The Wednesday HodgePodge (May 4, 2022)

Hi everyone. I’m participating in the Wednesday HodgePodge once again. Here are Joyce’s questions and my responses.

1. May Day! May Day!…last time you shouted for help? Or maybe just asked?
I’d honestly never heard that expression. That being said, I shout for help quite regularly, most commonly when I’m having a horrible flashback or panic attack. Last Monday, I probably didn’t shout for help, but did plea for help. My one-on-one support staff had left me alone because I’d told her to go away in an irritable voice while melting down. This caused me to spiral into crisis. I will spare you all the details, but I eventually came to my senses and was able to cry out for help.

2. What’s something you may do this month?
Visit my sister and her family. I most likely will, since my sister is expecting a baby very soon. Other than that, there are just too many things I may or may not do, such as finish a book, get to another polymer clay project, etc.

3. “April showers bring May flowers”…is this true where you live? What’s blooming? What’s your favorite springtime blossom?
It’s somewhat true, but we haven’t had that much rain in April this year. I’m not really sure what’s blooming here. I do know one of the nearby care homes has tulips blooming in its garden. My favorite springtime flowers are probably hyacinths, but I love many others.

4. What’s something you learned at your mother’s knee?
I am reminded immediately of a nursery rhyme that goes “One, two, three, four, paper hat, paper hat.”. When my mother would count to four, I’d always reply “Paper hat”. When my father would count to four, conversely, even as a toddler, I’d reply: “Five!”.

5. Share a thought about motherhood.
Now we’re probably supposed to share something positive, such as how beautiful the gift of motherhood is or something. I, however, am not a mother and don’t have the greatest memories of my own mother’s mothering me. Besides, my father was my primary caretaker. Not that my memories of him are any better. All that being said, I feel strongly that mothering is a skill that doesn’t necessarily come naturally as soon as a child comes out of its mother’s womb. I wish it were this way!

6. Insert your own random thought here.
Since it’s Liberation Day (from WWII) tomorrow here, I would like to take a moment to show my gratitude for living in freedom, peace and in a democracy.

Gratitude List (March 25, 2022) #TToT

It’s the last weekend of March. I didn’t realize it until I read it in this week’s Ten Things of Thankful. Yay, I’m joining in again with a gratitude post! Here goes.

1. I am grateful for daylight until nearly 7PM in the evening. Make that 8PM come this Sunday, as we’re entering daylight saving time. Yay!

2. I am grateful for a field of daisies near the day center. I am grateful I was able to take a few photos of them and I didn’t fall over when sitting on my knees to snap the pics.

Daisy

3. I am grateful I didn’t lose interest in polymer clay altogether. I made a unicorn again today and thoroughly enjoyed it. I also worked on another, larger polymer clay project yesterday.

4. I am grateful the weather permitted me to go outside without a jacket on several days this week.

5. I am grateful for a delicious microwave omelette on Wednesday. I didn’t use cooking oil or butter to microwave the egg, so according to the dietitian, it’s as healthy as a boild egg. I also added chopped onion and bell pepper.

Microwave Omelette

6. I am grateful for birdsong. I got awoken by a bird at 6AM several mornings this week. Though I wasn’t particularly thrilled about that, I do appreciate the sound of birds singing in general.

7. I am grateful it was pay day on Wednesday. I had a whole list of things I wanted to buy in my mind that I had told myself to wait for until pay day at least. So far, I’ve only ordered one thing off the list and that’s something I’ll need for a staff’s birthday next week. Sadly, I haven’t received it yet and have no way of tracking it down.

8. I am grateful I was able to get through a few intense days full of emotional, visual and bodily flashbacks thanks to the support of some trusted staff. I am grateful these few staff are still there and, though no-one can predict the future, they don’t intend on leaving.

9. I am grateful for my PRN quetiapine. It helped me calm down on Tuesday, when I was having a particularly rough evening.

10. I am grateful for my journaling app, Day One. I picked it up again and finally figured out how to use tags properly in it. I also transferred a template from Diarium, the other journaling app I’d been using. One of the good points of Diarium is that it has its templates available in other languages than English, but other than that, I think I prefer Day One after all. I am really hoping I can make journaling a habit again.

What have you been grateful for?

Ten Things I Love About Spring

Hi everyone. It’s the first day of spring, so what better day than today to share my favorite things about spring? Granted, I didn’t come up with this idea myself, but found it in a list of journaling prompts. Here goes.

1. The flowers. Yesterday, I came across a spring snowflake (Leucojum vernum). I love the many other spring flowers, including daffodils, hyacinths, crocuses, etc.

Spring Snowflake

2. The sunshine. When it’s sunny on a spring day, it’s not so sunny that I will get very easily sunburned. Not that I get sunburned easily anyway, and I do make sure to use a facial cream with sunscreen when going out in spring too. However, I really like the spring sunshine more than winter’s or summer’s sunshine.

3. The temperatures. This week, we get really great spring weather, with temperatures rising to about 18°C. I love this. It usually gets like this even more often in April and May and may even get warmer, which I like more. My ideal daytime temperature is about 22°C.

4. The birdsong. I really love to hear the birds sing in spring! I of course can listen to birdsong on Spotify too, but the real thing is much better.

5. My mood usually being better. I know that spring fatigue is a form of seasonal affective disorder, but I don’t suffer from it. In fact, my mood tends to improve in spring.

6. The smells. Of course, this is related to the flowers, as most spring-related scents are floral. I really love the smell of hyacinths in particular.

7. The fact that sunset is still early enough that I can go outside close to it to take pictures. I recently learned that taking pictures outdoors at midday will make the pictures look bad due to overexposure to sunlight, so I instead decided to go out to take pictures closer to sunset. (Sunrise, as regular readers of my blog will know, is way too early for my liking even in the middle of winter.) Now that it’s early spring, the sun sets at around 6:45PM, but when daylight saving time sets in this Sunday, that will be an hour later. In the middle of summer, I won’t be able to go out close to sunset because my one-on-one will have left, but in spring, I will still be able to.

8. Daylight saving time. This means longer days (for me). I already talked about the advantages of it for photography, but it also means I can have the curtains open longer and get daylight in.

9. Baby animals being born. And the cows at the nearby farm being released from their barn. It’s awesoome to watch farm animals in spring.

10. Extra money in May. For whatever weird reason, people on disability benefits, like those in regular employment, get holiday pay. This is deposited into my bank account in May. I usually have something in mind to spend it on (other than a vacation) months in advance. This year, I’m still undecided, but I really look forward to it.

What are your favorite things about spring?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (March 18, 2022)

Hi everyone. I’ve been neglecting my blog a bit as other creative passions take over. I really need to remedy that. Today, I’m once again late writing a post, as it’s nearly 9PM. At least I’m writing something. I’m joining in with #WeekendCoffeeShare. As you can imagine, it’s rather late for coffee for my liking, but I bet we still got soft drinks in the fridge. I allowed myself a Dubbelfrisss this evening. I normally skip them, as they’re not 100% sugar-free and I’d rather have an extra piece of candy than this. Today though, I gave myself permission for both some licorice and the Dubbelfrisss. Anyway, Dubbelfrisss is only slightly carbonated, but we might have coke too or even alcohol-free beer (alcohol isn’t allowed here). Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I had a good appt with my psychiatric nurse practitioner on Monday. Last week Friday, I had had a panic attack. It was related to the war in Ukraine and fear of what might happen, which I realized at my appt is different from a flashback to a traumatic experience I really did go through in the past. Not that it really mattered in that moment, as the feeling was just as overwhelming.

I also linked the panic attack to the staff who had triggered me and, since this staff is new, I felt really anxious about the whole situation of allowing him to work with me one-on-one. Thankfully, once it got to this point, we were able to talk through the issue and let it go that way. And indeed, this staff’s first time working one-on-one with me went pretty well if you ask me.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that, on Wednesday, I cooked the best chicken pilav! I did most of the cutting of the vegetables myself (the chicken was pre-cut) and also most of the cooking. We had my favorite rice with the pilav too!

Chicken Pilav

If we were having coffee, I’d also tell you that I’ve been taking more flower photos. I finally started actually snapping the pictures myself most of the time rather than letting my staff do most of the actual photographing. Of course, my staff still have to tell me where to point the camera. It’s cool that I can make use of my knowledge of photography, gathered from photography blogs of course, to help the staff figure out ways to help me take better pictures.

I’ve also been running a few of my photos through a plant identification app called PictureThis. The one below is a Chaenomeles Japonica.

Chaenomeles Japonica

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d tell you that yesterday, I decided semi-impulsively to go to Action to try to find macrame cords. Obviously, experienced macrame artists would say I should get high-quality cords, but I’m just trying to get a hang on the knots. The lark’s head knot, square knot and spiral knot are relatively doable after some practice, but I keep getting stuck on the half hitch knot (and don’t even get me started on its variations). I mean, when I saw a beginner tutorial with pictures, it sounded a lot easier than I thought it should be. That tutorial was doing the half hitch knot with just two cords, which all other tutorials show isn’t possible. I’m pretty sure I spent some significant time tying just plain ordinary “old bitch knots”, as my husband would likely call them.

With respect to my shopping spree at Action, I also ended up buying a lot of felt stickers that I now don’t know what to use them for, a new organizing box that I may not even be able to use yet, deodorant, butterscotch candies and probably more. I spent less than €10, but that’s also because my staff paid for the macrame cord and the felt stickers from day center budget.

How have you been?

Things That Made Me Smile (March 14, 2022) #WeeklySmile

Hi all. I’m joining the Weekly Smile today. I don’t promise this will be a weekly feature, of course, but the hashtag is #WeeklySmile. I could really use a bit of cheer today, so I’m going to share some little things that gave me joy lately. Hopefully writing about them will make me smile now too.

First up are flowers once again. Last Thursday as well as yesterday, I went for a walk and took some pictures of flowers I came across on my way. The below picture is of an anemone we came across yesterday. We initially called it a giant crocus, but I found out it’s an anemone by running the picture through some plant identification apps.

That’s my second little joy: I just love learning about all sorts of different plants and running my pictures through identification apps. I haven’t yet found the perfect plant identification app after having tried out several, but that’s okay.

Finally, a thing that’s been making me smile for days: discovering an app that will allow me (with some help) to make collages and mosaics with my photos. The app is called PhotoGrid and, though some parts of the app are free, I decided to try out the premium membership right away and didn’t cancel when my trial period (which admittedly is only three days) was over. The below collage, my staff and I made with most of the photos we’d taken while going for a walk on Thursday. I’m linking this post to Mosaic Monday. Hope I did it right.

One of my staff later suggested I use this collage as my cover photo on Facebook, so I did. I had never had a cover photo before.

It may seem weird that I, being blind, like photography. However, with the image description tools, including now the plant identification apps, on my phone, I think it’s a great way of getting acquainted with my surroundings.

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.

Things That Made Me Smile (July 26, 2021) #WeeklySmile

Hi all on this summerly Monday. We had a thunderstorm yesterday early evening and are expected to get more later this evening. However, right now it’s still pretty sunny and warm outside.

Today, I am joining in with The Weekly Smile. I am also joining in with Cee’s Flower of the Day, since my smiles involve flowers.

First, over the past week or two, whenever I returned from a walk with my day activities staff, I always smelled lavender close by my care home. I don’t care for the smell of lavender in perfumery, although in essential oil blends it’s great. The actual flower smells awesome too! Today, I finally took my phone with me on my walk so that we could take a picture of the plant.

Lavender

Then, a few days ago, a staff pointed out a huge bush of geraniums near the day center. I still remember the characteristic red color from when I still had some vision and I love it. Its smell though is one of my least favorites, including in essential oils. This morning, I went out and actually touched the bush and indeed, it’s huge!

Geraniums

Generally, the presence of nature really makes me smile. It’s no wonder that, when asked what I miss most about being unable to see, I generally reply the ability to appreciate the beautiful sights of nature. However, I am still able to hear and feel and smell the beauty of nature!

What made you smile this past week?