Outdoor Activities I Enjoy

The book 412 Journaling Exercises and Prompts for Personal Growth by Meredith Lane contains, in addition to a wealth of assorted journaling prompts, also a number of “list of twenty” prompts. One of these is outdoor activities you enjoy. Right now, the weather outside is frightful: cloudy, windy, rainy and even a bit snowy. It’s April though and the weather has to get better someday soon. For when it does, let me share some of my favorite outdoor activities.

1. Walking. This is a no-brainer to anyone who’s read some of my blog before. I love love love walking and will even go for some walks in light rain occasionally.

2. Sunbathing. Or rather, just sitting in the sun. I don’t really sunbathe that much, but I do love to sit in the sunshine sometimes.

3. Swinging. At the day center, there is a rocking lounger outside of the door of my pre-lockdown group. I’ve also heard there are sets of swings in front of some of the other homes. At my former day centers, I loved to sit on a swing outside and swing about.

4. Listening to birdsong. I really love to hear the birds sing and chirp when I’m walking or sitting outside. I have absolutely no birdsong recognition skill whatsoever, but the mere sound of the different birds is pure bliss.

5. Meeting people from other care homes. This is mostly due to lockdown, as I used to be able to speak to other clients at the day center. Now we have to meet outside. I love talking to my acquaintances from other homes.

6. Swimming. Mostly in the outdoor pool, that is. Oh, how I wish I would be allowed into them again. I’ve heard some outdoor swimming pools have opened to a limited number of swimmers, but then still I won’t be able to go yet. I don’t really like swimming in a lake as much.

7. Barbecueing. Oh, how I love all the barbecue meat. Truly, if you ask me, salads are just a necessary evil. No, not really, but I am a true carnivore when it comes to barbecueing.

8. Enjoying a picnic. Although I struggle not to make a mess when not seated at a table. I try to think that’s not a problem though.

9. Feeling the wind blow through my hair. I don’t really like windy weather like today, but I do love to feel a slight breeze on my face and through my hair.

10. Campfires. Mostly for the marshmallows, that is. I don’t particularly care for the smoky scent and feel of a campfire, but it definitely adds to a cozy atmosphere.

Okay, I’m not going to get to twenty, but this was definitely fun to try.

What are your favorite outdoor activities?

loopyloulaura

Also linking up with #SeniSal.

A Wonderful Wednesday

Hi everyone. This is going to be a quick post. I am really pleased with myself right now. Today is a great day. The sun shone, the birds sang and I broke my daily step record!

In the morning, my day activities staff took me to the marketplace. We got fried fish for lunch. We also wanted to get fried chicken, but the poultry guy didn’t have that today. I also got cookie crumbs (yes, they’re a real thing). They were €2 a bag but two bags for €3, so I treated myself and got two bags. One of them, I already consumed. Then we walked to the supermarket to see if they had fried chicken and they did!

I also went on a walk before going to the marketplace. We went there by car and I didn’t look at my Fitbit until we were back. I wasn’t expecting to have gotten in many steps, but already had nearly 5,000 steps.

Then in the afternoon, my mother-in-law visited me. We went on over an hour’s walk together. The sun was shining brightly and it was really warm, about 24°C. I truly loved the birdsong, the ability to walk and the sunshine!

In the evening, I went on two more walks with my one-on-one. I got in over 19,000 steps, so just yet, I did a little dance just to get to 20,000 steps. That’s double my daily step goal. I broke my daily step record, which was at just over 17,000 on December 18, 2020.

I also got in 173 active heartrate zone minutes. I wasn’t really exercising for nearly three hours today, but the minutes I got in the cardio zone, count twice.

I did worry a little about my heartrate not returning to normal nearly as fast as my mother-in-law’s. Then again, she is of average build, while I am, as much as I hate to admit it, still obese. I’m trying not to worry too much, since my resting heartrate is still within the normal range.

Overall, today was a wonderful day! Unfortunately, the temperature is supposed to drop to a high of like 13°C tomorrow. It’s not supposed to rain though, so I can still walk. That is, if my muscles don’t ache all over.

#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?

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.

A Productive Wednesday Morning

I got up pretty early this morning at a little past seven o’clock. It wasn’t that I wanted to get up this early, but I just couldn’t go back to sleep. Having gotten up so early did cause me a bit of stress later on, as it’d mean I’d have to wait several hours before day activities started. Thankfully, I made it through.

At ten o’clock, my day activities staff came to my room. I had already had coffee with one of the morning staff, but was happy to have another cup.

Then we went for a walk. My knee still hurt, so I had to walk relatively slowly and got in only seven active heartrate zone minutes. I’m trying not to beat myself up about that.

On the way back to the facility, I asked my staff whether we could call a woman who lives in one of the other homes that afternoon. I used to hang out with this woman a lot when the day center still operated as before COVID. My staff suggested we check whether she was at the day center in her home’s assigned room or outside and she was. I had a socially distanced chat with her and her staff. It was good to see she was doing pretty well.

Then I returned to my home. I told my staff I wasn’t ready for resting yet and wanted to do something. She suggested we do some beading. I made the below keychain.

Purple, heart-shaped keychain

While we were working on the keychain, the physical therapist came by. She said that my knee pain is probably from my not wearing my shoes while indoors. My shoes have arch supports in them, which I do need when walking at all times apparently, not just outdoors. I struggle to wear my shoes when not going outside though, because I cannot tie or untie my laces independently and the shoes don’t feel comfortable when I’m sitting. The physical therapist made some suggestions, but I got majorly overwhelmed. She then went out of my room to discuss her suggestions with just my staff.

Then my staff and I went into the kitchen, where another staff was making hamburgers. I had two buns with a hamburger on them for lunch. I also had some bell pepper, tomatoes and cucumber slices, as well as a kiwifruit. It was delicious!

My lunch of hamburgers

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how I coped this morning. I wasn’t expecting the morning to be this productive when I got up. This afternoon, I plan to relax a bit with my new essential oils in my diffuser. I’m really curious about the cardamom in particular.

It’s Just Another Manic Monday #Blogtober20

Today’s prompt for #Blogtober20 is “Manic Monday” and how appropriate this is today! One of my day activities staff celebrated 25 years working for this care agency. For this reason, the manager and a few of her coworkers from the day center came round for coffee and cake. You see, the day center is still not operating as usual due to COVID-19 restrictions and this staff usually provides day activities at my home now. She did visit her normal day activities group for a bit in the afternoon, where currently another home’s clients do day activities.

Anyway, due to the manager and some other staff coming by for a visit, it was really hectic here this morning. I did enjoy a cup of coffee and some cheesecake, but I was really overloaded most of the time.

The staff had really done her best to make us feel festive. In addition to the cheesecake, we got Airfryer snacks for lunch and candy bars with our afternoon coffee. Another staff had also decorated the home with photos of this staff from throughout her career.

Thankfully, I managed a mid-morning walk after the manic events of the manager’s speech and coffee with cheesecake. That went well, although my accompanying staff’s chatter did get a bit on my nerves.

I spent the afternoon so far relaxing in my room or having coffee with a candy bar. I still need to make a present for this staff, like a soap, but that can wait and of course isn’t a requirement. I did after all contribute to the home’s gift to this staff.

This evening, I intend on checking other blogs and just chilling out in my room. If it’s not raining, I might go for a walk after dinner. I may also read a little. Right now, I’m reading a Dutch book chronicling a year in the life of an obstetrician.

Normally, my Mondays aren’t as manic as today. In fact, I like the hustle and bustle of it, compared to boring Sundays. After all, I spend a lot of my Sundays in bed. On Mondays, day activities start back up, so I normally go for a walk or two and/or make a soap or some other craft or DIY project.

Of course, compared to parents or people who work, I’m not as busy even on a Monday. I mean, I still get more than enough time to relax and even the activities I do during the day, don’t feel like chores or work. I do, however, feel easily overloaded by lots of stimulation, so it’s exactly right the way things are right now.

#Blogtober20

My Daily Routine (Or Lack Thereof)

And still it’s incredibly hot here! It did start to rain last night, but it’s not cooled down much in my room. It’s already past 9PM here and I don’t feel like writing. Or doing anything else. But I bet I cannot sleep either. Therefore, I blog.

Today’s #FDDA prompt is “your daily routine”. My daily what, I ask?

Unlike many other autistics, I am not one for clear routines. In the mental hospital, I would just lie around and do whatever, just like I see many people do now during the COVID-19 lockdown. I didn’t have a set time I’d go to bed or get up. I didn’t have a daily personal hygiene routine, as I hated most personal care tasks and there was no-one to say I needed to do them. Well, there was the staff, of course, but it was their view that I was responsible enough to decide these things for myself.

Once I lived with my husband, I did go to a day center each weekday morning. This meant I did have to get up at the same time each day. I did have an okay morning routine back then, as my husband had instilled the importance of personal care into me.

Then I went into long-term care. Pre-COVID, I still had somewhat of a routine, as I was expected to go to the day center each weekday (except for every other Friday). I tried to maintain such a routine when the day center closed, but I cannot seem to really.

Still, I have some set activities I do each day. I go for a walk in the morning and one in the afternoon too. We also have coffee, lunch and dinner at the same time each day. Now that it’s hot though, I don’t go for walks and often skip coffee break too.

These last few weeks, the days have truly been merging into each other like time didn’t really matter. I do still try to blog most days, usually around the same time.

Sometimes, I wish I had more of a strict daily routine. That’s not really possible though and I’m not sure it’s really what would be best for me.

What about you? Do you thrive on routine?

Gratitude List (July 31, 2020) #TToT

It’s a hot Friday here and I have lots of things I could be writing about. I choose to do a positive post though and share my gratitude list for the past week or so. As always, I’m joining in with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT).

1. Noodles. One of the day activities staff made those for us on Tuesday and one of the other clients helped her. He was so proud of himself! I loved the noodles with chicken and veggies and of course satay sauce. The staff had chosen the mild satay sauce rather than the spicy one, but I liked it anyway.

2. Going to the marketplace. On Wednesday, a day activities staff took me to the marketplace to get some fish for lunch. I also got a large waffle.

3. Day One. This is a journaling app for the iPhone (and Mac). I finally got the premium subscription to Day One and am loving making a daily habit out of journaling. Because I have the premium subscription, I can also E-mail my journal, so if I write something on an E-mail list, I can later send the same message to my journal easily.

4. My blog. It turned two on Saturday. Though I haven’t been as active lately with regards to reading other blogs and for this reason, didn’t get the engagement I’d like on my blog either, I still love it. I do need to make a note to myself to check whether comments are enabled on my posts before publishing them, because WordPress seems to have pulled the trick of disabling comments at random once again.

5. The weather. It’s been pretty good all week. Today it’s a little hot for my liking, but it’s still bearable.

6. AC in the living rooms. Some company came to install it on Monday or Tuesday. Some other clients, whose rooms get particularly hot, also got AC installed in their rooms.

7. Walking. I managed at least two walks each day. Some days I didn’t feel like going for walks, but I managed to kick myself in the butt anyway.

8. Having some energy back. I was really low on energy early in the week. One night, I even went to bed at like 8:30PM. Thankfully, I’m pretty alert now, though I can’t for the life of me remember when exactly some things happened, like you may be noticing.

9. Speaking to my husband on the phone. He’s so lovely! He said half-jokingly that he’d look at my blog to see the keychain I’d made for him, as he hasn’t seen me in real life since I made it. Then we got talking about whether he reads my blog and whether I write about him a lot.

10. Reading. I am loving reading foster care memoirs again.

What have you been grateful for lately?

A Productive Tuesday

Hi all, how are you doing? I didn’t write at all yesterday. That is, I wrote a lot in my new private journal. I finally got a subscription to the premium plan of Day One. Day One is an iPhone (and Mac) app for journaling. I discovered how to work it last April. Okay, I’ve had this app for years, but I didn’t know how to insert links, headings, etc. until then. However, even as I found out, I didn’t write a lot. I now do plan on writing in there everyday and have set a reminder to do so. I have three journals: one general one, one for chronicling my journey living as a multiple, and one for prompt-based journaling. I may copy some of those here, but the one I did today, isn’t really suited for this blog.

I also started reading fostering memoirs again. I bought Who Will Love Me Now? by Maggie Hartley. I’m loving it so far, although it’s a sad story.

I also got the littles a little picture book about emotions. I got that one off Bookshare. It’s called ABC of Feelings. I also still have a lot of free bedtime stories in my Apple Books and Kindle libraries.

This morning, I made yet another keychain. It’s for the friend at the other home that’s part of my facility I’ve mentioned before. She regularly gives me cards and, since she has a birthday in August, I thought I’d make her something.

This evening, I talked to a staff who doesn’t work here often. She told me she likes crocheting and I asked her to teach me. We did a little crocheting, but that didn’t really work for me. I then remembered I had a knitting loom too and we tried some loom knitting. I didn’t get far, but I got the first couple rounds done. She may bring a metal loom knitting needle tomorrow, as the one that came with the loom is made of plastic.

We also had a cooking activity this morning, but I didn’t participate in that. A staff made us noodles with chicken and veg. I loved it!

Oh, and I did go for three walks today. They weren’t very long walks, but it was good being outside.

Overall, the day has been relatively productive. I didn’t feel this way at first, because I didn’t feel inspired to blog. However, now that I got to write down all that I did, it’s quite a lot.

A Year Ago

One of Mama Kat’s writing prompts for this week is to look back at a year ago. Where were you then? What has changed and what hasn’t? Let me share.

A year ago yesterday, I had my intake interview and tour of the care facility in Raalte. We visited the sensory day activities group and snoezelen® room, as well as the home selected for me. At the home at the time was a respite placement for a man I knew from the day center I went to at the time. He greeted me excitedly: “Astrid!” He then went on to babble “respite fun”, “Mommy and Daddy vacation”, etc. I was shown around two rooms, one this man’s room at the time and one another client’s room. I think that client got moved to another room when I came and I now have his room.

Even though I had been invited on a tour of the facility, I didn’t know for at least another month that I had actually been accepted. The reason was that the staff all had to agree they could provide me adequate support and care, given that my needs are in some ways very different from the other clients’. They, after all, all have severe to profound intellectual disability.

Now, a year on, I’m settled nicely into the care facility. I didn’t get to attend day activities at the group they’d shown me. Now though, and for at least another two months, we get day activities at the home.

I think also around a year ago today, my husband had first seen the house in Lobith we ended up buying. I ended up moving to the care facility in the same week we got the keys to our new house. As such, a year ago today, I still lived in the tiny village rental house with my husband.

As I look back, I keep praising God that this whole COVID-19 thing didn’t happen last year. Even though the day center I attended at the time is slowly opening its doors again, community support is still mostly phone-based. I am forever grateful I got my long-term care funding approved last year.

In other news, the weather is drastically different now from last year. Last year, all weather records were broken with temperatures rising to 40°C. Now we’re lucky to reach 20°C and have a few hours of no rain each day.

How is your life different now from last year?

Mama’s Losin’ It