hey you

bookswere you the inspiration
of someone’s sad poem

did you do unto others
as you would like done unto you

were you the reason
someone had a bad day

did you consider
that it could be someone’s sad day

did you know that I added you
as the mean character in my book


Jennifer A. Fifield

Image: Bing Free Clip Art

Lock Your Doors and Windows

MP900386083In San Diego, we depend on the cool breeze to air-condition our homes during the summer.  Our windows and doors stay open to greet the nice (and not-so-nice) weather.

But what happens if my neighbor sits outside his apartment and smokes all night, every night – each puff wafting through my open windows?  How exposed am I to secondhand smoke?  What exactly does four hours a night, plus weekends, do to my health?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “There is no risk-free level of contact with secondhand smoke; even brief exposure can be harmful to health”.  Secondhand smoke exposure causes an estimated 46,000 heart disease deaths and an estimated 3,400 lung cancer deaths annually among adult nonsmokers in the United States”.

My neighbor thinks he is being healthy and not harming his new baby by not smoking inside his apartment, but what he doesn’t understand is that his smoke is still blowing in his home, as well as in mine, and quite possibly into many of my neighbors’.

After slamming my doors and windows shut one night last week, the following article appeared in my Google alert: Smoking in your apartment? Maybe not for long.

Ah ha!  I am not the only one experiencing this problem.  Solution?  A hot… breezeless… smoke-free home?  A diagnosis of lung cancer or heart disease?

Decision: I have started drafting my anonymous note.


Jennifer A. Fifield

Image: Microsoft Free Clip Art

A Bit of Fresh Air?


While on my run along the beach today I was forced to smell nine cigarettes. This is not uncommon whatsoever and today I decided to count how many times it happens on a typical run. NINE TIMES. And many of these nine smoke-filled inhalations were multiple, depending on where the smokers were, and even though I held my breath as I ran past.

A recent CBS News article “Outdoor smoking bans double in U.S. past five years debated the effects of outdoor smoking and discussed the feelings of smokers. I can empathize with smokers. I have close family and friends who smoke. It is an addicting habit that most will never be able to quit. I realize that smokers have been pushed out of offices, restaurants, and bars but I do get a bit tired of hearing “what about us?”

What about me? I have avoided smoking since I was very young. I never liked it. And I especially haven’t liked attending the five funerals that have happened in my family because of emphysema, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, respiratory failure, and pulmonary fibrosis. I made the choice to not smoke and to live a healthier life. Why should I have to be exposed?

In the article, one interviewee in a park stated, “Smoke rises. I don’t see a reason why it should bother other people out here.” Most smokers don’t realize where their smoke goes. Many don’t realize that even if your window is down or you’re blowing your smoke into the sky, that it is still very much in the vicinity of those around you.

I discovered a couple interesting items in the CBS article. First, “health officials have clearly established that even a brief exposure indoors to cigarette smoke can cause blood to become sticky and more prone to clotting.” Additionally, some studies have found outdoor smoking levels that “rival what people may breathe indoors, depending on which way the wind is blowing or whether there’s an overhang or sheltered area that can trap smoke. One study detected significant fumes as far as 44 feet away from a smoker.”

Where can I find a bit of fresh air these days? Evidently, 44 feet away from smokers, and not while running along the beach in California.

Jennifer A. Fifield

Image: Microsoft Free Clip Art

I Love Libraries

Stack of Library Books

I know some people think it’s cool to say things like “what are books?” these days, but I will always love libraries.  They have been a gathering place for the community for years.

I used to pick up my tax forms there (before tax filing switched to online).  I took field trips to the library during summer camp when I was kid.  How exciting it was to pile a stack of books on the counter and know they were mine, for free, for three weeks.

And librarians are always so nice.  Always willing to help you find what you need.  I went to the library last night to check out a couple of audio books and discovered a used book sale.  Bronte, Faulkner and Poe for $1.00 – you can’t go wrong.  When I checked out, the librarian said, “Enjoy your books!

I find it peaceful and relaxing to be in a library.  Maybe it’s the nostalgia that brings me comfort.  In this fast-paced, technology-reliant society we live in, it is nice to know that there is a place I can go that takes me back in time, yet also moves me forward.


Jennifer A. Fifield

Image: Microsoft Free Clip Art