#WeekendCoffeeShare (July 23, 2022)

Hello everyone on this fourth Saturday of July. I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare today. It’s been a few weeks. Let me share what’s been going on.

If we were having coffee, I’d ask how your weather is. We haven’t had an official heatwave here, as we had only three days of daytime high temps above 25°C. Then again, on Tuesday, the temperature reached 39°C. That’s not a record, for your information: the Netherlands’ official all-time heat record was reached three years ago and it was almost 41°C.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that, on Monday, I took a trip into town with my staff. I had to get some toiletries and new baby wipes (which I use for cleaning my claying supplies). I also went into Action, a discount store, actually looking for origami paper. I didn’t find any, but did buy some clear stamps, a stamping pad, blank cards and alcohol ink. As it turns out, I will most likely only be able to use the alcohol ink for my clay, and I’m not 100% sure how, as it contains glitter. I mean, that may damage my pasta machine rollers, so I may need to only roll by hand when I’ve used this alcohol ink. I might find other uses for the other supplies. I was thinking of starting up simple card making again. Now my past self is laughing and telling me “No!” in a firm voice at the same time, but I’ve already decided not to invest any more money into it. If I can’t do this at all, that’s €4,95 wasted, but some people at the day center may still be able to use my supplies.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I’ve been loving coming up with some ideas for my polymer clay. I’ve also been watching a lot of YouTube tutorials. I’m still not actually crafting much, but that will hopefully change soon, as I managed to blend three different intensities of the same color green that I intend to use for a unicorn. Let’s hope this unicorn turns out great!

If we were having coffee, I would share that I really need to mind my food plan again soon. I am still just overweight as opposed to obese, but I do need to watch out that my weight isn’t creeping back up. On Monday though, my sister and her family will be here for a belated birthday visit and we’re going to order pizza I think. That will be the fourth time in a month that I’m either eating at a restaurant or ordering takeout. After that, I’ll seriously watch my diet. I’m already trying to make sure I’m not having too many treats. For instance, yesterday I was hungry mid-afternoon and decided to have some carrots rather than going for my licorice. I think that counts for something.

If we were having coffee, I would resist the urge to rant about my appointment with my psychiatric nurse practitioner and the care facility’s behavior specialist on Tuesday. It was really frustrating, but I’m not ready to share the details. I would instead refill your cups and ask you how you are.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (June 18, 2022)

Hi everyone and welcome to my post for this week’s #WeekendCoffeeShare. I hope you’re well. I’m about to have my afternoon coffee, so am going to take a break in the middle of this post to drink that. I also still have herbal tea, water and I do now in fact have my fruit infusion bottle in the fridge. It has cucumber in it. I’d recommend that either alone or in addition to coffee, as it’s quite hot here. It’s only about 27°C right now, but I’m sweating profusely. Anyway, let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I would start by saying that this week was okay. Like I shared on Monday, I went to look at my assigned staff’s pet hedgehog. That was fun and helped me keep a somewhat positive attitude all through the week, despite feeling a bit meh.

If we were having coffee, I would also share that I was successful at being more physically active over this week. I went on the elliptical Wednesday and Friday, both for a little over ten minutes. I also took some walks. Yesterday, it was even hotter than it was today, so I only took a few short walks around the day center.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you all about my dietitian’s appointment yesterday. I am experiencing a slight slip-up with respect to purging behaviors, but it’s not related to binge eating per se. That didn’t make it not worrisome, the dietitian said, but at least it means my bulimia isn’t coming back. Overall, she complimented me on how I’m doing with respect to being able to follow my food plan but also being able to deviate from it in moderation at times. For example, I bought a bag of licorice last week and am having a few pieces of licorice a day most days. That way, right now, I still have half the bag left, while a few years ago I’d consume the whole bag within half an hour or less.

The dietitian also gave me some advice about planning for when I go out to eat for my birthday next week. For example, she recommended I eat a small serving of fruit at like 4PM to prevent me feeling like I’m starving by the time we’re at the restaurant at 6PM. I am not really sure I feel like following her advice though and I’m not sure that’s my eating disorder talking or just my wish to have a good time and not be minding my diet for once.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I am really happy that today we don’t have temp workers at the home at all. Yesterday we did have one and he was assigned to work my one-on-one shift. I really wasn’t pleased to say the least. I don’t do well with male staff to begin with and this was someone I didn’t know at all. I am honestly quite angry that the staff felt like assigning him my shift, because they know how much I struggled with the one regular male staff doing my one-on-one shifts. I feel like honestly my boundaries are being tested a lot lately and, with how clear the manager was that this was the way things worked, I’m not sure I’m able to assert myself.

If we were having coffee, lastly I would share that I’m still working on the perfect pair of polymer clay earrings. It seems baking directly on the ceramic tile is for now the way to go. Thankfully, some people gave me som advice on how to prevent air bubbles being trapped between the tile and the clay, which would create little (or not so little) dents in my clay. If I baked on paper, I would not get those, but my earrings would consistently get curved, which I think is worse than the small dents I got now that I followed the experts’ advice.

I haven’t turned my earring pieces into actual earrings yet, because the ones I decided to keep look better with silver than gold. I would like to report though that I am so grateful, because a staff’s daughter had some silver-colored earring hooks that she wasn’t using and that she was happy to gift to me. How nice!

How have you been?

Five of My Favorite “Cheat” Foods #5Things

Hi everyone. Today I’m participating in the #5Things challenge, for which the topic today is “cheat day” foods. Now I don’t really do cheat days. I do usually have more high-calorie foods on weekends than week days, just because it’s easier to keep track that way, but there’s not a single day when I completely indulge in whatever I want. I have a history of disordered eating, including binges, but I am determined I never want to return to those days.

I also don’t believe in “good” or “bad” foods. Rather, I believe in healthy and less healthful habits. I had it written on my food plan, for this reason, that no food is completely forbidden. Else, less familiar with me staff might say that a food isn’t on my food plan so I can’t have it.

Anyway, today I’m listing five of my favorite foods to have on a day when I’m less conscious of my diet.

1. Pizza. Every once in a while, when I go to my husband’s and my house in Lobith, my husband will drive by Domino’s on our way from picking me up at the care facility. I love their pizzas. I also love the pizzas from my neighborhood Italian restaurant. Both are a definite nine out of ten on the deliciousness scale. (For those visiting from #5Things, my dietitian a few weeks ago explained that, if I don’t give a “cheat” food an eight out of ten or above on how much I love it, I may consider not eating it at all.)

2. Pringles. These are by far my favorite chips and they too score at least a nine out of ten. My care home recently ordered like a whole box full of Pringles cans at the supermarket because they were on sale. Yum!

3. Cheese twists. These are sticks made of puff pastry with cheese flavor. My husband buys them at the supermarket almost every time I go to Lobith.

4. Licorice. When I still suffered with disordered eating, I would often buy a bag of licorice multiple times a week and consume the whole thing within ten to twenty minutes. Now, I usually have a bag of licorice in my locked kitchen cupboard. The staff aren’t allowed to actually prohibit me from eating the candies, but the fact that they’re locked away does keep me from being tempted too quickly. I usually have three or four candies a day at most.

5. French fries. I don’t have these often anymore, as when we do get takeout food here at the care facility, it’s usually Chinese or Italian because it’s easier to blend for those who have difficulty eating solids. However, I truly love love love good fries! There’s a snack corner here in town who put “special” orange spices over their fries and they’re delicious. (I bet it’s just paprika, but they refuse to disclose their “secret recipe”, even though it’s public knowledge that they don’t mix their own spices.) I also love some spicy snacks to go with my fries. Here in the Netherlands, there’s one called a mexicano, which I think is particularly tasty.

What are your favorite “cheat” foods?

Ways in Which My Life Has Improved Over the Past Few Months

Lately, as I’ve been recovering from COVID and as the news of the war in Ukraine has been intensely scaring me, I’ve focused more than I would like to on how my life has seemed to have spiraled out of control. Staff changes at my care home also contribute to my feeling of insecurity. This combined leads me to feel that I am worse off than I was a few months ago and getting worse by the day. For this reason, a prompt that I came across in one of my journal writing books, is particularly compelling to me right now. It asks me to describe in what ways my life has improved over the past couple of months. Here goes.

1. I sleep better. I am pretty sure this isn’t entirely due to the lingering effects of COVID, though they do play a role. I am pretty sure the new medication, pregabalin (Lyrica), also helps. I feel a lot more rested when waking up, have fewer nightmares, etc.

2. I am less anxious. Though I still experience night-time anxiety, it has significantly decreased particularly over the past couple of weeks. I am pretty sure this is thanks to the pregabalin too.

3. I have been able to be more creative. I have truly discovered my artsy side over the past couple of months. I do still stay somewhat in my comfort zone, but am exploring ways to step outside of it just a little bit too.

4. I have started on a healthier food plan. This is hard, but it is more doable than I initially expected it’d be. Though I let things go a little when I had COVID, I only gained like 0.2kg from before I got sick. Overall, I’m not disappointed.

5. I have developed some more trust in some of my staff. This is still fragile and it is even more so with the staff changes. For this reason, we have let go of the word “trust” for the most part when referring to my relation to the staff and called it “acceptance”. I feel proud of myself for admitting that I am beginning to trust a couple of staff members rather than just accept them.

Though some of these things seem to be outside of my control, they really aren’t. I mean, I have to thank the pregabalin for my decreased anxiety, but I also do practise relatively good self-care by sleeping with my music pillow when stressed, for instance. I think, by the way, that it helps to hold the view that, though my life isn’t in my hands, my choices are within my control.

How has your life improved over the past couple of months?

Joy in February

Last month, I shared my one word for 2022: JOY. Today, I want to share an update on how I’ve been doing with this one word. I am joining the Word of the Year link-up, which I didn’t join in with last month (because I didn’t see it on time to join in), as well as Lisa’s One Word linky.

Overall, I’ve been doing pretty well remembering my word for the year and seeking joy in the ordinary moments. I didn’t experience any mind-blowingly delightful moments, but I did enjoy the everyday.

In particular, what I’m happy about, is that I found joy in the treats I could have every now and again now that I’m on a healthy food plan and don’t allow myself to indulge in whatever I please. Now that I have COVID, I’ve ditched the diet and am more or less allowing myself to eat what I want, but I’m still not overeating, thankfully. I mean, I have a bag of licorice on my table (under the guise of it helping with sore throat, which I don’t even have right now), which I could’ve eaten all in one sitting had I not been mindful. Instead, I am truly savoring each sweet.

I also enjoyed my creative hobbies quite a bit over the past month. Though in this respect, I still look to improve myself, I can still find joy in the mere act of creating. Earlier this week, I found intense joy in my first polymer clay color mixing experiment.

Because I sometimes struggle to find the energy to start “larger” activities such as polymer clay, I also asked my day activities staff about some easier to get started activities. She brought me a simple game with a board and insertable small pieces in different colors. I have been enjoying doing this activity with my staff or alone.

Lastly, I didn’t see my husband a lot over the past month, but I did enjoy speaking to him on the phone and texting him everyday. I obviously won’t say that seeing him less made me appreciate his visits more, as I wish we could have seen each other each week. However, it definitely was a lesson in enjoying the ordinary and delighting in the extraordinary.

Finally, both my husband and mother-in-law have been very sympathetic now that they know I have COVID. I am truly grateful for both of their thoughtful text messages. I also was positively surprised to get a call from my sister as soon as I posted about my positive COVID test on Facebook early Wednesday morning. You might think that the fact that I was surprised, means I view her negatively, as I assume most people expect their family to sympathize when they have COVID. While I admit this is in part true, I also think I shouldn’t take sympathy for granted.

I Am Overweight!

Hi everyone. Today I’m joining Di of Pensitivity101 for Saturday Swapit, a weekly weight loss meme. I am not intending for this to become a weekly feature, but, because I had a dietitian’s appointment yesterday, I wanted to share some things I learned.

First though, I have a major win to share: when stepping on the scale yesterday, it told me I’m now 70.1kg. This means I’ve crossed the line back from obese to just plain overweight! I did kind of trivialize the achievement by saying it’s the absolute minimum I had to lose to cross this line and hence I may be back into the obese category next week. That may be so, but I did lose 1.7kg since starting on my food plan five weeks ago. That may not sound like much, but I’d rather lose the weight slowly and keep it off than lose more weight only to gain it all back and then some.

Like I said, I’m doing my healthy eating plan under a dietitian’s supervision. The main goal is not weight loss, but relative mental stability with respect to food and a healthy eating structure. You see, I have a history of bulimic tendencies and had a slip-up with respect to purging just before Christmas. Every opportunity to eat still leads to inner conflict.

With respect to this, the dietitian taught me about my negative and positive voices: the healthy-eating voice vs. the bulimic voice. Even if you’re not bulimic, you’ll likely recognize some of the disordered things the negative voice is telling me, such as that, if you’ve eaten a “bad” food, now the day’s gone to waste and you can just as easily call it a cheat day and binge eat whatever you want. The reality is, though, each healthy food choice will ultimately contribute to your weight loss (or other healthy lifestyle goal).

Another thought is that you have to make up for one small treat by restricting on another food. The idea that this thought is unhealthy, may contradict the previous one, but, in reality, it’s all about balance. If you’ve had one small treat that’s not on your food plan in the morning, it doesn’t mean the day’s gone to waste, but it doesn’t mean you need to be restricting or making up for it later in the day either. It doesn’t mean you can have said treat each and every day, of course. Your food plan is there for a reason, after all.

Another thing I asked the dietitian about is late evening snacking. I have a serving of fruit on my food plan in the evening. My staff felt that, for practical reasons, it’d be best if they’d offer it to me at 9:15PM. I countered that, since this is pretty close to my bedtime, I wouldn’t burn it off then. Thankfully, the dietitian was able to reassure me that people’s digestion works 24 hours a day. It’s a myth that late evening snacking causes you not to burn off the calories you consume!

Lovin’ Lately (February 11, 2022)

Hi everyone on this cold Friday evening. It’s near freezing point here, but it’s also been sunny out today. Today, I’m going to share some things I’ve loved lately. Here goes.

1. Chalk pastels. I really wanted to buy these at Action (the budget store) last week when going there with my staff, but they didn’t have them. I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have been good quality either, so I eventually decided to buy a set of 36 chalk pastels off Bol.com. The below heart, I did with polymer clay and colored with red and purple chalk pastels.

2. Paint brushes. I did get those at Action and they’re pretty good. I can use them for applying acrylic paint (which I also bought), Fimo liquid, varnish, etc. to my polymer clay.

3. New colors of polymer clay. I ordered five packets of polymer clay at my favorite Fimo shop, three of which I already had a little of. The new-to-me colors were Chocolate and Jade. I particularly think I love the color Jade. Of course, being that I am totally blind now, I may remember the color all wrong from the days I owned a piece of jade and the color of polymer clay may not look like the gemstone at all. However, I like to let my imagination run wild.

4. Tuna. Last week, my husband couldn’t visit me due to the storm. This meant we wouldn’t be going to Subway to get lunch either. To give me something to make up for it, my assigned staff ordered canned tuna from the supermarket to be delivered on Tuesday. I ate half the can on my bread on Wednesday and the other half on Thursday. At first, I thought I was going way overboard with my food plan, but the dietitian today reassured me that I wasn’t especially since it was tuna in water, not olive oil or the like.

5. Quick and hassle-free delivery of all my recent orders. I ordered the chalk pastels on Saturday and, thanks to being a Select member to Bol.com, got free next-day delivery, including on Sundays. I ordered the polymer clays on Monday late afternoon and received them Tuesday. I also ordered a varnish for my polymer clay with a new-to-me store, which also delivered the next day.

One thing I’m still waiting for, is a CD I ordered for my father’s birthday back last month. It had to come out of the UK and I just got confirmation yesterday that it’d arrived in the Netherlands, but I had to pay a customs clearance fee. Thankfully, the process of paying this fee was very doable via the postal service website.

What are some things you’ve loved lately?

I’m linking up with Link-Up on the Edge #282.

Gratitude List (February 5, 2022) #TToT

Hi everyone on this Saturday evening. I’m doing a gratitude list again. I don’t promise I’ll have time for another post for #Write28Days, but I’ll try. As usual, with this post, I am joining in with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT). Here goes.

1. I am grateful for a good psychiatrist’s appt on Tuesday. I went to the mental health outpatient clinic to meet my nurse practitioner face-to-face and we talked to the psychiatrist via the eHealth system, as she was working from home. I got a new medication, which should hopefully help reduce my anxiety.

2. I am grateful I got a license code for the latest JAWS, my screen reader. I don’t know how the screen reader company managed to arrange for it so quickly, as I haven’t seen the bill in my health insurance app yet, but oh well.

3. I am grateful WordPress still provides the classic editor as an option. The latest JAWS does work with the block editor, so I tried that for a few days, but I kept accidentally deleting random paragraph blocks and overall, I consider it still quite a cumbersome editor.

4. I am grateful I have been able to be crafty again. My flower fairy or whatever it was, didn’t turn out as good as I’d liked. Besides, in the tutorial, they did the body in light flesh color, same as the head, so it looks like the thingy is naked. For this reason, I’m not going to show it on my blog in case I offend anyone.

I did create a Disney princess figurine out of polymer clay on Thursday. Most staff immediately guessed correctly who it was when looking at her: Elsa from Frozen. Since it’s quite small (only about 3cm high), I wasn’t able to refine her facial features or whatever. That’s okay though.

Polymer Clay Elsa from Frozen

5. I am grateful for a trip to Action, a budget store, in a town about a 20-minute drive away on Friday. We do have an Action here in Raalte too, but the one in that town was larger or so my staff said. I bought acrylic paint to paint details like eyes on my polymer clay creations, thin paintbrushes to use with the acrylic paint or with glitters or Fimo liquid, a utility knife and some other things. I was looking for soft pastels too, since the site said they sell them, but apparently this particular store didn’t have them in stock.

6. I am grateful for decent sleep most nights this week. I slept really poorly on Wednesday, but the other nights, I slept okay.

7. I am grateful to have been accepted into some lovely Christian E-mail groups. I am grateful for the kind people on there and for the fact that they don’t judge me for not living with my husband, which I know isn’t a traditional Christian marriage setup.

8. I am grateful I have been able to blog consistently for a few days now. I am not sure how long I’ll be able to keep it up, but we’ll just have to see.

9. I am grateful I am able to make relatively healthy food choices on days even when I did have a “bad” food for lunch for example. I mean, I don’t do “cheat days” where I ditch the food plan altogether and that’s good. Every healthy food choice I make contributes to my ultimate goal of a healthier lifestyle.

10. I am grateful for no side effects from the new medication so far. I was supposed to get it at 5PM this evening, but due to some mistake the pharmacy made, it got in the system for 8AM. The staff gave it to me this morning and I took it without concern. I am so glad we found out before the evening staff gave me an extra dose.

What are you grateful for?

Gratitude List (January 28, 2022) #TToT

Hi everyone. I have been doing my gratitude posts on Saturday lately, but today I feel in the mood for one and I don’t care that it’s Friday. Since the Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT) linky is live already, I’m joining in with it. Here goes.

1. I am grateful for Chinese takeout on Sunday. It was delicious! Originally, the staff had been planning on cooking noodles herself, but then due to another staff contracting COVID, shifts got moved around. The staff who would be cooking the noodles, had ordered shoarma to go with the noodles, which was a combination neihter me nor the staff who was now going to cook liked. In the end, we decided to put the shoarma in the freezer and get Chinese takeout.

2. I am grateful my husband, who got ill with the flu last week, is better again. He tested negative for COVID, thankfully, and was able to return to work on Tuesday.

3. I am grateful a fellow client, who went into hospital earlier in the week, was able to come home again.

4. I am grateful for fried fish for lunch on Tuesday. Originally, I felt bad about doing something that wasn’t on my food plan twice in one week, but I thoroughly enjoyed it anyway. In addition, thankfully, the dietitian reassured me that this is completely within reason.

5. I am grateful I lost 1kg over the past week and have only 0.2kg to lose to cross the border from obese to overweight. I am also grateful that the dietitian isn’t expecting me to lose weight quickly. Furthermore, once I am in the overweight category, the main goal is to prevent weight gain really.

6. I am grateful for the support of my assigned staff. Last Wednesday night, I hardly slept at all and I sent her an E-mail in the middle of the night. The next morning, even though she hadn’t read my E-mail yet, she woke me up despite actually not being my staff for that morning. We had a very good talk.

7. I am grateful for the support of my nurse practitioner. He doesn’t really know what will help me in the way of medication or whatever yet, now that we’ve more or less concluded that the topiramate isn’t as effective as we’d hoped. However, he’s enlisting the help of the psychiatrist.

8. I am grateful I finished my first handmade polymer clay necklace in time to give it to a fellow client in the care home downstairs from mine for her birthday today. It took me over a month of hard work, but I am so proud of myself for finishing it! I am also grateful she was very happy with it.

9. I am grateful for an extra weighted blanket when I feel very anxious. I always use a blanket filled with sand-like granules when sleeping, but when I feel very anxious, I can add a ball-filled blanket on top of it for extra deep pressure.

10. I am grateful I was able to solve at least one of the problems the most recent iOS update was causing with VoiceOver on my iPhone. Since updating, VoiceOver’s speech prefaced every character I typed by “Underscore”. This turned out to be due to a setting that had been switched by the update or something. Unfortunately, some problems, like Braille display sluggishness, persist.

What have you been grateful for?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (January 21, 2022)

Hi everyone on this late Friday evening. I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare, even though it’s a bit late for coffee here. I am going to grab a glass of water and some fruit in a bit, so if you’d like a soft drink or a glass of water too, you can have one. Let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, first I’d moan about the cold weather some more. Boy, do I hate winter! Several staff have been trying to coax me into going on walks because it was supposed to be sunny and nice outside. Then I’d invariably reply: “It’s 3°C outside too, brrr.” Usually, the air would become cloudier soon enough and we’d get rain.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that, probably due to my lack of exercise, I didn’t lose weight over the past week even though I stuck to my healthy food plan pretty well. That is, I didn’t feel as though I was just eating carrots and lettuce all week, so maybe I accidentally sneaked in some extras I shouldn’t have had. For example, I am allowed 225ml of yogurt or 200ml of quark with some muesli for breakfast. On Wednesday, my staff poured half the 500ml can of quark into my bowl. Now quark contains only about 50 calories per 100ml, so that didn’t really make a huge difference on its own. However, given that I or my staff may’ve made other such slightly less healthy food choices over the week and I also hardly got my butt off the chair, this combined caused me to maintain. At least I didn’t gain any weight either.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I went to the dentist on Wednesday. Thankfully, other than slightly inflamed gums, everything was fine. I was pretty sure I’d be diagnosed with gum disease and have to be seen by the oral hygienist. Apparently not so. I was sent on my way with instructions for better teeth-brushing and flossing and an appt with the prevention assistant in February.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I texted with my sister this evening. I can’t remember whether I shared before that she’s pregnant again. She’s expecting another girl in May. So far, all seems to be going as it should be. My (other) niece (other than the bump, I mean) is doing okay too. I mentioned in August that she was diagnosed with hip dysplasia. After surgery in September and a cast for several months, she’s now doing pretty well again.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that my husband is off work with the flu. He tested negative for COVID, but thankfully he wasn’t so crazy as to go back into work as soon as he got the negative test result. Back in early 2020, before COVID was known outside of China, he did go to work as a truck driver while sick with the flu. I am glad he doesn’t have COVID, of course, but regardless I’m hoping he’ll feel better soon.

How have you been?