Lovin’ Lately (May 29, 2020)

Today I feel a bit meh. It’s probably due to the fact that it’s a long week-end due to today being the Friday we don’t have day activities and Monday being second Pentecost here. I don’t like long week-ends. I’m too inactive then.

That being said, I did discover a few things I’m loving lately. Let me share. I’m doing this in the classic editor again, as somehow the block editor would automatically convert my stuff to a list when I didn’t want it to.

1. Podcasts. On Wednesday, I wrote that I’d been listening to a playlist on Spotify mostly as well as an audiobook on Scribd. That evening though, through another blogger, I was inspired to try out podcasts. Unlike audiobooks, I actually love these.

I particularly love listening to true crime podcasts. Seriously, I had no idea there’s so much evil in this world that there’s a whole category of podcasts dedicated to it. Parcast Network has a ton of interesting podcasts.

Aside from true crime, I decided to look at what else is on. I discovered Parcast has a podcast called Mythology too. It was awesome listening to the most recent episode.

2. Music. Well, I said this already on Wednesday, but the Pop Warm-Up 130 BPM playlist on Spotify is great. I’m truly loving dancing to it.

3. Essential oils and fragrances. On Wednesday, my essential oil diffuser somehow decided to bite the bullet. Its on/off switch is stuck, so I cannot get it working. I asked for a new one for my birthday. Still, my husband will be looking at this one to see if he can fix it.

This did get me looking at lots of new fragrances I may want to buy. I have a lot already, but you can never have enough of those.

4. Coffee. I gave my coffee cups to the staff a few days ago because I was having impulses to break them and injure myself with the shards. This morning though, I felt a little low and in need of some caffeine. I got one of my cups and made myself a Senseo coffee. It was lovely sitting in my recliner listening to the Mythology podcast while drinking some coffee.

5. Tomatoes. A staff who’s been on sick leave for half a year or so, returned today for a few hours. When she was still working at my home, we’d built this tradition of her bringing me snack tomatoes, which I kept in a tomato-shaped box I’d gotten from her. Today she continued the tradition. I loved it.

What are you lovin’ lately?

Linking up with Friday Favorites and the Lovin’ Life Linky.

Essential Oils and Fragrances: My Favorite Scents #AtoZChallenge

I am very late posting my letter E post in the #AtoZChallenge, because I’m struggling quite a bit. I won’t go into details about that now. My letter E post is about essential oils and other fragrant products.

Essential oils are oils that are extracted from plants. They are called essential, because without them the plant will die. Essential oils are often believed by natural medicine-minded people to help with a variety of health issues. There are no placebo-controlled, double blind research studies on their effectiveness though. I in fact doubt that’d be possible, as patients would be able to tell by smell whether they’d get the EO or a placebo.

That being said, essential oils do smell good and, even if you don’t believe in their effectiveness for health issues, you can still use them in self-care. Here are some of my favorites.

1. Ylang ylang. This sweet-smelling essential oil is reported to be an aphrodisiac. It is also said to help with relieving anxiety, sadness or tension. It can be used as a relaxing oil. I just love the smell of this oil!

2. Sweet orange. This oil is reported to be good for lifting your mood. It is my favorite of the citrus essential oils.

3. Eucalyptus. I don’t know what type of eucalyptus EO I own, as I bought it at a soaping supplies store that didn’t specialize in aromatherapy. There are several commonly-used eucalyptus varieties, such as eucalyptus globulus and eucalyptus radiata. I particularly like to smell eucalyptus when I’m having a cold or congested sinuses.

4. Peppermint. This is another oil that helps when I’m having a cold. I bought it at the same soaping supplies vendor I bought the eucalyptus EO at. They recommended peppermint oil should not be used in baths, as it is very strong.

5. Lavender. Though I don’t particularly care for strong lavender scents, I like to diffuse a little lavender EO when I can’t sleep. I don’t know whether it works, but it does help.

Besides essential oils, other products that have strong scents can be used in self-care too. For example, when I still lived with my husband, I would often burn a wax melt. These are a relatively safe alternative to scented candles. That is, the melting wax doesn’t get very hot, but it still makes a mess at times and you don’t want to spill it all over your hands. It may not leave burn marks, but it’s definitely uncomfortable.

Wax melts come in a ton of different scents. I particularly liked the bakery smells, though my husband found most way too strong.

What are your favorite scents?

Gratitude List (January 17, 2020) #TToT

It’s been forever since I last wrote a gratitude list. This past week has been truly mixed, but I still feel there’s enough I can be thankful for. I’m joining in with #TToT again.

1. Domino’s Pizza. Last week, I went home to my husband for the week-end. When we were in the car, my husband asked me what I wanted to eat for dinner. I said “Pizza” and my husband in turn asked me whether there’s a Domino’s in Zevenaar, the city closest to our home in Lobith. I said there is. However, we’d been taking an alternate route to Lobith, so my husband said we wouldn’t drive through Zevenaar, so did I mind getting pizza elsewhere? Then he started teasing me, saying stuff like “You’re still a bit sick right?” and wouldn’t it be better if we had macaroni with lots of veggies. Eventually though, he did drive to Zevenaar and we had Domino’s pizza. I loved my chicken kebab pizza!

2. The flu being gone. I feel pretty much as well as possible now.

3. Meeting the neighbors. On Sunday, our next door neighbors organized a New Year’s gathering for the people in our street and the surrounding neighborhood. My husband and I are new, so as a kind gesture to me, they had each person in attendance introduce themselves and also describe the appearance of the person next to them. I liked it. The neighbors seem nice. I at first wasn’t too sure how much to disclose about my situation, but eventually did manage to explain some without launching into some type of self-centered and depressing monologue.

4. The soap making plans. I told you about it already on Monday. I’m hoping my husband will be able to bring my supplies tomorrow. He did ask me to think of another activity we can do together in Lobith, since I asked him to bring all my supplies. I after all didn’t feel it’d be a good idea to let him sort through my stuff. Now that I think of it, several ideas come to mind.

5. Ylang Ylang essential oil. I had this in my diffuser on Monday night when I was too hyper to sleep. It’s a lovely scent.

6. Over 8,000 steps on Tuesday. I walked three times. The other days have also been relatively good in the activity department.

7. The peanut butter-chocolate smoothie bowl we made on Wednesday.

8. Chatting to some fellow clients. Like I’ve said before, most people in my home are non-speaking and severely intellectually disabled, but there are some clients in other homes and at day activities who can speak and with whom I can have a normal by non-disabled standards conversation. I had some nice interactions this past week.

9. Lorazepam. Like I said yesterday, I was in a bit of a crisis. Thankfully, the PRN lorazepam I took worked.

10. Getting my Braille display fixed. Some dots had been stuck up for a few weeks. I thought the thing just needed cleaning, so I was hesitant to call the company to get a tech guy to come over. Turned out two cells were broken. I’m so happy the thing is fixed now. I did okay reading with these few dots stuck up, but still, it was a bit annoying.

What have you been thankful for lately?

Essential Oil Diffuser!

Today we had a Christmas lunch at day activities. It was good. We got a hamburger, salad and ice cream. At the end of the day, we also got our Christmas presents from day activities. It’s a tradition here in the Netherlands that employers give their employees a Christmas package (usually a box with foods and a small gift). Though we aren’t really employees, our day activities gives us a present too. I had been more or less pestering my staff for an essential oil diffuser. A fellow resident at the care facility got one as a St. Nicholas present on December 5. I have at least one and probably two at home already, but they work with a fan and hardly give off any scent. The one my fellow resident got, works with water. You add a cup of water and a few drops of essential oil to it and then it somehow heats the water or otherwise diffuses the oil. I had had such a diffuser a few years back but that one had a lot of safety warnings on it and my husband was pretty sure I’d harm myself using it, so I returned that one to the shop.

Anyway, we did get the essential oil diffuser! It’s a cheap one from something similar to the Dollar Store, but I love it. Right now, it’s diffusing a bit of vanilla fragrance oil that I borrowed from the fellow resident, as I don’t have my EOs with me here yet. Its scent is a lot stronger than what came off the fan-based diffusers. I checked and it doesn’t seem like this diffuser is actually heating the water. Don’t know how else it produces the smell, but oh well. This particular diffuser also has lights in it that change color and it actually releases a bit of mist. I can’t see the colors, of course. I’m curious to know what this diffuser will do when I diffuse eucalyptus essential oil. I tried this in the fan-based one and hardly smelled it, even though eucalyptus is supposed to be a really strong scent. This diffuser has only a small water reservoir, so you can only add five or so drops of EO. This means I can hardly make any blends, but who cares? Maybe I’ll figure out blending tiny amounts anyway.

Writer’s Workshop: Collections

This week, one of the Writer’s Workshop prompts over at Mama’s Losin’ It is about things you collect. It definitely appealed to me, as at least as a child an teen, I used to collect a lot. Now I seem to collect things you can use and that I actually intended to use when buying them, but then I end up rarely using them. Does that count as collecting?

As a child, I, like most other children, had a large collection of stuffed animals. I also had a lot of Barbie dolls and such. In particular though, I had lots of PlayMobil® figures and stuff for them. When I was about eleven, I was even gifted a large box of PlayMobil® by someone on a garage sale. I had previously visited the garage sale and bought some of his stuff and by this time he probably wanted to get rid of it all so bad. That plus seeing how much I enjoyed it and came back each time to buy more stuff, probably convinced him to give it all to me. I however did play with it a lot until I was about fourteen. I particularly remember the games I played with some Native American-looking PlayMobil® figures whom I called Ingassa and Maranna. I had no idea at the time what were real Native American names (still don’t to be honest). I would always say these figures came from Costa Rica.

Later, I collected gemstones and crystals. I had some interest in their presumed healing properties, but mostly just liked looking at the colors and feeling their shapes. I had a lot of quartz crystals, including amethyst, rose quartz and citrine. I also loved calcites and had both the green and honey-colored ones. I at age twelve did a large research project on mineralogy. I however had no idea one of my stones was a form of asbestos. When I found out what it was while living on my own in 2007, I almost landed in crisis thinking I or one of my parents would develop cancer from it.

By the time I came to college age, I didn’t really collect anything anymore. I don’t even know where my crystals are, even though I know I had them at my student apartment. I can’t see the colors now anyway, although I at least used to have a file in which I wrote which one was which so may be able to experience some joy from them anyway.

When I was about 25 though, I developed an interest in crafting and started buying craft supplies. For some stupid reason, I started with card making, which is a pretty inaccessible craft for someone who is totally blind. I probably spent over €1000 on supplies before finally giving it up. Then came jewelry-making, polymer clay, rainbow loom and some others, all hard for someone with my disabilities. I finally settled on melt and pour soap making, although I haven’t done this since coming to the care facility. The good part is though, even if my soaps don’t turn out aesthetically well, I can still use them, so I don’t just collect soap stuff for the sake of it.

More recently, I started collecting all kinds of scented stuff. I have a large collection of essential oils at my husband’s and my home. I also have wax melts and of course the fragrance oils I use for soap making. I love those. Still, my diffuser is probably still packed from the move. I need to ask my husband where it is, so I can bring it to the facility.

When I collect something, I’m usually more interested in researching the stuff I collect than actually using it. I loved learning about lotion making when I first started soap making, but I rarely actually made any lotions. I also have a ton of books on aromatherapy (most thankfully free or through my Bookshare subscription), but rarely make any blends. Of course, the reason is partly that I cannot tell how many drops of a particular oil I put into the blend. I would love to ask my staff for some help with this, so that I can make diffuser blends or even massage oils. But first, I need to find my oils and my diffuser, as I don’t want this to end like my card making obsession, where I spend another €1000 (that this time I don’t have) before realizing this isn’t for me.

Mama’s Losin’ It

What I’d Put Into a Self-Care Kit

So I eventually gave up on the #Writ31Days chalenge. I couldn’t cope. It had become too much of a burden. But I still want to write. Today, I am sharing another personal growth-inspired post. I am writing about those things I use to take care of myself. A Dutch blogger posted about using a self-care kit, which is a box with self-care/positive items in it. Here is what I’d put in my self-care kit.

1. My crisis plan. I cannot read print, so I’d have to either type out my plan in Braille, which is too much work, or put a simple reminder on the box lid to read my crisis plan.

2. Stuffed animals. I as well as the inner children love the stuffies! Rainbow/Sofie, the stuffed unicorn we got at our old day activities, is best used for fidgeting. The inner kids prefer our toy sheep. When we’re cold, we prefer the sensory cat, which you can heat in the microwave and then gives off a nice lavender scent.

3. Essential oils and wax melts. I love love love essential oils! I do happen to have some faith in aromatherapy too, even though I know that it’s not scientifically proven. I would still someday like to create my own mmassage products with essential oils, but for now I just diffuse them. I have a box filled with over 20 different oils.

I also love wax melts, althogh my husband often gets a headache from the strong scent. I particularly love fruity and sweet smells.

4. My sensory exercise products. I have an exercise ball, which obviously doesn’t fit into a box, but which I love anyway. My air stepper pad does fit in a box. I’d love to someday get a Flowee spiky mattress too.

5. Soothing music. Nowadays I don’t listen to CDs. I get all my music from Spotify. I have a custom playlist with soothing sounds and peaceful music. I also love a lot of playlists created by Spotify itself.

What would you put into a self-care kit?