#WeekendCoffeeShare (June 14, 2020)

Happy Sunday afternoon everyone! I’m joining in with #WeekendCoffeeShare. I think I just ate all of the cheesecake that one of my staff brought for her birthday yesterday and I think the other residents ate all the cream cake she’d brought too. I guess we still have lots of cookies though. Have a cup of coffee and a cookie and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I would rave once more about the smoothie maker a staff brought me on Monday! I have been making smoothies almost everyday since. Yesterday, I made one with frozen blueberries in it for my husband. Its color was a bit grey or so my husband said, but it tasted good. Unfortunately, the staff left the blueberries in the fridge rather than the freezer, so we had to use them all up today.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you how much fun I’ve had with this staff member. She’s returning from long-time sick leave, so is slowly building up her hours again. This means sometimes she just comes as an extra staff to do fun things with us. Like, on Friday, she helped another resident and me make cards for a staff who just earned her carer diploma. We also played a game using a mallet and nails, in which you have to slam wooden blocks into a piece of cork. Normally the wooden figures are really relatively thin, so I don’t have the coordination to do it properly, but these were actually thick blocks.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I had a nice phone conversation with my former support coordinator. She was really nice. Like I said on Friday, I’d half assumed she no longer knew who I was, but she definitely still remembered.

Like I said on Friday, she told me my staff have been thinking of applying for more care for me. This did make me feel a little scared, as last year the application for long-term care was really hard.

Yesterday, I reread the application and indeed, some things are more severe now than my staff thought they were back then. This has me feeling all sorts of things. Isn’t care supposed to help me be more independent? Well, the goal for me is stabilization, not development, but yeah. My inner critic is shouting at me, but I try to shut her up.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’ve been experimenting with my new phone’s camera. I’ve been taking random pictures of my room. I haven’t had a staff check them yet, so not sure they’ll ever go on my blog, but oh well.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d tell you that I got a Netflix subscription again yesterday. I’ll just try it for a bit and then may unsubscribe again, but I wanted to see the Netflix original Diagnosis. This, like the book by that title I’m currently reading, is based on Lisa Sanders’s New York Times Magazine column on hard-to-diagnose medical conditions. It’s very interesting.

What have you been up to lately?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (June 7, 2020)

It’s Sunday and I am feeling pretty lazy. I have quite a few ideas for blog posts, but I’m just going with the #WeekendCoffeeShare. I haven’t participated in that one in a while. Grab a cup of coffee, green tea or I think there’s some soda or juice in the fridge still too and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, of course I’d talk about my new iPhone. I already shared about it on Friday, but well, I’m totally in love with it! I got the iPhone SE 2020, which the info section in Settings just calls the SE. That’s pretty confusing, since I also have the old SE still. I haven’t prepared that one for reselling or donating to charity yet. Not even sure what I’m going to do with it. Probably donate it to charity for recycling, but I’m not confident enough to remove all data yet.

My husband asked me what type of case I want for my new iPhone. He’s going to buy me one for my birthday. I currently have a jelly case, but I want a bookcase.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I got over 50K steps this past week. Last week, I got nearly 65K, so this isn’t a big accomplishment, but it still feels good.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that the weather is weird. Sometimes it rains, while other times it’s just slightly cloudy or even a bit sunny. Because of the rain, I haven’t been walking as much this week as I’d want to. Then again, I guess nature and agriculture need the rain.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that on Thursday, the staff intern and I made apple pastries. I didn’t do more than cut the apples into cubes, but it was okay. They were delicious!

If we were having coffee, I would also tell you that on Thursday I went to my GP. I have a large itchy spot on my upper leg that won’t go away. The GP thinks it’s an insect bite made worse by my scratching it. I got some hydrocortisone cream for it. It’s slightly better now.

If we were having coffee, I’d share with you how happy I am that WordPress isn’t planning on retiring the classic editor anytime soon. I don’t hate the block editor as much as some other bloggers do, but I find it somewhat annoying at the same time. I never liked the WordPress.com editor, so am actually pretty happy it’s gone.

If we were having coffee, lastly I would tell you that I’ve done a lot of reading lately. I’m truly in the mood again. I bought the YA novel Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett on Thursday and actually finished it in only three days. That’s pretty awesome for me.

How have you been lately?

Lovin’ Lately (June 5, 2020)

It’s Friday, yay! Today I’m sharing another Lovin’ Lately list with you all. Want to know what I’ve loved lately?

1. My new iPhone. This one just has to be at the top, of course. I ordered it last Saturday and it arrived on Monday. On Tuesday, a staff member helped me set it up. Except for the pattern you need to scan with your old phone to make the old one send data to your new one, the whole set-up process was pretty easy. I did need a lot of help getting the screen protector and jelly case on the phone.

I got the new iPhone SE 2020. I can’t really compare how well this iPhone performs compared to my old one when I first had it. I mean, I use my new one much more than I did the old one back then, so it’s obvious the battery doesn’t last as long. However, I’m generally pretty impressed with how long I can use the new phone with the battery not getting below 50%. In addition, my new phone is a lot speedier than the old one. Not that I found my old one slow, but now that I have this one, I’m so happy.

Unfortunately, all bugs that I experienced with the old one, are still there. This means they’re software bugs. Just need to wait for iOS 14 to come out, I guess.

2. Twitter. I’ve been enjoying being on Twitter more over the past few days. I downloaded an app called Twitterrific that makes it pretty easy to use. Somehow, the app store highlights only one-star reviews and people claim it’s a scam. It does ask for money, but so far, the purchase seems entirely optional.

3. YouTube. As someone who’s never made any videos and doesn’t intend on it either, I tended to avoid YouTube because I can’t participate on it like I do with my blog. However, today I decided to check some book-related YouTubers (or BookTubers for short). I loved it!

4. Reading. I’ve not been reading much lately, but a few days ago, decided to read some autism-related non-fiction again. I’ve been loving some books detailing the autistic experience.

Then yesterday I was reading someone else’s #BlackLivesMatter TBR and impulsively bought a novel off it. I’m already at 57%. It’s Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett. As someone who’s white, I don’t find that I read many books about black people and other racial minorities. Racial disparities just don’t speak to me. Then again, if I ever want racism to end, I’ll have to educate myself. This book also talks about queer stuff and the main character is HIV positive.

What have you been lovin’ lately?

Tuesday Ramblings

Today I don’t know what I want to write about. I’m struggling a bit. Had a hard session with my community psychiatric nurse this afternoon. During the last bit of it and after it for a while, my leg kept trembling. It generally does when I’m very emotional.

I think a switch of personality happened during the session too. I’m not sure it was a full switch or just passive influence. I feel like a fraud for thinking this really happened.

In other news, I ordered a new iPhone last Saturday and it arrived yesterday. Today, I installed it. I got most things working pretty well. I got the iPhone SE 2020, which is much like the iPhone 8 but with better battery capacity, higher processor speed and a slightly better camera. It does take a little getting used to, particularly because it’s larger and heavier than the old SE I used to have. I can’t imagine that this is really the smallest iPhone currently on the market. It is though. It also feels weird that the home button isn’t actually a button anymore. Thankfully this model still does have a home button though and doesn’t require face ID.

I walked three times today. Unfortunately, I didn’t meet my step goal and, as I’m supposed to go to bed in half an hour or so, I don’t think I will.

I asked my husband to bring my yoga mat and weights when he visits me again. I looked at some fitness blogs yesterday. Though I don’t think I’ll ever be a fitness blogger even as much as I’m a book blogger, these bloggers did inspire me to get active. I googled a basic beginner’s fitness plan. I haven’t started with it yet, but hopefully will soon. I also really hope to be starting yoga again soon.

How are you all doing?

Gratitude List (May 30, 2020) #TToT

Okay guys, I’m still feeling meh. I don’t know why, but it doesn’t really matter. I’m not inspired to write much of anything either, so what better thing to do than to write a gratitude list? I don’t promise I’ll be able to mention many things, but I’ll try my best.

1. Ice cream. Last week Thursday, another home that’s part of the care facility called for an ice cream truck to come by the facility. The ice cream truck owners had owned some type of merry-go-round or another fairground attraction before COVID-19 hit. Then they transferred to the ice cream business as away of making money. They advertise themselves on Facebook for being on-call if you have enough customers in a street. I love this idea and obviously the care facility has some 70+ clients plus staff as potential customers.

What’s extra cool is that the other home called the truck people again on Tuesday. Now if I don’t have an ice cream tummy, I don’t know.

2. Reaching my step goal. I reached 10K steps three days this past week and so far got over 55K steps this week. Tomorrow I’ll probably have a lie-in.

3. An extra staff. Due to day activities now being provided at the home, the home staff were able to cut their hours a bit, because there was a lot of overlap with the day activities staff. As a result, they’re now able to have an extra staff for a few hours on Saturday. This morning, the extra staff took me for a 25-minute walk.

4. Bathing. This is one from last week, but on Sunday I took a bath. It was good and very relaxing.

5. Gutenberg. You know, the project that aims to digitalize no-longer-copyrighted materials and make them available to the public. I discovered yesterday that my reader app, Voice Dream Reader, connects to it too. I was able to download Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery off there. I think I prefer reading eBooks to audiobooks anyway.

6. Buying a new iPhone. I have been wanting to buy the new iPhone SE 2020 forever. That is, I’ve been looking at the possibility of it being released for at least half a year before it was released. My current iPhone, the old SE model, still works, but its battery is empty really quickly. Today I ordered the new one.

Originally, I had wanted my husband to install it. Then when I was skyping with my sister and mother, my brother-in-law chimed in and said it’s really easy to migrate from one iPhone to another. Now I may want to install the phone myself as soon as I get it and there’s someone sighted to oversee it.

7. Hearing my niece on Skype. Like I said above, this afternoon I Skyped with my mother and sister. It was fun. I hadn’t even had Skype on my computer till then, but I like it. I heard my niece on the other end of the screen. She did get a little whiny eventually, probably because she was hungry.

8. Seeing my husband! I saved this one for last, as it’s the best. Last week, the no-visitors policy was lifted at my care facility, so I was able to see my husband. He visited me again today. Like I said before, we can’t really be physically close, but it’s okay. I love you, hubby!

That’s it for now. As always, I’m joining in with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT).

What have you been grateful for lately?

What’s Up (May 2020)

Today, I discovered What’s Up Wednesday and thought I’d join in. What’s Up Wednesday is a monthly linky in which bloggers recap their past month. Here goes.

What I Ate

I don’t meal plan, as here at the care facility, we get meals delivered. I didn’t have the greatest meals this past week. Last week Wednesday, I had a fish curry that had fish bones in it. I ate part of it nonetheless, but eventually got annoyed and left the rest. My husband told me that this was unacceptable indeed. My staff sent out a complaint.

Then on Friday, I had vegetable rice only. Vegetable rice is just rice with a tiny bit of veg in it. I had no meat or meat substitute in my meal at all.

Thankfully though, over the past few days, the food was okay.

Then yesterday, my day activities staff and I put hamburgers on some type of grill for lunch. It was delicious!

What I’m Reminiscing About

I haven’t had the best month with respect to my mood. For this reason, a lot of memories have come up. I have been discussing some in my sessions with my community psychiatric nurse and also writing about them on here.

What I’m Loving

Being able to see my husband again! Due to the coronavirus lockdown, my care facility had a no-visitors policy for the past two months. Thankfully though, the policy was lifted last week. My husband and I still can’t have physical contact or even be within a five-feet distance, but it’s okay. I’m just so glad to meet my husband in real life again.

What I’ve Been Up To

I’ve been doing a lot of walking over this past month. The weather is really good. We had one rainy day, last Sunday, but overall it’s been really sunny and warm outside.

I’ve also been blogging a lot over the past month. I’m so glad to keep up the productive spirit!

What I’m Dreading

Nothing really. I did have a rough few weeks and was dreading a crisis happening again. Today is a pretty good day though. The tech guys installed the door sensor that will alert the night staff if I elope again today.

What I’m Excited About

Seeing my husband again this Saturday!

I’m also excited about getting Italian takeaway this Sunday. I’m probably going to get a tuna pizza.

What We’re Doing This Weekend

It’s a holiday weekend here in the Netherlands because of Pentecost. For this reason, we’re getting lots of extra treats at the care facility. Other than that and seeing my husband, I don’t have much planned.

What I’m Watching

Nothing to be honest. I’ve been thinking about getting a Netflix subscription again, but haven’t gotten down to it.

What I’m Reading

Nothing at the moment, but I did finish two books this past month: Wonder by R.J. Palacio and Wink by Rob Harrell. I reviewed that last one earlier this month.

What I’m Listening To

I’m mostly listening to the Pop Warm-UP 130 BPM playlist on Spotify. I actually love the upbeat, fast-paced tunes to “dance” to.

I also got myself a ScribD subscription, though I unsubscribed again after a few weeks. I listened to Anne of Green Gables as an audiobook on there. I must say I don’t think I see the benefit of audiobooks.

What I’m Working On

My birthday wishlist! I asked my husband to help me install a new iPhone that I’m goign to buy. I haven’t bought it yet, but am looking forward to doing so in a few weeks.

I’ve been looking at a sensory supplies store again for birthday gifts to ask my in-laws, parents and sister. I think I want a Jinglin’ ball. This is a soft ball that makes a sound when rolled. The adaptive supplies store for the blind also sells ringing balls, but these are too hard for safe playing with my fellow clients.

What I’m Wearing

Orange Dress

I have had this orange dress for a few years already, but hardly ever wore it before going into the care facility, because I can’t fasten the ribbon. I am loving it though. I also asked my staff to do my hair for this picture.

What I’m Looking Forward To Next Month

My birthday, obviously! It isn’t till the 27th of June, so we’ll have another What’s Up Wednesday before that, but oh well.

What Else Is Up

I think that about covered it.

Quotes, Sayings and Affirmations for Self-Care #AtoZChallenge

Welcome to my Letter Q post in the #AtoZChallenge. Man, how time flies! We’ve just entered our sixth week in “intelligent” lockdown here in the Netherlands. Tomorrow, prime minister Rutte will hold another press conference to determine whether any restrictions will be lifted on April 28. I doubt it, but oh well.

Today I want to talk about using quotes and inspirational sayings in your self-care routine.

Quotes may seem a little cheesy to some people at first. Then again, maybe you haven’t found the right one yet. If you find a quote that truly speaks to you, it can definitely set you off in the right direction.

I for one love quotes and not just the deep ones. Anna Borges’ first self-care strategy is called “A.A. Milne” after the author of the book Winnie the Pooh. There are lots of funny quotes in that book and in the Disney movies based on it. They may actually make you laugh and inspire you at the same time.

I do also love deep quotes though. My favorites come from Helen Keller, Tori Amos and Madeleine L’Engle. However, I enjoy quotes from a ton of different people.

For those of us who are religious, Bible or other sacred text verses can also certainly speak to you. I am a true cherry picker where it comes to the Bible, picking out random passages to use for motivation. That’s totally okay if you ask me.

When you find a quote or verse that speaks to you, you can use it as a mantra or affirmation. You can also create your own affirmations. The key to getting affirmations to actually do good for you, is believing in them. I mean, I don’t believe in Law of Attraction-like ideas that say anything you set your mind to can come true. Affirmations need to be useful to your life right now. For example, I use the following affirmation: “I love, accept and respect myself exactly as I am right now.”

There are a number of different apps that can be used for focusing on affirmations. I use ThinkUp and Mantra on my iPhone. Both are free but come with ads and an in-app purchase to get premium features and remove advertising.

What are your favorite quotes, sayings or affirmations?

Journaling for Emotional Wellbeing #AtoZChallenge

Wow, did I seriously not think about journaling when ruminating over what word to pick for my letter J post? Well yeah, indeed I completely forgot. But now I know, so for today, I’m going to talk about one of my favorite yet most challenging self-care habits: journaling.

I started my first journal when I was about eleven. It was a handmade diary with Braille pages stuck in it. I didn’t keep it for long though. When I was thirteen, I started writing a regular diary on my computer. That one lasted for over three years, until I discovered the Internet and online journals. I always wished for my journals to be read by others, even though I never wanted my parents to be those other people. That happened with the online journal, which gradually morphed into a blog.

That being said, I need to learn to write in private again. Not just anything that goes on in my head, is suited for the whole wide world to read.

Journal keeping can have many benefits for your emotional wellbeing. It can help you identify patterns in your thinking, find triggers for negative feelings and be more grateful, among other things.

Remember, the diary is just one form of journaling. Usually in a diary, you write what you did during a day, including how you felt. There are other types of more focused journals, such as:

  • Dream journal, in which you write down your dreams after you wake up in the morning.
  • Goal-related journal, such as weight loss or smoking cessation journals. In this type of journal, you track your progress towards a goal. For those of us dealing with addictions, eating disorders, etc., a journal for tracking how many days you’re in recovery, may help too.
  • Gratitude journal, in which you write a list of daily gratefuls or otherwise express your gratitude. See my letter G post for more tips on this.

Some journaling “experts” recommend writing stream-of-consciousness style. Others recommend using prompts. You can combine the two by responding to a journaling prompt in stream-of-consciousness style too. There are many free and cheap books of journaling prompts. My favorite is the Journaling with Lisa Shea series. I have the whole series in one single eBook.

There are lots of ways to keep a journal. You can have a standard paper journal or a document (or more than one) on your computer, tablet or smartphone. There are also lots of apps that are aimed at helping you journal. I have tried dozens of those on my iPhone. My current favorite is Day One, which is available for all Apple products and I believe Android now too. Still, no matter how many products you try, you need to be the one sticking to a regular habit of journal keeping.

Do you have a journal (other than your blog)?

Fun and Games for When You’re Bored #AtoZChallenge

Welcome to my letter F post in the #AtoZChallenge. I want to have a lighthearted topic for today. After all, I’m bored and don’t want to delve deep into some topic of self-care. Of course, dealing with boredom appropriately can be an act of self-care. I’m sharing a few fun activities to do when you’re bored.

1. Card games. I particularly love the game of “pesten” (“bullying” in English), which is a variation to the card game of mau mau and similar to Uno. It is played with a deck of 55 cards (52 of a regular pack plus three jokers). The goal is to get rid of all of your cards first, but you can bully the person next to you by the cards you play. For example, if you play an eight, the person next must pass his turn. If you play a two or joker, the next person must draw two or five cards from the stack, respectively. There are some other rules too that are pretty complicated particularly if there are more than two players in the game. For example, an ace means to turn around, so it’s often hard to remember whether we’re playing clockwise or counterclockwise. For this reason, I usually play the game with one other person.

I should really be trying to learn some other card games, as “pesten” is the only one I know. I guess playing solitaire is a good boredom killer if you’re by yourself.

2. Board games. I don’t play those often, but as a tween, I did. I particularly liked monopoly. I now have an audio-based version of monopoly on my iPhone. Still figuring it out though.

3. Word games and puzzles. I particularly like to make word strings, where the next word has to start with the last letter of the previous word. These can be themed, such as first names, animals, etc. I also like to do word puzzles on my phone. Most regular word games are not accessible with VoiceOver. However, I have an app called 7 Little Words that is.

4. Reading. We as a system like to read a variety of books depending on who out of our personalities is fronting. For example, the young alters like reading funny stories and jokes. Like we said yesterday, there are many free kids’ stories available in eBook format from both Amazon and Apple Books.

The teens and adults prefer young adult novels and occasionally fiction geared towards adults. We also love memoirs.

What fun activities can you think of to do when you’re bored?

Gratitude List (March 23, 2019) #TToT

This week was better than last week. Still, when I filled out a check-in questionnaire on an app called Pacifica, it said I scored as severely depressed. Well, apparently that’s my normal state.

Today, I am feeling pretty good. I want to share the things I’m grateful for, so I’m once again joining in with #TToT.

1. A full Monday at day activities. Like I mentioned last week, from this week on, I’ll be going to day activities three full days (Monday, Tuesday and Friday) plus Wednesday morning. I liked it on Monday afternoon.

2. Lorazepam. On Tuesday, I was pretty unquiet all day. Thankfully, I’d taken my PRN tranquilizer with me to day activities. I took it in the afternoon. At first, it just made me feel drowsy, but I eventually calmed down too.

3. Stuffed animals. I spent some time Tuesday afternoon at another group at day activities, where I tried to relax in a recliner. They have a large stuffed dog, which I was allowed to hold.

Also, last Thursday before leaving for work at 5AM, my husband covered me in stuffed animals as I went back to sleep. That’s so awesome!

4. Two long walks with my support coordinator. On both Wednesday and Thursday, we took an hour-long walk.

5. Yoga. On Thursday, I tried to do some yoga on my bed, because I couldn’t find my yoga mat. Turned out it had disintegrated and my husband had thrown it out. I ordered a new yoga mat on Thursday, which arrived at my in-laws on Friday. I picked it up today and it is great. It is not as thick as the one I used to have, but thick enough at 1.5cm. I tried some yoga again today.

6. Mindfulness apps. I tried meditating regularly using Insight Timer this week. It was good. I also, like I said, got an app called Pacifica, which helps me track my mood and health habits. I like it.

7. Beautiful weather yesterday. The temperature reached 19 degrees Celsius, which meant we could have coffee outside in the afternoon at day activities. The staff also put up the cocoon swing, which I always love.

8. Sleep. Yesterday, I was feeling exhausted and had a headache. My husband noticed an dtold me to go to bed. I slept for over twelve hours last night. Though my quality of sleep could be better, since I snore awfully, I feel okay now energy-wise.

What are you grateful for?