16 Summer Memories

In response to this week’s Discover Challenge!

Hey, blog world! There are two weeks left to summer! Where the firetruck did it go?! It feels like only yesterday it started! This has been an amazing summer for me and I’ll be sad to see it end soon. I thought I’d share with you 16 of my favorite things I did this summer

1: I was a Jr. Leader at VBS. Every year, my Church holds a VBS (Vacation Bible School) during the first week of summer. This year, our theme was Cave Quest. As I do every year, I volunteered as a Jr. Leader! I absolutely love doing it! This year, I helped out with the Imagination Station and KidVid Cinema. At Imagination Station we did science experiments! On day one, we broke open a rock to look at the geodes and crystals inside, on day two, we gave the kids flying toys that they needed to build up friction in their hands to be able to fly (they held the toy in their palm, rubbed their hands together and then let it go) and on the last and my least favorite day, we learned about static electricity by rubbing a balloon on a carpet, then sticking it to a pole and watching the spark! Yikes!! I was not told there would be balloons until the head leader of the Imagination Station brought one out and explained to the kids what we were going to do!! The second I saw it, my heart started racing and I was filled with anxiety and panic! I couldn’t focus on what was going on because my mind was solely focused on the balloon and the overwhelming fear that something would happen and it would pop! I was petrified and couldn’t wait for the experiment to be over! As soon as our first group was done, I told the head leader about my globophobia and she was very understanding and helped me find another station that needed an extra helper for the day. I was assigned to KidVid Cinema! There, we watched a short video about a young girl who visited Africa to help build a school and deliver backpacks full of supplies. She then started her own thrift store to raise money to continue helping out those children! Then we talked about what we watched and the children shared stories of how they helped others! It was sweet.

2: I got published in the Herald, twice!!! The Newfoundland Herald is the #1 entertainment magazine in Newfoundland and Labrador. They have a Young Islanders column where they feature articles written by young people from around the province. I love writing and it’s been a dream of mine to have my work published. When mom found out about Young Islanders, she told me about it and I set to writing right away! I composed an article about the musical theatre scene in our province. I sent it to the Herald and a week later, I got an e-mail back saying that they liked it and will publish it! I couldn’t believe it! I was speechless and nearly cried tears of joy! Something I wrote is finally being published! I was so proud of myself! When I picked up my copy, seeing my words on the pages was so surreal to me! Something I wrote was in the most popular magazine in our province! Wow! A short while later, I sent in another article and got that one published too! That was about the Best Buddies program at MUN. They are going to publish another of my articles in the Back to School edition of the Herald so be on the lookout for that!

3: I read almost every day. My summer was full of books! I’ve toured the Wonka chocolate factory, gotten an inside look at Tyler Oakley’s life outside of YouTube, cheered on Bruce Bogtrotter as he ate the Trunchbull’s cake and right now, I’m deep in the Mortmain Mountains with the Baudelaire orphans, trying to solve the mystery of the Snicket file and VFD. As you can see, I’ve had so many incredible adventures! Twice a week before I go to work, mom drops me off at Chapters bookstore to spend the morning. I get a drink at Starbucks and then head off to the children’s section. Right now, as I said, I’m reading Lemony Snicket’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events” and am loving the books! I’m always so excited to go to Chapters and see what happens to the orphans next! Their books are so hard to put down! I hate having to leave on Thursday afternoons because Thursday is the last day of my workweek so I’ll have to wait until the following Tuesday to come back to Chapters and read more! I’m always left with a cliffhanger and lots of questions! The books are so full of mystery, adventure, suspense and a bit of humor here and there. For those of you who haven’t read them, this series is about Klaus, Violet, and Sunny Baudelaire. They are… or rather, were, children of rich parents and they lived in a mansion! I’m using past tense because one day, during a trip to the beach, the family’s financial advisor comes to get them to tell them that their parents have died and their house has burned down. It all goes downhill for them from there, poor things. I’m nearly finished #10, “The Slippery Slope” and can’t wait until tomorrow to go to Chapters and see how it ends!

#4: My boyfriend and I had a water fight! That was one of my favorite days of the summer! For his Birthday back in May, I gave my boyfriend Glen some date coupons. One of them was for a water fight! He cashed it in last month on a scorching hot day. My Niece and her friends joined us. They are only 11 years old, but put a water gun in their hands and they turn into Rambo! Glen and I were soaking wet, but the girls had barely a speck of water on them! They were too fast and sneaky for us! Even so, we all had a blast that day!

#5: I spent a lot of time in the kitchen. I love cooking and baking! Because I had a lot of free time on my hands this summer, I spent a lot of it in the kitchen. I tried my hand at a few new recipes this summer! Thanks to Chef Michael Smith and his Back to Basics cookbook, I learned how to make homemade chicken strips, barbecue black bean burrito’s, his version of chili and lots of other things! A few of the recipes I tried were a flop (I’m looking at you peanut butter brownies and toasted marshmallow milkshake) but at least I had fun trying! Hands down, my favorite new recipe that I tried this summer was fudge. In high school, the special needs students made fudge every Friday and it was to die for! I swore I heard angels singing in my head every time I took a bite! I bought one, sometimes two pieces every Friday for 3½ years (I had to repeat world history last September!) Because I loved it so much, the teacher gave me her recipe on my last day of school. A few weeks ago, I used it for the very first time. It was perfect! Just as I remembered it! It brought me back to the special needs classroom (I ate recess and lunch with them every day)! I’ll certainly make this recipe again and again!

#6: I’m back to work! I’m working in heaven this summer! Spirit of Newfoundland dinner theatre! My job at Spirit is always one of the highlights of my summer! I help set up the dining room for the shows. I love the work I do and the people I’m working with! I consider them not my co-workers and bosses, but my family. While I loved every day at work, I think my favorite day was when we did a live video to promote New Amsterdam peach vodka! We had a fancy hat party! I love fancy hats!Hats

#7: I attended some absolutely fabulous shows! Hello, my name is Leah and I’m addicted to theater! The majority of my allowance and paycheck goes to box offices! Going to a theater to see a musical or a play is so much better in my opinion than spending money on some material thing that I’ll just get bored with over time! This summer I saw three shows, two of which were at Spirit of Newfoundland. There I saw “Sinatra On the Rocks” and “Where Once They Stood”. “Sinatra On The Rocks” was lots of fun! That was a tribute to Frank Sinatra and it told of how he once performed at the Harmon Air Base in Stephenville. My favorite part was when Evan Smith played the piano backward! That absolutely blew my mind!! “Where Once They Stood” was such a powerful show. It was quite the emotional rollercoaster. At times it was heartbreaking, other times it was laugh out loud funny and it also had some very touching and heartwarming moments as well. It’s one of the best shows Spirit of Newfoundland has done! It’s the story of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and their involvement with the First World War. I highly recommend seeing both of those shows, if you choose “Where Once They Stood” bring Kleenex! You’ll need them!! For more information or to make a reservation, call 579-3023 or click here.

I also saw Stanley Braxton’s “Blank: The Musical” at the LSPU Hall. I can now check seeing Stanley Braxton off of my bucket list!! Stanley Braxton is an improv comedy group from right here in Newfoundland. My boyfriend and I had a date night to see their show a few weeks ago and neither of us could breathe we were laughing so hard! In one sketch, Liam was trying to get Alana to do the Macarena! So she would clue in to what he was doing, every time he talked he would do one of the moves! It’s a bit difficult to explain with words, if you had been there, you would have cracked up too! In the second act of their show, they improvised a musical that as per audience suggestion was called “Love Changes Things”. That was my favorite part of the night. The singing voices of the Stanley’s were amazing! Also, there were points in the show where I had a warm, fuzzy feeling in my heart and came close to crying happy tears! It was a story of Alana and Mike who were going to get married. Their parents were polar opposites of each other! Alana’s were very soft spoken and gentle. They gave Mike a marshmallow as a wedding present! Mike’s parents, Rod and Maude were ruffians who only felt anger and loved beating people up. There was one point in the show where they ate a marshmallow given to them by Alana’s mother and found they enjoyed it. That put a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart! When Alana’s mother tried on Alana’s pair of “shit kicker” boots to try and compromise and fit in with Mike’s family, that made me laugh! The ending was the sweetest part, they all group hugged! I think this show should win a Tony!

#8: I went camping in Butterpot Park. My family’s day to day lives are always super duper busy, even now during the summer! My parents and I all work, dad even so on some weekends, my Niece plays soccer and spends a lot of time on the field and I have quite the social life, always hanging out with friends somewhere! The only family time we get these days is Tuesday and Wednesday nights when we sit on the couch together, share a bag of popcorn and watch “America’s Got Talent”! That’s why I always look forward to our annual week of camping in Butterpot. Just the four of us together in nature able to have some family time! We had a barbecue and campfire every day, we went for walks together around the campsite, my niece and I went to the beach together and I waded in the water up to my ankles and watched as she caught little fishes. It was such a wonderful week!

#9: I reconnected with some old friends! I used to take part in the Social Thinking group at the Autism Center. That was a group for teenage girls with Autism where we learned lots of important social skills like social boundaries for example (we did the Circles program, which I think was my favorite part of Social Thinking). I dropped out of the group two years ago because there was too much on my plate. I missed my friends there a lot. Last week, I arrived at the Autism Center for sewing club and saw my friend Kathleen from Social Thinking there! I was thrilled that she had joined sewing club and now I’d get to see her more often! We caught each other up on what’s been going on in our lives and I helped her make pajama pants. It was a fun day! I can’t wait to see her next week! Last Saturday, I invited another of my social thinking friends, Erin out to the Geo Center because they were having a family fun day. We danced, laughed, got our faces painted and did lots of other fun things! That was one of the best days ever! It made me so happy getting to see her again!

#10: I did a lot of walking: I try and do it as often as I can because I like it and it’s a great way to keep in shape. Every Monday I walk to the drugstore 5 minutes from my house to look at the Herald, sometimes I’ll leave Chapters early to walk to the Toys R Us down the street to look at the board games, Lego sets, and art supplies and I also love walking around downtown and window shopping! On Water Street especially! I think my favorite walk I took this summer was with my Best Buddy Allison, she picked me up after work one day and we walked down Signal Hill together! I loved looking around me at all the beautiful scenery. We were both beat out afterward but we had a lovely time!

#11: I competed in a rhythmic gymnastics tournament! I’m a member of the CBS Brightstars Special Olympics rhythmic gymnastics team. This summer, we competed against Mount Pearl and St. John’s. We did a rope routine and a ribbon routine. Rope was my favorite, it was set to Hannah Montanna’s “Hoedown Throwdown” and was the easiest of the two routines!! I won a silver medal for my rope routine and a 4th place ribbon for the ribbon routine! gymnastics winnings.jpg I was very proud of myself and everyone else on my team as well! Go Brightstars!!

#12: I went to summer camp: the Special Olympics league in CBS always kickstarts the summer by having an overnight campout at the Lavrock Center. That’s always such an awesome day! We had a scavenger hunt, we painted picture frames, we had a campfire, I brought my guitar and we had a sing-along and there were even awards! We won medals based on our performance in the various sports in Special O during the year. Along with rhythmic gymnastics, I also participate in bowling with Special O and my team and I won many awards for it that night. My team won bronze for highest points standings for the year and gold for highest points over average, and I myself won gold for the highest double for a female! I even won the female athlete of the year award!!! Again, I was so proud of myself and everyone on my team!!

#13 My boyfriend and I spent a day with our best friend: As I detailed in Swimmin’ In The Rain, my boyfriend Glen and I spent a day with our best friend Peter a few weeks ago. That was another one of the best days of my summer! We swam,were treated to a concert, played BeanBoozled… ok, maybe that last part wasn’t so nice, sorry Peter!! All in all, it was I think a perfect day!

#14: I recorded a radio ad: Two weeks ago, I got a call from one of the instructors of the Worktopia program at the Autism Center. Worktopia is an employment readiness program that teaches essential job skills and provides job shadowing opportunities to adults on the Autism spectrum. I had a lot of fun in that program and learned a lot too! Over the phone, the instructor told me that she was planning to do a radio ad to get the word out about the next semester of the program. I was the first person she thought of to record it! I was flattered! A few days later, I arrived at Steele Communications to record my ad. It was incredible! I’d been in the building many, many times but only to pick up my winnings from K-Rock from the lady at the front desk (I enter and win contests on that station quite often!) As we were walking to the place where I was to record my ad, I saw Pete Soucy in his studio hosting Backtalk! It was really cool to see him in action! Getting to record my own ad was really cool too! Even more so when I heard myself on the radio!

#15: I did a lot of singing: I attended several open mic nights and kitchen parties at All Saints Parish and the S.U.F Hall. I love going out to those! There’s always good company, yummy food, and great music. It’s lots of fun getting up in front of the crowd and singing! I think my favorite performance I gave this summer was at a kitchen party at the S.U.F in July. I dressed up like an old lady and sang “Seven Old Ladies” and “The Mobile Goat“! Also that night, my friend Linda sang a hula song, so myself and a few other ladies snuck into the kitchen before she went on and put on grass skirts and leis and came out hula dancing to Linda’s song! That was so much fun! If you are in the Topsail area and are looking for something fun to do Saturday night, come on by the S.U.F Hall for an Open Mic night! Doors open at 7:00, the show begins at 8:00 and its $5 admission at the door!

#16: I sold a lot of my paintings! For those of you who don’t know, I’m an artist and I sell my paintings to raise money for the Masonic Temple Restoration Fund! Business has been booming this summer! I sold lots of my artwork! Every sale made me extremely happy because it meant more money for the Masonic! If you want to find out more information on the Masonic Temple Restoration Fund click here and if you want to view my artwork and maybe buy a painting, click here!

My summer still has many fantastic things in store! To name a few, on Thursday and Friday, I’m going to the St. John Ambulance headquarters to get certified in level C first aid and next Tuesday, I’m going to see “Where Once They Stood” again! My poppy and his friend and I are going together this time. What’s your favorite thing you’ve done this summer? Tell me in the comments!




Things That Make Me Happy

Hey blog world! Today is just one of those days, you know the ones, you wake up in the morning and feel totally blah and down in the dumps. That’s how I am today. I needed to find something to cheer me up. I decided to make a list of things that make me happy.

1: The “VeggieTales” YouTube channel: On a day like this, hearing Archie’s Monty Pythonesque rant about how Larry’s Water Buffalo song is too silly or watching Larry try and explain to Bob the difference between a monkey and ape never fails to make me laugh and put a smile on my face! Having all the veggie silliness readily available at the click of a mouse is truly a wonderful thing!

2: Cats: My sweet little fur baby, Prince Ozzy is one of the loves of my life. His weirdness makes me laugh (he loves relaxing in the bathtub and he zones out if you turn on “Archer”), he’s so soft and cuddly and is such a sweet and loving little creature. I love to sit and cuddle with him. Sometimes I sing to him and he holds my hand! That melts my heart.

3: The wicker chairs by the train set in the kid’s section of Chapters: Babies and young children are some of my favorite human beings. They are so innocent, cute and playful! I go to Chapters twice a week to kill time before work and my favorite place to sit and read is in one of the wicker chairs by the train set. I love watching the children play with the toys. It makes my heart feel happy, warm and fuzzy.

4: “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise!”

My favorite quote from “Les Miserables”. Today has been pretty sucky,  but I know that tomorrow is a new day and there’s hope that it will be better than today was.

5: “We could be shoveling rocks for a living.” – Peter Halley

Another very poignant quote. My friend Peter said this to the cast of “Sinatra On The Rock” during a pep talk before they went onstage. It really stood out to me. It reminded me to  be thankful for the hand I’ve been dealt. I`m happy with the life that I have and am glad that everything is the way it is for me. Let this remind you too that even if you don’t think you do, you’ve got it really good! You could be shoveling rocks, but you’re not!

6: Friends: I’m going to come right out and say it, I have the absolute firetrucking best! My Facebook has been dinging with notifications from them sending messages of support and cheering up. Reading all their messages has really put a smile on my face and helped me to feel a little happier. Thanks, everyone! I’m so happy to have such wonderful friends who are always there for me in my time of need.

7: Imagination: Never outgrow your imagination! It keeps you young and it`s a great way to relax and feel happy. A few weeks ago, I texted Peter asking if his dog was home. He has the most adorable golden doodle on the face of the earth! His name is Frenchy. I was going to visit Peter and hoped Frenchy would be home too as I hadn’t seen him in a while and really missed him. Peter said, “No, he went to Hollywood for the weekend.” I thought “Hollywood? Wow! That’s my dream trip! Frenchy is so lucky to be there!” I soon got another text from Peter that simply said “Holyrood”. Silly autocorrect! I laughed and imagined what if the text was right and Frenchy really was in Hollywood. I pictured him on the walk of fame. I imagined how funny it would be if he lifted his leg on Trump’s star!! Then I thought, what if Frenchy got his own! That would be amazing! I spent my whole afternoon that day daydreaming and imagining Frenchy’s trip to Hollywood. It made me smile.

8: Cheesecake: Cheesecake, one of God’s greatest blessings to the world! It’s my favorite desert ever and it’s my comfort food. It makes me happy thinking about it, and even more so eating it! Cheesecake is so creamy, soft and absolutely delicious! There are millions of varieties and ways to eat it! No bake, deep fried, stuffed in cupcakes, bite sized, oh my gosh, my mouth is watering just typing all this! Excuse me while I go to Mochanopoly for a piece! Tulip Baroo, owned by Matthew Finateri is the bakery that makes the cheesecake and several other baked goods for Mochanopoly and their vegan blueberry cheesecake is to die for!!

9: Bubbles: I’m at my happiest when I’m frolicking around in my backyard popping bubbles. It makes me feel so alive and free!

10: I’m ticking an item off my bucket list tonight: This evening, my boyfriend and I are going to see Stanley Braxton’s “Blank: The Musical”. Stanley Braxton is a local improv comedy group. I’ve heard a lot about them and have seen some videos of them on YouTube and thought they were really funny! I have never seen them live and have always wanted to. It’s on my bucket list! I’m looking forward to finally crossing that off tonight, and doing so with my wonderful boyfriend whom I love very much!

11: Grocery store samples: One of my favorite things about grocery shopping! Mom and I both get excited when we see those little containers with free samples scattered throughout Sobey’s or employees behind counters on wheels giving out samples. I love trying new things.

12: Looking back and laughing: Things don’t always go as planned in life. Sometimes crazy and/or embarrassing stuff happens. At the time, it may be the most embarrassing or cringe-worthy thing ever, but in a few weeks, you’ll be able to have a good laugh at it. I was once lectured by an elderly man in Dominion just because I tried giving him a Tim Horton’s gift card out of the goodness of my heart! I went up to him and said “Hello sir, I’m a member of Connect Student Ministries, we’re having an outreach night tonight. Here’s a $5 Tim’s card. God bless you!” He gave me a big rant about how coffee is a drug and he doesn’t believe in or condone drinking it. In my head, I was thinking “Geez! Calm down buddy! Get a tea!” I was embarrassed that day, but now I look back and have a big laugh at it.

13: I have my dream job: I saw my very first show at Spirit of Newfoundland when I was 9 years old. It was `Viva Lost Elvis” at the Majestic Theatre. It was mesmerizing! It was the most spectacular thing that I had ever seen! I fell in love with it and kept coming back to see shows. Each time I went to Spirit, I had so much fun, was absolutely captivated by the show and was treated so kindly by the staff. I knew it was where I wanted to work when I grew up. Two years ago, that childhood dream came true. I got a job as an office assistant at Spirit. To this day, I still have that job and I absolutely love every single minute of it! The work I do does not feel like work, it’s so much fun and my co-workers are not my co-workers but my family. I`m accepted and wanted and that means the world to me. I can`t think of a better place to be working! God bless everyone at Spirit!

14: People like this exist: In a world full of bad news, it makes my heart happy to read pleasant articles about someone who committed a random act of kindness, helped a stranger or anything else wonderful like that. The world needs more of those people!

15: When a string of great songs comes on the radio: Hearing your favorite songs one after the other on the radio is awesome! The other day as I was driving to work, I turned on my favorite radio station, Sirius XM channel 72, On Broadway just in time to hear “Agony” from “Into The Woods”, followed by “I`ll Never Fall In Love Again” from “Promises, Promises” and then “Music of the Night” from “Phantom of the Opera”. Three fantastic songs in a row! It was a great way to start my day!

16: Making things and giving them to my friends: I truly believe that homemade gifts are better than something from a store. Homemade things have a lot more meaning and it really shows that the giver cares. I don’t know what I love more, making the present or seeing the reaction on my friends faces when I give them what I made. Both are wonderful! Seeing the big smile on the face of my friend when I give him/her a homemade present makes my heart overflow with happiness!

Now that I’ve written this, I feel a little better! I hope that if you’re having a bad day and you come across this, you smiled too! There are of course many more things that make me happy, but if I wrote everything down, it would be a supercalifragilisticexpialidociously long blog post that would take at least a year to write and perhaps read! What`s something that makes you happy? Tell me in the comments!