Monday, April 30, 2012

Reflections & Wonderings

As I sat here on a rainy Monday morning starting at 4:30am or so, wide-eyed & bushy tailed awake for some unknown reason, comfy with fresh coffee & my e-cigarette, my mind seems to be stuck in a slow loop of memories. Maybe this odd feeling of not being present in the NOW is because we went shopping yesterday for a digital photo frame for my parents. Didn’t find what I decided I wanted so have one ordered from Amazon in time for Mother’s Day. It’s so nice to finally think of something to get for my parents though. Growing up during the Depression & surviving the hardships of World War II, they’ve always been very frugal & practical, saving their money & spending it wisely on quality things they wanted that would last. And always taking good care of and maintaining those things so that they look & act like new years beyond when they should be worn out & replaced. I’ve acquired some of that frugalness from them, but I don’t do it as well as them. Buying for them has always been difficult!

So I started thinking about all of the family photos that I’ve either taken or acquired thru the years that I can load onto a digital frame that hopefully my parents can enjoy easily & which might help my mother’s failing memory. But memories have always been a two-edged sword for me. The sad ones still hurt but even the good ones hurt also because those times are passed now. Listening to music I once loved has the same affect of stirring up memories that push me into another time & place — not all pleasant times. It all sends my emotions into a tail spin.

I considered how the previous 11 months of living fulltime in our Casita with a dog & two cats, traveling around working & living in different places, doing new & odd jobs has meant A LOT of changes for us — at faster than normal speeds it seems. I realized that my life actually started accelerating back in 2008 tho when we bought our Casita. Up until then, life (jobs, home, vehicles, activities, interests, family, friends, etc) didn’t change much or often, & we were very happy & content with our routine.

Within a few months of getting the new Casita, Jeff lost his job, & I lost mine 3 months later. Two months later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer & we spent the rest of 2009 successfully treating that disease. Extended unemployment ended in 2010, & still no jobs or way to support a house we never wanted to return to after having been out in the Casita. So we finally opted to give up the house & all the unnecessary stuff we’d accumulated (but didn’t use all that much) to go fulltiming like we’ve talked about for several years. We chose to live small in a travel trailer because we wanted to — not out of desperation although it may have seemed like it. We just didn’t know how to break loose from our current existence so the Universe pushed us. So maybe life has it’s ups & downs for legitimate reasons cause I wholeheartedly believe everyone is exactly where they’re supposed to be at all times. Hanging onto this concept keeps me centered & balanced, & prevents me from stressing about all the things, events, & people I have no control over.

The newest wrinkles in our ever changing lifestyle are the major changes brought on by my brother’s unexpected death three months ago. Because my brother lived in a large house with my parents, they no longer need the room nor the hassle of maintaining it now. They are moving to a small senior-citizen apartment soon & are still learning how to be just a couple instead of parents with an adult child — kind of a delayed empty-nest situation. And I’m still working on being an only child. We’ve spent more time in my hometown in the past 3 months than the previous 40 yrs combined! I still can’t quite wrap my mind around how quickly my father can reduce me to a sniffling 9 yr old with just a look! No one else has ever come close to having that affect on me nor that degree of power or influence over me. He has single-handedly but gently convinced me (yes, I’m very stubborn) to marry Jeff finally (after 17 yrs of being together) & to once again go thru the agony of stopping smoking. He’s a proud papa lately tho. I suppose I will forever be daddy’s little girl even after he’s gone!

This all brings my mind around to my here & now. I wonder & worry about how happy Kira & the cats are living in our small movable space. I’ve read that cats & dogs tend to remember only the previous year or two, so eventually they will forget ever having lived for many years in a stationary house with the same backyard. Kira has been camping since she was 11 months old, & as long as she’s with us, she’s a happy puppy & doesn’t care where she is. TK at least has her space inside (as always), & Boots is comfortable hanging around outside on a leash as often as we let him. So I feel the cats have adjusted to this new world also. I also wonder (& worry) about the elderly cats I found homes for when we left our house. I’ve kept track of them & all seem to being doing well & have adjusted to their changed environments. I’ve always suspected that animals are much more adaptable than people because they don’t have the kind of expectations that we humans have. They have an awesome ability to accept whatever life throws at them — & continue being HAPPY. I’m sure there are profound lessons to be learned from observing animal behaviors. I’ve always loved these words from Henry Benson:
We need another and a wiser, and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. We patronize the animals for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err!
“For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.
“They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.
I end up wondering (as my mind is wandering around unsupervised) in these fragile, early morning hours about man’s purpose on earth — my purpose. Does a person die because of or when they’ve served their purpose? Do we all exist in a land of dominoes where every toppling piece changes many other pieces? Do we ever really have any control over our lives, and if so, what good does it really do? If I can’t control or change myself, why should I consider changing anyone else — even if I could? Does being happy & content simply depend on being grateful for what IS? Does everyone really experience the same reality, or is our perspective of life our very own individual reality, uniquely separate from everyone else’s?

I leave you to consider my confusion & your own life choices with these photos of wild & cultivated flowers around the campground.


  1. What a profound message today's post was for me. So much of what you have gone through I have as well or am experiencing now. I am the last of my immediate nuclear family (does that make me an only adult child - It sometimes feels like a lonely child) I do have adult children but they are busy with their families and live far and near. When I lost my job over 2 years ago I never imagined I would not be able to find work again. I too have dreamed of full time Rving and realize that if I don't do it now, there probably won't be another time that it is possible. I am carefully looking at all of my options and learning so much from the blogs that I follow. I currently have a vintage travel trailer and am practicing life on the road. No choice in life seems to bring 100% happiness as there are always sacrifices and compromises. I am grateful that you share the downs as well as the ups as it gives a REAL picture to look at. I am reading every word.....

    PS. My last gift to my mother was a digital picture frame that I loaded with many of her favorite pictures. I found that I could load pictures on a jump drive and send it to her to add to her picture collection. I have it now and it brings me much comfort. Safe Travels - Karen

    1. Karen, what a fabulous comment. I have a tendency to "wax philosophical" at times but try to keep this blog upbeat. I'm so glad tho to hear my words have been helpful. I truly do believe the Universe sends us multiple messages regarding the choices that are best for us. It's no small trick to 'hear' those messages sometimes. I'm following your blog now & would suggest having a link somewhere to email you private messages/replies. BTW, the digital frame I selected is one that I will eventually want to use & it WILL be comforting to know my parents used (& hopefully enjoyed) it.

  2. That's a great post, and thanks for sharing, especially the quote about animals.

  3. Lovely post. You are such an inspiration in so many ways. As our family begins our own journey living in a travel trailer and downsizing and such, it is so
    Helpful to find blogs such as yours. :-)


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