Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘pizza

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

Rain’s Back

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At least we had a week where it didn’t rain on us. Yesterday afternoon, the ground was just starting to show signs of drying out a bit. That’s over now. img_ip1763e

The horses were grazing in a tight cluster under the gloomy sky. I’m pretty sure they had a sense of what was coming our way. The precipitation made a slow approach, prolonging the wait for the inevitable.

I had just the plan for a rainy night. I had volunteered to prepare dinner for George and Anneliese, and I was serving up my specialty. I brought home a pizza.

That meant we could warm up the kitchen by using the oven. But, shhhh… don’t tell Cyndie. I had her favorite pizza delivered to my workplace, half-baked. She wouldn’t want to know she was missing her beloved deep-dish and more episodes of our current tv series addiction, 2007’s “Life” with Damian Lewis, Sarah Shahi, and Adam Arkin.

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We’ll keep that secret just between us.

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Written by johnwhays

October 26, 2016 at 6:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

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Pizza Therapy

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Since I don’t drive to the day-job on Fridays, Thursday nights have become my “Friday night.” Even though my work week is only 4 days long, I am no less exhausted by the end of it. Yesterday, despite all that I was struggling to manage at work, Cyndie decided to complicate it in the early afternoon with a request that I be responsible for dinner.

DSCN4553eSigh. Really?

Okay. I called Gina Maria’s.

One of the greatest culinary events for Cyndie and I occurred the day our long-time favorite pizzeria opened a branch within delivery range of my work place. When the guy who stopped by to announce the new location told me they could do half-baked pizzas, my heart swelled.

I had a new dinner solution, and it was Cyndie’s number 1 choice for pizza.

We invited George to join us for Thursday night pizza therapy. He calls it Thursday night Hays therapy. We think of it as “friend therapy.” Most often, our weekly dinners haven’t been pizza. Maybe it should have been “pie therapy.”

Last night, pizza was just right. Cyndie added an incredible salad and decadent “healthy” multi-berry pie for dessert. It was healthy because it had pecans and walnuts and oatmeal, along with the fruit. She even added flax seeds. I figure the healthy amount of brown sugar in the topping was how it earned that moniker.

The dessert pie was great, but the pizza pie was the key to making dinner therapeutic.

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It was pizzatacular and pizzarrific.

It’s therapizza!

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Written by johnwhays

April 1, 2016 at 6:00 am

To Antigua

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On our third day in Guatemala City we woke up to instructions to pack for a road trip. It immediately reminded me of the old stand up routine of George Carlin’s about “Stuff.” We needed to pack a smaller version of things we brought with us for an overnight in Antigua and then a few days in Santiago Atitlán

Trip Map

DSCN3079eDue to limitations of space in the vehicle, our larger luggage would be trucked directly to the beach house where we would eventually arrive. We packed a smaller version of our travel bags. That still turned out to be a lot of stuff, especially compared to the bag Jose packed. He put on shorts and a tank top shirt and told me “This is how you dress for Antigua!” The small duffel bag he carried looked like it didn’t even have anything else in it.

“You told us to pack light!” he said to his parents when they remarked about his almost empty bag.

We dealt with a moderate amount of traffic on the relatively short trip to Antigua, where Marco strategically chose parking in a hotel that wasn’t the one we would be staying at, for reasons of convenience. That decision led to an unlikely coincidence of Cyndie surprisingly coming upon a Minnesota friend and colleague on the sidewalk of the hotel. What are the odds of that?

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We walked and browsed the bustling streets of historic Antigua. It was a superb experience. Cyndie was an excellent shopper, finding many potential items that captured her fancy. We enjoyed a lunch outdoor at an Italian restaurant that served delicious wood-fired pizza. We splurged on tiramisu cake for dessert.

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In trying to navigate the winding narrow streets from our daytime parking spot, to the exclusive Filadelfia hotel at a coffee plantation nearby where we had reservations, we came to a few roads already closed in preparation for Palm Sunday events the following day. Of course, that spectacle happened to be our objective for tomorrow. Having been naively and blissfully oblivious to many of the details of our itinerary, it was at this point that I began to grasp the enormity of what lie ahead for us in Antigua. Seriously, I had totally missed that it was actually going to be Palm Sunday.

I will never be able to adequately convey my full appreciation for the excellent and inspired planning that Marco and Dunia did to give us the absolute BEST experience imaginable while we were with them. There just aren’t enough superlatives to do them justice.

DSCN3082eWhen we arrived at the hotel we were floored by the greatness of everything. It is exquisite. Our rooms provided an amazing view of volcano Agua that is entirely captivating. We dipped in the pool for a swim after dark, soaked in the hot tub, and then went to dinner in the hotel/plantation restaurant.

It was another day that ended with us feeling as though the events were the equivalent of several days worth. Truly a magnificent experience for us.

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Written by johnwhays

April 13, 2015 at 6:00 am

Pizza Delivered!

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We had pizza delivered to our home last night! We learned from our friendly neighbors, George and Rachel, about more local food options when they invited us to join them for dinner at the El Paso Bar & Grill after we finished baling hay over a week ago. They suggested a Chinese take-out restaurant in Ellsworth, which we’ve already tried, and a pizza place that will actually deliver to our location.

With Cyndie now working long days in Anoka, MN, and my food prep skills under-developed, we’ve been relying on restaurants more lately. Even if I was doing the cooking, I wouldn’t have time, as the outdoor work has been keeping me busy until 7 or 8 every night. That’ll change when the sun starts setting noticeably earlier. Gotta get as much done as possible while the days are long. So for now, our dinners haven’t been making much of a mess in the kitchen.

The pizza was good, although the crust was a little under done. It definitely stayed hot on the drive to our house, but probably came out of the oven a tad too soon. It would have made sense for us to put it in our oven for a short bit to crisp it up, but we couldn’t get it separated from the cardboard box well enough to allow that. At least it was covered with plenty of good cheese. We must be in Wisconsin.

We’ll try them again sometime, choosing a different selection of toppings before we make any rash decisions about the overall quality of their pizza.DSCN2157e

The food I have been serving has been to our animals. Here is a shot of Dezirea enjoying her morning feed with Delilah looming close in search of any morsels that she can reach. The way that dog fixates on horse and cat food, and even… our pizza, you’d think we never gave her anything of her own to eat.

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Written by johnwhays

July 30, 2014 at 6:00 am