Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘Cyndie

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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Her Day

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My trusty sidekick for 40-some years of my life is having a birthday today! Send love to Cyndie! She’s a horse-whisperer without a horse.

At least we still have each other.

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Happy Birthday, Cyndie!

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Written by johnwhays

June 4, 2020 at 6:00 am

Starting Big

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In the beginning, I was asked to build a terrace wall for Cyndie to have a produce garden. Seemed like a good idea to me. We talked about creating two levels in the space she wanted to use, but decided to focus on just the upper level to start. We have never grown our own food before, so I suggested we start small and learn what works in that location.

Just a suggestion.

The other day I saw no less than 21 different names listed in a text where Cyndie described what she has planted.

So, that one terrace I started building has been dwarfed by subsequent construction Cyndie undertook on her own. Fencing and netting, all hers, three different locations.

Plants are in the ground and awaiting some mulch. Woodchips are something I can contribute to her new project. The rest has spun up so quick it makes me dizzy just thinking about it.

When Cyndie bursts headlong into her projects, I tend to get out of the way. I am inclined toward sequential thinking and prone to plotting each step in advance before taking action. Cyndie operates more randomly and takes action simultaneously to figuring out a plan.

I guess we serve as a classic example of the attraction of opposites.

Here’s hoping she meets with an incredible success that exceeds imagination come harvest time.

I’ll be watching to see if my terrace does its job. The rest will be gravy.

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Written by johnwhays

May 22, 2020 at 6:00 am

Russian Technician

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I finally figured it out. Our cat has a gift like that Russian sleep clinic technician and now everything makes sense. I now understand her crazy obsession of pummeling us with kneading paws in the early morning darkness when we least desire her affectionate attention. Pequenita is the Russian sleep tech from Cyndie’s tales of being tested in a sleep lab years ago.

First, she was told to stay awake for ten minutes while wearing the cap of countless wired sensors. Cyndie describes looking out a window and around the room to pass the time. Looking at a magazine. How hard is it to stay awake for ten minutes? Then the grumpy countenanced Russian technician’s voice came over the speaker and told her to wake up.

“I’m not asleep.” she claims to have said.

But, she was. He saw her fall asleep in about 30 seconds. He made her try again. Multiple times over the 24-hour period of testing, they played that little game. She says she failed every time. What startled her was that she felt like she succeeded every time. She didn’t think she was falling asleep.

This discrepancy of perception worked both ways with her sleep cycle. The objective is to have the patient stay awake when it is time to be awake, and stay asleep when it is time to sleep.

In the morning, Cyndie describes her battle with the Russian technician’s voice over the intercom.

“You need to get up now because you are awake.” His words grabbed her attention.

“I’m not awake. I’m still sleeping.”

“No, you’re not. I can see your brain waves.”

This guy knows what sleeping brain waves and awake brain waves look like. It’s what he does. He could clearly see when her brain woke up.

I don’t think Pequenita is perceiving our brain waves, but I think she detects that same moment when our brains wake up, yet we think we are still sleeping. That is why her treading paws on our heads is so annoying. We are trying to remain asleep. She knows that we are not still sleeping.

I think it is our breathing that she detects. Even though we have no intention of waking up yet, there are moments in the sleep cycle when we transition out of deep sleep to what I would describe as semi-conscious. For me, it is often occurring when one of my arms has fallen incredibly numb and I need to switch positions. There is also the very obvious situation of a full bladder, which I am extremely grateful to be alerted to so I can remedy while maintaining dry sheets. Sometimes, it is a result of a vivid dream experience.

My first guess is that Pequenita hears the change in our breathing as our brains wake up. I expect our body movements are another easy clue.

When she steps on our heads in the early morning hours before we want to wake up, I now think of her as our own little ornery Russian sleep technician letting us know our brains are no longer asleep.

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Written by johnwhays

April 24, 2020 at 6:00 am

Mamma Returns

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One explanation I have heard for a dog’s overzealous greetings when their masters return from time away is that the absence was interpreted as a death. I believe that theory was based on an interpretation of wolf pack behavior. When a wolf disappeared from the pack, it was generally due to death. The survivors don’t expect to ever see that missing member again.

If that missing wolf does reappear, it’s a miracle! No wonder they would get excited.

As far as Delilah was concerned last night, the mamma who has doted on her for most of her life returned from the dead.

I was careful not to utter the highly recognizable sound of “mamma” to our dog until I saw Cyndie’s car coming up the driveway. I made that mistake one other time when Cyndie wasn’t going to be home for days and Delilah walked over toward the door to the garage and stared at it for so long I began to feel awful.

There was a blur of spinning and some squeaky sounds and a whole lotta love.

“She’s alive!”

My resourceful wife beat me to the punch and ordered her own favorite Gina Maria’s pizza on her drive home from the airport, and since it wasn’t ready when she arrived, took advantage of that time to go grocery shopping.

Gone for over a month, and she walks in the door with dinner and groceries.

Sheltering at home just got a lot less lonely for me.

Welcome home, Cyndie. Welcome home.

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Written by johnwhays

April 16, 2020 at 6:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

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