A Very Intense Tuesday

Wowah, it’s been quite the day! I awoke at 8AM from a nightmare. Thankfully it wasn’t about my current care facility. I got weighed in. Thankfully, despite all the treats the staff who left us left behind, I’d only gained 200 grams.

I then got dressed, got breakfast and then read some. When my day activities staff came, she said the hairdresser was here. Like I said last week, hair salons are allowed to open again, though I overheard a staff say this isn’t until tomorrow. Oh well. I don’t go to the hairdresser each time she visits the care facility, so wasn’t sure I’d go this time, especially at such short notice. I eventually decided to go anyway and she cut about 5cm off my hair.

Then I went for a walk. Once back home, I had to eat, because I’d have to leave for the dentist at noon. I wouldn’t have my appt till 1PM, but it’s about a 45-minute drive to the care agency’s main institution, where the dentist is.

The staff had only told me of my dentist’s appt yesterday, presumably so I wouldn’t worry. I didn’t really, but my anxiety went through the roof once the dentist was doing his job, despite my having taken a PRN Seroquel to calm my nerves. It wasn’t noticeable to the staff, as I practically froze.

I had to have two cavities filled. Both were underneath an existing filling. Despite the topical anesthetic, it did hurt a little. To be honest, one of the teeth still hurts. I also got some protecctive layer over one of my other teeth, which had receding gums and for this reason the root had become exposed. That thankfully didn’t hurt.

Once I was back at the care facility, I tried to rest, but couldn’t. The anesthetic was wearing off and it hurt pretty bad. I decided to do some reading. Then the orthopedic shoemaker visited. He had tried to widen my shoes, so that my AFO (ankle foot orthosis) and arch support both fit into it and I would still be able to get my foot into the shoe. It worked, so now I can start practising walking with my AFO in. In fact, I’m pretty sure I won’t have to practise, as the discomfort is already manageable.

Once the shoemaker was gone, it was time to have dinner. I then had a bit of a meltdown over dessert, or maybe because of the reason it was just a spoiled tantrum. I eventually calmed down though and was able to enjoy the rest of the evening.

I finally gave in and got myself a membership to the International Association for Journal Writing (IAJW). I was a member some years ago, but at the time rarely used the member benefits. Part of the reason is that I didn’t know how to work Zoom and the get-togethers are on there. I still don’t know how to use it, but I think I’ll learn quickly enough.

Now it’s past 8:30PM. I’m not tired yet, but maybe I should have an early night anyway. Tomorrow, my community psychiatric nurse will be here at 11AM. That should go okay. Overall, I’m doing pretty well.

Reading Wrap-Up (March 1, 2021) #IMWAYR

Yay, I’ve done a lot of reading over the past week. Enough that I’d love to share it with you in a reading wrap-up. As usual, I’m linking up with It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? or #IMWAYR. I’m also joining in with the Sunday Salon, Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves.

Life Update

I’ve been doing quite well lately. Like I said on Saturday, I have been in a pretty good mood. Today I’m a little less energetic than I was over the weekend, but I’m still feeling quite cheerful. Right now, I have an essential oil blend of clary sage, grapefruit and lime in my diffuser. It’s great.

What I’m Currently Reading

I finally picked up My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga today again after having let it sit on my digital shelf for several months. I’m finding it surprisingly easy to get back into the story.

I also picked up After the Cure by Deirdre Gould, which I’d downloaded for free a few weeks ago. I’m pretty sure this won’t get a five-star rating from me, but I’m not disappointed enough in it to give up on it. I’m still intrigued by the blurb and the first bits of the story enough that I want to know more.

What I Recently Finished Reading

I raced through A Life Lost by Cathy Glass and finished it on Saturday. It deserved a solid five stars. I reviewed the book yesterday.

What I Think I’ll Be Reading Next

I don’t have a habit of having a ton of books on my Goodreads to-read shelf, but I do have a lot in my head that I’d like to get to someday. Since I’m not very far in any of the books I’m currently reading, I can’t predict what I’ll read next.

Stacking the Shelves

Okay, I feel embarrassed. I said last week that I’d been hoarding book deals through BookBub. Honestly though, the term “hoarding” got a whole new definition this past week. I got at least twelve free books thanks to BookBub. And just so you know, I’m still only picking up books that I think will appeal to me. Among the books I downloaded are:


  • My Perfect Ex-Boyfriend by Annabelle Costa

  • Skye by Kelsie Rae

  • Once Gone by Blake Pierce

  • Critical Vulnerability by Melissa F. Miller

  • Cowboy with a Badge by Margaret Watson

  • Love in a Snowstorm by Zoe York

  • The Eleventh Hour by Anina Collins

  • Kakadu Sunset by Annie Seaton

  • Stripped Raw by Prescott Lane

  • Easy Love by Kristen Proby

  • The Boy Who Painted the World by Melody J. Bremen

  • Twelve Days by Teresa Hill


Most of these are part of some series. That’s only to be expected, as I’m assuming they’re free only to get you into the series and buy the other books. That being said, most of these can be read as standalones too, like I did with Killer Cupcakes by Leighann Dobbs. Although I’m definitely planning to buy at least one other book in that series too, as I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

What have you been reading lately?

Book Review: A Life Lost by Cathy Glass

Already some months ago, I found out about Cathy Glass’ new foster care memoir, A Life Lost. It didn’t come out till February 18 though and I never pre-order books. I waited for the release date and then immediately bought the eBook on Apple Books. Even though I was reading several other books, I gave priority to this one. I finished it yesterday. Today, I’m ready for a review.

Summary

Jackson is aggressive, confrontational and often volatile. His mother, Kayla, is crippled with grief after tragically losing her husband and eldest son.
Struggling to cope, she puts Jackson into foster care.

Cathy, his carer, encourages Jackson to talk about what has happened to his family, but he just won’t engage. His actions continue to test and worry everyone.

Then, in a dramatic turn of events, the true reason for Jackson’s behaviour comes to light …

My Review

This is a remarkable story. I had already read several of Cathy Glass’ other foster care memoirs, so already knew I liked her writing style. However, some of the books are a bit too predictable for my liking. This one wasn’t. It wasn’t too suspenseful for my liking either. In fact, Cathy used the exact right balance between tension and predictability. For this reason, I had some idea of the reason for Jackson’s behavior, but it still came as enough of a surprise.

This story is not just about Jackson, but also about Tilly, another child in Cathy’s care. I hadn’t read Cathy’s previous book, A Terrible Secret, which introduces Tilly, but I didn’t feel I was missing information. Cathy takes care to explain enough that each memoir can be read as a standalone and yet keeps her explanations brief enough that it doesn’t get boring if you’ve read many of her other books.

One thing that made me feel a little uncomfortable, but in a good way, was the story’s ending. It is sad, but then again sadness is part of life.

I totally loved this story and gave it five stars on Goodreads. I really hope this isn’t Cathy Glass’ last memoir.

Book Details

Title: A Life Lost: Jackson Is Haunted by a Secret from His Past
Author: Cathy Glass
Publisher: HarperElement
Publication Date: February 18, 2021

#WeekendCoffeeShare (February 27, 2021)

Hi all on this cold but sunny Saturday. I’ve been wanting to write a lot lately, but just couldn’t find the time. Today I’m summarizing what’s been going on in my life in a #WeekendCoffeeShare post. I’ve just had dinner. We had French fries and some might still be left over for you. Otherwise, there’ll be ice cream in the freezer. We should also have various soft drinks in the fridge and I can make you a coffee if you want it. Let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I spent the entire weekend reading. That’s why I didn’t write a post yesterday. I loved the book I was reading, Cathy Glass’ latest foster care memoir. I’ll post a review soon.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the weather was incredible over the past week. We had temperatures of about 18 degrees Celsius on Wednesday. Today, like I said, is colder and the temperature even dropped to slightly below freezing last night.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that overall, I’m doing pretty well. Early in the week, I was struggling majorly with anxiety. That has mostly gone now and thankfully hasn’t, like some other times, made way for depression. I’m feeling pretty upbeat.

That being said, I’d also share that I’m a little sad, because one of my favorite staff is leaving for the care home next door to mine. Tomorrow will be her last shift in my home. This is the reason we had fries and ice cream for dinner today.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my new essential oils, that I’d ordered on Tuesday, arrived on Thursday. I was very frustrated at first, because on Wednesday the delivery service reported that they’d tried but been unable to deliver my package that day. They didn’t state a reason and I wasn’t sure either, since there’s always someone home here now that the day center is closed. I checked my details and noticed my house number had been put in twice. I wasn’t sure they could’ve misread it and tried to deliver my package elsewhere.

Thankfully, on Thursday, while on my afternoon walk, my staff and I ran into the delivery guy and my staff asked him whether he had a package for my address. He did. The staff carried my package, which thankfully wasn’t heavy, all the way on our walk.

I am totally in love with my new oils. The vetiver one came in a bottle with a large pipette snout, so it doesn’t fit into my essential oil container. That’s alright, as now I didn’t have to remove my field mint EO from the container to make space. My other oils fit in perfectly and I love the smell of the new ones, cardamom and grapefruit.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my husband is busy with the trailer for his car that he bought two weeks ago. He isn’t coming to see me this weekend. That’s okay. Of course, I miss him, but am so glad we have phone and text contact.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d moan about my Braille display. I don’t remember whether I shared about my old one going into repair. Which old one, you might ask, as my current one is the third in a row. The first had dots that were stuck at least half a dozen times in the first nine months and eventually got sent back to the manufacturer. Well, the replacement had the same problem after about six months of using it too. I waited some months before reporting it, but eventually got sick of it. It is currently in repair. Now the replacement’s replacement is starting to act up too. It sucks and I’m starting to think I do something to make them all break, but I don’t know what. The thing is, the Braille display I had before this model was fine for five years even though I’d spilled tea over it when it was only a few weeks old and had dropped it a few times. And just in case the Braille display company’s representatives read this and are assuming I’m treating this model the same, I’m not. I never drink or eat in front of my Braille display and haven’t dropped it either. Quite frankly, I’m tempted to ask the company to replace the dots on my old model, which have worn out a little from use, and have me use that one innstead of this model all made on a Monday morning when the manufacturers were still half asleep.

What’s been going on in your life?

Back to Normal?

It’s been nearly a year since the coronavirus pandemic hit the Netherlands. Today, I’m participating in one of Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop prompts. It asks us whether anything is back to normal yet. The short answer is: it depends on your reference point.

Last summer, we were pretty much back to as normal as you get it. We were still social distancing, but shops, restaurants and cafes were open. There were even plans to allow for festivals and the like. And then the second wave hit.

On December 15, the Netherlands entered into the second lockdown. Restaurants and cafes had already been closed sometime in November. In December, schools, including elementary schools and nurseries, closed. Daycare centers and elementary schools opened again the second week of February. However, non-essential shops were also closed. By January, a curfew was issued, allowing people to only be on the streets for certain exceptional reasons from 9PM until 4:30AM.

It is supposed to be a strict lockdown. That being said, this time around it feels easier to me than our first lockdown. After all, even though that one was said to be less strict, and in many ways it was, care facilities were not allowing visitors then. They are again now. Also, physical therapists, dentists and other medical contact professionals are allowed to remain open throughout this lockdown.

On Tuesday, our prime minister held a press conference. In it, he said that, though infection rates didn’t warrant it, society did need a loosening of the lockdown. From next week on, secondary schools will be re-opening part-time. Hairdressers, beauticians and other non-medical contact professionals are also allowed to start working again. In addition, shops are now able to allow at most two customers into the shop at a time. You’re required to register a set timeframe to shop. This will supposedly help small businesses. I already heard a joke about a major budget store being booked full till July of 2023.

Honestly, I’m rather pessimistic about us going back to “normal”, whatever that may be. I’m pretty sure we’ll enter a third wave of the virus in April and that’s assuming the current infection rate is down enough to re-open. Like the prime minister said, it really isn’t. We still get over 4000 new cases of COVID each day.

Last week, my husband Googled the ultimate question: when will COVID end? He saw an article dating back to mid-December predicting that, if by late January, new cases would be down to 1200 a day, COVID would be over by the end of 2021. For the record: new cases were almost ten times that number by then. Vaccination is also going much slower than expected. I predict it’ll be at least the summer of 2022 before we’re back to whatever semblance of normal remains.

Mama’s Losin’ It

A Productive Wednesday Morning

I got up pretty early this morning at a little past seven o’clock. It wasn’t that I wanted to get up this early, but I just couldn’t go back to sleep. Having gotten up so early did cause me a bit of stress later on, as it’d mean I’d have to wait several hours before day activities started. Thankfully, I made it through.

At ten o’clock, my day activities staff came to my room. I had already had coffee with one of the morning staff, but was happy to have another cup.

Then we went for a walk. My knee still hurt, so I had to walk relatively slowly and got in only seven active heartrate zone minutes. I’m trying not to beat myself up about that.

On the way back to the facility, I asked my staff whether we could call a woman who lives in one of the other homes that afternoon. I used to hang out with this woman a lot when the day center still operated as before COVID. My staff suggested we check whether she was at the day center in her home’s assigned room or outside and she was. I had a socially distanced chat with her and her staff. It was good to see she was doing pretty well.

Then I returned to my home. I told my staff I wasn’t ready for resting yet and wanted to do something. She suggested we do some beading. I made the below keychain.

Purple, heart-shaped keychain

While we were working on the keychain, the physical therapist came by. She said that my knee pain is probably from my not wearing my shoes while indoors. My shoes have arch supports in them, which I do need when walking at all times apparently, not just outdoors. I struggle to wear my shoes when not going outside though, because I cannot tie or untie my laces independently and the shoes don’t feel comfortable when I’m sitting. The physical therapist made some suggestions, but I got majorly overwhelmed. She then went out of my room to discuss her suggestions with just my staff.

Then my staff and I went into the kitchen, where another staff was making hamburgers. I had two buns with a hamburger on them for lunch. I also had some bell pepper, tomatoes and cucumber slices, as well as a kiwifruit. It was delicious!

My lunch of hamburgers

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how I coped this morning. I wasn’t expecting the morning to be this productive when I got up. This afternoon, I plan to relax a bit with my new essential oils in my diffuser. I’m really curious about the cardamom in particular.

Today Is Tuesday, February 23

Today is an okay’ish day. I don’t know what to write about, so I’ll just ramble.

I am struggling majorly with knee pain. I have been struggling with it for a few weeks already, but it wasn’t as noticeable before, as I wasn’t walking anyway due to the weather or mental fatigue. Now the weather is great and I’m definitely motivated to walk, but my knee won’t cooperate. My staff E-mailed the facility’s physical therapist to see if she can have a look later this week. I’m hoping there’s something that can be done about it.

I am also struggling majorly with anxiety. In particular, the fear that I’m deteriorating is on my mind. It isn’t entirely unfounded, as I do experience increasing irritability and sensory overload and decreasing energy. This makes me worry that, in five years or so, I’ll have suffered severe cognitive and physical decline. I know, it makes no sense to contemplate where this will go. All I can do, is do what my body and mind allow me to do each day. And I did go for two walks today, one in the morning and one in the evening.

In the afternoon, I made a massage oil. One of the staff had brought some travel-sized bottles that I could use for the oil. I used one of the 100ml bottles to put sweet almond oil into and then added essential oil. I used:


  • 6 drops clary sage

  • 3 drops lavender

  • 2 drops sweet orange


This makes for a dilution rate of roughly 1% for the total amount of EO. I am, after all, trying to be cautious. I made sure to use essential oils that I know to be relatively skin-safe. I tried the massage oil on my shoulders and neck this evening and it’s great.

I also ordered new essential oils. I had to order lavender EO, as I’d used the last bit of it in my massage oil. I also ordered grapefruit, cardamom and vetiver EOs.

Then I had a look at an online gemstone store. Boy, are crystals and gemstones expensive! I don’t know how I managed to collect so many as a preteen. Unfortunately, part of my collection disappeared in one of my moves. I’d really like to get some new ones sometime soon.

Reading Wrap-Up (February 22, 2021) #IMWAYR

Hi again readers. It’s time for another reading wrap-up. As usual, I’m joining #IMWAYR. Because I have been hoarding books again, I’m also linking up with Stacking the Shelves.

Life Update

I have been doing okay’ish over the past week. On Thursday, I was in a bit of a crisis due to significant overload. I’ve also been anxious about my lack of productivity. I mean, I haven’t been moving as much as I should. Last week, I could blame the snow. Now I can’t. Thankfully though, today I caught up again. However, in other areas I’ve also been less active and I’m still undecided as to whether I have my expectations up too high.

Similarly, this past week wasn’t as great a reading week as I’d expected, but that may’ve been because I had my expectations up pretty high. I hope to finish another book by the end of the month, as I would need to in order to keep on track with my Goodreads reading goal.

What I’m Currently Reading

I read some more in The Choices We Make by Karma Brown. Unfortunately, I’m not moving as quickly as I’d like.

In addition, I purchased A Life Lost by Cathy Glass, which is her latest fostering memoir. So far, like most of her books, I love it, but I’m not moving in it as quickly as I’d like either.

What I Recently Finished Reading

Uhm, nothing. I really need to finish more if I want to reach my Goodreads goal, which I’ve set at 20 books, so very low for a book lover. Then again, as much as I love books, I’m also a slow reader.

What I Think I’ll Be Reading Next

I honestly don’t know. I got so many books I think I’ll love that it’s hard to pick one. I’m also truly a mood reader, so I can’t really predict what will grab my attention next.

Stacking the Shelves

I love love love BookBub, which for those not familiar with it, is a site where you can find book deals. Thanks to BookBub, I have literally been hoarding books over the past week. Okay, I also have Apple Books to thank, as I got some while browsing similar books on there. I got several science fiction series starters, including After the Cure by Deirdre Gould and Apocalypse by Kyle West. I also got a romance called Second Chance Spring by Delancey Stewart.

I had been debating whether to get a book on crystal healing too. I know, I know, there’s absolutely no reason to believe in crystal healing and it’s rather occult too. However, I can’t stop myself being interested in it, so today I did get a book on the topic. I obviously got it off Bookshare, as I have absolutely no interest in paying for such a book. For those who don’t know, Bookshare is a service for print disabled (blind or dyslexic) people, allowing members to download almost unlimited books for $50 a year. I totally love it!

What have you been reading lately?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (February 21, 2021)

Happy Sunday everyone! I’m rather late joining in with this week’s #WeekendCoffeeShare, but better late than never I’d say. In addition to coffee, today we have two types of soft drinks in the fridge, both partly lemon-flavored and neither of which I like. If you’d prefer cold water, I totally get you. Unfortunately, the water hasn’t been in the fridge that long yet, so it’s not super cold. I hope you enjoy whichever drink you choose anyway. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, firstly I’d ask about your weather. Is yours as crazy as ours? Last week, remember, we had snow and temperatures below freezing. Now, the weather is really spring-like, with the temperature having risen to 17°C here in Raalte and to 19°C in some places in the south of the country. Tomorrow we might get even warmer weather.

If we were having coffee, I’d share I went to Lobith for the week-end. My husband and I got Domino’s pizza yesterday. The one I got, curry kebab, was good, but not as great as I’d expected.

On the way back to Raalte, my husband had a radio station on playing summer hits to celebrate the warm weather. I now have the Venga Boys’ Boom, Boom, Boom stuck in my head and I actually don’t mind. I don’t think anyone who isn’t a child of the nineties can truly appreciate the beauty of this music. 🤣

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I still don’t feel back to my normal self. My magnesium, which I started last week for constipation, has been upped. I’m struggling to decide whether this was a good thing or not. Guess I’ll give it a few more days to see how I do.

I’m also still pretty fatigued and easily overloaded. On Thursday, I landed in a minor crisis due to it. Unfortunately, my community psychiatric nurse didn’t work that day and the substitute couldn’t help me much at all. He offered to ask my CPN to call back on Friday, but I think she may not have received the memo. By then though, I was feeling somewhat more functional.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that a fellow client and staff cooked spaghetti for us today. It was good.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that I made a lip scrub with my one-on-one staff this evening. I used coconut oil, sugar and vanilla extract. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out to be the consistency I liked. However, it did make my lips feel soft.

What’s been going on in your life?

My Most Recent Purchases

One of Mama Kat’s writing prompts for this week is to write about some of your most recent purchases. I don’t purchase lots of things usually, but over the past month or so, I bought a few lovely things. Let me share.

1. Essential oils. Okay, I can’t stop talking about those or so it seems. I purchased four new essential oils a few weeks ago: lemongrass, white fir, ginger and lavandin. I now have 28 oils in my box and it has room for 30. That being said, I’ll likely remove my field mint essential oil from the box, as its scent is very similar to peppermint. This leaves room for three more new oils. I’ll probably purchase grapefruit, cardamom and vetiver essential oils soon. The cardamom one is usually very expensive, but I found an online store that sells a 10ml bottle for €12.95. That probably seems expensive to most people who aren’t into essential oils, but it’s really affordable. Of course, it’s probably not the highest quality EO, but as long as I only use it in my diffuser, I don’t care.

2. Bath and body product making supplies. About four weeks ago, I ordered a lot of new bath and body product making supplies. I ordered sweet almond oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, Dead Sea salt and some soaping colorants. Last week, I made my first product using the new supplies: bath salt. I also used actual essential oil in it. I normally don’t, because undiluted essential oil isn’t usually skin safe, but lavender EO is safe to use in bath products.

3. A talking scale. Two weeks ago, I finally bit the bullet and ordered a Medisana talking scale on Bol.com. I’ve been wanting a talking scale for many years. I did for a time consider buying a non-talking scale that connects to my phone, but then I’d have to look into the app’s accessibility first.

The scale I got isn’t officially calibrated and that’s noticeable, but I don’t care. I don’t really need to know my exact weight (it’d probably frustrate me to know). Rather, I want to know whether overall I’m losing or gaining weight over time.

4. Books. Most of these aren’t purchases, in that I didn’t pay for most of the books I got. One is though. Yay, I got A Life Lost by Cathy Glass as soon as it came out yesterday.

5. A YouTube Premium subscription. I finally had had it with all the advertising inbetween and sometimes in the middle of videos. I’m currently making use of my free trial month, but will likely continue with the subscription.

What have you recently purchased?

Mama’s Losin’ It