More About A Fat Little Hummingbird

Twilight for Queenie and me.
Twilight for Queenie and me.

First of all I have to apologize to Queenie because she is not fat but has her feathers all puffed up because of the cold conditions. Sorry Queenie it was just my first impression. And then Rebecca said those are the Anna’s Hummingbirds that do winter over. OK.

I broke out my two trusty bird books and checked on what was written about the Anna. The Peterson said it was basically an Oregon, California, Mexico bird and casual (means marginal) up to southern Vancouver Island, Canada. And the Audubon guide said it stays year around near Victoria which is at the south end of Vancouver Island which is a little north of us here in Seattle. OK, so it seems given the right micro environment and some food source which I suspect has to be human provided would suffice to hold them over this far north. So, Queenie’s color, size and markings lined up with the Anna also, not that she knows that word. For habitat the Peterson said chaparral, broken woodlands, gardens. Maybe add hospitals, don’t you think?

Why is this even remotely important I had to ask myself? Did I just need something to blog about? Am I boring my readers with random baloney? I really had to think about this last evening. And what I came up with was that one of the lessons of the Camino was that everything and everyone that we come into contact with on our daily walk has a message for us. First we have to recognize that fact and then second we have to learn how to decode it and then to interpret it. Somethings are easy as getting handed an orange by a smiling pilgrim that you don’t know. Or have the tip of the perfect pyramidal rock come up though your boot sole and line up perfectly with your perfectly painful blister. Yike isn’t really the word that you scream. Or maybe it something more subtle like coming across a perfect little patch of shade or the perfect or imperfect wildflower.

Maryka, the dear, reminded me of the heart rocks that would appear as you walked and especially on a tough uphill stretches would they be welcomed. They were saying that you have the heart to do this, keep going. Thanks Maryka.

So, what does Queenie say? Here I am stuck at the hospital on a beautiful day getting a gallon chemo cocktail pumped into me and feeling pretty marginal. And just out the window is this little fat hummingbird living her life on her species margins and doing her very best. Aren’t we kind of “birds of a feather” as they say? I like it, can you tell?

Hey, it’s New Year’s Eve here but Brisbane and Sydney are about three and a half hours into New Years Day. Yea! Looks like Sherif is next in Cairo. OK, it looks like we should just give a big global Happy New Year at this point. Love you all wherever you find yourself now, Felipe.

A Fat Little Hummingbird

Sun's out in Seattle!
Sun’s out in Seattle!

It’s a she and she is in a little patch of bamboo in a planter outside the window here at the hospital. Hummingbirds shouldn’t be here this time of year but people feed them and they figure out how to get through the cold weather somehow. It’s a gorgeous day today which means that it is cold. Cold and dry or warm and wet is the drill for Seattle. She is neverously fliting from one perch to another. Hummingbirds are pretty nervous and this may be just her version of rest or my theory is that she sees her reflection in the window and it is making her agitated. She sees a rival.

She sat on the same branch for three minutes, an eternity, but is off again. Even while she is sitting in the same place she is constantly dinking with the leaves around her. What a nervous creature.

The sun is starting to go down and it is 3 o’clock in the afternoon. The day’s are getting longer supposedly but hard to see yet. It Is pretty right now ou the window to the west and will take a pic unless I can get a shot of Queenie. I named her.

New Years coming and it is hard to imagine a better year than 2014 but heck lets go for even better. What do you say? Alperfect, Felipe.

Walking And Talking With Maryka

Here we are on our walk on Vashon.
Here we are on our walk on Vashon.

Yes, what could be better. She’s here visiting for the holidays and this was our chance for time together. We walked around Phil’s Camino and caught up since I hadn’t seen or talked with her since Santiago in August. Long time really. Well, I mean that a lot has happened for her and for me.

She is involved with some graduate studies that are very demanding at Columbia University in New York City. She is a little dynamo to keep up with this and to do well at it to boot. We are proud of her to say the least.

So, my trusty little iPad just ate the rest of my post so maybe that wasn’t supposed to happen. You didn’t have time to read it all anyway. But the important point is to relate the story of the Coke machine. This happened on the first day of her walking:

October 23, 2014
A Remberance Concerning Maryka.

I had the great pleasure to be with my Vashon buddy Rick (Quick) and his lovely daughter Maryka for the last part of my Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. Having her there was a totally suprise to me although apparently everyone was in on it. Anyway I got to spend a lot of time with her just doing what we seem to do best, walking and talking. And it was just a continuation of our walking and talking that we did in the rain and the snow during the winter here on Vashon.

Have to interject something here from our good friend and serious Angel, Laura from Barcelona. She emailed yesterday and reminded me/us to have Patience. And she called for capitalizaton on that since she thought that it was so important. I trust Laura on this so I am going with it. And since I was having one of those mornings when I had no idea what I was going to blog about, she also provided me with that. Thanks Laura.

Patience, yes. And this is my remembrance: We were up early, from I think the monastery at Samos, and it was dark and foggy. We were walking mostly along the shoulder of a paved road with some occasional traffic. It was a little hairy since the footing was questionable and with the real possibility that we would miss a sign and be headed off in the wrong direction. Rick was ahead or behind on some scouting mission. Anyway, Maryka and I got on the topic of Patience. Don’t remember how it started but we were throwing our best most inspired thoughts into the mix of our conversation as we felt our way along in the fog.

I remember talking about us Americans being so impatient, being a spray can society. If we can’t do it quickly and easily and just by pushing a button we are not interested. The conversation went on and I was talking about how we would put our money in the Coke machine and if things were too slow or non functional we would start kicking it, like that was going to do some good. And no sooner did that come out of my mouth than in the distance we spied this weird red glow. And as we got closer it grew in size until we recognized it as a, guess what, a Coke machine. No joke just there with nothing else around it and with an extension cord running off into the fog. It was the first one that I saw that had the Cathedral at Santigo image on the front. We just stood and stared at it. Message, you think?!?

Love, Phil.

OK, have to go walk, Love some more, Felipe.

Phil’s Camino

Trying to make it through the day to tapas.
Trying to make it through the day to tapas.

I’m down with a cold, poor me, but everything else marches on. The blog is back after Christmas break, the documentary is being edited, the fund raising continues. Let’s cover those one at a time.

You will notice that even though I “took” a break from blogging I couldn’t keep totally from it. And others sent material in which is tres cool. Cherry with a TGIF and Laura with the video. So, it is starting to have a life of it’s own which is important.

The handsome Todd and the beautiful Jessica have taken on the challenge of the editing of the Phil’s Camino Documentary. This is as it should be in my mind. They will have a feel for the heat, dust and blisters of it all.

And the fund raising is something that needs to continue to get the life blood to our shoestring operation. Remember this kind of endeavor takes hundreds of thousands of dollars usually and we are doing it on tens. We are making up for that with raw talent, frugality and being nimble. That’s us!

So just a reminder that if you have anybody with a big heart and the idea to support something worthwhile please direct them toward . Or the donation account is open still at US Bank and a check made out to “Phil Volker Documentary” and sent to the following address will be put to good use.

US Bank
POB 428
Vashon,WA 98070

I am behind on getting out the thank yous to people who have contributed but it is getting closer to the top of my list. We own many thanks to be sure. We are counting on people’s generousity to provide the needed horsepower to carry this to the finish line.

Ok, Maryka is coming to walk this morning. I haven’t seen her since Santiago. So, that and “Go Seahawks!” Only the best to you, Love, Felipe.

Ok, What Is Boxing Day Anyway?

My birthday gift from Ivette.  A cross, a shell and a. tiny stone bear.
My birthday gift from Ivette. A cross, a shell and a. tiny stone bear.

This is a question that has been around for years. And, of course, Cherry would say just Google it man, right? Is this like boxing as in the sport? I need some help on this one from you guys that drive on the wrong side of the road. Oh, now I’ll get an answer.

No but seriously, I think that we have turned a corner or shifted gears so to speak with or blog with our group, we the ragged apostles (heard that recently). Laura’s “Don’t Worry” was so extremely awesome that it pushed us over the top or at least made evident something that has been in the mist, in the fog. We just have so much talent, and good will, and savvy, and playfulness, and universality hanging around here that it is starting to get scary, it is reaching a critical mass.

The blog gone through stages of birth, getting up and running, of reporting, of reflecting, of gathering. And now what? Can we work with whatever is going on here? Can we blow on these embers and get a fire going? We got a new year coming, what can we do to make the most of it?!?!

St. James is Afoot, Love you guys, Felipe.

TGIF/Cherry#5 Christmas Greetings

Back to TGIF us!
Back to TGIF us!

Cherry just sent this in and here you are:

I kind of missed Christmas yesterday. I left London at 22:30 on Christmas Eve to fly home. My trip took just under 24 hours in total. But because of the time difference, I arrived in hot sunny Brisvegas, Australia at 8:30 this Boxing Day morning. I had just one 3 hour layover in Southern China but they don’t do Christmas in China. So it just felt like a normal day there.

However, it was wonderful to be greeted by my mum this morning at the airport after nearly 10 months on the road. It was well worth the missing of Christmas Day just to see my mum, hug my sister and to have a whole wardrobe rather than just a backpack of clothes.

I hadn’t lost the Christmas spirit either. I’ve been singing my Merry Christmas song for the last couple of days. It is rather simple. The lyrics are just: “Have a Merry Merry Christmas! Merry Merry Chris … Christmas”. And you just sing that to the tune of Happy Talk from the South Pacific musical. Feel free to sing along too, it’s catchy.

I hope your Christmas Day was full of great food, great company and great joy. I truly wish you all a very merry Christmas and lots of love for the coming New Year.

Cherry, Brisbane.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

I’m not really blogging but this is TOO GOOD.  This is just what we need at this point in time.  This is from Laura in Barcelona. This was made by Laura’s people.  Look for her toward the end (third from the left in the seven people with the pinky purple top).

Would someone please follow me around and play this in the background for the rest of my days.  Thank you Laura and Merry Christmas to Barcelona!

Merry Christmas!!

God bless your footsteps.  Merry Christmas!!
God bless your footsteps. Merry Christmas!!


“There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood.  They had set night watches over their sheep.  Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them.  They were terrified.  The angel said, “Don’t be afraid.  I am here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide.  A Savior has been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master.  This is what you are to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”  Luke 2. 8-12  from The Message.