The Wednesday HodgePodge (June 22, 2022)

Hi everyone. I’m joining the Wednesday HodgePodge once again. Here are Joyce’s questions for this week.

1. Something you learned from your father?
Well, I shared about this on Sunday already: my father mainly taught me academic skills. He also was the one who taught me the limited personal hygiene skills I did learn as a child. There’s a story he used to tell me about having to teach some personal care to my mother when she moved in with him at age 22. In this sense, I shouldn’t really feel embarrassed at the fact that my husband had to teach me to use shower gel when I was in my mid-twenties.

2. Do you like onions? Raw or cooked? How about onion rings? What’s something you love to eat that calls for onions?
Onions, mmm, love ’em! Raw is nice, cooked even better. I love onion rings too! A recipe I love and used to cook when I still cooked independently which calls for lots of onions (and garlic!), is macaroni with mushrooms, bell peppers, onions of course and I’d use a mushroom soup that you’d need to add water to in order to turn it into a soup as the sauce. Sadly, that brand of soup eventually added ham to its mushroom soup, which I don’t care for. When I cooked for just myself, I’d also add chicken, but when I’d cook with my husband, we’d skip that as he was a vegetarian back then.

3. It’s officially summer (in the Northern hemisphere)…your favorite and least favorite things about the season?
My favorite thing is, of course, my birthday at the end of June (in five days’ time!). Other than that, I love the longer daylight. My least favorite thing are mosquitoes and other summertime bugs such as the oak processionary.

4. When you think about the summers of your childhood what are two or three things that come to mind?
Vacationing at Vlieland, one of the Wadden Islands. For the first several years that we went there, I loved it. I remember building treehouses with my holiday friends one year when I was eight. The next year, we didn’t return. And not for another several years. When we returned to Vlieland again the summer I was twelve, I didn’t like it nearly as much, because I’d by then lost most of my vision. Besides, kids my age no longer wanted to build treehouses.

5. A hot mess, the heat of the moment, beat the heat, if you can’t stand the heat, catch heat, in a dead heat…choose a ‘hot ‘phrase and tell us how it applies to your life right now.
A hot mess… that’s my country at this point!
Today, two protests took place in the Netherlands: one by farmers against the government’s nitrogen crisis-related policies (or plans, really, as no real policies have yet been implemented), which will likely cause some farmers to need to stop business; the other by Extinction Rebellion, a group of climate activists, also against the government but with the opposite aim. The farmers caused huge traffic jams on various highways because they were coming to the protest in their farming vehicles. The climate activists gained unlawful entrance to the Tax Service main office in The Hague. The police claimed to be powerless against the farmers, but arrested 22 climate activists.

Thankfully, neither protest is impacting me personally, but all the bad news does worry me.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
I was going to ramble on above about the rapid rise in COVID cases here, but I guess that needs its own heading. Last night I had a slight headache and, since that was how my COVID started last February, I worried that I was going to get it again exactly four months after I’d initially contracted the virus. That in turn would mean canceling my husband’s visit today, my birthday celebrations this weekend and my nurse practitioner’s appt on Monday, which, though Monday is my birthday, I decided to go on with after all. Thankfully, I have absolutely no symptoms indicative of the virus now. Please pray I won’t get sick anytime soon.

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?

Five Healthy Foods I Actually Love #5Things

Hi everyone. I’m late to the party, as DrTanya posts her #5Things challenge on Tuesday. However, better late than never, right? This week’s topic is favorite healthy foods. Here are mine.

1. Fruits. Almost any fruit is guaranteed to be a favorite of mine, but I especially love blueberries, strawberries, green apples and bananas. And guess what? For a sugary fruit, bananas are actually quite nutritious.

2. Bell peppers. They are one of my favorite veggies to snack on, but I also love them in stirfry meals.

3. Broccoli. And its cousin cauliflower. I love love love both.

4. Garlic. I really love this. Of course, it isn’t a food that one would eat on its own, but in a dish, it’s totally delicious!

5. Kidney beans. They are among the healthiest beans and among my favorites too.

And I could go on. Really, when I looked up lists of the healthiest foods in the world, it turned out I really love most. And just so you know, I did also try out some of the more hyped-up health foods, such as chia seeds, and I actually like those too.

What are your favorite healthy foods?

The Wednesday HodgePodge (May 18, 2022)

Hi everyone. Joyce has prepared some fun questions for the Wednesday HodgePodge this week, so I’m joining in again. Here goes.

1. What’s something that makes you feel stressed? How do you cope?
Uhm, me, stressed? 😉 Seriously though, there are a lot of things that make me stressed. The most likely stressors for me are when my routine gets disrupted and when I get frustrated during a craft project or other activity that’s important to me.

As for how I cope, well, usually, uhm, I don’t. I do try to calm down by reminding myself that whatever’s going on isn’t the end of the world. However, most of the time I need someone else to sort out the problem I’m facing for me before I can calm down.

2. What’s a food you eat that evokes a memory? Explain.
I honestly don’t know, since I don’t eat most foods from my childhood anymore (or at least not in the form my parents used to cook them). I also don’t have many memories attached to foods I do currently eat. I mean, I clearly remember the licorice “pie” my staff and fellow patients at the psych hospital made for my wedding, but I haven’t eaten that brand of licorice in years.

3. This week’s Hodgepodge lands on National Visit Your Relatives Day. Will you celebrate by visiting a relative? If so is travel involved? Geographically, who is your nearest relative (not counting those living in your own house)?
I had no idea this holiday even existed, so no, I won’t be celebrating and no, I didn’t happen to visit a relative today anyway.

I am not sure whether in-laws count as relatives. If they don’t, my parents are my closest relatives geographically. They live a little over an hour’s drive and about 100km away. If in-laws count too, my sisters-in-law are probably my nearest relatives geographically. They are about an hour’s drive but only about 60km away. Both live in the same town but not in the same house.

4. What’s your most frequently used emoji? Do you make more phone calls, send more emails, or mainly text to communicate with friends and family?
My most frequently used emoji is the slightly smiling emoji followed by either the purple heart or the laughing emoji.

I mainly text to communicate with my husband, although we do talk on the phone nearly everyday too. With other family, well, I call or text them every once in a while but I wouldn’t say either is frequent. E-mail is used for discussion lists and contact with my staff mostly.

5. Tell us the story behind a favorite piece of furniture.
Okay, I’m going with the desk I have my computer and phone on right now. This one, my father bought for me on a marketplace site in like 2006. I think the person selling it was located in Fryslân in the north of the country, about a two-hour drive from my family home. The desk isn’t too large, but it cannot be taken apart. My father drove an older Nissan Micra, so a small car. The desk just about exactly fit inside the back of the car. Or actually, just about exactly didn’t fit. As a result, my father had to drive while the back of his car was open. This was quite an interesting ride. That being said, I’ll still have to ask my father how he got my tandem bike from their home to the psych hospital in Nijmegen, either in or on that same Nissan Micra or on a train.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
All this talk of relatives and family makes me want to talk to my sister. She’s expecting a baby. That is, unless she’s left me out of the loop, the baby’s still inside of her even though she’s past her due date. She said she’d probably let loose what she’ll be calling the child already. I’ve heard two names so far, one of which I like and one of which I, well, dislike quite a bit. I’m just hoping mother and baby will be well and that my sister can have a home birth, as that’s what she’s wished for all along. With her other daughter (she’s expecting a girl again), she did give birth at home but the child had to be taken to hospital a few hours later anyway.

All this is making me feel all sorts of feelings. In a sense, I wish I were closer to my family of origin, but I know they don’t agree with the choices I needed to make (ie. going into long-term care). My sister also lives about two hours and 180km away from me. It’s all rather sad really.

Gratitude List (May 13, 2022) #TToT

Hi everyone! What a week, what a day it’s been. I really feel like writing, but my head is buzzing, so I thought for a bit of cheer and calm, I’d do a gratitude post. As usual, I’m joining in with Ten Things of Thankful. Here goes.

1. I am grateful my staff were able to get the staffing schedule figured out and actually without temp workers needing to step in. The reality was, the temping agency didn’t have anyone available, so the regular staff ended up overworking, but this was a huge positive for me as it meant no unfamiliar faces.

2. I am grateful that a new staff was finally hired to work here. She did come from another home that’s part of my care facility, so they might now have a staffing shortage, but oh well, that’s not my problem. Until this staff came here, a lot of potential staff were given a look around my home but decided eventually not to want to work here.

3. I am grateful for delicious home-cooked chicken and rice yesterday. I actually cooked it with my day activities staff.

4. I am grateful for the smile on one of my fellow clients’ faces when I offered him a serving of the chicken and rice too. He is the only one in my care home who can eat rice without choking, so the staff, when cooking, never cook rice. I’m so happy he was pleased.

5. I am grateful for Sadje’s comment on my last blog post. I thought WordPress was acting up, since I wasn’t getting any comments. It might still be, but at least someone is able and willing to comment.

6. I am grateful for a visit from my mother-in-law on Tuesday. I am grateful we had a good talk with my assigned home staff. After that, we went to Rijssen, a town about a 30-minute drive from Raalte, to go for a walk and have coffee.

7. I am grateful I was able to mostly stick to my healthier eating plan over the past week. The only exception was the sausage roll I ordered in Rijssen. It not only was unhealthy, but came out of the microwave or so it seemed, so it definitely didn’t score an eight out of ten on how much I wanted to eat it. That’s the rule my dietitian gave me for treats: if they don’t score an eight or above on how eager I am to eat them, I might consider skipping them.

8. I am grateful that I did lose 0.4kg when I stepped onto the scale today as compared to last week.

9. I am grateful my semi-orthopedic shoes arrived back from the orthopedic shoemaker. The last time I sent them back, I had a blister on my right heel after only ten minutes of walking on them. Now I haven’t walked longer than that at a time on the shoes, but so far, so good.

10. I am grateful I got an E-mail from the store I bought the headphones that stopped working after two weeks at, saying they’ll give me my money back. I don’t have it in my bank account yet, but they said it could take up to five business days.

11. I did order new headphones and am grateful they work so far. They are a fifth of the price of the non-working ones, but still I am hoping they keep working.

12. I am grateful for paracetamol. I had to take it several times this past week for toothache or headache, but thankfully it worked.

What are you grateful for?

Gratitude List (May 6, 2022) #TToT

Hi everyone on this first Friday of May. My husband and I always count the days from May 4 till May 8 as special days. May 6 is only special because Pim Fortuyn, a Dutch politician, was murdered on this day in 2002. Not really a cause to celebrate. Nonetheless, I’m doing a gratitude list today anyway. As usual, I’m linking up with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT). Here goes.

1. I am grateful for a good talk with the behavior specialist on Tuesday. She was really understanding of my wish to eventually find a more suitable care home.

2. I am grateful I finally had a face-to-face meeting with my community psychiatric nurse again after several months. She’d been off work for a while and, before that, I had COVID and had to talk to her on the phone. I am so glad she’s back!

3. I am grateful my nurse practitioner called me on Tuesday, after I’d E-mailed him on Monday evening because I’d been in crisis. We will soon be planning a meeting with the behavior specialist too so that my nurse practitioner can get a more complete picture of my mental health.

4. I am grateful my husband’s car didn’t need replacing or repairing after all. The financial setback I mentioned last week, was related to his car. It made a weird sound, which could be the oil level, but could be a lot of other things, likely to be very expensive to repair. My husband was considering trading in the car if it wasn’t the oil level. Thankfully, that’s what it turned out to be.

5. I am grateful the store I bought the headphones at (the ones that stopped working after two weeks) finally sent off the headphones to the manufacturer. It took my staff making a phone call on Monday for them to send them out and another phone call for them to confirm they’d actually been sent out, but now I’m hoping they’ll be fixed soon.

6. I am grateful I am still allowed to borrow the headphones the Care Lab loaned us before I even originally ordered the ones that stopped working. You normally get to only keep products on loan for like a month or so, but the staff said they’d contact the Care Lab.

7. I am grateful I was allowed to go into the nearby care home’s garden to photograph their tulips yesterday. They are beautiful! I had been wanting to photograph them all week, but hadn’t been able to find the right time of day either sunshine-wise or with respect to being able to ask the staff whether I could enter their garden.

8. I am grateful for home-cooked macaroni this evening. It was delicious! Yesterday, I also had some leftover macaroni that we still had in the freezer from the last time we’d cooked it.

9. I am grateful for some crafty inspiration again. I finally did a little crafting today.

10. I am also grateful I finally seem to be in a reading groove again. I have truly been enjoying my young adult novel, Thrive. This is the final installment in the Overthrow trilogy and it’s been out for a year already, but because its prequel was a bit disappointing, I didn’t get to reading this one.

What have you been grateful for lately?

Sharing this post with Flower of the Day too because of the tulip picture.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (April 24, 2022)

Hi everyone on this last Sunday afternoon of April. Can you believe that we’ll be in May this time next week already? I certainly can’t. The weather’s okay: sunny and about 16°C. I can’t wait for higher temperatures though. Anyway, I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare today. I haven’t had my afternoon coffee yet, but am likely going to take a break while writing this post to have it. You can have a cup as well. The staff are also trying to get me to try some type of drink that sounds much like what Americans call Kool-Aid: a powdered substance (sugar-free or so I’m told) that you add to cold water and that then creates the flavor of juice. I’m pretty sure I’d prefer plain water though. Anyway, we have this stuff in the apple-flavored variety, so if you’d like a drink of that, get yourself one. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that this week, I’ve been experiencing quite the rollercoaster ride of emotions. Due to a number of triggers, I got to doubt once again whether I want to stay in my current care home forever and, on Thursday, I more or less decided that I at least want to discuss the possibility of looking for another place. I have no idea whether a voluntary move is even possible and it’s certainly not something I’m looking to decide on quickly. My assigned home staff E-mailed the behavior specialist and manager to see if they can discuss the possibilities and process with me.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I also experienced quite a bit of emotional dysregulation recently. I am having some major flashbacks and identity confusion. It looks like a new factive alter (an alter based on a real, outside person) may have formed recently.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that tomorrow, I’ll finally be discussing lowering my antipsychotic dosage with my nurse practitioner. I’ll most likely take the first step sometime in early May. Even though I’m not feeling at my best right now, I want to move forward with it.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I did enjoy doing some polymer clay work recently. Mostly, I just mixed colors. Like I said before, last week, I got the Fimo Professional true colors six-pack, which comes with a mixing chart, from the day center. I love it! My mother has her birthday on Thursday and I’m fully intending on making her a tulip out of polymer clay with all colors I mixed myself.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that I went to Lobith yesterday. It was good being with my husband once again. We got Domino’s pizza and had orange tompouces (a Dutch-specific pastry) in honor of King’s Day on Wednesday. This morning, my husband went out to the local bakery to buy us croissants. Yum!

How have you been?

Gratitude List (April 23, 2022) #TToT

Hi everyone on this sunny but windy Saturday afternoon. I’m writing a gratitude post once again. As usual, I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful. Here are the things I’ve been grateful for lately.

1. I am grateful for some lovely colors I’ve been able to mix with the Fimo Professional true colors pack I got from my staff last week. I so far mixed a purplish red, a beautiful green and of course the sky blue I already may’ve posted about last week.

2. I am grateful for Chinese takeout food. We went to get Chinese food last Monday. Originally, I’d gotten a little upset about it, because the staff generally default to satay with noodles. However, I talked it over with my assigned staff and we decided to order chicken with pineapple and sweet and sour sauce too. One of my fellow clients was completely delighted.

3. I am grateful for a text conversation with my sister. She’s still doing well with her pregnancy (she’s nearly 37 weeks along), for which I’m grateful too.

4. I am grateful for the support from my staff. I’ve had a rough couple of days this week, but my staff pulled me through.

5. I am grateful I was able to go on the elliptical for the first time in a long while this week. I went on it for only five minutes or so, but that’s the way to get started.

6. I am grateful I am sometimes able to go for slightly longer walks than just a walk around the day center and for several walks during the day now too.

7. I am grateful I did better than expected at my physical therapy this week.

8. I am grateful my husband is supportive of me even when I’m struggling. I am grateful that my husband is trying to help me come up with solutions to the obstacles I face in life.

9. I am grateful I was able to show a temp staff worker and the intern my polymer clay collection yesterday.

10. I am grateful for soothing playlists of nature sounds and instrumental music on Spotify.

11. I am grateful for sunshine. Despite the fact that it’s chilly and windy, I like it that it’s quite sunny.

12. I am grateful that, despite Easter and all the “bad” food I had over the past couple of weeks, I’m still just plain overweight rather than obese. I am actually at the same weight I was two weeks ago. This is not an excuse to continue having “bad” treats, of course.

That was a better gratitude list than I expected. I initially struggled to get to ten and now I got to twelve, which should be another reason to be grateful, yay!

What are you grateful for?

Gratitude List (April 1, 2022) #TToT

Hi everyone. I really want to write another blog post tonight. Specifically, I want to write a gratitude post. As usual, I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful. Let me share those things I’ve been grateful for in the past week.

1. A good appt with the behavior specialist. Behavior specialists, actually, as the one I used to see was a temp and she was introducing me to the new one. We had a good talk.

2. The best Asian food ever gone even better. Read: spicier. Like I said last week, a staff was leaving, the same staff who got me the best Asian food ever a few weeks ago. As a goodbye present to me, she promised me another serving of the food. This time though, she got a “mildly spicy” version. Well, according to the Indonesian cooks, at least. It was amazing, but I did get a slight stomachache from it afterwards.

3. Inspiration to write again. I’m now on a six-day streak on my blog and have picked up writing in my diary app, Day One, too.

4. Great blog stats and engagement. Okay, I feel as though the majority of the page views I got on the day I got nearly 300 this past week, were probably bots, but oh well. I am also getting lots of engagement, which is awesome.

5. Paracetamol. I have been having some back pain lately, but thankfully, it responds well to paracetamol.

6. The new iOS version. It actually finally solved the major Braille-related bug that had been in existence for literally months.

7. My new headphones. I finally decided to order new noise canceling headphones and decided to go for the Bose QuietComfort 45 ones. At first, I was a little disappointed, because the manual said they could be used with an audio cable while on (so that I can use noise canceling). Apparently not. However, other than that and the fact that its spoken announcements are in English only, it’s quite good.

8. The fact that I’m still overweight rather than obese despite a lot of “cheat” meals and treats over the past week. In fact, I only gained 0.1kg.

9. The fact that it wasn’t raining or snowing when I went to the day center this afternoon (it had been snowing and raining a lot during the rest of the day). Plus the fact that, even though the daytime temperature didn’t get above 4°C today, it didn’t even feel all that cold thanks to my winter coat.

10. The fact that a fellow client made me laugh with his April Fools joke this evening. The staff did check whether I was okay with a little prank and I said I was. In the end, I didn’t really understand the prank, but we both laughed at the verbal joke about April Fools that went along with it.

What are you grateful for?

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?