Me Time


Hey blog world! Today’s daily post (click here to view that) is “Me Time”

What’s your ideal Saturday morning? Are you doing those things this morning? Why not?

My ideal Saturday morning is my usual Saturday morning so yes I am doing those things this morning. I start my day with a nice breakfast, usually chocolate chip pancakes with nutella (it’s chocolate heaven!) Then I get myself ready and head out to the Autism Center (the beige building nearby the Janeway) for Social Thinking group.

Social Thinking group is a group for girls with Autism. We learn how to be better social thinkers. We learn about personal space, conversation skills, how to deal with bullies and right now we’re learning the difference between passive, assertive and agressive. I really enjoy coming to this group because I’ve learned a lot from it. It’s helped me to become a better person. Also I enjoy the hangout time we have at the end. When the lesson is finished for the day we get to play board games or play the Wii!

After Social Thinking is the highlight of my Saturday, my music lesson with Peter Halley Peter Halley! I love coming to see him and Lucy (his adorable Welsh Terrior) every week. Peter is a great teacher. I’m glad I’m one of his students! I’ve learned a lot from him too.

After my music lesson I come home and relax for a little while by working on a sewing project. I find that sewing is a lot of fun and is also nice and relaxing. I’m currently working on a pillow. It’s going to be blue and white with diamonds on it! It’s coming along really well. As I sew I like to listen to Christian music. It’s very powerful and uplifting. “Hello My Name Is” by Mathew West, “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman, “Everlasting God” by Chris Tomlin and “Days of Elijah” by Hillsong are some of my favorites to listen to.

That’s my Saturday morning! What does your ideal Saturday morning look like? Tell me in the comments!

Best Buddies


Hey blog world! Friendship is a very powerful thing. Especially for people like myself with a special need. We are outcast by many in the world because of our difference. It makes a world of difference when one person steps up and befriends us. I’m very happy to say that I’m a member of the MUN (Memorial University of Newfoundland) chapter of Best Buddies Best Buddies, a non profit organization that pairs students with individuals with special needs and they form a friendship.

Because of my Aspergers I’m not accepted by many of my neurotypical peers and have been bullied since literally day 1 of Kindergarten. I’ve been insulted, exempt and harassed. It makes me feel terrible when I’m treated that way. If it weren’t for Best Buddies, people with special needs would be at home, not wanting to go out for fear of being bullied and I’m certain there would be a decrease in their overall happiness.

I’m very thankful for Best Buddies. It means a lot to have a friend that looks past my differences and difficulties who I can be myself around, hang out with and talk to. My peer buddy, Alison is a very enthusiastic person who is fun to be around. I love spending time with her! We were paired up with each other two years ago at a Halloween party thrown by Best Buddies. She was Little Red Riding Hood and I was Eponine from “Les Miserables”. When the Best Buddies head introduced us and we began talking and telling each other about ourselves I thought we were a match made in heaven! We had a lot in common. I couldn’t wait to start hanging out with her!

Before Best Buddies I spent the majority of my time on the computer by myself. Now that I’m paired up with Allison we try and get out as much as we can. I really enjoy going out every now and then and doing something fun with her. We’ve gone to the movies, we’ve been to concerts together and we go out for lunch sometimes. I’ve even given Allison some new experiences (or as my Mom says I’ve “culturalized” her.) I’m very passionate about musical theater. It’s one of my favorite things (no pun intended). Last summer we saw An Evening with Andrew Lloyd Webber at the Arts and Culture Center and “Monty Python Live (Mostly)” at Cineplex. Before she started hanging out with me she’d never heard of Monty Python or Andrew Lloyd Webber! I was very glad that she was open to going to these performances with me and experiencing something new!

Allison is a very good listener. We have lengthy Facebook conversations a lot. I’m glad that when I need someone to talk to she’s there. She’s very encouraging and cheers me up when I’m down. Also she doesn’t mind that I sometimes go on and on about my favorite topics. When I talk about Spirit of Newfoundland for example I can go on for hours! A lot of people get bored and/or stop listening but not Allison.

Having a Best Buddy has bettered my life as I’m sure it has the lives of all the other Buddies and Peer Buddies in the program. It’s a very worthwhile program that I hope continues to operate for years to come. Everybody needs a buddy and with the help of Best Buddies I know that someday soon everyone will have one! For more information on Best Buddies click here

Leah

Concert at the Masonic


Hey blog world! As you all know I’m a huge supporter of Newfoundland’s local arts scene. I go out to pretty much every musical staged here and love seeing local artists in concert. We have an abondance of local talent on the rock! The veterans of the NL entertainment scene like Kelly-Ann Evans , Peter Halley and Keith Power are all wonderful people but we also have a lot of wonderful up and comers too. Today I got to take in a concert at the Masonic Temple that showcased some of our up and coming talent and I was blown away by what I saw!

I’ve been a voice student of Peter’s since September and am absolutely loving our lessons! He’s the best voice teacher I’ve had! Each year he enters some of his students into the Kiwanis Music Festival. I wasn’t entered in because we didn’t really have anything ready. On Wednesday he said that he would be having a concert today for his students who were doing the festival and that even though I wasn’t going to be in it I could perform something if I wanted to. Of course I did! I never pass up the chance to perform! We’d been working on “The Tree” from “The Me Nobody Knows” since the beginnig of our lessons so we thought that would be the best song for me to do.

When I arrived at the Temple I was really excited to be participating in my first recital as a student of Peter’s! Unfortunately that excitement quickly turned into overwhelming nervousness. For those of you who don’t know, due to my heightened sense of hearing that came as a package deal with my Aspergers I’m a chronic globophobe (I’m petrified of balloons.) I have a nervous breakdown when I’m around them! As my luck would have it when I entered the temple there were a few boys blowing up balloons and hanging them up in the lobby. My heart began to race and even though I knew I would be in the Grand Room a little ways away from them just knowing there were balloons in the building made me really nervous. I even shook a bit when I sat down! I did all I could to try and calm myself because I did not want my globophobia episode to interfere with my performance. It took a while but eventually I was calm again.

My excitedness returned when the show started! I couldn’t wait to hear all the songs and sing one myself! Jack White was the first performer in the show because he had to leave soon to go to a turkey dinner. I can’t remember what grade he said he was in but he looked very young. I’d say he’s maybe 8 or 9. He sang “Old Brown’s Daughter“. I thought he was really cute! His 2nd performance later on of “Chim Chim Cheree” from Mary Poppins was really cute too. He was a great singer and actor. His turkey dinner was well deserved!

Lauren Hayward performed her two festival pieces in between Jack’s songs. She did “I Know Things Now” from “Into The Woods” and “Somewhere That’s Green” from “Little Shop of Horrors”. I really enjoyed both her pieces. When she sang “I Know Things Now” I thought she sounded like Lila Crawford (the girl who played red riding hood in the movie)! “Somewhere That’s Green” was beautiful. It made me feel bad for the character she was playing. She wants Seymour and the whole song is about what she dreams her life will be like with him (she’ll cook like Betty Crocker, there will be plastic on the furniture, they’ll eat frozen dinners and go to bed at 9:15) but she’s stuck with a semi sadist who has blackened her eye and broken her arm. Poor thing!

Astounding 13 year old local actor Nicolas Keough never fails to impress me. This afternoon was no exception. He got up to sing his concert group (three songs, a baroque song, german leid and a third one of his choice.) The first song he sang was really nice. I was really impressed with the german leid that he sang. It must have been difficult learning to pronounce all those words! His third song “The Second Minuet” was beautiful! It was a lovely story of how an elderly couple met each other years ago and how they danced together to the second minuet. It was such a pretty song. I was holding back tears!

Ian Carroll who I think is close to or is the same age as Nicolas is a fabulous performer as well. I’d heard him sing on a few occasions and think he’s a lovely singer. I was looking forward to hearing him today. I thought his concert group was impressive as well. My favorite out of the three that he sang was his last one. “Christopher Robin Is Saying His Prayers“. I thought it was a very sweet song. I was quite surprised though that there was no mention of Pooh Bear Pooh.

I can’t remember her partner’s name but Lauren did a fantastic duet of “Just A Couple A Sisters” from “Nunsense”. It was hillarious! I really liked when they were listing off a bunch of Mary’s really fast and soon Reverend Mother (I think that was the characters name) got out of breath!

Soon it was my turn to go up. I introduced myself, told the audience what school I went to and said my favorite subject was writing, then Peter made my day by plugging my blog!!! I thought it was really nice of him to do that. “The Tree” is a wonderful song that makes me happy and I was very happy to be on stage singing it. I thought I did a very good job and was proud of myself.

After my performance there were a lot more fabulous musical theater songs! Ian sang “I, Huckleberry, Me” from “Big River”. It was a really catchy song that managed to get itself stuck in my head! I’m probably going to be humming that for a week now LOL! I liked Ian’s costume for this song. He wore overalls, a straw hat and was barefoot. He looked great!

Nicolas did a few more musical theater pieces as well. One of which was “The Kings New Clothes”. It was a very cute and very funny telling of the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes. Nicolas had me cracking up! I almost cried from laughing! His other piece was a duet. Unfortunately I’ve forgotten his partners name as well. They sang “Kids” from “Bye Bye Birdie”. They were dressed as elderly people! I loved both of their costumes. I also really liked their schtick as they headed onto the stage. They were both full of aches and pains and were bickering all the way. It was so funny! Their song was funny too!

Lauren did a superb rendition of “Adelaide’s Lament” from “Guys and Dolls”. It’s one of my favorite showtunes! I was thrilled that she would be performing it! She was a perfect Adelaide. She even had the New York accent down pat! This was my favorite performance of the show.

We got to hear some more Newfoundland music as well. Ian sang “St. John’s Girl”. He’s a little too young to be going downtown but nevertheless he did and he got into quite a mess! He met a girl that played the angel but was really a money grubbing little shagger. He spent all his money on her and she stole a few of his belongings! I thought this was a terriffic performance. Ian has great comedic timing and stage presence.

The final song of the show was sung by Lauren. She sang “He’s A Part Of Me” by Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers. It was such a beautiful song and Lauren sang it with so much emotion. It made me cry! I thought it was a nice way to end off the show.

I was really impressed by all the performers in the show today. You all did a phenominal job today and I’m certain you’ll all be phenominal in the festival! Break legs and good luck!

Leah

Think Global, Act Local


Hey blog world! Today’s daily post (found here) is called Think Global Act Local

“Think global, act local.” Write a post connecting a global issue to a personal one.

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Me with my friend Sarah at a Special Olympics speaker conference in Gander

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My friend Heather and I at a Best Buddies semi formal

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My wonderful boyfriend Glen.

Look at those pictures. In each there are beautiful, unique people out and about having fun. What is not in each photo is people who deserve to be bullied. People who have special needs like me and my friends in the above pictures all want to be accepted and included by our neurotypical peers. Sadly we’re outcast instead of welcomed by them. We’re people too and we want to be treated that way please and thank you!

I’ve been bullied since literally day 1 of kindergarten because of my Aspergers syndrome. Pencils have been thrown at my back, my belongings  have been stolen, the erasers were sharpened off my pencils, I was told to f**k off because I was going too slow down the stairwell at school due to a knee injury (I dislocated it a few years ago and now it flares up during the winter). Those are just a few examples! I didn’t do anything to anyone so I didn’t know why the bullies were doing these things to me! I felt terrible being treated that way.

It wasn’t just my peers either! Grade 1 was hell because the teacher bullied me! For identity protection she’ll be known as the holy terror. When my plastic baggie with all my belongings got stolen the holy terror didn’t believe it was stolen. She blamed me for losing it and called me unorganized! In a meeting with my mom and the principal she said that everything my classmates put me through wasn’t bullying! It was just kids being kids! I have ticks (uncontrollable, involuntary movements or sounds that my body makes) and the holy terror said I was just acting out and doing these things because I could and I wanted to cause trouble. The worst thing she did was when we were making a mother’s day craft. I had attention problems that year and when she told everyone to put their things away I didn’t hear her, I kept working on it. She kept telling me to put it away and I still didn’t hear her. Eventually she got so upset with me that she stormed over to my desk, grabbed my project and threw it into the garbage! Needless to say I came home that day in hysterics. It’s bad enough that children and teenagers bully those with special needs but it’s worse that adults do it! They’re the ones that should know better!

If I could erase one word from human vocabulary it would be retard. It’s a hurtful and derogatory term that is unfortunately used by a lot of people in reference to individuals like myself. My friends and I all have names and would appreciate it if you addressed us by them instead of calling us retard or some other awful name.

My friends Peter Peter Halley, Bethany, Laura, Emma and Allison are true angels. They are all neurotypical. As I said above I’m outcast by the majority of the neurotypical community. While these guys could have easily jumped on the bully bandwagon and caused my self esteem to plummet even lower, they decided instead to be my friend and that means the world to me! I thank the Lord for them every night. I can’t begin to explain how much their friendship means to me! They’re all great listeners who are there for me when I need someone to pray with and/or talk to (and also they don’t mind that I sometimes go on and on about my favorite subjects like Spirit of Newfoundland and musical theater, both of which I could talk about for hours), they’re lots of fun to be around and best of all they accept me for who I am and are patient and understanding of my challenges. For example last night on Facebook Peter and I were messaging each other and he made a pun that went over my head (I find puns hard to understand). I asked “What pun?” because I read his sentence back several times and didn’t see one and he explained it to me, apologized and said that he’d teach me about puns and help me understand them.

According to the National Bullying Prevention Center 60% of students with special needs report being bullied regularly compared with 25% of all students. Please blog world, do your part to lower that number! Let’s change the statistic! Remember, we are people too, just like you! Please be kind to us!

Leah

Musical Gems


Hey blog world! On my way home from my guitar lesson not too long ago “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” by Elton John played on the radio. The more I listen to it the more I like it. It’s a beautiful song. It’s one of his lesser known musical gems. There are a lot of underrated and unfamilliar songs and artists out there that I’m surprised aren’t as popular and well known as I feel they should be. Here are a few of them!

Against Me! AM!: I like a bit of hard rock (KISS and Alice Cooper) but I’m not really one for punk. I find that it’s too loud and a lot of it’s not really music, it’s screaming. However, Against Me! isn’t actually half bad! They have some decent tunes (and minimal screaming). I discovered them a few months ago when I watched an episode of lead singer Laura Jane Grace’s web series “True Trans” on YouTube. Not only was I super inspired by Laura but also when she played the accoustic version of “Two Coffins” that she wrote for her daughter Evelyn it put a smile on my face. It was a lovely song with such a beautiful story behind it. I looked up Against Me! afterwards and really enjoyed what I heard. “True Trans Soul Rebel” is another great song of theirs.

The Killing of Georgie” – Rod Stewart: It’s not the happiest of songs but I really think more people need to hear it. It’s a tragedy with a very important message about homophobia. It’s the story of a gay man named George who was outcast by his family because of his sexuality and at the end of the song he gets killed. What’s really sad about this song is that it’s a true story. LGBTQ individuals are people too and love is love! Please stop bullying LGBTQ people!

Manafest Manafest: He’s the only rap artist I listen to. I discovered him at YC three years ago. Going in I wasn’t too sure I’d like him because I hated rap music but I wound up having a total blast at his concert! I even went to see him perform a second time at the Rock House downtown (and got to meet him afterwards, got a picture with him and got him to sign a napkin for me (I forgot to go to the ATM and my cousins were broke so that was all I had for him to sign.)) I love that Manafest isn’t a conventional rapper. He’s a Christian rap artist! His lyrics are clean and they have powerful messages. “Everytime You Run” is my favorite of his raps.

Ob La Di Ob La Da” – The Beatles: This is such a fun song! It was included in Blender Magazine’s 2004 list of 50 worst songs ever and even John Lennon hated the song but I love it! It’s my favorite Beatles song! Ob La Di Ob La Da is such a fun thing to say! If you need a smile turn it on!

Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” – The Beatles: Another unknown yet fantastic Beatles tune. It’s a funny little ditty about a serial killer. It’s a very enjoyable song.

1 Girl Nation 1GN: Girls need positive role models, not twerking, half naked B I Trans Canada Highways like Miley Cyrus and Nikki Minaj. This is where 1 Girl Nation should come in. I really think they deserve some radio airplay (*cough* Hits FM!!! *cough*) They are a Christian pop group. They have clean music and they sing about living for Jesus and how much he loves us. Their fast songs are great (“Count Your Rainbows” is awesome) but my favorite 1GN song is “In The Eyes“, a beautiful slow song about how you’re perfect in the eyes of the Lord. This song makes me cry it’s so beautiful! I get bullied a lot so it’s really uplifting to hear this song. “When the world has told you lies you are priceless in his eyes.” Amen!

One Of Us” – ABBA: This is a funky song with a nice reggae like beat about a regretted breakup. I’m really surprised this fell under the radar. In my opinion it’s one of ABBA’s best songs.

Eric the Half A Bee” – Monty Python: This has appeared on a few Python albums (Monty Python Sings, Monty Python’s Previous Record and The Final Rip Off) but has never been done on Flying Circus or in a live show (although they did play an instrumental of the song before the Gumby flower aranging skit in the reunion tour “Monty Python Live Mostly”.) I don’t know why they hadn’t sung it on TV or live because it’s such a catchy and funy song. I think audiences would have really enjoyed it!

Anything other than “Flowers on the Wall” – The Statler Brothers: “Flowers on the Wall” is their most famous song that everyone recognises. It is a nice song but there’s more to the Statler Brothers! They aren’t just a one hit wonder! They have lots of other fantastic songs that deserve to be noticed! “Do You Remember These” is a fun, nostalgic ditty (with a neat knock knock joke ending), “Class Of 57” is a really pretty one that I’m contemplating singing at my prom and “Do You Know You Are My Sunshine” is a really cute love song!

What are some underrated or unfamilliar songs or artists you like? Tell me in the comments!

From Broadway With Love


Hey blog world! Happy Valentines day! Being the massive theater nerd that I am some of my favorite love songs come from musicals. I thought I’d share my favorite Broadway love songs with you.

“Spamalot” – “Twice In Every Show“: In this number King Arthur and the Lady of the Lake fall in love with each other. It’s a short song but it’s really sweet.

“Phantom of the Opera” – “All I Ask Of You“: This is one of my favorite songs from Phantom. It’s absolutely beautiful! I hold back tears every time I hear it.

“Rent” – “I’ll Cover You“: This song makes me smile! Angel and Collins are such a cute couple!

“The Music Man” – “Till There Was You“: This is an older song (“The Music Man” premiered on Broadway in 1957) but it’s still really lovely.

“Frozen” – “Love Is An Open Door“: This one isn’t Broadway yet, Disney is working on that but I think it still counts since “Frozen” was a musical. Even though this song is a deceitful pack of lies it’s a lot of fun! “It’s crazy how we finish each others sandwitches!” is my favorite line LOL!

“Annie – “I Don’t Need Anything But You“: This song is adorable! The perfect way to end a movie I think.

“Les Misérables” – “A Little Fall Of Rain“: This is such a heartbreaking song. Eponine has been shot and is unknowningly bleeding out and Marius cradles her in his arms as they sing a love song together. Eponine doesn’t even make it to the end! With this song too I hold back tears each time I hear it.

What’s your favorite Broadway love song? Tell me in the comments! Happy Valentines day my someones (see what I did there?)

Leah

Local Productions I’d Like To See


Hey blog world! This morning I was talking with my writing teacher about Spamalot and he wondered what Atlantic Light would have up their sleeve next. Last year they were sombre and this year they were silly. What next? The musical theater world is very vast so Jacinta and Doug have a world of possibilities! These are some suggestions that I have. Shows that I’ve yet to and would love to see live and some cast ideas.

“The Book of Mormon”: A religious satire piece about two Mormon missionaries who go to Uganda on a mission trip. I know a few of the songs from it but have never seen the show. I want to know what happens to them! If this ever does get produced locally I think Jeremy Wells should play Elder Price. With his amazing voice I just know he would be fantastic singing “I Believe”.

“Mamma Mia”: This would be phenominal! I can already see it selling out the Arts and Culture Center. I even have a dream cast for the show! Click here to view that.

“Cats”: This one has been done (by Etcetera productions) but that was several years ago and I didn’t get the chance to see it so I think it’s due for a comeback. Shelley Neville Shelley would be a beautiful Grizabella Grizabella I think.

“Rent”: This show is a brilliant theatrical work! It’s one of my favorite musicals! It’s on my bucket list to see a performance of this live. Keith Power, being the charismatic ball of energy that he is would make a perfect Angel and I think Kelly-Ann Evans would be a great Maureen.

“Wicked”: I love all the songs but yet have never seen the show. We have never had a performance of “Wicked” done here in NL. I would love to see that happen someday. I’ve heard Erin Windsor sing “The Wizard and I” and she was fabulous so she should be in the role of Elphaba.

“Into The Woods”: The movie blew me away! I bet it would be even more amazing live on stage! My friend Lauren Davis, who is a young local actress (she was young Eponine last year in Les Mis and she’s been in the ensemble of several Peter MacDonald Productions productions) would be great as Little Red Riding Hood, Darrin Martin would be great in the role of the baker and for his wife I can see Kiersten Noel playing that part. Dana Parsons should be the witch.

“Matilda”: It says on Atlantic Light’s website that part of their mission statement is to build and professionally support a new generation of performers in our province. With “Matilda”, since the cast is full of children they can do just that! They can give children in the province their first musical theater acting experience and who knows? They might just grow up to love theatre and keep at it! Also it would be an adorable show.

What musicals would you like to see performed live in Newfoundland? Tell me in the comments!