Gratitude List (April 29, 2022) #TToT

Hi everyone. I am feeling a bit meh today. I don’t really feel like writing a gratitude list, but I do feel like writing something and I can’t think of anything else to write. For both of these reasons – to have something to write and to cheer myself up -, I am going to try to write a thankful list anyway. As usual, I’m joining in with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT). Here goes.

1. I am grateful for pizza today. Yes, again. Another staff is leaving and she wanted to give us pizza or pasta from the local Italian restaurant as a goodbye present.

2. I am grateful I was able to give the staff who’s leaving her present. I didn’t end up making something for her myself and initially wanted to stay in my room while the other staff gave the presents to this staff, but I am grateful I decided to go and give her one of the gifts the other staff had bought on behalf of us clients.

3. I am grateful for quiet time to write. It’s now nearly 9PM and between 6PM and 7PM, a guy from the home next door was blasting his music on top volume. Even with noise canceling headphones (unfortunately still the ones I have on loan) on, I still could hear the music clearly. I’m so glad it’s quieted down now.

4. I am grateful for a good phone talk with my mother-in-law on Wednesday. I was able to tell her I’m going to discuss entering the process of finding another care home. To my surprise and gratitude, she fully supports me.

5. I am grateful for a nice phone call with my mother on her birthday yesterday. I obviously didn’t tell her I’ll be looking for another care home. We made some smalltalk and it was okay.

6. I am grateful for sleep. Despite feeling quite on edge lately due to a lot of issues, I am sleeping relatively well.

7. I am grateful to have been able to go to the day center for a considerable time twice this week.

8. I am grateful for funny stories to listen to on YouTube. There is a Dutch children’s book author called Jacques Vriens who read his own stories aloud on YouTube. There are also English-language YouTube channels for children’s stories, which I also love, but Jacques Vriens is a childhood favorite of mine.

9. I am grateful I was able to go onto the large trampoline on Wednesday. It was great fun!

10. I am grateful to be relatively financially secure. I won’t go into detail here, but I am just happy my husband and I can handle a little financial setback.

What are you grateful for?

Yet Another Goodbye

One of Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop prompts this week is to show your readers your most recent photo and to let it inspire your blog post. This might not be an easy prompt for other people to be doing without cheating, but I rarely take random pictures. As such, I do have a clear story behind my most recent picture.

This picture shows a necklace I made this morning for a staff who’s leaving. Yes, yet another staff is leaving my care home. It’s the fifth or so within the past four or five months. At least as many people have looked around at my home to see if they might want to work here, but none do. Thankfully though, my care home has managed to attract a few new staff from internships and the other care homes that are part of my care facility. Overall, it all still makes me intensely sad.

This staff who’s leaving now had only been working here for six months, but I did kind of trust her already. Some staff say this means I can build trust in new staff too, seeing that I could develop a kind of attachment to this staff within six months. The reality is though, I don’t think I want to build trust in another staff, knowing that the reality of the current employment climate is they can leave when they feel like it and no-one can guarantee me they won’t leave within a certain timeframe. After all, originally this staff planned on working here for at least several years too.

I did feel kind of like I had to make something for this staff, so I made this necklace. The round-looking beads are actually hearts. The story behind the beads is also interesting: another staff found them while clearing out a fellow client’s cupboard and had no idea whose they are. They most likely aren’t hers or at least she isn’t able to use them because the holes in the beads are far too narrow. Ultimately, the staff decided to give them to me. I at one point thought I might be able to use them for macrame, but the holes are far too narrow for that too.

The staff who is leaving is the staff who got me Indonesian takeaway food, the best Asian food I’d ever had, last week. She said that, on Monday, when it’s her last shift here, she’s bringing me another meal. I think that’s really kind of her.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Gifts My Husband Gave Me

Today is Valentine’s day. Of course, my husband and I aren’t together now, as he had to work and I’m at the care facility, but I wanted to honor the occasion anyway by sharing something about my husband I appreciate. I looked to Lisa Shea’s collection of journaling prompts on love and romance. One of the prompts is to share a gift your lover gave or gives you that’s most precious to you. It can be a physical gift or an action or emotion. Instead, I am going to share a list of things my husband gifted me. Some of these things, I didn’t really appreciate in the sense that I liked the gifts themselves, but the gesture at the time was very much appreciated. And the story behind those gifts gives me and my husband a good laugh now.

1. A Planxty CD. This was the first gift my husband gave me when we were officially dating, for my 22nd birthday in 2008. I only listened to it probably once or twice when he came to visit. Then again, that same year, when he had his birthdday on November 12, I thought I’d gifted him a very well-thought-out present: a book of previously-unpublished philosophical texts by British Idealists. British Idealism was my profile research (high school graduation thesis) topic and he was a philosophy major at the time. He never read the book though.

2. Homemade apple pie. One year, I think it was 2010, my husband brought me a home-baked apple pie in the psych hospital. It was delicious!

3. A Tom Lehrer CD. This CD was much more appreciated than the Planxty one. In fact, I put the entire thing on my computer so that I can always listen to it, even now that I don’t have a CD player anymore (or the CD for that matter).

My husband had introduced me to Tom Lehrer’s song I Hold Your Hand in Mine back in 2008 and I loved it. From there on, I learned about most other songs. We still crack jokes about some of these songs.

4. Chocolate. It used to be kind of a tradition that my husband would buy me chocolate on Valentine’s and our wedding anniversary. Not that I’m a big chocolate fan, but I loved them nonetheless. One year, I bought my husband peanut rocks (chocolate filled with peanuts), but I’d bought him the milk chocolate ones when he preferred dark chocolate. Oopsie.

5. A bear soft toy. I can’t remember whether I showed this one on my blog yet, but last year, I got a gorgeous teddy bear holding a heart for Valentine’s day.

6. Winegums. I remember one day, my husband had been shopping at the wholesale store and he’d bought five bags of winegums (gummy candies) for me. He said he’d wanted to buy a prime number of bags and three seemed a little too few to him. You can imagine my delight, but, if you know me, you can also imagine I consumed them within a week.

7. A phone case. In 2020, when I’d bought my current iPhone, I’d asked my husband to set it up as a birthday gift and, if he wanted to give me a material gift anyway, he could give me a case. It turned out I could do the setting up mostly myself with some help from my staff, but I did get a pretty sturdy phone case.

I’m pretty sure I’m forgetting something really important my husband gave me. Of course, the most important thing he gave me, and continues to give me, is his love. I hope he feels I give him the same in return.

loopyloulaura

Also linking up with Senior Salon Pit Stop #200.

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?

Hobbies I Could Turn Into Christmas Gifts

Hi everyone. As regular readers of this blog know, I have a lot of eBooks on journaling. One of them is a collection of 31 Christmas-related journaling prompts and one of its prompts is about turning hobbies into Christmas gifts. The prompt asks us to think of ten hobbies that could be turned into Christmas presents. They don’t have to be physical presents. In fact, the explanation behind the prompt was about a little boy coming to greet Jesus and, rather than bringing riches like gold or myrrh, he brought his drums and played little Jesus a song. Today, I am going to share some of my passions that I could turn into Christmas gifts. I am pretty sure I won’t make it to ten, but that’s okay.

1. Storytelling. Some kind words can mean the world to someone. I am not too much of a wordsmith in terms of poetry or fiction, but I can definitely share some of my positive thoughts with someone I care about this holiday season.

2. Soap making. Okay, I can’t find my Christmas tree mold as I write this, but I could still create a soap in festive colors. After all, I do have gold and red mica powders.

3. Aromatherapy. Related to the above one, I could obviously add a Christmassy scent to my soap or other DIY bath and body care product. I have a ton of seasonal essential oils, including white fir, cinnamon and orange. I also am pretty sure I have a Christmas tree fragrance oil.

4. Polymer clay. Of course. I recently created a polymer clay Christmas tree and am going to buy white Fimo soon so that I can create a snowman too. I have a few Christmas-related cutters, but I prefer creating sculptures.

5. Jewelry-making. I don’t have that many Christmas-colored jewelry-making supplies on hand right now, but if I wanted to, I could purchase them. I can definitely make a holiday-themed keychain or bracelet. If I am going to use my polymer clay to make jewelry with, I do have Christmassy colors.

6. Reading. I could read my fellow clients a Christmas-related children’s story.

7. Baking and cooking. I am not a great cook or baker, but I could with some help from the staff definitely whip up some seasonal treat. I love looking up recipes.

Well, I can’t think of anything else right now, but I am pretty content with how I did on this list.

How could you turn a hobby of yours into a Christmas gift?

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Gratitude List (November 27, 2021) #TToT

Hi everyone on this rainy Saturday! I hope all my U.S.-based readers had a great Thanksgiving. Here, it isn’t a thing. However, I like to show thankfulness everyday. For this reason, I’m doing a gratitude post. As usual, I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT). Here goes.

1. I am grateful I reached my goal of 10K steps a day once during the past seven days. Okay, it was on Sunday and I only got (barely) more than 5K steps one other day this past week (Monday). The rest of the week, I’ve been rather sedentary. However, I’m still grateful I can apparently still walk 10K steps in a day.

2. Speaking of which, I am also grateful I managed 15 minutes on the elliptical today. It didn’t earn me much in the way of steps, but at least my muscles haven’t totally atrophied so far.

3. I am grateful I had a good talk with the current behavior specialist for my care home on Tuesday. It was my second time meeting her. She helped me clarify some of the things I wanted to talk about with my nurse practitioner too.

4. I am also grateful my appt with my nurse practitioner went pretty well as a result too. I had originally considered quitting treatment with him, but decided against this after the talk with the behavior specialist. Overall, my appt with my nurse practitioner was relatively constructive. We decided on some things to make our sessions more productive. For instance, next time I E-mail him about not being well, he’ll try to call me back so we can assess the seriousness of the situation and what can/needs to be done rather than him telling me to wait for our next appt.

5. I am grateful I am sleeping slightly better lately than I used to. I am still not usually getting the nine hours of sleep a night I need to function optimally, but I’m getting close.

6. I am grateful I have been able to pick up the polymer clay craft again after a bit of a break when I’d finished the owl. I created a unicorn yesterday and it looks pretty cool.

7. I am grateful for French fries yesterday in celebration of St. Nicholas. The holiday isn’t till December 5th, but we celebrated it early at my care home.

8. I am grateful I got nice presents. Well, my husband will actually get the bill, as like I explained before, the care facility doesn’t pay for St. Nicholas presents. I had E-mailed my staff a wishlist too. As it turned out, I didn’t get the specific things I’d had on my wishlist, but I got similar things. I got a number of cookie cutters to use with my polymer clay and a little box of fruit candies.

9. I am grateful my assigned home staff, who was my one-on-one this evening, helped me through some tough flashbacks. I did ultimately decide to take a PRN quetiapine, but I think I really benefited from my staff’s help too.

10. I am grateful my loved ones so far aren’t directly affected by COVID, in the sense that I don’t have any direct family members or friends who’ve contracted the virus.

What are you grateful for?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (November 21, 2021)

Hi everyone. Today is a rather mixed Sunday weather-wise. We had sunshine almost all morning and early afternoon, but now we’re having clouds and rain. I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare today. I just had a late afternoon coffee (I normally have them at around 2:15PM and it’s almost 3:30 now). I am likely to skip my soft drink, which I normally have at around 3:30, and have some water again when my one-on-one comes on at four o’clock. If you’d like a drink, you’re welcome to grab a soft drink or water or get a Senseo in the kitchen. Let’s catch up.

I already shared on Friday that this week was a rather meh one. So, if we were having coffee, I’d try to focus on other things. I’d share that I’ve been trying to pick up the polymer clay craft again. Yesterday, I finished three labels with “Bedankt” (Dutch for “Thanks”) on them for the three staff who are leaving soon. I still need to cure them in the oven and add glitter glue for decoration. I’m probably going to do that this evening.

I will still need to make real presents for each of the three staff, because I don’t think just a simple label, even if it’s hand-made, is enough. One of the staff is leaving at the end of this month. The other two aren’t leaving till the end of December, so I still have time for those.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I’ve been oohing and aahing at some polymer clay supplies I want to get for Christmas or St. Nicholas (December 5). You need to actually pay for your own St. Nicholas presents, but I agreed with my assigned staff that she could spend around €15 on them and I’d send her a wishlist which she could pick something from, so that I’d still feel a sense of surprise. We do get a small Christmas hamper from the day center, so I told my day activities staff she might talk to my assigned home staff about ordering from the same company as to save on shipping. Some things on my wishlist include cutters, pushmolds and texture sheets.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I bought a new essential oil diffuser. I couldn’t seem to clean the other one properly anymore, so all scents were starting to smell the same. I made a note in my Reminders app to clean this one each month, but with how often I’m currently using it, I’ll probably make that every other week. The new one has a remote and two mist settings for normal and strong mist.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that my husband came by to take me out to lunch this afternoon. We’d talked about going to a particular snack and dine place we’d been to two years ago and I’d looked forward to it all week. It was really good back then. Now, not really. The burger we ordered was okay’ish. Not very bad, but not good either. In addition, we had to wait forever to place our order and the staffer really was quite curt. This time, we were asked for our CoronaCheck code, but not our ID, as is required. Oh well.

How have you been?

Gratitude List (October 16, 2021) #TToT

Hi everyone. It’s becoming old, but I’m still struggling. I just dragged myself out of a crying fit that started over the wrong flavor chips (yes, seriously). Sometimes I’m a toddler like that. Writing that down made me chuckle in a self-mocking kind of way. I’m still sad though, albeit not about the chips. To cheer myself up, I’m writing a gratitude list. As usual, I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT).

1. I am grateful for nice weather most of the week. We’ve had some showers, but it’s not like it’s been raining all day.

2. I am grateful for special lunches most days of the week. As regular readers will know, I don’t care for the usual slices of bread that make up a normal lunch here. On Wednesday though, my staff and I decided to make a salad. We still had some left for Thursday. Yesterday, the day activities group I would’ve been part of if I didn’t get my day activities in the home, made hamburgers and I could have some too. Yum!

3. I am grateful for even more essential oil inspiration. Of course, I already mentioned last week that I’d signed up for Lea Jacobson’s VIP club for a month. Like I said yesterday, this week, I decided to grant myself access to the essential oil safety files too. The combination of these resources has truly helped me get inspired in the aromatherapy department.

4. I am grateful I have been able to do some DIY skincare product making again. Like I mentioned yesterday, I made a hand cream. Today, I made a melt and pour soap with the same combination of essential oils.

5. I am grateful my now former behavior specialist was happy with her leave-taking gift. I gave her the butterfly soap I posted last week.

6. I am grateful the behavior specialist gave me a “gift” too. It wasn’t a physical present. Instead, she let me listen to a piece of music she’d played on the pan flute. I am not at all musically talented, so I have no way of knowing whether it was good or anything, but I liked it.

7. I am grateful my Fitbit is charging again. I’d had problems with the charger not making contact before, but on Tuesday, it wouldn’t make contact even after cleaning both the Fitbit and the charger. I got a new charger and thankfully, that solved the problem.

8. I am grateful my topiramate, the medication I take for my PTSD symptoms, got upped. I started my new dose yesterday. It’s not yet working, obviously, but I’m hopeful it will start to work soon.

9. I am grateful for time and energy to read again. I have been escaping into an inspirational memoir this afternoon.

10. I am so grateful my staff haven’t given up on me even though I’m often tempted to give up on myself lately.

What have you been grateful for lately?

DIY All-Natural Hand Cream Using Essential Oils

I finally seem to have found a bit of inspiration to create things again lately. Last Tuesday, I decided to buy the essential oil safety files at Lea Jacobson’s website. For $47 one-time, you’ll have access to the safety guidelines for over 240 essential oils and absolutes. This seemed a bit expensive to me at first, but given how hard it otherwise is to find exact topical dilution maxes etc. online, I finally gave in.

Regular readers will know that I love to make melt and pour soap and have occasionally made massage oils and body butters. I also made one hand cream. I however usually use fragrance oils, as essential oils can be more irritating to the skin and cause sun sensitivity. Now, with Lea’s safety files, I felt more confident that I’d properly dilute my essential oils. This means I could finally make an all-natural hand cream.

Ingredients


  • 50 g cocoa butter

  • 50 g coconut oil

  • 50 g sweet almond oil

  • 20 g beeswax pellets

  • Essential oils (see below on dilution)


You can use shea butter or mango butter instead of cocoa butter and any liquid carrier oil instead of sweet almond oil. If you want a vegan option, I think you can even use candellia wax instead of beeswax.

Now for the essential oils. I wanted to create a relaxing blend of essential oils. It is hard to find ready-made skincare blends online, so I used a diffuser blend and adapted it for topical use. This required me to know whether the essential oils I would be using, are skin-safe and, if so, in what dosage. For this, I used Lea’s safety files.

The blend I found online that I liked, contained lavender, clary sage and vetiver essential oil. Since I didn’t have lavender essential oil on hand anymore, I decided to use lavandin instead. I found out that, while lavandin essential oil is pretty skin-safe, lavandin absolute is not. For this reason, I made extra sure my staff checked that what I had in my box was the essential oil. It was!

The diffuser blend called for two drops of each oil. I decided to use three drops in my hand cream. This totals nine drops of essential oil, which isn’t even a 1% dilution. Usually, natural skincare makers use a 3% dilution, which would be safe with these oils. However, I felt the scent was strong enough already as it was now.

Making the Hand Cream


  1. Mix together the cocoa butter, coconut oil, sweet almond oil and beeswax in a microwave-safe bowl.

  2. Microwave in one-minute increments, stirring afterwards, until melted.

  3. Let the mixture cool for about 10 minutes before adding the essential oils. You could use a thermometer to check the temperature. I’ve heard most EOs require a temperature below 45°C. I don’t own a thermometer though, so I just wait until the mixture starts to set a little.

  4. Add in the essential oils.

  5. Stir with a whisk to make the hand cream more fluffy.

  6. Pour the mixture into a jar or pot.

  7. Let fully cool before screwing on the lid.

Since my hand cream will be a gift, I haven’t touched it myself after fully cooling. My previous attempt turned out a bit too thick for my liking, which is why I cut back on the beeswax a little this time.

I will probably be making a melt and pour soap with the same scent soon too. Then, I’ll add them both into a package I’ll send to my assigned home staff, who, as regular readers know, is on sick leave. I really hope she likes it.

PoCoLo
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Gratitude List (August 27, 2021) #TToT

Hi all! Can you believe August is almost over with already? I certainly can’t. Today I thought I’d do a gratitude list. I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT), as well as Thankful Thursday (a day late) again.

1. I am grateful for French fries. On Sunday, the staff decided to get those delivered to the care home. Of course, I had a very spicy snack called mexicano with it.

2. I am grateful the volunteer handymen came over to my room on Monday to put together the new desk I bought at Ikea two weeks ago. At first, it was a little too high (the legs are adjustable in length), but the handymen had been struggling to get the legs to cooperate. For this reason, I was hesitant to ask them to adjust them. However, once they’d figured out how to work the mechanism, it was pretty easy. I am so grateful to have my new desk now.

3. I am grateful both my assigned day activities staff and home staff are back from vacation as of this week.

4. I am grateful my CPN is back from vacation. I am glad I had a good discussion with her on Wednesday.

5. I am grateful to be making progress in my creative endeavors. I am quite perfectionistic, so have thrown a few of my polymer clay pieces in the bin, but without failing, one doesn’t learn, right? I am also grateful for all the constructive feedback I receiv in Facebook groups.

6. I am grateful my polymer clay alphabet stamping set arrived. I had had it on my wishlist for a while, ordered it on Monday and it arrived yesterday. Unfortunately, a part of it was missing. One of my staff went after it and the store just replied that they’ll send the part that is missing.

7. I am grateful for summer fruit. My day activities staff, who lives near the supermarket my care facility normally buys from, was asked to get some stuff (buttermilk, I think, yikes!) on Thursday and she asked me what else I wanted her to buy now that she was going to go get groceries for us anyway. She bought peaches and strawberries and they were delicious!

8. I am grateful to be able to put a smile onto people’s face with my handmade gifts. Like I may have mentioned, my day activities staff got a present from me. So did a fellow client, who had his birthday on Wednesday. He had the hugest smile on his face when I gave him his hand cream.

9. I am grateful to live in a free, developed country. All the news about the Taliban having taken over Afghanistan makes me so grateful that I’m not and have never been in a war zone.

10. I am grateful the government are so far not putting the country into lockdown or tightening any measures despite COVID case numbers being on the rise again.

What are you grateful for?