A Special Blessing

Togethernessing around the fire.

I am here at Providence Hospital to attend a Mass and to receive this special blessing from the Archbishop. It is the Day of the Sick and that is me these days, one of the sick. The folks from the Order of Malta are here also to talk to me about the future trip to Lourdes, France. A future trip that I am trying to finagle my way aboard. Maybe finagle isn’t the right word but I just wanted to use it. I have some gaps in my paperwork and then hopefully I will be an official candidate.

Finally I am feeling better with my body and nearly normal on things of concern. Without whining I have to just say that these new treatments are a major challenge. I think I have expressed that over the last few weeks, maybe I should move on to something more interesting.

The Order of Malta is an interesting topic. This is an ancient organization that goes back to when the first pilgrims started venturing from Europe to the Holy Lands. They were first called the Knights of Saint John, that is John the Baptist, that John. They were tasked with protecting and caring for the travelers on these holy pilgrimages. They are credited with setting up the first hospitals anywhere. Sometimes they are referred to as the Knights Hospitaliers. They are overall known for there work with basically the sick. And that’s where I come in.

They want to include me in their annual trip to that famous healing place Lourdes. All the chapters of the Order of Malta from around the world are converging on Lourdes during the first week in May. I don’t know the population of all that but know that the West Coast outfit is sending 50 of us and each has a helper. So a bunch of us.

OK back at the ranch for a little rest. Then My Rebecca and I are back to Seattle for a dinner. Hmm, I am supposed to be recovering.

Love, Felipe.

Ahh, A Cup Of Coffee

Just savoring my first cup of coffee since Tuesday I guess. That must mean something. Man, that was a seriously bad side effects session that I am coming out of.

One good thing, I got some reading in. Just finished up Finding Mercy In This World by our very own Catherine Johnson. This is available on Amazon and etc. I really want to get together with her with the few questions that I have. She is such a good writer, I can learn a lot from her.

Now I am on to Cancer: Exploring Your Path by Teresa Matthews. Annie stayed with Teresa on one of her junkets with our film and I got a signed copy out of the deal. This is an up beat sort of a reference book. It has sections that the reader can delve into if it applies. It is setup to cut down on information overload which is one of the problems that a new patient faces. Thank you Teresa, hope that we get to converse one of these days soon.

As I am writing to you and simultaneously looking at the covers of these two books and am struck by the similarity between them. Caterine’s is a pic of the Camino with the trail going off through the foreground, middle distance and to the horizon appearing and disappearing. The sky over head is unsettled and clouds are scudding across the landscape suggesting a less than ideal day for the weather. Teresa’s cover looks to be a painting with a similar look but there is a fork in the road and the main road heads off to the shadows on the right. The y to the left heads up a hill lit up by luminous clouds on the horizon. The scene suggests that this side trip (your cancer) has maybe side benefits that aren’t apparent to the travelers on the main road.

Maybe I buy books for their covers. But these were both given to me by their authors. Sort of suggests some link there anyway. The link being that we are all on a journey?

Teresa’s and Catherine’s books.

So maybe next on my reading list is an old classic that I just haven’t gotten to as of yet, The Camino by Shirley MacLaine, from the year 2000. Jessika came in with this copy for me the other day. Thank you. This book and the film by Martin Scheen, The Way, are two works that have fueled the current popularity of the Camino de Santiago. Maybe that and the fact that the world was ready for it. That is all kind of a chicken and egg thing trying to figure which came first.

OK, time to try and get moving here. A slow steady start would be good. Thanks for being here with me. Love, Felipe.

Chicken Soup With Saltines

Catherine y Dana on the trail here at the ranch.

Weak but hopeful is how I am characterizing my current condition. Had a rough 48 hours. But just finished a bowl of chicken soup with rice and a handful of crackers and that seems pretty normal. I know I missed writing the blog post yesterday and that very rarely happens and will give you some indication about how I felt.

But lovely angels are watching over me. My Rebecca is here at the ranch everpresent. Catherine y Dana swooped in with the chicken soup like they slide down a pole, a couple of firemen. Then, am in phone contact with my trusty nurse Alice at the hospital. They have gotten me through this hard spot.

Walking in a few moments. I will give that a go, one lap at a time. Charlie our neighbor has walked on the last few Thursdays so maybe he will be here.

Ever hopeful, love, Felipe.

Gathering Up The News At Porcupine Junction

William out on his snowshoes checking it out for us.

Yea, we got William on snow shoes tracking down the stories for us Caminoheads in the outback of Canada. How is that for reach? Great pics William, thanks.

Here locally we are getting through our winter and trying to be productive about it. There are little hints outside that Spring is coming. And it doesn’t take much to encourage us. Just the littlest signs can be put us in a better frame of mind. Mother Nature buoying us up so to speak with little tiny peeks into the future.

Catherine and Dana were just here for coffee and to catch up on news. We are so fortunate to have them in our lives and close at hand. They are more than neighbors, more than friends, maybe a new category.

Well, off to work here today. Trying to get a few things done in between side effects of the chemo. So, I will go for now, love as always, always as love, Felipe.

A Quiet Monday Morning

OK, we got the Super Bowl accomplished. We had a great party with out living room packed and cheering. And the best part, it was a good game.

Very quiet right now. It is almost like we are in an earlier century here at the moment. Good time to blog in the peace of the morning while being in another time.

Ah, perfect, yes, here is a report about happenings here at Raven Ranch that really do harken from other times. I have a friend that has a daughter that is currently training to be a falconer. Yes, someone that is capable of handling falcons and hawks. How about that for exotic.

Anaca is the woman and Abe is the hawk, a young male Redtail. She has been working with the bird for several months since trapping it up along the Skagit River here in Western Washington. This is all highly regulated by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife and overseen by a state wide group of experienced falconers. Anaca will have to complete a two year apprenticeship ultimately.

So, she has chosen our north pasture as a training area. She had the first session several days ago and Wiley and at were able to observe the goings on. So amazing. I know that there has been a lot of cool things that have occurred here at the ranch but here is another worthy of note. Enjoy the pics, will try and get some better ones for you in the future.

Abe in flight.

Coming in for a landing on Anaca’s glove.

Close up of this pair.

Have to go and walk the trail in a few moments, overcast and dry with the temp in the fourties F. Take care, buoy up, love, Felipe.

Super Bowl Sunday!

William sends us pics from Calgary.

I hope they let Pilgrim Farmer John have a beer at the hospital. No artery clogging snacks but at least a brewski. Hi John, get well!

Oh I hear a dog barking in the yard our partyers must be here to watch the pregame show. Me, I’m way far behind on this blog and everything. Oh, James the Most Interesting Man In The World (in training) is here. How fun.

Well, please forgive me if I short change you today. We will have great topics coming up in the upcoming days. Maybe an interview with author Catherine Johnson?

OK, you are the best, ever and always, love, Felipe.

What About A Plan?

Camino all the time.

Oh, here it comes, my week off from the hospital and Super Bowl tomorrow! Yea, just have to navigating through my world of chemo side effects. So that idea of a week off is kind of relative.

Speaking of medical stuff, Pilgrim Farmer John is doing well with his recovery from surgery in Iowa City. I am shooting him tenth of a second prayers at the moment. If you want to send him a card let me know and I’ll get you the address.

Speaking of Marines, I was reading some quotes from our Secretary of Defense retired Marine Corps General “Mad Dog” Mattis recently. Stuff like, “The most important space on the battlefield is the six inches between your ears.” These were from his former days as a Corps General Officer. Here’s another which could leave you breathless. “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.” Yea, that’s maybe a little rambunctious for most civilian purposes but it has it’s place.

So while we are still thinking about that what if we took that powerful quote and put it in Caminohead terms. What if we thought about having a plan to buoy up everyone we meet. What if we were able to do that in some elegant way without seeming weird or without expending too much energy. What if it was like a muscle memory thing that after a while we wouldn’t even have to think about it, it just happens.

Well, that’s all I can accomplish here for now. We have Mass in the morning, some archery shooting and the Big Game. Buoy it up love, Felipe.

Nuts And Bolts 2/2/18

Felipe on the trail recently, a wet one.

Back at the hospital for treatment. I thought that we should cover some issues that have come up lately. Three things have come up which might be impacting you and maybe I can make things easier.

1. Somehow the submit button on this blog for subscription doesn’t operate or operates intermittentally. So the way to navigate around this is to go to Comments and scroll down and there is a place to sign up. Then you will get the blog via email whenever posts are published.

2. It has been reported to me that some people have trouble accessing the blog site which happens to me occasionally. If there is a good strong wifi signal it seems to not occur. This seems bad news to me especially since every time this happens I seem to have no trouble getting to the LL Bean site.

3. We are experiencing an up tick in visitors scheduled to come from out of town this Spring and I got a feeling it will just continue through the Summer good weather to come. In the past I have been doing a lot of picking up and delivering people to the airport. I can no longer offer this. So please include in your travel plans a way to get to the ferry dock that gets you to Vashon Island. We can pick you up on the Vashon side. Or if you rented a car you can just drive to our place. (I can give you more details on this topic.)

OK, not too poetic today but necessary for smooth running of things. So time to go for now. Alperfect, love, Felipe.

Pilgrim Farmer John our Heartland Bureau Chief is recovering from surgery in Iowa City. Please prayers for him and his dear family.

I Have A Ranch To Come Home To

Dr Johnson and Felipe, walking Raven Ranch in its wintertime phase.

In all its funk and glory I love Raven Ranch. Please let me express my gratitude for this tiny oasis in the turmoil of it all. We have light bulbs out and dead meal moths on the counter and scotch broom weeds sprouting up in all the odd places outside. But that is it, part Felipe order and part Nature reclaiming. Or is it part Nature and Filipe reclaiming. It’s ying yang swirling before my eyes.

And my lungs and liver are a tiny microcosm of this ten acre play that is working itself out on the land. I have tumors which we, the royal we, have been able to blast,coax,coerce,zap,pickle and bully into very slow growth. It’s party time for Felipe in the short term but obviously this glacial movement will crush him eventually without some sort of balance achieved.

We had a meeting this morning, my tumors and me, and I apologized for my treatment of them but it has been my only option so far. I acknowledged them as being part of me and not some alien entities. They are a rebel faction, a very robust one. But my job as I see it as guardian of my whole being, including all rebel factions, is to strike balance. My intention is not to eradicate but to strike a workable balance.

They do their jobs these tumors with amazing tenacity in light of all we have been throwing at them and they just show up “Monday morning” with their lunch pails ready to go back at it again. And they are like the light bulbs and the meal moths and the scotch broom in that they have a job to do and I don’t hate them for it but I just have to play my part to keep them within what I have visualized as a workable balance.

So, many great blog ideas have crammed into my head lately. I have material for a week ahead. One, just a sneak preview, is that Our Catherine, has written a book which I just started on last night. So, now we can say Catherine Johnson as her name is out “naked”in the world. Although lately I have been calling her Dr Johnson around the ranch and environs. And it is entitled “Finding Mercy In This World – A Memoir”. Way to go Dr Johnson!

Well, I have to go outside and collect my bandannas with St Bridget dew on them. I will stack them up on my chest and shiver. Love you, Felipe.

A Tenth Of A Second

A rosary on the trail.

At the hospital today for a treatment after my two weeks off. I don’t know if off is really the right word as it is more like work. Fun side effects to sort out and figure out how to minimize and work into a functional life. Anyway, enough of that. But the whole fascinating medical lashup buys me time, time to be with you.

So with all this time let’s get on with it. So, I said the rosary on the ferry this morning for the trip is about fifteen minutes. It’s not an ideal place but it is a place. So, I was praying for two specific people that I was asked to do. Normally or most of the time I am praying for the rock pile at Phil’s Camino which holds about three thousand stones, representing three thousand cares, wishes and thank yous some of them mine. But today I was trying to concentrate on these two specific individuals and to tell you the truth I wasn’t doing that great a job at it. But somewhere along the line it occurred to me that maybe if I was just clear and undistracted for one tenth of a second in there’s somewhere that was all it really needed.

God is close by and He can pay attention to all of us at once I’m thinking. Everything that I got can be transmitted by me in an instant so I picked one tenth of a second as a working number. Why not? Most of prayer is for me really, to change me. I hear God already knows my thoughts anyway, right?

So I am practicing one tenth of a second prayer. Just the shortest instant that a conscious thought can be. Kind of a zap. This is on my mind today.

Just saw Nugget(beloved Dr Gold) and I impressed him with my hand drawn two color graph of the happenings of the last two weeks. Well, I was trying to make up for the time before when my info that I was supposed to report was unorganized. But this time I had visual aids!

OK, that’s enough for today. Hope you all are doing well. Looking forward to Super Bowl. Alperfect, love, Felipe.

PS – Tonight is the night that St Brigid will be afoot. We put out a handkerchief or bandana spread out on a bush outside til morning and that dew that is collected is from her, a healing liquid.