This one dates back to the first few years of the new millenium. The first “volume” was created in 2000 by my co-worker, Sheryl, when I worked at the Levi’s Store in Winnipeg. She’d play it while we were working and I became obsessed with it so she ‘taped’ it for me and named it after me.
I continued with the same theme/feel over the next few years to create the subsequent volumes, with a lot of input from another co-worker, Allison, at Below the Belt. (There was supposed to be a Vol. 4 & 5, but I never got around to narrowing down the track order. Maybe later, I’ll add them at the end alphabetically.)
Whenever I listen to this playlist now, I’m hit was a massive wave of nostalgia for that time. The early 2000’s was a great era for me. (It’s when I met Hubby! ❤ )
Sharp eyes may notice… Kai was my favourite group at the time.
I have always been drawn to things of an unusual psychological nature. When I was in my early years of high school, my best friend and I liked to find books dealing with characters with “problems”. I remember reading several books; one about a little boy who was abused and played with poop, another about a young preteen girl addicted to cocaine, another about a 16 year old girl who suffered from anorexia and tried to commit suicide. I was always fascinated by these stories. I even wanted to eventually study abnormal psychology when I finally made it to university.
There was one book in particular that made a huge impression. My best friend read it first and then told me I should because it was bound to be something I’d like. It was called Nobody Nowhere. (Perhaps you’ve heard of it. 🙂 )
Of all the books I had read dealing with people with problems, disturbed people, people on the fringes of society, etc., I had never really identified with any of them. Just been morbidly curious, I suppose.
Then I read this one and all of sudden, I had this inkling of recognition. My life was nothing like the person in the book (an autobiography) but certain things she described sounded intimately familiar. I remember one part in particular, when she describes being able to see air particles. I was struck with the thought, doesn’t everyone see air? I asked my friend. She did that scoffing thing that people seem to do when they aren’t sure whether or not you’re trying to be funny or if you really mean what you’re saying. It turned out, no, people can’t see air. Dummy.
But I could.
There were other things that I understood from personal experience too. (I’m going to have to get my hands on a copy of the book and read it again.) I felt that it was a ridiculous idea, but I wondered if I was autistic too or if I had been as a child and grew out of it. (I knew absolutely nothing about autism at that time. I don’t think anyone really did.) I wasn’t like the author. I was verbal. I performed in school. I communicated well enough. I behaved… mostly. So how could I have been autistic?
I even wrote my friend a note in the middle of class asking her if she ever thought she might be autistic too. Again, she laughed at me and said no. I let it go, but kept the idea in the back of my head.
Years later, I was in college, taking a Special Needs class for my Early Childhood Education diploma and my group was assigned our study project on PDD-NOS, then considered a subset diagnosis of autism. (I can’t remember now if I personally chose it or it if it was assigned randomly. Probably the former.) Again, I didn’t think I had that but I felt a familiarity with the symptomology. I felt a kinship with these kids that have such a hard time being in a world that doesn’t accommodate their unique needs.
I thought maybe I’m just really understanding of children and the sensitivities that come along with not being able to communicate what bothers you in an adult way. I could totally get why a child might freak out if the lights were making a buzzing sound. Why moving from one activity to another might be extremely difficult. Why sudden loud noises might make someone cry. Why flapping their hands or repeating a phrase over and over might be comforting. Maybe I was just a compassionate educator. Or maybe it was because I understood exactly how that must feel because I’d felt it too.
When I was working at a preschool before I went to college, there was a little boy in my classroom who was probably autistic, although he was undiagnosed at the time so I can’t say for sure. He had a case worker that came in to observe him and the teachers and tailor an IPP for him. She came up to me after one interaction in particular and said that what I had done and the way I spoke to him were perfect and exactly what we should be doing. It was something like reinforcing some vocabulary or something like that. (He was almost 3 and non-verbal.) I was surprised. I didn’t realize I had even done anything. She told me the way I was with him was probably instinctive and I was lucky that I didn’t need to be taught that. (His parents later pulled him out of the school after a falling out with the owner and other staff. I was so sad to see him go. I could see him learning and growing and being happy, but I guess no one else did. I always wonder what happened to him and hope he found a more supportive situation.)
Around the time I was in college, I met a woman who has a child who, again, is most likely on the spectrum somehow but doesn’t have formal diagnosis. She would tell me stories of the quirky things her kid did or of how difficult it could be at times to understand her child. Instead of sympathizing with her, I always felt for the kid instead. I could see where the behaviour was coming from or what it meant but I didn’t feel like it was my place to tell this woman how to relate to her child. Who was I to do that?
After all of these near-misses with getting to know what autism is, it never truly occurred to me that the real reason I recognized behaviours and felt that familiarity was because I too am autistic.
It was like a chimpanzee looking into a mirror and not realizing the reflection is himself.
I made this one for my friend Geena when she was going through a break-up. It was… maybe 2002-ish? I burned it on a CD for her but didn’t keep a copy for myself (pre-iTunes). I had a vague list written in a notebook but some of the titles and artists I was unsure of. I since found out what all but one song was. I remember that originally, track 5 was something else. All I know were the lyrics, “who are you? who are you?” It was from the late 90’s. Some R&B girl group. I liked it and I wish I knew what it was. (Both JoJo songs were a later addition to the playlist.)
I asked Geena several years ago if she still had that CD. She said she remembered it but it was lost in the move from her parents’ house.
It bothers me that the newer (young) employees at my job don’t do things correctly, such as consistently prepare THREE napkins for each pile to put in the customer’s bag. Sometimes they do three, sometime four, or two, or *gasp*… one! I was scolding myself for getting upset about it and for wasting my time redoing the piles. As I do, I asked myself why? Why does it bother me? Why am I bothered about being bothered?
Since learning about autism and how every little thing that goes through my head seems to stem from that, now I grasp pretty quickly that is the reason for most things. I realized that I was upset because… I’m autistic. Adherence to rules or ‘the way things should be’ is a sticky point for me. I TRY to “let it go”, but I am immensely irked when other’s don’t follow the rules.
Maybe more than I “should” be?
Ah, there is the answer to the second part. Before, not knowing I was autistic and what that meant for me put a lot of shame on my shoulders for acting or thinking in a way that is not within my control. The rigidity is not “wrong” – it just is. I’m learning to accept it and deal. Being upset at myself for those things is a habit I’m now consciously trying to break. I need to rewrite those programmed reactions.
So, that part of the question was answered and easy enough to move on from, but as I stood there, counting out napkins (3, 3, 3, 3, 3…), I felt just saying ‘I’m autistic’ wasn’t a full answer to why it bothers me when they do those things. Why does not following the proper method of doing something annoy an autistic person? We like rules, methodology, routine and ritual, but why?
I read an explanation once that suggested it was a way to maintain control over something in a world where we have so little control over the things that affect us. The same reason autistic people stim to counteract negative stimuli. For balance. That makes sense and is true to an extent, but it’s more than that too.
I think I understand it. It’s one of those things I’ve always know but never had the language for.
Allow me to digress briefly…
I remember back in school, and you probably do too, many fellow students complaining about learning math that we would “never have to use in real life”. It confused me that they said that. Did they really think it or was that just something kids say and have said forever? It’s not a unique thought by any means so were they saying it to be funny or did they just hear it somewhere else and think they had thought it themselves or that since other people said it, it must be true? Did they say it because it was just one of those things everybody says? (Which is a behaviour I HATE, by the way.) I didn’t understand it because even though, yeah, we will never use algebraic equations to make a pot of coffee or change a tire, I understood why we needed to learn it.
I have a memory of being about thirteen years old and trying to explain it to some moron in my class who protested Pythagoras. I told him that by learning these things, we were training our brains to reason more effectively, exercising a muscle, learning problem solving skills that would definitely be needed in our adults lives. (Probably not those words exactly.) He just looked at me funny and continued to lament to our exasperated teacher – who I might add told him, no, you won’t need this information in the future but you have to learn it anyway. Thanks for backing me up, Teach! (Also an idiot.) I was flabbergasted that not only this dumb kid didn’t get it, but the university-educated teacher didn’t seem to either. No one had needed to tell me. I just knew.
Back to the napkins, it’s kind of the same thing. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter if a customer gets 4 napkins instead of 3. One extra here and there isn’t going to break the bank for my boss’s livelihood. 2 instead of 3, the customer probably won’t complain he or she didn’t get enough. Even 1, it’s unlikely Mr. Medium Chicken-No Veggies-Extra Sauce is having an important meeting right after lunch and can’t find adequate paper products to wipe his mouth sufficiently after eating. No, but we put three napkins in a pile, ready to give the customer with a fork for their order to make a good habit. We do 3, 3, 3, 3 without thinking, on autopilot, along with an extensive list of other seemingly arbitrary actions, because when it’s busy, we don’t have the time to think all these things through. We just do it. Many tiny parts keep the larger machine running smoothly.
And for myself, I need to have rules, methodology, routine and rituals in place for the days when it’s not just the world but me that is out of control. For the days I am at my limit and I lose the ability to control my actions and thoughts. On those days, I can’t think about what I need to be doing to stop my whole existence from falling apart. I need to ingrain these mundane habits in myself, rigidly, because my executive functioning (that language I didn’t have before) sucks and I rely on autopilot behaviours to not be in constant chaos.
I love words because they are so intensely personal. Sometimes I can intelligently discuss what a particular word means to me. Other times, I can only FEEL a word.
I’m thinking right now about the word “quirky”. A lot of autistic people dislike the term because we are often labelled as such before diagnosis as a way of explaining our atypical behaviour. It’s true. I was. Self-described, even. But I’ve always liked it. Yes, I AM quirky and I’ve long thought that it is one of my best traits.
I read this blog post and tried come up with my own definition of the word. I think I came up with something coherent enough to give someone else the general idea of what it means to me, but without entering my mind and having all my experiences as a frame of reference, I could never do the whole picture justice. It’s just something I feel.
That got me thinking as well – how DO I feel the word? It’s not just emotional feelings either. Being an associative/visual thinker, I… feel it’s shape too. That sounds strange, I would assume especially to those that don’t think the same way I do. (Does anyone?) I don’t have language to convey it appropriately, but I can tell you that when I see the word quirky in my mind’s eye, it appears quirky-looking. Best description I can give is “colourful” and “sort of like Curlz font”.
Quirky is beautiful.
My personal definition had the idea of intrigue or mystery in it. Like, someone who is quirky has a draw to them that makes you want to learn more.
Some other thoughts on my definition: I disagree with the author of that post that someone who is quirky is “purposefully weird”. I think quirks are inherent and not intentional or something you can fake. I think being quirky is all the more endearing because it’s not on purpose. It can’t be helped.
My definition also has the idea of self-acceptance baked into it. Maybe you could ignore your quirks but you’re totally fine with them and don’t feel the need to suppress them. I love that and aspire to be the best quirky I can be.
All of that said, I totally understand the other side. Maybe because I don’t yet have that diagnosis to claim as my own, quirky is the best I can do. Maybe because I wasn’t diagnosed as a child and had to endure “quiet hands“, I don’t have the negative connotations other people might. Being called quirky as a child gave me the freedom to be more me. When I did something ‘unusual’, someone would chalk it up to a quirk and let me be.
The one thing I don’t like about the word quirky is that every time I try to type it, I accidentally hit w instead of q and have to go back and fix it. Argh.
I LIKE that I’m “picky”. I prefer to think of it as discerning. I have great taste. And I think about everything very thoroughly. I don’t do things for no reason. I test things out and form my opinions based on the very best.
I wish all people were like that!
Another characteristic I like is my sense of space. I can’t really explain it to people that don’t see the world the same way I do. All I can say is that physical environment and where I am in space is super important to me. The hyperfocus allows me to remember settings very well. I can be your tour guide! Haha. It might be a weird thing to be proud of but when someone compliments me on my ability to remember direction or orientation or is impressed by it, it makes me happy.
The other aspect I enjoy for myself but desperately wish I could share with other people is my rich inner life. There are literally thousands of images and feelings swirling around in my brain constantly. It provides me joy and comfort and I want to be able to give that to others too. Alas, I am no Tim Burton or Miyazaki or Mozart or~ (ad nauseum of people I admire for their talent) and it all remains locked up inside me for only me to know. Pity.
There are obviously the really sucky things about being autistic, but it’s not all bad.
There is a quote I read from here. “On a good day, the AS feels like a very interesting and pleasantly eccentric way of being. On a bad day, it feels like a very limiting disability.”
Towards the very end of high school, my friends and I were really into Hip Hop and R&B – which is a complete shift from the alternative and grunge stuff we listened to just a couple of years earlier.
The way our class schedules were set up, we had 8 classes a year, half in the first semester and the rest in the second – so 4 for each half-year. We’d have 2 classes before lunch and 2 after. In Ontario, where I lived during those years, we had 5 years instead of 4. (Up to grade 12 was mandatory but grade 13 (or OAC, as it was called) was for “university prep”.) Starting in grade 12, you could potentially have a “spare” instead of a class to attend. (I guess it’s basically the same as the American “study hall”.) Either you had no need of the full 8 credits for the year, having completed them ahead of time, maybe in summer school, or you weren’t planning to go onto post-secondary education and didn’t need that many, or you were stupid and lazy like me and decided not to take them, even though I needed those credits…
Anyway, my very last semester of high school, I worked my schedule so that I had a spare before AND after lunch so I basically had 3 hours to “study” (which I definitely did not do). I would convince my slightly harder-working friends to ditch whatever classes or study plans they had to go to the mall, or Tim Horton’s for a really long lunch, or just drive around and do nothing with me.
Even though it was a horrific waste of valuable time for school stuff, some of my best memories are of “cruising” down the road, windows down, in a car full of girls, blasting our favourite songs of the moment.
For me, yes, it’s true. Once I love someone, I will always love them. I don’t let go.
It can suck, especially when someone has dumped me and eradicated me from their life. But it can also suck when it was me that made that choice and had to remove someone from my life. I’ve had to distance myself from people for my own well-being for various reasons, but that doesn’t mean I just stop caring about them. Sometimes that hurts me as much as it might have hurt them because I have to keep myself from letting them back in.
I’ve realized over the years, unfortunately, this is not true for other people. It’s rare actually, I think. I guess it makes sense. Most people don’t marry the first person they fall in love with and stay together forever. And friendships come and go just as frequently as romantic entanglements. It would be awful to have to carry undying feelings of love for ALL THOSE PEOPLE throughout your whole life. It hurts less to be able to let them go and start fresh. I’m even a little jealous. I wish I could banish some people from my heart forever. Specifically, the ones that hurt me the most.
Alas~ here I am, still hung up on random boys from high school and a multitude of failed friendships over the years.
I don’t like to leave things unfinished. You know this already, I’m sure. So… back in 2017, I was re-doing the 100 Happy Days challenge on Instagram (and cross-posting on Facebook) and, when I completed it, I was planning on posting the pictures here on my blog as well, but with more in depth explanations. I got a little over halfway through (-first month, second month-) but ended up giving up because… well, honestly, I was depressed. I was depressed while I was doing the challenge and continued to be well after I was done. Writing about things that made me “happy” felt false.
Here I am, almost exactly 4 years after finishing that challenge (for the second time… Not a great choice. You can read about why here, if you’re interested….) and I’m still not feeling like I want to go on and on about happiness. BUT~ I hate that I left it all incomplete. So. I decided I would just throw up the rest of the pictures, maybe make a comment or two if I feel like it, and then say I’m done.
For the record, I will NEVER attempt another challenge like that. I still believe in the value that that particular challenge can bring into your life and would still recommend that anyone try it. I got a lot out of doing it the first time. And I also appreciate the lesson I learned from doing it again the second time – mainly that these types of challenges seem to be a one-time benefit.
Hubby and I (sometimes joined by Niecey) make ridiculous taste review videos on my personal YouTube channel. It’s fun to be goofy with other people. Here’s the playlist link.
The previous year, I joined the official Weezer fan club. I thought it was time Hubby joined us so I bought him the entry package as his gift.
Awww. That poor tree. He died after I repotted him. RIP, buddy. Glad to report no money troubles happened as a result. And after several years with no live greenery in our home, we are now the proud parents of quite a few houseplants and a decent sized garden.
We visited the market at Nathan Philips Square, where I chatted with a guy selling apple cider from my hometown, and then to the more ‘fancy’ market up at Yorkville. I like our “adventure days”.
I don’t like celebrating my birthday but it’s still nice that people remember I exist.
Made a gift and painted a card for my friends. It’s great to be able to express yourself creatively.
Whether in Japan or in Canada, maid cafés are expensive! Uncle Tetsu’s Angel Café is NOTHING like a true Japanese maid café but it’s the closest we can get. They made a good effort. And tasty treats!
Went to the bridal shower for my friends.
Hubby had the bizarre yet cute idea to see how many times we hug in a year so, just before the new year began, he bought a counter and clicks it every time. I think he’s cheating because sometimes he comes over to hug me just so he can click it – but it makes me laugh.
Happy Father’s Day
Can attest to. Getting outside into nature, even if it’s just a local park amongst all the concrete, does lift the spirits. 10 out of 10. Would recommend. (Watch out for angry geese though! Haha.)
My super long-winded blog posts that no one actually reads are really just for me. I work really, really hard on them and am usually pretty proud of the results. And since I have such a long to-do list of posts to cross off, I feel a huge sense of relief when even just one is complete. Hong Kong: Day 4 Christmas in NYC
We had a Netflix account for just 6 months – and I made full use of that time. Most TV shows we watch are downloaded from torrents (🏴☠️) but anything that requires subtitles for me to watch along with is inevitably a lot harder to find. Having easy access to Japanese shows was wonderful and I miss it.
We bought our first denki pot (water boiler) during our Japan 2015 trip. Hubby was resistant at first because he thought it would use too much energy but he’s as reliant on it now as I am. And I bought myself a cheap mug warmer on Amazon which saves me from having to reheat my tea several times in the microwave.
I mention these tapes A LOT – basically every single time I bring up learning Japanese. I love them so much that I have a checklist for visiting all the sites mentioned (and actually got to a few in our most recent trips!) and made videos to go along with some of the lessons as a ‘visual accompaniment’. (Intro & Dialogue 1 – Dialogue 2)
LOL. I like to coordinate my earrings to my t-shirts.
When I was in Hong Kong, there was all this HOOPLA over a giant rubber duck that was sitting in the harbour. Everywhere you went, there were rubber duckie motifs. I thought it was stupid to get so excited over something like that. Our group stopped by on our way to Macau and there were hundreds of people jammed together trying to take pictures of the giant duck. So weird. And then… 4 years later, I heard the same duck was coming to Toronto…. and I got excited and planned an ‘adventure day’ downtown to go and take some pictures…….
Maggie, who has lived the majority of her life in the United States, is the biggest celebrator of Canada Day I know. I don’t really celebrate anything – but’s it’s always lovely to spend time with extended family. Happy Day-After Canada Day.
Hubby dropped me off downtown where I caught the bus down to Rochester to help my friends celebrate their independence.
Spent the weekend with Abbygail at her cottage for her bachelorette party.
Having lived through all but 6 months of the 80s, I’ve always had a strong affinity for that decade. Towards the end of high school, I started to become obsessed. (I even permanently crimped my hair by putting my hair in many tiny braids and pouring home perm solution all over it. Yeah. Not one of my best life choices…) That’s when I began listening, almost exclusively, to music from the 80s.
To this day, I still REALLY, REALLY love the 80s.
I mentioned briefly in an earlier post that I didn’t listen to a lot of popular music when I was kid, so I didn’t know a lot of the songs that were considered classic 80s tunes yet. It wasn’t until I started to collect those hits that I became familiar with most of them. (There are some exceptions. The first few songs on this playlist are songs I’ve known and loved since I was teeny tiny.)
Just after high school, I kept seeing commericals for one of those Time Life collections of hits from the 80s. Of course, I had no money for such luxuries as pre-made compilations, so I decided to make my own. And make it better. Add my favourites that they had missed.
And then, when Hubby and I first moved in together, we bought several variations of SingStar for his PlayStation. (It’s like Rock Band, but with just singing, for those that are too young to remember that one.) My favourite one, naturally, was SingStar 80s. It has even more great songs that Time Life had missed so I added them to my growing list.
Obviously this playlist needs some major heavy editing. There are some songs on here that I would delete now. Some weren’t that popular and some, I just don’t like. But, for posterity, here is my original Definitive 80s Playlist that I had set in stone (or at least 4 burnt CDs) around 2003.