Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘Cyndie

Recent Scenes

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Thanks to Cyndie for capturing these views of the last few days. Enjoy these visual examples of the world as it was revealed to her.





Written by johnwhays

October 14, 2021 at 6:00 am

Incidental Accents

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I suffer to imagine how plain my world might become if I lived alone. Once again, I am tending to the day-to-day alone while Cyndie is away from home. My meals have become embarrassingly simplified. I don’t change sheets, I wash the ones I just slept in and put them right back on the bed. I move from one chore to the next methodically, practically.

Too often, I take for granted the myriad enhancements Cyndie bestows upon our surroundings. Incidental accents that subtly enrich my environment, not only visually, but energetically, too.

As much as I like having alone time, the void created by Cyndie’s absence greatly impacts the cost/benefit ratio.

Where do the magical flower blossoms come from that are scattered along our pathways? I don’t have anything to do with them. That’s all Cyndie’s effort.

I usually walk past all the places she stashes them without noticing, but the other day, I spotted this one that looked like it was reflecting the expanse of starry space, light-years beyond our planet.

That priceless morsel wouldn’t be here if it were left up to me at this point in my life.

I might fail to pay worthy attention to the flowers, but I will never fail to appreciate that the compliment of Cyndie’s and my way of doing things is so much more than just the sum of two parts.



Written by johnwhays

September 12, 2021 at 10:03 am

Self-Directed Shower

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Last week on one of the hottest dry days of the hot streak, Cyndie dragged out a hose to spray water on the lime screenings and surfaces under the overhang. The horses kick and stomp on the ground to shake off flies which raises clouds of gritty dust that soon covers everything inside and out around the barn.

While she was making her way along the width, waving the spray back and forth over the dusty ground, Mia made an intentional approach and stopped just short of the shower of droplets. Cyndie held still and watched to see what Mia would do.

Very tentatively, Mia let the outer spray from the nozzle coat her whiskers. A moment later, she reached her face further in to get her chin. Another pause, and then she puts her nostrils and muzzle in the flow. Each time, moving into the flow and then out. Forehead, out, cheek, out, neck, out, withers, out, shoulder, out.

On Sunday afternoon, I was present to witness the same scene play out another time. Mia behaved just as Cyndie had described. It reached a point where I encouraged Cyndie to become more active and direct the spray over Mia’s legs and sides. When Mia took a step, the first impression we got was that she had enough, so Cyndie moved away.

Then I sensed Mia wasn’t stepping to get away, she was turning around to present her butt! Cyndie moved the spray onto Mia again and it was gladly received.

When Cyndie went in to get a scraper and towel, I watched Mia shimmy and shake to shed the water and then stand contentedly to let wetness drip off of her. As Cyndie finished drying Mia, I wondered aloud if this would be a time to try brushing her mane.

While Cyndie was back in the barn locating the mane brush and some conditioner, I watched Mia walk down the slope to the dusty black dirt where she laid down and rolled to finish drying. That was the sight to which Cyndie emerged.

Mia did let Cyndie brush out her main after standing back up again. After that, Light accepted a little mane grooming, as well.

It surprised us a bit that none of the other three horses showed any interest in the attention Mia was receiving with the cool spray of water. I’m guessing they don’t like baths as much as she does.



Written by johnwhays

June 15, 2021 at 6:00 am

Birthday Treat

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I didn’t realize the destination restaurant just a couple of miles from our house closed by 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays. Maybe that’s a function of COVID times. I wanted to surprise Cyndie for her birthday with Shady Grove’s delectable Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart.

When Cyndie stepped out to walk Delilah and check on the chicks in the coop, I raced to phone Shady Grove to make sure they had a tart available. That’s when I learned they had closed half an hour earlier.

Luckily, my request was simple and I promised I was only a few minutes away.

Without saying anything to Cyndie, I opened the garage door and raced off like a crazy man, wondering if she would see me and be concerned about what the heck I was doing without telling her.

Five minutes later, I was driving up our driveway and came upon Cyndie and Delilah. She hadn’t seen me leave, so was completely flummoxed upon seeing my car arriving.


And Happy Birthday today, Cyndie. (We celebrated early last night because there was no holding her back from that caramel and chocolate favorite once she found out.)

Go ahead, sing along… “Happy Birthday dear Cyndie, happy birthday to you!”



Written by johnwhays

June 4, 2021 at 6:00 am

Lots Happening

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A lot of things are happening all at once for Cyndie and me this week. Yesterday, Cyndie got her first COVID vaccine shot. I have an appointment for tomorrow. Cyndie said she was so happy to be receiving the shot, her greetings were overly loud and friendly to the staff, despite her conscious attempts to calm down. As she tells it, one of her replies to a query came out sounding like Tony the Tiger.


It may have simply been her unbridled glee, but she said it was the most painless shot she has ever received.

I was a little distracted yesterday with thoughts of my annual week of biking and camping with the Tour of Minnesota bike tour. After a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic, this year’s ride is going to happen and registration opened yesterday. It will be a compelling reason to get me back on the bike again this spring.

I let the entire riding season pass last year without bringing either of my bikes down off their hooks in the shop. I don’t want to go another year without riding. I might forget how.

Of course, I’m writing all that to try to imply I’m not totally thinking about new horses we are hoping will come to spend the summer on our fields. Yesterday, Cyndie spoke with our renter and settled the issue of our fields no longer being available for cutting hay this year. That removed one last concern we had about potential conflicts to this actually happening.

When I received a text yesterday from Cyndie with an image of what she bought from the feed store during an errand to pick up some chicken food, I knew the horses were even more of a sure thing. Somehow, horse treats and mineral blocks made their way into the back of Cyndie’s car along with the sack of chicken kibble.

Founded in 2012, This Old Horse is a private, volunteer-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to support and serve horses while they continue to serve as ambassadors to the positive effect of “horse power” in the lives of people.​

We received a wonderful introduction to the planned horses from our new partner, This Old Horse.

Photos provided by This Old Horse

Four retired Thoroughbred mares who did some racing early in life and then went on to be broodmares. My intuition tells me they will be a perfect fit for our place. That has me thoroughly (pun intended) energized to bring this plan to fruition.

Somehow, I’ll get around to thinking about biking, too, but I bet while I’m biking I will be thinking about these horses.




Written by johnwhays

March 25, 2021 at 6:00 am

Weird Night

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Last night my feelings went through a bit of an unplanned roller coaster ride as a result of two different hours of television. Cyndie and I have settled into a routine of late where we turn on PBS Newshour during our evening meal. I think it’s a bit of a nod toward acting our age. The last month has been thick with political news but, thankfully, coverage has swung away from the outrageous insurrection and toward the refreshing articulateness of the new administration.

I sat down to a remarkable plate of boneless barbequed ribs and sides that rivaled fancy restaurants while listening to analysts and an incoming cabinet member speak clearly and intelligently about the issues of the day. It was delicious in every way.

Watching politicians who are able to speak without hyped manipulations of reality, instead, talking comfortably, concisely, and without animosity, is so refreshing it made me downright giddy.

Maybe I was just delirious over the incredible meal Cyndie had prepared.

It was bliss.

Unfortunately, about the time I should have been turning in for the night, Frontline was on with an episode about “Trump’s American Carnage.” I knew it would be horrific, but presented with Frontline’s high quality of documentary production, I couldn’t resist.

It was so incredibly opposite of the glee I enjoyed earlier, I almost forgot how good the new administration feels.

On the bright side, I didn’t forget about the great food I enjoyed.

When I stop to think about the last four years of enduring the 45th President, I am amazed I survived with my wits only partially dimmed. But I understand why I find myself feeling so emphatically thrilled over the contrasting ambiance of the entire administration that has succeeded him.

It’s a lot like that sensation you have when you finally stop banging your head against a wall.

The roller-coaster swing last night from high to low made for an unexpectedly weird Tuesday night.



Written by johnwhays

January 27, 2021 at 7:00 am

Sleep Interrupted

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I was sleeping so soundly, Cyndie couldn’t rouse me on her first try Sunday night. Her pain and concern were growing as the night went on and she wasn’t getting any rest. She re-read the information sent home after the knee surgery to confirm instructions if she suddenly experienced pain in her chest.

At midnight, she successfully woke me. We would be making a visit to the emergency room to find out if there might be a blood clot that made its way to her lung.

Despite our somewhat rural location, our health services are only 10-minutes from our home. We quickly received a blunt introduction to the strict COVID-19 protocols in place. Segregation, isolation, socially distanced to the extreme. We couldn’t even get in the door until Cyndie located the phone on which she was grilled with a 20-question virus threat interrogation, the result of which turned me around and sent me back to wait in the car.

In the cold.

By myself.

Why is this all about me? Only because testing confirmed there was no blood clot and Cyndie was discharged a couple hours later to wait out the pain at home. Two possible causes were “compressed tissue” from duration of anesthetization slowly uncompressing or muscle pain from distorted sleeping position during her two-days of narcotic couching it.

Let’s get back to my plight. It was the middle of the night before a Monday workday and I was stuck in a cold car in a deserted parking lot. ‘Just sleep while I wait’ was the logical choice. How hard can that be? Don’t allow yourself to start wondering if it actually was a blood clot.

When the voice on the phone finally gave Cyndie permission to enter and the double doors swung open, I stood and watched her limp down the long deserted hallway alone and thought of all the coronavirus patients who take a similar walk alone and never see their family again.

Biding my time alone in my car, I had the opportunity to practice, over and over, returning my mind to the present moment and recognizing I was just fine and Cyndie was in the care of trained professionals.

Thankfully, upon returning home somewhere after 2:00 a.m., I was able to quickly fall asleep in the comfy warmth of our bed and reclaim the wee latter portion of a healthy night’s sleep, aided by the knowledge that Cyndie’s pain wasn’t caused by a blood clot.

By bedtime last night, I’m happy to report, the pain was becoming more tolerable and her spirits were improving accordingly. That afforded us both a much better and well-deserved full night’s sleep.



Written by johnwhays

December 8, 2020 at 7:00 am

Appropriately Festive

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There was a lot of nesting going on in the days prior to Cyndie’s knee surgery, much of it cleaning nooks and crannies that haven’t received a similar level of intense attention since the days we first moved in. She wore a headlamp to better see the dust clinging to the seams of our tongue-in-groove paneling.

If she would be stuck convalescing in bed, it sure as heck wasn’t going to involve looking up to see the horror direct sunlight reveals this time of year. The low angle of the sun has a unique way of exposing gaps in hospital-level cleanliness.

At least the surroundings are currently as germ-free as the best of recovery rooms in your average hospital. Well, they were for a day, anyway, before a certain dog and cat made their way back in to scatter their hair and dander every which way.

After all the cleaning was done, Cyndie moved on to the Christmas decorations. As the days counted down to the appointed surgery, she accomplished the greatest of feats in making it look as festive as ever around here.

I even found boughs strung with lights staged by the barn!

There may be a pandemic out there squashing the best of our holiday gathering traditions this year, but you’d hardly notice from inside our home.

Merry Christmas Everyone!






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.



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.



Written by johnwhays

October 3, 2020 at 8:28 am