To say that we’ve been waiting for this day is an understatement.  Ever since we found out we passed the home check we’ve been on a steady countdown until The Day of Tara – the day when our new pooch finally comes home with us for good.

On Sunday we jumped in the car, armed with toys and treats and harnesses and leads, and headed down the road to Dumbarton to see our baby.  We chattered constantly the whole drive, punctuated often by one or both of us voicing our excitement as the miles fell off the clock.  12:15pm; we’d arrived.

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Claire, the Non-Smoker

I had my first ever cigarette around the age of 14.  I became a social smoker around 15 or 16, smoking at parties on porches, getting cigarettes from that one kid that had an older sibling or a particularly irresponsible parent.  At 17 or 18 I became a full time 20+ a day smoker, sneaking cigarettes on breaks at work and, laterally, hiding behind my hotels during my time as a holiday rep desperately puffing away before the next guest grabbed me to complain that there was no food they liked or that everyone spoke Spanish.

In subsequent years I made a few attempts to quit, usually when I got fed up of my empty bank account or inability to climb stairs without being out of breath.  I quit for about 6 weeks in the summer of 2012 – the most successful attempt I’d had so far – and was quite proud of myself.  Then my granda, the man I’d loved and lionised my entire life, passed away.  The first thing I did was go to the shop and buy a packet of cigarettes, lighting the next one off the last through a film of tears.  At the wake I went out for a cigarette with my secret-smoker cousin.  My mum’s uncle, my grandmother’s youngest brother, grabbed my arm and said he understood I needed to smoke in this time of stress.  He then implored me not to let it become a habit again, and told me of his regret for years of wasted money and ill health.  I told him I’d try my best.  I didn’t.

Three and a bit years passed by, and I found myself in hospital.  The lowest point of my life to date.  The nurse interviewed me on admission and asked if I was a smoker.  She then asked if I wanted to quit, if I needed nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).  I stuttered.  I wanted to quit, but I was also acutely aware that I could not cope with the pain of rock bottom without the pleasure of cigarettes.
“Maybe not right now, huh?” she said.
I nodded.

My recovery was slow.  Bit by bit I managed to piece things back together.  I managed to get out of my hospital bed and get dressed.  Then I managed to shower.  Slowly I managed to eat more than a couple mouthfuls again.  Somewhere in there I found myself asking the nurses for nicotine patches.  Some days, stressful days, I snuck out for cigarettes.  Some days I lasted without them.

Although I didn’t know it at the time, I had my final cigarette on the 14th of January 2016.  Four months ago.  Seventeen weeks ago.  One hundred and twenty one days ago.

My name is Claire, and I am a non-smoker.

10 Daily Currents: 11/05/2016

I saw this posted on As The Fates Would Have It and thought it was quite sweet, so I’m joining in!  It’s currently 10:07am on Wednesday the 11th of May 2016 and I am…

1. listening:  the 1978 Van Halen cover of ‘You Really Got Me’ by The Kinks.

2. eating:  Kellogg’s All-Bran Golden Crunch, which I bought to switch my cereal up from Jordan’s Country Crisp.  It has been a massive disappointment.

3. drinking:  Black coffee.

4. wearing:  A long black t-shirt from New Look, and a pair of black and white abstract print trousers.  Also black pumps.

5. feeling:  Excited!  It’s two days until we pick up Tara from the shelter, and bring her home to start her new life with us.  I can’t stop smiling!

6. weather:  For once it’s clear and sunny outside.  It’s 15 degrees Celsius, which is considered the height of summer for Aberdeen.  T-shirt and shorts weather!

7. wanting:  Chocolate.  I have a Cadbury’s Flake in the fridge at home.

8. needing:  To stop at the shops on the way home and pick up the new tag for Tara’s collar.

9. thinking:  I should probably go for a run after work… but I also have a lot of housework to do.

10. enjoying:  This coffee.  One thing I’ll miss after my last day of work next Friday: the office coffee machine.

Feel free to have a go at this yourselves, and link back to my blog so I can see what everyone’s up to!  That sounded creepy…


The 24 Year Wait

I never had any pets growing up.  It wasn’t for lack of trying though; once I realised that my constant begging attempts weren’t swaying my parents, I tried new and innovative tactics.  I vividly remember sitting at the family computer, painstakingly putting together what can only be referred to as a Puppy Manifesto; a multi-page document detailing all the pros and cons (including mitigation strategies) of owning a puppy, to show I had properly thought everything through.  I even appealed to my constantly dieting mother by stating that dog-walking was good for weight loss.  It didn’t work.

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Negative Thoughts, and How To KO Them

I was browsing the ‘self improvement’ tag this morning, searching for like-minded blogs to follow.  Amongst the posts, an entry from Lori Carlson caught my eye.  It spoke about a challenge of sorts, instigated by Annette’s Place, asking for users to list their negative thoughts and how they combat them. To say this appealed to me is an understatement; I know those thoughts all too well, and although I’m still in the process of trying to kick their ass I think I’m getting there.  So here goes:

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7 Days to Go

If you could have any job in the world, what would you do?

I’ve asked myself this question so many times over the years.  I’ve even asked family, friends, boyfriends… maybe I was looking for inspiration?  The truth is, I’ve known for some time what I would love to do, but the older I got the less likely it seemed I would ever be able to achieve it.

I left school at 17, with what I thought were pretty dire exam results.  It seemed unlikely I would get accepted into University the next year, so I quit.  I got my place at the local college to study a nursing access course, designed to qualify school leavers for University.  Unfortunately, a combination of personal and financial circumstances caused some issues, and once again I quit.

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