Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘stories

Various Snippets

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There are days –I bet you have them, too— when there isn’t one main story of the moment to tell. Just random tidbits that may, or may not, be related. Snippets.

Starting Thursday after work last week, Cyndie and I had a goal to get a lot done in preparation for World Labyrinth Day the following Saturday. I had it in mind to relocate a cold compost pile to a low spot we are building up. I told Cyndie it would just be 4-6 wheelbarrow loads. It turned out to be double that.

While huffing the loaded wheelbarrow up to the dump spot, I saw the stack of 15 pallets waiting to be stowed. By the end of Friday, we had built the fenced courtyard for the chicken coop, raked the round pen with the ATV, put the cover on the gazebo, raked, pruned, hung hammocks and a dozen other small simultaneous tasks.

It occurred to me that the number of spring chores we accomplished felt equivalent to annual Work weekend at Wildwood, except instead of a full community of six families, it was just Cyndie and me.

During one of my passes by the paddock that Friday, I stopped to take a picture of Hunter taking a serious full-sleep nap. I thought it was funny that in his complete unconsciousness, his relaxed lips produced a pearly white smile.

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As soon as I set down my tools and pulled out my camera at the fence, Cayenne walked up to meet me. Dezirea was quick to follow suit.

Yesterday, I was walking Delilah past the chicken coop when she reacted with unwanted interest in the chicks milling around inside their fence. I decided to try an exercise of getting her to lay down right next to their enclosure in calm submission.

The plan was to get her to engage directly with me, and disregard the (incredibly enticing) chicks. It was comical watching her struggle against her insatiable predator urge. This exercise will take a LOT of repetition if we have any hope of ever lulling her into a state of being able to regard the chickens as “friends, not food.”

Back to thinking about Wildwood again, while walking Delilah through the woods near the house, I paused to search for signs of our transplanted trillium blooming.

For the last several years, while up at the lake place for Memorial work weekend, we have collected samples of the trillium that carpet the forest floor around the property and brought them home to plant as ‘starters’ in hopes of replicating a similar display here.

We always plant them in sets of three in a triangle shape to help keep track of our success ratio. The results have been pretty good.

If you look closely at the image, there is a non-flowering trillium just behind and to the right of the lone blossom commanding all the attention.

It will be a thrilling sight when we finally find evidence of new sprouts from spreading rhizomes showing up among our original groups of three.

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Simmering Plan

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We’ve got a trip coming up. This Christmas, Cyndie and I, along with our kids, will be joining all of Cyndie’s family for a week of vacation together in the Dominican Republic. It will be a number of firsts for me, most notably, being somewhere tropical for the winter-est of holidays.

It’s been mind-boggling contemplating the possibility. I expect it will be more so actually living it.

Similar to most of my travels over the last decade, I am inclined to take the week off from tending to RelativeSomething.com on a daily basis. Of course, that doesn’t mean I plan to let the site go dormant for a week. Oh, no.

I have an idea to fill the days with stories written in advance and scheduled to post automatically while I am away. All I have to do is write them.

Like, when is that going to happen?

I need to pack! I need to make lists. Find summer clothes. Start gathering necessary things. Where is my passport?

What procrastinator doesn’t know how to get things done at the last-minute? I’ll write the first few and then end up finishing on the plane, if it’s anything like the last time I tried having a week’s worth of posts ready in advance.

The other day I started a possible outline to help facilitate my plan. I’m now thinking that sharing that outline with you all might provide helpful pressure on me to then actually follow through with the idea.

Why are we traveling with Cyndie’s family over Christmas? I will work my way toward answering that question by starting back at the earliest days of our relationship.

1. Our initial connection

  • discover shared experience chatting on beach
  • attended Basic Youth Conflicts Seminar

2. Asking her parents permission to marry

  • after 6 years off and on dating
  • she traveled and went to several schools
  • I stayed home and went to tech school

3. Friswold Family events at Wildwood through the years

4. Friswold Family trip to ’94 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway

5. Family trips with Friswolds to Mexico and Disney

6. Friswold Family trip to Hilton Head in celebration of Fred & Marie’s 50th Anniversary

7. What about the Hays family?

8. Friswold Family trip to Dominican Republic over Christmas, 2017

With some help, research has already been undertaken to procure some supporting photos. Worst case, I just post the pictures with a few captions and let your imagination fill in the rest of the details.

That’s the way our brains work, anyway. Listen to people talk. Very often, sentences hang, unfinished, but the listeners get the gist of the message, filling in the blank space with a sufficient perception in place of absent words.

I was listening to a snippet from the second side of the Beatles’ Abbey Road on my commute to work yesterday and noticed where my brain filled in an extra note of choral “aaaaahs” beyond what was actually recorded. They lead you to that conclusion, but don’t need to sing the added note. It is implied.

Our mind completes the progression unconsciously.

I will try to complete as much of my planned storyline as possible, but it will not happen unconsciously. Most likely, it will require a fair amount of sacrificed sleep.

If I’m not entirely thorough in my detail, it will become your opportunity to imagine what fills the gaps my tales imply.

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Written by johnwhays

December 14, 2017 at 7:00 am

Far Away

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img_ip1886eThis feels so far away from home. Breakfast on the lanai by the pool in shorts and a t-shirt is so mind-bogglingly different from my normal routine that I feel like this is a dream. Well, it is a dream, actually. We are living the dream.

Besides power-lounging the day away, the most work I did involved figuring out how to connect Fred and Marie’s smart TV to the internet so they could watch shows on Amazon Prime, and then helping Fred put air in his bike tires.

He hadn’t ridden the bike for about 2 years, but Marie told him other visitors have been using the bikes every year. He wanted to take a little ride, so we just added some air and off he went.

When we next saw him again an hour or so later, he reported he had gone for a short bike ride followed by a long walk. His front tire had blown out. First, he reported noticing a ticking sound as the wheel turned round and round. Then it POPPED!img_ip1889e

Forensic analysis revealed a failure in the sidewall of the tire. The inner tube had ballooned out and was rubbing the brake with each revolution, until the rubber tube burst.

Turned out to be a pretty impressive level of activity for the guy turning 80 this weekend.

Otherwise, the afternoon became a blur of card games, napping, and floating in the pool. Cyndie served Barry and Carlos drinks by the pool.

Around dinner time, the surprises for Fred continued as Cyndie’s brother, Steve arrived. Then, after dessert had been served, her last brother, Ben appeared with his wife, Sara. The last secret had been revealed and the kids were all present.

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We sat around the table sharing life stories and lost our breath in laughter multiple times. Fred shared a memory of his 60th birthday when the kids all showed up for a surprise gathering on a ski vacation in the mountains out west. That year, they left spouses at home.

Cyndie and I have been married for 35 years and had dated off and on for 7 years before that, so I recognized plenty of the tales that were being recollected. Reliving the many stories reveals a weird combination of my being part of the family, but not being one of the family. I’m here, but I’m not as here here as they are, if that makes any sense.

One thing that is clear, we are noticeably far away from our home in Wisconsin right now.

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Written by johnwhays

January 20, 2017 at 7:00 am

An Invitation

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It is Sunday morning, and I have slept in after getting to bed late last night. We had a wonderful time visiting friends in the distant west suburbs of Minneapolis yesterday, an opportunity accommodated by our daughter, Elysa, who ventured east to give our animals care and attention they are accustomed to receiving over their dinner hour.

Today, it is cold and rainy outside, gloomy, grumbling thunder gray, and I don’t have anything prepared to post. Sometimes when this happens, I pay a visit to the archives and see what I wrote a year ago at this time. I had posted a ‘Words on Images’ poem of possibility. The picture was a snow background, which doesn’t feel right at all now. We are trying to be done with snow, maybe more so than ever this year because the memory of the major 18″ snow event we suffered last year on May 2nd continues to haunts us.

I navigated to posts made for a day before and after the 27th, in 2013. Then I headed to 2012, when we were fixing up our Eden Prairie home in order to put it on the market, toward the dream we had of finding a horse property.

The archive treasure trove goes all the way back to March of 2009, when I was preparing for a trek in the Himalayan mountains of Nepal. That adventure was the catalyst for my starting this blog, Relative Something. I have endeavored to schedule a post every single day since.

I invite you to select a month from the Previous Somethings pull down bar on the right side of this page, to pick your own day to re-visit from the over 5-years of posts chronicling *this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences. It’s a trip!

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Written by johnwhays

April 27, 2014 at 9:46 am