Introducing Vivid

Erin now has her own blog -- or online notebook, as she prefers to call it. It's got samples of her writing and links to her poetry. Click here to visit Vivid: Pieces From.

A much better day in terms of my allergies. The rains arrived -- not the torrential sort that flooded Alberta, but enough to wash the pollution out of the air -- and the air was noticeably cooler and clearer by yesterday evening. I managed to breathe through the night.

I've been allergic since I was a child. My mother finally figured out that what appeared to be a persistent cold was actually occurring regularly during certain times of the year. The family doctor confirmed hay fever, but we didn't do anything about it (beyond keeping it mostly in check with anti-histamines) until Erin and I got together. I've been on anti-histamines for over twenty years and, eventually, your body builds up a resistance to them. My allergies were getting worse and worse. Once, I was in Stratford, inside this concrete outdoor public washroom when I let out a sneeze and the structure rang like a bell. Ouch!

Erin made me go to an allergist after that. I was given the test (Allergens applied on your arms and your skin pricked 32 times) and discovered that I was allergic to trees (birch especially), grass and ragweed. Trees flowered from April to June, grass from June to July, and ragweed from July to the first frost (late October). That's right folks: the only time I wasn't allergic was winter. I also discovered that I was allergic to cockleburs (which aren't nearby so far as I can tell -- go figure) and horses (huh?). No pet allergies, fortunately.

So, as anti-histamines were no longer working, I went for the injection therapy. For the next two years, I received an injection of my three major allergens (trees, grass, ragweed). It actually worked, even though it made my arm swell up worse than a bodybuilder. My next summer wasn't nearly so bad (I could go comfortably without taking pills) and even though the therapy has come to a close and even though I've had a couple of bad days, this season is still better than the one I had four years ago before this therapy started.

Those of you who aren't allergic to anything, please consider yourself very, very, very lucky for not having to choose between sneezing and several dozen needles stuck in your arm.

And forgive me when I snore.

I've got my first ever public reading coming up!

It's not much, but the writer-in-residence at the Kitchener Public Library, Kathy Stinson, asked me to read a short passage from Rosemary and Time during the Final Readings and Farewell ceremony on Saturday, June 22nd. I'll be among a dozen or more other readers who submitted poems and manuscripts for Kathy to read and comment on, and my own time will be very limited, but I don't mind in the least. It's my first reading, and I'm too excited to be nervous... yet.

The event takes place at the Kitchener Public Library's main branch on Saturday, June 22, at 10:30 a.m.

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