Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘birthday

First Visit

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I finally made it to a MN United Football Club match in their home stadium, Allianz Field. Since it is located very close to Elysa’s home, she initiated having the four of us –Cyndie, me, Elysa, and Julian– go see a game as a celebration of my birthday earlier this summer. It took us until the last home game of the season to fit it into our schedule, but that turned out to be fan appreciation night, so it felt even more celebratory.

The night kicked off with another first for me. On the walk from Elysa’s neighborhood to the stadium, we stopped for dinner on Snelling Avenue at Fasika Ethiopian Restaurant. I think I would have enjoyed it even more if I’d had a knife and fork, but the spongy flatbread, injera for grabbing bite-sized portions of the spicy meats helped make the meal more out-of-this-world for me. Certainly out of my world.

From there, it was just a short distance across the street to the stadium and the thrills and spectacle of MLS soccer.

We landed great seats in a facility where there doesn’t appear to be any bad seats in the house. One feature I noticed right away was the impressive technology of lighting installed.

They didn’t seem as in control when it came to pyrotechnics.

The smoke from pregame on-field fireworks obscured the view and spoiled the air for longer than I think they would have liked.

The game was pretty entertaining, despite the time of possession being lopsided away from the home team, who spent most of their time on the defensive.

I snapped a shot as we set up for a corner kick.

Julian topped that when he captured a video of the free-kick which resulted in the tying goal in a 1-1 draw.

The match started under a misting rain, but the stadium seating is beneath an overhang that sheltered us from getting wet. That went a long way to securing the night as a very comfortable and entertaining experience.

It would have been great if the MNUFC Loons would have won, but on the other hand, at least they didn’t lose.

Too bad the NFL Vikings can’t say the same thing about their game on Sunday. (The outcome of that game was definitely NOT a first in my experience as a follower of our home teams.)

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Written by johnwhays

October 1, 2019 at 6:00 am

Celebration Dinner

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It was a small gathering last night, in terms of usual for a birthday event celebrated by Cyndie’s family. Our two kids and Cyndie’s parents met downtown in Minneapolis for a royal feast at the Melting Pot restaurant for Julian’s birthday dinner.

The fact that it was also Cyndie’s and my 38th wedding anniversary helped to bolster the celebration a couple of notches.

The multiple courses of fondue made for a long meal. I didn’t get around to snapping photos until we were working on dessert because I had been so focused on cooking my own food.

Fred had the best line of the night when he said to the waiter, “My compliments to the chef!”

There were so many flavors being mixed and mingled it was dizzying. Most of the time, I didn’t know what I was eating, but it all tasted mighty good. My entree was a combination of meats that included shrimp, pork, chicken, and beef with a variety of spices. Add in six versions of dipping sauces and the two different flavored cooking oils and I had a good excuse for struggling to identify each bite.

It felt wonderfully celebratory!

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Finally

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First, I want to point out that there are two special things I haven’t forgotten today. Happy Birthday, Julian! And, Happy Anniversary to Cyndie (and me).

One way I know that we have been married a long time: She sent me an email yesterday, announcing she had signed us up for a community education class on Navigating Social Security.

How romantic.

I chose one of her photographs for a new “Words on Images” composition.

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Written by johnwhays

September 19, 2019 at 6:00 am

Epic Ride

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It started out nice enough at six in the morning yesterday. Five riders rolling through Paul’s Linden Hills neighborhood, fresh and ready for the symbolic 60-mile bike ride from Paul’s house to mine. None of us had asked for a day with a heat index at or above 100°F.

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But that’s what we got. I’ll just say this: it was the kind of heat that saps your energy while you are just sitting there, let alone intensely exercising. I’m not going to mention the error in judgment I made in the last miles near home when I said to go right when we were supposed to turn left.

I blame it on oxygen deprivation. I plead insanity.

On the good side, it was brand new pavement that rolled smooth as silk.

We paused in Prescott, WI for refreshments and the ice cooler turned out to be a treasured perch.

At one point, Paul stepped out of the Holiday Station store and gushed, “Have you been in the beer cave?”

Three of us hustled in to check it out. Oh. My. Gosh. There was a temperature drop of about sixty degrees. I thought, “This can’t be good for me,” but it sure was refreshing. We walked around the stacks of bottles and cans for a while and dropped our body temperature a shocking amount.

As I stepped out of the cooler, I asked the attendant, “What do we owe you for ten minutes in the cooler?” She just gave us an odd look and shrugged us off.

We finally arrived at Wintervale in the waning moments before almost 100 guests were expected to start arriving. I’d share pictures with you here, but I didn’t take any. In fact, even though I don’t drink any alcohol, most of the afternoon and evening is pretty much a blur. Hours passed like minutes, I barely had a chance to complete a thought in conversation, and I had a wonderful time basking in the glow of love bestowed upon me as one of the birthday boys.

Thank you to all who showered us with love yesterday. I’m feeling particularly blessed and looking forward to laying low today in recovery from riding for hours in humid heat and finishing the day with a massive dose of social interaction.

I’m almost feeling my age this morning.

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Written by johnwhays

June 30, 2019 at 9:37 am

Celebrations Begin

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I think I’ve mentioned before that birthday dinners are a staple tradition in Cyndie’s family, and we doubled up yesterday, dining out twice. Barry and Carlos were sweet to travel all the way from Boston to help celebrate my big 6-0 milestone, and Cyndie brought them directly from the airport to take me out to lunch.

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Salmon salad! One of my favorites that won out over fish and chips.

For dinner, the whole crew, minus nieces and nephews, met downtown in Minneapolis on the rooftop of UNION Bar & Grill. As the sun dropped below an adjacent building, they rolled back the glass roof so we were able to dine under the evening sky.

Festive!

Thank you to Barry, Cyndie, Steve, and Sara for contributing photos!

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Written by johnwhays

June 27, 2019 at 6:00 am

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My Turn

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Today it is my turn to join the club of 60-year-olds. Sixty years ago today I showed up as the latest addition to the Hays clan. Luckily, we tend toward not remembering our moment of arrival, but I bet I was kicking and screaming until that warm blanket swaddled me tightly. By my calculations, I have just completed a third stint of becoming a twenty-year-old.

I’m pretty confident that I am twenty years smarter than I was when I reached forty.

I will always remember the spectacular celebration of my fortieth birthday, because my life-long chum, Paul Keiski, and I combined our adjacent birthdays with a plan to thwart our wives trying to hold a surprise party for us. We announced a plot to do a nighttime 40-mile bike ride figuring nobody would be crazy enough to participate.

Turned out there were a lot more crazy people than we accounted for, so a fabulous group night-ride became an annual necessity for years after. That night when Paul’s birthday ended and mine started, we decided we had each ridden 20 moonlit miles by that point, so together, forty had been achieved.

Now, twenty years later, we gave in and let our wives plan a celebration event. I fear it may dwarf either of our weddings in terms of their efforts to prepare food, beverages, and entertainment for a wedding-sized guest list.

Once again, Paul came up with the perfect antidote for too much party. This time we are going to do all the miles.

Turns out, the distance between Paul’s house and Wintervale Ranch, location of the joint-birthday gala, is sixty miles. He suggested we ride our bikes to the party.

Count me in!

Pedaling from the biggest city in Minnesota to our country sanctuary is symbolic in more ways than just the mileage for me. Joining Paul for the journey is icing on the cake.

It is a precious treat to be sharing the process of aging with a pal to whom you’ve been connected since grade school.

Happy Birthday to Paul (yesterday) and me (today)!

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Written by johnwhays

June 26, 2019 at 6:00 am

Without Pause

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I barely had time to unpack and catch my breath on Friday evening upon arrival home from the weeklong adventure of biking and camping, before the next flurry of activity began. At this time yesterday, I was in Cyndie’s car finishing up yesterday’s blog post as we raced west toward Chaska for a morning wedding of the daughter of one of our old school mates.

We didn’t have time to linger at the reception, because our afternoon and evening were reserved for the celebration of our daughter Elysa’s birthday. With their slick planning, Cyndie and Elysa had everything set for an excellent combination of activities.


Dressed in our summer wedding fare, we started the afternoon with a visit to Elysa and Ande’s garden plot near their home in St. Paul where we dumped 5 bags of Wintervale compost to cover their sprouting potato plants. Another gardener commented that we seemed a little overdressed for the task.

After that, it was an exploration through the bizarre collection of miscellaneous goods at Axman Surplus. They have everything you couldn’t possibly need, but always find some way to use. Birthday glasses!

Early dinner at On’s Kitchen on University Avenue to avoid the rush for Thai cuisine (Mmmm, Pad Thai!), and then Can Can Wonderland for entertainment.

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We chose to pass on the two-hour wait for the artist-designed mini-golf and settled for old-style pinball from my days of youth, skee-ball, ping pong, and bubble hockey, topped off with a round of beverages. A perfect birthday extravaganza.

Elysa got a candle in her drink.

I think I got more rest last week during the bike trip. Yesterday was like an added bonus day of adventure.

Now I could use a vacation from all my vacation.

Happy, happy birthday, Elysa!

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Written by johnwhays

June 23, 2019 at 10:00 am