Not A Pink Girl

Letter to my niece on her confirmation (stay with me on this)

January 3, 2014

“When you send forth your spirit, you renew the face of the earth.” Psalm 104:30

Dear Katie,

Happy Confirmation! This will be a time you will always remember as a turning point in your life. You may not realize it now (it may take some years of life experience for it to sink in).

There are so many artificial milestones in the life of a teenager. When you turn 13, yippee! No more single digits! But really, what does that mean to your life? Basically that your parents will now be charged the adult ticket price when they take you to the movies, you can’t legally order off the kids’ menu at restaurants, & that now you’re supposed to be able to smile knowingly at all the off-color jokes in a PG-13 movie.

How about when you turn 16? You’ve probably been driving with your mom or dad in the passenger seat for about six months. You have this dreamy idea in your head that when you get your driver’s license that suddenly your life will be transformed.


Okay, turning 18 is a bit more real. You are considered to be an adult, overnight. You can vote (hopefully you’ll be a lifelong Democrat). You graduate from high school & go to college (none of this taking a year off to Find Yourself; if you ever want to find yourself, just ask me; I’ll show you where you are). You can have a job (but if you’re like me, you would have had some moneymaking racket going on since you were in sixth grade).

But when you get confirmed, suddenly you have all the tools you need to live a good life. This doesn’t happen overnight. For months, you’ve been studying & memorizing for your confirmation day. You’d think that when the Bishop lays hands on you it would be like an exclamation point at the end of a L-O-N-G sentence.

But here’s the important part: in that moment in the church when it’s your turn to step up to the altar in front of the Bishop, the Holy Spirit enters your soul. How lucky & blessed you’ll be at that moment! That’s what’s real. That’s what matters. The gift God bestows on you at that moment can never be taken away from you.


You’ll be able to use that gift of the Holy Spirit as a “toolbox” for how to live a good life, but more important, you’ll use the gift of the Holy Spirit to help others live a good life, which is the whole reason Jesus came to earth in the first place: to teach us, through His example, to love one another as we love ourselves, & as God loves us.

You’ll learn to recognize when someone is filled with the Holy Spirit, whether it’s a priest, a friend, or a cashier at the grocery store. You’ll also know when the Holy Spirit is actively working through you.


With me, my guardian angel taps me on the shoulder or gives me goosebumps or tingles up & down my spine. She’s saying, “Yes! It’s true!”

Trust your feelings, Katie. If you learn to do this when you’re young, you’ll have a much longer, happier life. Don’t let anyone tell you that your feelings (dreams, hopes, fears) are not valid. If you’re feeling it, it’s real.

Don’t waste time doing things you’re not comfortable with for someone who doesn’t truly matter in your life. If you find yourself constantly struggling outside your comfort zone to impress a “friend” or to attract or keep a certain guy, then you must heed this as a signal that the person is not right for you. This will make more sense to you when it happens.

You are a beautiful, funny, caring, special girl. You need to look in the mirror every morning, Katie, & tell yourself that! You can say, “Girlfriend, you got it goin’ ON!” Because, Katie, YOU DO. Don’t ever make a project of making less of yourself for someone who just doesn’t matter.


I’m including the words to a song by Erykah Badu that just about says it all.

I love you! How blessed you are, Katie! Use your toolbox (wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, fear of the Lord) well & often! Most important, SHARE YOUR TOOLS!

Love, Aunt Kathie



Written by Erykah Badu

from her first album,


“See, I pick my friends the way I pick my fruit

My auntie taught me that when I was only a youth

I don’t walk around trying to be what I’m not

I don’t waste my time trying to get what you got

I work at pleasing me because I can’t please you

And that’s why I do what I do

My soul flies free like a willow tree…

And if you don’t want to be down with me

Then you don’t want to be from my apple tree

I have a hoe, and I take it everywhere I go

‘Cause I’m planting seeds so I reap what I sow

I can’t control the soul flowing in me.”

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.)

I need a Holiday.

June 13, 2008
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I just got done watching the movie The Holiday with Jack Black, Kate Winslet, Jude Law & Cameron Diaz. This is the second time I saw it.

This time around, it made me really depressed. Are there people in real life that have experienced happy romantic lives like these characters? If so, note to Source: You missed me when You were bestowing lasting happiness through romantic relationships. I just go through day in & day out (okay, year in & year out) of quiet desperation in this department.

I must admit though, watching this movie again also made me hopeful that someday I might be able to experience some of the things that happened in the movie. Yeah, I know. One’s born every minute.

I like this movie. I know it’s supposed to be a Christmas movie, but you should rent it & tell me what you think. It got 2 stars on my cable network (which I just don’t understand). I give it 4 stars.

There’s a great scene in this movie with Jack Black & Kate Winslet in the video store.

How come it’s okay for male actors to be overweight but not female actors? I think Jack Black is attractive. & actors like Patrick Dempsey does nothing for me. Go figure. On the other hand, I think Jude Law is exceedingly cute, & he looks like he needs to eat something with gravy on it now or risk falling over in a dead faint.

It makes me laugh to think there are women who think Kate Winslet is fat. God forbid a woman should have a derriere. I must say I think Kate’s costar in The Holiday, Cameron Diaz, is annoying. I’m not talking about her weight – although she is bony – although the term skinny bitch does come to mind.

Speaking of Christmas movies: I read that the actor who played the young George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life, Robert J. Anderson, died this week. “Don’t hit my bad ear, Mister Gower!” He was born the same year as my father, but outlived him by 25 years. My father reminded me more of Mister Gower (pre-come-to-Jesus) than he ever did of George Bailey, that’s for sure.

That movie. Hmm. I know everyone loves it (I do, too). But I can’t always watch it. This past Christmas I didn’t. I just couldn’t bring myself to listen to its feel-good, upbeat message of “Just think of how many people you made happy with your miserable little life.” As if that should really keep people rattling around this dark wilderness called existence even though we’re personally unhappy. How should I react to being neglected, ignored, exploited, passed over, dismissed, not taken seriously, taken advantage of, etc.? By just being thankful at least I made everyone else’s lives I touched happy? Jeez, if that’s not a reason to become a hermit, I don’t know what is.

I always laugh when I hear someone who’s recently separated say, “I just want him [or her] to be happy.” Yeah, right. How selfless. Just think how often your ex thought about your happiness when he was running around behind your back with a 26-year-old or working in the office 16 hours at a clip instead of home taking care of his family, or whatever it was that he did to cause your marriage to break up.

It seems mighty bleak to me to think that we should just trudge on through our sad, lonely lives because – you never know! – you might be able to make someone’s day by pulling them out of the way of a speeding cab or handing them back their wallet they dropped without realizing it. & then the poor helpful sap wanders home to her empty house & watches romantic comedy reruns on basic cable while eating Skinny Cow pretend-ice-cream cones to try to temporarily salve her heart (you know, the one that’s been broken so many times it has a stone of scar tissue inside it).

So dear George Bailey, thanks for all your help. But when someone saves the Building & Loan from Mister Potter, there will always be 20 Republicans like the Bush family, Dick Cheney, & John McCain to swoop down & turn it into something far more sinister & scandalous than a burlesque house.

But at least we’ll always have Jack Black in The Holiday, sitting at his piano with Kate Winslet singing, “Scroodeley doodle, dee scroodeley doo…” That should distract us from the hundreds of impeachable offenses George W. Bush & Dick Cheney have perpetrated on the selfless & helpful citizens of the United States.

Come to think of it, the phrase “I just want him to be happy” usually precedes some kind of rampage, so I guess I should take that with a grain of salt. Pass the Skinny Cow.


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