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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Why My Allergies Are Not a Joke… But It Is Kind of Funny

If you live in New England, you know spring doesn't really start until the end of April. But if you live in New England and you have allergies, dates on a calendar mean absolute shit!

But it's not just seasonal allergies that I have. It's "allergic to Life minus peanut butter" allergies. Yeah, you read that right. I'm allergic to just about EVERYTHING, but peanut butter. Go figure! It's a good thing I'm not allergic to peanut butter though. I think I would have severe depression if I were allergic to it. I eat that ish every day!

Oh, I have food allergies too that occur every now and then. No worries. I carry an Epipen JUST in case. I've been lucky (knock on wood) to have not been in a situation where I'd have to use it since I was 8 years old (bee sting = no fun). You should see the TSA employees when I have to go through security at the airport with that thing… In case you're not sure what it is, it's a needle WITH a liquid (epinephrine)! Yeah, I get pulled for extra security from time to time with that one!

Really lady?
Seriously though, I'm lucky if I can go a week without showing my mom the hives that have popped up on my body. Her first question is always "What did you eat now?"

eh, that's my life.
For as long as I can remember, I've always had the worst allergies. Coupled with asthma, I'm the life of the party (not really).
It's hard to figure out sometimes…
"Should I take another Zyrtec?"
*looks at clock*
"Maybe I could take a Benadryl…"
*looks through medicine cabinet*
"There's got to be an allergy creme in here somewhere."

I have these convos with myself at LEAST a handful of times throughout the week. And the solution… take a Benadryl.


Once, my boss got flowers from her husband. They were gorgeous and she wanted to share them with the office... backtrack: My cubicle is out in the open and shared with the entire office space, but I don't have an actual office, if that makes sense…. so when she put the flowers on the table next to my cubicle, within 3 minutes I began to feel my eyes itch, my throat felt scratchy and my chest tighten up. I held my breath as I got up to go to the table, picked up the flowers and put them on the table in her office and walked out, exhaling (perhaps) dramatically. She immediately apologized for unintentionally trying to kill me. I just took a Zyrtec (because I have a supply of that ish in my desk, believe THAT!) and we laughed it off.
heart you boss lady…!!
It's an "interesting" life living with the severity of these allergies. I mean, my mom doesn't have any crazy allergies that I know of. My dad has seasonal allergies, nothing too crazy either. How I got stuck with the massive amounts of stuff I'm allergic to is beyond me.


You know when people get sick, they go to the dr.'s and get prescribed an antibiotic. Not me. I have to "tough it out" and/or use over the counter stuff. Why? You've guessed it, I'm allergic… to ALL antibiotics!

You know when you go out into the sun and you get sunburned. Most people use aloe vera as a means of soothing their pain. Not me. I have to use cocoa butter, which by the way, doesn't work. Why? DING DING DING! I'm allergic to aloe. And that stuff is in EVERY thing these days!

You know when you go out to breakfast and you order a coffee and maybe a breakfast sandwich or pancakes. Most people get the egg with their sandwich or maybe even scrambled eggs on the side. Not me. I get everything else minus the egg. Why? Oh, that's because me and the yolk don't get a long.

Unless I'm "loaded" up on allergy meds and have my inhaler handy, I'm basically defenseless when it comes to an allergy attack. Going to a friends'/family's house when they have cats (typically) doesn't work for me… unless the windows are open, and even that's no guarantee of not getting attacked, literally.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. There are a few more foods and a slew of other products I'm allergic too, along with the air I breathe, but you get the idea! And yeah, I can joke about my allergies, but it's serious stuff. More often than not, I can usually sense when it's gonna smack me in the face, but when it doesn't… Well, you remember the movie "Hitch" right? Yeah. This is my life...


So while I know we are all looking forward to warmer temperatures, days filled with sunshine and Spring to finally come to New England, for an all year round allergy sufferer like myself, this is how I feel about Spring Season!


blah...

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Life of a (brown) City Surfer Girl... It's a Little Awkward.

In case you haven't noticed I'm really into surfing... to the point where some might call it an obsession. I'm okay with that. So with that said, I've taken a little inspiration from my friend Judy (who did a blog about being a dancer) and with this blog entry, I'm going to give you a "peek" on what it's like being a brown surfer from the city and the debacle that ensues from my front door to what happens out in the line up.

Trying on wetsuits is about as fun as getting a cavity filled. Living in New England, we are denied the "luxury" of being able to wear a bathing suit all year round. So when you're a surfer, you wear a wetsuit every month of the year (except for maybe August). I can't begin to tell you what a nightmare it is to try on a wetsuit. Ever try on a bikini and think, "this isn't going to work"? Well, try that with a wetsuit, only this time, add "oh, and I can't breathe either". The sizing is awkward, it takes about a solid 5 minutes just to get INTO one (when you have bigger thighs and a bigger butt, that happens) and if having asthma wasn't bad enough, the choking factor that a wetsuit brings to the table, makes it THAT much more exciting to get out in the line up... not really.


Carrying my board out to my car. For those that don't know, I live in Boston (technically Chelsea) and walking out of my apartment with a surfboard in tow garners a LOT of strange looks. I can pretty much guarantee I'm the ONLY person in Chelsea who actually owns a surfboard!

Driving in the city with a board on my roof. Cruising along on the Lynnway on my way to the beach, I hit a few red lights. I look to my left and there's a kid with his mouth open in shock as his stares shift from my board to me... and then back to my board. Is it really that hard to believe? *thinks about it* okay, maybe it is!

Waiting for a wave, what was THAT look for? I'm aware that there are ALL kinds of people that do ALL kinds of things. When you're brown, and in the ocean, and on a surfboard, the side eyes that are received could make anyone feel a bit uncomfortable. I've encountered a few "jerks" in the line up that think women shouldn't be out in the water in the first place. Overall, some of the women I've encountered have a "shocked" look on their faces, but they're nicer... for the most part.

Mastering the "art" of changing in public. So I have my gear (board, leash [attaches to the board and then, to me when I'm in the water], wax [goes on the board's surface and keeps me from slipping off of my board and eating shit!], wetsuit, beach towels, a couple of gallons of water to rinse off in case there's no shower at the beach and a change of clothes), I've surfed for a couple of hours, maybe more, & now I'm ready to go.... but I'm not going to wherever I'm going with my wetsuit on. So very casually, I grab one of my massively oversized beach towels and begin to strip! Yup. Just wrap myself up in the towel and change. I'm at the point where I can change under my towel in a crowded parking lot and you will not see any of my lady parts! Pretty impressive huh? ;)

When your usernames for your social media include the word "surf" in it. If you notice on my twitter page, my Facebook home page, I am the DancnSurfnHippy... Oh yeah, the blog has that same name too! ;) When I sign up for newsletters, I'm using DancnSurfnHippy, All DAY! so don't even think about using that name, because it has mine written all over it... :)

Owning a caster board/skateboard and cruising the beach when the waves are flat... which happens a LOT. When you're a surfer in New England, good waves can be hard to come by. What the best way to keep your form, stay in shape (somewhat) while still having fun? I own a caster board! I used to have a skateboard, which can be just as fun, BUT the caster board is an inline skateboard. It gives the feeling of surfing with the way you have to carve (as you would if you were out in the water) on the street. In my opinion it's really the next "best" thing to surfing.

That's ME!
Is that sand in your hair?! It's inevitable. When you spend a good amount of time at the beach, chances are you're going to bring a good amount of the beach home with you. Surfing is no different. I'm pretty sure I still have sand in my car from my surf sessions from last season. It happens... it's a part of the "surf" life. I've gone out with friends after a surf session and I get funky looks followed by "you know you have sand in your hair, right?" I do now, thanks!

this isn't me, but the sand is real life!
Waking up earlier than most newborns. When you want to get the GOOD waves without the crowd, you encounter what we surfers call "Dawn Patrol". It basically means, you wake up at the crack of butt, and get to the beach before the sun comes up. I've done this a few times (when I lived in FL), and it's ROUGH, but when you get there, it's absolutely amazing! Living here, I don't really have to worry about waking up TOO early to get the "good" waves or worry about crowds like I would if I lived some place warmer. The surf community here is relatively small, and I love that!

Surf speak... I'm sorry, say what? There are some terms you may have heard me say and you're probably thinking "what the hell did she just say?" Sorry about that. To clear some of that up, here are a few terms that are used by surfers to describe life as a surfer...
-Locals: these are the surfers that surf a particular break (beach) every day. They're SUPER territorial and respect is not only expected, it's demanded... yeah, it's THAT serious.
-Kook: these are surfers who are novice or have never surfed before. We've all been there, but sometimes, they can be all over the place and can be hard to avoid. I've hit a couple (unintenionally) because I tried to avoid them, and that's easier said than done.
-Right-Hander: a wave that breaks from right to left when viewed from the beach. Same scenario applies for Left-Handers as well.
-Quiver: a surfer's collection of surfboards, which usually differ based on conditions out in the ocean. There's a board for just about every type of condition.
-Grom or Grommets: a child surfer. They're the cutest!

Wipeouts. They happen more than I'd like to admit. Never will I ever claim to be the best surfer out there. I probably wipeout on about half of the waves I ride. Even the pros wipeout, but they are a part of surfing. It's also incredibly humbling too, if you can imagine that. When you think your poo doesn't stink and the ocean is like "oh yeah?" and launches you off of your board. That'll bring your ass back to reality REAL quick!

source: www.surfscience.com

If my injuries aren't from dance, they're from surfing. I've convinced that for a dancer and a surfer, I have two left feet. I've slammed my foot into the ocean floor and injured my big toe. In one wipeout, my fin (there's usually 3 of them on the bottom of the board and they help you steer your board when you're up and riding) sliced the skin above my eyebrow and the back of my neck. I didn't even know until my instructor had said something and I had to leave the water until I stopped bleeding. I've had the nose of my board (the rounded part of the board, typically located in the front) slam into my hip which had me walking funny for about a day and a half. I promise, this IS a fun sport, when you have the hang of it.


Surf posters, paintings, drawings, and stickers.... EVERYWHERE. *insert broken record* I don't live in a tropical place, so I don't have the luxury of looking at big barrel-like waves, or palm trees all day. BUT I do have a ton of surf posters hanging around my my cubical at work just to keep the "stoke" (another surf term for "happy").

this is my "stoke"... at work!

Photo Ops... sorta. When people see the photos, paintings, posters and stickers, it's immediately followed by, "oh, so you like surfing?" Gee, how could you tell? ;) When I do get the chance to get out and surf, I make sure to document it as BEST as I can. I need some type of proof that shows I can "hang" with the mediocre, you know?!
Surf Album 1 & Surf Album 2 <--take a look if you haven't already. But finish the blog first, it's almost done! :)

"Wait, you surf? but you're... black"... really?! Surfing is one of those things that is incredibly difficult but equally rewarding. No matter how many times I wipe out, I'm still leaving the ocean with the biggest smile on my face like a kid on Christmas Morning! It shouldn't matter that I'm a little more "tan" than the rest of the surfers out there. I'm out there for the love of the ocean and the feeling I get from standing up on a wave and riding it all the way to the beach. Yes, I'm brown and yes, I surf. So what? As long as the respect goes both ways, doesn't (and shouldn't) matter that I'm breaking the stereotypical mold :) I'm having fun!
Still a "work in progress" haha :)
xoxox

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Some Things I Will Never Understand...

You knew some type of response was going to happen (by yours truly) with all of this "gay" news going on. Let's be real, it's just too important to NOT talk about… and with that, here we go!



Between Jason Collins & Michael Sam (if you don't know who they are, stop reading and go Google them NOW!), the conversations across the country are a'brew'n! The state of Arizona is trippin', Republicans want to ban gays from playing in the NFL... I swear if it's not one thing, it's another. How the hell did we get here? Seriously, how? Because I don't understand… I don't understand why MY loving a woman affects YOUR life in any way. I've never known heterosexual relationships to affect my life whatsoever, soooo how does my being with a woman affect your relationships again??


In case you didn't already know, which I'm sure somewhere buried in your brain you're well aware of this "little" known fact, gays. are. EVERYWHERE! I'm willing to bet that every team in the NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS and whatever other sport acronyms you want to throw in this pool, there is at least ONE gay bird (my lovingly affectionate term for all of my rainbow'd folk) on one of those teams, and that number might actually be higher. Oh, you know that one person in your family you've always "wondered" about…Guess what? They're gay too!



And for the LOVE OF PETE being gay is not a choice! Who in their right mind CHOOSES to be gay? Because it makes sense to voluntarily live a life where you face a never ending parade of being ridiculed, side-eyed, judged, potentially lose friendships/family relationships... I mean I could literally go on, but to avoid reaching levels of ridiculousness, I won't. But seriously, please let that thought go!

Seriously!

It saddens me when I here "Anti-Gay Bill", "Gay Rights" being compared to Civil Rights (which I agree these ARE civil rights) or this uproar in the manliest of manly sports because a kid decided he wanted to change what that conversation looks like… You would think it's the 1960s all over again, except it's not just black and white anymore, now it's in color. Literally, it's a rainbow! Still wondering though… How did we get here? It's 2014, and it feels like society's mentality is something out of the stone age!! We've taken 3 steps forward and 12 steps back. I don't want to discount the fact that we've really come so far with a lot of social issues, BUT with everything that's been going on lately, we've proven that we have SO much more progress that has yet to be made.


It's unfortunate we live in a society where EVERY thing (and every one) needs to have a label. Why can't we just love each other for who we are AS we are? I couldn't help being gay anymore than I could've helped being African American, and Irish American, and Native American, and a female and gay… see where this is going? Where this hatred towards humans come from?! Maybe it's a lack of compassion. Lack of understanding. Lack of open-mindedness or D.) all of the above. Who knows? I guess there are just Some Things I Will Never Understand…