Five Things I’m Glad I Bought #5Things

Today’s topic for #5Things is things you’re happy about having bought. I have bought a lot of things that I later regretted buying, most recently my Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones. Thankfully, after a long ordeal with the vendor, I got my money back. Hence, here are five things I’m actually happy about having bought.

1. my iPhone. I’m currently on my second one, having used the previous model for nearly three years. The current one, I’ve had for two years tomorrow I think. It’s an iPhone SE 2020. My previous one was the original SE. I am still debating with myself whether I want to get the SE 2022 or wait if they’re going to release a 14 Mini in the fall. I originally got an iPhone because of its more advanced accessibility features compared to phones running Android. Even though iOS has been causing some more or less serious bugs with each major update since I got my original iPhone except for iOS 12, I still agree iPhone’s the best.

2. My laptop. I got my first laptop when I was eleven and got my current screen reader, JAWS, when I was fifteen. In fact, yesterday marked twenty years online for me. I had to buy my own laptops from age twenty on. I use a Windows laptop and yes, I’ve tried a Mac but no, that one’s not for me. Oh wait, I didn’t actually buy my current laptop, since my mother-in-law paid for it in exchange for my Mac. Never mind.

3. My current headphones. Okay, they’re only three weeks old, so I’m still waiting for them to bite the bullet as my Bose ones did. However, those crashed within just over two weeks, so the current ones have already surpassed those. Besides, the Bose headphones cost €240, while these cost €50. They’re a Chinese brand, which is why I can’t for the life of me remember the brand name, but my husband Googled it and said it’s a good-enough Chinese brand.

4. Lots of polymer clay and crafting supplies. I mean, of course there are a couple of things I don’t really use, but most things I bought myself, I do actually love. Most recently, I bought a hand drill and a huge set of small drill bits, to drill holes into my earring pieces etc. I had some trouble figuring the thing out and for a bit thought I shouldn’t have bought the things, but now that I know how to use the drill, it’s fab.

5. Books. I don’t normally buy books, as I get most of them on Bookshare. That being the case, when I do buy a book, it’s usually one I won’t regret having bought. Most recently, I bought the latest Casey Watson foster care memoir and, while I feared the Apple Books app would have trouble with it, it didn’t.

What is one of your happiest purchases?

My First Proper Pair of Polymer Clay Earrings

Hi everyone. I finally have been motivated to actually make something out of polymer clay again. I guess last Saturday I kicked myself in the behind with my post, saying I fully intended to actually be crafting again rather than just looking at crafty YouTube videos. In fact, these earrings aren’t based on a YouTube tutorial at all. That’s honestly because I still consider the YouTube tutorials a little out of my ability range, but oh well.

I say these are my first proper earrings because I previously, about eight or nine months ago, created a pair of “boiled egg” earrings. I think I showed them here too, but anyway, VoiceOver, the iPhone’s built-in screen reader, guessed that they were two halves of a boiled egg. They were rather ugly in terms of color (yellow in the middle, then white, then purple) but more importantly, I’d glued the earring studs to the polymer clay using a cheap brand of jeweller’s glue. Now for those not familiar with polymer clay: most glues don’t work well with it. Only superglue gel will do and I’ve even heard mixed results about that. Don’t bother with E6000, let alone cheaper glues like the one I used. Bottom line: the earring stud fell off within several hours.

Now on to these earrings I created yesterday. First, I decided to roll out a slab of caramel Fimo with my pasta machine. I had to do this several times over because I kept getting horizontal roller lines in my slab. Finally, once I was satisfied with the result, I cut out the flower shapes. I later learned that it is recommended to lay a piece of copy paper over your slab and lightly roll your acrylic roller over it in all directions. This is called burnishing and should even out any ridges in your slab. I then had my staff poke a small hole into my pieces with a bead piercing pin. This is to guide my drill later on.

Then I baked my pieces at 130°C for 45 minutes. (For those reading the Fimo packaging that says to bake no longer than the recommended 30 minutes, this is flat out wrong.) I baked the pieces on a sheet of parchment paper which I’d put onto my ceramic tile. The oven I use is a convection oven where the fan can’t be turned off, so I had to put an aluminum container over my sheet of parchment paper to prevent it from flying all around the oven. Unfortunately, the parchment paper might’ve flown a little underneath the container, as my pieces did turn out slightly crooked. Either that or I should’ve used copy paper rather than parchment paper, as is recommended by some.

Once the pieces had baked for 45 minutes and then cooled down completely, I drilled the holes into the earrings. I had already decided I wanted to decorate the edges with gold Fimo liquid, but this was my first time drilling actual holes into polymer clay pieces, so I was too curious to see how it’d go to wait till I’d finished the project. I did the drilling mostly independently, only needing my staff to hold down my pieces because I needed two hands to drill.

I then sanded the pieces. There was a bit of a bump on both of my earrings, one bigger than the other. I’m not sure it was an air bubble, as sanding it didn’t leave a hole. I think I did an okay job of sanding them away.

I then decorated the edges with Fimo liquid. I needed some help with this, as of course I’m blind and I cannot feel my way to where I’d need to put the liquid or I’d put it all over my fingers.

Then another round in the oven for 30 minutes (which I’m not sure is enough, but my pieces look fine). Then my staff attached the jumprings and attached those to the earring hooks.

I intend on giving these to my sister when I visit her on Sunday. She’s more of a silvery girl than a goldy one, but I didn’t have silver-colored earring hooks.

Other than the earrings having become slightly curved in the oven, I am relatively content with how they turned out. What do you think?

Linking up with Inspire Me Monday, Busy Monday, Love Your Creativity and the Craftastic Link Party.

Joy in May

Hi all! It’s nearly the end of the month again, so I’m here with an update on my word of the year, which is: JOY. I am linking up with Lisa’s One Word Linky as well as the Word of the Year linky.

Overall, this month was pretty mixed with respect to how well I did. As mixed as the weather, really. Sometimes, we had sunny, warm weather and I’d enjoy myself and be full of energy. At other times, like today, it would be cloudy and chilly and I wouldn’t really feel up to very much. Of course, my joy or lack thereof wasn’t always tied to the weather, but partly at least it was.

Admittedly, today isn’t a great day. I’m having a bit of a brain fog and, for this reason, had to look over the past month’s blog posts to remember the things I’d enjoyed in May. There seem to have been quite a few, such as the time I went to look at the baby goats at one of my staff’s. Also, the time I went swimming because the plumbing crew had to come out to clear our waterworks of legionella. And, of course, the visit from my mother-in-law.

I also did enjoy the more ordinary pleasures of life. I finally read some more than I did earlier in the year. With respect to crafting, I mostly enjoyed getting inspired rather than actually making things. The reason is probably the fact that I worry I may not be capable of actually achieving the results I want. I really aim to do more actual crafting in June.

I once again was delighted with home-cooked meals a few times, but was also able to actually enjoy the regular food. I must say, I am not doing that well when it comes to appreciating foods that I don’t really like. Just this evening, I had a bit of a tantrum (I can safely call it that) because there were no larger cookies, which we can have on weekends, that I like.

One of the challenges Lisa had for us in her E-mail reminding us about this month’s link-up, was to spend the next 30 days collecting a little bullet point on your word for 2022 each day. This could be a quote, a Bible verse, a thought, or whatever. I haven’t yet started it, but I am fully intending on doing that from now on. It might help me be more aware of my word throughout the month. Let’s see how this goes.

Heal

Today’s prompt for Five Minute Friday is “Heal”. I read several of the responses before writing mine. Some left me feeling all sorts of things, which I will try to articulate in the below freewrite.

Is it possible to heal from a hurt you can’t explain in words? Can something that you can’t describe in words, a memory that is just visceral, even be traumatic? I am referring to preverbal trauma, of course and, in theory, I know the answer: yes, it exists and yes, healing is possible.

However, in reality, how can I prevent my cognitive processes from constantly interfering with my experiences? Or should this be prevented at all? I mean, if I can rationalize that I’m now in 2022, living in the care facility and not in whatever danger my body thinks (feels?) it’s in anymore, does it even matter that I endured preverbal trauma?

After all, it’s a fact that I did: I was born prematurely, spent the first three months of my life in hospital and had several complicated surgeries before the age of five. The question is whether said possibly-traumatic events affected me and, if so, how to heal from them.

Poem: Are You Now Here?

Are You now here?
Or nowhere?
That’s the question

The answer, the ultimate determiner
Of life’s purpose
Your value in this world

So
Are you now here?


This poem was written for this week’s W3 Prompt. The idea is to write a poem inspired by the previous week’s winning poem, with a few added rules. This week’s rules were that your poem must contain 16 lines or less and the first and last line must be the same. In addition to being inspired by last week’s winning poem, I was inspired by a phrase from Lisa Genova’s book Inside the O’Briens, in which Katie, who is a yoga teacher, has this mantra that you are either now here or nowhere.

The Wednesday HodgePodge (May 25, 2022)

Hi everyone. How is it the last Wednesday of May already? I seriously can’t believe it. Anyway, I’m joining in with the Wednesday HoddgePodge again. Here goes.

1. It’s National Wine Day (May 25)…do you like wine? Red or white? Dry or sweet? Do you have a favorite? Have you ever been to California wine country? Or any other wine region? What’s a dish you make that calls for wine?
I can’t stand wine! One day, when one of our staff was retiring and had a little leaving party at my care home, somehow we had white and red wine (don’t ask me how we got it, as normally we aren’t allowed alcohol in the care home). Some staff convinced me to try a little of the white wine. I took a sip and blurted out: “Ew, this is gross.” Then they gave me the red wine. When I took another sip, I yelled: “Yuck, this is even worse!”

I don’t think I’ve ever been to any wine region. Not consciously at least and I don’t care to go there either.

2. What’s something you’ve whined about lately?
The staffing shortage in health care and particularly my care home. Literally half the team left within the past year or so and, this past Monday, the manager informed me that they may need to get temp workers to do my one-on-one shifts too rather than just the general shifts. I know rationally that the manager can’t help the staffing shortage, but emotionally, well, I feel rather overloaded.

3. Last time you were “wined and dined”? Tell us about it.
I honestly can’t remember. My husband and I haven’t been eating out since before COVID, I guess.

4. Three cheers for_____________________.
Care workers, of course. I know the workload is crazy. I can be a pain in the butt at times, but I do appreciate their work.

5. This will be the last Hodgepodge in the month of May. Somehow next Wednesday the calendar rolls into June. Before we go though, sum up your May in twelve words or less.
Eventful, an emotional rollercoaster ride.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
I have been busy with preparations for visiting my sister and her family so I can see my new niece. She was born last Thursday. As regular readers of this blog know, I created a sort of mobile for my baby niece. Here is the picture (I’m holding it in my hand because I had nothing to hang it onto).

I wanted to gift my sister something for her birthday (which was on May 13) too and saw she wanted a membership to a positive parenting website. I am positively surprised (no pun intended) that she’s interested in that approach, as it’s vastly different from our parents’. I didn’t end up buying the membership for her, but hope she does keep this mindset.

I also am happy to share that the handheld drill and drill bits I wanted for drilling holes in my polymer clay pieces for jumprings finally arrived. I had ordered them last Wednesday and the website said handling and shipping would take up to three business days. Apparently they took three business days before they started collecting my order. I need to drill the holes so that I can attach jumprings to pieces in order to make earrings. Since the gift I did buy for my sister, is a pair of earrings, I intend on making her another pair out of polymer clay just for fun.

I also intend on making one more unicorn, because my older niece also deserves a little present when her baby sister and mother both get something.

Five of My Favorite “Cheat” Foods #5Things

Hi everyone. Today I’m participating in the #5Things challenge, for which the topic today is “cheat day” foods. Now I don’t really do cheat days. I do usually have more high-calorie foods on weekends than week days, just because it’s easier to keep track that way, but there’s not a single day when I completely indulge in whatever I want. I have a history of disordered eating, including binges, but I am determined I never want to return to those days.

I also don’t believe in “good” or “bad” foods. Rather, I believe in healthy and less healthful habits. I had it written on my food plan, for this reason, that no food is completely forbidden. Else, less familiar with me staff might say that a food isn’t on my food plan so I can’t have it.

Anyway, today I’m listing five of my favorite foods to have on a day when I’m less conscious of my diet.

1. Pizza. Every once in a while, when I go to my husband’s and my house in Lobith, my husband will drive by Domino’s on our way from picking me up at the care facility. I love their pizzas. I also love the pizzas from my neighborhood Italian restaurant. Both are a definite nine out of ten on the deliciousness scale. (For those visiting from #5Things, my dietitian a few weeks ago explained that, if I don’t give a “cheat” food an eight out of ten or above on how much I love it, I may consider not eating it at all.)

2. Pringles. These are by far my favorite chips and they too score at least a nine out of ten. My care home recently ordered like a whole box full of Pringles cans at the supermarket because they were on sale. Yum!

3. Cheese twists. These are sticks made of puff pastry with cheese flavor. My husband buys them at the supermarket almost every time I go to Lobith.

4. Licorice. When I still suffered with disordered eating, I would often buy a bag of licorice multiple times a week and consume the whole thing within ten to twenty minutes. Now, I usually have a bag of licorice in my locked kitchen cupboard. The staff aren’t allowed to actually prohibit me from eating the candies, but the fact that they’re locked away does keep me from being tempted too quickly. I usually have three or four candies a day at most.

5. French fries. I don’t have these often anymore, as when we do get takeout food here at the care facility, it’s usually Chinese or Italian because it’s easier to blend for those who have difficulty eating solids. However, I truly love love love good fries! There’s a snack corner here in town who put “special” orange spices over their fries and they’re delicious. (I bet it’s just paprika, but they refuse to disclose their “secret recipe”, even though it’s public knowledge that they don’t mix their own spices.) I also love some spicy snacks to go with my fries. Here in the Netherlands, there’s one called a mexicano, which I think is particularly tasty.

What are your favorite “cheat” foods?

Reading Wrap-Up (May 23, 2022) #IMWAYR

Hi everyone. I have been trying to get back into reading again. Let me share what I’ve read recently. Here goes. As usual, I’m joining in with It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (#IMWAYR).

What I’m Currently Reading

I finally picked up Thrive by Kenneth Oppel again a few weeks ago and no, I still haven’t finished it. It sounds like this book is more character-driven than the prequels and I’m not sure I love or hate that.

I’ve also been reading Unleashed by Emily Kimelman, an intriguing mystery. In nonfiction, I am reading 999 – My Life on the Frontline of the Ambulance Service by Dan Farnworth.

Finally, I recently learned that Bookshare, the service I use for downloading accessible eBooks, now also does audiobooks. I didn’t try them, but this did get me inspired to check out Apple’s audiobook collection. There’s this collection of free classics on the Apple books app. I initially wanted to get Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, but the reviews said that its narrator was almost worse than the first version of Siri, as monotonous as he spoke. So I decided to go for something much more light-hearted, in a way, and pick Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I can now see why other people with dissociative identity disorder find it offensive or triggering.

What I Recently Finished Reading

I am known for starting a ton of books and rarely finishing them, unless I really, really love them. Or unless they’re really short. This was the case with the early chapter book Bo’s Magical New Friend by Rebecca Elliott. I love love love unicorns and had heard about the Branches Books before, so I really wanted to try if I (and my inner child parts) liked them. Despite it being a really quick read (for me, of course), the plot was quite intriguing and I’m sure any newly-independent readers who love unicorns will love this one. I must say that, due to the illustrations, some of the text got muddled in the Bookshare book.

What I Think I’ll Read Next

I started another chapter book series, besides the one I mentioned above, on unicorns a while back. It’s the Unicorn University series and the chapters are longer. I saw that the author, Daisy Sunshine, recently added another book to the series. I’ll definitely have to read more of those books.

I also saw that Casey Watson has a new foster care memoir out. However, Apple Books is acting up, in that sometimes at the end of a paragraph or page words are missing in VoiceOver (Apple’s built-in screen reader). For this reason, I’m hesitant to buy books off Apple Books.

What have you been reading lately?

Sunday Ramble: Childhood Memories

Hi everyone. I’m participating in E.M.’s Sunday Ramble again. Today’s topic is childhood memories. Here are the questions.

1. What is your first good memory from your childhood? (If this is a trigger question for you, tell me how your day is and what the best thing is about today.)
My third birthday. My grandma visited and gifted me a doll she’d bought in Berlin, Germany. Either she or my father explained that, in German, the word for doll is “Puppe”, which is pronounced the same as the Dutch word for “poo”. Of course, me being three and my sister being one, we laughed our butts off.

2. Name 3 things that you loved when you were just a youngster?
Playing with PlayMobil®. Swinging on the swings. Making mud pies.

3. What did you dislike, or even hate, when you were growing up?
A lot of things, as my childhood wasn’t the best. However, I’ll keep this non-triggering. I hated it when my sister was singing or humming.

4. If you could go give your younger self one piece of advice, what would you tell them?
You have absolutely zero obligation to prove your worth to your parents or anyone else.

5. What kind of celebrations did you enjoy when you were little, and do you still like those celebrations now that you are grown?
I had a love/hate relationship with all kinds of celebrations. I loved getting presents and special treats, but hated the social obligations involved. When I was a child and teen, we celebrated St. Nicholas. This involves pretending that St. Nick gave us presents. Once I no longer believed in St. Nicholas, I greatly struggled to play along and this led to some frustration among my sister and parents. Needless to say, now that I’m an adult, we no longer celebrate St. Nicholas. My sister and her family do celebrate it with my parents though.

I felt similarly about my birthday, loving the presents but not liking the social aspects. Same now that I’m an adult and more so with my family of origin, because, well, we don’t have the best relationship. With my husband and in-laws, I do like being together for my birthday.

6. Bonus Question: What commercial did you always wait for to come on television as a child? (If you didn’t like commercials or television, what event did you wait for to come about when you were a kid?)
I didn’t really enjoy commercials, although I liked Loeki the Lion, who came on inbetween commercials on public television. He was recently reintroduced after an absence of over twenty years I believe.

With respect to TV shows in general, as a child I loved a show called Droomshow (Dream Show), in which a pair of girls competed against a pair of boys in all kinds of candy-related games and the winning team had to shoot for prizes while the losing team got the “shitty shower”.

What was your first good childhood memory?

The Future Is Not Clear #SoCS

SoCS Badge 2019-2020

Exactly a month ago, I made the decision to start the process of looking for another care facility to live in long-term. I felt, at the time, that it’d take at least two years before I would’ve found a place and I was fine with that. Now, though I am still fine with the fact that it might take years before I’ve found the near-perfect place, my forever home as it were (oh boy, that sounds like the afterlife to me, haha), the path inbetween not being clear, doesn’t sit right with me.

I like to have control. I don’t like to have made my wishes clear and then not hear from the care consultant for months until he’s heard from an agency or something and they want to meet me. I don’t like the fact that a lot might’ve been discussed by those agencies with my behavior specialist or the care consultant or whatever without me knowing anything about it. That feels too vague. Besides, it feels as though I have no influence over it. Which may or may not be true.

In this sense, the fact that I’m intelligent, works both for and against me. My fellow residents, who have severe to profound intellectual disability, don’t even know anything about such big decisions. Yesterday, the least intellectually disabled of them moved rooms and he seemed to have had little say in the matter. That sounds very scary to me. I want to have a say. Yet if I can’t, and things are made clear at my level of understanding, as they were with him, then maybe it’d be easier.

Now, I do intellectually understand a concept like two years or more, but emotionally, it’s very hard to grasp. I wish the future were more tangible in this sense.


This post was written for Stream of Consciousness Saturday (#SoCS), for which the prompt today is “clear”.