contact Me

Need to ask me something or get in contact with me? Just fill out this form.

Kansas City MO 64131




Filtering by Tag: AIDS Walk Open


Cindy Maddera

Six years ago, Terry said “Hey! Come do the AIDS Walk Open with us!” The AIDS Walk Open is a large charity event for the AIDS Walk of Kansas City. Combine mini golf with a pub crawl and some golf teams in crazy costumes and that’s the Open. There’s day drinking and laughter and ridiculousness and I am usually in bed by nine o’clock every time I participate. This was also true for the year I volunteered. Most of us skipped out on the Open last year. No one was in the mood for it, but this year Bradley decided to coral all the cats into teams for this year. Another fun fact? Six years ago was my first Open. That’s when I met Greg and Bradley. It was also their first Open. Out of our three teams on Saturday, only me, Greg and Bradley had ever participated in the AIDS Walk Open before.

Passing torches.

We had a really great time. Wilson brought a pink bucket filled with dollar store crap, including dollar store fingernail polish. My nails are still a light shade of pink. I’m not used to having painted nails and every time I glance at them I do a double take. Then I remember, “Oh yeah… I painted my nails pink while we waited for our turn at Sidestreet Bar.” We made it to eight out of eleven bars. You need six to qualify for prizes. The people who win every year are the ones who buy mulligans to reduce their points. I don’t have that kind of money. Particularly this year. Wow, was I not good at mini golf. It seems pretty straight forward. Hit ball into hole. One of those mini golf courses was covered in cue balls. There was no straight forward. I could have spent a fortune on mulligans.

Bistro 303 ended up being our last stop before heading over to Missie B’s for the closing ceremony. Belinda was in charge of the course there and she said “you’re helping with the memorial flags this year right?” By this point I had been drinking a lot of gin and I enthusiastically nodded my head and replied “YES!” I am not one of those people who gets so drunk that they can’t remember what happened while they were drinking. So it looks like I am helping out with the Memorial Team for the AIDS Walk this year. This morning I went over and activated my donation page and updated my picture. I have until April 27th to beg for donations. If you feel like giving to this great cause, you may donate to my donation page here. You can also get to that page by going to Linky-links and then charities in the navigation bar at the top of my website. People who donate will get a 4x6 print of their choosing from the photos posted in the photography section of my website.

Thank you!


Cindy Maddera

Thursday night, I got a call from Nancy at Sunshine Studio asking me if I'd substitute teach her Saturday morning class. I said 'yes' without hesitation (partially because I say 'yes' to things easily) and then when I hung up the phone I thought "Holy Hell, Cindy. What are you thinking? You are corralling drunk mini golf teams on Saturday!" Then I snapped out of it. This is how I ended up wrangling yoga students in the morning and corralling drunk mini golf players in the afternoon. I don't know why my weekend suddenly became a western, but Yee Haw! I needed to teach some yoga. I need some practice before my workshop in April. 

Subbing for an established teacher is not easy. Yoga students get attached to their teachers. They love their teacher. My students loved me, even that one student who never looked pleased with any part of my classes. She gave me a gift when I left and told me how much she'd miss me. Any way, I recognize how difficult it can be for a student to walk into their class expecting to see the teacher they love and then finding a complete stranger standing there instead. The students at Sunshine were very kind and accepting and they tolerated my wacky instructions with smiles. At the end of class, one of the students approached me to tell me that I gave a cue to come into a pose in a way she had never heard before and because of that cue she was able to come into the pose pain free for the first time ever in all the years she has been practicing yoga. Then I hugged that woman tightly and burst into tears because I suddenly remembered why I used to teach. All the anxiety over teaching a class after so long of not teaching just vanished. I'm not saying that I am ready to start teaching three classes a day on top of my day job again, but this occasional teaching gig seems to be good for my soul.

From there, I met Michael for lunch and then we were off to our designated volunteer post for the AIDS Walk Open. We were in charge of the mini golf hole at the Ragazza, a tiny little Italian place in Westport. Their food is delicious and they also make their own limoncello. There were a few times that it got really crowded and rowdy in there, but I think our volunteer team did a good job of keeping things organized. Laura, the owner of Ragazza, was the most gracious host. She was often out from behind the bar to take pictures of teams that showed up in costumes. We had one young man who took off all his clothes and one point was directing traffic in the street. He then sat down at one of the outside tables to eat a meatball and when the event bus pulled up he hoped on with the cast iron skillet that the meatball was served in. I yelled at Laura that I just saw him get on the bus with one of her skillets and she was able to rescue it before the bus pulled away. 

This year's AIDS Walk Open was giant! The event raised over $25,000 for AIDS Walk KC. Josh, the man who coordinates this event, does an amazing job of rounding up sponsors, bars and volunteers. And let's talk about the bars and restaurants who sign up to do this every year. All of the places on the mini golf pub crawl tour have been wonderful. Yes, I know that this event is good business, but still. They have a mini golf green taking up some space in their place as well as crowds of silly teams that include the occasional strip-down drunk guy. I think I had more fun volunteering this year than I did participating, but I have a feeling that it wouldn't matter one way or the other. The AIDS Walk Open is just fun. The best part is that it is fun for a good cause. Day drinking for charity! 

Speaking of doing good things. It is never to early or to late to donate to my AIDS Walk Fundraising page! Every dollar makes a difference.


Cindy Maddera

Wednesday morning, I got to my desk and then plopped down onto a cushion for fifteen minutes of meditation. It is a habit I had tried to form last year, but with all the traveling and office move the habit didn't stick. I set it aside and didn't think about it, but Wednesday I looked at my desk and said "I am going to meditate before starting anything." I didn't do it because it was the first day of Lent. I didn't do it as part of anything other than I just wanted to do it. I repeated the act on Thursday, which was probably the worst meditation practice I have ever practiced, but I sat there for fifteen minutes trying really hard. I repeated the practice on Friday morning with a slightly better meditation moment than Thursday's. I do not know if this is the beginning of a good habit or just a momentary thing. I have started and stopped a routinely meditation practice so many times before. Stuff bubbles up when you are still and quiet and I don't really like dealing with that stuff that makes me feel human emotions. Maybe it is time to feel human emotions. I am thankful for the meditation this week as well as the time well spent on my yoga mat. 

There was a meeting this week for people volunteering with the AIDS Walk Open. One woman there is a woman I have worked with in the Memorial Booth every year. She said hello to me and then asked me if I thought about doing photography professionally. She said she loved looking at my pictures and reading the blog. She is not the first person this week to say something kind to me about the photos that I take. I am thankful for those compliments and encouragement because they come to me at a time when I am struggling to get the camera out to take a picture. I am uninspired by my current view. I have a sticky note on my desk that reads "Shoot with a mindful eye." I scribbled those words down a while back when I was watching a photography class on shooting in black and white. I feel like my mindful eye is broken or tired. I see things. I'm just not sure those things are worthy of shooting. So, not only is it surprising to hear praise about my work, it is also encouraging. 

This is a busy weekend. I will be subbing the Saturday morning yoga class at Sunshine Yoga tomorrow morning from 9:00-10:30 AM. I feel like I'm slowly being dragged (kicking and screaming) out of this teaching hiatus I've been in over the last five years. I am equal parts thankful and nervous. Saturday afternoon, Michael and I will be volunteering for the AIDS Walk Open where we will be Hole Patrol over the mini golf hole at the Ragazza. The AIDS Walk Open is a big fundraising event for the AIDS Walk. We are both prepared to sell as many mulligans and raffle tickets for the cause as we can. I am really excited about volunteering at this event this year. I can't wait to see the teams that come through and judge their costumes. (I'm still mad we didn't win the best costume award for last year. We were robbed!) They are predicting to have about 130 teams this year. That's a lot of money raised for the AIDS Walk Foundation. This is something to easily be thankful for. Don't forget! You can always make a donation to my AIDS Walk Fundraising page!

There's a lot to be thankful for on this Friday. I hope your weekend is filled with joy and that you have a truly Thankful Friday.