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

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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

Wonderful world of work

So there a couple things you should be 100% aware of when it comes to me… I am not normal. Working in an office environment is not normal for me.

This is so more me.

This is so more me. (Photo credit to UCS and their photo of their studio, which makes me miss college and the studio that I got to use there.)

I have never worked in a normal office environment, and I never thought I would ever be working in a cubicle, let alone being excited about it. I am more the type to have weird, in-between jobs that you never even thought someone would have, and I have had quite a few of those…

Have you ever heard of someone working in a turkey farm? Or know of anyone putting away books at the wee hours of the morning?

No? Of course not. Because no sane person decided that they would deal with turkeys, or put away heavy books at warp speed (or as fast as humanly possible) at 5 a.m. Besides the point of this post though, this is about my job now.

This is the most normal job I have ever had. I work roughly 8 hours a day. I come into work, use a punch clock and then punch out when I leave. I have never had a job like this, and although I have never seen myself in this kind of job, there is one thing I love about this job.

The people are AWESOME.

All of them are so unique, and I have made so many new friends that I can hardly count them all. Even my supervisors are awesome and very helpful people and my manager is really funny and nice.

Now, I haven’t told a lot of people at work about our blog at all, so I am so not trying to butter them up through this. It is just nice to be able to like the people you work with and work for. I have found some really good friends in my colleagues while I have been here, and although I am not going to mention any names, they know who they are and they know (from me telling them on a constant basis) how truly awesome and sweet they are.

They make it easier to come into work on my bad brain days because I know I will smile at least once from something ridiculous someone says or does, or that I say or do, and at work I am one of the more random people.

I am truly blessed to not only have a job but have a job where I actually get along with and like the people.

I know this is just a temporary position, but for the time being I have a found a place in the company full of awesome people, and that works just fine for me.

~ Andreah

She’s 6

It’s been hard to find the words to express exactly what this year has meant for me and my oldest baby Sophie, the one with the looooooong legs and the fascinating brain and the crazy sense of humour and the incredible compassion for all living creatures, especially her tired, worn-out, crying mama (there’s nothing that brings a girl to her knees like a 5-year old rubbing your back and telling you it’s going to be okay). She’s turning 6 this week and I’m struggling to pinpoint exactly what made this year different from the year before.

Crazy tall kid. For our family, of course (she's still one of the shortest in her class.)

Crazy tall kid. For our family, of course (she’s still one of the shortest in her class.)

She’s in her second year of school, so that’s not new, but how she’s handling herself there is different since she is in the oldest grade (she’s a Senior Kindergartener now) and her teachers tell me she’s all about helping the younger kids, the Junior Kindergarteners, figure out the rules and talking to them when they’re crying for their parents. It’s such an oldest sister thing, such a me thing, to be a mother hen, that my heart at once is so proud and aches that her childhood is slipping away in the service of others. You give a bit of yourself away every time you reach out to someone, and it’s not a bad thing, but the fact that she’s starting so early makes me worry about whether or not she’ll have anything left for her when she gets older. It took me forever to find that balance – I hope her path is full of as much compassion for herself as it is for others.

“Don’t I look so adorable?” Yes, Sophie. Yes, you do.

She’s still a diva, a fashionista in training, who staunchly believes still that ‘flat pants’, or leggings, the pants that sit flat against her legs, are the only ones that make her look beautiful. She’s stunning. There is nothing that girl can’t put on with her hair and her ridiculous blue eyes and her tiny nose that doesn’t look pretty, but you can’t reason with her. Sophie is only pretty when she’s got her flat pants on. And if she can’t wear those, the tears and gnashing of teeth and stream of self-loathing that follows is irrational, heartbreaking and frustrating as all hell. There are only so many times you can say, “You are gorgeous no matter what you wear.” before it turns into you yelling, “You’re wearing the ugly jeans so just get dressed already!”

So pretty. But only in flat pants!

So pretty. But only in flat pants!

She’s trying so damn hard to recognize letters and print like a pro and read a book unaided. She’s not there yet, but this year the Valentine’s took waaay less time to print and the word recognition is coming faster and more furious, and the pages of her printed letters and numbers have littered our house to the point where I toss them out because there are SO MANY. She’s always bringing home a book she’s made, or showing me that she sees her name or wants to know if the random letters she’s printed say anything. She’s trying SO HARD. I can’t wait for the penny to drop for her, not only because things will get read a lot faster, but also the pride she feels in the tiny steps she’s been taking will turn into a full-blown mind explosion of excitement. I can’t wait.

This face times a MILLION when she finally reads in a stream without stopping.

This face times a MILLION when she finally reads in a stream without stopping.

She’s thoughtful. SO thoughtful. And not just in kindness, but in thinking through everything you say and connecting it to other stuff that has been said or that she’s seen. We’ve been watching Full House on Netflix as a family. Sophie is by far the most interested in it. We were listening to the radio the other day and the radio host was talking about how they have guest DJ’s every week. Sophie immediately stopped colouring and looked at me. “Did he just say D.J.? Like Full House?” And thus began a 10-minute conversation about the difference between Full-House DJ and a radio DJ. Tricky stuff.

Such good sisters...except when they're SCREAMING at each other.

Such good sisters…except when they’re SCREAMING at each other.

But again, none of these things are glaringly new or crazy insane. We’ve had a relatively quiet year here with Sophie. She’s gone to school, made new friends, is often at our neighbour’s house to play with another girl her age, and generally we just manage her fashion meltdowns and lippy-ness (her wit and smarts get her into trouble more often than not). And the more I think about it, about the year that was for her and me and us, I kind of feel like I cheated her. I’m so focused on Lillian and the war that we are waging right now and getting her ready for school and I am trying to keep Isaac from killing himself since we’ve firmly landed in the climb-everything-and-conquer-it stage, that I’m really not handling Sophie much at all. Really, the only things that Sophie and I do together are get up, read, get dropped off at school, get picked up from school, and then negotiate our way to dinner and then bedtime. It’s so…removed and hands-off. I don’t worry about her going pee or poop everywhere anymore. Generally when she climbs things it has zero impact (unless it’s a fire hydrant…then a nice, blood-spouting hole appears in her chin). And her temper tantrums are usually dramatic friendship woes (that are normally fabricated by her) or rages against the disgusting pants that flair on the way down and don’t hug her legs.

All grown up. *sob*

All grown up. *sob*

I was told when I had her, 6 years ago, that the time will fly quickly. That one day she won’t need me as much and I’ll miss the time when she does. And in truth, I can’t believe it’s been 6 years. I can’t believe she’ll be 6. But, I’m so busy being needed by Lillian and Isaac that I’ve missed missing her needing me as much. It makes me want to grab her and really relish in her independence and her sauciness and her laughter and her crazy thinking. And it makes me worry that maybe I’ve failed her. Maybe in not being there for her, even if she doesn’t need me, I’m making her feel unloved or like she’s drifting away from us.

Not too old to sit in a foam chair and watch a  movie with her siblings.

Not too old to sit in a foam chair wearing fairy wings to watch a movie with her siblings.

But then yesterday she curled up with me to watch DJ hang out with Kimmy Gibler, and I loved the feel of her weight and warmth and her hand and arm crooked through mine. And today, when we walked across the parking lot of a doctor’s office, she grabbed for my hand without me even asking, just as I was debating whether or not I should ask her since we’ve been walking independently across streets on the way to school now for months.

Wearing new birthday flat pants, shirt and purse. STYLIN'. She says she's "fancy." I can not argue.

Wearing new birthday flat pants, shirt and purse. STYLIN’. She says she’s “fancy.” I can not argue.

And then, just like that, all is right in the world again.

To my eldest, my tallest (for now), my sauciest – happy happy birthday, my love. 🙂 I’m excited to see what this year brings us and how far you’ll go, even if it is further away from me.

Love, Mama

~ Julia

5 Things I learned being a little sister

I have learned that being a little sister is not always the joy ride that most people expect, and that you tend to learn things differently. So, here are my 5 things I have learned from being a little sister.

It is NOT always about you.

Granted, some people are going to tell me differently, and some people when they have their youngest child it really is all about them, but not for me. I have a problem of putting everything and everyone first in my life before my own well-being, and sometimes my own welfare. I am not the little princess of the family, but I do know that as a result of me being born last I was raised a little differently than my older siblings.

You will get blamed for a lot of things.

Growing up sometimes (i.e. not all the time) I would get blamed for the actions of my older siblings, knowing full well that they did the incident. Sometimes I took the blame, but other times I would fight tooth and nail that it was not me! And yes, of course, I got to blame my older siblings sometimes, but 7 out of 10 times they wouldn’t believe me anyways!

I was a horrible younger sister.

I really and truly was a terrible younger sister. I would not listen to my sisters when they were in charge, I would go behind their backs when I didn’t like what they were doing and call mom, I was a huge tattle-tale, and, frankly, I was a huge pain in the butt. I always whined, always cried, and just was not a nice person growing up. I am still learning to be a better little sister, but I know I still have a ways to go before the whiny child side of me is gone for good.

You have built in friends.

I did not have a lot of friends growing up, and spent a lot of my time alone, but I knew when my sisters were home and they were not busy with their big sister homework that I could spend time with them, play, and get into some small amounts of mischief.

You will always have them.

I know that no matter what is going on, if all my friends get mad at me or hate me, that I will still have my three sisters at my back, in my corner, fighting with me and for me when I need them, and when I don’t need them I know that they are my silent cheerleaders for whatever I may be going through.

This sums it up... Love you guys!

This sums it up… Love you guys!

I may not be the best little sister ever, but hey, I am a little sister, so at least I survived the childhood part!

~ Andreah

The Roomie Awards

I have lived in a lot of different cities, and in those different cities I have had a lot of roommates, I counted it up and in total I have had a whopping 18 roommates. That is a lot of people I have lived with that aren’t family.

So I am going to give Roomie Awards to the people I currently live with! I live in a house with Joe and three other people, so I sat them down and had them nominate each other for things, and when we all agreed, here is what we came up with:

The winner of the BIG CHEESE/CHIEF AWARD is… Justin.

No I don't know what is happening behind the tree.

No I don’t know what is happening behind the tree.

It tends to be that whenever we are sitting around with nothing much to do, Justin comes up with stuff. He also is the main person of the house. He tends to also be like the big brother of the house and is always there to lend a hand when needed or just help out.

The winner of the SMEAGLE AWARD is…Ponee (a.k.a. Josh).

Isn't he a strange one?

Isn’t he a strange one?

Josh is a little strange, a little weird, and sometimes really annoying, but he knows this and owns it. Josh can also be really helpful and a good guy when the time calls for it. He also takes the guys harassment on a daily basis, and doesn’t really care that much about it.

The winner of the HYPERACTIVE AWARD is…Hanna.

She's so Pretty!

She’s so pretty!

It has been said that if we got a hamster wheel big enough, we could run the house off her energy. She is an awesome girl, an amazing friend, and just a little *cough* a lot *cough* crazy energetic! She is an overall amazing person, and a real best friend.

The winner of the SPEDCIAL AWARD is…Joe.

Handsom isn't he?

Handsome isn’t he?

I did not nominate Joe for this one, and yes the ‘D’ is really supposed to be there. Joe has the uncanny ability to get himself into the weirdest of situations, which makes sense as he did ask me to marry him!

The winner of the FUZZY/DINGO AWARD is…Cleo!
Cleo is the house puppy. She is adorable and crazy and is always up for snuggles.

The winner of the JELLY BEAN/BUG-EYED AWARD is…me.
Screen shot 2015-04-09 at 9.18.55 PM

This one was a weird description, but I am going along with it. Hanna said that I should get the Jelly Bean award because I am so colourful and random. Justin says that I get the Bug-Eyed award because I always have an interest, I am always doing something, and it is never the same thing. Ever.

I have had so many experiences living with people of all walks of life, and this one is just a new adventure. With all new good people…even if they all are slightly crazy.

~ Andreah

Take a chance on me!

You know what I want more of?

Chances.

I got an interview a couple months back and the way I got it was because I asked for a chance and although I didn’t get it, I knew I would have rocked that job because of that chance. Because in all honesty I don’t have very many credentials, I don’t have tons of experience. I am what some companies would call ‘a risk.’

That being said, I am now employed!

I have a good job. I have a job that is new, and something I have never experienced. I have a job that pays better than I have ever had, and a job that I think I may actually enjoy. It is an office job, and it is so far, so good.

They took a chance on me, and I have to thank them for that.

I have been in training, and flip flopping between knowing my stuff, and completely blanking on what I am supposed to do, but I know with some time I can get it, and I can do it.

That being said I am being thrown on my own tomorrow. I am going to go into work, sit down at my own desk (I HAVE A CUBICLE), and do my job.

MY CUBICLE!

MY CUBICLE!

I am so terrified I may mess something up, but I have been assured again and again that they all started out this way, that they all were a little hesitant at first, and had no clue what they were doing. I barely believe it, but I get that it is only my 9th day, and my first day on my own, and that I will make mistakes. I will mess up, but I also know that I can rectify those mistakes. I can make what I do count, and I can do my job to the BEST of my abilities, I just need to take the chance.

-Andreah

Working to a better me

I am not the biggest fitness guru in the world, not even in this sisterhood, but I do have a few things that I love doing as I work my way to a better me.

1. Hot Yoga:
fitness-motivation-quote-11
I have Toni to blame for this one. I didn’t think I would like it at all. I thought I would hate the heat, and just hate the fact that my body can’t do all the yoga poses. However, the first night I attempted this I felt so calm and at peace with my body and myself afterward I knew it was love. I love my body for all its largeness, but know it can be better. And now I can listen to my body better than I have in the past.

2. Crunches:
fitness-motivation-quote-19
I have a love for them. I can do 96 of them in a row, which I am pretty damn proud of myself for. For this I have to thank my old burlesque teacher, Miss Sassy Ray. She is wonderful, and showed me that no matter what size you are, you can dance, crunch, and wiggle with the best of them.

3. Eating Better:
fitness-motivation-quote-12
Less fast food, less junk overall, and just trying to put more veggies where there is too much starch. This one is hard because I live with so many people, with varying likes and dislikes, but I have found ways to sneak in the healthy stuff.

I am not the best at being healthy or treating my body well, but I am on a road leading to a better me, and working on a better happiness for who I am, what I look like, and my size.
fitness-motivation-quote-10

~ Andreah

Can I hear it for some love, peace and understanding?

Everywhere you go there is racism. People judge harshly, quickly, and without cause. We hurt people who had nothing to do with the bigger picture, and too many innocent bystanders suffer.

One place I am going to highlight on is France, especially in light of what happened there this January. This is not to place blame but to recognize that nothing is always as it seems, and that there is more going on then we know. We just need to take a deeper look.

I just want to define something here, an Extremist (which exists in any religion or culture) is a person who favours or resorts to immoderate, uncompromising, or fanatical methods or behaviour, especially in being politically radical.

Extremists, who were under surveillance last year, but got taken off of it six months prior to the shootings, were the root of the problem. Not Muslims.

A Muslim, as the Sufi spiritual leader Ibn Arabi says, is a: person who has dedicated his worship exclusively to God…Islam means making one’s religion and faith God’s alone.

I have recently read an article in the New York Times, written about how Muslims, even if they have lived in a country for their entire life, do not feel like they are home, or that they are welcome.

Can you imagine living somewhere and not ever feeling like you could just live, just be?

Why is it in peaceful places does racism and biased reactions, based on one small group, instead of the whole, reign true? Why can’t there be peace without the violence and why can we not just see that everyone is wrong, and the only right in the world is peace, light, and love?

People judge so harshly based on religion or even just skin colour. We take the leap before we even slow down enough to find out who someone is and to know that they aren’t all bad, just like we aren’t all bad.

I want to stop time and just make sense of all the nonsensical violence, all because of pigmentation or the right to believe in who and what you believe. It will never make any sense. It will never get us anywhere judging people for something that is theirs alone and is in their hearts. You shouldn’t judge what you do not know, and I don’t know much, but I know that when you are walking down the street towards me, I am not going to judge you on the pigmentation of your skin and I am not going to judge you based on which headdress you wear. I am going to smile, keep walking with peace and love in my heart.

As my one roommate says “We all want one thing: to live.”

We will learn. I have hope.

We will learn. I have hope.

~ Andreah

Knowing more

This past year has been a crazy one: moving away, finding new passions, trying new things, falling down, picking ourselves back up, engagements, wedding planning, moving back, and just generally trying to figure out what works.

This has been a year of learning for all of us with the blog, and in life. We are just living, and life always has a lesson to teach.

This has been an amazing, eye-opening experience for me.

I always knew my sisters were talented, amazing and beautiful women, but reading their thoughts has shown me new bits about each of the sisters.

I feel like you can find out a lot about people through their writing, and it holds true to this experience.

I mean, in all of our very first posts, there were timid steps as we each set foot into blogging, but we found our way, kept going, and the sisters and the readers all ended up inspiring me more than I had thought humanly possible.

This blog has been a new push through everything, and when I re-read all the posts, I realized how much we all changed, or at least I have changed. I realized how much I have been able to still keep pushing through all the negative that can come with change.

Change usually scares me, but this time, I’m not scared at all! I’m excited and can’t wait for the next blogging year for our sisterhood!

#WVSisterhood #Giveaway !!

#WVSisterhood #Giveaway !!

And now, without further ado, my giveaway is hand-crafted jewelry and a survivalist bracelet made from parachute cord made by my friend Kate, and a tea wallet so you can have that fresh tea anywhere made by Kate’s awesome Mama!

Survivalist bracelet, beautiful hand crafted ring, and necklace, and a tea wallet!

Survivalist bracelet, beautiful hand-crafted ring and necklace, and a tea wallet!

I want to thank you, dear readers. You have been a wonderful and captive audience, and we owe you lots of hugs for the past year! And my question I pose to you is: What is the one accessory that you’d feel naked without? 

~ Andreah