Locus of Control

Like I said on Tuesday, I am regularly reminded of the need to change my attitude rather than my external circumstances, such as my living situation, in order to improve my quality of life. There may be some truth to this, in that I will always take me with me wherever I go. In this sense, having an internal locus of control – a sense that I myself can change my outlook on life, irrespective of external circumstances – may be the more functional choice. But is it true?

Ultimately, whether I change my attitude or I change my circumstances, doesn’t really matter, in that I am the one doing the changing, and in this sense am the one at least apparently in control, when in reality, I’m not. I, being a Christian, believe that God is ultimately in control, but even if He isn’t, control seems to be a rather elusive thing.


This post was written for the Six Sentence Story link-up, for which the prompt word this week is “control”.

The Wednesday HodgePodge (May 4, 2022)

Hi everyone. I’m participating in the Wednesday HodgePodge once again. Here are Joyce’s questions and my responses.

1. May Day! May Day!…last time you shouted for help? Or maybe just asked?
I’d honestly never heard that expression. That being said, I shout for help quite regularly, most commonly when I’m having a horrible flashback or panic attack. Last Monday, I probably didn’t shout for help, but did plea for help. My one-on-one support staff had left me alone because I’d told her to go away in an irritable voice while melting down. This caused me to spiral into crisis. I will spare you all the details, but I eventually came to my senses and was able to cry out for help.

2. What’s something you may do this month?
Visit my sister and her family. I most likely will, since my sister is expecting a baby very soon. Other than that, there are just too many things I may or may not do, such as finish a book, get to another polymer clay project, etc.

3. “April showers bring May flowers”…is this true where you live? What’s blooming? What’s your favorite springtime blossom?
It’s somewhat true, but we haven’t had that much rain in April this year. I’m not really sure what’s blooming here. I do know one of the nearby care homes has tulips blooming in its garden. My favorite springtime flowers are probably hyacinths, but I love many others.

4. What’s something you learned at your mother’s knee?
I am reminded immediately of a nursery rhyme that goes “One, two, three, four, paper hat, paper hat.”. When my mother would count to four, I’d always reply “Paper hat”. When my father would count to four, conversely, even as a toddler, I’d reply: “Five!”.

5. Share a thought about motherhood.
Now we’re probably supposed to share something positive, such as how beautiful the gift of motherhood is or something. I, however, am not a mother and don’t have the greatest memories of my own mother’s mothering me. Besides, my father was my primary caretaker. Not that my memories of him are any better. All that being said, I feel strongly that mothering is a skill that doesn’t necessarily come naturally as soon as a child comes out of its mother’s womb. I wish it were this way!

6. Insert your own random thought here.
Since it’s Liberation Day (from WWII) tomorrow here, I would like to take a moment to show my gratitude for living in freedom, peace and in a democracy.

The Wednesday HodgePodge (April 27, 2022)

Hi everyone. It’s King’s Day, so I have the day off from my day activities. This means for me that I don’t have one-on-one support between 1:30 and 4:00PM. This in turn means plenty of time to blog, so I’m aiming for two blog posts today. First, I’m participating in the Wednesday HodgePodge for this week. As the questions went online yesterday and the host participates in the #AtoZChallenge too, her questions are all related to words starting with the letter V. Here goes.

1. What does the word values mean to you personally? Where did your values come from? What are some of the values that have guided you throughout your life?
I discussed some of this yesterday already. Values to me are those abstract qualities that are important in my life. Among my values are authenticity, connection, self-determination and growth.

as for where they came from, I’d like to say I developed them in spite of my upbringing. My parents are very success-minded and more concerned with outward appearance than authenticity. I do think my self-determination comes from my parents though, as they did somewhat raise me to make my own choices.

2. Your favorite vanilla flavored something?
I love everything vanilla really (well, except for vanilla coke, because I can’t stand fizzy drinks), so picking just one is hard. I’m going with ice cream though, yum!

3. What’s something you’ve seen/done recently that you found to be very difficult, very confusing, very helpful, very interesting, or very special. Elaborate.
Deciding to have a discussion with the behavior specialist on the possibility of finding me a more suitable care home. It’s been a very difficult, very confusing time. I thankfully have been able to share my thoughts with most staff, who all have been as supportive as possible.

4. Something you own and love that is violet in color?
I don’t think I own anything that’s specifically violet. I mean, I have a lot of shades of purple in my polymer clay collection, including lilac and translucent lilac, lavender, plum and a couple colors I mixed myself. However, none are exactly violet. I’ve heard it’s one of the harder colors to mix with polymer clay too.

5. Do you have vacation plans on the calendar this summer? Tell us more.
No, I don’t. I was joking around with my husband yesterday about going camping out this summer, but really, we haven’t been on vacation since 2014. I really would like to someday, but I’d go into a hotel then (like we did the last couple of times we went on vacation). My husband is off work for two weeks around my birthday in late June and two more weeks around our wedding anniversary in September. We may plan some extra time together then, but that’s it.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
I just want to share I went on a giant outdoor trampoline this morning. Last year this day, my assigned home staff asked me whether I’d like to go to a playground in a neighboring village that had a giant trampoline and I said yes. I was discussing ways to get out of my room today when I remembered this and so we went again. It was fun!

Sunday Ramble: Habits and Routines

Hello all on this beautiful Easter Sunday! Today, I’m joining the Sunday Ramble, for which the topic this week is habits and routines. Here are Amy’s questions.

1. Do you have a daily routine that you are used to, or do you just go with the flow of the new day?
I usually get up and go to bed around the same time. I also eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same time most days. However, with respect to the activities I do inbetween, I usually go with the flow. After all, I just don’t always fancy doing the same things each day, don’t have the same level of energy, etc.

2. Do you do anything in your life habitually that you wish you could stop?
I guess I have quite a few bad habits. I’m learning not to overeat, but I still eat much faster than I’d like.

I also bite my nails. I tried to stop when I first started working with polymer clay, thinking that I could ingest polymer clay that got stuck under my nails by biting my nails. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stop.

I also twirl my hair, which my autism diagnosing psychologist once told me was a “serious social handicap”. Well, I was just beginning to recover from a psychiatric crisis at the time, so I couldn’t care less.

3. If habit was the acronym H.A.B.I.T, what would it be short for?
Helpful Actions Bring Infinite Thankfulness.
That’s a way of turning HABIT into something good!

4. Are we born with our bad habits? Or do we acquire them from the environment surrounding us?
I think, like most of our traits, it’s a combination of both. We are born with a predisposition to, for example, nervousness, addiction, etc. However, the exact nature of our bad habits and whether they make it into actual compulsions/addictions/etc. or not, is largely determined by our environment.

5. Are you a night owl, early bird, or something else when it comes to sleeping routines?
I am naturally more of a night owl, but I also need a lot of sleep. I’ve gotten used to going to bed at around 10:30PM and getting up at 8:30AM. That probably makes me something in between.

The Wednesday HodgePodge (March 23, 2022)

It’s Wednesday and I’m joining the Wednesday HodgePodge again. In honor of daylight saving time, I think, the questions this week revolve around the topic of “time”. Here goes.

1. What’s something you never seem to have enough time for?
Blogging. I usually write my blog posts at the end of the day, because I need enough alone time to be able to compose a blog post and I don’t have long chunks of alone time during the day. That being said, the issue probably isn’t that I don’t have enough time, but that I don’t allow myself enough time to start on a blog post if I don’t have time to finish it within that chunk of alone time. Right now, I changed that by starting my blog post in the staff’s lunch break and now I’m finishing it between day activities and my evening one-on-one coming on.

2. If you could turn back time and relive just one day in your life, which day would you choose and why?
This is such an interesting question. Like Joyce, I believe there already is a perfect timekeeper of the universe, ie. God, and to interrupt His timekeeping would not just be impossible, but if it were possible, would lead to disastrous results. That being said, in the hypothetical event that turning back time and reliving one day of my life would not alter the rest of it, I would choose the day of my wedding in 2011.

3. Something you enjoy making that takes a long time to prepare/cook?
I’m assuming we’re talking just food here, since there’s a reference to cooking. For me, cooking even relatively “simple” meals takes up a lot of time. When I still cooked independently, it used to take me at least 90 minutes to prepare and cook a standard macaroni, for example. After all, I needed to do a lot of organizing before I could even get started and I’m a slow cook too. For this reason, I don’t think there’s anything I really enjoy making that would take other people a lot of time to prepare or cook. In fact, now that I get help on the rare occasion that I do cook, I still prefer to make relatively simple meals. The pilaf I cooked last week was really the most time-consuming dish I’ve cooked so far since moving into the care facility.

4. A time recently where you needed/gave yourself a ‘time out’? How do you do that?
I don’t like resting during the day, even though I need to at times. When I had COVID last month, I really had to force myself to lie in bed. Taking time-outs usually involves resting in bed with my weighted blanket over me and my stuffed animals near me, listening to soothing instrumental music through my music pillow and with an essential oil blend in my diffuser.

5. Something you’ve done recently that you’d describe as a ‘good time’?
Yesterday, my mother-in-law came by for a visit. We went for a walk and a coffee and pie in a nearby town. The pies were too sweet for our liking, but the coffee was okay and at least we had a good time enjoying each other’s company.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
This coming Saturday, if I don’t get a cold from one of the several staff who have been working here with cold symptoms (they tested negative for COVID, of course), I’ll be taking a ParaTransit taxi to my and my husband’s house in Lobith. If I do get a cold, I will most likely stay at the care facility and will certainly not take the taxi. Though all mandatory COVID-related restrictions and requirements were lifted today, I still don’t want to infect anyone. Let’s just hope I won’t get a cold, as I’m really looking forward to spending time in Lobith again.

Sunday Ramble: Motivation and Positivity

Hi everyone! I’m feeling full of ideas today, but none make it out of my head and into my hands. I’m talking both crafting and blogging here. Thankfully, with respect to blogging, I can always count on some great bloggers to provide me with prompts. Today, I’m participating once again in E.M.’s Sunday Ramble. This week the topic is positivity. Here goes.

1. What are the greatest attributes about you that make you feel good about yourself?
First up is, of course, my creativity! Many years ago, I would have said my intelligence, but I don’t really value that as much anymore. I do still consider it an asset that I’m a quick learner, but it’s not like I feel particularly good about being intelligent. It does make me feel good that I have many interests and I do consider that both related to my creativity and my intellectual ability.

2. What is/are your biggest motivation/s to get things done?
I find that I’m very much driven by an internal sense of motivation that comes in spurts and then goes away completely again. I’m not really sure what motivates me to do things I’d not otherwise be motivated for, other than maybe a kick in the butt from my staff.

3. Do you have any tips that could help others with their own motivation?
No, not really. I mean, other than getting treatment for obvious mental health problems that stand in the way of motivation, such as depression and anxiety. It may also help, if like me you’re neurodivergent (autistic, ADHD, etc.), to ask for help with step-by-step instructions on daily life tasks. There are groups for this on Facebook, such as Neurodivergent Cleaning Crew (I’m not a member of that one as I don’t do my own cleaning). That still may not help with actual motivation though.

4. As you are sitting there reading this question, look around you. What item in your home/work/car (wherever you are) made you smile when you looked at it?
I cannot actually look at it, being that I’m blind, and I cannot touch it from where I’m sitting at my desk, but my bed with all my stuffed animals and the satin duvet cover and pillow case that I got from a staff definitely makes me smile! I just had to leave my desk to take a picture (of course I did arrange the stuffed animals for it!).

5. What always makes you laugh and smile in your life?
My husband’s jokes! He has the funniest sense of humor.

How about you? What always makes you laugh and smile?

Unconsciously Incompetent #SoCS

When I was in college studying applied psychology (it was really an orientation year to Bachelor’s of social work or related fields), my tutor had an interesting theory about how we learn by first being unconsciously incompetent. Then we move on to being consciously incompetent, by which she meant we are aware of our lack of knowledge and skill. Then, after years of college, we move on to being consciously competent. Once being experienced in the workforce, we then become unconsciously competent, which means we no longer need to be aware of our competence, since it’s become muscle memory.

I reached the stage of conscious incompetence when my tutor told me flat out that she was passing me for communication skills only if I promised never to enter the field of social work, psychology or any related field of study or work again. Thankfully, I was aware that my communication skills exam had really gone badly just before she told me, so I didn’t just need to be dragged into conscious incompetence.

I think I might need a similar experience with macrame. I started practising on Thursday and, though I managed the square knot, spiral knot and lark’s head knot quite easily eventually, I am pretty sure I’m still unconsciously incompetent. In other words, my work is horribly ugly but I think it will do.

The only thing is, because I sort of know I might never reach the stage of even conscious competence, I am too scared to show my work online for judgment. After all, as much as I am self-conscious about it, I also would really like this to work out!

Similarly, though I knew before that horribly messed-up communication skills exam at least on some subconscious level that I’m not suited to become a social worker or psychologist, I wanted to be one. That’s probably why I went into linguistics, which, though it isn’t necessarily within the helping profession, is still a communicative field of study. I only went into it to have a student psychologist tell a newspaper that “a blind autistic who wants to study something communicative” is going to have a pretty hard time of it, when they were promoting their autism buddy program. That pretty much sent me into conscious incompetence as soon as I read it, which thankfully was six weeks into the academic year. I guess that’s what happened the time the first person to comment on my question about macrame told me it would be really hard too. Only that’s before I’d started. I’m not sure that’s conscious incompetence though. It looks rather like low self-esteem.

This post was written for Stream of Consciousness Saturday, with the prompt of a word containing “Comp”.

The Wednesday HodgePodge (March 16, 2022)

Hi everyone. I have been discovering some great new memes/blog hops lately. One of them is The Wednesday HodgePodge. The idea of this meme is to answer five (semi-)random questions and then add your own random thought at the end. I say the questions are semi-random, because they do seem to have been inspired by a theme. I loved this week’s questions, so here goes.

1. It’s March 15th (Tuesday) and as the saying goes-“Beware the Ides of March”…have you read/studied much Shakespeare? Do you have a favorite Shakespeare play? How do you feel about a Caesar salad?
I haven’t studied Shakespeare at all. In fact, I don’t think I’ve actually read any of his plays and the only exposure I got to them was watching a school play of Romeo and Juliet in high school. As a result, I had no idea the expression about the Ides of March didn’t actually originate with Julius Caesar himself.

As for a Caesar salad, I do like it on occasion, but it isn’t my favorite at all.

2. Have you ever been to Rome? If so what do you love about the city? If not, any desire to go?
Well, I went to grammar school, so of course we had to visit Rome. The best aspect of it was visiting the Capitoline Museums, but only because a very daring teacher asked one of the museum employees whether I could touch the sculptures, because I am blind. Somehow we actually got permission for me to touch them with one hand. I mean, for those not familiar with them, these are 2000-year-old sculptures, for real! Two years later, when my sister, who is sighted, visited Rome, they had created replicas for blind people so that they could actually get the full experience of touching the sculptures.

3. What’s your favorite place to ‘roam’?
Switzerland. I’ve only been there once, but it’s by far my favorite place to wander about. My husband and I went there on our delayed honeymoon in the summer of 2012 and we’re fully intending on going back once COVID restrictions are lifted there.

Other than that, I’d just say my own neighborhood. I love going on walks and taking pictures as I go.

4. Do you like pizza? Thick or thin? Red sauce-white sauce-other? Your favorite toppings? How do you feel about pineapple on a pizza?
I love pizza! Usually I prefer a thick crust, but I love a good Italian-style pizza too. I love both red and white sauce. My favorite toppings include salami, chicken, bell peppers, red onions, red peppers, etc. I don’t care for pineapple on a pizza but it’s not that I wouldn’t eat it either.

5. ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’…tell us how this expression applies to something in your home-life-job currently (or recently)?
Well, I have a ton of larger craft projects that I’ve gotten started on and that I really wish I could’ve finished in a day, but that’s just not working.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
All this talk about pizza has me craving good food, even though I just had lunch. Thankfully, I’m going to cook pilav later this afternoon. I also had the most amazing Indonesian takeout food yesterday. A staff brought me some and it was truly the best Asian food I’d ever had.

Allowed to Rest #SoCS

SoCS Badge 2019-2020

Like I’ve said multiple times over the past week, I’m self-isolating with COVID right now. Today is day four of my five-day mandatory quarantine. I have taken each day as an opportunity to stay in pajamas, because I didn’t feel like getting dressed now that I wasn’t allowed to leave my room anyway. That being said, taking my much-needed rest, has been more of a struggle.

Both on Wednesday and this morning, I was up in the middle of the night really, or early morning, depending on your perspective. On Wednesday, I was up by 3AM and couldn’t sleep. Today, I could stay in bed till 4AM. The other nights, I managed to sleep for at least ten hours, sometimes twelve.

It isn’t that I’m not tired, really. Or maybe I’m not, but it does feel kind of like I am. However, my brain won’t shut off. It’s like my body is exhausted and in need of rest, but my mind continues to tell it to carry on. It isn’t even my brain. Well, you know, my mind is in my brain too, but I mean, it isn’t that I’m not cognitively tired too. But I keep beating myself up over it.

Then again, if I can allow myself not to get dressed, why can’t I allow myself to lie in bed and sleep this whole thing off? I can’t force myself to sleep, of course, but I can try to get some rest. Instead, I’m writing this mindless blog post. Thanks for reading! I’m allowed to rest now. Or read what the rest of you have to say.

This post was written for Stream of Consciousness Saturday, For which the prompt today is “Rest”. I just realized that, in my second-last sentence, “you” is a better fit than “I”, but editing is against the rules. Oh well.

Sunday Ramble: Technology and the Future

Hi all. I’m feeling kind of off today. I’m not sure it’s all in my head or I’m suffering with the early symptoms of a mild case of COVID. I haven’t had another lateral flow test, as I don’t feel worse than I did yesterday – in fact, I feel slightly better. On Tuesday, I’ll have a PCR test, so unless I develop really telling symptoms, none of which I have so far, I’ll wait and see until then.

Anyway, for my blog post today, I’m answering E.M.’s Sunday Ramble questions. Her topic for this week is technology and the future. Here are her questions.

1. Are there any applications on your mobile device, tablets, etc. that you cannot live without? Feel free to ramble about them! Maybe we will learn new apps that will become important in our own lives.
I am going with the more unusual apps here, as I doubt I’ll be inspiring anyone else to download Facebook or a web browser (I use Edge even on my iPhone, by the way) if they haven’t already. Apps I truly love on my iPhone include the diary app Day One. I previously reviewed Diarium, another diary app, but have since gone back to using Day One mostly because it allows me to have multiple diaries.

Other apps include MyNoise, an app that allows users to select soundscapes, the task management app Microsoft To Do and Seeing AI, an app that describes images. It most recently guessed my age in a photo to be 44 though. 😒 Admittedly, I pulled a rather odd face in a forced attempt to smile. And just so you know, no, I’m not going to post the photo here. 🙂

2. Do you prefer Apple or Android?
Apple for sure! It is far more advanced with respect to accessibility for the blind.

3. Windows OS or MacOS?
Windows. I tried a Mac some years ago, thinking it’d be easy to use with my being an iPhone user already, but I couldn’t get used to it. The only advantage of MacOS is that it comes with a built-in screen reader, like iOS. For Windows, you have to buy (or get insurance to pay for) JAWS.

4. What do you wish that you would have placed in a time capsule 15+ years ago to have access to now?
I answered a similar question already on another blog a few weeks back: I’d bring back the disability-related story-sharing websites we had in the early 2000s, like Tell-Us-Your-Story.com. I also would’ve put Diaryland’s diaryrings into the time capsule, but then I’d have hacked the concept and applied it to today’s blogs. Webrings are cool! I think the concept still exists, but hardly anyone participates nowadays.

5. When you think of the what the world will look like 50 years from now, what does that future look like through your eyes? Go as sci-fi and/or fantasy as you would like and ramble on however you wish to ramble When you think of the what the world will look like 50 years from now, what does that future look like through your eyes? Go as sci-fi and/or fantasy as you would like and ramble on however you wish to ramble.
I have absolutely no idea. I did a post on this topic some six years ago on my old blog, but I mostly focused on what my life would be like when I was in my late seventies. I really hope that image description and the like will be very much improved, so that the blind will be able to “see” this way. There already are glasses, such as the Orcam or Envision Glasses, which will describe things a person is looking at. I haven’t tried those, but if they evolve more, and they likely will, I’d love to try those someday.

What do you wish you could’ve put into a time capsule to take with you from 15+ years ago?