Eight Ways in Which My Reading Life Has Changed Over the Years

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is all about ways you have changed, particularly as a reader, over the years. I am not a book blogger, since posts about books make up not even ten percent of my total posts. I don’t read nearly enough to be a book blogger. This may be one reason I haven’t participated in #TTT for a while. However, I loved this week’s theme. Here are some ways in which my reading life has changed over the years.

1. I read because I want to, not because I have to. As a child and teen, I didn’t like reading much. Especially not the assigned literature we were supposed to read for school. For this reason, in my young adult life, I didn’t read much at all. Over the years though, I discovered a love of reading and now read for pleasure. Sometimes I still feel like I have to finish a book, but then it’s me creating the pressure.

2. I read almost exclusively English-language books. The book famine, ie. the lack of accessible books to people who are blind or otherwise print disabled, is still pretty severe in Dutch-language literature. In English, almost every book I want to read is available in an accessible format nowadays. This is one reason I enjoy reading books in English far more than in Dutch.

Another is the fact that I blog in English and, to be honest, I don’t do much in life (except for peeing and sleeping and eating) without some motivation related to my blog. I love to venture out into the bookish blogosphere at times.

3. The way in which I read, has changed. As a child, I almost exclusively read audiobooks. Oh and the occasional large print book suited for children much younger than me, because with how poor my vision was, ordinary large print was too small for me. I hated reading Braille, so unless I was forced to, I didn’t touch a Braille book.

Now I read almost exclusively by touch. I recently bought a few audiobooks, but to be honest am quite a bit disappointed in the narrators.

4. I discovered eBooks. As a teen, I read books my parents scanned for me. Then I didn’t read much at all as a young adult. In 2013, I found out that Adobe Digital Editions, the main program at the time to read EPUB eBooks, had been made compatible with screen readers. I read EPUB from then on, although I no longer use Adobe Digital Editions. I use the iPhone’s book app instead.

5. I joined Bookshare. Bookshare is the U.S.-based online book service for the print disabled. In 2005 and 2006, when I first started reading English-language books for pleasure, I was a member of the UK’s National Library for the Blind. I for a short while read physical Braille books then. That didn’t work out due to shipping issues. Bookshare, though it existed back then, wasn’t available to international customers at the time. It became available to those outside of the U.S. sometime around 2015. I joined Bookshare in mid-2016.

6. I found out about Kindle. That’s another eBook format that didn’t use to be very accessible. Back in like 2015, there was the accessibility add-on to Kindle software, which would read the content of the book aloud. Like I said, I’m not a fan of audiobooks and I’m certainly not a fan of the robotic-sounding voice of the Kindle accessibility add-on. Sometime in 2018, I found out that the Kindle app for iPhone, and to a lesser degree Kindle for PC, now support screenreaders and most importantly Braille displays. I still don’t buy Kindle books very often, as Bookshare has a wide selection of books too, but I know that if I really want to read a book, I can.

7. A larger percentage of the books I read is fiction. Roughly ten years ago, I only read a bit of teen fiction and mostly read biographies and other nonfiction. Now about half of the books I read and the majority of the books I finish are fiction.

8. I read a wider variety of books. Though most of the fiction I read still belongs in the young adult category, over the past few years I’ve ventured out into other genres as well. I love reading a diverse selection of books now.

How has your reading life changed over the years?

Gratitude List (November 9, 2019) #TToT

Oh my, it’s been forever since I participated in Ten Things of Thankful. I think I participated once since moving to the care facility. The thing is, I have a ton of ideas for blog posts on my mind but only so much time to complete them. I mean, maybe a gratitude list should be one of the easier ones on my list, but oh well. I don’t know. I don’t want to make up excuses, so here’s my gratitude list.

1. Eating out with my husband and sisters-in-law. The sisters-in-law had offered it to us as a present for us having bought a house. We went to an all-you-can-eat restaurant. My husband thought he wouldn’t particularly like the food, but he did and I loved it. As those who know me well will admit, gluttony is my main deadly sin, LOL.

2. Great reading. I don’t nearly spend as much time reading as I’d like, but I do love the books I’m currently reading.

3. An increase in mental clarity and energy. I’ve been doing better in the brain fog department lately. In fact, I can usually manage to be quite active either physically or mentally most of the time during the day.

4. The sensory room at day activities, including its music player. It is connected to the waterbed, so that the music almost surrounds you when you’re lying on the waterbed.

5. A nice behavior specialist. On Tuesday, I had my review at the care facility. It went okay, but after it, I did experience some trust issues particularly with my day activities staff. She called out for the behavior specialist to talk to me some more and the issue got mostly resolved.

6. Sunshine. Of course, it’s fall here, so we don’t experience the great weather of summer, but we did get some relatively sunny days. It was nice being out in this weather.

7. My former psychiatric nurse practitioner calling me to check in. He also finally sent me the form he’d sent to the assertive community treatment team in my town, since I hadn’t read it yet. It was good to talk to him for a bit.

8. A good intake interview with the nurse practitioner and social worker from the new team. I was able to explain myselves quite well. My current diagnosis apparently is unspecified personality disorder with dissociation along with autism spectrum disorder, but I was able to go into some detail about the extent of the dissociation. It was good also to have a staff from the facility with me. This team is more concerned with one’s individual needs for support than with one’s diagnosis.

9. Walking. When I first came to this facility, I didn’t expect to get out and about much, but I usually do manage at least 30 minutes a day even now that fall has truly set in. I tried to reconnect my Fitbit when I found its charger earlier this week, but the app seems to have locked me out. I don’t really care though.

10. Sleeping with music on. On Thursday, I was so tired from the intake interview at mental health that I slept most of the evening away. I slept with a lovely playlist on Spotify playing on my phone. I am still considering getting myself a music pillow.

11. My husband. He’s so nice! It’s hard not seeing him as much as I used to, but he showers me with love each time we do see each other.

What have you been grateful for?

November 2019 To-Be-Read List

I haven’t read that much in the past few months, but this week, I’m enjoying reading again. I discovered a To-Be-Read list linky, so am linking up there. I still have a huge pile of books I’d like to read or am reading but haven’t finished. Here are a few I’m planning on reading this month.

1. Matilda by Roald Dahl. I think I said before that I read it a ton of times in Dutch as a child, but now I’d like to read it in English. I’m choosing the audiobook version narrated by Kate Winslet.

2. Scars Like Wings by Erin Stewart. This one has been on the list of books I can’t wait to read for months. It was published last month and I fully intended on buying it on Kindle as soon as it came out. That didn’t work though, as I don’t have my husband’s current credit card details in my account yet. Just now, I had the amazing idea of checking whether the book is on Bookshare before I buy it once I do have my husband’s payment details. And guess what? It is! This sounds like such an amazing book.

3. Left Neglected by Lisa Genova. I started this one a few months ago, but never got beyond the first chapter. Not because I didn’t like it, but because other activities got in the way of my actually reading.

4. Unthinkable by Helen Thomson. This month is somehow dedicated to nonfiction. I love the topic of this book. As you can see, medicine is my thing.

This is another book I’m partway through already. I really want to read some new stuff too, but can’t think of any right now. I mean, of course, I have a huge TBR pile, but I don’t want to up the pressure by forcing myself to read more than I comfortably can.

5. Preemie Voices by Saroj Saigal. This is a collection of letters from people born very prematurely in the late 1970s to early 1980s. They share their experiences and advice for parents of currrent day preemies. I was a preemie too, slightly younger but now at the average age the preemies in this book were when they wrote the letters. I feel there’s a lot I can relate to in this book. Even more than when I started reading it some five years ago when it was published.

What’s on your to-be-read list for this month?

Today’s Accomplishments (October 29, 2019)

Last December, I wrote a post in which I shared my small (but important!) accomplishments for the day. I wanted to make this a regular feature, but didn’t. I am not promising it will be this time around, as pressure to do something every day or week with regards to my blog, usually overwhelms me to the point where I quit prematurely. Such was the case with the 31-day writing challenge this October and it’s been the case before. I’m however definitely hoping I can do these more often. Anyway, here are my accomplishments for today.

1. Took good care of my personal hygiene. It’s Tuesday, which means I start my morning routine all by myself and don’t get any help with my personal care. I usually take a quick shower then and often forget to put on deodorant, brush my teeth and hair. I not only took a more thorough shower than usual, but did use deodorant and brushed my teeth. I don’t think I brushed my hair.

2. Took my morning and evening meds, including multivitamin. I got the multivitamin added to my meds recently as I am deficient in folic acid (one of the possible reasons for my fatigue). I often have to remember to ask the staff for this one myself, as it isn’t in the med management system yet.

3. Had three relatively healthy meals. I had two slices of bread with chocolate spread on it for breakfast. That isn’t the healthiest possible choice, but it’s okay. I had two slices of bread again for lunch, plus a banana and a pear. For dinner, we had boiled potatoes, a hamburger and kohlrabi.

4. Walked twice today. Well, three times really, as I also took a short walk in the morning with the day activities staff and two other clients. I took a longer (about 20 minutes) walk in the afternoon with just the staff and took another walk with the living facility staff and one other client in the evening. I don’t have my Fitbit anymore, as its battery is dead and I can’t find its charger, but I’m confident I met my goal for active minutes for the day.

5. Did a short mindfulness meditation. Okay, it took only three or four minutes, but the act of starting a guided meditation in itself is already an accomplishment.

What have you accomplished today?

Gratitude List (September 7, 2019) #TToT

Hi everyone! I’ve been wanting to write a lot today, but somehow, I once again couldn’t find the words to write a proper blog post. This week was a good one in some major ways, but it was also a very stressful one. To focus my mind on the positives, I’m joining in with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT).

1. The sensory room at day activities. I have been relaxing in it a lot lately. There’s a guy who uses it often, but he was off this past week, so I took full advantage of the available room.

2. Tranquilizers. On Tuesday, I was very irritable. I am so glad that the staff offered to give me my lorazepam and it worked.

3. Great news from the care facility, of course. I got to speak to the behavior specialist and support coordinator, which was good. It was great to hear that I will most likely be moving by September 23.

4. Hearing more about the house we’re buying. We got a go on the mortgage and are now waiting to get the keys.

5. My husband having been able to change the days he’ll be off work. He would originally have the week of September 16 off, but since I’ll be moving to Raalte on the 23rd and we’ll get the keys to our house most likely on the 25th, that wasn’t ideal. My husband will now have the week of the 23rd and the week of the 30th off.

6. Nice food. To celebbrate the great news about my moving to the care facility, my husband got us pizza and a tompouce (a Dutch pastry) on Tuesday. On Thursday, I was stressed, so I bought myself a lot of snack food. Still, I enjoyed it.

7. Horseback riding again. Yesterday marked my first riding lesson after the summer break. I rode Morritz again. I didn’t ask about Angie, the horse I previously often rode, who was injured some six months ago. As the weather was relatively good, we rode our horses outside.

8. My stuffed bear. I had a lot of nightmares and vivid dreams this past week, so I am all the more grateful for the stuffed bear my mother-in-law won for me at an animal shelter event last year. I have a ton of other soft toys, but this one is the biggest.

I am also grateful for the extra duvet my husband laid over me some nights back when he realized before me that I’d otherwise feel cold.

9. Painkillers. I’ve been having a toothache lately and had a headache yesterday. They may or may not be related. And yes, my father-in-law is a dentist, but this makes me more wary of going to the dentist (him) with this. Thankfully, paracetamol has been working.

10. My amazing fellow clients at day activities. A new girl started yesterday. She’s nice. So are the others. Most don’t understand that I’ll be moving, so I haven’t told them yet. I’ll be missing them.

What have you been grateful for lately?

Books I’d Add to My Personal Library

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is about books you’ve read that you’d add to your personal library. What is meant are books that you don’t own a physical copy of and wish you did. Well, I can’t quite use physical books, as I can’t read print and Braille books are very clunky. However, there are still books I wish I owned that I borrowed from the library. Here goes.

1. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I read it in its Dutch translation in one of my last years in primary school and, though I didn’t enjoy it that much at the time, I’d love to read the original English right now. My father read it in English at the same time that I read it in Dutch.

2. Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne. My father read my sister and me the best Dutch translation by Nienke van Hichtum. This yet again isn’t a book I’d necessarily want a physical copy of, though that’d be nice, but I’d love to read it in its original language.

3. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I read this in my senior year of high school. Though I easily accessed it online back then, legally or not I’m not entirely sure, I would love to own a copy.

4. I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Hannah Green. I borrowed this one from the UK’s National Library for the Blind and actually read it as a physical Braille book. Back then, you could send Braille books free of postage anywhere and the NLB offered its service to international customers. Bookshare, the U.S.-based online accessible book service, at the time didn’t, which was the main reason I used the NLB. I loved this book.

5. Planet of the Blind by Stephen Kusiisto. Another book I borrowed from the NLB. I loved how much I could relate to Kusiisto’s experienfce, going blind gradually from the same eye condition I suffer from.

6. Aspergirls by Rudy Simone. I had this book as an eBook, but lost it when I moved from Adobe Digital Editions to the iBooks app on my iPhone. I didn’t actually finnish this book, but would love to.

7. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. I read the first book in this series in its Dutch translation at age twelve. Though I really don’t think I’ll ever read the other books, as they get really weird or so I’m told, I’d love to have a copy of this one.

8. All of Astrid Lindgren’s books. I don’t know whether they’re available in English, so I’d go with the Dutch translations.

9. Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. I read it in Dutch when I was about thirteen, but I borrowed it from the library back then. I’d love to own a physical copy of both the original Dutch and the English translation.

10. Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet. This was an intriguing autobiography by a man with Asperger’s. I read it in its Dutch translation before I had access to many English-language books and would love to own a copy of the original English.

Which books would you add to your personal library?

Gratitude List (August 16, 2019) #TToT

Yay, it’s Friday! I’ll have to get up relatively early tomorrow for an appointment at the bank in relation to the house-buying process. However, I’m still happy to have the week-end in front of me! Today, I’m joining in with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT) for this week.

1. A long walk with my mother-in-law and her dog on Sunday. We walked for nearly an hour. Then we had another 25-minute walk yesterday.

2. A tidy closet. My husband helped me tidy up my closet last Sunday and it’s a lot more manageable now.

3. Hamburgers. Sunday night, I had been awakening my husband several times by talking in my sleep. Something about buttons I really, really had to press. Don’t ask me where I got that. Anyway, it led my husband to suffer lack of rest and he didn’t like to cook the next day, so he cooked up some hamburgers.

4. Ice cream. On Tuesday as the ParaTransit bus driver drove us home from day activities, we came across an ice cream truck that was handing out ice cream to all clients at the institution for people with intellectual disabilities where several of us had to get off. The staff said the driver could get himself and us remaining people on the bus an ice cream too. It was totally yummy!

5. Singing “Happy birthday”. As of last month, I attend day activities for the whole day on Wednesday rather than just the mornings. In the afternoon, we usually get music therapy, but the therapist had been on vacation until last week. I so far love love LOVE music therapy. Because this week, one of my fellow clients had a birthday, we sang birthday songs. I sang “Happy birthday” in English by myself for him.

6. No rain when my support coordinator and I went for our walk yesterday. It was supposed to rain all day, but thankfully it didn’t then.

7. Reaching my step goal yesterday. I’ve not had a great week as far as activity goes, but at least yesterday I did make it to 10,000 steps.

8. The staff taking me on a short walk today. This particular staff member had been on the receiving end of an aggressive outburst of mine (thankfully I wasn’t physically aggressive towards her) because I had been confused about being told I had to attend some boring health and fitness course rather than going for a walk on Wednesday. She somehow remembered having promised me a walk later in the day and then forgot. She hadn’t promised it, but this makes me all the more grateful that she did take me on a walk to make up for it today.

9. WordPress still being there. I got some scares recently about people abandoning WP en masse over the Tygpress thing and going to Facebook or whatever. I tried to create an FB page for my blog today, but seem to be failing miserably. I’m so glad for this reason that most bloggers are still on WP.

10. Lovely comments on my blog. I’ve had a lot of blog visitors and engagement with my blog posts this past week. It is awesome!

What have you been grateful for lately?

Gratitude List (July 27, 2019) #TToT

I haven’t participated in #TToT in forever. Today, I’m wanting to join in once again. I recently joined their Facebook group too and I promised to be active then. So here are the things I’ve been grateful for lately.

1. A lovely walk on Monday. We got a heatwave here, so for most of the week, it’s been impossible to exercise or go outside much at all. It’s summer break, so the intern who normally takes me on the weekly walk, isn’t there. Thankfully, the staff decided they can have me join in the walk anyway.

2. My computer behaving as it’s supposed to. I got a new PC a few weeks ago and sold my Mac and overall, I’m so happy I did. It took a little getting used to trying to figure out E-mail, feed readers and such, during which time I spent $36 on a feed reader that wasn’t ideal. Then I finally decided that if I just accept that I’ll need to use both Google Chrome and Firefox regularly, I’ll do fine with my old friend (no pun intended) The Old Reader. It after all works fine in Google Chrome, but Facebook doesn’t. Now I’m just so delighted I have a Windows PC again.

3. Having been able to save more money than I expected. I will probably soon get a bill for €140 a month or more in copay for my long-term care. My husband offered to contribute more to our monthly bills so that I do not have to be responsible for cutting the full amount of money, but I’ll still need to save some. As such, I’m so delighted that I saved over €100 more than I’d expected during the month of July.

4. My husband and I probably buying a house soon. We placed an offer on it last week and, after some negotiation, reached an agreement on the price. We’ll soon sign the draft agreement and hopefully be house owners by late September or early October.

5. Having gotten through the worst of the heatwave. It was boring at day activities, because I couldn’t go outside. Then again, I made it through and did okay. I made sure to drink enough water. As a side note, my autistic perseveration side does love the weather records that were broken.

6. Peaches. I bought some with my support worker on Thursday. I love summer fruits, but blueberries are too expensive for my budget now.

7. One-on-one time with a support staff at day activities on Friday. She had to return a walker to another day center that they’d been trying out for another client. She offered to take me, so we drove to the other day center, then to a hotel to have a drink at its restaurant. She told me to have something to eat too, so I chose tiramisu. My husband’s tiramisu is better, but still it was a great treat.

8. The weather being slightly cooler now. Like I said, all heat records were broken on Wednesday and Thursday and, though it’s still pretty hot, I’m enjoying the slightly less extreme temperatures now. Mind you, it’s still supposed to have gotten to 30 degrees Celsius today, but it feels almost cold now that my husband just opened my window. (I can’t open or close my window because I can’t reach that far.) Phew!

As you can see, I didn’t get to ten things to be thankful for. I blame this on the heat and my brain melting away. I hope you’ve all been grateful lately.

Gratitude List (June 22, 2019) #TToT

I am feeling okay. Not bad, not good. I am however rather uninspired as to what to write. For this reason, and to hopefully lift up my mood just a little, I’m going to participate in Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT). Here is my gratitude list for the past week. Man, it’s been forever since I did those.

1. Eating rice. My husband bought a rice cooker last week. I love rice, but my husband doesn’t like it when he cooks it the regular way. He does like it when cooked in the rice cooker though. We had rice or risotto several times this past week.

2. Lunch out with my husband. On Tuesday, my husband and I went for a visit at a house we might want to buy. It didn’t work out in the end, but the lunch beforehand was good.

3. My husband preparing my breakfast a few times. My husband is off work this week and next week, which means he’s still in the house when I get up at 7:20AM. Normally he leaves the house at between 5:00 and 6:00AM. He prepared my breakfast a few times this week, making me a cup of coffee. I’m normally too lazy and in a rush to make coffee for myself on week days, so this was extra lovely.

4. Nice weather. It’s been pretty good all week. For next week, the temperature is supposed to rise to 35 degrees Celsius, which isn’t what I like. But I’m thankful to be able to wear summer clothes.

5. Being productive in finding me a living facility. We had a meeting with the care consultant for a facility with my current care agency on Tuesday. The outcome was vague, as this person wasn’t in a position to decide whether I’d be a good fit. However, my support coordinator has been trying to contact several other care agencies.

6. Some nice walks with my support coordinator. On Wednesday and Thursday, when we finished the work we were doing for finding me a living facility, we went for a walk. It was fun.

7. Getting free candy. At the marketplace near my day activities, there is a candy, nuts and dried fruits vendor I regularly buy candy at when we visit the marketplace each Friday. This past Friday, he gave the staff some free candy to give us during coffee breaks.

8. Trying out some new workouts. I’m currently trying squats and such, which are incredibly hard. I also reached my five-day exercise goal, but cheated a little, as walks of 15 minutes or more do count and I didn’t go on the elliptical.

9. Curly fries again, yay! I hadn’t had them in a really long time, but my husband ordered them for me yesterday.

10. Leftovers from a fellow client’s celebrating 25 years working at my day activities. I didn’t attend the celebration itself, as it was on Tuesday afternoon, when we were visiting the house on sale. However, we had lots of leftovers on Wednesday.

Oh my, I’m really obsessing about food as I write this list. Can you tell I love eating? Well yeah, I do. Now going to try to exercise some.

Goals: Major Things I Hope to Achieve in Life #AtoZChallenge

Welcome to day seven in the A to Z Challenge. I’m finding that, even though ideas spin through my mind to blog about, I’m already less motivated to write and especially so for the #AtoZChallenge. Today’s post is a list, so I’m not sure it fits in with the theme of miscellaneous musings. I am feeling a bit uninspired though and lists are the easiest to write posts. I am sharing my major goals in life.

1. Find myself a satisfactory living situation. When I wrote a list of goals I had for myself on my old blog, buying a house was on it. Not that I’d ever be able to buy a house on my own, but divorcing my husband wasn’t on the list. This (buying a house) was however more my husband’s goal than mine. When I finally decided to try to get into long-term care, I felt much calmer than I did before. Even though the process is now going on for six months and counting, I’m still sure of myself on this part. This is the reason finding a satisfactory living situation tops my list.

2. Write my autobiography. I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was a young child. Of course, I am a writer with my blog and I also got a piece published in an anthology in 2015. I would love to publish more pieces, but I’d also love to write a memoir.

3. Find a hobby (other than blogging) that I can do independently. Or almost independently. I’m in a course now at day activities to explore this. We’ve been trying soap making for the last two weeks, because I used to enjoy that, and it’s going okay.

4. Visit the United States. I have a few long-time online friends from there whom I’d love to visit. I’d also love to visit carol anne of Therapy Bits in Ireland.

5. Heal from my childhood trauma. I hope to be able to someday access a qualified therapist able to treat me for my trauma-based symptoms. Even if I can’t do that, I hope to heal.

What are your major goals in life?