Things I Am Passionate About

In today’s Sunday Poser, Sadje asks us what we’re passionate about. Passions can be defined in various ways. They can be things we enjoy doing, but also societal issues we hold strong opinions about. In the below list, I am going to go into both, because I do enjoy talking about the issues I feel strongly about.

1. Writing. My greatest hobby is certainly writing. I’ve always enjoyed it. It is definitely something I do with a passion. I don’t talk about my writing that much though.

2. Crafts. Another of my hobbies is crafting. Unlike writing, I do talk about my crafting a lot. I love to infodump about my latest crafty hobby, be it soap making, polymer clay or whatever.

3. Autistic, mental health and disability activism. Back in the days of my first WordPress blog, most of my posts were opinionated and related to disability, neurodiversity or mental health. I no longer write as much about autistic advocacy, disability rights or the like, but that doesn’t mean I no longer feel passionate about these issues. I have always considered myself a moderate pro-neurodiversity activist, in that, though I side with autistics and the neurodiversity movement, I do feel that most neurotypicals are well-intentioned, though privileged.

4. Calendars and timekeeping. I just need to mention this. I used to love calendar calculation, ie. calculating what date March 25, 1955 was or the like (it was a Friday, by the way). Now, though I’m no longer as interested in or competent at it, I do still feel passionate about issues relating to it. Never tell me that because it was New Year’s yesterday, there were “really two Sundays” this week. No, New Year’s is a bank holiday and this year it was on a Saturday, not a Sunday.

There are probably other things I feel passionate about, but these are the things I can think of right now. What do you feel strongly about or what do you enjoy doing very much?

My Hopes for 2022

Hi everyone and a very happy 2022 to you all. Today, like each year, I am sharing some things I hope to achieve in the coming year. I don’t usually call them goals, let alone resolutions. I mean, I used to have a ton of New Year’s resolutions when I was a teen, but these went out the window come Blue Monday. Not that I’d ever heard of that date at the time, but it was still what happened. So, hopes. Here are my hopes for 2022.

1. Get to a less stress-filled (I originally typed “less stress-free”), relatively healthy diet. I already eat relatively healthily at least if I look at my hopes for last year, in that I consistently eat two to three servings of fruit each day. I have also ditched the cookie with my morning coffee. My idea of experimenting with eating bread rather than crunchy muesli for breakfast, went out the window pretty soon and I’m not likely going to give it another try.

That being said, I could still improve on my lunches and make healthier snack choices. Besides, I would really like to stress less about food. For this reason, my staff got in touch with the dietitian, who is going to E-mail her a list of tips and recommendations based on my current food list this coming Tuesday.

2. Remain stable mentally. I am pretty stable mental health-wise already. I hope I will remain relatively sane as I adjust to my increased topiramate and later my decreased aripiprazole in particular. Of course, my aripiprazole taper might not be over with by the end of this year.

3. Keep writing consistently. I started a morning writing ritual today. Officially, I decided on Morning Pages, which dictates you have to write three pages. Then again, this is done by hand and I cannot do this anyway. I’ll be content if I can keep up the writing habit each morning even if I don’t make it to 750 words.

I did pretty great on my blogging over 2021, having written 303 posts over the year. I’d really like to write at least as many posts this year.

I would also like to broaden my horizons where it comes to my writing styles, writing more creatively.

4. Expand my creativity. Particularly, keep up with my creative hobbies. I did quite well on those over the past year too, having rediscovered polymer clay. I’d really like to improve my skill, but, like last year, don’t intend on doing the work all by myself.

I would especially like to discover some things to make myself rather than just copying from YouTube. Of course, I already select my own colors and do some things differently than in the tutorials, but I’d really like to expand on my creativity.

I will continue to do my own version of The Artist’s Way. I mean, I can’t take myself on artist’s dates completely solo because I can’t leave the house independently, but so what? My inner artist wants to be released just as much.

In line with the above, I’ll also experiment more with making my own essential oil blends and such rather than just copying recipes I find online.

5. Get back into the reading groove. This was a massive fail in 2021. One of my bookish resolutions for 2021 was to read 20 books. Well, I didn’t even reach half of that. See, I should’ve called them hopes rather than resolutions. Anyway, I’m not setting a number for myself right now, but I do hope to read some more than I did last year this year.

6. Socialize more, be it online or offline. COVID permitting, I’d like to go to the rescheduled Cerebral Palsy Day in April and to a regional Eye Cafe. This is a meeting of the Eye Association, which I joined in late November. I may also want to join the regional CP Cafe, which is held online on January 8. In addition, I’d really like to join online and hopefully at some point offline meetings related to my hobbies.

7. Deepen my faith. My faith really went in deep ebbs and flows over the past year and that’s not good. Thankfully, I didn’t lose my faith altogether. In fact, I signed up for an introductory course on Christian doctrine at BiblicalTraining.org last Thursday to get myself back in tune with what I believe. I really hope to be working on my relationship with God through Jesus Christ more this year.

What are your hopes for 2022?

Mama’s Losin’ It

Also linking up with #LifeThisWeek.

Hobbies I Could Turn Into Christmas Gifts

Hi everyone. As regular readers of this blog know, I have a lot of eBooks on journaling. One of them is a collection of 31 Christmas-related journaling prompts and one of its prompts is about turning hobbies into Christmas gifts. The prompt asks us to think of ten hobbies that could be turned into Christmas presents. They don’t have to be physical presents. In fact, the explanation behind the prompt was about a little boy coming to greet Jesus and, rather than bringing riches like gold or myrrh, he brought his drums and played little Jesus a song. Today, I am going to share some of my passions that I could turn into Christmas gifts. I am pretty sure I won’t make it to ten, but that’s okay.

1. Storytelling. Some kind words can mean the world to someone. I am not too much of a wordsmith in terms of poetry or fiction, but I can definitely share some of my positive thoughts with someone I care about this holiday season.

2. Soap making. Okay, I can’t find my Christmas tree mold as I write this, but I could still create a soap in festive colors. After all, I do have gold and red mica powders.

3. Aromatherapy. Related to the above one, I could obviously add a Christmassy scent to my soap or other DIY bath and body care product. I have a ton of seasonal essential oils, including white fir, cinnamon and orange. I also am pretty sure I have a Christmas tree fragrance oil.

4. Polymer clay. Of course. I recently created a polymer clay Christmas tree and am going to buy white Fimo soon so that I can create a snowman too. I have a few Christmas-related cutters, but I prefer creating sculptures.

5. Jewelry-making. I don’t have that many Christmas-colored jewelry-making supplies on hand right now, but if I wanted to, I could purchase them. I can definitely make a holiday-themed keychain or bracelet. If I am going to use my polymer clay to make jewelry with, I do have Christmassy colors.

6. Reading. I could read my fellow clients a Christmas-related children’s story.

7. Baking and cooking. I am not a great cook or baker, but I could with some help from the staff definitely whip up some seasonal treat. I love looking up recipes.

Well, I can’t think of anything else right now, but I am pretty content with how I did on this list.

How could you turn a hobby of yours into a Christmas gift?

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Five Activities to Do on Rainy Days #5Things

Hi everyone on this cloudy and chilly but dry Tuesday evening. Today’s prompt for the #5Things challenge is to share our favorite activities for rainy days. It hasn’t been raining much here at all lately – I guess we’re making up for a rather wet summer. However, the fall and winter usually are our rainy seasons here. I thought I’d participate and share some activities I love to do when it’s raining outside.

1. Listen to music. Contrary to some of the other participants in the challenge, I don’t like watching or listening to the rain. In fact, the sound of heavy rainstorms scares me. To drown out this noise, I like to listen to music, particularly upbeat songs.

Interestingly, I do occasionally love to listen to water sounds on my iPhone, but not specifically rain.

2. Read. When I can’t go outside because of the rain, it’s the perfect time to pick up a book and read. I read a wide variety of books, but, as regular readers of my blog will know, I mostly enjoy memoirs and realistic young adult fiction.

3. Craft. Rainy days are also the perfect time for crafting. Now that it’s not raining as much anymore, I can totally see my creative juices drying up a bit.

4. Chill out. I look forward to relaxing in my recliner, which my husband cleared of most of the stuffed animals and other things that were cluttering it last Sunday. I also love to take extra naps or just chill out under my weighted blanket. Since the day center reopened, lastly, the snoezelen® room is also now available to me at times. All of these activities are especially great for rainy days.

5. Enjoy a hot drink. Particularly hot cocoa, but coffee or green tea will do as well.

What do you like to do when it’s raining?

Five Things I Love About Fall #5Things

Today’s topic for the #5Things challenge is things we love about autumn. Or fall of course, as I primarily use American English on my blog (as far as I’m aware). Fall is my least favorite season and today is a beautiful late summer day with temps having risen to 26°C. However, there are definitely signs that fall is upon us already. To prepare myself, I’m sharing my favorite things about the season.

1. Fall colors. Like DrTanya mentioned in her original post, there’s something special about the specific shades of orange, yellow, red and green that come with fall. I am of course no longer able to actually see colors, but I can still imagine what they look like.

2. Warm, comfy clothes. Of course, I mentioned that one of my favorite things about summer is the ability to wear skirts and other looser-fitting clothes. However, I also love the feel of my more autumnal clothes. I especially will be looking for a onesie someday this fall.

3. Comfort food. DrTanya already mentioned apple pie. Mmm, how I love this! I also really want to be making pumpkin spiced something at least once this fall.

4. Decorating for a new season. I don’t really have much in the way of home decor in my room, but would really like to change that. One of my staff already offered to make a fall-themed table decoration with me.

I am quite the collector type, so I love looking for pine cones, acorns and fallen leaves.

5. Spending more time indoors. Fall is most known for its rainy days. While I don’t like rainy weather itself, I can appreciate the time to be indoors and read or craft.

What are some things you love about fall?

Activities I Do When I’m Alone

I have been struggling more with alone time and the fear of being left to my own resources lately. For this reason, Carol Anne of Therapy Bits’ question yesterday comes at the right time. She asks what things we like to do when we’re alone.
Here’s a list of things I can do by myself.

1. Go online. I can read other people’s blog posts, be it in my feed reader or through link parties.

I can also go on Facebook and other social media. I don’t personally use Twitter, Instagram etc. much at this point, but I still like to scroll through it.

I also recently developed an interest in watching YouTube videos in the areas of crafting and faith.

2. Read. The only goal I set for myself this year that I truly, definitely haven’t reached, is my reading goal. I’ve so far only finished six books out of my goal of 20. That being said, I do like to read the occasional short story or chapter in a self-help book.

3. Write. I am currently on an eight-day streak with this blog (including this post). I can also write in my private diary, for which I use an app called Day One. I use this app for freewrites and gratitude lists too.

4. Pray and read my Bible. I sometimes slack out on my Bible reading a little, opening the app and only reading the verse of the dday. Today, I did pretty well, having actually finished a plan I had been doing for a while and also having read up some in the book of Judges (because someone I follow mentioned a verse from there).

Besides filling my time, Bible study and prayer will bring me closer to God and will hopefully make me realize that I am never truly alone, even when I am physically alone. I am also never left to my own resources, even if it feels that way.

5. Listen to music and dance. The word “dance” should really be put between scare quotes, since my sense of rhythm is nonexistent. However, I enjoy listening to country, southern rock and contemporary Christian music while moving.

In addition, I also like to listen to calming music while lying in bed. Then, I prefer nature sounds and harp, guitar or piano music. I also occasionally listen to contemporary Christian music when I’m neither resting nor dancing. Then, I’m digesting the lyrics.

Do you struggle with alone time? What activities do you do when you’re alone?

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Lifelong Learning

I discovered 10 on the 10th last month, but didn’t feel like joining in at the time. Yesterday, a new edition went live and the topic is lifelong learning in honor of back-to-school season. I’m joining in today, as I loved the questions. Here goes.

1. How old were you when you started school? Did you attend pre-kinder and/or kinder or go straight into first grade?
I started in preschool at age three and in Kindergarten at age four. Here in the Netherlands, Kindergarten takes two years, although the first year (when children are four) wasn’t mandatory back in my day. It is now.

2. Were you a good student? What was your favorite subject?
In terms of academic performance, I was above-average in most subjects once I was properly educated. I added that last bit because, at my first special education school for the visually impaired, where I attended first till third grade, I was a little behind in reading and writing due to several factors. These included poor teaching and the fact that I didn’t start learning Braille till second grade, so had to pretty much start over learning to read and write then.

In terms of behavior, I did okay. I am autistic (undiagnosed at the time), so I did have my challenges, but I wasn’t the type to stir up trouble in school on purpose.

My favorite subject was math for most of elementary school and my first year in secondary school. Then, once I was mainstreamed at a high level high school and math became one of my hardest subjects, I started to like languages more. At the end of secondary school, my favorite subject was English.

3. As a child, did you take music lessons? Or play a sport? Do you still play an instrument now?
No, not at all! Contrary to the stereotype of blind people, I’m not musically-talented at all. Neither am I good at sports. I did attend a children’s choir for some years though, but mostly just hummed along.

4. Did you attend any kind of training or classes beyond high school? If so, what did you study? Did you wind up working in a profession or job for which those classes or training prepared you?
I went to college for one year to study applied psychology and to university for two months to study linguistics. I did get my foundation (first year certificate) in applied psychology, but didn’t get any credits in the linguistics program. Oh, I did take some classes at Open University (psychology once again) in 2009. I don’t need any education for what I do now (day activities for the disabled).

5. Have you taken any personal growth or adult education classes for fun? During the year that was Covid, did you home school, learn a new app to work from home, teach yourself to do something you might have paid someone else to do for you?
Uhm, not really. I am mostly self-taught where it comes to crafts and stuff. I would really like to take some classes in maybe crafting or writing someday, but not sure.

6. What would you like to learn how to do that you don’t know how to do already?
Right now, obviously I’d like to learn more crafting techniques, particularly polymer clay.

7. Name something that you learned easily. Then name something that was a struggle for you to learn to do.
As a child, reading print came easily to me. I taught myself to read at about age five. Reading Braille, on the other hand, was a struggle, mostly because I didn’t accept the fact that I was going blind.

8. What’s the last thing you remember learning? What kind of learner are you: visual, auditory, hands-on/kinesthetic, verbal, logical/mathematical?
The last thing I learned was moving a polymer clay slab from the work surface without distorting its shape (too much). I am probably a mix of a kinetic/hands-on and a verbal learner. I don’t do well with spoken instructions though. Rather, I need to read them.

9. Hard to teach an old dog new tricks, school of hard knocks, pass with flying colors, learn by heart, burn the midnight oil, pull an all-nighter, play hooky – which of these expression best fits your life lately? Why?
Pull an all-nighter, I guess. I’m often up late hyperfocusing on my latest obsession (currently polymer clay) and learning new things about it.

10. What is something you’ve learned from past mistakes?
To follow my own plan rather than relying on what others want me to do. As regular readers may know, I suffered autistic burnout in 2007 when at university trying to live on my own. This was what my parents wanted me to do. I ended up in the psych hospital only to be kicked out 9 1/2 years later almost with no after care even though I had hardly improved, only because I’d met my husband and my psychologist figured that if I was married I should be able to live with him. I didn’t cope and thankfully successfully fought for long-term care. This has been the best decision of my life.

What have you been learning recently?

Five Things I Love About Summer #5Things

Last year, as part of the #5Things challenge, I shared five things I hate about summer. Despite these, summer is still my favorite season. It’s therefore great that today, we’re asked to share things we love about summer instead.

1. Being able to wear more summerly clothes. I usually wear jeans in winter and fall, but come spring and especially summer, I really love wearing skirts and dresses. Recently, I was going to comment this on a traditional, Christian blog only to realize that maybe the author wears skirts all year round out of modesty. This then made me realize that, in fact, at least one of my dresses is quite suited for fall too. Anyway, I totally love the ability to wear looser-fitting clothes. This might again not be strictly summer-related, but for me it so far is.

2. Summer fruit. I love the time blueberries, peaches and raspberries are sold in supermarkets again. It’s totally amazing what a selection of fruit one can choose from in summertime. I also love freshly picked fruits from my parents’ or in-laws’ gardens.

3. Ice cream. I really used to love it when the ice cream truck came by as a child. Last year, an ice cream truck came by my care facility several times. Its owners usually served county fairs, but due to COVID, these were canceled. The truck had an earworm of a theme tune with the refrain of “Si, si, si, si, delicious gelati”.

4. Barbecueing. Too bad my family haven’t done this so far this year. I am a total meat person when it comes to this, although I’ll have some fruit salad too.

5. The sunlight. I love it that the times of daylight are much longer in summer than in winter. This enables me to be outside more often during the evening and also to enjoy more natural light while indoors. Although the sun definitely causes its problems (ie. sunburns), I generally love it when it’s shining. Besides, I’m making a habit out of wearing sunscreen everyday now.

What do you love about summer?

Five Food Aromas I Love #5Things

I’m once again a day late with answering this week’s #5Things prompt. This week, the topic is food aromas. Some food smells are even better than the food itself. Though I personally don’t like any smells of foods I dislike, certain food aromas definitely make my mouth water even if I’m not a huge fan of the food itself. Here goes.

1. Coffee. Though I drink about four cups of coffee a day, I can’t really say I like it. It’s probably more that I have developed a coffee-drinking habit and/or that I’m addicted to caffeine. That being said, the smell of freshly-brewed coffee is definitely pleasant. I even used to have some coffee-scented wax melts back when I still used those. Then again, my husband says the Morning Coffee one smells like uncleaned loo. But I digress.

2. Cinnamon rolls. Or cinnamon anything really. Oooh, how lovely! I do happen to love love love cinnamon rolls, but that doesn’t mean I like everything with cinnamon in it. Its smell, however, is mouth-watering.

3. Barbecue. I am a true meat lover, but other than that am not a huge fan of barbecueing. That being said, the smell definitely makes me hungry even when I’ve just eaten.

4. Bakery goods. I particularly love the smell of freshly-baked bread. My father used to occasionally bake his own bread from scratch and it always smelled delicious.

5. Garlic. Okay, this may be weird, since most people say that garlic stinks. I disagree. I love love love the smell of garlic when it’s being used in foods. Though people’s breath after having eaten it, isn’t as great indeed, I don’t mind that either.

What food smells make your mouth water?

Five Trendy Foods I Hate #5Things

Okay, I’m a day late with my contribution to this week’s Five Things. This week’s theme is food fads you hate. Like I said a few weeks ago, I got “only” eleven points on the picky eater test my husband had found online. Still, I’m quite a picky eater. I also don’t really know food trends, so some of these might not actually be food fads.

1. Mash. Okay, firstly, this isn’t really a trend. Mashed potato has been a popular food for probably as long as potatoes have been affordable here in the Netherlands and that’s as long as I and my parents and probably my grandparents too could remember. Mash isn’t even a holiday food; I bet that the average Dutch family eats some variety of it several times a week. Here at the care facility, I get mashed potatoes about four times a week if I don’t put mash on my “dislikes” list.

Speaking of the dislikes list though, I honestly can’t stand most things passing for meals here. I mean, seriously, cooked but otherwise not-seasoned beans as a vegetable?! And if you put those on your dislikes list, you also won’t get chili con carne. Thankfully, now I and several other clients get to pick our meals from a menu.

2. Celery. Okay, I will eat a little bit of it in a salad or in my mother-in-law’s lasagne. Other than that, I flat out refuse to eat it. My care facility’s meal service considers boiled celery a valid vegetable on its own too.

3. Ginger. Not sure this is a food trend anymore, but I’m pretty sure it was claimed to be some type of superfood some years ago. I’ve tried it, but honestly it just isn’t for me.

4. Raw cocoa. I can’t even stand dark chocolate, so I honestly can’t imagine liking this.

5. Sugar-free candy. This isn’t necessarily because I don’t like its taste, but because sorbitol and manitol both set off my IBS pretty bad.

Okay, this was harder than I thought it would be. After all, I do like most acclaimed superfoods, such as chia seeds, almond milk and acai. That being said, if I had to list five foods in general that I dislike, this’d be a list of food groups.

What about you? What food fads do you dislike?