Being Active Is Making Me Happy

Hi everyone. Today I want to share all about my active week. I have truly been enjoying my Apple Watch and seeing my stats go up as I move. And of course being physically active is helping me feel better too.

First, last week, my Apple Watch told me that based on my activity level of the week before, I could up my movement goal from 300 to 330 active calories a day. This week, despite my having surpassed that new goal every single day, the stupid watch told me to keep my goal the same. However, there was a reason I was going to get it back to 300, which I will get to in a bit.

However, I first need to tell you about my major accomplishment yesterday: a nature walk! My husband came by for a visit to have lunch at Subway. After that though, he drove to a nearby nature reserve, where we went for a 2.5km walk. Although I did have my Apple Watch as well as my iPhone with me, the stupid watch’s GPS probably didn’t work (or it’s broken altogether), so it didn’t register my walk as a workout. This means I cannot check details such as average speed, hills climbed, etc. My husband did check his Garmin app though and we’d walked pretty fast and climbed a few hills.

I did go for several more walks yesterday. In total, I got in 163 exercise minutes yesterday, all by walking. I got in 122 today so far, which honestly is quite fabulous if you ask me. This does include 18 minutes on the elliptlcal.

Now on to why I’ve lowered my movement goal to 300 active calories a day. I am participating in a weekday challenge on an app called Challenges, hosted by the admins of an Apple Watch-related fitness group on Facebook. In the app, you earn points based on completion of your fitness goals. To allow for fair competition, daily movement goals are allocated individually based on weight and mine was 300, because I weigh 150lbs. Honestly, I’m pretty content with my place in the competition so far. Obviously, since the weekday challenge lasts until Friday, a lot can still change.

I am loving being this active again. It gives me a true mood boost. Of course, my cardio fitness level is still low, but I don’t worry about it as much as I used to. My husband did also point out that smartwatches are mostly purchased by physically active people, so “low” according to Apple may not say much. I did notice that I was huffing from that nature walk, while my husband, despite recently recovering from COVID, had no problem with the walk. Then again, before contracting the virus, he’d go for 6km runs without much training.

Tomorrow, a staff with whom I used to go on hour-long walks two summers ago, will be working my day activities shift. I did go for a 45-minute walk yesterday, so am tempted to try for such a long walk tomorrow. Even if I can’t though, I do have yesterday’s walk to prove that my physical fitness is returning to a better level.

TGIF: Weather

Hi all. Fridays are usually pretty active in the blogosphere and there are lots of prompts to choose from on this day. Today, I discovered another one, Paula Light’s TGIF. Today, Paula took the opportunity to talk about the weather and for this reason so will I.

Let me start out with the positives: we had some amazingly warm late summer weather early in the week. Not too hot for my liking, although it did get to 30°C on Tuesday, which I understand is too hot for some. Wednesday was the best: some sunshine but some clouds too, no rain and 25°C during the day.

Thankfully, we did get some much-needed rain too. We got a thunderstorm Tuesday night. My Apple Watch registered sound as loud as 82dB during the storm. I wonder how accurate that is, but well.

We also got some rain yesterday as well as today. Today, in fact, it rained most of the day, but I still managed a short walk outside in the morning.

I tried out my orthopedic shoes, which came back from the shoemaker for the umpteenth time. Well, those who’ve read the orthopedic shoe story before can probably guess what’s next. Yes, indeed, I did get another small blister on my right heel after a walk of not even 20 minutes. I’ve told you guys before that the shoes won’t be fixed until 2034 and I’m more and more confident I’m correct after all.

Despite only managing one walk, I did reach my Apple Watch’s Movement goal today. Okay, I did go on the elliptical for just over 15 minutes too. That went surprisingly well, honestly.

Tomorrow, if we aren’t getting lots of rain in the morning, I’ll likely go for a longer walk. A staff who walks quite fast works my one-on-one shift then. Last time we went on a walk together, I broke my speed record: 13 minutes 11 seconds per km. That’s not very fast, but it’s not slow either. Let’s hope for not much rain tomorrow morning.

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.

My Ideal Ways of Spending My Day

Hi everyone. I have been thinking about ways in which I would like to spend my days if I get to move to the main institution. Like I said yesterday, each client has their own day program, so they aren’t required to go to the day center by default. I also will keep my one-on-one support at least until December of 2023. In today’s post, I want to share my ideal ways of spending my days. These are things I might be able to implement should I remain here, but I’m dreaming big here and thinking of ways the institution could accommodate me too.

First, I would like to start my day in my room like I currently do. I don’t think I can handle eating breakfast in a group as of yet. That might change in the future. I would like to eat all my main meals in my room, but go to the living room for coffee breaks when I want to.

Ways I would like to spend my day, include crafting of course. I would really like to keep on doing my polymer clay work and maybe even sell it in the day center’s shop.

The day activities I am thinking the institution could help me meet my dreams with, are those related to sports and physical activity. I know the institution has a small swimming pool on grounds and I’d really like to use it. I’m not sure whether they might have exercise equipment too, like the type of equipment you’d find in a gym. If they do, I’d love to utilize that too.

The institution is in a rural estate area, so I’d love to go for walks on grounds. I’ll take my iPhone (by then, I might have a new one, who knows?) to take pictures of the beautiful nature.

I’ll hopefully at some point be able to take short walks on grounds on my own too. For that, I’ll need orientation and mobility training from the blindness agency, but I’m sure I can get that.

I may occasionally want to relax in a snoezelen® room. Then again, if I’m correct, I can keep my weighted blanket if I move within this care agency, so I might not even need a snoezelen® room.

I’ll probably also want to go to a day center every once in a while to socialize with other clients. The institution has three day centers I believe, but I’m pretty sure clients from the home I might go to won’t go to all three. That’s okay though, I’ll find out what suits me.

#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 (August 13, 2022)

Hi everyone. How are you doing? Want to join me for #WeekendCoffeeShare? I’ve had all my coffee for the day, but I’m soon grabbing a Dubbelfrisss (my favorite soft drink). Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I would start out by asking how your weather is. Ours has been hot most of the week. Today, the weather institute officially recorded a heatwave, meaning five days in a row of daytime highs of at least 25°C, including three days of at least 30°C. Today, the temperature reached 32°C here. Tomorrow, it may even get a little hotter. The last officially-recorded heatwave was in 2020.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you the woman from the care home down the road from mine was very happy with the polymer clay necklace I gifted her for her birthday. I stayed for a while to have coffee and apple pie.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my orthopedic shoes still aren’t as they should be. I developed two small blisters on my feet after a short walk yesterday evening. Granted, I’d also taken a longer walk in the morning without much trouble, but blisters really shouldn’t happen anyway.

If we were having coffee, I’d complain about the care facility’s WiFi once again. Oh wait, yesterday, I showed gratitude for it, but today I’m complaining, because three days in a row it’s now gone out in the evening. I am currently redirecting my iPhone’s mobile data to my laptop because I was in the middle of typing this blog post when the stupid thing went down.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that I did start on the green polymer clay unicorn I mentioned this afternoon after all. I’ve decided it’s going to make a great present for the student staff who’s leaving at the end of this month. I so far only made the surface it’s going to stand on, which is currently in the oven. It took me 45 minutes to create a slab for it that was relatively free of air bubbles. Not completely, but enough that there hopefully won’t be huge holes in the bottom of the thing. Not that they will be seen, if they are there, when the unicorn stands on its surface, but well.

How have you been?

Gratitude List (July 15, 2022) #TToT

Hi everyone. I am struggling a little, but trying to stay positive. As such, I want to write a gratitude list again. I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful as usual. Here goes.

1. I am grateful for ice cream. Last Sunday, the local Rotary Club sent out some people to do a performance on care facility grounds, like singing and acting and all. I didn’t like that, but they also sent an ice cream truck. I loved the stracciatella and vanilla ice cream, even though I normally don’t care for chocolate.

2. I am grateful I was able to bring a huge smile to my old assigned staff’s face when I gave her the polymer clay hedgehog I’d crafted for her.

3. I am grateful for nice, warm enough but not too hot weather this week.

4. I am grateful my physical fitness level is pretty much back to where I’d like it to be. I have been walking a lot over the past week. Not reaching 10K steps most days – just once, last Saturday, in fact -, but I’m so glad I’m walking longer distances again.

5. I am grateful for my husband’s creative pep talks. Earlier in the week, I had almost lost my polymer clay mojo because I kept doing my flat projects wrong. Then when I’d found a way to bake them without them bending upward or getting air bubbles at the back – by baking them or cardboard -, someone I consider a polymer clay expert claimed that would cause me problems. That discouraged me a lot, but my husband said not to listen to just one person and to do what works for me.

6. Speaking of which, I am so grateful at least that one little piece of polymer clay – a random cookie cutter star – turned out pretty good.

7. I am grateful I didn’t cry when my old assigned staff officially left yesterday.

8. I am grateful for a really nice card from her too. It has a small lucky doll inside of it, because she wishes me good luck.

9. I am grateful for my new stuffed dolphin. When my old assigned staff put me to bed yesterday, I grabbed ahold of my favorite stuffed animal, the lemur, and she commented I could seek comfort with him when I miss her. She had considered buying me a soft toy as a goodbye present, but she reasoned I have quite many already. This got me thinking and, within an hour, I’d ordered this stuffed dolphin off Bol.com, to be delivered today. It’s a little smaller than I’d expected, but actually it’s the perfect size for me to hold it when trying to sleep.

10. I am grateful that Seeing AI, the image description app on my iPhone, guessed my age in the above photo as 27. 😁 Not that I really care, but I just noticed and thought this’d make for a fun last item on my thankful list.

What are you thankful for?

Thankful Thursday (July 7, 2022): Flowers

Hi everyone. I’m still feeling rather sad, a bit depressed even, today. I try to tell myself it’s okay. I’d even say it’s normal. I mean, attachment loss sucks.

This is not the post for me to whine about that though. I don’t want to. Rather, I’m going to try to find something I can be grateful for. I’m therefore joining Thankful Thursday.

Today, I felt rather unmotivated, but pushed myself to leave the home anyway to go for a walk. I took my phone with me. It was a cloudy day, so the right weather for taking photos. Somewhere in the neighborhood, we came across what my staff said are some kind of hydrangeas. There were pink and white ones. I actually got to touch them, which was cool.


I still want to learn to do some photo editing with help from my staff. On one of these, the staff did some cropping within the Photos app, but I do have other editing tools too. In any case, being able to photograph these flowers and appreciate their beauty by touch too, is truly something I’m grateful for today.

Because today I share a flower photo (or two), I’m linking this post to Cee’s Flower of the Day too.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (June 18, 2022)

Hi everyone and welcome to my post for this week’s #WeekendCoffeeShare. I hope you’re well. I’m about to have my afternoon coffee, so am going to take a break in the middle of this post to drink that. I also still have herbal tea, water and I do now in fact have my fruit infusion bottle in the fridge. It has cucumber in it. I’d recommend that either alone or in addition to coffee, as it’s quite hot here. It’s only about 27°C right now, but I’m sweating profusely. Anyway, let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I would start by saying that this week was okay. Like I shared on Monday, I went to look at my assigned staff’s pet hedgehog. That was fun and helped me keep a somewhat positive attitude all through the week, despite feeling a bit meh.

If we were having coffee, I would also share that I was successful at being more physically active over this week. I went on the elliptical Wednesday and Friday, both for a little over ten minutes. I also took some walks. Yesterday, it was even hotter than it was today, so I only took a few short walks around the day center.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you all about my dietitian’s appointment yesterday. I am experiencing a slight slip-up with respect to purging behaviors, but it’s not related to binge eating per se. That didn’t make it not worrisome, the dietitian said, but at least it means my bulimia isn’t coming back. Overall, she complimented me on how I’m doing with respect to being able to follow my food plan but also being able to deviate from it in moderation at times. For example, I bought a bag of licorice last week and am having a few pieces of licorice a day most days. That way, right now, I still have half the bag left, while a few years ago I’d consume the whole bag within half an hour or less.

The dietitian also gave me some advice about planning for when I go out to eat for my birthday next week. For example, she recommended I eat a small serving of fruit at like 4PM to prevent me feeling like I’m starving by the time we’re at the restaurant at 6PM. I am not really sure I feel like following her advice though and I’m not sure that’s my eating disorder talking or just my wish to have a good time and not be minding my diet for once.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I am really happy that today we don’t have temp workers at the home at all. Yesterday we did have one and he was assigned to work my one-on-one shift. I really wasn’t pleased to say the least. I don’t do well with male staff to begin with and this was someone I didn’t know at all. I am honestly quite angry that the staff felt like assigning him my shift, because they know how much I struggled with the one regular male staff doing my one-on-one shifts. I feel like honestly my boundaries are being tested a lot lately and, with how clear the manager was that this was the way things worked, I’m not sure I’m able to assert myself.

If we were having coffee, lastly I would share that I’m still working on the perfect pair of polymer clay earrings. It seems baking directly on the ceramic tile is for now the way to go. Thankfully, some people gave me som advice on how to prevent air bubbles being trapped between the tile and the clay, which would create little (or not so little) dents in my clay. If I baked on paper, I would not get those, but my earrings would consistently get curved, which I think is worse than the small dents I got now that I followed the experts’ advice.

I haven’t turned my earring pieces into actual earrings yet, because the ones I decided to keep look better with silver than gold. I would like to report though that I am so grateful, because a staff’s daughter had some silver-colored earring hooks that she wasn’t using and that she was happy to gift to me. How nice!

How have you been?

Things I Can Do to Improve My Physical Fitness

I had an intensely frustrating physical therapy appointment this morning. I told the physical therapist that, despite the semi-orthopedic shoes and the ankle-foot orthosis, I still walk with a drop foot after roughly 20 minutes of walking. She is going to bring my shoes and the AFO to the orthopedic shoemaker and the guy in charge of the AFO yet again, but I’m skeptical there’ll be a solution. I feel very frustrated that, a year to eighteen months ago, I could easily walk for an hour several times a day and now I struggle to walk for fifteen minutes. That, my staff later countered, may be related to my lack of physical fitness too. In other words, I need to build up stamina again. Now that I have nothing better to share, I am going to list ways in which I can improve my level of physical fitness.

1. Go on the elliptical for ten to fifteen minutes at a time three times a week. I used to try to go on the elliptical for 25 minutes at a time and aim for five times a week, but that’s not realistic right now. Besides, I hate that thing with a passion, so making myself go on it five times a week right away is guaranteed to fail.

2. Go for daily walks again. I have been avoiding walks because of the pain the AFO causes me as well as the hassle involved in trying to judge the weather, whether I need to wear sunscreen, etc. I really need to make daily walking a habit again, even if it’s only a ten-minute walk around the day center.

3. Throw a ball. This doesn’t necessarily strengthen my legs and it isn’t quite cardio level either, but any movement counts.

4. Weight training. I really need to get into the habit of doing weight lifting again, if only three rounds of ten a few times a week. This is arm training, since I cannot really do core training at all, but again, it will help me get to a higher physical fitness level.

5. Doing the exercises I originally did with the physical therapist for my back. I am not sure why I list these, but they can’t hurt.

Ultimately, I would really like to go to a gym at some point. The day center has a stationary bike too, but I’m not sure I can use that.

Do you have any suggestions as to ways for me to practise physical exercise?