#WeekendCoffeeShare (November 28, 2021)

Hi everyone on this Sunday afternoon. It’s a little less rainy today than it was yesterday, but it’s still cold outside. Today, I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare again. As I type this, I am right between my lunch and my afternoon coffee. I can probably offer you a coffee before I finish this post, ha. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that this week was better than the previous one. Like I said yesterday, my appointment with my nurse practitioner went pretty well and we were able to get to some agreements that will hopefully lead to better treatment for me. For example, I’d struggled to convey in an E-mail how I was struggling two weeks prior and he had asked me to wait for our appt to discuss the matter. That hadn’t sat well with me, so now we agreed that next time he’ll try to call me to further assess the situation.

We also agreed that he would try not to stop me or change the subject if I’m struggling or getting emotional while trying to communicate something. I gave as an example one time when I felt unable to speak and he, possibly not wanting to push me, said: “We don’t have to discuss anything if you don’t want to.” Overall, I feel slightly optimistic about my treatment going forward and I consider that a major win given the desperate state I was in last week.

If we were having coffee, I’d also share that I got some insight into the near-hallucinatory, dysregulated states I occasionally go into at night. My nurse practitioner thinks they might be related to the phase between being fully awake and being asleep. Unfortunately, there’s little to nothing to be done about them, but it feels comforting to know I’m not really “losing my mind”. It also seems, from this idea, unlikely that I’m going to experience these states during the day and really “going crazy”.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that, unfortunately, I did experience nightmares last night. It’s probably to do with the flashbacks and memories I experienced yesterday. I am so grateful though that the nightmares aren’t affecting me too much now that I’m awake.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that, thankfully, I’ve also been a little more active lately than I was before. Like I mentioned yesterday, I made a polymer clay unicorn on Thursday. My husband wants to have it. I’ve also been reading more lately. I won’t at all reach my reading goal for the year or even come close to how many books I read last year, but at least I finished another book.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d ramble a bit about how scared I am because of the rapid rise in COVID cases here in the Netherlands. Today, we’re entering an evening lockdown. Stay-at-home orders have also been extended to recommending people work from home unless it’s not possible, like during the first lockdown in March of last year. I’m scared this will mean the day center closes again. More so though, I’m scared of contracting the virus or even a cold and needing to quarantine in my room. Let’s hope I won’t.

How have you been?

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?

DIY Polymer Clay Owl on a Metal Ring

O(w)live

Hi everyone! I already shared a few times about the polymer clay owl I’d been making over the past few weeks. Now that it’s finished, I finally wanted to show you what the final product looks like and how I created it. I apologize in advance for not having photos of each of the steps.

What You’ll Need


  • A metal ring. Mine is about 12cm in diameter.

  • Polymer clay in your desired colors. You will need colors for the ring (this is the owl’s body), the wings (three pairs), eyes, beak and legs. I used the same color for the beak and legs and for one of the pairs of wings and the eyes.

  • Round (two sizes) and heart-shaped cutters to cut the different body parts.

  • Your usual polymer clay tools, such as a pasta machine or acrylic roller to roll out your sheets of clay before cutting. I used my pasta machine.

  • Plastic eyes to stick onto your owl once baked.

  • Glue for sticking the eyes onto the owl.

How I Made My Owl

First, I cut long, rectangular strands of clay out of my sheet of the color I used for the ring. I went with olive green thinking it meant the owl sat on a branch, because I didn’t realize this was supposed to be its body. I wrapped the strands around the ring. First, I tried curling, but that didn’t work. Then I just made sure the rectangle was just wide enough to cover the entire ring and folded it around it. That worked! I obviously had to cut several strands to cover the entire length of the ring, but that’s okay.

Then I added the wings. I started with the bottom wings, for which I chose the color ochre. I cut them out with round cutters and then attached them to the olive green ring.

Then I did the same with the two other sets of wings. I chose caramel and taupe for the middle and upper wings respectively. I said you need three pairs of wings, but really you need four wings of each of the three colors. At least if, like me, you want the owl to look the same on both sides. Similarly, you’ll need two pairs of eyes (including four plastic eyes), two pairs of legs and two beaks.

After attaching the wings, I went on to the eyes. I used slightly smaller round cutters for those and attached them in a similar way that I’d done the wings. I decided to use ochre again for the eyes. This may seem strange, but I didn’t want to use too many colors and make my owl look too overloading.

I used heart-shaped cutters for the legs and, as you will see in the finished product, attached them upside-down. Sorry, I don’t have a photo with just the legs.

For the beak, I used a kind of half heart shape that I had my staff help me with: I cut out the actual heart (same size as the legs) and my staff cut away the excess clay with a knife. I used an actual feather to stick the pointy holes in the beak, but I’m pretty sure any pointy object will do.

Then the owl went in the oven. I baked it for 60 minutes at 110°C. I know, I know, Fimo and other brands recommend 30 minutes, but, like I’ve mentioned before, there is no way you can bake polymer clay for too long. I let it fully cool before attaching the eyes. I used my jewelry glue for this, but I’m pretty sure E6000 or something like it will work too. I then strung a ribbon between the eyes to hang my owl onto. Voila, here’s O(w)live!

O(w)live

I am linking up with Party in Your PJ’s and Wonderful Wednesday.

Gratitude List (November 12, 2021) #TToT

Hi everyone. I’ve really been struggling lately, which is one reason I haven’t written much. To get myself out of my rut, I thought I’d share a gratitude list. As usual, I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful or #TToT for short. Here goes.

1. I am grateful for salami pizza. We ordered delivery from the local Italian restaurant on Sunday and I had this.

2. I am grateful for the night staff who helped me calm even the slightest bit on Sunday night when I was experiencing severe mood dysregulation.

3. I am grateful for a new book to immerse myself into. I’m reading a collection of short, autobiographical stories from a Dutch GP.

4. I am grateful for relatively good weather again over the past week. We’ve hardly had any rain and, though the temperature was quite low for my liking, at least it wasn’t freezing.

5. I am grateful my abdominal discomfort seems almost gone. I think I’ve finally reached the right dosage of magnesium. We aren’t to evaluate it with my GP until sometime next week though. Fingers crossed.

6. I am grateful my assigned home staff has returned to work part-time again. Like I mentioned before, she had been on sick leave since late September, but she seems to be recovering. She worked part of my day activities shift on Tuesday and my evening one-on-one today.

7. I am grateful for white chocolate. I bought myself a chocolate bar yesterday. I have it in my locked kitchen cupboard so that I can’t consume it all at once, but that way I do enjoy it more.

8. I am grateful for new essential oils. I ordered cypress, mandarin and lavender. Lavender, I’d had before but had used up. The others, I’d never used before. I did have to throw out a few others that I either didn’t like or that had expired, but that’s okay.

9. I am grateful I finished my polymer clay owl. Some people think it looks more like a turkey, but oh well. I’ll write a separate post on how I made it with more pictures later.

10. I am grateful for my staff. I have been extremely depressed lately and have been convinced that they should and will abandon me. While I heard from the manager yesterday that three staff are indeed leaving my care home, this apparently has nothing to do with me and the staff I have the best relationship with, aren’t leaving (yet).

What are you grateful for?

A Good Enough Tuesday

Today is November 2. It’s a Tuesday. A good enough Tuesday, mind you. I didn’t dwell too much on it being the anniversary of my crisis in 2007.

I didn’t really get stressed out about the prime minister delivering another press conference, one in which he’d be announcing new COVID-related restrictions, either. If I’m correct, the press conference is happening right now or has just finished. When I passed by the living room, where the television is, I heard the prime minister say something about “strongly recommending” us to social distance again. Well, whatever. If it’s just a “strong recommendation”, it’s a suggestion, so no-one will do it. Masks are similarly “strongly recommended”.

I didn’t do too much today. Had my blood pressure taken this morning, which was within the normal range (112 over 77) even though I had already been up for a bit. I normally ask that staff check my blood pressure first thing in the morning, because it’s usually up a little when I’ve been active. Not this time though.

I also went to Action, a budget store, to buy some Christmas decorations. I won’t be putting them up till early December, but I wanted to be early buying them to make sure I still had a wide selection to choose from.

I have been wanting to craft too, but that will have to wait till tomorrow. After all, then one of my more creative one-on-one staff will be there for my day activities shift. I will finish the polymer clay owl I’ve been working on.

I did struggle a bit with attachment issues and emotional flashbacks today, but both were manageable. Overall, like I said, it was a good enough day. And that’s totally okay.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (October 30, 2021)

Hi everyone. It’s almost 8PM here so I already had my last cup of coffee. Still, I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare. Or Weekend Soft Drink Share for me maybe, although I didn’t have a soft drink this evening either. Instead, I decided to have water with my chips. We have Pringles, the original flavor, so if you’d like some, here you go. Let’s have a drink and a snack and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that, like I said yesterday, the weather was good most of the week. Partly cloudy, partly sunny with maximum temperatures between 13°C and even a rare 18°C on Thursday. Today though, it was raining most of the day. By early evening though, the rain stopped for a bit.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that, yesterday, I got in over 14K steps thanks to the great weather. Today, I only managed about 6K steps, but I did get in over 250 steps an hour during seven out of the nine hours between 9AM and 6PM. I consider that quite an achievement!

If we were having coffee, I would ask you all to pray for wisdom for both me and my GP with respect to our upcoming appointment regarding my abdominal discomfort. Like I said yesterday, I am grateful my X-ray was normal, but my discomfort is all but gone.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I ended up not pursuing the issue I mentioned yesterday with the €90 software I bought via PayPal from some shady vendor. I did reach the vendor, but he claimed the problem I was experiencing wasn’t on their side, so there’s no way I’ll get my money back. Oh well, I hadn’t had my hopes up too high.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I finally did start crafting again. The project my staff saw that she brought the supplies in for today, was a polymer clay owl crafted around a metal ring. She also brought a finished owl she’d borrowed from the storekeeper who had inspired her, so that I had an idea what it should look like. It looked very different from how I’d expected it to look. I started working on the project today.

If we were having coffee, lastly I would tell you that my assigned staff, the one who was on sick leave but is slowly recovering, came to the care home for a few hours again today. Remember how I said a few weeks ago that I worried that I caused her burnout by sucking up her energy? Well, she went out of her way to reassure me that I didn’t make her sick.

She also cooked a meal for dinner with another client. It was a potato, leek and mince casserole. At first, I wasn’t sure I’d like it, but I did.

How have you been?

Gratitude List (October 29, 2021) #TToT

Hi everyone on this Friday evening. I’m doing a gratitude list again today. As usual, I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT). Here goes.

1. I am grateful my abdominal X-ray came back all normal. There’s no constipation or excess gas. Of course, this does mean we still don’t have answers as to what is causing my abdominal discomfort and how to deal with it. I have another appt with the GP to discuss further steps.

2. I am grateful my staff, the one who was on sick leave, is slowly returning to work. She came by for a quick visit yesterday.

3. I am grateful for nice weather. Most of the week, the temperature’s been above-average for this time of year, with today it going as high as 17°C. It’s been pretty clear and sunny with no rain too. The weekend is supposed to be different, but oh well, that’s okay.

4. I am grateful for interesting conversations. I’ve been exploring the enneagram again and engaged both my husband and several staff in discussions about it. I got one staff to take a test and, assuming the test typed her right, so did I.

5. I am grateful my creativity seems to slowly be returning. I’m not yet actually creating anything, but I’m exploring polymer clay again. One of my staff is going to bring me some supplies for creating something she saw online or in a book tomorrow and I’m really looking forward to it.

6. I am grateful I had the guts to finally press the “report a problem” button on one of my most recent PayPal purchases. I spent €90 on what looks in theory like pretty amazing software. Turns out though that the license information I was given doesn’t work. I tried to contact the vendor via their website but got an “undelivered” E-mail response. I saw that their PayPal contact info was different, so before proceeding to actually report the problem to PayPal, I decided to try one more time to contact them via that E-mail address. Fingers crossed this will work.

7. I am grateful for yet more newly-discovered essential oil blends. I still haven’t bought more oils in part due to said €90 I might’ve thrown down the drain, but I love learning new ways I can use the oils I do have on hand. I currently have a blend of cinnamon, ginger and ylang ylang in my diffuser.

8. I am grateful for salad again. My day activities staff and I made this for lunch (well, she did the actual making) on Wednesday and there was still some left on Thursday.

9. I am grateful for all the sensory equipment I have right here in my room. On a Messenger chat, we were discussing ways to cope with anxiety and I mentioned my essential oil diffuser, weighted blanket and music pillow. These things make me so privileged.

10. I am grateful I am safe in the care facility. I find it hard to say this, but it’s true.

What are you grateful for?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (September 19, 2021)

Hi all on this late Sunday evening! Boy, am I late joining #WeekendCoffeeShare. I’ve had all my coffee for the day and even had my last soft drink. If you’d like one, I’m sure I can still pass you one through the Internet though. Let’s have a cup of coffee or another drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that the weather is still pretty good for September here. Temperatures rose to roughly 20°C in the afternoon and it’s been mostly dry with some sunshine and some clouds. Today while in the car being taken back to the care facility from Lobith, my husband even said I had to wear sunglasses. Now sadly the sunlight wasn’t particularly bright to my (almost) totally blind eyes, but yesterday I’d gotten a headache from what might’ve been exposure to bright sunlight that I wasn’t consciously detecting.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that my husband and I had our tenth wedding anniversary today. We celebrated it yesterday with a large Domino’s pizza. We each had a milkshake too, but it was far too thick for my liking. I couldn’t finish drinking it, whether I tried the paper straw that came with it or my own silicone straw.

If we were having coffee, I would finally show you the picture of the present I gave my husband for our anniversary. It’s a polymer clay heart with the text “Assie houdt van je” stamped into it. Assie is my nickname (and no, in Dutch, there is no connotation to asses) and “houdt van je” is Dutch for “loves you”. There is magnetic tape at the back so that my husband could hang it on the fridge.

Polymer Clay Heart for My Husband

My husband really appreciated the gift.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the rest of my week was okay. I was a little sad and grieving the loss of my eyesight, as well as worrying about my upcoming care plan review. The review won’t be until September 30 and of course it doesn’t involve judgment and it isn’t a test.

However, I have been increasingly aware of my inner fight regarding my wish to stay here in Raalte and yet my feeling that I ought to be looking for another care facility or working towards living with my husband. In my paragraph about the bright sunshine, I almost wrote I was taken “home to the care facility” rather than “back”, as if our house in Lobith is less of a home to me than the care facility. My support staff would consider this progress, in that I’m beginning to feel safe here at the care facility. However, there’s an inner voice that tells me that this is betraying my husband. I know he supports me staying here for now, but I also know he struggles with the distance. Ugh, this is so hard.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that I’m very curious about iOS 15, which will be out tomorrow. Like almost every year, there is one critic on the Dutch VoiceOver E-mail group who warns all of us to wait because it’ll be drama. This year though, the accessibility bugs seem not as serious as last year and especially the year before. Still, I’ll probably wait at least a couple of weeks until at least some of the other members of the group have actually installed the official release. I am really curious about live text in photos and improved VoiceOver image recognition though.

How have you been?

Crafting Lately: Polymer Clay and a Bracelet

Hi all! It’s Friday evening and it’s been thundering a bit outside. I’m scared of thunderstorms. Thankfully, they’re not too bad. To get my mind off the weather, I’m sharing some of my recent crafting endeavors with you all.

I bought a whole lot of new polymer clay supplies earlier in the week. Among them are a bead roller, which I have yet to try out, bead piercing pins to put holes in the beads I create with the bead roller, and brooch pins.

I also bought both transparent and gold Fimo Liquid. I haven’t yet decided what to do with the transparent one other than to use it to soften crumbly clay.

The gold-colored kind though, I intend to use to color in my letters that I’ve been stamping into my polymer clay pieces lately. I think I didn’t even share those pieces with you yet. I got the stamping kit a few weeks ago and love it! Below is a not-yet-colored piece.

I tried to color it with the gold Fimo Liquid this evening. First, I was unsuccessful trying it on my own, but when my staff guided my hand, it worked. Here’s the finished piece.

I also got a new pasta machine. Probably needn’t have bought it after all. I mean, I thought the old one was shredding my clay but with these particular clays, the new one was doing the same. However, I’m still grateful I got it.

A few weeks ago, I downloaded a few color recipes from Polymer Clay Loves. I didn’t have any of the four colors of Fimo Soft needed for mixing those colors, but I bought those too. Thing is, I just bought the small, two-ounce packets for three of the four colors and will likely need at least one of those for another project (which is still a secret) due to my other clay being too crumbly. You can totally see I’m still learning, eh? However, I definitely enjoy my craft!

In other crafts, I’ve also been enjoying basic beading again. The day center reopened this week and so I met some people from other homes for the first time in a long while. The staff told me one of them wore a lot of bracelets, so I immediately decided I’d make her a bracelet to add to her collection. Here it is!

As you can see, it is a simple threaded bracelet made with wooden beads on elastic wire. I personally don’t like wooden beads, as they connote child’s play beads to me, but these look pretty grown-up or so I’m told.

Have you been doing any crafting lately?

PoCoLo