Would it be OK?

Rowan on the walk today.
Rowan on the walk today.

Would it be OK to show up to heaven in my new elk jammies? Just a random thought I had this morning before too much coffee. You know when you are out on the edge thoughts tend to lose their worries about appropriateness. They don’t seem to care what anyone thinks about them any more.

This is related to a wish I had to die in the Elk Hotel. The Elk Hotel is a marvelously serious winter worthy tent that we have used for years on various and sundry trips to the Middle of Nowhere hunting the elusive __________ (fill in the blank). It’s original light green canvas is overlaid with the brown from woodsmoke. It has provision for the use of a wood stove, it has a porch and a fly for insulation in the really cold. Yea, all the comforts.

Well, it is New Years Eve. Another chunk of the future coming up for us to be challenged with and to romp around in. Well, let’s see what happens, elky loves, Don Felipe.

Breathe Easy

New ice here this morn.
New ice here this morn.

Nice phrase and it is sticking with me this morning. I feel like I am experiencing that more and more these days, not all the time but still noteworthy. Something has changed in the last month to calm me down in a very deep way. I’m reporting here and attempting to give myself and you a rough idea of what’s going on.

This all started back at least a month ago when I started a meditation exercise that I came up with. A guy that can build his own Camino can come up with a reasonable mediation practice, right? So, to review, I am quietly flat on my back in the early morning hours practicing, putting to use, my times of sleeplessness. The idea is that I am inviting God in to the site of my cancer to bring some peace and harmony to that area, to that battlefield.

This lead to me starting to pay attention to my lungs in a very intimate sort of way that had escaped me up until this point. It had been some obscure place that I couldn’t access but now I was there seeing for myself the chaos, the damage, the disharmony of that area in the very core of my body. And going there with God to bring some relief was changing things for me, I was breathing easier, so to speak.

Next time I am at the hospital I am going to have the staff give me a graph of my blood pressure readings over the last four months. The last two times I was there my numbers we good for me, that being in the last month. Was something showing up?

Anyway, this morning I was doing my practice and the thought came to me about how closely my chemo was resembling the military move where you call air strikes in on your own position. Why would that happen? Well, it is the ultimate “jump the shark” move and obviously only done when there is no other option. The situation is that the enemy has overrun your defenses and is among you and that is only going to get worse for you and as the commander you call in death and destruction from the sky on the whole mess. Your guys are smart enough to know to dive under some cover last minute will fare better than the enemy who has just arrived and has no idea of the layout and is running around on the surface. Well, that’s the theory and the result is not going to be pretty whatever because we all know about theories.

Yea, well this has been just a little bit of reportage from the front. Just a reflection on the last two years of calling in air strikes on my own position over and over again every two weeks. It is definitely starting to resemble the movie Groundhog Day with it’s repetition. Am I trying to do something different all of a sudden? Have I learned anything? I guess so.

Here we are creeping up on New Year’s Eve. It is cold here just like it is supposed to be, I guess. OK, enough of this loves, Felipe.

Don’t Get Overwhelmed

Olivia showing us how to relax.
Olivia showing us how to relax.

“Don’t get overwhelmed”‘ that’s the very first rule of the Cancer Commandos. Whatever it takes to achieve that is a priority. Just as championship football games are won with defense we do the same to keep the general disarray of life out of our headquarters area. Once we have a solid area to work from we can go on the offensive.

I am bringing this up today because I feel a whole bunch of New Year’s anxiety around right now. Terry was talking about it on his blog yesterday. The boat is rocking with all kinds of random energy about shortcomings in 2015 and possible fixes in the coming year. OK, reassessing is good, making plans is good, all that is good if not done in last minute panic mode.

Somehow the phrase, “jumping the shark” comes to mind. Don’t ask me how I know this or where I heard it but… It’s supposed genesis is way back in the production of the “Happy Days” TV show featuring the Fonz, the ultimate cool guy. The show’s ratings were flagging and the writers were tasked with coming up with something really big to turn the momentum around. They came up with this water skiing episode where the Fonz jumps over the giant shark and escapes to happiness as only the ultimate cool guy could pull off. Well, somehow it didn’t have the intended effect on the ratings and the phrase came to stand for an effort that has that feel like the classic Hail Mary pass in football. Meaning, success is something that needs some underpinnings; it’s way more than a last minute desperate move.

I am talking mostly to myself here when I say, “relax and do it the right way”. OK, I got that out of the way. Time to get out the wrenches and other tools and work on the underpinnings. See you this afternoon on the walk or tomorrow here, skip the shark loves, Felipe.

Phil’s Camino Walking Schedule 12/29/15.

 Alperfect on the Camino.
Alperfect on the Camino.

Yup, the bleak mid winter but we are still walking on Vashon. Areas of the trail are periodically flooded so rubber boots or pacs are apropos. We want to be fashionable, right?

This should be the schedule for another month, till we get some more light in the afternoon. Then we will switch back to the 1600 starts for the afternoon walks.

So come please. Sometimes we have three or four pilgrims and sometimes I walk alone with the birds. I never know and that is the sort of beauty of it for me. And if you arrive late, hang out for a few minutes and we will be around.

Monday morning 0900-1000
Tuesday afternoon 1530-1630
Thursday morning 0900-1000
Sunday morning 1530-1630

And if you are coming from a distance and those times won’t work we can maybe get you a special time with some notice. It’s really not all that complicated and it is achieving a life of it’s own, so no worry. Buen Camino, Felipe.

Terry, You Are Such A Blessing

Ah, Spain in August.
Ah, Spain in August.

It still takes me by suprise, the Sabbath Moment coming in to me early Monday morn via email. A friend, Terry Hershey, writes this weekly newsletter and to sit at the beginning of the week with my trusty cup of coffee and read Terry is special. It could be on par with Monday Night Football which has been my pick for the high point of Western civilization. They both have the Monday thing going which could be important.

The Monday thing is important and is sort of a mini of the time of year we are at now. The start of the new year full of the whole world of resolutions and the start of the week full of lists, promises and “I’ll do betters”. Terry talked about the new year head space in the post today and how … Well, you could read it for yourself, Google “Sabbath Moments”.

Time for breakfast, see you later, St James is afoot, love, Felipe.


This is my third try at a blogpost today, maybe this one will work. I might need a turkey leftovers sandwich to have the energy to get through this. Sounds good, I think I will get that out of the way right now!

OK, good one, washed it down with some cherry jello. We are eating a lot of
that these days, trying to improve our nails as the chemo tears them up so. Now no excuses, we’re fueled up and ready to go.

The toughest time of the year for me to get through is happening right now, the old bleak mid winter. The long darkness in the evenings is just ridiculous. Come June I will be outside trying to take advantage of all the daylight and work up to 9:30 at night. Now at the end of December it is getting dark five hours before that. What to do?

At Our Jennifer’s I came across a quote that was by Anonymous and went, “You only know a year if you have seen all four seasons.” Good, I get that. But what to do with winter, really? I am just not at one with it. There must be some way to use it and make it work for me. Seems like there is only so much TV one can watch and only so may books one can read.

I do find myself daydreaming of spring when the rains slack off and the sun dries out the soil and that magic medium starts warming up enough to germinate seeds. It is always such a miracle to watch those little seeds start that rampage of growth, amazing. I feel Pilgrim Farmer Juan reading over my shoulder enjoying this. Of course, he plants a thousand seeds for every one I plant but the rush is the same regardless.

But this all is not stopping us from walking these days. I was out today with Cynthia, a new walking partner who has done the Camino Norte. And it looked pretty darn Norte out there with lots of rain/snow mixed. And she busted a hole in her rubber boots to boot. Always something. And there was mist between the dark green firs. And the alders were showing reddish and the willows a yellowish to complete the subtle palette. The beauty in winter is a subtle one for sure.

Well back to work tomorrow. And doing my regular walk in the morning and an additional one late in the day for some folks coming from Seattle on pilgrimage. Yea, I am starting to realize that this here, this little Camino, is a pilgrimage for folks. They are coming to experience something different, something special.

OK, look at us, we got a blogpost hammered out on a dark evening in the bleak midwinter, no problemo. Thank you for being here.

Sunflower starts from last spring
Sunflower starts from last spring

Corn from last spring.
Corn from last spring.

No problemo loves, Felipe.

Boxing Day?

Sunrise from Vashon Island from a few months ago.
Sunrise from Vashon Island from a few months ago.

Right, I would love to celebrate this one if I only knew what to do. Does one actually box or are other sports OK, ping pong maybe? Or does this have to do with actual boxes? Boxes are fun, I guess. Would someone enlighten us? This is a British deal maybe. See I don’t know squat on this one, need your help.

OK, here we are, blog time. My favorite time of day, well maybe a close second to tapas. To be with you is special though, here or at tapas. If you could help me figure out the day, that would be helpful. If you could check on this blister right here, is it OK? Just want to see you and laugh at your jokes.

Ah, our daughter and grandson just checked in on FaceTime. My Rebecca usually covers this activity but she is still in the sack. Yea, had to see all the new toys that Osian got. The basketball hoop looked like a big hit, Rebecca’s idea.

While I am thinking about it I want to tell you about something that happened the other day to the Cancer Commandos. We received a nice compliment from one of the nurses. You guys know that Our Jennifer and I travel together to our appointments and we get our treatment together, well adjacent to each other. All this sort of stretches the place’s privacy policies. But we have everyone trained now to handle us together. This includes having a table right by our two chairs at the treatment center so we can unpack our table cloth, candle (battery power) and picnic lunch. There was a rumor that we were sneaking wine in but I don’t know how true that is. Anyway, the staff is always checking in to see how the pumps are doing or if we are comfortable or just to hang out with the Commandos. This time we were done with soup and sandwich lunch and we were sort of lounging with the candle burning, me blogging probably and Jennifer reading a big glossy magazine with the general chaos of the hospital going on around us. One of the nurses walked in on our cozy scene and said, “You guys look like you are in your own living room.” Somehow at that moment we were successful! Nice, Commando Caper completed in style.

OK, time to make turkey soup with the leftover of the Christmas bird. See you tomorrow. but love in the present, Felipe.



Yea, Christmas 2015, here we are sports fans! How do we do it year after year, to make it back here to this place? 8:00 AM right now, the family is stirring. I got all the dishes done and the fire in the stove is pumping out heat.

Yea, I know, some Christmas’s are more ragged than others, true. I was in boot camp for the Christmas of 1966 being mentored by Marine Staff Sargent McDonald; that was interesting and attention getting. But somehow we get through the hard ones. Maybe that makes the good ones more sweet, I don’t know.

Thinking of you where you are there, whether good times or bad, north or south of the equator, in or out of trouble, bald or hairy. Just keep walking, things will change, they always do, have you noticed? And the foundation of the whole situation is that God loves us and there is nothing we can do about that. He sent his Son, have you noticed?

You guys are the best, absolutely, love, Don Felipe of Viana.

Christmas Eve

Before light here and Christmas Eve here. A few words are better than a lot of words right now. Bless you, fellow pilgrims. Look for the star. Buen Camino! As always, love you all ways, Felipe.

Our Anamaria, Princess of Viana, on The Way.   This was August of this year but it goes on forever.
Our Anamaria, Princess of Viana, on The Way. This was August of this year but it goes on forever.

Just A Little More Birthday Fotsam And Jetsam

The islands where we live.
The islands where we live.
To the Volker's  -  Blessed love to one of my favorite Vashon families and all over this beautiful life.  Thanks for always being lovely.  Your neighbor , Spencer.
To the Volker’s – Blessed love to one of my favorite Vashon families and all over this beautiful life. Thanks for always being lovely. Your neighbor , Spencer.

I forgot to include this wonderful piece with the lovely note on the back. It is a print of a painting done on stage during a musical concert. This artist is named Spencer and is a friend of Wiley’s. Anyway, just a note of explaination in that the image is a bird’s eye view of the outline of Vashon-Maury Islands were we reside. Then there is a wonderful sunset landscape within.

Thank you Spencer!