Thursday, 14 April 2011

Great dollops of... happiness!

I've whinged and whined enough in this blog.
Well, had enough to whinge and whine about really.

But today. Well, just little Miss Sunshine here. :-)

I rode a bicycle for the first time in 2 years. THIS is momentous, if you've been reading long enough here you'll know I was struck down 2 years ago with damaged knee cartilage, which I then continued walking around on...and it got worse. I couldn't walk anywhere, Used to go thru airports and to pop concerts in wheelchairs and on crutches.

But now? I rode my brand new bike from the house to the classroom - with the wind blowing in my hair and hardly a care in the world.
Then I walked around all over downtown, dropping off press releases to radio stations about the Walkathon, I did classes...and then come 5.30 pm I got on my bike and cycled home! Almost all the way, got off and walked on one hill.

It's amazing. To me anyway.

And come Sunday this weekend: I will be walking 2 km in the Eniwa-Sendai with Love Walkathon.

And THAT topic is the other source of sunshine.
People are SO KIND!

** Blog reader Clare in Australia bowled me over first by offering to sponsor both I AND Yujiro in our walking efforts. She'll pay her sponsor money in Australia and tell us the receipt number. This is a woman I've never met offering to donate money to Japanese earthquake/tsunami victims. Incredible.

** Then...I came out of my downtown NHK class to find Noriyo-san...she was a student until last year at a different NHK class. She was downtown doing something anyway, but she checked on the NHK website to confirm my schedule and actually came and waited for me in the elevator hall of the center JUST SO SHE AND ANOTHER STUDENT COULD SPONSOR ME!

** and THEN (we are just basking in the sunny rays here), I came home and found that Atsuko-san, another NHK student had read about the Walkathon and she had called NHK, and they called here because she too wanted to SPONSOR me.

** And two students at my English classroom also came today bearing sponsor offers...thankyou all!

Amazed. And happy. And grateful. Thankyou.

Okaasan (cos afterall this blog is meant to be about life-with-her) seems fine, the weather is getting better and she is going out for walks. We've put the laundry stand outside now so she can soon enjoy hanging laundry and rearranging it for ages.
Her room is its usual mess with clothes and newspapers everywhere. We get in to clean it when she is out.
I scored a few Oyomesan bonus points this week by asking Okaasan if I could put two seed trays in her room by the  window because it is almost safely away from the cats. She is happy to be helping and I've left a spray can near it so she can gently spray the soil instead of her usual drown-it-everytime-I-notice-it style of indoor gardening.

I'm gearing up to really trying to get her along to have a haircut. Tonight I checked out the hairsalon near the station that Okaasan seemed to think might be skilled enough to touch her head. Nice enough owner and assistant and a good, clean Western style toilet.

Now. How to get Okaasan to go?
I can't book it and then tell her. That would be too managing.
If I discuss it with her and suggest she calls. She'll put it off until never.
The ideal would be if we are out walking and happen to pass the door and go in and they have time to do her right then.
But I hardly ever go walking with her.

Yujiro seems disinterested in the whole topic. He's a guy who gets a 10 minute buzzcut.

I think it's sad, but interesting that Okaasan doesn't take the steps to go to a hair salon. Most women enjoy the experience. When she looks in a mirror she must be disappointed at how she looks: all straggly, grey hair.
Has dementia made her SO uncaring about her personal appearance? I find  that hard to believe.
But another part of me wonders if going to a hair salon maybe isn't such a good experience for her - sitting in front of a mirror looking at yourself while a stranger forces you to converse. Is that too stressful a situation in fact? Is she instinctively shying away from that?

I know that in some of my darkest hours in the past two years, when Yujiro was in hospital, when Dad had died, when I was sick with expanding ovaries.....sitting in the hair salon was tough. I felt too exposed by the mirror and the kindness of my friendly stylist....the sad, bugeyed woman in the mirror was me. And I didn't want to look at her.

Maybe Okaasan doesn't actually like sitting looking at herself in a mirror while a stranger forces her to talk.

Hmmmm.....have to ponder this one some more.

So there we are. Happiness. Dollops of it.
About bloody time. I think I've done enough Serious Life Events to last me a while.


  1. The kindness of people is amazing. The whole Walkathon thing is alternately really depressing me (the utter lack of interest from a lot of people close to me) and elating me (the utter kindness and enthusiasm of the people who get it). I feel very up and down about it all but the overall impression is UP!

  2. very nice! gambatte on your walk!!!!
    and okaasan, yeah something about dementia makes them care less about appearance...dunno why. i saw that in my own mom, she had signs of dementia coming on as well...

  3. Wow, congratulations for getting back on the bike! And good luck with the walk - it sounds like a brilliant idea. As for Okaasan's hair cut...I wonder if any local hairdressers will make house calls? When my grandmother had trouble getting around, the hairdresser would visit, do the wash at the kitchen sink and give her a nice cut, all in the privacy of her home. It didn't cost much more than usual.

  4. Hi Kirtsy - yes, I wondered about that too. I think you can arrange that, but really that's a service for people who physically can't get out - Okaasan walks past this hair salon almost every day on her walks...and yet she never goes in and makes an appointment...never...6 months now and no hair cut. She looks a mess.