Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘Cyndie

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.

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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.

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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!

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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