Take Me Home Country Road

The things that matter...

The things that matter…

VIRGINIA

We’ve been coming to Virginia to spend time with Mary and the girls for a long time now. Living in Buckhead/Sandy Springs, it is “tough” for kids to have a normal perspective when surrounded by McMansions, luxury cars and people saying things like, “I can’t believe we have to go to Costa Rica again.” Mary does very well for herself and her girls go to private school, and want for nothing. Her neighborhood is nice but the people seem a little more down to earth than mine. It’s the kind of neighborhood where kids knock on your door and ask, “Can you come out to play?” and everyone knows everyone. In other words, it’s the perfect Trick-or-Treat neighborhood. I grew up in a neighborhood like that. There are definitely memories of adventures outside my home that my parents had no idea about. Because we’ve been coming here regularly, Chase and I seamlessly pick up where we left off.

MY BESTIE BETH

Another reason I love coming to Virginia, is my best girlfriend from college lives in Alexandria. Every year, Chase and I get to spend time with her, her husband (Nigel) and her 5 children (and counting).

Beth,Me, Pearl,Enoch,Jesse,Chase,Nigel, Faith (kneeling) Moses(stroller)

Beth, Me, Pearl,Enoch,Jesse,Chase,Nigel, Faith (kneeling) Moses(stroller)

Whenever we get together, it is “controlled” chaos.  A typical visit usually includes: Yard-Play-To-The-Death matches, Nigel smoking a cigar, Beth & I chatting in between yelling at kids, then going out to dinner where food is flying, then a trip to Candi’s Candies, swimming at Nigel’s parents, then back to the house for games until people fall asleep with crumbs on their lips. Day one. I also like the fact that they way things like, “God’s will…,” or “He is just inspiring my righteous anger!” It isn’t meant funny, but it kind of is.

There are people in my life who were not born my sisters but they are the sisters I have chosen and Beth is definitely one of them. The kids love Chase and he is more like a cousin than anything else. Chase is big brother to everyone and it’s times like this I am most proud of him. I will confess I am not the greatest phone person (ask Cliff), but I love sitting with my girlfriends and catching up where we left off. Every time Beth and I talk, I inevitably learn something or take something away that makes me feel loved and reaffirms why I love her. After I told her about the new sleeping arrangement in the Wright house, she said, “Kathryn, I know it is so tough and I’m so proud of you.” It took me a couple of days, but just hearing her say that practically made me cry. No one knows your life, but it’s nice when you have friends who support you, when you bitch about your new housekeeper or your husband. If you don’t have a friend who tells you she is proud of your marital sacrifices, then you be that friend.

RITUALS

I read somewhere that rituals are what strengthen relationships. Whether it’s the daily text you send someone, the lunch date you have with girlfriends every sunday, or the annual trip you make to see someone you love. You need an “every” with the people who you want to miss you when you aren’t around. Beth and I can’t let any visit pass without reminding each other that we used to dance in our underwear (in public!), smoke cigarettes, and drink coffee and biscotti late into the night.

Going home doesn’t necessarily have to be a place.

On a bench in Olde Town Virginia

On a bench in Olde Town Virginia

Until next time…

 

 

Summer Mom & Me 2014

Sister-Cousins

Sister-Cousins Jessica (6) Charlotte (7)

 

My Summer Mom & Me trip with Chase is coming to a close. Normally we fly to Virginia, but this year we drove. I have a serious case of driving narcolepsy where if I have to drive more than 30 minutes I could very well fall asleep at the wheel. When I was in college, I used to fight it with Fireballs and cigarettes. This time, I am doing it with Fireballs and Chase. I was initially planning to drop the dogs off with my dad in South Carolina and then drive a few more hours and stop at a hotel and finish the journey the next day. On our way to SC, I had Maggie medicated in the back seat and Chase and I took turns holding Ookii in the front. At one point, Ookii peed on Chase and I thought it was hilarious because Chase just said, “Hey Mom, I think Ookii just peed on me.” So I say, “What do you mean you think? Either she did or she didn’t. Either it was you or it was her. At the next gas station, we stopped so Chase could change pants and do the hobo shower. I bought some baby wipes and told Chase to wipe down Ookii. We were about 45 minutes from my dad’s.

Rode Hard Put Away Wet

Rode Hard Put Away Wet

At dad’s house, Chase took a quick shower because the wipe down at the gas station bathroom just wasn’t enough. I closed my eyes. We got back on the road at 5:30pm.

There comes a point in every road trip where the driver has to decide, can I make it all the way? or should I stop for the night? Mary and I were in constant contact, she was cheering me on the phone, sending me texts with lots of exclamation points and Chase was next to me yelling, “YOU CAN DO IT!” I was bleary eyed, and tired, but I had never driven this much before. I had my ass waffle and after a quick stop at the Dairy Queen, I got my 3rd wind. These are the final text msgs:

  • 12:51  Me: Out of traffic. Tysons corner.will b ther in 26min
  • 12:52 M: Otay. I am in bed now (she thought watching her K Drama would keep her up)
  • 12:55 Me: 22min
  • 1:01 M: Park on Left side of driveway
  • 1:11 Me: 10 min!!!
  • 1:22 Me: We r here!
  • 1:25 Me: Here! Front dr or garage?

…Radio silence…

  • 1:29 AM Me: we r sleeping in the driveway so we don’t wake kids.
I think Mary finally woke up around 5:30 and realized we weren't in the house

I think Mary finally woke up around 5:30 and realized we weren’t in the house

Note to self, next time stop. Chase asked me if I wanted the pillow or the blanket. I let him has both. Believe it or not, I carry an eye mask in my purse.

Until next time…

 

 

Lost in Introspection

When in Rome

When in Rome

 

What happened to me since August of 2013?

No Dear Readers, this is NOT Chase’s new “black daddy” (although I do joke with him about needing to be more diverse). This is a still photograph taken from a film project I worked on a few years ago, but I thought it would be funny to throw it out there. More on that later.

ATLANTA

Honestly, I don’t know where the time went. Cliff and Chase and I continued to go through our reverse culture shock. I think it was really tough on all of us because our time in Tokyo was so fantastic and coming back to America was like being slapped in the face with the huge hand of mediocrity. Chase hated it (but he was distracted with a new school and new friends). Cliff hated it but he pretty much acted the same. I hated it and I sort of floundered. I missed my girlfriends and our talks and lunches and nights out. Our “coolness”. I have come to realize in Atlanta, once you hit a certain age, even if you want to go out and have a little fun, no one else will go out with you! Thank God for Debra. Without her I would be stuck in the abyss of carpooling, Lululemon-wearing, Costco-shopping women who inhabit Atlanta. I find myself asking myself more and more, “Am I too old to be doing this?” “Am I too old to be wearing this?” I started feeling like I swear I could see myself aging with each passing morning. It was very depressing.

SISTERS

Christmas 2013

Christmas 2013

Once when I was telling a therapist how I felt so hurt and confused by my parents, he simply said, “Who else has the power to hurt you?” You assume if people say they love you they won’t hurt you, but if you have those feelings for one another, in the end, they are the only ones who can hurt you. I hit a point when my midlife crisis, my relationships with my sisters, my melancholy for my Tokyo life, and my mother’s memorial suddenly collided and I was sinking into The Vortex. At my next annual checkup, I asked my doctor to put me on an anti-depressant (Lexapro). I think I know when it kicked in because I suddenly found myself going around town with what felt like “The Joker’s” smile on my face. For no reason, I just had this permagrin going.

I hated myself for becoming a “drug-taking schmendrick” as Michael Savage is so fond of calling us. Did I also mention I had moved out of the master bedroom and am sleeping in the upstairs guest room? My relationship with Cliff had deteriorated to the point where I couldn’t stand myself. I tried my best to be supportive, but at some point I hit a wall and I couldn’t start hating myself. Chase has been sleeping with me (but don’t tell his friends). He asked me why I was sleeping in a separate room, and I simply said, “Would you rather I sleep in a separate room or a separate house?” He got the point. I also added that he should try to be nice and respectful with his wife so she never has to “move out.” Funny thing is, ever since I moved out, Cliff has never been nicer! Suddenly… I have “good ideas”. Suddenly, he notices when I color my hair! It’s not how I would like to role model marriage for Chase, but for the first time in a long time, I feel like I’m being appreciated.

The other day I was thinking I am feeling pretty good and life seems to be at our version of “normal” so I was tempted to stop taking my anti-depressant. The only hesitation I have is knowing Maggie (my 1st born dog) is 100 years old in human age and she is really fraile. I figure with my luck, I’ll taper myself off and then she’ll die on me and I’ll quit wanting to get out of bed again. Everyone in the family seems to think I should stay on it. Hmmmm. What do it mean?

WORK & SOCIAL MEDIA

Worked all night!

Worked all night at Comcast!

After months of unpacking and readjusting, I finally felt like it was time to go back to my agents at J Pervis Talent. They were fantastic and welcomed me back with open arms. I started booking commercials right away and enjoyed being part of “the business” again. My actor name is Kathryn Kim. I will let you all know when I book some fun jobs.

I’ve deactivated my Facebook account while I was in Japan, but I have re-activated it. If you would like to friend me I am more than happy to accept. I don’t check it often, but it’s primarily where I keep in touch with other local actors. Again, Kathryn Kim.

RANDOM PHOTOS

Until next time… 

The Prodigal Blogger

After receiving some very kind email and comments (pat pat on my own back), I am dusting off my keyboard and cracking my knuckles to blog again. One of my favorite bloggers, The Good Gatsby, just posted after a LONG hiatus and his first blog upon returning was a classified ad “Intern Wanted”. I think I shall take the route I take with all my close friends and just pick up where we left off.

CHASE

Woodward Academy

Woodward Academy

This past year was really great for Chase. He loves Woodward Academy. Made new friends and earned a Silver Eagle (GPA of 3.6). He has made new friends and survived Atlanta’s public transportation (MARTA). I have to say, this year was his most independent year. I was homeschooling less and he was able to maintain his grades. I have also noticed an increasing sense of independence and awareness of his own sexuality. He is full on in puberty mode and never fails to play the “puberty card” when he gets a chance. Evidently, puberty prevents boys from being able to make a bed or clear a table. Oh, and puberty requires 14 hours of sleep a day. Despite the raging hormones, Chase managed to have a GREAT baseball season. He really spoils us as parents. I asked him what he wanted to do with his skills, and he says he wants to play in college! Wouldn’t that be something!

#8 Chase Wright

#8 Chase Wright

Chase’s stats: 5’8″ or 175cm height & 142 lbs or 64.5 kg 12 years old

  • June 21- July 3rd Virginia visiting my sister (Mary) and 2 nieces (Charlotte & Jessica)
  • July 13- 17th Chase goes to Clemson for Baseball Camp
  • July 19- 27th Chase and Cliff go to Grand Canyon
  • August 1st Chase has baseball tryouts
  • August 13th 1st day of 7th Grade!

I know this blog is pretty straightforward, but forgive me Dear Readers, just getting warmed up. I’m just happy to be back in touch with you all. Will try to catch you up on me next!

Proud mom and Son.

Proud mom and Son

Until next time…

 

Friends & Ends

zipfingrp

Chase came home from camp July 20th. This gave me about 8 days to re-acclimate Chase to civilization and prepare him and the house for our friends from Tokyo arriving June 29th. Packing for camp is definitely better than un-packing from camp. The day after Chase came home, I decided to take him to the primary care clinic because he was covered in strange rashes and complained of an earache. This resulted in a prescription for 10 days of antibiotics and various creams and ointments requiring applications 3 times a day. He’s all good now, but even though Chase swears he showered, this is what I found while I was unpacking his bag:

A little bird told me "Not!"

A little bird told me “Not!”

July 29th arrived and Chase was on the mend. We picked up Ryosuke and his mom (Mami) from the airport in the evening. Up to this point, Mami-San was my son’s Japanese friend’s mom. So far, I simply thought of her as very nice and very Japanese. Being sensitive to their jet-lag, I scheduled a few things but tried to be flexible as well. After we dropped off bags at the house, we went to Sweet Hut Café off Buford Highway.

Boys and their buns

Breaking bread

It’s my new favorite place. Even if they don’t serve Pot Bing-soo, they do sell amazing green tea frappes and milk teas with jellies and bubbles. If you have no idea what I am talking about, definitely give it a try. You will be instantly addicted. This place also reminds me so much of the bakeries in Korea and Japan.

I had forewarned Mami, that Chase and I needed to spend a little time each day reviewing some math because he had a placement exam for school on Friday. She was fine with that and we set aside a little time each morning for the boys to get yelled at. Just kidding, we were only “speaking with emphasis”. The first full day we ended up going to CNN headquarters and rock climbing. It was a blast. When you live somewhere, you rarely get the motivation to be an actual tourist in your own town unless you have guests and this was one of those times. The tour was terrific and our guide was funny, and you know me, it’s all about the photo-op:

Back to you Chase...

Back to you Chase…

After the tour, I had arranged for us to go indoor rock-climbing. I love to do outdoor things, but because I hate the sun, bugs, and mosquitoes, it really limits me. Indoor-anything works. Again, something I had never done, but thought would be fun and physical. We all strapped on our gear and started climbing with our guide. Chase started out strong having just come back from camp, but ended up losing steam towards the end. On the last wall, I was aghast watching him actually throw his body against the base of the wall just hoping he would stick to it. As a mother, it was a little mortifying. Ryosuke ran out of steam about the same time and I blame that on his refusal to eat from being “so excited.” Mami and I were little monkeys. For a woman who doesn’t work out at all, she was doing great. The last wall was the only one she couldn’t complete and it wasn’t for lack of trying. That last wall, had us climbing upside down on a very steep face. The only people in our group who managed to make it to the top were me and a U.S. Marine. He muscled his way through and you could just tell he was trying hard from his all-over sweat and trembling muscles. I took the climb one blob at a time and just kept “hanging in there” (pun intended). Getting to the top completely took me by surprise. I think I was “in the zone”. When I came down off the side, I felt such a mix of relief and accomplishment and amazement, I almost started to cry. I suddenly thought about my mom. It’s funny how it doesn’t matter how old you are, sometimes, you just wish your mom or dad just saw you do that.

The next day was Wednesday and I promised the boys they could spend the day at the house doing whatever instead of being dragged around shopping with us. That evening Cliff was taking the boys to see the Braves play the Rockies and it turned out to be a perfect day.

Turner Stadium

Turner Stadium

Thursday, we drove to Lake Lanier to go zip-lining. We were in a group with another family from North Georgia. It was Mami’s first time listening to people with real thick Georgia accents. She was so funny, because she thought I actually knew another language because I was communicating with them! Then she realized all my responses were in Engrish ;) I just explained that this was an example of the Southern Dialect. One of the sons (who is in college) actually told me he was interested in going to Thailand to teach English. Being the adult, I was able to quickly don the Korean mask-of-no-expression, Chase unfortunately just stood there with his eyes like buttons and his mouth agape.

Ryosuke & Chase Zipping along

Ryosuke & Chase Zipping along

Chase and I had to spend half of Friday at Woodward getting testing and orientation. We came home as soon as possible so Ryosuke and Chase could spend their last day together and I could take Mami out for one last shopping opportunity. That evening, my girlfriends: Holly, Debra, and Mia came over to eat ribs a la Cliff and meet my guests. I told the boys, since it was their last night, we wouldn’t be bothering them to go to bed and they could do whatever they wanted. This was interpreted as the classic all-nighter. Chase didn’t go to sleep until Saturday morning at 6:30am as we were leaving to take Ryosuke and his mom back to the airport. He woke up just long enough to say good-bye and then collapsed in the back seat.

Tomorrow is Chase’s first day of School. It is officially the end of summer for us. It has been terrific. Yesterday, he and I went on one of our lunch “adventures” and tried a new dim sum restaurant. He noticed I seemed a bit melancholy and asked me what was on my mind. I guess it hit me that my summer buddy was not going to be around. As each year passes, I have this growing anxiety about my relationship with Chase. I don’t know when I will no longer seem cool in his eyes. I guess the important thing is he will always be cool in mine.

Chase & Mom 2008

Chase & Mom 2008

Until next time…

Long Time No See

Have you ever broken up with someone by just not talking to them? Days turn into weeks that turn into months and before you know it, just the thought of seeing him/her again fills you with anxiety? That’s how I felt about this post.

The first thing I did was read my last post.

Secondly, I had to return to my couch and have a drink and wrap my head around all the updating necessary.

Alas, the prodigal blogger returns…

Please forgive me

Please forgive me

CHASE

After an interesting 1st season back in American Little League baseball, Chase’s baseball team the Texas Rangers ended up in the Final 4. All in all, he ended up having a great season and growing into an amazing 1st baseman. We never thought Chase would have a season when his fielding surpassed his batting but that’s exactly what happened. He did hit a home run over the fence and Cliff and I were so happy for him to have his moment. There was one evening that felt a lot like an episode of “Intervention“. We were talking about the stress of being at bat and it suddenly dawned on me: Chase was terrified of disappointing everyone. He knows everyone expects him to hit it out of the park every time and that pressure was just crushing him. We screamed and cried and hugged it out. It just takes time.

woodwardWE

After all the applications and interviews, Chase will be attending Woodward Academy in the Fall of 2013. I truly believe it is God’s will. There are too many factors to mention that lead me to feel this way. We couldn’t be happier. I admire Chase’s ability to go through so many transitions in such a short time. His last days at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School were sad for him. I think it finally hit him that he was leaving all these kids he’s known (some of them since 3 years old). As I watched him leaf through his old and new annuals, talking about this person and that, I realized this was his way of coping with his feelings. Even though he may not see them anymore, he would always have this book of faces to remember them by. By the time the 5th Grade Moving On Chapel arrived, I saw a boy who was committed to his decisions and at peace.

Thanks for the memories

Thanks for the memories

July 10th 2013: Chase is in week 2 at Camp Kieve having a great time. Cliff goes up on the 20th to bring him home. I promised Chase if he got accepted to a new school, I would redecorate his room.

kievecraft

Please be a plant holder!

FAMILY

April marked the 1st anniversary of Mom’s passing. About 2 weeks beforehand I was having a really rough time emotionally and decided to see an empath. During my session, I was able to communicate with my mom and get some closure over some things. The empath was also able to give me some reassurances regarding what I was going through and what lay ahead of me. Knowing we were going to mom’s anniversary service, I felt very strongly about wearing a Hanbok (Korean traditional dress) to the service. Neither of my sisters felt the same no matter how much I tried to convince them… but at the VERY last minute, they broke down!

Mary, Bess, & Me

Mary, Bess, & Me

It made me feel so good that they did this. I know mom was smiling.

One Year Later

One Year Later

I know the last few posts have been at times harsh. Especially about some members of my family. My poor sister Mary has been the glue holding us all together. Of course, while we were all together, Mary took the opportunity to force Bess and myself to have a heart to heart. We screamed, cried and hugged it out. Why is it so hard to share our feelings? Is stubbornness one of the Deadly Sins because if it isn’t it really should be. There was a time when Bess and I were absolute best friends and I remember thinking just how lucky I am to be able to call my sister “best friend”! I miss that girl. I am grateful to Mary for doing God’s work and the work mom would want to be done. After all that yelling and crying, I hope Bess truly understands that I forgive her, love her, and support her. Life is too short.

My dad is still seeing the same lady. We have still not officially met her. Fortunately, he hasn’t run off and eloped with her. We have continued to extol the virtues of “dating around”, “just dating” and “not getting too serious”. He seems to be in his own groove and I am honestly happy that he has found happiness with someone.

Cliff, Chase and I continue everyday to remind ourselves we are no longer in Tokyo. Just recently, Cliff and I took MARTA (public train transport in Atlanta) to see what it would be like for Chase if he commutes to school that way:

Must. Not. Make. Eye. Contact.

Must. Not. Make. Eye. Contact.

It’s amazing to me how even in the short time we were in Tokyo, we made such unforgettable friends. Even today, not a day goes by when I don’t think about the friends I left behind.

On a positive note, I did realize today, one thing that has changed since we moved back is I don’t have to blog alone anymore:

Maggie & Ookii providing inspiration

Maggie & Ookii providing inspiration

Until next time…

DATES

July 20th Cliff & Chase come home from Maine

July 29th Ryosuke & his mom (Mami) arrive from Tokyo for visit

August 12th First Day of School

Honesty Over Harmony

Wish I lived here

Wish I lived here

“Honesty over Harmony” was something a woman in Colorado once told me. You know how there are quotes that echo in your mind for the rest of your life? This was one of those. It was the title of a course she and her husband took after an episode of infidelity. I can’t say I agree on that front, but I do believe it has a purpose (more on that later, probably).

After my last blog, I received some “honest” comments and by that, I mean death threats… mostly from family members (aka Crazy Middle Sister). This, I expected and understood, but this is my blog, and if the truth hurts, I can only suggest some personal introspection. If anyone should be sending me nasty messages, it should be Cliff and Chase. They have oft been the inspiration for my blog and usually don’t know about it until I’ve posted. I always appreciate their feedback, listen to their pleading, but if sugar-coated family times are what they are looking for, I suggest they start viewing old Leave it to Beaver or Brady Bunch episodes. To their credit, they have an amazing sense of humor and surrender about the whole thing. It also means I can count on at least a few days of super “good behaviour” after I roast them in a blog. I love them for putting up with my rants in person and in Blogsphere.

Not Us

Not Us

I like to think I am most honest about myself. People I know who read this blog tell me how much they laugh sometimes. Do I get offended? No. I never know what makes people laugh, but if my life-adventures bring a chuckle or two, call me Mother Theresa. If you’re the type of person who is offended by everything, Freakin’ A, let me be the one to tell you, no one likes you or wants to spend time with you… and YOU WILL NEVER FIND A HUSBAND. Back to me. The other day, I went out, in my usual Brazilian, spandex workout uniform, thinking I looked pretty good. I was wearing the one pair of capri pants that weren’t black (this pair was actually a sky blue). I go to spin, do some yoga, run errands, then I get home. To my horror, I realize these capris give me camel toe to the degree that would make a camel’s podiatrist blush. I’ve been walking around, visiting my fishman (who did give me a good deal on some wild Sea Bass), looking like a Smurfette with no panties! Well, needless to say, I peeled off those pants and they were retired in the trash can.

I don't get it.

I don’t get it.

SCHOOL HONESTY: Private school admissions letters are due to be mailed out April 5th. We can access the verdicts online by the 6th, but call me old-fashioned and superstitious, but I like the anticipation of trying to use my x-ray vision, waiting for Chase to come home, and ripping an envelope open. Good or Bad, I think Chase needs to experience that for himself. My other sister in Virginia, who is a super spy during the day and yet somehow manages to have time to raise 2 girls on her own and be my personal IT support, told me she thinks I’m too hard on Chase in the blogs and making him sound academically average. That made me a little sad, because that is absolutely not the impression I would ever want anyone to have. Nor would I want him to think I felt like that once he is older and diligently reading and savouring all of mommy’s precious blog posts. I apologize if I have not accurately portrayed my son’s awesomeness. As parents, it is a fine line between being motivational while belittling your child and crushing his spirit completely. I try to ease up when I see quivering chin action.

BASEBALL HONESTY: Little league sure has changed. We (and by we, I mean Chase) are in the Majors playing on the Texas Rangers. Chase has always been The Hitter. He usually plays clean up and hits it over the fence at least once every season. That being said, I told the new coach to please not put him at #4 (Clean Up Batter) early in the season because he puts a lot of pressure on himself and ends up choking at bat. Of course, during practices, Chase was killing the pitches. Really performing well, and by the time games started, they decided to start him at #4. Chase hasn’t had a hit in 6 games. After game 4 they finally put him at #8 which was a big relief to all of us, but I’m worried the damage has been done. We are trying to stay confident and upbeat for his sake, but he cries after every game because he feels like he’s let everyone down. To be honest. This may be our last season.

Chase is #1 in our book. Number 12 on the team.

Chase is #1 in our book. Number 12 on the team.

Net-Net, I’m sorry if feelings are hurt. I try to disguise names as much as possible (not really). With everything going on in my family right now, that phrase, “Honesty over Harmony” never rang more true. I’ve learned one thing: You can eventually have harmony with honesty, but you will NEVER have harmony through lies. Peace out.

Until next time…

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