The Tuesday Four (September 13, 2022)

Hi everyone. Just after I discovered the Wednesday HodgePodge, one of its participants alerted me to another weekly meme called the Tuesday 4. Today, because I’m bored and yet want to write, I’ll join in. This week’s questions are rather simple, yet they allow for much discussion if one so decides.

1. Are you happy with the way your life is going?
Well, it’s complicated. Right now, I’d say yes, but I’ve had to travel quite the bumpy road to get here and there’s still a lot of room for improvement. For example, I would hopefully be even happier with the way my life is going once I’m in a more suitable care home. Besides, the fact that I answer “Yes” to this question, is also dependent upon the fact that I’m in a pretty good mood.

2. Are you planning any trips in the future?
Not trips as in longer travels, but my husband and I just decided to go for a day trip to Zwolle on Sunday in honor of our eleventh wedding anniversary on Monday. Zwolle is the nearest city to where I live in the care facility. We decided to go on Sunday rather than Monday because most restaurants are closed on Mondays.

3. Are you reading anything at the moment or do you plan on reading something interesting?
I am currently reading A Family Torn Apart by Cathy Glass, a foster care memoir. I love fostering and other inspirational memoirs and have read quite a few of Cathy Glass’s other books.

4. What’s for supper tonight at your house?
I live in a care facility, as regular readers know, and we get our meals delivered to be warmed in an oven or microwave. I had potatoes, mixed veggies and a chicken sausage. I rarely choose potatoes from the meal delivery company, but apparently all other choices from the menu were even worse.

As of September 1, the company has decided to provide whole-grain pasta and brown rice instead of regular pasta or rice, something I mostly consider a good thing. The brown rice takes a little getting used to. They also upped the amount of veg in their meals from 150 to 200 grams. I hardly notice it in the pasta or rice dishes and I wonder whether they skipped those. I mean, originally they weren’t providing the whole-grain pasta or brown rice on the so-called “pasta menu”, which I usually pick from, so only the twice a month or so that the regular menu serves pasta or rice as an option was that the healthy alternative. Thankfully, enough people were complaining that the healthier food was not really happening so that they did change it across the board. I wonder whether they did the same with the increased amount of veg though. In any case, I had enough veg in my meal today.

Reading Wrap-Up (August 22, 2022) #IMWAYR

Hi everyone. I’ve been doing a lot of reading over the past week, so I thought I’d share a reading wrap-up once again. As usual, I’m joining It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (#IMWAYR). Here goes.

What I’m Currently Reading

After I finished my last book on Saturday, I was thinking of starting a memoir. After looking through Bookshare’s biography and memoir category for a bit and reading the summaries of several books, I finally settled on All My Friends Are Invisible by Jonathan Joly. This is a memoir about the author’s life growing up surrounded by imaginary friends. I’m pretty sure that, further yet, the author could be diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, but so far this term hasn’t been mentioned.

Other than that, I picked up My Heart and Other Black holes by Jasmine Warga again. I’m not sure why I even want to finish it, other than to prove to myself that I can finish a book that doesn’t deserve at least a four-star rating. It’s so predictable. Maybe I’m hoping for some intriguing plot twist, but so far at 62%, no such luck.

What I Recently Finished Reading

I finished two books in the past week. One is Six Weeks to Live by Catherine McKenzie, which I reviewed on Tuesday. The other is a winter special in the Unicorn Magic series by Daisy Meadows called Snowstar and the Big Freeze. This chapter book was the perfect antidote to the hot weather. Or something like that. I honestly don’t know why I picked it in the middle of August, but I did and it was good.

What I Think I’ll Read Next

I once again have no idea. I’m a true mood reader, so whenever I finish a book, I grab whatever strikes my fancy next. That’s how I got to pick the Jonathan Joly memoir too. I mean, I literally hadn’t heard of it minutes before I started reading it. So yeah, I might read another chapter book on magical creatures, since I have several downloaded off Bookshare. However, I may also be in the mood for another thriller. Who knows? I currently don’t.

What have you been reading recently?

The Wednesday HodgePodge (August 17, 2022)

Hi everyone. I’m joining the Wednesday HodgePodge again. Here are Joyce’s questions.

1. August is National Back To School Month…how does that make you feel? Share a back-to-school memory.
I don’t really feel much regarding back-to-school time, as I’m not in school anymore (it’s been 17 years since I graduated high school) and my nieces are too young to be in school. I’m so glad to be out of school though.

A back-to-school memory? My first day at the school for the blind I spent fourth till sixth grade at. We went to church to mark the beginning of the school year, as it was a Christian school. I found it all very strange, having never been to a church before, since my parents are atheists. I’m pretty sure I fell asleep during the service though.

2. Something you’ve learned in “the school of life”?
People who get paid to have any sort of relationship with you, won’t stick around for you, so you have no reason to stay for them either. Yes, I’m referring to my wish to transfer to another care facility here.

3. Three words to describe your current mood.
Unquiet, determined, sad.

4. A summer food you’ve eaten too much of/are tired of? A summer food you haven’t had enough of?
There isn’t any summer food I’m really tired of, though today I turned down another ice cream cone because I’d had three in the past week already. A summer food I haven’t had enough of? Summer fruit!

5. What small stuff do you sweat that you know you shouldn’t?
I tend to get very easily frustrated, so quite a lot, but lately I’ve also tried to solve small problems more rather than just not caring. An example are air bubbles in my clay. The reason that I do try to solve the problem now, is that I know how to (to an extent) rather than just having to wait for my pieces to be cured and then deciding whether they go in the trash or are just about good enough to be displayed. It’s a tricky balancing act of trying not to sweat the small stuff but also trying not to be careless.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
Yesterday, we had daytime temperatures of 30°C. It isn’t expected to get this hot again anytime this year. My husband, not surprisingly, started the Christmas prep WhatsApp group with his family. He always does in mid-August. I, too, before we got to discuss this, started reading a winter-themed chapter book.

Book Review: Six Weeks to Live by Catherine McKenzie

Hi everyone. Like I said a few weeks ago, I started reading Six Weeks to Live by Catherine McKenzie. I discovered it on BookBub, then downloaded it off Bookshare. I finished the book just before midnight yesterday, so here are my thoughts.

Book Blurb

A gripping psychological suspense novel about a woman diagnosed with cancer who sets out to discover if someone poisoned her before her time is up

Jennifer Barnes never expected the shocking news she received at a routine doctor’s appointment: she has a terminal brain tumor—and only six weeks left
to live.

While stunned by the diagnosis, the forty-eight-year-old mother decides to spend what little time she has left with her family—her adult triplets and twin
grandsons—close by her side. But when she realizes she was possibly poisoned a year earlier, she’s determined to discover who might have tried to get rid
of her before she’s gone for good.

Separated from her husband and with a contentious divorce in progress, Jennifer focuses her suspicions on her soon-to-be ex. Meanwhile, her daughters are
each processing the news differently. Calm medical student Emily is there for whatever Jennifer needs. Moody scientist Aline, who keeps her mother at arm’s
length, nonetheless agrees to help with the investigation. Even imprudent Miranda, who has recently had to move back home, is being unusually solicitous.

But with her daughters doubting her campaign against their father, Jennifer can’t help but wonder if the poisoning is all in her head—or if there’s someone
else who wanted her dead.

My Review

The story is told in short chapters and from alternating viewpoints. Jennifer’s story is told in first-person perspective, while her three daughters’ viewpoints are displayed in third-person perspective. I loved both of these aspects. The short chapters allowed me to lay aside the book for a bit when I wanted to do something other than read. The alternating viewpoints allowed me to gain a nice glimpse into each character’s mind, while the fact that Jennifer’s perspective was the only first-person perspective made it clear that she’s supposed to be the center of attention.

I originally thought the book was on the predictable side for a thriller, believing I’d figured out who caused Jennifer’s poisoning by 22% and the exact nature of the ending by 57%. I was wrong. So wrong. In fact, I didn’t figure out the exact nature of the situation until the very end of the book and it’s not because of some stupid plot twist that makes no sense other than it being required to show the reader that this was a thriller after all. In fact, the story is really well-constructed. I once again had trouble letting go of it once I’d finished it. I gave it a five-star rating again even though I noticed its average rating on Goodreads is only 3.65 stars. I’m not even sure I’d give it a 4.5-star rating if I could this time around.

See more details about this book on its Goodreads page.

Reading Wrap-Up (August 1, 2022) #IMWAYR

Hi everyone. I finally seem to be getting back into a reading groove again. Let me share what I’ve been up to in the book department. As usual, I’m joining in with It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?.

What I’m Currently Reading

I just started reading Six Weeks to Live by Catherine McKenzie last night. I think I discovered it on BookBub, but I downloaded it off Bookshare rather than buying it on Apple Books or Amazon. The blurb really interested me and, so far, the short chapters and alternating viewpoints, really add to its appeal.

In addition, I finally picked up The Choices We Make by Karma Brown again. I find it surprising I still remember the plot to a degree, given how long I’ve taken to read it thus far.

What I Recently Finished Reading

Only one book and it was one I haven’t mentioned in a reading wrap-up before. Can you see how long it’s been since I’ve done one of these? Yesterday, I finished The Words We Keep by Erin Stewart. I loved the book, but won’t say much more, since I’m planning on writing a review soon. It did get me thinking I really want to find a better book tracking app than GoodReads though. I tried StoryGraph, but that app doesn’t have the default iOS app layout I’m used to and is really hard to work.

What I Think I’ll Read Next

I still have a ton of books I may or may not want to get to. One function I wish GoodReads had, is a Did-Not-Finish shelf. I know you can create one, but it would be so much easier if it were there by default. That way, I could shelf away books I may want to list as having read but that I just don’t find the time for to finish at this point. As it is, these are on my Currently-Reading shelf, which is rapidly clogging up. After the Cure by Deirdre Gould has probably been on it for two years.

Then there is my ever-growing list of books I may want to read someday. I have a ton of romance novels, mysteries and other “easy” adult reading that I downloaded for free off Apple Books or Amazon.

Then there’s kidlit. When my husband paid for the renewal of my Bookshare subscription last June, he noticed I’d been downloading books on unicorns a lot. These are children’s books, of course. Indeed, during the month of June, I read a few books about unicorns, namely the first book in the Unicorn University series by Daisy Sunshine and the first book in the Unicorn Diaries Branches Books series. I think when Six Weeks to Live gets too heavy for me, I’ll make a detour to the next installment in one of these series.

What have you been reading?

Precious Memories of My Father

Hi everyone. Today in her Sunday Poser, Sadje asks us to share our most precious memory of our father or the father figure in our life.

My father was a homemaker and my and my sister’s primary caretaker when we were children. As such, he, rather than my mother, was the one I’d see when I came home from school.

As a child, I took very much after my father, but now I have very mixed feelings about our relationship. My father is intelligent and he knows it. He also knows that I am intelligent and he feels that this somehow negates all my problems. In his opinion, all people who disagree with him, particularly those in the helping professions, are stupid.

Because my father and I are both intelligent, my father did encourage my cognitive development from an early age. This is evident in my different response to my parents when prompting me, for example. There’s this Dutch nursery rhyme that goes: “One, two, three, four, paper hat, paper hat.” Whenever my mother chanted: “One, two, three, four…”, I’d reply with “paper hat”. When my father chanted the same though, I’d reply with “five!”.

this is not a direct memory I have of my father though, as I was too young to form actual, verbal memories when this happened. I do remember, however, my father teaching me math when I was about seven. He would show me square calculation by using computer chips that were square-shaped. He’d lay them in a row of, say, three, then lay them in a square of three by three and explain that this is a square calculation. (The Dutch word for the square calculation and the shape isn’t the same, so I had to follow an extra step.) Similarly, he’d explain squareroots by doing the reverse.

We would also spend long evenings looking at his world atlas to see where different countries and other geographic areas were located. I still had enough vision to, with some difficulty, follow his finger along the maps.

When I got older, I had to catch up on reading, as this was one of my weaker subjects, mostly because I didn’t like the fact that I had to read Braille. My father encouraged me, well more like forced me, to do extra reading at home. One memory I have is of me reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in Dutch when I was about eleven. To show me that he, too, was taking up a challenge, he read the book in its original English. I am currently listening to the audiobook in English on Apple Books.

In short, my father nurtured my intellectual side. Currently, I much more value my creative side, which my mother nurtured (a little). Still, my memories of doing academics with my father are mostly good.

Reading Wrap-Up (May 23, 2022) #IMWAYR

Hi everyone. I have been trying to get back into reading again. Let me share what I’ve read recently. Here goes. As usual, I’m joining in with It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (#IMWAYR).

What I’m Currently Reading

I finally picked up Thrive by Kenneth Oppel again a few weeks ago and no, I still haven’t finished it. It sounds like this book is more character-driven than the prequels and I’m not sure I love or hate that.

I’ve also been reading Unleashed by Emily Kimelman, an intriguing mystery. In nonfiction, I am reading 999 – My Life on the Frontline of the Ambulance Service by Dan Farnworth.

Finally, I recently learned that Bookshare, the service I use for downloading accessible eBooks, now also does audiobooks. I didn’t try them, but this did get me inspired to check out Apple’s audiobook collection. There’s this collection of free classics on the Apple books app. I initially wanted to get Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, but the reviews said that its narrator was almost worse than the first version of Siri, as monotonous as he spoke. So I decided to go for something much more light-hearted, in a way, and pick Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I can now see why other people with dissociative identity disorder find it offensive or triggering.

What I Recently Finished Reading

I am known for starting a ton of books and rarely finishing them, unless I really, really love them. Or unless they’re really short. This was the case with the early chapter book Bo’s Magical New Friend by Rebecca Elliott. I love love love unicorns and had heard about the Branches Books before, so I really wanted to try if I (and my inner child parts) liked them. Despite it being a really quick read (for me, of course), the plot was quite intriguing and I’m sure any newly-independent readers who love unicorns will love this one. I must say that, due to the illustrations, some of the text got muddled in the Bookshare book.

What I Think I’ll Read Next

I started another chapter book series, besides the one I mentioned above, on unicorns a while back. It’s the Unicorn University series and the chapters are longer. I saw that the author, Daisy Sunshine, recently added another book to the series. I’ll definitely have to read more of those books.

I also saw that Casey Watson has a new foster care memoir out. However, Apple Books is acting up, in that sometimes at the end of a paragraph or page words are missing in VoiceOver (Apple’s built-in screen reader). For this reason, I’m hesitant to buy books off Apple Books.

What have you been reading lately?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (May 7, 2022)

Hi everyone on this Saturday evening. It’s rather late for coffee in my corner of the world, but I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare anyway. I don’t know whether we still have soft drinks in the fridge, as I don’t really care for them. My dietitian said that, if I don’t rate a treat at least an eight out of ten on how much I love it, I really should question whether it’s worth taking in the calories for it. Since soft drinks, including diet Dubbelfrisss, are extras, and I don’t rate them an eight out of ten at all, I’d much prefer water. That being said, if you’d like a soft drink, you’re more than welcome to go over to the staff or look in the fridge yourself. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d ask about your weather. Ours is good. We’ve had lots of sunshine, warm temperatures and almost no rain. In fact, I found myself pretty happy that we got a tiny bit of a drizzle this morning. Nature needs it (but then again it needs far more).

If we were having coffee, I’d share that this week started out rather rough, but has improved significantly as it progressed. I had some good meetings this week and we set out on the path of finding me a more suitable care home. For this purpose, the behavior specialist gave me some open-ended questions to think about for a “care home profile”. The answers I, my staff and the behavior specialist come up with will then be sent out to the care consultants within my care agency to hopefully find me a more suitable home.

If we were having coffee, I’d proudly tell you that I did quite a bit of walking this past week. I was finally able to go for a few 30-minute walks. They were exhausting, but I did it and I didn’t even use the elevator to go back up to the care home after the walks. Here’s hoping my physical fitness level is finally returning to some semblance of normal after the winter of me sitting on my ass and contracting COVID to top it off.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that, on Thursday, my one-on-one staff asked me whether I’d like to go to her home in the countryside to see her goats and their lambs. I loved it! Here are some pictures of me with the goats.



If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that, early this evening, I was startled because all doors in the entire home suddenly slammed shut. This normally happens when the smoke alarm goes off, but there was no smoke nor was there a smoke alarm going off. As it turned out, there was some power outage somewhere within the system. They’re currently working on solving it.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I bought Cernit translucent polymer clay and am totally in love with a lot of tutorials that use it. I also looked up tutorials on how to use micas on polymer clay, since I still have some left from my soaping days. I can’t wait to start actually crafting again.

That being said, if we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’ve been struggling with wanting to do more than I can handle emotionally or physically lately. I’ve also been struggling with the staff overestimating my capabilities. It’s all rather frustrating when I want to be independent and productive but can really not cope.

If we were having coffee, lastly I would however say that I still find escapism in reading, listening to music, blogging and watching YouTube videos even if I don’t get to actually make the things I see.

How have you been?

Gratitude List (May 6, 2022) #TToT

Hi everyone on this first Friday of May. My husband and I always count the days from May 4 till May 8 as special days. May 6 is only special because Pim Fortuyn, a Dutch politician, was murdered on this day in 2002. Not really a cause to celebrate. Nonetheless, I’m doing a gratitude list today anyway. As usual, I’m linking up with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT). Here goes.

1. I am grateful for a good talk with the behavior specialist on Tuesday. She was really understanding of my wish to eventually find a more suitable care home.

2. I am grateful I finally had a face-to-face meeting with my community psychiatric nurse again after several months. She’d been off work for a while and, before that, I had COVID and had to talk to her on the phone. I am so glad she’s back!

3. I am grateful my nurse practitioner called me on Tuesday, after I’d E-mailed him on Monday evening because I’d been in crisis. We will soon be planning a meeting with the behavior specialist too so that my nurse practitioner can get a more complete picture of my mental health.

4. I am grateful my husband’s car didn’t need replacing or repairing after all. The financial setback I mentioned last week, was related to his car. It made a weird sound, which could be the oil level, but could be a lot of other things, likely to be very expensive to repair. My husband was considering trading in the car if it wasn’t the oil level. Thankfully, that’s what it turned out to be.

5. I am grateful the store I bought the headphones at (the ones that stopped working after two weeks) finally sent off the headphones to the manufacturer. It took my staff making a phone call on Monday for them to send them out and another phone call for them to confirm they’d actually been sent out, but now I’m hoping they’ll be fixed soon.

6. I am grateful I am still allowed to borrow the headphones the Care Lab loaned us before I even originally ordered the ones that stopped working. You normally get to only keep products on loan for like a month or so, but the staff said they’d contact the Care Lab.

7. I am grateful I was allowed to go into the nearby care home’s garden to photograph their tulips yesterday. They are beautiful! I had been wanting to photograph them all week, but hadn’t been able to find the right time of day either sunshine-wise or with respect to being able to ask the staff whether I could enter their garden.

8. I am grateful for home-cooked macaroni this evening. It was delicious! Yesterday, I also had some leftover macaroni that we still had in the freezer from the last time we’d cooked it.

9. I am grateful for some crafty inspiration again. I finally did a little crafting today.

10. I am also grateful I finally seem to be in a reading groove again. I have truly been enjoying my young adult novel, Thrive. This is the final installment in the Overthrow trilogy and it’s been out for a year already, but because its prequel was a bit disappointing, I didn’t get to reading this one.

What have you been grateful for lately?

Sharing this post with Flower of the Day too because of the tulip picture.

Reading Wrap-Up (January 17, 2022) #IMWAYR

Hi everyone. I’ve done a fair amount of reading once again over the past week. For this reason, I thought I’d do another recap of what I’ve read. As usual, I’m linking up with It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

What I’m Currently Reading

Still reading A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult. Being that the story is told in reverse chronological order, I found out pretty quickly that it was not going to end well (sorry if that’s a spoiler). However, also knowing that the story probably isn’t told in reverse order for no reason, I wanted to know what happened in the 86% after (or should I say “before”?) what I now think of as one of the main characters getting killed. Besides, I knew from the blurb that this book was about a hostage situation. In that kind of a situation, usually, people die. So I try to let my curiosity win the battle from my thought that every one of Picoult’s books has to end with the main character dying, because that’s what happened in My Sister’s Keeper and Handle With Care.

Other than that, I decided to pick up My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga pretty randomly again. I’d started reading that book early last year and pretty much left it unfinished, but I really want to know what happens at the end even though I think the writing style and character development are both meh.

What I Recently Finished Reading

First, of course, I finished Behind Closed Doors by Maggie Hartley. I reviewed it on Wednesday. I also finished Twilight, Say Cheese!, the first book in the Unicorn University chapter book series by Daisy Sunshine. I really liked that one, but haven’t been in the mood for children’s books since then.

What I Think I’ll Read Next

It probably depends on whether I’ll remain in the mood for adult lit or young adult novels or will want to read children’s books again. I mean, I still want to finish The Choices We Make by Karma Brown, another book I started back in early 2021. I also added a few free romance novels to my Apple Books via BookBub. Then again, I’ve never read pure romance and am pretty scared of the smutty, steamy stuff. It quite frankly creeps me out even thinking about it. Then again, I’m 35-years-old, so maybe it’s about time I start to grow up.

What have you recently been reading?