Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘pizza

High Points

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After work yesterday, Cyndie and I hopped in her car and drove up to the lake for the weekend. Leaving on a Thursday night makes for easy driving, in the absence of the typical weekend traffic headed north. Our route took us through some of the damage from last week’s storms that produced near-hurricane force winds and some baseball-sized hail.

It was fruitless to try to capture a representative photo of the large scope of broken trees for miles, but I snapped a few shots on my cell phone through the car window at highway speed.

It was a little easier to capture a sample of some building damage that hadn’t been covered up yet.

The extensive damage to trees was a really sad sight. It gave me a whole new perspective on the comparatively minor issues we are facing at home with a few dead or dying trees leaning across our trails. We’ve got it easy.

High point of the day for me yesterday was finding a neighboring farmer working our fields to finally bale some of the cut hay that has been left on the ground for weeks, repeatedly being rained on instead of properly drying out. The past week offered the longest stretch of dry days that I can recall so far this summer.

The second high point was getting a chance to watch portions of Stage 18 of the Tour de France on the subscription TV channels when we got here. At home, we only pick up what is publicly available through the airwaves, and bike racing coverage is minimal.

Two big mountain stages remain, today and tomorrow, and I am thrilled to be able to view all the drama as it happens.

Maybe it will be rainy here as the morning progresses so I don’t waste sunny lake time sitting indoors in front of the glowing screen getting my bike racing fix.

Honorable mention high point yesterday goes to the Coop’s pizza dinner we devoured when we got to Hayward. Oh, so delicious.

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John Photos

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Written by johnwhays

January 24, 2019 at 7:00 am

Kitchen Aromas

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Honestly, I don’t feel worthy of the aromas that greeted me from Cyndie’s kitchen when I walked in the door after work yesterday. She pulled me all the way into some of my fondest November memories with a robust batch of fresh Chex mix roasting in the oven.

Threw me back to Thanksgiving day parades, afternoon football games, and my dear ol’ mom.

I don’t know which came first. Did my love of cereal lead to an overwhelming attachment to Chex mix, or did my fondness for Chex mix lead to my mind-boggling passion for cereal?

No sooner does the mix come out of the oven and Cyndie puts in a pizza crust to pre-bake.

Not one to avoid a challenge, she was working her magic on an untested recipe for an adventurous fresh cranberry balsamic white pizza.

I can sincerely say that this did not bring back a single memory or aroma from my past. I can take, or leave, an arugula salad on my pizza, but ricotta cheese in place of a good salty tomato sauce left this experiment lacking.

It looked tantalizing, though.

Just needed more sauce and maybe a heaping crown of mozzarella cheese for my tastes. And bacon.

What?

That was Cyndie’s idea. We read somewhere that the most common ingredient in contest-winning recipes happens to be bacon flavor in some shape or form.

We both got a chuckle out of that.

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Written by johnwhays

November 14, 2018 at 7:00 am

Food Love

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Thirty-seven years ago this morning, Cyndie and I woke up in a cute little cabin by the Cascade River on the north shore of Lake Superior. It was the first day of our week-long honeymoon that would ultimately include some camping, and then visits to one of the old Wildwood cabins in Hayward and a night at Telemark Lodge near Cable.

One of the memories we laugh about is a breakfast we enjoyed at a restaurant where everything was perceived as exceptionally perfect. The best eggs ever, the toast was out of this world, the service, the lighting… I believe we were in such a state of newlywed bliss that we were filtering every single experience through a lens overflowing with love.

Or, we just really love food.

Last night I brought home Cyndie’s favorite pizza for dinner. She arrived with a package of coconut infused dark chocolate covered almonds for me.

I gotta say, they tasted pretty close to similarly exceptional as that brilliant breakfast we enjoyed 37 years ago.

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Written by johnwhays

September 20, 2018 at 6:00 am

Natural Oscillation

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There are days, and even just moments within days, when it feels like the world surrounding me is flowing away from my presence. Then there are probably an equal number of occasions when the sensation comes across more like everything is blowing toward me.

Well, duh. Ebb and flow. Of course it would feel that way. The thing is, I have to pay enough attention to perceive that oscillation. It might seem obvious, but it is also, for the most part, invisible. That is, unless you take into account the marvels of the universe that are all riding along on the same waves.

Our animals, the weather, the innumerable growing things everywhere around us, they are all dictating and reacting to the energy that pulsates and resonates through our beings.

We recently watched a documentary about water, and it pointed out how much connection there is throughout the world, simply through water. Our bodies are mostly water. If you and I drank from the same pool, we would have the same water within us. It would be the same water being consumed by the plants and animals in and around that same pool.

The same water that has been cycling from sea, to sky, to earth for as long as we can imagine.

It’s no wonder the pull of the moon and the reacting tides make such a common impression on people. It’s affecting the same water in all of us.

Or, something like that.

For some reason, my craving for pizza tends to arrive with a mystical regularity that exceeds most natural frequencies. I benefit from not being very picky about types and styles, and am blessed that Cyndie is almost as adventurous as me, so frequency comes with variety.

Last night, she baked a homemade pizza on the grill.

All I can say about that is, “MmmMmmmm.”

That’s a comment I tend to make around here at mealtimes with an unsurprising regularity. It’s my natural pizza oscillation.

 

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Written by johnwhays

July 13, 2017 at 6:00 am

Pizza Magic

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 I live with her every day, but Cyndie continues to amaze me with her gifts of getting things to happen. Last night she listed off a couple of dinner menu options that failed to inspire me. Reading my hesitation, she started tossing out other ideas.

“Pizza!”

She said the magic word. That choice resonated for me. I had actually noticed a craving earlier in the day for her homemade pizza, but didn’t want to trouble her with it. Obviously, she sensed it anyway and dug the option out of her bag of tricks.

She channeled George with her masterful crafting of the dough for the crust. I reminded her that I saw George put his crust in to partially bake before adding toppings. As I helped to grate a large block of mozzarella cheese for her, my fingers got cold.

Cyndie mentioned it had come out of the freezer, as had the pre-baked sausage she was using. Even though she had not planned to make a pizza for dinner, she didn’t hesitate to react to my craving and rustle up the best of ingredients in our kitchen, both fresh and frozen.

She knocked this one out of the park!

Even with a sauce she admitted was a compromise settled on by necessity, this custom pizza pie was fantastic. I fear how much better it might have turned out had she been given proper time to plan in advance.

I witnessed some real pizza magic last night, I tell you.

Pizza magic.

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Written by johnwhays

April 25, 2017 at 6:00 am

Improving Outlook

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It is said that one way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. I won’t deny being an easily satisfied eater. Ply me with delectable delights and I will instantly offer my allegiance. Cyndie and George hatched a plan to assuage my recent exhaustion and woe with a promise of homemade pizza and some massage.

Who wouldn’t begin to feel more hopeful at offerings like that?

I decided to take some of my own advice, choosing to turn off the sad news flowing constantly out of my car radio and replacing it with my personal library of long-cherished music for the drive home from the day-job yesterday. It was bad enough that I had to commute to the day-job on my usual extra day on the ranch. I didn’t need the added downer of endless news-feed distress.dscn5679e

I stepped in the door from walking the dog and tending to the horses to find George’s smiling face in the kitchen. He was working dough and creating scrumptious food art that looked as good as it smelled. And trust me, it ultimately tasted even better than it’s aroma implied.

As if that wasn’t enough to loosen my strings, Cyndie had a fire glowing in the fireplace and offered up the opportunity to have my stress headache massaged away.

Yeah, those knotted muscles in my back and shoulders were real. Real crunchy.

Right up until they weren’t.

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And as quickly as that, the ache in my head wasn’t so noticeable, either. Now that’s my kind of medication for what ails you. Turn off the news, put on good music, get massaged, and eat a special meal prepared by hand with loving care. No pills or alcohol required.

I’m feeling some hope that these steps of intervention have me well placed to carry on a search for that hope I lost somewhere along the way in November.

Cyndie is gaining strength and ability every day in her journey of healing and rehabilitation, post knee replacement surgery. I am beginning to believe once again that she will someday be able to help care for the horses and walk Delilah, which would lighten my load considerably at a time when the demands of the day-job appear to be intensifying significantly.

If I am unable to find hope in anything else at this time, I am at the very least relieved to have found hope in this improving outlook.

Here’s to the prospect of a lighter load.

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Written by johnwhays

January 7, 2017 at 7:00 am