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Filtering by Tag: Life List


Cindy Maddera

I have started to slowly clean up this space and make some minor changes. I've added some new pictures and removed some broken links. Some stuff had just become outdated, like my Life List. I pulled that from the blog and stored the content someplace safe, but slightly forgotten. I haven't looked at that list in ages. The list still contains things I had planned to do with Chris and it makes me sad to read through it. I start seeing how we never made it to Paradise Falls in South America and wondering just how many helium balloons it would take to lift this house. Then I have to scroll through old pictures to remind myself of the things we did do together to get the bitter taste of loss out of mouth. I decided it was time to officially let the Life List go.

Way back when we all sat down to write our Life Lists, I had a hard time separating things I should do from things I wanted to do. I might as well have written "take out the garbage" as one of those items. I was really bad about coming up with things I wanted. I read other's life lists and would see things like "swim in bioluminescent pools" or "eat a 100 different kinds of cakes" and I would think "oooh....I want to do those things too!" Except I didn't. Not really. Sure I'd love to go swim in a bioluminescent pool of algae, but the whole science girl part of me says "gross." Also, I can't help but think that there's something harmful to the algae and ecosystem by us swimming around with them. Cake used to be one of my main food groups. Sometimes I would have cake for breakfast. If I went to a buffet, I'd get a small plate of salad and two large plates of every single dessert, mostly cake. I cannot tell you the last time I had a piece of cake. Things changed. I changed. 

I have changed.

I have learned that a lot of the things I should do are the things I want to do. I want to take out the garbage and I want to declutter. Cleaning is an enjoyable past time for me. The things that ended up getting crossed off my list were things I really wanted to do. Some of those things that got crossed off are things that I want to do again. Like the water balloon fight. That should be an annual event. But I noticed as I was taking the list down, that there are things on the list that I do not want to do any more. I don't care to know how to make tofu or learn acupuncture. My yoga practice is so rounded and balanced now. I don't want to learn ashtanga because I already know the basics of that practice. But that's the thing about the list. It is meant to change with you. I did not go in an edit that list according to my life changes. Instead it became a time capsule of a different life. 

If making the Life List has taught me anything, it has taught me to recognize and own the things that I want in this life. I want to learn how to make macarons. I want to eat so many different and exotic cheeses that I don't poop for a week. I want to spend more time in a hammock and less time thinking about my fat belly. I want to go dancing, like club dancing where I end up with glitter on my face. I want to go roller skating and I want to go jump around on trampolines. I want to collect more National Park stamps. I want to take the risks that come available to me at unexpected times. This might mean saying "yes" even if I am not sure I should be saying "yes". I want to say "no" to the things I do not want to do and not feel the need to apologize for it or feel guilty for it. 

And I no longer need a list to keep track of the things I want. 



Cindy Maddera

Several weeks back, Michael and I were discussing my birthday and what I might want to do for my big forty. I'm not one for making a big deal out of my birthday no matter what the age. That day has some heavy heavy baggage and I figure if I lay low, the Gods won't notice me. So, better keep it simple is my thinking. Any way, week nights are not good going out nights for either of us. We couldn't do anything until Sunday because we had the Cabbage this weekend. So we were talking about what to do and where to go when I remembered that trying escargot was on my life list. I said "I want to try escargot!" and Michael looked at me with a squinty eye. "Well...OK." and he started looking up French restaurants. We have a number of reputable French restaurants and most of them all have escargot on the menu, but nothing else about their menus seemed all that appealing. I was unwilling to waste a whole birthday meal at one of these places. Then Michael saw that the Westport Cafe and Bar had escargot on their appetizer menu and a light bulb went off above my head. 

The Westport Cafe is in the Westport area that includes a whole bunch of great places to eat, all within walking distance of each other. I suggested that we do a progressive dinner. We'd have appetizers at one place, soup and salad at another place, an entree at yet another place and then dessert at some place else. I remember doing progressive dinners with the youth group in church when I was a teen and I remembered that I thought they were great fun. I don't know why I haven't done one or two since then. Michael agreed that a progressive dinner sounded like great fun. My job was to make a list of places I wanted and he would make sure we'd get there. So, I made my list. We'd start out at the Westport Cafe for escargot. Next, we'd move on to the Beer Kitchen for soup and salad. Our entree would of course come from Char Bar who has the most delicious jackfruit sandwich. Then we'd finish off our evening at the new Doughnut Lounge. Michael's rule was that I had to have a cocktail at each place. 

Of course the highlight of the evening was the escargot. It was a new experience for both of us and it was a little scary and a lot exciting. When our waitress brought them out, I was slightly disappointed that they were not in shells. I had all these previous visions of people digging snails out a shell with a dainty fork. We've all seen Pretty Woman, but our snails came out with out shells, individually resting in a well covered with herbed butter sauce. I quickly squelched my disappointment and scooped one up with my fork and popped it in my mouth. They were delicious! We loved them. The rest of the evening one of us would exclaim "We ate snails!" and the other would reply with "and we liked them!" This is not to say that we did not enjoy the rest of our progressive dinner. I had the Boulevard Tank 7 cheddar soup and Rocket Greens salad at the Beer Kitchen. The salad had beets and arugula and you can't go wrong with cheese soup and I was really full by the time we left Beer Kitchen.

We got to Char Bar and we were not hungry at all, but we were in this thing. So we each ordered a sandwich and cut them in half as soon as they brought them out and asked for to-go boxes. I love the Jackknife sandwich at Char Bar. It has smoked jackfruit and cheese on it, topped with fried jalapenos and avocado, but there was no way I was going to be able to eat all of  that after everything else. I was grateful that the Doughnut Lounge was at the opposite end of the street from Char Bar so we'd have a longer walk for dessert. When we got to the Doughnut Lounge, we sat at the bar to order our drinks. Michael told the guys working that we were in celebrating my fortieth and a young man, who I assume was the manager, said "Lovely! Let me get you a doughnut on the house!" The drink I had there was called the Last Word, which we found appropriate for our last stop. It was made with gin and chartreuse and some other stuff and it smelled like I was sticking my face into an herb garden every time I lifted my glass to take a sip.

Everything was delicious and each restaurant was very gracious. They were all interested in where we were going next and where we had been before. We had never been to the Westport Cafe before and after seeing their menu we both agreed that we needed to go back  and eat dinner there some time. Things I would do different next time would be to split more things. We ordered two appetizers at Westport Cafe in case the snails where not our thing. We totally didn't need that delicious cheese plate. But I'm glad we did it. I think we should have progressive dinners all the time.  



Cindy Maddera

The most common question that we  have been asked in the last two months has been "Are the chickens laying eggs yet?" and every time we shake our heads with a frown and reply "no." Michael goes out there almost every day and tells the chickens to lay some damn eggs. The girls just look at him and move to the other end of the coop. We figured that we'd start seeing eggs in late July or early August. When July ended and there was zero sign of eggs, I started to think that they needed a better nesting area. The whole reason they were not laying eggs is because they didn't have a sleep number mattress and Egyptian cotton sheets to lay them on. This was my way of thinking. Of course, I am thinking all of this right in the middle of me travelling and Michael starting school, right when we are at our busiest. I might also add that ever since Josephine brought me a piece of our kitchen floor, we've been discussing a kitchen remodel and we bought a bunch of picture frames that need to be hung. 

Michael suggested that maybe Randy would have some idea on how to modify the coop with proper nesting boxes. So Randy and Katrina loaded up their little two-seater convertible and the small trailer they pull behind it and came up here over the weekend to help us do all of that. They were bribed with visits to the Farmers' Market and IKEA. Well...Katrina was bribed with those things to drag Randy up here. Also, Katrina and I made the most delicious pesto that was used to make pizzas and those pizzas were the yummiest pizzas. Randy and Michael went out to work on the coop while Katrina and I harvested basil for pesto. Then Michael decided we should clean the coop before doing anything. He turned the whole thing over so that it was partially on it's side and the chickens could get out. Then he walked into the run area to get the water jugs and there was an egg. Then we noticed another egg right behind Michael's foot and we all started screaming "DON'T MOVE!" Two eggs were discovered in the chicken run that day. 

The next morning, I went out to put a golf ball in the nesting boxes and check for any eggs. There was one egg sitting at the bottom of their ramp into the coop. I checked the coop and nesting box about five more times through out the day, but there were no more eggs. This leads me to believe that only one of the chickens is laying eggs so far. We have an idea of who is doing the egg laying, but for the most part, the chickens are pulling a page from Danielle Steel's Lace. The eggs are brown, so it's either Matilda or Dorothy. My money's on Dorothy. She's very interested in the new nesting area. This morning I found her scratching around in the nesting box. Dorothy has also gotten a little bit more docile. She's let me pet her twice now. The only time I get to hug and pet the chickens is when we've let them out in the yard and we have to catch them to put them back in the coop. But twice now, Dorothy has not moved away from my hand reaching into the coop or pecked me. I don't know why, but I just think that maybe the act of laying eggs makes a chicken more relaxed and loving. 

So far (we think) we have one chicken laying one egg a day. No eggs had been laid this morning before I left for work, though one of the chickens did make a very loud buhcawk sound that I thought for sure was chicken speak for "I HAVE LAID AN EGG!" It was not. I checked. I checked the coop twice before leaving for work and I'm sure I would have checked the coop four or five times by now if I were at home. I'm really hoping that when I get home today, I will find an egg in the actual nesting box area and not laying around in some random spot in the chicken run. 

It's all very exciting. I washed and placed our three eggs into a half empty carton of eggs purchased from the store in the fridge. They are small compared to the store bought eggs, but they are ours. They came from our backyard. Those eggs came from our chickens. 


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

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