From Karen From Cambridge

(photo K Kelly)

Sitting Still

COVID storms on here in the UK and over Christmas my brother went down to it hard. Being clinically vulnerable due to my chemo, it scared me, left me somewhat afraid to go outside. He’s the first person close to me who’s had the disease. And with the uk news full of spiraling cases and drowning hospitals, I had a bad few days. Walking in the countryside has kept me sane through lockdown but now I was scared to go out.

Then I dreamed of the Camino. Of the simplicity of it. Of sitting in the cafe, in the early afternoon watching the peregrinos pass. When the day is over and the walking done. The glass of rioja, the bowl of padrón peppers. Writing in my journal. The peace of it. And on waking I realized that this is a time in my life for sitting quietly, and watching the outside world, without needing to engage with its fearfulness. I can be here, without engaging in the fear or craziness. I can witness it and rest.

And when the time is right I can go on.

Karen, Caminoheads England Bureau Chief

The Morning After

(photo K Burke)

Well, there was some hoopla for ya. Somehow the designer of all that pretty well filled it out and the lack of an audience was minimized. Maybe I am just getting used to living in a Zoom world.

It is hard right now to focus on anything else but yesterday’s event and the ripples from it. It is just the headline news no getting around it. Went to a Zoom party last evening with My Rebecca. Most people we didn’t know. They were having fun. I have to admit that I feeling left out of the celebration spirit in general. Maybe that is a sign of me being a true Independent.

There is such a need for bridge building, that is what I see in our divided land. I can only get so happy about wins and losses of the Parties. For me Amanda’s poem made the most sense of it all. Thank you Amanda, couldn’t do it without you.

Off to walk momentarily. It’s a shorty post today but it is all I can do.

bridges loves, Felipé.


Well, we got our Joe sworn in today and not only just sworn in but sworn in in massive style. Oh, my gosh. Did we need that or what? The call for unity was front and center. We here at the ranch were very moved.

But for me the whole show was stolen by a twenty two year old poet. If you did not see the presentation by Ananda Gorman, Google it up! She followed so many great acts and still stole the show. I need the t-shirt.

She Put a Spell on Me

Zoom cocktail celebration loves, Felipé.

Elbow Macaroni

This Mexican cross a gift from Catherine.
(photo P Volker)

If you have been around here for a little while you know that we pay attention to our dreams. They can give us guidance and inspiration which we are often in need of. Well yea, fine and good but you know how wacky things can get with dreams. The Dreammister must have a sense of humor. Anyway last night I had a dream about elbow macaroni. I am trying hard to come up with details but so far nothing.

Well, that is exciting news! But you see that is the trouble today that nothing can compare with the drama coming out of Washington, that other Washington as we say around here. Twenty one hours before Joe takes the oath and we are waiting for the slew of pardons to come down any minute from Donald. We are clinging to our present patchwork of normality as we shove the Covid and everything else to the back burner.

But my elbow macaroni niggles. And my Mexican cross joins in. The scattering of body parts and everyday items look like a scattering of macaroni, sort of haphazard. But the more I dissect it, the cross that is, I see some order maybe. The head in the very center could be Christ and that is physically connected to a set of praying hands and a Sacred Heart. Then the other items that swirl around those seem random and disconnected: arms and legs, breasts, leaves, an ear of corn, a hat but all parts of life.

In between the drama I ponder.

In between the drama I ponder loves, Felipé.

Spring Cleaning?

I know it isn’t quite time yet, at least month wise for spring cleaning. But I am sure seeing and feeling the need this year like never before. Not only inside but out. Not only physically but in all ways. We got dust bunnies on dust bunnies in all venues. I just checked it out, trust me.

Had a hard time getting in gear this morning writing the blog. Some days are like that. But I took a little walk around the house with the camera hoping for some signs of Spring and a little inspiration. Well, a few things were showing signs of new life, early birds like quince and rhubarb. Of course, other things like the bulletproof kale persist no matter. There are some new flower shoots shooting up hither and yon in little micro environments. Hellebores actually bloom in the winter here and I found one of those. So things are happening, it is just a matter of looking.

OK, I know there are other places still in the deep freeze. For sure but the tide has turned. Change is going to come even for William up North. Are you still there William?

Here are a few pics from around the ranch, late January shots:

Kale is a survivor.
(photo P Volker)

Brand new flower shoots. Don’t ask me what kind.
(photo P Volker)

Buds on the quince opening!
(photo P Volker)

Hellebore blooms.
(photo P Volker)

Tapas table awaits!
(photo P Volker)

Spring is out there loves, Felipé.


I know, yes, one of my signs is upside down.
(photo P Volker)

scramble – make one’s way quickly or awkwardly up a steep gradient or over rough ground by using one’s hands as well as one’s feet.

Back in the olden times, back in the mid 1960’s, I made a big purchase of a 305cc Honda Scrambler motorcycle. For that time and place and me it was an awesome machine. Mine was black although the advertising pic of Roy Rodgers with his showed a red one. I remember they had three models with the 305 engine a sporty runabout, a cushy road bike and the gnarly all business Scrambler. It was an easy choice.

But back to today, to the here and now of early early 2021. Scramble was the word I came up with this morning to describe the present times for me, for us. Life is never easy, right? But from this last year onward it seemed like the whole playing field has been tilted and not in our favor. Now we scramble where before we walked.

I think we just have to take that in and not let it frustrate us. It is always easy to have unrealistic expectations and the accompanying frustrations. Learning to downshift a gear and slow down is what I see as a Way for now.

though not tilted loves, Felipé.

Thanks Ryck

Thanks Ryck for your message yesterday. It was a message from “ground zero” or close since Ryck works in DC but I don’t know if he is going into work or not these days. So, if he isn’t in DC proper he is close.
But not a peep from him about this situation or “crickets” as people say now. He chose to give us that wonderful vision of the house on the hill from the Camino.

Yes, I think we need to check in with the things that inspire us and sustain us in these trying times. We need those touchstones to keep us righted. We need to know always which way is up.

Thanks Ryck. Thanks for your effort and your inspiration. We move forward more easily now with your help. And as we go we are thinking of our own touchstones that maybe we need to dust off and shine up.

dust off loves, Felipé.

Ryck, Our Guy At Ground Zero

This is a guy you want on your side.
(photo R Thompson)

Painting of my favorite scene along the Camino Frances. This is the vineyard house as you are approaching Villafranca del Bierzo. This house would be on your left side off in the distance…

“Big Love” is a song written and sung by Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac. As I walked alone along the dirt path parallel in the distance from this house, on a hill in the vineyard, I was jamming to “Big Love” with my Beats earbuds on.

“Looking out for love
In the night so still
Oh, I’ll build you a kingdom
In that house on the hill
Looking out for love….”

That was the house on the hill that I imagined. As I walked alongside it I stopped and paused and looked at the serene house and totally had a daydream of a girl that may have lived in that house on the hill maybe a 100 years before and the young guy in love with her, trying to get to her on the hill… the background of my daydream was the amazing guitar riff and lyrics Lindsey Buckingham poured out, Looking out for love………Big, Big love………and the guitar solo……
My god, “The Dance” live album, amazing….
The vivid daydream I had that day on the Camino was so surreal that the daydream was even better than reality. I remember it was one of those days that my body was so ravaged from pushing myself too hard, feet on fire, that endorphins must have kicked in and now the daydreams were epic, like I was on mushrooms or something…(never did shrooms).

And so, this picture, this house, on the hill, in Spain, on the Camino is my favorite.
Oh how I LONG for a day like that again. How simple was life. “Must get to albergue…feet on fire….hungry….thirsty…..oh my god, look at that house on that hill……” Like an 80’s awesome soundtrack movie, enter Lindsey Buckingham…..

“Looking out for love
In the night so still
Oh, I’ll build you a kingdom
In that house on the hill
Looking out for love….”

I love you guys. We will all be having Camino days like that again soon. I absolutely promise:)



The First Dose

Checking out the roses along the Camino.
(photo K Burke)

The first dose is in me! Keytruda my new friend is here to help. Yea, back from the big city and the Institute and the Treatment Center and I am feeling pretty good about all this. Now the trick is for us to agree with each other, this drug and me. And I am picking up from my nurse friends that this drug is pretty easy to get along with for most folks. I have my fingers crossed.

Plus I got back at the Treatment Center which I have been away from for the last year and a half while I have been on the self administered pills. So, I get to see the guys and flirt with the nurses. But it is noisy in there, I forgot about that. All those pumps and their alarms and buzzers working nonstop. It’s kind of a scene to avoid if you possibly can.

And here at the ranch I am back to the walk in moments. We are experiencing a little dry spell in the middle of this monsoon so that is nice. Any chance for the surface water to drain off is welcomed right now. This water that is moving winds up traveling downhill to the east to Shawnee Beach and then into Puget Sound where it mixes with the salt water.

So, maybe I will get some company here this morning on the walk. I need some brave souls to walk with. Jim and Jen might be here with their dog Kody. That would be good, we always laugh and laugh. Yup.

Have a good day, what ever you are up to.

later later loves, Felipé.

Local Good News

A little local thing.
(photo W Hayes)

I’m savoring it and milking it for all it is worth. And it is worth a lot here locally. A twenty some year old man, Adrian, who had been a champion wrestler and a few years younger than our Wiley has been in a coma for three weeks. Well, he came out of it sometime yesterday to his mother’s and all our delight. And beyond he was talking in sentences and remembered who people are. Praise the Lord!

My Rebecca told me in the dark in the middle of the night during a wind storm that had knocked the power out. I for a long time thought of that wonderful thing as the wind howled through the trees and things banged outside. What a wonderful thing. How wonderful a thing. How wonderful in our present time with things all around howling and banging. Praise the Lord!

It is just a little local flame. Maybe a flower bud growing up from a crack in the sidewalk. Just a little glint of possibility. Blue sky behind the cloud.

Now in a minute I have to look around outside and check all the roofs for damage and see if anything needs chainsawing in the driveway. I need to start my journey into the big city and the Institute later this morning. Medical miracles waiting to happen for me with the new immunotherapy starting today!

Yes, that’s right, medical miracles are already happening. Janet, my
energy work healer had us watch Medicine Buddha (Amazon Prime) last evening. It is full length documentary filmed entirely in Mongolia. I am working hard with Janet’s help on visualization of my cancer dispersing so we are all pulling together.

power on loves, Felipé.