Five Things That Bring Me Joy on Bad Days #5Things

Hi everyone. I have been feeling notoriously uninspired lately and still don’t really feel like I know what to write about. However, I saw this week’s topic for the #5Things challenge: things that bring you joy when you feel “joyless”. In other words, we’re challenged to list five things that bring a smile on our face when we have a bad day and nothing else can seem to cheer us up. Here goes.

1. Food. Good food can definitely brighten even my darkest days. I am a lover of hot and spicy food, but also enjoy candy and savory snacks.

2. A phone call from my husband. Whenever I feel down in the dumps, my husband can usually cheer me up. Sometimes it takes him some firm setting my mind straight before I am open to cheerful talk.

3. Music. I love upbeat music, including Dance, contemporary Christian and occasionally rock. At other times, calming music is just what I need.

4. Physical activity. When I can motivate myself for it, a walk or some other form of exercise truly helps me clear my mind of all its negative energy.

5. Retail therapy. I can be a bit of an impulse spender when I’m feeling bad. Thankfully though, even online window shopping helps me feel better at times.

What helps you feel better when you’re feeling down?

A Rather Frustrating Monday

It’s past 10:30PM and I’m still wide awake. I just took a PRN quetiapine. My Apple Watch and the staff’s blood pressure cuff are telling me I should be super relaxed, in that my heartrate is 67 even when sitting upright. That’s rather low for me, but not worryingly low or so the staff say. Oh yes, I know normal resting heartrate is between 60 and 100, but mine is usually closer to 100. Oh well.

Today was quite intense, honestly. In the morning, the manager came by to talk to me about my meeting with the behavior specialist last week. She also, of course, told me a new staff would be starting his orienting shifts here and he’d start right this evening. Of course, like all new staff who’ve been hired over the past six months, the first part of the home he’s being introduced to is mine. Can you read my sarcasm? Well, it should be there. I’m rather annoyed at the fact that every new staff starts working on my side of the home rather than the other one. I know it’s probably because one of the clients on the other side gets really irritable when introduced to new staff. Well, maybe I need to show a little more of my irritable side.

Then, the temping agency housekeeper came to clean my room. She left my bathroom in a horribly wet state and left the tap on its hottest setting. Thankfully, that setting is not hot enough to actually cause burns, but it did hurt a little when I tried to wash my hands.

Once my day activities started, I went for a walk. My cardio fitness level was once again low, but it hardly bothers me anymore.

In the afternoon, my staff and I drove into town so I could buy a new pair of shorts for when I go on the elliptical or ride the side-by-side bike. The old pair pretty much falls off my butt. I also bought socks and some presents for my oldest niece, who will be three on Saturday.

In the evening, I went for a short walk with the new student staff, taking his camera and tripod with us to snap some pictures. I cannot yet show them, as I haven’t yet figured out which ones show what.

Then, I wanted to go on the side-by-side bike again, but got really frustrated trying to fasten the belts around my feet. They need to be really tight or my feet, particularly my spastic left foot, will fall off the pedals. That didn’t work out and I got really overloaded, so had a short meltdown.

Later in the evening, when I was alone, I started fretting about my health. That probably caused me to feel spacey. Now that I’ve processed all this in this post, I feel slightly better. It might be the quetiapine is working as well.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (August 20, 2022)

Hi everyone. I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare today. Even though I was late having my last cup of coffee this evening, I’m even later writing this post, so sorry, no coffee left for you. We do have soft drinks though or you can have water or maybe I can make you a cup of tea. That being said, I’d advise against black tea, since it’s at least almost my bedtime by the time I finish this post. Oh wait, this is a worldwide gathering over virtual coffee or tea or whatever we like. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d start out by asking how your weather is. Ours has been good all week, with temperatures rising to 30°C on Tuesday and in the mid to upper twenties (Celsius) during the rest of the week. Some days, it was too hot and especially humid for walking, but other days, it was just the right temperature.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I’ve been busy thinking of what to create for the fellow resident who has his birthday next Thursday. After all, originally I intended on creating a canvas with polymer clay cookie cutter shapes of a car and the letters of his name on it, but the cutters for the letters won’t work with polymer clay, because the inside parts of some letters are much shallower than the outline. I thought about buying different cutters, but my husband came up with the idea of glitter stickers. They had them at Hema, a department store here, or so he thought. Not at the one we were at today, so I ended up buying regular letter stickers. Thing is, these are much smaller than I’d intended. Besides, I’m not sure stickers will stick onto painted canvas. I’m probably just making a card with those stickers and then doing the polymer clay car in some other way.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I’m quite discouraged where it comes to my possibly moving to another care home. I had a meeting with some people from the main institution for my care agency three weeks ago, but haven’t heard from them. Other than that, I found out yesterday that the only place the care consultant applied for me at is a senior citizens’ assisted living facility that happens to cater to the blind. In a way, I can see his point, in that my funding is based on blindness and, in this sense, an intellectual disability facility like my current one has to tweak stuff in order to accept me. That assisted living facility is probably the only place within an hour’s driving distance from Lobith that accepts blindness-based funding. Then again, other than them catering to the blind, I can see absolutely no reason why the place would be suitable. And honestly, them catering to the blind may in fact be a drawback, as it means I can’t use my blindness as an “excuse” to explain complicated difficulties of mine by, hence my needing to explain myself in detail. That really has caused me extreme problems of being overloaded in the past. I mean, it would be okay if the staff knew blindness and cerebral palsy and autism and emotional developmental dysfunction and all the issues that cause me to struggle greatly in real life, but as far as I’m concerned most of these don’t affect the elderly in particular.

If we were having coffee, I’d try to end on a positive note though by telling you I had a good time with my husband today. He was originally supposed to be here by 1PM, but got stuck in traffic and couldn’t be here till 2PM. He almost turned around, because we had a misunderstanding about it, but he eventually got here and then we drove to Enkhuizen. Enkhuizen is a town about 100km from Raalte, so halfway across the country. My husband wanted to have fish, but not here in the east, which was his excuse for driving there. Then we walked around the town center, going to Hema for those stickers I mentioned above. Then we drove back to Raalte, grabbing a McDonald’s on the way in Kampen. I had a Mexican style crispy chicken, which was huge and delicious but not overly spicy. We really want to be taking more day trips together.

How have you been?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (July 23, 2022)

Hello everyone on this fourth Saturday of July. I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare today. It’s been a few weeks. Let me share what’s been going on.

If we were having coffee, I’d ask how your weather is. We haven’t had an official heatwave here, as we had only three days of daytime high temps above 25°C. Then again, on Tuesday, the temperature reached 39°C. That’s not a record, for your information: the Netherlands’ official all-time heat record was reached three years ago and it was almost 41°C.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that, on Monday, I took a trip into town with my staff. I had to get some toiletries and new baby wipes (which I use for cleaning my claying supplies). I also went into Action, a discount store, actually looking for origami paper. I didn’t find any, but did buy some clear stamps, a stamping pad, blank cards and alcohol ink. As it turns out, I will most likely only be able to use the alcohol ink for my clay, and I’m not 100% sure how, as it contains glitter. I mean, that may damage my pasta machine rollers, so I may need to only roll by hand when I’ve used this alcohol ink. I might find other uses for the other supplies. I was thinking of starting up simple card making again. Now my past self is laughing and telling me “No!” in a firm voice at the same time, but I’ve already decided not to invest any more money into it. If I can’t do this at all, that’s €4,95 wasted, but some people at the day center may still be able to use my supplies.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I’ve been loving coming up with some ideas for my polymer clay. I’ve also been watching a lot of YouTube tutorials. I’m still not actually crafting much, but that will hopefully change soon, as I managed to blend three different intensities of the same color green that I intend to use for a unicorn. Let’s hope this unicorn turns out great!

If we were having coffee, I would share that I really need to mind my food plan again soon. I am still just overweight as opposed to obese, but I do need to watch out that my weight isn’t creeping back up. On Monday though, my sister and her family will be here for a belated birthday visit and we’re going to order pizza I think. That will be the fourth time in a month that I’m either eating at a restaurant or ordering takeout. After that, I’ll seriously watch my diet. I’m already trying to make sure I’m not having too many treats. For instance, yesterday I was hungry mid-afternoon and decided to have some carrots rather than going for my licorice. I think that counts for something.

If we were having coffee, I would resist the urge to rant about my appointment with my psychiatric nurse practitioner and the care facility’s behavior specialist on Tuesday. It was really frustrating, but I’m not ready to share the details. I would instead refill your cups and ask you how you are.

The Wednesday HodgePodge (July 20, 2022)

Hi everyone. I haven’t posted in a few days, because I was too tired from the heat. It’s still quite hot here, but I feel okay now. Today, I’m joining the Wednesday HodgePodge. Here goes.

1. Last time you drove more than 100 miles from your home? Where did you go?
I don’t drive, but I’m assuming riding in the passenger seat counts too. That being said, the last time my husband drove more than 100 miles with me in the car, was probably eight years ago when we went on a short vacation to the Black Forest in southern Germany. We drove in our Kia Rio, which we later found out deserves its acronym, “killed in action”, because shortly after that trip, the car crashed on the highway and my husband could just about move it onto the shoulder before it completely malfunctioned. We thought we had the problem fixed, but it developed the same problem that had caused it to crash back then again half a year later. Needless to say we sold that car. We’re thinking of going back to the Black Forest this September, but my husband has a really small car now, so he might want to replace that one first.

2. Something that drives you batty?
WordPress’ ever-increasing number of ads on free sites. I hope at least that, since I have a paid plan, they aren’t displaying on mine.

3. Do you feel like you’re “on track”? For what?
In my blogging life, I don’t feel as though I’m “on track”, but maybe that’s just my feeling. I mean, I really would’ve wanted to write at least as much this year as I did in 2021 and, up till the month of June, I was keeping up nicely. Now though, I’m not.

Similarly, I have a ton of craft projects waiting for me to finish them. Not that there’s a timeline for those to keep track of, but it does sort of feel as though I’m losing track anyway.

4. Your favorite car snack(s)?
Licorice and winegums (gummy candies).

5. Something you’ve done recently “on the fly”?
Nothing really. I plan most of my activities at least some time in advance. That being said, I do buy things impulsively at times. Does that count? In that case, going to Action (a budget store) in town and buying some random craft supplies last Monday. The trip into town was planned, and I had sort of planned to go to Action too, but I hadn’t planned to buy any of the things I ended up buying.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
Yesterday, I had a review with my nurse practitioner from mental health and the behavioral specialist from my care facility. I could rant about it here, but I’m not going to. Instead, I’m going to say that, after it, I finally concluded that, screw it, I’m ready to face whatever it takes to get real help for whatever it is I’m facing mental health-wise, be this trauma-related or a personality disorder or whatever.

Five Things I’m Glad I Bought #5Things

Today’s topic for #5Things is things you’re happy about having bought. I have bought a lot of things that I later regretted buying, most recently my Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones. Thankfully, after a long ordeal with the vendor, I got my money back. Hence, here are five things I’m actually happy about having bought.

1. my iPhone. I’m currently on my second one, having used the previous model for nearly three years. The current one, I’ve had for two years tomorrow I think. It’s an iPhone SE 2020. My previous one was the original SE. I am still debating with myself whether I want to get the SE 2022 or wait if they’re going to release a 14 Mini in the fall. I originally got an iPhone because of its more advanced accessibility features compared to phones running Android. Even though iOS has been causing some more or less serious bugs with each major update since I got my original iPhone except for iOS 12, I still agree iPhone’s the best.

2. My laptop. I got my first laptop when I was eleven and got my current screen reader, JAWS, when I was fifteen. In fact, yesterday marked twenty years online for me. I had to buy my own laptops from age twenty on. I use a Windows laptop and yes, I’ve tried a Mac but no, that one’s not for me. Oh wait, I didn’t actually buy my current laptop, since my mother-in-law paid for it in exchange for my Mac. Never mind.

3. My current headphones. Okay, they’re only three weeks old, so I’m still waiting for them to bite the bullet as my Bose ones did. However, those crashed within just over two weeks, so the current ones have already surpassed those. Besides, the Bose headphones cost €240, while these cost €50. They’re a Chinese brand, which is why I can’t for the life of me remember the brand name, but my husband Googled it and said it’s a good-enough Chinese brand.

4. Lots of polymer clay and crafting supplies. I mean, of course there are a couple of things I don’t really use, but most things I bought myself, I do actually love. Most recently, I bought a hand drill and a huge set of small drill bits, to drill holes into my earring pieces etc. I had some trouble figuring the thing out and for a bit thought I shouldn’t have bought the things, but now that I know how to use the drill, it’s fab.

5. Books. I don’t normally buy books, as I get most of them on Bookshare. That being the case, when I do buy a book, it’s usually one I won’t regret having bought. Most recently, I bought the latest Casey Watson foster care memoir and, while I feared the Apple Books app would have trouble with it, it didn’t.

What is one of your happiest purchases?

Xenos, Action, Fimo-Shop, Etc.: Shopping for Craft Supplies #AtoZChallenge

Hi everyone and welcome to my letter X post in the #AtoZChallenge. Today I want to talk about shopping for supplies related to my creative hobbies. I am cheating a little as, while Xenos is a store that does sell craft supplies among other things, I haven’t ordered anything there in years and the last thing I bought there wasn’t craft-related. It was a wax melt burner. So, that’s all I’ll say about Xenos for this post, but I needed something for the letter X. I guess a lot of people cheat with this letter, so it’s okay. And even if it isn’t, I don’t care.

Action, much like Xenos, is another store that sells lots of things. Also like Xenos, its prices are usually lower than those in other stores, as Action usually sells imitation premium brand products. I did in fact buy a lot of my crafting supplies there. I refuse to buy polymer clay at Action, but I did buy my acrylic paints, my glitters, my brushes that I use for applying the acrylic paints or glitters or Fimo liquid, etc., and many other supplies there.

My polymer clay, I usually buy online. There is a craft store here in town, but they only sell like five different colors of Fimo at a time. One of my favorite shops is Fimo-Shop.nl. That store usually has the entire Fimo collection in stock.

Sculpey and Cernit are brands of polymer clay that aren’t that commonplace in the Netherlands. I haven’t used their clay, but if I need something from that brand (such as one day I needed a Sculpey glaze), I order from HappyThings.eu.

I buy my color recipes on Etsy. So far, I’ve ordered from DewDropInc and PolymerClayLoves.

I order from other stores too, but these are the ones I’m happiest about. For example, I once ordered my polymer clay letter stamp set from an online art store that happens to sell polymer clay supplies too (won’t name the store because this’d be a negative review) and, not only did the description of the stamp set not match what I got (it was fine, but still), the polymer clay I’d also ordered was extremely hard and crumbly. This is one reason I usually order my clay at specialized polymer clay stores now.

Excitement: Things I Enjoy About My Creative Work #AtoZChallenge

Hi everyone and welcome to my letter E post in the #AtoZChallenge. There are many E words related to creativity, but I decided to share the things I enjoy about being creative. I chose the word “Excitement” for my post title, because that was the title of the prompt in The Year of You for Creatives that inspired this idea. Now, of course, I can no longer cheat and use another “Ex” word for the letter X, but I try to avoid that at all cost anyway. Tomorrow, if I don’t make up my mind before then, I’m going to share about my creativity-related frustrations.

The first thing I enjoy about being a creative, is learning about other artists’ creative process. I love watching and reading tutorials on the various crafts I enjoy and they truly inspire me. This is more of a recent development, since doing soap making in 2016. Before then, I’d just create what I wanted without any sort of tutorial. This, however, often led to disastrous results.

Another thing I love about my creative work, is shopping for new supplies. Either that or just looking for supplies online without actually buying them. I have a huge wishlist of things I want to buy someday. About a month ago, I decided to put some of them on my online birthday wishlist rather than buying them myself. My birthday isn’t until the end of June, so this is quite the exercise in patience.

A thing I especially love about all of my creative endeavors, is being able to share them online. I am in groups on Facebook for pretty much every craft I dabble in currently (and maybe even some I don’t anymore). I cannot really imagine being creative without sharing my work at all.

Lastly, something I am currently very excited about is finding new techniques to try with my crafts. For instance, today I tried to mix a color with polymer clay using my precision kitchen scale (yay, I finally bought one!). Knowing it turned out as I wanted to (for which, in the case of a color, I of course rely on my staff) is pure delight.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (March 18, 2022)

Hi everyone. I’ve been neglecting my blog a bit as other creative passions take over. I really need to remedy that. Today, I’m once again late writing a post, as it’s nearly 9PM. At least I’m writing something. I’m joining in with #WeekendCoffeeShare. As you can imagine, it’s rather late for coffee for my liking, but I bet we still got soft drinks in the fridge. I allowed myself a Dubbelfrisss this evening. I normally skip them, as they’re not 100% sugar-free and I’d rather have an extra piece of candy than this. Today though, I gave myself permission for both some licorice and the Dubbelfrisss. Anyway, Dubbelfrisss is only slightly carbonated, but we might have coke too or even alcohol-free beer (alcohol isn’t allowed here). Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I had a good appt with my psychiatric nurse practitioner on Monday. Last week Friday, I had had a panic attack. It was related to the war in Ukraine and fear of what might happen, which I realized at my appt is different from a flashback to a traumatic experience I really did go through in the past. Not that it really mattered in that moment, as the feeling was just as overwhelming.

I also linked the panic attack to the staff who had triggered me and, since this staff is new, I felt really anxious about the whole situation of allowing him to work with me one-on-one. Thankfully, once it got to this point, we were able to talk through the issue and let it go that way. And indeed, this staff’s first time working one-on-one with me went pretty well if you ask me.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that, on Wednesday, I cooked the best chicken pilav! I did most of the cutting of the vegetables myself (the chicken was pre-cut) and also most of the cooking. We had my favorite rice with the pilav too!

Chicken Pilav

If we were having coffee, I’d also tell you that I’ve been taking more flower photos. I finally started actually snapping the pictures myself most of the time rather than letting my staff do most of the actual photographing. Of course, my staff still have to tell me where to point the camera. It’s cool that I can make use of my knowledge of photography, gathered from photography blogs of course, to help the staff figure out ways to help me take better pictures.

I’ve also been running a few of my photos through a plant identification app called PictureThis. The one below is a Chaenomeles Japonica.

Chaenomeles Japonica

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d tell you that yesterday, I decided semi-impulsively to go to Action to try to find macrame cords. Obviously, experienced macrame artists would say I should get high-quality cords, but I’m just trying to get a hang on the knots. The lark’s head knot, square knot and spiral knot are relatively doable after some practice, but I keep getting stuck on the half hitch knot (and don’t even get me started on its variations). I mean, when I saw a beginner tutorial with pictures, it sounded a lot easier than I thought it should be. That tutorial was doing the half hitch knot with just two cords, which all other tutorials show isn’t possible. I’m pretty sure I spent some significant time tying just plain ordinary “old bitch knots”, as my husband would likely call them.

With respect to my shopping spree at Action, I also ended up buying a lot of felt stickers that I now don’t know what to use them for, a new organizing box that I may not even be able to use yet, deodorant, butterscotch candies and probably more. I spent less than €10, but that’s also because my staff paid for the macrame cord and the felt stickers from day center budget.

How have you been?

Lovin’ Lately (February 11, 2022)

Hi everyone on this cold Friday evening. It’s near freezing point here, but it’s also been sunny out today. Today, I’m going to share some things I’ve loved lately. Here goes.

1. Chalk pastels. I really wanted to buy these at Action (the budget store) last week when going there with my staff, but they didn’t have them. I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have been good quality either, so I eventually decided to buy a set of 36 chalk pastels off Bol.com. The below heart, I did with polymer clay and colored with red and purple chalk pastels.

2. Paint brushes. I did get those at Action and they’re pretty good. I can use them for applying acrylic paint (which I also bought), Fimo liquid, varnish, etc. to my polymer clay.

3. New colors of polymer clay. I ordered five packets of polymer clay at my favorite Fimo shop, three of which I already had a little of. The new-to-me colors were Chocolate and Jade. I particularly think I love the color Jade. Of course, being that I am totally blind now, I may remember the color all wrong from the days I owned a piece of jade and the color of polymer clay may not look like the gemstone at all. However, I like to let my imagination run wild.

4. Tuna. Last week, my husband couldn’t visit me due to the storm. This meant we wouldn’t be going to Subway to get lunch either. To give me something to make up for it, my assigned staff ordered canned tuna from the supermarket to be delivered on Tuesday. I ate half the can on my bread on Wednesday and the other half on Thursday. At first, I thought I was going way overboard with my food plan, but the dietitian today reassured me that I wasn’t especially since it was tuna in water, not olive oil or the like.

5. Quick and hassle-free delivery of all my recent orders. I ordered the chalk pastels on Saturday and, thanks to being a Select member to Bol.com, got free next-day delivery, including on Sundays. I ordered the polymer clays on Monday late afternoon and received them Tuesday. I also ordered a varnish for my polymer clay with a new-to-me store, which also delivered the next day.

One thing I’m still waiting for, is a CD I ordered for my father’s birthday back last month. It had to come out of the UK and I just got confirmation yesterday that it’d arrived in the Netherlands, but I had to pay a customs clearance fee. Thankfully, the process of paying this fee was very doable via the postal service website.

What are some things you’ve loved lately?

I’m linking up with Link-Up on the Edge #282.