Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘remembering

Six Years

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Somehow, six years have passed since we moved from our home of twenty-five years in a suburb of the Twin Cities to this amazing property in western Wisconsin.

Happy 6th Anniversary, Wintervale!

What an amazing time we’ve had figuring out a completely different life from the one we had previously known.

Looking back on our arrival here, we now laugh about the week-long struggle we endured to accomplish the actual closing on the property, while being granted access anyway by the sellers and moving our furniture in as if it was already officially ours.

We put our trust in a local fencing company to help design a layout for our paddocks and pasture fences and were rewarded with a much-loved result. They also helped us accomplish the addition of the hay shed, overcoming repeated weather delays caused by one of the wettest springs locals had experienced.

Five years ago September, our horses arrived and really brought this place to life. That started an ongoing lesson in the art of composting manure, among many other more romantic attractions of owning horses.

This time of year, we are probably composting as many leaves as we are manure.

We are in our second year of having chickens around to control flies and ticks, while also enjoying the secondary benefit of unbelievably great eggs.

We have learned a lot about baled hay and forest management.

We dabbled a little in trying to launch a business.

We’ve stumbled through trying to train our first dog, while simultaneously working on keeping one of two house cats we adopted from a rescue organization.

Every time the leaves fall from our trees and cover the trails six inches deep, it throws me back to that first year when we arrived.

That leads to thoughts about all the things I’ve listed above and gives me an opportunity to acknowledge the number of things we have accomplished since moving here.

I also have a tendency to contemplate what life might have been like had we not made this move. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be in as good of shape as I am now. Caring for animals and managing many acres of hilly fields and forest has a way of keeping a person off the couch for long stretches of time.

I wouldn’t trade this for anything. It’s been a great six years.

Here’s to diving into our seventh with wonder and glee over whatever adventures it may bring!

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Written by johnwhays

October 24, 2018 at 6:00 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

Another Anniversary

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It’s our thirty-seventh this year. I’ve been writing and posting daily on this blog for over nine years, and every time September 19 comes along, the topic of the day has acknowledged Cyndie’s and my wedding anniversary, and Julian’s birthday.

I have an annual habit on September 18th of navigating the “Previous Somethings” drop down feature in the right margin to pick the month of September, and then clicking on the day “19” to read each of my prior interpretations of the occasion. It’s a little repetitive, but at least the number of years changes in each post.

I’m not sure what the primary focus of a wedding anniversary is supposed to be. One obvious choice is the ceremony and all that was related to the events of the day.

Another logical area for consideration is the milestone of years. 2018 marks the accomplishment of our 37th year. Is the anniversary a time to review all that our relationship has enjoyed or endured over that period of time?

On that note, which gets more attention? The best of times or the obstacles hurdled?

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How about examining ways the relationship has changed over the span of time? I’m pretty sure we know each other better now than we did in the early years. Although, we continue to surprise each other and discover new insights as a function of the changes continually occurring in ourselves year after year.

I suppose the most popular detail deserving attention is a revisiting and rekindling of the romance that drew us together in the first place. I fear there may be a few laws of physics that tend to overrule best intentions in that realm.

As noted, Cyndie and I have an additional blessing to enhance our celebration of September 19th. This year it involves one of those round numbers that garners extra significance because it ends in zero.

Happy 30th Birthday, Julian!!

At this point in the father-son relationship, I’m thoroughly enjoying how much more like a brother you seem to me. I never imagined I would enjoy my children as adults as much as I do.

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Counting our many blessings today!

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Written by johnwhays

September 19, 2018 at 6:00 am

Another Staycation

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We were able to getaway in town this weekend, leaving Jackie to take care of animals at home. Cyndie and I went off to spend a couple of nights at her parents’ house in Edina. Fred and Marie were headed for a cruise in Germany with friends of theirs, and we provided transportation to the airport yesterday.

Before that, we snuck out for a convertible cruise through our old Eden Prairie stomping grounds. The fabulous September sunshine provided ideal conditions. We stopped by a park to visit folks gathered for an EP fundraising event and enjoyed live music performed by Wondercure, some life-long friends.

After leaving the airport, we headed past an even older neighborhood of ours in south Minneapolis to hook up with more EP friends. We strolled with Paul and Beth along the Linden Hills streets for dinner near Lake Harriet.

Back at their house, we were treated with other-worldly dessert creations from a nearby bakery.

It all feels so cosmopolitan!

How did we come to deserve such richness of life, friends, and food.

It is not lost on me how much the remarkable warm September sunshine and blue skies contribute to making a day seem so positively regal.

Our experiences would have been much different had it been cool, gray, and wet.

I’m just sayin’.

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Written by johnwhays

September 9, 2018 at 9:35 am

Photo Explained

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Mary was the only one to question the picture I tossed into yesterday’s missive about my aging, regardless how fiendishly intriguing I was trying to be. I consider the night that photo was taken to be one of my masterpieces of creative interpretation.

A little over thirty years ago, when I had only my father as a reference to what my future appearance might become, Cyndie and I received an invitation to a very special event celebrating her mother’s birthday.

On the occasion of Marie’s 50th, there was going to be a rousing sock hop dust-up on the reserved second floor of the highfalutin Jukebox Saturday Night nightclub in downtown Minneapolis. Of course, the theme was “The Fifties!”

We were to come all dolled up in our best 50s getup.

So, I did.

Then I acted genuinely shocked and embarrassed when I walked in and found out I had misinterpreted the theme.

Didn’t fool Marie one bit.

For some reason, none of the guests whose years were already into the fifth decade seemed all that impressed with my attempt to appear their age. Especially as they stood dressed as if they were wearing outfits they had saved from high school or college thirty years earlier.

Obviously, I wasn’t quite as cute as I imagined myself to be.

Frankly, that fact hasn’t changed as much as it probably should have.

For the record, Cyndie tells me she was wearing one of her mother’s dresses from back in the day. I just thought she was trying to look fifty, too.

<*Ducking and running…*>

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Written by johnwhays

September 5, 2018 at 6:00 am

Different Project

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It rained with such ferocity yesterday that water found a way past shingles, and dripped over the toilet in our bathroom. I thought maybe Cyndie had unbelievably made a mess, until I got dripped on and discovered it was coming from overhead.

I drained 2-inches from the rain gauge in the afternoon and Cyndie reported 2-inches more collected by dusk. It hailed, and it thundered, and Delilah barked at the booming all day long.

Basically confined to staying under a roof all day, I puttered around in the shop. I finally got around to using power tools to cut and grind old shovels to give them a clean edge again. I cut off the broken metal tines of a rake that has been lying around for a couple of years because I couldn’t part with the perfectly good handle.

Then I spotted the wood sculpting project I started a couple of winters ago and decided to spend a little time with it again.

The idea for this came from a high school art class assignment I did over four decades ago. I figured, if I’m still thinking about that piece I did that long ago, the idea deserved revisiting.

The concept is to create the piece by removing the background wood around the shape. Relief carving.

“To create a sculpture in relief is to give the impression that the sculpted material has been raised above the background plane.”

I made the shape of a fish in high school. I remember that I wasn’t able to make the tail fins look real, so I morphed them into a small ‘cartoony’ version of a fish tail.

I think it worked, in the end. Gave the finished piece a kind of primitive-folksy look. What I remember most about the project was the surprise of how the grain looked after I sanded everything smooth.

The lines from the flat rise up with an accented grace over the shape that is carved.

I’m going with the tear drop shape this time. That way I won’t have to figure out how to make that tail.

Now I just need another day of monsoon rain to confine me to the shop for long enough to bring this project to fruition.

Don’t hold your breath. As much as I love working on projects like this, this gem could easily rest on the window sill for another couple of years, if history is a reliable reference.

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Written by johnwhays

August 25, 2018 at 9:12 am

Latest Word

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I have a habit of getting stuck on a pattern of frequent reuse of a particular word. The latest word that I’ve noticed –usually it happens without my being aware– is “gorgeous.” In terms of a hot August day at the lake, the word is well suited to describe yesterday.

After a lazy soak in the lake, Cyndie and I lost ourselves in an over-fascination with picking rocks that grabbed our fancy.

“I like this one.”

“Oooh, look at this!”

“Here’s one for you.”

In the water, they look so shiny and bright. Cyndie brings up a pile of them to keep, all of which tend to turn into much less spectacular stones after they’ve dried.

I like shapes and textures. Tear drop and smooth.

Both of our eyes are drawn to the ones with lines of different color layers.

I noticed an urge to break some open to get another view of the layers. That thought brought back a memory of hammering different colored stones to dust with my siblings to make layered sand art jars.

I remember thinking those always turned out gorgeous.

And for the record, this August weather totally rocks!

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Written by johnwhays

August 12, 2018 at 8:33 am