Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘family

Another Anniversary

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It’s our thirty-seventh this year. I’ve been writing and posting daily on this blog for over nine years, and every time September 19 comes along, the topic of the day has acknowledged Cyndie’s and my wedding anniversary, and Julian’s birthday.

I have an annual habit on September 18th of navigating the “Previous Somethings” drop down feature in the right margin to pick the month of September, and then clicking on the day “19” to read each of my prior interpretations of the occasion. It’s a little repetitive, but at least the number of years changes in each post.

I’m not sure what the primary focus of a wedding anniversary is supposed to be. One obvious choice is the ceremony and all that was related to the events of the day.

Another logical area for consideration is the milestone of years. 2018 marks the accomplishment of our 37th year. Is the anniversary a time to review all that our relationship has enjoyed or endured over that period of time?

On that note, which gets more attention? The best of times or the obstacles hurdled?

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How about examining ways the relationship has changed over the span of time? I’m pretty sure we know each other better now than we did in the early years. Although, we continue to surprise each other and discover new insights as a function of the changes continually occurring in ourselves year after year.

I suppose the most popular detail deserving attention is a revisiting and rekindling of the romance that drew us together in the first place. I fear there may be a few laws of physics that tend to overrule best intentions in that realm.

As noted, Cyndie and I have an additional blessing to enhance our celebration of September 19th. This year it involves one of those round numbers that garners extra significance because it ends in zero.

Happy 30th Birthday, Julian!!

At this point in the father-son relationship, I’m thoroughly enjoying how much more like a brother you seem to me. I never imagined I would enjoy my children as adults as much as I do.

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Counting our many blessings today!

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Written by johnwhays

September 19, 2018 at 6:00 am

Wrong Number

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Yesterday was like two days of work in one, all because of a wrong number. I finally experienced my first wrong number when attempting to send a text message, and fell prey to a prankster who toyed with me rather than let me know.

After the fact, I discovered I had two records in my contacts for my sister, Judy. Who looks at phone numbers any more? I just look at a name on my phone and connect to that. Apparently, I don’t initiate very many texts to my sister.

Last Wednesday, I tried sending her an invite to come visit us before they pack up to head south for the winter. The ruse worked because the initial answer was completely believable as something my sister might say, and it was what I wanted to hear.

The second answer threw me for a loop.

Was that a typo and she meant 11:00 a.m.? What kids was she referring to? Their dogs, or grandkids?

So I asked.

The reply was rather uncharacteristic, but still possible.

I don’t think Judy uses “omg” so much.

How was I supposed to respond to this? What my uncertainty reveals is that am not so good at keeping in touch. Any number of possible changes could have occurred since I last talked with my sister. I just didn’t know if there was maybe something I should know, so I was feeling awkward.

I let some time pass without a response, basically because I didn’t know what to say. Then, after a perfect pause, came a follow-up that let me off the hook.

Except, this just didn’t feel at all like I was texting with Judy. Thus, my reply. Had she been drinking? Did Scott grab her phone and was having some fun with me?

The final reply mentioned our chickens and making sure they were getting enough water because it’s so hot out, so I felt like it had been a weird exchange, but it must be my sister. It was hot out.

Funny how the mind works, because reviewing it later, I realized my previous message mentioned closing the coop, so I had obviously provided that morsel of feigned familiarity. I’m a pretty easy mark.

The result of all this? Cyndie and I operated under an assumption that Judy and Scott would come for the afternoon yesterday. We dove into some heavy work early in the day, clearing out the brush by the road and raking the round pen.

At noon, we showered and prepared for company. I texted Judy again to check status.

This time, no response.

Cyndie texted and got an immediate response. They were already on the road to Arizona, having left the day before I had tried to send the invitation.

That’s when I discovered I had two entries in my contacts for Judy. One was probably so old, she didn’t even recognize the phone number I had used.

With our afternoon now open, we changed back into grubby clothes and headed out to move piles of compost and spread fresh lime screenings in the paddocks.

It was a two-shower day. A different day than we had planned, but with twice the accomplishments than we had expected when we started out. Plus, Judy, Cyndie and I got a good laugh out of it.

Oops, wrong number!

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Written by johnwhays

September 15, 2018 at 9:49 am

Sanding Along

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In a minor deviation from the original weekend plan, we returned to Wintervale in the early afternoon yesterday. We had a great time seeing friends and family, but after breakfast at the Original Pancake House with Ben and Althea, all we wanted was to be back at our paradise home.

That gave me a chance to spend a few more minutes sanding my relief carving project in the sunshine on the deck.

At this point, the changes are small, but I find them very satisfying. Worth the wait.

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See how the lines of the grain move?

I love to watch the change. It’s still a mystery where those lines will be when I finally reach the final shape. That is a good part of the adventure of sanding and shaping wood.

It was a perfect project for the end of our little weekend “staycation.”

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Written by johnwhays

September 10, 2018 at 6:00 am

Another Staycation

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We were able to getaway in town this weekend, leaving Jackie to take care of animals at home. Cyndie and I went off to spend a couple of nights at her parents’ house in Edina. Fred and Marie were headed for a cruise in Germany with friends of theirs, and we provided transportation to the airport yesterday.

Before that, we snuck out for a convertible cruise through our old Eden Prairie stomping grounds. The fabulous September sunshine provided ideal conditions. We stopped by a park to visit folks gathered for an EP fundraising event and enjoyed live music performed by Wondercure, some life-long friends.

After leaving the airport, we headed past an even older neighborhood of ours in south Minneapolis to hook up with more EP friends. We strolled with Paul and Beth along the Linden Hills streets for dinner near Lake Harriet.

Back at their house, we were treated with other-worldly dessert creations from a nearby bakery.

It all feels so cosmopolitan!

How did we come to deserve such richness of life, friends, and food.

It is not lost on me how much the remarkable warm September sunshine and blue skies contribute to making a day seem so positively regal.

Our experiences would have been much different had it been cool, gray, and wet.

I’m just sayin’.

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Written by johnwhays

September 9, 2018 at 9:35 am

Photo Explained

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Mary was the only one to question the picture I tossed into yesterday’s missive about my aging, regardless how fiendishly intriguing I was trying to be. I consider the night that photo was taken to be one of my masterpieces of creative interpretation.

A little over thirty years ago, when I had only my father as a reference to what my future appearance might become, Cyndie and I received an invitation to a very special event celebrating her mother’s birthday.

On the occasion of Marie’s 50th, there was going to be a rousing sock hop dust-up on the reserved second floor of the highfalutin Jukebox Saturday Night nightclub in downtown Minneapolis. Of course, the theme was “The Fifties!”

We were to come all dolled up in our best 50s getup.

So, I did.

Then I acted genuinely shocked and embarrassed when I walked in and found out I had misinterpreted the theme.

Didn’t fool Marie one bit.

For some reason, none of the guests whose years were already into the fifth decade seemed all that impressed with my attempt to appear their age. Especially as they stood dressed as if they were wearing outfits they had saved from high school or college thirty years earlier.

Obviously, I wasn’t quite as cute as I imagined myself to be.

Frankly, that fact hasn’t changed as much as it probably should have.

For the record, Cyndie tells me she was wearing one of her mother’s dresses from back in the day. I just thought she was trying to look fifty, too.

<*Ducking and running…*>

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Written by johnwhays

September 5, 2018 at 6:00 am

They Did!

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Under a few timely peeks of sunshine, in the presence of family and friends, George and Anneliese exchanged vows in the front yard of their home yesterday.

We were honored to be included in the blessed events of the day. It’s all about love, you know?

There was a lot of love saturating the celebration of the bride and groom’s love for each other.

Cyndie baked love into her contribution of umpteen varieties of cookies for the post-ceremony reception feast.

It’s a good thing she did, because the cookies themselves didn’t last. The love goes on forever.

There was plenty of love added to the universe yesterday near Princeton, MN.

Did you feel it?

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Written by johnwhays

August 26, 2018 at 8:45 am

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Now Ten

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I didn’t hear anything from Cyndie yesterday, before she headed to the lake with Melissa and her girls, so I’m guessing there was no sign of what happened to our two missing chickens. Now there are ten.

Before Cyndie left, she was very industrious and constructed quite a netted courtyard around the coop for the chickens, so they weren’t confined to quarters all day after all.

The second I got home from work yesterday, I hopped on the lawn tractor to mow all our grass, so I didn’t even chat with Jackie for more than a brief moment to make a plan for Delilah. From the looks of things, I’m guessing she probably assisted in the installation of the coop fencing.

While I was mowing, she headed off to her night job at a local pub/eatery until closing time, so it was just me tending to all the animals, getting them tucked in for the night.

It was a gorgeous August night. It feels a little like nature is at a plateau lately. Even while putting conscious effort into focusing on the immediate moment, there is an unmistakable hint of summer’s end teasing of what comes next.

While walking one of our trails through the woods, I noticed the view through the trees is already opening up beneath the canopy. The late summer shade of our forest has brought an end to many of the lower plants that had started out strong in the early season sun.

That shade provides valuable air conditioning which takes the edge off days like yesterday, when the heat index was climbing into the 90s. It felt a lot hotter while I was commuting through the cities on the steamy pavement than it did when I finally arrived home.

Ahhhh. Living in the country. Huzzah!

It’s a real blessing. But you do have to keep an eye on your chickens.

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Written by johnwhays

August 9, 2018 at 6:00 am