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Kansas City MO 64131




Filtering by Tag: winter


Cindy Maddera

There is a small, yet heavy, package sitting on my cedar chest in the dining room. That box contains a new batter for my scooter. Michael ordered it ages ago when he realized that my old battery would no longer hold a charge. He asked me when was the last time I replaced that battery and I said “never.” My scooter is almost eleven years old. We haven’t even bothered to open the box of the new battery. It just sits there, very much like a doorstop, and reminds me that eventually it is going to stop snowing and the temperatures are going to become tolerable. I told Michael the other day that I was going to ride my scooter so dang much, that I was even going to ride it in the rain. I got caught in the rain while riding my scooter more times last year than I ever have since buying it. At this point, I’d welcome any scooter ride, rain or shine.

Winter time Thankful Fridays tend to center around hope. It is the time of year where I have to dig the deepest to find those little things that give me some kind of hope that I will make it through another winter. Typing that makes me realize that finding hope and really believing in that hope has become a difficult thing for me to do. There have been too many times when hope has lead to great disappointment. There have been too many times when hope had to be abandoned to make room for the acceptance of loss. The concept of hope for me has become almost mythical. It is believing in fairies and unicorns and even moose. Yet it is hope of something better that keeps us going and I can be passive in my hope or active. Right now, I am in the process of actively fueling hope. I’m planning museum trips. I’m getting on my mat. I’m wearing my favorite blue boots that I can only wear in the winter time because they keep my feet super toasty.

I don’t need hope to know that winter will eventually end. Michael just bought a snow blower, so that is probably a good sign that we’ve seen the last of the snow. I do need to hope for something better to keep me moving through these last grueling weeks of winter though. I am thankful for the things in my life that fuel that hope like those brief moments of sunshine, the break between snow storms, and that box holding a new scooter battery.


Cindy Maddera

Otherwise known as "Now is the winter of our discontent" or The Long Winter or The Winter That Killed Cindy Because She Never Saw The Sun Again. The End. 

I had no idea that fleece lined leggings would actually be the most practical and important purchase I would make in 2018. When I bought them on sale, I thought I was planning for next winter. My weather app currently says "feels like 26°" and this morning I had to tell the dog three times to go outside. She usually does this on her own, but this morning she stayed under the comforter until she heard Michael open the front door to leave. Even then, she only poked her head out to see what was happening. I almost think I saw her shoulders shrug before she tucked herself back into the blanket. Yesterday morning, while it was sleeting and snowing, the cat came in and settled down in my lap. Then he attacked me for no reason other than he needed to make someone suffer for what was happening outside.

We spent most of Easter Sunday on the couch under blankets or snuggled in bed reading books. I did manage to clean the bathroom, do laundry and clean out my closet, but there was a lot of immobility happening in between chores. There was a lot of scowling at the window whenever we'd hear the tap-a-tap of ice hitting the glass. We also ate a lot of cheese and pickles. For some reason, cheese is our go-to comfort food. I don't know why the pickles were involved. We watched a cooking show on PBS where the chef said things that made us question if she had ever tasted food before. She coated grapes with olive oil and salt and then roasted them in a pan with butternut squash. Micheal said "that's interesting." I replied "I don't's a HOT grape." A salty hot grape on a salad. If raisins are the worst thing ever to be handed out as food, a salty hot grape has got to be the second worst thing.

Michael mentioned something about the trip we made to Wisconsin in July and how we nearly froze to death. One of us always ends up mentioning this trip whenever the weather is acting inappropriately. Wisconsin again interrupted my train of thought as I passed a guy in the hallway who works with sea lamprey. They're an invasive species that made their way into the lake from the Atlantic Ocean some time around 1938. Sea lampreys caused significant damage to the fishing industries of the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Fishery Commission has gone to great lengths to get the lamprey population under control. Still, when I think about falling into any of the Great Lakes, I think of freezing to death while being attacked by hundreds of lampreys.

That's what this winter feels like. I'm freezing to death while giant eels are attaching themselves to me with a suction cup mouth full of razor sharp teeth. And yes, I realize that I am probably over exaggerating and being a bit dramatic. But really, I have nothing more to tell you. 


Cindy Maddera

Michael and I were sitting in a restaurant a few weeks ago and Michael was all glued into his phone (this is ironically funny because he used to tease me about being on my phone all the time and now it's him that's on his phone all the time). He said "It's going to be twenty degrees colder next week than it was this week." This statement caused me to slump in my seat and frown. I looked at him and said "winters get harder and harder every year." He told me it's because as I get older my bones get closer to my skin. I just responded to this with a raised eyebrow. I doubt seriously that my bones are any closer to my skin this winter than they were last winter or the winter before that.

It's just that something happens during the winter solstice and a switch gets flipped in my brain. A melancholy sort of settles in like a storm system and I feel like I'm struggling to be positive and joyful. Maybe this is the year I start taking drugs. I say that to myself every year. At the very least, maybe this is the year I buy one of those therapeutic sun lamps or maybe this is the year I just become resigned to the fact that winter is hard for me. Winter represents the taking away of good things. Warm sunshine. Scooter rides. Bicycle rides. Comfortably being outside. Chris. It dawned on me today while I was in savasana that for the life of me I could not remember the sound of his voice. Could not. Can not. I can't remember what Chris's voice sounded like. The realization of this was an Icee in the face. I even gasped for air like you would do when surfacing from a frozen swimming pool. Moments earlier, I'd come up into Warrior I with a giant smile on my face. Now I was racking my brain trying to remember the last thing I heard him say (coherently) and struggling to breath.  Bipolar grief. 

Then I get angry and I start remembering the few things about Chris that pissed me off. Like how he would say that any time I asked him to do something, I was nagging him. So much of the stuff in the basement is garbage that Chris couldn't get rid of when we moved up here. Now they're things I don't know how to get rid of. I never told you about the dreams I had where Chris was really mean to me. He said hateful, awful things to me and I know it's irrational to be mad at someone for what they did in a dream, but I sure am mad at afterlife Chris for saying those mean things to me. I want to make the excuse that it's the cold that makes me disgruntled. It's the angle and distance of the sun from the earth that makes me cranky. Disgruntled and cranky are just alternative emotions for dealing with the memories that these are the months where everything turned to shit for a little while. For a long while. 

The other day, I found myself getting really irritated because someone in front of me wasn't doing something the way I'd do it. There is a stubborn I-am-right-about-everything streak that bubbles up inside me at times and I have to remind myself that I am not right. My way is not better. Their way is not wrong. It's all just different. In that moment I decided to stop being angry over choices other people make because those choices are their's, not mine. It's like being angry over spilled milk that you didn't even spill. What if I did that now? Applied that theory to winter and grief? I didn't chose any of the events that led to everything turning to shit. Neither did Chris. Those things just happened. Just because. It's the answer that you give every four-year-old after they've asked "why?" fifty bagillion times. Yes. It is an incredibly unsatisfying answer. We inherently want things to be more, mean more than "just because". Sometimes there is more than "just because", like finding my scooter key when I found it. Mostly there is not more than "just because". 

Friday, I let Michael talk me into buying a new winter coat. The coat I had been wearing was bought for Oklahoma winters. I had to wear an extra layer under it here and then the zipper went wonky during Christmas break. So, I grumbly agreed that it was time for an upgrade. I now have a coat that is more suited to Kansas City winters. It keeps me warm without adding an extra sweater.  And because it keeps me warm, I was able to take back something that winter likes to take away. I was able to comfortably take my walk outside. When the sun finally broke through the cloud cover, it may not have been close enough to physically warm my face, but it emotionally warmed my heart. 


Cindy Maddera

I have had this screen open all day, but I've been consumed with other tasks and unable to put any thought into a Love Thursday post. I always try to write these entries the day before. So, as I sit here typing this, it is really Wednesday. It started snowing here around noon and has progressed from teeny tiny flakes to medium fat flakes. The city was turned completely white in less than an hour. I am currently watching the traffic outside. At 3:30 pm the cars are already bumper to bumper. Everyone is moving at a snail's pace. 

There's a large flock of starlings swooping around in all of this weather too. They showed up around here last Friday. By late afternoon, they have migrated to my side of the building.  I watch them all settle into one tree. It seems like as soon as they are all settled they are up again, swooping this way and that. They make their own cloud and their black bodies contrast sharply against the white sky. I watch them floating this way and that and it makes me want to dance with them. I see myself swaying and moving my arms around like some hippy child at Coachella. I am reminded of that line in Forest Gump. "Dear Lord, make me a bird so I can fly far far away." They are my reminder to move freely. 

It's cold and miserable outside, yet these birds twist and turn and float with ease as if there is no such thing as uncomfortable temperatures. A lesson I have yet to learn. I mentioned the possibility of yoga classes being cancelled to Talaura and she said maybe they'd move class outside and we'd use our mats as sleds. My mat would make a terrible sled, but I did suddenly want to go sledding. Maybe I am learning that lesson if I'm willing to entertain the idea of zipping down a hill on piece of plastic. Those birds are my new meditation for surviving winter.