Describing My Favorite Place

For her first writing prompt, Ebar asks us to describe our favorite place using all five senses. I was thinking of sharing something about my favorite place in the entire world just yesterday. As someone who doesn’t feel she belongs anywhere, the concept of a favorite place is hard to comprehend. However, right now, my favorite place in the entire world is where I am at this very moment: my room in the care home. Below, let me describe it using my five senses.

I can see the light being on. Though I cannot usually see the colored LEDs on my essential oil diffuser due to being blind, I know they are there and appreciate them. I can see through the windows. Well, not right now as it’s dark outside and the curtains are drawn, but during the day, I can.

I can listen to the sound of soothing music on my music pillow, or to my text-to-speech software on my computer or iPhone through my headphones. I can also sometimes hear the door behind which the laundry and trash cans are stored slam shut right below my room. I don’t like that sound, but the staff are looking into the technical people doing something about the door being made less loud. I can hear the sounds of other clients and staff elsewhere in the home. I may not always like those sounds either, but they are the sounds of my room. I was almost going to say they are the sounds of home, but calling my room “home” just feels like it’s a step too far as of yet.

I can feel the fabric of the chair I’m sitting on. I can feel the characteristic floor my feet touch. When I’m in my bed, I can feel the comfort of my weighted blanket and my stuffed animals.

I can smell the scent of whichever essential oil blend I choose to put into my diffuser when I want to. Lastly, I can taste the meal delivery service meals in my mouth. I can select from their menu and, though the meals aren’t great and there’s a particular lack of variety, some are quite delicious. I’m going to pretend we have lasagne for the sake of this post.

What’s your favorite place like?

Appreciating the Five Senses

In Journaling with Lisa Shea, Lisa asks in one of her journaling prompts on gratitude to name our favorite sense and describe in detail what we appreciate about it. I couldn’t possibly pick one sense, so instead, I’m going to describe what I appreciate about each of my five senses. Yes, five, since I am including sight. Here goes.

Sight

First of all, I obviously appreciate the fact that I could once see colors. I am no longer able to see those, but thanks to my sight and my imagination, I am still able to perceive them synesthetically in my mind’s eye.

I also still appreciate the tiny bit of light perception I still have left. Thanks to it, I can see the sunshine, though I can no longer perceive the beauty of a sunrise or sunset.

Hearing

I appreciate my sense of hearing, because it allows me to listen to music. I love all kinds of music, from upbeat songs to dance to, to quiet instrumentals.

My hearing also allows me to hear the sounds of nature, both in real life and as soundscapes on my phone. I particularly love water sounds, such as streams and waves (not rain!), as well as birdsong.

Touch

I’ve covered most of the reasons I appreciate my sense of touch when I wrote about my hands. However, other than my hands, I also love the sense of touch on the rest of my body. I am a true lover of deep pressure, which is why I have a weighted blanket.

I realize now I should’ve included a separate heading for the vestibular sense. However, it is mostly the sense of touch I appreciate about it when I am on a swing or waterbed or the like.

Smell

Well, do I really need to explain? I’m going to mention essential oils of course! When another blogger asked us which sense we’d let go of if we had to choose one, after taste (which I’ll get to in a bit), most people said smell, but I said hearing. After all, I really can’t imagine having to let go of my beloved essential oil scents.

Taste

The reason most people chose taste to let go of first, is that in essence what we perceive as taste is mostly smell. However, for the sake of this post, I am going to assume that my food tasting is an actual sense of its own. I really appreciate it, though to be fair I’m more of a food texture lover. In terms of both taste and texture, I am undersensitive, in that I need a lot of stimulation to feel satisfied. This is one reason I can’t stand mash. But I love tasting good, spicy food.

What do you appreciate most about your senses?

Linking up with #LifeThisWeek.

Things That Made Me Smile (July 26, 2021) #WeeklySmile

Hi all on this summerly Monday. We had a thunderstorm yesterday early evening and are expected to get more later this evening. However, right now it’s still pretty sunny and warm outside.

Today, I am joining in with The Weekly Smile. I am also joining in with Cee’s Flower of the Day, since my smiles involve flowers.

First, over the past week or two, whenever I returned from a walk with my day activities staff, I always smelled lavender close by my care home. I don’t care for the smell of lavender in perfumery, although in essential oil blends it’s great. The actual flower smells awesome too! Today, I finally took my phone with me on my walk so that we could take a picture of the plant.

Lavender

Then, a few days ago, a staff pointed out a huge bush of geraniums near the day center. I still remember the characteristic red color from when I still had some vision and I love it. Its smell though is one of my least favorites, including in essential oils. This morning, I went out and actually touched the bush and indeed, it’s huge!

Geraniums

Generally, the presence of nature really makes me smile. It’s no wonder that, when asked what I miss most about being unable to see, I generally reply the ability to appreciate the beautiful sights of nature. However, I am still able to hear and feel and smell the beauty of nature!

What made you smile this past week?

Five Food Aromas I Love #5Things

I’m once again a day late with answering this week’s #5Things prompt. This week, the topic is food aromas. Some food smells are even better than the food itself. Though I personally don’t like any smells of foods I dislike, certain food aromas definitely make my mouth water even if I’m not a huge fan of the food itself. Here goes.

1. Coffee. Though I drink about four cups of coffee a day, I can’t really say I like it. It’s probably more that I have developed a coffee-drinking habit and/or that I’m addicted to caffeine. That being said, the smell of freshly-brewed coffee is definitely pleasant. I even used to have some coffee-scented wax melts back when I still used those. Then again, my husband says the Morning Coffee one smells like uncleaned loo. But I digress.

2. Cinnamon rolls. Or cinnamon anything really. Oooh, how lovely! I do happen to love love love cinnamon rolls, but that doesn’t mean I like everything with cinnamon in it. Its smell, however, is mouth-watering.

3. Barbecue. I am a true meat lover, but other than that am not a huge fan of barbecueing. That being said, the smell definitely makes me hungry even when I’ve just eaten.

4. Bakery goods. I particularly love the smell of freshly-baked bread. My father used to occasionally bake his own bread from scratch and it always smelled delicious.

5. Garlic. Okay, this may be weird, since most people say that garlic stinks. I disagree. I love love love the smell of garlic when it’s being used in foods. Though people’s breath after having eaten it, isn’t as great indeed, I don’t mind that either.

What food smells make your mouth water?

Creating a Sensory Room Experience in My Own Bedroom

It’s been a year since the day center closed. For the most part, it was a good thing for me. I, after all, was often overwhelmed in my day activities group. One thing I miss about the day center though, is the sensory or snoezelen® room. Today, I am sharing how I recreated a sensory room experience in my own bedroom. Since I am blind, I skipped the visual aspect mostly, but I’ll add some ideas for it regardless. That way, you can create a sensory environment for yourself.

Sound

In the day center sensory room, we have a really cool speaker system that’s attached to the bed. It isn’t likely that advanced, so with some speakers at the right position, you may be able to recreate it. I don’t own wireless speakers. However, I found that I can recreate similar effects with earbuds or headphones. I would recommend earbuds for better positioning, but since I don’t have wireless ones, I use my wireless headphones anyway.

I mentioned before that I use an app called MyNoise. This app has over 120 soundscapes and you can customize each individual sound to your own hearing. There are nature soundscapes, but also white noise, Buddhist-like and SciFi soundscapes. I prefer the nature ones.

Like I said, I don’t own wireless speakers, though I might want to invest in some at some point. My phone or computer speakers work okay when listening to music though. There are many calming playlists on Spotify and undoubtedly other music apps too. The ones I love most are Harp Music for Sleeping, Peaceful Guitar and Peaceful Piano. There are also a number of nature sound playlists.

I at one point wanted a music pillow. I may still buy one at some point, but I haven’t yet found one that’s big enough to be used as a sleeping pillow and also works with Bluetooth.

Smell

One thing that my bedroom has and the snoezelen® room didn’t, is an aromatherapy diffuser. I have posted many times about my love for it. Mine cost €40, but they start at as cheap as €15. Essential oils can be a bit expensive depending on the quality you choose. I am obsessed with creating my own blends, so I really like to have a large collection of essential oils. However, if all you want is a nice smell, fragrance oils are also great.

Touch

In the day center sensory room, we had a specially designed waterbed. That felt good, but my own bed is also a pretty good substitute. I usually turn up the head side of the bed slightly.

A thing that’s a true blessing for my senses though, is my weighted blanket. These come in different forms. Some are filled with plastic balls. Mine is filled with sachets filled with granules. It’s a rather expensive blanket at over €500. Thankfully though, my care facility paid for it. With the company we used, you can borrow the blanket on a try-out basis for two weeks for just postage. That helped me make sure it was the right one for me. Mine weighs 12kg, which is relatively heavy considering my body weight of 70kg, but I actually love it this way.

I put a flannel duvet cover over my weighted blanket in winter. When it’s really cold or I need some extra softness for sensory reasons, I use a fleece blanket too.

In addition, I have various soft toys. My favorite is an ordinary stuffed bear. However, I also have a 1.60m large stuffed bear that I got from my mother-in-law for my birthday last year. This one was probably quite expensive. Another of my favorite soft toys, is my sensory cat. This stuffed cat can be microwaved and then gives off heat and a lavender scent.

Sight

Like I said, I am blind with the exception of a tiny bit of light perception. I for this reason don’t benefit from visual stimuli. That being said, I do know a bit about making your room visually appealing to the senses.

My essential oil diffuser works as a night light too. It can be set to seven different colors and I believe also two intensity levels.

Of course, you may want to use your sensory room experience for more than just sleeping. I’m pretty sure in my care home’s makeshift sensory room, the staff put up some form of Christmas lights for the visual effect.

In addition, there are many different visual projection systems. My care facility owns the Qwiek.

Conclusion

I really love my makeshift sensory room in my own bedroom. Generally speaking, creating a true sensory room requires a lot of money. I am so glad though that I could buy some equipment myself or ask for it as a gift. That way, I was able to skip the unnecessary for me expensive things and find things I truly would use. I am very glad that my facility paid for the weighted blanket.

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