Monday, September 2, 2013

Implode

I'm assuming you'd like to hear the story of my first trip into my new home state, right?

Any objections?? Speak now....(**crickets**)

Okay good. Here we go:

It was a Tuesday. I flew Virgin America and had an uneventful flight from NY to CA:

In hindsight, that may or may not have been smoke from wildfires...at the time though, all I kept thinking was "oooooh....pretty mountains!" 

When we landed in LA, all I could think was, "Where are the palm trees? Wait, is that--I think I see them!!"

Even though I've been MIA from InsideOut for a while, I'm lucky to still have my celebrity buds standing by to help with the messy disembarking, decompressing, ear-popping and endless claiming of one's bags. And so, I was elated to see my good friend George waiting for me in the terminal:
Yeah, I know....he looks annoyed. That's because he tried to meet me at the gate and therefore had to navigate security...and all they really wanted was his autograph. Whatever. Being famous comes with some inconveniences, right? It's not my fault.


We then had to walk REALLY FAST to the baggage terminal, as if we were being chased by wild boar! I have no idea what that was about but I spent the entire walk chatting at his back about my uneventful flight, my lunch and how airport security had confiscated the hotel-sized grape jam that had mysteriously appeared in my bag.

When we reached the baggage carousel, George immediately sat down, blending into the crowd and started casually flipping through some newspaper. I noticed he'd donned a baseball cap emblazoned with the slogan, "I don't need a recipe. I'm Italian!" on it. This is when I'd realized I was on my own retrieving my bags.

Sigh.

S-l-i-d-e.....CRASH!!!.....round and round they go. I'm waiting patiently at first...people-watching, "Is that Gaga? Nope...just an 8-year-old girl. Is that the guy who played the mean guy on The Office? He had an unusual name...'Snowblower'? 'Hail'? Now I remember...it was 'Rainn-something'? No, wait. That man looks to be in his 80's...never mind."

All of the above took place over an extended period of time and I suddenly realized that there were no bags left to claim. Now, my bag was MIA, as was George
...who'd decided to head for the airport bar to wait out was was sure to be a laborious lost-luggage process.

I dejectedly headed into the Virgin America office, eyes darting to the corners of the room for any sign of my black, overstuffed bag. The woman behind the desk inquired as to my name and upon hearing it, she replied (somewhat snippily), "Yes. He's bringing its contents to you now."

Its contents? As in....the inside of said bag? WTF??

Sure enough, this guy rounds the corner by the baggage carousel and in his hand he is half-carrying, half-dragging a huge, clear plastic bag containing all my stuff. Prominently displayed are my undies, cosmetics and what I realize is an inordinate amount of Q-tips...all jumbled and mish-mashed together....quite the opposite I might add, to the neat, organized packing it took me two days to accomplish. 

I heard a tapping coming from above and glanced up to see George, attempting an Oscar-winning performance in his efforts to not burst into uncontrolled gales of laughter...
and failing miserably. I'll deal with you later, GC.

I turn to the airport guy:

Kathryn: "Seriously? WTH?"

Airport Guy: (Sheepish) "Yeah. I know....go figure."

K: "What the hell happened? It's not Samsonite, ya know. You can't be all throwing it around like it's made of Kryptonite, or something."

A.G.: "That's Superman. Superman has Kryptonite. You're thinking of the monkey who threw the luggage around in those ancient teevee commercials."

K: "I DON'T CARE! What happened to my luggage?"

A.G.: (Sniffs) "It seems to have imploded. No-one knows how or why these things happen...they just do. Kind of a freak of nature....like heat lightning...or those sneakers designed to look like human feet."

K: "So...with no human intervention whatsoever, this piece of perfectly good luggage just...'imploded'...out of the blue, throwing my unmentionables all willy-nilly?"

A.G.: "Uh huh. And an inordinate amount of Q-tips as well, I might add."

K: "Where's the suitcase itself?"

A.G.: "Oh, it's in there. See the bits of black material? I think I got it all."

At this point, I sat on the floor next to my plastic-bag-luggage and wondered how the hell I was going to exit the airport with this thing in tow. This goes waaaay beyond embarrassing...even for me. By this time, the area was virtually deserted and George decided to join me to survey the damages. When we opened the bag, we discovered that miraculously, my black bag was still intact....just inside out. After many tugs and pulls and other sophisticated suitcase maneuvers, we managed to right it and after several tries, we even got the zipper to close after dumping all my crap back into it.

We stood up, released the handle that allowed my bag to roll out the door and as George handed me a coffee cup (actually filled with a vodka tonic, which made all forgiven), he smiled...and said, "Welcome to Cali, Kathryn!"

The next day, I replaced the luggage.

Happy Labor Day, all!

xoxo

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Saturday, August 31, 2013

CALIFORNIA!

Yes, faithful readers....it's me. On this last day of August, 2013...with no furniture delivered as yet, my head spinning from the enormity of what I've managed to accomplish over the last month and my fingers poised over my old, slow, yet amazingly faithful 2006 laptop (Connor (16) has commandeered my beloved MAC, sighting mental anguish as his computer is stuck on the moving truck), I shout these words to anyone who's still listening:

I'VE MOVED TO CALIFORNIA!
Anyone who knows me well knows I've got a bit of a thing for anything tropical.



The above three photos were taken from the hotel we stayed at in Long Beach, while I pounded the pavement looking for a rental I could imagine calling home. Seriously. From my perspective, what's not to like? 

I hadn't settled on a home by the time I returned to New York but that didn't stop me. I booked the movers anyway and figured, "What the hell. It'll all come together. Right?" Two days before the movers arrived, I locked in the rental. 

From that point, everything went into warp speed. Connor (16) and I arrived with whatever we could fit into a suitcase (or four) and thanks to Ikea, Target and CVS, we've managed a semblance of normalcy. 

Between working remotely, registering Connor for school and remembering all the people who still don't know I've left the east coast, I know I have a lot of work yet to do.

For those who prefer a visual, here's what a 1-week-old living room looks like:
Homey, right? That black monstrosity will be Connor's new computer station...built by yours truly (with absolutely no help from said Connor...just saying) but we don't want to finish assembling it in his room till the big furniture arrives, to make it easier on the movers. The brightly-colored lawn chairs served as desk chairs for about a week, until I thought I'd lose my mind (and my back...and damage my tushie). I broke down and bought 2 folding chairs....aaaahhhh...much better. And that red cooler? That was our fridge for 5 days. Evidently, Californians are very attached to their refrigerators....who knew? 

Anyway. Here we are. This place is bright, clean and already feels like home. I haven't felt truly happy in my surroundings in New York for many years now and I'm hoping this will be the beginning of a whole new chapter in Kathrynville. 

I'm sorry I couldn't clue you guys in sooner to my dreams of moving out here but there are some who visit here for reasons other than to be kind and say hello and I didn't feel comfortable announcing before I was ready. As with many things in life, it's.....complicated.

With new beginnings come new opportunities....and I'm planning to rejoin my beloved friends in Bogville as part of my new, improved life. I'll leave you with my very first purchase to signify the beginning of my now (tropical life):
Yes, people....it's a dwarf orange tree! Something I have always wanted. 

So, enjoy the holiday weekend, dudes and dude-ettes.....wishing you sunshine, balmy breezes and the heavenly smell of barbecues!

xoxo

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Eliza the Inspirational Elf



I realized the other day that I needed to update my 2012 list to Santa. I freaked out for a sec, thinking that it had to be too late…but then I figured, “No prob. I’ll just shoot the old geezer a quick email. He’d probably be impressed with my ingenuity and thoughtfulness in offering him an updated option to the old-fashioned physicality of unwrapping an actual letter. Besides, I’m sure I’m not the only one who keeps losing her crappy letter opener.

I thought you might like to see how this dialogue played out:

From: Kathryn
To: Mr. Santa Claus
Subject: A last-minute plea

Dear Santa,
I apologize for the delay in sending out this request to you. I’m sure you’re extremely busy, so I won’t keep you. I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind adding to your sleigh some “Lancôme Resolution Eye Refill-3X™ Triple-Action Renewal Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream”.  
I’d really appreciate it!
Happy Holidays-
Kathryn

From: Mr. Santa Claus
To: Kathryn
Subject: Re: Re: A last-minute plea

Dear Kathryn,
Thank you for your recent email and subsequent eleventh-hour request for ”Lancôme Resolution Eye Refill-3X™ Triple-Action Renewal Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream”.  I’m afraid Mr. Claus is out of the office at this time and will not return until January 7th. I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for a response. But thank you for your desire to add even more strife to our already crushingly insane schedule, all in an effort to satisfy your vain, selfish need for perfect skin.
Sincerely,
Eliza the Elf/V.P./Insensitive Last Ditch Requests/North Pole

To: Eliza the Bitch Elf
From: Kathryn
Subject: Re: Re: Re: A last-minute plea

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Why the hostility, Eliza? Shouldn’t you be focusing on needy kids, or that lengthy beach break you guys get in January to relieve some of that stress? I mean, yikes…it’s a teeny bottle of eye cream, for God’s sake. I get mine at the Macy’s counter, if that helps. First floor, next to the Estee Lauder counter? Across from the MAC display.  I promose that the reindeer-police won’t even notice a tip in the register when you add it to the sleigh. It’s not like I’m asking for a freakin’ pony. Lighten up. It’s Christmas.
Cheers,
Kathryn/Requestor of  ”Lancôme Resolution Eye Refill-3X™ Triple-Action Renewal Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream.”

To: Kathryn
From: Eliza the Elf
CC: Mr. Santa Claus
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: A last-minute plea

Kathryn,
When you strike out the word “bitch”, it does not prevent me from being able to see it. I have cc’d Santa on this email. That should give you something to think about for next Christmas.

Macy’s is out of your ”Lancôme Resolution Eye Refill-3X™ Triple-Action Renewal Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream.” It’s on back-order and there is no expected re-stock date. And before you even think of asking, NO, my team cannot scout every possible location in an attempt to find you your freakin’ eye cream. Try replacing some of that wine with water every now and then and while you’re at it, try increasing the resolution on your monitor to 200% so you’ll stop all that squinting…that ought to help. Other than that, I don’t know what to tell you.

Yes, it’s Christmas. Please remember: it’s what’s on the inside that counts. You’ve got to just let it out.

Wow. That would be a great title for something, don’t you think? 

“From the Inside…Out”.

What do you think, Kathryn?
In Christmas Spirit,
Elf Eliza

To: Eliza the Elf
From: Kathryn
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A last-minute plea

This recipient is out of the office and will return on December 26th.  She’s spending the holiday surrounded by those she loves and is happily willing to create a few more smile lines in the process. She's realized it’s a small price to pay.

(Thanks for the reminder, Eliza.)



Wishing everyone the warm comfort of peace we all so deeply deserve this holiday season.

Love you. Mean it.
xoxo


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Monday, October 1, 2012

There She Goes Again

TAP. TAP. TAP.
IS THIS BLOG ON?

Lame Excuse #1:   I lost my password for the blog and couldn't log in.
In Actuality:          I lost my freakin' mind.

Lame Excuse #2:   I could swear I'd received an email from someone saying that the Internet would be closed for....(we hear the rustling of pretend papers)...like, three months.
In Actuality:           I lost my freakin' mind.

Lame Excuse #3:   I've spent the past three months traveling around the world on my private jet with George Clooney and they don't allow computers in international air space.
In Actuality:          This is completely, totally, 100% untrue.

Hello, my loves. How I've missed you!

I was gone so long, I was afraid to look. At my inbox (86 unread messages. 86!)...at the comments from my last spiderweb-laden, antiquated post. (I'm still annoyed that I had to lose the comments showing up on the main page. Hey! Maybe they've fixed that since I've been gone! Huh.)

I've worked. A lot. Now it slowed down...just a smidge...and I found myself thinking, "Remember when you wrote just for you? Oh and also for those poor, neglected subscribers on Kindle?? Remember???"

(Hangs head)

The most self-centered, egotistical thought just popped into my mind: "I can't imagine how they've survived without me."

Yikes. Did I just say that out loud? I promise you that I did not mean that....and I will seek therapy first thing in the morning.

Now I find myself wondering if there's an App for that. I mean, maybe I can just download a PDF and have Siri read me the riot act about taking people for granted while she sternly reminds me that, contrary to my innermost thoughts, I am not the center of the freakin' universe, all whilst I'm comfortably commuting to or from work, in my chariot. I mean, my car. You know, kind of a "get over yourself" book on tape? Surely iTunes must have that.

Siri! Set a reminder: Look into self-help book on part-time narcissism...'cause I'm not really all that bad. Oh and look up the meaning of the word DENIAL while you're at it.

I know you've all just plowed ahead...living your fabulous lives without me. I understand...really I do. I mean, what choice did you have?

I could say that I'm back for good (yeah, we've all heard that one), that I've got it from here (this song is getting old), that I miss each and every one of you with every fiber of my being (insert collective eye roll here, followed by a deep, affectionate sigh).

As I've come to realize, I am my own worst enemy.

But you've got to give me credit for tenacity...


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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Damn You, Responsibility.


I’m so sorry. These words sound hollow…even to me. How can something I adore so much (this place…and by association, each and every one of you) be so difficult to lovingly maintain?

Anyone??

*crickets chirping…*

So here’s the poop, peeps. This is by no means an excuse for my absence…let’s just call it a defense, if we may.


Judge Judy: “Sure, Kathryn. I’m just so damned glad to see you. I will allow it.”

Kathryn: “Oh. Wow. Thanks, Jude…I mean, your honor. Do you have any peppermint candies in that secret pocket in your robe? My mouth’s a little dry.”

Judge Judy: “Sorry. They’re in the robe I use for real hearings. Proceed.”

Ouch.

Anyway. You know I’m a single mom with three sons. You know my eldest has autism and needs a stable environment to live and work, requiring a full-time advocate to figure out how to facilitate improvement in his less-than-ideal living conditions. Evidently, that “full-time advocate” is….well, me. Unless someone’s volunteering?

Anyone?

**More crickets chirping…**

That’s okay. My life, my issues. I know we’ve all got something. 

My middle son (Taylor) has just finished his 2nd year of college, is now officially home with all of his crap stuff and is just now learning to drive, got his license yesterday and plans to drive himself the 5 hours north to his new school in September to get his bachelors degree. Why he is so against the idea of my wrapping him in a little bubble wrap for added protection and accompanying him on the drive so he’ll have backup in case he sneezes and gets snot all over the steering wheel, I’ll never know. He knows I always have Kleenex tucked somewhere.


You’re dismissed, Judge. I hope that robe can double as a tissue ‘cause mine is now officially unavailable.

My youngest (the infamous Connor) is finishing up 9th grade and can tend to be more than a little crabby. He’s in the midst of finals and he keeps calling everyone a “nord”, which I’m thinking is a cross between a nerd and a Nordic person. The connection is lost on me...evidently making me even more of a nord.

I’m working full-time, toggling between our DCH auto group’s Toyota and now our Acura location. Double the Twitter, double the Facebook, double the compliance/website maintenance/feeds/reputation management/meetings, meetings and meetings about the meetings. When I finally arrive home, I hit the computer and split my evenings between one part-time job and two freelance gigs. It’s busy…it’s challenging…it’s downright intimidating. I feel blessed to have the work when I know so many don’t. I feel guilty that I’m not a better cook/housekeeper for the boys but according to them, the most important thing that I can give them is the internet.


Score!

I have 716 unopened emails presently in my inbox. Many are garbage…just as many are not. I know what needs to be done…but until then, my Band-Aid is to create sub-folders with the stuff that simply cannot be ignored, i.e.: Taylor’s college tuition paperwork or Connor’s required physical in order to enter 10th grade. I chip away at the rest…but as fast as I hit "delete"...well, you know. And, I don't want to miss anything.

Lest you think that I’m this disorganized, stressed-out hot mess every single freakin’ day (I secretly am), know this: Recently, (the beginning of April is still considered recent, right?) my two sisters persuaded me to take a 3-day weekend and head to the Cape for a mini getaway to celebrate my birthday, life and sisterhood. But mainly my birthday.


We stayed with our longtime and dear family friends, Mr. and Mrs. Copp, at their incredible oceanfront home. In my humble opinion, nothing restores the spirit better than the gentle roar of the surf and I am once again reminded why oceanfront real estate deserves that hefty price tag.

The only negative to staying with the Copps is the steep staircase that stands between you and digging your toes into the sand of that luscious beach.

Their staircase consists of 77 steps, I believe…and comes complete with three landings, to allow one to drop your beach stuff and take a moment to drink in the view.


And so it came to pass on our first night there that one of the three sisters decides to turn in early…as does our most gracious hosts. This leaves my sister Kerry and I to fend for ourselves. It is a moonless night and after several cocktails, we decide to go for a walk. Realizing we may not have the full capacity to walk down 77 stairs to the beach, we responsibly head out the door that leads to the street. After walking at a brisk pace for what felt like half a mile (in reality, it was more like 100 feet), we boldly announced, "Those stairs are totally doable!" and we gleefully stumble, stagger, tiptoed through the front door, up the stairs, across the living room and slipped through the French doors that lead to the back deck…finding our way to the gated landing at the very tippity top of those stairs. The illumination from the deck was extremely dim from this vantage point…and looking down, it was a big black hole. Kerry chose this moment to solemnly remind me that she’s deathly afraid of heights and that this staircase has been the cause of many a terrifying nightmare going back as far as her early childhood.

Really? Now you tell me this?

But she doesn’t want to turn back…and she’s holding my hand and my arm in a death grip as she takes a deep breath and tells me to open the gate and says, “let’s do this” which is already becoming a challenge because it’s difficult to open the clasp on the gate with only one hand and I’m thinking I’m losing the feeling in my arm from her vise-like grip.

Slowly…step by cautious step, we find our way to the first landing, where Kerry has taken on some breathing technique that reminds me of childbirth (“hee-hee-hee-hee”) and I’m wondering if I could leave her there and run back up for one more martini before we hit the beach.

By the time we hit the second landing, we were in the midst of a heated debate, with Kerry insisting there was a definitive sway to the stairs…and me spouting some bullshit about the psychologically-proven “sway factor” (as it’s known in the industry) whereas someone who’s consumed several shots of tequila, coupled with acrophobia, married with a pitch-black evening and 77 steps will produce the essence of swaying, whereby none actually exists. I’m not sure she could even hear my b.s. explanation over her “hee-hee-hee-hee” breathing…and by the time we hit the next (and final) landing area, it occurred to me that we were still going to have to climb back up these stairs, unless we slept on the beach…which was starting to look like a stellar option.

After pausing again, we stand up and prepare for the final leg of our mission and as I extend my hand toward the latch on the gate, Kerry asks me how much further I think it’ll be. I can hear the roar of the waves below us…but I can’t see much of anything. I imagine myself as a raccoon…or maybe a sloth?…in a vain attempt to create some kind of night vision as I slowly rotate my head first to the left, then to the right…back to the left and then to the right…trying to differentiate between light and shadow…or in this case, pitch-black from…not so much. I’m sensing a span of white from the beach below…but shouldn’t I be picking up on something dark as well? Something like maybe, I don’t know…the stairs directly below me, for instance? Kerry can just make out my head-cocking, head-swaying movement and she starts to laugh as she simultaneously swings open the gate and prepares to step down…into NOTHING. That’s the moment I realize that the stairs…literally…aren’t there. With a shriek, I lunge towards her, grab a handful of her jacket and jerk her backward, sending both of us toppling to the floor of the deck.

She’s like, “WTF?!”

I’m laughing this maniacal laugh and I gasp, “No stairs. There’s no freakin’ stairs. OhmyGod…they didn’t tell us they haven’t put in the #&*%@ stairs.”



Here’s the view the next morning from the beach. Every house on this strip pulls up the very bottom portion of their stairs for the winter; otherwise the ocean at high tide just sweeps it all away. Evidently, we would have known this had we thought to ask…our hosts also felt it would have been fairly obvious had we attempted our descent during (reasonable) daylight hours.

So, we survived…and took the longer, windy way down to the beach for the remainder of our stay. It was positively beautiful.



I hope everyone is well.

From my heart to yours, I wish you health, prosperity and love…and some much-needed time to appreciate it all- 

xo


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Monday, March 26, 2012

Give 'Em Hell



In the dream, I’m having a cocktail. This is precisely why I am unaware that this is a dream…everything seems perfectly normal. Then I happen to glance at a clock. It reads 1:00…and realization dawns. One o’clock? Like, in the afternoon?? Don’t I have a JOB? Oh and a KID. Oh, CRAP…did I leave Connor somewhere?? I grab my phone and try to dial but the numbers are all jumbled…and WTF is wrong with this freakin’ phone?! Then I hear the faint melody of a familiar song…and I’m straining to make it out. And I think, “Is that Foreigner?”

This is when I wake. My eyes focus on the red numerals projected onto my ceiling: 6:27. The volume of Foreigner’s “Urgent” is increasing…and I wonder (not for the first time) how the conversation must have gone around that brainstorming session when someone said, “We need to slowly increase the volume. Start off low…and work our way up to annoyingly loud. Too many morons are stroking out because they neglected to turn down the volume before they set the alarm.” I imagine everyone around the table nodding knowingly.

I stumble out of bed as I punch the button to silence the music. I start down the hall towards the heavenly aroma in the kitchen, vaguely aware of the sliver of light under Connor’s door that tells me he’s up and about…but I’m incapable of speech till I get that first sip of coffee.

On the return trip to my room, I knock on Connor’s door and take the responding grunt as an invitation to enter. It is not…but that doesn’t stop me from pushing open the door. He’s watching I Love Lucy and eating a bowl of Lucky Charms. I casually note that the milk has taken on an odd shade of purple.

Me: “I had that stupid dream again. You know, the one where I think I left you somewhere and my phone’s on acid.”

Connor: (Eyes never leaving the screen) “Huh.”

Me: “I always get this sense that I’m far away, like it’ll take half the day to get home.”

Connor: “Um.”

Me: “And I just know it’s a weekday and I’m missing work. But I can’t call anyone because of the trippy phone.”

Connor: “Cool story, Mom. Tell it again…”

Me: “Why are you still here at 6:52?”

And I watch his face. For a split second there’s panic, then his eyes settle on the actual time…prominently displayed on the cable box, right underneath Lucy. He has a full ten minutes left to go. His features relax and settle back into that look of 15-year-old boredom I’ve grown to accept….but I think I see a ghost of a smile on his lips.

Connor: “Way to go, Mom. That wasn’t very nurturing of you…”

And I roll my eyes in mock-exasperation as I’m pulling his door closed behind me…but not before muttering, “I have to pee. Have a good day.”

And he groans.

 

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Star Light, Star Bright


Star light…
Star bright…
First star I see tonight…
I wish I may…
I wish I might…
Survive this rough patch and find some time in my life to write.


This was the view out my kitchen window at dusk. For those of you professionals (Kimberly, Lynn, Smoog), you can probably tell that I am uber-adept at holding the camera still. I took five shots…and they all basically look the same. If you need some audio to accompany it, just imagine: Click. “Crap.” Click. “Dammit!” Click. “Seriously??” That white thing that looks like a connect-the-dot doodle is actually the first star to peek through the clear winter sky.

So, now we’ve determined that I’m a photographer-extraordinaire and that I can rhyme. But you already knew this.

For the record, I’ve done very little writing anywhere. The last article I wrote at work for the monthly Toyota newsletter was entitled “Anew” and it was all about the stinkbugs that have found a winter home somewhere in our building. Yes, I wrote an entire article about stinkbugs. The worst part was that Toyota compliance initially kicked it back with a “WTF? This isn’t about cars” knee-jerk response. Evidently, they have software that scans the articles for anything questionable and some computer red-flagged the word “stink”…like, 23 times. Go figure. Fortunately for me, when an actual person read it they thought it was pretty funny and I received the green light.

So, I work. I come home and I work some more. Then I go to sleep and do it all again. The closest thing I’ve had to socialization in ages is playing Words with Friends with a few coworkers and a guy I met at a conference in Albany. He’s kicking my butt…and that’s not an easy thing to do, given my love of words and all. (Anyone who’s interested in a game can find me as user Kathrynville. Feel free to bring it.)

The situation with my son is…awful. If I haven’t said it enough, autism sucks. Autism has come to define my entire world, as well as my son’s…it’s pervasive and all-consuming. I feel very alone with it…even though my family tries their very best to offer emotional support. I keep telling myself that one more email…one more phone call…one more plea for help and maybe we’ll get him in a better place.

I’m not giving up…I’m just…weary.

I miss you all and I hope that everyone is well.

Always,


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