Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘holiday

Music Memory

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As a latter-baby-boom fan of record albums, I have a number of milestone music memories from my coming-of-age years moving between middle school to high school in the 1970s. Admittedly, having four older siblings as in-home influencers contributed greatly to my exposure to music that was older than my years. The burgeoning rock scene of the Woodstock era was a little beyond my 10-year-old self, but the allure of the music was well-established by the time I reached my mid-teens.

Cyndie and I were recently gifted with access to Apple Music by our kids. The welcome message from Apple points out my song collection is now 60-million strong. This is a gift the kids will have a very difficult time surpassing in the future. Maybe a fiber-optic line of unlimited data access to our home in the rural countryside could top this, but that’s pretty far beyond the ability of individuals to achieve.

As it is, we are able to sip new downloads through a tiny straw on our current data plan.

However, my connection at work offers an alternate avenue for adding songs to the library on my phone. Yesterday, I downloaded the America album, “Holiday.” That record was released on my 15th birthday at a time when my interest in their acoustic guitar sounds and vocal harmonies was very strong.

It was to be my time. New music that was current to my adolescence. However, reality didn’t quite match my expectations. The band was evolving and I was disappointed.

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I liked the way they looked on their first album. I am embarrassingly influenced by album cover art. (Duly noting the incredible insensitivity of the somber indigenous tribesmen behind the gleeful white trio under the dual-meaning “America.”) The old-timey photo on “Holiday” didn’t appeal to me one bit.

The new album had less strumming acoustic guitars and more theatrical clarinet.

I tried to like “Holiday.” There were a couple of songs that wowed me, but the majority didn’t, despite listening to it over and over again. When I moved from LPs to CDs, “Holiday” didn’t get replaced. I haven’t heard most of these songs in 40-some years. Now, with the convenience of digital access, I get to revisit my youth.

Listening to the album again triggered a lot of memories. Riding in the back of a station wagon packed with teens and someone turning up the radio for the song, “Tin Man” and shooshing everyone because “John’s song” was on.

But, I wanted “Horse with No Name” and “Riverside” not “Sister Golden Hair” and “Muskrat Love.”

Luckily, at the time, I also had “461 Ocean Boulevard,” the return of Eric Clapton to recording after recovering from a 3-year addiction to heroin.

I’m looking forward to mining more lost gems and their associated memories of my youth among the other 60-million songs that hopefully include a wide variety from the 70s.

Thank you, Elysa and Julian! This was a brilliant choice for a gift for us both.

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Written by johnwhays

June 16, 2020 at 6:00 am

Labor Day

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It is a U.S. holiday today. I am going to take the day off. I still might get out and do a much-needed chore at home, but I don’t need to commute to the day-job today! Woot!

Here is a “Words on Images” first posted nine years ago. Speaks to this time of year…

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Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

September 3, 2018 at 6:00 am

The Fourth

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Rockets’ red glare and bombs bursting in air. It being a wonderfully warm July night last night, we had all the windows open. Beyond the rhythmic ratchety chirp of a few nearby frogs, we were serenaded by holiday revelers getting a head start, lighting up over an hour’s worth of pyrotechnic battle sounds on the third of July.

Today is a mid-week pause from the day-job, but the ranch chores never take a break. Jackie traveled across Wisconsin to be with her family for the holiday, so Cyndie and I will be tending to all our animals for the day.

I may do some mowing, if it doesn’t rain, and Cyndie is considering canning some black-cap jam. She may even get some help from Elysa and Ande, who messaged an intent to visit.

Other than that, we have no special Independence Day plans.

I’m sure we will have another night of battle sounds echoing throughout the hours surrounding sunset.

O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Happy 4th of July to all who reside in the US of A!

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Written by johnwhays

July 4, 2018 at 6:00 am

Overload Warning

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Cyndie and I finally got around to accomplishing a dinner date we had talked about way back at the beginning of the month, around the time of her birthday. Now my birthday has come and gone, and last night we made it down to our nearby fine dining destination restaurant, Shady Grove, to celebrate.

Despite my usual habit of choosing fish, I found myself entranced by a choice of the bison ribeye, instead. I wasn’t disappointed.

It being a special occasion, we allowed for a little indulgence after the meal.

Warning! Warning! Sugar overload ahead!

Chocolate, caramel, sea salt —chilled. I had two bites more than I deserved, and we brought a third of it home. I think I can hear it calling out to be eaten for breakfast this morning.

Who am I to argue?

Yesterday, I enjoyed a perfect execution of a plan to finish mowing the lawn in the narrow window of time between work and our dinner reservation. That makes up for the last time I had high hopes of squeaking in the mowing, when the spring broke just before I left for a week of vacation.

Despite the consecutive days of rain that fell at home while I was away, Cyndie enlisted the help of Mary and Tim, my sister and brother-in-law, to finally knock down the crop of lawn grass in the days before I got home. Picking up where they left off, starting late Wednesday after work and finishing last night, I completed the whole property again, with the exception of the arena space.

Today, we head for the lake for the weekend, leaving Jackie to care for animals at home. With the Independence Day holiday landing in the middle of the following week, the annual Wildwood 4th-of-July games have been moved ahead to this weekend.

It’ll be Bats vs. Mice in a no-holds-barred battle of strength, cunning, stamina, and good humor in the field beside the lodge.

To heck with the sugar overload, I’m gonna have dessert for breakfast this morning. I’ll use the rush to get mentally prepared for the weekend events looming on our horizon.

Warning! Warning! Hyperactive blissed-out old man ahead.

Bring on the shoe kick!

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Written by johnwhays

June 29, 2018 at 6:00 am

Getting Orange

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Things are growing more orange around here. Yesterday at breakfast, Cyndie called me to come look at the difference in color of our eggs, compared to the ones purchased at the grocery store. Looks like the free-range diet of our three chickens is producing deep color in the yolks, seen on the right, below.

We spent the Labor Day holiday doing a lot of work, for a day off. Starting with a couple of hours cleaning out the compost area, using the loader bucket on the diesel tractor. There’s now plenty of room to store a winter’s worth of manure, just in case winter gets around to showing up.

Then we split up and Cyndie used the power trimmer in the labyrinth, while I entered a race against time to get the hayfield mowed before it rained.

Looking back toward the horses, I spotted another splash of orange color erupting from the green of our tree line.

It’s beginning to feel a lot like September.

At the end of a long day’s effort, we put our tools away and headed for the house under the drops of a perfect late-summer rain shower.

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Written by johnwhays

September 5, 2017 at 6:00 am

Spectacular Weekend

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I’m back at work today, but I expect my mind will be flooded all day long with thoughts of the spectacular weekend we just enjoyed. The weather was divine and complimented everything that was planned to honor the 50-year anniversary of Wildwood Lodge Club in Hayward, WI, on the Independence Day holiday weekend.

DSCN4934eSunday we held our traditional games such as water balloon toss, shoe kick, 3-legged race, and watermelon eating contest. A typical number of rules were circumnavigated in pursuit of victories, but that never lessens the laughter and frivolity enjoyed by all.

In the evening, after a catered dinner, one member from each family ever holding a membership participated in a game of Wildwood Jeopardy. When that was over, dancing to live music carried on into the wee hours of Monday morning.

Despite the late hours, I woke up early enough the next morning to sneak out on another beautiful bike ride with Cyndie’s brother, Ben.

DSCN4905eThen it was back in the water for one last swim before it was time to pack and leave for home. Leaving the beach before the day is done is always one of the hardest things to do. It gets me begging for science-fiction to hurry up and become science-fact, in terms of a transporter ala-Star Trek to eliminate the travel time needed to get home.

Pushing myself to leave the lake during the best part of the day becomes a much more difficult thing to do when the weekend is as spectacular as this last one just was.

I feel like I deserve a medal for making it back to work today.

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Written by johnwhays

July 5, 2016 at 6:00 am

July Fourth

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Happy 4th of July US readers!

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Written by johnwhays

July 4, 2016 at 6:00 am

Short Week

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DSCN4793eMay comes to a close today on the first day of a shortened work week. We rolled into the driveway yesterday from the lake in decent time, successfully avoiding getting swept up by a speed trap in the middle of a passing zone.

Peeve: When drivers speed up as they reach a passing zone, and then slow down again at the end of it. Their slow speed is frustrating for me, but their fast speed in the passing zone forces me to really exceed the limit if I hope to get around them. The added factor of being policed for speed in the short sections with an extra passing lane further inhibits my ability to squeak past the slower-downers.

Before we left the lake, I dug up about 15 trillium plants to bring home with us. Upon arriving to Wintervale, our agenda was to get the transplants in the ground as quickly as possible. Our plan went off without a hitch. Now all we need to do is wait about a year to find out if they are survivors or not.DSCN4792e

One flowering plant that looks to be doing very well at home right now is the clematis vine that is on one of our trellis arches by the back deck. It is very photogenic when it is in bloom.

Our animals seemed very glad to see us again and gave us a good amount of affectionate attention. The lawn already needs mowing again and the pine trees are starting to show some significant new growth sprouts.

It feels very much like everything is ready for the arrival of the month of June. It’s the birthday month around here, as everyone but Julian turns another year older in the 6th month.

Makes it feel like more than a short week. It feels like it’s been a short year!

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Written by johnwhays

May 31, 2016 at 6:00 am

December’s Here!

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Crashes and spinouts. That is what the first significant snowfall produces for commuters. My hour-long drive to work yesterday morning almost doubled in time due to the first wave of snow that flowed over the region. Wave two, which started last night, added enough new depth that I expect the trip to work today will be slow once again.

DSCN4161eThat’s okay. It’s December!

Time for wish lists and holiday parties, gift planning and benevolent scheming. Bring on the holiday good cheer.

Sadly, our sweet doggy isn’t feeling very cheerful today. No sooner did we get her back to her normal old self, when she suddenly returned to vomiting again last night.

Is this the same issue or something different? Hard to say. Cyndie did recently give Delilah a couple things to eat that were not her ordinary fare. That will be curtailed entirely while we nurse her back to normal. It may be that we will need to restrain her to a strict diet indefinitely.

In honor of December, I’m including this picture of a wreath that Cyndie made this year while horsing around with some ribbons and tree branches.

Makes our place look festive, as if it were the holiday season or something. Of course, that was taken back in November, before all the white stuff blew in. Maybe I can get a new shot of it this afternoon while I am out plowing the driveway.

I’ll want to get things cleaned up and ready for the big melt that is forecast to be following this snow event.

Happy December!

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Written by johnwhays

December 1, 2015 at 7:00 am

Day Later

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DSCN4163eIt took us the better part of the day to clean up and disassemble our Thanksgiving feast paraphernalia yesterday.

Extra leaves came out of the table, chairs were moved back to all the corners of the house from which they had been activated for duty, and serving bowls, plates, pots, pans, silverware, and utensils were washed, dried, stacked, and ultimately returned to their usual storage location.

Full disclosure: the baking sheets and casserole dish that Cyndie had stashed behind the curtain in the bathtub during the pinnacle of heroic meal preparations Thursday were not overlooked.

In addition to cleaning up after the holiday celebration, we had a frozen waterer that needed attention. My previous under-thought attempts to work around the problem had all proved insufficient. Luckily, Cyndie had provided an alternative bucket of water from the hydrant in the barn that the horses were using whenever the automatic waterer became a solid block.

DSCN4145eIn the crisp aftermath of Thursday’s burst of snow, it became evident that the heaters on the waterer were not getting any power. It was time for me to quit fooling around. I reassigned a non-GFI circuit breaker from unused outlets in the barn and made certain there was voltage to the heater.

We reached a brisk 13° F overnight last night and this morning the water is not frozen. The horses were a little frosty, but the water was good.

Our snowscape bears a lot of evidence of frolicking fun from the visiting kids who took advantage of Cyndie’s stash of boots and snow pants to do some sledding.

DSCN4150eDelilah showed some extra excitement with the conditions yesterday, racing to and fro in the snow outside each end of the barn, sprinting through the doors to get to the other side and looping around for another lap. She had us laughing in concert with her actions, which fueled all of our energies and bolstered her momentum with each subsequent pass.

As evening settled in, we decided to give her a chance to stay on her own in the house while we stepped out on a date to St. Paul. Cyndie’s parents had given us tickets to see Leo Kottke in concert at the Fitzgerald Theater.

We had a grand time. It made our day after Thanksgiving feel as festive as the one before. Thanks, Fred and Marie!

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Written by johnwhays

November 28, 2015 at 10:12 am