New Language

Cheery yellow flower from up north.
(photo W Hayes)

I am back being my cheerful self after my heavy duty morning yesterday but there really seems no way to avoid processing current events. Well, ultimately it is healthy and needed but it takes an effort to get a grip on what is going on. But our own individual usually, thought of as solitary, lives are were the important battles (challenges) are. Those charts and graphs that we see are a reflection of our cumulative effort. We all have a part.

Dana yesterday expressed in an email how she thought that it would be more useful to have better language to deal with our current war (pandemic). I am grappling with that. I in my own world, with cancer ever present, see the shortfalls of the war language that is usually applied by predominantly outsiders. In a way it is accurate because it is one way to think about or look at the problem. It signifies a way. In my own case it seemed limited and not that useful.

Yesterday I heard one of the doctors say that the opposite of lockdown was not opening up but it is public health. He was referring to having an opening guided by a good testing program. Public health in this case being testing. OK, right.

Well, a beautiful morning here on the last day of the month of March. Walking for me, Felipé, from 0900-1000. Sayin lots of rosaries on my rounds on these solitary walks. Praying specifically for Catalina’s mother Bernadette and Farmer John’s mother Kay, both in their nineties. Then later I have a Zoom with Catalina. She is working on a book about Caminoheads blog, yay us!

yay us loves, Felipé.

It’s Easy To Feel…

Tasha Tudor fighting the battle with a parrot on her shoulder.
(photographer unknown)

It is easy to feel overloaded, overwhelmed these days. There is plenty of heavy duty news from the places where the fight against the virus is the most intense. The reports from the nurses in the ICU units are heartbreaking and heroic and surreal simultaneously. And frankly they height me down with a certain grief that is hard to shake.

It is necessary to be aware of the situation of course. Being unaware would be inexcusable. But we all have our own lists to accomplish and our own set of problems to negotiate at the same time. It is a war being fought pretty much everywhere now. And winning the small battles in our personal lives will cut down on the necessity for drastic measures. We are all asked to do this as a people.

I keep thinking of my pig dream (March 22 post). It bothers me with a good bother. It keeps me focused on what I and the people around me need to do to win our own particular local battles in this war. This war isn’t going to be won in any one place at any one time. It will be won worldwide by everyone.

I have to go. I fell exhausted and my day is just beginning. Bless you in your own corner of the world.

shaking the overload loves, Felipé.

Cinco De Mayo Camino

All simple on the Camino.
(photo Kelly Burke)

Yea, on the fifth of May we are going to OPEN Phil’s Camino. The Governor of Washington State, Jay Inslee, had a press conference today to open parks and recreation in the State. I am placing us in that category, a management decision. He pulling that date out of his hat so we are going with it.

Of course we will have to have some restrictions of the social distancing kind. And no tapas for the time being. Just walking and socializing as we go. What do you think?

So, that Tuesday we have the afternoon walk at 4:00. Then we will just continue on with our regular summer schedule:

Monday 0900-1000
Tuesday 1600-1700
Thursday 0900-1000
Sunday 1600-1700


Also we are going to be moving from Santiago, Spain to Assisi, Italy to walk the Saint Francis Camino. That’s from Assisi to Rome. I am scrambling to organize the start for that. So we will have more on that here soon.


That’s the way it is loves, Felipé.

A Lot Of Excitement

Open the gate.
(photo W Hayes)

Before I get going let me just report on My Rebecca. She is scheduled to go in to see the local doctor to check on the healing of the bleeding site. That time isn’t set yet but I will drive here up then. But things have been blessedly uneventful over the weekend. Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers!

Last Tuesday on the third lap of that afternoon walk it was a beautiful day and I made a video of the trail. It is funky and a little jiggly but people have loved it, lots of comments. That is a pretty good Spring time look at things there. Try to see that.

I was going to write about “Running away with the Camino” today and then this amazing quote came up on FB and I stole it:

“A mind stretched by a new experience can never go back to old dimensions.” Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Yea, that almost sez it all. My present understanding of things puts the Camino in the category of a mind space. Running away with the Camino is exactly equivalent with our understanding of the phrase “running way with the circus”. So, we ran away with the Camino searching for answers to questions and we found that and more. And that process has put us in a new place. New for us and new and different for normality.

When I use the phrase “beyond normal” this is the meaning. It’s not old normal or new normal, it is what it sez, BEYOND! We find ourselves in a kind of Alice in Wonderland situation that is not easy to adjust to at first. Remember the first few months of reentry from the Camino walk?

So, I got a feeling this pandemic experience is going to do a similar job on us only at societal scale. That is powerful. So, recognize the process and make the adjustments. Help others. Help your family and your neighborhood.

thanks for being here loves, Felipé.

A Gorgeous Sunday Morning!

Beautiful bluebird.
(photo W Hayes)

Oh boy, the rain is over and today looks dreamy. Rosary walk with Catherine coming up. Our answer to no church service, or no standard service.

My Rebecca is on the mend. She goes back in to have the doctor look at the site tomorrow. Healing always seems a slow process. I guess it is a major teacher of patience. Now are the words patient and patience related? That is a most interesting. I’ll get my people on that.

Yea, we have heard that your son Wiley will be going back to work sometime this week. This is residential construction. There must be some restrictions and procedures to follow but they are going to start up. Of course Wiley got pretty used to being here and getting all these projects done. But really keeping his company going is also most important. They just can’t be down too long. And it is a great little company and I am most impressed by the way that they operate. So, I am happy that Wiley is associated with them.

So, things move ahead, some things continue, some things get Darwin Awards and are retired. But we will come out the other end of this smarter, wiser and lean and mean. It’s coming, it’s coming.

Off I go loves, Felipé.


(photo W Hayes)

Oh sorry, I didn’t get yesterday’s “Y” post published til a minute ago here Saturday morning. Things have been crazy although hopefully we are over it now. Yea, my Rebecca had a wild ride in the aid car (ambulance) to the Emergency Room in Seattle on Thursday afternoon after I had published the “X” blog post. She stayed overnight and I picked her up there at Swedish Hospital Friday afternoon. So, it was basically a big 24 hour drama.

So, we are both recovering, as it was exhausting corralling all the details of that. But the important thing is that she is back at the ranch and comfortable as can be expected. One of our old friends, a retired nurse, is coming to dress the site of the operation today, so that is out of my hands. I can watch and learn.

Just one detail of that adventure was that I got to sit outside the ER for two hours on Thursday evening and watch the happenings of it’s entry way. There was an ambulance coming in with someone for treatment every 15 minutes and they went into a covered area where I couldn’t see. But I observed people being dropped off by car or walking in for ER treatment. They came in at a slightly greater rate. What is interesting is that maybe a third of those I could see were segregated into a virus symptoms area and interviewed one by one there by a nurse. So, they were trickling in the whole time, not huge but significant.

Anyway, we are back and safe and waiting out this rainy day, perfect for resting up. I hate to say that you saw it here first but remember me talking about my pig dream and about the idea that folks out and around were entering a time of more dreaming. Well, and that dream occurrences are up in number is being observed by more and more people. Did I mention that you may have seen that first here at Caminoheads blog. I interpret that as our collective need for guidance in this time of uncertainty.

Here is a dream of my friend Will from this last week, in his own words. I asked for permission to show this and talk about it.
“Dreamt Zubin Mehta of the New York Philharmonic was bunking with me in the wwoofer cabin. I was fiddling with his Stradivarius but he didn’t mind.” (In explanation: Mehta was conductor of the New York Philharmonic at some point. A “woofer” is an intern working on an organic farm which Will and his wife have. And of course the Stradivarius is the archetypal priceless violin.) What a fabulous dream!

Oh, and my corn and clover seed have arrived to the ranch for the planting next month. I have a target date of May 11th for that. Soil temp is around 60 degrees F. Need another five.

philharmonic loves, Felipé.


Can’t get enough!
(photo P Volker)

I guess the day after X would logically have to be Y, so. Yesterday started out pretty calm but turned crazy in the early afternoon. Rebecca was having some minor procedure done at the local health clinic here on Vashon and there was uncontrolled bleeding that occurred so they sent her off to the big city in the full meal deal aid car. So, she has been there over night and now it looks like things are stabilized and that she will be released soon. I am waiting for a call to run in and pick her up. So, that’s our story.

A lot of folks responded liking yesterday’s post. It was fun to be inspired by that original poem and pic for me. It is basically the way that I have survived the Cancer Camino so far. But further, yes, it has direct application for dealing with the uncertainty and displacements of the current intrusion. Yup, so take what you need and leave the rest.

I am going to sign off for now and finish packing up for the run to Seattle.

a little battered loves, Felipé.


Tasha Tudor
(photographer unknown)

I don’t know why exactly that I entitled this post “X” but it seemed to make sense in that moment. Anyway, here we are. I had a good night’s sleep and feel refreshed after the hardships of yesterday. That was a hard day on the old Cancer Camino. I got beat up but here I am with a new morning!

Yesterday I received a FaceBook post that had this pic of Tasha Tudor with a poem by Elena Mikhalkova. The pic was beautiful and the poem was beautiful and someone put them together for us. The poem reminded me so much of things that I have learned on my Cancer Camino and that I talk about with others patients. So, I thought that I would take the artistic license of slipping my interpretation in the poem. I do hope that isn’t totally rude and taken as unappreciative of this marvelous poem but I can’t resist.

“My grandmother once gave me a tip:
(My Cancer gave us this Way.)
In difficult times, you move forward in small steps.
(Don’t get overwhelmed, keep moving forward even if that is holding your ground.)
Do what you have to do, but little by little.
(Do what the doctor orders, be patient with it all especially with yourself.)
Don’t think about the future, or what may happen tomorrow.
(Live for three minutes or three days.)
Wash the dishes.
(Fix tapas, pour wine, cook a simple meal.)
Remove the dust.
(Plant the sweet corn.)
Write a letter.
(Write the blog every day, report about one day at a time.)
Make a soup.
(Make a soup, a hearty soup, keep your weight up.)
You see?
(Your path is not lit very far ahead but do you see?)
You are advancing step by step.
(You are moving forward soup by soup, mile by mile, week by week.)
Take a step and stop.
(Cut it all in bite sized pieces.)
Rest a little.
(Rest a little bit but movement is good too.)
Praise yourself.
(Atta boy!)
Take another step.
(Do the next thing.)
Then another.
You won’t notice, but your steps will grow more and more.
(You will get stronger, strong enough to walk over the Pyrenees maybe.)
And the time will come when you can think about the future without crying.”
(And your long string of small victories will be your life!)
Elena Mikhalkova

Of course Elena’s poem could be useful in these times of Virus. That’s good. Write your own lines. Get an equivalent for each one so it is tailored to you.

parrot on my shoulder loves, Felipé.

A Day At The Institute

This pic is showing up sideways but maybe that is OK. Our two newly planted American chestnuts are leafing out.
(photo C Johnson)

A tough one today, had to get up at 0430 to make it all happen. I got my scan accomplished and my testing started. Waiting to see the man himself in a few minutes. It’s a rainy day today so I don’t feel so bad about being inside. Perfect day to be here.

So my numbers are all good and my side effects are under control. I was a little disappointed by the scan results in that there was slight growth. But it is less than what triggers the end of the trial so we are staying the course. No growth would be great and shrinkage would be better than that but for now this seems to be a win.

Yup, for now I am back at the ranch exhausted. Maybe read my book and call it a day. Tomorrow is another day. I have a walk in the morning and a Zoom meeting with Catalina in the afternoon.

Alright see you all later loves, Felipé.

Trading Soup

That’s Catherine, an essential worker here in Seattle sporting her Veranda bandana mask. We are doing our part. (photo H Klauser)

I’ve heard of the Trade Winds and trading baseball cards but now we are in the zone of trading soup. Yea, soup as in soup, no more and no less. This last weekend Catherine and Dana made borscht with their new garden beets. Nice and they thought to share it with us, a good thought it was. And it showed up at our door along with some wine and other goodies, so sweet. And we here in this house had just made split pea soup with ham hock and guess what we had plenty for them. They so liked it.

That’s a little snapshot of our neighborhood in these times. It was a simple gesture concerning folks close at hand. But you all know that this blog is a neighborhood of a little different sort but equally important. We can’t really trade soup but we can do other things just as nourishing. Cris put her finger on it when she said that there is “togethernessing” available here. What did Jesus say,“ Man does not live by bread alone.” Not by soup alone either but that’s certainly a good start! So when I think neighborhood I am including my FaceBook friends and fellow Caminoheads.

I have a friend on FB, Sylvie in Canada, Ottawa maybe. She walked the Camino at some point but I don’t remember the details on that. She was writing about her concern for her family, her community and the world and that grabbed my attention. I have been praying the rosary on my walks around the backyard Camino here since I don’t have visitors to gab with. It seemed like the thing for me to do. So, in an hour I walk the usual 3 laps around and pray three times around the rosary. The first for our family, the second for our neighborhood and the third for the world. Notice neither of us had country in there. No Canada and no US. We both went from neighborhood/community to World. Do you think that has anything to do with the walking the Camino or of fighting this Virus or both?

Off to lunch and phone talk with Henriette.

our neighborhood has grown loves, Felipé.