#WeekendCoffeeShare (January 8, 2023)

Hi everyone. I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare today, even though I already had my last cup of coffee for the day. I’m going to have a glass of water with my evening meds probably while in the middle of this post. Want a drink too? Maybe I can convince the staff to get you a diet soda. I can’t stand them myself and we rarely have Dubbelfrisss, my favorite drink that isn’t water, coffee or green tea, here. Anyway, let’s (pretend to) have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my New Year’s went okay. I went to Lobith. Like I think I mentioned, my husband ordered a waffle maker, so that we could have our own, homemade waffles. Not all turned out as they should, but we had enough of the ones that did turn out good. We spent the evening on the couch watching semi-random YouTube videos, as neither of us wanted to watch the annual New Year’s comedy performance. According to my husband, YouTube decided what we were watching, as he probably had autoplay on. By 11:30PM, both of us were too tired to wait for the clock to strike midnight and we didn’t fancy neighbors coming by to greet us either, so we went to bed.

If we were having coffee, I would share that the first week of the new year has been hard. The home has been short-staffed and many of my fellow residents have been struggling with post-holiday dysregulation. For these reasons and probably others, I am experiencing a lot of disruptions to my care again. I have had quite a few meltdowns lately. I haven’t been as severely self-harming as I was back in late October and November, but quite honestly I’m feeling almost as desperate and the only reason I’m not feeling exactly as desperate is the fact that at least on paper my care is still kind of okay.

If we were having coffee, lastly I would share that my youngest sister-in-law turned 30 yesterday. I am thankful I was able to craft a polymer clay horse for her. Well, not anything like an actual, anatomically correct horse; really just a unicorn like the ones I usually craft but without a horn. My sister-in-law’s real, living horse is called Wolympia, so I called the polymer clay one Polympia. Sadly, I forgot to take a picture before giving it to my husband to give to her.

How have you been?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (December 10, 2022)

Hi everyone. How are you doing? I had my last cup of coffee for the day, but still I want to join in with #WeekendCoffeeShare. I guess you could get a Senseo if you want one, or a cup of tea, or soda. Or you could go for water like I will now. Let’s have a drink and let’s chat.

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you how your weather’s been. It’s been a month since I did a coffee share post and winter has well and truly arrived by now. Daytime temperatures hardly get above 0°C, although we don’t get very low night-time temperatures. Thankfully, despite the cold, I’ve been able to go on walks everyday, as it’s not been raining that much.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I finally reached breaking point here at the new care home last week and my mother-in-law called the home to get to speak to a higher-up, either the behavior specialist or the manager. She was told that I’d had a good day that day. While that was mostly true, it wasn’t about that day. My mother-in-law then contacted the mediator I had been in touch with too. She is independent and helps advocate for clients or family members but is paid for by the care agency.

After a week of playing phone tag, the mediator finally got in touch with the manager and was able to convince her to schedule a meeting between me, the mediator herself, a staff and the behavior specialist. This will most likely take place before Christmas, so the staff who will be attending won’t be my support coordinator, as she’s off on vacation till after then. I did ask that my mother-in-law be invited too, which the mediator initially didn’t feel would be appropriate. Her reasoning was that it’d be too many people attending and that she (mediator) would be there to support me already. However, the mediator is not able to realize how much I’m not able to process during a verbal conversation, so I stood my ground.

If we were having coffee, I would share that, earlier this week, one of the staff and I were able to create a new, more suitable to me day schedule. It was (unofficially) started today (while we’re waiting for the staff to type it out). The new schedule is organized around timeframes, like my day schedule at the old care home, but of course with the note that these are rough directions. I am quite satisfied with my first day using the new day schedule, but of course I do realize that it may only be 2 1/2 weeks before it will be trashed by my support coordinator.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am loving spending time on my polymer clay again. I am not getting my hopes up yet, but, in my new day schedule, I have lots of opportunities for claying. I made use of them today and created my first actual unicorn! Granted, it doesn’t have a mane or tail yet, because with the particular tutorial I used, you had to bake the unicorn and then attach those parts and bake again. I am hoping to do that tomorrow. I however am completely excited about crafting again. Now all please pray my new day schedule works out and my support coordinator won’t trash it when she comes back.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d tell you all that I got some lovely presents in the mail from my parents on Thursday. I got a lavender-filled unicorn soft toy that can be heated in the microwave. I also got three different kinds of candy: chocolate, licorice and so-called Dutch traditional candy, which was hard candy. I loved all of them. The online shop also sent a few random samples of a sugar soap, so-called immune boosting capsules and some kind of fruit and veggie powder that you need to put into water and drink. I threw these away. So far, I haven’t actually microwaved the unicorn, but I did hold it when trying to sleep.

The Wednesday HodgePodge (December 7, 2022)

Hi everyone. How are you all doing on this first Wednesday of the last month of 2022? I’m still struggling quite a bit. I might share a bit about this at the end of my post. After all, I’m participating in the Wednesday HodgePodge and the last question allows for us to insert a random thought. Let me get to the first five questions first though.

1. The Hodgepodge lands on National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. Have you visited the memorial? Any desire to do so? Have you visited other WW2 sites and memorials? Do you think we do a good job of teaching current and younger generations about the events of WW2? Do you think it matters?
I have never visited the Pearl Hahrbor memorial, as I’m not in the United States. I’m not sure about any other WW2 sites or memorials either. I mean, yeah, I was born in Rotterdam, which was heavily bombed during the German invasion of the Netherlands, and I did see the memorial statue many times. Not sure about any museums if that’s what’s meant.

I do think teaching the younger generations about WW2 matters. I’m not sure how well of a job we do, as I’m not even sure how well-educated I myself am and I’m not considered “younger” anymore by most standards.

2. Many books, both fiction and non-fiction have been written with WW2 as the setting. Is this a ‘genre’ you gravitate towards? Share with us a book (or two) you’ve enjoyed that is set in some way around WW2. If you’re not a reader, how about a movie?
I don’t really gravitate towards this genre, honestly. The only book I can think of off the top of my head is Anne Frank’s diary. I loved it when I was a teen, but didn’t fully comprehend the horrors Anne and her family lived through at the time.

3. According to Better Homes and Gardens Magazine there are seven popular color trends for the holidays this year. They are- red and white, Victorian blue, pops of pink, rich shades of green, rainbow hues, black and white, and nostalgic retro colors. Are you ‘trendy’ when it comes to holiday decorating in 2022? How so? Does your tree have a ‘theme’?
No, I’m not trendy at all. In fact, my staff put up my Christmas decorations that I had left over from last year yesterday because I’d completely forgotten. I don’t even have a tree, as the cheap one I bought last year consumed huge amounts of batteries.

4. What’s a current trend you buck?
I have absolutely no idea what’s even currently trending, so no clue.

5. What’s your favorite chocolate something?
I don’t honestly care for actual chocolate. Give me white chocolate, which isn’t real chocolate, instead. If I have to go with something that has a trace of actual chocolate in it, I’m going with a Knoppers cookie bar. These are chocolate-covered waffles with nut cream inside of them.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
We celebrated St. Nicholas at the care home on Monday. I chose not to join my fellow residents in the living room, but I had my treat and presents in my room. For presents, I had a pair of socks and a chocolate letter. I initially thought I found the socks ugly and, while they are a bit on the large side for me and I wouldn’t personally have bought socks with prints on them, my husband convinced me the colors do look good together. They’re blue socks with tulips in various colors (mostly pink and orange) on them. I also got a little rhyme with my presents, as is customary with St. Nicholas. I liked that best.

Gratitude List (October 7, 2022) #Blogtober22

Hi everyone. It’s Friday, which usually means the Ten Things of Thankful linky is live. It isn’t yet as of the time of this writing, but if it will be live tomorrow, I’ll link this post up regardless. After all, I really want to do a gratitude post. It so happens that today’s prompt in #Blogtober22 is gratitude. Let me share.

1. I am grateful I was able to see most of my staff from my old care home and give them something from my shelf of handmade items before I moved here on Wednesday. I left the things that hadn’t been picked yet to be distributed among staff I didn’t get an opportunity to see.

2. I am grateful for delicious French fries on Sunday. Okay, it was my idea and I paid for them, but I am grateful the staff were willing to drive to my favorite snack corner in Raalte to get them.

3. I am grateful that the one client at my old care home who can talk a little, came by my room once it downed upon him that I was leaving. He gave me a candy bar and started to cry a little. I am grateful I was able to comfort him.

4. I am grateful for all the nice goodbye presents I got from the home and day center. I still don’t have pictures, but will show you once I do. Among other things, I got a giraffe soft toy and a framed collage containing photos of me.

5. I am grateful that, on Wednesday, the staff who were going to help me move were in the home early. After all, I woke up at around 7AM and am so glad I could get help then.

6. I am grateful my new staff don’t leave me alone for prolonged periods of time. In my old care home, it had been determined that I could be left alone for up to 45 minutes at a time, and this sometimes got prolonged to several hours if staff just popped their heads around the door when the 45-minute timeframe was up. I indicated pretty early on that, now that I don’t know my way around the home, I think 45 minutes is too long. Thankfully, the staff are able to accommodate me.

7. I am grateful for nice chatter with my fellow residents at the new home. I am also grateful for several clients from other homes who greeted me and started talking to me on my walks.

8. I am grateful my call button works after all. It didn’t work the first day in my new home, but yesterday, it got fixed.

9. I am grateful for home-cooked meals. Even for me, a rather picky eater, I think the staff are able to cook quite good meals, better at least than the meal delivery service ones. On Wednesday, I even at one point wanted to try some mash, which I normally can’t stand. I eventually decided against it though.

10. I am grateful a fellow client at my new home, who is into St. Nicholas, gave me a candy mouse this afternoon. This is a typical St. Nicholas treat. It was such a sweet gesture.

What are you grateful for?

The Wednesday HodgePodge (August 31, 2022)

Okay guys, it’s Wednesday again and this means it’s time to join Joyce for the Wednesday HodgePodge. This week, several of Joyce’s questions are related to Labor Day, which is, what, this coming Monday? Time certainly flies. Here are Joyce’s questions.

1. Something you’ve labored over recently?
Nothing really. I don’t have any large projects I’m currently working on, even though I do need to start thinking about what to create for my husband in honor of our wedding anniversary on September 19. I’m in a crafting rut, honestly. I am, however, working hard on my physical fitness. Does that count?

2. How will you rest on Labor Day?
I probably won’t. It’s a regular Monday here in the Netherlands, so I do have my usual day activities. That being said, if I want to rest, I can do so every single day.

3. Margaret Mead is quoted as saying, “I learned the value of hard work by working hard.” Would you agree? Where and how did you learn the value of hard work?
I don’t think I agree. I worked quite hard in school and college, to the point of autistic burnout, but I wouldn’t necessarily say I value hard work all that much. If anything, by working this hard and subsequently suffering burnout, I learned the value of self-care and rest. Then again, I do realize I’m privileged in this respect, in that I got on disability benefits without any trouble as soon as I turned eighteen and sailed through every re-assessment without any difficulty too.

4. It’s National Eat Outside Day (August 31st). Will you? Do you enjoy dining “al fresco” or do you prefer indoor seating?
I had no idea it was eat outside day in the U.S. and it’s past my dinnertime now, so no, I didn’t. I don’t like eating outside anyway.

5. Somehow it’s the end of August. What was the best day of the month for you and tell us what made it so?
The best day of the month was probably the day my husband took me for a drive to Enkhuizen, 100km away, just for some fish. Either that or last Monday, the day I scored 200% on my Apple Watch’s Movement goal, 300% on my exercise goal (but somehow there’s no medal for that) and received reassuring news on my latest health scare. You see, over the weekend when I was in Lobith, my husband noted a large mole on my back and told me to see my doctor about it. Thankfully, it was nothing to worry about at this point and my staff suggested we keep the picture they took for reference should the mole change.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
Today was the last shift for last year’s student staff here. She treated us to French fries and snacks, strawberry cake and she gave me two bars of chocolate. And not just any chocolate, they were stroopwafel chocolate bars. Stroopwafels are my favorite type of cookies, so this is truly awesome. I gifted her a handmade bracelet. She did joke that, since I have money to buy myself an Apple Watch, I should’ve bought her a new phone. After all, her old iPhone was in horrible condition and I’d been nagging her to buy a new one for months, which she finally did a few weeks ago (well, a refurbished one, which I personally would never do). I think she’s happy with the bracelet though.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (August 13, 2022)

Hi everyone. How are you doing? Want to join me for #WeekendCoffeeShare? I’ve had all my coffee for the day, but I’m soon grabbing a Dubbelfrisss (my favorite soft drink). Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I would start out by asking how your weather is. Ours has been hot most of the week. Today, the weather institute officially recorded a heatwave, meaning five days in a row of daytime highs of at least 25°C, including three days of at least 30°C. Today, the temperature reached 32°C here. Tomorrow, it may even get a little hotter. The last officially-recorded heatwave was in 2020.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you the woman from the care home down the road from mine was very happy with the polymer clay necklace I gifted her for her birthday. I stayed for a while to have coffee and apple pie.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my orthopedic shoes still aren’t as they should be. I developed two small blisters on my feet after a short walk yesterday evening. Granted, I’d also taken a longer walk in the morning without much trouble, but blisters really shouldn’t happen anyway.

If we were having coffee, I’d complain about the care facility’s WiFi once again. Oh wait, yesterday, I showed gratitude for it, but today I’m complaining, because three days in a row it’s now gone out in the evening. I am currently redirecting my iPhone’s mobile data to my laptop because I was in the middle of typing this blog post when the stupid thing went down.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that I did start on the green polymer clay unicorn I mentioned this afternoon after all. I’ve decided it’s going to make a great present for the student staff who’s leaving at the end of this month. I so far only made the surface it’s going to stand on, which is currently in the oven. It took me 45 minutes to create a slab for it that was relatively free of air bubbles. Not completely, but enough that there hopefully won’t be huge holes in the bottom of the thing. Not that they will be seen, if they are there, when the unicorn stands on its surface, but well.

How have you been?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (August 6, 2022)

Hi everyone on this first Saturday of August. Okay, that starting phrase gets boring, but who cares? Well, me, but I can’t think of any better way to start my post. I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare today. I’ve had five cups of coffee already today and it’s mid-afternoon. Want one too? I hope I haven’t used up the whole pot. Well, it’s a virtual coffee share. Let’s have a coffee and let’s chat.

If we were having coffee, I’d ask about your weather as usual. Ours has been mostly warm, sometimes hot. On Wednesday in particular, the daytime temperature rose to 31°C. Today, it’s only about 21°C. I even wore long sleeves this morning when going out for a walk.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I discovered a function I hadn’t previously known about existed in JAWS, my computer’s screen reader. When you press INSERT+4, INSERT being the designated JAWS key, JAWS displays a menu with special characters to select from, such as the euro sign, the degrees sign I used above, etc. Before I knew about this function, I’d do a Google search for something that’d pop up the character I wanted, copy/paste it into a text document and copy/paste from that document to my blog. However, if I wanted a character that wasn’t yet in the document, I’d need to do a search all over again. Besides, it’d mean having to open a separate app, in this case Notepad, and copy/pasting from there rather than selecting the character from the menu.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that, today, I started on 25mg rather than 27.5mg of aripiprazole (Abilify), my antipsychotic. So far, so good, but I’m not expecting any effects as of yet, as aripiprazole has a half life of 72 hours and the dosage decrease is so small anyway. This is my second decrease out of possibly twelve, each taking three months. That’s an incredibly slow taper, but it’s this way so that any possible changes in my mood and/or behavior can be observed over time.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’ve been busy crafting this past week. Someone from a neighboring care home has her birthday next week and a fellow resident from my care home has his birthday on the 25th. I asked the woman who has her birthday next week what her favorite color is and she immediately understood why. “Ah, you know when I have my birthday!” she exclaimed. Of course, I didn’t reveal anything else. I am creating a necklace with all polymer clay beads for her. I did this for someone else, who had her birthday at the end of January, and back then it’d taken me weeks to create all the beads. Now, I was able to do half of them in one day. The other half is a little harder, because that color of clay is more difficult to work with.

For the man who’s having his birthday on the 25th, I bought a canvas, which I painted black this week and am going to decorate with polymer clay cookie cutter shapes once I’ve finished the necklace. I am doing his name and a car. Since the challenge theme for this month in the Dutch polymer clay Facebook group is mixed media, I’m also thinking of including some other technique, but I’m not yet sure what.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that today, my husband went to get his new-to-him car, a Fiat Panda. He’s coming for a visit tomorrow. We originally thought of driving to some town or city in the area, but neither of us can think of an interesting one, so we may just go to Subway to have lunch.

How have you been?

Gratitude List (July 31, 2022) #TToT

Hi all on this last day of July! Today I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT) for a gratitude list. I’m rather late to the party, but better late than never, huh? Here goes.

1. I am grateful for some good phone talks with the care facility’s behavior specialist this week. She gave me some useful advice on how to handle my frustration with respect to my recent care review with her and my nurse practitioner from mental health.

2. I am grateful my nurse practitioner gave the get-go for me to lower my antipsychotic again. Next week, I’ll be starting with the slightly decreased dose.

3. I am grateful for a nice visit from my sister and her family. I am so grateful Janneke, my oldest niece, was really friendly with me. I tried to show her how to make a play-doh unicorn, but she may still be a bit young for that and/or I wasn’t engaging enough.

4. I am grateful I got to hold Wolke, my youngest niece, who is just two-months-old.

5. I am grateful for the belated birthday gifts my sister and her family brought me. I got four sets of cutters and a set of texture sheets to use with my polymer clay.

6. I am grateful for a delicious salami pizza with added olives and red peppers. Yum! We ordered pizza (and fries for Janneke) last Monday when my sister and her family were here.

7. I am grateful for a good visit from my mother-in-law on Friday too. We went out to have lunch, which was delicious.

8. I am grateful for no mosquitoes last night or the night before. This hopefully means my anti-mosquito device, that I’d bought last Friday when in town with my mother-in-law, is working. Either that or none had been in my room at all. I don’t really care which, as long as the critters aren’t bothering me.

9. I am grateful my pasta machine isn’t broken after all. I had experienced it’d crumble several colors of polymer clay. Even after a deep clean session, it still did this, so I thought it must be broken. Thankfully, one of the most knowledgeable people in the Dutch polymer clay Facebook group took a look at a picture I’d taken and said it wasn’t broken. Apparently it’s the clay.

10. I am grateful the new pasta machine I impulsively ordered online when thinking the current one was broken, can be returned. I will probably ask my staff to drive me to the PostNL pick-up point tomorrow. When I have my refund, I’m going to order supplies I really do need from that same store I now ordered the pasta machine from.

What are you grateful for?

Crafting Lately: A Polymer Clay Hedgehog for My Staff

Hi everyone. Today is my assigned staff’s last shift at my home. This afternoon, we did a little handover between her and my new assigned staff and I put the new assigned staff’s work E-mail address in my phone. You see, I used to E-mail my old assigned staff quite regularly and the staff at least are hoping that I can build up some trust in the new one if I can E-mail her too. I’m not sure what I think of this.

Like I mentioned before, my old assigned staff has a pet hedgehog. As a leave-taking present, I made her one out of polymer clay.

I had already created a polymer clay hedgehog from a tutorial before, so I knew roughly how to go about it. However, with this one, I wanted its snout to be a different color from its body. This meant blending together the body and snout without distorting either too much. My staff’s pet hedgehog is a four-toed hedgehog, which has a white or slightly creamy belly. I used Fimo Soft white for its body and Fimo Soft in the color Sahara for its snout.

I then added its ears, which were slightly pointed on my original hedgehog but I’d since figured out that at least my staff’s hedgehog has round ears. I chose Sahara for those again. For its eyes, I chose black. I think my black is Fimo Professional, which is usually too hard to condition for my liking especially when it’s older. That doesn’t really matter though, since I only use it for small details like eyes.

Adding the hedgehog’s spikes was difficult the last time, but easier now. I created very thin, cone-like spikes and then added them to the hedgehog’s body. With my last hedgehog, they kept falling off when I added more, but with this one, I was more lucky. My staff’s pet hedgehog has spikes in two colors, so I alternated between Chocolate and Sahara.

I decided to bake the hedgehog for 90 minutes, because I wanted to make sure it got thoroughly cured. After all, I hadn’t used anything such as tinfoil on the inside of the hedgehog, so it was a relatively thick sculpture. After baking, I painted the little white dots in the hedgehog’s eyes. I usually do this to make the eyes of my creatues appear more expressive.

I gave my staff the hedgehog last Sunday and she immediately recognized Willow, her pet, in it. She especially loved the way I’d done its eyes. She says she’s placed Fimo Willow on flesh-and-bones Willow’s cage. I feel very honored about that.

My 2022 Birthday Celebrations

In one of her Writer’s Workshop writing prompts for this week, Mama Kat asks us to share about something we celebrated recently. Of course, it was my birthday last Monday and I haven’t yet told you all everything about it, so here goes.

The celebrations started on Saturday with me arriving in Lobith by taxi at around noon. My husband gave me my first present after we’d had lunch. According to him, I’d been nagging him about the Cernit matt polymer clay varnish being sold out everywhere. Indeed, I had mentioned this to him (not exactly nagging, in my opinion), to which he’d replied with a challenge for me to find where it’d been allegedly sold out. I found out that a Bol.com (a Dutch site much like Amazon but more expensive) partner still had some in stock. He then asked me whether I wanted it for my birthday. I said yes. So that’s what I got. I got two 30ml pots of it, because according to my husband a Danish vendor had it in stock at half the Bol.com price including shipping.

At around 2:30PM, my parents arrived. They gave me strawberries that they’d bought from a street vendor across the German border. They also gave me German tea, which I ended up giving to my husband, since it was black tea and I only drink green tea and the occasional herbal tea. My main birthday gift was a huge box full of plastic cookie cutters to use with my polymer clay. There are 75 cutters in the box, ranging from animals to vehicles and from a few Christmas-themed and sports-themed ones to dinosaurs. The box also included cutters for all letters and numbers except for I (the box recommended cutting off a piece of the L for that). I also got a huge jar filled with beads that my parents bought at a thrift store. Lastly, I got a kit for making magnetic bracelets.

After we’d had coffee and apple pie, we chatted some. Then, it was time to leave for the restaurant my husband and I had picked out. The restaurant was called “De Revolutie” (“The Revolution”) and we’d somehow gotten the impression it was a Cuban-style restaurant. That had appealed to my husband and me, because my parents are leftists.

When we arrived, we soon figured out it was indeed hard to comprehend which revolution the restaurant was referring to. We’d hoped for pictures of Che Guevara, but there were none. I had already discovered that, what the restaurant had on the menu, definitely wasn’t Cuban cuisine, as most of its meals include beef and that’s hardly consumed in Cuba (or so Google tells me). I didn’t care though.

I chose shrimp in garlic oil as my appetizer, which was really good. My husband chose nachos and was given a huge bowl of them. I ate some of his. Then I went for a burger for my main course, while my husband chose a stew. His was a relatively small serving, while mine was quite large. I liked my burger, but had hoped for a spicier version.

After we’d finished our meal, my parents left and my husband and I drove back to our house in Lobith. The next day, we drove to my in-laws’ house, where only my mother-in-law was at the time. My mother-in-law gave me a clay extruder as a present, which I love but only figured out how to work today.

On Monday, my actual birthday, I didn’t do much out of the ordinary. I treated myself to a sausage roll for lunch, but that was it. I also tried to find ready-made cookie dough to make cookies from to give as a treat to my fellow residents. It turned out the supermarket was no longer selling this, so I went back on Tuesday to get ice cream after all.

I had decided this year that I don’t want a present from my staff, since technically you (or your family) pay for it yourself anyway. However, yesterday the new student staff brought me some plunger fondant cutters to use with my polymer clay. They weren’t even really intended as presents, but I appreciate them very much.

Mama’s Losin’ It