Strange allergies

Many people have many different kind of allergies. I myself have allergies to cats, birds, and horses (although to make people give me a weird look I say I am allergic to zebras).

I have only heard of the basics when it comes to allergies – the seasonal ones where people are all stuffy in the summer and spring because of pollen; the fragrance allergies; and the animal allergies; but I bet that next to none of you have ever heard of someone being allergic to a temperature.

“That is not even possible.”

“Who would have an allergy like that?”

“Yeah, right…that would never happen to anyone. Who would even come up with a lie like that?”

I have heard them all, ever since the recent, and by recent I mean in May, discovery of my allergy…to the cold.

I have had people tell me a million times now that I am lying, saying that it cannot be true, and people who are completely incredulous.

Well, it is true, and trust me, it is as ridiculous and sucks as much as it sounds, especially since it’s not like we live in the most tropical hemisphere. I mean, who gets an allergy to the COLD in CANADA?

Oh, yeah! That’s right! Me! Because the weird one has to have the weird allergies. I am a touch bitter on the subject, and a little angry, because this allergy popped up out of nowhere, and I only started to notice the signs when I had my hands in chilly meat making meatloaf and then they started swelling. Then I had a pop can resting on my arm, and once I put it on the counter to purchase it, I had a huge welt.

Now, I know what you are saying – it could be environmental or some chemical in the meat. In fact, when I went to the allergist to have this looked into further, the NURSE didn’t believe me, saying that she doubts that it is actually the cold, and it is probably something else, and they will find it. I told her no, it is an allergy to the cold because I have had a myriad of things swelling because of the temperature changes (like rain or going from the hot air to the air conditioning) and it is a reaction because of the cold. She shook her head, put a sterile ice pack against my arm for 10 minutes, and, lo and behold, my arm had a welt bigger than my hand. She apologized after, but it was a nice HA moment.

The welt on my arm from the ice pack. It lasted 2 days.

The welt on my arm from the ice pack. It lasted 2 days.

I have been at work and talked to coworkers about it, and instead of trying to explain, I stuck a water bottle on my arm, and not even 5 minutes later, voila, nice welts appeared on my arm.

And this allergy, it isn’t like it has to be in a negative degree…it just has to be below 19 C˚. And in Canada, in Ontario, in our region, I want you to just think on how many times a year the temperature dips below that degree. I will wait…Yeah. That’s how much this allergy sucks.

I was walking to the car in the rain and wind one day, and when I got there my chest was welting, my lips were swollen like a bad Botox job and my face was welting as well. I was also blotchy and red.

No need to take my word for it, I took photos because THAT IS HOW WEIRD IT IS.

No need to take my word for it, I took photos because THAT IS HOW WEIRD IT IS.

And see the bad Botox lips? They are so delightful!

And see the bad Botox lips? They are so delightful!

I was drinking something cold before I really registered that this was a problem and my throat felt like it was closing up, but I just took an allergy pill and hoped for the best.

The craziest experience so far with this allergy was when I went swimming at a friends house. He talked to his parents, because he knows how much I love to swim and they cranked the pool to 30 C˚. I jumped in so happy to be able to swim again and when I got out, I almost passed out from my blood pressure dropping and almost going into anaphylactic shock. I had never experienced how it feels to not have control and not knowing what is happening. Feeling like I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t focus, and going in and out on consciousness.

I know this all sounds crazy, and if you haven’t ever heard of this before, then of course it is crazy. But cold urticaria is real, and it does happen to a large number of people. After I started experiencing this, I talked to my coworkers and one person’s roommate in college had this allergy. And another woman actually had it happen to her, but it was because of her thyroid condition.

It apparently can last anywhere from a few months to about 5-7 years, (7 years being the longest time with this allergy on record).

I don’t know exactly what I am going to do when the winter really comes to Canada, as I am already having problems and it is only fall.

I also don’t know what it will be like in an environment completely enveloping my body in cold…I am worried that I may not just have to carry my EpiPen everywhere, but that I may actually have to use it one day.

But I am trying to stay positive and I am trying to remember that I even have this allergy, because I forget, all the time, and still go and grab things from the freezer, and try and work with cold food, and then I get all welted and itchy.

I also keep forgetting when I am really thirsty and all I want to do is drink a big bottle of cold water, but I can’t.

This allergy also took away the rain for me, my favourite weather, that I love dancing in. I can’t do that now – all I can do is look at it from inside the house, because even standing under an overhang I will still start welting and swelling because of the cold air.

It is a ridiculous allergy and I would like to return it for a more normal allergy, like pollen! Why couldn’t I have just been allergic to pollen?

Keep your fingers crossed for me that this does not last for 5 years!

~ Andreah

Down the rabbit hole, and in my purse

I am a very random person. A free spirit my sisters call me. I have had a weird collection of clothes, weird collection of art hung up around my bed room/apartments, and most definitely a weird collection of things on my person. At any given time these things lurk in my purse, in my car, etc.

My friends and I used to play a game called “What’s NOT in Andreah’s Room.” There were few and far between things that were not located in my sanctuary. One friend jokingly said a kitchen sink one time. I then produced a small miniature kitchen sink from somewhere, and laughter of course ensued.

The weird/strange/obscure things I have found on my person are the following:

Jars of dirt
I have a jar of dirt from Ireland, PEI and Nova Scotia, and for a while after I collected, or received them, I carried them around for a couple months. I know it’s weird, but it’s fun being able to carry around a piece of a far distant place that I either have been to or am dying to go to.

A beard
Yes. That’s right. I own a fake beard and used to carry it around and whip it out when certain situations called for it.
If you are currently asking yourself what situation would call for a beard, then you don’t understand life and the many simple complexities it involves. Or you are just not a strange person who used to carry around a beard.

Handcuffs.
I actually don’t want to explain this one, other than they are an interesting conversation piece. NOTHING SEXUAL. Just used to have them in my backpack.

My button collection
I have a button collection and used to carry around a few key ones that I loved to look at when I was in college. I even found use for some of them along the way.

I am a strange person. With strange things and a strange personality to match. Although I don’t find myself with these things on me on a normal basis, I still have all of them. I still am that strange girl with a beard in her bag, even if it is not a literal beard anymore.

Do you have strange things you used to do? Please tell me someone else has a fake beard.

~ Andreah

The friends in your head

In my head and in everyone’s head, there is this fantasy at work where famous people you would only dream about meeting are actually your best friends. In my head, I have these people and they are the best imaginary best friends a girl could have.

I used to have a SEVERE crush on Daniel Radcliffe. I know, me? Like the guy who played Harry Potter? What?! But no seriously, he was my dream boy all through high school. I had a picture of him in my locker and a girl actually bit me because I tried to stop her from stealing my poster of D.R. Now he has grown up and is awkward and adorable in interviews, still taken aback by questions, and is still so funny and awesome. He would be my old high school crush best friend. You know, the one you realize should just be a best friend for a reason.

Oh Daniel.

Oh, Daniel

Next would be the pensive and incredibly bright friend. You know, the one that you could see drinking tea with at 2 o’clock in the morning just because you got on to a random topic and you know time will get away from you because “People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint – it’s more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly…time-y wimey…stuff.” That’s right. David Tennant is my best friend in my head. I know. I would actually love to meet him, because of just how awesome he is…in my head.

Everybody needs that one friend who spurs you forward and gets you into random adventures and things you would have never thought you would have gotten yourself into. Then they would be so into the adventures they often just walk off and leave you behind. If you have never seen the show Sherlock then you basically just got the rundown of what Sherlock Holmes is like in the show. But, much like Dr. Watson, I would still follow no matter what. This best friend is none other than Benedict Cumberbatch himself. He seems like he would be so smart, but weirdly endearing, and you would just have to forgive him or hate him completely.

Strangely weird, and weirdly strange Mr. Cumberbatch

Strangely weird, and weirdly strange Mr. Cumberbatch

And along with those random adventures, you need the friend that makes you laugh until you pee your pants, and possibly even pass out due to the hilarity. This lady is bizarre and awesome, and strange, and I would love to spent just and hour with her going grocery shopping or something, because I honestly believe that Rebel Wilson would be just that wonderful to hang out with…at least in my brain.

Seriously, Rebel Wilson is my spirit animal.

Seriously, Rebel Wilson is my spirit animal.

Then there is the snarky bestie who you hang out with and be surly and sarcastic with, but is still awkward and weird. Who you hang out with because life can suck and it’s nice to know that some people feel the same way. Also EVERYONE must have a certain level of sarcasm and sass in your life. Anna Kendrick would be the friend I would most likely want to go to the mall and quietly (or loudly) mock people with. At least, my imaginary Anna is like that.

I love her in these Movies!

I love her in the Pitch Perfect movies!

I would also need that elegant, but quirky friend, who makes me feel more adult, because even at 24 I often find myself looking around and wondering how to adult (and, yes, “adult” is now a verb). I would have Anne Hathaway as that friend. Imaginary Anne is completely lovely and quite often I find myself with her in an old book shop reading copies of Jane Austen books in the secluded quiet of a back corner.

She's just so PRETTY.

She’s just so PRETTY.

Those are my people; the people I will daydream about and imagine different scenarios with in everyday life.

Please, tell me – do you have imaginary people running around in your head? Tell me I am not alone!

~ Andreah

Should I leave the lights on?

Recently in the New York times they had a piece on the light pollution in New York City, and about a bill that seems to have caused a bit of discussion on light pollution. On one hand, having fewer lights in the New York skyline would be more beneficial to the environment, and the migratory and mating habits of birds and animals. Another upside to having dimmer lights would be a greater possibility to see what is actually up in the sky in the middle of the night in NYC.

This photo is by Thierry Cohen, and awesome artist, click the photo to be taken to his page!

This photo is by Thierry Cohen, an awesome artist.

However, New York is big and it is filled with crime – fewer lights would mean more cover for unseemly and horrible stuff to take place. It is a good idea, but in they end, they should take a deeper look into the different possibilities and scenarios surrounding the bill in question.

This photo is by Thierry Cohen, and awesome artist, click the photo to be taken to his page!

This photo is by Thierry Cohen, an awesome artist.

The reason that this story caught my eye was because it made me think of a road trip Joe, Elena, and I took up north to Sudbury and down and through Manitoulin Island. After about four to six hours of driving in the middle of the night, Elena told me to pull off to the side, we woke up Joe and stepped outside the car just to stare at the naked sky.

This photo is by Thierry Cohen, and awesome artist, click the photo to be taken to his page!

This photo is by Thierry Cohen, an awesome artist.

Now, I have lived in the country and have gotten some pretty epic views in my life of the night sky, including one birthday of mine in which the Northern Lights appeared above our house.

I have also seen beautiful pictures depicting the night sky without light pollution, and, let me tell you, the real thing…it is even better than you could have imagined.

I wish we lived in a world where we didn’t need lights on all the time and that we could look up at any moment and just see the Milky Way. I wish that everyone would get to experience the ethereal beauty of the night sky unpolluted, with the lights that we have deemed so necessary. I ultimately wish that we could have a world so full of peace and love that lights weren’t so necessary.

This photo is by Thierry Cohen, and awesome artist, click the photo to be taken to his page!

This photo is by Thierry Cohen, an awesome artist.

It is something to work towards, and something to aspire to. Hopefully it will be so…one day.

~ Andreah

Find the balance

I can’t find it.

And by that I mean my balance. I can’t seem to be able to juggle everything that my life is holding right now, from friends, to family, from work to Joe. I am in a constant state of flux and it is driving me crazy!

If only I was this talented.

If only I was this talented.

I should be better at this! I know I am giving myself no time whatsoever to go from no job to full blown job, from having friends who I would go see to friends I live with, but for the life of me I cannot seem to get my footing!

I know this isn’t an upbeat blog, but right now all I have in my brain is the fact that I am fighting tooth and nail to make sure I can get everything I need done and sorted and I am losing a war with myself right now.

I am trying so hard that I end up getting worse at the balancing act.

But then again, think about where I have come from recently. We moved from Peterborough and left behind a life that me and Joe had built because we couldn’t sustain everything that we needed for a basic life, to our mom’s house where we then picked ourselves up further to live with our friends, and although I love it, and am happy…moving 2 times in 6 months? It’s a little much.

I just want to find a moment where I can have a little breathing room, just to relax and be able to say okay, I can have this break and then I can keep going, even for a day would be nice. However, that is not how life works, and no matter how hard I try to make sure I have the balance, I feel like I am losing.

I know that everyone goes through times like this in which the balance is not there, and it becomes harder and harder.

In the end though I know it will be okay. Because if it’s not okay, it’s not even close to being over.

large

~ Andreah

It’s all a bunch of labels

Labels are a funny thing.

The ones we give ourselves, the ones we’re branded with, with or without knowing, the ones we hear in our minds day in, day out, the ones we’re taught, the ones we assume, the ones we accuse.

Labels of love and understanding, labels of hurt, fear or hate.

I have to wonder how many of us walk through this life as someone we don’t really like, or that doesn’t feel genuine because of what we have been told to be throughout our growing periods. Because of what we have seen, been shaped to know, raised to understand.

How many of us would shed certain parts of ourselves if we could, in a heartbeat, because we didn’t know any better that there was a choice, an option to change it, to accept or reject them?

29 has been an interesting year so far – only a few months in and already bursting with change, possibility, excitement and challenge.

I almost expected this year to play out like this; after all, ‘they’ do say that after great heartache and turmoil comes great change and growth. The trick is staying open to the lesson, and not falling into the role of eternal-victim.

I think know my great teacher so far has been the absolute battering of my ego.

ego

Taking the very picture of myself, who I thought I was because of who I thought I ought to be at this point, and watching it disappear into thin air, with really only the important, core-stuff, staying, sticking it out and still showing up in the end. You know, the stuff about yourself that you would think about when your mom used to tell you to, “remember who you are” as you left the house with what she could only assume were extreme hooligans – that’s the important stuff that stays.

It was horrible.

It was AWESOME.

It takes a certain pit-fall up-shits-creek type of life altering situation to really get yourself to take a deep, LOOONG look at yourself and come up with the truth.

And then sit with it.

And sit some more.

And then see some things you like…and some you’d rather not have to admit to, that you really, honestly, deep down, cannot STAND about yourself.

That’s when the magic happens.

love

I sat with my ‘stuff’ for a while before I figured out that I was the only person who created this very unflattering mess in my hands, and, therefore, I was the only one who could change it, or at least attempt to improve it. And not another soul in the world could have helped me get there.

So, then there you are, with this pile of ‘stuff’ in your hands that you get to decide what to keep and what to get to work on, and you realize then:

It’s all a bunch of labels.

A bunch of labels that you’re so used to that you’ve forgotten to make sure you like them all, that you’re all right with them all, and if you would like to continue along this path of life with them all.

For me there were a few labels others had given me that I knew to the core of myself were not truly me. These labels were the easiest to deal with. These labels lost their power when I looked at the people that had branded me with them and considered the source, and if their opinions of me truly mattered at the end of the day. When I asked myself that question, the answer always came back absolutely not and those labels came off.

Then there were the labels about myself that I had some pride in before, and was having a hard time watching be worn off with time, with change. Eventually when I started to realize I have needed a LOT of what I didn’t ask for, I saw that my pride in them were only bolstering my ego (the cause of this whole debacle in the first place, really), which was hindering the growth of my soul. I had to let these labels go and be okay with what I was left with underneath.

Then there were the labels that were true, but that I did not like. Certain things about who I had become didn’t sit right with me, certain aspects of my personality and demeanor I knew were hindering my growth, but that I had clung to – like anger – as a security blanket, a thick skin appearance. These labels are still a work in progress, probably always will be. The hardest part I am finding about these ones is feeling and living the growth so much that others start to see it in you too, so they know you are not the same version of yourself that you might have been in the past.

And then there are the labels I love.

I call them the important stuff. The stuff that at the end of the day is what counts. I loved most of my important stuff.

This love, however, is not in the sense of traditional love, faltering or weakening during hardship or struggle. This love is a deep-soul kind of love, filled with acceptance and understanding. You see, some of the labels I love about myself may not appeal to the masses or anyone else in my life at all, for that matter. The important stuff counts because it’s the stuff about yourself that even if it makes you less popular with more people, you don’t care because it is what make you, authentically YOU. I see these things about myself that I know grind people’s edges, and make them uncomfortable, and maybe even cause them to misunderstand me, but because I love these labels, I do not care. They are the things that make my soul sing, my heart swell with joy and my mind be quietly at peace. I am okay with them, even if no one else is and that is a little slice of freedom I’ll take any day.

~ Toni

Authenticity

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the importance of being authentic.

It may have to do with my beautiful circle of friends growing once again as I slowly meet more of ‘my people’ by living more like how I feel inside, regardless of what other people’s opinions, judgments, or expectations are. It’s amazing what you attract when you like who you’ve become and know that the right people will love you and stick beside you, the wrong ones will eventually drift away.

It may have to do with realizing the toll my recent employment took on me and being able to reflect on how down it made me – the lesson being that I do not want to ever feel that way again about a job.

It may have to do with the added free time I have had to actually slow down and enjoy life a bit while I am off – not to say it has been a walk in the park to not FREAK OUT about not having a clear direction set out for this next chapter, but Michael and my Tuesday day adventures have been pretty fantastic and plentiful.

One of our many adventures <3

One of our many adventures ❤

It may be my unquenchable thirst to learn, to see more than what we are provided easily in today’s western culture when it comes to news, health, way of life – this bubble we’ve grown accustomed to because it’s comfortable and familiar, filled with distractions from what life is supposed to be. As I grow, my soul desires to be more self-sustaining in all areas of physical life and the knowledge to do so is just as accessible, if you just look for it. There are big plans for greenhouses, chickens, a bit of land and a tiny house for Michael and I.

Whatever the trigger, I feel as though our society is losing their authenticity. I feel as though too many people are acting, playing a role, presenting something they do not authentically feel to the world. Too many people worried about how their lives look, and not enough concerned with how they feel at the end of the day. Bigger houses, newer cars, the latest phone, more money, more things, less love, less touch, less authenticity.

I felt this way when I over-heard antidotes from two young women at a local coffee shop, of the strategic moves being made to secure a second, third and fourth date – covering off the silly things they were pretending to like or be interested in to seem more attractive to the potential mate. I found myself wondering if that is really how some people find a life-partner, or if I’d stumbled upon a more (thankfully) rare breed of singleton. Would it not be more advantageous – if the goal truly is to shack up with a life-mate – to be purely authentic from the get-go?! Okay, okay, maybe not allll of the crazy cards at once, but at the very least being straight about who you are, what your interests are, where you came from, where you’re going, where your heart lies and having the confidence to know that you’ll be okay whether or not the stranger across from you likes it or not. Wouldn’t you rather the person who loves you for life know YOU, all of you, the dark and the light in you? I don’t know if I could trust a love that didn’t know and accept the whole package. I feel we need more authentic love.

BeSeen

I felt this way during an interview where the interviewer seemed surprised at how many questions I had prepared. I let him know that I prepare for all of my interviews by making a list of all the details that are important for me to make a good decision in where to invest my time and talent. It opened a conversation about the shocking number of candidates that they have interviewed that did not understand it is as important to interview the company you’re applying to as much as they interview you; it helps to ensure the company matches your requirements as well or it will be a waste of both the company and employee’s time. I know I am a good self-advocate that can land a job by selling my skill set and experience, however I know first-hand the importance of being authentic in your work and wanting to make the best decision for your life goals. You give up so much of your life to your work, I believe you should somewhat love your life’s work. I feel we need more authentic work.

greatwork

I felt this way when I began to get more involved in the Moksha Yoga Cambridge community and had multiple ‘aha’ moments with the beautiful souls I have met there. The ‘aha’ of my soul as I recognized so much of myself – my true self – in them. That second family feel that reminds you that you’re not alone in the desires you have for the world, your communities, your family, friends. It made me realize that by living more authentically and searching for those outlets that feed my soul, I have in turn started to attract the kinds of people, opportunities and lifestyle I have been craving my whole life. It also made me realize how rare it is to find what I have found, that many people will never allow themselves to be open enough, vulnerable enough, and authentic enough to let who and what is meant for you, find you. I feel we need more authentic lives.

Amen!

I feel if we all followed our hearts a little more, learned to trust the universe a little more, searched for knowledge a little more, and especially lived a little more authentically, there would be a lot more fulfilled and happy souls in this world.

~ Toni

5 ways to take the suck out of life

Life has recently not been so nice…or rather I am finding it more and more difficult in these hard and pressure-ridden times to smile.

So here are my five ways to give you a giggle or make you smile when things suck balls.

From the blog inspirefulness.wordpress.com

From the blog inspirefulness.wordpress.com

1. Laugh.
Laughing manically can help you in several ways. One of which is sending endorphins to your brain, which can make you feel a bit better… or it can scare other people around you, and then their scared faces can give you a chuckle.

2. Do something nice for someone else.
When you do something for other people, it can take your mind off the crap that seems to be raining down on you. When you are there for others, you stop thinking about yourself for a bit. It gives you the space you need so you can actually think about your problems from a new light.

3. Take joy in the little things.
There a ton of good things in your life and when life gets you down, you need to take a step back and count out the awesome things. For example, I just got a really awesome colour of nail polish given to me, or the fact that the days are getting cooler, the sky is the perfect shade of blue, and the leaves are turning the most beautiful colour.

4. Go on stupid road trips with your best friends.
It could be long road trips or little road trips, but if you have your best friend in the passenger seat then anywhere you go is awesome, and everything you do is wonderful.

5. Build a fort of solitude (blanket/pillow).
Not even going to lie. You should do this. Build a fort! Then hang out in said fort. No one can touch you in your fort of solitude! It’s magical that way.

This what I am doing to stay sane and to make sure I keep smiling. Feel free to comment and give me more ideas!

~ Andreah

5 Struggles only busty girls will get

While there are certain advantages to being ‘chesty‘, there are also quite a few downfalls to this genetic trademark the ladies of my family are all too familiar with:

1. Physical activity: Running, jumping jacks, trampolines, burpees, jumping in general, horse back riding, speed boating…really bouncing of any kind is dangerous, tends to hurt and is hard to control with even the most state of the art sports bras money can buy. Which leads me to my next point…

2. Shopping: button up shirts, bathing suits, bras, sports bras, thick knit sweaters, cowel neck anything, dresses. Being busty means that all of the listed items (and more I am sure if I spent enough time thinking about it) are difficult/impossible to purchase. If it’s not v-neck – but not too deep of a v-neck or else you risk being scandalous – you can’t buy it and don’t even think about wearing a sweatshirt or you risk looking like a blob with no definition from your collar bone to hip bone. It’s always a relief when you are able to find a store that carries items of this nature that can be made to work and you’ll buy one in every colour.

3. Stomach sleeping: I am a stomach sleeper – more precisely, I am a modified stomach sleeper. I miss being able to sleep flat on my tummy. Now, I have to do the one hip and one shoulder prop with support of a pillow or a Michael, or a gathered duvet, or sometimes even a giant puppy. I have been known to forget/have a temporary lapse of sanity and attempt to bring back the tummy sleep. I am quickly reminded how uncomfortable it is and have to adjust.

4. Seatbelts: You would think that the height adjustment capability in most later model vehicles would have been the saving grace for us chestier ladies when it comes to the battle of the belt. I regret to inform you, it did not. Regardless of which notch the height is set at, it is never quite comfortable directly across your chest. It falls in between the ladies, it slides underneath them, it slips on top of them – that damn thing wanders all over, never really convincing me it will be able to do its job should I happen to need it.

5. Eye contact or lack thereof: I guess boobs are like unicorns, because some people stare at them as though they are such rarities to encounter. I cannot count the number of times I’ve argued in my head between irritably thinking “I have eyes you know”, and “Shit, there could be a stain on my shirt” while talking to someone who has displayed the inability to keep their eyes from wandering. A quick glance I can understand. But setting up camp and living there all day? That is just unacceptable.

~ Toni