About The Oasis

Bridging across.
(photo K Burke)

In 2019 we had the Veranda party in August at sweet corn eating time. It was supposed to be a wake for me, a celebration of sorts. It was so fun and well received by all the goers. We had something like 50-60 folks stop by to visit, camp and party over the four days. To my surprise everyone wanted to do it again in 2020.

Then 2020 rolled around with it’s buddy Covid. What to do? I still wanted to do something just to keep the spirit alive. We had an extremely small gathering and named it the Corntine. Matter of fact, it was so small I can’t remember it at all. I do remember the corn harvest being dismal which was completely in character with the year.

OK, so now here we are 2021. At this moment we are still in the grips of this pandemic but we see some light from the end of the tunnel. It is four months to Oasis time. I named it the Oasis because the Veranda idea wasn’t strong enough. It didn’t convey the death, suffering and isolation of this the Covid journey and the relief of getting beyond it to finally camel into the shade of the Oasis. The Oasis is supposed to be a place of new beginning.

We hope and trust that we can make this event truly a new beginning with some of the closeness and the fun and meaningfulness of life at the Veranda in 2019. You remember, the old days. And the only way that I can foresee that happening is if we can get 100% percent compliance with vaccinations for entry into the event. I have thought long and hard on this and I don’t see anyway around it. I know some folks have their own personal reasons for not getting vaccinated and I want to honor that but here in this case I have to draw this line. There is four months to go and there is now availability of vaccine for all 16 year olds and older in all states. No more can be done.

My Rebecca wants me to put a personal face on this. I will volunteer to be this personal face and put forth that I am now very vulnerable and four months from now who can say. Please honor this for Felipé.

Just to inject (nice pun Felipé) some fun at this point let me go thorough the list of folks who have said they are coming. Annie, Esther and Janet from CA. Kathy from Iowa and Farmer John. Catalina and whole family from Berkeley. Henriette from here in WA. Of course folks from the Island here, Catherine and Dana, Wiley and Henna. Maybe I left some out, sorry but you get the idea.

Love you, miss you loves, Felipé.

The Average Three Year Old

The tapas tree is celebrating Spring!
(photo P Volker)

On FaceBook last week I saw this post. I can’t vouch for it’s strict accuracy but it sounds pretty good to me. And it said, “The average three year old laughs 300 times a day while it takes the average forty year old 2 1/2 months.” What do you think? It really doesn’t bode well for us old timers does it?

I started out an important Zoom on Thursday with this factoid and I am going to use it again on this morning’s Zoom with Catalina’s class. It points to something important I think. There is a lot more room for humor in our lives than we know, don’t you think?

Yesterday Catherine and I had our first after church tailgate party. There we were hanging out in the sun with our Monk’s Blend Coffee and our sugary doughnuts talking to passerby’s. What could be better?

Still waiting for my treatment schedule to come in. This is the key to figuring out the timing in the rest of my month. There are a lot of moving parts on my calendar. And time moves on. It is almost May with corn planting time around the 12th. Geez!

OK, let’s get this week saddled up and moving!

sugary doughnut loves, Felipé.

A Rock’em Sock’em Week It Was

Blooms on the tapas tree!
(photo P Volker)

Well, here I am after a pretty harrowing week. It seems like a month but no it was just a week. Thanks for all the comments of support. And thank you for all the thoughts and prayers on my behalf and our family’s behalf. It was a rough stretch in the trail but it seems better now having a plan and “road map” of the treatment.

I have two Zoom meetings with groups in the rest of the month of April. Hoping and praying that these will come to fruition on the dates scheduled. One is with Catalina’s pilgrimage class and one with a cancer support group. The problem is the Cyberknife doctors at the hospital are going to hand me a pretty iron clad schedule for treatment for these two weeks coming up and things could possibly conflict. But it will be what it will be I guess.

So life goes on over and in spite of the bumps and potholes on the trail. We know how to support each other the way we did on the old Camino. No one should feel alone.

Planning is going on for the Oasis. People are making plane reservations. The corn field is fertilized and tilled and warming in the ever increasing sunshine. A stack of bandanas in here. We so hope that each and everyone that wants to make it will be able to. That’s August 20-23rd.

It is a beautiful morning here with a semi cloudy day in store. Catherine will be here momentarily to do our Rosary walk. Then we probably will kick off the season by tailgating at the supermarket parking lot just like old times!

back in the saddle loves, Felipé.

William Remembers

On this solemn day of the funeral of our world’s Prince Philip we have our William remembering.

Royal Memories.

The passing of His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh, on April 9th has brought to mind many Royal memories for yours truly.

On March 24th, 1953, as a 7 year old boy, I listened on the wireless as the announcer describe the funeral procession for Queen Mary.

When the young Princess Elizabeth announced the upcoming date of her coronation of Tuesday June 2nd, 1953 I was thrilled as this date would be my 8th Birthday.

In 1957 I was chosen to be one of the representatives from my Boy Scout Troop who would attend a major exhibition at Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall. Our task was to work in a cook shelter making pancakes. Princess Margaret ( The Queens elder sister ) was in attendance. Much to my delight she came by so I was able to serve her a sample of our efforts.

29th May, 1953 Edmund Hillary with sherpa Tenzing Norgay completed the first summit of Mount Everest.

On 16th, July that year the young Queen Elizabeth knighted him Sir Edmund Hillary.

July 2nd, 1965 was the day that I received my Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award from his Royal Highness.

Considering the number of youth who were present I was taken aback when the Duke came over to me.

During our conversation he mentioned that he recognized the tie I was wearing which came for an outdoor facility in Englands Lake District which I had attended.

He explained that his Son Charles had also attended there………….Small world……

I still have the tie…….

56 years later I am challenged to clearly recall the rest of our conversation.

I do remember that he was genuinely interested in what I had to say.

March 19th 1966 I emigrated from Scotland to Canada.

When the the Duke of Edinburgh could not attend a presentation of his awards in 1966 in Toronto he sent Sir Edmund Hillary in his place.

I was invited to join Sir Edmond for this gathering at the then brand new Toronto City Hall.

My conversation with the late Queen Mother in the north of Scotland in 1968 is another contact with Royalty that I will not forget.

Here we stood in this old village churchyard after the morning service which I had attended with the Queen Mother and a few locals………….

The Queen Mother was so easy to converse with.

It was like talking to an old friend…………

William Hayes, Caminoheads Canada Bureau Chief

all photos from W Hayes)

Fessing Up

photo R Angert

It has been a busy and interesting and harrowing couple of weeks. And I have been largely absent because it took a while to sort things out. I thank Cris for so gracefully taking up the slack for the last few days. And there is a way forward and let me explain.

Well, first this all started with these headaches and hearing problem that I started having starting two months ago. At first I thought it was an infection and I obtained some antibiotics to try and deal with that but the symptoms continued and I went to a chiropractor that Wiley uses and he actually gave me a lot of relief because my neck was so kinked up that it was contributing. But ultimately the symptoms continued and My Rebecca got me to mention it to Nugget (Dr Gold my oncologist). He immediately ordered a MRI brain scan.

That scan was accomplished last Monday and within hours I was hearing that I had a tumor under my right ear. It is inside my skull, in the skull bone and outside the skull. This all sounded pretty darn scary as you can imagine. I shared that with My Rebecca and our son and daughter without knowing any more. Then Wednesday My Rebecca and I went into the hospital to talk with the Cyberknife department people. This is targeted radiation. We were much comforted after this meeting with the professionals.

It comes down to me showing up for five sessions between this Monday and the end of the month to get treated. It is a routine procedure these days and I was left with one “maybe”. That is whether the hearing in my right ear would survive all this. So there is that.

So, that is where we are for now. I just wanted to jump in and be with you and tell you that things have calmed down and that we have a way forward. Your prayers would be appreciated.

We are taking a “daycation” today and driving up to Port Hadlock to visit Terry Hershey and Nancy. It is a beautiful sunny day. I have a job to do my annual springtime ritual of finding my sunglasses. They seem to disappear permanently each October.

OK, enough of this loves, Felipé.

Checking in!

Phil being Phil (Picture by Jim M)

I have heard from the boss (AKA Phil), that the blogging injuries are getting better with the blogging rest, so it was a good thing that he accepted the PTO (Paid Time Off) for this week.

I was thinking actually that this year, Phil did not take his vacation in the Elk Hotel as he has been doing for years; if I am not recalling wrong, he left for their male hunting trip with Wiley and James (Wiley’s friend, also known as “The most interesting man in the world”) but they returned before planned. I am wondering how much the blogging injuries are related to the blogging act itself, or instead are related to the lack of vacation… or related to the lack of sleeping days in the Elk Hotel beds… or to spending some days outside the ranch sleeping in the cold… Maybe, sleeping in the cold provides some tension to the muscles that force the spine to align… or maybe the Elk Hotel beds do that…

You may think I have watched too many episodes of Dr. House (the TV series with the bad tempered, sarcastic doctor)… and while that is something I cannot deny, I a firm believer in the healing power of those activities that became our rituals, traditions and hobbies; that at practicing, they help us release all these endorphins, hormones and neurotransmitters, that are what create a healing environment in our minds and bodies.

I think we discussed this topic some time ago in the blog, didn’t we? It was when we were saying that many of us had awful blisters, muscle aches, bed-bugs bites and other maladies in the Camino, yet all of us are thinking on our next walk… that makes me think that the wellbeing-environment that walking created for us, healed us more than hurt us…

Back to the boss, while I have said that he would need to return to his desk on Monday, it seems that he wants to reincorporate to his duties on Saturday… so, I just would like to thank everyone for putting up with me these days! Phil is right when he says you are the best!

Substitute Love,



A sea of tiny fires

“Un mar de fueguitos written by Eduardo Galeano” by CinWololo Canciones Ilustradas

“A man from the village of Neguá, in the coast of Colombia, was able to go to Heaven. Upon returning, he spoke. He said he had contemplated the human beings from the Height. And he said we are a sea of tiny fires.

-This is what the world is- he revealed-: A lot of people, a sea of tiny fires.
Each person brights with his own light among the light of the others.

There are not two fires alike. There are big fires and small fires and fires of each colour. There are people of a calm fire, that do not even notice the wind, and there are people of a crazy fire, that fill the air with sparks. Some fires, silly fires, neither light up nor burn; but others, burn the life with so much will that they can not be looked at without blinking, and whoever gets close to them, is kindled.”

This is my own translation of a text written by Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano, from a wonderful book called “El Libro de los Abrazos”, something like “The Book of the Embraces”. I read this book when I was 18 and has been one of my companions since, and somehow shaped the way I see human nature.

I like to think that we are fires because of what the fire itself is: its dynamism, that can stir up or can let be put off. And in reference to this, it makes me think that beyond what the fire is per se, there is our own responsibility to keep it burning. There are no doubts that we have to take care of our own fire.

Some time ago, reading a blog* I am used to visiting, I found some words from St. Augustine along with a thought of the owner of the blog that added a bit more of  food for thought:

“-“Because there are some who call themselves simple but they are lazy; … they call themselves docile, but are apathetic” (St. Augustine, idem)-. If our simplicity, our docility, our kindness and our tolerance are not compatible with a heart that is passionate by good and truth, then it is not tolerance but apathy, indifference and “flippancy”.”

I cannot avoid thinking about the attentiveness we were talking about yesterday (and Catherine so beautifully added on! Go to the comments!!!) How easily we can just “slip in” and let our lives “go by”, speaking in fires, becoming a “silly fire that neither stir up nor burn”. I wish to burn my life with eagerness, because the best thing of being such a fire is that its warmth exceeds ourselves, it is offered freely to those who are close and to those that being far away want to get closer to warm up… it is as if in this “giving without giving”, offering without even noticing, that our real human nature is hidden.

* http://www.diosyayacucho.blogspot.com/

Warm Loves,


Busy Tuesday

Cellular Landscape Cross-Section Through A Eukaryotic Cell by Evan Ingersoll and Gael McGill.

Ufff… second day at the job and I am already late… I hope the boss doesn’t fire me… The thing is that the day has been busy with a morning long training about the disease my team and I are working on. It never ceases to amaze me how complex our biology is and how clever we can be, in order to understand processes completed by things we will never see…

Today, the professor who was delivering the training, said at a moment that the enzymatic failure that causes the disease we are studying was discovered in 1960… that is 60 years ago… Now, think about how the world was like 60 years ago (you might need to tell me, because I was not born back then!)… but for sure, I can tell there were no cellphones with cameras, no computers, no emails, no Hubble telescopes, so all that there was, was the scientists in their labs, maybe with their assistants and notebooks with untidy notes… but clearly, with a very sharp, focused mind, and way less time lost scrolling screens…

Would that be the reason why people back then were able to make such discoveries? In my humble opinion, I think so… I think people got less bored, were able to sustain their concentration longer, because the fast pace of the screens and the ability to have all the information you need in a couple clicks, has brought up a lot of impatience, certainly that happens to me…

Several of us found in the Camino a “slow way of life” (not sure if that is proper English, but I hope you get what I mean!) Life outside the Camino includes rushing, google maps telling how to get from A to B in the quickest way, highways, and usually never walking. And in this slower pace, we were able to see things we never saw before too, lots of us had the opportunity to have real conversations with other human beings for the first time in a long time too… (because we were walking…!!! Have you tried to have a long conversation with someone while running and oxygen is short and the breathing is agitated?) and I was wondering too how many of us saw ourselves for the first time in our adult lives and had a conversation with ourselves long enough to get to discover a tiny bit of who we are…

In any case, today, as I was in my training, I was reflecting with awe and admiration how much we are able to do when we aren’t distracted… and I must say after that, I felt some sadness for all that we are missing when we aren’t paying attention… The good thing is that we have the opportunity to make a better choice in the next minute and the next and the next…

Let’s make the choice to think of the boss and his brain scan… looking forward to hearing how that went… We know scans are always a stressful deal.

Walking loves,




Family relationships

Cris and Agus in WWE (by Agus)

Oh boy, the boss is a hard bone, isn’t he? He was prescribed a day off but he couldn’t help and sat back in the red sofa to blog for us… I am definitely not telling his chiropractor, and I am crossing my fingers he didn’t come to check the blog and found that his patient has misbehaved!!! So anyway, you will have to put up with me again today, as I will blog on the boss behalf.

I loved Phil’s description about working with Wiley, and I thought about a funny story that I had with my youngest nephew, when he was around 5 years old (now he is 10). For him, I had always been “Tia Cris” (Auntie Cris). You see, my brother only has one sister (me), and we no longer have parents; and my sister in law’s family lives in another province, so the only one around most of the time for them in those years was me.

That year, on Tuesdays my oldest nephew used to go to his first Communion classes, and it was a family thing, so his parents were going along. So, it was my turn to pick up the youngest from kindergarten, bring him to my house, and bake cookies or muffins, as we waited for his brother and parents.

This particular afternoon, I picked him from kinder, and as we were walking to my house, he was saying good-bye to each of his friends and was telling me the name and last name of each, as he greeted them. I then asked him if he knew his name, and he loudly said his name and last name, and I asked about his brother’s, and he also said it correctly, and continued to tell me his mother’s maiden name and his father’s name and last name. Then is when I decided to ask him if he knew my name, to which he replied: “YES! AUNTIE CRIS!”, to what I said that it was not, and when I said my name, he opened his eyes widely, looked at me in awe, and exclaimed: “Why do you have the same last name I have?”, so I explained to him that his father and I were siblings, and went on to explain to him that that was the reason why I was his “auntie”… he was puzzled, he was as if a new world had opened in front of him…

We arrived home, baked cookies more silently than ever, and then his brother arrived. He rushed to the door with excitment and the first thing he said his brother -who was 8- was: “You know what? Auntie Cris is daddy’s sister!!!”, as if he had this big news he wanted to share. But instead, his brother shrugged and said: “Yes, that is why she is Auntie Cris”. You could not imagine his face… he was shocked… and as he was looking at each of us, the adults in the room, exclaimed: “And why didn’t any of you tell me?!” 

That was a big lesson to me… how many times do we take for granted that the other knows some very basic things, and we live years in that way, until we realize it is not the case? For quite a while, after this funny event happened, I paid attention to this question and realized how many things I just “assume” everyone else knows… and in consequence, I realized how many misunderstandings come from those “assumptions”… As I write about this today, I think I will start contemplating this topic again… I am foreseeing there will be a number of conversations I will have to have…

New worlds opening loves,



Sunday Morning, Getting Past The Danish

Springtime William
( photo W Hayes)

These blogging injuries are taking their toll on me. But we will get things sorted out eventually. Wasn’t that lovely how we were hijacked by the lovely Cris. If you have to be Shanghaied it is not a bad way to go.

Catherine will be here in a few minutes for our cherished Rosary session. I think that I will just have a short post today and not try to continue this later in the day. Blogging is an early morning activity for me.

And thank you Cris. Thank you Carol. Thank you Ronaldo. And thank you everyone, you make this happen.

yellow flowers, green leaves, blue sky loves, Felipé.