Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘Love

Good Citizenship

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Neither wind, clouds, nor a barely attached foot kept Cyndie from fulfilling her goal of voting in person yesterday in the 2022 mid-term U.S. election.

It wasn’t a sure thing for a while there. As we were driving home from the lake last Friday, Cyndie was on her phone trying to find somewhere she could get in for surgery right away. Not sure when she might end up being anesthetized, Cyndie called our town clerk to find out her options for voting in a situation like hers.

She broke her leg after the deadline for requesting an absentee ballot, so she was told that her only option would be to make it to the polling location for our township on election day between the hours it would be open. If surgery was going to happen on Tuesday (yesterday), the clerk said she could try to show up just as they open at 7:00 a.m. and someone could bring a ballot out to our car for her to fill out.

There were no other options for voting if emergency situations arise close to election day. It seems like a strong case for requesting an absentee ballot whether or not it is known to be needed. Vote at your convenience and no waiting.

Luckily, our Tuesday schedule was wide open. We were busy on Monday and surgery is happening today.

We chose to head out after an assumed morning rush of people voting on their way to work and before a possible lunch rush. Living in a rural area, it’s not really an issue. There were two electronic voting machines and three booths for manually filling out a ballot. Two people were signing in before us and several people were voting.

Cyndie picked an electric option and since they were then both occupied, I selected manual. I fed my completed ballot into a machine reader and then Cyndie came with a printout of her votes from the electronic ballot device and fed it into the reader as well.

It seems the only thing their electronic device does is color in the selections for you. The choices from both methods were ultimately recorded by one machine.

The flow of voters was consistent while we were there such that the poll workers were kept constantly busy but the waiting was a mere matter of seconds for our township neighbors fulfilling their civic responsibility of voting for our representatives in local and national government.

I didn’t watch the news last night and avoided any hype about results. Regardless of the outcomes, we will continue to put our shoulders to the wheel of healthy progress and send love out into the world.

I read an interesting perspective on navigating the election storm written by Dahlia Lithwick. Think about the weather and the stars. The weather can get rough and the direction we are going can be obscured by clouds. Hang on long enough and the stars will be visible again to guide us toward our goals.

I vote for love. Follow the stars in the sky.

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Written by johnwhays

November 9, 2022 at 7:00 am

My Experience

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Moms and dads who are primary caretakers of kids who need to be clothed and fed, helped in the toilet, and supported and encouraged day and night do not get enough credit for the loss of their own personal time. Having sat down only to get right back up more times in the last two days than my old body is used to has revealed how much I prefer to stay in one place for as long as possible once I settle in for a rest.

My emergency room experience frequently involved feeling like I was in the way while slowly accumulating things to hold in my arms. I took the thick fleece jacket from Cyndie that was now overly enmeshed with fragmenting dried leaves after she had fallen and then tried using it to support her dangling right foot. It was dropping a trail of leaf shrapnel everywhere I went.

I was handed the dish towel she had tied up around the jacket to make a sling. I was handed the sock they cut off her foot. I was already shouldering Cyndie’s purse and handing her phone back and forth as she looked up info for the nurses. I was given Cyndie’s pants to add to the bundle.

Not long after, I was sent to the pharmacy to pick up her pain prescription before closing time. Cyndie asked me to buy a pair of loose pants to wear home from the hospital while I was there. Picture me trying to pick out pants for Cyndie to wear. Now stop laughing.

After the chaos of an emergency room, we got home to the challenge of getting her up the stairs into the “cabin” and settled into a lounging position. I was back and forth to the car several times. In my personal chaos, I set my wallet somewhere after returning Cyndie’s health card to her.

By bedtime, I knew I had no idea where that wallet was, except it had to be in the house somewhere because I knew the last time I used it.

Luckily, the routine at home is rather familiar for me, having taken care of Cyndie through multiple surgery recoveries. I still remember how to make coffee for her.

We need to survive the weekend. While driving home from the lake yesterday, Cyndie was on the phone with several treatment places, seeking immediate surgery, if possible. We had possession of her x-ray and the detailed analysis from the Hayward ER that Cyndie was providing to the people on the phone.

The description of her condition included the word, “comminuted.”

Comminuted: adjective 

reduced to minute particles or fragments.

• Medicine (of a fracture) producing multiple bone splinters.

She was told she will need a trauma surgeon and none were immediately available Friday afternoon.

An appointment for assessment by a trauma surgeon is scheduled for Monday.

Moms and dads and people raising their grandchildren don’t get enough credit for their loss of personal time.

Luckily, love is the key that more than makes up for the loss. It’s a privilege to take care of our most beloved friends and family.

That’s my experience.

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Written by johnwhays

November 5, 2022 at 10:11 am

Sad Goodbye

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We are sad to announce that yesterday afternoon, Pequenita departed this Earthly realm for kitty afterlife under the tender care of Dr. Jenni at Kinnic Veterinary Service in River Falls.

Pequenita, or “Nita” for short, remained a wee one throughout her very active eleven years. We’ve been medicating her for a thyroid condition for a few months but she really didn’t like the pills, regardless the multitude of methods we concocted to finagle her acceptance.

This week she stopped eating, drinking, or using the litter box, signaling that her little body was calling it quits.

We have nothing but wonderful memories about the ten years she allowed us to be her human companions. One of our favorite stories is the time Cyndie cooed from the darkness as we were about to fall asleep, that Nita was giving loves on her face.

“I was just going to say the same thing,” was my response, “because Nita’s face is right in mine.”

Cyndie quickly came to the realization that she was getting her loves from the butt end of the cat.

Pequenita is already missed and indoor life around here will never be the same. We are relishing all the fond memories of the years she preciously enriched our lives.

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Written by johnwhays

October 14, 2022 at 6:00 am

True

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Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

October 5, 2022 at 6:00 am

Admittedly Isolated

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I’m home alone with the animals again this weekend and contemplating the incredible peacefulness and beauty that I enjoy the luxury of experiencing here every day. This morning the horses radiated peacefulness under a foggy wet blanket of sound-dampening air. It was Delilah who disrupted things every so often with her random barks of alarm over imagined threats that really don’t deserve to be barked at from my perspective.

As I methodically made my way around the paddocks to scoop up recent manure piles, my mind meandered through so many trials and tribulations that we aren’t facing.

Our country has not been invaded and bombed by a bordering nation that was pretending to be doing our people a favor. Our region has yet to be torched by wildfires or swamped by unprecedented flash flooding. Extremist politicians haven’t maliciously trafficked hapless immigrants to our doorstep. We are not experiencing a shortage of food or potable water. We are not struggling with the debilitations of long-COVID infection.

The much more benign burdens directly impacting me this day include two issues that aren’t happening as swiftly as I wish. I’m wondering if the technician who will splice our fiber optic cable at the base of the utility pole across the street from our driveway works on Saturdays. Nobody showed up by the end of the day yesterday even though the cable to our house was buried last Tuesday.

I’m also anxious to receive a promised bid from our favorite excavating business regarding the landscaping of the slopes on either side of our new driveway. We’ve decided the job is too big to accomplish on our own and will require a truckload of dirt they can provide. It’s been a week since he was here to discuss the issues.

It’s pretty easy for me to preach about having a positive attitude about how great it is to be alive when I reside in a sanctuary of natural beauty and affluent comforts. I am sensitive about boasting too assertively from our admittedly isolated circumstances in the world, but my perspective is coming from having successfully treated a depression that shadowed much of my earlier life.

Our daughter is enduring the stress of knowing a vulnerable adult who walked out of her music school before his father did and has now been missing for days. Our hearts ache for those who are suffering.

I walk through our woods to a soundtrack of calling birds and water droplets coming down from wet tree leaves, the autumn aromas of fallen leaves just beginning to become noticeable. The horses huff a big sigh as I show up to clean the area beneath the overhang and serve up their pans of feed.

What can I do but send the love I experience out into the universe to flow toward all who face difficulties that I struggle to fathom, recognizing the privilege of my isolation.

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What Priorities

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Looking at the topic of mass shootings from this perspective really struck me this morning.

Sorry. We’re all out of mental health care.

Ouch.

Back up from the point a person is in need of professional health care and consider the years that led up to it. Every little action and experience contributes to our future selves. Day after day after day. We make our future by how we choose to behave today. Parents, you are molding your children’s future health.

What are our priorities?

Imagine a world where we focused our resources on education and family health, working to reduce poverty and inequalities for all people.

Sending love to all who are struggling or in crisis. There is no quick fix but if a person spends whatever limited energy they can muster on choosing a healthy option instead of an unhealthy one this day and then does so every day after that, improvement is made possible.

Maybe that will buy the 90-week wait time for access to talking with a professional.

Or not. Where are your priorities?

I vote we seek to enable a better world.

Prioritize HEALth! Love yourself enough to show yourself love. Loving ourselves is the first step to loving all others.

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Written by johnwhays

July 10, 2022 at 9:00 am

Flywheel Effect

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When over 200 like-minded adventurous bicyclists converge upon a small community and travel together for an entire week, mystically powerful energy is produced. Collectively overcoming weather extremes, dealing with physical limitations, and coping with equipment failures with nothing but the heroic support of the Tour staff and each other to carry us through to the finish, we grow more connected with each passing minute.

On the very last day of the Tour of Minnesota yesterday, after splashing some water on my face and changing out of my wet cycling attire to put on clean shorts and a shirt I had stashed in the car for just this purpose, I found myself walking beside a fellow cyclist who I had yet to officially greet. We exchanged names and heartfelt pleasantries, wishing each other well on returning to “life after adventure vacations.” There was an instant unmistakable yet unspoken bond evident.

I am blessed with over 200 similar bonds woven together into one inspiring, life-enhancing aspect of my life. It is a very powerful force for good health.

One thing about energy like this is that it doesn’t simply dissipate when we all part ways for our homes at the end of the week. Comparable to the momentum of a flywheel, the emotional thrills of the week continue to spin and energize the more mundane demands of our daily home activities.

No matter what I need to put my effort toward now that my vacation week of biking and camping is over, the people and events of this year’s Tour of Minnesota will continue to spin in my mind and inspire my happy emotions for longer than seems logical. I long ago opened my mind to accepting unexplained phenomena as worthy of our attention and fully embrace the value of my emotional memories of all the personal connections shared with people I meet during these adventure weeks, some of these connections not materializing for me until the trip is over and everyone has gone home.

The flywheel has yet to wind down.

The bag of gear that needed to weigh less than 50 pounds for the sake of the luggage crew hefting so many bags multiple times per day had gained an awful lot of water weight by the time I struggled it out of the car when I got home yesterday. Before I was able to wrestle my soaked tent out of its carrying bag, the skies at home opened up with an attention-getting downpour of rain that interfered with my plan of hanging everything in the sun to dry.

It served to help sustain me in the mental place of the ride, having awoken in a similar downpour in Staples, MN earlier that very same day.

This morning, I am faced with the realities of news that a minority of people in my country are accomplishing steps to force their narrow moral views on all, moving our society backwards fifty years. I like the meme spotted recently that suggests life begins at ejaculation and maybe the burden of unplanned pregnancies and fears about unmarried promiscuity should be placed primarily on MEN in these situations, not so much women.

I’m going to ride the residual spin of wonderful energy from my Tour of Minnesota experience this year for longer than ever.

Somehow, loving all others as much or more than we love ourselves will bring us to better places soon. That’s a flywheel that I strive to get turning to a maximum velocity the whole world will feel.

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Her Birthday

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Send love to Cyndie for her birthday today! She is out of town at the moment, so I am celebrating with pictures of us together while she is away. I actually posted these two years ago for her birthday and so this is kind of a not-so-random “wayback” post. I believe they all work just fine a second time around…

 

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Happy Birthday, Cyndie!

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Written by johnwhays

June 4, 2022 at 7:00 am

Opposing Forces

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What triggered the thought in my head to ask, I do not know. My mild compulsion to seek order and repetition in my daily activities leads me to reset some things while often completely ignoring others. Really, the majority of my efforts for order are preemptive, enacted with the intent of easing future tasks.

One example of this is rinsing pans, dishes, and utensils instantly after use to avoid foods drying to the surface and becoming more difficult to clean later. Another version is clearing snow to a distance beyond the edges of the driveway or walkways to make it easier to clear future accumulations.

However, not all my impulses are entirely practical. This one is probably more aesthetic.

Recently, I noticed that I have repeatedly been adjusting the entryway rug inside our front door to pull it off the sill. I figured normal traffic or possibly an exuberant dog was causing the rug to slide up against the door, so I kept moving it back.

Then, for an unknown reason, I experienced a vivid moment of intuition that led me to ask Cyndie if she moves the front rug up against the door sill.

“Yes,” she said. “I do.”

Aha! We have been unknowingly operating at cross-purposes, doing battle back and forth with opposing intentions.

She was thinking about catching debris from dirty boots on the rug, so she surmised there should be no space between the rug and sill. I said we could just step onto the rug when we come inside.

Something in me senses the rug should be spaced away to avoid possible interference with opening the door.

Cyndie and I are very different in many ways, so it shouldn’t be all that surprising that we were working against each other in this regard, but it is always humorous to discover little details like this when we have been living together for over 40 years.

Our opposing forces may be part of our mutual attraction and balance the many ways we are alike. There is something to the adage that “opposites attract.” It’s rather magnetic, isn’t it?

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Lovely Ride

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Beautiful weather, wonderful friends, and an old railroad grade paved trail made for an absolutely lovely bike ride yesterday. We even came upon my favorite word carved in stone. Of course, I just had to pose for a portrait. Rich obliged my request.

Eventually, the whole gang got into the act.

Doobie is not pictured because he is the one taking the picture. Gray is not in the picture because he kept riding when we stopped so that he could get back in time to make another event.

We had arrived at the Big Stone Sculpture Garden and Mini Golf course. Truly a worthwhile destination.

Our little jaunt took us from Wayzata to St. Bonifacious and back again on the Dakota Trail. As we rode the first leg, I became aware that we would be riding right past the house where Cyndie’s and my friends, Barb and Mike Wilkus live. On the way back, I asked Rich to pull off the trail with me to take a quick picture in front of their house. I figured they were out of town for the weekend so I was going to send them a text with the photo.

As Rich and I turned off the trail, I saw a car in the driveway so I rang the doorbell and found they were home! After a quick greeting, it was time to catch up with the rest of the group and get to a lunch reservation waiting for us in Wayzata at The Muni. (Wayzata Bar and Grill.  I recommend the Cubano sandwich.)

As I rediscover every time, the riding is always good but the company of friends is ten times better. The next time I will see that group of folks will be in the middle of June for the Tour of Minnesota. I am really looking forward to a week of biking and camping with them once again.

I love these friends.

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Written by johnwhays

May 16, 2022 at 6:00 am