Just A Story

Tomorrow we’ll talk about this.

I cracked open FaceBook this morning with breakfast and saw something interesting. A guy from Gettysburg, PA is trying to get a hold of me. He had a name that I readily recognized as one of my school chums from New York but was it really him? So, I look at “About” and there it was “Maryvale Senior High School”. OK, hello Jim, long time.

Maryvale Schools may be one of the only public schools in the country named after the Virgin Mary. The official line is that the school was named after the road that it is on but the road was named after Mary. I think that counts.

I remember once the Gideon Bible outfit came to our school to give out Bibles. I still have mine. Gideon International is famous for trying to get a bible in every hotel room. Look in the drawers next time you are traveling and check. Anyway, I remember getting caught in a stampede as nine hundred students crushed into the lobby hungry for the Word. I’m not quite sure that would happen these days.

Here I’ve told two stories and I haven’t gotten to the one I wanted to tell. This sort of has to do with Jim, remember Jim. He was living in Nortern Arizona at the time and a Marine buddy and myself were visiting him. My buddy and I decided to test ourselves by doing some climbing in a nearby canyon. Here is the deal, we had a rope and a book on knots. We weren’t maybe the sharpest knives in the drawer.

So we worked our way up till I remember sitting on this little ledge with my feet hanging down and having this bird land next to me and looked at me like I was from another planet, guess he didn’t get much company. I’m communing with this creature and all of a sudden he dives off going straight down and just disappears in the distance like some deal in a Roadrunner cartoon. It gave me a sudden appreciation for my situation.

So, now as I am approaching the door of my seventieth birthday I don’t feel like I somehow have to manufacture danger. There is plenty around here for everyone. Well, that is it for now.
A quick shower and a walk after that. Love you dangerously, Felipe.

Something Going On

A rosary on the trail.

Back a year and a half ago when Annie had Phil’s Camino the film in for consideration at the South by Southwest Film Festival something happened to cause me a change of mind. We had been working on the film for nearly two years at that point and it was ready to start showing it in public. And that is where that process all started at that festival in the spring of 2016.

In there somewhere the news got out that the festival team looking at entries watched 800 short documentaries and chose 12 to include that year. Yea, we were one of the twelve, very heady. So, trying to wrap my mind around that lead to a new way for me to think about what we had. We had something amazing in our possession, a pearl.

And now, what I am trying to say to you is that I am having the same realization with Phil’s Camino the trail. With Catalina being here recently and us working on our upcoming book about it I saw that pearl thing happening again. And it was magnified by the thoughtful papers that her class had written about our meeting. Here was another wonderful thing with great potential.

I am left humbled and with a feeling of great responsibility with this realization. Holding this pearl in my hand and wondering what our futures will bring, I am amazed as the Camino goes on ahead of me. Recently a realization occurred that the more I do, the more I do. What does that mean Felipe? That means that the more things that I participate in the more opportunities come up to participate. The Camino goes on ahead of me with St. James here in the background somewhere.

In the film I remember saying at the outdoor party at the end that, “This is a great way to wrap up my Camino experience.” Very ironic as our dog Sture died a few moments after that happy comment and the dominoes have been falling over ever since and I am foreseeing more in the future.

So that is what is going through Felipe’s mind today. Time to go, see you tomorrow. Love, Felipe.


Catalina’s class at the occasion of our video conference.

A soggy morn on which to get together with you. The wood fire is going and there is strong brew in the Mr Coffee so it is time to blog. Hope that you are all doing well here at the tail end of November.

Last evening I finished up a stack of written reflections that came from Catalina’s graduate class on Art and Pilgrimage. We had a great video conference last week that lasted over an hour. So the students wrote up some thoughts about our conversation. Well, I was deeply moved by what I read in these papers.

Perhaps I can get permission to share a little of it with you. Maybe a sentence or a paragraph from each one would be enlightening. We are the ones searching for insight remember. I will check with Catalina to see if we can do that maybe for tomorrow or soon.

When I say reflections I am really meaning it. They went all out after seeing Phil’s Camino and conversing with me to give a historic view of what we do here. And a clearer view of what we do here. They were connecting a lot of dots to give us a picture.

Yup, I am happy that this all came about. Let’s try and pursue it further and see where it leads us. You’re a peach, love, Felipe.

So So Absent

My Rebecca looking off.

Geez, Felipe has been overwhelmed with pilgrim business, that’s what has happened. I could blame it on the lovely Catalina but that would only be partially right. We had a serious backlog of business for one. Then we had to plot the course of our ship, our new book. Notice how I am saying “our”.

Our is the right word. I can’t really give you the details but a plan has emerged, a good plan. All we needed was a time to get together and let our flint and steel spark. So, things will be set in motion.

That is what I am telling you that a good thing is in the wind. As Sister Joyce says you have to tell people something and you have to ask something of them. So, you my faithful readers please participate in giving us some feedback. Catalina has been sending out emails to as many folks as possible who have walked here at Phil’s Camino asking for reflections. Can you do that for us?

And maybe you have read this blog and learned something or were moved. Please send something in. You can put this in the comments for this blog and I can forward them.

You see part of this book is about me, Felipe, part is about you and part is about the new emerging interest in pilgrimage and it’s importance to us. We are on some sort of threshold to a new way and pilgrimage seems to hold some clues and foreshadowing of what that is. You are a part of that, you see?

Please send in something that you think expresses your feelings about walking and talking at Phil’s Camino or Caminoheads blog. This could be prose or poetry, a recipe maybe. But please be a part of this. This is our future unfolding.

Ah, I have a walk in fifteen minutes with folks from out of town. The beat goes on as they say. Well, it’s alperfect once again, Saint James is afoot! Love you guys, Felipe.

Kickin Butt With Catalina

Catalina and Felipe tailgating with coffee and donuts.
Jessika, Phil and Father David this morning at St. John Vianney’s.

A couple of big days just happened and Catalina had me hopping pretty much the whole time. We got a whole lot of work done on our new book. It’s about the trail here at Raven Ranch.

Will be back with you tomorrow morning God willing. Love you all, Felipe.

The Day After

We had seven and a half people over for dinner. This is Jackson, the half, he didn’t eat much. He’s a good camper.

I’m back at the hospital for my routine every other Friday visit. All good. Seattle is almost deserted. Traffic a dream. Everyone must be at the mall hey?

Wow, we had a good get together yesterday. 1t was a whole new constellation of personalities than who we have had in the past. That was fun to have happen. And everyone brought so much stuff, we have leftovers for a week. So yea, all good.

I getting pretty excited about picking Catalina up early tomorrow morning from the airport. She is always a breath of fresh air for everyone. I have a feeling that we have a lot of work to accomplish in a day and a half beside drinking wine and eating leftovers. Oh man, turkey sandwiches with lots of mayo, I’m ready.

Then the showing of Phil’s Camino on Vashon coming up. How cool is that. There is a lot of response on FB, so that’s good. And I think that folks are coming from the hospital too. I would so love to pack the Vashon Theatre. It would be great to make some money and put a dent in expenses and have a good time too.

So things are cooking here, keeping the Camino energy going for ourselves and everyone around. Isn’t it great that we have this calling and have the energy to pursue it. Really I don’t know what I would be doing now if I would not have this to concentrate on, to focus on. Probably be worrying myself to death over one thing or another.

Have to tell you that Cris in Buenos Aires even did a little Thanksgiving celebration down there yesterday. She has had a Camino buddy from the States visiting so they rigged up some kind of deal. Maybe they have a pic for us.

Well that’s about it for today, sort of in between things. So, good to be with you again. I’ll take off for now and try and find some lunch around here. See you tomorrow, leftover loves, Felipe.

Thanksgiving Day 2017

We are all here!

Well, we made it this far to another Thanksgiving and most of the time in good style I might add. Half my brain is working on a prayer for the table today. It’s coming along. My Rebecca will be up shortly to get the bird started. What is it 20 minutes per pound?

We are really excited about coming events here starting this coming weekend. Catalina from Berkeley will be here to further our project of the book about Phil’s Camino the trail. The film has gotten a max amount of attention the last couple years of it’s existence but the trail has been in the background. Yet the film grew out of the trail so it will be good to get back to it for an exploration.

I should talk about Catalina for a minute. She came on board to help Annie with the film and she has been in and out of things since way back then. She is a scholar, pilgrim, professor and historian, oh yea, and a wife and mom to two gorgeous children. She has all the bases covered. I see her life as being a balance between the days of Hildegard the Healer and modern day Northern California.

The idea for the book was hers and rightly so. With her expertise she was able to see things in the mud and the grind and the prayers of our Camino here, something that just wasn’t obviuos to me anyway. Just as there are shines to Lourdes in France all over the world which were built so that locals who couldn’t get to Lourdes could participate in the healing, she picked up on the parallel phenomenon here. This was all built for/by me thinking that I couldn’t go to Spain and do the real Camino. She saw the historic connection. Love her. She calls the project here land art.

So land art it is Catalina. Well, maybe water art too as the season progresses here with the rain and current series of storms. So the book will try and capture this through the eyes and feelings of the pilgrims who have walked here. There have been close to 300 folks from all over the world who have come and participated. I have email addresses for 95% of them in the logbooks. So you all will be contacted and asked to write up your impressions of the situation here. Please find the time and energy for that.

So, also coming up on the calendar is the hometown showing of Phil’s Camino on December 1st at the Vashon Theater. That is a Friday evening. Anni, Rebecca and myself will be there to answer all you questions and to make you laugh and cry.

Here is some info: www.vashontheatre.com . At 17723 Vashon Highway SW, 206-463-3232.

OK, time to go. Have and great and meanful day. Love your gravy, Felipe.

Upset, Yea, Upset

I need some Annie energy to help my attitude.

What the heck would Hildegard think? This concerns the hospital, Swedish Cancer Institute. This is my 108th treatment today and I walk into the waiting room and there are no jigsaw puzzles. 107 times I have walked in and have done jigsaw puzzles and now no puzzles.

Seriously, in some sense the jigsaw puzzle table is the best thing that happens here. Patients get together and talk to each other and work on the puzzle together. Other than this, interaction is close to nonexistent. That is it’s value getting people together. There are enough mechanisms and procedures that keep people isolated from one another and we don’t need another.

Then the magazines, the staple of the waiting room are gone. No more Time, National Geographic or People. What would Hildegard think?

And the plants gone. So, OK, the puzzles and the magazines get passed around to too many people maybe and they catch stuff from one another. But the plants.

It all some new program to protect us from one another. OK, well buy new puzzles everyday then and incinerate them afterward. There must be some way.

We’ve heard of deja vu all over again. This is like 1984 all over again. Sorry to be ranting and raving but can’t help it. Maybe a little turkey and dressing will help my attitude.

OK, enough of this. Have to get back in the gratitude mode. I want all of you to have a Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels to and from. Love, Felipe.

Phil’s Camino @ The Vashon Theater!

We will be ready for you.

We have a date and a time. This showing will be December 1st at 6PM right there in the heart of downtown Vashon. I know it is First Friday Art Walk evening. There should be plenty of folks up in town for all that.

I will have to tell you early on that the show has a twenty five dollar price tag. It’s a fund raiser and it is all going to complete the hour long version of Phil’s Camino which is very close to completion but we have bills to pay. You will be a part of this effort to get our message out by supporting us with your presence.

If there is someone that you think will benefit from being with us, bring them. Everyone that is, has or is about to start with a battle with cancer will get a lot out of seeing Phil’s Camino. We will be available after the showing in a Q and A session. You will love this. You will laugh and cry, I do.

Annie O’Neil, the director/producer, will be flying in to be with us. My Rebecca will be on hand to keep my story straight. And of course I plan on being there. We will have DVD’s, Annie’s book and T-shirts, patches and Phil’s Camino maps available for sale.

If you have been reading this blog you know me and the film and the trail. You know My Rebecca and Annie. You know that the sun shines on us and the rain falls on us but we keep going. It would be great if you could come and be with us and support us. Thanks, love, Felipe.

Stormy Out, All Cozy With You At The Blog

Pic by Michele of Felipe doing dishes.

The blog yes, is some sort of unworldly secret connection. It’s special and after more than three years of working on it everyday it seems invaluable and irreplaceable. I treasure you guys at the other end of it. You and you reading it and commenting occasionally make it all complete. Thank you.

Somehow if I could only make it earth shaking every single day. Well, after all this time of writing it I know that isn’t realistic. I just checked, there are over 1400 posts of which maybe 10 percent stand out. OK, well maybe that is a good percentage really. When I start each post I really have no idea how it will end up and sometimes just sometimes I hit the jackpot.

Yesterday I was writing about how Herb stopped by to walk. After our two laps in the rain he came in the house to have a cup of tea and warm up. Somehow we got talking about the Bible reading from that morning at Mass. It was a parable, the one about the three guys that got three different amounts of money to invest depending on their capabilities. One guy gets 4X, one 2X and one 1X. The lord of the manor who gave out the money returns and asks the three how they did. So, the guy with 4X doubled it and the guy with 2X doubled it but the guy that got the 1X buried it and returned it to his master just as he got it.

OK, so the first two guys get “atta boys” and the third guy gets punished severely. So what’s with that? But remember it’s a parable, it can’t be understood with normal earthy logic, that’s the deal. We have to use heavenly logic to crack it, to penetrate it, to understand it. It is really about how God distributes power. If we are really capable as the first guy He gives us a lot and then we are supposed to apply ourselves and be fruitful. If we are given less capability we are still to follow that way. But if we are timid and fearful as the last guy and don’t live up to our capabilities then He will find fault with us.

So if I continue that logic even the guys with 4X can’t bury it. No one can bury it. But what about the guy that gets 3X say and tries really hard and somehow looses everything through no fault of his own. He did everything he could but was not successful. He’s good don’t you think, right?

Parables can be frustrating and they are supposed to be because you just can’t get there from here. We have to think less like we normally think and more like God thinks to make any progress on understanding them. They are other worldly.

Well, time to gear up for the morning walk. It is brightening up slightly and the rain has stopped. Today is supposed to be nice for the Seahawks game in Seattle. See you tomorrow, Love, Felipe.