Just passing through......

Musings of a lowly pilgrim
Life lessons | Travel | Travelling with my cat

Back to the Future

April 28, 2018

I’m sure it will take years to process what I actually experienced while travelling in my RV. But one thing is certain, people are people the world over. Babel may have confounded our speech, but we all have blood coursing through our veins and a heart that beats within. We are all a part of this extraordinary organism, like it or not, and would do well to follow the second great commandment: ” Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (You can google the first great commandment if you are interested.)

Moyie Lake, B.C.

Forgive me, I have no desire to ram my faith down anyone’s throat. Been there, done that, and had that done to me.  However, as we advance in this school of life, it seems obvious that there is a much bigger picture than our petty infirmities, though those are generally what distinguish us from one another. So, whatever you choose to name the “bigger picture”, there is one. I call him “God”. You may call him the universe, or something similar. You may refer to him as she or it, the fact remains, there is something holding our lives together, something the connects us all. Now, if we could imagine we are all a part of one huge family, how would we treat one another?

Double Crested Cormorants, downtown Vancouver

I had an incident while staying at a cheap motel in California. I was in a pet-friendly room, with my cat, when my next door neighbour had a very loud confrontation outside with someone who was apparently his ex-partner. Fine, I called the management because there were threats uttered. Throughout the rest of the evening, I could hear him through the wall, ranting to his lady friend in his room. The next morning, as I was packing up, I heard him on his patio, expressing loudly into his phone that,

“I hate being here, there is a crazy cat lady next door, I hate cats”.

Well, I didn’t stop to consider whether this was an approachable person. I went out onto the patio to face him.

“Are you referring to me?” I asked. Immediately he began to back-peddle. Not so fast, fella.

“No, I heard you. You called me a crazy cat lady and you hate my cat”.

All I would have liked for him to say was, “I’m sorry, I had no right to judge you like that.”

But no. “You don’t know what I’m going through. You hate my dog. My dog isn’t going to hurt your cat.”

Trying my best to reason with him (why, Tina, why?) I said, “Wait a minute, you don’t know a thing about me. I don’t hate your dog. I love dogs.”

Still, he continued to complain about his life and how it’s all everybody else’s fault. I tried to explain to him in kindergarten terms (he looked to be in his 40’s) how we all have problems, but it doesn’t give us the right to lash out at total strangers. Sigh…..Tina, you are a fool to engage. After a few more minutes of wasted time, I turned and re-entered my room. On the way in I heard him return to his phone, which had been in his hand the whole time, and say, “See what I have to put up with!”

It is at times like this that I don’t really feel a great connection to my fellow man.

I had a wonderful time in Vancouver with my sweet daughter, Bethany, and her in-laws. Such a kind, gracious, thoughtful family. Of course, I forgot my camera for her graduation ceremony. I mean, how many more times is she going to graduate? The graduation address was not what I would call typical, but it was most definitely invaluable. The “go forth and conquer” speech was not to be. Instead, the commencement speaker chose to speak on the reality of the world and how life will knock you down, again and again. But there will be mountaintops, and the goal will be reached in the end. Rather than an unrestrained enthusiasm for the future, the graduates were left with a much more subtle anticipation of the journey ahead. “Humbug”, you say. No, I think it is much better to equip our children with skills to face disappointment and loss that to give them the idea that they need to find permanent happiness and success, whatever the definition of success is. In this world of instant gratification, which we all fall prey to, there is so much mental illness and so many souls who are isolated because of this false “happy”. We have created a monster. So, thank-you, Dr Barry Buzza, for wise words well chosen.

Bethany and husband, Devon

I spent time with my brother-in-law, too, who has always been a tremendous support for me and my family. He is the one who should be the travel writer. He has spent the better part of his life travelling and is an amazing fact finder, documenting in great detail the history of some of the world’s most iconic places.

I also had the privilege of seeing several bald eagles. Once again, I failed to take a decent picture because I scared them off when I stopped my RV to take one. While driving through southern British Columbia, I marvelled at the beauty surrounding me. The mountains evoke visceral recollections from the genesis of the world when all was fresh and raw, jagged and primal. (We were all there, after all.) Standing in the midst of such majesty, how can one doubt the existence of the Master Planner?

Bald Eagle, Surrey, B.C.

I did stop in at the ranch in southern Alberta where, back in November, Sir Galahad saved me from a chilly demise. He was there with his son, I presume, but his wife wasn’t, so we just chatted for a bit and I got back on the road.

nhr5zs. In case you are wondering, that is what Nerah typed when she walked across my keyboard just now. If you try to pronounce it, you will discover that it does indeed sound very much like something a cat would say.

Nerah chillin’ in our new temporary home

Back in Calgary things were off to a bumpy start. I had booked a room in a short-term rental until I found my feet again. You know some places you walk into and there is just something that seems a little off. Well, that was one of them. I realize that the homeowner has every right to lay down any house rules he/she chooses, and it was my fault for not asking what they were, to begin with. Another lesson learned in the art of living in shared temporary lodgings. However, one question I never dreamed of needing to ask in North America was, “Do you have wifi?” When I asked for the wifi password and was informed that there was no wifi, that was a deal breaker. The other things I may have been able to endure for a week or two, but definitely not no wifi! Thank goodness I still had my RV. Unfortunately, my children either have dogs, and when I say dogs, I mean very big ones, or they are maxed out in their living space. I love dogs, as stated before, but I don’t think Nerah feels quite the same. I could have couch surfed for a while, but I really did want to find a place I could set up in for a while. After scrambling for a day I finally found a lovely home with a room for rent. It is spacious and has a very relaxed atmosphere. There are three cats living here, so Nerah is in the adjustment period. I’m hoping she adapts because she could have a whole lot of fun with these young siblings. If not, I’ll have to see how well she does with staying in my room full time.

                                                            The majestic canines in my children’s families:

Cassius (Image by Hope Quinn)
Fury (Image by Hope Quinn)

My son has an out of town job coming up in July and August, so I will be able to housesit for him while he is gone. And then off to Costa Rica for a month. Hopefully, I will be generating some kind of income by then and will have found a more permanent place to live. One step at a time. I’m not sure where this blog will go. While I won’t be travelling full time, I will still be establishing a new life, so my hope is that you will find value in reading about that. It is more than a diary of my daily life, it is the story of a little mouse who, a very long time ago, ventured briefly out of her home in the skirting board into the scary world beyond, where all the creatures were so much wiser than she. She was then swept off her feet by a troubled, but very cool and handsome mouse, who kept her safe in that tiny skirting board home with their pups, until Mr Mouse’s troubles took him away. (-09opl, darn it Nerah, stop walking on my keyboard!) Then little Mrs Mouse had to sally forth once again, ill-equipped and approaching the summit of the hill, not quite over it, but close. Fearful of so many things and not knowing which way to go, she did her best but still isn’t quite sure where life will take her. In the end, she will triumph, though it may be in a very quiet way. ©️ (I put that copywrite symbol there because I may even write a children’s book based on that analogy, so DON’T steal my idea!)

Hairy Woodpecker, Calgary, Alberta

Right now I am revelling in family time and absorbing all those molecules of familiarity that give one a sense of belonging, but that you don’t appreciate until they no longer exist.

My sweet Bella sharing her books with Grandma.

I would be interested in knowing what appeals to you, the reader, about my blog, so that I may continue along those lines. Feel free to comment or critique. I can take it!

Editor’s note:

I contacted the person I had rented the first room from in an attempt to explain to the person that, when you rent a room, the house rules and amenities should be clear before the agreement is signed. That person was very gracious and put me in my place. After ranting about how we are all a part of a bigger picture I need to put my money where my mouth is! I stand corrected. Here is an excerpt (with permission):

“Thanks, Tina. I appreciate your feedback.
One man’s garbage is another’s treasure.  There are people out there who would value no Wifi as they are electromagnetically sensitive. That being said, we use the internet just as you do but we have it hard-wired into a modem which is a lot safer for our bodies.  Perhaps you have just not heard of this before.
As for noise, we are musicians and as such react to noises. That’s who we are.  I make no apologies.  You are who you are and noise does not bother you. I am sure other things do.
However, I will take your concerns into consideration before renting again.”


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