Just Where Are We Felipe? 11/20/16


We are walking this afternoon and tomorrow morning and by then we will be in Sarria. And we all know what that means that there is 100 km to go. So, we are getting there.

We are on our winter schedule:

Monday 0900-1000
Tuesday 1530-1630
Thursday 0900-1000
Sunday 1530-1630

We have a little standing water on the trail so wear some rubber boots and you may need a rain jacket depending.


A New Day

Our wood stove in action this morning.
Our wood stove in action this morning.

It’s Sunday morning and I don’t feel especially inspired. What to do? I know that I function better when I have some spark that is exciting me. Ah, I have to get some motivation here. But it is off to Mass here in an hour. If I think of driving with Catherine and then tailgating with her at the supermarket parking lot I get a smile.

Well, then Mass itself is always good. This morning Father David is going to have us bring some thing forward from our Thanksgiving table to get blessed. For instance, I think I will take the tablecloth that we will use Thursday. That sounds like a nice tradition to start here. Ah, should explain that Father David is new at our parish and he has a new set of ideas like this one. I hope Father Marc is doing well where he is serving now. He used to wash our feet, one of his ideas. Just a thought going his way.

I see that it is time to jump in the shower and get my Sunday goin to meetin clothes on. It is still early before early Mass, time to get ready for the day. Well there, I cheered myself up thinking of the personalities that are going to populate my morning. Yes, off I go, love you too where you are, Felipe.

Fun Day At The Old Camino

Pretty out here, come see.
Pretty out here, come see.

Great and fun day today for Sister Joyce was here to “walk” Phil’s Camino. I say “walk” because she drove the riding mower around the trail and we stopped every so often to talk and laugh. Steve, a friend from church was taking some pics of us on the trail. This all revolves around an article that Sister Joyce is writing for Salt magazine.

Then we were joined by Jim And Connie, friends from St. John Vianney’s, to watch the film in our living room. These folks are some of our oldest supporters. It was great to finally get to do a showing for them.

Just want the report that I hung out with “the boys”, my tumors, this AM. Just thought I should be there without expectations or plans, just being there. I am trying to learn something from those guys.

Well, have to run, I volunteered to help out with a church fund raiser that was held today. Kind of a churchy day today all and all. Later, love you, Felipe.

Festivities Coming Up

The weeping willow.
The weeping willow.

Yup, Thanksgiving right around the corner. Wasn’t it just Fourth of July? Hard to keep up with all this stuff. But I do know one thing and that is that we have some empty seats at our table so if any of you local Caminoheads need a place to go just give us a call or email. Really I’m serious, don’t be shy. I am pushing Cornish Game Hens as an idea for the meat dish. Everyone gets their own little bird for something different. But we always have cornbread stuffing, that I know for sure, super good.

Well, I am just sort of dead in the water here with my world famous blog this afternoon. One thing I need to do yet today is go to the dump with a truck load of junk. Maybe somehing will perk me up there. But for now I think that I will sign off. Take care, be thankful, love, Felipe.

Not Again

The November tapas table.
The November tapas table.

What I am running into today is a surplus of metaphors for life. Yea, once again, who would have thought? It’s starting to feel like it could get creepy like a Hitchcock flick. Can’t go two feet without tripping over one, or seeing one hanging on the wall or some out the window. There’s a bunch of them right now lurking outside like vultures setting on the branches waiting to steal my attention. Yike!

Anyway, My Rebecca and I watched 50/50 last night. That’s a film about a young man that gets a cancer diagnosis and then his travels with his family, fellow patients and friends. It was good although a little raw. It covered most of the big points of the standard patient experience although not all. But all in all I thought that it did a decent job. Maybe I am asking too much of an hour and a half movie to get into everything that happens or might happen.

But taking in that film pointed out to me how blessed I have been in my cancer journey. One, my support system was and is exceptional and way above that shown. Two, my Christian faith/ spirituality I know has been vital to me and that was not in evidence in the film for the characters. I suppose my age plays into it too giving me so much more experience to draw from. Oh, I had better mention Marine Corps training. No doubt, I am blessed to have these strengths.

Well, all that makes me feel like I’m somewhat out of the norm. I mean that coping is easier for me than for someone with any less of a tool kit, like in the movie. Maybe I have the deluxe tool kit. You know me, I’m not bragging but just trying to figure it out. I am thinking out loud with you present. This blog is a long drawn out journal of a cancer journey and I intend to carry it forward to where ever it my lead and you are welcome along as always.

With this advantage and my commando attitude I feel like we have made some great progress in ideas and findings for my betterment and for the betterment of others. And what I am realizing is that there is more to come, more challenges and more overcoming. I have this premonition that we will stumble across some really amazing stuff as we “walk in the mud” along our Camino. So, stay tuned, I am getting the feeling that the best is yet to come!

Just really appreciate you being with me, love, Felipe.

Been Musing On The Unexpected Or The Out Of Place

The little miracle lettuce.
The little miracle lettuce.

Look at that beautiful miniature lettuce growing in today’s pic. I think this all started a few tapas ago. Somehow we wound up suspending the butt end of a romaine heart that was being thrown away in some little bit of moisture. It was just an experiment and look what is happening, new growth, some new life. Major fun to see this in November when the whole outdoor world is shrinking and packing up it’s tent. And here it is right in front of me as I eat my meals. I know that it will not last long but neither will I. Just a little miracle produced out of the stuff we were throwing away.

A couple of days ago I way driving on the back roads of the the Island going to a job site and came around a corner close to a bluff overlooking the water. The afternoon precious sun was pouring in and the wind was blasting in over the bluff and the wind picked up a quality of the golden leaves that littering the ground and swirled them in a whirlwind. Like a dust devil but it was a leaf devil. What a sight! And it was crossing the road and I drive through it and it rocked my little pickup, this golden whirlwind which lasted a few dozen heartbeats.

I have been thinking about my tumors lately in sort of the best terms that I can come up with. What energy they have. What tenacity they have. The conditions that we put them in week after week, month after month means they are just hanging on to the cliff face with their finger nails, so to speak. Sometimes the scan shows no growth, sometimes small growth and one tumor got smaller and smaller and disappeared over time. Overall they are sort of amazing little guys if I can look at them objectively.

There is so much we don’t understand. There is so much to see and be rocked by. There is so much to wonder about. Energy seems to pop up out of no where and cause happenings that are miracles or catastrophes depending.

November love, Felipe.

A Comment From Steve-O

This is what my buddy said about today’s post. It’s too good to pass up.

“Pretty sure they prefer bourbon over tequila. Beer if it’s hot out. They tend to relax and slow down when included in the party. I’m sure about that. No toothpicks, though.”

OK, he jumped right on this idea. Love you man, Felipe.

Little Tiny Beachchairs

The candles lit.
The candles lit.

I’ve waking up at four in the morning lately. There must have been some cosmic shift out there that I am reacting to. Anyway I had time to check in with my tumors early today. If you are new to the blog I may have to explain that I have tried to create some sort of positive relationship with my cancer, with my tumors. This has been going on for a while and I have blogged about it. Well OK, and this morning they seemed their usual selves, sort of quite and shy when I saw them.

I better back up my story to last evening. We had a wonderful dinner of chicken, brussels sprouts and yams, a nice winter meal. and during this time we started trying to figure out how our Thqnksgiving was going to work. Wiley and Hanna are going to be out of town. So, who can we invite so it wouldn’t just be the two of us? So, I was getting in this welcoming, holiday, party sort of mood before bed.

One more factor to add to this is that I have been avidly reading Richard Rohr’s blog everyday. If that doesn’t give you a clue I have to say that he is one of the most expansive Christian writers that one can run across these days. So, for days now he has been talking about how God is in everything and everything is God.

“Apprehend God in all things, for God is in all things.
Every single creature is full of God and is a book about God.
Every creature is a word of God.
If I spent enough time with the tiniest creature—even a caterpillar—
I would never have to prepare a sermon.
So full of God is every creature. ”
— Meister Eckhart (13th-14th century German theologian and mystic)

That’s from a few days ago in Rohr’s blog just trying to give you a feel for the flavor of the thing.

So, mix together this expansive state where we search for God in everything with my mood to invite and celebrate with my visit to my tumors and what do you get? What I got was the question, “Am I supposed to find God there?”. Is God there in those little guys like he is in you and me and a caterpillar? This is I admit a strange thought given our mindset of fighting cancer but worth exploring nevertheless.

So I decided to try and invite them on an outing. I started thinking about a day at the beach maybe. That’s where the little tiny beachchairs comes in as they will need somewhere to loll around. Maybe little tiny drinks with parasols for the guys. I know, all this sounds totally crazy. Yes, yes I am thinking that myself but…

Looking for common ground, trying to find the positive, love you, Felipe.

Did I Really…

The Madonna and Child on Phil's Camino.
The Madonna and Child on Phil’s Camino.

Did I really do a blogpost about doing the dishes yesterday? Well yes Felipe, you did. And I have gottten two great comments on it already. One from Joy who was on our Port Townsend adventure in September and who is a regular reader. Thanks Joy. And the other comment from My Rebecca. Thanks Rebecca. Ah, one would think we could just converse but apparently we have to do it over all this high tech gadgetry. Hmm. But life in the new century I guess. Anyway, I think both ladies were voicing feelings that are common and current with a lot of folks post election.

OK, and my confession, I’m thinking that this will give me some credibility in this conversation, is that I wrote in Pete Caroll on my ballot for president as a protest. Yes, Pete Caroll coach of the Seattle Seahawks Football Team that engineered a win over New England yesterday. Fabulous win over the team that is the gold standard of professional football teams and at their home field I might add. Nice Pete! And do you ever notice how much fun he always seems to be having, that’s what I buying.

Anyway, I trust things will work out for our country after this election. Things are never perfect. Some folks and groups are always unhappy. Some things will change, some things will remain the same. It will all go into the history books just the way it has over the last two hundred and some years. Sorry, but I’m just not in a frazzle over this event. This isn’t where I make my money, have my fun nor place my overall trust.

We could talk more about this if you wish, just comment. I’m here for you. Searching for common ground. Love you, Felipe.

Has Anyone Done The Dishes Lately?


I don’t know, is it just me or is anyone else tired of the post election blues? Geez, is this the first time one side has won and the other has lost. Happens every dang four years people. I’ve pretty much have avoided talking about this election because it is generally a divisive event and this year is a doozy with a cherry on top.

But instead I’m going to write about doing the dishes. By the way, has anyone done them lately? Life goes on and most of life is perspiration, remember? It’s time we started getting on with things and perspire a little. That’s my take but I’m done talking about it.

I’m just going to write about doing the dishes. Hardly anything more basic than that, salt of the earth and all that. Time to go get on with it. The sink is piled high with coffee cups and greasy, yea whatever that is? It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get ready for tomorrow.

We don’t have a dishwasher here at Raven Ranch. We like to get really intimate with our dirty dishes. It’s good to remember this good meal and that good meal and oh yea those tapas, that was fun. And beyond that I am beginning to personally identify with those dirty dishes these days. Just like the hospital where we come to get help to get cleaned up. Or going to a weekly church service to ask for forgiveness and maybe touch the hem of Jesus’s garment.

I’ve come to enjoy my flock of dirty dishes. They all have gone out and done what I have asked them to do for me and in the process have been used, abused and dirtied. Yea, well that sounds familiar to me. And they have circled back to be renewed.

Well, a blog post that is not that glorious maybe but it’s a part of me, of us. I am really calling on us to come together and rededicate ourselves to our tasks at hand however humble we may see them. People count on us and we count on each other.

Forty minutes before Catherine picks me up for Mass, must go shower. Yup, love you as always. So glad that you came. Alperfect, Felipe.x.