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Filtering by Category: Things that make me happy


Cindy Maddera

Sometimes my brain draws me back to those days just after Chris died. I remember clearly, sitting on Misti's couch hugging a coffee mug with both hands while tears streamed down my face. Mostly I remember being in a fog. I was still trying to wrap my brain around the concept that Chris was truly gone and there was nothing I could do about it. God, that's such a lesson: learning to just accept the way things are in that moment because there's nothing you can do to change it. The idea of life without Chris was too fresh and felt like an open sore that had become slightly infected, but I was aware of the small distractions my friends were trying to make for me.

The morning after Chris's service, Chad and I were the first ones up. It was early early and we tip toed our way out of Misti's house and out into the brisk February morning. There was a thin layer of frost coating the ground and we could see our breath as we walked up the street, towards the bright blinding sun. We had our cameras with us as we walked. Chad instantly shifted over into photography mode, pointing his camera at this and that. I looked around me and didn't really see anything interesting. Couldn't see. But I lifted the lens any way and clicked here and there. All the pictures I took that day turned out over exposed and too bright with a technicolor look to them. It didn't matter though, because in that moment, while we walked that neighborhood, I didn't think about that festering wound of grief. 

I wonder if Chad even remembers that walk.

The too few times we've been able to see each other, the two of us have always spent some of our time together on photo walks. So, when I realized that we would be very close to the Wigwam Village Inn #2 in Cave City, Kentucky, I knew that this would be our photo walk spot. What seemed odd to me was that up until this point neither one of us really had our cameras out. I am almost just as used to seeing Chad's face with a big camera in front of it as I am without. I don't know if we have both just gotten better at just being and seeing things in front of us with out the lens or what, but something shifted when we got to the Wigwam Inn. It was just the two of us. We had waited until just about sunset and when we got there we both hopped out of the car and started shooting. There was very little talking with the exception of the occasional "oh! that's a good idea!" or "that's a nice angle."  

At one point, I looked over at Chad. He was standing with his camera pressed to his face, setting up a shot. He has recently suffered a painful loss and was dealing with his own grief during this trip. As I looked at him, I could see that grief shift over and out of the way a bit. I thought about that cold February morning of taking pictures. I thought about how this thing with cameras is our bandaid for those wounds we gather in life. Remember how just the act of putting that bandaid over a scrape, just made you feel better? Same thing. I hoped and wished with all my might that this was, in some small way, making him feel better. He stopped and looked over at me and we just grinned at each other. 

I don't know how long we were there. We stayed until we had used up all of the light. We stayed as long as we needed to. 



Cindy Maddera

2015 was not a bad year for us. We added six living creatures to our family and all six are still alive and thriving. We are all amazed. Albus came sauntering in the other morning and then immediately attacked Josephine. This led to an honest to goodness real life version of a cartoon skit where Josephine chased the cat. Or tried to because Josephine could not gain traction on the hardwood floor and spent some time running in place. We have real life episodes of Tom and Jerry, The Bugs Bunny Show, and the Coyote and the Road Runner playing in a loop constantly in this house. It's the Josephine and Albus Show!

Michael built a work bench, a chicken coop and some dang sturdy shelves in the basement (I actually have more about those shelves, but this post is about the past; not the future). We got chickens! We ate eggs from those chickens! We also ate a lot of squash and tomatoes from our very own back yard. We took an epic road trip and the Cabbage got her first taste of the ocean. No really. She got hit in the face so many times with waves, I'm sure she ended up drinking at least a gallon of sea water. We had a great day on the beach with Tiffany, Tom and Allison. We drove through seven states and spent way too little time with Chad and Jess. Then in July, I took an impulse trip to New York. Talaura and I hung out at BlogHer and then she took me to a whole bunch of new places. In August, I travelled to Oregon for a conference and some much needed time with Todd, Yuko and the boys. 

Michael won me a new bicycle while playing bingo. The Cabbage turned five. Michael turned forty. We replaced the old yucky fridge with a new shiny refrigerator and we have had serious talks about staying put in this house. The year was so good, we're both willing to make this tiny house work for us. I hope your year has been just as lovely. I hope that you can look back on 2015 and see the good things. And with that, here's our year in pictures. 



Cindy Maddera

I was going to tell you all about how the flu has hit this house hard. I've been down with it since Wednesday and I'm just now starting to feel like a normal human being again, one who has to blow their nose all the time. But that's boring. Plus everyone has had or has the flu right now. That's what the flu does. You make all these new year resolutions and BAM! the flu steps in to give you a nice big road block. Instead I'd like to tell you about the newest member of our household. 

I know it hasn't really been a secret if you have been paying attention on facebook. I've been leery to write about it though until we actually had her in our home. A few months back, our friend Amber posted pictures of a litter of new born pups and I impulsively said that I wanted one. Turned out they were registered mini schnauzer puppies and I couldn't justify spending that kind of money and then there was the guilt of not rescuing a pup from the pound. But then my sister-in-law pipped up and with my mom pitched in for my birthday. When I texted Michael about getting one, he never really said yes or no. Instead he asked "what are you going to name your bearded lady?" Then he came up with a list of famous bearded ladies. 

That's when I knew he was hooked. I've been looking and pining over dogs for some time now, but Michael seemed less than enthusiastic. He started to come around a little, but put some rules in place. The dog had to be small and not a shedder. I would have to be sure that the dog is well behaved and didn't get on the furniture. Blah blah blah. You and I know that I will make sure the dog is well behaved, but she's totally allowed on the couch. How else is she going to lay in my lap while I shower her with love? I knew he was buckling when he suggested the name. When I visited the puppies in December, I sent Michael a picture. His reply was "bring her home!" I figured I had him, but I still had my doubts. Then came the weekend we were finally supposed to bring her home. Michael had to travel to Oklahoma without me because of the whole flu thing. He acted like he was on a quest to bring me a puppy. Katrina sent me picture of Michael holding the puppy. I asked her if she thought he liked her. She replied that he hadn't put her down since he got there. He was hooked. 

So we've named her Madame Josephine Boisdechene Clofulla. Josephine for short. Phiney for even shorter. The original Josephine was a famous bearded lady of the 1800s. She gained a lot of fame for fashioning her beard in the style of Napoleon III. Annie Jones was another contender, but Dad had a loyal pup named Annie. I'll leave that name with her. I'm super excited and smitten with Josephine, but I'm also pretty nervous about having a puppy. The last puppy, I mean tiny never had a previous almost forever home puppy, was when I was nine. Odie was a Christmas present and our efforts to potty train him proved futile. He got relegated to outside dog after one too many accidents on Mom's hard wood floors. That and he chewed up the rungs of Mom's dinning room table. His adorable sad beagle eyes couldn't even save him then. 

I keep reminding myself that I did eventual do obedience training with Odie and we were grand champions three years in a row at the Tulsa State Fair dog show. I have the skills locked away in here somewhere to train a dog. I did teach Hooper to sit and lay down. He came to us pre-programmed, so I didn't do much more than that. Josephine is a clean slate and there's a need to get this right early on without turning into a crazy dog lady. One of the dog trainer's in our obedience class when I was a kid kept chopped up hotdogs in her cheeks to spit down to her dog as a reward. I will not be doing that and I will not be training our little Phiney to be a show dog. I will teach her to be a kind, loving and mindful little dog. We will teach her that she is now part of our family.

Welcome Josephine!


Cindy Maddera


August 1st, I received a birthday card from Tumbler informing me that my 365 Days of Happiness was officially one year old. I meant to post something about that when I received the email. I even planned on making a big deal out of it. I had successfully completed a 365 day project and figured that this needed to be acknowledged and celebrated. But the timing was off. I realized I'd taken a full year of pictures of things that had made me happy right around the time I had other things I wanted to blog about. So, I let this birthday quietly pass by. But I didn't pause. I've continued to take a daily image of something that has made me happy or brought me some sort of joy that day. It has become a regular part of my daily routine. This has two sides to it. On one hand I'm taking time to see and or find something every day that brings joy to my life. On the other hand, the practice has become so routine that it's like brushing my teeth every day. I will admit that there have been many times when I've gotten near the end of my day and said to myself with slumped shoulders "I haven't taken my 365 day picture today." On those days, I find myself scrambling around looking for anything to take a picture of. Oh! This thing! makes me smile when I look at it! Snap. That was not the intention of the project.

I always learn something from doing one of these 365 day projects or walk away with an intention for the next one. I started this project on a whim last year. I was six months into widowhood and grasping at straws to remain that positive amazing girl you guys all know and love. I know that's not an act I need to keep up, but at the time it was important to me to not let my grief change my core being. I thought this project would remind me of the person I am. Turns out I really didn't need that reminder (thank you internet). I know who I am. That doesn't mean that this project was for nothing. I recognize that there were too many days of phoning it in. So, I'd like to make some changes to this year of happiness pictures. I want to be more mindful of the picture I take and post. I don't want to rely on one picture either. I need to take several pictures throughout the day and then choose a favorite at the end of the day to post to the Tumbler page. Also...I'd like to capture more experiences that make me happy. I want to be more mindful of capturing those moments of joy that happen at random times. I will learn to be The Quick Draw McGraw of the camera phone. Just the idea of this is already making me smile.

So...Happy Birthday 365 Days of Happiness! Here's to so many many more.


Cindy Maddera


Remember a few weeks ago when I told this really cool woman gave us tickets to the Westport Food Truck Festival? Yeah. That totally happened today. And it was great. The first person we ran into was Carman, the woman who gave us the tickets. Can I just say, this girl is totally awesome? Yes. Yes I can. She was running around making sure all the trucks were ready to go, but she still took a moment to say hello. And she actually remembered us. She was really happy to see us out there. She's awesome. Wait, I've said that already.

The Woman who Made it Happen

I don't know what I'm doing in this picture. I look like I'm about to swallow Carman whole. I managed to restrain myself and save the stomach space for the tamales. There was so much goodness to be had and so many pictures, I thought it best just to slide show them all for you. Enjoy! We sure did.

Get the flash player here:

At one point we were sitting there eating and I looked up to see a sea plane flying over. I said to Chris "Is that a sea plane?". He replied "Yes. I do believe it is". Then I said "We live in Portland". And we kind of do in a way. At least, we do today.


Cindy Maddera


We avoided the TV today and went road tripping instead. Chris and I headed out to Truck Stop MO (the one from the TV). We met my brother and sister-in-law there for early lunch. And I toyed with the idea of joining the circus.

I joined the circus

Then we headed down the road to Les Bourgeois Vineyards and Winery. We tasted some of their wine, bought a bottle and then headed over to the vineyard to see the grapes.


But we also discovered a beautiful view and a bistro where we all agreed we'd meet for lunch the next time.

The Gang

This is where we parted ways and Chris and I took a side trip out into the country to figure out what Arrow Rock is all about. It's an old town on the Louis and Clarke Trail. We took a break in this really nice shaded area.

173/365 Arrow Rock

Then we discovered the recipe for Pickle Brine.

Pickle Brine

Then we drove home, took a nap, and made quesadillas. The End.


Cindy Maddera


Chris and I stumbled across yet another new place to eat. I found it by accident online and it's a good thing I did, because we would have never found this place on our own just driving around. You Say Tomato is tucked back into a neighborhood, where it used to be the corner grocery store. It still has lots of the old fixtures and part of it is still a little grocery, selling locally-grown veggies and other locally-produced goods. You can buy sticks of butter and pounds of sugar. Or you can just order a yummy meal.

Happy Dog Thinking

That's what we did. Chris had the biscuits and gravy, while I had the baked French toast. The French toast was made from slices of their homemade cinnamon rolls. And to top it all off, we split an ice cream sandwich. It was brilliant, a big slab of homemade vanilla ice cream wedged between two slices of gingerbread. I'm getting a bit teary just thinking about it. We ate there on Saturday and loved it so much we went back on Sunday for brunch.

Biscuits and Gravy Baked French Toast

It wasn't just the food that drew us in to You Say Tomato. The atmosphere is calm and easy. It's the type of place where you can sit and linger over that second (or third) cup of coffee. Sunday was busy, but that just meant that we had to sit outside under the awning. We didn't mind. The day was cool with the occasional sprinkle. We even had a little sparrow that kept hopping up to our feet to beg for food. It's our new favorite place and it and will be really hard to convince ourselves to try other places. Yet another very Portland-like place.


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

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

The day I got the news about J, I was on my yoga mat. For months after, I had a new routine: get up, work, come home, eat junk, form a Cindy shape into the couch cushion, stare blankly at the TV, go to bed. One day, I got up and scrubbed the house from top to bottom, bought real groceries and started living my life again. But the yoga practice? That was a bit harder. One day, I got my mat out and just stared at it. Then, the next day, I touched my mat with my big toe and burst into tears. Eventually I got to a point where I could actually stand on my mat, but I'd just stand there and wait for the phone to ring, wait for the bad news. Some days I'd just stand there and hear my mom's voice and words through the phone from that day and I'd clinch my eyes shut willing them to go away. But I moved on, pushed myself to practice, calmed the citta vritti. My yoga practice has changed in so many ways from those early days. I went from practicing once or twice a week, to teaching and practicing six times a week, and now to just practicing. I love my practice now. I love being a student again and I love the confidence I feel in doing my own practice at home. I love that I no longer feel guilt when I miss a practice and I love those days when I push myself the hardest. I love that I have space to practice.

My teacher once told me that just the act of getting your mat out sets the intention to practice. I don't think even I realized until now how true that is. Peace, namaste and Happy Love Thursday.



Cindy Maddera

Today our little Quinn turns six. SIX! I don't even know how this happened. I still remember the day we went to the hospital for his birth. They brought him out, all bundled with a cap on his perfect round head, and he squinted up at us with his squinty eye. My heart swelled four times the size in his presence. Now, he's a big boy. It started when he told his mom that he wanted a big boy haircut and he cut all of those beautiful curls off his head. And even though he still comes and gives me a big hug when he sees me walk in the door and a big smack on the lips, I know those days are numbered. That helmet almost fits

Bobba Fett

We love you little man.


Cindy Maddera

I know today is a Garden Diary day, but really there's nothing new about the garden. It's growing and so far there have been no attacks by possums. Instead, I bring you our Easter Sunday. Which has been a very good Sunday with sunshine and cool breezes, punctuated with just the right song in just the right moments. We had bunny shaped pancakes for breakfast. They had blueberry eyes and banana mouths and when Chris came into the kitchen and spotted them, he pointed at them and said "Ha!". Bunny Pancakes

Last night we colored Easter Eggs. You should have seen us sitting at our little table surrounded by pipe cleaners, glue, stickers, and bright colored fuzz. As each egg took on it's monster alter ego, we would begin to giggle. They are hilariously funny.

Egg Monster

Facial Hair

They're Every where!


Hope your day was as sweet.


Cindy Maddera

And the internets? We have it! I mean, I guess I could have gone to the library at work and done a few things, but really? I just haven't had the time. The new job is great, but it is requiring a lot of adjustment. I'm sure once the shiny-shiny of the place wears off, I'll be able to relax some. You know those decisions you make in life where you're not so sure it's the thing you really want to do, but you do it any way and then do what ever it takes to make it kind of work? Like putting a square peg in a round hole. I've made plenty of those over the years. I've just trudged along doing the things I should be doing instead of the things I want to be doing. I can honestly say that the choice to move to KCMO for this job is not one of those decisions. From the moment I said "yes", things have just fallen into place. I have never felt more secure in a decision. It's a very odd feeling.

Also, I had no idea that Kansas City was so awesome and has so much eye candy. So many great photog opportunities that I may even start up another 365 day project soon.

Get the flash player here:


Cindy Maddera

Ride the Pony Today is Chris's Birthday and as every one keeps telling us, it's a big one. Turning 40 is apparently a life changing event. But you know what? This morning when I looked over at him to tell him "happy birthday", I couldn't see anything different.

He's still the same funny, smart, kind, dorky, romantic, silly, sweet, sexy, wonderful man I married. I hope he enjoys his day and I wish for him to have all his heart desires. Happy Birthday Love.


Cindy Maddera

I've got nothing really to blog about. Well, that's not entirely true, but that story has to stew a bit. So instead I thought I'd do a long over due entry about my iPad. Hey! Everyone look at my iPad! It's shiny and cool and fancy pants!

I knew I wanted this thing. Really, its the only new technology thingy that I've ever really wanted. But after I got it? Meh. It took some getting used to. It took some time to really appreciate the greatness that is the iPad. For instance, I am currently writing this entry on the iPad.

But wait! There's more! Something I really really like are the magazines. I have three magazines that I subscribe to and two of those are on my iPad. The magazines are almost interactive. If you touch a link, it goes to that website. There's no clutter. No torn out recipes roaming about. The same is true for books. Except Chris has put me on a leash about buying books since last month I bought too many. But whats too many really?

It gets better! Now I have a card reader that let's me upload my pictures straight to iPad and then to my flickr account. Ha! My laptop is getting dusty.

I should have titled this the power of redirection.


Cindy Maddera

I am phasing out the Things That Make Me Happy List. I'm still keeping the list in my journal, but I've decided to end posting it every Tuesday. I believe that the list has served (and still serves) it's purpose. It's just time to move on. I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I've been working so hard at building this positive space on the internet that I hardly ever blog about real everyday things. Of course, I don't have a whole lot of everyday things to blog about. It's not like I plan on blogging about what I had for dinner (though some times that is a blog entry in itself), but it would be nice to blog about things other than rainbows and lollipops. For instance, the other night I had a dream that I was trimming my eyebrows with a pair scissors. Just as I was about to snip, my mom walked in and said something (I don't know what) and it made me jump. The result of witch made me snip a big chunk of hair off the edge of my eyebrow. My mom was all apologies and I was all "what ever, it's no biggie". The dream was probably a result of me snipping at my bangs the other day. I had a dangly piece and it was driving me crazy. I know Misti. I know. But I promise. It was just a tiny piece and I used really good scissors. And after looking back at this entry, I'm thinking I probably should have just stuck with the list format.

Don't worry. The list will make random appearances on the blog. And I will buckle down. And I will write blog entries. Holding fist in the air. Yeah.


Cindy Maddera

I'm thinking that I need to eventually move away from the list. Maybe I'll tag that onto my New Year resolutions. I need to start blogging some real material around, step up my game. But for now? Settle for this list.

    Taking a break Loosing myself in my meditation practice Putting clean every thing on the bed Blue cheese from Chickasha Fresh black-eyed-peas My new haircut/trim Getting something accomplished House shopping The 9 (!) bell peppers I pulled from ou garden The fabulous Misti, who has a birthday tomorrow My silly dog Spending all day on Sunday in my pajamas Finally deciding on our Christmas card Figuring out the oven's delayed start option



Cindy Maddera

    Corncakes (cornbread mix cooked like a pancake) Homemade Indian food This TED by Ze Frank. Seriously, if the OK song doesn't make you cry, you're heartless. Weeks the fly by with ease Seeing new smiling faces in my yoga classes That little kid in his traditional Indian garb and his glasses Finally going to the Greek Festival Fresh cotton candy hot off the spinner My new socks Talking with Quinn before the start of the parade Ghoul's Gone Wild Parade! Wayne Coyne Whores and Smores The laughing done around a campfire with good people Those GIANT marshmallows Ingrid's potatoes Planning our staycation next week

    Figured that there was no explanation necessary. Be sure to watch that TED talk; you won't regret it.


Cindy Maddera

Yesterday, I walked into the lab and was instantly encased in dark funky cloud of negativity. I was having a really hard time and I wasn't very forgiving towards anyone who would dare cross me yesterday. It wasn't pretty. As I was waiting for my students in my Monday night yoga class to finish their savasana, I started working on the Happy List for the last week. Something really odd happened while I sat there trying to remember things to put on the list. My mood began to lift. The day started to not seem so bad and suddenly, I wasn't as tired.

    Not having to worry about making dinner Seeing how yoga brings out Chris's inner slapstick comedian The little kids that came to my yoga class Buying a gift for a two-year-old online, having it wrapped and shipped directly to the kid. My students' in savasana My iPad ( heard me) Liam's dinosaur roar All the veggies we purchase for the week from the Farmer's Market (good haul) The pumpkin I'm going to carve That one tree at the Capitol that has turned completely turned orange No Monday lab meeting (got postponed to Tuesday) The promise of rain

    I hope this helps your mood lift as well. Happy Tuesday!


Cindy Maddera

I'm busy at work. Like really busy. But obviously not too busy to post the list.

    Satish's little prank on John Getting my work done early on a Friday Riding the scooter Hearing Metric on the radio This weather Fall Harvest at the Farmer's Market Getting time with my sister Crackies for lab meeting Making a pumpkin pie from scratch (pumpkin and everything) Black-eyed peas, okra and tomatoes with cornbread Finding beans on my bean plants Early morning fog The ideas Chris and I come up with for food to sell out of a food cart.