Fun and Games for When You’re Bored #AtoZChallenge

Welcome to my letter F post in the #AtoZChallenge. I want to have a lighthearted topic for today. After all, I’m bored and don’t want to delve deep into some topic of self-care. Of course, dealing with boredom appropriately can be an act of self-care. I’m sharing a few fun activities to do when you’re bored.

1. Card games. I particularly love the game of “pesten” (“bullying” in English), which is a variation to the card game of mau mau and similar to Uno. It is played with a deck of 55 cards (52 of a regular pack plus three jokers). The goal is to get rid of all of your cards first, but you can bully the person next to you by the cards you play. For example, if you play an eight, the person next must pass his turn. If you play a two or joker, the next person must draw two or five cards from the stack, respectively. There are some other rules too that are pretty complicated particularly if there are more than two players in the game. For example, an ace means to turn around, so it’s often hard to remember whether we’re playing clockwise or counterclockwise. For this reason, I usually play the game with one other person.

I should really be trying to learn some other card games, as “pesten” is the only one I know. I guess playing solitaire is a good boredom killer if you’re by yourself.

2. Board games. I don’t play those often, but as a tween, I did. I particularly liked monopoly. I now have an audio-based version of monopoly on my iPhone. Still figuring it out though.

3. Word games and puzzles. I particularly like to make word strings, where the next word has to start with the last letter of the previous word. These can be themed, such as first names, animals, etc. I also like to do word puzzles on my phone. Most regular word games are not accessible with VoiceOver. However, I have an app called 7 Little Words that is.

4. Reading. We as a system like to read a variety of books depending on who out of our personalities is fronting. For example, the young alters like reading funny stories and jokes. Like we said yesterday, there are many free kids’ stories available in eBook format from both Amazon and Apple Books.

The teens and adults prefer young adult novels and occasionally fiction geared towards adults. We also love memoirs.

What fun activities can you think of to do when you’re bored?

Five of My Bookish Habits

I’m once again joining in with Top 5 Tuesday. This week, the topic is bookish habits. Some of these are probably rather common, but some might not be.

1. I tend to read multiple books at a time. It’s rare that I finish a book before another one captures my interest, so I usually have at least three books I’m in the process of reading at the same time.

2. I almost exclusively read eBooks. Okay, so to those who know me, this may be obvious. I am blind and Braille books are extremely clunky. Then again, I hardly ever listen to audiobooks either. The reason is my poor English listening skills. Oh yeah, I hardly ever read books in any language other than English. This may seem obvious to those who don’t know me, since then you might not know that Dutch is my native language. I don’t seem to like Dutch books though.

3. I can’t do anything else while reading. Can’t listen to music or have the TV on or the like. I’m trying to train myself to listen to whale sounds or other white noise while reading. Otherwise I’m unable to read at day activities and I’d love to be able to do that.

4. I’m a true book collector. Especially now that I am a Bookshare (U.S.-based accessible book service) member, I download a lot more books than I actually read. I mean, when I was younger, my parents or later I myself would have to manualy scan print books for me, so I had an incentive to read all books on my shelf. Now I have a ton of textbooks and self-help books I only ever page through. My fiction bookshelf also has a lot on it I haven’t read. Conversely though, my Goodreads TBR list is rather short. The reason is I hardly use Goodreads.

5. I’m obsessed with checking book length and my progress percentage once I decide to read a book. I’m a slow reader, so I often want to know if I’m progressing nicely.

What are some of your bookish habits?

Eight Ways in Which My Reading Life Has Changed Over the Years

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is all about ways you have changed, particularly as a reader, over the years. I am not a book blogger, since posts about books make up not even ten percent of my total posts. I don’t read nearly enough to be a book blogger. This may be one reason I haven’t participated in #TTT for a while. However, I loved this week’s theme. Here are some ways in which my reading life has changed over the years.

1. I read because I want to, not because I have to. As a child and teen, I didn’t like reading much. Especially not the assigned literature we were supposed to read for school. For this reason, in my young adult life, I didn’t read much at all. Over the years though, I discovered a love of reading and now read for pleasure. Sometimes I still feel like I have to finish a book, but then it’s me creating the pressure.

2. I read almost exclusively English-language books. The book famine, ie. the lack of accessible books to people who are blind or otherwise print disabled, is still pretty severe in Dutch-language literature. In English, almost every book I want to read is available in an accessible format nowadays. This is one reason I enjoy reading books in English far more than in Dutch.

Another is the fact that I blog in English and, to be honest, I don’t do much in life (except for peeing and sleeping and eating) without some motivation related to my blog. I love to venture out into the bookish blogosphere at times.

3. The way in which I read, has changed. As a child, I almost exclusively read audiobooks. Oh and the occasional large print book suited for children much younger than me, because with how poor my vision was, ordinary large print was too small for me. I hated reading Braille, so unless I was forced to, I didn’t touch a Braille book.

Now I read almost exclusively by touch. I recently bought a few audiobooks, but to be honest am quite a bit disappointed in the narrators.

4. I discovered eBooks. As a teen, I read books my parents scanned for me. Then I didn’t read much at all as a young adult. In 2013, I found out that Adobe Digital Editions, the main program at the time to read EPUB eBooks, had been made compatible with screen readers. I read EPUB from then on, although I no longer use Adobe Digital Editions. I use the iPhone’s book app instead.

5. I joined Bookshare. Bookshare is the U.S.-based online book service for the print disabled. In 2005 and 2006, when I first started reading English-language books for pleasure, I was a member of the UK’s National Library for the Blind. I for a short while read physical Braille books then. That didn’t work out due to shipping issues. Bookshare, though it existed back then, wasn’t available to international customers at the time. It became available to those outside of the U.S. sometime around 2015. I joined Bookshare in mid-2016.

6. I found out about Kindle. That’s another eBook format that didn’t use to be very accessible. Back in like 2015, there was the accessibility add-on to Kindle software, which would read the content of the book aloud. Like I said, I’m not a fan of audiobooks and I’m certainly not a fan of the robotic-sounding voice of the Kindle accessibility add-on. Sometime in 2018, I found out that the Kindle app for iPhone, and to a lesser degree Kindle for PC, now support screenreaders and most importantly Braille displays. I still don’t buy Kindle books very often, as Bookshare has a wide selection of books too, but I know that if I really want to read a book, I can.

7. A larger percentage of the books I read is fiction. Roughly ten years ago, I only read a bit of teen fiction and mostly read biographies and other nonfiction. Now about half of the books I read and the majority of the books I finish are fiction.

8. I read a wider variety of books. Though most of the fiction I read still belongs in the young adult category, over the past few years I’ve ventured out into other genres as well. I love reading a diverse selection of books now.

How has your reading life changed over the years?

Weekly Gratitude List (August 10, 2018) #TToT

It’s Friday again. This week has flown by! It was really a mixed bag in terms of how I’ve felt. Here are the things I’ve been grateful for this past week.

1. Starting at new day activities. My first week definitely was a good one. I am truly loving it there.

2. The weather. It was hot on Monday and Tuesday but as of Wednesday it’s been pretty nice. Not cold but cool enough that I could finally move again and not break out in a sweat from merely existing.

3. Going on the elliptical. It was quite a challenge, since I hadn’t exercised in weeks, but it was a fun challenge. I love being able to let my thoughts go as I exercise.

4. Eating at my in-laws on Wednesday. My husband had to suddenly stay at work late, so he asked whether I could eat with his parents. They cooked endive with mashed potatoes, which is not my favorite meal to say the least, but it wasn’t too terrble either. Congrats to me for eating all that was on my plate.

5. A lie-in on Thursday. I had kept my alarm set at 6:45, but turned it off and rolled over. My support coordinator wouldn’t be here till 3PM and, though I have in the past been in bed till that late, I trusted myself to wake before then. And I did.

6. Those blueberries I mentioned yesterday. Boy, do I love them. They also doubly made up for the endive on Wednesday, as I had them for dessert then too. At home, I rarely eat dessert, but my in-laws do.

7. Making a cheesecake with my support coordinator. I didn’t share this yesterday, as I hadn’t tried it then yet, but it was delicious! My husband also really liked it.

8. Going to the marketplace. At my new day activities, the people visit the local marketplace each Friday. We all bring money, throw it together and buy some extra treat for lunchtime. Today though, I didn’t put mo money in with the others’, as I’d forgotten my lunch so wante dto buy me some more food than just a treat. The bread stand wasn’t there, but I did buy strawberries. Later, a staff went to the supermarket to buy some bread for me.

9. Journaling prompt eBooks. I bought two new ones on Wednesday. Yes, I’m probably obsessed with collecting them, given how many journaling prompt books and files and apps I have. One of the new ones I bought is the complete Lisa Shea journaling collection (eleven books for one reduced price). I had been ahing at many of the individual books, but €1,- each still means I’d spend over €10 on just some journaling prompts and some were more expensive. What then if they disappoint me? Well, the full collection was €6,45, which seemed reasonable. So far, I’m loving the books. The other was Journal Writing Prompts for Child Abuse Survivors, which cost only €0,99. I like that one too. As a side note, it’s interesting how I spend far less money on eBooks now that I use Kindle. Back when I used Kobo, I didn’t bet an eye at €5,- for a few simple journaling prompts (like one of Mari L. McCarthy’s 24-day challenge books). It’s good that I am more careful now, in that it’s technically my husband’s money I’m using (even though I pay him back straight away), as I use his credit card.

10. Lying in the cocoon swing at day activities. A cocoon swing is like a small tent that hangs off a tree and you can then lie in it and swing it. I love it. It’s truly pure relaxation!

Linking up with Ten Things of Thankful again.

The Last Book

Today’s question of the day over at My Inner MishMash is: What was the last book you purchased or borrowed at the library. I loved this question so am going to answer it here.

I rarely borrow books through the Dutch library system. I am a member of the library for the blind, but use it mostly for the access to magazines, as I prefer English-language over Dutch books. As such, I’ve not downloaded a book out of the online library in months. I also have a subscription to Bookshare, an American-based book service for print disabled people. However, since the software I use to read Bookshare’s books won’t boot anymore, I don’t read books from Bookshare really anymore and won’t until I’ve either figured out a mobile app or bought a new computer.

I also used to buy books in EPUB format from Kobo. The software I use for reading those files, Adobe Digital Editions, however has destroyed several of my eBooks already. I was so happy when I recently discovered Kindle. I love it.

I haven’t downloaded that many books on Kindle yet. The last one I bought was Journaling: This Is My Life by Emilee Day. This is a book of journaling tips and writing prompts. I bought it because I looked for inspirational writing prompts and this one looked to be the best for its cost.

Besides this one, I have a ton of books and files containing journaling prompts in my Adobe Digital Editions, in my Bookshare books library and scattered on my computer. I just love them. It’s not even that I use them for direct inspiration often, but having these books does motivate me to write. Or so I like to think. Some of these prompts are really thought-provoking. I must say the Emilee Day book is a little disappointing as far as I can tell now.