10:41 PM

OK, took quick shower, kicked off the Crocs and climbed into bed. Really tired after a full day. Rick was with me this AM, after Mass, and we did 6 1/2 miles on some really challenging terrain. Then after lunch my spiritual advisor Connie and her husband Jim came to walk and talk for another mile here at the ranch.
Then Rebecca took me out for some culture and I managed to sleep through half of that. So, what I am attempting to do here at the moment is to see if I can produce a reasonable blog post on the Kindle in my current exhausted condition, something similar to evening on the Camino.
So far so good! But really what I want to tell you about is the realization that I have had about my current fellow travelers. Never can I remember being in the company of so many high quality personalities as I do now. Father Marc, my spiritual advisors, doctors, nurses, family, friends,, Camino buddies and the Amigos. I am literally being passed from one to the next and never am I in fear of falling. What an amazing feeling and truly so far so good!

The Souffle that Didn’t

Last night I tried to do a post from my Kindle while I was exhausted and ready to turn in.  Sort of a Camino simulation.  Could I pull it off?  And I actually got it written and it was beautiful but somehow, somehow the Kindle eat it.  It got lost in the sauce, as they say.  I cried, well almost, but I was too tired.

So maybe I can recreate the idea and emotion.  It was so like my original inspiration for blogging, Julie from “Julie and Julia”  who was making a complicated French dish from Julia Childs every evening after work and sometimes it was successful and sometimes the souffle didn’t.  There is a certain amount of drama here and there.  By the way, the title of that failed blog post of mine was 10:41 PM in case the Kindle spits it up at some point.

Yesterday, Sunday, Rick and I went to early Mass and then we did a 6 1/2 mile trek on a beautiful trail that I hadn’t ever been on before.  And then later in the afternoon one of my spiritual advisors, Connie and Jim her husband, came to walk with me here at the ranch.  What was starting to dawn on me was the realization of what good hands that I am in these days.  Never is my life do I remember being in the company of or being inspired by so many grade A personalities, spirits maybe.  That day I start with Father Marc and he hands me off to Rick, Rick hands me off to Rebecca and then Rebecca hands me off to Connie and then I go and read an email from Annie in the evening.  The day before, Saturday the same, as I started out with eight great guys in my weekly bible class and then proceeded through my day.  I am being gently carried from one to the next.  The same at my hospital days with my beloved doctors and nurses and Sister Joyce.  Buoyed up is the best phrase that I can come up with.  I am truly blessed.  Thank you all.

The Three Amigos

The three amigos had their weekly meeting and wine tasting this evening.  We had Portuguese wine so I hope that is OK.  We checked out my new boy pack.  We talked about communications.  We talked about how to get pix from a camera to my Kindle and then onto the blog, this blog.  We talked about training for the coming week.  We talked about how we have only one month to go!

Kelly, I have talked about some in the past.  He is in his sixties like me.  He is a retired school teacher.  Now he keeps himself busy helping his daughter remodel her house and he helps with their two children.  I started calling him Padre because he has an eerie resemblance to Padre Pio the Italian saint.  Kelly lost his wife to cancer a year ago.  That is not the reason I chose him to go with me but I used to see him out in the rain and the dark of winter walking alone and I said there is the guy.  He is also slower than I am so that is helpful!

Than there is Rick who we both invited along because once he heard about our idea just couldn’t control himself.  He is like a piece of spring steel physically, seventy years old and walks circles around us two.  So, we nicknamed him Mario like the race car driver.  I worked with Rick in the past and we always had a good time together.  Rick and his wife, Carolyn,  run a nursery where they grow beautiful landscaping plants.  This keeps them busy and in shape.  Padre and I figure that with Mario’s speed he will be able to sprint ahead late in the day and line up the hostels and dining when we are on the trail!

So, we have a plan.  Yea, for once.  Kelly and I are flying to Madrid where we land on St James Day, July 25th.  We are busing to St Jean in France  to the start.  We will walk to the 17th of August, somewhere around Leon,  where Kelly will put me on a bus to run me up the road to the west.  Later that day I will get to the monastery at Samos and meet Rick.  Kelly will be on his own for some personal inner Camino till his son Michael will join him to do the last 100 kilometers.  And Rick and I will walk from Samos to Sarria and do the last 100 kilometers.  God willing, Rick and I will be at the Pilgrim’s Mass at the cathedral in Santiago at the end of the Camino on Sunday August 24th.  Then the next day Rick throws me on the plane for Madrid and then I am off to Seattle.  Will be traveling with the time zones this direction and will arrive the same day.  Then next day I will be on my way back to Swedish Hospital for an appointment with my psychologist and have a scan later that day.  Rebecca will probably have to strap me to a hand truck and deliver me there.

All three of us amigos are practicing Catholics and all along this Camino there will be religious activities and events to participate in.  We are planning on the moderate pace of 12 miles a day to allow us time to do this.  “It is not a race!” as Kelly, or should I say, Padre reminds us.  And our parish, St John Vianney, here on Vashon has written letters in Spanish for us to announce that we are on official pilgrimage.   And at Mass toward the end of July we will be blessed for our journey by Father Marc.  All official, right?  Let’s get started!

Pacific Crest Trail Camino

Our son Wiley is currently on the PCT with a group of buddies from Vashon Island.  Three of them started at the Mexician border this Spring and have been hiking north.  Wiley flew to Bakersfield and joined them after a tough catchup march.  They are all together now and you can follow their progress on this wonderful blog: http://postholer.com/journal/viewJournal.php?sid=6b34a74cf7fe895c5864a24e075560d9&entry_id=46275

The PCT is it’s own brand of Camino for sure.   There is personal challenge.  There is camaraderie,  There is adventure.  There is a rolling party, There is a chance to get away.  There is danger of physical and physiological meltdown.  There is physical beauty in spades.  Yea.  So, we are thinking of these guys and praying for them as they journey onward.  They will come back to us inspired, healthier, wiser and new and improved.

To borrow  Dr. Seuss’ quote from Annie O’Neil’s book, “Your mountain is waiting so…. get on your way!”

The Shortest of Short

I have 15 minutes to do this so a little short story is in order.  Rebecca, my dear wife, and another lady had the job once of doing an estate sale.  The people whose property was to be sold were some of those amazing folks that lived through the Great Depression.  They were very frugal and watchful and never threw anything away it seems.  So, Rebecca and Susan are sorting and pricing and displaying in preparation for the big weekend sale.  And they come across this cigar box with the writing on the lid, “Pieces of String, Too Short to Save”.   That’s it!

Poison Goats, Really?

Really,  poison goats came up in the last twenty four hours.  Flying monkeys in the “Wizard of Oz” I’ve seen, flying fish I have seen, poison frogs I have read of but poison goats, a really new one on me.  This all started in a dream that I had last night.  I was denied access to Mexico at the border because I had a record of trying to bring in poison goats to their pristine country.  What?  Typo, something lost in translation maybe?

Maybe you could make the argument that poison goats would be an improvement.  Maybe a vanguard agricultural project.  Maybe an activity for a new wacky holiday.  Maybe goats were given standard health shots in US that are not allowed south of the border.  Well, needless to say, I did not come up with these great goat ideas in my dream.  I didn’t get there the “firstest with the mostest”.

I am off to see one of my doctors and one of my spiritual advisers today.  I will have to run this one by them.  They have heard it all and will bring clarity to my situation.  Maybe it is some new strange chemotherapy side effect that I have not run across yet, although that would be hard to believe.  But I will bring it up.  Thanks for sticking with me through thick and thin, Phil.

Crooked Timbers

I am back home and back at the Big Unit computer to pass on this info this AM.  I will get the hang of the Little Unit (Kindle Fire) given some time.  OK, so a friend of my faithful dog Sture sent me an email yesterday with a link to a NYC article.  Very interesting both.  The article is very interesting and a emailing dog, where is Ed Sullivan when you need him?  We will have to investigate that at some future point.  Anyway, here is the link:

 

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/06/24/opinion/david-brooks-rhapsody-in-realis

m.html?emc=edit_th_20140624&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=62424975&_r=0&referrer=

I just copied the top line and pasted it in the search line of Firefox and it got me there.  So if I can do it you can.  So, David Brooks in this article called “Rhapsody in Realism”  talks about the ideas of Lydia Netzer who wrote a book titled “Fifteen Ways to Stay Married for Fifteen Years”.   And here is one paragraph from the article that starts to explain her basic idea:

“But Netzer’s piece is nicely based on the premise that we are crooked timber. We are, to varying degrees, foolish, weak, and often just plain inexplicable — and always will be. As Kant put it: “Out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing was ever made.” ”

So, Brooks goes on to take the idea and apply it to life in general.  It is the idea that perfection as an idea is out, at least here in our lives on earth.  Heaven is another story and why it is so highly prized.  But back to earth, we need to all realize our and others shortcomings and not think that goals like perfection are anything else but goals, maybe short for preferred direction.  It is pretty arrogant to think that we can do more than approach such lofty ideas in our reality.  A quot pops into my head from a Jewish friend (good old Jewish wisdom) ” The perfect is the enemy of the good”.  I hope that that is a good approximation of it!  In other words we can stomp out so many good useful alternatives to problems searching for that final perfect one.  Yes?

I think that it was General Patton (WWII US Army General that lead the final thrust toward Berlin to bring organized Nazism to its knees.  He thought like a cavalry officer and borrowing another quote from Confederate cavalry officer Bedford Forrest, the cavalry’s job is to “get there the firstest with the mostest”.)  So, Patton said, “It is better to implement a good plan in a timely manner than a better plan late”.  I might have butchered it but heck it was good and done in a timely manner!  See how it works?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Part Two

In the comfy chair and ready to blog! So yesterday was the first walk with the boy pack. I think that it really is going to be comfortable. Didn’t have the full load in and will have to build up to that. I heard that a full load is less than 10% of your body weight. That would be 19 lbs for me. I think that I will have to quit for now. Man, I was falling asleep and was worried that the Kindle was going to slip out of my fingers and smash on the floor. But not too worry, I “m back after some coffee. I will write on and continue to learn this little unit. That is my nick name for our new grandson who is doing great by the way. Littlle Unit yea, he is not quite ready for bows and arrows yet but close.
Look at that, I learned how to start a new parapraph. I was really born in the wrong century for this kind of stuff. Maybe my new grandson could help me with this. Perhaps I should switch over and blot on this Little Unit starting July 1. We are trying to learn how to operate with all the gear that we will have on the Camino.
OK, so both of my Spiritual advisors are coming out to the ranch to walk this Sunday afternoon. I had better clean the trail up. It really doesn’t’ look as good as it did when I was on it everyday. How extravagant really to have two spiritual advisors, I am now thinking but hey I ‘m worth it, right? Apparently.

Tuesday Again

Tuesday again and I am off to Swedish Hospital for treatment.  Well, I go every other Tuesday to get it right.  This a chemotherapy treatment that pretty much takes up my whole day.  And it is the kind of deal that any normal person wants to run away from.  Going through the door at the hospital takes a lot of courage.  It is not because the experience is so bad, really the contrary.  It is just that the volume of chemicals that will enter my body this afternoon I don’t want to think about too much.

But beside that it will be fun to see my doctor and nurses.  It is a great crew that are fun to be with.  I have people that I don’t see for two months and we will pick up on the conversation where we had left it.  Maybe it’s books, movies, sports, movies or wine.  All good.  I always try and remember to bring some sort of healthy snack for them.

Anyway, I will take the Kindle along and do more blogging from there.  I have about three hours of being confined to the comfy chair and if I don’t nap off I can get something done.  I will think of something fun to do.  OK, till later, Phil.