Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Back on form.

Okaasan really is back on form.

She is eating full meals again and went to hula dance classes twice...and out shopping. 
Didn't eat dinner with us Monday night, because she fell asleep after the hula dance trip...and last night she suddenly went out late shopping and came home just as we were finishing we prepped the food and left her eating it alone.

That hula dance event in the city park was last weekend and a student asked me if Okaasan went to it. I remember doing my Good Oyomesan Deed last year and taking her to it to watch her class members. On the day she was fine...but after that she go all stressy about WHY didn't they tell me about the event and WHY didn't they invite me etc this year we are not talking about the hula events at all and just letting her trot along to the regular classes. I guess the teacher is configuring new dance routines around the assumption that Okaasan won't be there on performance day.
Learning the new dances and then standing in the park for hours with no easy toilet access would all be a stressy situation for her. Best she doesn't go.

One more thing: I've had a few strange random conversations with Okaasan recently. Usually she is very predictable - currently we are are always talking about Roses, roses don't grow well in Saitama, there is an old man who lives near my house and he grows plants for shops, but even he can't grow roses, the weather is bad.....

But recently she starts talking about something that seems to have no connection to the situation or what was said before.
I washed her net curtains at the weekend, and took them back into her room to put back on the curtain hooks and hang up. She did one curtain and I did the other. Talked about sunshine and good weather and good-day-for-drying..


That old man who sells fish in the shop, he always tells me which is good flat fish so I buy it and it is delicious, sometimes flatfish isn't delicious, but he tells me and it is ok, that old man in the fish shop (repeat till you can escape the room).


Curtains? Curtain hooks? Drying? Good weather?.....flat fish???
Why? I went on chatting about flat fish, wondering why we were talking about this!!

What sparked her onto this? Curtain hooks and fish hooks? Drying fish?

Monday, 27 June 2011

Outbreak of domestititis.

Picket fence and artfully arranged clover.

SCONE VICTORY! Thanks to my student Sachiko and her recommendation - recipe from a Japanese Anglophile called Hayashi Nozomi's book "Delicious England!"

Carrot Cake - sailing on the success of the scones I let the baking roll on...and made this too.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

She's baaaaackk!

Oh the amazing power of antibiotics and pain-killers!

Only took 24 hours. Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it Nishi-sensei.
Starve yourself back into health. Yeah, right.

The dental nurse phoned Friday lunchtime to check how Okaasan was doing and Yujiro (home cos rain wiped out bike taxi work) could happily report that his mum had eaten a big lunch...asked for seconds etc.

Today we did a Family Outing to the local revolving sushi heaven that is Toriton and the three of us ate our way through a mountain of sushi. Just as well there wasn't another earthquake (have been three or more this week in Sapporo)  while the plates piled up into a tower on the table before us.

Then we walked home all friendly and chatty and even sat in the garden together and looked at the one of the cats enjoying a brushing...looked at roses that are blossoming...

my gosh...a HAPPY family scene!!!!

Did you see that movie a few years back - My Darling is a Foreigner? Based on the best-selling manga about a Japanese woman and her American hubby? In the movie they lived an idealised life in a cute cottage with a flower-filled garden and a picket fence,  it all looked like a washing powder commercial. Most foreigners who saw the movie snorted and returned home from the movie theater to their ugly concrete block Japanese apartment, with the heavy metal doors and the strip of balcony containing a few dead plants in plastic pots.

But you know what? Our little family scene today after lunch outside here was.....oh MY GOD!

I even have the picket fence.

I'd better go and suck on a lemon and get my mean-spirited groove back.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Take your meds, take your meds, take your meds, take...

Okaasan needs to take some meds.
And HE is the person who is going to get her to do it.
I am staying well out of it, at a safe distance.

The Thursday trip to the dentist revealed that there IS swelling and some problems with recent dental work and the dentist recommended anti-biotics and pain killers if the pain stays bad.

Katsuzo Nishi - Okaasan's health guru...
Well, we all know what Okaasan thinks about Western/Modern medicine!
For the past week she has been doing her predictable: No eating! Nishi-sensei's teachings tell us that the body heals itself if you don't eat!
Strange...because SOMEONE has been burning rice and miso in the saucepans at lunchtime - and I don't think it's the cats.
But she didn't come to eat dinner with us, or if she came she drank a bit of soup and nibbled on a pickle. Been nice actually, just having dinner without her (I AM a mean Oyomesan!!).

But, anyway. Dentist's orders.
Take these meds 3 times a day. After food.
Problem: She only eats twice a the best of times.
It's ok! Drink some milk in the morning and then the pills!
Err...milk...she doesn't drink it.

So. Yujiro is displaying amazing patience and kindness - and gently encouragingly edging Okaasan into taking her meds. He got them down her last night after dinner (a few spoons of rice and some soup), and he got them down her again this morning (with yogurt, which as we all know isn't milk.....).
He is doing great - I stand in awe.

Left up to me? I'd probably wrap Okaasan in a towel, hold her head back, slip the meds in and clamp her jaws I try and fail to do with the cats.

Anyway - glad the dentist confirmed that there is a real problem. I was beginning to wonder how much pain Okaasan really felt and whether her not-eating-habit was just becoming a default response to invitations to sit down for family dinner.
And let's hope the Western/Modern Medicine does the trick. other news...

And THIS is the really important news!
I have found my Australian beach hideaway for September. Just went crazy with the credit card online this morning.....the holiday I have been promising myself for the past 2 years...thru all the shit at hospitals and funerals and house-clearings and airports and stuff....ONE DAY I WILL GET AWAY FROM THIS AND SIT ON A BEACH.

Here is my beach hotel...Melaleuca Resort Palm Cove.

Expensive - yes.
 Necessary - Yes! 
Wonderful? Oh YES!!!
I've got some money coming (finally) from Dad and Jane's wills...and this, this my friends, will be how I am spending some of it. 
Dad and Jane would love this place and I am sure they will be there with me in spirit watching sunsets and dipping their toes in the pool....

Roll on September....................................

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Kneely there...

Me, on the left....
I am Oyomesan's Left Knee.
Well, my other-half - Right Knee is also in this picture because we stand together on most issues.

I have been an on/off star of this blog for the past two years because I haven't been well.

Got taken out for a walk 2 years ago, then suddenly was asked to jog - in hiking boots - and it did me in. All my cartilege/internal jelly casings were shot.
I was in agony for months and months.
Had electric pulses racing through me, had nasty injections....I went everywhere carefully...couldn't climb stairs, carry bags, stand in the kitchen at the end of a day's work. 
I've been wrapped in a support band when ever I go out.
Useless for ages.
The plus side ;-) was that I went thru airports and to a pop concert in a wheelchair.

But...then I met a health supplement tablet called Glucosamine, and I went to Curves ladies gym where I exercised gently and slowly...and slowly I became better again.
Last week Oyoesan forgot to put me in the nice, warm support band when she went to work - but even after a day in the classrooms I was ok!
And yesterday, and today - she didn't even TAKE the support band today...and here I am at 4 pm after two classes and the subway trip and shopping and a bike ride home. OKay!!

I still feel nervous when I got to the gym and the feeling of a big, heavy bag scares me....but I can run up a few steps, I can support Oyomesan while she stands on me and puts on a sock...I can do many many things. I can even kneel almost as well as Right Knee.
So, I think I am kneely better.

I hope I don't appear in this blog ever again.
Thankyou for your support.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Fugu Okaasan.......

Poor Okaasan - the dental work has given her a seriously swollen face.
Fugu Okaasan isn't eating much - which is GREAT for us because we don't have to think about feeding her, just a bit of soup now and then...but of course not great for her.

Even so she went out for 4 hours walking and shopping yesterday. Came home just as we were finishing dinner and only wanted soup to drink - but while she was in the toilet I managed to do a quick, sneaky bag check and find the remains of a cream cake which she'd bought and half eaten...all mashed up in a plastic she obviously is eating sometimes.
The next dentist appointment is Thursday, so we hope she can hang on till then.

Spent a wonderful quiet day at home myself. Was waiting to welcome and incoming Couch Surfer - another person cycling Hokkaido - he arrived late afternoon and just needed to we didn't even have a coffee together....and he has gone again this morning. In a way it is sometimes good that CS people stay in my classroom because we can do as much or as little socializing as we or they feel like. And this guy looked bushed. He'd cycled from Tomakomai...
So I spent a good day doing my accounts on the computer, finishing off a book review (Arudou Debito's first fiction "In Appropriate" for the Being a Broad web-magazine)...and gardening. And a quick trip to the big recycle shop, where I found a garden table set for Y1,000 and a cosy garden chair for Y500.
Planted half my seeds....I am actually running out of garden space for the rest....the students had some last week, the neighbor will get more...and..and...?

This time last year my step-mum was having her polyp operation and we were worried about how she would recover from that. Now we know that she never really recovered at all and by September...

This year I am so SO happy to have just normal life things to think about: scones, seeds, cat paw injury, Okaasan's dental...and work. Oh - and WHERE to stay when I go to Cairns in September!! Cairns for a beach holiday and then my friend in Melbourne for some serious eating...

Saturday, 18 June 2011


Scones II.

Slightly better. This time my Internet recipe promised : Level of Difficulty: Low.
Someone called Melissa was leading the way.
Better recipe I think, it actually included egg and sugar, which last week's recipe didn't.

I thought the baking powder was coming through a bit strong. It seemed a bit crumbly.
But ok. I added cinamon and dried cranberries.
Yujiro and I ate it for breakfast.
I can't imagine having the confidence to cook a whole lot of these for English Tea Party and my students...I think I'll have COSTCO as the back-up.

Okaasan is on a no-eating thing because she says her dental work hurts. So I don't have to submit my scones to her.
Lucky that.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Family outing....minus 1.

So - there I am sitting with HIS mother on a park bench in the middle of a Japanese festival.
Eating noodle-filled savoury pancakes from little plastic trays and watching a motorbike-wall-climbing attraction nearby and the youth of Sapporo getting it on in high heels, makeup and summer kimono....

And the missing member of this Family Outing?

Err....on the cell phone....coming from work...coming..I really AM coming soon.....coming!!! soon!!!...yadda yadda yadda....repeat till it's time to go home.

Yup. Our Family Outing turned into me taking Okaasan to the festival, walking her through it, choosing food, sitting on a bench and eating with her...all the
And Yujiro finally arrived 1 hour later just in time to walk back thru the festival to the subway station with us - via a ridiculous "I must go off and find some beer" detour which left Okaasan and I standing again waiting for him amid the festival.
(ok...he also arrived in time to take the picture of me and Okaasan above, she is chumping down on a corn <> and I have a perky little chappy called a Choco Banana).

Ok. It isn't hard to take an old lady to a festival and eat with her on a bench. But this is my blog so I can whinge here as much as I like. Whinge because this was meant to be a nice little, relaxed threesome - family - thingy.....
Instead I felt I was the Mommy with the toddler at the school play when Daddy is late and we keep making excuses for "Where is poor Daddy???".

He got a late customer for the bike taxi. Just as he was planning to head back to the bike garage a family asked him to take them to THE FESTIVAL IN THE PARK.


While his family waited and waited for him.

Okaasan was fine. She enjoyed the different stalls and I made sure to ask about every single one and what it was...all the old games like pinball, goldfish scooping and lucky string pull...all the food....the pancakes, the shaved ice, the chocolate covered bananas. I took her down memory lane into festivals of years gone by...
We walked and talked and looked.

This is one genki old lady: she KNEW which pinup pictures were the boyband Arashi!! She knew! I can only name two members of SMAP.
She also walked up and down all the subway station stairs with no problem....
81 this summer and no problems with the body.

Anyway Oyomesan Duty done.
We got home about 8.30 pm exhausted. Opened a beer or two and flopped in front of a DVD.

This morning was Yujiro's turn to get Okaasan out for the 9 am Dentist appointment....his turn to do. It takes her ages to have a bath and wash her hair and dry her hair and get dressed...and decide what bits to take with her. Choosing clothes is getting harder I think. Last week she appeared at the door to go out with two shawls trailing...a thick, brown winter shawl and a flowery one too....

and...and ...and!!!!!!!!!!

Oyomesan has booked her first escape ticket: Jet Star is going to fly me away to Australia for a much-dreamed of holiday this September. I booked online yesterday and just hope the Internet booking is is such a budget airline with option in/out costs for food, in-flight entertainment and pillows...I just hope I didn't miss some vital option choice...such as "one wing or two?" or "pilot or fly-yourself?".

But I am going. I can already see myself poolside with the cocktail and a bronzed Ozzie waiter attending to my  lotion needs.............................

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Rainy days and Mondays.

Would summer just ARRIVE and get on with it?
I'm sitting here with the HEATER on! In June!

Summer Festival season has started in Sapporo - the mass, amateur dance festival that is Yosakoi Soran, and then the Hokkaido Shrine Festival.
Just wish summer would show up too.

We got free tickets for the cheap seats at the Yosakoi on Sunday night - me and him that is. We didn't take Okaasan cos we are selfish. And cos a couple has to do some stuff together sometime.
But Okaasan was heading out for her late afternoon walk at 5 pm just as I got home with the takeout sushi tray from the good sushi place nearbye...and she looked a little sad when I said we were out and this would be her dinner.
"Sushi again?"
Oh no...she does remember that. When we go out we leave her sushi.

So now we feel guilty that we should take her out this week to something and do some family thing as a threesome. Festival or food or onsen. Something.
Actually I don't think Okaasan actually has a clear memory of how much (or little!) we do together, as long as she jogs along through days and weeks of basic happy life...but WE feel guilty. So.

And Mondays. She doesn't really know when it is Monday and hula.
This week was raining and Yujiro was home. He didn't talk about her hula class, and she didn't she didn't go. And thus, luckily, didn't hear that all her classmates went to an event and danced without her.

But rainy days are bad for her, staying inside. Last night at dinner she just and ate and smiled at us across the table....gave a bit of reaction if we prodded enough. It is so unnerving to sit with someone who never EVER starts a conversation or tells you something about their day....only responds. I hunt around for funny stories from my students, stuff from TV, stuff about the cats and the garden....and Yujiro can fill out decades with chat about Not A Lot. We are becoming like a Japanese manzai (comedy) pair....filling out the 30 mins of dinner time with SOMETHING for Okaasan.

* Cat News: Chichi came home with a cut paw and left trails of blood. The vet said it is ok, but has wrapped it up and told us to "keep him inside for 3 days". Yeah. Right. A cat that loves outdoors. In fact TWO cats that love outdoors. We managed it for a day because of the rain. But this morning I cut up a plastic bag and bandaged it all round his foot...and he rustled his way out across the carpark.

* Scones. COSTCO have them don't they! I saw them yesterday. Look good. But I also bought butter and found my kitchen scales. I will try again. Maybe twice more. And then give up and just buy them and lie like that scene in Calender Girls when the W.I. woman enters a supermarket cake for the Cake Contest...and it wins.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Forgotten how to cook.

Not Okaasan.

Next month I've invited students to an English Tea Party in my garden.
Roses, tea, cake, scones...maybe cats.
It's something I wanted to do last year, as a "thankyou" to students who'd stood by me while I underwent various personal crises...but what with the knee and the ovaries...and the England sagas...I couldn't garden and I didn't have the energy to invite anyone to anything.
English Jungle Instant Coffee Party doesn't have the same appeal.

So. July 3 it will be.
Pretty rash really. I haven't cooked scones for 30? 40 ? years?
As readers of this blog may have guessed by now - cooking isn't my thing. I'm the daughter of a busy working mum, she was good at 70s style dinner food like vol au vents filled with chicken and I think dinner cooking was mainly done by my work-at-home step-father.

I was never the bake-a-cake type.
Thought I should practice today.

Hmm.. That opened up all sorts of quandries...seeing as I don't have anything for baking and haven't done it since I was just old enough to see on top of a kitchen counter.
Throw in the uncertainties of ingredient hunting in a Japanese supermarket.
Add a pinch of improv - and scary Internet recipes ("scones are said to be the easiest home baking, but actually can be as frustrating to get "right" as meringues"....) and I was all set.

15 minute shelf staring in the supermarket : IS ordinary flour with baking powder the same as self-raising flour?
Is a coffee mug of flour the same as "two cups"?
What IS a "stick of butter", where in the world does butter come in sticks?
Is an empty umeshu bottle ok as a rolling pin?
Will one of Okaasan's Japanese teacups be ok as a dough cutter?

Have I gone mad?
Results: didn't rise much and the left over lump of dough looked better than the teacup-cut circles...but tasted ok...not very cakey and not very sweet....hmmm....ANYONE got any advice??

I'm much better at gardening. Got it all going on strong now.
Yesterday and today I've done a lot out there - planted out some seedlings I've grown on the computer room table, weeded down to bare earth, banked up the potato plants, given the sad little cucumber a second chance by surrounding it in plastic...did I mention weeding?

Cat-eye view from 2nd floor living room. The HUGE peony bush is center, left are the flowers and right are the vegs. (laundry stand is that ugly green/silver thing).

Lot of weeding results.

Far row - potato plants; center - remains of spring flowers; Right - plastic sheet coddling the cucumber; Foreground: Tomato plants. Left - stick like thing is the green pepper that survived another winter in the classroom.

My Dad's dog carving with a shock of pink.

Foreground - seedlings; Background - the tall pink plant I aspire them to grow into!

Okaasn is fine. She's been downtown to look at the Yosakoi dance Festival. Came home just as we'd finished dinner. But cheerful. She even came OUT into the garden in her nightdress mid-morning today to look at flowers with me. She took in laundry for us when it rained.
She seems to be doing fine....

Friday, 10 June 2011

Taking the Okaasan by the horns...

Fuckity, fuckity...fuck! (name THAT movie's opening lines??)

Okaasan NOTICED my room cleaning????
As I made dinner last night I could see her fretting around in her room, looking at stuff, picking things up and peering and moving around.
I got more and more nervous. My great cleaning stint yesterday had been TOO good. She was noticing the difference. What had I moved? What was she about to do to me?
I watched her ferreting about and sitting slumped on the GOD...even folding T-shirts and towels from the heap behind her!

What to do? I could see a dinner time blow up approaching.

Decided to Take The Okaasan By the Horns and get in my story first.

As I called mother and son to dinner I entered Okaasan's room cheerfully: "Good evening! How are you? By the way, today when you were out I vacumned your room, so if you notice things have moved, that's why. Oh, and I took that nightgown out of the washing machine and hung it up. Is that ok?"

"Ahh? Nightgown? It was in the machine? Ahh. Vacumm? Oh, thankyou for your help, I'm sorry for bothering you!".

Did it.
Followed a happy family dinner of chat and laughs.
Mission Accomplished.

Maybe this is the way to go - to be open about going into her room and doing stuff, so that she is comfortable with knowing that sometimes I am there....

* Got the movie reference yet???? Hint: Hugh Grant...weddings...

Thursday, 9 June 2011 make no difference.

Cleaning a room and making no discernible difference?
I can do it. So far.

This morning Yujiro took Okaasan off for another dentist trip, so I could safely clean in her room knowing she wouldn't suddenly reappear.

The trick to cleaning is: Clean it all and throw away some trash, but in the end it must look as though nothing is changed!

It's a strange thing to be setting aside piles of stuff.... vacuuming the carpet underneath...and then gently putting the stuff all back in place....arranging old shopping receipts just so, the empty plastic bags, advertising flyers etc I could get a job as a set dresser in Hollywood maybe.

In the past Okaasan has got very angry about me going into her room and taking stuff, so I am super-careful that I clean and throw out the really bad trash (rotting food and dirty underwear), but leave a good layer of stuff so she doesn't notice... much.

And yes - she is definitely making a collection of screwed up newspaper or flyers, I found several bags of them today. People make balls of paper to stuff shoes or bags to keep their shape in storage and maybe that's what she is doing. But I am going to ask some of my older students about this, I have a feeling it is something else...some wartime custom...did people stuff balls of newspaper under their clothes for warmth maybe? Why is she rolling up so many balls of paper?

The underwear situation has spread into the living room recently. She always used to put it in one of two laundry boxes in her Japanese-style room. But now I'm finding urine soaked pants in little piles in her living room....if they migrate to the kitchen we may have to build a safety wall.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The Japan Blog List

Just got listed on this useful site...lots of blogs about different aspects of life in Japan.

I haven't FOUND any other blogs about living with an elderly dementia suffering in-law.....but I'll keep looking.

The Japan Blog List


Safe from a meltdown?
No...not the Fukushima type...the Okaasan type.
The -why-didn't-I-know-about-the-hula-dance-thing-and why-did-they-have-a-performance day-without-telling-me kind of a meltdown.

Monday is regular hula class day, so before I left for work I gave Okaasan the hairdryer, left simple food on the table for lunch...and left her to it. Wondering HOW she would feel when she got to class and heard all the other ladies chattering on about "how fun it was to dance together on saturday!".

I got home - a little nervously - at 5 pm but she was still out. Little flowery slippers in the entrance hall, the sign of Okaasan Has Left the Building.
I had to do a rapid cook and prepare and turn around as we had a 6 pm dinner date with a visiting Couch Surfer downtown. In 40 mins I fed the cats, changed from work clothes, washed up Okaasan's lunch things, unpacked the food shopping, made miso soup, set Okaasan's dinner things etc etc Whirlwind of activity.
Okaasan came home...gave me a little hassle about how untidy the shoes were in the entrance hall...this is the Japanese way...yes, but this isn't a's MY home and I'm English....yadda yadda...

Hula? No, I didn't go. I didn't get ready in time, so I didn't go today.
ThankGOODness. She didn't go, so didn't hear what she'd missed, so she didn't feel like killing me with a tea whisk.

I finished up the prepping for her dinner and left her to it. Later Yujiro called her to tell her dinner was ready in the kitchen, but she'd already found it and eaten it.
We got home later and she was safely asleep.
Meltdown averted for now.

I actually dread Okaasan getting in a bad mood again...because it is like a different person....she is usaully giggly, polite, funny - so the blank face, no-talking mood switch is a real change. As long as we can keep her basically happy we can keep THAT person away.

Finally....just look at's the peony in my beautiful this's been flowering for over a week now, great saucer-like blossoms of gorgeousnous!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Oyomesan awaaayyyyyy.....

Town Hall, Esashi.

Nakamura Trading house, Esashi.

Esashi....all retro-fitted a few years ago.

Oonuma at dawn. Oyomesan WALKED the 50 mins course in ....25 mins!

Mount Esan near Hakodate...look carefully and you can see the azalia up the hill.


Hakodate from the newish Gorykokaku Tower.

Friday, 3 June 2011

To hula or no? we go again.

Should Okaasan go or not? Hula Performance Day is tomorrow.
This time her hula class performance day starts at 11 am and goes on ALL day until 8 pm! Hours and hours of practice and lunch and chat and make up and hairstyling and performance and chat at one of the civic centres on Sapporo.

Yujiro's decided that it would be too long for Okaasan and that he won't talk about it and hope she had forgotten. Just let her stay home and have an ordinary day.
He argues that she would worry about toilet control, so she wouldn't eat all day...and just get tired and confused with the new dance steps etc etc.

So. I am under orders to Not Talk About Hula.
Easy enough, cos I am GOING AWAY FOR A WEEKEND!!!!!

But I do wonder...when Okaasan goes to hula class next week and all her classmates are talking excitedly about their performance will SHE feel when she realizes she didn't go to it?
Probably come home and kill her Oyomesan on the kitchen floor with a Japanese tea whisk thingy.

Oh well - his decision about his mum. Out of my hands.

I am off meanwhile on a train tomorrow a few hours south to Hakodate to get a rental car and drive to the historic town of Esashi, stay at a lake resort in a cheapo guest house and then drive to Esan on the coast to see the wild azalea...

so I am OUTTA here!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

The Simplicity of Dementia

Simplicity...dementia? Yes, well.....

I've just reread this book recently and it was interesting to notice where Okaasan stands in all of this now...
I read it 2 years ago when she came first into our life. It was one of the four books I bought and devoured on the topic of dementia.

Anyway...all quiet here this week - me doing gardening and work, Okaasan behaving herself with hula practice and dentist and coming home on time, Yujiro out working, cats trying to get breakfast at 3.30 am...all normal.
Hell - I even booked myself a little weekend break down in the Hakodate area. I think I can walk far enough now to actually enjoy flowers and historic towns. Gonna have me some away-time.

So. Okaasan 2 years on. What changes have I noticed after rereading the book?

*  she does less - walking, clothes' washing, shopping, talking...all still there, but less of it. Shorter walks, occasional clothes' washing, a few bits and pieces of shopping and longer silences unless actually actively engaged in chat.
*   spells of double incontinence - the urinary incontinence is constant now (I noticed she is even now wearing THREE pairs of underpants sometimes!!), and the fecal incontinence hasn't happened for about 3 weeks now...but I'm sure it'll return. 
* less able to remember/understand equipment - she hasn't used the microwave at all recently, always heats her lunch rice in a pan with water and an egg; always finds the tap in the kitchen confusing.
* hovers more - after dinner when Yujiro is washing up Okaasan will often stand just behind him, somehow caught between making tea for herself and putting dirty plates on the counter....if we point out the teapot she sets off again on that task, but if not she kind of hovers mid-kitchen.
*  patches of memory even in old stories - Okaasan can be telling a story from her childhood as usual - but then forgets a whole chunk of it. i.e. She always tells us that she ate savory pancakes every day on her way home from school in a little shop with a table outside. But on one recent retelling she got "every day/after school/ate pancakes"....and then stopped. "Where? At home? In a restaurant?"...."I don't know, I forgot."

She often giggles like a child, maybe set off by a funny story, or something the cats do, or her own mistake....or just giggles when she comes home and enters the kitchen!
But she is still ok - goes walking, goes to hula class, can take part in conversations, washes herself, feeds herself. Isn't howling at the moon.

The Simplicity of Dementia (Huub Buijessen)