Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘Love

Family Visits

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In my rush out-of-town for the weekend, I skipped over the adventure we enjoyed on Friday with visiting family. Three generations! My great-niece, Brooke, and great-nephew, Drew, each brought a friend, arriving with my niece, Tricia and my sister, Judy.

Friday morning started with significant thunderstorm, but by afternoon, the weather was pleasant for hanging out with the chickens and doing some exercises with the horses.

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Cyndie spent the rainy morning in the kitchen, baking fresh buns and some chocolate chip cookies. Combined with the snacks Judy and Tricia brought, and some brats Cyndie had grilled the day before, we had plenty of fuel for the adventures.

Hunter was the star horse of the day, seen above making faces with Drew and participating in some communication connections in the round pen with Brooke. It is thrilling to witness the horse-human interactions as they play out. I think I get as much pleasure watching as the people who are engaged in the activity.

It looked like Hunter was getting a fair share of pleasure out of it, too.

The chickens were pretty happy to have a lot of hands feeding them fruit scraps from Cyndie’s morning kitchen projects. That’s a much better way to dispose of food scraps that are otherwise commonly ground up in sink disposals and flushed into municipal waste water systems. Since we don’t have a kitchen disposal, if our food scraps don’t go to the chickens, they end up in the compost bin.

Shortly after getting a bite to eat, I dashed off for the lake place, but I did hear the kids trying to negotiate their way into an overnight. There was too much fun to be had and not enough time to fit it all in.

Their glee was so inspiring, it renewed my appreciation for everything our place has to offer. Living it day after day changes the perspective. It was refreshing to have their invigorating, contagious energy knock me from taking the adventure of this life for granted.

I always say, this place never reaches its full potential until company shows up for a visit.

Especially when they are able to stay long enough to try out an exercise in the round pen with one of the horses.

Thanks for making the trip over on Friday, Judy, Tricia, and kids! It was a blast having you here!

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Written by johnwhays

August 6, 2018 at 6:00 am

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Momentum

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Words on Images

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Photo Review

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There were so many highlights of our weekend at the lake over the last three days that I am simply going to fill today’s post with some of the images depicting different moments from our adventures.

We were out visiting artistic retail shops in quaint Cable, WI, on Friday and decided to make the short drive further on to see the abandoned resort, Telemark Lodge.

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Peeking in the windows, we noticed head-height smudges on the glass that showed we weren’t the first ones to do this exploring.The facility had been through multiple bankruptcies and left abandoned for years. It looked like someone chained the doors and just walked away, leaving everything as it was.

It was intriguing to see the level of incidental decay of portions of the roof and fascia, the hazardous looking green of residual water in the pool, and the weeds growing through every crack in the concrete walkways.

We got out onto the lake, where the view back toward the empty beach looked like a resort with beach chairs prepared for the day ahead. A walk down the driveway provided a chance to glimpse the juvenile bald eagles perching on branches beyond their nest.

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Flight can’t be far off for these two.

On Saturday afternoon, we got out on the lake for a short happy-hour cruise.

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It was a fine weekend for boating. Back on land at dinner time, the Wilkuses provided pork chops for the grilling.

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Feasting is a regular opportunity with Cyndie’s family. Barb and Mike fit right in.

After dinner we gathered with company around the fire to enjoy the sounds of a wedding reception a few properties down the shoreline from us.

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Unfortunately, the sound didn’t travel our direction, and we barely heard a note.

Not to worry. We put on our own music and lingered long around the mesmerizing visual of burning wood.

It was a picture-postcard perfect summer weekend at the lake with friends and family that I’m hoping will linger in my mind for many days, despite returning to the responsibilities of day-job and home chores.

Home life is what makes going to the lake that much more special!

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Written by johnwhays

July 23, 2018 at 6:00 am

Sibling Dinner

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My Hays siblings don’t gather often, but whenever we are all able to be in one place at the same time, it’s a real treat. Last night, we met at Elliott and Wendy’s house in Richfield for dinner.

The weather was HOT and HUMID at the beginning of the evening, but just as the grill was getting ready for cooking, heavy rain began to fall and that cooled things off a little. Elliott braved the downpour, beneath his hanging umbrella over the grill, and prepared chicken and burgers. The rest of us were to bring the sides.

The delicious coleslaw and a spicy white corn concoction that Judy and Mary brought were dwarfed by the massive collection of desserts that they and Cyndie laid out on the table.

It ended up being a little dinner, and a LOT of dessert.

I particularly enjoyed some of the reminiscing about the different memories of mealtimes when we were young. I asked if there was pressure to clean our plates, because I don’t remember any, yet have always tended toward that behavior. Apparently, there was some history there. Mary recalled Auntie Kay was one source of that message.

I remember our father at mealtimes asking if there was a fire, or “Where’s the fire?” in the sideways manner of getting us to notice how fast we were eating. Elliott said that eating fast offered the best chance of getting any seconds.

It’s been a heck of a lot of years since we were all kids eating around the same table, but for a few minutes last night, I enjoyed a glimmer of some of those times with my brothers and sisters.

I feel very lucky to have such wonderful siblings.

What’s not to like? They remind me, in so many ways, of me.

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Written by johnwhays

July 13, 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

Brief Treat

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Just before sunset last night, we let the horses have a few minutes to graze on the mowed arena space. They were thrilled with the opportunity.

It is so precious for us to see them grazing on the grass outside their paddock. Be it ever so brief, it provided a compound reward.

The chickens seemed pretty excited over the activity and came running to join in the fun.

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Do they look like they are getting bigger? They are.

After we returned to the paddock, I crouched down to visit with the chickens, but it was Hunter and Cayenne who moved in to love me up.

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Apparently, they wanted to offer me a brief treat of my very own.

Love, gratefully accepted.

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Written by johnwhays

June 26, 2018 at 6:00 am

Sixty Years

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Sunday evening was definitely the grand finale of the weekend family celebration of Cyndie’s milestone birthday. It would have been easy to confuse the occasion with a Friswold Christmas dinner for a number of reasons, most noticeably, the inclusion of the artificial tree (left up all year in the rarely used basement these days).

Cyndie’s parents and brothers planned, prepared, put together, and pulled off one heck of a spectacular customized evening to give the birthday girl exactly what she wanted, and more.

With tie-dye patterned flags and a “peace” banner adorning the tree, they presented a basket filled with a wide variety of crazy photos of Cyndie in every stage of life. Family members took turns selecting photos to hang on the tree, presenting each with a personal message for the girl.

Love overflowed. The tree and Cyndie glowed.

Fred offered readings from some ancestors’ letters providing fabulous historic perspective, followed by a powerful statement written recently by brother Ben, addressing present-day issues. The profound meaning of this sharing was perfect for an occasion to honor and celebrate Cyndie, especially with honorary “adopted” sister, Rabi, from Kenya present (who surprised Cyndie by flying in from out-of-town for the event).

There was also a light-hearted reading from Marie, ala the custom-composed candy prose she masterfully wrote and designed. I didn’t see if Cyndie, or nieces and nephews, ended up with the haul when it was deconstructed.

Marie set out well-loved appetizer choices and Carlos enlisted assistants to put finishing touches on place settings for dinner. Truly works of art that lifted the evening to out-of-this-world (and incomparable) levels.

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The meal was some of Marie’s best beef tenderloin ever, garnished with just the right compliment of potato, vegetables, salad, and bread. Of course that was finished with Norwegian Cream and some obligatory birthday cake.

It was truly a wonderful evening. The best of everything family. There is no questioning the Friswold’s ability to put on a special birthday party.

The entire weekend was an absolutely perfect way to celebrate sixty years of Cyndie’s amazing life.

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Written by johnwhays

June 12, 2018 at 6:00 am