#WeekendCoffeeShare (August 6, 2022)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How have you been?

Gratitude List (February 5, 2022) #TToT

Hi everyone on this Saturday evening. I’m doing a gratitude list again. I don’t promise I’ll have time for another post for #Write28Days, but I’ll try. As usual, with this post, I am joining in with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT). Here goes.

1. I am grateful for a good psychiatrist’s appt on Tuesday. I went to the mental health outpatient clinic to meet my nurse practitioner face-to-face and we talked to the psychiatrist via the eHealth system, as she was working from home. I got a new medication, which should hopefully help reduce my anxiety.

2. I am grateful I got a license code for the latest JAWS, my screen reader. I don’t know how the screen reader company managed to arrange for it so quickly, as I haven’t seen the bill in my health insurance app yet, but oh well.

3. I am grateful WordPress still provides the classic editor as an option. The latest JAWS does work with the block editor, so I tried that for a few days, but I kept accidentally deleting random paragraph blocks and overall, I consider it still quite a cumbersome editor.

4. I am grateful I have been able to be crafty again. My flower fairy or whatever it was, didn’t turn out as good as I’d liked. Besides, in the tutorial, they did the body in light flesh color, same as the head, so it looks like the thingy is naked. For this reason, I’m not going to show it on my blog in case I offend anyone.

I did create a Disney princess figurine out of polymer clay on Thursday. Most staff immediately guessed correctly who it was when looking at her: Elsa from Frozen. Since it’s quite small (only about 3cm high), I wasn’t able to refine her facial features or whatever. That’s okay though.

Polymer Clay Elsa from Frozen

5. I am grateful for a trip to Action, a budget store, in a town about a 20-minute drive away on Friday. We do have an Action here in Raalte too, but the one in that town was larger or so my staff said. I bought acrylic paint to paint details like eyes on my polymer clay creations, thin paintbrushes to use with the acrylic paint or with glitters or Fimo liquid, a utility knife and some other things. I was looking for soft pastels too, since the site said they sell them, but apparently this particular store didn’t have them in stock.

6. I am grateful for decent sleep most nights this week. I slept really poorly on Wednesday, but the other nights, I slept okay.

7. I am grateful to have been accepted into some lovely Christian E-mail groups. I am grateful for the kind people on there and for the fact that they don’t judge me for not living with my husband, which I know isn’t a traditional Christian marriage setup.

8. I am grateful I have been able to blog consistently for a few days now. I am not sure how long I’ll be able to keep it up, but we’ll just have to see.

9. I am grateful I am able to make relatively healthy food choices on days even when I did have a “bad” food for lunch for example. I mean, I don’t do “cheat days” where I ditch the food plan altogether and that’s good. Every healthy food choice I make contributes to my ultimate goal of a healthier lifestyle.

10. I am grateful for no side effects from the new medication so far. I was supposed to get it at 5PM this evening, but due to some mistake the pharmacy made, it got in the system for 8AM. The staff gave it to me this morning and I took it without concern. I am so glad we found out before the evening staff gave me an extra dose.

What are you grateful for?

Online Window Shopping #WotW

Hi again everyone. Today I’m joining Word of the Week. The idea is to sum up your week in a word or phrase. Today’s phrase of the week is: online window shopping.

You see, like I mentioned last week, I had resolved not to spend any more unnecessary money until my benefits arrived on the 23rd (last Friday). I actually kept this promise to myself and didn’t buy anything, but over the week, I did have a lot of ideas of what I wanted to buy once my benefits arrived. Then when they did, it was almost the weekend, so I decided not to spend my money yet because my packages wouldn’t be sent out till after the weekend anyway.

Most of my online window shopping involved crafty stuff. Like I mentioned yesterday, I got it in my head that I wanted to try latch hooking again. Thankfully, my day activities staff remembered that a client at my pre-COVID group at the day center used to do this but no longer did. She went looking for the supplies and, on Thursday, I had a bit of canvas, a latch hook and a whole lot of yarn. The yarn was cut too short for me to work with right now, but I had some yarn and lace in my room too. Learning the craft again was hard, but I eventually managed to make some knots.

I also found a really cool polymer clay ornament while browsing some other blogs and this got me thinking of restarting polymer clay. Like jewelry-making and latch hooking, I did this in the past but threw my supplies away because I couldn’t manage the craft fully independently. Now that I let go of that ambition and actually have the one-on-one support I need, I am really thinking of restarting the craft. This blogger used an embossing folder and glitter glue to decorate her ornament, which had me looking at card making stores again too. I’m pretty sure that’s the only craft I’ll never pick up again.

I also did some online window shopping that didn’t involve crafts. Like, on Thursday I found out that NVDA, a free screen reader I occasionally use on my PC, now works with the Vocalizer voices I’m used to with JAWS and VoiceOver (my regular PC and iPhone screen readers). I immediately downloaded the add-on, only to realize that of course I’ll need a license. I mean, NVDA may be free, but the Vocalizer voices are not. A license costs €99. I’m still undecided as to whether I want to invest in it or wait for JAWS to fix the one major bug that leads me to using NVDA, that is, the inability to use the WordPress block editor with it.

Lastly, on Friday, I got talking to my assigned home staff about stim toys. Specifically, chewable jewelry. I initially thought that only U.S.-based sites sold them, but it turns out several of my fellow clients use them. I looked up chewable jewelry and found several online stores in the Netherlands that sell them. Of course, they’re marketing them mostly for children, so I may need one for heavier chewers. I haven’t yet decided on buying it though.

How would you sum up your week?

Word of the Week linky

Frustration: A Vent Post About My Mac #AtoZChallenge

Welcome to day six in the #AtoZChallenge. Today, I’m not in the mood for deep discussions, so I won’t write about something too meaningful. Rather, just allow me to vent a little.

I am increasingly frustrated with my Mac. My iPhone is still useful, but the Mac is very hard to get used to. Yes, I’ve had it for over two months and am still in the getting-used-to phase. To be honest, I rarely use my Mac, because it’s so hard to work.

Particularly Safari, Apple’s default browser, is hard to use. Navigating web pages, particularly large ones, is a pain. I am not in the mood to explain it in English and had some trouble explaining it in Dutch to my husband too. Suffice it to say that the issue is because of VoiceOver, Apple’s built-in screen reader, so Chrome or other browsers give me the exact same trouble.

I have been doubting whether my choice to buy a Mac was right ever since I got it. I know I can’t get JAWS, the good but expensive screen reader, because health insurance is giving me a hard time on covering it. This was the main reason I got a Mac, since it has a built-in sc reen reader.

Now I know I could be idealizing my old Windows PC. It didn’t work well in the end either. Two keys were broken. My rather outdated version of JAWS was giving me increasing trouble with an increasing number of programs. I had NVDA, JAWS’s open source alternative, installed, but was struggling using just Braille. Now I can’t do that on my Mac either. I have to always have speech on. This is okay with me.

I was probably idealizing the Mac before I bought it and this may be one reason I’m disappointed now. I’m not sure it was wrong to buy it, but I’m not 100% sure it was the right choice either. Ideally, I would’ve tried Windows 10 with NVDA on my old PC first, but I didn’t. Then again, my old PC isn’t useful now because of the broken keys.

Today, as I was discussing my concerns with my husband, he offered me his laptop to try. I may have to buy a Windows license, but that’s okay. I don’t like it that I can’t make just one device work fully, but that’s probably the thing with accessibility.