Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘Christmas

Oh December

with 2 comments

The onset of the coronavirus pandemic seems like a long time ago. As the year dragged on and another person of color was murdered by police, triggering protests around the world, and the U.S. election disinformation machine kicked into “high-fraud” gear, the year 2020 cemented its place in history as one of great collective disdain. The end couldn’t come soon enough.

We’ve now reached the twelfth month and we’ve got COVID-19 vaccines within sight and the election is decided. The Christmas season is upon us. There are sprinkles of hope the year might finally come to an end.

I can’t guess what the New Year’s Eve celebrations are going to be like. In this country, we’ll probably still be trying to slow the community spread of coronavirus, but the collective sigh of “good-riddance” to 2020 will likely be palpable.

In the flood of retail marketing efforts aiming to grab my attention, my email inbox is under constant bombardment with messages of massive savings to be had. I’ve turned it into a game where I zap the messages as fast as they come in, trying to set a high score of deletes in a day.

My shopping method is more of an “I’ll come to you when I want something” mode than wanting to be lured in by supposed deals.

This year, I think most wish lists start with “vaccine” and permission to touch again.

Will that be something Santa can deliver? Maybe if we all believe.

.

.

 

Written by johnwhays

December 1, 2020 at 7:00 am

Much Joy

leave a comment »

It all builds up to this. Apparently, there was a lot more “nice” than there was “naughty” in the family this year. Santa’s elves surely worked overtime to supply all the goods for the gift exchanges witnessed yesterday at the Edina house, though this was just a fraction of the joy. There was also laughter and mirth along with some good-natured ribbing and exceptional feasting shared by all.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Most precious of all was the time with family. Time to just be together really is priceless. Puts the material goods at a distant second in terms of value for the holiday.

Delilah did wonderfully in her first-ever visit to the location, which was very important to us. It allowed us to maximize our minutes with the fam this year.

I chose to bring her home after dinner last night, but Cyndie stayed for one more overnight. In the moments after I got home with the pooch, I managed to lock myself out of the house with Delilah inside. Luckily, we have a lockbox with key for just such occasions.

Getting back inside and settling in at home brought almost as much joy as the Christmas celebrations that preceded our return.

One of the most overlooked great things about Christmas is the point when it is finally over and life can return to the usual daily grind.

I hope that doesn’t sound ungrateful, but even a very good thing can get to be a little too much. We have been blessed with a lot of very good things. Now I’m ready to be blessed with a return to our usual normalcy.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

December 26, 2019 at 7:00 am

Happy Hens

leave a comment »

We are thrilled to report that our hens are acting very happy with the last few days of above-average warmth (above freezing!) around this winter solstice. Tomorrow is Christmas and the hours of daylight started increasing again so the mood is pretty festive around here. A return to home-laid eggs can’t be far off. The day they kick back into that cycle again will bring on its own celebratory moods in our house. We’ve become spoiled with a quality of eggs that the grocery store offerings don’t come close to matching.

During the previous sub-zero cold snaps and bouts of snow, the chickens showed zero interest in venturing outside the coop when we opened the chicken door. Yesterday and Sunday they gladly made the trek back to the barn overhang where there is prime sand-bathing to be had in the sun.

For some reason defying logic, the hens have sequentially been molting for several months now. The two latest raggy looking things are getting their comeuppance for the period they were strutting around looking like award-winning specimens when others were a sorry sight.

Everybody has their day.

We are going to leave the coop buttoned up for a couple of days while we take Delilah with us for an overnight to Cyndie’s parent’s house in Edina. The Christmas tradition for Cyndie’s family involves a big dinner with cousin families on the eve, then breakfast and a gift exchange extravaganza extraordinaire on Christmas morning followed with a big dinner in the evening.

In years past, when we had the horses, I ended up driving back and forth three times in two days in an attempt to be involved in all things at once. This year, we are modifying the plan a little to eliminate a couple of trips.

A nod to taking another tiny step toward reducing our use of fossil fuels for the sake of our warming planet.

I’m not sure the chickens will be so happy about our plan, though, now that they are showing renewed interest in coming out of the coop again when it’s nice.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

December 24, 2019 at 7:00 am

Many Blessings

with 3 comments

We are celebrating Christmas this morning at Wintervale with our kids and thoroughly absorbing the blessings of peacefulness, luxury, and love that we are lucky enough to enjoy here.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

To all who follow our escapades and my particular “take on things and experiences” here on Relative Something, it is our sincere wish that you discover blessings of peace and love wherever you are in the world today!

Nurture seeds of love from within your hearts and radiate blossoms of genuine lovingkindness to those around you and beyond!

Namaste!

.

.

 

Written by johnwhays

December 21, 2019 at 9:46 am

Very Merry

leave a comment »

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

December 25, 2018 at 7:00 am

List Poetry

leave a comment »

.

• Make a list. It’s the season for lists.

• Use bullets. Bullet points have more “oomph.”

• Be concise. Get to the point.

• Notice the sacred preciousness of every single moment.

• Remember the simple joys of childhood innocence.

• Take care about ever being too certain. Do not be deceived.

• If it seems too good to be true, you know…

• There is still much to do, and not many days left until Christmas.

• Don’t forget to breathe.

• Reserve critical hours for sleep. Be disciplined.

• Be creative.

• Enjoy the sights and sounds of the season, even the crowds.

• Let the music ring.

• Send love to all. Remember those battling depression.

• Make a positive contribution.

• Trust your intuition.

• Know that perfect does not always require perfection.

• Allow for bundles of fun.

• Let your heart overflow with the joy of giving.

• Don’t overthink the details.

• Focus on the positive.

• Check your list twice.

• Remember to feed the pets.

• Always share a smile. It’s a universal gift you can always offer.

• Go forth and enjoy!

.

.

Productive Weekend

leave a comment »

It is a good time of year to get a lot done over a weekend when it happens to be the second to last weekend before Christmas. I had a number of goals in mind that I wanted to accomplish in the blink of days between commuting to the day-job.

It helped to have the weather warm up at just the right time. Our thermometer reached the 40s(F) both Saturday and Sunday. I was able to move one of my projects outside into the glorious sunshine.

I went from the concrete of the shop to the asphalt outside. Just look at everything I accomplished!

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

I’m afraid that all projects underway during the first three weeks of December are under a media blackout. Progress will be represented only by material removed, as shown above.

Cyndie was even more productive than I was, but I can’t show any pictures of her projects, either. Not until after Christmas.

It’s the best time of the year!

“Oh by golly, have a holly jolly Christmas…”

.

.

 

 

Written by johnwhays

December 17, 2018 at 7:00 am

Going Tropical

leave a comment »

From the series of previous posts reviewing my history with Cyndie and her family, I hoped to provide a more complete background for what led to this year’s adventure to the Dominican Republic over Christmas.

After years of growing families, the Friswold Christmas spectacle of the classic gift exchange had expanded almost to the point we couldn’t fit all the gifts in one room. This was despite an effort long ago to rein things in by drawing individual names for the adults giving gifts.

I witnessed Cyndie and her brothers making an effort to encourage moderation, but it’s hard to restrain the love of giving. It was difficult to detect much evidence of change.

They were also putting energy and imagination toward devising ways to reduce the (mostly self-imposed) burden on Marie of hosting to the nines for hours on end, three or four days in a row. That effort was also producing mixed results.

Then, along came the year 2017, which just happened to include several significant milestones for Fred and Marie. They both celebrated 80th birthdays, certainly a benchmark for which they deserve the reasonable courtesy of reduced stress and aggravation in their days.

Equally noteworthy is this year’s marking of their 60th wedding anniversary. With these special events dealt to their hands, the two cunning card players set about making the big play.

Obviously, they had been counting cards all along, because they knew what was going to be dealt in advance. We found out a full year ago that Fred and Marie wanted to bring the whole clan to the Dominican Republic for Christmas this year.

No names will be drawn, no food needs to be planned or prepared, no setting up of tables and chairs, no world-class flower arrangements will need to be flown from Boston by Carlos, no dishes will need to be done for hours on end.

We will have the gift of a full week of each other’s company in the warmth of sun, sand, palm trees, and ocean breezes.

The whole clan, together again like a decade ago on Hilton Head Island.

I have no concept of what they could possibly dream up that could top this ten years from now, in celebration of their 70th anniversary.

What a family.

To Fred and Marie:

You have done the world a great service, raising these four amazing individuals with so much love.

You’ve given me an amazing opportunity to be included as family. You have blessed all your grandchildren with bountiful and limitless love.

Here’s hoping your dreams for this tropical Christmas were fulfilled, and that you enjoy many more days as stress-free as this week hopefully was for you both.

.

.

What About

with 2 comments

What about the Hays family Christmases? How could we fly off to the tropics for a week over this holiday!? Well, it’s not for lack of love to my birth clan, that’s for sure. Here’s a shout out my siblings and their families.

I see the difference between Cyndie’s and my family as an asset. Basically, it starts with the difference in age of our parents. Ralph and Betty were nearing the end of their high school years when Fred and Marie were born. I was the fifth of six kids, while Cyndie was the first of five. Our combined perspectives are broader than they would be, each on our own.

Now my parents have moved on to the world of spirits and my siblings are all grandparents. They are the matriarchs and patriarchs of their own respective families. My siblings and I haven’t maintained a specific Hays tradition of celebrating Christmas together.

However, the memories of our glorious past endure and I’m sure have directly shaped the new traditions of our kids and grandkids.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Just three years ago, Cyndie and I had the pleasure of hosting a gathering of Hays families at Christmastime and I wrote about it here on Relative Something. Here is an excerpt from December 2014’s “Sibling Revelry.”

Despite a sloppy wintry mix of precipitation doing its best to dampen our spirits (sorry ’bout the pun), the gathering of Hays relatives was a joy and a half. As always happens to me at family gatherings of limited duration, the riches of access to siblings I grew up with is enticing, but the reality of our usual chaos leaves me wishing there was more time. It is hard to finish a story, and sometimes a single sentence, without interruption. My attention is too often wrenched away from the person I was listening to, and time flies by so fast, the hour of departure comes up way too soon.

Regardless, every moment was precious. Reconnecting after long periods of separation, with siblings who share so many tendencies and characteristics, is refreshing and invigorating. I tend to feel a kind of validation of who I am, discovering the brothers and sisters that I grew up with remain so similar in behavior and perspectives. I am among my people again.

DSC03401eCHI’m lucky that, as a family, we all get along. These are the people who inhabited Intervale Ranch with me from the day I was born until 9 years later, when our family moved out and the property was razed for development into an industrial park.

With technical assistance from my son, Julian, I was able to display a digitized version of a slide show I put together close to 30 years ago, which featured that old farm property. It provided an opportunity to exercise our memories, as we analyzed some of the images and compared recollections.

Meanwhile, there was non-stop food to be consumed, youngsters to get reacquainted with and entertained by, and horses to visit…

Love you, Hays relations! Hope you all had fabulous Christmas celebrations at home while we were away!

.

.

Written by johnwhays

December 29, 2017 at 7:00 am

Happy Christmas

leave a comment »

.

.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

.

.

Written by johnwhays

December 25, 2017 at 7:00 am