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?

Five of the Most Significant Events in My Life

And once again, I didn’t post for nearly a week. I am beginning to feel pessimistic that I’ll complete the A to Z Challenge in April. However, I still would very much love to make it happen. I am pretty uninspired though.

To get back into the writing habit, I am choosing to write about a topic I’ve already posted about on my old blogs a couple of times. It is good though for my new readers of this blog to get to know me. I am going to share a list of important events in my life. Because I need to explain a little about each, this post may become a bit long.

1. The day I left the hospital at three months of age. I was born over three months premature and had to spend the first 94 days of my life in hospital. The unit I was on is commonly referred to as neonatal intensivecare unit or NICU for short, though I wasn’t in actual intensive care the whole time. I was on a ventilator for the first six weeks and, after I learned to breathe on my own, was moved to medium care, the general ward and eventually home. In the NICU, I sustained a brain bleed and developed an eye condition called retinopathy of prematurity. These two conditions are the main cause of my disabilities. I was finally discharged from the hospital on September 29, 1986.

2. The day I started special education. I started school, as most children here in the Netherlands did at the time, on my fourth birthday (June 27, 1990). I started in the first year of Kindergarten, which takes two years here. Just before the end of my second year in Kindergarten though, on May 11, 1992, I was moved into special education for the visually impaired.

The reason why I had to transfer remains a mystery. My parents say it was because I had to learn Braille, but I didn’t get to learn that till over a year later and only because a totally blind boy joined my class. The school was generally only equipped to educate those with low vision. Besides, the first special school my parents chose for me, was for those with mobility impairments. I was turned down because cerebral palsy isn’t my primary disability.

My inner five-year-old holds some memories of this situation. In our memory, I was ill with what could’ve been a partly psychosomatic illness just before moving to special ed. I cannot prove this though.

3. The day I started mainstream secondary school. My parents fought for years to get me out of special ed again. If I have to believe them, they fought from the moment I started in special ed to get me out again. They were convinced I’m far too intelligent for special ed, despite the fact that most schools for the blind offer a normal elenentary school curriculum. Anyway, they finally succeeded after taking me to the third ed psych in eighteen months, a psychologist who’d never even seen a blind person in his practice. This was also when I got labeled as gifted with a verbal IQ of 154. These three digits haunt me till this day.

I started mainstream secondary school on August 25, 1999 at my city’s grammar school. Those six years were awful. I scored above-average academically, but struggled socially and emotionally. I dissociated through most of my time there and hardly have any real memory of it.

4. The day I suffered my psychiatric crisis. After graduating high school in 2005, I’d taken two gap years to work on independence. While in my second gap year, I was diagnosed as autistic. Leading up to this was my increasingly falling apart at the independence training home. I got sent out to Nijmegen to live on my own on August 1, 2007 though. I fell apart within three months. By late October, I was wandering everyday, had multiple meltdowns a day and ended up suicidal. I was eventually hospitalized on November 3.

5. The day I got kicked out of the hospital again. I remained in a psychiatric hospital for 9 1/2 years, but eventually got kicked out on May 8, 2017. I believe the real reason is the government budget cuts to mental health, but my treatment team at the time blamed me. I have been living semi-independently ever since. As regular readers know though, I’m in the process of hopefully getting into long-term care again.

PoCoLo

Gratitude List (March 23, 2019) #TToT

This week was better than last week. Still, when I filled out a check-in questionnaire on an app called Pacifica, it said I scored as severely depressed. Well, apparently that’s my normal state.

Today, I am feeling pretty good. I want to share the things I’m grateful for, so I’m once again joining in with #TToT.

1. A full Monday at day activities. Like I mentioned last week, from this week on, I’ll be going to day activities three full days (Monday, Tuesday and Friday) plus Wednesday morning. I liked it on Monday afternoon.

2. Lorazepam. On Tuesday, I was pretty unquiet all day. Thankfully, I’d taken my PRN tranquilizer with me to day activities. I took it in the afternoon. At first, it just made me feel drowsy, but I eventually calmed down too.

3. Stuffed animals. I spent some time Tuesday afternoon at another group at day activities, where I tried to relax in a recliner. They have a large stuffed dog, which I was allowed to hold.

Also, last Thursday before leaving for work at 5AM, my husband covered me in stuffed animals as I went back to sleep. That’s so awesome!

4. Two long walks with my support coordinator. On both Wednesday and Thursday, we took an hour-long walk.

5. Yoga. On Thursday, I tried to do some yoga on my bed, because I couldn’t find my yoga mat. Turned out it had disintegrated and my husband had thrown it out. I ordered a new yoga mat on Thursday, which arrived at my in-laws on Friday. I picked it up today and it is great. It is not as thick as the one I used to have, but thick enough at 1.5cm. I tried some yoga again today.

6. Mindfulness apps. I tried meditating regularly using Insight Timer this week. It was good. I also, like I said, got an app called Pacifica, which helps me track my mood and health habits. I like it.

7. Beautiful weather yesterday. The temperature reached 19 degrees Celsius, which meant we could have coffee outside in the afternoon at day activities. The staff also put up the cocoon swing, which I always love.

8. Sleep. Yesterday, I was feeling exhausted and had a headache. My husband noticed an dtold me to go to bed. I slept for over twelve hours last night. Though my quality of sleep could be better, since I snore awfully, I feel okay now energy-wise.

What are you grateful for?

My Favorite Ways of Staying Active

Today, I am joining in with the RagTag Daily Prompt for Thursday. It is “Exercise“. I am a pretty sedentary person, but nonetheless, I love getting moving every once in a while. Here are my favorite ways of staying active both physically and mentally.

1. Walking. My absolute favorite way of physical exercise has to be walking. Due to my disabilities, I am not safe leaving the house on my own for a walk, but I do enjoy walks with my support staff or other people. As regular readers of this blog know, I go for a long walk each Monday at day activities. This week, unfortunately, it started to pour when we’d just been out of the door for five minutes, so we had to return. Both today and yesterday though, I went for an hour-long walk with my support coordinator.

2. Swimming. My second most favorite way of exercising physically has to be swimming. We do it at day activities every other Tuesday. My Fitbit activity tracker is water-proof, so it tracks my swimming activity too.

3. Going on gym equipment. I have an elliptical at home, which I really need to use more often. I manage twice a week on average, but sometimes I don’t go for over a week.

I also discussed with my support worker getting myself a gym membership. There’s a gym in the nearby city that has services for people who suffered brain injury. I’d love to go there.

4. Yoga. I used to take yoga lessons at the institution in Nijmegen many years ago, but I quit eventually. Then I tried to practise on my own. My husband eventually borrowed my yoga mat for his own exercise, then threw it out because it’d disintegrated. I just ordered myself anew one, which should arrive tomorrow. I tried to do yoga on my bed today, but that wasn’t really ideal.

5. Horseback riding. This isn’t particularly exercise-y if you ask me, since we just step around. However, it is an activity that I commit to once a week and that keeps me healthy – or so I’d like to think.

What are your favorite ways of staying healthy?

Gratitude List (March 16, 2019) #TToT

I have been feeling a little off lately. This morning (or early afternoon to be exact), I awoke and immediately felt grumpy. I had a hard time snapping out of the moodiness. Then I read in a Dutch Facebook group about listing the positives of a day. I haven’t participated in #TToT for a while, so it’s about time.

1. Pizza on Sunday. We’d planned on having fries and snacks on Friday, but then my husband had to work late, so I ate at my in-laws. I don’t know whether the pizza night on Sunday was to make up for that, but I loved it.

2. More day activities! From next week on, I’ll be going to day activities a full day rather than just the morning on Monday. On Tuesday adn Friday, I already go full days and I’ll try Wednesday someday. Thursday will remain my day off.

3. Swimming on Tuesday. I was able to go in the deep pool again and swam almost the entire half hour.

4. Eating potato and carrot mash at my in-laws. There’s a word for this in Dutch, but I’m too lazy to look up whether there’s one in English too. My mother-in-law gave me the choice between that and sauerkraut. I didn’t expect to like the mash either, but I definitely hate sauerkraut. Surprisingly, I liked the food. Not enough to ask for second helpings, but enough to eat my first serving.

5. Phone check-ins with my support coordinator. As of last week, she’s been checking in with me at the end of nearly each day she works. I love it.

6. Being able to go for a short walk with my support coordinator on Wednesday. It rained almost the entire day, but when we went for a walk, it didn’t.

7. A rainbow. When walking with my support coordinator, she spotted it and took a photograph. She says this is our lucky rainbow.

Rainbow

8. Blueberries, bananas and honey liquorice. I went to the supermarket with my support worker on Thursday and got myself these. I particularly loved eating the blueberries in my yoghurt on Friday.

9. Outdoors horseback riding. Again, the weather treated us well on Friday afternoon. It rained the whole day, but when it was time for us to go horseback riding, it didn’t. I don’t like indoors horseback riding nearly as much as I do going outdoors, so this was wonderful.

10. Meditating. I’ve been doing a bit of it again this past week. It’s still hard to find the time and focus for it, but I love it. I finally figured out a way to play the learning to meditate course on Insight Timer. For whatever reason, VoiceOver renders the button to play it non-clickable, but somehow I got it playing. Now I may get Insight Timer premium once my disability payment is in.

What have you been grateful for lately?