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Filtering by Category: Charity

LET'S WALK

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!

THINGS I SHOULD HAVE DONE

Cindy Maddera

I should have bought her apples for her. The young woman stood at the check out counter negotiating with the cashier. An older woman, the mother or an aunt, took the very tiny and fussy baby from the young woman and took a few steps away, swaying with the baby. The woman fidgeted with an envelope labelled "WIC" on the outside. She hadn't received her card yet and the cashier was having to write down everything on a form. He had already scanned the milk incorrectly and had to rescan it and then fix his mistake on paper. I could feel Michael growing impatient beside me. We were kind of in a hurry. The young woman tried her best to look bored. Finally the cashier rang up all of her items: a half gallon of milk, three apples and two pounds of grapes. 

The cashier looked up at the young woman and said "This is going to put you a little bit over. Is that okay?" The young woman looked at her three items and then said "take the apples off." Michael moved passed me and said "We have to go. We're going to be late." I looked at him and then at the few items we had sitting on the conveyer belt and then I looked at the apples and then back at Michael. He looked at me more insistently and said again "We have to go." I fumbled, lost at what to do before giving in and saying "okay". It was only after we had made it outside to the parking lot when I said "I was going to buy that woman some apples." Michael paused and then asked "Why didn't you say something?" Then he asked if I wanted to go back in and buy the apples. I said "no" and we got in the car and headed off to our appointment.

That memory and hesitation has been sitting with me ever since. I just keep seeing that woman's groceries. Two pounds of grapes, three apples, and a half a gallon of milk. No Twinkies. No candy bars. Nothing remotely unhealthy. She had to give the apples back. I feel slightly sick with guilt. I should have stepped up and bought the damn apples. It was just that I wanted to buy the apples discreetly, with out a fuss. This was something I could have done if we had stayed in line, but instead I let myself be dragged away. Now I'm kicking myself for not stepping up and making a fuss. I was so concerned about not embarrassing the young woman or making the situation worse for her that I froze and did nothing. 

I did the wrong thing.

But I am not the only one to fail this woman. This was a grocery store in a poor neighborhood. Michael and I had gone in there to grab three items that we had missed in our usual grocery trip. This grocery store seemed convenient because it was between our house and our haircut appointment, but when we got inside the store we already knew that we had a made a mistake in stopping. The produce section was less than half the size of your usual produce section and twice as expensive. I picked up a bundle of asparagus and balked at the $5 dollar price tag. That same sized bundle was no more than $2 at Trader Joe's. All of the produce at this grocery store was overpriced. Meanwhile there was a sale on Hawaiian Punch. A high fructose corn syrup laced 'fruit' drink was cheaper to buy than two apples. 

This is what's called a 'Food Desert'.

People living in food deserts do not have access to affordable nutritious foods. As a result, they tend to have higher percentages of obesity and diabetes due to a diet of cheaper, less nutritional foods. Socio-economically, this means that poor people are more likely to be sick and as a result, may not be able to work. This requires them to rely on government assistance. Now we've got an endless loop going. It may be very inexpensive to eat fast food and the less nutritional things from the grocery store, but long term, it becomes very expensive for ALL of us. I don't know what the fix for this problem might be, but I do know I could have helped by buying some apples.

I don't tell you this because I want to hear you reassure me that I am a good person. I tell you this to keep myself accountable, as a reminder that I am capable of being better. Because I am capable of being better. 

DO GOOD

Cindy Maddera

My friend Jill is a teacher on the Kansas side of the city. I don't know if you've heard, but Kansas kind of screwed up royally when it came to spending with out increasing taxes. Actually they are a good example of what not to do with a state budget (as is Oklahoma, but at least Kansas has well maintained roads). Well, thanks to all of that, the Kansas school system is not even sure how much money they're getting for a budget this year. Any way, Jill sent me a link to a fundraiser for one of her teacher friends who is trying to raise money for alternative seating options.  She knows that I sometimes post things like this on the blog and I said "Sure!".

And okay, I know this isn't a Donors Choose Project. I know that these kids aren't as hard up as some of the others. I'm paying it forward because it is the right thing to do. I've noticed that ever since the 45 was elected, I've started stretching my resources to be more charitable. Ten dollars here. Ten dollars there. I support Planned Parent Hood and Donors Choose. I pay for reliable news from honest to God journalists (not gossip rags). I toss over a donation to causes of other bloggers I follow. Giving financially, even though it is not much, is one easy way to help this country that is in serious need. I mean, what else am I going to do with that money? Pay off my credit card debt? Ha! I'm taking that shit with me to my grave. 

So, if you feel so inclined and want to help out a friend of a friend buy alternative seating for her classroom, just click the alternative seating options in the first paragraph. I plan on giving as soon as payday rolls around. Pay it forward. Do some good. Vote with your wallets! All of the positive things!

Thank you!

THE WEEKEND RUN DOWN

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.

NATIONAL DAY OF HAPPY

Cindy Maddera

Did you know that Sunday was not only the first day of Spring, but the International Day of Happiness?!? Probably not. Let's face it; international happiness is not really on the top of the list of things being paid attention too. In fact most of the stuff getting all the attention right now are things that are the opposite of happiness. I awoke to news the other morning of terrorist attacks in Brussels and a particular Republican candidate (rhymes with rump) has already started flinging out racist hate. Because that's what he's best at. (Side note: Do you really want a President whose 'best' skill is being a racist fascist hate monger?) Finding happiness on a national level is turning into a Where's Waldo book. I apparently stopped looking for it weeks ago because that's when I stopped uploading a happiness picture into my VSCO ap. 

Things like International Days of Happiness make me question things. Am I happy? What do they mean by happy? Is it like happy 50% of the time or just more of a shrug with a general side of happy? How do you measure happiness? When people say they're happy are they being honest or is it just a polite answer to how they are doing? While I was typing all of this, I was also thinking about the layers of dust in my house and how I want to clean under the furniture. If you were to ask me, I'd say that happiness is directly proportional to how clean the house is. Please note that in the time it has taken me to write any of this, I have completely dusted the whole house including baseboards and ceiling fans. I did not however get under the furniture with a dust mop of any kind. I'm only one person. 

If I remember correctly, last year I had a hard time with that whole Winter to Spring transition. This time around though, I feel less disgruntled and more unsettled. I keep rushing forward to the next thing on the calendar without being still for the day I am currently on. This week I have had a chiropractor visit and I have a dentist appointment tomorrow. This is all scheduled around wash times and fix times and microscopy times. Next week I have an appointment for my yearly women's health exam and I still have to make an appointment with my general practitioner about the whole cholesterol thing. I have gone from hardly scheduled to over scheduled and I'm not sure how it even really happened. I have yet to schedule a time to get the side mirror fixed on the scooter so I can get it inspected because the tag is due. Nor have I scheduled an appointment for Josephine to have her yearly shots and exam. Then there's the car tag that's due, but I don't need an inspection for that because it's a fairly new car. And now I'm rambling and I haven't even mentioned the garden or the chickens. Every weekend we've planned to work in the garden or clean out the coop has been a cold miserable weekend. 

This is also a reason for my unsettled feeling. The weather. One day it's warm, like today. We may even get thunderstorms tonight. Then the next day will be cold. It's supposed to snow on Friday. I am as unsettled as the season, but am I happy? With all this unsettling I haven't really had time to think about it. On the actual National Day of Happy, I painted a tile for Mosaic, an AIDS Walk fundraiser. They sell the tiles at First Fridays and at the AIDS Walk. The Cabbage painted two and then Terry covered her hand in paint and pressed her hand to a tile. We all had a grand time for a good cause. In the moments when I wasn't worrying about how many paint brushes the Cabbage was using or all the paint cups she had placed next to her elbow, I can say that I was happy. I was so happy that I might even start taking a painting class at the studio. 

As soon as things are a little more settled. 

[Don't Forget to donate to my AIDS Walk page!]

THAT TIME I WAS A BEARDED LADY

Cindy Maddera

Saturday was the AIDS Walk Open, a charity event that raises money for the Kansas City AIDS Walk. It's a great charity event that involves putt-putt and day drinking. Teams of four compete for best putt-putt score and or best dressed team or just to make it through all twelve bars without passing out on the sidewalk. Last year was Michael's first year to do the AIDS Walk Open and I think we made it to five bars before I had to scrape him off the sidewalk outside of Kelly's. Part of it was, with it being his first time, he didn't really know what to expect. This year he was prepared and ready to pace himself accordingly. 

A few months back, my friend Heather (who lives in California) contacted me and said that she and her friend Michelle wanted to come up for the Open and surprise Terry. Michelle and Terry met and bonded in Italy over the summer. So Heather was like "Hey! Let's dress up and be The Terry Newells! And make Terry ugly cry with happiness!" I'm always up for making someone ugly cry with happiness. We put Heather's plan into motion. She and Michelle would be conjoined twins, the World's Only Interracial Conjoined Twins! I would be the bearded lady and Michael would be our carnival barker. Off we all scampered to start building our costumes and getting things in motion to surprise Terry. I started to put out feelers for what bar to start in and who was volunteering and who was on a team. Then Friday night, Michael and I picked up the girls from the airport, spent some time stalking Terry before surprising him at his house. Where we made him ugly cry with happiness. 

Our costumes where phenomenal. The conjoined twin costume that Michelle made was so smart. They could easily unsnap themselves to make walking around easier and snap back together as twins when it was time for us to put on a show. My beard got a lot of attention and Michael was pretty much made for carnival barking. If we had made it to the last two bars in time, we would have stolen the Best Dressed Team award. We did not, but that's OK because we made it to all twelve bars! We really had only expected to make to six. Also, everyone knew we had the best costume. Terry and Heather walked up to the 303 on Monday and she said she ran into a number of people who told her that we had the best costume. I had some small talk with a woman at work yesterday who doesn't even really know me. She said "I think I saw on Saturday." I said "Was I bearded lady!?!" and she smiled and said "yeah...I had no idea what was going on." Then I got to tell her about the Kansas City AIDS Walk and how fun it is to raise money for something good. 

We had a grand time! I am still taking donations for the Kansas City AIDS Walk! You can leave donations at https://www.aidswalkkansascity.org/cindymaddera

AIDS

Cindy Maddera

Recently, Charlie Sheen announced that he is HIV positive. I wasn't really all that surprised by his announcement because all the other news before this about him has been about he really really likes to party. You can't live that kind of lifestyle not expect it to take a toll on your body. I just think that we've forgotten that the toll can be steeper than an antibiotic treatable STD. I am always curious as to why that is. Why is it we forget about HIV/AIDS? Sitcoms play up the other STDs all the time. Herpes, Crabs. I'm pretty sure I heard someone refer to both of them this week while watching some crappy show. No one on TV gets HIV. No one in the movies has AIDS. Well, unless you're watching something on Africa. In fact I know some people believe that AIDS is an Africa problem, like malaria. It's not something that happens here. 

The rate of infection of HIV in the US has remained steady at 50,000 a year for about a decade now. Remains steady. That statistic makes my brain itch. I am confused by it. If we know how to prevent virus transmission, why hasn't that number dropped? I don't know what we are teaching kids today in school about safe sex. I can only assume that we are telling them as little as possible. I hear the news and I know that I am within walking distance to a school district that teaches abstinence only. HIV/AIDS has become a closed conversation, but not talking about it doesn't mean that it isn't still a problem. Safe sex is more than just protecting yourself from an unwanted pregnancy. Don't do drugs is more than just a campaign about the dangers of putting chemicals in your body. When we talk about the risks involved in unprotected sex or sharing needles, we have to include all of the risks. 

Today is World AIDS Day. It shows up pretty prominently in my feed because of my involvement with the Kansas City AIDS Walk. It has nothing to do with raising money, though it's nice if you want to throw some money that way. It's not about having a reason to walk or walking. This is a day to celebrate those living with HIV, remember those who have lost their fight with AIDS, unite in fight against HIV and to continue that conversation. Talk about the risks. Talk about how AIDS is totally preventable. Talk about taking care of yourself. Talk about having enough self worth to want to take care of yourself, to want to be safe.  

WE ARE ALL CONNECTED, EVEN BY DISEASE

Cindy Maddera

I said something yesterday about the devaluation of women. In West Africa, 32% of new HIV infections are transmitted from sex workers. Most of these sex workers are women who have been forced into the sex industry through human trafficking. In other areas of Africa, HIV is passed around through polygamous relationships and the accepted sexual promiscuity of men. A woman married to such a man usually doesn't have a choice but to do whatever her husband commands her to do. Her value as a partner, mother and caregiver is not something this kind of man even considers. Sadly this is the case for many women.

It all comes down to education. Sort of like teaching a man to fish. You teach a boy that girls have equal value. You continue to stress to that boy as he grows that girls have equal value. Eventually that boy grows up, has sons of his own and passes his knowledge along, thus starting the chain reaction. So, where does the Kansas City AIDS Walk come into play here? Money raised by the Kansas City AIDS Walk goes to educating young people about the transmittance of HIV/AIDS. I know it doesn't sound like this has much of a global impact, but think about it this way. Let's say one, just one, of those kids sits through an HIV/AIDS education class and is inspired to make a difference. That kid grows up to be a doctor with Doctors without Borders or a foreign aid worker. That kid grows up and makes a difference. 

OK. Maybe it's a far fetched idea or reaching for a star. I've always been the one that would rather pull a muscle straining for that star that not reach at all. I still believe in the power of education and how it only takes a lit match of knowledge to start a wildfire. Personally, I know my limitations. I know that my greatest impact is within my own community. That's why I chose to raise money for a program within my own community. I walk because I believe that the impact of one community can change the world. I walk because I believe in the power of education. I walk because ALL lives have value.

We are ten days away from the Kansas City AIDS Walk. Again, I have to thank all of you have been so generous. I can't even express my gratitude in words, it's so great. Those of you who would still like to donate, there's still time. Just go my AIDS Walk Fundraising page https://www.aidswalkkansascity.org/elephantsoap

Every little amount is so much appreciated!

AIDS WALK OPEN!

Cindy Maddera

I didn't really do as much video taking as I was hoping to do during this year's AIDS Walk Open. But I'm really happy I caught this truly sincere moment between Brad and one participants. It looks like a total setup, but I assure you it wasn't. We met a lot of new people this year, drank too much gin, and had a really great time. Most importantly, we did it all for charity. If you would like to give to my AIDS Walk fundraising page, you may do so at https://www.aidswalkkansascity.org/elephantsoap


THE SKINNY

Cindy Maddera

We were naked in bed. I looked down at my doughy white belly and mumbled something about being fat. Michael told me that this was untrue. I said "next year, I'm going to be skinny." Michael replied with "a healthy skinny." I said "No. I want to be so skinny you can see my bones." Michael said "No. You mean a healthy skinny." I didn't argue with him, but in my head I was still stuck on the idea of being that kind of skinny where my bones poked out of my skin and you could count my ribs. There's a part of me that really considers this, wonders how to achieve this. I would eat one Jelly Belly a day, a piece of fruit and a peanut. I have never been skinny let alone bag of bones skinny, but I now wanted desperately to be skeleton thin. I've never been an extreme anything before.

My whole life has been one of practicality and moderation. I rarely snack between meals. There's never a cookie a day. My dessert at lunch is fruit (with the exception of the other day when I ate what was left of Mom's sweet potato pie/casserole/deliciousness). I may accept the offer for candy one out of the ten times asked. That's not to say that I will not eat the occasional cupcake or bagel that is brought into this office. I will devour that shit, but the cupcakes and bagels are maybe a bi-monthly event around here. I am a moderate drinker with three beers being my usual limit. I walk thirty minutes a day at the moderate speed of 3.6 miles per hour. My tattoos are even moderate. If I were to have a tombstone "everything in moderation" would be my epitaph. 

My entire life I have sat on the fence line straddling mediocre and advanced. I was one point away from being put in with the "gifted and talented" kids in third grade. Too smart for my class and too dumb for the advanced class. My talent is average with a singing voice that was good enough for a scholarship but lacked the ambition and drive for much more than that. I don't really care about the number of publications I have (not really that many) and I am mildly proud of myself for that journal cover I got once. Actually, I think I was just as impressed with the Christmas wreath I made for the door.

I am not one to over indulge or deprive myself. In fact, I have a thing about being hungry. Fear of hunger may be a good way to put it. I don't want to get caught between meals with a gnawing stomach and no snack. If faced with this situation I will either suffer and feel woozy and anxious or I will go to the cafeteria and buy all of the food. All of it. The hardest part of that juice cleanse I did once was making all the juice to take with me to work, because the anxiety of not having enough was crippling. I have no idea where this anxiety and fear comes from. We were poor at times growing up, but never so poor that we didn't have food. 

I know that saying I want to be skeleton thin sounds dangerous. It puts to mind eating disorders and illness. I'm not looking to give myself an eating disorder or poor health. But maybe a little deprivation is in order. Maybe I need to go hungry for a bit, work through that anxiety. Maybe I need to do what I am afraid to do. How shameful and ridiculous is it for someone like me to be afraid of going hungry when millions of people in this country go to bed at night with gnawing stomachs and uncertainty of where their next meal will come from. At least I know I can have more than a Jelly Belly and a peanut for lunch. I have the means and then some. In fact I will be delivering my box of canned goods to Harvesters this weekend. I have collected fifteen cans or so of food for the 15 Can Challenge. You can help too by making a donation to Harvesters. All you need to do is click on the word Harvesters in this sentence.

So don't fret. You will not be counting my ribs by this time next year. I'm too lazy to be extreme. 

THIS IS IMPORTANT!

Cindy Maddera

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Have you guys seen the Dallas Buyers Club yet? Well, you need to get on the ball and see it. Pronto. The movie tells the story of Ron Woodroof and how he started the Dallas Buyers Club to sell drugs to AIDS victims who had no other recourse. Here's why I think this movie is important. Ron was a typical blue collar guy. He worked as an electrician, went to rodeos, and liked his booze and women. In his world, homosexuals were "faggots" and AIDS was a gay man disease. His world changed drastically when he was diagnosed with AIDS. His story is not just about finding better drugs to combat AIDS and providing those drugs to others at a time when there was nothing but AZT (poison). His story is about breaking past prejudices in sexuality and prejudices in the disease itself. Ron Woodroof learned the hard way that AIDS is not a "gay man's disease". Something else pertinent in this film is the importance and power of education. Sure, many of us know how HIV is spread now. But do we really? There's a moment in the movie after Ron's diagnosis where he's in the public library doing research on HIV and AIDS. He comes across an article on the transmission of HIV. It's pretty tough watching the revelation come across his face, the flashback to that evening of sex with that girl with the track marks on her arms. But we know this stuff now. We know how this disease is transmitted. At least I believe there's a generation of us who know how this disease is transmitted. Those kids coming up into sexual maturity these days, I'm not so sure about. Suebob recently posted this visual of maps and sexual education in this country on her facebook page and I have to tell you, it's pretty alarming the things we are not willing to teach out children.

There are more states in the union that do not require sexual education than states that do. And just wait until you see the map of states that do have sex and HIV education, but that do not require the education to be medically accurate. You will throw up. At least I did. DO NOT REQUIRE THE EDUCATION TO BE MEDICALLY ACCURATE!!! Are you kidding me? A lot of the sexual education curriculum being taught to teens are lessons that are demeaning to women (implying that a girl who has sex is used and dirty, shame on you Oxford MS) and are not teaching the real medical dangers of unprotected sex.

The CDC estimated that the number of new HIV infections was around 12,000 in individuals between the ages of 13-24 in 2010. I think this intolerable, particularly when we know how this disease is spread. I believe that we can do better. I believe that we can raise a generation that sees zero new cases of HIV and have healthy sex lives. This is why I raise money for the AIDS Walk every year. Money raised for the AIDS walk not only goes to help care for victims and research. A portion of those funds go to education and awareness. Just the walk itself brings awareness that HIV and AIDS is still a very real and prominent disease.

With your help and generosity, I have reached my fund raising goal and then some for the AIDS Walk. I cannot thank you enough and I cannot fully express how much it means to me to have your support. Each donation makes me think that YOU believe in that generation of zero infections. So thank you. I said that I'd sent a print of choice to each person who donated and I will be contacting you guys shortly with how to proceed with that. In the meantime, check out the links to my Flickr page and Instagram page on the right hand side of my blog and start thinking about what you may want.

IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR

Cindy Maddera

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The minute I typed out that title, the Christmas Waltz popped into my head and I've been humming that tune ever since. I realize that I am singing a Christmas song while thinking of Spring. It can't be helped. Oh, Karen Carpenter...sometimes I think you're my spirit animal. Any way..it's that time of year where we are teased with the idea that Spring is getting ready to settle in for good. When I say tease, I mean literally dangling the sucker over the baby's head and jerking it just out of reach every time. I've been told that's what it's like to transition between actual seasons. There's no transition of weather in OK. Today happens to be one of those days where that baby thinks he might actually get the sucker. The sun is shining and it's a whopping 62 degrees outside with a predicted 70 degrees by the end of the day. Tomorrow may be even warmer, but a chance for snow in the evening (I don't even understand that). So of course this means that scooters were ridden today. Actually, Michael got on his and ran a few errands yesterday. There was a mention of ice cream, but I couldn't be bothered to put on bra yesterday let alone real pants for riding the scooter. I did make sure that V would start and placed some new stickers here and there on her. This morning I bungeed my yoga mat to the seat, pulled on my gloves and took off for work. I made it half way up my street before the laugh involuntarily bubbled up and out, bursting free with a loud guffaw. The joy that riding the scooter brings is jut not containable. So much so that I'm willing to risk coming home in the rain (possibly snow) tomorrow. Scooter season has begun and I am reminded of all the other things that come with Spring. Tulips, planting the garden, and the Kansas City AIDS Walk. For so many years the AIDS Walk was a Fall time tradition for me. I'm still getting used to this new Spring tradition and I feel like I've been caught by surprise by it this year. I've done very little in the way of fundraising. I missed out on the AIDS Walk Open this year because I had too many grown up obligations going that day. That's usually my kick in the pants fundraiser start for the AIDS Walk. Today is the day I begin my campaign to raise money for this year's AIDS Walk. And here's why. Today I welcomed the beginning of Spring or at least the idea that we are moving into Spring with a joyous scooter ride. Not only does riding the scooter make me so dang happy, it gives me hope for more scooter rides to come. Spring carries with it the hope of warmer temperatures, green grass and beautiful blooms of new life. No wonder Kansas City chooses the Spring to host their AIDS Walk. Because all of us involved with the walk have hope. We have hope that one day there will be a cure or at least a longer healthier life with HIV. We have hope that our younger generations will have the proper education to avoid contracting this and we have hope that each year we will see fewer and fewer new cases. That's one of the many reasons why I walk.

So from now until April 26th, I will be fundraising for the Kansas City AIDS Walk. For every person who donates, you will have your choice of any size print of any picture you want from my Flickr or Instagram feed. If you look to the right side bar of the blog, you will see a button for my Flickr page under the "Find Me" header. You will also see a couple of new links under the "Some Other Things I Do" header. There's one for my Instagram page and, most importantly, there's a link to my AIDS Walk fundraising page. Let's fund some hope! Please and Thank you!

CHARITY ALERT

Cindy Maddera

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Michael is a bicycle man. He loves to ride his bike and had set a goal to put 500 miles on his bike this summer. He has a cyclometer on his bike to measure the mileage and he's all the time going to the bike shop, tinkering with his bike, talking about trails he rides on his bike, talking about his bike...you get the idea. Any way, he was at the bike shop one day when he saw a flyer for the AIDS Bicycle Cruise and without any prompting from me, he signed up to ride twenty miles to raise money for AIDS Service Foundation of Greater Kansas City. How cute is that?!?! Now Michael has never experienced the power of the internet. He doesn't blog or facebook (I know right?). He may have a twitter account that he never uses, but seriously he is not tethered to the online world like I am. He's never experienced the amazing wow of the good things that we can do through the power of the internet. Let's show him. He has from now until Sept 15th to collect donations. Please give any amount you can give. We both really appreciate it.

His donation page is here: http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/MichaelMedeiros/aids-bicycle-cruise-2013

Thank you so dang much!

*Don't even ask me about his last name.

WE CHOSE A PROJECT

Cindy Maddera

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Hey guys, remember that Donor's Choose thing we were doing? I know I've skipped a couple of months. Things got crazy and I forgot to pick a project or get help picking a project. Jen Tucker had a project she wanted to help get funds for, but when I clicked on the link , it had already been funded. So this month Talaura found this one to tie into Jen's wish to help special needs kids. http://www.donorschoose.org/project/i-can-be-what-i-want-to-be-princess-f/1017053/

Let's fill that closet with dress-up clothes for those kids!