The Separation

When I was little in the snowbound world of Buffalo, New York my folks would always put up our Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. This was so that there would be as much separation as possible between the celebration of Christ’s birthday and mine. Yea, it helped some. But then there was the math of it which occurred to me early on. I had’t had algebra yet but it looked to me like kids that had “regular” birthdays, in June say, got 2X loot, adding their birthday take to their Christmas take, while I was pulling in something like 1 1/2 X yearly. And this was the era of Dr Spock, with all the new thinking about relaxing the old school stuff with the kid’s upbringing. Obviously no one in my neighborhood managed to find the time to read that one as we were still living under the “don’t spoil the kid” rules then.

OK, so maybe I ranted a little there but what the heck. The important thing though is to get the separation idea. Right now I am going to show you a few pics from the birthday flotsam and jetsam. And then we will be done with my little itty bitty birthday and get back to the Advent of the Big Guy’s starting mañana.

My original card from our son Wiley William Volker.   Those are his initials that look like the peaks of the rocky mountions

My original card from our son Wiley William Volker. Those are his initials that look like the peaks of the rocky mountions

Heart cake from Our Rebecca and Our Riley.  All my birthday cakes seem to have dinosaurs on them.

Heart cake from Our Rebecca and Our Riley. All my birthday cakes seem to have dinosaurs on them.

Portrait of Our Felipe done by artist Will Forrester done for a book of a hundred mentors.

Portrait of Our Felipe done by artist Will Forrester done for a book of a hundred mentors.

OK, two more items: there is a podcast of a brand new interview with me and then with Annie O’Neil about Phil’s Camino. I am going to attempt to give you a hot link but…

Phil’s Camino Podcast

Also here is a link to a video of “Better Together” from Island in the Air in Barcelona, Spain. These are all folks mentored by Our Laura.

Laura’s Better Together

OK, maybe that all worked. I am slowly creeping my way up the 21st century learning curve. Sound familiar? Loves to you there where ever you are today, Birthday Boy Felipe.

Camino By Day And By Night

First thank you to all the folks that sent in birthday wishes to old Felipe. Warms the heart knowing all you guys are out there for me. So, here are a few shots along Phil’s Camino showing you the winter by day and then shots from last night’s outdoor party. The whole situation is a little water logged but fun.

The hawthorn fruit (haws) and the lichen covered branches.

The hawthorn fruit (haws) and the lichen covered branches.

The gate between the north and south pastures showing some of the flooding.

The gate between the north and south pastures showing some of the flooding.

Ankle deep .

Ankle deep .

Picnic table under the shelter by the bonfire.  ready for hearty guests to arrive.

Picnic table under the shelter by the bonfire. ready for hearty guests to arrive.

Bucket of flowers in from Annie and the movie crew.

Bucket of flowers in from Annie and the movie crew.

Pretty dark but there is Wiley and James manning the solstice bonfire.

Pretty dark but there is Wiley and James manning the solstice bonfire.

Well, it will take four or five days to start to see a significant change in the amount of daylight but believe me we are ready for it. And I know, I know it’s not a bucket of flowers but I was inspired by something Catalina our art history babe from Berkley wrote. She was winging her way through the sky on her way to Christmas destinations and emailed a birthday wish from the “aeroplane”. She is a historian so maybe we should give her a little leeway on this one or perhaps this is some super newfangled mode of transport we are not up on yet. Anyway, clarification is needed.

So, life goes on. We are crawling out from under the party debris and picking up Our Jennifer and off to the big city today for our gallon of chemo then off to a Caminohead’s dinner tonight. Yup, stamina is needed. Best wishes, love, Felipe.

A Message From Our Beloved Annie

Waiting for the sun.

Waiting for the sun.

Hi gang, guess what? It’s my birthday today and I am taking the day off from the blog. But who shows up with important matters to share but Annie O’Neil. Annie is an old time Caminohead with lots of credentials, so listen up!

Hi everybody, Annie here! I asked Phil if I could write something to let everyone know where we are with the film and he graciously agreed. It is hard to step in, knowing that you all — we all — come to hear his words of wisdom, his words of contemplation, his words of silliness, and to just walk together. Please forgive me for butting in like this. I just wanted to let you know that the film “Phil’s Camino” is coming right along, and the end is in sight! It looks like we will be going into the post production facility in January to finish the film by doing the color correcting and sound mixing. This is almost as exciting as walking into Santiago!

I have set up a new Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to raise the $17,000 it will cost to finish the film. I know that so many of you have given generously in the past. Thank you. If you feel so moved, take a look at the site, and see if this is something that you would like to share with some friends. It is very powerful to share it on Facebook, or in an email, writing about how you have supported this film in the past, and that they may want to, as well. For those who are looking for tax deductions as the year winds to an end, I now have a fiscal sponsor, so all donations are now tax deductible!

I hope you can see some photos from the Oakland sneak peek preview, where Phil’s Camino was shown on a big screen for the very first time. Wow! I can’t wait til we can all watch it on the big screen together. It is impressive, and oh so heartwarming.

I recently had lunch with Dan Bern, the talented singer-songwriter who wrote the song “Come and Walk, Walk with Me” for the film. He reminded me of one of the reasons why I wanted to make this film in the first place: this film is a beacon of light. We are living in some tough times. Even bleak times, when we hear of the tragedies at a holiday party in San Bernadino, in a church in North Carolina, in Paris. It can feel overwhelming. How do we fight these seemingly dark forces? Well, one way might be by affirming life. Affirming the light in the face of the dark. Dan told me that he was so very happy to be part of such a life affirming project. So many of you have already become part of this life affirming project, and I hope that you, too, will remember that as we make our way through these troubling times. We are doing our part! We are affirming life! We are spreading Phil’s incredible spirit and goodness, and it makes a difference. I can tell you firsthand from watching people see the rough cut, and from hearing what they have to say afterwards. Wow! If you would like to make a donation, you can do so at

Thank you so much for letting me write this today. Felipe will be right back with his inimitable musings on life, love, and all things Camino! Buen Camino everyone! I am so happy we are walking together!

Annie O Neil
Producer/Director: Phil’s Camino

Co-producer and Pilgrim: Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago

Author: Everyday Camino with Annie


Please Read The Comments

Polish Christmas Card.  Sending it off today hopefully.

Polish Christmas Card. Sending it off today hopefully.

Here we are at the last Sunday in Advent. We wait on the Lord. If possible go deep to the place where this is the only thing that makes sense anymore. This is the prep for the Nativity.

So, back on the blog site level, please you have permission to read the comment and replies. None of this is confidential and it is some of the best stuff around these parts. People like Pilgrim Farmer John from Iowa writes beautifully (for a Marine), for instance, and he has a way of tweaking me and I reply and back and forth we go. This banter has produced some great thoughts and the genesis of at least one of my “want to do” projects. And there are other great personalities that bring up all sorts of ideas and angles which enrich the whole situation. So please check that out.

So speaking of Juan from Iowa, he is off on his year end’s review of 2015. Here I am giving it my best whine about how much I have yet to do for Christmas and he is showing off already working on New Year’s, gee wiz. If you had checked out the comment and reply on yesterday’s “I Do Appreciate You” you would already know that though. See how it works?

OK, enough for now. Love you, Pilgrim Farmer Felipe.

I Do Appreciate You

You were a tomato when I needed you.

You were a tomato when I needed you.

Camino people have a certain lightness, a certain playful quality, yes. You move easily and are a dream to travel with. Complaining doesn’t occur to you, no. People looking in may think you unrealistic or naive but you have scars to prove something. But beside it all you have a certain something, a joy maybe, that can’t be denied. It’s contagious.

Camino people are certainly not dowdy, dreary or overly anything. You are are not well dressed or vain. You are a sort of human Swiss Army knife. You are not proud but you take pride. You smile when your socks are wet.

I can’t say that you don’t irritate me sometimes but then you are quick to forgive me when I chafe you, most times. When the trail is not smooth you shine. Why is that? You carried my pack one day. You had food when I forgot. You forgot when I promised and didn’t come through on something else. You don’t particularly like sardines and chocolate for breakfast; no one is perfect I guess.

I LOVE YOU GUYS!! Can you tell? Felipe.

I’m Feeling It

Olivia showing us how to relax.

Olivia showing us how to relax.

I was going to whine about how stressed out I was feeling on the Christmas Camino here but just had some major breakthroughs on my web shopping. Yea, major progress. Now feeling just slightly stressed, Christmas cards yet to start.

OK then, let’s move along in this slightly stressed state which is immensely better; got blisters on just one foot instead of both. Maybe, just maybe we can get on top of all this holiday scurrying so we can finally get to some quiet place. We deserve it don’t we?

Also, WD-40 makes great stocking stuffer, just a little hint. It is my belief that half the world’s problems could be solved with the stuff, well OK maybe a third. It and duct tape could get us a long way down the road.

Alright, time to get to work, doing a bath remodel over at Our Jennifer’s. OK, so the plan is to get a grip on all the scurrying so we can get down to some serious contemplation on the other important stuff. Hang in there, love you still and even though, Felipe.

Advent Flotsam And Jetsam

This was two weeks ago now but a great day on Phil's Camino with pilgrims from Salt Lake.

This was two weeks ago now but a great day on Phil’s Camino with pilgrims from Salt Lake.

Just in the semi disorder of the countdown to Christmas, trying to maintain equilibrium. Padre Tomas sent in this tombomb for us and here is the link to an interview with God: .
Gracias Padre. He knows what we need.

A few moments ago I was doing dishes, cleaning up the flotsam and jetsam of last evening’s Caminoheads Belly Laugh Theatre. We watched “Mixed Nuts” with a young Steve Martin and other early greats. Anyway, back to dishes and clumsy me as I knocked over a wine glass on the drain board and the slightest bit of leftover red wine splashed out on the white surface. And there formed the nicest little red heart, about an inch across. Just quickly and just for me. It didn’t last long and changed into common blob due to, temperature change, coefficient of friction, surface tension or some other scientific dealy bob. Anyway, I saw it and took it in.

I don’t know how many times in Spain when hill climbing and me hot, tired and exhausted coming across a random heart rock in the trail. Just quickly and just for me. Yup, sometimes it is all you need, just have to pay attention.

Time to bundle up and go walk in a few moments. Maybe some of the Belly Laughers will show up to do it with me. Here we go, love your flotsam and jetsam, Felipe.

Added Dream Info

Just talking with Riley, Wiley’s girlfriend. Yea, Riley and Wiley, I know. Anyway Riley said, “I had that dream!” She said in her dream as a child she would drive to Maury Island with her Dad and get into totally un Maury territory. Something is telling me that perhaps this is some sort of architypical gateway that we are talking about here.

Interesting that Riley’s Dad was driving her, sort of showing the way. I failed to mention that while I was having my dream I was wishing to grab Wiley so that we could come back. Hmm.

Nice Day Dawning, I Had A Dream

The post at the rock pile, Phil's Camino, December  2015.

The post at the rock pile, Phil’s Camino, December 2015.

Vashon Island is actually two islands. At some point in the early twentieth century they were connected by a short landbridge. So, there is the larger Vashon and the smaller Maury that we talk about collectively as Vashon Island. We live on the larger island, Vashon. Why is this important? Well, it wasn’t terribly except I had a dream last night about Maury that is somewhat revealing and I had to give you that background to help with what comes next.

So, the dream was that I motored over to Maury and got on a road that took me past a threatening raptor, along a thousand foot gorge and into a dusty town above the timberline. I was looking for a place to buy supplies for an implied journey. None of that stuff exists on Maury except maybe a threatening raptor occasionally.

Upon pondering this dream I recalled other dream trips to Maury Island where I drove up and up in elevation and crossed a pass, could have been in the Pyrenees. That happened on a small handful of occasions. Again, nothing like that exists on Maury Island here and now, so to speak.

And on pondering all this, it reminded me of dreams that I had in the innocence of childhood where I would walk out into our small backyard and go behind the garage and there would be a different world suddenly. It was a world of color that mimicked the palette of a children’s book that I was familiar with. The colors were rich and bold and exciting.

I had never made the connection before between these dreams that are so far apart in time. They seem related and speaking of the same surprise though. There is a place around the corner from reality where other possibilities are present, exhibiting a more exciting palette. It is just a short journey with maybe an occasional threatening raptor to sidestep but possible and not that hard. Hmm.

Is this the place of sanctuary that Terry Hershey talks about? Is it a hint that reality is only so real? Is it a place to get supplies for a further journey? I don’t know exactly but will ponder on. Thanks for being here for me, love you dreamily, Felipe.

Stolen Inspirational Words

 Alperfect on the Camino.

Alperfect on the Camino.

I am going to lift a couple of paragraphs from Terry Hershey’s Sabbath Moment blog from yesterday:

“Last week was Jimmy V week on ESPN (named for Jimmy Valvano’s foundation and pledge to fight and beat cancer). This year they replayed the 2014 Jimmy V award speech of legendary ESPN anchor Stuart Scott about his seven-year-long battle with the disease.
“When you die, that does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live,” Scott told those gathered. “So live. Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight, lay down and rest, and let somebody else fight for you.”
Scott said the support of his family, friends, and bosses helped him through these hard times. “This whole fight, this journey thing is not a solo venture. This is something that requires support.””

“You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, anf the manner in which you live.” There are some mighty fine words to warm the hearts of Cancer Comanndos near and far. A lot of times we go on with the things that we do without the benefit of it being put into words like that. Thank you Stuart, well put buddy.

“This whole fight, this journey thing is not a solo venture.” There is a Camino deal if I ever heard of it. Maybe substitute Camino for “journey thing”; funny little way of putting it but we get it. Thank you Stuart.

Well, here we go begging, borrowing and stealing our way ahead. Seems to be what we are good at. Thanks for checking in on us here at Caminoheads. Remember we are smack dab in the middle of Advent. Seems all good to me, love, Felipe.