Tag Archives: Birthday

Currently – July 2018

It’s still hot, so my book review and several other complicated posts will have to wait yet again. Today, I’m participating in this month’s Currently, hosted by Anne of In Residence and Shelly of The Queen in Between.

Celebrating: my birthday. It was last week, but I still have yet to get my husband’s present for me, as I asked him for a summer jacket, so he’ll have to have me pick one. I don’t like online shopping for clothes, as I won’t be able to feel the fabric then, so we’ll have to go to a brick and mortar store. We were in the nearest larger city yesterday for a mental health appointment for me, but my husband felt it was too hot to go shopping.

My oldest sister-in-law’s birthday is also coming up on Sunday. She doesn’t seem to like celebrating it though.

Visiting: my in-laws. I felt rather lonely and stressed this afternoon, so called my mother-in-law. She offered to pick me up and we drove to my in-laws’ house. I had dinner there and we walked their dog.

Baking: I’m not baking anything at the moment. I wasn’t at my current day activities today, as I was taking a look at a possible new day activities place. We usually do a simple baking or cooking activity at my current day activities on Wednesday and they do the same at the potential new place, but not today.

My husband though baked a delicious strawberry cheesecake for my birthday last week. I am used to getting apple pie on my birthday, but didn’t want that this year. My husband said we did need to have some cake for my parents, who were coming over, so I chose cheesecake.

Wearing: skirts! One of my favorite aspects of summer is being able to wear skirts. I have three of the same kind in red, blue and green. Then I have one other skirt, a blue one with a rose on it, that I got from my husband for my birthday several years ago. Lastly, I have a green one which is just a little too tight for me now, but I’m hoping to fit in it again next year.

Loving: life, mostly. I am genuinely feeling much better than I was several months ago. I still can get self-destructive when triggered, which still happens every now and again. However, I think I can be fairly confident that I’m no longer seriously depressed.

What have you been up to?

Rays of Sunlight – June 2018

Wow, we’re almost halfway through the year! Time definitely does fly. I have a handful of new post ideas in my head, but today, it’s far too hot for a complicated post. Instead, I’m going to share my positives, or rays of sunlight, for the month of June.

1. Summer. The weather is still beautiful. I heard on the radio that we broke a record for heat the second quarter of 2018. My husband also said that the weather institute predicts a very wet summer. I’m hoping not, since for everything other than complicated blog post writing, this weather is great (although my husband thinks otherwise).

2. Going for walks. According to my Fitbit activity tracker, I reached the recommendded step goal of 10,000 daily several times this month. Of course, that isn’t nearly good enough, as it’s a recommended daily goal, but I’m still enjoying competing with myself.

3. Going to a spa with my sister. Back in February or March, my sister said she’d like to take me to some kind of spa someday in June when her husband would be on a business trip. This day came round June 18. We went to a spa called Sanadome in Nijmegen, which has a lot of scentsy baths, bubble baths and warm swimming pools. I loved it. My sister paid, as this was an early birthday gift for me. Afterwards, we went out for dinner at my favorite restaurant, which I discovered when I was hospitalized in Nijmegen back in 2008. Unfortunately, they no longer had my favorite, turkey, on the menu.

4. My birthday. Yay, I turned 32 on Wednesday! I’m still often pretty excited about my birthday and becoming a year older, even though with each year I come closer to old age. As I had already seen my sister when we went to the spa, she didn’t visit on my birthday. My parents did though. We went for a long walk (one of the days I reached 10,000 steps). After that, we had dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Doetinchem, a city about twenty minutes from my home.

5. BBQ’ing with my in-laws. I don’t know whether it was for my birthday (just let me think it was) or some other reason, but my mother-in-law invited us over yesterday. The previous day I’d been stuffed after the Mexican dinner, but I still enjoyed the food yesterday. Don’t ask me about my weight.

6. Kindle. Yes, I have to mention it again. In early May, I bought my first book on Kindle, which I’m slowly moving through. This month though, I rediscovered foster care and inspirational memoirs. I decided to buy one and flew through it. I’ll likely post a review in a few days.

7. Visiting potential new day activities. I will likely write a separate post on this, but let me say that I might finally have found a place that’s suitable. We’re moving slowly and I won’t make any final decisions until we’ve spoken with the Center for Consultation and Expertise consultant. That meeting has been set for July 31.

8. Depression finally lifting. I’m still not feeling overly happy, but at least I can say I’m no longer depressed. I am so glad my increased antidepressant dose hasn’t caused any side effects either.

I hope you’ve had a great June too.

A Cornish Mum

Making Soap and Lotions

Yay, I’m 30! My birthday itself wasn’t too special. My husband had to work, so he came by to take me home on Monday evening. First, we stopped by the “electric kettle shop”, ie. the electronics store, to get me an electric kettle. We had one already, but you couldn’t take off the kettle so had to fill the whole thing while it’s in the power socket. I also didn’t like its size. My husband bought me a 0.8l kettle.

I loved the week-end before my birthday, however. My sister and her boyfriend came by on Saturday. They gave me a shower gel, shampoo and pure lanolin. Lanolin is used in creams and lotions as an emulsifier. They didn’t know when they bought these gifts that I plan on making my own body creams and lotions, so it was a wonderful coincidence.

Lanolin

The best gift I got for my birthday was however a gift I gave myself: a starter kit for making your own melt and pour soap. Melt and pour soap is made by cutting pure soap into small chucnks and melting them in the microwave or au bain-marie in a soap kettle or pan. I made my first soaps at day activities and we renamed one of the smaller pans the soap pan, because you’ll never get the soap taste out of it once you’ve used a pan for soaping. My art therapist, who also works at day activities but not that particular day, hoped it wasn’t the milk pan. I think it was.

Soap

Once the soap is melted, you pour it into a measuring cup and add colorant and scent. For my first soap, I used red colorant and coconut scent. You stir to make the colorant and scent blend with the soap. Then you pour the soap into a mold. I had a bit too little soap to fill the mold, so my first soap is a bit thin. I chose the heart shape to give to my husband. Now that I’ve made some other, more well-formed soaps, I’m getting queries from everyone asking me to make a soap for them. Most so far don’t want anything I haven’t tried yet, but one woman wants a pink one. That will be a challenge. I’ve already made a green one by mixing blue and yellow colorant, but am not too sure how I’ll make pink with just red, yellow and blue colorants. I don’t know what type of colorant is used in the starter kit, so I can’t buy new colorant and see whether they have a pink one yet.

I also just today bought myself some tools and materials for making lotions. You make a lotion by melting lanolin and a plant-based oil, such as sweet almond oil, making sure they’re well-blended. This is the oily component. Once it’s melted, you need to add the water component, which consists of distilled water, herbal tea or a hydrosol (floral water). You can also add aloe vera juice to the water component. You need to add the water component drop by drop while constantly stirring. Then, let the lotion cool off to at most 30 degrees Celsius before adding essetial oil or fragrance oil. My husband thougth that essential oils are skin irritants, because the packaging said so, and so you cannot add them to lotions even when diluted. I have yet to ask whether this is true in one of the safe essential oil use groups on Facebook, since I’m pretty sure that, if diluted to at max 3%, you should be safe.

Goal-Setting: July 2015

It’s July 1, so let me look back on the month of June and the goals I had for it. I will also create new goals for this month.

My first goal was to start my health psychology course and study for at least a few hours each week. Didn’t reach that goal as I am a terrible procrastinator and didn’t get to go to the educational department until mid-June. Then on my first time going there, my digital talking book player wouldn’t work, so I had to go back to the ward. I’ve been studying some last week but am not progressing nearly as fast as I’d like to.

Then I had some health goals. I did an okay job on these. I didn’t do yoga as often as I’d planned but did work out on the elliptical trainer. My husband didn’t give me weights for my birthday as he thought I wasn’t going to use them anyway. Need to buy some this month, because I did get some exercises which I can do with weights. I started physical therapy for getting fitter and have been practising quite a bit inbetween sessions.

As for my weight, I did lose almost 2kg, but it wasn’t in a healthy way. I’ve started to slip back into disordered eating behaviors, mostly purging. I did write a pro/con list on my eating disorder, but found way more pros than cons. Like, I know purging isn’t good for your health in the long run, but well, who cares? Well, yeah, I do, kind of. I don’t know for sure that the purging caused my weight loss, as I’ve paradoxically been bingeing less too. That’s kind of a blessing in disguise.

Lastly, my goals were to read more inspiring writing and to nurture my creativity. I’ve accomplished both of these goals. I didn’t nurture my writing spirit, but I did craft a lot, mostly jewelry-making. I got a lot of beads for my birthday and am loving creating with them.

Now, let me set some July goals.


  1. Lose 1kg in a healthy way.

  2. Stop purging.

  3. Work out three times each week.

  4. Buy weights and learn to use them.

  5. Study for at least three hours each week.

  6. Nurture my writing spirit.

  7. Read a lot.


Overall, I hope July will be a better month in the goal-reaching department than June was. Have a great month!

Gratitude List (Birthday Edition)

It’s been over a week since I posted. This past week has been pretty rough, but there have also been good moments. Time for a gratitude list once again! I am going to cheat a little and include some items from the previous week.


  1. I spent the week-end at my parents’ for an early birthday celebration for me. It’s a tradition that my parents give me redcurrants and strawberries for my birthday. However, the redcurrants had not ripened yet and the strawberries had been eaten by my parents’ chickens. My mother bought some on the market though, which were much better than the ones I had bought at the supermarket a week or so before.

  2. My husband helped me figure out how to copy music from CDs onto my computer. I copied some of my parents’ music. Also, one of my parents’ acquaintances, who is a singer/songwriter, invited me to her album presentation this coming September. I’ve not yet made up my mind whether I’m going, but it was cool to get an invite.

  3. I got some lovely beads from my parents. They were plastic beads, whic I don’t normally use. I usually use glass beads. However, I was able to create a nice bracelet with some of these beads.

  4. Getting these beads from my parents inspired me to look for acrylic beads in funny shapes and colors to make a memory wire bracelet of. Memory wire bracelets get quite heavy if you use glass beads, so I was happy to find acrylic beads in heart, square, disc, round and even butterfly shapes. I just finished the memory wire bracelet a few hours ago, but don’t have a picture yet.

  5. I have been able to get into a nice exercise routine with the help of my husband’s MP3 player (which he gave to me). It helps me get an idea of how long I spend on the elleptical trainer or stationary bike.

  6. I have discovered a new kind of candy at the institution town’s store. I know, not exactly healthy, but so yummy! I managed to keep from bingeing this week even though I did buy the candy.

  7. Institution meals are notorious for lacking taste. Furthermore, because of a new meal-providing company, we no longer get to choose our meals from a menu each for ourselves. Instead, the nurses choose and we just have to go with whatever is being served. This makes me extra grateful that tomorrow is my birthday and I got to select a birthday meal. It’s still provided by the same company, but the meal I selected (noodles with beef and some kind of peas) is quite good. I got to eat it today as I’m at my husband’s tomorrow.

  8. The weather has been quite good yesterday and today. Today, I wore one of the skirts I bought a few weeks ago again.

  9. My husband took me out to lunch at the restaurant near the institution town railroad station today. I ate a delicious tuna salad roll.

  10. My sister and her boyfriend will be coming over tomorrow and my in-laws will be visiting on Sunday. I’m looking forward to it!


What are you grateful for this week?

Linking up with Reasons to Be Cheerful.

Birth Story (Again!)

This week’s spin cycle prompt is “birthdays”. I have probably told what I know about my birth a dozen times, but you can’t raise enough awareness of premature birth. Or pester your readers enough about the emotional pain it inflicts.

I was born on Friday, June 27, 1986 at 12:03 AM at Dijkzigt Hospital in Rotterdam, Netherlands. I had my first ambulance ride right that night when they took me to Sophia Children's Hospital. Both hospitals are now part of Erasmus Medical Center, the university hospital in Rotterdam. Sophia Children's is the largest and oldest children's hospital in the Netherlands, having celebrated its 150th birthday a few years back.

I was estimated to be born at 26 weeks and four days gestation. When I was fifteen, I calculated what should’ve been my due date based on the day I was conceived (which my parents knew precisely because it was my father’s birthday). I then figured my gestational age should’ve been 25 weeks and two days. This weighed heavily on me because my mother had told me that, back then, they didn’t treat babies born under 26 weeks gestation. Now I realize that estimated due dates are just that: estimates. You can’t determine a baby’s gestational age just by looking at it, and the date the baby was conceived ony loosely predicts the date the mother last menstruated. Furthermore, I’ve never been able to find information on guidelines for treating babies in 1986. Now, doctors do have strict guidelines by which they don’t usually treat babies born under 25 weeks gestation. See my reasoning above for why this is nonsensical.

I spent 94 days in the hospital, of which I spent roughly six weeks on the ventilator. I went home on my supposed due date, September 29. While in the hospital, I had all three problems now seen as predictors of poor outcome: a lung infection, retinopathy of prematurity (the eye condition from which I’m now blind) and probably a brain bleed leading to hydrocephalus. The ROP and hydrocephalus were both discovered when I was five months old.

Each year around my birthday, my parents tell stories of how they walked down Gordelweg, where Sophia Children’s was located at the time, from the metro station to the hospital. In Rotterdam, cars are more of a hindrance than a help, so they didn’t have one. I don’t remember ever walking that route because I was discharged from follow-up when I was three. Now, I tell this story more often on my blog than my parents tell it to me.

As I’ve mentioned a couple of times on this blog, my birth story still impacts me. Having become more laid-back about my due date has helped. When I was a teen, I truly thought I’d be retroactively taken off life support for being a poor outcome. I still think so at times. Sometimes, I wonder what it takes to heal the psychological pain that I feel the circumstances surrounding my birth inflicted.

Apple Pie: Celebrating One Year in the Psychiatric Hospital

September is National Apple Month in the United States. One of the writing prompts from Mama’s Losin’ It for this week is to write a post inspired by apples. I love apples, particularly the green Granny Smith ones. I at one point had “loves green apples” as part of my Twitter bio.

I also love apple pie, which is what I want to talk about in this post. No, I’m not going to share a recipe, because my apple pie isn’t all that exceptional and you can pretty likely look up the recipe online.

Homemade apple pie was often the olnly kind of pie I’d eat. We made it on birthdays every year. My parents now have a big garden in which they have some apple trees, so I’m looking forward to eating apples and especially apple pie when I visit them again.

Apple pie is pretty easy to make. It is the only type of pie I can make. I love making it. Unfortunately, the only oven we have at my current institution ward is in a tiny room where it gets really hot if the oven is on. On my old ward, we did have a large oven, and I would make apple pie on occasion.

One particular occasion on which I made apple pie I want to share. It was 2008. I hadn’t shared candy or cake or anything with my fellow patients on my birthday. My birthday is in June. At one point, my birthday had long passed and I joked that I’d be making apple pie for the one-year anniversary of my hospitalization as a way to make up for my lack of a birthday cake. That one-year anniversary actually did come up – in November. Now thatdoesn’t sound like too big a surprise given that now I’m institutinalized almost seven years, but at the time I resided on an acute ward where you’re not supposed to stay beyond three to at most six months. I ended up staying htere for sixteen months.

I was hospitalized in the middle of the night on November 3, 2007. My actual crisis was on November 2, but I chose November 3 to celebrate the anniversary. I baked a nice apple pie which my fellow patients did enjoy. Since then, I’ve baked apple pie not exactly every year, but almost every year. A few days ago I was talking about the apple pie tradition to a nurse, and she said that when she was a student nurse, at some point an elderly patient had celebrated the fortieth anniversary of their institutionalization. Woha. It’s not like I want to be in this institution much longer, but this makes seven years sound not that long.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Birthday

My birthday is over. Now I’m 28 and it’s back to normal life I guess. The entire week was really largely about my birthday and the memories it triggers for me. That’s why I’m linking up with Word of the Week with my word for this week being “birthday”.

I wrote already earlier this week that it’s 28 years since I entered the world and the neonatal intensive care unit. When they came to visit today, my parents gave me a CD by Jan Henk de Groot with music on it about the singer’s son, who spent a large part of his first year in hospital because of a birth defect. My mother said it’s appropriate, and I agree. Incidentally, a few days ago I saw there’s a group for PTSD related to NICU experience on Facebook. It’s for parents, of course, and, while I applied, I may’ve been denied.

My sister already visited last week and brought some nice presents: a T-shirt, storage bins and bottles. The bins were intended for herbal tea, but I stored cereal in one of them, then the bin fell from a shelf and my entire floor was covered in cereal. The bottles are for blending massage oils or lotions in. I have a collection of essential oils already and got sweet almond oil, which is a carrier oil, from my sister, too. In addition to the CD, my parents gave me a nice collection of glass beads for my jewelry-making.

My birthday itself was largely a day like any other. At the acitivity room, I made a collage with butterflies, hearts and flowers, which are both things that make me happy and symbolize things I wish for myself for the coming year: love, transformation and bloom. My husband came at 3:30 PM to pick me up and drive us to the city, where we went shoppping for a skirt for me and went to eat out. I can judge from the skirt size that I’ve gained a lot of weight lately. Not good. I really need to look back at my theme for this year, which was self-care, and make sure I start eating more healthfully. Tomorrow.

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