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Filtering by Category: Life List


Cindy Maddera


I visited TWO museums while I was in Atlanta, adding to #61 on the Life List. The first one we visited was the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum. I totally geeked out over this one. Jimmy Carter is one of my all time favorites. He's my birth year President (meaning he was elected in 1976, the year I was born). He's just the loveliest man. His life and story fills me with hope and inspiration. He's the Mr Roger's of Presidents.

So excited about this
Love Always
I'm in the Oval Office!

Chad and I had made it into the middle of the museum when one of the attendants came around the corner and said "hey! you guys want to meet the President?". We were not the only people in that museum, but that guy made a beeline right for us (again with the magnet). I think my heart may have stopped beating. The attendant told us that if we hurried, we could see President Carter in the cafeteria. So Chad and I took off towards the cafeteria. Chad was changing out lenses on his camera as we ran and I was trying to figure out how I was not going to ugly cry all over President Carter. But when we burst (and I mean burst) through the cafeteria doors all we found was a table of regular senior citizens and couple of secret service people. We'd just missed him. But....WE WERE IN THE SAME BUILDING AT THE SAME TIME!!!

The second museum was the Michael C. Carlos Museum which is full of wonderful Greek and Egyptian antiquities. What I really liked about this museum was it's size. It's tiny, but full of greatness. It contains just enough.

Magnified Face

And this picture, because I am mature.


I feel like I should say more about the Michael C. Carlos, but all I can say is that it should be on everyones must see list. Except go on a day when they are not using lots of varnish some where in the building. Or may enhance the experience.


Cindy Maddera


I've been fed up with my hair for months. When I got home from New York, I made mom measure my pony tail. It was at 8 inches, enough for the Pantene's Beautiful Lengths. Misti and I started planning and it was decided that I would come down Labor Day weekend and she would chop all my hair off. And that's what we did.


You know that scene in 16 Candles when Caroline's friend cuts Caroline's hair to get her out the door she's stuck in? Caroline heaves this huge sigh of relief when the last bit is cut and she's free from the door. That's exactly how I felt when Misti cut off that pony tail. One of Misti's co-workers was standing there as I described this and she said "so, you were stuck in a door". Yes, that's it exactly. I was stuck in a door. And then I started crying. Not because I had just chopped off all my hair, but because I was finally beginning to recognize myself.

That night most of the gang showed up to visit in Misti's backyard. My friend Jen exclaimed "It's old Cindy!" as she hugged my neck. God, it feels good to be back to my short hair.

New Hair 2


Cindy Maddera


I used this Thanksgiving Holiday as an excuse to cross off something from the Life List. It was time to learn to make gravy. Step one: Throw in one Southern mom. I mean, come on. The South practically bleeds gravy.


Step two: Melt a half a stick of butter.

Half a Stick of Butter

Step three: While butter is melting, whisk together 2 cups veggie broth and 4 tablespoons of flour. Be sure to mash out and lumps.

2 cups veggie broth, 4 T flour
Smash out lumps

Step four: Saute onions and celery in melted butter until onion is translucent.

Onion and celery

Step five: Add a chopped boiled egg to broth mixture and then pour mixture into pan with butter, onions and celery.

Boiled Egg

Step six: Stir until it thickens.

Stir until thick

Salt and pepper to taste and pour over everything. Enjoy!


Cindy Maddera


I took advantage of getting to San Diego almost a day early for BlogHer to add a museum to my #61 of my Life List. I easily persuaded Kizz along for ride because she has "see 100 museums" on her Life List too. So, after a lunch of yummy swordfish tacos, we made our way to the USS Midway, where we were chastised for calling the flight deck "upstairs" by two volunteer veterans.

Get the flash player here:

If you ever get to San Diego, you should visit the Midway. It's fun. It's educational. There's all kinds of knobs you can try to turn (none of them work, I tried). But wear sunscreen. For the love of God, wear sunscreen.


Cindy Maddera


Today I tackled #9 on the Life List: Take a Zumba class. I put it on the list because it just looked like silly fun and it totally was. There were times I had to come to a complete stop in order to laugh properly at myself. I am not completely without coordination. I used to rock the shit out of step class. I have thirteen years of dance and even had a short run at cheer leading. But when it comes to literally shaking my tush? Well, let's just say I don't quite have those skills. I was a little concerned about my stamina. I have heard that this is a really intense workout that involves lots of sweating. Even though I walk every day, I imagined myself gasping and falling all over the place in this class. I may not have been able to keep up with the tushy-shaking, but I sure held my own in the cardio aspect of the class. And it was fun. Did I look like a goofy white girl? You betcha. But I was no better or worse than anyone else in the class.

I will go back to Zumba class and I will work on the tush shake. Chris has already told me that he would help me study Shakira videos in order to work on my technique.


Cindy Maddera


Saturday called for rain and drizzle all day, so Chris and I thought this would be the perfect time to visit the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (museum #7). The morning was as predicted, overcast and cool, and we arrived at the museum just as it was opening. Right now, the special exhibit is Monet's Water Lilies. All three. Together. AT ONE TIME. Some of you may not know, but this is a rare event. One of these paintings usually resides in St. Louis and the other is from a private collection. The Nelson-Atkins claims the third. I wasn't quite prepared for it when I rounded the corner and saw all three of these paintings together the way they were meant to be seen. My breath caught in my throat and I got a little teary. The exhibit is set up well, with loungey couches to sit on and just be and look to hearts content. We got there early enough to avoid a crowd and have the paintings mostly to ourselves. One of the things I like about Monet's work is that it's meant to be viewed from a distance. When you look up close, all you see are the brush strokes and the smears. Up close the colors are pretty, but it's when you step back from the painting that image actually takes shape. This holds true for even his small paintings.

This close to a Monet And he sticks out his tongue

We sort of lost momentum after seeing the Water Lilies. We wandered through the photography exhibit and to a few other rooms, but we were in no rush to see the whole museum because the Nelson-Atkins Museum is free. Yeah, you heard me. FREE! I see many, many visits in our near future. I see picnics in the sculpture gardens in the Summer and Fall and long strolls through the halls on cold, blistery Winter days. It's a good image.

A Note on Relationships Granduer


Cindy Maddera


Exciting news everyone! The radishes have bloomed! I had no idea they even did that. Actually, I know very little about radishes and because we were curious about their progress, I dug one up. They're not ready. But they sure are pretty to look at.

Radish blooms

I am starting to think of gardening as my church. Every Sunday, I slip on my garden shoes, pull on the gardening gloves, grab my camera and garden tools and step out into my garden. The circular pattern of the garden becomes my meditation labyrinth as I start in one quadrant and work my way all the way around, back to start. The only part I don't like (this is my communion) is the part where I pick the green worms off my broccoli and kale. They make a popping sound as I smush them and their guts are bright green. I hate them.

Future Tomato Fennel

The carrots are taller. The squash is bigger. The chard is just popping up out of the ground. There's even a wild strawberry vine that has found it's way into the garden. We are happy.

Wild Strawberry


Cindy Maddera

It's been well over a year since I made my Life List and since then, I've crossed off seven things. Seems a bit sad. Truth is, I've forgotten what exactly I've put on that list. So, I thought it was time to go through and do some editing. It was good to just sit down and remind myself that I have plans. As I scanned through that list, I realized that those plans I have are not all that unreasonable. There's no reason why I shouldn't be crossing some of this off, but there were a few things that I just know I'm not going to do. Number five became "travel in France" as opposed to "live like a native in France". Let's be realistic. I'm not sure how my life is ever going to get to place where I can up and move to another country (this being said after I've just upped and moved to another state). I also know that I'm never going to be in a play (#38). I am the type that will help you run lines and cheer you on from the audience, but being on stage makes me physically ill. Instead, I will zip line through a jungle or forest any day. Number 46 used to be "try 52 new recipes". Easy enough, in fact it's so easy that I think I've actually accomplished this. I just never kept track of it. So I cut it from the list and replaced it with "jump rope on the Great Wall of China". This is an idea that came to me when Kizz was traveling to China. It sounds fantastic! Also, #59 (run a marathon) had to go. I hate running. I just don't like it. Why would I put something I just don't like to do on my list? I think I replaced it with something very fitting. And finally, #69 - back up all my photos, got hacked from the list because that's a chore. Not fun. It's a thing I should do, not a thing I want to do. It's now "grow mushrooms".

I need to figure out a way to keep better track of things that I do on and for the list. I'm sure I've tasted several new wines, but I never stop to write any of it down. Number 61 (100 new museums) is a bit easier because I take pictures, but until today I couldn't tell you what number I was on. If I'm not careful, these will end up falling to the way side. I bet there's an app out there for managing your Life List. Maybe I need to get it.

Any way. This week? I make some plastic yarn. Momma needs a new rug.


Cindy Maddera

I keep meaning to go in edit my Life List. There are changes that need to be made. Things added, things deleted, and at least one thing crossed off the list. But I am continuing on my quest to visit 100 New Museums. Even though it's not actually called a museum, I'm including The Hallmark Visitor Center as one of the 100. Hallmark History

It's a small little museum tucked inside the Hallmark Center, but it's full of cards and memorabilia and little TVs playing sappy greeting card commercials.

Wall of cards

You can talk to an artist and watch a machine stamp together some cards.

Learning From a Pro

But the best thing? The bow maker.

Bow Maker!

It will make you a perfect tiny red bow. For you to keep. Free. Which makes it even better.


Cindy Maddera

Does any one know what possums eat? Do they eat gardens? Do I need to worry about this? Are they rabid? Hooper and I saw one of the possums last night slinking around the house. I'm hoping this doesn't become a problem, but they do kind of freak me the fuck out just a bit. What with their beady little eyes and rat tails. It doesn't look like they've been gnawing on anything out there, but maybe their waiting for when things get ripe. Possums. Blerg. Future Salad

Other then that the garden is puttering along nicely. Things are growing taller. I've added some more onions (since a gazillion come in the starter bundle). I added a few more mixed salad greens. And now we wait. The weed pulling has begun. The problem is, some of the weeds are still young and they seem to be popping up in the same areas as where I planted seeds. The weeds get to stay until I figure out if they're edible.

Squash...I think


Next weekend we fill in the fourth quadrant of our circle with tomatoes and peppers and maybe start mixing in some herbs here and there.


Cindy Maddera

We didn't plan on doing a vegetable garden this year. The plan was to invest very little in the place we are renting now. We aren't even going to put things up on the walls or unpack Knicks-knacks. We've unpacked the things we really need and the rest has gone down to the basement. The previous owners had a small above-ground pool that, once hauled away, left behind a circle of bare earth. It was kind of like this place was begging us to plant some seeds or something. So we did. Today we built a make shift fence around the perimeter. We put some stakes in the ground and wrapped some twine around them, keeping them in place with some staples.


We split the circle into four sections and laid down some seeds. We planted spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, radishes, salad greens, fennel, squash, basil, cucumbers, parsley and onions. I left some space for some actual tomato plants to come later.


Turned into a much bigger garden then expected. Chris calls me the haphazard gardner. I kind of just tossed seeds around. My theory is that nature does it just about the same way. We did all this only to realize that there is not water faucet in the backyard. Now we must purchase a garden hose that will reach around from the front of the house to the back.


Cindy Maddera

Today I quit my job. I have never quit a job before. I've been laid off. I've been in a lab that's shut down. But I've never left a job on a voluntary basis. Until today. Remember that interview thingy I was talking about earlier? Well, they offered me the job and with out hesitation, I accepted. And I just now glanced over at today's Italian phrase for the day which says "Che progetti ha, what's your plans?". Appropriate no? After the shock and flipping out stage, I came out of my savasana this morning with a lightness I haven't felt in a really long time. And yes, I know this will be hard and confusing and stressful because we have a very short time to find a place to live, pack and move. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. The new job is in Kansas City MO. This is were we can mark number 3 off the life list. Despite all that moving and starting over stress, I am happy. Very, very, very happy. I feel like this was the easiest decision to make. I think that since it was so easy to say yes to this job that every thing else will just fall into place.

So, that's that. Big crazy changes headed this way. I bet you could see this grin from space.


Cindy Maddera

Today, I went out to the garden with all intent and purpose to pull the Christmas bean plant out of the garden. We had had our little taste of beans early in the season only to have the plant peter out. Then it came back with gusto. For months now it's been this growing green mass producing nothing but a few flowers and I was fed up. The plant was too big for the climbing structure we had provided. It was leaning over the chard. It was just a mess. Bean Monster

So I marched out there ready to pull it up out of the ground and trash it, but then I saw bean pods. Lots of bean pods. Loads of bean pods. I forgave the Christmas bean plant for it's slowness and let it stay because, people?, it looks like I'm going to get a whole pot of beans. A WHOLE POT! I suppose patience really is a virtue. That and laziness. Chris and I have not been good gardeners lately. We haven't been out there in days, forgetting to water and everything. I felt really guilty when I went out there today and saw things trying to come up in the dry soil and droopy bell pepper plants.

Thar be beans!

Lots of beans

But, despite our neglect, the garden keeps chugging along. The bell pepper plants keep producing peppers and I think I even saw a carrot top today. Still a little uncertain about this since we planted carrots and radishes together. There are things out there that could be either. My thumb is now officially a very week shade of green.

Forever Bells



Cindy Maddera

Talaura sent me a link to all the museums in Oklahoma that were being sponsored for the Smithsonian Free Museum Day and I noticed that The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art was on the list. I keep saying that I want to go there and I've heard really good things about it, but there's always a reason not to go. This time, I had no excuse. Plus it's much easier to drag Chris to these things when it's FREE! The museum itself is relatively small, but what it lacks for in size it makes up for with some impressive names in art. They have several Renoir's along with the usual listing of French Impressionists such as Degas, Van Gogh and Picasso. Actual, we were able to see a Van Gogh that had never before been on display for public viewing. A private donor recently loaned it to the museum. It is one of his earlier pieces, a nice portrait of his nurse maid. The only thing I didn't like about the museum was how impossible they made it for me to not want to touch things. The French Impressionist wing is set up as if you were walking through someones home. So, along with the art, there's all this brick-a-brack and furniture and some of the paintings you can walk right up to and put your nose against them. They probably realize the temptation they've set up by putting the paintings on display in this way because they keep you well attended. The security guards were ever present and watching, but they also made good tour guides.

My favorite collection though had to be the State Department Collection which included the O'Keefe and the ones by Morris. The O'Keefe may have been small, but it made me hunger for more. I think we need to plan a trip to Santa Fe soon.

Fred Jones Jr Museum of Art

Cow eating cowboy

More Lke it

Cold Face


Cindy Maddera

Several years ago, some friends of ours was telling us about feeding the laurakeets at the OKC Zoo. You buy a cup of nectar and go into the atrium of little birds and they perch on your shoulder while you feed them. I thought that this sounded wonderful. So Chris and I went to the zoo to feed the laurakeets. As we approached the atrium, I could see the people inside feeding the birds. One woman in particular was covered with laurakeets. They were in her hair, picking at her sunglasses, on her arms; she was covered. Visions of The Birds swarmed in my head and I came to a complete halt with Chris still tugging on my hand and me saying "no,no, No, NO, NOOOOOOOO...". We did not feed the laurakeets. When I sat down to write my Life List, I put this on the list not just because it was something I wanted to do, but because I knew that I'd have to get over my fear to do it. Actually, I think there are a lot of things on mine and others Life Lists that are things we have to over come some sort of fear to do. Feeding the laurakeets seems like a pretty small fear to over come, but so does singing on stage. The thing is over coming the small fears is all practice for the big ones.

Saturday, I fed the laurakeets. And it was amazing.

Bird on my shoulder





Cindy Maddera

Have I mentioned just how hard completing this list was? It was hard. At one point I found myself listing things that I should do as opposed to what I wanted to do and I had to start all over. But I finished the list. I'm sure this isn't the final list and that this one will be edited or changed over time. I've already started on some of these. I just need to get my act together and start posting pictures and such and keeping track of things. Basically, I need to get organized.

    1. Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef 2. Grow my own veggies 3. Move out of the state I'm currently residing in 4. Learn to really use my camera 5. Travel around France 6. Learn to speak a foreign language fluently (preferably French, see #5) 7. Visit all 50 states (States I've been in: Arkansas, Missouri, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, Nebraska, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington Sate, Tennessee, Illinois, Alabama, Georgia, New York) 8. Learn to scuba dive 9. Take a Zumba class 10. Learn Ashtanga yoga 11. Hike parts of the Oregon trail 12. Learn to surf 13. Go snow skiing at least once 14. Go on a cross country trip on the scooter 15. Go kayaking with whales 16. Learn to make cheese 17. Get my bicycle fixed and ride! 18. Travel on Route 66 (a section I haven't been on before) 19. Visit Yosemite 20. Taste 100 new wines 21. Learn acupuncture 22. Raise some chickens 23. Have a Beach Blanket Bingo themed party 24. Buy a (good) swimsuit 25. Learn to drive a standard 26. Take a small engine repair class and learn how to work on my own scooter 27. Read the Bhagavad Gita all the way through 28. Memorize the Yoga Sutras 29. Visit Yellowstone 30. Visit Mt. Rushmore 31. Ride elephants in Thailand 32. Camp on a beach (real beach, not lake beach) 33. Learn to make gravy 34. Tour the Grecian islands 35. Take my mom to Ireland 36. Buy and refurbish an old 50s styled camper 37. Go hang gliding 38. Zip line through a jungle or forest 39. Sing on stage 40. Host a really great dinner party 41. Learn how to make tofu 42. Grow my hair out really long and then chop it off for charity 43. Design a Threadless shirt 44. Learn how to can my vegetables 45. Learn to make pickles 46. Jump rope on The Great Wall of China 47. Create my own perfect space in my home, just for me 48. Learn to play poker 49. Be in New Orleans on Halloween 50. Learn to fly an airplane 51. Make "yarn" from plastic bags and knit a rug 52. Learn to swing dance 53. Go on a trip with my best friend Steph, just the two of us. 54. Learn to throw pots on a wheel 55. Learn to make really good Indian food 56. Take a train trip across Alaska 57. Go sailing 58. Master that yoga move where you flip from boat back to plank 59. Visit a "coffee" house in Amsterdam 60. Do trapeze 61. Visit 100 new museums (new to me)[13 down, 89 to go] 62. Fast for Ramadan 63. Refurbish a VW Bus ( to pull the camper) 64. Go on safari 65. Volunteer for Habit for Humanity 66. Buy a new cello and re-teach myself to play 67. Visit and tour a Frank Loyd Write house 68. Volunteer at the elephant sanctuary 69. Grow mushrooms 70. Invent something new like a new drink or dessert 71. Ride my bicycle all over town 72. Ride in a hot air balloon 73. Ride in a helicopter 74. Ride burrows down into the Grand Canyon 75. Practice yoga in India 76. Learn Tai Chi 77. Feed the parakeets at the zoo 78. Bake a really good cake 79. See one of Chris's screenplays come to life on the big screen 80. Buy a sexy cocktail dress 81. Complete a year of meditation journal 82. Fly one of those really big kites 83. Make seashell necklaces for all of my friends and family 84. See a Greek Tragedy in a Greek theater 85. Host a yoga retreat 86. Tour Italy on the scooter 87. Go to that crawfish festival in Louisiana 88. Enter the oyster eating contest at the Acme Oyster House in New Orleans 89. Refinish a piece of furniture 90. Learn to change the oil in our car 91. Be at the Statue of Liberty on the 4th of July 92. Learn to make a really good vegetarian Pho 93. Have a water balloon fight 94. Go swimming with sharks 95. Make a photo book of 100 things I love 96. Go to one of those perfume places in France and create my own perfume 97. Research my family history 98. Learn to tango 99. Master a headstand (no wall!) 100. Learn to make vegan donuts

Of course, I don't plan on doing these things alone. Chris groaned over numbers 12, 21, 37, 52, 78, 79, 52, and 98. Actually, he said that number 79 wasn't fair because it was solely dependent on him. I told him to suck it. So, that's the list. Some times I get a little panicky over all that stuff, that stuff that I want to do. That's a lot of stuff. Guess I better get crackin'.