Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘serendipity

Lucky Balance

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First off, you should know that by simply bringing up this subject, I am totally jinxing the longevity of this latest installation of balanced rocks, however, this one has already outlasted my wildest expectations.

You just never know how long any “sculpture” will last when it comes to the unrehearsed balancing of random stones. This gem is perched on the stump of the most recently dispatched dead pine tree in the yard just beyond the front door of our house.

I was walking past the stump on some unrelated task one day when inspiration struck. I checked the nearby grove of trees for a big enough rock to make a good impression. I needed one that was also small enough that I could still lift it. I rolled it into position, which wasn’t easy at all because as you can see it was not of a rolling shape.

With some serious grunting and an unwise risk to my back, I finessed the beast upwards to the top of the stump. Then I headed to the rocks strewn about the landscaping around the house in search of a suitable size and shape for the upper balance.

It stood up in place with minimal coaxing. Balance was achieved so simply, I figured it might not last very long. Now, over three weeks later, it has survived the heavy snowfall, several days of high winds, a couple nights of significant freeze, and this week, record heat.

I got lucky.

Sometimes, it’s the ones I put in the least effort to accomplish that end up having the greatest longevity.

But not always.

There is one little set of three rocks that I assembled in the woods along our perimeter trail that is collapsed almost every time I walk by.

The difference is subtle to the point of being beyond my level of mastery.

Here’s hoping the ones in our front yard, pictured above, are unaware of what I’ve just written about them.

I am rather fond of seeing how they look from different perspectives as I walk past at all times of the day or night.

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Written by johnwhays

November 5, 2020 at 7:00 am

Split Seconds

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Who knows what’s going to happen in any given second? In this case, my phone decided to capture an image of falling from my hands.

I like it.

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Written by johnwhays

October 11, 2020 at 8:20 am

Puppy Love

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While communing with Cyndie’s family over the weekend, I learned of a wonderful photo captured by one of my fellow Friswold in-laws, Sara (married to Cyndie’s youngest brother, Ben). They are the only other Friswold family with multiple pets in the house. In addition to their three kids, there are two cats roaming the house, (and multiple amphibians and reptiles in a bedroom), and two dogs. Mocha is a 3-year-old mix they got from the Humane Society and Hazel is a 4-and-a-half-month-old rescue puppy.

Given that variety of kid and animal energy, it is easy to imagine the perpetual hum of commotion from ongoing activity constantly underway in the background of their everyday lives. In that setting, it is any sudden absence of activity that causes a person to take notice.

Sara reports just that scenario one day while she was occupied at her computer. She noticed it had gotten quiet and turned around in her chair to glance in the direction of the dogs. This is what she saw:

Puppy Hazel had her paws on Mocha’s chest and they were gazing at each other, nose to nose.

Sara quickly, but subtly, reached for her phone and captured the moment over her shoulder in the split second before it was over and Hazel moved on to other pursuits.

I asked how it might have transpired and Sara said it is not unusual for Mocha to sit upright in that spot and hang a front “arm” over the chair to look out the window. It is assumed that Hazel just took advantage of the position to stage an impromptu up close and personal puppy style greeting.

Everyone who has seen the image has enjoyed it so much, myself included, that I asked if I could share it with my readers, too. Let’s amplify and spread the puppy-love joy it brings.

It’s better than the “chew on everything in sight” puppy energy that is more the norm.

Congratulations, Sara, for the deft achievement of capturing this image in the moment’s notice!

It’s a winner of a photo. Thank you for letting me feature it and your pooch smooches.

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Written by johnwhays

September 15, 2020 at 6:00 am

Interesting Perch

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Does anything stand out to you in this rocky photo of our pond that I captured yesterday?

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Yes, that’s our permanent resident metal frog on one of the rocks with an intrepid visiting frog perched on its back.

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Perfect.

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Written by johnwhays

July 4, 2020 at 8:24 am

Feeling Happy

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Woke up this morning and looked out at the sun coming up over Round Lake in Hayward, Wisconsin and realized we weren’t at home. Then, I remembered the wonderful dinner we had at the Lake Magnor Lighthouse restaurant attached to the convenience store gas station on Hwy 63 in Clayton on the way up.

Servers were fully present and projecting great energy, which enlivened the whole place. We seated ourselves in a booth with a view across the road to Lake Magnor and soaked up the atmosphere. It wasn’t our second honeymoon, but it was feeling a lot like the first one.

This was the first weekend we had coverage to be away since the occasion of our 37th anniversary, so the two of us have dashed up to a solo weekend at the lake. Easily reminiscent of our visit this month back in 1981.

When dinner was delivered, the “bottomless” real fresh-cut potato fries on Cyndie’s plate won me over instantly. This was after I had already visited the salad bar and discovered a spring mix of greens in place of the usual iceberg lettuce, plus every topping I ever wanted. More characteristic of a trendy urban restaurant than this perfectly kitschy rural diner.

Good food, great service, and two oldsters reliving their lifetime of being in love provided all the ingredients necessary for a memorable moment that lasts.

The fact that we’d cluelessly driven past the place so many times before on our travels to the lake enhanced our delight over the serendipity of finally discovering it this time.

I won’t deny that my mindset was already primed with happiness over an achievement earlier in the day that I have been waiting far too long to resolve. We got our home back-up generator serviced!

It has been over five years since installation and I have neglected it ever since, despite repeated mailings urging us to purchase an extended warranty and service contract. There was a constant mental conflict over thinking I was being negligent and they were being overly persistent.

Eventually, I contacted the installer to inquire about a preventive maintenance inspection. They no longer provide support to this product. I tried another place they referred me to, but it only offered long term warranty programs like the one the manufacturer keeps mailing to us.

I mulled over trying to figure things out on my own and changing the oil myself. That never seemed to lead to any action.

Finally, I found a new company that could service it without a long contract and would come from Minnesota to do it. However, they charged me immediately on the day I scheduled the service, and then postponed the appointment twice, both times without warning me in advance.

I was thrilled yesterday afternoon when the tech called to say he was fifteen minutes away. The firmware is updated, oil, spark plugs, and air filters changed, and specs calibrated.

With that completed, I was more than happy when we set off for this lovely weekend celebrating September in the north woods. No wonder the food tasted so good.

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Grasp

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Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

September 8, 2018 at 7:47 am

Relishing Serendipity

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Maybe it was related to our pending departure to the lake with our precious friends, Barb and Mike, that had me feeling particularly giddy, but when additional serendipity iced my cake, I was moved to relish it to the fullest.

Several times this week, we were striving to match schedules with the auto body shop to apply some last touches to conclude, once and for all, the repairs related to my deer incident. It took three more tries than it should have, but yesterday they completed the task and I was on my way to pick it up.

On the drive, I received a call from the hardware store surprising me with news that our trimmer repair was already completed. I would be able to pick it up on my way back home, saving an extra trip.

That eliminated the immediate concern over deciding whether to buy a second trimmer, or not. Another occasion to add to my history of delaying decisions long enough that an answer ends up materializing all on its own.

Now, if all has gone according to plan, this morning we are up at the lake for the weekend again. After the last two visits, when the internet connection was unusually dubious, I have chosen to fall back on my old vacation mode of scheduling a few “Relative Something” posts in advance.

My car is done, the trimmer is repaired, the hay-field is getting cut, and we are off with friends for the weekend.

I am relishing the blessings and last evening’s serendipity to the fullest.

Here’s to practicing the art of soaking up the joys available in the everyday.

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Written by johnwhays

July 20, 2018 at 6:00 am

New Family

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Since the day our friends George and Anneliese moved out to a new home they built in Princeton, MN, our basement “apartment” has been mostly unoccupied. Meanwhile, we have been searching for new sitters to care for our animals and house (needing to replace the services of both McKenna and Shelby, who have each moved away to their next life opportunities) to provide cover for times we escape to the lake place or embark on other exotic travels.

Cyndie advertised our search in two primary locations: our veterinary office in Stillwater, and the University of WI, River Falls Ag programs.

I did occasional scans of Craig’s List for pet sitters, and thought I struck gold when a perfect sounding post showed up just an hour prior to one of my visits. She didn’t want to travel very far, though, and told us we were out of her Hudson, WI range of service.

Then Jackie called. She was in school at River Falls and was hoping to find a room for the summer. Jackie has the horse skills we required and boards her own horse just six miles to the east, in El Paso, WI.

In a cosmic twist we never saw coming, when she stopped by to meet us the very first time, Cyndie recognized her date who got out of the car with her. Marcus is the new farrier who has been caring for our horses in the time since George moved.

When Jackie mentioned to Marcus that she was going to visit Beldenville to meet Cyndie, he responded that he knew a Cyndie in Beldenville. They quickly realized she was the same person, and Marcus came along for the introduction.

Some wonderful synchronicity there.

Cyndie and Jackie worked out terms and a rough schedule, and now we have a new housemate added to our cast of characters.

It has been rewarding to watch Delilah and Jackie’s relationship develop as they spend more time together.

In a very short number of days, Jackie has become the latest new member of our ever-expanding family. It’s a bonus that Marcus knows her, too.

We feel lucky to have met them both, and to have their help caring for our horses. And, in Jackie’s case, our home and other animals, too!

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Written by johnwhays

May 23, 2018 at 6:00 am

Swollen Eye

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I was simply killing some time while waiting for a delivery after I got home from work. Strolling down the driveway from the house toward the barn, I decided to go see the horses.

I found all four of them fully engaged in grazing from the freshly filled hay boxes. Not wanting to bother them, since I really had no agenda, I scaled the fence and walked past them to go kick around one of my several landscape projects in the large paddock.

Minutes later, Cayenne appeared out of nowhere. Unhesitatingly, she closed the gap and came face to face with me. It was impossible to miss the extreme swelling in her left eye. She was obviously seeking help.

I phoned Cyndie in the house to alert her and comforted Cayenne as much as I could. She seemed to appreciate being scratched around the area of swelling. If there is such a thing as referred pain, I figure it’s possible there can be referred relief, as well.

Cyndie arrived with a saline rinse and we moved Cayenne under the overhang to look after that eye. Hunter and Legacy seemed genuinely concerned for their ailing herd-mate and leaned over the fence to observe.

Cayenne was surprisingly cooperative with Cyndie’s effort to rinse, inspect, and clean the swollen eye. When the drops were applied, Cayenne actually turned her head in the optimum angle to accommodate the rinse, and blinked repeatedly to aid the wash.

It was as if she knew better than us what needed to happen, but just didn’t have the opposable thumbs to pull it off on her own.

We sent a picture of the eye to our vet, but it was after office hours already, so that contact will need to happen this morning. We will get a professional opinion and watch her closely to see if it the wash cleared out an irritant or some other problem is still brewing.

I’m sure glad about making that unplanned decision to wander down among horses. If I hadn’t, with darkness arriving at the hour earlier Central Standard Time, we wouldn’t have discovered how swollen it was until Cyndie showed up this morning to feed them.

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Written by johnwhays

November 8, 2017 at 7:00 am

Meeting Judy

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Shortly after the first time I signed up to do this epic adventure of biking and camping for a week, I learned that a cherished coworker’s sister always did the Klobuchar ride. I’d never met any of my coworker’s family, but if they were anything like Bob, I couldn’t wait to meet them.

He was more excited than me about the potential connection, and spent a fair amount of energy drilling me on details of her name so that I would remember who I needed to seek out.

Of course, her name. Then, her husband’s name. Their last name, because it was her married name and different than his. He told me I could remember the last name because it was like a Minnesota Twins ball player’s name, only with an ‘S.’

He was seriously excited over the prospect of my meeting his sister on this trip. It was infectious enough that I became just as excited over the possibility.

However, there were a lot of other details I needed to think about. I had never done this kind of thing before. I was traveling with a teen neighbor whom I didn’t really know more than passing from his role as a part-time sitter for our kids. I was also perseverating over having the right gear and packing the right clothes, not to mention where to put everything.

Honestly, Judy’s name was not on my mind as Brian and I made our final visit to the car that first Saturday morning, prior to departing with our bikes. It’s a critical moment of the trip, because it’s the last time you will be anywhere near your vehicle for the rest of the week.

Take what you need, leave the rest. Ideally, stepping away fully prepared for what lies ahead.

As we walked our bikes between parked cars toward the swelling collection of other camping cyclists –all strangers, who would soon become friends– we came upon a couple going through their similar critical last moments with their vehicle.

In a flash of inspiration, upon noticing the man was using a 12V compressor to top off the air in his bike tires, I overcame my normal reticence to bother a stranger. I figured, we didn’t know anyone on this trip, so what better time to break the ice and get over the hump than to ask if we could use his electric pump for our tires, too.

Before I got to the end of my request, I saw that he was actually winding up the power cord to put it away. He was done using it. My brain quickly chastised me with evidence that my bad timing was the very reason not to bother someone you don’t know, blah, blah, blah.

I quickly apologized for inconveniencing him, but he just as quickly talked over my hesitancy and insisted it was no trouble. The awkward start had stumbled all over the more traditional polite practice of introducing oneself, so as we crouched over bike wheels and the buzzing pump, I thought to identify myself.

He responded, “I’m Ed Beckers.”

My eyes got big. I think he wondered what he’d said. My eyes got really big.

Knowing I had the upper hand, I played it for all it was worth. What were the odds?

“THE Ed Beckers!?” with increasing animated excitement.

Confused stare.

“Ed and Judy Beckers!!?”

A woman’s face peers around the car door at this maniacal stranger exclaiming her name.

My coworker’s sister and husband were the very first people we met.

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Written by johnwhays

June 18, 2017 at 6:00 am