Just Watching The Fire

Yea, just doing what we have been doing for hundreds of thousands of years, right? It’s very comforting to see the flames dance, it’s mesmerizing. Just moments ago my usually trusty iPad ate half an hour of work and maybe I need to give my attention to something way less high tech, like the wood stove right here in front of me. Yoav has prepared some nice oak and ash firewood that burns wonderfully, warming my fingers and toes.

I was going to blog on the word “fete” that I saw in the newspaper. Not really a word that we see very often. My Rebecca says that it is a good newspaper word because it is concise and takes the place of the longer “celebrate”. She’s a word person.

But to celebrate is something that we are used to, yes? Yes, and not only used to but enjoyed doing constantly, right? Right, like to celebrate a landscape, or a cloud, or a sky of clouds, or a field of sunflowers or stars. And right, like to celebrate arriving into town, or reuniting with someone from days ago that you have missed, or celebrating each other at tapa time. We know this!

And now we have a new word for it, to fete. It’s concise, backpacky. Let me type out the definition from the big fat dictionary: 1. A festival; esp., an outdoor entertainment on a more or less lavish scale. 2. The festival day of the saint for whom one is named, observed like a birthday in many Roman Catholic communities; – called also fete day. Or to feast; to honor with an entertainment; as, much feted; also, to commemorate by a fete.

OK, there you have it. Nice. Ok, we are off to the farmer’s market which is a walk away, five minutes Yoav says. All kinds of fetey type loves, Felipe.

Just How Cold Is It Out?

I don’t quite know how cold it is but it’s down there. Heard a rumor last night that this was supposed to be a record cold day here in Amherst. Time for going outside with the kids and blowing bubbles to see if they freeze in midair and other such science experiments. We will put a number on this outside temperature which is 3 degrees F presently and tonight predicted to go down to minus 7. Well, I don’t know how that stacks up in the big picture but it feels darn cold.

Yesterday I went with Yoav on his work day to Mount Wachusett Community College where he is head of the math department. So, I did some great stuff there with my time. I checked in with the vet’s outreach office and talked to the director. He brought me along to a one hour course that happened to be given that day on suicide prevention called QPR. And I explored the library and came away with a discarded book, a cooking and menu dictionary. And I sat in on a math class that Yoav is teaching. Felipe goes to college.

Just briefly on this sucide prevention class; I am excited about this. It is called QPR (Question, Persuade and Refer) and is modeled after CPR and other first aid basic courses. Their site is www.qprinstitute.com . This is out of Spokane, WA but they are present in all fifty states. Taking the course is simple and fast and the method supposedly effective. I am looking forward to learning more about it and getting this going on Vashon. We all learned the Heimlich Maneuver, right?

Well, that was my Camino yesterday and today is still to be discovered. Off to discover, love, Felipe.

Lent, Off To A Good Start

A fresh dusting of snow on the trees.

A fresh dusting of snow on the trees.

Snowing this morning, not too seriously and the sun is trying to come out. The He snow flakes are very fine and crystalline, not like the flakes that fall on Seattle which weigh a couple of snow shovels apiece. I am scheduled to go with my counterpart, Yoav, to the college where he teaches math. An interesting man that I need to spend some more time with.

Yesterday I walked through the back streets of Amherst to St Brigid’s to noon Mass. Remember how I was writing yesterday of wanting to spend more time during Lent reading spiritually uplifting material, well the priest gave me a book of the Pope’s quotes. Just helping out in a very Caminoy way.

Ah, the interview went well, short but well. I am glad that I took the time to organize my thoughts beforehand. So, I think that I got some very Caminoy notions across to the folks out there in radio land during my eight minutes of fame. No but seriously, who wouldn’t prosper from some thoughts inspired by our walk. We got them at high price and they are getting them for free besides.

After the interview I spent some time with Greg the interviewer and Ron, I think, the sound engineer, talking about Spain and the Way. Ron is going but has only so much time. “What part should I do?” Start at St Jean and walk as far as you want and then come back later is what I said. People get hung up on the last hundred kilometer thing, so I am trying to give them an alternative.

OK, I think it is time to get ready for our snowy drive. Hat, boots, gloves. Where is Kelly to get me organized? So, find your inner Kelly and get your day organized and going. St. Jean loves, Felipe.

p.s. – and the town that the print showed on yesterday’s post was Ein Karem. This the site of the visitation of Mary to Elizabeth and the of the birth of John the Baptist. Yoav takes students to Israel on tours and this is one of his stops there.

The Sun Shines Brightly This Ash Wednesday Morning

I awake and am humbled by this day. It carries so much tradition and gravity. I don’t feel prepared but the day is filled with opportunity to make that happen. Maybe I take this stuff too seriously, maybe not serious enough. I need to get my homework done and settle into the groove to reach a confident state.

The local church here in Amherst has four Masses today. I need to make that maybe in the afternoon when I can get a ride. Then later this afternoon NW Catholic Radio will call to interview me about my journey over the last few years. Cancer, Catholicism and Camino will be the three C’s of conversation. It will be taped today and be on in the near future probably about the time that the March magazine comes out. I will have more details for you.

I decided that I need to add something to my life for Lent. I know that the common phrase is, “What are you giving up for Lent?” Yes, of course, it is a cliche. So, something to break that would be the idea to add something. What could I add to give me a extra boost, extra inspiration, extra connection? A good friend at church back home had handed me a beautiful devotional book that is filled with material for this purpose, Felipe. Called the “Magnificat”, that should get me started and I already have it in my possession. I brought it along. Ahh. As almost always resources, answers, pathways are closer than we/I at first think.

So, I think that I will leave you today with that thought. I have work to do here and so do you. Oh, I need to make another pot of coffee. OK, settling into the groove loves, Felipe.

Amherst, MA

A titmouse shows up at the feeder in the distance.   A prism on the window in the foreground.

A titmouse shows up at the feeder in the distance. A prism on the window in the foreground.

The sun is coming out in my little corner of the world. Had coffee with the in-laws before they drove off to work. Reading the Daily Hampshire Gazette which was established in 1786, before Legos, Internet and American Airlines. Hmmm, life before airlines that don’t give you free peanuts.

So the article that jumped out at me was The Death Cafe – Gatherings over tea and cake focus on death in order to enhance life. Yea, part of a bigger movement that has a website (www.deathcafe.com) and meetings such as this worldwide. People meet to talk about this topic that no one talks about. I thought maybe I would show up for the next meeting but it looks like it will be March 7th and we will be back to the west coast. But I thought I may write a little paragraph and email and maybe they could read it there. Just a topic that has been with me since I developed this cancer hobby that I am up to. I know that I haven’t talked about here on the blog but maybe this will spur me on.

I’m keeping one eye on the backyard bird feeder and although there is not a lot of traffic I have ID’d a female Cardinal and a Snow Bunting. These are two species that are not around out west with us. Birds are really a joy with all the variety and color that they display. Are there birds in heaven? I’ll have to bring that up with the Death Cafe group.

Well, I hear my Rebecca speaking with our daughter on the phone so everyone is up and I should get dressed a get prepared to go and see Osian, our Grandboy. What will his message be for me today?

OK, so keep steady the course, look for surprises and remember that the Universe is conspiring in our favor, yes, Felipe.

New England, On The Way To.

On the beach on Vashon Island before leaving.

On the beach on Vashon Island before leaving.

Well, we are up in the air and half way to Dallas. My Rebecca and I on our way to the snowy icy Northeast to see the rest of the family and the star, our new grandson. He is just nine months and about ready to figure out crawling, so we have to go and check that out.

It would be nice if the airline provided some WeeFee for us serious blogger types. But I can do without. You would think if a tiny cafe in the middle of outback Spain could figure out how to get some free service to you, American Airlines could. Of course, no more free peanuts either. Enough of my whining though.

Lent starts in two days on Ash Wednesday. Time for personal reflection and work on getting any mojo back that we might have lost. I don’t know what I am giving up yet although it is possible to add something, I have heard. I need to settle down and get in this groove pretty quick.

I got a nice email from Anamaria, the a Princess of Viana, who is studying hard in Madrid in a master’s program. Marketing, I think. So, if you go to visit don’t expect too much partying out of her. Mostly business these days.

And so sad news, that Susan that was in hospice here has passed away. So prayers for the soul of our Caminohead friend who has pushed further on down the trail and into the fog and out of sight.

Well, I don’ t want to leave you with that, something upbeat would be preferable. Maybe some farm news. I have figured out my seed order which is a good sign. I am going to grow two varieties of corn this summer. They are both sweet corn, corn on the cob eating corn. One early so it will be the first to hit the local neighborhood market and the other one sweeter that takes more time to mature. That one is a little of a gamble but it looks like an early spring for us and this is the year to gamble on it.

Oh, also, we are planning a camp out at the ranch here for Caminoheads and Pacific Coast Trail guys. Combined energy is the idea. Maybe June, maybe July or August, don’t know yet. Will let you know.

Time for a little airplane nap. No free peanuts love, Felipe.

Sent from my iPad

I Can Hear The Fire Crackling

The quince is bursting forth, such enthusiasm!

The quince is bursting forth, such enthusiasm!

Sunday morning and a little chilly but sunny outside. It may get up to fifty degrees on a day like this with the help of the sun. But, but we are scheduled to fly to Massachusetts tomorrow to see our nine month old grandson. That sounds sort of easy except for the weather there at that end. Snow, snow and more snow with airports closed and all that goes with that. So we shall see.

So, this week I turned over my hiking poles to a friend, Art, who will be walking the Camino in May. I couldn’t resist the idea of having him use them and of them traveling across again. They have a lot of kilometers left in them. Also, two neighbors that came over to walk with me on Friday will be Caminoing in April.

Of course we are jealous of all that. Going again to finish places that we missed or covering the same ground is tempting to think about. There is something a little dicey about going back I think. Going back requires a real suspension of expectations. It will be different but of course that doesn’t mean lesser. Could be way better I suppose but that is hard to imagine. Needless to saw that I thought that I had thre perfect Camino with all of you being perfect partners in that.

One of my local Caminoheads is in hospice. Please pray for Susan. I wish that I could have got to know her better but I got to know her some.

Well, not too much going on today, just need to pack for the trip east. I will blog from there to continue the flow of things. Yup, alperfect, love, Felipe.

St. Valentine’s Day

Oh look, purple ones!

Oh look, purple ones!

There was a Saint Valentine right? If there wasn’t there should be. Maybe someone could do some research on this one, my saintly knowledge could be better. Well, I just want to say that this post is going to be super short so that you can get out there and give your sweetie a kiss or so you can get out there and do something you love instead of reading this blog. We have lots of tomorrow’s. Big red heart loves, Felipe.