Wednesday, 30 June 2010

No Dinner as normal.

Weird can get normal eventually.
Just another night...Okaasan buys a bunch of stuff during the day and eats it, leaves it around her room and the kitchen - although thankfully this time she put the scallops INSIDE the fridge.
At 6 pm she decides to go out for a walk again. We remind her about 7 pm dinner.
At 7 pm I am cooking dinner.

Yujiro calls her: she is in Macdonalds down the road having a coffee and...
Comes home and bringing her chicken McNuggets in a napkin.
She flops down at the kitchen table.
I start serving dinner.
"No, I'm not for me."
We sit and eat the scallops...the eel that I bought....and Okaasan sits acoss the table and chats a bit. Occasionally she looks around the kitchen as if wondering where she is and why she isn't eating. But when we offer food she says "no".
We finish our dinner. We clear the table. She goes into her room and watches Tv, and sleeps. We go upstairs and watch our Tv and sleep.

Another increasingly typical evening in our home.
We could almost not bother cooking for her. But then sometimes she eats. But about 3 nights a week she doesn't. We have to have the miso soup and rice ready in case she does, because you can be sure the night we have cheese fondue all cooked up for us alone - will be a night when she DOES want to eat.
No way to stop her going out and buying stuff at the end of the afternoon.

News from England. My step-mum had her polyp operation. She is ok. But has low blood pressure and  they may give her a blood transfusion...

Monday, 28 June 2010

Sainthood only a step away...

I gave my Sunday to Okaasan.
Step aside Mother Theresa.
I am The One.
Pity I'm not Catholic. Does going to a Catholic school count?

Cooked lunch for Okaasan. Chatted to Okaasan. Got her interested in Hula Dance Festival. At 2.30 pm loaded her up in the car and took her downtown. Walked her to the festival. Found her dance class members (BIG excitement to meet the Gaijin Oyomesan). Walked her round the food and trinket stalls. sat and watched Hula with Okaasan.

Then went off shoe shopping and to get an eye test myself. Left Okaasan happily watching the hula under the trees. Called her later to check she was ok with her class members eating icecream etc. Relieved to hear she would make her own way home.
Came home myself. Cooked dinner for Mother and Son.
Chatted to all.

I did it. Feel good I did it. A bit of rare Okaasan/Oyomesan Bonding Time.
I know there are going to be horrendous times ahead with Okaasan and I should try to make some kind of Good Memory connected with her. So. I did good. 

And then went to bed early to get UP early for the England vs. Germany FIASCO!!!! THAT WAS A GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am writing right now to FIFA and if I can keep it up I will write every single day until they review this ridiculous "No 21st century technology in the Pure Game" rule.

And today it's 31 degrees in Sapporo. I can't sit near a computer any more. Going back outside to melt.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Warning: Grossness.

If you are eating. Put it down right now.
This is gross. Sorry. But truth will this record of Life with a Lady Sadly Descending into Dementia and Foreign Failing Daughter-in-Law.

I was just now sitting in the house entrance hall playing with the kittens.
Popo was lounging on the chair and pawing with the lace cloth that covers the shoebox.
As there is a flower in a vase on top on the box I gently folded the lace cloth up and back out of his reach. So the shoe box interior is revealed.
I glanced at the shoes - mostly Okaasan and Yujiro's shoes. A garden candle holder. A pot of shoe cleaning cream. A shoe cleaning rag. Another very dirty shoe cleaning rag.

No. Hang on. NOT a shoe cleaning rag.
It's pink. It has a lace edge. It's not brown shoe polish.

Oh YUK. It's a pair of Okaasan's very, very soiled underpants.
On the shoe box shelf.

Very gross. I've thrown them away now. Washed my hands. Washed the shoebox interior.
Oh gross.

I've read about this: dementia sufferers soiling underwear and hiding it/leaving it in unexpected places. But, apart from the plastic bags with wet underwear in Okaasan's room that we always find, I have never found any dirty underwear elsewhere.
Until now.

I'm trying to imagine HOW she did this?
She soiled herself while she was out or on the doorstep as she was coming home...and then took OFF her underpants outside/in the hallway???????? Came in and stashed them under the lace curtain on the top shelf?
Is that what happened?
I can't begin to think. Actually don't want to think too closely.

Yet again, so sad that this lady (and her son) won't get a doctor into their lives so that she can be taking some kind of medicine to help her control bladder and bowel functions. Because while it IS part of the dementia - forgetting that you might need to go to the toilet soon - there are medicines which would help control.

I'm a pretty practical, non-finikky person. I can clean poop - kitten poop or Okaasan poop. But it's a sad sign of where we are all heading.


* Yujiro and Okaasan got eachother all riled up this morning over that missing sun parasol Okaasan lost a week ago. I was listening from upstairs.
I think Okaasan asked for money to buy a new parasol. Yujiro gave her the money, but he made the BIG mistake of challenging her use of the word "stolen". As in "the woman sitting next to me on the subway stole the parasol after I got off the train".
"Stolen" or "lost" - who knows. But since Okaasan came home originally last week and said she didn't know  WHERE she'd lost it...maybe coffee shop or train - "lost" is probably more accurate.
But not in Okaasan's mind of course. By now she had decided that some poor Sapporo subway passenger who was sitting next to her on the subway STOLE the parasol after she got off the subway car!
And Yujiro - stupid man - decided to endlessly challenge her version of events. Their voices got louder as each got stressed. "Lost!" "Stolen!" "Lost!" "Stolen!".
WHY does he do this? Why does it matter what Okaasan thinks? Why does he want to argue the point with her?
And even after he came upstairs and I gently remonstrated with just leave it be and accept her story - he went right back downstairs to go to work and started AGAIN with Okaasan in the kitchen.

Is the man a fool? WTF????????????????

I've had a busy week with work, translations and Couch Surfing guests. I am giving myself a quiet Sunday at home with TV and books and kittens.
I'll feed Okaasan lunch and see if she fancies going by car downtown to see the hula dance festival. I need to buy some summer work shoes and it would be easy to take her in the car too.

Hey! Okaasan could buy more underpants at the same time...........

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Hula...yes or no?

Well, the hula may be on...or off.
Okaasan said she isn't sure she wants to be in a hot park in the center of the city dancing (fair enough at the age of 80), and as the class members and Yujiro were worried about that too everyone is happy.
But he thinks we should just not talk about the hula at all now - whereas I think on Sunday at least Okaasan might like to go and sit and watch the festival - she desn't get much of a social life and I'm sure she would love to at least watch the hula performaces from a shady seat.

But of course - THAT would mean me giving up my time to get her there and make sure she is ok.
I kind of wonder if she'd be able to find it herself though - if I remind her about it on Sunday morning and chivvy her out of the house around 12.30 pm.... nice an Oyomesan am I?
Shall I bugger off and do my own things or shall I stay home and give my energy/time to her?

Will probably depend how friendly I am feeling towards her!

Yesterday I had two friends come to the house late afternoon - actually homestay CouchSurfers who are sleeping in the English classroom - and after taking them into the kitchen to introduce them politely to Okaasan we sat out on the front doorstep with beers.
Okaasan who had been preparing to go out never actually appeared at the front door. After 30 minutes I checked inside to see what was happening...and found she'd grabbed her shoes from the entrance and gone out through the big living room windows!!!! So strange! How hard is it to come to the door and say:"I'm off shopping now" and then head out. It's like a child sneaking out the back way to avoid the adults. Very odd behavior.

And then she forgot her mobile we couldn't call her and remind her to come home for dinner. So I cooked...and surprise surprise...she didn't come home till 8 pm. We ate at 7.15 pm. At 8 pm I got up from the sofa and the Tv and went back downstairs and got Okaasan's dinner cooked/heated and served. She apologised for being late. I left her to eat in the kitchen...

So, Sunday will really depend on how well she behaves today!

* Tokyo International University English Project team have sent me a wonderful parcel of Kawagoe booklets about life in Kawagoe, festivals and old shops and people. I think I can trickle this stuff out to Okaasan over the coming weeks, months, years everytime I can't think what to talk to her about.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Family service sushi

All seems well with Okaasan - the stressy situation seems to have receded.

Today we were home trying to finish off the big translation job we've been doing - that's him and me NOT Okaasan! - so it was a quiet day of kittens/garden/translation/soccer highlights on TV.
One of the kittens has lost his collar somewhere in the big outside and we've been trying to find it using the Loc8tor device..wandering the streets with this little black plastic thing in our hands...beeping it hopefully in every direction.
No luck. We have the cat. But we don't have the collar. Maybe a crow found it and flew away.

Lunchtime we took Okaasan to the local kaiten sushi place and feasted on fish...I really really LOVE sushi. If I ever have to live outside Japan I will miss it so much. OKaasan was happy to be out with us and chatted away about all the sushi plates.


...impending Oyomesan duty.

Okaasan's Social Secretary, Ohta-san the ever-helpful hula dance classmate, called to tell us that  there is a hula performance day in the park on Sunday. Okaasan hadn't mentioned anything about this. Thankgoodness Ohta-san knows to call us.
Sunday is Yujiro's busy day for taxi he came and asked me to: get Okaasan organised on Sunday and get her out of the house and down to the park to hook up with her classmates etc.

It's ok actually. Of course I'd like to do my own stuff, but it WILL be a bonding chance with Okaasan. she and I do so little together. I can do this. If the weather is good there are worse things to do than sit in the park and watch hula dancing.

News from England: my step-mum may go home from hosoital today..but her operation has been put off again.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Unwelcome guests.

This "have I eaten?" thing is getting crazier and crazier.

Today I had two friends for a quiet BBQ in the garden at lunchtime. Yujiro was working.
At 11.30 am I got the kittens inside from the excitements of the Great Outdoors and locked them away from the tempting dangers of burning charcoal.
Then I made Okaasan's lunch: 3 soy-cooked little fish, salad, pickles, rice, soup etc and got her to the table. Chatted a bit and apologised for not eating with her: friends are coming for BBQ lunch later.
She said: Oh, I'll be going out soon, I lost my nice black parasol on the subway yesterday, so I'm going to go to the subway office and look for it.
45 minutes later she had got herself together and came out of the house where we were just starting barbecue in the garden: said hello to my two friends, all very friendly etc. Off she trotted.

Friends and I enjoyed relaxing afternoon with food and beer and chat. First BBQ of the season!

At 4.30 Yujiro called me. Okaasan had telephoned him and complained: "I'm hungry and I haven't eaten all day. There are people at the house. I can't go back. I haven't eaten anything".


Of course I reassured him that I HAD fed his mother lunch, and that she had chatted on her way out with my guests and had seemed perfectly happy.

He came back an hour later. He found her sitting alone in the little park around the corner from the house. She didn't want to come back in case the guests were still here!

This is bad. Firstly because I had no idea having people to visit gave her such bad feelings. And secondly because she had totally forgetton having lunch at 11.45 am.
Of course this is our home and sometimes we will have guests here. Now when I think about it, I can remember a few occasions when Okaasan did the "I'm tired/I've eaten/I have stomach ache" story when somebody was here.

So tonight I made extra big effort to get her back on a Positive Mood.

I cooked up Another Delicious Dinner. I got Yujiro to go and give her 25 minute and 10 minute Warnings of Impending Dinner Arrival, and once she got to the table we chatted about stuff and got the Kawagoe Booklets out to chat about life in Kawagoe.....finally got a fairly normal Family Dinner together with Okaasan chatty and happy.
I hope.
By tomorrow she may be accusing me of stealing the parasol.

But I'm shocked. Lunch was a perfectly acceptable level of food for her (but of course she hadn't eaten any dinner last night), and she seemed happy when she was eating it and chatting to me about the weather.
But somehow while she was out - maybe feeling confused about the parasol and not knowing why?? - she got it into her head that she'd had NO lunch and that I was busy making merry with food and my friends.....

These swings of mood and memory are disconcerting. Okaasan seems ok...but then isn't.
I feel her condition has shifted somehow in a negative direction in the past week or so....

Thankgoodness for the Kawagoe booklets. As the dementia books advise: Have a useful prop to hand to provoke the Positive Memories. These booklets are my prop!

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Dinner? Yes! No! Bugger!

Apologies for a good old British swear word: Bugger.

Okaasan did it again. Said "Yes" to dinner as I was preparing it. Then when it was served: "No, I ate when I was out/I feel tired/my stomach aches". And back to the carpet and the TV.

It is SO SO frustrating. I know I shouldn't let this get to me. But it does.
I don't do so much family cooking here and when I do - and this happens - it frustrates me.

Today I'd shopped for and planned a wonderful Hokkaido feast of salmon and vegetables and made-from-scratch Miso soup.

We'd left the "We're Working, So Eat Out" sign on the kitchen table for Okaasan.
I came back at 2 pm and she was out: which I thought was a good sign because that probably means she is eating fairly near lunchtime somewhere.

At just before 6 pm she came home.
She watched TV and pottered around her room - I started cutting up vegetables and fish and checked with her: Dinner? Yes? Great. Tonight we have delicious salmon!

Cut the right amount of stuff for 3 people. Started cooking. Put the finishing touches to the soup.
Called everyone together...

Would you like rice as well as potatos?

Potatos? Rice?
No, I don't want dinner. Maybe I'll eat later.

Buggeration. Major.
Like that movie Amelie...I feel like sinking to the kitchen floor in a pool of disappointment.
The Hokkaido feast is there on the hot plate all sizzling away. The soup is steaming. It all looks great.
Yujiro is all excited about it. So he and I sit and eat and chat. Okaasan in the room behind us is on the carpet staring at the TV.

She won't go hungry because she snacks endlesly and we assume she eats in a restaurant when she is out. But this will she/won't she over dinner is wearing me down.

Time Travel

Okaasan's grip on time, day, month is in a rough patch at the moment.

The slate of festivals in Sapporo recently had her thinking it must be September - because apparently in Saitama festivals are in autumn. She was surprised to hear it was only June.

Then there's the hula dance and the Monday/Wednesday ongoing confusions.

And time of day - she is sleeping a lot daytime and then when we appear home late afternoon she is active...and then awake in the middle of the night.

Of course our schedule doesn't help her! We went to bed at 9 pm last night to get up at 3 am to drive downtown to a sports bar with SKY Tv for the soccer. Okaasan was watching TV at 3 am and saw us washing our faces in the bathroom...she got up and turned the light off in her room, actually switched off the Tv and lay down - I guess she thought it was Time to Go to Bed!

She didn't eat dinner with us again last night. She said she'd been asleep all day - which wasn't completly true since I found two not-so fresh scallops in a plastic bag on the table and other assorted food packaging that she'd bought sometime in the afternoon.
I called her for dinner at 7 pm, she got to the table...but looked at the food and us and thought the better of it. I must make sure to wake her up about 20 minutes BEFORE dinner, so she is more likely to want to eat. Nobody feels great just  after waking from a  doze.

*  Good news on the Kawagoe booklets: I emailed Tokyo International University English Project people and they are going to send me MORE booklets....I think they will be so useful for taking Okaasan back to a time she feels happier in...Kawagoe 1930 - 1950.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Easing my guilt.

Been trying to UP the Okaasan duty since Sunday.
Pure guilt easing. I try to be a good person and give something to this old lady....I do...I try. Occassionally.

Monday afternoon I was there when Okaasan came home exhausted after hula dance - and with the inevitable little Japanese sweet bean paste cakes.
I poured her cold juice, I ate the cakes, I sat and chatted with her.
And yesterday a student who went on a tour to Kawagoe in Saitama gave me two very nice English/Japanese pamphlets made by students at Tokyo International University - and I brought them home for Okaasan.

Kawagoe of course is where Okaasan was born. She lived there through the war until she married. So many of her happy memories and stories center on this town.
I gave her the pamphlets after dinner and got her telling stories - she brightend up so much and told us endlessly the same stories. Although it took a bit of effort to get Okaasan to actually turn the first page because the photograph on the cover of a tower got her in a loop-story about her friend's house, and everytime she looked back down at the front cover she started the same story again - looked up to tell it, and then...looked down again, saw the picture of the tower and started the same story again.
I am not joking. She is really like that!

Yujiro fled upstairs after dinner, I managed to hang on for 20 minutes of "this is my friend's house, here on the corner, and this is a shop that makes screens, and this is my friend's house, here on the corner...and Americans liked to buy screens from the shop, and this is my friend's house...."

The pamphlets should be a very useful way of getting her down memory lane.
So I feel a little Oyomesan guilt eased.

*  News from England not so great. My step-mother has been taken into hospital with an infection and low blood pressure. She was due to have a malignant polyp operation next week. Now who knows.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Bare minumum service.

Oyomesan did bare minimum service for Okaasan yesterday.
Made lunch. Got her to the table. Chatted for about 3 minutes about the weather. Left her to eat it. Went out to get sushi for her dinner. Set it out on the table mid-afternoon in a coldbox. Called her into the kitchen and explained it to her. Left her to it.

The rest of the Sunday I did my own thing - round the side of the house with the ever confidently-exploring kittens, reading newspapers, watching TV, email...sleep.....and went out late afternoon to meet friends and Yujiro downtown for all the fun of the Yosakoi Dance Festival. Ate beer and meat downtown and came home later. Even the knee was ok-ish and I could walk about 3 city blocks with the help of a stick.

But my servicing of Okaasan was the basic needed.
She isn't to blame for the last few days of evening wandering and absences from dinner ready on the table. But it leaves me with a "Don't Care" attitude. Why bother to put effort into her when there isn't anything back?
I'd rather have a day off and enjoy it.
Can't be bothered to sit in the kitchen and give her some chattime.
I know it's bad. She needs some mental stimulation.
But it's easier to let her just sit in front of the TV and shuffle around doing hand laundry.

Some of my students think I'm some kind of sweet woman for taking on the co-caring of Okaasan. But they have a false impression. In English classes I am animated and friendly. But I'm paid to be that. It's my job.
When I'm home and resting up it takes super-effort to make an effort for Okaasan. If she had a Japanese daughter-in-law she'd get so much more chat. I am absolulutely guilty of getting by with the minimum of human to human interaction.

I confess it.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Two Sittings of Dinner.

Out at 6 pm - and back at 9 pm. And then wants dinner.
Sometimes (ok, often) I feel like murdering this old lady.
I know. I know. It's the dementia playing havoc with her sense of time and decision-making.
But the results play havoc with my patience.

Being already over-tired from dawn FIFA World Cup soccer games on TV doesn't help.

Yesterday Yujiro worked. I worked. Okaasan stayed home and watched TV...ate bits of stuff in the kitchen. Maybe went out for lunch too.
On my way home I shopped. Came home at 5 pm. Relaxed with a beer, the newspaper and kittens.

At 6 pm Okaasan suddenly appeared in the garden and was heading out.
I told her the time and reminded her about "dinner at 7 pm, in 1 hour".

Yujiro came home. I cooked dinner. We ate dinner.
At 8 pm Yujiro called Okaasan. She was somewhere near Sapporo Station. Who knows why.

She got home at 9 pm.
Oh - yes. Dinner please. Heated up the soup, rice. Cooked the fish. Uncovered the salad and tofu plate etc. Served her.
We left her in the kitchen eating and went to bed. We had a 4 am plan to get up for two soccer games...

I know she doesn't do it on purpose, she is just sitting there staring at the Tv/magazines/bits of paper all day and her mind gets active late afternoon....and then once she is out she loses the sense of time and the knowledge that we are wating with dinner. Sometimes she DOES manage to remember and come home after only an hour. But times like last I know all that.

But doing Two Sittings of Dinner at the Hotel Okaasan isn't pleasing the help.
Here endeth the whinge.

PS oh and another....British goalkeeper Green is a tosser.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Soran! Soran!

It's festival time in Sapporo - and Okaasan was down there last night in the thick of it.
Yujiro and I stayed home. Ate sensible dinner. Watched Tv. Went to bed at 9.30 pm.

Who is the senior citizen here?

I got home at 5.30 pm and Okaasan was just getting herself together to go out: we talked about the time and dinner and she said she'd probably eat down in the Yosakoi Festival. Massive dance event in Sapporo this weekend. Thousands of dancers in the streets, thousands of people watching.
Okaasan borrowed some money from me and set off.
And came back at 9 pm - tired but very happy!
This is one strong 80 year-old.

Yujiro and I ate dinner quietly together (had to eat at home because I'd bought raw squid), then TV...and went to bed early so we could get up for THE 2010 FIFA WORLD CUP.....................................YEAH!!!!! There isn't going to be much sleep in this house for the next 6 weeks....a LOT of early morning TV watching....luckily as the kittens are awake now at 4.30 I have to escort them outside round the dawn smells...and then back to the Beautiful Game.

*  On Hawaii. Yujiro has told Okaasan that nobody else in her class is going on the tour. So maybe not a good idea to go....and that he'll go with her to Hawaii in November etc....of course hoping that she forgets that as an idea...he says she accepted all of that. We'll see....if the hula dance class don't talk about it...and we don't talk about Hawaii...then maybe the idea will drift away again.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Hawaii plans??? Oh no!!!!!

Okaasan wants to go to Hawaii on a Hula Dance Tour......

Yujiro just got a call from Ohta-san, the ever-so-helpful hula classmate.
There's tour to Hawaii for hula dance watching/performing and it's open to groups/classes all over Hokkaido, maybe Japan.
Okaasan apparently told her teacher: YES! I'D LIKE TO GO!

Only problem is: nobody else in Okaasan's class is going. So, who would keep and eye on her, who would make sure she understood/remembered all the different elements of getting together and staying with a group as it goes through airports and checks into hotels and rooms and performance centers and sightseeing spots and restaurants and shops...and ...and....YIKES!

Ohta-san knows this. And thankfully she telephoned to tell us.

Somehow Yujiro has to find a way of disuading Okaasan from this idea. Gently.

It's hard. Part of me thinks that actually she might be ok. After all she knows the whole concept of Going on a Japanese Escorted Tour very well, in the past she has made many tours like this alone and with friends to South Africa, New York, Europe, Canada etc. . Japanese tours are very organised and protected.

But on the other hand - that was about 6 or 7 years ago - now with early/mid stage dementia I wonder how she would get on?

All new places? Time schedules. People giving information about future plans. Choices about food and optional tours. Being in places at set times. "Let's meet back here at XX".
Just getting to her hotel room, using a keycard and getting to the hotel restaurant would be a challenge.

If I think about the practical hour-to-hour routine of a tour I can imagine Okaasan getting into endless confusions about it all. She'd be a real headache for the the tour guide and members. Somebody would have to constantly check she was ok. (We could of course fit Okaasan with the Locator chips that we use for the kitten collars....)

Sad. I know she can't go. No way are either of us going to go on a Hawaiian Hula Dance Tour with Yujiro has to find a way to nip this idea in the bud.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Kittens' brave new world...

Chichi and Popo have made it down from the shed roof and into the garden - and NOW the real fun (and worry) begins.

We escort them on the adventures outside - keeping them in sight as they explore our garden, Hoshiba-san's garden, the long grass under the raised subway line, the street, the trash station, the apartment complex bike shed....

Very, very cute.....what's NOT to love about kittens seeing bugs for the first time and jumping thru grass?

Luckily the come back when they see us, allow themselves to be picked up and run to safety from cars and dogs. Crows are big and scary...and Chichi actaully ran towards two crows near the trash station....

So amid all the other things of life - just watching kittens in the early all the neighbors a fashion show of my pyjamas and old sweaters...happy!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Bad time gifts...and kitten drama.

Okaasan's timing with gifts is not the best.
Not her fault at all. Just sadly, the way it is with busy working people: i.e. me.

Twice now on a Monday she's come home from the department store after hula dance and brought a bag of traditional Japanese cakes - very sweet, rice and bean paste little concoctions in the shape of peaches or plums or flowers.
I come rushing in between classes to feed cats, rest the knee and check e mail - and she presents me with the cake and wants to start making Japanese tea so we can sit down and appreciate the genius that is a traditional Japanese cake. Not actually a tea ceremony of course - really tea powder and a whisk in a big bowl-like-cup.
But it would still take time. And of course it would only be polite to sit and chit-chat.

But at 5 pm on a Monday this is impossible for me.
I'm in thru the door with screaming kittens who need FOOD! PLAY! TOILET BOX CLEANING! and then I am getting stuff for evening classes...and by 5.45 pm I am out again.
Not a time for Okaasan and Oyomesan quality ladies time with tea and a sugary plum-shaped cake.

I feel sad. I tell her I'll eat it later after work. But it feels like a rebuff to her gift.
And even more sadly: as I was cleaning out the cat toilet box last night....Chichi broke open the cake packaging, wrestled it all to the floor and started eating the thing! I'm sure over-sweetend rice isn't good for him. He kind of slurped the delicate plum shape into a green blob.
So I had to throw it away. And luckily Okaasan didn't seem to remember later on so I didn't have to fake out why I couldn't eat it in front of her....

The kitten drama....probably over-hyped on sugar...Chichi got out of the screen windows after I'd gone to work. Yujiro came home to find one cat missing and the other going mental. He called me. I had to leave my long-suffering students and drive home...we walked around the streets calling and rattling a food bag.
Luckily after 30 minutes Chichi came home.
Big relief all round.He does actually know where home is. Until now we've only escorted them round the garden and street by the house.
I drove back to my classroom - told the students I wouldn't charge them for this non-class...and finally got home again at 8 pm.

And finally: had a glorious weekend away with a friend in central Hokkaido. So here are some Hokkaido Spring pictures!

Taisetsu mountains from Biei

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Catch up stuff...

A week of cold, grey, wet weather  - yet another man who thinks he'd like to have a go at being Japan's Prime Minster - terrible massacre in Britain - work - Japanese soccer players giving goals to any team that wanted them-  kittens - Okaasan - Yujiro's job rained off -....

Okaasan's health check came back : basically a healthy old lady. Slightly high bad colesterol, but many elderly people have that. It's all the Macdonalds chicken McNuggets she eats at 6.30 pm almost every day...

*  Had 4th knee injection on Wednesday. Was blabbing with nerves when I walked into the room, the thing itself was so-so...came home and lay on the carpet weeping into a kitten for a while.
Finally 48 hours later the knee joint felt better. But I felt down about the whole thing again. Wondered whether I should drop one of my big community center classes and stay home with the knee up on Mondays or Tuesdays...would it help it get better quickly?

Kittens are really becoming little cats. Rain stopped play outside this week, but I improvised inside with chairs under the carpet, bits of stick and bits of plastic which made great crackling sounds. They are getting used to the collars now. 6 months old this week!

Okaasan was ok - she watched TV, washed clothes in the middle of the night and went out for walks but mainly came home on time. Yujiro was home a lot and cooked. Okaasan ate what was presented. No big random shopping. She even put all her precious magazines in a neat pile!

And this weekend - today? I am escaping. Got 2 classes this morning and then getting away with a friend to the countryside out in central Hokkaido to enjoy spring scenary and good food at a little guest house. I can't walk into the scenary...but I'll wrap a blanket round my knees and take a book.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Robbery...the details.

Spoke to Jane Sunday night to hear the details of the robbery.
Amazing. Wonderful that neither of them were injured.
But very scary.

Monday lunchtime Lucy stepped outside the front door while waiting for lunch to cook.
As she stood enjoying the sunshine, a man suddenly appeared round the side of the house from the parking area - he has his face covered and looked cold/sick.
He walked up to her and forced her back into the house. Tied her hands behind her back and demanded money! He didn't appear to have any weapon, but he was a man and they are two women.
He didn't do anything to Jane, I guess he thought she was too old and feeble.
Then he stayed in the house FORTY MINUTES!!! He made Lucy walk from room to room and hunted in the drawers etc for money...
They have him some money and he found Lucy's late mother's wedding ring....he ripped out the house phone cables, took the mobiles and took the car keys.
He drove away....and came BACK a few minutes later to get his sweater which was in the field nearby.
Then drove away.
The car was found a 1 km away on the main road. So maybe he had a friend in a car, or a bike nearby?
Lucy managed to get out of her ties and ran to the main road to get help.

There were no other reports of anything like this in the area. The police think he may have been a  druggy taking a big chance by approaching a house...maybe he was originally looking in the car for money and heard Lucy come outside.
It really is amazing. This is in the middle of the English countryside, miles from anywhere...

Both Jane and Lucy are ok, but understandably a bit nervous. Although Lucy comes from Zimbabwe and had been tied up twice and hit over the head once..."but I didn't expect this in England!"....not at all part of her Carer's job description.

*  And Jane's health: she has to go into hospital later this month and have a polyp removal operation...supposedly a routine thing. But she is in her 80s and frail and very open to getting all sorts of killer viruses that lurk in dirty British hospitals. So we'll see.

*  And Yujiro has taken his relationship with Okaasan to a New Level: he got her to give a urine sample yesterday and took it along to the hospital! So they can test it and give her a health report. Bet he never thought he would be discussing such things with his mum....