Lovin’ Lately (June 19, 2020)

Hi everyone and welcome to another edition of Lovin’ Lately, in which I share all the things I’ve been loving recently. I’m joining in with Friday Favorites.

Today was a pretty busy day. It was the Friday we have day activities (every other Friday is a day off). As such, I’ve been pretty active. This is why I didn’t sit down to write until now that it’s past 10PM. With no further ado, let me start.

1. Netflix. Last Saturday, in an impulse, I decided to get a Netflix subscription again. I always get the basic one, as I, being blind, don’t need HD video or multiple screens to watch on. I wanted to see the Netflix original documentary series Diagnosis. This is really fascinating!

2. My yoga mat. My husband brought it to me last week and I finally unfolded it this evening to get some working out done. I tried several yoga apps, but haven’t found one that I like yet. Then again, I love doing yoga just the way I like it. I mean, I’m pretty inflexible and don’t have much strength in my muscles at all, but if I don’t practise, it will remain this way. I tried a beginner’s yoga class with the app Down Dog, but couldn’t follow it without being able to see the video. Still, I loved the feel of working out.

3. Journaling prompt collections. I’ve probably mentioned half a dozen times already that I love to collect books of writing prompts, particularly those geared towards journaling. This week, I got a few good ones. The Goddess Journaling Workbook by Beatrix Minerva Linden is great. I already worked on some of the prompts over the past few days, as you can see. I however also love The Year of You by Hannah Braime.

4. A stuffed pillow. I got to borrow one from another client here at the care facility earlier this week and was totally in love with it. I kept stroking its soft side as I dozed off to sleep.

5. My Fitbit. This is by no means a new product, but I just want to mention it as a way to celebrate the huge step achievement I reached this week. So far this week, I got over 56K steps. This includes a short elliptical workout this evening. My Fitbit doesn’t count the yoga workout.

What products have you been lovin’ lately?

Reading Wrap-Up (June 10, 2020)

Good evening everyone! I’m in quite a good mood for reading lately, so I thought I’d share a reading wrap-up with you all today. I’m joining in with WWW Wednesday.

What I’m Currently Reading

Last week, I downloaded a couple of autism-related books off Bookshare. I started with Our Autistic Lives edited by Alex Radcliffe. This is a collection of personal accounts of life with autism, organized by author age.

Then I stumbled on Diagnosis by Lisa Sanders. This is a collection of colums by the author about strange medical cases. I’m 20% done with it now.

Lastly, today I picked up Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott again after a few weeks of not reading it. I’m not sure I’ll finish it, but we’ll see. I don’t think I like this book as much as I’d originally thought.

What I Recently Finished Reading

I spent all of last week-end reading Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett and finished it on Sunday. See my review, which I wrote on Monday.

What I Think I’ll Be Reading Next

I put a few other autism-related books on my virtual shelves this past week, including Spectrum Women by Barb Cook. I also downloaded a few more books in honor of #BlackLivesMatter, namely On the Come Up and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.

However, I’m a true mood reader and I’ve had Clean by Juno Dawson on my radar for a while, so I may buy that one soon and read it first.

What have you been reading lately?

Book Review: Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

Last week, I was drawn to Anne of In Residence’s Black Lives Matter booklist. I am white and admittedly completely clueless about racism, certainly as it applies to Black people. I however immediately decided to download a few books off this list onto my phone. The first book I got to read, obviously, was one with a medical aspect to it, because that’s what I’m most interested in: Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett.

Summary

In a community that isn’t always understanding, an HIV-positive teen must navigate fear, disclosure, and radical self-acceptance when she falls in love–and lust–for the first time. Powerful and uplifting, Full Disclosure will speak to fans of Angie Thomas and Nicola Yoon.

Simone Garcia-Hampton is starting over at a new school, and this time things will be different. She’s making real friends, making a name for herself as student director of Rent, and making a play for Miles, the guy who makes her melt every time he walks into a room. The last thing she wants is for word to get out that she’s HIV-positive, because last time . . . well, last time things got ugly.

Keeping her viral load under control is easy, but keeping her diagnosis under wraps is not so simple. As Simone and Miles start going out for real–shy kisses escalating into much more–she feels an uneasiness that goes beyond butterflies. She knows she has to tell him that she’s positive, especially if sex is a possibility, but she’s terrified of how he’ll react! And then she finds an anonymous note in her locker: I know you have HIV. You have until Thanksgiving to stop hanging out with Miles. Or everyone else will know too.

Simone’s first instinct is to protect her secret at all costs, but as she gains a deeper understanding of the prejudice and fear in her community, she begins to wonder if the only way to rise above is to face the haters head-on…

My Review

When I bought this book off Apple Books, I had next to no idea what this book was about other than the main character being Black and HIV-positive. Having an excuse to read a medical novel under the guise of supporting Black lives felt good though (yes, I know that makes me pretty oppressive). I had no idea this book was so good though.

Not only does it talk about HIV in much more depth than I ever was aware of. I mean, I almost immediately felt the shame come back to me from when we were presented with a problem case in college in which a fictional workplace was disrupted by stigma surrounding one worker’s HIV-positive status and I pretty quickly jumped to conclusions by saying the coworkers might want to be tested. My instructor immediately called me out that you don’t get HIV from drinking out of the same cups as someone who’s positive. I mean, I knew this much, but still objected that fear might guide the coworkers to get tested anyway and I’d understand that. How horrible!

It was totally liberating learning about not just HIV, but sex and sexuality in a broad perspective too. Several characters are openly queer. I loved learning about diversity like this.

Then there’s the race aspect. I didn’t learn too much about that from this book, as it assumes you already know a bit about Black culture, but I bet Black people can relate to some of the things being discussed.

The book is more plot-driven than character-driven, but I happen to love that. The characters are still really well-portrayed.

Overall, I totally loved this book and as such gave it five stars on Goodreads.

Book Details

Title: Full Disclosure
Author: Camryn Garrett
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: October 29, 2019

MamaMummyMum

#WeekendCoffeeShare (June 7, 2020)

It’s Sunday and I am feeling pretty lazy. I have quite a few ideas for blog posts, but I’m just going with the #WeekendCoffeeShare. I haven’t participated in that one in a while. Grab a cup of coffee, green tea or I think there’s some soda or juice in the fridge still too and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, of course I’d talk about my new iPhone. I already shared about it on Friday, but well, I’m totally in love with it! I got the iPhone SE 2020, which the info section in Settings just calls the SE. That’s pretty confusing, since I also have the old SE still. I haven’t prepared that one for reselling or donating to charity yet. Not even sure what I’m going to do with it. Probably donate it to charity for recycling, but I’m not confident enough to remove all data yet.

My husband asked me what type of case I want for my new iPhone. He’s going to buy me one for my birthday. I currently have a jelly case, but I want a bookcase.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I got over 50K steps this past week. Last week, I got nearly 65K, so this isn’t a big accomplishment, but it still feels good.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that the weather is weird. Sometimes it rains, while other times it’s just slightly cloudy or even a bit sunny. Because of the rain, I haven’t been walking as much this week as I’d want to. Then again, I guess nature and agriculture need the rain.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that on Thursday, the staff intern and I made apple pastries. I didn’t do more than cut the apples into cubes, but it was okay. They were delicious!

If we were having coffee, I would also tell you that on Thursday I went to my GP. I have a large itchy spot on my upper leg that won’t go away. The GP thinks it’s an insect bite made worse by my scratching it. I got some hydrocortisone cream for it. It’s slightly better now.

If we were having coffee, I’d share with you how happy I am that WordPress isn’t planning on retiring the classic editor anytime soon. I don’t hate the block editor as much as some other bloggers do, but I find it somewhat annoying at the same time. I never liked the WordPress.com editor, so am actually pretty happy it’s gone.

If we were having coffee, lastly I would tell you that I’ve done a lot of reading lately. I’m truly in the mood again. I bought the YA novel Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett on Thursday and actually finished it in only three days. That’s pretty awesome for me.

How have you been lately?

Lovin’ Lately (June 5, 2020)

It’s Friday, yay! Today I’m sharing another Lovin’ Lately list with you all. Want to know what I’ve loved lately?

1. My new iPhone. This one just has to be at the top, of course. I ordered it last Saturday and it arrived on Monday. On Tuesday, a staff member helped me set it up. Except for the pattern you need to scan with your old phone to make the old one send data to your new one, the whole set-up process was pretty easy. I did need a lot of help getting the screen protector and jelly case on the phone.

I got the new iPhone SE 2020. I can’t really compare how well this iPhone performs compared to my old one when I first had it. I mean, I use my new one much more than I did the old one back then, so it’s obvious the battery doesn’t last as long. However, I’m generally pretty impressed with how long I can use the new phone with the battery not getting below 50%. In addition, my new phone is a lot speedier than the old one. Not that I found my old one slow, but now that I have this one, I’m so happy.

Unfortunately, all bugs that I experienced with the old one, are still there. This means they’re software bugs. Just need to wait for iOS 14 to come out, I guess.

2. Twitter. I’ve been enjoying being on Twitter more over the past few days. I downloaded an app called Twitterrific that makes it pretty easy to use. Somehow, the app store highlights only one-star reviews and people claim it’s a scam. It does ask for money, but so far, the purchase seems entirely optional.

3. YouTube. As someone who’s never made any videos and doesn’t intend on it either, I tended to avoid YouTube because I can’t participate on it like I do with my blog. However, today I decided to check some book-related YouTubers (or BookTubers for short). I loved it!

4. Reading. I’ve not been reading much lately, but a few days ago, decided to read some autism-related non-fiction again. I’ve been loving some books detailing the autistic experience.

Then yesterday I was reading someone else’s #BlackLivesMatter TBR and impulsively bought a novel off it. I’m already at 57%. It’s Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett. As someone who’s white, I don’t find that I read many books about black people and other racial minorities. Racial disparities just don’t speak to me. Then again, if I ever want racism to end, I’ll have to educate myself. This book also talks about queer stuff and the main character is HIV positive.

What have you been lovin’ lately?

A Book I Remember From My Childhood

Yesterday’s prompt in Sandman’s 30-day book challenge is a book you remember from your childhood. I didn’t really like reading as a child, but I liked listening to audiobooks. Most came from the library for the bblind, but a few didn’t.

Particularly, I remember my grandpa had read one of my father’s cousins a book on cassette tape sometime when my father was still young in the 1950s or 1960s. My grandfather passed it on to me as a child. It was called De kinderkaravaan and was written by An Rutgers Van der Loeff, published in 1949.

This book describes the journey of the Sager children on the Oregon trail in 1844. In the story, the oldest boy, John Sager, leads his younger siblings from fort Hall to the Marcus Whitman family in Oregon after the rest of his trail decide to go to California. The story begins at Fort Laramie in present-day Wyoming, with the trail still intact and the Sager parents still alive. The Sager mother is pregnant with her seventh child at the time, who is born on the trail. By the time the trail reaches Fort Hall though, both parents have died and the children are supposedly getting to live with different families on the trail. John convinces the other men to let the children stay together except for the baby. He gets the baby from her caregiver when the trail is about to go to California, because he feels his parents would’ve wished them to travel to Oregon. As such, John and his younger brother Francis lead the children on a walking trail to Oregon.

Supposedly, the story is based on real events. Rutgers Van der Loeff claimed to have gotten a newspaper article from an acquaintance alerting her to the family’s adventure. Indeed, the Sager family did exist and John and his siblings did lose their parents. I only found out about a year ago that Rutgers Van der Loeff had many names and ages of the Sager children wrong. The Sager children also never traveled alone and the newspaper article claiming they did, was fabricated. The mix-up of the names and ages more annoyed me than the fact that the children’s adventure wasn’t as heroic as the author makes it look.

Maybe a year after my grandfather gifted me the cassette tapes with this book on them, my mother recorded another book by the same author for me. It is called Het licht in je ogen (which translates to The Light in Your Eyes) and is about a boy going blind from cornea damage. I loved that book too.

What book do you remember from your childhood?

Gratitude List (May 30, 2020) #TToT

Okay guys, I’m still feeling meh. I don’t know why, but it doesn’t really matter. I’m not inspired to write much of anything either, so what better thing to do than to write a gratitude list? I don’t promise I’ll be able to mention many things, but I’ll try my best.

1. Ice cream. Last week Thursday, another home that’s part of the care facility called for an ice cream truck to come by the facility. The ice cream truck owners had owned some type of merry-go-round or another fairground attraction before COVID-19 hit. Then they transferred to the ice cream business as away of making money. They advertise themselves on Facebook for being on-call if you have enough customers in a street. I love this idea and obviously the care facility has some 70+ clients plus staff as potential customers.

What’s extra cool is that the other home called the truck people again on Tuesday. Now if I don’t have an ice cream tummy, I don’t know.

2. Reaching my step goal. I reached 10K steps three days this past week and so far got over 55K steps this week. Tomorrow I’ll probably have a lie-in.

3. An extra staff. Due to day activities now being provided at the home, the home staff were able to cut their hours a bit, because there was a lot of overlap with the day activities staff. As a result, they’re now able to have an extra staff for a few hours on Saturday. This morning, the extra staff took me for a 25-minute walk.

4. Bathing. This is one from last week, but on Sunday I took a bath. It was good and very relaxing.

5. Gutenberg. You know, the project that aims to digitalize no-longer-copyrighted materials and make them available to the public. I discovered yesterday that my reader app, Voice Dream Reader, connects to it too. I was able to download Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery off there. I think I prefer reading eBooks to audiobooks anyway.

6. Buying a new iPhone. I have been wanting to buy the new iPhone SE 2020 forever. That is, I’ve been looking at the possibility of it being released for at least half a year before it was released. My current iPhone, the old SE model, still works, but its battery is empty really quickly. Today I ordered the new one.

Originally, I had wanted my husband to install it. Then when I was skyping with my sister and mother, my brother-in-law chimed in and said it’s really easy to migrate from one iPhone to another. Now I may want to install the phone myself as soon as I get it and there’s someone sighted to oversee it.

7. Hearing my niece on Skype. Like I said above, this afternoon I Skyped with my mother and sister. It was fun. I hadn’t even had Skype on my computer till then, but I like it. I heard my niece on the other end of the screen. She did get a little whiny eventually, probably because she was hungry.

8. Seeing my husband! I saved this one for last, as it’s the best. Last week, the no-visitors policy was lifted at my care facility, so I was able to see my husband. He visited me again today. Like I said before, we can’t really be physically close, but it’s okay. I love you, hubby!

That’s it for now. As always, I’m joining in with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT).

What have you been grateful for lately?

What’s Up (May 2020)

Today, I discovered What’s Up Wednesday and thought I’d join in. What’s Up Wednesday is a monthly linky in which bloggers recap their past month. Here goes.

What I Ate

I don’t meal plan, as here at the care facility, we get meals delivered. I didn’t have the greatest meals this past week. Last week Wednesday, I had a fish curry that had fish bones in it. I ate part of it nonetheless, but eventually got annoyed and left the rest. My husband told me that this was unacceptable indeed. My staff sent out a complaint.

Then on Friday, I had vegetable rice only. Vegetable rice is just rice with a tiny bit of veg in it. I had no meat or meat substitute in my meal at all.

Thankfully though, over the past few days, the food was okay.

Then yesterday, my day activities staff and I put hamburgers on some type of grill for lunch. It was delicious!

What I’m Reminiscing About

I haven’t had the best month with respect to my mood. For this reason, a lot of memories have come up. I have been discussing some in my sessions with my community psychiatric nurse and also writing about them on here.

What I’m Loving

Being able to see my husband again! Due to the coronavirus lockdown, my care facility had a no-visitors policy for the past two months. Thankfully though, the policy was lifted last week. My husband and I still can’t have physical contact or even be within a five-feet distance, but it’s okay. I’m just so glad to meet my husband in real life again.

What I’ve Been Up To

I’ve been doing a lot of walking over this past month. The weather is really good. We had one rainy day, last Sunday, but overall it’s been really sunny and warm outside.

I’ve also been blogging a lot over the past month. I’m so glad to keep up the productive spirit!

What I’m Dreading

Nothing really. I did have a rough few weeks and was dreading a crisis happening again. Today is a pretty good day though. The tech guys installed the door sensor that will alert the night staff if I elope again today.

What I’m Excited About

Seeing my husband again this Saturday!

I’m also excited about getting Italian takeaway this Sunday. I’m probably going to get a tuna pizza.

What We’re Doing This Weekend

It’s a holiday weekend here in the Netherlands because of Pentecost. For this reason, we’re getting lots of extra treats at the care facility. Other than that and seeing my husband, I don’t have much planned.

What I’m Watching

Nothing to be honest. I’ve been thinking about getting a Netflix subscription again, but haven’t gotten down to it.

What I’m Reading

Nothing at the moment, but I did finish two books this past month: Wonder by R.J. Palacio and Wink by Rob Harrell. I reviewed that last one earlier this month.

What I’m Listening To

I’m mostly listening to the Pop Warm-UP 130 BPM playlist on Spotify. I actually love the upbeat, fast-paced tunes to “dance” to.

I also got myself a ScribD subscription, though I unsubscribed again after a few weeks. I listened to Anne of Green Gables as an audiobook on there. I must say I don’t think I see the benefit of audiobooks.

What I’m Working On

My birthday wishlist! I asked my husband to help me install a new iPhone that I’m goign to buy. I haven’t bought it yet, but am looking forward to doing so in a few weeks.

I’ve been looking at a sensory supplies store again for birthday gifts to ask my in-laws, parents and sister. I think I want a Jinglin’ ball. This is a soft ball that makes a sound when rolled. The adaptive supplies store for the blind also sells ringing balls, but these are too hard for safe playing with my fellow clients.

What I’m Wearing

Orange Dress

I have had this orange dress for a few years already, but hardly ever wore it before going into the care facility, because I can’t fasten the ribbon. I am loving it though. I also asked my staff to do my hair for this picture.

What I’m Looking Forward To Next Month

My birthday, obviously! It isn’t till the 27th of June, so we’ll have another What’s Up Wednesday before that, but oh well.

What Else Is Up

I think that about covered it.

Top Ten Reasons Why I Love Reading

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday (#TTT) is all about our bookish loves. The prompt is “Top Ten Reasons I Love …”. I am going to interpret this broadly and list the reasons I love reading in general. Here goes.

1. Escapism. It is totally amazing to escape my daily worries and troubles for a bit by immersing myself in the world of books.

2. Broadening my horizons. Whether I read a work of non-fiction, memoir or a novel, it almost always has something in it that I can’t personally relate to. As such, reading gives me insight into things I may not know much about.

3. Perspective. I can too easily be caught up in negativity about my own life. When I read a realistic novel or memoir, it often puts my struggles into perspective.

4. Relatability. Pretty much the opposite of the above. Some books I relate to, give me the sense that I’m not alone in the world.

5. Learning new words. English is my second language. Though I rarely use a dictionary when reading, reading English-language books does help me widen my vocabulary.

6. The ability to hyperfocus and perseverate. I love browsing through Amazon or Apple books for things I may want to read. I can totally immerse myself in even this habit, even if I don’t end up reading anything right then. When I do read, I can totally focus on this and forget my surroundings.

7. Writing inspiration. I am a writer. To be more than a mediocre writer, you really need to be a reader too. I love getting inspiration from the books I read.

8. A book for every mood. Whether I’m in need of a laugh or a cry, there’s a book for every mood. There are also tons of books out there for my inner child parts.

9. Something to talk about. Other than myself, that is. Books really give me something to discuss with others that isn’t too personal. I love it when others have similar interests to mine.

10. The book blogosphere. And book Twitter, YouTube, etc. I totally love connecting to other bloggers. Even though I’m not primarily a book blogger, I love reading book-related blog posts and watching book-related videos on YouTube (BookTube’s actually how I discovered my love for YouTube vlogs).

Do you love reading? Why?

Joining the 28th Bout of Books Readathon!

This is going to be a relatively short post. I’m a few days late, but the linky is still open, yay! I’m joining in with the 28th Bout of Books readathon! This is a week-long readathon organized by Kelly and Amanda. You can find out more about the readathon at the Bout of Books blog. You even still have a few hours to sign up!

Now I must say I’ve never participated in any readathons. Thankfully, this one’s challenges are all optional. I mean, I find readathons a little overwhelming, because I’m a slow reader. I just can’t read more than a few books in a week’s time. I love reading though and would really like to branch out into book blogging more. So here I am. I really like some of the challenges and look forward to sharing my knowledge of books with you. I also look forward to learning from you all.

For those visiting me from the readathon, hiya! Let me introduce myself. I’m Astrid, age 33 and I live in the Netherlands. I mostly read middle grade and young adult novels with realistic themes. I also love the adult reads as long as they’re realistic. My favorite authors in adult-focused fiction are Lisa Genova and Jodi Picoult. However, I’m trying to expand my reading. For this week, I have The Lost Husband by Katherine Center to be read. I also want to actually read some sci-fi/fantasy. Like I said, I’m a slow reader, so I might just finish one book, or I might start to read middle grade or young adult again and finish some of that. I really didn’t create a schedule or planning, as I literally decided to jump at the opportunity. So we’ll see where this goes. Enjoy!