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O Is for Ordinary Odds and Ends

Saturday, September 30, 2017

I've been suffering from writer's block and a dull mind, so I'm not going to try to write anything extraordinary today. I'm just going to make a list of what's been going on, because some of y'all have kindly reached out, asking me about some situations I wrote about in the past. So today's blog is a letter to my sweet friends here, written pretty quickly because the skin on my hands is already starting to crack with the change in the season, and the reduced humidity in the air. I LOVE the reduced humidity, but not the fact that it makes my hands hurt, and typing a little painful.

My father-in-law. Shiro is still in his house! And he is fine and happy. For a while, I was disturbed by the fact that he was paying a steep price for a nice room at a nearby nursing home but continued to stay in his house, making us all worry and feel we must go check on him every weekend, but my mind has changed. I understand. I would not want to go to a nursing home either. It would be like constantly staying in a hotel, where you're not really free to do as you like or go where you want but are confined to a small space with a just a bed and a TV. Why should Shiro go to the nursing home when he is still capable of living alone in the house he has lived in his whole life? He'll be ninety at the end of October, and his house is scheduled to be demolished in early 2018, in accordance with a city plan he's known about for more than fifty years. Everybody else has already vacated the neighborhood, but Shiro stays on, stubborn to the end. I predict Shiro will agree to evacuate when they finally come to move his TV to the nursing home. His bed has already been taken, so he has placed the vinyl-covered sleeping sofa where his bed used to be. On he soldiers, unwilling to cede territory. We all know things must come to head at the end of December, though, when the demolition process will begin. He is unwilling to come live with my husband and me or either of my husband's sisters--doesn't want to disrupt our lives, and is fiercely independent. I am hoping he will not be overly affected when the day comes to say goodbye to his house. I think he will be strong, though, having lost two older brothers in World War II and suffered hunger and deprivation himself during and after the war. He won't cry when he walks out his front door for the last time, but I know I will.

My daughter. Kana, who went through a kind of hell for years and years and years, starting around age 11, the girl who made my life miserable, too, by always saying she wanted to die, by throwing scary tantrums, by refusing to go to school or do anything, by waking me up in the middle of the night countless times on the brink of self-harm--well, my dear friends, she is remarkably improved. I've lost track of time, but it seems as if it's been more than a year since she has mentioned wanting to die. She plays piano for a band, performs her own original songs on occasion, joined the Nashville Songwriters Association (an organization offering educational online experiences for songwriters, as well as competitions and evaluation services), and has a boyfriend. Her life has truly turned around. She does not yet have a job, but she will live, and I can't tell you how relieved and joyful I feel as I type those words.

My son. Hisaki is taking a break from his company. I'm very grateful they provide this opportunity to him, with reduced pay, to take a leave of absence to consider his future. He loves the people at his company, and they want him to come back, but he cannot stand living in Tokyo and working the long hours required of Japanese company employees. He wants a family and is concerned that he will never be able to spend any time with them if he continues the life of what Japanese call a "salary man." Nevertheless, he has not yet decided whether to stay at the company or look for alternate work. He is in counseling and enjoying a respite from several years of constant fatigue. It's great having him here at home for a while. He went to the US for high school and university, as well as a year in between to study in Germany, so I went nine years without seeing him much. It's comforting to have him here to do heavy lifting, and he always invites me to watch with him the documentaries he loves to watch, the latest a series about the Crusades. Surprising and fascinating stuff.

Okay, well, I'd better sign off here. Thank you, my dear Spark Friends, for paying attention to me! I know I've received messages and comments I have most likely neglected to answer. I am definitely getting more forgetful. So sorry about that. I have a break from teaching starting this week, so I will be here much more often now. I really appreciate you all so much and love, love, love being friends!

Love, Carolyn
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Love your blogs.
    915 days ago
    Not sure how I missed this lovely blog catching us up on the "ordinary" things which are of course what really matters. Because it's the ordinary which is the present which is the gift . . .

    All good news. I rejoice with you!!
    995 days ago
    Thank you for this update - it is so good to read how well your loved ones are doing!

    I know you are the center of your family, and always taking care of everyone else, to the detriment of your own health and needs. I hope that with your daughter doing so well, and your son at home with the luxury of time and support to think carefully about his next step, and with your FIL enjoying his independence in good health, that you can take a deep breath and take advantage of this time to focus on taking care of yourself.

    I think you and I are alike this way - we are always last in line in our own lives, in terms of priority. We take care of our family, our coworkers, everyone else. And if there's time and energy left, we take care of ourselves. Except usually there isn't, is there? Usually we are so worn out or anxious from worrying about other people that when we do have time to ourselves, we take comfort in indulgences that sate us in the moment, but hurt us in the long run.

    We need to be a little bit selfish, like our husbands - yes, I went there - who are both kind and good men, but do not hesitate to put their needs first sometimes. We need to do that, you and I - encourage each other to be a bit selfish. Shall we make a pact? Maybe we should be asking each other: what good thing have you done today to make yourself happy?
    1017 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/21/2017 12:45:24 PM
    I don't know what the heck happens to my subscriptions to your blogs! emoticon I sign up over and over and then 'poof' they are gone again!! emoticon

    I'm so happy you pop by my blogs every once in awhile because it reminds me to come and visit..ha..ha.

    I know what you mean about getting more forgetful...geeze!

    I'm so happy that your daughter is finding her pace and is engaged in something that brings her happiness. I've read that music connects you to a higher vibration and that it often helps with depression. Our Josh LIVED for music...all types..and all genres. He just loved to listen to music but I would think that creating and playing it would bring you even closer to that energy level.

    And your son...so helpful that he has the grounding comfort of home. I do think that Japanese standards are grueling as far as the workplace is concerned. I know it is the tradition and all that your beloved 2nd country knows...but to work such extraordinarily long hours is not natural and I would think health damaging.

    Nevertheless it certainly shows why the country has advanced in many ways over the productivity of the U.S.

    I love to hear about your FIL....his stubborn nature in holding on to what is dear to him reminds me of my own stout heart. There is NO place like home and this dear man knows it.

    My little mother had to go to a nursing home after living with us a few years. We brought her to our home from Iowa once she was no longer able to function on her own in our homestead house. She lived in that house over 50 years and was a pack rat to be sure. I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown trying to clean out her house and bring the things I could back here to FL. I sent boxes and boxes...but of course my little momma wanted to bring EVERYTHING!

    So I had to do 'stealth' clean out while she slept or while she was in adult daycare...bless her sweet heart she just didn't understand with her dementia.

    Life is never easy is it dear Carolyn...but we carry on. Once my little momma got off the airplane (her first airplane ride ever) she said...well how did I do Birdie (her nickname for me because she said I ate like a bird)...HA those days are gone! She said "I tried to be a good soldier"....where that expression came from I do not know..but it brought tears of love to my eyes. My momma was a tough little cookie and definitely soldiered on until the ripe old age of 89. emoticon
    1018 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/20/2017 8:56:05 AM
    I'm glad to hear these updates! Your FIL sounds like a very fascinating character. It's too bad that his home is slated for demolition. People sometimes feel closer to their memories if they stay in the same place where they made them. I can see why he'd want to stay, except it must be so strange, that all the other neighbors have already left. Once he finally does move, he'll make some friends in the new place. I'm so glad to hear that your daughter is growing socially and academically. She sounds happy! And maybe being a musician will be her job, who knows? I'm also glad to hear that your son is thinking about starting a family. I hope that he is able to do that. It's best if you don't wait too long, so you don't miss your chance. It's different for guys, I guess, because they don't lose their fertility as early, but they still might want to do it all when they're young and can keep up with the kids. Your kids are very bright, Carolyn!
    1023 days ago
  • HEYRED221
    Miss you Carolyn. Nice to hear the updates, so glad to hear your daughter is doing well, the joys of having your son around, I can only imagine how difficult it must be for him, sounds exhausting just reading your explanation of the work ethic. And as far as your father-in-law, it is kind of heartbreaking. All those years and such independence, I would probably be the same way, holding out for as long as possible. Wishing you the best and hoping you are taking care of yourself. Love and hugs,

    1031 days ago
    I really appreciate the update. It is uplifting to read that your daughter is doing so well. I know as a parent it must be torture to think of your wonderful child in despair let alone having her contemplates ending things. I have a hard enough time seeing mine cry. I wish her (and you) continued happiness. So, so glad your son is enjoying this break and taking time to figure things out. There should be laws regulating how long of hours people are even allowed to work. I seem to recall in the US at one point they put something into place for medical residents (maybe it was only at the state level) and possibly for bankers too?

    My goodness your FIL reminds me of my father and it's so lovely you can see his point of view too. You have such an innate sense of empathy.

    1035 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/3/2017 7:56:50 PM
  • 1958TMC
    Hello my dear. I am so happy you decided to do a blog. I've missed you. I'm really proud of your daughter as I know you are. Keep in touch, ok. 💜💜💜
    1035 days ago
    So glad to see your blog and hear what's been happening in your life.

    I'm happy to hear your daughter is doing so much better and that your son is taking some time to figure out what he wants to do. It seems like we will always be worrying about our children, so matter how old they are.

    Hope you have a great day!!

    1035 days ago
    I'm so glad to open my e-mail and see that you've written a blog! I have missed you, my friend. I'm so pleased to hear about the good things happening in your children's lives. Your father-in-law sounds like how my mom wanted to be. If my mother had been physically capable of staying home she would have but unfortunately her husband was in no shape or form able to care for her and the 100 # mastiff would have killed her if he tried to jump up like the puppy he is. I'm so sorry to hear about all of the trauma that you endured with your daughter. I put my mother through several suicide attempts and then my DUI, that was horrible, not to mention I wrote "I hate you!" (and some explicitives to add fuel to the fire) in nail polish all over my room (I was 15 or 16 at the time). She almost gave me back to my birth mother, but thankfully, she had God on her side and He saw her through that wretched time and many others. She always talked about raising a child in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it (paraphrasing here...). The things that you have taught your children will bear fruit, it will take a lot of time and patience and so many prayers - but don't lose hope! It sounds like your daughter already has some amazing opportunities in front of her. Your father in law sounds like the kind of man who even if he was grieving on the inside would not let you see it so that you wouldn't be hurt, I may be way off point but that's how I imagine him, stoic and proud. I'm glad to hear that your son is taking some time to relax and to consider his future. There is so much more to life than working, getting a paycheck, paying bills, repeat.
    I love being your friend, too! Thank you so much for all the nice things you said on my blogs! I haven't felt like writing much this past week but I'll eventually get something typed up. I hope you have a fantastic week, I look forward to chatting soon! emoticon
    1036 days ago
    I can well understand how you felt when your son was away for so long. I, too, have a son that I haven't seen in 20 years. He decided to live in France then in Germany back in France and now in Italy. He was living in Israel for some time too.
    I'm glad your back with us. Take care of yourself.
    1036 days ago
    I would probably be like your FIL.

    So happy your kids are well! I would love a documentary watching buddy!
    1037 days ago
    So glad to hear from you Carolyn! Yes we feel our children's emotions sometimes, I think, more than they feel them. When they hurt, we hurt more, when they are happy, we are ecstatic. So I am very happy to hear that you can accept their decisions. It's difficult to let go and see them make choices we wouldn't choose for them, but it seems like your children are making good decisions. I'm going through that now with my daughter, but I'm trying to be patient and praying for a good outcome.
    I'm reading a book by Louise Hay and she wrote that we must first love ourselves, so I'm hoping you will take her advice, and be extra kind to you.......you of all people deserve to have a happy peaceful life.
    Don't know if this will help, but I use unrefined coconut oil as a body lotion......it helps my dry skin.
    Tomorrow morning a will have a virtual cup of coffee with you......love our get togethers!
    emoticon emoticon
    1037 days ago
  • _BABE_
    You have done a great job of taking care of everyone around you and the richness of your life shows in everything you do. It's great to have you as a sparkfriend. emoticon
    1037 days ago
  • no profile photo CD17528039

    It makes me so happy to know that this season in your life is a happier one for you, Carolyn.
    When we see our children thriving, especially when they were struggling before, there is nothing more
    joyful, is there?

    Hugs to you, honey.

    1037 days ago
    How wonderful to have an update on your life! It sounds like you are in good spirits and handling all the ups and downs of your family's journey. I am doing the same. What choice do we have really? I hope you're enjoying your weekend. Thank you for the yellow tea pot!
    1037 days ago
    Glad to see a blog from you Carolyn.

    Good news that your daughter is doing well. That's nice that your son's company gives him time off to consider what he wants for his future. It's a big decision.
    I understand why your father in law is staying until he has to go.


    1037 days ago
    Oh---so very happy to see your blog and even happier to know that your Kana is having an easier time of life, which makes your's easier as well. Lovely that Hisaki is able to take time off from work to find his niche in life. When our children are happy and doing well, we as parents respond in kind.

    It is good that your FIL is healthy and able to stay on in his home until closer to demolition day. It could well be that he wanted to stay there as long as the house was still there. When D day arrives he might go willingly, satisfied that he lived there until there was no more house to live in. Somehow I feel proud of him for doing that!!

    I'm sorry to hear your hands get so dry. I found that those perfumed lotions made my hands dry and itchy. I hope you are able to find something to make your's feel better.

    Thank you for bringing us up to date on your life Carolyn. I'm always excited to be notified that Button Popper has written another blog. Have a wonderful week.
    1038 days ago
    Ah, Carolyn, always good to hear from you! With your daughter getting better, your son having time to reevaluate, an f FIL trucking along, such good news. I would want to stay in my home, too. Thanks for catching us up.
    1038 days ago
    Such a beautiful blog Carolyn. For your dear Father-in-Law I will say a prayer for him, that he adjusts to the changes he's being put through. For your daughter, so wonderful to hear she's come around and your seeing the beauty of her. Your husband, I wish him well with his choice. I know it must be difficult for him, but he has you there to help him, whatever he decides.

    As for you, I hope you're doing well, not feeling too much pain. It was so good reading your blod today. You offer so much I'll be looking forward to your next blog, when you feel up to it...

    Carpe Diem,

    1038 days ago
    Carolyn, my heart leapt with joy when I clicked on your page and saw a new blog! Thank you for sharing your updates. Oh how heartbreaking it is when kids aren't doing well. I'm glad Kana is better now. She will get there!!! Also your son, oh my goodness how hard it is in Japan AND also in Hong Kong. My stepson lives there and he had a bad anxiety attack recently and finally is getting help. He has been somewhat estranged from my husband; when Ken (my hubby) would go visit in Hong Kong, Eric wouldn't spend any time with him, only Eric's wife would. After this episode, Eric has been in contact with Ken and apologized. I know Ken worries about him. Living in HOng Kong is really stressful too (they live with her parents emoticon ) which is fairly normal there, it's so expensive.

    Ah your FIL. I have been feeling very sad and regretful about how my mom spent her last years. And there were many, when she was in assisted living. NO ONE wants to go there despite how jolly they make it seem. You really don't have control of anything including who you are in close contact with. it is a tough situation. Many hugs to you and love. Betsy
    1038 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    Enjoyed the updates.
    1038 days ago
  • no profile photo JEANNETTE59
    Thank you for the very welcome updates. How wonderful that your daughter's life has improved so much and that she is enjoying herself and moving forward. It is good that your son can take some time to figure out what he wants and needs to do for his future.
    Your father-in-law sounds like a remarkable man and I feel quite sure that he will be stoic when the time comes that he must move.
    It is so good to know that some of the worries that you have borne have been lifted.

    1038 days ago
    Well Carolyn, How wonderful you opened up your world a little and gave some insight into your life...I didn't know you have a son and I knew you do have daughter that seemingly had given you on and off despair...I am glad light at the end of the tunnel is obviously brighten, thank all the gods and goddesses. Your FIL has determination to stay put, that is for sure. I guess at that age, the word, entitlement, is earned. At least it has for my 90 year old mom. She does not want to live in an assisted living situation no matter how wonderful they can be and would rather spend the $$$$ on a paying a caregiver....It is costly but she is happy.
    1038 days ago
    Sell, wishing the best for your FIL. When they get to that age, they are definitely stubborn. That's how m Dad was.

    So nice that your DD is living her life now. And that your DS is being given the time to determine what he wants to do w/his future. That's all good news.

    HUGS to you.
    1038 days ago
    Welcome back! I'm glad things are smoothing out for your daughter and son. It sounds like they are where they need to be at this moment. Also your father-in-law. I totally get his desire to stick to the bitter end. Then there's no regrets, no wondering if he caved too soon.

    I'm looking forward to more blogs and updates from you.

    Take care

    1038 days ago
    Thank you for the update Carolyn. Very good to hear your daughter is doing well now!
    1038 days ago
    Hi Carolyn, I am so glad to read this upbeat post from you and so pleased to hear Kana is doing so much better. Your son is right to take a break and think about his future. He needs to be able to enjoy both his job and a family life. Both can be done if he has to right placement.

    So good to read your post dear friend. I have been rather absent from SP this week with family commitments and appointments. Just returned from walking with Brian and the dogs 3 miles now thst the weather has turned cooler.

    Have a perfectly awesome weekend.
    Hugs Susan emoticon
    1038 days ago
    What a lovely blog. I am so pleased to hear that your daughter is doing so much better. Oh my, our children can be challenging sometimes. My youngest daughter (middle child) was the one who gave me grey hair, I'm sure. For the first 15 years of her life she was my best friend. Then she turned 16 and something awful happened. I rarely knew where she was but it was usually at a party somewhere. The parties had been at our house at first but I put my foot down when I started seeing beer cans in the garbage can. Nope, not having that! I'm happy to say that she is now 38, is independent, still likes to party but is the one who comes around most!

    I also get why your father-in-law doesn't want to move into the nursing home. I wanted my mom to sell her house after my dad died and move into a really nice Senior Living center. The only care that was provided was a knock on the door every morning to make sure all was well. There would be maintenance people to call for help when needed. She was all ready to do it, we had a nice room all picked out. But no, she backed out at the last minute. So she then got creative in getting assistance with problems at home - we were too far away to run over for small things.

    I remember when we visited Japan back in 1972 how busy the businessmen were! I hope your son finds what he is looking for.

    And I am glad to hear that you are doing well through all of this. Have a great day!
    1038 days ago
    When it comes to blogging I always suffer from writers block and a dull mind.

    I am very happy that both your daughter and your son are doing well. Life is full of changes and they are both going through good changes.
    Hope your father in law will ease into his changes when the time comes.

    Best wishes!
    1038 days ago
    1038 days ago
    Life is good. Thanks for your updating post.
    1038 days ago
    It is so good to hear from you! Wonderful that your daughter is doing so well, that is a blessing.

    Your father in law is amazing! Talk about being a bit "stubborn"- good for him!

    I use baby oil after my shower to keep my skin moistened. It is cheap and easy and much better than the lotions I was using.

    All of our great moments are made from the daily "ordinary" things. But I have to say, your life is far from ordinary!

    I am moving in with my daughter in less than a month. Am I nervous? OH YES!! But I have 5 reasons to do it- the grandkids.

    HUGS and stay in touch!
    1038 days ago
    So good to hear from you, will be looking forward to more.
    1038 days ago
    Good morning Carolyn from the USA, Westlake, OH.....Nice to see your blog. Thanks for sharing the
    Ordinary odds and ends. Sorry your hands get so dry and hurt, Is it arthritis or dry skin?
    Anyway, I know you worry about your FIL and will be hard to see him have to leave his HOME. My uncle is 93 and in a nursing home about 10 months now and still wants to go home. However, He will not be able to be alone any longer, so it is hard on him and he cannot understand the reasons I know. He was never married and so all of us Nieces an Nephews and our kids go to visit him Very OFTEN and that does make him happy. The nurse love him there and he is a sweet man most of the time.
    Happy to hear your daughter is doing So MUCH better. Has to make you feel great and relieved after such a long period of drama, etc.
    Nice to have your son home for awhile. Hope he finds his new career and makes a good choice. Working that long and so many hours has to have DRAINED Him completely. Much happiness is wished for him as he makes new decisions.
    So nice to see you writing again and I am sure your Writer's block will be over soon. You have had a lot on your plate to worry about. Things will get better I am sure.
    I, myself am doing a little better now, since my LOSS of Bill. Not easy and I miss him daily but am trying to enjoy life without him as much as possible. I am attending a grieving class for 10 weeks, each week and it quite helpful. Also my close friends and family are very SUPPORTIVE. I have had some health issues and I did fall 3 weeks ago, but hopefully I can get back to exercising next week on a REGULAR basic
    with my Silver Sneaker classes.
    Hope to talk again soon and read more of your blogs. Take care of YOU and KNOW you are in my thoughts and prayers each week. God bless. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    love + hugs, Irish Ei (Eileen)
    1038 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/30/2017 8:46:54 AM
    Loved this, love you!
    1038 days ago
    So glad your daughter is doing better and that your son is home again. We just had to move my mother in law to assisted living. She just turned 96 and was in her own condo. She didn't like it at first but is adjusting. She knows us but forgets a lot. Good luck with your father in law. So glad you're back, you were missed. emoticon
    1038 days ago
    I am so happy for you that your daughter is doing so much better. It is heartbreaking for a Mother when a child is suffering so I know you must be feeling so relieved. I too have a son I don't see much though we do live in the same country but he lives about 7 hours away and is busy working, though when I talked to him recently he did say he would be coming in around 6 weeks, so am looking forward to that.

    You are a good DIL, lets hope your FIL won't mind too much when he has to move. It will be an adjustment for sure.

    Well I am off to get groceries before the store gets too busy. Have a great week Carolyn. emoticon
    1038 days ago
    I'm so happy to hear that you and your family are doing okay. You are such a beautiful spirit and it was nice to see a blog post. Have a fabulous week-end my friend. Hugs, Rhonda

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    1038 days ago
  • PCOH051610

    What a lovely blog to start my Spark day. I'm so relieved to hear that everybody seems settled and that your mind is a little more at ease regarding your father-in-law. How are YOU doing through all of this?

    Hugs from Newfoundland
    1038 days ago
  • SEAGLASS1215
    It sounds like things are going well, especially for Kana - I'm so happy to hear this! My daughter is also doing well, she is working full time and sort of has a boyfriend (not official yet). She and my DH still do not always see eye-to-eye but things are a lot calmer around here, less dramatic.

    Glad you have written a blog, I've missed your voice and words of wisdom here!
    1038 days ago
    Enjoyed your blog as always. Best Wishes, Pat
    1038 days ago
  • DESIREE672
    I'm so so happy about Kana - so many wonderful things going on in her life! (I had a small taste of similar troubles with one of my two, many years ago.)

    I suddenly thought of and understood your father-in-law this summer. A doctor said if my Shiro didn't improve, he might have to go into a NH. Right then, your FIL's behavior made sense to me. (Of course, he did improve.)

    My son was a "salary man" for seven years, but found a new path and came back from six months studying in England two days ago. Hisaki will find a way.

    It's wonderful to have you writing again. I bet I'm not the only one who checks in every day to see if there's a new blog.
    emoticon emoticon
    1038 days ago
    1038 days ago
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