#WeekendCoffeeShare (July 31, 2021)

Hi all on this rainy Saturday. I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare again, although yet again it’s a bit late for coffee at 8:30PM. It’s odd in this respect that I start my coffee share paragraphs with “If we were having coffee…” even though I rarely offer you coffee. Oh well. Let’s have a drink anyway and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee (or any other drink, but it feels off to have to repeat that every paragraph), I’d share that I haven’t been doing as well in the walking department this week as I did last week. I reached my goal of 10K steps only once this week and on a few other days, struggled to get beyond 5K steps. My foot hasn’t been cooperating and neither has the weather. It’s been quite rainy most days, although I managed to get a walk in between showers almost everyday.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I have the kindest yet weirdest mother-in-law. Earlier in the week, I asked her to be on the lookout for fine sanding paper to use to sand and buff my polymer clay ornaments. Not only did she drive by three different hardware stores in search for it, but she eventually ordered it online at Bol.com, even though I could as easily have ordered it there. I’m so grateful but I also feel a bit off now.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I have a slight cold, so I didn’t go to Lobith yet again. The self-administered antigen test for coronavirus I took was negative. Still, I want to avoid giving my husband whatever virus I do have, especially with him just having been vaccinated and this meaning he can’t be reliably tested for COVID.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I made the most delicious chicken, curry and fruit salad with my one-on-one staff yesterday. It was great having this for lunch.

If we were having coffee, I’d use the rest of this post to blather on about polymer clay, I guess. This evening, I have been practising making ornaments as independently as possible. I can roll out pretty even bases to cut shapes out of now, as well as cut out the shapes. I am however not able to remove the clay ornament from my cutting board workspace without damaging it yet. However, I’m confident that I’ll learn.

What have you been up to?

Tanka: These Weird Times

Stay silent, listen
Hear the birds’ cheerful chirping
Hear the wind blowing
Hear the music of nature
Despite these times of crisis


I am pretty sure I already published this poem somewhere, but I can’t find it on here and I don’t post my poetry anywhere else. I found it in my Drafts app, which I sometimes use for creative writing. I originally wasn’t sure I wanted to post it to my blog and as I write this, still am not 100% sure.

It may not even be the most appropriate time for this poem. Most people are probably, understandably, tired of the pandemic and want it to end, not be at a crisis point. And honestly, I’m not sure where it is currently. I mean, I saw a headline today saying COVID is being fought well, but the virus fights back. Something like this. Let’s all hope this crisis is over with quickly.

I am using this as an attempt at working the block editor too, as on my iPhone I can of course no longer use the classic editor and the Drafts app works only with Apple devices. I was going to find a workaround, but then decided I would need to get acquainted with the block editor one day anyway. So, well… whatever.

I’m submitting this poem to dVerse’s Open Link Night.

Gratitude List (July 18, 2021) #TToT

Hi all on this beautiful Sunday. I used to have this rule that I had to write my gratitude posts on Friday or they didn’t “count”. Then I would allow myself to post on Saturdays too. Now it’s Sunday. I think it shows I’m pretty rigid with my rules of what is the “right time” for a certain post. I mean, the Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT) linky is open till Tuesday and even if it wasn’t, that wouldn’t be a reason not to publish a gratitude post. Gratitude is always useful, so…

1. I am grateful my family and friends are still healthy and haven’t contracted COVID. Many are fully vaccinated by now too.

2. I am grateful I don’t live in the flooded area of the country, let alone in Germany or Belgium, where the flooding has been much worse. There’s been a lot of outrage at the way the Dutch handle the flood, but I think they’re handling it as well as they can. I am grateful we’ve not had any deaths due to it so far.

3. I am grateful for a sunny day here. Several, in fact. Since last Friday, the rain is pretty much gone out of this area of the country and we’re having warm summer weather.

4. I am grateful my GP took my abdominal issues seriously. Like I mentioned on Friday, I am back on a higher dose of magnesium. Here’s hoping this will work.

5. I am grateful I am still pretty motivated for creative endeavors. I’ve been making some jewelry, lip balm, as well as a melt and pour soap this evening.

6. I am grateful for the ability to online window shop without actually buying anything. I have so much I want to buy once my benefits arrive, but I’m glad I’ve restrained myself from spending any more money until then at least.

7. I am grateful for grilled hamburgers with cheddar cheese. We had those for lunch on Thursday.

8. I am grateful for a short chat with a woman from the care home a few doors next to mine. I mentioned her before, we used to talk a lot at day activities and she’s even had coffee in my room one time. Now due to COVID, we can only meet outside. I am however grateful I got to chat to her again and she’s well.

9. I am grateful my husband came by today. I hadn’t seen him in two weeks, as he had to work last week Saturday. Today, we went to Subway to have lunch.

10. I am grateful I found the Bible reading plan I’m currently following. It’s called “Hope Heals in the Midst of Suffering”. I can totally relate to the plan’s author’s experiences and they are so validating!

What are you grateful for?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (July 17, 2021)

Hi all, I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare, even though I already had my evening coffee and my soft drink for today. I think I’m going to just have some water with my late evening medications soon and that’s it for today. However, like I’ve said before, I can always make you a Senseo coffee. I’m afraid we no longer have green tea, so if you’d like tea, you’ll have to pick regular or some variety of fruit-flavored tea. Anyway, let’s have a drink of medicine water for me and coffee, tea or a soft drink for you and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I’m still relatively stable mentally. I have been slightly in flight mode, ie. distracting myself from my feelings by keeping busy. That’s okay though if it doesn’t last too long. Yesterday, it had maybe lasted too long and I had a meltdown over a necklace I’d made that snapped just as I’d finished it. I was able to get myself back together though.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about the shopping spree I went on at Action, a budget store. I bought another hair clip and some scrunchies, socks, a coat hanger and some other things. In total, I spent less than €10. I also went to HEMA, another large store, because I wanted silicone straws. You know how plastic straws have been banned in the EU? Well, I have never tried drinking from a paper straw, but I’m not intending on trying either. The straws were quite expensive compared to all that I’d bought at Action: €4 for four straws and a cleaner brush.

If we were having coffee, I’d also share I’ve resolved not to make any more unnecessary purchases until my benefits arrive on the 23rd. You see, the €10 at Action and €4 at HEMA were the least of my expenses recently and, though I’m by no means broke, I do want to make sure I stay financially secure.

If we were having coffee, I’d proudly tell you that I made a lip balm for a fellow client. He has Down Syndrome and this apparently goes with chronically dry lips. Last week, I had told one of my staff that I had been making lip balms for myself but would be throwing them out in a while, as they won’t last me till winter and I don’t tend to use lip balms in summertime. This staff suggested I give the lip balms to said client, but I had touched them with my fingers. For this reason, I decided to make a new batch of lip balm while making sure to work hygienically. Thankfully, we have a huge stash of gloves at the facility.

The lip balm still was a bit of an experiment, since I used coconut oil this time rather than sweet almond oil. Other than that, I used the same ingredients I had for my own product: beeswax, cocoa butter and a drop of flavor oil.

As it turned out, the man was really pleased with it. The staff tell me he keeps asking for “his” lip balm rather than the standard store-bought one that he used to wear. I’m pretty sure this little pot will last him several months, but I’m already thinking of buying lip balm tubes so that the lip balm will be easier to apply.

If we were having coffee, I’d share how grateful I am not to live in an area of the country affected by the flood of the past few days. In the southern province of Limburg, as well as in Belgium and western Germany, heavy rainfall led to a lot of flooding. I don’t know the details, but it does kind of worry me. I mean, I was taught in school that climate is something that’s relatively stable over a period of about 30 years. Over the past five years or so, I seem to have heard of more and more extreme weather though.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that the rise in COVID cases also really worries me. Today, there were over 11,000 new cases in a single day. People try to reassure me that they’re all partying youth, but I’m so worried about who else those partying youth might’ve infected. I am not really worried for my own health, as neither a partying youth nor a vulnerable elderly person. I am, however, worried for another lockdown.

Sorry for ending this post on a negative note. I really hope you all have been doing well.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (July 9, 2021)

Hi everyone on this partly sunny and warm Friday evening. I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare. I’m afraid it isn’t time for our evening coffee for another hour yet, but I can offer you a glass of water or of course make you a Senseo coffee in my own coffee maker. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, firstly I’d share about the topiramate. Yay, I finally started it and yay for no side effects! That being said, I’m not noticing any positive effects either as of yet and my nurse practitioner said it’ll be four to six weeks before we’ll increase my dosage. That disappointed me a bit, given that the max dosage for PTSD symptoms is six times what I take now, so it’ll take at least six months to get to that level and then if we decide this medication isn’t for me after all, six more months to get back off. Maybe I’m wrong here, since I’ve never had a medication not work on me at all before. I’ll discuss all this with my nurse practitioner when I next see him. Of course, here’s hoping the medication will start working in a few weeks.

Next, if we were having coffee, I’d share that I’ve experienced an increase in motivation lately. This has been going on for a few weeks already, but I’m noticing it might stick around longer now. Usually, it only lasts for a week or so and then diminishes again.

I have not been as crafty this past week as I was last week, but still I’ve not been disappointed with my level of activity.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I talked with the care facility’s behavior specialist yesterday. We decided to let the moving care homes issue rest for a bit, but get back to it in about two months’ time. I really do hope we can work on making my life in my current care facility better, as she’s right that every place has its positive and negative sides.

If we were having coffee, I’d moan about the rapid increase in COVID cases here in the Netherlands. We’re due to get another press conference from the prime minister at 7PM. I’m not expecting any measures that will affect me directly, but still, it sucks.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I’ve been spending quite a bit of money on my hobbies lately. I ordered several new essential oils, including the Roman chamomile I mentioned on Wednesday, as well as a full liter bottle of sweet almond oil. I also ordered a kitchen scale. Not a talking one, as they’re too expensive for my liking. I’m hoping all my supplies will arrive either tomorrow or next Monday.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d tell you I’m loving looking at sites for bath and body recipes. I already created a pink grapefruit and lemon massage oil. Since both essential oils are phototoxic, I took extra care to dilute them properly and so far, so good. I used the oil on my hands yesterday and am absolutely fine despite the sunshine now.

How have you been?

It May Be May #SoCS

SoCS Badge 2019-2020

It may be May already, but the weather’s still not that good. Though it is a little sunny with some clouds here, the temperature’s still low at a high of 12°C today. It’s supposed to rain all of next week and the temperature isn’t supposed to get above 16°C and that won’t be till next weekend.

The month of April was very chilly too, though it wasn’t too rainy. Oh, how I want higher temperatures!

In May, I usually anticipate summer eagerly. My sister has her birthday on the 13th. This is also when I start counting down to my own birthday at the end of June.

This year though, it doesn’t feel like it’s May already. It feels more like the beginning of March. I’m not sure whether that’s due to the weather or something else. Maybe it’s also because our lockdown still hasn’t eased much and we’ve been in it for so long. I mean, last year we were still in lockdown by early May too, but that one wasn’t implemented until the middle of March. Ugh, I can’t wait for some restrictions to be lifted. Oh well, some were, but I think the infection numbers are still too high for me to take advantage of that. Of course, I’ve been vaccinated and my parents too at least got their first shot. However, my husband and mother-in-law still haven’t gotten theirs. My husband isn’t sure he’ll ever be vaccinated at all.

Ugh, I’m tired of COVID-19 restrictions. I’m pretty sure they won’t work anyway. I mean, the infection numbers and hospitalizations are quite high and we keep getting glimmers of hope that they’re going down soon. I doubt it. I was also scared to find out that there’s an outbreak of COVID in a nursing home even after vaccination. Ugh, I was hoping I’d be protected. This freakin’ pandemic has been going on for so long!

Remember that, in March last year (I was going to write “last March” as if it isn’t past March 2021 yet), I wrote that I expected life to be pretty much back to normal by September of 2021. I honestly don’t believe that and I think neither does anyone else, though some people are still disbelieving when I tell them this pandemic might go on till 2024. That’s what I’ve read somewhere. I really hope that source is wrong.

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

#WeekendCoffeeShare (March 19, 2021)

I am once again early at least for me with my #WeekendCoffeeShare post. It’s right between my dinner and my evening coffee now, but I can make you a Senseo coffee if you want it. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’m still having a cold. It’s a lot better than it was last week, but I’m still sniffy. This morning, I had a bad cough, but that seems to be gone now.

I am so glad though that it’s not COVID. This afternoon, I was informed that another home within my care facility is in isolation due to a client having tested positive for COVID. This does worry me a bit, since that client must’ve contracted the virus after being fully vaccinated. The staff do try to reassure me though.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that, now that I’m feeling a lot better cold-wise, I picked up the walking habit again. I managed to reach my goal of 10K steps both yesterday and today.

I did fall on my knee today while walking. Thankfully, I just suffered a slight scrape to the skin.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that yesterday marked one year since the day center closed due to lockdown. A staff and one of my fellow clients made cheesecake to celebrate. Yummy!

A photo of me in front of the cheesecake

If we were having coffee, I would share about some changes to my care. First, I have a new assigned staff. She isn’t new to me or the home, just new to being my primary support worker. My former assigned staff is in college getting her nursing degree and was a bit too busy to have me in addition to two other clients to be assigned to. I really like my new assigned staff.

However, I was briefly triggered too. After all, my new assigned staff is really involved with my care and I worried she might get too attached and then have to step back. I thought this might’ve happened to my old assigned staff, but they both reassured me this isn’t the case.

Also, my one-on-one got extended with half an hour each day as of today. This might not seem much, but it prevents me having to deal with too many staff changes. After all, in the old situation, I’d have day activities till 4PM, then have to rely on the regular evening shift for half an hour before my one-on-one comes on. Now I’ll have that half an hour covered by one-on-one too. I’ll still have some time without one-on-one in the evenings and on week-ends in the afternoon, but that’s totally okay.

If we were having coffee, lastly I would share that my husband plans on visiting me briefly tomorrow. That is, if my cold isn’t too bad. We’re planning on going to a fast food chain drive-through.

How are you all doing?

Vaccinated!

Today, Fandango’s provocative question (#FPQ) is all about the COVID-19 vaccine. Fandango asks: have you gotten vaccinated for COVID-19 yet? If not, are you planning to? If you have, or are planning to, how do you think your life will change afterwards? If you’re not planning to get vaccinated, why not?

First, yes, I did get the COVID vaccine. I got the Pfizer one and got the first shot in early february and the second just shy of two weeks ago. I never doubted whether to get the vaccine or not. I, after all, have always been pro-vaccine and especially with the coronavirus. I mean, I’m not worried that I’ll get very sick with COVID, but I do worry for those I live with. I also think that, the more people get vaccinated, the more likely we are to return to some semblance of normal. I’m not naive though: I know COVID will likely never fully go away. My hope is though that we can control the worst effects of the pandemic.

As for how I think things will change now, not likely anything will within the near future. Our staff have all gotten the letter to ask them to make a vaccination appointment, but they’re due to get the AstraZeneca one. With that requiring eleven to twelve weeks between the first and second shot, they won’t likely be protected against COVID until sometime in May or June. That is, if the Netherlands starts using the AstraZeneca vaccine again. The government has currently suspended it for now because of “concerns”.

Well, let me be very clear: even if one in 100,000 people do get thrombosis after being vaccinated, and it’s actually the vaccine that’s to blame, I’d still have taken the risk had I been offered this vaccine rather than the Pfizer one.

That’s not to say there are no side effects. I had none from the Pfizer vaccine and even worried I hadn’t gotten the shot right. Many of my staff got some immune reactions like fevers or a sore arm due to the first AstraZeneca shot. Those are short-term though and, to most people I know, are outweighed by the long-term benefits of the vaccine.

Ultimately, I hope that, once my staff are all vaccinated, the day center will reopen. I think that’s the first positive thing that will come out of the vaccination campaign. Other than that, I’m not sure. I rarely attend concerts or other large events, so I won’t need my vaccine report for those.

Speaking of which, I’m not 100% decided on the topic of vaccination reports. In the voting guide for today’s election, I did say that I do think venues should be allowed to ask for a vaccine report before allowing people in. I do feel that, if you’re able to be vaccinated, it’s really a kind of moral obligation that you are, but there are also people who aren’t able to.

What do you think?

What a Day, What a Year! #SoCS

Today I got my COVID test results. Thankfully, I’m negative. Like I mentioned yesterday, I went into room-based isolation with cold symptoms and a sore throat yesterday morning. That day in isolation was hard. I constantly imagined testing positive for COVID. That’d mean at least five more days in quarantine. It’d also mean I would have to alert my nurse practitioner and the facility’s behavior specialist, both of whom I’d seen on Thursday.

I felt intense guilt about possibly having infected my staff too. After all, when I was still only experiencing a sore throat, the staff tried to reassure me that I couldn’t possibly have COVID. It may be true – I had my second shot of the vaccine last week -, but I couldn’t be sure.

Can you imagine that, a year ago, we were just at the beginning of this pandemic? On March 12, 2020, the first local case of COVID-19 had been discovered. On March 13, the community service event that was due to take place at my day center as part of a countrywide volunteering initiative, had been canceled. The day center closed five days later, on March 18.

I hadn’t seen my husband since the first weekend of March I think and wasn’t going to see him again till sometime in late May. After all, at first visiting the care facility was discouraged, then it was completely prohibited except in rare cases when a family member was essential for a client’s care. My husband wasn’t.

I am so glad that now, during the second lockdown, care facilities remain open to visitors except when there’s an outbreak of COVID or suspected COVID, as in my case yesterday. I am so glad one of my fellow clients, who had her birthday on Tuesday, may receive a visit from her family tomorrow.

I had my own birthday on June 27, one day after the final restrictions to visiting were lifted, provided there’s no countrywide lockdown or COVID outbreak. Though we’re in a countrywide lockdown again, the lockdown policy remains that care facilities can be open. I credit the prime minister’s late mother, who died in a nursing home during the first lockdown or so I believe.

This post was written for today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday (#SoCS) prompt of day/week/month/year.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (March 12, 2021)

And this time I’m extremely early with my #WeekendCoffeeShare. This week was rather eventful, especially the last couple of days. I just had my afternoon coffee today. You can probably get a cup of coffee, tea or a soft drink from the staff, but I’m so glad this meeting is actually virtual.

After all, if we were having coffee, first I’d share that I’m in room-based isolation. I started having a sore throat yesterday, but wasn’t sure it was the fact that I’d just had a screaming fit or it was actually a symptom of illness. The staff on shift yesterday tried to reassure me. Today though, I woke up very sniffy. I warned the staff, but at first she wasn’t concerned this time either. After she talked to a colleague though, I had to be in room-based isolation. The staff are now wearing protective clothing when entering my room. I’m usually in my room anyway when not walking. For this reason, if I do have COVID, it’s unlikely the other clients will have caught it too, at least from me. The staff though, well, they’ve definitely been at risk.

Thankfully, one of my home’s staff is one of my facility’s appointed testers. She swabbed me right this morning and the test should be at the lab right now. Please all pray that it’ll come back negative.

As for how I’m feeling, well, I’m okay. I’m a little sick to my stomach in addition to the cold symptoms, but overall it’s manageable. I don’t have a fever and my oxygen saturation was normal too.

If we were having coffee, then I’d tell you that I didn’t have as good a walking week this week as I had last week. The reason is that, besides not being allowed out today, I wasn’t allowed outside of the home on Tuesday either. Another client had to be tested for COVID. Thankfully, his test came back negative. I heard this the next morning, but today the staff told me they’d been informed already Tuesday evening at 10PM. I asked the staff to wake me up if this happens with my test too (only if it’s negative).

If we were having coffee, I would share that I had a really productive appointment with my psychiatric nurse practitioner yesterday. The staff who’d seen the PTSD video with me last week, accompanied me. Together, we were able to explain my continuing issues with hypervigilance, flashbacks and emotional dysregulation. I was able to explain about some of my traumas, including traumatic experiences within the psychiatric system. My nurse practitioner was able to validate me from his own perspective as a former psych hospital nurse.

If we were having coffee, lastly I would share that I made a coconut-mango smoothie this morning. It didn’t taste as good as it could have and I’m not sure whether to blame my cold symptoms or the chunks of coconut that weren’t properly blended.

What’s been going on in your life?