Wide Open Spaces


Good Saturday morning, my friends!  It has finally cooled down enough here to be livable.  So much so overnight, in fact, that I am wearing socks, a sweater and had a fleece blanket on my lap.  According to Environment Canada it got down as low as 15*C overnight (that’s 53*F-ish for you non-metrics), positively arctic after the last heat wave!

First I want to talk about something serious, because it’s something everyone should be aware of.  

My son scared the hell out of me yesterday.  One minute he was talking to me and then he wasn’t.  Mid-word he just stopped and began to fall forward, face blank, eyes open.  Freaked me the hell out.  I tried to be calm and see what was wrong with him but my first thought was “oh FUCK! My 16 y/o son just had a goddamn STROKE!”  I couldn’t remember all the things to check but I made him smile and talk to me.  I made him walk a straight line to see if he was off balance but that was all I could remember.

And I looked it up later.  The thing to remember is FAST.

F – Face.  Make them smile, if the smile droops on one side, there’s a chance it’s a stroke.

A – Arms.  Make them lift both arms.  If there’s drooping or difficulty on one side, there’s a good chance it’s a stroke.

S – Speak.  Make them repeat a simple sentence.  If they can’t… well, you get the idea.

T – Time.   Call 911 ASAP.  The damage from a stroke can be (almost) completely reversed if they get help within 3.5 hours.

Signs that should make you think of FAST are:  sudden weakness or numbness in face arm or leg; sudden onset of a severe and unusual headache; sudden difficulty speaking or sudden confusion and sudden loss of balance, especially when combined with any of the previous signs.

We took him to the ER.  I didn’t want to because when I mentioned seeing the doc Ben got really nervous.  We (Peter and I) left him at home to go to work, planning on getting him to the doc on Monday.  My Dad insisted on me taking him in and called Ben to tell him that we’d be coming back for him.  

Thank the Gods it wasn’t a stroke.  It’s a small problem with his heart and as scary as that sounds it really isn’t something major.  It’s called a VasoVagal Response.  His heart didn’t grow as fast as the rest of him did (some TWO INCHES overnight in the last growth spurt!) and as a result it sometimes has problems pumping blood to his brain when he stands up too quickly.  It’s like that plummet in blood pressure some people get – stand up and get dizzy.  But with this particular thing his brain says “hmm… no blood, must start shutting things down” and it does. 

To take care of it we have to wait.  He has to be heart health conscious, stay hydrated and be aware of the warning sign (tunnel vision).  If the tunnel vision starts he has to, as the doc put it, “Get your ass down to the ground as fast as possible” then lay down for a couple of minutes until everything is copacetic. 

We were extremely relieved.  Not so much that we missed the seriousness of this condition but it IS something he will (mostly) outgrow.  His heart will catch up.  As I understand it there may be a lingering bit of issue but basically, it shouldn’t keep him from doing whatever he likes.  When his heart catches up, he’ll be good as new.

So now you know the warning signs of a stroke and what to do about it.

My son will be fine.  I know he will be because I tend to be hypervilligant when it comes to my kids’ health.  And I’ll be making sure his father makes the changes in his kitchen to help Ben’s heart stay healthy. 

Back on topic!  It is photography day!

Today my photos will revolve around wide open spaces.  There’s one that is a tad blurry (should I chose to show it) but that’s because almost all the farming countryside photos were taken on the fly.  Zipping down the highway at 95km/h in traffic doesn’t always lend itself to stopping to take pics. 🙂

First though, I have a spectacular bit of look-what-the-sky-did! to show you.  It definitely qualifies as wide open space too.  

Isn’t it beautiful? Look at the way the light streams. And the colours. The silhouettes of the last remaining people on the beach. I loved the whole scene.



This is the same image about a hundred yards south down the beach and taken on the panoramic setting. The colours are just so vivid and soothing. The tiny dots of the sailboats in the distance… The whole package is simply one of serenity.

And yes, I am aware my horizons are off.  I’m still having problems with my right arm, it just doesn’t seem to be getting better and it’s making depressing the shutter button difficult.

I know, I know “wah wah wah.”  😉  

I live in the country.  My small town is surrounded by farms and wooded areas.  I love the views.  I love the growth, the greenery, the crops…everything about it  – except when the barns are open and the huge chicken & turkey coops open their vents and windows.  It’s nose hair curling, tongue stripping, eye wateringly, stomach heaving bad some days.  *laughs*

They say Montana has the big skies but it’s obvious those people have never lived in Southwestern Ontario.

Bush lines the north side of the far fields of soybeans while harvested winter wheat bisects the greenery and soybean plants bend with the wind in the foreground  (and is blurry with the speed of the car in the very front lol). Blue, blue sky stretches endlessly overhead.

Big skies.  Big fields, we’re talking dozens and dozens of acres together.  In some places, hundreds of acres together.

Harvested gold as far as the eye can see… Until the eye hits the bush anyway. 😀 The bales of hay are huge, standing some 8 feet tall. That puts them close to 1500lbs apiece. There are smaller ones but those weren’t them.

Peter pulled over so I could take that one.  We’d just turned off one road onto another and he decided he liked this (potential) image enough to pull over.

Same field, taken with 2X zoom. I can’t decide which I like better. It was a perfect day, weather wise, if a lot too hot.

Finally, we have the last of the wide open spaces.  Once again, taken while driving.

Corn in the foreground, wheat to the left, soybeans to the right, trees in the background. It’s a peaceful countryside. The energy is good, life abounds. It’s beautiful and I love it.  I also happen to like the focus perspective here. 

I’ve been across Canada and through most of the States and I’ve seen some beautiful places – the Hualapai Mountains in Arizona, mid-Kentucky, parts of Tennessee, the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina – but nothing compares to home.  

Time for me to get on with writing in HW3!  I started a wonderfully HOT scene yesterday and it’s time to finish it.  

Here’s a little kick start to your day for those of you who like to sleep in!  Adios, amigos!




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