Kelly Is Off

Here at the ranch, blackberries in the sun, ripening.
Here at the ranch, blackberries in the sun, ripening.

Well his brain is off anyway.  He is flying out for Spain on Thursday.  Off to Leon and meeting up with a gang of people that Mary Margaret is taking.  I was just absentmindedly wondering if that group could achieve the statis of “louder than the Italians”.   I think so, will Kelly and MM coaching,  yea no problem.

Both Kelly and MM said that they would send material for the blog.  That would be good.  I am interested because the first half of this journey from Leon to Samos was the part that I had to bus through.  I missed good stuff like Cruz de Ferro, the man eating heather and Ponferrada.  Maybe I can catch up slightly.

So the important thing is that I gave Kelly his Phil’s Camino patch, a one of a kind item, done by Eileen friend of Esther’s.  It has a map of the Vashon trail sewn into it.  And it doesn’t weigh much either.  I should have taken a pic of it.  Well, maybe on Kelly’s return.

Well yes, people coming and going, isn’t it great?!  I would love to go again to do part or all of it.  Maybe in September or October to eat berries across and skip the heat.  Think about it, we go together!  Berry love, Felipe.


Before The Heat Of The Day

A pic from my chair.
A pic from my chair.

I am supposed to go on a little trip tomorrow to Eastern Washington.  But I just heard from the partner that I was going with that it is going to be 97 degrees F. over there.  Yea, having second thoughts about that.  So nice sitting here in the early morning with the temp at 65.  I don’t think we are going.

I don’t know if I have any unifying theme with my post this morning but does it matter.  I am thinking about Jody who got back from Santiago very recently and walked with Dana and I last week.  And Dana is just weeks back.  It is so refreshing to be around that fresh back energy.

Jody had stories of her adventure.   They were her stories, completely unique but having elements that seem to be universal.  Ever pilgrim has his/her unique experience but there are also commonalities that seem to stick out from the stories.  There is talk of coincidence and syncronizity, right?  There is talk of bonding with folks from far flung places and loosing and finding those folks again along the trail.  There is talk of dealing with pain and discomfort.  Talk of God/religion /spirituality.

Notice that before people go on the Camino they are full of questions and thoughts about gear and books and maps and stuff like that.  Shoes, packs, socks are major focal points of conversation.  Guide book talk is right up there.  How many pairs of under wear are you going to take?

Yea, something interesting happened to us there.  We got a taste of something unusual or perhaps long forgotten.  I don’t know about you but hardly a day goes by that I don’t think about it and wonder.  Saint James Afoot, love you, Felipe.

“Camino People Are Easy.”

Cloudy sky after the thunderstorm.
Cloudy sky after the thunderstorm.

Just an aside, it’s lightly raining here now as the result of a thunderstorm rolling through.  We certainly need the moisture.  But back to the topic.

I was carpooling with Catherine on our way to early Mass this morning and at one point I took the opportunity to thank her for the lovely dinner party that she and Dana put on some a few days ago.  And we were commenting on how it was so Camino.   It just took us back so easily.  And so six of  the  eight people at the dinner had walked in Spain and all of them have Phil’s Caminoed, so we knew the drill.

But one thing Catherine said commenting on the occasion and saying something about us was that, “Camino people are easy.”   And that took me back too.  And it’s true, no?  We/they are generally happy and appreciative, not much is a problem.  Everyone helps out and contributes.  We/they would be embarrassed to be too demanding or having some quirky special need.   Not that we/they wouldn’t ask for help when we really needed it but “would hate to be a bother.”

Yup, have to run, Felipe.

From Angels From All Angles



By the Way: I’m so grateful, it seems I feel supported from so many directions, places and individuals.  I don’t know exactly how this works but it does.  It would be hell to be isolated.  Big thanks, Felipe.

A lot of color!
A lot of color!

Enveloped In Chemicals, Enveloped In Love




Jennifer and I back at the hospital to get our portable pumps taken off.  We will be done soon and will make a run for the ferry.  Oh, here she is now, all done, catch you later.

Back at home with dinner eaten and having time to be with you.  It’s hot here and moving slow.  But I choise to entitle today’s post with “enveloped with chemicals” because I am right now.  Couldn’t possibly hold any more.  Now to do my best with the side effects.

But at the very same time I feel, I know that I am “enveloped with love”.  I get so much great support from all angles, at all times.  This is something that I am sure of.   So, thanks for being a part of this.

I have to go, running out of energy.  Love, Felipe.

Small Seeming Insignificant Efforts.

Spanish Camionheads dinner at Catherine y Dana's place late evening.
Spanish Camionheads dinner at Catherine y Dana’s place late evening.
One arty shot of the afterglow of the get-together.  Nice.
One arty shot of the afterglow of the get-together. Nice.


I seem to have struck a cord with my talk about taking things into my own hands and putting a solve on the puzzle problem.  You can tell I am really pleased with myself on that one.  Nothing like a good first outing.

To keep it simple right now let me talk about this in the context of the cancer arena.  I have noticed stages in my journey that I am trying to observe, articulate and make clear for myself and others.   Let’s run through them quickly as they exist today.

First a person gets a diagnosis and he becomes a patient.  This word makes me queasy.   I associate with all that early freak out time after the dreaded diagnosis.  But the way it seems now that anyone can be a patient.  A stump or a rock can be a patient.  Or a patient that flails around with all sorts of irrelevants and doesn’t get beyond.  This is where guidance is essential.

Second a patient can with guidance and effort get to a place of personal happiness were “things are good” despite what would seem like a bad situation.  A place where being present in the moment leads to living for the day in a good way not an escapist way.  Thinking about this being the cancer camper stage.  This is were the patient has moved on to enjoying this break from former life style to realize this is an important phase of life that needs to play out.  Think about being at Camp Runnamucka when you were a kid.  You were sick of lime jello and were sunburned and insect bit but you were having the time of your life.

Then if one is  accumulating some extra energy from getting on top of side effects maybe he starts having the inclination to start causing a little trouble.  Maybe he starts asking questions about things, like how come this or how come that.  Or maybe he tries to change something for someone else, like “come be a camper and quit being such a patient”.  Or maybe he throws out a jigsaw puzzle that is cruel and unusual so patients don’t get frustrated.  So he is starting to get off the reservation as they say, leaving the bounds of Camp Runnamucka but heck it seems like what he should be doing, right?  So, I’m in uncharted waters for me here and coming up with the working title of Cancer Commando has been helpful to focus my energy.

So the protagonist in One Flew Over the Coocoo’s Nest was Mc Murphy.  Not that I am saying anything about the hospital or nurses just that I feel like that character in my particular situation but I am starting to feel like McMurphy.   It’s got to be a good thing, right?

Look, I have to go for now.  You guys are lovely, Felipe.


Cancer Commando’s First Mission



A good example of a heathy puzzle.
A good example of a heathy puzzle.

It’s my chemo treatment day and I am early to the hospital.  The traffic was really light for some reason and I just zoomed in.  Jennifer is showing up soon.  We didn’t come in together as usual.  But we will cause trouble here shortly.

I did my turn at the jigsaw puzzle here in the waiting room.  I try to do at least one piece. Did three today, hurrah.  It’s where it is happening here.  It is the best way to strike up a conversation and get intelligence.  Other than that, people are moping around and it is hard to approach them.

Last time I was here I did my first mission as a cancer commando and it had to do with the puzzle.  I’ll have to tell you about it.  I came over to do my usual piece and noticed that the puzzle was the same one that was there two weeks before which is odd since there is usually a faster turnover.  Not only that but it seemed still to be two thirds done like somehow nothing had progressed in two weeks.   And it didn’t take too long of staring at it to discover that it had numerous pieces missing.  People realized that and lost interest quickly but the big thing is nobody did anything about it.  It just remained.

So, I got it in my head to deep six it with permission of course.  It felt so great to slide the pieces off the table and into the wastebasket.  I was striking a blow for the other patients coming after.  It sounds a little silly but it was a case of realizing the value of a positive action no matter how small.  And the value of getting out of my personal “rut” and participating in the bigger picture.

Well, it seems like a dinky little thing but it is part of something bigger, something that could grow.  Just getting organized and getting the hang of this cancer commando calling.  It feels a little like “One Flew Over the Coocoo’s Nest”‘ if you can remember that.  That was from the sixties; I don’t know if we can remember that.  Later, love, Felipe.

Caminoheads Events And Dates And Times


What a team!
Esther and Felipe.  What a team!

Before I forget let me give you the current walking schedule for local Caminoheads to come and walk and talk here at Raven Ranch:

Monday 0900-1000

Tuesday 1600-1700

Thursday 0900-1000

Sunday 1600-1700

There, good, then a report on the Caminoheads Pie Party yesterday.  So we had our Sunday walk and talk then slid into tapas and then had about fifteen folks for potluck pie.  Everyone brought some kind of something, savory and fruit.  We had rabbit pie, elk tamale pie, Russian veggie pie, mango cream, pumpkin and all sorts of chocolate and fruit pies.  We had wine and Phil’s Pilgrim Brew coffee.  Alperfect.

The occasion was that Our Beloved Esther is off down the pilgrim road to her next destination.  This was her last weekend here on Vashon.  She has been here for three great months and this was her going away party.  We will miss her for a number of reasons but one is that she has energized the locale here for the time that we got to share her.

Such as:  the Caminoheads Make A Will Party and the Caminoheads Car Wash.  She had her hands in on those.  And the Caminoheads Pie Party was a result of her sheparding Felipe past his original idea of a pie fight party, although he still thinks that has possibilities.  So yea, you see it just won’t be the same around here.  Happy trails!  Bon voyage!  Buen Camino Esther!

Monday morning and the start of another work week, love you, Felipe.



The Tapas Of My Life



Sweet peas in the morning.
Sweet peas in the morning.

Father Marc had a great homily this AM.  It was built around the Bible story where some of the disciples are crossing the Sea of Gallilee in a boat and a storm comes up and the boat is overwhelmed  in the crash of the waves and starts to sink.  Jesus is sleeping away on a cushion in the stern and is awakened by a frantic disciple and Jesus calms the storm with his words.  Nice. So the Father’s talk was about always having Christ in your boat as you pass through life and beyond.

I don’t know if this notion was actually in his homily or whether I was thinking it up but I was thinking of a person’s life as one day.  You know you are born at dawn and you grow up in the morning and the whole thing proceeds to death/darkness.  Yea, we have heard it before except this time I realized that personally I am in tapas right now.  Huh, now I know why I have been having such a great time and feel in the groove lately.  Cool or what?

You have a glass and do you want red, white or rose?  Love, Felipe.

Blessed Are The Meek

Mountian Ash.
Mountian Ash.


I went to my bible class this AM to study Matthew chapter five.  What an amazing time we had.   Generally we try to get through a chapter at each hour and a half session.  But this time we made it through six verses out of the complete forty five.  Not that there are time limits or referees but we try to move along, we’re guys.

The first part of Matthew Five  are what are commonly known as the Beautitudes which is the central teaching of Jesus and thus the central ideas of Christianity.  Very concise, very easy to understand.   Well, one would think.  Why then did we get hung up so?  We spent a lot of time on individual words and their translation from the Greek.   And we talked about the word “meek” for a long time.  It appears in certain versions of the Bible for “poor in spirit” as in ” Blesses are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  We seem to all to a man been bothered by that word.  It sort of leaves that impression of a doormat.  Blessed are the doormats, yea really?

But to our relief we came up with this bit of wisdom from a guy named David Guzik:  “In the vocabulary of  the ancient Greek language, the meek person was not passive or easily pushed around.  The main idea behind the word “meek” was strength under control, like a stallion that was trained to do a job instead of running wild.”   Well that appealed to the guys, stallion right?

Well, that is kind of how things go around here.  We try to stay strong but humble, in shape but not proud.  Yup.  That’s it for now.   Meek loves, Felipe.