Day 7 July 21 – Valença do Minho to Mos in Spain, 19.65 miles

Today was the hardest day for me. Probably because yesterday I didn’t rest enough. After arriving at the albergue since I haven’t walked enough why not walk more. I needed to buy food and stumbled on a mercadillo and then went to see the old town built on a Fortaleza where they were selling the same stuff than at the mercadillo but much more expensive. It was super busy. After the walk of 4.5 miles my feet were swollen. Not a smart idea. It was nice anyway. I ate far away from the tourist side and ended up at the albergue talking with Petrus, a Peregrino from Cyprus who did El Camino de la Costa and wasn’t very surprised with it.

Another contribution to the hard walk today, besides going to bed late for a peregrina like me, was to wake up at 5 am in order to catch up with the hour I was going to lose 4 k later when crossing the bridge to Spain. Also instead of 23 k that said the app that was the distance between these two towns with all the detours to avoid ugly highways and polígonos industriales I ended up walking 31 k, around 5 miles more
I’m so glad I took a bunch of pictures of the beginning otherwise I would only remember the end. Walking on the empty streets of Valença and Tui was magical. The light and temperature were perfect for walking. It still amazed me that in seconds I changed country, language and time. My favorite photo is the one of the bridge between Valença and Tui. In Tui definitely the Camino becomes more touristic since it’s a little over the minimum distance required to walk and be able to receive a Compostela. I saw a couple of groups walking with nothing as if they were going for a jog and return home. They passed me or I did let them pass. Around 10:30 am I stopped in a cafe for coffee where I ate also one of my yummy sandwiches prepared at the albergue around 6 am. While I was leaving a huge group of 140 Portuguese teenagers arrived at the Cafe and they followed me for a while. They were loud and the route not very fun. Lots of pavement. Fortunately I have read in my guide that you could take a detour to avoid a bunch of polígonos industriales when entering into the town of O Porriños. I walked along the river with no human souls. It was nice and in the shadows. At the end of the river walk, I stumbled with the albergue of this town. It was my salvation since I needed water and bathroom and the person in charge was able to call the next public albergue and check that they had beds. They were “only” 7k that ended up in almost 10 k in the most horrible landscape imaginable. Pavement, busy streets, no cafés or shadows, not even a rock to sit on. My knees were hurting a lot. One kilometer before destiny, I found a bench where I rested while eating a sandwich. A crazy French woman going the opposite way talked to me for a while and complained about all the people that snores in albergues. It was pretty funny the way she expressed herself. «if you snore, book a private room or get an operation » saying these while her hands were flying in the sky.

After that I finally arrived to the albergue of Mos. I found the 4 Czech women and the muse that I saw in the river. I found out everything about her routine. Very neat person.

I did the usual, showered, washed clothes, find WiFi and a menú peregrino to eat. The restaurant in front of the albergue had fish, rabbit and chocolate mousse with a natural orange juice for 10€. I ate everything to the last morsel even when I was not hungry. I know I need to eat. Tomorrow is a long way to Pontevedra. I hope I am in shape for the challenge. Good night. It’s 9:15 pm and I am done.

Day 6 – July 20th – Labruja to Valença do Minho

Woke up at 5 am. Did some yoga and started to get ready slowly. At 6:30 am my breakfast (coffee, bread, cheese and dulce de membrillo) was waiting for me. I didn’t see a soul. Very peaceful stay, helped me to catching up with this blog, since Casa da Valada doesn’t have WiFi. Yesterday a woman in her forties opened me the door of this stone house with a beautiful view. Her name is Concepción but people call her Sion but pronounced in Portuguese.

The second floor of the house is set up for Peregrinos but this year has been really slow and I’m the only one that stayed last night.

Concepción seems to be taking care of her mother. I saw a wheelchair next to the car and a vacuum cleaner and yesterday, when I was eating my veggie soup (3€) I heard a scream from inside the house and a tired Sion who was hand washing towels and sheets hollering back with not too much patience. I went to my bedroom around 8 pm without saying thank you or good night since she was busy with two handymen who were fixing the front door. Lots of discussions going on, I left unnoticed.

Now is almost 7 am and the sun is rising over the hills above the church.

I took some photos while the sun was rising. Mornings are my favorite part of the day. I love to watch the world around me to wake up. Today I walked 17.40 miles. I was glad I stopped in Labruja since not too far it was a big climb. I was grateful once again for the compfy boots that my son had gifted me with. It was a rocky climb. I met a true peregrino there that caught me by surprise since disrupted my solitude. He was walking from Lagos in Portugal’s Algarve, passed through Fátima. He wanted to get to Santiago and then Lourdes. He had lost his job, didn’t have money or eaten in three days. He was definitely looking for a miracle. I wanted to help him but I was scared of getting money for him right there in the loneliness of the Camino. I felt bad since I felt scared of a poor man. Misery doesn’t have mercy, and we behave worst in front of it.

The man walked really fast and I lost sight of him. I decided to take a 50 Euros bill and put it in one of my side pockets, ready to be grabbed and handed if I saw the man again. The problem was that I never saw him again. When I told my husband the story I started to cry, I don’t know if for the man’s misery or my own.

Day 5 July 19th – Corgo to Labruja, 18 miles

Breakfast, chapel, bathroom, rain, poncho, thankful, tears, joy, hunger, rest, ponte d we Lima, checs, uphills and downhills, Oasis, carbonara, heat, tired, Casa da Valada. La Bruja llegó a Labruja.

La Bruja llegó a labruja with two stops: one in Ponte de Lima to see the city and another 3 miles before Labruja at 3 pm in albergue Oasis to eat Carbonara and rest. I don’t know why I was so hungry.
I started after a succulent breakfast at Casa do Fernanda. Her husband, Jacinto prepared breakfast for the 8 of us staying at their place:2 italians-Nicole and Diana; 4 from Checoslovaquia-Ana, Johanna, Teresa and Maketa (sp?). The latter was a nun; a German from Munich and I . We all ate quite a bit. I even took 2 sandwiches for the road and 2 oranges (I lost one 🙂
First 5 k were amazing. I felt like the sky was protecting me. I had an urge to go to the bathroom (and always do) but this time I was going to poop my pants, hahaha. I was walking very uncomfortable especially because it was in a little town, not even a chance to hide in the bushes behind the vineyards. And voilá, a Chapel showed up. And next to the chapel the cleanest and emptiest bathrooms I have ever seen, and they were unlocked! I’m not going to enter into details of my experience in the bathroom besides the fact I found a a little Buda on the window.
I also replenished my water bottle. I started to walk again when I felt some droplets from the sky. Sure enough, the rain announced last night decided to show up at 9 am. Probably it was due that yesterday we didn’t eat all the food that Fernanda offered us. Sophie told us that it was a German saying that if you don’t eat everything on the table the next day will rain. We joked about that last night, but we all ate quite a bit.
And now the saying as promised got fulfilled. I decided to take my super duper poncho, that made me look like little red hunchback from the hood. I started to walk so happy. As if all stars were aligned. It was downhill, and at every step my soul felt better and better. The bathroom, the rain, my poncho, the beautiful country side, I couldn’t feel more thankful. And I started to cry. But of happiness. I don’t think I have felt so grateful in many years. I felt like something was healing inside of me, and that I can have hope on myself. When I send the photo of me with my poncho to my family in Whatsapp, Steve told me that I looked happy. Little he knew that the camera captured my very reality,  I was feeling super happy and thankful at that point.

Day 4 July 18 – Barcelinhos to Corgo with detour to Santuario de la Aparecida – 16.15 miles

This is the right amount of miles to walk. I have even the luxury to take a detour to El Santuario de la Aparecida. The legend says that the Virgin Mary show up to a muted and disabled person called Joao and he started talking. In the chapel it’s a tunnel with a boulder that you need to cross. If you can’t you need to return and work on your sins. I crossed with my backpack on my knees. I wasn’t returning hahaha. In Corgo I stayed at Casa do Fernanda y Jacinto. A very nice couple that offers albergue to Peregrinos since 2002. She is very warm and welcoming and offered us an amazing supper. Jacinto prepared breakfast for 8 of us the next morning. He is an eye doctor that have been many times in Africa to help with his knowledge. The place is very comfy with dogs, chicken, cats ducks and an awesome vegetable garden that was part of our meal. We need more Jacintos and Fernanda’s in this world.

Day 3 July 17th Vila do Conde – Barcelinhos 20.94 miles

Almost died of exhaustion and heat but this is my type of Camino 😉. I walked around 15 k to get into Camino Central at San Pedro de Rates and the another 18 k to Barcelinhos. It was very hot and I almost melted but I really like the feeling of Camino Central. Less people and tourists, walking along pueblitos and finding even a little local festivity at Rates. It was a lot of walk on asfalt and pebbles. The last 6 miles were a killer. I was so scared the albergue at Barcelinhos was going to be full. I arrived around 5 PM and was the first. The albergue is super nice and clean, the shower was awesome and I have lots of space for myself. Only 3 other people arrived after me. It cost €8. The cheapest so far.
I had a menú del día at the peregrino restaurant in front of the albergue running by the same people. Couldn’t help to walk to the church a couple of blocks away to take a picture, even when my legs and feet can’t respond too much. They are soooo tired.

Day 2 July 16th Lebruge – Vila do Conde – 7 miles plus 8 miles

Today I walked more in town than between Lebruge and Vila do Conde. 15 miles aprox I had breakfast with my peregrina friend and started walking around 8:30 am. I forgot to start Strava and realized it was not recording only the last mile. It was around 7 miles between towns. I arrived at Vila do Conde at 11am, so I had 4 hours to kill. Mercedes continued to the next town since I was going to take a detour and continue the rest of the way via Camino Central. I heard it’s more picturesque and less touristic. We will see. I hope it’s not too hot.
Supposedly today was a day of rest, but what do you do when you need to wait 4 hours? I rested for an hour in front of the Iglesia Matriz and witnessed a wedding. I almost gave them my phone number since I got very candid shots of their wedding.
I went up to Monasterio de Las Claras, saw the cemetery and an aqueduct that I need to follow tomorrow for 3 miles. I walked along the Ave river and downtown. I got cash and materials for a sandwich and finally the albergue was open. Signed in, dropped my stuff, went to the beach and now I’m exhausted. Good thing it was going to be a “resting” day. It seems my body was born to move and suffer (in a good way 😉 In sum, I walked 14 miles today, not 7. I’m impressed of how much you can walk around a small city (needless to say in a large one).

This paragraph is part of a WhatsApp I sent to my family: Estoy feliz con la mochila que ahora solo pesa 7 kilos (around 14 pounds) and left behind 4 kilos (8 pounds) that were killing me slowly (or very rapidly). Anyway, now I’m going to the beach. It’s pretty sunny and hot. I will soak myself in the ocean, take a shower and plan my way to connect to Camino Central. I think El Camino litoral is nice but not very varied. El Central is more uncertain since towns are smaller and not catering for so much tourism but Peregrinos. I hope it’s not too hot. I’m excited

Day 1 – July 15th Porto-Lebruge 19 miles

Today I had breakfast at the albergue for 3€. It was prepared by Sonia, one of the volunteers. Last night, I heard a Spanish woman arriving late. I was already on the top bed of a bunk bed. She had the bottom. She asked me if I was Spanish. I don’t remember what I answered but I was already on the mood for sleeping. During the night I heard people singing and partying until almost 1 am. I felt awkward and lonely. Like maybe I was not cut for all that enjoyment. I kind of like it even when they didn’t let me sleep too deep.

At breakfast, I felt awkward again. People eating with their friends and me in a corner, quiet, just listening and thinking about all the food I can take for lunch. Until the same Spanish woman of yesterday showed up and started to talk to me. She gave me a bunch of advice on how to take care of my feet. One of the advice was to put a bunch of Vaseline. A layer of protection. Since I didn’t have, she shared hers with me. She looked like she knew what she was talking about even though I had the sensation that she was the same person that called yesterday to the albergue and talked to another volunteer while I was checking in. The volunteer didn’t have too much patience with whatever the woman was telling/asking him

In any case, she wanted to go with me to make sure we find the start of the Camino litoral route. I didn’t know yet, but she was the type of person that really needs to know were she is going. The opposite of me.  I really don’t care to get lost or make the wrong turn. I know eventually I will get wherever I’m going. And in the meantime I might find something very interesting in between. I care though about knowing how many miles I walked at the end. I love to look on the map at all the random steps I made. It pisses me off more when Strava doesn’t work than getting lost. 

In any case, she was a good person, excited to start El Camino with someone. She gave me the ají en el poto (chili on my butt) to start seriously walking. I warned her I was slow. She didn’t care since she wanted to start easy the first day.  So I found a friend and we walked together the entire day for 33 km. until the town of Labrugue. I learned a couple of things about her. Her name is Mercedes, and was born as me in 1961. Even though she was born in May she kept saying that she was 60. It could be that she will continue to say 60 until the day she dies. She is from Santoña in Cantabria, a beautiful town in the Northern part of Spain  Her mother is 86 years old and live 7 km away from her. She installed an Alexa and a camera at her home and can talk with her mother whenever she wants. She found the solution to keep her mom independent. I even saw the old lady on Mercedes’ phone walking around and saying hi. I said hi back. She is very knowledgeable of the Caminos. Last year she walked El Camino Francés from Roncesvalles in 29 days. She married at 23 year old when discovering she was pregnant of her daughter Carmen. She is still married to the same man, who everyone calls Rizos. He looks like a nice, fitted and handsome man for our age. She showed me some videos of him with her twin toddler grandchildren in a swimming pool. Very cute (the children not the man).

We walked along the mist of Rio Duero and the Atlantic ocean with a brief stop in Matashinos to get a stamp and a pin that now I’m using to pinch my blisters. My backpack was awfully heavy. I barely made it to Labrugue. Everything hurt. I felt I could not continue like this. I shared my thoughts with Steve via WhatsApp and he immediately responded. I followed all his suggestions. Fortunately in Porto, the Spanish volunteer from Valencia gave me a phone number of a service that it was very reliable. With the help of Mercedes, Steve on Whatsapp and my own judgment I managed to get rid of almost 4 kilos of stuff that I put on a bag with 55€ and they will deliver it for me in Santiago de Compostela on July 31st which is my ETA so far. It took a huge physical and emotional weight for me. Now I carry around 7.5 kilos which is still a lot when you start adding food, and water. But now at least is manageable.

While I was chatting with Steve and the service trying to solve my backpack problem, Mercedes went to eat. I was too tired to walk any other step, so I stayed at the albergue municipal, took a shower, washed my clothes and ate an oatmeal that exploded in my backpack and it was not of longer use. I was going to survive. I figured also that both needed some space.

I went to the pharmacy to buy Vaseline and the pharmacist told me that the Camino Central was nicer than de la Costa and if I wanted to see the real Portugal I needed to go there. It was nice to hear reassurance of my idea. When I returned I chatted for a while with the person in charge of the albergue and a young woman from Lithuania. They were talking about men. The young woman wanted to find a man and have children. The hostelera who was in her forties, had one daughter, and was divorced, didn’t want anything with men. She said she like her freedom and was tired of men who boss her around. She said I want to be free. So I started singing Queen’s song and everybody laughed.

Day 0 – July 14th

Departing to Oporto from Atocha to the airport. Zero problem with Ryanair despite all the terror stories about a several days strike.

Dropped backpack at the Albergue de Peregrinos and went to wander 12.6 miles around Porto until 6 pm. I haven’t even started El Camino and I’m already exhausted hahaha. Actually, I am still recovering from the heavy migraine I got due to the jet lag. Yesterday I couldn’t even get up, so I consider it a win. My apologies for the amount of photos, but Porto is too cool.

I had tickets for Librería Lello which was in the Harry Potter movies. It disappointed me a little bit, maybe because of the amount of people taking very posed photos who probably barely read a book, the quality of the books they sell or the size of the building. I have to confess though, that still the stairs are really awesome.

The albergue is super nice and after crashing for 1.5 hours now it’s midnight and can’t sleep. The jet lag is serious. I downloaded the app Camino Ninja which will serve me good.

One of the volunteers at the albergue gave me some tips that I don’t know if the gave me hope or terrorized me. The only way of knowing is by starting the walk.

Day 000 – July 12th

I just arrived in Madrid after smooth flights from Portland, OR, to Madrid with change of plane in Dallas. Steve dropped me off at the airport in Portland around noon yesterday and now is 3:30 pm next day, Spain time. I’m sitting waiting for the train that will take me to Atocha. From there I will walk with my backpack to my cousin’s apartment, a couple of blocks away. It’s hot and I’m already tired. I hope I don’t regret bringing all the stuff that I’m bringing. I know I will hate them in some point.

After a 45 minutes on the train from the airport to Atocha I met Juano and Jero in their apartment that’s only a couple of blocks away. We talked and talked and talked and ate in an Italian restaurant in the area: Buffala cheese and pizza that I regretted not taking a picture because aside from being fabulously tasty they were fresh and cool looking. I remembered Steve. He would have enjoyed the thin crust of the pizzas.

At night I started to develop a migraine and woke up several times. The view of the city reminded me of Ciudad Gótica.

April, National Poetry Month #SOLTuesday

Today is SOL Tueday, and I am so happy I can share something!

At my school, I challenged all students and staff to do the activity Poets ask, EGMS Huskies respond. We draw two students and one staff each week. Students receive a poetry book or a novel in verse and a congratulation card and staff receive Spanish hand painted ceramic graciously donated by GringoCool.

Since I can’t compete I decided to write a poem to encourage students to return late books to the library. Bear with me. I have never been very good at writing poems.

Update: Today I read the poem through the Intercom, and it was quite an experience. I think if I weren’t a librarian, I would have loved to have a radio program.

What’s stopping you from coming to the library?

by Pia Alliende

What’s stopping you from coming to the library?
It’s a book owed at your former elementary?
Or a late returned fee
or a book covered with pee?

Do you have books under your bed
since the start of the pandemic?
Listen, we’re not going to be polemic
Just bring them in
to give another reader a chance
since it’s not a deadly sin.
Your librarian doesn’t bark,
scream or shush

If you find books from ANY type of library,
(and I mean ANY)
Just bring them in a hurry
no need to blush or get your eyes blurry.
You will get a rolly rancher
For every book that passes the scanner.

Librarians around the world will be rejoice
that you made a good choice
and their books can start to be read,
returned, read returned again and again.

Just say something if they are lost
or somebody had them tossed
We can work out the cost.

Your late fines have been deleted
but most important than that
is that at your library we are committed
Your voice matters and is essential
and at the library we will keep it
confidential

¿Qué te impide venir a la biblioteca?

por Pia Alliende

¿Qué te impide venir a la biblioteca?
¿Es un libro que debes en tu antigua primaria?
O una deuda que tienes por devolución tardía
o un libro cubierto de pis?

¿Tienes libros debajo de tu cama?
desde el inicio de la pandemia?
Escucha, no vamos a ser polémicos
Solo tráelos
para darle una oportunidad a otro lector o lectora
ya que no es un pecado mortal.
Tu bibliotecaria no ladra,
grita o te hace callar

Si encuentras libros de CUALQUIER tipo de biblioteca,
(y me refiero a CUALQUIERA)
Solo tráelos de prisa
no es necesario sonrojarse o desgarrar tu camisa.
Recibirás un rolly rancher
Por cada libro que pase el scanner
Los bibliotecarios y bibliotecarias de todo el mundo se regocijarán
Y tu buena elección honrarán
ya que sus libros volverán a leerse, devolver, leerse y devolver una y otra vez.

Solo di algo si están perdidos
o alguien los tiró con un berrido
Podemos aminorar el costo.

Se han eliminado tus multas tardías
pero más importante que eso
es que en tu biblioteca estamos contigo
Tu voz importa y es fundamental
y lo guardaremos
como algo confidencial

Prizes for the winners each week: A card and a book

Day 31: On a razor edge #sol2021 #solsc

I did it for the third time! This year I did it on a razor edge, though. But I am getting to the end of epic 2021 Slice of Life Story Challenge. It was hard. More difficult than the other two years. While going biking today after work, I reflected about the why it was more difficult. The answer will be probably the same one as many slicers.

My first year, I started the challenge in Spain. I was excited and nervous but I did a lot of things that March of 2019. Also, I was six hours ahead of EST, so I can write leisurely, without worrying of not meeting the deadline. In March 2019, I travelled (ugh, what’s that?) Yes, I took airplanes and visited the US and returned to Spain without a mask. I visited my daughter for her birthday and came to Oregon to explore work possibilities. Many people commented in my blog, especially my three welcome wagon volunteers. That was really sweet and amazing. The encouragement felt great and we establish genuine dialogs.

My second year, I was 8 months back in the US working in a new school, and on day 12 we went into lockdown. I had lots of time to write but probably not the peace of mind. Still Covid was new and we commiserated together our fears and writing about Covid was OK since it was the only thing around us. Comments were of support and hope.

My third year, now, found me working full in site from 6:30 am to 3 pm or later (let’s say it, later. Period) Now, I tried not to write too much about Covid, we are all tired of the abominable virus and all the protocols to avoid it. Still it permeated the atmosphere. Working glued to the computer and returning home to continue glued to it was not very appealing. If the weather was nice, it was much more attractive to go for a hike, a ride or just read a book or binge a Netflix Series (the last was Who killed Sarah? in three days).

As Sally Donnelly expressed it so eloquent in her blog post, we are all tired of our screen-time, our own bubble, and isolation. I caught myself whining a lot, especially about the EST deadline and lack of comments. It would be fun if next year we can be secret commentators. Each person get assigned randomly another slicer and they visit that blog author regularly and comment on their slice. They don’t know who is the secret commentator, they will know their name and might suspect especially if it’s the only person that comments but that way we all get to support another person every day. For me, the oral comments of my husband were super important to keep it up.

The slices that I thought harder, were the less visited, and the ones done in quickly with no substance, were more seen. I felt a little shy. Nonetheless, I am shameless. The perks of not been read widely hahaha. There were actual moments that I wished nobody read me. Still, I crave for comments but I didn’t want to plan my slices, or write them all at once and then put them in the calendar. For me, it was important that the exercise was done withing the boundaries of each day (Even though I felt 3 hours were stolen from me hahaha. I am very obsessive. Covid is enhancing my dark side).

This year I felt like one of those students that they see the incentive so far from their realm that they throw in the towel. I was on the verge but didn’t because I am stubborn and might enjoy living on a razor edge. Sometimes.

Riding my bike helps me find my balance

Day 30: Arf, arf, woof, woof, guau, guau #SOLSC #SOL2021

After yesterday’s hacked slice by Clyde, I have at home a very sad blind dachshund. Not even one person visited his post, zero comments or likes. Not even Steven, so nobody is even (probably understandable since Clyde left a mix review of him). Still, I thought that this is not fair.

For this reason the title of this slice is just Clyde whining, barking and crying in all the languages he knows. What upsets him the most is that Buck received raving comments on his slices.

Clyde is thinking, thinking, like Winnie the Pooh. He might hire somebody that can alter the algorithms of my blog. He thinks Poncho could be a great choice.

Poncho can charm y’all to go back one day and read slice #29.

Day 29: About time #SOL2021 #SOLSC

Today, I am hacking Pia’s computer. She hasn’t invite me to be a guest blogger but I think it’s about time that I write. She has been participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge since 2019, and she has NEVER written about me or given me the chance to show my storytelling skills in this platform. However, she has given Buck the opportunity, TWICE. There are only three days left of this year challenge. I have to say it again, it’s about time.

Let me introduce myself. I am Clyde. On April 2nd I will be turning 15 years old. I am originally from Oregon, but when I was 3 years old we moved to Spain, where I spent ten years. I got accustom to the leisurely pace of the Sevilla countryside, sunbathe almost 9 months per year, and take plenty of naps. Two years ago, my life changed again and I had to get adjusted back. Kind of a return home culture shock. I have to confess though, that I really do like the heating system here. Much better than in Spain where we were relegated to the kitchen which was very windy in the winter, since it didn’t have any insulation. I am not the young stud anymore. Or Queen, since Spaniards always thought that I was a girl, due to my petite size compared to my two buddies. I am a genuine miniature, they weren’t.

I used to be more athletic but lately my bones hurt a lot, and sounds more appealing to sleep the entire day than go outside. Don’t take me wrong. I would love to be able to go outside, but when Pia and Steve are not at home, I can’t. I am scared of the front stairs that are after passing the doggie door. It took me a while to get accustom to feel that heavy plastic rubbing on my neck, every time I cross it. I can only imagine the size of that door. Probably for mastodons.

Anyway, the stairs in question don’t meet the ADA requirements. If Steve weren’t such a good person, I would report him. I know I am not the only one that struggle with the stairs. Buck told me that Pia, when she leaves the house to go to work at 6 am, she goes very slow down the steps, not only because it’s really dark outside (unless it’s full moon) but because those stairs are steep. She is afraid that when she grows older, she will fall and break a hip, and probably Steve will get rid of her.

I am not saying this lightly. For last Steve’s birthday, we went for a 3 miles hike in the Cascades Mountains. It was a lot of uphill, and I did maybe half of it walking and the other half in a little bag they bought especially for me. The thing is that after all that effort, especially the one going up, and stumbles on rocks, and unexpected bushes, I got a kink in my neck. It was very painful. Every time Steve picked me up, I started crying in despair. I couldn’t help it. Buck and Poncho were not of any help either since every time I complained, they started to make a racket like if I were in real danger. Steve thought that my last days were coming, and when his children called for Pia’s birthday four days after his birthday, he told them that probably they were going to put me to sleep. I thank the Virgin Mary and all the angels that Pia was born that day since she set her foot very firm down, looked at Steve in the eyes and exclaimed: No! I refused to put Clyde to sleep on my birthday!

Not everything is about you, Pia. Clyde is suffering. When I heard that, I realized that if I didn’t change my attitude, my destiny was doomed. So I decided to put my best puppy face, wag my tail happily, and emit some barks of joy. It did work. I was healed.

Pia said that I am like Lazarus. When I was 6 months old, a rattle snake bit me. I laid in bed for three days, without eating and only drinking water by a spoon. At the third day, I got up, and walked. With a limp in my rear end left leg that I still have, but walked. It was a miracle. After that, I acknowledge, I started to behave like a prima donna, a very optimistic prima donna, always happy, always wagging my tale, but always with thirst of attention. I have the middle child complex, I guess. Always seeking attention.

Today though, I am more like Bartimaeus from Jericho, since I can’t see a thing, and I can barely hear. For this reason, every time they put me outside, I bark my way in. It’s my system to scare all the rattle snakes in the summer, and the coyotes on the cold winter nights.

My smell and taste senses haven’t disappeared yet, and probably won’t disappear until I die. Food is my passion these days. I have to be very careful though. Buck, even though is respectful of my food and space, sometimes get carried away when I lose track of a morsel thrown while Steve cook. My strategy? Stay at Steve’s feet waiting for a mishap, or just compassion of my human buddy. After supper, he always picks me up, and put me between his legs while stretched in the sofa watching a Netflix series. He covers me with a warm poncho bought in La Ligua, falling asleep in unison. I really love Steve. Despite his extreme attitude towards my aging and the approximation of my end. I know he does it because he loves me, and he can’t stand seeing me suffering. As far as I know, I still have some time left. My renaissance was from prima donna to survivor. About time.

Day 27: Tricking the EST deadline #SOLSC #SOL2021

Dear reader:

My apologies if you see this very brief message but I just arrived from a bike ride and don’t have time to write something before 9pm. So, I will post it before the deadline and eventually I will write something from the comfort of my bed. I promise it will be before midnight.

I’m considering also, that this could be my slice. Nobody said length. For your enjoyment, I will put some photos of my bike ride

Good night 🌃!