Opening Day 2019 Caminoheads Veranda

William with his Lemon Ginger tea.

Here we are 8:40 AM. Have coffee brewed and stories are coming out in droves just with the few of us present so far. The rain has stopped for good, fingers crossed. Looking like Spain in August here early this morning.

William CCBC and Rho CSWBC are here with me starting this out. Will just write a few words in this lull to let you know what we are up to. So, with that I need to get back to scurrying around getting the venue oh so just so.

Oh so just so loves, Felipé.

Thursday, Veranda Eve!

William, our trusty CCBC, will be here this AM.

Well, we had a practice last evening, Cynthia from Minnesota and Cris from Buenos Aires were here with My Rebecca and me. We tapa’d away with the rain still sprinkling just to see how things would go and I am happy to report it was a complete success.

It started with a trickle but more pilgrims coming in today. So we are all happy so far waiting for the sprinkles to stop and the sun to come out. Not sprinkles but twinkles is what we need. Have to pick up a couple of strings of twinkle lights yet, thanks for reminding me.

Boy, have to report something very serious that occurred last evening. Cris, who works in the field of clinical trials took a look at the paperwork for my trial and looked up info on the internet. And she explained some important parts of my treatment that is a cause for great hope. I could be doing way better than I realized. So see, the Veranda is paying off bigtime even before it starts. Maybe we have seen nothing yet!

I really did need some good news on that account. It is all a long haul for me and my “fight” or my hobby. And a little bright light is heartening. It is a great way to start the weekend!

Don’t forget the Phil’s Camino – So Far So Good documentary at the Vashon Theater at high noon on Saturday. Bring some neighbors too. We need to pack the place like last time. Also having a showing in Seattle at Calvary: the Hill on E. Howell on Capital Hill. That on is September 27th. Rebecca and I will be there for Q and A.

Have a walk at 9 in a few minutes. Charlie and Cris will be here for that. We are so close to Santiago and should be there at the end of Saturday 9AM walk. I have been dragging my feet waiting for everyone to catch up. So God willing we will be there!

high noon loves, Felipé.w

Wednesday Morning And Rainy

This is a great winter time pic of the ankle deep standing water on parts of the Camino. That’s the wintertime and not now!

It is a pretty good rain so far today. It is more than just one of those that “just settles the dust”. The firemen are loving it this kind of rain. And it should be over today and it will serve to freshen up the whole outdoors. August can give that look of well used and this will help soften that up a little.

This evening Marla and Carol the Handler are coming in by rental car. They are staying at Kelly’s along with Mary Margaret. And also our Chief Instigator Cris Milher, Caminoheads South America Bureau Chief, will be flying in and I will be picking her up at the ferry dock. She is staying in the neighborhood at Charlie and Marcy’s. And I say Chief Instigator because this gathering was her idea in the first place when she said sometime last winter, “Why don’t we try to get all the bureau chiefs together.” Sounds pretty innocent the way she put it.

But now things have progressed from gathering to shindig and it hasn’t even started yet. Could hit a full blown hullabaloo by the time it’s over. Afterward when folks have moved on there may remain a sort of crop circle that can be seen from space. “Geez, what happened there?”

This whole thing seems to be akin to the situation when I was a kid. I spent the early part of my childhood in the city before we escaped to the suburbs. This was before the day of all the electronic gizmos obviously, back in a forgotten century. And our biggest joy was to find an empty lot to play in. Just a place, a venue to get together and expand in. That’s what the Veranda looks like to me.

I am going to take advantage of the rest of the morning to write a few words for a friend’s memorial service. So happens that it is this weekend and there was no way that I could get out there so I am going to write a little something that someone could read there. This morning seems like the perfect and only time to do that.

Well, that’s what it looks like on the ground here at the ranch. Hope to see most of you soon if not at the Veranda then someotherwhere.

empty lot loves, Felipé.

Tuesday Of The Week Before

The new outdoor kitchen!

We made vast progress yesterday with help from Linda, Gary and Sybil. We got the the deck cleaned and the outdoor kitchen set up and it looks very official. Today another big day with the porta potties coming. That’s when you know you really have something going on when the porta potties come rolling in!

We have sunshine right away this morning with a pretty nice blue sky with maybe a slight haze. Have to keep that corn ripening!

Someone suggested that we have a gift table where you can take something you like and leave something that maybe you are tied of or don’t use anymore. Pilgrimage related items and preferably light weight, no cast iron waffle irons for instance no matter how Spanish!

I have a video conference later this morning. Annie and I are doing a Q and A for a showing of the film in Philadelphia for a large cancer support group. I am glad that I didn’t have to travel for this one up so close in time to the Veranda.

OK, well I will go out a take a pic of the outdoor kitchen for you. And I will get this out to you so that I can get going on my day, porta potties and all.

Tuesday loves, Felipé.

Monday And We Are Starting To Put It Together

My favorite of My Rebecca’s roses.

Hello gang! Have a walk this morning at 9 and then we are starting to put it together, the physical Veranda that is. I’ve been mowing and weed whacking and now we get to the fun stuff. My Rebecca and I are off to get tables. Have people coming to set up the outdoor kitchen.

Also setting up a welcome table. Need to have folks sign in and be shown where to park and etcetera. We made party favors and you are going to like those. That’s all part of welcome.

People are starting to show up to help. But folks from out of town are starting to come tomorrow. Well, we will just put them to work, that’s what I say.

On the topic of weather, the temps are high 60’s and low 70’s in the day and high 50’s at night. Mostly partial cloudy through the week and the up coming Veranda weekend. Might be a little rain Wednesday, the day after tomorrow. Well, I’ll take that, not too hot. Maybe you California folks might want to throw in an extra parka.

So, on the topic of meals the basic concept is that it will be a potluck situation overall. So, bring something to contribute. I plan on having some things here to fill in the gaps. And we will have corn and berries compliments of Mother Nature. And we will have condiments and coffee. That is a little sketchy way to operate but pilgrims can handle that. There will be the outdoor kitchen to prep things for the table.

OK, I am alternating between anxiety and tremendous confidence about this whole arrangement. But I have high hopes in you to help pull this together. Pilgrims are flexible, resourceful and charming. That’s what I am counting on.

OK, off to the morning walk.

flexible, resourceful and charming loves, Felipé.

The Sunday Before…

Got to have the classic tomato shot!

The Sunday before this earthshaking event, the very first Caminoheads Veranda. The countdown is happening! Preparations are being made. This is all I am up to now, just getting ready for you to be here.

Here are some things that are on my mind that need to get said while they are with me. One, Vashon is under High wildfire alert. We will have a campfire in one spot only. And we must be careful with other open flame, smoking or candles. Please be aware.

Also I am having all attending Bureau Chiefs assigned certain tasks. Nothing hard or grueling just important things that need constant attention. I am asking all other pilgrims to spend a quarter of their time here helping out. That means you are open to help out if something needs doing while you are on duty. Things like serving food, dish washing or manning the sign in table for instance. We are just a big loose albergue.

We are still short on music and other entertainment. We need some sort of projector like something for Power Point. What else?

Local folks are starting to show up tomorrow to help set up and Tuesday is port a potties delivery. Wednesday afternoon folks from out of town are starting to show up. Then Thursday and Friday more folks. So I think that Friday we will get started and will be ramping up with things. There will be some adjustments. Saturday and Sunday are busy and then winding down on Monday.

I know that some folks want to have serious meetings. Some of the authors have requested these. So there are some times for that mostly on Monday. But we can arrange meetings of subgroups. Remember the original idea here was for the Bureau Chiefs to get together. So we will have time for that.

OK, maybe that is it for now. This is just the kind of stuff that is filling my brain during the countdown, lots of nuts and bolts issues. But it is all for our Veranda! Our get together is the important idea, everything else is secondary.

Everything else is secondary loves, Felipé.

The Rumors Have Started

This is the place!

We are approaching the sucking vortex of the Veranda party. It is happening sure as heck. Meanwhile rumors have started about famous personalities showing up in the vicinity. I don’t know how these things get started.

Joe Cocker at the Veranda

Wow, Joe Cocker, well maybe!

And here is a beautiful and serious message from our beloved Pope and I don’t want to make fun of him in any way but still he may be here, heck I don’t know?

The Pope may show up at the Veranda

I am going to just be talking about the Veranda from here on in because that is all my brain is holding these days. Not much space left for other things. Busy renting porta potties and buying small stuff that I know we will need. People are starting to show up on Monday to help set up. That’s kind of where we are at.

It is all very wonderful to think about most of you being here for the gathering. If you are watching this from somewhere and want to send in a message to the group because you can’t make it physically then I can read them. Just know that you don’t have to be here to be here.

OK, more to come tomorrow and the next day. So, stick with me for important news. From now on it will be all Veranda all the time!

From now on loves, Felipé.

My Fifteenth Life

Trying to smell the roses in each one of my fifteen lives.

I went to evening Mass yesterday as it was the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. These special services are always interesting to me in that I get to see a lot of people that I don’t normally. Our little church has three Sunday services per week and folks tend to get habituated to one or the other and if that isn’t your slot you normally never see them. So it is refreshing to be there.

One of these that I talked with was Catholic Colin as Wiley calls him. He yells out from a distance, “Phil, hey what are you on your fifteenth life now?” That’s hilarious. I said something about that I was loosing track! Hehe, guy banter.

But it is something to check in with once in once in a while or daily. It is easy to take life for granted most times especially on the good days. Yes, but I do feel like I have been given fifteen lives sometimes, crazy as that sounds.

Well, time to jump up and continue on the prep for the Veranda. A hundred little things that I would like to get done before people arrive. Some of those might actually happen. Sometimes I feel like one of the characters in my Rebecca’s novel where the quirks of life really rule everything in spite of best intentions.

fifteen loves, Felipé.

About Yesterday

A book about Vashon Island in the Betty MacDonald vein.

Wow, a big day for us yesterday and a must comment for me. It is always a pleasure to have a great day isn’t it? I will get to it with a little detail.

First, I was off early to travel to Seattle to what I call the Institute (Swedish Cancer Institute) for my scan and the doctor’s interpretation. Under normal conditions these scans are so incredibly anxiety producing for the scanee. So much seems to ride on this one snapshot. How could any one thing be so important but it seems so. But I have had so many over the years that

My scan showed the cancer in my lungs stable, no growth! That is a win in my world, a “W”. And two other parts of the puzzle were good also. One, my side effects were near zero and my numbers from all my tests were in the good zone. This is what a win looks like anymore, no growth and tolerating the drug at the same time. Yay!

And rushed back to the Island to catch most of Rebecca’s book launch party. She had a good crowd and a fun reading. So happy that she has this going. A lot of books were sold and signed. And I personally am very close to finishing the book. Somehow actually reading it has escaped me over the last few months. But it’s good, quirky and comical.

Afterward we cleaned up the venue and went across the street for a drink and dinner to celebrate. The whole day was something to be celebrated and we tried to do a good job of it!

So, off to the morning walk. We are so close to Santiago. Sort of dragging our feet and not trying too hard lately so you can catch up and we can finish at Veranda time.

celebration loves, Felipé.