Not A Pink Girl

Thinking about eating healthier? This sounds great to me!

January 30, 2011
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It’s a Groupon for 3 meals & 2 snacks delivered by The Fresh Diet for only $29. This includes discounts on future purchases. Not bad! Great for busy moms & single ladies who find themselves going through the drive-through to get dinner. I love Groupons too. They always offer a true bargain.

Little things that make up a life

January 18, 2009
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Social networking sites like Facebook have a life of their own. I am fascinated by the friendships that are born & developed on these online gathering places.

Right now there’s a viral thing going around fb called “25 Random Things.” I think it’s interesting because just a couple of dozen stream-of-consciousness facts about one’s life can really tell a new acquaintance quite a bit about one.

I was asked by a fb friend (whom I know through my local Democratic Committee, of which we are both members) to tell him 25 random things about myself. Here they are. At the end of my “things,” I’m including the “rules” one is supposed to follow when posting these on Facebook.

I would love to hear your comments.

Kathie’s 25 Random Things

1. I’ve never seen an episode of the television shows “Frasier,” “Friends” or “House” (& have no plans to ever watch one).

2. There have been precious few times in the past three decades that I haven’t turned my head when a kid called out, “Hey Mom!”

3. Used to fantasize that Mister Rogers was my real dad.

4. I’ve met many “celebrities” (Cal Ripken Jr., Jack Nicholson, Brian Wilson, Fred Couples & Joe Theismann, for example).

5. Spent the coldest night of my life (29 degrees F) sleeping in a tent on the ground at the foot of Devil’s Tower, Wyoming (from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” fame).

6. I’ve ridden the New York City subway by myself (& gotten on the wrong train only once).

7. Quit smoking cold turkey & have been an obnoxious nonsmoker for 23 years (which proves you don’t need all the nicotine gum, patches, etc. that our capitalist society insists are necessary to quit).

8. I’ve been to so many concerts I’m not sure I could list them all: Paul McCartney & Wings, Elton John (3 times [front row twice]), Lou Reed, Robert Palmer, Bruce Springsteen (3 times), David Bowie (twice), Madonna (twice), the Beastie Boys (before anyone knew who they were & when everyone thought I was crazy), the Eagles (in the olden days [3 times, once when Linda Ronstadt opened for them & once when a “new act” opened for them named Jimmy Buffett & The Coral Reefer Band]), Rosemary Clooney, Alison Krauss & Union Station, so many more.

9. I’ve stood crying in front of Vincent van Gogh’s “Self Portrait with a Straw Hat” @ The Metropolitan Museum of Art & didn’t care what anyone thought.

10. I’ve represented myself in a court of law.

11. I’ve done past-life regression through hypnosis three times & once through guided imagery.

12. I’ve fallen in love at first sight (as an adult, when it really counts & really hurts).

13. I’ve helped deliver a baby (twice).

14. Have seen Kevin Costner, Tom Selleck, Michael Jordan & Garth Brooks play baseball in an MLB park.

15. Been a Friend of Bill W. since 1986.

16. Told Clinton Portis not to worry because we love him, no matter what. To his face.

17. Went to Catholic school all my life, including college.

18. Learned how to knit when I was 7 years old.

19. I have a recurring dream about the flowers in my garden: I dream I miss their flowering & go outside to look at them & they’re all dead. How does a woman get so sad? See #12.

20. Was chosen to be in a class debate in the 5th grade. I could be Richard Nixon or George McGovern. I chose Shirley Chisholm. That didn’t go over too big.

21. I have no idea what anyone sees in Brad Pitt, & think Angelina Jolie looks like a ghoul who feasts on dead bodies.

22. Luciano Pavarotti’s voice causes me to get head-to-toe goosebumps; Andrea Bocelli has the voice of an angel (his duet with Celine Dion, The Prayer, makes me cry); & Mario Lanza’s singing was technically near-perfect but just doesn’t touch my soul.

23. The doctor who delivered me also delivered my daughter.

24. Had a pen pal from Hilo, Hawaii, when I was 11 until I graduated from high school.

25. Saw Lew Alcindor play basketball professionally many times before he changed his name.

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you.

If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

(To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people [in the right hand corner of the app] then click post.)

Love ya. Mean it! Or not.

July 12, 2008

I went to Hagerstown Maryland on Saturday with my husband. Which part of that sentence is the shocker? The fact that my husband & I actually went somewhere together that didn’t involve our son. Sad, huh? It just seems like we go our separate ways lately. Well, more like for the last 3 years (maybe more). That’s just how it’s become. I think things evolve like that when you’re married as long as we’ve been. He works full time & I’m an at-home mom (or stay-at-home-mom, or SAHM). There are days when we don’t see each other at all. He’ll leave at zero-dark-thirty & I’ll still be asleep. I might be out when he gets home from work. I go to bed late; he goes to bed early.

Why do people stay married so long? It seems like such an artificial state. Do people stay married so they can have an ad in the Sunday paper weddings & anniversaries section that says, “Mr. & Mrs. Rhett Butler are celebrating their golden anniversary on a private island in the Caribbean.” The part that article leaves out is the fact that the couple will only exchange about 6 words between them the whole week they’re gone “celebrating.”

I think long marriages look much better on paper than they do on a daily basis. Do people stay married because it’s like a marathon race, & they’ve trained so hard for this & stayed in it for so long that it would just be sad to quit just before the finish line?

Think about it. What’s the purpose of staying married?

You might say, “Well, a couple should stay together for the children.” Okay.

Let’s say a couple’s been married for 30 years. They might have 3 kids, ages 27, 25, & 23. None of their kids lives with them.

Age-27 is renting a room in an old Victorian in Santa Cruz CA & works at a restaurant as a bartender. During his off-time he gets a little surfing in, hangs out at the neighborhood Barnes & Noble listening to bites of the newest prog rock CDs, & trying to figure out where his next bag of pot’s coming from.

Age-25 lives in Denver CO. She just got her master’s degree in fine art; she’s sharing a condo with a girlfriend from college who also happens to be her significant-other (something she knows her parents aren’t ready to deal with, so she’s never told them). She works as the assistant manager of a ski shop & keeps her ear to the ground for jobs at galleries in Cherry Creek North & LoDo. She finds herself drinking much more & eating much less as each week goes by without her getting a “real” job. But all the girls her age drink; doesn’t everybody? (She would never think to refer to herself as a “woman;” she doesn’t have any idea what her mother & grandmother had to suffer through in order to be respected as adults & not just “chicks” or “gals”.)

Age-23 didn’t go to college & still lives at home with Mom & Dad. He’s quiet & sweet; he’s great company to his parents. He likes to read fiction & sleep late. He watches lots of Netflix & doesn’t believe in God. He doesn’t date much which really isn’t a big deal. He has friends of both sexes he sees once or twice a week when he goes out for pizza with them. His parents come too & sit at a separate table; when the bill comes, Mom & Dad pay for both parties, theirs & their son & his friends. Age-23 works at the local no-kill animal shelter & makes a little more than minimum wage. He isn’t interested in owning a car & borrows his mom’s, or has his parents pick him up or drop him off. He doesn’t drink alcohol or smoke anything.

So should the parents stay together for the kids? I’ll talk about their hypothetical marriage in a future post.

A couple I know just filed for divorce. They have four kids & have been married for about 16 years. The brick of a husband (I use the word “brick” as a pejorative because he used to be as dependable as a rock but now he has proven himself to be as dumb as a bag of pea gravel) revealed to his wife (an at-home mom) that he met someone in nearby West Virginia where he worked & he is leaving his wife for her. Just to put the cherry on the cake of this story, he told his wife he was leaving her on Christmas Day.

More later!

Ah-huh, well, good luck with that.

June 7, 2008
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So much for my weekend by myself! My guys decided it was too hot to go canoeing with the Boy Scouts. They were going to Luray Virginia & the National Weather Service issued an extreme heat advisory for that area through the weekend.

Secretly, I’m relieved. I’m such a puss when it comes to my son. He’s 15 but I still worry so much when I know he’s going camping. I know these guys (“adults”) that go on the campouts are great guys & a few of them – I think – actually look out for my son like he’s their own kid. But you know, things happen. See? I’m a puss.

The Thursday before my son goes on a campout, I start feeling that fluttery (not in a good way) feeling in my stomach, a little bit like panic although not as melodramatic. I do some deep breathing & chant a basic mantra (in other words, pray like heck) until I calm myself down enough to get to sleep. Sheesh. I’ve been doing this motherhood thing for over 28 years & still I go through this stuff with myself.

So I went outside tonight at sunset & picked some strawberries from my garden. They are so heavenly. Now I must tell you they’re not these little nuggets of pure honeyed sweetness. They’re so yummy & super-juicy & still warm from the sun when they hit my tongue (I don’t use any chemicals in my garden), but they’re not like dizzyingly, stunningly sweet. But I gotta tell ya, there’s nothing like picking a strawberry from your own garden & popping it into your mouth (okay, I do a quick check for spider mites or bunny bites first).

I heard that the best strawberries you can grow are alpine strawberries. I want to try them someday. You can’t get these in the store because they don’t ship well (actually, they pretty much don’t ship them at all because they turn to mush about 4 minutes after being picked & put into a box).

So since I was going to have to be “on” as a wife & mother tonight instead of in calm, quiet, all-encompassingly-selfish bliss, I took a shower, dried my hair (which is like a wild animal & with a mind of its own & will be discussed in a later entry), watched an episode of Ballykissangel (which I think is sublime), then went out & picked strawberries. & it’s still flippin’ hot as Hades outside, even with the sun down.

More later this weekend!

My queendom for a weekend alone!

June 6, 2008
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This weekend my husband & son are going canoeing with the Boy Scouts. *insert Hallelujah Chorus here* I have been looking forward to a weekend without my fellas for months. I can’t believe how fast the time flies by when I’m puttering around my house when no one else is here but me.

The last time I had the house to myself was November 2006. How do I remember that right off the top of my head, you ask? Let’s just say the otherworldly-heavenly-ness of the weekend made an impression on me.

My front stoop (or porch, depending on where you\'re from)One Saturday afternoon a couple of years ago when my guys were camping, I worked in the garden. I live in a townhouse & have a postage-stamp-sized front- & backyard. I mow the lawn & do weeding, yes; but my real joy is gardening. Although my garden is small, I am a firm believer in vertical– & container gardening. I like to plant seeds in little peat pots in spring.Low-tech seedling labels much? A few years, I can remember planting seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost (isn’t that how it’s always worded on the seed packet?). But I don’t have a lot of counter space indoors so it’s difficult to find somewhere to store the pots as the seeds are trying to germinate.

So now I pretty much wait until spring fever has struck me full-force (usually around the second week of April) & then I go outside & start some seeds. So far this year I have little seedlings of marigold (tagetes) French Vanilla & butterfly weed (asclepias). I’ve planted Shasta daisies (Alaska), dwarf sunflower, Love Lies Bleeding (amaranthus caudatus), & florist’s verbena (do you believe that the verbena seeds need complete darkness to germinate? Sounds like my sex life after 45).

I can remember mowing the lawn that weekend a few years go when I was on my own. I puttered in the garden, deadheaded some flowering perennials, planted some more seeds (cosmos, I think, & others), & generally avoided anything high-tech like a ringing telephone, cell or otherwise. Suddenly I realized the streetlights were coming on. I was incredulous! How could 5 hours have sped by like that?

Just knowing I don’t have anyone in the house I need to “look after” makes me so much more relaxed & “myself.” I’ve never lived alone, not in my whole life! That always stuns me when I think about it. I had 4 siblings, a mother, father, & grandmother that lived with me until the day I turned 18. That day I left to marry my first husband. We got married in Maryland, & there you have to wait three days to be married after you take your oath to get your marriage license (it’s 48 hours now).  So I swore my oath at the courthouse in Upper Marlboro, Maryland on my 18th birthday. Three days later we were married at the same courthouse. I stayed with my best friend Nancy for the 3 days I had to wait to get married.

Me & Wendy in the Atlantis (Ocean City MD) pool, 1982When my ex-husband & I separated, I had a 6-month-old daughter, so I didn’t live alone after my marriage ended either. It was right back into the lion’s den, otherwise known as my parents’ house where I grew up (with an exceedingly unhappy childhood).

Me in 1967 in the backyard of my house in New Carrollton MDSo now, when I’m alone, it is blissful. I know that’s not what wives & mothers are supposed to say when their husbands & children go away temporarily. But knowing I don’t have to make sure there’s a hot meal on the table or someone’s favorite tee-shirt is laid out for the next day just gives me a certain serenity I don’t feel when I have a houseful.

It’s difficult for me to even go out to a restaurant & order what I want. Honestly! I look at the menu & it’s just second-nature for me to gravitate towards a dish that will leave me with leftovers that my son & husband would want to eat. So instead of ordering a personal pizza with mushrooms, roasted red peppers & basil, I’ll order one with bacon & ground beef. That way, I’ll be able to satisfy those wistful guys at home that sigh with envy when I tell them I ate at their favorite pizza place – without them.

When I eat at home when my guys are away, it’s sublime. I’ll have something I consider decadent for dinner, like scrambled eggs on toast with plenty of ketchup (no one around to saw “Eeew! Ger-OSS!”). Then I’ll make myself some camomile tea & take it upstairs to my bedroom to drink while watching a Poirot DVD or a rerun of Will & Grace (again, without having to hear a male voice groan, “GROSS!”).

I was laughing the other night when I heard David Beckham tell Jay Leno that he & Vickers (Victoria “Posh Spice” Beckham, his wife) eat baked beans on toast all the time & that it’s one of their favorite foods. Okay Becks, I can believe that maybe you indulge every so often, but Vicks? If she ever ate a whole plate of anything (at least during the last 10 years), I’ll eat my hat (admittedly not a hat filled with baked beans though if you don’t mind). But it just goes to show you that even celebrities need their comfort food every once in a while.

I will make sure I don’t schedule any social events for when my guys are going to be gone from the house overnight. I don’t want to go out with friends or have anyone over. I just want to be. I don’t want to have to be on or to have to impress anyone. I don’t want to have to make sure my legs are shaved & my eyebrows are plucked, or that I remembered to put on my deodorant or changed my shirt to something more presentable.

I once had a “friend” who had to be in control of all my free time. Oh Lord that was the most gawdawful relationship. This was a woman that I had broken up with twice (at the time). Have you ever broken up with a friend? This woman was the first person I’d ever broken off a friendship with, & that was when I was 30. What a laugh: I thought I’d put all my years as a doormat (with the footprints on my back to prove it) behind me. But I was wrong. I got back together with this terror twice more after our first breakup. I will tell you all about her as this blog goes on.

I broke up with her – let’s call her Jez – almost a year ago. I feel like it was another Independence Day! When Jez would find out that I was going to be alone for the weekend, she would literally descend on my house. I got to the point that I would turn off the living room lights (I have matchstick blinds on my bay window, so you can see in) & go either downstairs in the basement or upstairs to my room to get some peace & escape from Jez. I got better – with help from a professional – at “setting boundaries” (do you think I even knew what that meant before I got counseling?).

I’ll talk more about Crezzy Jez in a future blog post.

So this weekend I’ll be meditating on the bliss of peace & quiet. & I’ll be listening intently in the silence in case a higher power wants to give me a little friendly advice.



Friends for life?

May 21, 2008
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I heard from my friend Nancy today. She’s single (divorced), works for a Fortune-500 company as an accountant, & found out on her 55th birthday in July 2007 that she has liver cancer. Right now she’s back in the hospital because her white-blood-cell count is too low.

She’s on her second round of chemo. She had surgery a month ago (surgery she had to fight for because her primary-care physician threw up his hands [literally] & said, “I don’t know what you want from me.” He meant that she should just accept that she’s going to die – probably soon – & it would be a waste of his time to refer her to a surgeon). Nancy’s parents – in their mid-70s – are using their savings & retirement to get her treated by a surgeon at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore MD (not too far from where we live).

Nancy is a former smoker. When I met her in 1994, she smoked about a pack a day of Virginia Slims (at one time, my cigarette of choice). She started smoking as a teenager in Seattle & quit when she was 46 (in 1998). She had met a guy (the “toe-curler,” she called him [meaning he made her heart skip a beat, in a good way]) who was a Seventh-Day Adventist & didn’t believe in tobacco use. She cared enough about him to quit. That was about the only good thing she got out of the relationship. He was a controlling jerk, toe-curler or not.

I was surprised when she stopped smoking. She just seemed like a lifelong smoker to me. Nancy has always been slim. When she was in her 20s & 30s, she looked just like Cher (who turns 62 years old today). The resemblance is still striking.I have always been overweight. I know in my heart – although we’ve never discussed it – that Nancy’s had a hard time being friends with someone as “big” as me (her term). I think my size rather overwhelms her. I think she can’t believe anyone would actually walk around in public looking like me.

Yes, I am heavy, but if you met me or if you’ve seen my pictures on facebook, you’d know I’m not going to be featured on Intervention anytime soon.  I’m 5′ 10″ & maybe I can carry extra weight a bit easier than some can. I’m trying to give you an idea of the misperception of weight that some people have. Just as someone can be anorexic & look in the mirror at their 78-pound, 5-foot-7 frame & think, “I am so fat,” so also there is a percentage of the population who look at other people & think that if you have any extra pounds you are just deformed & should probably just become agoraphobic now so you don’t have to burden the general population (& “normal” weight people) with having to be forced to look at your grossness.

When Nancy quit smoking, she gained about 20 pounds. Now I must tell you honestly that Nancy looked great. But she was devastated. She felt huge. “Kathie, I had to buy size 10 denim overalls! Do you realize that I was a 5 when I graduated from high school [in 1970]?! I’ve never been bigger than an 8!” Mind you, this woman just quit smoking. After over three decades, she QUIT SMOKING. How wonderful is that? How positively life-changing is that? But she flippin’ went up a size or two in her jeans. Time to slit her wrists.

Nancy’s never been particularly good at articulating what she’s feeling. What I mean is, she’s hurt my feelings on many occasions. She doesn’t know it though; I always kept it to myself because I know she didn’t mean to maliciously hurt me. Many times, Nancy’s let it slip how awfully overweight she thinks I am.

Once she described a coworker who wanted to join her carpool. Nancy told me, “Kathie, I don’t want her in my car because she is huge [like the woman could damage her shock absorbers or something]. I mean she’s even bigger than YOU.”

Another time Nancy & I were over a mutual friend’s. Our friend had a little wooden chair handmade of chunky wood from Scotland. Our friend wanted me to move closer to her but chairs were at a premium, so she grabbed the little chair & motioned for me to sit in it. I looked at it uncertainly & our friend said, “Don’t worry, I sit in this chair all the time.” (Our friend is overweight too.) Nancy piped up (trying to be helpful & kind), “Kathie, don’t worry; that’s a well-made chair. It could hold an elephant.” Remember, this was said in a room full of about 10 people. Believe me, this elephant will never forget that comment.

We were Christmas shopping this past December. We were at the outlets (life in hell). There was a tweedy boucle duster-length cardigan sweater. I took it off the rack to get a closer look. Nancy passed behind me & said, “That would be great for you. It would hide your fat ass.” Now I’m telling you, she was not joking. She was giving me a fashion tip. I usually let these kinds of Nancy Comments pass; this time I said, “Gosh Nancy, thank a lot.” She just walked away.

So now, here we are. I love Nancy. She’s my friend. This is a friendship I’ve ruminated about for over a decade. Why are we friends? What do we have in common? Am I a glutton (excuse the expression) for punishment? Now she could be dying. This has caused me to ponder our friendship on an even more acute level.

I’ll talk more about Nancy & me in my next post. Will you keep her in your prayers & good thoughts? Thank you so much.

What was I thinking?!

May 20, 2008
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Okay, here I am! I’ve got so much to say I feel like a pot that’s reached the boiling point & if you don’t take the lid off, I’m going to explode. Sounds like we’re going to get something on us, huh?!

This blog is about how I feel & about my observations about life. We live in a capitalist society where money is king (notice they don’t say, “money is queen”). As American women, we are major targets of the ad agencies. Everything they throw at us by way of the glossy “shelter” & “lifestyle” magazines is supposed to change our lives for the better. (You know the feeling: if I only buy that frizzies-smoother hair product, I’ll knock ’em dead in that interview & get that six-figure salary; if I buy that Tory Burch flower-print dress, that handsome guy at the city council dinner will fall in love with me & we’ll live happily ever after; etc.)

But each of us is unique. We have our own “way” about us that is truly endearing. But we continue to try to assimilate, to conform, to be what 21st-century culture says a woman is supposed to be. It’s getting out of hand. I don’t think we should Botox our personalities into oblivion!

I’ve noticed that I don’t always “get” the latest trends, the popular TV shows, the mainstream way of thinking. Often, the things that are supposed to be “cool” & the bandwagons I’m supposed to just jump onto without even thinking about it just don’t sit right with me. They don’t feel comfortable; they don’t feel right. In this blog, I’ll talk about things I think are really neat, & things I feel are being force-fed to me (usually by Madison Avenue) & that just don’t feel right to me.

I’m in a unique position because my life is full of contradictions. I’m a woman (a Washington DC native), a mother (of two: one child is a grown woman herself, & one child isn’t a kid anymore, he’s a teenager) & grandmother (of two, a boy & a girl, neither of which is a baby). I’m a wife (my second marriage; I’m getting ready to “celebrate” my 20th wedding anniversary) & daughter (my mother is healthy, active, independent & living about 40 miles from my home). I’ve done the parenting thing both ways: I’ve been a single mother with a child in full-time daycare, & I’m now an at-home mom or SAHM (stay-at-home-mom). I am a sister (I have four siblings, only two of which I choose to speak to at all). I’m from a close-knit Irish-Catholic family that was blown apart by alcoholism, & I do not drink alcohol (I’ve been sober since August 18, 1986 & picked up my 21-year chip this past summer [2007]). I’m Catholic & I consider myself a bleeding-heart liberal (yes, I am pro-choice & pro-peace). I see many of my fellow Catholics as hypocrites & hawks, & it breaks my heart. I love the womanly arts (needlework, gardening, reading, cooking), but I’m dangerously computer-literate (& I prefer Macs).

So I have a lot to say!

I can’t wait to hear what you think about all this stuff, too. So let me hear from you! Welcome to my blog, Not A Pink Girl. Talk to you soon!


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