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Non-Fiction

Non-Fiction

Day 4: Coto to Castaneda. 14.01 miles.

I hit the wall this day, mentally and physically. Kent, too. And it wasn’t like it was our longest day, either. But this day, in addition to our standard “tired,” we added sore and crabby. To add insult to injury, our inn was off the trail by another kilometer, and when we finally had it in our sights, we saw that it was at the top of a hill, and we were standing at the bottom, with at least the length of a football field left to climb. The inn looked cool from afar. It had been built as a

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Non-Fiction

Day 3: Eirexe to Coto. 15.1 miles.

First, I think it’s only fair to point out that our daily mileage count comes from Kent’s pedometer (and if you know Kent, you know it’s been accurately calculated to the nth degree). As such, our mileage includes the “extra” meandering we do at various points, like ducking into a shop, or checking out a cemetery, or the exploration we do when we reach our final destination for the day. But honestly, our “meandering” and “exploration” is fairly limited, given that we’re muy cansada* (very tired) by the end of the day. Anyway, on Tuesday, because we were feeling cocky

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Non-Fiction

We Walk On. No Matter What.

We were the only people in the hotel dining room at 8:00pm on the eve of our Camino, having decided on an “early” dinner since we wanted to get a good night’s rest in anticipation of a very long hike. An older woman entered the dining room, sat down and ordered. She was at least a decade older than us, and when she finished her meal and got up to leave, we assumed she was a local, or a tourist who most definitely wasn’t going to be walking the Camino. Her gait was unsteady, stiff and tentative, like a colt

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Day Two: Portomarin to Eirexe. 11.5 miles

Some general observations about today: People are good. Consider the evidence: When we left our hotel today, I left behind a ring. (In fairness, it was early and I’d only had one cup of coffee. Btw, why do the Spanish serve their coffee in such tiny little cups?) It wasn’t a fancy ring, but since it had been given to me by a dear friend, it had a large sentimental price tag. To make matters worse, I didn’t even know I’d left it behind until we’d checked into our next hotel, where our luggage was waiting for us in the

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Non-Fiction

Day 1: Sarria to Portomarin. 15 miles.

Our first day on the Camino began like an Edgar Allan Poe poem, or something out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie. A chill permeated the morning air and dense and heavy fog, like wet cotton, obscured the morning light. We set out alone; one backpack between us, the damp settling onto our shoulders as we hiked down the murky path. And then, she appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, dark hair, pale face, a young woman alone on the trail. “Hey, are you from Milwaukee?” she said, falling in beside us. Damn, I thought. Is our Midwestern accent giving us away

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Non-Fiction

The Journey Begins

Why is our train going backwards? The announcement over the PA system provided no clues. The rapido delivery of the announcer was no match for my college Spanish. Even when she switched to heavily-accented English, the only words I could make out were “train,” “flood,” and “bus.” Thankfully, a young, bilingual British woman sitting across the aisle filled us in. “The train can’t go all the way to Sarria,” she said brightly, as if this unexpected wrench in our travel plans had won each of us a lottery ticket. “They’re putting us on a bus to get us there.” She

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Non-Fiction

Don’t Worry—Act

Rising inflation and the last several weeks of a market downturn have some folks really worried. This, despite signs that our economy is beginning to recover from the last two years of an international health pandemic. And those signs of recovery are terrific: the jobless rate has dropped to 4.2%, with U.S. economic output jumping to more than 7% in the last three months of 2021. An economic expansion of 5.7 percent in 2021, the biggest since 1984. U.S. companies showing profit margins higher than they’ve been since 1950. Child poverty cut in half, and more than 4.6 million Americans

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Non-Fiction

Gratitude

It’s always darkest before the dawn. That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. You’ve heard inspirational quotes like these before and you’ll no doubt hear them again. Trite, maybe. But also true. I think that’s why we human beings need to hear them again and again, because the truth always resonates. A few months back, when I wrote about how I was struggling, inspirational quotes are what I clung to, as well as music like This is Me by Keala Settle, or Home by Phil Phillips. Those sayings and songs helped this eternal optimist to remember that underneath it

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Jillosophy

Notes from Coping with Calamity Class

See people. Comfort them. Be there for them. (But don’t attempt any rescues) Resist the urge to fix, to judge, to preach, to take a swing. (On paper or in person) Challenge, coach. Ask why. (Without having the answers) Be kind. Be patient. Be curious. Be yourself. (Flaws included) Don’t hold back; invite everyone in. (Even if the house is a mess) Practice mercy. Have faith. (In them and in you) Laugh. (Whenever possible) Rant. (Breathe in) Listen. (Breathe out) Write. (Love) Photo by Jay Filter at https://jayfilterphotography.com/

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Non-Fiction

Lessons From a Game

Thousands of us waited anxiously, hoping and praying that “Bucks in 6” would go from slogan to reality. Millions more watched as 65,000 people jammed into downtown Milwaukee to root for their home team. And I think I can say with confidence of those who celebrated in and around the Deer District: -No one cared who was a Democrat, a Republican, an Independent, a Socialist or a Communist -No one cared what color anyone was -No one cared who was a Catholic or a Protestant, a Lutheran or an evangelical, a Jew or an atheist, or any denomination in between

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