Gratitude List (September 30, 2022) #TToT

Good morning everyone! I was up at 7AM today and am ready to blog. Today, I am writing a gratitude list. As usual, I’m joining in with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT). Here goes.

1. I am grateful I was able to break the cycle of compulsive exercising before it got too bad. Last Saturday, I didn’t meet my exercise goal on my Apple Watch and, now that I didn’t have a perfect month anyway, I was able to let go of the need to meet all my goals everyday and just do what feels good.

2. I am grateful for my health. I’ve been having a sore throat for a week or so. It isn’t bad, just slightly annoying. In this regard, I am grateful I don’t have COVID. And yes, even though I don’t have any other symptoms, I took a test on Sunday just in case.

3. I am grateful for a comforting talk with the manager for my current care home. She was able to answer some of my more important questions about the new care home.

4. I am grateful my husband was content with the new care home and quite happy to see me move in there. In his own words, it is a “significant improvement” over my current care home.

5. I am grateful for muesli rolls. On Tuesday, we couldn’t find anything to eat for lunch that I like, so my staff offered to drive to the supermarket. I chose muesli rolls, which aren’t what I usually have. I am grateful my staff felt that these were within reason so the care facility would pay for them.

6. I am grateful for blueberries. On the same trip to the supermarket, we bought blueberries too. They were still reasonably priced even though I think blueberry season is over here.

7. I am grateful for the support of my staff as I navigate the stress of transferring to the new care home. I still had some worries on Wednesday and even on Thursday after I’d made my decision, but my staff are able to support me through them. So is the behavior specialist.

8. I am grateful my sister reacted positively to me moving to the main institution. She, in fact, said she will now be able to visit more often, as the main institution is close to Apeldoorn, where her in-laws live. She enthusiastically planned a first visit for October 8, the Saturday after I move in.

9. I am grateful for a somewhat relaxed text convo with my mother. I informed her that I’m moving, to which surprisingly she reacted pretty supportively. She did put in a few comments about the possibility that I could learn to walk around grounds on my own (which I might at some point, but it isn’t a given) and that I could help prepare food, but oh well. Both of these comments wouldn’t have bothered me had they not come from her, actually.

10. I am grateful for some weight loss when I stepped onto the scales today. I lost 0.3kg compared to last week, which is pretty much what I’d expected.

What are you grateful for?

Gratitude List (September 2, 2022) #TToT

Hi everyone. I’m feeling really thankful for a lot of things today. What better time than now to write a gratitude post? Of course, I say that when I’m feeling down in the dumps too. In my opinion, it’s always a good time for a gratitude post. Anyway, I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT) as always. Here goes.

1. I am grateful for a good weekend with my husband. We had pizza delivered, which was delicious. We each ordered a salad too, but I decided to eat my pizza first then was full so we had to throw the salad away. I felt a bit guilty about it because of food waste, but, as my dietitian says it, I’m not a replacement for the trash. In other words, just because something gets thrown out if I don’t eat it, doesn’t mean I need to eat it. I shouldn’t have ordered it and I know that for the next time.

2. I’m grateful for my health. Like I mentioned on Wednesday, I had a health scare earlier this week, but it was nothing, for which I’m so grateful.

3. I am grateful for my husband’s good health too. He tested positive for COVID earlier this week but I am so grateful he isn’t very ill with it.

4. I am grateful for no COVID symptoms in myself so far. Let’s hope I won’t get it.

5. I am grateful for my Apple Watch. It truly motivates me to stay physically active. I must admit I do need to watch out that it doesn’t become an obsession though.

6. I am grateful for the care facility’s new side-by-side bike. This is like a tandem bike but, rather than one person riding the bike sitting behind the person steering it, the person on one side has the controls. I just went for a 5.7km ride on it and, for whatever reason, my Apple Watch counted the full 27 minutes as exercise. Granted, I had started a workout manually, so it may not have caught it had I not done this, but well.

7. I am grateful for French fries on Wednesday as a treat from the old student staff who had her last shift. I am also grateful I took the opportunity to sneak to the living room to ask for a second helping, which I then decided to eat while sitting on the couch. It was fun being surrounded by my fellow residents once again, which is a rarity nowadays since I get one-on-one support.

8. I am grateful for a maintain in the weight department this week. I am also grateful the dietitian is mostly satisfied with how I’m doing, although she does worry slightly about the possibility that exercise might become an obsession.

9. I am grateful for Simple Radio, an app on my iPhone (and Apple Watch) that lets me listen to any radio station. I mostly like 1000Schlager Web Radio at this point, because I love the upbeat German songs to dance to.

10. Last but not least, and I initially wasn’t sure I was going to share this in my gratitude post or wait for #WeekendCoffeeShare, but I am so grateful that I just need to share: I am number one on the wait list for a home at the main institution for my care agency. They’re currently in the process of finding a new home for one of the current residents. According to the behavior specialist, it might go quickly but might still take six months before this has happened and as a result I can start the process of orienting there. Six months, in my book, is still super quickly. You all will have to wait for my coffee share post tomorrow for more details, but I’m excited and nervous at the same time. Mostly grateful though.

What are you grateful for?

The Wednesday HodgePodge (June 22, 2022)

Hi everyone. I’m joining the Wednesday HodgePodge once again. Here are Joyce’s questions for this week.

1. Something you learned from your father?
Well, I shared about this on Sunday already: my father mainly taught me academic skills. He also was the one who taught me the limited personal hygiene skills I did learn as a child. There’s a story he used to tell me about having to teach some personal care to my mother when she moved in with him at age 22. In this sense, I shouldn’t really feel embarrassed at the fact that my husband had to teach me to use shower gel when I was in my mid-twenties.

2. Do you like onions? Raw or cooked? How about onion rings? What’s something you love to eat that calls for onions?
Onions, mmm, love ’em! Raw is nice, cooked even better. I love onion rings too! A recipe I love and used to cook when I still cooked independently which calls for lots of onions (and garlic!), is macaroni with mushrooms, bell peppers, onions of course and I’d use a mushroom soup that you’d need to add water to in order to turn it into a soup as the sauce. Sadly, that brand of soup eventually added ham to its mushroom soup, which I don’t care for. When I cooked for just myself, I’d also add chicken, but when I’d cook with my husband, we’d skip that as he was a vegetarian back then.

3. It’s officially summer (in the Northern hemisphere)…your favorite and least favorite things about the season?
My favorite thing is, of course, my birthday at the end of June (in five days’ time!). Other than that, I love the longer daylight. My least favorite thing are mosquitoes and other summertime bugs such as the oak processionary.

4. When you think about the summers of your childhood what are two or three things that come to mind?
Vacationing at Vlieland, one of the Wadden Islands. For the first several years that we went there, I loved it. I remember building treehouses with my holiday friends one year when I was eight. The next year, we didn’t return. And not for another several years. When we returned to Vlieland again the summer I was twelve, I didn’t like it nearly as much, because I’d by then lost most of my vision. Besides, kids my age no longer wanted to build treehouses.

5. A hot mess, the heat of the moment, beat the heat, if you can’t stand the heat, catch heat, in a dead heat…choose a ‘hot ‘phrase and tell us how it applies to your life right now.
A hot mess… that’s my country at this point!
Today, two protests took place in the Netherlands: one by farmers against the government’s nitrogen crisis-related policies (or plans, really, as no real policies have yet been implemented), which will likely cause some farmers to need to stop business; the other by Extinction Rebellion, a group of climate activists, also against the government but with the opposite aim. The farmers caused huge traffic jams on various highways because they were coming to the protest in their farming vehicles. The climate activists gained unlawful entrance to the Tax Service main office in The Hague. The police claimed to be powerless against the farmers, but arrested 22 climate activists.

Thankfully, neither protest is impacting me personally, but all the bad news does worry me.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
I was going to ramble on above about the rapid rise in COVID cases here, but I guess that needs its own heading. Last night I had a slight headache and, since that was how my COVID started last February, I worried that I was going to get it again exactly four months after I’d initially contracted the virus. That in turn would mean canceling my husband’s visit today, my birthday celebrations this weekend and my nurse practitioner’s appt on Monday, which, though Monday is my birthday, I decided to go on with after all. Thankfully, I have absolutely no symptoms indicative of the virus now. Please pray I won’t get sick anytime soon.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (April 10, 2022)

Hi everyone! I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare today. I just had a soft drink and a glass of water, but if you’d like a cup of coffee or tea, I’m pretty sure my staff can make you one too. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that a fellow client passed away on Wednesday. He had had COVID back in February, like most of us, but he didn’t fully recover. This client had been hospitalized several times during December and January because of seizures, but these finally seemed to be well under control. Unfortunately, COVID was the last straw. He had been on a feeding pump ever since he’d had COVID, but because he became increasingly uncomfortable and unresponsive, the doctor and staff decided to discontinue his feedings on Monday. I last saw him alive Monday evening. He actually lifted up his body, smiled and squealed with delight upon hearing my voice. I made the conscious decision, having already been informed that he’d be dying soon, to keep this memory as my last memory of him while alive.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I finally managed to craft another butterfly with the silicone mold I’d gotten for Christmas last December. I badly wanted to create a butterfly to go with the fellow client’s coffin, but wasn’t sure whether I could use the mold. However, other tutorials seemed even more complicated, so I eventually decided to give it a try. I did the wings in Fimo Effect color blue ice quartz. The body is pacific blue and the antennae are black.

If we were having coffee, I would also tell you that I have finally given in to the polymer clay color mixing thing and bought a precision kitchen scale. That plus a collection of 60 Fimo soft color recipes. Of course, I haven’t tried Fimo professional yet, but if I have to believe my staff, the colors I’ve mixed so far turn out gorgeous despite not being done with the true primary colors.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about the nationwide cerebral palsy day I went to yesterday. Of course, because the ParaTransit taxi had arrived at 8AM and we didn’t have to pick up any other passengers along the way, I was in Apeldoorn, where the day would be held, by 9AM. Thankfully, I had called my mother-in-law when I entered the taxi and she’d made sure to be there on time too.

The day started with a live-streamed lecture by Erik Scherder, a neuroscientist from Amsterdam. The message was quite similar to the one he’d conveyed in 2018 when I’d attended the cerebral palsy day too: that exerting yourself physically is needed to stimulate your overall neurological wellbeing. In 2018, the lecture had mostly been geared towards (young) adults, while yesterday it was more focused on children and their parents.

I attended two workshops during the day. One was on aging with cerebral palsy, mostly geared towards those age 40+, so I was a little outside of the scope, but I could relate (sad as it may be) to some of the increasing discomfort that older adults with CP face. The other was a yoga class.

As regular readers of my blog might know, I am not 100% sure I even have cerebral palsy, in that my parents never told me and, by the time I was an adult, things got so overshadowed with other diagnoses it’s unclear. For this reason, I felt validated knowing that I appeared not to be the most mildly affected person, strange as this may seem. In fact, during the yoga class, we had to loosen up our muscles and my mother-in-law told me to loosen up. Someone else half-joked: “That’s about the hardest thing to tell a spastic.” That made me feel good.

How have you been?

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.

A Walk on Wednesday

Hi all on this beautiful Wednesday. It was sunny all day and the temperature reached 13°C in the afternoon. For this reason, I decided to go for a nice walk again. I’m still not fully recovered from COVID, but I was able to walk for about 15 minutes without feeling very tired. I really enjoyed my walk!

I took my phone with me on my walk, so that I could hopefully snap a picture of some flowers in bloom. I was really surprised when my staff said that the daffodils were in bloom in a garden we passed by. I mean, I’d been of the impression that they don’t blossom until sometime in mid-April at the earliest. I did feel a little self-conscious, taking a picture of some random person’s flowers, but oh well, we weren’t taking the flowers away.

Like I may’ve said before, VoiceOver Recognition no longer automatically describes images when I tap on them. However, contrary to what I used to think, image recognition isn’t completely gone; it was just moved to being its own separate function. This does allow for more detail to be added into the descriptions. In this case, VoiceOver clearly recognized that there are daffodils in this picture both on the lower right and lower left side of the image. I love this!

I’m linking this post with Cee’s Flower of the Day.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (March 5, 2022)

Hi everyone on this beautiful Saturday afternoon. I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare again today. Sorry I missed out on it last week. I just finished my afternoon coffee and I’m pretty sure there’s still some left, so let’s have a cup of coffee (or tea) and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, firstly I’d share with the #WeekendCoffeeShare community that I caught COVID after all. Thankfully, I’m out of quarantine as of last Tuesday. I’m still horribly exhausted and easily out of breath. Things are slowly improving though. I mean, today I had an easier time of it walking around the day center than I did on Thursday.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that the weather here is truly beautiful. It’s cold. Okay, when will I stop saying that? Probably when it’s 25°C. Seriously though, in the morning, the temperature can easily get below zero. All that being said, it’s sunny and it doesn’t even feel as cold as it used to in the middle of winter when it was as cold as it is now.

If we were having coffee, I’d say that I’m looking forward to sitting on my balcony again. Unfortunately, the door won’t open. We discovered this yesterday when some men came to repair the blinds and they wanted to go see them from outside. The door to my balcony is locked, but the staff do have a key. It wouldn’t give way though. I’m hoping it can be repaired soon, because, while it is too cold to sit on my balcony right now, it won’t be for long.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that quarantine meant I haven’t been as crafty as I would’ve wanted to be, but I made up for it over this week. I haven’t finished most of the things I’ve created. However, I did finish one piece of polymer clay work and VoiceOver guessed correctly what it’s supposed to be: a sea shell.

Polymer Clay Shell

I used dolphin gray Fimo for the shell itself and colored it using chalk pastels in dark brown (if I remember correctly) for the hole and an orangey brown for the shell itself. I am so disappointed that my chalk pastel set doesn’t come with a list of what the colors are supposed to be called. I mean, I saw one on the site I purchased it from, but then I can’t pair the names with the actual colors.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d tell you that I’ll be getting a new one-on-one support staff soon. He’s been orienting a few times already. Because he’s a man, I felt kind of distrustful of him at first. That’s in part my prejudice talking. I’m hopeful it’s going to work out though.

How have you been?

Illness or Injury

Today’s topic for Throwback Thursday is, as Lauren describes it, “Ouchies, owies and boo boos”. In other words, we’re asked to share our experiences of illness or injury when we were growing up. Now is an interesting time for this, as I’ve just recovered from the worst symptoms of COVID. Even though I had a mild case of it, I am tempted to take back my assertion that it’s “just a bad cold” even in my case. I’m still exhausted by 9PM, or at least was yesterday, and today just a walk around the day center had me horribly out of breath. Forget the elliptical, which I told my husband yesterday that I’d try to go onto today. Anyway, that’s as far as my current state of illness is concerned. Now, let me share about my childhood illnesses and injuries.

As a young child, until I had my tonsils and adenoids out as a Kindergartner, I was prone to colds and the flu. I can’t remember whether my parents let me stay home for most of these illnesses. Later though, we clearly had the rule that, if I ran a fever, I was sick and had to stay home. Otherwise, I wasn’t sick and had to go to school. Not that I remember ever “playing sick”.

I don’t think I was ever given medicine, such as painkillers, unless it was obvious from outward signs that I was sick either. I mean, I do remember having to take paracetamol as a child, but not for a headache or toothache. We did have a licorice-flavored cough syrup, but I only took it when my parents directed me to. In fact, it wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties that I first learned to ask for medication myself. For the brief time that I lived independently and could take over-the-counter medications when I felt like it, I didn’t either unless a support worker directed me to. In fact, I remember buying a talking thermometer back then because I was feeling weak often and, relying on my parents’ rule that you had to have a fever to be sick, I wanted to know my body temp.

Similarly, I wasn’t taken to the doctor for minor illnesses or injuries usually, unless my parents decided they were enough of an outward abnormality to be taken seriously. I remember my father took me to the doctor one day when I was about fourteen because I had bad eczema on my neck. I didn’t see the need, but apparently it was so ugly that my father wanted me to get treated.

When I was about seventeen, I made my first appointment to see my GP by myself. I had a horrible earache, which turned out nothing to be the doctor could do much about, by the way. However, my parents said I also had to ask about getting treatment for my toenail fungus, which I didn’t consider particularly bothersome at the time. To be fair, I do now see they were right to be worried about my toenail fungus, even though it took me fifteen more years to finally get it treated properly. However, overall, I’d had it with their message that my outward appearance alone dictates when I should get help (medical or otherwise) and this was probably my first small act of rebellion. I never quite learned to gauge when I can trust my body’s signals (or my mind’s interpretation of them) and when I can’t. I’m finding that, for this reason, even up till this day, I rely mostly on other people’s judgment.

Gratitude List (February 27, 2022) #TToT

I’m late posting a gratitude list this week, but better late than never, so here goes. As usual, I’m joining in with Ten Things of Thankful.

1. I am grateful my seven fellow clients who had COVID, are all symptom-free now.

2. I am grateful the two others stayed negative.

3. I am grateful that, even though I’m not 100% symptom-free yet, I am not very sick with the virus either.

4. I am grateful for more licorice. A staff brought me some salmiac licorice this afternoon. I wouldn’t normally buy it for myself, but I did enjoy it this time.

5. I am grateful for raspberries. The same staff also brought me some of those. I am also grateful for other fruit, such as grapes and bananas.

6. I am grateful I have been able to indeed allow myself some much-needed rest over the weekend.

7. I am grateful I found an essential oil blend with sweet marjoram in it that I actually like. I’d used it in two other blends that I hated, but in both of those, I’d also used Roman chamomile. I don’t normally mind that – it’s not a favorite scent either, but it’s not disgusting -, but the combination was truly terrible.

8. I am grateful my music pillow still works after I got its cord stuck between the caster wheels of my chair. I was a bit scared I might damage my phone if I plugged the cord with possible invisible damage into it, but then I realized it isn’t connected to a power source.

9. I am grateful I didn’t gain any weight while snacking on lots of treats over the past couple of days. In fact, I lost about 0.5kg.

10. I am grateful for green tea. And for staff willing to bring me hot water early in the morning before my one-on-one comes on so that I can make the green tea. I do realize it costs them more time to put on their protective clothing etc., so I try not to request help outside of my assigned one-on-one support, but when I wake up at 7AM, it’s just too hard to wait till 8:30AM.

11. Bonus thankful: I am so intensely grateful to live in the Netherlands. I am not a political blogger and refuse to discuss world news really. Quite honestly, it scares me. However, I am so thankful that I live in a free and safe country.

What are you thankful for?

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.