#WeekendCoffeeShare (January 21, 2022)

Hi everyone on this late Friday evening. I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare, even though it’s a bit late for coffee here. I am going to grab a glass of water and some fruit in a bit, so if you’d like a soft drink or a glass of water too, you can have one. Let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, first I’d moan about the cold weather some more. Boy, do I hate winter! Several staff have been trying to coax me into going on walks because it was supposed to be sunny and nice outside. Then I’d invariably reply: “It’s 3°C outside too, brrr.” Usually, the air would become cloudier soon enough and we’d get rain.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that, probably due to my lack of exercise, I didn’t lose weight over the past week even though I stuck to my healthy food plan pretty well. That is, I didn’t feel as though I was just eating carrots and lettuce all week, so maybe I accidentally sneaked in some extras I shouldn’t have had. For example, I am allowed 225ml of yogurt or 200ml of quark with some muesli for breakfast. On Wednesday, my staff poured half the 500ml can of quark into my bowl. Now quark contains only about 50 calories per 100ml, so that didn’t really make a huge difference on its own. However, given that I or my staff may’ve made other such slightly less healthy food choices over the week and I also hardly got my butt off the chair, this combined caused me to maintain. At least I didn’t gain any weight either.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I went to the dentist on Wednesday. Thankfully, other than slightly inflamed gums, everything was fine. I was pretty sure I’d be diagnosed with gum disease and have to be seen by the oral hygienist. Apparently not so. I was sent on my way with instructions for better teeth-brushing and flossing and an appt with the prevention assistant in February.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I texted with my sister this evening. I can’t remember whether I shared before that she’s pregnant again. She’s expecting another girl in May. So far, all seems to be going as it should be. My (other) niece (other than the bump, I mean) is doing okay too. I mentioned in August that she was diagnosed with hip dysplasia. After surgery in September and a cast for several months, she’s now doing pretty well again.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that my husband is off work with the flu. He tested negative for COVID, but thankfully he wasn’t so crazy as to go back into work as soon as he got the negative test result. Back in early 2020, before COVID was known outside of China, he did go to work as a truck driver while sick with the flu. I am glad he doesn’t have COVID, of course, but regardless I’m hoping he’ll feel better soon.

How have you been?

Gratitude List (January 8, 2022) #TToT

Hi everyone. It’s Saturday again and I’m trying to get into the habit of writing a gratitude list then. At least today I’m doing one. As usual, I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful or #TToT. Here are some things I’m thankful for.

1. A productive appointment with my nurse practitioner on Monday. We are going to discuss my crisis signaling plan together. This is used by the staff to help guide them on how to support me depending on how I’m doing. My assigned staff should have E-mailed it to him by now.

2. Sunshine! I am so grateful that the sun’s shining at least some of the time. It’s near freezing cold, but at least from indoors I can look out the window and see the sunlight.

3. Reading. I am so grateful I feel motivated to read again. I’ve picked up several books again. I’m currently reading the latest Maggie Hartley foster care memoir, but have several other books I want to get into soon.

4. The Word of God. I am so grateful I am still going strong with my Bible reading. I am also grateful I discovered an interesting Biblical podcast yesterday. It’s called Spoken Gospel. Yesterday, I listened to the episode on Jonah 1.

5. Weekend treats. Like I mentioned yesterday, I started on a food plan/healthy diet this week. I am grateful I am allowed to have a cinnamon star cookie in my diet today.

6. Getting my money back from the broken Fitbit charging cable I’d returned. I am so grateful about that, since I was fully expecting Bol.com (which is a site similar to Amazon here) objecting. After all, when trying the thing, my staff had removed some plastic thingy that kept the cable rolled together. Thankfully, I got my money back without any fuss.

7. Phone conversations with my husband. I am grateful to have him. I am also grateful he’s coming for a visit tomorrow, since I haven’t seen him since Christmas.

8. My staff, the one who had COVID, being recovered and back on the job.

9. My still getting up at 8AM consistently to do my Morning Pages. I am grateful I still find something to write about each morning even if it isn’t something related to my creative endeavors.

10. My computer. A few days ago, I thought for some reason that it’d broken down, but it’s still working. I also managed to clean its keyboard (it was very necessary) and, since I don’t have the type of alcohol or whatever you need for that, I wasn’t sure I’d do it properly without causing it damage. I am so grateful everything still works as it should!

This week, it was harder to come up with ten things of thankful than last week. I think I might do a daily gratitude list in the diary app Day One, now that I’ve revived it for my Morning Pages anyway, so that I have something to refer back to when I’m doing this list.

What are you grateful for?

Gratitude List (January 1, 2022) #TToT

And here I am with another post. I am determined to start the year off on a positive note even though I’m in a pretty foul mood right now. For this reason, I’m doing a gratitude post. As usual, I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful. Here goes.

1. I am grateful for Psalms 100. This is a psalm of gratitude which was the focus of study in the first day of the YouVersion New Year’s Bible reading plan I started today. It inspired me to do a gratitude list today.

2. I am grateful I could see the fireworks last night. I only saw brief flashes of light, no colors. Officially, real fireworks were banned this year due to COVID-related restrictions, but no-one apparently cared.

3. I am grateful I slept relatively well last night despite the fireworks. I went to bed at 10PM yesterday evening, woke up at midnight and went back to sleep at around 1AM. I got up at 8AM to start the writing ritual I mentioned earlier this afternoon.

4. I am grateful the festivities are over with for a while now. I don’t like the lack of structure. I am also grateful that, this year, it wasn’t too bad, as both Christmas and New Year’s are on weekends.

5. I am grateful we had French fries for dinner yesterday as a New Year’s Eve treat.

6. I am grateful I don’t have any symptoms suggestive of COVID as of yet, after one of my staff tested positive earlier in the week. I decided not to get a lateral flow test yesterday after all.

7. I am grateful the dietitian said I already eat pretty healthily. At least that’s what my assigned staff told me when she’d E-mailed her my current list of things I eat. There are some things I’m not likely willing to change, like my crunchy muesli for breakfast, but some things I definitely am open to suggestions and alternatives about.

8. I am grateful I was able to take a few walks again today. They were short walks, but at least I was able to get outside.

9. I am grateful for all the great blogs I’ve been reading today. I do feel a little disappointed that my posts are getting fewer comments lately than they used to get, but this may be a phase. I do still find joy in writing my blog posts.

10. I am grateful for a ton of blogging-related inspiration. Seriously, how will I find the time to type up all the posts for which I have ideas floating around in my head? I’m so glad though that my creativity is flowing. It isn’t coming out in my polymer clay as much, but it is showing up in the form of writing.

These are seriously all gratefuls from the last 24 hours, with the exception of the French fries, as it’s now 6:30PM and we eat dinner at 5PM. I feel a lot better having jotted down these things I’m thankful for.

What are you grateful for?

2021: The Year in Review

Each year at the end of the year, I look back at the past year and do a review. Today, I’m doing one for 2021.

At the beginning of the year, we were all cautiously optimistic about the vaccine being the ticket out of the coronavirus pandemic. It wasn’t. I got my first shot in early February and my second shot a month later. In early December, I had my (first) booster shot. I’m pretty sure more are still to come.

At the end of 2020, I first had my one-on-one support approved. It took some time to figure out how the staff should best fill in the allocated hours. Initially, the manager wanted my husband to be clear on when he was going to have me home with him, so that my one-on-one hours could be canceled then. This wasn’t doable for my husband or me, so finally it was agreed that my hours would be filled in regardless.

For most of 2021, we had day activities at the home due to the pandemic. Thankfully, by September, the day center opened and the clients were mostly back to their pre-pandemic groups. I, however, was not. Thanks to my one-on-one, I was provided day activities in the home and this continues to be the case so far. There has been talk of me starting in a small group, but this isn’t doable for me right now or within the foreseeable future.

For the first half of the year, I struggled a lot with the battle inside my head between wanting to live more independently and wanting even more support. This led to a climax in mid-June, when the manager told me that more support is really not possible. I was in a crisis for about two weeks. Then I started my new medication, topiramate, which calmed some of the inner conflict. It, of course, helped that I was reassured that, regardless of my attempts to push staff away, I was going to keep my allocated one-on-one support hours at least until the end of December. And of course now they have been approved until December 2023.

Over the summer, when my topiramate started to kick in, I was able to be more creative than I’d been in a long while. I started polymer clay once again and have been able to enjoy this hobby ever since. Like I mentioned when I wrote down my hopes for 2021, I didn’t intend on doing it all independently and that’s still not one of my hopes.

Looking back at my hopes, I did pretty well on them for this year. See, I think it helps that I don’t call them resolutions or goals, ha.

Overall, this year was a pretty good one for me personally. Even in terms of COVID, it’s been as good as possible, in that I haven’t contracted the virus and neither has anyone else in my home. One of my staff tested positive recently and originally we were supposed to all get tested today. After conferring with the care agency’s pandemic team, this got canceled though. I may still get a lateral flow test later today just to be sure. Let’s hope I won’t end the year with COVID.

How has your 2021 been?

Share Your World (December 27, 2021)

Oh my, can you believe we’ve officially started the last week of 2021? Not even the last full week? I seriously can’t believe how quickly time flies at the end of the year.

Today, I’m joining Share Your World or #SYW. I just discovered that Melanie ditched her domain, which was the reason I hadn’t seen her posts in over a month. Shame on me for not having found out before! This means I’m probably having to redo all my other links to her posts. However, now’s not the time to do this. Anyway, let’s get started. I don’t do #SYW that often, so for those who don’t know, it’s a meme where you get to ask four or five of Melanie’s weekly questions, plus share your gratitude. Here goes.

At 12 a.m. on December 31st/Jan 1st, what will you be doing? (use your own time zone please)
Probably sleep. I will be at the care facility for New Year’s and all celebrations here take place during the day or evening, including the (light) fireworks. There will not be any extra staff till 12AM. Of course, we do have two waking night staff, but it’s not like they’re going to party with me.

Is there a tradition you have for New Year’s Eve?
Usually we’ll eat “oliebollen”, which I was told last year are much like donuts but then the opposites, ie. the holes.

Do you have any hope or reason you find that next year will be better?
Yes. Like I said a couple of times before already, my one-on-one support got approved for the coming two years, so I won’t have to worry about losing my support for the entirety of 2022.

What’s the biggest personal lesson you learned during 2021?
To trust that, with God’s help, things will be okay in the end, I guess. I know COVID and many other of the world’s problems are likely here to stay for a while. I don’t want to dismiss other people’s problems by saying that for me, 2021 was a much better year than 2020. I however do trust that, ultimately, God will work things out for the better.

GRATITUDE SECTION

Describe in 1-3 words how you feel going into 2022
Hopeful, joyous, grateful.

Dear 2021…

Twenty-twenty won
That’s how you begun
For good or for bad
All that we had
Back then, you would continue
And you did

For most, it was probably a sad thing. COVID wasn’t over with. In fact, it’s likely here to stay.

For me, it was a good thing though. At the end of 2020, I was approved for the right level of one-on-one support for a year. I just found out last week that it got approved for another two years to come. I am so relieved! For me, I am more than happy that twenty-twenty won. At least in this respect.


This piece was written for Friday Writings, for which the optional prompt this week is “Dear 2021…”.

Gratitude List (December 10, 2021) #TToT

Hi all on this cold but lovely Friday. Today, I’m doing a gratitude post, just because I can. As usual, I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT). Here goes.

1. I am grateful my mammogram came back all clear. I still suffer with slight discomfort, but I feel comforted knowing it’s nothing serious.

2. I am grateful I got my COVID booster shot yesterday and I didn’t even suffer a sore arm. Well, not that arm, at least. All my limbs were stiff this morning, except for the arm I’d been jabbed in.

3. I am grateful my one-on-one support got approved again. Not only that, but it got approved for two years this time! I am so intensely happy, but still can hardly believe it.

4. I am grateful for crafty inspiration. I am currently working on a mixed media Christmas project which includes polymer clay.

5. I am grateful my husband was able to sort out my health insurance for next year. Here in the Netherlands, basic insurance is mandatory but you get to pick your own private insurance company. The government decides what is covered under basic insurance but insurers get to fill in the fine print and decide which care providers (eg. doctors, hospitals, etc.) to contract with. In addition, they get to offer additional coverage packages. For several reasons, my current health insurance was no longer fitting for me, so I decided to change insurers, but needed my husband to help me make the actual switch. I am so glad it seems to be sorted now.

6. I am grateful we still have pepernoten. That’s a typical St. Nicholas (December 5th) treat and I love it!

7. I am grateful that I was able to have quite varied lunches over the week and most were relatively healthy too. I had Turkish pizza on Wednesday, which was my unhealthy lunch of the week. Yesterday, I had a boiled egg on bread and today, I had a toasted cheese sandwich. On Monday and Tuesday, I think I had my usual lunch of a peanut butter sandwich, which I don’t really like.

8. I am grateful I was able to clean my essential oil diffuser (the new one) yesterday and that it was hardly dirty at all.

9. I am grateful for my Christmas tree and its lights. Its lights were almost out this afternoon, so initially I thought its batteries were empty. That would’ve been highly annoying, since I had only put the batteries in last week. Thankfully, switching the position of the batteries did the trick of turning the lights on again.

10. I am grateful I have been sleeping really well over the past several nights. Last week, I had a few rough nights, but this week is much better.

It was harder than I expected to actually make it to ten things of thankful. I mean, I am overjoyed at my one-on-one having been approved, but that makes for only one item on the list. However, I am trying my best to remind myself that even the little things in life that I am grateful for, can and should make it onto this list.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (November 28, 2021)

Hi everyone on this Sunday afternoon. It’s a little less rainy today than it was yesterday, but it’s still cold outside. Today, I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare again. As I type this, I am right between my lunch and my afternoon coffee. I can probably offer you a coffee before I finish this post, ha. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that this week was better than the previous one. Like I said yesterday, my appointment with my nurse practitioner went pretty well and we were able to get to some agreements that will hopefully lead to better treatment for me. For example, I’d struggled to convey in an E-mail how I was struggling two weeks prior and he had asked me to wait for our appt to discuss the matter. That hadn’t sat well with me, so now we agreed that next time he’ll try to call me to further assess the situation.

We also agreed that he would try not to stop me or change the subject if I’m struggling or getting emotional while trying to communicate something. I gave as an example one time when I felt unable to speak and he, possibly not wanting to push me, said: “We don’t have to discuss anything if you don’t want to.” Overall, I feel slightly optimistic about my treatment going forward and I consider that a major win given the desperate state I was in last week.

If we were having coffee, I’d also share that I got some insight into the near-hallucinatory, dysregulated states I occasionally go into at night. My nurse practitioner thinks they might be related to the phase between being fully awake and being asleep. Unfortunately, there’s little to nothing to be done about them, but it feels comforting to know I’m not really “losing my mind”. It also seems, from this idea, unlikely that I’m going to experience these states during the day and really “going crazy”.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that, unfortunately, I did experience nightmares last night. It’s probably to do with the flashbacks and memories I experienced yesterday. I am so grateful though that the nightmares aren’t affecting me too much now that I’m awake.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that, thankfully, I’ve also been a little more active lately than I was before. Like I mentioned yesterday, I made a polymer clay unicorn on Thursday. My husband wants to have it. I’ve also been reading more lately. I won’t at all reach my reading goal for the year or even come close to how many books I read last year, but at least I finished another book.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d ramble a bit about how scared I am because of the rapid rise in COVID cases here in the Netherlands. Today, we’re entering an evening lockdown. Stay-at-home orders have also been extended to recommending people work from home unless it’s not possible, like during the first lockdown in March of last year. I’m scared this will mean the day center closes again. More so though, I’m scared of contracting the virus or even a cold and needing to quarantine in my room. Let’s hope I won’t.

How have you been?

Gratitude List (November 27, 2021) #TToT

Hi everyone on this rainy Saturday! I hope all my U.S.-based readers had a great Thanksgiving. Here, it isn’t a thing. However, I like to show thankfulness everyday. For this reason, I’m doing a gratitude post. As usual, I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT). Here goes.

1. I am grateful I reached my goal of 10K steps a day once during the past seven days. Okay, it was on Sunday and I only got (barely) more than 5K steps one other day this past week (Monday). The rest of the week, I’ve been rather sedentary. However, I’m still grateful I can apparently still walk 10K steps in a day.

2. Speaking of which, I am also grateful I managed 15 minutes on the elliptical today. It didn’t earn me much in the way of steps, but at least my muscles haven’t totally atrophied so far.

3. I am grateful I had a good talk with the current behavior specialist for my care home on Tuesday. It was my second time meeting her. She helped me clarify some of the things I wanted to talk about with my nurse practitioner too.

4. I am also grateful my appt with my nurse practitioner went pretty well as a result too. I had originally considered quitting treatment with him, but decided against this after the talk with the behavior specialist. Overall, my appt with my nurse practitioner was relatively constructive. We decided on some things to make our sessions more productive. For instance, next time I E-mail him about not being well, he’ll try to call me back so we can assess the seriousness of the situation and what can/needs to be done rather than him telling me to wait for our next appt.

5. I am grateful I am sleeping slightly better lately than I used to. I am still not usually getting the nine hours of sleep a night I need to function optimally, but I’m getting close.

6. I am grateful I have been able to pick up the polymer clay craft again after a bit of a break when I’d finished the owl. I created a unicorn yesterday and it looks pretty cool.

7. I am grateful for French fries yesterday in celebration of St. Nicholas. The holiday isn’t till December 5th, but we celebrated it early at my care home.

8. I am grateful I got nice presents. Well, my husband will actually get the bill, as like I explained before, the care facility doesn’t pay for St. Nicholas presents. I had E-mailed my staff a wishlist too. As it turned out, I didn’t get the specific things I’d had on my wishlist, but I got similar things. I got a number of cookie cutters to use with my polymer clay and a little box of fruit candies.

9. I am grateful my assigned home staff, who was my one-on-one this evening, helped me through some tough flashbacks. I did ultimately decide to take a PRN quetiapine, but I think I really benefited from my staff’s help too.

10. I am grateful my loved ones so far aren’t directly affected by COVID, in the sense that I don’t have any direct family members or friends who’ve contracted the virus.

What are you grateful for?

A Good Enough Tuesday

Today is November 2. It’s a Tuesday. A good enough Tuesday, mind you. I didn’t dwell too much on it being the anniversary of my crisis in 2007.

I didn’t really get stressed out about the prime minister delivering another press conference, one in which he’d be announcing new COVID-related restrictions, either. If I’m correct, the press conference is happening right now or has just finished. When I passed by the living room, where the television is, I heard the prime minister say something about “strongly recommending” us to social distance again. Well, whatever. If it’s just a “strong recommendation”, it’s a suggestion, so no-one will do it. Masks are similarly “strongly recommended”.

I didn’t do too much today. Had my blood pressure taken this morning, which was within the normal range (112 over 77) even though I had already been up for a bit. I normally ask that staff check my blood pressure first thing in the morning, because it’s usually up a little when I’ve been active. Not this time though.

I also went to Action, a budget store, to buy some Christmas decorations. I won’t be putting them up till early December, but I wanted to be early buying them to make sure I still had a wide selection to choose from.

I have been wanting to craft too, but that will have to wait till tomorrow. After all, then one of my more creative one-on-one staff will be there for my day activities shift. I will finish the polymer clay owl I’ve been working on.

I did struggle a bit with attachment issues and emotional flashbacks today, but both were manageable. Overall, like I said, it was a good enough day. And that’s totally okay.