Thursday, November 16, 2017

I Did It!!!

Nothing really big.  Not a life changing thing for most people!
I finally bought a sofa!
Two years of thinking about it, 6 months of searching for the right one!  I found one that is about 95% perfect.  I went to so many shops, looking, measuring, imagining but I couldn't find one that made my heart really sing!  The one that I loved was too big for my room, perfect colour, perfect material but it would of jammed the door!  One big problem is the back of the sofas seem very low in Japan. Only up to the bottom of my shoulder blades on most models. I am not very tall so they are very low. I wanted something that I can lean back on!  So my new sofa arrives tomorrow!  Good!
But my old sofa is going and that makes me sad.  Twenty years I have had that sofa, 4 different houses it has sat in!  I've laughed, cried, nursed babies, had serious talks with the kids and watched hours of TV and DVDs on that sofa!  My kids have lain on it when they were sick but wanted to be near me. My husband died leaning on it.  I've received good and bad news sitting there, I watched the Twin Towers in New York come down and the opening of Olympic Games.  I know it is just a piece of furniture but it has so many memories tied up with it!  I am wandering what the new sofa will witness as a part of this household!  More memories to be made

Monday, October 23, 2017


Since my last post I have been so busy!
The days have just sped past!  Sometimes it gets to Friday and I wonder what happened to the rest of the week!  And Saturdays have become crazy for teaching, up 8 lessons!

MIL:s house is still in the process of being cleaned, it is hard to feel motivated to go and clean! But we try at least once a week to go there!  Last time we went we tried to clean out the storage area that I have used for the past 26 years!   There was so much stuff, stuff that I don't need anymore.  I found a box that had clothes from about 30 years ago! Why do  still have these things?

Here are a few photos of MILs house, if you are eating you might want to pass!

The one room she didn't use. This is okay but covered in thick dust!

The kitchen, the carpet was went and moldy!

This should be the living room but was filled with empty boxes, the black bag was one of many filled with trash!

You can't really see but these are jars of pickles she was making, the top of the pickles was covered in flies!
The other thing that has made me busy is the Eiken Test, an English proficiency test that we do!
To help our students we give extra lessons before the test. most of the students are okay but the extra lessons give them a bit more confidence!
Also Hannah has been doing a load of tests this past month!  She had her mid term tests, then a prefecture wide test that all 3rd grade students do! I am not sure the purpose of this test as they still have to do entrance test for which ever high school they choose!

Besides cleaning MILs house I am trying to clean out here! I need a new sofa but haven't seen one that I really like. I have seen one that I feel in love with but it would be to big for our room. Still looking!

Also because the weather is cooler I have been cooking and baking.  At the moment I am doing cookies for the kiddie classes tomorrow. Halloween parties this week!

Shepperd's Pie

Apple Pie
I hope that things will get to be a bit easier but I can see that my yard needs a good clean and the bedrooms need to be done!  One day things will be finished!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


I'm a bad blogger! I always forget to answer any comments I get!
I do read them and think about saying something, even a thank you!
But by the time I get back to my blog a week or so has passed and I wonder should I
write now, is it too late. Then more time passes and I still haven't replied!
So to all of you have left comments, a big thank you!

The House

Since MIL has been in hospital we have been going to her house.
The first time was to pick up stuff she needed, but I couldn't stay inside.  The smell was
revolting, and made me sick.
David spent one Saturday morning moving out bags and bags of trash, she had collected trash together but just left it.  The summers here a really hot and humid so even after a day the  trash starts to smell, so after a few weeks.....YUK!!!!
David also found jars of Japanese pickles that she had been making.  Inside were flies, about 2 inches thick, some other pickles have something swimming in them!  The floor of the kitchen/dinning area is covered in insect casings and the window were black with some kind of insect (I don't look to carefully, so I have no idea what they are).  The carpets were wet and moldy, not sure if it was just water or urine!
I went the one Sunday to help clean up, what used to be the living room was filled from floor to ceiling with empty cardboard boxes, so we threw those out.  Found a massive, palm size cockroach in the kitchen draw.  That sent me screaming and running down the corridor.  David said I was faster than Bolt!  Could be true, when I saw that thing come for me I just took off,  shouting "Mommy. Mommy, Mommy " at the top of my lungs!
MIL is doing okay.  She had her operation last week.  I had to be at the hospital during the operation, then listen to the doctors explanation after.  All in all 4 hours just hanging around!  The doctor said that she will be in hospital until at least the new year plus she can't drive afterwards.  So looks like finding a care home for her.  Living together sis not an option, I am not putting myself or my kids through that again.
Of course I am paying for everything. Even before I've started paying  medical bills I have had to fork out about $300 for taxi (to move her from one hospital to another), plus special diapers, towels etc, If I add in the extra gas it comes close to $400, money that I should be saving!

Friday, September 1, 2017


So my MIL is in hospital!
She fell on the outside steps and broke her leg!  Of course things are not as simple as they look!
Apparently she fell two or three days before she was found! She must of been in agony!  Not able to move, she couldn't reach the phone  and of course didn't eat or drink for that time!  So she arrived in the local hospital dehydrated which has put a strain in her kidneys and heart. The doctor will send her to the larger hospital to operate once she is  stable.  The doctor will have to open her leg and attach a metal plate with screws. Problem is her knee is artificial, the break is above the knee and there is not so much bone between the break and the  knee.  So how to fix the plate at that point is going to be a problem!
Another problem is the state of the house!  It is disgusting!  Looks like she is unable to take care of herself!  There are bugs everywhere and bug casings on the floor! It was so bad that I didn't take my shoes off to go in the house.  In Japan we never wear shoes in the house but the floors were so bad I couldn't face walking around in bare feet!  The carpets are wet and going moldy, the sinks are black from mold. I couldn't stay inside!  We needed to pick up some towels for MIL, I ended up buying new ones! The biggest problem is going to be the cost of all this!  With no other family we will have to pay.  MIL has some insurance but it won't cover everything, plus I think she needs to be in a home! In Japan the government helps if you keep old people at home and take care of them.  But we tried that and even with my husbands help I felt suicidal by the end of one year with her! There is no way I can take care of her without my husband!  It would strain our family too much!  So looks like all the dreams and plans I was making will have to be put aside to pay for MILs care!  What a life!

Sunday, August 27, 2017


Both David and I had our birthdays this month!
I didn't do much for David's birthday as it was a typical working day!  Plus very hot!
But I bought him a couple of T shirts!  Plus a cake that was devoured in minutes!

David always looks funny in photos!

For my birthday I treated Hannah and myself to tickets to see 'Les Miserable'.
We saw it last week!
It was very good, as good as a West End show!
I was worried that it wouldn't be that good or I wouldn't enjoy it because of the language!  But music does go beyond language, the ability of the actors to convey the emotions of the characters was amazing!   I even cried a few times during the performance!

I also treated everyone to a nice restaurant meal!  Very expensive but lovely food and great service!

I am really hoping that the weather will start to cool down!  I have a load f things I want to do but when the temperature is constantly over 35C it is difficult!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Half Way Through August

This morning was the first day in about a month that I woke up without sweating!
It was actually cool! Went out and trimmed the hedge a bit, left Michael and David to do the rest!
The yard is a disaster and I have no idea what to do about it, we are fighting a never ending battle with weeds. Some are taller than me!

The first week of August Hannah went to 2 high schools for there open campus day!  The first one was the school she is hoping for. We dropped her off, she met up with her friend and spent the morning doing a sample lesson and listening to older students!  The other high school was an all girls school in the main city.  Nice school, lovely modern campus, 11 courses to choose from but so far away! There is a school bus to pick up the girls in the morning but leaves from our city at 6:30am!  Because most students do club activity there is no bus to get back home, they have to use the train!  I figured out that it would take at least 3 hours a day to go and come back!  Plus it would cost at least 20,000 yen a month (about 200 dollars, 140 pounds), a lot of money!   So looks like the best choice would be the local commercial school! I am pushing Hannah to  study as much as possible!   It's a shame that summer holidays are not that free, loads of homework, open campus days and two days at school!

One thing I realized is that this heat is not going to change!  I keep hoping that the next summer will be cooler, easier to deal with!  But looks like this intense heat is here to stay!  So I have to change.  Have tried to be more active this year and get things done, not just sitting in front of the air conditioner!  Not easy but I've gotten a few things done! One thing that really helps is that David can cook.  I haven't cooked for about two months!  Cooking in the heat really exhausts me!  But I miss it, I enjoy cooking and baking!  Roll on cooler weather I will be back in the kitchen!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

End of July

The first month of the summer has come to an end!
But there is no end insight for the heat!
The weather forecast for the next 10 days is 35C!
One week of such temperatures I can deal with but we are going onto the third week!
It really is exhausting!  I can't go out for anything!  Even shopping the other week I came back with heatstroke!  At least the schools have finished for the summer!  Walking to and from school was hard
on both Christopher and Hannah!
But poor Hannah has a load of homework to do!  She is in the last year of junior high school. The end of the summer is the first of a series of tests to determine which school she can apply for, then she has to take tests to get into the school!  The school that she really wants to go to has cut 40 places this year because of falling population!  That means competition for the school will be strong!
One problem with this city is that there not that many schools and the other ones are about an hour away on the train!  I really can't see Hannah getting on a train at 7am every morning, then not getting back until 6pm or so!  She just doesn't have the stamina!   This just another thing to stress about!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


So summer has started!
And I am not happy!
The yearly rainy season came through later than usual.  We usually get a load of rain in June, a week to 10 days of non stop rain.  This year it didn't really start until the beginning of July!  One city that is just down the road from here was hit really bad!  Floods and landslides, at least 30 people have lost their lives!
After the rainy season the heat and humidity start in earnest!  Most days the temperature is about 34C(93F). I know for people living in cooler areas that sounds nice, and for a few days it is okay.  But this will be for the next month and it doesn't drop below 30C until about November!
For me I get so exhausted!  I went shopping yesterday, just walking from the car to the mall was killing!  I felt like my body was being cooked.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Of Birthdays, Pianos and Falling Down

Last week would of been Hisaos 56th birthday!
I was trying to imagine what he would of looked like. Maybe not so different!  The only
thing that showed his age was his receding hair line!
We didn't really do much this year, I just had no energy to do anything special!
One nice thing is that he is still very much part of our daily lives, the kids have their own  memories that they share, I have mine and that seems to be part of dinner conversation!  It's nice somehow!

fun with the kids!

In other news we  got a new piano!  Not new but new to us! one of Mikey's friends moved house and his piano was too big so he sold it Mikey.  Mikey got it very cheap so we are happy.  Both Mikey and Hannah play.  I would love to learn but have no real patience for all the practice that goes into it!

And falling down!  That was me the other day.  Hannah and I had gotten out of the car, David was trying to back into the parking space a bit more, I was telling Hannah to move from the back of the car when I fell over the blocks that are there to stop the cars!  I fell heavily on my right side, scratching my arm pretty bad!  Hannah went into panic mode for a while, when she realized that I was okay she found it rather funny!  The next day was awful.  I was in so much pain down the right side of my body and my back!  Feel better now but am very careful of those blocks!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

How did get to be June......

And I haven't posted!
Every day I think about updating this blog but it's always later!  Then the day is gone and the blog hasn't been updated!
May was a rather crazy month!
The first week everybody except Mikey got sick.  Just some stomach bug that was going around.  Not nice at all.  But we managed to celebrate Hannah's birthday!
I took her shopping, she wanted a game for the Wii machine that we have but we couldn't find the one she wanted so I ended up buying  a Wii U game.  I know it's old and the latest thing is the Nintendo switch but we are always behind on these things!  She also got a lovely watch!
She is spoilt, I know that and so does Hannah.  The other day I was saying that she is too spoilt, her answer was "Of course I'm spoilt, I'm the youngest and the only girl!"  What more is there to say!

The rest of May passed by in a daze of teaching, cleaning (always cleaning), reorganizing the teaching room, planting a few herbs and veggies (hoping to get something from the garden). 
I took a quick trip into the city, I wanted to check out the big bookstore to see if there were any good books for Junior High School  kids, but couldn't see anything that appealed to me!  I was totally exhausted by the time I got back. I can't believe that some people do that trip everyday for work!

David had been cooking up a storm the past few weeks, He has found that he enjoys baking, so we have had some nice treats!

Hannah's birthday

The cake, I made the cake , David did the cream and strawberries.

David's homemade pizza.

No chairs or tables, kids kept falling off the chairs!

Egg custard, David

Chocolate and berry tart, David again.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Last Week in England

We spent the last week in England at my Dads! 
I was worried that the house would be a disaster, I know that my MIL hasn't
taken care of her house so I was expecting the same from Dad. I was shocked to see how clean
and well taken care of the house was!

Dads living room

kitchen from the dinning room
I was also surprised at how well my Dad was!  He cooked for us every evening, nice homemade meals!  Even Hannah, who can be fussy, ate everything!  Besides being deaf Dad seemed very healthy!  Better than me!
I can really see where David gets his teasing from.  My youngest brother found one of my old dolls!  It's a bit scary!  I left it downstairs but when I went to the toilet in the middle of the night it was sitting outside my bedroom.  My brother had left it there, exactly the same kind of thing that David would do!!!

My other brother came to visit with his family. I finally got to meet my niece!  That was a nice day, it felt good to be with my family.  Hubby had no brothers or sisters so there are no uncles or aunts, and of course no cousins on his side of the family. Sometimes it feels a bit lonely without having any real extended family around.  So being with my Dad, brothers, sister-in-law and niece was really good!

the family together, just my older boys missing

Dad with Christopher and Hannah

Of course I went shopping almost every day!  We went to the art gallery in my town and the museum in the next city!  There were other places we wanted to go but no time! 
All in all we had a go time in the UK.
Mikey and David went a month after we did. In between the two trips was the terror attack in London.  So of course I was worried but the boys had a good time!

David and my brother

Dad and Mikey

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Back in England.......continued

During our stay in London we went to the British Museum.  Even though we spent a good 4 hours wandering around we didn't get to see everything!  I was really impressed (there again I am easily impressed).  I miss good museums! We have them in Japan but they are expensive and of course in Japanese!  We ate lunch in one of the cafes there, I was shocked at the size of the portions. I don't remember the portions being so big!  But it was nice!

my lunch was steak and mushroom pie, kids had pizza

Happy but totally exhausted!
The last day in London we wandered around Oxford Street!  It was okay but not the great shopping experience I thought it would be!
That evening we saw "The Phantom of the Opera".  Hannah's treat!  She was so excited that she was shaking!  We had to pick up the tickets that I had ordered on line. My plan was to go about an hour before the performance started, we turned up almost 3 hours early, Hannah couldn't wait!  While waiting we had a look round Piccadilly Circus.  Strange place!  One shop that caught out attention was the 'Kingdom of Sweets', the whole shop sold nothing but snacks, candies and chocolates! 
We ate dinner at a Lebanese restaurant! 
The show was very good.  I like musicals but have only seen them in Japan, so this was a real treat for me as well!  All in all worth the money!

in the hotel room before the theatre

where the phantom of the opera is playing

outside the theatre


Hannah with the tickets

That was our time in London!
I enjoyed myself more than I thought I would!  I refused to worry about things during this time!
I spend so much time worrying about life that I never really enjoy myself but for those few days I turned off that part of my brain and just relaxed with the kids!  Well worth it!
Maybe one more post on England then back to day to day life!!!!

Friday, April 28, 2017

I'm back.........again

But this time I went somewhere, even though it was a few months ago!
The end of February, beginning of March, Christopher, Hannah and I spent
two weeks in England!
My first trip back in 13 years!  It was really great but as usual the trip was awful!
12 hours squashed in a tin can is not my idea of fun!  Plus a long lay over in Hong Kong,
8 hours of hanging around!

Waiting at the airport

our first plane

Lay over in Taiwan, interesting murial

Hong Kong airport

After 26 hours of traveling we arrived in the UK!
This time I decided to spend a few days in London! Even though I am from the UK I haven't seen
much of London!  After getting to our hotel, showered, had a cup of tea and headed out to explore.
First was The Tower of London.  I remember going there with the school years and years ago but I never saw the Crown Jewels!  We got there at lunch time so decided to have some good old fish and chips.  Nice weather, no rain, slight breeze off the river, so we sat outside to eat!  Big problem pigeons and seagulls.  Just finished eating when a seagull flew over and pooped on my head!  I couldn't believe it, first day back and a bird sh*t on me, welcome home!!!
The Tower was nice and very interesting.  But too many stairs that I couldn't cope with!  But we saw the Crown Jewels.  They were impressive!!!!

on the way to the Tower of London

Fish and chips, below Hannah just had chips!

Entrance to the Tower of London

Traitors Gate

The main part of the Tower

Guarding the Crown Jewels

That was our first day!
I will try to write more!
Since I came back I have been so busy but I hope to keep this blog up!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

David's Cooking

David now does at least 90% of the cooking here. Most evening I am busy or too tired to bother! the past couple of years David has started to do more and more of the meal planning and cooking. The past couple of months he has branched out into baking. He loves trying out new recipes, last month it was apple cake!  But his favorite dessert  is choux cream.  He has made these a few times.  Most of the time the choux pastry puffs up and is really light, with custard, cream and strawberries inside the dessert is really  great! A couple of times they have flopped and became dog food, she will eat almost anything.  Except real dog food!   When I was down stairs earlier I saw David stirring away in the kitchen!  Tonight's dessert is choux cream!!!

These are the ones he made last week!  They don't last at all!