Kathy Riordan

Kathy Riordan
Florida, United States
April 27
One woman's view of life and the universe. Follow @katriord on Twitter.


Kathy Riordan's Links

Poetry, if you like that sort of thing
Some great stuff around here
Where I've Been, Where I'm Going
What I Can't Write About
Twitter Is What You Make It
Articles on World War II
Some of my work on Iran
A little about me
I also write here
NOVEMBER 30, 2013 9:12PM

The Sound of Music and Me

I have this personal theory about The Sound of Music, that people respond to it viscerally based on the character with whom they most relate.

As part of that theory, I'm always intrigued by how old people were when the film was made--or whether they were even yet born.  How old they… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 5, 2013 1:08AM

The Tree

Screen shot 2013-11-05 at 12

The first time I saw the tree was a November morning.  Delicate but sturdy enough, with the promise of flower.  And fruit.

And when the spring came, it blossomed, soft pink to white.

It wasn't meant to get that large, just occupy a preordained space in the landscape, arms outstretche… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 9, 2013 11:42AM

What Came of It

It wasn't so much the smile, crooked though it was

Endearing, kind of a W,

People asked if it was a genetic trait or if

It was an anomaly, but there it was.

Something that could be noticed right away, a flash of hair,

Something unkempt, not perfect, but filled with… Read full post »

JANUARY 22, 2013 8:51PM




It was the first thing I never had

First since Eve

Not an apple at all really

That thing they held in the bleachers in school

During cold football games in Wyoming

Maybe a nickel then, maybe fifteen cents

I don't know


I could never figure out how… Read full post »

JANUARY 21, 2013 9:28AM

Inauguration ~ The Gift Outright


When asked what his favorite memory was of the JFK inauguration, my husband would faithfully respond, "Hearing Frost."

For it was on that January morning in Washington something of consequence, amid the monuments, the snow, the cold.  The poet.

January 20, 1961. 

"The land wasRead full post »

JANUARY 18, 2013 4:59PM




I don't know who would play him in a film version. Anthony Hopkins, maybe. Clint Eastwood.  

At the front of that classroom was a lectern, with a thesaurus tucked inside. It was the first place I ever encountered a thesaurus, or a comma splice. Or a sentence… Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 14, 2012 4:03PM

Our Highest Selves

"Even in our grief we will be resolute. . ."

It was hard not to be moved watching the ceremony this afternoon at Andrews Air Force Base as the remains of the four fallen U.S. State Department employees were returned from Libya, in the presence of grieving loved ones, the Secretary… Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 13, 2012 4:13PM

Let Me Talk About Your Prophet

I grew up in the desert, the daughter of a fundamentalist religion.  Our prophet was revered, and his memory considered sacred. 

An interesting juxtaposition occurred on the planet last night.  Just a day after violence in Libya resulting in the deaths of four U.S. State Department em
Read full post »
SEPTEMBER 11, 2012 9:01AM

Incognito in Istanbul



It was a day like any other, except that it began a story.

It was a day like any other, except that it set the world on its side.

It was a day like any other, until time stopped.


This was our day.  And the week that

Read full post »
SEPTEMBER 6, 2012 2:11PM

Being Bill Clinton



It was on a trip through St. Louis nearly twenty years ago that I first appreciated Bill Clinton was a force of nature.  I was newly married, and Bill Clinton was also on a honeymoon of sorts--in the Oval Office, new to the job, the man from Hope.  We… Read full post »

AUGUST 9, 2012 10:49AM

The Portrait

“All grown-ups were once children... but only few of them remember it.”        • Antoine de Saint-ExupéryThe Little Prince     

I should let the artist tell the story,… Read full post »
JULY 27, 2012 4:08PM

Olympic Memories


The 2002 Winter Olympic cauldron at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.


I remember it clearly, and with great affection . . . the Opening Ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, held at Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah perched above the lights… Read full post »

JUNE 30, 2012 9:43AM

The Ancestor Quilt



I stood sentinel one summer Sunday afternoon in a graveyard in rural Centre County, Pennsylvania, surrounded by traditional Amish farms.  Suddenly a sea of blue dresses, black pants and white shirts came floating up from the field below, young people mostly, walking back to their… Read full post »

JUNE 29, 2012 11:38AM

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?


Two days before my winter migration to Florida last November, an unexpected visitor arrived in our neighborhood in central Wisconsin--a six foot black bear.

Although we live very much in town, and less than two blocks as the eagle flies from the helicopter landing pad that services the local… Read full post »


Within minutes of the Supreme Court's decision this morning upholding the Affordable Care Act (ACA), voices on both ends of the political spectrum were responding to what seemed to be a surprise decision to many, the joining of Chief Justice John Roberts' opinion to the 5-4 majority.

But what… Read full post »
APRIL 14, 2012 10:41PM

Last Dinner On the Titanic


April 1992, aboard the Royal Princess New York to Southampton.  


Exactly twenty years ago,  April 15, 1992, I was aboard a ship making its way in the North Atlantic.  At 10:30 that night, on the portside of an elegant dinner, some were snuggled in beds… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 29, 2012 3:47PM

One More Trip Around the Sun


A friend, Kirsten, in China said it best this morning, on a Facebook status update:

"I'm going to carpe the hell out of this diem."

It's a gravy day, to be sure.  A bonus.  That day that tags onto February only once every four years, making sure women can break… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 9, 2012 12:51PM

Perfect Vision

It occurred to me when I looked at myself in the mirror this morning that I would never see myself the same way again.

My perspective is about to be forever altered. 

I remember exactly when it occurred to me that I might need glasses for something slightly more serious than…

Read full post »

DECEMBER 31, 2011 10:04AM

The Good Year


"What rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?"

~ from The Second Coming, William Butler Yeats


It was universally acknowledged that it had been a good year.  Standing at the podium, overlooking a sea of humanity, it was easy to think on… Read full post »

DECEMBER 27, 2011 9:00AM

Christmas, Party of One



It's hard to say when my husband stopped liking Christmas.  It isn't that he hated it, exactly.  On a certain level he loved it, the 'O Holy Night' part of it, but like my father he was at an uncertain peace with it, a private war, reclined in a chair… Read full post »

DECEMBER 23, 2011 7:35PM

Christmas Greetings

To friends and loved ones near and far, good friends on Open Salon, all the best at the holidays and always.



The photo is one taken of us on the beach at 505 Front Street, Lahaina, Maui, a few years ago at the Feast at Lele.  It seemed toRead full post »

DECEMBER 12, 2011 7:47AM

What's In a (First) Name?



Maybe it's just me, but I'm not sure I want a president whose first name is 'Newt.'

For that matter, I'm not sure I want a president whose name is 'Mitt' or 'Rick.'

Conjuring up images of small amphibious creatures aside, I'd be ever so much more comfortable if

Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 10, 2011 9:28AM

The Gun

Jo Anne Worley of Laugh-In once said that she dreamt about the secrets of the universe, and quickly scribbled them onto a piece of paper at her bedside.

The next morning, she awoke and read the paper.  "Cottage cheese." 




My dad with his brother, fishing.  WyRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 7, 2011 4:17PM

First, Do No Harm



I still remember where I was that brisk November morning when I got the call, on my way into a Minnesota hospital where my husband was a patient.

The nurse on the other end sounded young, and surprisingly nonchalant.  "Oh, hi, Mrs. Riordan.  Lawrence is fine, but. . ."Read full post »

NOVEMBER 1, 2011 8:59PM

Dear Folks

Just a few months after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, a nineteen-year-old student at St. Mary's College in Winona, Minnesota, was writing letters home to his parents in Chicago anticipating going to war, wanting very much to fly.

That student was my husband.  These are excerpts from some oRead full post »