Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘Cyndie

Custom Masks

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Way back in April, when Cyndie was down at her parent’s place in Florida, she started sewing face masks to share with others. When the state of Minnesota mandated wearing facemasks in the workplace, I began putting Cyndie’s designs to a full day’s test. I wear glasses almost the entire time I am at work, so a mask fit that minimized fogging became a priority for me.

The earliest version I wore became uncomfortable behind my ears so I lobbied for styles that didn’t wrap around the back of my tender lobes. I figured the neck gaiter would be super convenient and I already wear a lot of Buff® headgear, so I convinced Cyndie to sew added protection into one of mine. I have read that relying on the material in most conventional neck gaiters alone is actually worse than not wearing any face-covering at all because the porous fabric will shred exhaled breath into greater amounts of aerosolized particles that, because of the small size, float around longer.

We also cut up another old Buff® to experiment with adding strips sewn to the front covering which then wrap around the back of my neck, instead of around the ears.

To eliminate needing to pull it over my head, we tried cutting the gaiter and adding several kinds of hook & loop sewn into the fabric. That allows me to wrap it around the back of my neck to secure the mask.

Yesterday, Cyndie accommodated my desire to try another customization. I want to keep all the advancements she has made with extra filter fabric in front and removable inserts for washing, but give another try to a more relaxed loop around my ears.

Earloops, if they aren’t under too strong an elastic pull, are less confining than having the gaiter material all the way around my head. After weeks of the prior versions, I’m interested in returning to the simpler design.

It was a cloudy, blustery November day outside, which made an indoor sewing project that much more inviting. I was able to contribute a tiny bit of my own labor by cutting out fabric using the patterns Cyndie made for the style I prefer.

Thanks to her ingenuity, I already had enough masks that I could wear a different one each day, and every mask is unique. I have a wonderful collection of prototypes.

Today, I have two more custom masks from which to choose.

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Written by johnwhays

November 16, 2020 at 7:00 am

Change’s Sake

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My immense aversion to changes in software that was working just fine for me leads me to think that perhaps I am getting old.

Is it a problem for you, dear readers, that I don’t have little icons on this blog for sundry social media sites of the latest trend? Has my neglect to format the appearance to best suit the portrait orientation of mobile devices left you frustrated?

Ever find yourself wondering why my blog doesn’t include links to sites for purchasing products I promote, or a button allowing you to donate money to sustain my lifestyle?

These are all features that I have chosen to ignore, despite frequent WordPress marketing messages encouraging me to incorporate.

In March of 2009, I searched for a platform to publish my “take on things and experiences” and found a template ‘theme’ that matched my tastes. I’ve seen no reason to change since.

The word-cloud I selected for the side margin of my posts slowly changes over time, not always to my ideal, but it’s simply a reflection of what I write about the most, so I let it go.

Truth in advertising.

After some trial and error tinkering, sometimes requiring mystery clicks on vague icons with unclear popup titles, I have reached a mostly functional equilibrium that reasonably matches my previous editing experience.

I do miss the running word-count information that previously displayed at the bottom of my view as I typed.

With time, I will learn whether or not that’s a feature I can add back, as I explore the myriad other repackaged ways WordPress has changed my blogging experience to make it so much better.

Okay, never mind. I just clicked the “help” icon at the bottom of my view and learned I can click an information icon at the top of the screen to find that information.

That was at 308 words, if you care.

Which is more than enough to call for an end to my whining about change for change’s sake.

How about a bit of boasting about the other burden I so often face as the spouse of one who loves to bake?

I keep getting asked to sample and review the latest delicious morsels being baked under a constantly changing mix of ingredients and techniques.

 

My judgements might be influenced unfairly by the fact I usually enjoy the advantage of performing these tests on goods fresh and warm from the oven, but the taste analyses are probably universal.

Cyndie is gaining proficiency with each refinement she makes.

We make a pretty good team.

I credit our ability to change with the times, albeit sometimes kicking and whining all the way.

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Written by johnwhays

October 3, 2020 at 8:28 am

Same Night

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I am so lucky that Cyndie offers me pictures she took and allows me to post them here. She created some wonderful art out of two very different sky views on Wednesday night. I’m jealous. Her percentages for photographic success are much higher than mine lately.

It was a beautiful evening, but she has taken it to the next level with this combination. They look like paintings.

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We are so blessed to have access to such incredible views every night.

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Written by johnwhays

July 31, 2020 at 6:00 am

Star Baker

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This week’s star baker on the Wintervale Baking Show is, Cyndie!

She nailed the technical challenge and remembered to proof the dough and chose a perfect combination of organic berry flavors for fillings.

The White Pine Berry Farm called again, this time with a request for full pies. Cyndie was more than happy to oblige and I was the beneficiary of testing tastes. Try as I might, I always fall ridiculously short of copying the expert critiquing commentary Paul Hollywood dishes out on The Great British Baking Show.

I think it’s my lack of that accent.

That, and I have a vested interest in preserving our marriage.

My beloved multitasked caring for her 13 [Hah! Baker’s dozen!] baby chicks in the brooder down at the barn throughout the day while also flinging flour, measuring butter, and exercising the oven door hinge back in the kitchen.

Oh, and throw in serving up parmesan chicken for dinner, during which we checked out the local PBS rebroadcast of the season 3 quarterfinals of the GBBS.

It sounds exhausting, but she is not the only one working hard around here. I had to drop everything I was doing after dinner last night just so I could join her in the kitchen to test samples of her lemon-blueberry, and the strawberry crumble pies.

“Take that!” mister precisely measured reduced-sugar diet guy.

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Written by johnwhays

July 23, 2020 at 6:00 am

New Project

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A new opportunity has unfolded for Cyndie to practice her skills as a baker from our own kitchen. A nearby organic berry farm where she shops for strawberries that she cans as jam was looking to expand their offerings and sell baked goods to their customers. Cyndie volunteered to drop off some samples the next day.

Her almond-cherry scones were an overwhelming hit and led to requests for additional varieties, to which she gladly complied.

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Strawberry hand-pies and chocolate-raspberry cookies soon arrived along with her masterpiece of lemon-blueberry scones. They want ’em all.

She is packaging the treasures for individual sale.

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I’m confident there will be some very happy berry shoppers after their visit to the farm today.

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Written by johnwhays

July 11, 2020 at 6:00 am

Garden Growth

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I should never doubt Cyndie just because she does things differently than I would. Her all-encompassing dive into big-time produce gardening has been nothing short of incredible to witness. Where I would have considered planting just a few things to find out what works and what doesn’t, she planted more things than I can count.

Cyndie just counted them for me: 23.

Countable, maybe, but more than I can keep track of. I don’t know how she does it.

I have been eating fresh pea pods in meals for the last five days in a row.

Meanwhile, the wild black raspberry bushes finally sprouted fruit and Cyndie has been picking berries in addition to tending her gardens.

The growth of produce around here this year has been a wonder to behold. We’ve gone from zero to plenty!

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Written by johnwhays

July 9, 2020 at 6:00 am

Bad Day

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This is the saga of Cyndie’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Really. It was the kind of day that no one deserves when they are already under the strain of grief from the recent death of their father and having just spent the prior day unexpectedly moving furniture and mopping basement floors after flooding rains.

It’s doubly frustrating when the trees outside keep toppling over from the abuses of wind and heavy rain.

We lost another oak tree near the backside of the house sometime in the last two days.

To soothe the pangs of angst banging around in Cyndie’s head, she opted for a craft project to occupy her time and talents, one that would create useful masks in benefit to others. Unfortunately, a problem developed with the bobbin and threading mechanism of her sewing machine which consumed hours, wasted yards of thread, and produced results opposite from soothing angst.

Next, she tried baking, also a love of hers which normally produces oodles of good feelings.

Walking the dog took too long for the tray of parmesan cheese toasts that were in the oven and the results were burned just enough that they couldn’t be salvaged. The delicious smell lingered long after the acrid tasting morsels had been discarded, providing an unwelcome reminder of what was lost.

Luckily, the two loaves of bread she followed up with came out perfect and tasted delicious. She offered a warm slice for me to test. Then, she took Delilah for a jaunt and I stepped outside to finish a chore. When I came back into the air-conditioned house, I found she had returned Delilah to the coolness indoors while she stayed outside to pick wild raspberries.

That is when I spotted the still-warm loaf she had just cut test slices from was now moved just to the very edge of the counter and there were delicate bites missing along the full length of one side.

Each attempt to get the better of her angst ended up providing nothing of the sort.

It had all the makings of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad type of day.

I’m thinking she might benefit from exorcising her demons by way of wielding a chainsaw toward a bunch of oak branches and cutting them to bits.

Take that you terrible, horrible, no good, eff of a day of failing sewing machines and baking disasters.

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Written by johnwhays

July 1, 2020 at 6:00 am

Dramatic Downpour

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Holy cow, did we ever get a dose of dramatic weather last night. The rain came down so fast and hard we had over 3-inches within about 45-minutes, much of it during the time when the weather service had declared a Tornado Warning for our county.

Cyndie’s garden went from being a little too dry to a lot too wet.

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We ate home-grown peas from the garden for lunch yesterday! No pesticides, no chemicals, no shipping required. Just pick, wash, and eat.

Everything in the garden got washed last night. The path from the house down to the chicken coop became a river.

Cyndie went out to close the chicken door when it seemed like there might be a break in the downpour intensity, but the hens weren’t in yet. They were huddled underneath the coop and didn’t want to move. The pause in the rainfall rate was short-lived. By the time she got geared up to make her dash, it was already picking up speed again.

When she eventually returned to the house, there was standing water in her boots and she was soaked through all the way to her underwear.

That was definitely one heck of a downpour.

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Written by johnwhays

June 29, 2020 at 6:00 am

Return Appearance

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It is challenging to chronicle the uncertain timing of the otherwise inevitable end of the life of a family member. In-person, a question often lingers over whether the latest departure salutation might actually be the last goodbye. Cyndie and her brothers have been rotating days of tending to their father in his hospice-care phase of life for several months. The task is now being transferred to professionals at a nearby hospice facility, unfortunately, under the current constraints of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

It appears we have reached timing now measured in a matter of days, possibly even hours.

A hospice facility is a precious place. I had a great experience at a home where my mother spent her final days and our family was able to gather around her. It breaks my heart that we will be unable to do that for Cyndie’s dad. Visitation is very limited to protect everyone from the coronavirus.

I scanned some of my past “Words on Images” posts to see if something might grab me in this moment and chose “Appearance” from just about a year ago.

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Sending F.R.F. to a higher plane with beams of love and peacefulness…

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Written by johnwhays

June 24, 2020 at 6:00 am

Birthday Squared

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In a classic demonstration of Cyndie’s gift of thinking about others, the planned driveway celebration of her birthday this year was secretly morphed into a surprise celebration of her brother, Steve’s 60th birthday which occurred in April when the family was unable to gather. Cyndie collected thoughts about Steve from all the family and a list was made of the top sixty things we love about the new sexagenarian.

Each thought was numbered and randomly distributed to those present so we could read them aloud to the almost safely distanced tribe.

It was a lovely display of family love on a fabulously lovely June evening that became a birthday squared celebration.

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Written by johnwhays

June 5, 2020 at 7:51 am

Posted in Chronicle

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