Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘friends

Another Thought

with 2 comments

Well, tomorrow brings another thought. And, yesterday’s tomorrow, is today’s today. I have another thought this morning about how I might respond to the milestone of completing ten years of daily blogging. What if I did it for ten more? That’s another way to look at this interesting opportunity.

It has definitely become a comfortable habit that continues to offer me multiple benefits, and occasionally, surprising rewards. Also, by writing about my life every day, I avoid accumulating a build up of some wild idea about someday writing an autobiography.

I should try an experiment where I choose a memory from my past which I have already chronicled here years ago, and write a fresh version to compare how different they might come out. Last night, Cyndie and I met our friends, Barb and Mike for a fine dinner out in Red Wing, MN. One of our conversations touched on the fact that memories get reshaped a little each time we recollect them.

One way I have been contemplating a recognition of ten years of Relative Something is to mine the archives for a variety of gems from years ago and repost them anew. I’ve also begun seeking possibilities for resurrecting a couple of my old “games.” One involved guessing images from an extreme closeup, and another required readers to conjure their own picture in their minds from a description I write. A day later, I provide the picture I was describing for comparison.

Meanwhile, there is no shortage of new stories worth telling happening every day around here. The flooding wasn’t catastrophic for us, but it still caused me more anguish than I care to experience. I think part of that came from the fact that Cyndie was dealing with it alone, while I was so far away at work during the days.

The days of rain have passed and the return of below freezing nights has eased the worst of flowing water for now, but there is still a ton of snow yet to melt, so who knows how long this will last.

The horses were absolutely heroic in allowing Cyndie to guide them out of the barn through the standing water without panicking over the scary reflections and sounds, of which they have had little exposure in their time with us. They’ve dealt with a lot of mud over the years, but rarely, if ever, been asked to traverse water over their ankles.

Oh, the horses.

Man, we are going to miss the horses.

There will be much to write about with the pending re-homing of our herd, but it’s hard for us to even think about, let alone put into words. Maybe that contributes to my pondering the idea of ceasing to write.

If you know me, that is a pretty unlikely result. Writing is how I best process my thoughts.

Here’s to the possibility of ten more years of somethings you might find relative.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

March 16, 2019 at 10:11 am

Good Friends

leave a comment »

While clearing snow off the deck to allow full access to the grill and make a path to the wood shed, I spied our sunflower over the railing. It obviously looked a little worse for the wear, but seeing it triggered welcome memories of summer.

We needed more wood because our weekend plan involved hanging out with friends around the fire. It was even foretold in a fortune that appeared in a cookie Cyndie and I split.

Why, yes, we will! And we were! George and Anneliese came yesterday to spend the night. Cyndie cooked up a meal of grilled pork chops with pineapple that seemed to echo summertime more than it did the depth of winter we are currently enduring.

Yesterday’s fresh five-inches of sugary powder snow fell with heavy intensity for most of the afternoon. Today dawned a picture postcard perfect snowy landscape.

Last night, we mostly ignored the snow and celebrated joyful memories of the months George and Anneliese lived in our basement. The boys pulled off a come-from-behind victory in CrossCrib and Anneliese won the nightcap card game of Bikini, like she always seems to do.

At a time when Cyndie and I are contemplating significant changes to life here, it was extra special to have a chance to relive some of the precious times we have enjoyed along the way.

Good friends are an essential part of most of our best memories, aren’t they?

.

.

 

Written by johnwhays

March 2, 2019 at 10:05 am

Saturday Thinking

leave a comment »

It’s a gorgeous winter day today. Seriously cold outside, but wonderful to look at. I don’t know why we find ourselves wondering this morning about where else we might choose to live, if we didn’t live here.

We are pondering the details that would allow us a return trip to visit Ian and family in Portugal.

If we didn’t have animals, we would have a lot more freedom to travel. If we lived closer to family and my workplace, navigating every single event in our lives would be dramatically more convenient.

Maybe grieving opens us up to such thinking. Cyndie is processing family photos and documents in preparation for a funeral service tomorrow for an aunt whom Cyndie had been assigned the responsibility of power of attorney. Caring for her aunt has consumed a majority of her attention for the last nine months.

Back in 2012, when we found this place, one of my early impressions was that we had discovered the place where I would live the rest of my life. It is very conflicting to contemplate the possibility of alternatives.

At the same time, I have gained a keen sense of how everything is always in a constant state of change.

I’m feeling a little lost lately about a question of why we were so lucky to have ended up here with our precious animals and the glorious land and healthy forest, if it wasn’t to share it with others through the cost-offsetting venture of Wintervale Ranch & Retreat Center.

We’ve fallen short of managing to build a revenue generating operation that would allow us to afford running the place without being employed somewhere else for too many critical hours per week.

If we haven’t accomplished the dream we envisioned years ago, what do we do with what remains?

I’m uneasy about the weather effects our warming planet is dishing out and wonder about how to deal with the results. I don’t like the thought of how jumping on airplanes at every whim feeds an industry that, though relatively small, has a disproportionally large impact on the climate system.

One Saturday morning won’t provide the answer to such a complex situation, but it is a chance to put our thoughts together in a kettle to begin simmering. Not that these thoughts haven’t already been simmering for a while now. Maybe we are just turning up the temperature on this kind of thinking today.

And, feeling fresh grief, for the end of another life.

It is really cold here.

We have a fire in the fireplace and our music playing from a random mix of my entire iTunes library.

It’s a Saturday morning, and Cyndie and I are thinking, occasionally out loud, together.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

February 9, 2019 at 11:29 am

Gonna Ride

with 4 comments

What else would I do? Eight months ago, at the end of the 2018 Tour of Minnesota week of biking and camping, I contemplated the possibility that it might have been my last long bike tour. I just don’t get out on the bike like I once did in years gone by.

The Tour of Minnesota is limited to 200 riders and the registration opens February 1st. It fills up fast, so I needed to make a decision yesterday about what I will be doing in June this year. Will I ride it again?

The significant factor inspiring my desire to do it another year was seeing the names of friends and acquaintances who had already registered. I jumped in at number 141, and many of the people before me were the key reasons I have returned for around 20 tours since I first took the bike camping plunge back in 1994.

It’s the dozen people who have become precious friends, and the community of over a hundred treasured like-minded adventurers whom also return, year after year, to ride long miles and sleep on the hard ground, through good and bad Minnesota weather, that draw me back.

Another factor in my decision was the thought that I have no other expedition adventures in mind if I don’t choose to do the tour this year. How would I cope with not having an adventure trip to look forward to?

With Sue and Paul Schurke in a park after a day of biking

This year we will pedal from Grand Rapids, MN up to Ely and back. I’ve got a real soft spot for Ely, MN. That is where Cyndie and I learned winter survival skills from Will Steger at his homestead back when we were in high school. Ely is also where we took our children for a 4-day lodge-to-lodge dogsled expedition with Paul Schurke.

Paul was a member of the Steger expedition to the North Pole and he is also an alumnus of the 2008 Minnesota bike tour, back when Jim Klobuchar was the illustrious Conductor of the ride, so I’ve pedaled miles on the road chatting with him.

How could I not sign up for this year’s Tour?

I’m definitely planning to ride the Tour of Minnesota again, and I’m looking forward to communing with friends, old and new, who share an affinity for this kind of biking and camping fun in June.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

February 2, 2019 at 11:27 am

Flying North

with 2 comments

Today, we fly back to winter, just in time for a blast of snow and Arctic cold air to put an exclamation point on the end of our 9-day visit to Florida. We ate like royalty, played cards, laughed, shopped, explored, watched movies and never wore mittens once.

Yesterday, maybe as a primer for our return, the temperature hovered on the cool side of comfortable, compressing our outdoor activity to a couple matches of bocce ball and a walk back to the house before the next rain shower.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Barb was the difference maker in both close competitions, despite the missing sunshine that would have allowed for much more relaxed muscles during tosses.

We expect to arrive to the Minneapolis airport in the late afternoon today, and hope to drive the hour toward home without suffering any delays that may result from snow-covered roads.

Whether I will be able to execute my usual commute across the Twin Cities in my return to the day-job tomorrow morning remains a mystery, at this point.

The forecast (as of late last night) is rather ominous:

The predicted high temperature on Wednesday could remain in the double-digits (F) below zero. That will be the warmest part of the day.

One tiny shred of consolation about coming home to this brutal weather, is the fact that the polar vortex pushing down into the middle of the country will have an impact all the way to Florida. Cyndie’s parents had us put the insulating cover on their pool last night, in preparation for the cool week ahead.

Good thing we are going home, so we don’t have to suffer in any of the cold Florida weather they will be dealing with down here.

It’s all relative, isn’t it?

.

.

Written by johnwhays

January 27, 2019 at 7:00 am

Several Adventures

with 2 comments

The Gulf of Mexico

We walked the beach

and trails of Lovers Key State Park, where we also paused for a picnic lunch

While walking, we came upon an osprey dining on a fresh catch

Barb & Mike got a crash course on piloting a Segway (no crashing involved)

We toured the multi-million dollar neighborhoods of Naples

and I barely eked out a vague capture of the sunset for Steve R.

.

.

Party Expands

leave a comment »

Our final weekend in Florida has expanded with the addition of our friends, Barb & Mike, joining us for a few days. Luckily, they brought some sunshine with them from the frigid north, because the morning started here with thunder and rain yesterday.

Just as they were landing, we started to see spots of blue sky. The air warmed up quickly and soon we were all changing into swim wear for a dip in the pool after lunch.

With the added energy and distractions of another couple, I didn’t end up taking any photos the rest of the day, while we gabbed and read, napped, and played cards.

I snapped one shot of the moisture from the rain on the screen in the background behind Cyndie, doing her nails before we drove to the airport to pick up our guests.

The day went by way too fast for my liking. Given the forecasts I’ve seen for next week’s weather back home, I want to absorb every second in the warmth here to the fullest possible limit.

I asked if there was some way we could pack some of the warm air in our suitcases to bring home with us on Sunday, but nobody offered any hope. Eating dinner in shorts, with bare feet, beside the pool under the lanai, is especially luxurious given the conditions in the Twin Cities this time of year.

Today should provide plenty of opportunity for more photos down here. Cyndie, Barb, Mike and I plan to visit a beach somewhere south of Estero, and then continue down to Naples for a Segway tour.

None of our activities involve anything related to temperatures below zero. That’s something we definitely aren’t taking for granted.

.

.

 

Written by johnwhays

January 25, 2019 at 7:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

Tagged with , , , , ,