Leash training fun and games…

So, in an effort to keep my cats healthy and happy I have been trying to leash train them so we can go out for walks.

Okay, we’re out here. Now what?

With mixed results.

Little boy cat (the black one) loves to go out and has taken to the leash because he knows it means he can get out of the van.

Little girl cat (the calico) – not so much! Once I have more or less forced her into her harness and wrangled her outside she rather enjoys herself. But most days she’d rather just stay inside the van, looking on as her brother and I go for walks.

We have experimented with several different types of leashes and I think I’ve finally landed on a simple one that works for them both.

The calm before the street sweeper…

There is always the fear that one or both may escape the leash and that has happened a couple of times. Most times they freeze once they’ve gained freedom because they are not sure where to go next. This makes catching them easy! But other times…

The other day I had just taken Moonlight (my black boy) out so the twins could walk him, when a street sweeper chose that exact time to come barrelling loudly down the street. Moonlight was terrified and struggled until he’d freed himself from the harness, then ran off. Yikes! Luckily, I was able to entice him into my arms and put him safely back in the van.

So, in a way I’m torn. Do I get them outside for walks to keep them interested? Or do I just keep them where they are safe, in the van? They do seem content, for the most part, watching birds and people go by. I guess we’ll figure it out.

Would love to hear others’ stories!

My boy near Hanna, Alberta, Canada

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Van Life Update #5 – Diminishing Footprint, Expanding Vistas

My dozing boy. The cats know to go to the back when we are moving, but when we’re stopped they love to sit on the dashboard. :)

It’s been over a month since I moved out of my apartment and into my van. There have been some challenges but I am slowly getting things figured out.

Some things I love are being in Nature more, waking up to new scenes in the morning, more solitude, not being stuck in one place.

Some challenges I’ve faced? Not a lot of room (I’ve downsized even more since I moved in!). Keeping my electronic devices charged. Figuring out how much data I am using and how much I will need for a month. Trying to find the next place to sleep, go to the bathroom (I have a bucket for nighttime emergencies), shower… But so far all has worked out just fine.

I have found that spending my days working and walking at Rathtrevor Beach are pretty sweet. And that I’m not the only one sleeping overnight in the rest area; one motorhome, one small car and my van dozed calmly as cars whizzed by the other night.

I’m getting better at sleeping peacefully at night. I’m developing routines and methods of keeping things clean and organized. I’ve learned that cats are content in smaller spaces as long as they have food, some daily loving, and a warm place to sleep.

And I am saving a TON of money. Yes, I use more gasoline, a few more paper towels, and lots more Lysol citrus scented wipes, but overall my footprint is MUCH smaller than it’s ever been.

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Coming out as a contactee

When I was a young teen (13 – 15 or so) I had a sighting that excited and amazed me.

I was playing outside with my sisters and some friends that day. It was starting to get dusky and they all went indoors but something told me, “Stay out and watch the skies.” I did.

A representation of what I saw. Don’t judge my art work! :)

Suddenly I saw it – a large, brilliant light hanging over the trees.

I should preface this story by mentioning we lived on a sheep ranch at the time. Our home was surrounded by pastures and behind the big sheep pasture was forest. There were no yard lights or farms that were visible in that direction from where I stood.

The bright white light was apparently about 1/4 the size of a full moon from where I was standing and it hung motionless over the trees. In retrospect, it seemed someone was communicating with me and somehow I knew what would happen next.

I knew it would drop a smaller light into the trees, and it did. I knew the probe would return to the craft and after a short time it did. At that point the craft rose, moved straight to the right, then straight up a short distance, then shot off into the sky at an impossible speed.

I was gobsmacked.

I ran into the house and told everyone about it. They were all jealous, especially my mom, who had always wanted to see a UFO. There was a “flap” going on at the time and some of her friends had seen them, including one whose car had stopped running after being followed by a craft.

Years went by. I graduated from high school, got married, had babies, got divorced. I raised kids, got a degree, remarried, worked hard to pay my bills. Life took over and memories of my close encounter were relegated to the back of my mind.

Still, I always wondered: Why me? Why was I the one who was told to stay out and watch the skies? Why was I given this glimpse of something other-worldly? What was the purpose of this visit?

Then one day, just over two years ago, I watched Unacknowledged (available on Netflix) and all the pieces of my life seemed to fall into place.

Suddenly, it all made sense and I knew what I had to do.

More to follow.

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Consciousness and love and patience…

“Vulnerability is having the courage to show up when you can’t control the outcome.” Brené Brown

Let your light shine

I notice I am so changed this visit over last. I am full of love and compassion, even to the dogs. I used to fear and despise dogs as messy, drooly, stupid creatures; now I see the spirit that shines through their eyes.

With some people I used to be impatient with, I am now much more patient. I credit this to the meditation and consciousness work I have been doing. Even though I am far from consistent with it, my awareness has changed dramatically.

We are dealing with an aging 90+ mother-in-law who has dementia and can be quite difficult at times. I try to “meet her where she is” and listen to her stories, no matter how rambling and senseless they may seem to be. I believe she deserves to be heard, even now.

Especially now.

Anyhoo, the quote speaks to how I showed up here in Calgary with no demands or expectations. I came here to catch up on some business matters that I need to be here for, but also to help Tom with all the stressors his days provide. He has a full house of people and animals and the above-mentioned mama; if I can help lighten the load somewhat I will be content.

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Van Life #4 – Update & working remotely from the road

​I am in Calgary now.

The cats are adjusting well and seem content. They’ve made a little cubbyhole for themselves under the bed for if they need to get away but often they’ll sit up top, checking out the scenery. I stop regularly to just sit with them for awhile, give them a little loving, and replenish the food/water.

Doing payroll from somewhere on the road. I use LogMeIn to gain remote access to my Calgary computer.

There is lots to do here in Calgary. Years of tax documents to shred and I have a lot of folks I need to catch up with. (Calgary peeps, you’ll be hearing from me soon!) We have a house-full right now; Tom’s mom is living here, as is one of his daughters and her daughter. But it’s fun getting all the updates and, as usual, Tom’s cooking does not disappoint.

I did payroll from the road and I have to share how wonderful it is to have a cellular modem for travel. It’s a wee black box that fits in the palm of my hand and it gives me Internet access wherever I have a cell signal. That means I can work almost anywhere because you can usually find a cell tower somewhere nearby, even in the mountains or up in the Yukon!

I will be here for two or three weeks. The cats and I are sleeping snug in the garage in the van.

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Van Life – Day 3

April 22, 2019

Advantage to living in a van: Different scenery every morning.

Disadvantage to living in a van: Litterbox stink bombs seem much more potent.

Rainy day in Hope, BC

I find my waking hours have shifted a little bit. We go to bed earlier and we are up earlier in the morning – 4am this morning. I hear robins starting to sing outside.

I had the best sleep yet last night. I paid 30 bucks for a small tent site in Hope and had a really great hot shower. I tidied up the back of the van a little bit and made the bed up. Added an extra blanket, and crashed. It was so delicious and I was toasty warm all night.

And what’s better than waking up to being sandwiched between two heat-seeking kittens? I think we all kept each other warm.

Today we are going to drive part way to Calgary, but we will take our time.

Moody morning with Mystery in Hope, BC

I meant to start the cats on their leashes today but it was cold and rainy and I thought I would just put some miles behind us. I know Moonlight is really interested in going outside; Mystery doesn’t seem quite as much so but I’m sure she’ll enjoy it.

Later: We landed in Revelstoke this afternoon. I picked up a little bit of food and fed the kittens, then I did a Google search for places we could boondock. Turns out Revelstoke is very motorhome friendly and there is a large rest area just on the northwest side of the bridge. There are transport trucks and motorhomes and vans all parked here. There are even a couple of little outhouses, so I don’t have to worry about peeing in a bucket tonight!

It’s the little things…

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The Van Plan – Day 2

April 21, 2019

​​​This is day two of sleeping in my van.

Yesterday I did the walk-through of my apartment and we worked out how much of my damage deposit I’ll be getting back. I left all the cleaning to them because the cats and I were stressed, so I wound up paying for that but I think it was well worth the money.

Last night we found a nice quiet street to park on and I actually had a decent sleep. We are slowly learning.

Certain twins-o-me-heart turned nine today!

I have downsized a bit already and I think I’m going to be getting rid of the cooler. It takes up a lot of space and I’m not really using anything out of it. I think I can learn to enjoy eating things at room temperature. Sometimes I’ll have access to a picnic table and I can cook something on my little stove, but for the most part we’ll be roughing it.

I’d rather have more room than a cooler full of stuff that I rarely use.

I will be shedding stuff over the next few days as well. I’ll be leaving presents at the birthday party today, I’ll be dropping off my modems at Shaw, and I will be leaving some things at the house as well. So that will lighten the load.

Enjoying the view from the dash
(Barnet Marine Park, Burnaby)

The kittens are doing well on the second day. They are less shy, more interested in what’s going on around them as we drive down the street, and even little Mystery is feeling more lovable and is purring louder. She is getting bolder about coming out from under the bed and hanging out with me. So I think it’s going to be a much easier day for all of us today.

Today’s lesson will be doing payroll on the road.

I think tomorrow’s lesson will be how to bathe on the road.

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Dawn Ann’s Van Plan

April 20, 2019

So, I am starting a new experiment. Yesterday Isaac came and helped me move all my stuff into storage and last night the kittens and I slept in the van.

It was cold. Everything hurt from moving. We all had a rough time sleeping last night.

But we survived.

Morning light

I got tired of paying exorbitant rent in a place where they didn’t really care about me as a person. I’m sure apartment management doesn’t usually care about their tenants as people, but I never felt safe there and I never felt that it was home.

So, the plan is for me to live in the van with the cats for the summer. If I like it I will keep doing it, and if I grow tired of it I will find somewhere permanent but more affordable to live.

I’m going to try to be regular with these blog posts; just my thoughts a little bit at a time. I’m also going to post pictures. It’s kind of cool waking up in a different place every morning. The morning sunlight looks different on each landscape.

Mystery (my girl kitten) having a wee doze

My immediate plan over the next few days is to clean the apartment and get my damage deposit back, then head for Calgary. I have some business to do there and some friends and family I want to see.

Some things I noticed on our first night:

1) The cats were pretty stressed at first, but now they’re already relaxing into their new home. They seem to rather enjoy watching traffic, crows, people walking by. Especially Moonlight; he is always so curious.

2) I packed way too much stuff. The van is jam-packed and there’s hardly room to get around. I did this kind of on purpose, as I didn’t want to miss out on any convenience. I included as much food as I could bring. So the first order of today, after I get finished cleaning the apartment, is to go park somewhere and sort through everything, to see how much I can winnow out.

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Ancient memories: Tara Time

I wrote this a long time ago but feel compelled to share it today. To preface the story, let me mention that I had had a past life regression which examined two former lifetimes. This is the story of the most ancient one:

Her kind old face was wreathed with laugh lines; her golden skin glowed in the sun. Sparkling dark eyes filled with intelligence, compassion and humor twinkled out at the world. She was the smartest, funniest woman I had ever known and everything I knew I had learned from her. She gave me a lasting legacy of humor and smarts, as well as a message for the world – that we are all One. I loved her more than I have ever loved anyone since.

I gazed around us this bright, sunny day, absorbing her love and her knowledge. The golden stones of the temple and the courtyard glowed warm in the sun’s rays. Brilliant green foliage cast cool shadows across the stones and added a softening effect around the edges of our existence. I could feel the calming, gentle wisdom of the trees. The wind in their branches spoke to me.

A quiet voice queried me; “What is the system of government of the time?” I looked around me. Students were listening to a teacher, seated upon benches of stone and dressed in long, white tunics and gilded sandals like mine. I answered immediately; “It is like a monarchy, but the leader is, in many ways, just a figurehead. The government is of the people and everyone cooperates in its running.” I wanted to elaborate further, as this was a topic that greatly interested me, but the voice asked other questions quickly that moved me from one topic to another. I became slightly irritated that my thoughts were not allowed to linger on each one.

I had come to this place after many millennia of absence. I had been first a student of the temple here, then a teacher. The mists of eons of time had dimmed my memories, but the feelings were familiar and much missed. I reveled in my surroundings and the expansion of my mind. Everyone here was working together to create a world of peace and harmony, of knowledge and understanding, of love and oneness.

A memory came to me of a later time when I was teaching a class, myself. My sister (who is again my sister in this lifetime) was amongst my students, sitting quietly in the back and listening intently. She came because she loved the ideas being presented and wanted to learn what she could so she could share this knowledge with her children. She was not a priestess, but was allowed to participate in the classes because of her relationship to me. What we studied and taught was not hoarded amongst the temple dwellers alone, but was meant to be shared and understood by all.

The high priestess’ wisdom left a lasting legacy with me. Through lifetime after lifetime I was able to utilize what she taught me and apply it to my lives. In this life, I understand where I got my sense of humor and compassion; she was the source.

My mind drifted from place to place during this lifetime. I could recall the colorful, bustling marketplaces, though we of the temple rarely visited them. Everything we needed was brought to us daily, as we were expected only to study, learn and teach. The golden stones of the temple and city vibrated with an energy that is now all but gone from this earth. We were able to communicate with the trees and the animals. We swam with dolphins and gazed at the stars. We learned how to manipulate energies and create what we needed, moving through time and space and accessing information that is also now gone from this planet – at least for the most part. At least for now.

“What is your name in this lifetime?” The voice again pulled me gently back into the current time. A split second passed before I recalled; “Tara. Or Kara. No, Tara.”

“Do you know where your country is situated?”

“I don’t recall.” I paused briefly. “No, I can’t pinpoint where we are. It was so long ago.”

I wanted to linger, explore my old lifetime and reminisce some more. Feel the warmth and energy and love that surrounded us all. See what became of my sister and her children. But slowly I was brought back to this life and my visit was over.

“Have you ever heard of Tara before?” my guide asked me.

Having been a Gone With The Wind fan all my life, I answered, “Just Tara of Gone With The Wind. And I have a friend named Tara, but beyond that, no.”

My guide got up and fetched a figurine she had of Quan Yin, the Chinese goddess of compassion. She explained that Quan Yin was also known as Tara in other cultures. I looked closely at the little figurine. Her hair was pulled back in loops exactly as I had remembered wearing it in those ancient times. She had a little ornament on her brow, just as I had. I could not see her tiny feet, but I was sure she must also be wearing gilded sandals as I had.

I looked up at my guide, wide-eyed. “Tara taught that we are all One,” she said. A thrill went through me. “I think you were Tara,” my guide continued. I did not answer, but upon reflection I should have clarified, “Not Tara herself, but a teacher of the Temple of Tara.” We were all teachers of the Temple of Tara. But the tiny bit of remnant knowledge we now have of Tara barely hints at the power and the wisdom that we knew then.

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Nomadic life

Hitting the road.

Those who know me know that I love to travel. I get bored if I stay in one place too long.

So imagine my glee when I discovered a whole community of travellers who live in their vans, RVs and even cars full time. Seriously!

I think this is the life for me and I am seriously considering buying a van to fit out for living in. Tom says he’ll help me learn how to use woodworking tools and it will be a fun hobby for the two of us.

Here is a link to a great source of information on the subject. This forum has thousands of users from all over the continent.

And here is the corresponding Youtube channel.

Bob Wells and his growing van-dwelling community have been so helpful to me in my scheming. Check it out. Maybe I’ll see you on the road one day!

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