The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me



Rebecca checking out the sunset at the ranch last night.
Rebecca checking out the sunset at the ranch last night.

I had a new nurse, new to me, yesterday at the treatment center.  This was for my every other week big chemo treatment which takes, give or take, six hours.  He was a male nurse.  Is that redundant?  But maybe ten to fifteen percent of the nurses there are boy nurses.

Anyway, we were having some great conversation about the great state of Iowa since that is where he is from and where I am going in a few weeks for the Julian Dubuque Film Festival.  Yea, that was good.   And then we wandered over into some heavier cancer talk after that and I said to him,with the proper disclaimer that it may sound weird but, cancer may be the best thing that ever happened to me.   This is a big picture idea and one that I don’t often share.  But he said that he had heard that before which was heartening for me to hear.  I wasn’t totally out the on a limb, as they say.

In a sense that the disruption that this disease causes in all it’s facets, details and deeper inner meaning is earth shaking to the individual and their family.  Somehow I saw  it as a catalyst for change.  Somehow with the help of some key mentors I was able to discern a path that led to the positive.  So what I was saying to my nurse was that it put me on a path to this change to the positive.   And that led to a total revamp of my inner being.   It’s all a strange happening but totally worth it.

So according to one of my mentors, “In non medical terms God is keeping you alive to complete your mission.”  Yes, I have had the luxury of having a very lazy form of cancer and some crazy good medical attention, granting me time.  I have had time to work on the movie and do do this blog which is so special to me.  Thanks for being here.

Love you, Felipe.


Yike, The Traffic

One of the three mounds of accidental soil that we are trying to grow flowers in.
One of the three mounds of accidental soil that we are trying to grow flowers in.


Made it in time to the hospital, barely.  Some days the traffic is on steroids, just like I will be in a few hours.   But the good news is that I got to take a pic of one of our guerilla flower plots that we planted recently.  The traffic was moving so slow that I got that time to screw around and use my iPad to give you a glimpse.  But I couldn’t pick out any civilized little plants there, maybe too early.

Had a long phone session with Annie last night to plan our trip to Dubuque.  That’s the Julian Dubuque Film Festival in the home territory of our friend Pilgrim Farmer John.   Who was old Julian anyway?  Have to get the minions on that.  So, the festival is Thursday through Sunday and I will be flying in Wednesday and out on Monday.   The film is scheduled to show four times, once a day.   Hopefully we will have plenty of time for question and answer sessions.

I am anxiously awaiting the meeting, the summit meeting, of Annie O’Neil, Pilgrim Farmer John and myself next month in Iowa.    It’s going to take a lot of cold beers to cool that down.  The fate of Western Civilization could hinge on this one, so stay tuned.

Here at the hospital things are started, treatment wise.  Jennifer is not with me today so I have to hold the fort myself.  Ah yes, but I will make it through and get back to the Island this afternoon.  So, take care, all is well, be present, love you, Felipe.



Need More Coffee, Be Back.

You would want to wrestle her, she'd bite your ear off.
You wouldn’t want to wrestle her, she’d bite your ear off.


Just came across this incredible story about Granny Gatewood, who at 67 became the first woman to walk the Appalachian Trail ( runs north and south through the Appalachian  Mountains, Eastern USA) in it’s entirety.   What an awesome creature, check her out.  I better get off my butt?

Some high pressure has moved in to Western Washington to give us a few gorgeous days.  People will be here to walk in a few minutes.  I am sorry but I just used up my blogging time screwing around on FaceBook.  But. then again I wouldn’t have heard about Granny Gatewood if I hadn’t been screwing around and you wouldn’t have heard.   We obviously need some minions to keep on top of all this.

So, have to grab my boots and get going.  Hope that your day is filled with this spring that we are getting now.   The best to you, love, Felipe.

Annie’s Film News 3/28/16

Yes, Phil's Camino.
Yes, Phil’s Camino.

Good Morning Caminoheads!
Annie here, hoping to keep you up to date on all things Phil’s Camino as you come here to this beautiful and blessed blog to keep up on all things Phil, or Felipe, depending on the day, ha ha!
Our beautiful little gem of a film, Phil’s Camino, which so many of you have supported, and continue to support, made its debut in Austin, Texas, at the world famous South By Southwest Film Festival, commonly known as SXSW, and by the locals as simply “South By”. It was everything a filmmaker could have dreamed of, with my whole team there, big crowds, lots of parties, and the man himself, Phil. That was the icing on the cake, as I am sure you can imagine. A good time was had by all, and I am even more aware of how grateful I am that my path crossed Phil’s. What a lucky duck I am! We are continuing our film festival run, with a few festivals coming up. If you know anyone who lives near these film festivals, please let them know they will have an opportunity to see Phil’s Camino, and on the Big Screen, no less!

Sarasota Film Festival, April 4 – 6

Nashville Film Festival, April 16 – 23

Myrtle Beach Film Festival April 20-23 (our screening times not yet announced)

Julien Dubuque Film Festival April 21-24 (no screening times yet, although probably once a day from 21-24)

Black Hills (SD) Film Festival May 4-7 (no screening dates yet)

We are so excited to have this beautiful and uplifting film traveling around the country!
Stay tuned for more details. I hope to be a little better about my commitment to Movie Mondays 🙂

I love you all, and wherever this film goes, rest assured, you are part of the reason it has gotten there!
Annie O Neil
Producer/Director: Phil’s Camino

Co-producer and Pilgrim: Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago

Author: Everyday Camino with Annie


















A Quiet Morning

Plum blossoms ready for a big day.
Plum blossoms ready for a big day.


Hopefully a quiet morning here at the ranch.  I was just getting back to normal after Austin when Easter struck.  When Easter struck, sounds funny.  Well and FaceBook doesn’t help.  I got started on that recently and I have to keep that under control.  It takes a certain amount of quietude to do my blog and lately I have had a hard time being in that zone.  But maybe today is the day.

It’s gray and foggy out like we are living in a cloud.   Yesterday was beautiful although it was supposed to rain all day and there was rain around us in the distance but we were dry.  This morning according to my weather app it will be dry here.  We are walking at 0900 so have time to write to you and read other blogs.   Everyday Richard Rohr has a piece that continually is awesome, the guy is a powerhouse.  Then Monday morning Terry Hershey, fellow Vashonite, brings Sabbath Moment which is always just what I seem to need.

I am coming up on two years of blogging.   That’s a lot of misspelled words and goofy grammar.  But hopefully it is of some value to you.  I can hear Jennifer in my mind saying, “now don’t go humble on me”.  OK Jennifer, yes it is of great value.  It is an honest reflection of the ups and downs of the Cancer Camino and of life in general in the daily slog.   It throws in some Catholicism, some Spain, some farming, some stories of wonderful people near and far.

It all started when I knew that I was headed to Spain to walk the Camino de Santiago.     So, I am training and buying gear and packing.  I am talking about all this with the nurses at the Cancer Institute and they first suggested writing a blog.  I barely knew what that meant.  But they realized that is exactly what I needed to get my story out and do it without dealing with answering twenty emails per day.

But it it came with frustration.  Learning the ins and outs of the technology for someone born in the wrong century was harrowing.  This was especially true when on the trail and having been baked to a golden brown in the August heat and then trying to type out something coherent.  Fortunately Gracie and others helped me along at the critical points.

Well, I am going to shuffle off to my day’ enough reflections.  Hope that everything is going well for you.  What can we do today to rock the old boat?  Thanks for being here, love, Felipe.



Happy Easter 2016

Jessica, Phil and Annie in Austin mode.
Jessica, Phil and Annie in Austin mode.

The kids squirreling around during the big Easter service was my favorite part.  Energy, energy, energy and enthusiasm all over the place. Catherine and I have a favorite girl, I guess that she is three.  We call her the Secretary of Joy.  Her poor parents have their hands full trying to get her “civilized”.

We had a walk today and tapas afterward.  That was our Easter dinner.  A little unorthodox but yummy.   The trail is drying out which is a welcome change.  Fruit trees are blooming and just hoping the bees can get moving.

Tired after all this partying, a tough problem.  Off to work tomorrow so have to get some shuteye.   Just want to say Happy Easter.  Joyful loves, Felipe.


Are We Walking On Easter Felipe? 3/27/16


Official cake of Phil's Camino.
Official cake of Phil’s Camino.

Yes indeed, ever onward!  We will be at Itero del Castillo this evening.  That’s 50 kms west of Burgos.

Our schedule is:

Monday 0900-1000

Tuesday 1600-1700

Thursday 0900-1000

Sunday 1600-1700

It’s still rubber boot time.  Hope to see you.  Felipe.

The Saturday Inbetween

Quince blossoms interrupting my Saturday.
Quince blossoms interrupting my Saturday.


Well, I made it through Good Friday.   Catherine and I went to Mass in the evening and I got relief finally from most of my sadness.   Mass completed me, so to speak.

Now Holy Saturday.   The belief is that Christ descended to the dead, the place of the dead on this in between day.  Yes, OK.  And what was He doing there, lolly gagging, taking a break?  The idea that He was talking to the millions that had come before and had died without hearing of the new covenant that He offered is intriguing.   It fits with the idea that Christianity is not an exclusive club.  It is open to Jew and Gentile we are told, meaning everyone.   Interesting to think of prehistoric individuals hearing His message.  Maybe they could understand it better than “we of cluttered brains”.

Well, just some thoughts.  Oh, maybe one more.  A friend asked what a Catholic was supposed to do on these holy days, like maybe having a list of good works to accomplish?  But I came up with the answer that it was about contemplation.  So, yes, that’s it.

You are my sunshine, love, Felipe.

Good Friday 3/25/16

Burgos Cathedral.
Burgos Cathedral.


Ah, a day to not use power tools, a day to contemplate.  A day that so takes me over.  A day that is a different day each year, that flits through our calendar like a summer butterfly.  A day that affected me as a kid.  A day as an adult where I cried in the middle of the service at a church that I was at for the first time.  It’s always a spring day but it doesn’t feel like spring ever, sometimes.   But ever a day to be caught up in a big cosmic drama.  A day, just a day.

Yesterday, Father Marc washed my feet and today he will hold the cross for me to kiss.  A tear now, today.  It runs down my cheek now, today.  A bird in the daylight, outside my window gathers up the perfect piece of debris to be an important part of her nest.  Does she know about this day?

Or is most of it unsaid today?  Is it some sort of under lying hum that loops up into my consciousness on a day where I am paying special attention?  Days can go on for a long time without me paying this special attention, can’t they?  A day perhaps with more questions than answers.

Mayday, mayday, mayday!  Doris Day, doomsday, worst day, business day,  laundry day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, Boxing Day, Doubleday, The Longest Day, Judgement Day, birthday, hump day, Sabbath Day, all day long, night and day, the Day of  Reckoning,  payday, heyday, yes but, ah ah ah, all of that too, but but, this is, ah ah, something different today.

The sun is out, right now, today.   Underlying love, Felipe,

Maundy Thursday 2016

Things aren't so far away.
Things aren’t so far away.


There is Mass tonight, 1930, at our local Iglesia.   I have to get in gear with Holy Week and be here now.   Still reentering from the Austin trip.   So, I will be at church tonight and won’t be at work tomorrow, Good Friday.   Well, at least I won’t use my power tools.  I am so distracted on Good Friday that I tend to be dangerous.  We don’t need that.

It would be interesting to be in Spain during Holy Week.   I can only imagine the energy and the pageantry.    Well, maybe that will have to wait for another year.  But back to the here and now and Holy Week.   Holy Week, the time to contemplate on Christ’s Passion.  What does it mean to the world?  What does it mean for mankind?  What did it mean for people then and people now?  What does it mean for me here and now?

Yup, time to go for now.   Hope that we all get some time to think about things in between all that seems  to happen.  Maundy Thursday loves, Felipe.

P.S. ~ so I nodded off with the iPad in my hands on the red couch.  And Catherine, Dana and Cynthia show up to walk on Phil’s Camino.    They look in the window and think I am blogging and walk a lap without me.   So, they come around again and this time I am awake because of a phone call.   So, I hurriedly get myself together and walk the rest of the way with them.   So, Phil’s Camino has a life of its own and sometimes Phil has to catch up with it.