Tag Archives: Swimming

My Favorite Ways of Staying Active

It’s still pretty hot here. On Saturday, I paid the price for having said that hot weather is good for practically everything, as I spent the day mostly in bed feeling pretty rubbish. Today, I’m doing better. I am starting on yet another great-seeming Kindle book while still having to review the last one I finished. However, I don’t feel up to this. In fact, I wish the weather was slightly cooler so that I could’ve been more active physically. Instead, I’m going to share in this blog post about my favorite ways of staying active. This post was inspired by Emilia of My Inner MishMash, who asked a week or two ago which sport we’d choose if we had to pick one.

1. Swimming. Oh, how I love this. In the Netherlands, most children get swimming classes at school at least in the early elementary school years. I did too, but at my school for the visually impaired, I wasn’t progressing because my teacher was over-protective. My parens enrolled me in swimming classes at the local pool and I got my first diploma when I was nine and my second about eight months later, when I’d just turned ten. These two dplomas are the ones most people in the Netherlands have. Since we got swimming classes throughout elementary school at the school for the blind, I was able to stay in classes for another two years. I never earned another diploma though.

Back in the day, I still had some vision, so was able to swim in a relatively straight line. Now I can’t to save my life. My left side is weaker than my right, so I often swim in circles and sometimes, when I think I catch myself doing this, I overcompensate. My husband finds it pretty challenging to keep an eye on me while swimming. I still really hope I can find a way to go swimming regularly.

2. Horseback riding. I went horseback riding a handful of times when on holiday as a child. We just did steps on a pony with my parents each walking beside my sister and me. At one point, I asked my mother whether I could get riding lessons, but she said it was too expensive as I’d have to get a private instructor.

I forgot about the whole thing until 2012, when I was in the process of finding suitable day activities while in the mental institution. I had heard of an adaptive riding school and wanted to know more. Unfortunately, they catered mostly to those who are just autistic or learning disabled, so they didn’t feel they could safely get me riding classes. Instead, I was allowed to brush the horses under supervision.

Fast forward another several years and I heard of my current riding school through my mother-in-law. I love it. Usually, we step around for about twenty minutes and then trot for a few rounds. I can’t say this is truly active exercise, though my Fitbit does recognize it as such.

3. Walking. I just love going for walks, although I prefer staying on the pavement rather than walking in nature. With my blindness and mild mobility impairment, walking on uneven ground is just too hard. I like to go on at least one walk a day, usually at day activities.

4. Cycling. I own a tandem bike that I got through disability services back in 1999. It’s in terrible condition though, so we’ll either have to throw it out (as it takes up a lot of space) or get it repaired. I didn’t usually like tandem bike rides and am still not too sure. Last year at day activities though, I discovered the side-by-side bike. I love that one!

5. Going to the gym. I don’t currently have a gym membership, as I won’t be able to afford transportation to the nearest gym. However, I love most gym equipment. I specifically like the treadmill, rowing machine and elliptical. At home, we have an elliptical in my office, which I go on a few times a week.

What are your favorite ways of staying active?

Finally Starting My Weight Loss Journey

On the Sunday before yesterday, I finally stepped onto the scale for the first time since leaving the institution. I had resolved for months that I’d be losing weight once home. Though I had done an okay job of not overeating, I made up for this by regular evening snacking.

I was rather scared as I went onto the scale. In the institution, I had felt nervous, but I didn’t feel like I had to compare myself to the nurses who were weighing me. My husband is at a healthy weight yet still wants to lose a little, while I am obese. I was very scared that my husband would judge me. I hoped I had lost weight, but I had not been on this particular scale in months. As it turned out, I had unfortunately gained quite a bit of weight. I was at my highest weight ever. Being shocked that I weighed nearly 80kg (176lbs), while I am only 1.53m (5ft) tall, I decided to finally lose weight. I use a journaling workbook by Mari L. McCarthy to guide me through the first month. Today’s post is an adaptation of the first jornaling exercise. It asks me to freewrite for ten minutes. I need more time to write out my thoughts on the start of my weight loss journey.

I started a food journal last Thursday. It was hard, because I really had no clue how to know whether I was consuming too many calories. Not that I meant to be too judgmental of myself. I had kept a food journal once before when I was around fourteen and all it did was depress me. Now at that time I just went on overeating like I’d done before and judged myself without actually using my findings as a starting point for change.

On Saturday, my husband showed me a site where you can see how many calories are in each product. I still don’t plan on keeping full track of my calorie intake, but it does help me become aware of which foods are healthy and which are not. For example, people believe that dried fruit is healthy, but for weight loss it definitely is not. I happened to know this one, but a few other calorie facts are surprising to me. For example, I sincierely believed gingerbread is healthy until I found out that a large slice of gingerbread contains about 150 calories. Now I know why at day activities, we can only have it once a week.

When I went onto the scale again on Saturday, I had lost 2kg. It’s probably more because I had been a bit bloated the week before, but it still gives me hope. I originally resolved to lose 10kg in a year, which would put me in the overweight rather than obese range. I hope that over the next month, I can keep these 2kg off at least and maybe even lose some more. I need to lose about a kilogram a month to reach my goal.

Besides making sure I eat less and healthier, I decided to go get my butt off the chair. On the day I started my journey, I resolved to walk for 36 minutes, which would burn the amount of calories I’d have to consume less each day to reach my goal. After 20 minutes, my right foot hurt so badly that I had to slowly walk back home. I do better on the elliptical. Last Saturday, I managed 25 minutes on it. We also went swimming a few times last week, which I love.

I really hope that this journey is going to be a mostly positive experience. There will be hard times, as I’ll no doubt be tempted to overeat again. I hope I will overcome these without giving in or giving up.

Mummy Times Two

Bucket List for 2017

It’s already January 9th. This means it’s a bit late for new year’s resolutions. I wrote about some dreams for the new year on my Dutch blog. The reason I called them dreams rather than resolutions is that I didn’t want to feel the pressure of having to actually keep them. I seem to like writing about my goals much more than actually pursuing them, after all. On my list of dreams was the mandatory weight loss goal that’s been sitting on my resolutions list for years. This year, I admitted that I mostly wrote it down out of a sense of obligation. I am just not that motivated for weight loss. In fact, yesterday I bought a bag of winegums and only shared them with my fellow patients because my husband threw around the risk of my developing diabetes. Now my blood sugar was in the low normal range last week when I had it measured, but still.

My most important goal, of course, is to get out of the freakn’ institution. Now my funding runs out at the end of the year anyway, so whether I’m ready or not I will be out then anyway. I can say that I’m finally feeling a bit ready though. It’s still hard, not knowing what sort of help I’ll get. Other than that I’m pretty much done with the institution, regardless of what my psychologist would like to believe.

Today, rather than repeating some general goals, I am going to write a bucket list of things I’d like to do in 2017. Here goes.

1. Learn to use an iPhone and buy one. I am waiting for the eye doctor who did my surgery in 2013 to write a referral for me to get iPhone use training at the blindness agency. Yes, it has to be an eye doctor referring you, which is stupid, since if you’re totally blind, what use is there in having an eye doc? I will either get this training at the residential home for elderly blind people in the institution town or at the blindness agency in the nearest big city, depending on whether I’m still in the institution once I can get started. Once I learn to use the iPhone, I want to buy one too. (By the way, iPhones are the most user-friendly smartphones for blind people, which is why I’d get training to use an iPhone.)

2. Learn to use Windows 10. I am pretty sure my computer isn’t going to survive 2017. This means getting a new one and that means learning to use Windows 10. Yes, I’ll still want a computer if I buy myself an iPhone, because smartphones cannot do everything PCs can and vice versa. I need to convince my new health insurance to fund a new version of JAWS, because my current one doesn’t work with Windows 10. I initially thought I’d switch to NVDA, a free screen reader, but it still has some major drawbacks.

3. Go swimming. My husband badly wants to go on vacation this year. I don’t care for vacation that much, but I’d love to swim in the sea. Alternatively, I want to finally go swimming at the pool again.

4. Choose and buy some more furniture for in my room at home. Currently, there’s just my desk and the remains of a cupboard. My husband wants me to get a bed in that room. I saw a nice bunk when we went to Ikea on Saturday, but it cost €280. I at least hope I’ll have a nicely-furnished room by the time I move out of the institution.

5. Leave the institution, for goodness’ sake. Need I explain?

What is on your 2017 bucket list?

Top Ten Plans for This Summer

It’s (almost) summertime. The weather has been quite good here lately. Particularly last week, the weather was lovely. This week, it’s getting slightly cooler and we’ve had some rain. However, the weather is still good enough to be outside in a T-shirt without a jacket. That’s one thing I love about spring and summer.

One of Mama’s Losin’ It’s prompts for this week is to share your top ten summer plans. I am really looking forward to this summer and I’d love to share my plans with you. Many are the same as last year’s, but unlike then, I did already make some of my plans happen.


  1. Go swimming. This is one of the items on last year’s bucke tlist that I couldn’t cross off then. This year, I’m participatng in a four-day swimming event this very week. I’m swimming only 100 meters each day, which is the shortest distance you could do. So far, I’ve completed two days of the event, that is really five days, already. You only need to complete four out of five days for the medal, but I plan on swimming each day.

  2. Have a barbecue. This is on last year’s list too. I didn’t think that I’d make this year’s barbecue on the institution unit, but now I think I will. It hasn’t been planned yet, but I heard the head nurse say she was going to get the DJ we have each year booked again.

  3. Sit in the garden. My home garden this time. I didn’t know last year of course that this year I’d have a real garden at home. The unit garden is also going to get remodeled soon.

  4. Eat strawberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, etc. I got raspberries from the market last week, but we don’t have them in the garden. The shrub my husband bought died before we could plant it. We do have many other berries, however. I don’t know how well they’ll do their first year, but I already ate a strawberry out of our garden last week.
  5. Go for walks. I walked form our old apartment to the institution a few times last year. This year, our walks have been in the tiny village. I hope to go to the woods sometime this summer too.

  6. Spend time with family. I’ve got to have an item on the list that I didn’t have last year. My sister and my parents are both coming over to our home next week (if my sister can get the day off) to celebrate my birthday.

  7. Eat the head nurse’s French fries and/or macaroni. There’s a nurse who lives in Turkey most of the year who comes over to work at our unit for the summers. It’s a tradition that she and the head nurse make macaroni from scratch once each year. It doesn’t sound that special, I know, but for people who normally get microwave meals everyday, it is. I’ve also heard the head nurse has plans for making us French fries on a Sunday in July. She makes fries about once a month, but usually on Saturdays, when I’m home.

  8. Wear my new dress. I already wore a skirt several times this year. I also bought two new dresses, one of which I already wore. I want to wear the other one too.

  9. Do lots of reading. This was one of the things I didn’t do enough of last year, even though I could. This year, it’s even easier, since I finally got a full Bookshare membership. I plan on reading a few books that I’ve wanted to read forever but never got down to buying as eBooks. Not that I couldn’t have bought them as eBooks, but I was planning on getting a Bookshare membership all along and so delayed getting the books. Reading books in DAISY format is still easier than reading eBooks. Of course, getting them from Bookshare, which is like a library for print disabled people, is cheaper too. I will review the books that I read here too.

  10. Write. I haven’t been blogging here as much as I’d like to this month or last month. After all, I’ve been feeling pretty uninspired. I hope to be inspired soon.


What are your plans for this summer?

Mama’s Losin’ It

My Summer Bucket List

The Memorial Day week-end is often seen as the official start ot summer in the United States. Now I have no clue why they celebrate the official start of summer in late May, as to my knowledge summer doesn’t start till June 21 and the weather isn’t very summerlike either. That is, here, we’ve only had two days that the temperature has risen above 20_C. I want warm weather! So, in case I can influence the weather with my thoughts, here is my summer bucket list.


  1. Go swimming. Ideally at a lake, but I so want to go swimming at an outdoor swimming pool too!

  2. Wear a skirt and short-sleeved shirt. Maybe it’s good that summer hasn’t come yet, as I only have one skirt that still fits (ouch!). I so want to wear it though.

  3. Have a barbecue. We usually go barbecueing at my psych unit in the summer. While I don’t like the DJ who comes to play music and the disinhibited singing of my fellow patients, the food is great.

  4. Eat redcurrants, strawberries, raspberries, you name it. My parents grow them in their garden and it’s a tradition that they bring me a bin of mostly redcurrants at my birthday in late June.

  5. Sit in the garden. I’d love to visit my parents and sit in their garden sometime this summer. The unit’s garden is quite small, but I’d like to sit in there too.

  6. Sunbathe on the grass. When I still resided on the acute ward in like 2008, my husband and I would often go to a nearby park where I’d lie in the grass. In my memory, that particular summer and spring were quite warm. Oh, how I’d love to lie on the grass again! But it’s too wet.

  7. Take some nature walks. My husband and I already wandered the countryside around our town’s castle a few days ago. I’d love to enjoy more of these walks.

  8. Pick up crafting again, particularly with a summerlike theme. Christmas-themed crafting is good, but I also love butterflies. What time is better to make butterfly crafts than summer? I also love bright colors and they don’t go well on a Christmas craft.

  9. Do lots of reading. With summertime being the time when most therapists go on vacation, so there are fewer day activities, I’ll have time to enjoy a good book or a few.

  10. Write. I love writing all year round, so not particularly something for on my summer bucket list, but so what?


So what is on your summer bucket list? I’m linking up with #TuesdayTen and the Spin Cycle, both of which have “Kicking of summer” as their theme. Enjoy!

The Golden Spoons

Vacation #WotW

For this week’s Word of the Week, I was briefly tempted to choose “screenless” again. I left for a short vacation with my husband on Wednesday, and took my computer fully expecting to have Wifi at the hotel. Well, the short story is we do have Wifi, but only one device can use the Internet at the same time and we need to go down to the TV room to have any signal. We didn’t find this out until today, so I was a bit frustrated at first. However, since I ended up being screenless for only two days, I’ll go with the bigger picture and choose “vacation”.

We drove six hours from our home to southern Germany on Wednesday. Because of traffic jams, we ended up driving for almost nine hours. We planned on going to a Celtic museum in Stuttgart on our way to the Black Forest, but we arrived there just after its closure at 5PM. Now we plan on going there tomorrow on our way back home.

On Thursday and today, we went swimming at a large pool. I loved the bubble bath feature. Yesterday, we also visited a mountain and went on a cable car ride up the mountain and then down again after a short walk. Today, we visited a prehistoric village museum near Lake Constance. We arrived just in time for a tour and listened to a very knowledgeable woman telling us all about prehistoric living or our modern-day interpretation of it. My German and English aren’t good enough to remember what she said and translate it correctly.

The vacation certainly wasn’t the healthiest of trips I’ve made so far, despite the swimming pool. I ate French fries three times so far, bought at least three bags of candies, and when we were still hungry yesterday night, we stopped at a fried chicken stand where they had the tastiest chicken legs. Then again, my muscles ache from all the walking and swimming. Oh, and now I’m glad I’m not a travel blogger, for I had to look up quite a few words.

The Reading Residence