The Wednesday HodgePodge (April 26, 2023)

Hi everyone. It’s been a few weeks since I joined in with this meme, but today’s questions for the Wednesday HodgePodge appeal to me. Here goes.

1. April 26th is National Audubon Day, honoring John James Audubon, the French-American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter known for his detailed study and illustration of birds in their natural habitats. Do you have a bird feeder? Any birds in your home decor? Have you ever owned a pet bird? What’s your favorite bird?
I am pretty sure there’s a bird feeder on my terrace, but I didn’t place it there. It was here from before I moved to my current care home and I don’t place bird food in it either.

I don’t have any birds in my home decor, though I do like birds. I’ve never owned a bird as a pet, though one of my fellow residents does currently.

My favorite bird? My first thought goes to the blackbird. I am not really sure why though, as truthfully black isn’t even my favorite color anymore (and I have no idea whether blackbirds are actually black). I do like its sound though.

2. What’s something you took to “like a duck to water”?
Blogging for sure.

3. Empty nest, nest egg, proud as a peacock, free as a bird, birds of a feather flock together, or the early bird catches the worm…choose one and tell us how it currently applies to your life.
I’ll go with “empty nest”, even though none of these expressions really apply to me. I mean, I had to Google “nest egg”, but that’s unrelated to my life too. As a childfree person, I don’t think “empty nest” applies to me either, as I never even had eggs or young in the nest, but oh well. I do feel lonely and bored with not living with my family.

4. Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds…your favorite seed and a favorite food or dish made with that seed or topped with that seed? Have you tried all the seeds on the list? Any you don’t care for?
Yes, tried all of them and love them all. My favorite are chia seeds and I use them in my overnight oats as well as in my smoothies. I also used to always buy poppy seed bread when I lived at the independence training home (basically regular bread with poppy seeds on its crust).

5. Something in the past week that made you “happy as a lark”?
Nothing really. I have been quite depressed lately, but the visits from my mother-in-law yesterday and my husband on Sunday were a welcome distraction.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
I’m off to try out the giant trampoline here at the institution in about half an hour. That hasn’t yet made me happy, but it’s definitely something I’m looking forward to. The physical therapist has to go with me to see how I do it, but he’s hoping it will help me loosen up my muscles in my back.

The Wednesday HodgePodge (April 12, 2023)

Hi everyone. I’m joining the Wednesday HodgePodge yet again. Here are Joyce’s questions and my answers.

1. April 13th is National Scrabble Day…are you a fan? Do you enjoy word games in general? What’s an eight letter word that tells us something about your life currently?
I don’t like Scrabble, because eventually the board becomes too crowded for me to understand. I do love other word games. There was a game I used to enjoy on the iPhone called 7 Little Words. That is, until they introduced a special “screen reader mode” that was just slightly less inaccessible than the rest of the game had become from then on.

An eight-letter word that says something about my life… clueless. I’ll leave it at that.

2. Do you have a junk drawer? Is it full? Do you know what’s in it? What’s in it?
Not really. Oh wait, the upper drawer in my desk probably counts, as it does have lots of miscellaneous stuff in it, particularly parts that belong to my various gadgets, such as my original Apple Watch wristband (well, only the lengthening half of it, as I recently discovered). I do know of most things in it, but not everything.

3. When does time pass quickly for you? When does it pass slowly?
It passes quickly when I’m engrossed in writing a blog post or in a good book or especially when crafting. Slowly when I am waiting on something.

4. These eight vegetables are in season during spring-asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, collard greens, garlic, herbs. What’s your favorite? Any on the list you refuse to eat? Last one on the list you ate?
Wasn’t this a question last year too? Anyway, my favorite is broccoli. There aren’t any on the list I refuse to eat altogether, but I really don’t like celery. The last one of these I ate was a carrot this afternoon with my lunch.

5. What’s the oldest thing you own? Tell us about it.
I don’t think I own anything old, so I’ll have to guess either my stuffed whale which I’ve had since I was a baby or my desk. Though I’ve owned my desk for only like 17 years, it’s secondhand.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
Thank goodness for a bit of sunshine inbetween the rain today. I went for a walk this afternoon and then stopped by the day center cafeteria to have a hot cocoa and a muesli bar, the latter of which my staff treated me to out of the vending machine. Yum!

The Wednesday HodgePodge (April 5, 2023)

Hi everyone. It’s time for the Wednesday HodgePodge once again and I’m giving it a try. Last week, I was scared away by the challenge of writing a limerick. I hope my participating in the hodgepodge today doesn’t mean I won’t have energy left for my #AtoZChallenge post later this evening. We’ll just see.

1. What would you say is the most difficult task when it comes to spring cleaning? Have you completed that task this year? Any plans to get it done?
Uhm, I don’t do spring cleaning or most cleaning at all for that matter, but when I still did my own cleaning back in the independence training home in 2006-2007, I thought windows were the hardest. I tried them exactly once in the 18 months I lived there and the staff agreed it’d be best to hire someone to do those for me. Another task I hated was cleaning out kitchen cupboards. I don’t have those here, but I seriously need to give the cupboards and closets I do have a good wipe down.

2. Your favorite pastel color? Favorite thing you own in a pastel shade?
My favorite pastel color is probably lilac, although I love all pastel colors really. I don’t own any pastels in my clothing as far as I’m aware, but I do own several pastel shades of polymer clay. The one I use most often is pastel aqua Fimo.

3. Do you like ham? Do you fix ham year round or is it mostly just a “holiday food”? Baked ham-ham and eggs-ham and cheese sandwich-scalloped potatoes and ham-Hawaiian pizza….what’s your pleasure?
I don’t really like ham, but it isn’t like I dislike it either. It’s not specifically a holiday food here. My favorite food that includes ham would be a Hawaiian pizza.

4. Do you celebrate Easter? What did Easter look like when you were a kid? What are your plans for Easter this year?
I don’t celebrate Easter. I mean, we might have some treats here at the care home and I’ve heard the living room was decorated for it, but it’s not like I go to church. Never been, in fact. I grew up atheist, so while we’d paint eggs and go on an Easter egg hunt, the story of Jesus’ resurrection wasn’t really familiar to me.

5. Something that makes you feel hopeful amidst all the chaos and confusion this world brings?
I am not sure how to answer this question, as I realize most hodgepodge’ers are Christians and I am not. I am not even sure what I do believe in. I mean, I am certainly not an atheist, but I have let go of my belief in the God of the Bible. Now is not the time for me to go into my reasons why, as I don’t want to offend my Christian fellow hodgepodge’ers.

However, to answer the question, I do believe that, ultimately, things will work out. I sometimes cynically joke that things will work out in 2034, referring in a kind of twisted way to the book by that title that claims World War III will start then. Seriously though, I do believe in some higher power, which I’m not sure yet what to call, by which everything is connected and will ultimately fall into place as it should be.

Other than that, the small joys I experience each day remind me that there’s still hope in the world.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
I’ve been in my current care home for exactly six months today and am hopeful it won’t be much longer, as there have been a lot of crises lately. Today, however, so far, is a pretty good day. Let me focus on that!

The Wednesday HodgePodge (February 22, 2023)

Hi everyone. It’s Wednesday again so I’m joining the Wednesday HodgePodge. Here goes.

1. What do you find is the most boring part of your life at the moment?
There isn’t anything extremely boring about my life, but my life isn’t exciting either. I’d say the thing that makes my life a bit boring is the fact that, due to the way things work at the care home, I can hardly make plans.

2. February 22nd is George Washington’s birthday. You’ll find his face on the US $1 bill. What’s the last thing you bought for roughly $1.00? (.94 €/ .83 £)
I honestly can’t think of anything. I do probably have some cash in my wallet but rarely if ever use it. I also hardly ever go into a store just for something that costs like $1. The closest I could get, when I checked my recent purchases on my bank account, is €1.35 for a box of tissues, but that’s not roughly $1 I’d say.

3. Is it ever okay to tell a “little white lie”? Explain.
It’s never really okay, but it is understandable in some circumstances. Is there a difference? I think so, in that I can see why I or someone else would tell a “little white lie” in some situations, but that doesn’t make it right.

4. What’s the last thing you ‘chopped’? Cherry pie, chocolate covered cherries, a bowl of cherries, cherry vanilla ice cream, maraschino cherries, a cherry lifesaver…your favorite cherry flavored something?
I don’t think I chopped anything recently. Honestly, when I used to cut veggies when cooking myself, given the size I’d leave them, it wasn’t really considered chopping.

I don’t really care for cherry-flavored anything, so give me a bowl of the actual fruit instead.

5. Describe yourself with three words using your first, middle, and last initials.
Okay, this is hard, if for no other reason, then because I don’t have a middle name. My last name does have a prefix though so I’m going with that.
Authentic, Vivid imagination, Weird.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
I have this burning sensation somewhere along my spine that I’ve finally decided I’m going to ask the staff to call my GP about. So far, when I’ve asked the staff to take a look at where I think the sensation originates from, they don’t see anything but I do have a large mole on my back that I’ve been worrying about for months now. A picture of it did get looked at by my old GP back in Raalte and he said it wasn’t of any concern. Let’s hope he’s right and the burning sensation won’t be anything worrisome either.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (February 18, 2023)

Hi everyone. I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare today. It’s 5:35PM as I start writing this post. I probably won’t finish it until past seven, when I’ll have my last cup of coffee for the day. Care to join me? We also have pure green tea (so the kind without flavoring). We also probably have lemon-flavored green tea, but I don’t care for that. I did discover a new kind of green tea, Indian chai green, which I do love. It is loose-leaf tea, which I rarely have, but I think this one is quite good. I can brew you a cup of this too. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, first I’d ask about your weather, as I usually do. Ours has been mixed. Early in the week, we got some sunshine, but later, it’s been rainy. The daytime temperature usually rose to about 12°C.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my mother-in-law, my assigned staff and my support coordinator were supposed to have a talk on Tuesday. I wasn’t invited and the goal of the meeting remained unclear to my mother-in-law until the last moment. Then, it was canceled because my support coordinator was off sick. My mother-in-law took the opportunity to make it clear that, if it’s up to me and her, the possibility of me moving out of this care home should be a serious topic of discussion at a rescheduled meeting. She also pointed out that she’d like the behavior specialist present. This meeting, all going well, has now been set for March 2. I’m not sure whether I’ll be allowed to attend too. I think I should, honestly.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that, instead of coming to the meeting, my mother-in-law paid me an extended visit. We drove to Apeldoorn, like we seem to do regularly, and had lunch. Then we went into several shops to buy some little presents for one of my mother-in-law’s coworkers at her volunteer job, who will be going into hospital soon. It was there that I discovered the Indian chai green tea. We also went into a supermarket so that I could buy rolled oats, raw nuts and some other things. I fully intended to make overnight oats with those rolled oats. I did try, but either used too much milk or did something else wrong, because there was a lot of milk that hadn’t been absorbed by the rolled oats.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I did end up crafting a Valentine’s Day present for my husband after all. It’s a polymer clay heart with an arrow in Premo cadmium red with a Fimo Effect metallic gold edge and the arrow is done in Premo white. I textured the back using a ball of tinfoil, which turned out rather ugly – uglier than it would’ve been with visible air bubbles, which texturing aims to prevent. Oh well, that means I learned something.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I weighed myself on Thursday, as I do each week, and I lost another 0.6kg. I have only 2kg to lose to be at a healthy BMI. I am still slightly worried that some physical health condition is causing me to lose weight, because to be honest I’m not minding my diet much at all and I’m not exercising excessively either. However, I did notice that my Apple Watch estimates my cardio fitness level has increased. It’s still “low”, as it’s always been, but is slowly creeping towards “below-average”.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that I didn’t walk as much as I’d have liked over the past week. I signed up for a challenge with other Apple Watch users in an app called Challenges. The challenge ran from Monday through Friday. I started out doing quite well on Monday, starting with a walk to visit the institution’s petting zoo, which is about a 45-minute walk total. My feet hurt terribly after it. During the rest of the week, I didn’t do so well. I ended up 48th out of 88, which I’m okay with all things considered. I’d have liked to be in the top half.

By the way, while at the petting zoo, I took a picture of the goats. I didn’t get to actually pet them.

How have you been?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (February 11, 2023)

Hi everyone. I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare today. As usual, I already had my last cup of coffee for the day, although I’m earlier writing my post than I was last week. I do have Dubbelfrisss, a slightly carbonated drink. The staff probably also have various kinds of soda. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, firstly I’d ask how your weather has been. Ours has been mostly sunny and not too cold. Today, the daytime temperature even climbed into the double digits and I wore my slightly less thick coat. Is there a word for that in English? In Dutch we call it a “tussenjas”, which literally translates to “in-between coat”.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I’ve been doing lots of walking over the past week. I loved it! I probably didn’t manage as many steps this week as I did last week, but that’s okay.

On one of my walks across institution grounds today, the staff spotted butterflies and flowers painted on the path. I couldn’t resist the urge to take pictures.


If we were having coffee, I would also tell you that I took a trip to the next town to go to Action, a discount store. I originally intended on just buying T-shirts, but ended up buying a lot more, as usual when I visit that store.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my staff have been doing my hair several times this week. Today, my staff did a ponytail. On Thursday, the staff created two braids. I loved that look so much that I asked her to take a picture of me.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I’ve been obsessing over creating my own breakfasts. I’ve been looking into making overnight oats and smoothie bowls. This afternoon, when I told the staff about the idea, we tossed around ideas and finally decided to create a basic smoothie that evening. It just had non-fat vanilla custard, milk and banana in it, but it was delicious.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d announce that my support coordinator invited my mother-in-law and assigned staff to a meeting this coming Tuesday. I have no idea whether I’ve been invited too or what the goal for the meeting should be if I haven’t. I’m still pretty distrustful of this support coordinator and still feel this home isn’t suitable for me, even though the last couple of days have been okay. The reason that I still feel this home isn’t suitable is because it seems to be sheer luck when a day goes okay. I still wish to make it work, but I’ve pretty much lost hope that this home can truly provide what I need.

The Wednesday HodgePodge (February 1, 2023)

Hi all. After a month on hiatus, the Wednesday HodgePodge is back and I’m joining in. Here are Joyce’s questions.

1. Tell us anything you want about your January.
It was such a looong month. Oh, that’s a cliche, but who cares? I shared my monthly reflections yesterday.

2. Lake Superior State University posts a list each year of words they think should be banished from the Queen’s English for misuse, overuse, and/or general uselessness. The 2023 list includes GOAT, inflection point, quiet quitting, gaslighting, moving forward, amazing, Does that make sense?, irregardless, absolutely, and it is what it is.
Which of these words/phrases do you use regularly? Which of these words would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why? Is there a word/phrase not on the list you’d like to add?
I use “absolutely” and “amazing” a lot. I also have a lot of other words I use way too frequently. It’s probably because my written English isn’t as good as I’d like it to be. As for a word or phrase I’d like to see banished most out of this list, it’d be “it is what it is”. That’s just such a useless statement. By the way, I have an inkling “GOAT” when spelled in all-caps means something other than the animal, but I have absolutely (see, here I go again) no idea what it means.

I don’t know which words or phrases I’d add to the list in general, but I’d erase “obviously” and “definitely” from my own personal vocabulary if I could (and replace them with a dozen synonyms). Oh wait, I could do that, but I’m too lazy to use my thesaurus.

3. February 2nd is Groundhog Day. What’s something that feels repeated in your life right now?
Wow, this HodgePodge is a true English lesson! After all, I had no idea what groundhogs even were or what they had to do with repetition. That being said, my days at this point in my life are one giant string of repetition, truthfully. In a way, they’re very unpredictable, but since there is no rhyme or reason to my weeks, the days all roll into each other.

4. What’s a food you love that’s named after a place?
I really don’t know all that many foods named after places. I was going to say “mexicano”, which is a type of rectangular mince snack, but that would be named after the ethnic group. Besides, the mexicano has nothing whatsoever to do with Mexico or Mexican food.

5. What’s the best season of the year to visit your part of the country? Tell us why.
Spring or summer. I live in a part of the Netherlands where the summers can get hotter than, say, in the coastal provinces. However, there’s a lake quite near where I live now, which is good for swimming (we used to go there when my family still lived in Apeldoorn). Spring would also be a good time to take walks around here, I guess, but I haven’t tried that yet as I moved here in the fall.

I wouldn’t recommend visiting the Netherlands during winter at all, as we hardly get snow and, even if we do, we don’t have mountains so it’s no use for skiing.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
My care home’s kitchen renovations are done! They were actually finished nearly a week early. I’m so happy about it, as it means I can finally cure my polymer clay creations in the oven. It also means the living room furniture will be moved back to the actual living room soon rather than all of my fellow clients gathering in the hallway right across from my room. That’s been quite disastrous. Honestly though, I still do want to leave this care home, as the real problems aren’t temporary.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (January 28, 2023)

Hi everyone on this last Saturday of January. I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare today. It’s 9PM here, so I already had my last cup of coffee for the day about two hours ago. I also tasted a new drink I think I like: vitamin water. I am not under the impression that there’s all that many vitamins in it, but who cares? Anyway, let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d start out by asking about your weather. Ours has been cold, with daytime temperatures barely above freezing point. It’s not been raining or snowing though and today in fact it was quite sunny.

If we were having coffee, I would ask how you all are doing. I’m still struggling in my care home. Last week (or the week before, I can’t remember), I hit another low point and my mother-in-law sent an E-mail to the behavior specialist telling her I basically don’t want to stay here. The behavior specialist was going to try to schedule a meeting between me, my mother-in-law, her, my assigned staff and the support coordinator, but I haven’t heard anything so far.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’ve finally been working with polymer clay again. It’s been a while. On Wednesday, I created a bull’s eye cane. That was too frustrating for me and I nearly gave up on polymer clay altogether because of it. Thankfully, in the Dutch polymer clay group as well as an unrelated FB support group, people encouraged me to continue with what I can do well, which is sculpting. This helped me to get moving and create yet another unicorn. Oh well, it’s the same style as all my other unicorns, but I intend to decorate it with Hotfix rhinestones.

I originally intended to go to a store for Hotfix products near here with my mother-in-law on Tuesday. Then someone from the Dutch polymer clay Facebook group offered to send me some samples to try. That’s so kind of her!

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that I haven’t had a healthy dinner all week. The reason is the fact that the care home’s kitchen is being renovated and so we can’t use it at all. The only day I had the option of a healthy dinner was today, but I can’t stand soup and certainly not pea soup. For clarity’s sake, there is a kitchen the staff can use at the day center, but all week except today they for whatever reason chose easy-to-whip-up but unhealthy alternatives such as pizza delivery, microwave pancakes or bread with Russian salad.

How have you been?

Gratitude List (January 21, 2023) #TToT

Hi everyone. I’m once again (or still) struggling a lot. Each time I think I see a glimmer of hope, it gets crushed one way or another and the bottom line is that I’m probably stuck in this dark pit for a while still. For this reason, I thought I’d do a gratitude post once again in order to remind myself there are still positives out there. As usual, I’m joining in with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT).

1. I am grateful for Apfelstrüdel. This is, or so I believe, a German type of baked goods with apple and cinnamon. Last Sunday, my husband and I went to have lunch at La Place, a type of restaurant, and their Apfelstrüdel was on sale. Even though it’s sweet, I decided to have it as my main part of the meal.

2. I am grateful for a trip to Action, a discount store, with my husband on Sunday. I bought cleaning wipes, toothpaste and crocheting supplies.

3. I am grateful my assigned staff is back at work after being on vacation for a couple of weeks.

4. I am grateful for another visit from my mother-in-law on Tuesday. It was good.

5. I am grateful for apples, bananas and blueberries. We didn’t have fruit during most of the week, so on Sunday, I bought apples and bananas when at Aldi with my husband. Then on Tuesday, I bought blueberries. I am grateful that, on Tuesday, my mother-in-law reminded me to buy my own peeling knife. You see, the care home’s kitchen is being reconstructed, so all kitchen supplies are in boxes. Had I not bought the peeling knife, my staff wouldn’t have been able to peel and cut my apples.

6. I am grateful for sleep. Over the past week, most days, I got at least reasonably good sleep.

7. I am grateful my cold, which I’ve had all week, seems to be getting a little better. At least I’m not sneezing like crazy anymore.

8. I am grateful my husband ordered new walking shoes for me, to be delivered to my in-laws today. He isn’t coming by for a visit tomorrow because of my cold symptoms, but will bring them along next week.

9. I am grateful a staff helped me manage the chain stitch of crocheting today. I already had some practice with it before, but it was always hit and miss. I am hoping to learn some more stitches someday once I get confident working with this one.

10. I am grateful for a long walk this afternoon. I am also grateful that, despite having limited energy this morning, I was able to have a relatively good time for most of the day.

What are you grateful for?

Gratitude List (January 7, 2023) #TToT

Hi everyone. I have been struggling a lot lately. I am not the only one in my home – last night, everyone was irritable at least. This among other things caused me a lot of anxiety. To counter these feelings, I’m doing a gratitude list. As usual, I’m joining in with Ten Things of Thankful. Here goes.

1. I am grateful I haven’t caught a cold or the flu (or COVID!) so far. Everyone around me seems to have come down with something. Though cases of coronavirus are on the rise generally too, it seems to be mostly the common cold or flu around here, thankfully.

2. I am grateful I am currently on track with the Bible-in-a-year plan I’m following. Okay, it’s been only a week so far and, though I hope I’ll continue to follow through with it for the entire year, I am not too confident in myself about staying on track. At least I don’t plan on quitting.

3. I am grateful for a visit from my mother-in-law last Tuesday. She initially didn’t plan on visiting this week but thankfully changed her mind because I was already struggling a bit.

4. I am grateful for licorice. I bought some when at the supermarket with my mother-in-law and thankfully put it in my basket in the storage room so that I cannot reach it by myself. For this reason, I still have some left.

5. I am grateful for French fries yesterday. A fellow resident had his birthday, so the staff went out to get us fries and a snack.

6. I am grateful my UTI has gone. Not that I notice any difference in my body’s signals – I wasn’t picking up that I had it and, when I thought I had figured out what its symptoms were, I figured it still wasn’t over. However, I’m glad it’s cleared.

7. I am grateful I was able to teach several staff how to play the card game mau-mau. It was fun.

8. I am grateful for relatively mild weather.

9. I am grateful that, when everyone was irritable and several of my fellow clients were in crisis at night yesterday, the support coordinator stayed in the home for the night. I am grateful that I slept okay’ish in spite of several clients being out of control in the middle of the night.

10. I am grateful a nice staff was my one-on-one staff this evening. I am also grateful another nice staff popped in to say hi every now and again. Lastly, I am grateful that, this evening, my day schedule wasn’t disrupted.

What are you grateful for?