Out of the darkness

the waiting gameIt’s been such a strange, and at times, very emotionally dark week. Perhaps that’s why my body reacted so violently as it did? A way to show it’s unsavoury disharmony, reminding me that this life as we know it isn’t a dress rehearsal, and in a moment, life could be gone or turned upside down forever.

I ended up in the hospital on Thursday night, stuck with a saline IV and steroidal drip, waiting for the itching to stop. You see, I was stung by a yellow-jacket, as we were travelling in the truck from Brantford to Oakville. When we left the dropzone to pick up our tonneau cover for our Dodge, I heard a buzzing sound, as if coming from the dashboard. Couldn’t find the culprit, so we made our way in the darkness to pick up the cap we’ve been searching a whole year for … Kijiji is awesome!  The topper fitted our needs, so after fitting it snuggly on it’s new home, we made our way in to Toronto, helping out some friends who are switching modes and joining the RV lifestyle. And our services were needed, transporting their giant Great Dane {Bender} and baggage to a transitioning point. Such is the beauty for having an enclosed truck bed — perfect luggage storage for us and others :).

We had stopped at a MacDonalds to take an important phone call, and whilst slaDE was on the phone, I decided to stick my crock shoes back on and dash in to use the restrooms. It was at that very moment when foot was inserted in to plastic that the little yellow bugger zapped me on the toe (3 times looking at the puncture marks). Man did that ever hurt. And about 2 minutes after the sting started to subside, my scalp starting itching like crazy and my body went in to an intense heat flash of itchy messiness. I ran in to ask where the closest pharmacy was (the staff looked at me with fear in their eyes — I was a red blotchy mess).

Of course, the Pharmacist was on a long-winded phone call with a client, and patiently I danced silently on the spot waiting for her advice, inaudibly pleading for her to hurry uP. Benadryl it was, 2 capsules per dose, max 8 in 24 hours. Would that be enough to stop the storm ravaging my body? I fervently prayed that the medicine would be an instant relief from the crazy swarming welts driving my nervous system crazy with needlepoint pain and itch. And with positive thoughts I breathed “No worries, this will be under control in no time”. I could beat this! Yet 1/2 hour later, making our way in to the city, my throat started to feel funny, as if a whole chip were lodged deeply within my windpipe and I was trying to swallow it whole. A sign to me that over-the-counter allergy medication alone could not quell the venom writhing through my body. I knew that this was indeed serious. My throat acting up, headache and raspy voice was indeed far more serious.

Funny odd {rather than funny haHa :)} how the GPS was ineffective when needed most! Oakville Hospital must have moved since the last database update on our TomTom. So after flagging a policeman down, we finally found the hospital and I was ushered quite rapidly in to Emergency, hooked up immediately to the IV and dosed with steroids. Relief was slow to come, but I was grateful to be under medical attention, knowing that if anything more serious happened, I was in good hands. Three hours later, I was released. Fingers crossed, all would be okay. 4am arrival at our friend’s locked down apartment building, dozing in the truck, waiting for someone to enter / exit the building with a security pass is what we longed for. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait too long, and a couch awaited us for some much-needed sleep. Unfortunately, I wasn’t told until I refilled my prescription that the steroids given to me in hospital would inhibit sleep. Fabulous! Itchy, dead-tired and in pain. Not the best case scenario, but at least I was alive. Seems like I need an Epi-pen just in case of any possible future incidents. Amazing how something this small can change your life and outlook on what you do and how you do it. Now I understand what my nephew goes through, with his potentially fatal peanut allergy. Life changing indeed. All day today I’ve been researching the possibilities of immunotherapy. An interesting but costly option. At least I have options! And this indeed is a glorious eye-opener!

Starry-filled nights

Starry darknessIt’s so amazing to step outside our Airstream on a clear dark night like tonight, witness all the gloriously bright stars, hear the whispering winds beckoning me to make a wish and send that love out in to the universe. I love the solitude of quiet nights especially where we are right now, feeling safe and at peace with the world. We are parked at the local airport in the country, where no  bright lights exist apart from the solar lights which mark the edges of the stationary trailers and a few strands of rope lights highlighting the buildings edges.

And in moments like this, I stare up at the stars, remember those whom I have lost, and see them shine brilliantly in each star above. Oh how they are loved and are missed …..

Market Days

Red SunflowersGiant zucchiniI love going to a Farmer’s Market, especially in the height of seasonal goodness! Every Friday morning in Port Colborne, when in town, I’ve been diligent about cruising the fresh produce stands of the local community farmers, recycled bags at hand, ready to reel in my healthy purchases.

And everywhere I look, glorious colours vie for attention, flowers are at their peak bloom, fragrances of summer fruits and vegetables peak my senses and the sounds of the early morning buzz ring melodic harmonies as a plethora of visitors and marketeers banter in a glorious exchange for the fresh produce and goods. Truly, a photographer’s dream, whether it be a Canadian market in the height of summer, or a foreign emporium in the heart of Africa or India. I am drawn by the local colour and culture, intrinsically attuned to the community which survives on collective abundance and local initiative. I feel inspired by the beauty of Nature and Mother Earth’s plentiful offerings.

fresh local vegetables

Long live the sustainability of local farmers in these dark environmental times of challenge, uncertainty and food questionability and security. We are so blessed to have these offerings provided with love from the land, where there is nothing for want and the variety and selection of summer edibles is varied, tasty, inspired and vital.

I really love this pledge made by the local citizens of Berkshire, Massachusetts. Wouldn’t we be a healthier and more bountiful society if we could support our local communities in the same way?

“I pledge to buy and utilize locally grown food and food products to the extent that I am able and to serve my community by educating others about the many benefits of buying and eating locally. I take pride in supporting local farmers and producers who preserve and sustain the beauty and bounty of the Berkshire region.”

Another Amusement Park

Marineland swingsBeluga WhaleWith my Father heading south of the border for the day, my older sister and nephew had the urge to go to Marineland with Forrester’s friend Ryan. So if we wanted to spend the day visiting with my oft-not-visited family, it meant going against all my urges of supporting a Zoo (of sorts), that housed large marine animals in small close quarters, with my entrance fee. Although I adore animals of all types, especially the aquatic kind, I have a hard time justifying the ethicality of training and housing such animals in zoos and enclosed parks, especially as their home is as vast as the oceans. After watching the movie “The Cove”, seeing dolphins enclosed in such facilities is heartbreaking. Dolphins by the way are probably my favourite animal, their intelligence & beauty admiral and breathtaking. Here’s a unique tidbit of trivia: Did you know that dolphins sleep with one eye open? By keeping a one-eyed vigil, this highly gregarious mammal can keep alert for predators with an open eye, and the closed eye allows for their brain to rest.

What I didn’t expect to find at Marineland was a love for the Beluga whale. I adore whales of all kinds, and never having witnessed a live Beluga, I fell fast and hard for their pristine white pureness. The Mama and babies played a tug of war at my heart, as sets of at least ten Mother whales swam and bonded in unison, dancing playfully with their newborn calves.

With our visit to Darien Lake only last week, both slaDE and I were curious about the funfair rides here at this park.

Marineland Sky Screamer

What I discovered about Marineland’s vast grounds is that the rides are spread out over a vast territory which meant large jaunts between the really cool pleasure thrills and coasters.

sKY Flight

By far, my favourite adrenaline spin was on the ‘Sky Streamer’: a freefall tower that offered incredible views of Niagara Falls, the burgeoning Niagara River and the surrounding natural beauty. I live for intense free-floating negative G-force surges such as this! Pure exhilaration. A skydiving exit from a balloon is very much like the drop on the Sky Screamer, albeit with a parachute on my back, the leap of faith is much longer and within my control.

The day ended with us enjoying a luscious meal at the ‘Smokin Buddha‘, listening to live music on the patio, carefree and loving life!

A walk down memory lane

skateboarding funMy family came to visit us at Skydive Burnaby on Tuesday morning. I was really looking forward to spending time with my older sister and her son Forrester, as it has been way too long since we’ve shared a vacation together. Dad was bringing his 5th wheel Titanium 34 foot trailer along for the ultimate in camping experience, which they in turn parked beside us for the ultimate in convenience and proximity. With the beach only a quick 12 minute walk away, swimming inLake Erie would be one of the highlights of our time spent together.

Dad bike

With picture perfect weather, Blue and I walked down to the beach, whilst slaDE towed the boys on their skateboards with a borrowed bicycle. Dad enjoyed a leisurely exploration of the area on his freecycled 10 speed, perusing all the antique tractors used by locals to tow their boats down to the Lake’s edge.

Of all the pinnacle moments of the two days spent together, my favourite highlight were moments shared watching scanned slides from our childhood. With my memory being somewhat foggy for much of my youth, having a running commentary from Dad and Blue on each and every photograph was truly priceless. The sort of moments that I wish I could capture forever, a digital voice recording of sorts would have been ideal.

slaDE ran the whole show, starting from the early days of our youth right through to our adolescent years (in the process of scanning 1000’s of slides, I had each photo categorized in yearly folders from 1966 to 1989), connecting our HD TV to the laptop and navigating whilst we sat back and enjoyed our stroll down memory lane. Priceless entertainment. Just wish my Mom and younger sister could have been here!