my grandmother’s place to do Christmas with the whole family (my stepmother had pinched a nerve in her back and couldn’t come up, unfortunately). Why so early, you may ask? It’s really the only time in December that everybody can get together, since we all have other Christmases to do with our own families.

We do a variant of the Yankee Swap. I ended up with a bottle of Chardonnay, but the important thing to remember is that the gift you end up with is not at all important. Our family is absolutely ruthless, which makes the game an absolute riot. It’s definitely my favorite part of the whole Christmas season. It’s also interesting to see what kinds of gifts will get traded out more (that is to say, which ones are more popular). This year the top picks were a million-candlepower flashlight and, oddly, the gift that I brought, which was a telescoping-handled car ice scraper. Funny thing about that was that I really wanted that scraper, and even though I had the second-best position for the game, my aunt, who had the best position, took it from me.

I was glad to be able to do something like this at this time during the month… It’s going to be quite busy at work this month, so it was good to get a relaxing day with the family before it gets crazier.

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