Gratitude List (September 16, 2022) #TToT

Hi everyone. Right now I’m very hyper because of some really great news I just received. I’ll get to that at the end of this gratitude list, so you’ll have to be patient (or skip ahead). As usual, I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful with this post. Here goes.

1. I am grateful for my improved physical fitness. My cardio fitness level according to my Apple Watch is still low, but it’s slowly creeping up. My heartrate recovery is within the “good” range though. Granted, the watch only measured it after brisk walks, since I can’t run.

2. I am grateful for eggs. The guy from the care home next door to ours who has chickens near the day center, lets me check for eggs during the weekends when he’s home with his family. On Saturday, I found one. Then today, he gave me one just because he wanted to.

3. I am grateful the orthopedic shoemaker finally gave in and is going to get me completely orthopedic shoes rather than the semi-orthopedic ones I had been struggling with for the past two years. The semi-orthopedic shoes kept giving me blisters even after he adjusted them many times. For the fully orthopedic shoes, the shoemaker’s coming to measure my feet and make an imprint or whatever in early October. From that point on, it may still take six months before I get the actual shoes, but oh well.

4. I am grateful the orthopedic shoemaker finished repairing one of my regular walking shoes. For those who don’t know, the fronts keep getting damaged within weeks due to my drop foot. Now the shoes are at the main institution, where normally only a transportation guy picks them up to bring them to Raalte once a week on Thursday. The staff here are trying to send someone out there to pick them up on Monday.

5. I am grateful I decided to buy an extra pair of walking shoes.

6. I am grateful for new clothes. I went shopping for them on Wednesday. I bought two jeans and a blouse.

7. I am grateful for iOS 16 and WatchOS 9. I decided to update on Wednesday after all. Both have a few bugs, but not that many that they cause serious problems. Particularly, I am grateful that, after all sound disappeared from my Apple Watch after the upgrade, a restart (with sighted assistance) solved the issue. I am also grateful not to have encountered the bug so far that causes VoiceOver to stop working after restarting your iPhone.

I am grateful for all the new features with WatchOS 9. I love sleep phases and heartrate recovery like I mentioned. I also love that the Translate app on iOS is now available in Dutch too.

8. I am grateful I am doing pretty well on the fitness challenge I participate in this week. I have consistently maintained a position in the upper mid range, around 25th out of 107 participants.

9. I am grateful for a great weight loss result today. I lost another 0.9kg. Last week, I’d lost the same amount. I’m now 66.5kg, which is pretty awesome considering when I came to the care facility I was almost 10kg heavier and I’ve lost over 5kg since starting my food plan in January. I do realize I need to make sure I’m not overdoing it with exercising or I’ll gain all the weight back once the weather’s not so good anymore and subsequently I’ll lose my motivation to walk.

10. I am grateful for some sunshine today. We had rain too, for which I’m also grateful, but I’m happy I could go for some walks outside in the sun.

11. And now on to the great news… I am grateful the main institution home I’m on the waiting list for has a room for me real soon. I will be orienting on Wednesday and the Monday after and, if then I decide I want to move there, moving date has been set for October 5! Remember it’s up to me and, if I don’t want to move there, no-one is kicking me out of here. This is all causing a whirlwind of emotions and thoughts. After all, the only other time I ever requested to move myself, I had to decide within the day of a place having been found and it was the worst decision I ever made. Thankfully, my husband is coming to the second orientation visit with me and my staff will come with me on both visits. Now I’m going to write out some questions I have for the home.

What are you grateful for?

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.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (September 3, 2022)

Hi all on this beautiful first Saturday of September. I for whatever reason keep typing “July” rather than “September”. Maybe that’s me wishful thinking. Anyway, here’s my post for this week’s #WeekendCoffeeShare. I just had my afternoon coffee, but the other clients are currently having theirs, so I bet there’s still some left for you. Let’s have a cup of coffee (or another drink, if you so prefer) and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d start out by asking about your weather. Ours is beautiful. Today, we’re supposed to get daytime temps of up to 27°C. On Monday, the temperature’s even forecast to rise to 30°C. I guess my husband was wrong a few weeks ago when he predicted that it’d get only colder from that point on.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about all the physical activity I got in this past week. I got in a total of 330 exercise minutes according to my Apple Watch this week so far, exercise being anything at least the intensity of a brisk walk. I guess this means I can up my goal from 20 minutes to at least 30 a day. Then again, I badly want to reach it everyday.

If we were having coffee, I would use the rest of this post to share the details I promised you all in yesterday’s post about the potential new care home. You see, on Thursday at 2PM, the behavior specialist came by my room. The appt had already been planned or so I believe, because of the situation I shared a few weeks ago about an application having been put in for me to live at a senior citizens’ home for the visually impaired, a place I don’t consider suitable. I knew from my care facility’s manager that she understood this place doesn’t sound suitable indeed and also that she had heard that the people at the main institution for my current care agency, with whom I’d met at the end of July, were pretty enthusiastic about me. However, the manager didn’t expect to hear anything from them until next week.

Well, as it turned out, my behavior specialist had planned a meeting with the behavior specialist whom I’d met in July as soon as she could, which was last Thursday. It turns out I am number one on the waiting list for a home at the main institution. The home caters primarily to people with moderate to severe intellectual disability with a need for intensive support due to additional problems such as autism, attachment issues, etc. The level of intellectual disability is significantly less severe than in my current home, so I can actually make smalltalk with the other residents. The staff offer help with activities of daily living (personal care) where needed. Each resident has their own day program. This means that residents aren’t required to go to the day center by default. In fact, some of the residents go some of the time, others ride their bikes around institution grounds, while still others can’t leave the home unsupervised.

I told my husband about this home and he immediately replied that it sounds perfect. Well, I said, that isn’t possible, but it does sound pretty good indeed.

Of course, I am on the wait list, so there currently isn’t an available room, but the behavior specialist said they are working towards finding a new home for one of the current residents. She said it might go quickly but it might still take six months or so. Well, if you ask me, even if it’s going to take six months, that’s still super quickly. That’d honestly mean I’d have found a place within the year from saying I want to find a more suitable home.

I will get an extensive orientation, getting to look around at least twice before I decide whether I want to move to this home. I am both nervous and excited. Mostly quite excited though. I’d read up about this home before and wished I could live here and now my dream might come true.

How have you been?

#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?

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.

#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?

#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?

#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.

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?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (July 2, 2022)

Hi everyone on this first Saturday of July. Wow, can you believe the first half of the year is over with already? I certainly can’t. I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare today. I just had my afternoon coffee, but the other residents are probably still having theirs. Let’s have a coffee and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d start out by asking how you are. How’s your weather? Ours has been mixed. Right now, it’s about 23°C and partly cloudy, but we’ve had daytime temps as high as 29°C and as low as 19°C and a mix of sun and rain and thunderstorms.

If we were having coffee, I would share that this week was a mixed bag. I’ve been struggling quite a bit with all the new staff being introduced to me over the week. Now I hear you say what my staff have been saying too: isn’t that better than temp workers? Yes, it is and, thankfully, I didn’t have any temping staff all week. However, on some days, I had two staff introduced to me in a day and this generally meant at least one of them was orienting to my one-on-one shift. This means they’re with me literally all the time and this means I have two staff with me all the time, who are sometimes chatting among themselves about their kids or whatever (sometimes under the guise of the new staff telling me about themself). That cost me a lot of energy. By the middle of the week, I had thankfully been able to get it through to the staff that I don’t like this.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’ve been struggling a bit with the discrepancy between my emotional development and my intelligence again. I have been reading up on emotional development as it relates to people with developmental disabilities and, though the theory makes perfect sense to me, this does actually create intense turmoil inside of me. This specifically relates to the situation in which staff confront me with my challenging behavior, trying to let me know it’s unacceptable. I am not even always rationally able to see their point, for example when it relates to the temp workers and new staff, but even when I am, it is sheer impossible for me to grasp it emotionally.

If we were having coffee, I would share that, on Monday, some evangelicals were handing out flowers near my neighborhood supermarket. As a progressive Christian, I agreed with a lot but not all of what the woman doing the evangelizing to me said, but I didn’t feel like challenging her. After she started challenging my staff’s Catholic beliefs and all of us noticed the conversation became awkward, I accepted the flowers and moved on. I do feel that this, odd as it may seem, came at the right time, being that it was my birthday and I’d just had a really hard appt with my nurse practitioner. At least yesterday, the flowers still looked quite good.

If we were having coffee, lastly I would tell you I’ve been very crafty lately. The creations I shared yesterday, I had finished late last week. This week, I’ve been experimenting with the plunger cutters I got from the new student staff on Wednesday, as well as with my extruder. I didn’t actually create anything using the extruder yet and I might’ve broken it already after all. Today, I did create a sort of Earth charm. I originally wanted to do the continents much like they are on the real planet, but that didn’t work out.

How have you been?