What’s Up (June 2020)

Wow, can you believe it’s already the last Wednesday of the month? I truly can’t. Time flies! Today I’m joining in with What’s Up Wednesday.

What We’re Eating This Week

Well, like I said last month, I live in a care facility with food delivery, so I don’t get to meal plan. We’ve been having an insane amount of baked potatoes lately though.

What I’m Reminiscing About

Not really anything. I mean, occasionally memories pop up, but they’re usually neither pleasant nor significant to share about here.

What I’m Loving

Sunshine! The weather is truly beautiful out here. Tomorrow and Friday the temperature is supposed to rise to 30°C (86°F). That’s a bit hot for my liking, but oh well.

What We’ve Been Up To

Lots of walking! I loved taking several long’ish walks a day with my staff. Today it was a bit hot, but we managed two shorter walks anyway.

What I’m Dreading

My parents possibly being judgmental about my living situation. They will visit me for my birthday on Friday. As much as I try not to stigmatize my intellectually disabled fellow clients, I still fear they’ll feel shame.

What I’m Working On

I started working in the book DIY MFA yesterday and immediately was inspired to write a piece of short fiction. It’s not remotely good enough to go on the blog and it doesn’t have an actual ending yet, but I liked the writing process.

What I’m Excited About

My birthday! Tomorrow, the festivities will start with my mother-in-law visiting. On Friday, my parents will visit. That’s a little scary, but it’ll likely be okay. Then on Saturday, which is my actual birthday, my husband will be visiting. I invited him to get pizza delivered.

What I’m Watching/Reading

I’ve been watching Diagnosis on Netflix and reading the book by that same title, written by Lisa Sanders. I also finally started reading The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth. I’ve been excited about it ever since I first heard about it in like January. It was released earlier this month.

What I’m Listening To

I’m frequently listening to the Harp Music for Sleeping playlist on Spotify. It’s very relaxing. This afternoon, in fact, I fell into a deep sleep listening to it.

I’ve also been discovering podcasts. Early this month, I mostly listened to true crime podcasts. Now I’m occasionally listening to progressive Christian podcasts.

What I’m Wearing

A skirt and a black T-shirt. I have three skirts that are the exact same model yet a different color. As I am blind and haven’t labeled my clothes, I don’t know whether this is the blue, green or red one.

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Having pizza with my husband on Saturday, like I said. I’ll probably have a lie-in on Sunday.

What I’m Looking Forward To Next Month

Probably visiting my husband for a weekend again. Like I mentioned a few times, the visiting rules at my care facility will be relaxed come this Friday. This means I’ll be allowed to go home to my husband for a weekend again. I don’t want to right away, but I’m hopeful in July I’ll be able to go a few times.

What Else Is New

My husband has two weeks off work this week and the next. He’s getting workmen over to replace the outer doors and some other big things that need doing.

What’s up with you?

Five Things I Enjoyed During Lockdown #5Things

Today I’m joining in with the Five Things Challenge, for which the topic this week is things we enjoyed during lockdown.

Now I must say we had an “intelligent” lockddown here. Most businesses were closed, as were schools and restaurants. Many people still weren’t taking it seriously. After a week of school and business closures, on March 23, the prime minister announced stricter enforcement of the stay-at-home order. That’s when he invented the term “intelligent lockdown”. The care facility implemented a no-visitors policy after this. Still, there were no curfews or rigid restrictions on where or when you could be outside. As such, my list may be a little different from that of those who experienced a complete lockdown. Here goes.

1. Walking. Like I said, we didn’t have a curfew. Still, according to Fitbit, in the Netherlands too steps taken dropped significantly during lockdown. I, however, was able to increase my steps a lot.

2. Blogging. It’s great that the #AtoZChallenge was in April, in the midst of lockdown. I truly enjoyed blogging almost everyday during the strictest stay-at-home orders.

3. Reading. Similarly, suddenly I had time to read. Not only did I not go visit my husband or need to fulfill other obligations, but the day center was (and still is) closed. At the day center, I occasionally tried to read, but the noise was just too much. As a result, I had much more time to read. I don’t think I finished any of the books on my lockdown TBR list, but that’s probably because I’m a mood reader.

4. Saving money. Okay, that’s not something I did, but it did happen. I didn’t go out to dinner or have to buy transportation tickets to go to my husband. I didn’t get my hair done, which was really okay as I hate getting it done. In the end, I ended up saving some money. Then I bought my iPhone, of course.

5. Snacking. In the early weeks of lockdown, I was using the added stressor as an excuse to snack on candy and cookies and basically anything. Magically, I more or less maintained my weight throughout the lockdown. I’m due to get weighed in tomorrow again.

What were the positives of the lockdown for you?

Gratitude List (June 12, 2020) #TToT

It’s Friday again. I’m still feeling pretty off. I have a lot on my mind, but rather than dwelling on it, I’m going to write a gratitude list. I’m joining in with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT) again.

1. Bookshare. This is a service that provides accessible eBooks to people with print disabilities. It costs $50 per year and my husband just renewed my subscription. I love it! Not all books are available internationally, but enough are that I enjoy the service.

2. Smoothies. A staff gave me a smoothie maker on Monday. I already had a blender, but this one is a bit smaller and comes with its own screw-on drinking bottles. I have been loving making my own smoothies! Particularly, I loved one with apple, cinnamon, almond milk and oatmeal.

3. Tacos. Or Tortillas or whatever these particular ones are called. We made those at day activities yesterday. We filled them with lettuce, chicken and pesto. My husband commented that pesto isn’t supposed to go on a wrap, but whatever.

4. Crafting a bit. The same staff who brought the smoothie maker, came again today and did some crafting with me and another client. We made some type of cards for a staff who earned her carer diploma recently.

5. Lots of steps again. I reached 10K steps each day this week except for today.

6. My former support coordinator. I texted her yesterday, half assuming she had deleted my contact info and wasn’t sure who I was anymore. Not so though. She offered to call me and we spoke for a bit.

7. My current staff. They are absolutely taking my care needs seriously. One thing I found out through my former support coordinator is that they’re considering applying for a higher care profile for me. This has me feel all sorts of things that I can’t describe on my blog in case someone from the funding authorities reads it. Particularly, I was scared this would mean a whole new long-term care assessmment, which would mean a risk of losing my care. My support staff did reassure me though.

8. My community psychiatric nurse. I tried to call her through the mental health agency’s secretary this afternoon, but the secretary had their automated lunch-break message on long past 1PM. I E-mailed my CPN and thankfully she got from my message that I wanted a call despite my not actually having asked her for one. She helped me process some of my feelings.

This is it for now. What are you grateful for?

Five Things I Do For Fun

Good evening all! I’m having tons of thoughts and feelings right now, but they’re not to be shared on the blog as of yet. Instead, I am joining Mama Kat and sharing five things I do for fun. Maybe listing things I enjoy doing will distract me.

1. Reading. I used to hate reading as a child. As a teen, I developed an interest in Caja Cazemier’s young adult fiction, but none of it was suited for school beyond the eighth grade. I hated all the classics we had to read in school.

Then when I started university as a linguistics major, I was sent a book we were supposed to read before classes started. It was probably sent out to all humanities majors, as at least in our classes, it was never mentioned.

I’m not in college or school now though and can do what I want. So I read. I started with non-fiction and memoirs, but now I read fiction too.

2. Cooking. That is, simple food prep. I got a smoothie maker from one of the staff last Monday and have been loving making my own smoothies. I also love to make salads and other relatively simple lunches. I need some help with it, but the smoothie I made yesterday, I did almost entirely independently.

3. Crafting. Particularly soap and bath and body product making. I haven’t gotten down to that much lately, but I love it.

I also love trying out other crafts, though I usually need considerable help with those. I have tried many crafts in the past and still would love to try some again.

4. Researching my most recent special interests. Right now, they are smoothie recipes, so I combine this with #2 above. I can totally get a mood booster from reading up online on some topic that interests me.

5. Blogging. Yes, I still blog for fun! I sometimes get caught up in negativity if my stats are down, but most of the time, I truly blog for the fun of it.

What do you enjoy doing for fun?

Mama’s Losin’ It

Reading Wrap-Up (June 10, 2020)

Good evening everyone! I’m in quite a good mood for reading lately, so I thought I’d share a reading wrap-up with you all today. I’m joining in with WWW Wednesday.

What I’m Currently Reading

Last week, I downloaded a couple of autism-related books off Bookshare. I started with Our Autistic Lives edited by Alex Radcliffe. This is a collection of personal accounts of life with autism, organized by author age.

Then I stumbled on Diagnosis by Lisa Sanders. This is a collection of colums by the author about strange medical cases. I’m 20% done with it now.

Lastly, today I picked up Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott again after a few weeks of not reading it. I’m not sure I’ll finish it, but we’ll see. I don’t think I like this book as much as I’d originally thought.

What I Recently Finished Reading

I spent all of last week-end reading Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett and finished it on Sunday. See my review, which I wrote on Monday.

What I Think I’ll Be Reading Next

I put a few other autism-related books on my virtual shelves this past week, including Spectrum Women by Barb Cook. I also downloaded a few more books in honor of #BlackLivesMatter, namely On the Come Up and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.

However, I’m a true mood reader and I’ve had Clean by Juno Dawson on my radar for a while, so I may buy that one soon and read it first.

What have you been reading 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?

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.

Top Ten Reasons Why I Love Reading

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday (#TTT) is all about our bookish loves. The prompt is “Top Ten Reasons I Love …”. I am going to interpret this broadly and list the reasons I love reading in general. Here goes.

1. Escapism. It is totally amazing to escape my daily worries and troubles for a bit by immersing myself in the world of books.

2. Broadening my horizons. Whether I read a work of non-fiction, memoir or a novel, it almost always has something in it that I can’t personally relate to. As such, reading gives me insight into things I may not know much about.

3. Perspective. I can too easily be caught up in negativity about my own life. When I read a realistic novel or memoir, it often puts my struggles into perspective.

4. Relatability. Pretty much the opposite of the above. Some books I relate to, give me the sense that I’m not alone in the world.

5. Learning new words. English is my second language. Though I rarely use a dictionary when reading, reading English-language books does help me widen my vocabulary.

6. The ability to hyperfocus and perseverate. I love browsing through Amazon or Apple books for things I may want to read. I can totally immerse myself in even this habit, even if I don’t end up reading anything right then. When I do read, I can totally focus on this and forget my surroundings.

7. Writing inspiration. I am a writer. To be more than a mediocre writer, you really need to be a reader too. I love getting inspiration from the books I read.

8. A book for every mood. Whether I’m in need of a laugh or a cry, there’s a book for every mood. There are also tons of books out there for my inner child parts.

9. Something to talk about. Other than myself, that is. Books really give me something to discuss with others that isn’t too personal. I love it when others have similar interests to mine.

10. The book blogosphere. And book Twitter, YouTube, etc. I totally love connecting to other bloggers. Even though I’m not primarily a book blogger, I love reading book-related blog posts and watching book-related videos on YouTube (BookTube’s actually how I discovered my love for YouTube vlogs).

Do you love reading? Why?

Joining the 28th Bout of Books Readathon!

This is going to be a relatively short post. I’m a few days late, but the linky is still open, yay! I’m joining in with the 28th Bout of Books readathon! This is a week-long readathon organized by Kelly and Amanda. You can find out more about the readathon at the Bout of Books blog. You even still have a few hours to sign up!

Now I must say I’ve never participated in any readathons. Thankfully, this one’s challenges are all optional. I mean, I find readathons a little overwhelming, because I’m a slow reader. I just can’t read more than a few books in a week’s time. I love reading though and would really like to branch out into book blogging more. So here I am. I really like some of the challenges and look forward to sharing my knowledge of books with you. I also look forward to learning from you all.

For those visiting me from the readathon, hiya! Let me introduce myself. I’m Astrid, age 33 and I live in the Netherlands. I mostly read middle grade and young adult novels with realistic themes. I also love the adult reads as long as they’re realistic. My favorite authors in adult-focused fiction are Lisa Genova and Jodi Picoult. However, I’m trying to expand my reading. For this week, I have The Lost Husband by Katherine Center to be read. I also want to actually read some sci-fi/fantasy. Like I said, I’m a slow reader, so I might just finish one book, or I might start to read middle grade or young adult again and finish some of that. I really didn’t create a schedule or planning, as I literally decided to jump at the opportunity. So we’ll see where this goes. Enjoy!