Activities I’ve Enjoyed Lately

Hi everyone. I’m feeling a bit uninspired, but I feel in the mood for a positive post. Not because I feel particularly good – not very bad either though. I’m going to share some activities I’ve enjoyed lately. Here goes.

1. Yoga. Well, yoga without the fluff. I have been doing physical therapy for a few weeks now to help with my back pain. Though initially it was my enthusiasm for yoga (which the physical therapist casually mentioned) that got the therapist to think I might benefit from it, I soon found out that all the breathwork and need to feel present in my body was rather overwhelming. Instead, last Monday, we just did the exercises and that’s it.

2. Jumping on the trampoline. Today, the physical therapist had managed to borrow a side-by-side bike, so we were able to ride it to the large trampoline on the other end of institution grounds. I initially struggled a bit, but this was mostly due to my staff and the physical therapist trying to support me whilst on the trampoline. Once I started to jump on my own, it went really well.

3. Diffusing essential oils. It’s too bad the site I discovered with literally thousands of blends on it, is probably kind of shady, since you need to pay to get access to the blends (after a week’s trial period). Not that I create new blends everyday, of course, but I just love looking at everything. I did just put one of today’s featured blends into my diffuser tonight. Not sure yet what I think of the smell, but then again it usually takes a while for the scents to properly blend.

4. Playing dice games, particularly Yahtzee. I might try to introduce my staff to some new games soon.

5. Polymer clay, of course. Today, I put the unicorn I mentioned on Monday into the oven. No picture yet, but I did finally photograph the polymer clay ladybug and octopus I created several weeks ago. Here’s the ladybug. I did the main parts using black Fimo, used Premo in the color cadmium red for its scale or wings or whatever the dots are on, and used white Premo for its eyes.

Polymer Clay Ladybug

6. Listening to podcasts. I have been searching for podcasts I might enjoy. For some years, I subscribed mainly to true crime and Christian podcasts, but I’m no longer a believer and true crime honestly doesn’t really speak to me either. Now, I mostly listen to podcasts on healing from trauma, the enneagram and related topics. I also found several on neurodiversity. I particularly loved the SquarePeg podcast.

In addition to these, I love listening to bedtime stories for kids on both podcasts and YouTube. I might someday try sleep stories for adults too, but don’t really see a reason for it as of yet, other than the fact that I’m an adult, that is.

7. Creative writing. This is something I really need to do more often, be it on the blog or in my Day One journal on my iPhone. I really enjoy trying my hand at writing based on prompts or trying different styles of writing. I am not a good creative writer at all, but practice makes perfect, right?

I am linking this post to #WWandPics.

Six of the Most Important Objects I Own

Hi everyone. I’m feeling like writing, but am a little lost for words, so I looked through my various collections of journaling prompts. One of them was to list some of the most important objects in your life and to share how you got them. Here goes.

1. My iPhone. I first got an iPhone in the summer of 2017. Back then, I was clueless as to whether I would be able to do much with it. However, it turned out I only needed six out of the ten allocated lessons from the blindness agency computer trainer. I have had my current iPhone, an SE 2nd generation, since June of 2020 and am pretty sure I’m going to try to keep it functioning until the 15 series comes out in the fall, because the regular 14 isn’t really an improvement over the 13 and the 14 Pro is too expensive.

2. My Apple Watch. I got my Apple Watch Series 7 at the end of August, barely a month before the Series 8 was released. I don’t really do many techy things with it. Like, I don’t use it to make phone calls or check my mail, but I really love its fitness-related features.

3. My computer. Oh my, I’m really mostly listing modern technologies here. As those who’ve read my blog recently, will know, I got my current computer a few weeks ago. I mostly use it for browsing the Internet, blogging, reading Kindle books and it’s a little easier than my iPhone for YouTube too. Other things, such as mail, reading other books, writing in my journal, etc., I do on my iPhone. Then again, I’m so happy to still have both.

4. My music pillow. Okay, it’s somewhat of a piece of technology too, but not as advanced as a computer or smartphone. A music pillow, for those who don’t know, is a regular pillow with a small speaker integrated in it and in this case a cable that you can connect to a music player or in my case my iPhone. I listen to music on my music pillow almost every night as I fall asleep.

5. My box of essential oils. Oh wait, since I own 33 different essential oils, do each of these count as separate objects? Oh well, I say they don’t. I wrote a stream-of-consciousness post on the box several years ago (although I’m not sure I had the exact same box then). I could’ve chosen my diffuser, but without oils, it would be useless. I love to create blends of essential oils for in my diffuser, but I also love to add essential oils to soap and homemade bath and body care products.

6. My soft toy of the moment. The one I sleep with, changes often, but the lemur is still popular. Since the orangutan is my latest addition, it’s currently among my favorites.

I now, as I finish this post, realize I’ve been rather materialistic. I mean, I could have mentioned my wedding ring or the framed picture on my wall that I got from the staff and clients at my old care home. I’m not saying these don’t have value to me. Like, I wear my wedding ring day and night. However, the way I subconsciously at least interpreted the question, was “important” as meaning “useful”. They’re not the same, of course.

What are some of the most important objects in your life?

My Hopes for 2023

Hi everyone and a happy 2023 to you all! Regular readers of my blog know that I don’t do resolutions or new year’s goals. Instead, I call them hopes. Whether that isn’t just the exact same but worded slightly euphemistically, is up for debate. However, I found that, many years ago, when I did lists of resolutions, they didn’t work out. Now that I call them “hopes”, I usually probably subconsciously stick to them more. I say this every year as an introduction to my hopes.

This year, I haven’t actually thought of many hopes I have. That is, I do hope to achieve many things, but secretly I do think my “hopes” do need to be somewhat realistic in order to make it onto my new year’s list. Doesn’t that make them just like goals? Oh well, I guess so. With no further ado, I’m just going to write down the things I hope to achieve in 2023.

1. Get to a healthy weight. I never dreamt of writing this when I started my healthier eating journey at the beginning of 2022, but I lost over 10kg in 2022 and I’m only 3kg above a healthy BMI now.

2. Keep up my movement routine. I have my movement goal on my Apple Watch set pretty low at 300 active calories a day. I’d really like to surpass it regularly.

I would also like to improve on the parameters of my physical fitness level, such as my heart rate variability. These are all really low right now.

I am hoping to start actually exercising in other ways besides walking. I’d love to start swimming here on institution grounds.

3. Get to a more stable place mentally. In 2022, I hoped to remain stable mental health-wise, which got ruined by my choice to move and its consequences. Now, I’m hoping to get back to a place of relative calm again.

4. Further lower my antipsychotic dosage. I really hope the move to my current care home doesn’t mean I’m on 25mg of aripiprazole forever.

5. Get to a meaningful day structure and day activities. Okay, I have the new day schedule, which is better than the one my support coordinator gave me, but it’s not what I’d hoped for when I came here. I am really hoping to explore day activities beyond my room, beyond 60 minutes at a time and beyond one-on-one.

6. Write regularly. This is another thing I was pretty awesome at in 2021, hoped to maintain in 2022 and lost track of due to the move. I even only wrote five blog posts during the month of November. I am really hoping to get back into the writing groove this year.

7. Further explore my creative side. I’d really like to find ways to do part of my polymer clay work independently, so that I can actually do more complicated things with my 60-minute time slots of supported activity.

8. Socialize more. This was one of the main reasons for the move, at least according to the behavior specialists involved. Indeed, it is a positive aspect of my current home that wasn’t there at my old home. I honestly don’t know whether I can socialize much with the people at my home, but I can at least try and, if that doesn’t work out, there are almost 400 other residents here at the main institution. I’d really love to talk to some of them more.

I’d also love to connect to my peers in the cerebral palsy community more. I’ll hopefully attend the countrywide cerebral palsy day again in April and also hopefully join the online meetings more often. I’m also hoping to get in touch with the Eye Association more. I know this was something I hoped to achieve in 2022 but didn’t.

9. Get serious about the basics of my faith. I had a discussion about faith with my husband yesterday and the bottom line was that I tried to run without having learned to crawl, so to speak, because I was watching John MacArthur videos, which are deeply theological, even though I’m really still a new believer. I mean, okay, I’ve been a Jesus follower for two years, but I’m still struggling with the basic concepts of the Christian faith. That’s probably why I call myself a “progressive Jesus follower” rather than unapologetically claiming my identity as a Christian. I really hope to move closer on my journey towards God in 2023.


I am linking this post up with today’s #JusJoJan post, for which the optional prompt word is “resolution”. I am thinking of writing another post about resolutions in a different sense, namely the Model European Parliament debating contest I participated in during high school. However, it’s past 9PM so I don’t think I’ll have the time or energy for another blog post.

Five Things That Bring Me Joy on Bad Days #5Things

Hi everyone. I have been feeling notoriously uninspired lately and still don’t really feel like I know what to write about. However, I saw this week’s topic for the #5Things challenge: things that bring you joy when you feel “joyless”. In other words, we’re challenged to list five things that bring a smile on our face when we have a bad day and nothing else can seem to cheer us up. Here goes.

1. Food. Good food can definitely brighten even my darkest days. I am a lover of hot and spicy food, but also enjoy candy and savory snacks.

2. A phone call from my husband. Whenever I feel down in the dumps, my husband can usually cheer me up. Sometimes it takes him some firm setting my mind straight before I am open to cheerful talk.

3. Music. I love upbeat music, including Dance, contemporary Christian and occasionally rock. At other times, calming music is just what I need.

4. Physical activity. When I can motivate myself for it, a walk or some other form of exercise truly helps me clear my mind of all its negative energy.

5. Retail therapy. I can be a bit of an impulse spender when I’m feeling bad. Thankfully though, even online window shopping helps me feel better at times.

What helps you feel better when you’re feeling down?

Annoying Things Enneagram Type Fours Do and Say

Hi everyone. I badly want to write, but am feeling a bit melancholic and yet not interested in writing a long navel-gazing post. Instead, I am going to reflect on the annoying things enneagram type Fours say and do. I saw this video a couple of weeks ago on YouTube. Watch it too if you’d like.

1. Fours are prone to melancholy. Oh, wait, I just said that. It can indeed turn to melodrama if it lasts too long, with me crying for no apparent reason or dwelling on negativity forever.

2. Fours struggle with dissatisfaction in their lives. The YouTuber here says that in relationships this can particularly be an issue, because Fours keep looking for the ideal soulmate that probably just doesn’t exist. I have never looked beyond my husband for a better, more perfect partner. Maybe this means my husband already is my perfect soulmate. Still, I can relate to this thing, as I always look to improve my life by improving my external circumstances rather than myself.

3. Envy. Yes, so yes. I always envy people who live in better external circumstances than me. I don’t tend to show it outwardly towards the person I’m envious of, but it’s there nonetheless.

4. Manipulativeness. Well, uhm, yes. I just told my nurse practitioner on Monday about a recent situation in which I was acting confused, but it was probably manipulation. I will go a long way to maintain relationships.

5. Fours may disappear and go radio silent for days. This is the only one out of this list I cannot relate to. In fact, though I do really try to push some people away by running off or ignoring them, this rarely lasts longer than an hour or so.

6. Fours have a hard time being around overly happy people. Or just generally people who are happier than me, in my case. I can’t stand people trying to distract me when I’m down and I usually can’t stand overly cheery people at all. I blame sensory overload, but maybe that’s not entirely true.

7. Fours want to be seen as special or different. Well, duh! I always look for ways to stand out, be it positively or negatively (usually the latter, honestly). In this sense, my parents were probably right when they told my psychiatrist that I’d been looking for ways in which I was different (other than blindness) ever since childhood. Honestly, though I do see the annoying aspects of the other things listed above, I don’t even fully see how this one is annoying. Well, maybe it can be seen as us Fours putting ourselves above everyone else. I’m not sure.

My Favorite Ice Cream Flavors

Hi everyone. Today in his provocative question, Fandango asks us about our favorite ice cream. He asks us to be as specific as possible, since, in another recent informal survey, the top three favorites were plain vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. I like vanilla, but it’s not my favorite at all and I honestly don’t care for chocolate or strawberry ice cream. In fact, just yesterday, when I had bought cookie crumble ice cream and hadn’t realized that the cookie crumbles in it came from American-style chocolate chip cookies, I threw my bowl of ice cream away and got the other flavor I’d bought. Which is my second favorite. Anyway, today, let me list some of my favorite ice cream flavors.

1. Stroopwafel. Stroopwafels are like butterscotch waffles. I love love love ice cream with pieces of that in it. With respect to specific brands, I’ll go for my local farm, since the supermarket somehow doesn’t sell it.

2. Caramel-pecan-vanilla ice cream by Hertog. This is vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce and small chunks of pecans in it. This was the ice cream I ended up getting yesterday.

3. Caramel-sea salt. This one again comes from my local farm. The farm doesn’t sell stroopwafel ice cream in small one-portion containers, so I got this instead. At this farm, you can usually select a flavor for each scoop you choose, so I might choose vanilla for the other.

These are about the only flavors of ice cream I enjoy, besides plain vanilla or whipped cream (which tastes basically the same as vanilla only slightly creamier). I really don’t understand how someone likes fruit-flavored ice cream. Oh wait, I do like banana-flavored ice cream, but that doesn’t taste fruity. Then again, I don’t care for popsicles either.

What’s your favorite ice cream?

Five Favorite Summer Drinks #5Things

Hi everyone. I’m joining the #5Things challenge once again. This week’s topic is favorite summer drinks. Now I must say I’m not a person who loves a variety of drinks even generally, so this was a hard topic. I mean, I don’t care for lemonade, slush or juice, let alone soda or other fizzy drinks. Here is my attempt at coming up with five summer drinks I will have anyway.

1. Milkshakes. I particularly love banana and vanilla flavored milkshakes.

2. Water with fruit infusions. I love it with strawberries, cucumber, cherries, and lots of other fruits. When I tried to put some orange into my fruit infusion bottle recently, somehow some of the orange got into the actual water, which I didn’t like.

3. Iced coffee. I don’t have this often, as it is usually high in calories, but I do love iced coffee at times.

4. Smoothies. I love creating all kinds of fruit and vegetable smoothies particularly in summer, when there’s a greater variety of fruit available. Of course, I’ll still use frozen berries, as they are less expensive than the fresh kind.

5. Plain, cold water. I usually have two bottles of water in the fridge that I drink from when I want water. Especially in summer, water straight from the tap doesn’t get nearly cold enough for my liking. Out of all the things I drink, water is probably my most frequently consumed.

Things I Can Do to Improve My Physical Fitness

I had an intensely frustrating physical therapy appointment this morning. I told the physical therapist that, despite the semi-orthopedic shoes and the ankle-foot orthosis, I still walk with a drop foot after roughly 20 minutes of walking. She is going to bring my shoes and the AFO to the orthopedic shoemaker and the guy in charge of the AFO yet again, but I’m skeptical there’ll be a solution. I feel very frustrated that, a year to eighteen months ago, I could easily walk for an hour several times a day and now I struggle to walk for fifteen minutes. That, my staff later countered, may be related to my lack of physical fitness too. In other words, I need to build up stamina again. Now that I have nothing better to share, I am going to list ways in which I can improve my level of physical fitness.

1. Go on the elliptical for ten to fifteen minutes at a time three times a week. I used to try to go on the elliptical for 25 minutes at a time and aim for five times a week, but that’s not realistic right now. Besides, I hate that thing with a passion, so making myself go on it five times a week right away is guaranteed to fail.

2. Go for daily walks again. I have been avoiding walks because of the pain the AFO causes me as well as the hassle involved in trying to judge the weather, whether I need to wear sunscreen, etc. I really need to make daily walking a habit again, even if it’s only a ten-minute walk around the day center.

3. Throw a ball. This doesn’t necessarily strengthen my legs and it isn’t quite cardio level either, but any movement counts.

4. Weight training. I really need to get into the habit of doing weight lifting again, if only three rounds of ten a few times a week. This is arm training, since I cannot really do core training at all, but again, it will help me get to a higher physical fitness level.

5. Doing the exercises I originally did with the physical therapist for my back. I am not sure why I list these, but they can’t hurt.

Ultimately, I would really like to go to a gym at some point. The day center has a stationary bike too, but I’m not sure I can use that.

Do you have any suggestions as to ways for me to practise physical exercise?

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?

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?