As I sway back and forth on the swing chair on the deck in the backyard, I watch Anna, who is hooked up to her tether so she can roam about the yard. She sniffs the grass. She pauses, laying in the sunlight for a moment. Anna then proceeds to roll around on her back, cute as ever, still in the sun. She loves being outside as much as I do!
I work. A lot. With lots and lots of people! 😊 Having three jobs in human services, I can definitely say I feel like I’m giving back. I also network and try to get involved in as many activities as I can, especially within the autistic community. Sometimes I feel like I know all of Buffalo! I run into someone I know more days than I don’t. It’s a great feeling!
Would You Like a Sample?
Song sampling – that is, when songs take snippets of past songs and incorporate them into theirs – is something that I can dig into for hours. I have a special interest in this, especially surrounding hip-hop sampling songs of the 70s. I often find songs that I had yet to discover in this manner!
Whenever I hear a new song and wonder “what’s that sample?” I hop over to my trusted database: whosampled.com. I’m often met with a slew of songs that said song samples, or a myriad of newer songs that sample one of my “before my time” favorites, which I have many of! For example, I was looking at hip-hop songs that sample yacht rock. The first one that probably comes to mind for anyone whose ears are familiar with 90s hip-hop is Regulate by Warren G and Nate Dogg. Of course, the sample is I Keep Forgetting by Michael McDonald of none other than The Doobie Brothers.
Music evolves over time, but yet, musicians continue to pay homage to the greats preceding them. Take Good Times by Chic, for example. This would later be sampled in the song whose claim to fame is being revolutionary in the hip-hop world: Rappers’ Delight by The Sugarhill Gang, first performed in 1979. Snoop Dogg is highly inspired by George Clinton (think Atomic Dog and What’s My Name), as well as Slave (my favorite group!). Jay-Z even sampled It’s the Hard Knock Life from the musical, Annie. There are so many samples out there that I could go on for hours!
What’s really cool is when today’s artists collaborate with artists who’ve been famous since back in the day! Thundercat collaborated with Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins in his song, Show You the Way. It has that early 80s soft rock vibe. Snoop Dogg and Charlie Wilson have teamed up on several tracks, such as Peaches N Cream, a funky and catchy tune.
The next time you hear a new song, you could very well be introduced to a sample! If your ear catches a familiar sound, try researching whether the song draws any inspiration from an older one! This is how I’ve found a lot of my favorites. I love music, just as long as it’s groovin’!
Today marks 9 years since I received my autism diagnosis! I can’t believe it’s been so long already. It seems like just yesterday when I was sitting in my psychologists office and he told me that I fit the criteria of Autism Spectrum Disorder!
This moment was extremely meaningful to me and will always remain etched in my thoughts. Finally, a word which so well described my experiences, my struggles, my talents…well, ME! I finally had it on paper: I was autistic.
This sparked my journey of self-discovery and advocacy. I wanted to reach out to others to tell my story. To show them what autistics bring to the table. To give an example of just one out of the many people who fly under the radar and receive their diagnosis later in the game. I was two weeks shy of my 31st birthday that day in the psychologists office, after all.
It was only appropriate that my virtual young adult autism support group meeting happened to fall on this evening! It was my second meeting with this new-to-me group, and so far, I’m really enjoying it. The other members are so welcoming and genuine. I’m already making new friends!
When I look back, I can say my journey thus far has been a success: I have participated in a handful of speaking engagements over the years and have made many a connection in the autistic community. I’m even in a book! I belong to several boards of autism organizations. I feel a sense of fulfillment. I’m still not finished, though! I’m looking forward to what the future holds for me as an autistic advocate.
It Was a Good Day
Yesterday afternoon was spent lounging on the beach…that is, until the flies would NOT let up with their bites! I did get a chance to snap this beautiful view, though:
Oh, and that pizza I was talking about from The Upper Crust? Perfection. We decided on mushrooms and meatballs. The crusts are constructed such that the upper and the lower are rolled together on the edge, creating a swirl of doughy goodness! 😋 There was a cute pun written on a sign sitting in the lobby of the restaurant, too!
For the remainder of the evening, we just sat on the deck and soaked up the warm weather, which, had we been at home right now, we would be experiencing anything but! Come on, Mother Nature! Bring some spring weather to Buffalo! It’s March now. Time to get a move on! 🤣 And the STARS! The sky was crystal clear!
I’m looking forward to what today has in store!
Ah, my home away from home…beautiful St. Helena Island, South Carolina! My mom and I arrived in Beaufort at around 7:30 and hit up one of our usual spots for dinner, Brody’s. Their food is always excellent as well as their service! After we noshed on a seafood basket (my mom) and chicken fingers (me), I had their “cookies and cream” dessert, which is a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie covered in scoops of vanilla ice cream. It was delectable.
After stopping for groceries to hold us for the week, we arrived at the condo. We were exhausted from all the walking at the airport as well as a couple trips up the steep staircase (albeit carrying groceries and our suitcases) outside of our building! Needless to say, it was a good night’s sleep.
The sun is shining and it’s currently in the low to mid 70s. Buffalo had yet ANOTHER serving of snow yesterday, so I’m definitely glad we’re here and not there at the moment! Here is my current situation:
This afternoon’s plans will consist of bumming on the beach. Later in the evening, we’re going to pick up a pizza from The Upper Crust, so aptly named for their speciality pizza, which indeed has an “upper” crust! I’m looking forward to enjoying the delicious pie 😋
After having to wait two months due to “Snowmageddon” during Christmas week, this is surely a treat. Stay tuned for more adventures!
Did your first job inspire you to choose your eventual career path, or was it simply a means of earning a paycheck? For me, what started out as a part-time gig in a fast food joint while I was in high school and college was one of the reasons I decided to pursue a career in human services.
“Can I help you?” The question one is most likely to be greeted with when pulling up to the drive-thru window or walking to the counter as they ponder what they will order. While a simple phrase, it can be more meaningful than one may realize. It sparks a conversation, maybe about how one’s day is going for them. In turn, this leads to follow-up questions as well as what’s in store for the rest of the day for that person. It starts out as small talk: the weather, the cute dog sitting in the passenger seat, the upcoming football game. In this simple, albeit valuable exchange, one can learn a lot about a person.
Then you have the regulars. We’ve all seen them. They can typically be found around the same time in their natural “habitat,” maybe every day or several times a week. The group of elderly folk who gather for coffee every morning or evening. The friendly girl who always comes prepared with a joke. You look forward to your interactions with them, as you’ve gotten to be on more of an acquaintance basis. Seeing them walk through the door brightens your day. “Hi, Mr. Jones! How’s the family?” You chat for a few minutes and then serve up their order with a smile. Ten, when it comes time for them to go on their Merry way, you wish each other a good day as you look forward to your next encounter.
I will always say that this was my absolute favorite part of working in fast food: the PEOPLE. Just knowing that perhaps I made someone’s day a little brighter as I handed them their lunch was a rewarding experience in itself. The Crew Member – customer relationships I had established were the driving force that made me want to arrive for each shift for which I was scheduled. It was during this time that I started leaning towards wanting to do MORE for others.
I learned that I really clicked well with other people and I enjoyed making an impact on their day, even if that meant simply being the person to hand them their meal, complete with a smile. I learned so much from others, be it tidbits of trivia or finding out about their lives. What could I do to make connections my MAIN focus, or better yet, help them in some way?
When it came time to move on from my initiation into the workforce (4 years, to be exact), it was when I got a position in residential, working with people who had developmental disabilities. I knew right away that I had found my niche. I got my feet wet in my role as a Direct Support Professional in a beautiful historic house which was home to several amazing people. We made connections. They became my family. I was making an impact, and little did I know at the time just how much they were changing my life for the better!
I’ve held several positions in residential over the years, both in the developmental disabilities and mental health sectors, and have gotten to know SO many people who have shaped my experience. I later learned, through much research of my own, that I did, indeed have ADHD, after all. I received a diagnosis at 25 along with those of OCD and anxiety, with which I’ve lived for the better part of my life. About a year later, I stumbled upon the high likelihood that I was also autistic. Sure enough, after a trip back to the psychologist for an assessment, it was confirmed.
Now it all made sense, how I seemed to click best with those who had disabilities: I was in the same boat as they were! I have a unique kind of empathy for those with whom I work, because I’ve actually been there. This is not to say I know what it is like for EVERY person living with a disability, however, I know what it’s like to be viewed as “different” and to see the world through a different lens than the majority of the population.
I have to say that I couldn’t be happier with the path I landed on. At the start of college, I had it in my mind that I was going to be a biology teacher. I’ve learned that life doesn’t always go as planned. The road makes twists and turns, and there are often forks that branch off, leading to different roads, completely. To sum it up, my current career and everything I’ve learned about myself may have all started with a simple, “can I help you?”
Buffalo is in the process of cleaning up the mess that Mother Nature made this weekend! The driving ban will be lifted as of midnight, and the highways will reopen at that time as well. In the suburb where I live, it was lifted a couple days ago and I was able to get out for a pedicure yesterday, which felt SO good. I hadn’t had one in 4 months and it was so relaxing after being cooped up. The color I picked for the polish reminds me of blue raspberry 😊
I did have a lot of trouble focusing on anything yesterday and my brain felt as if it were in a fog. I attribute it to the fact I ran out of my new ADHD med and have been without for the third day now. It should be ready tomorrow. I was also extremely tired last night and dozed off in the evening for a good 2 hours, which is very rare for me. I had a pounding headache which finally subsided late this morning.
Today, I feel like a million bucks. The sun was shining and it’s been in the 40s! After work, my mom and I took Anna for a ride to pick up some groceries and a pasta dinner 😋 One more day of work and then I’m off for another 4!
Dear Mother Nature…
Please be easy on us.
The forecast looks daunting.
But listen, you must.
People have plans
And get-togethers with loved ones.
It’s been a while for some.
They’ve missed out on good fun.
So all I ask for
Is one simple gift.
A Christmas Miracle
To give everyone’s spirits a lift.
Please take those blizzards
The cold, wind, and all
And bring it to someone
Who wants snow to fall.
Whom for whatever reason,
It seems such a thrill.
A White Christmas…
Because I’ve had my fill! 🤣
A Buffalonian Who Has Seen Enough Snow For A Lifetime
Time For Some Serious Bloggin’
Yesterday morning, along with other employees in several departments of the agency where I work full-time, I attended a team-building activity hosted by the NYS Justice Center. It was the first presentation on the topic of self-care that the presenters had put together, and they rocked it! It made me think and reevaluate things in my life.
Discussed were elements of self-care, be they physical, emotional, professional, spiritual, etc. The table where I was sitting was assigned the task of listing aspects of professional self-care. Being the go-getter and fan of public speaking I am, I volunteered to write the list as the table formulated ideas as well as to present it to the room! Someone from each table did the same until all subtopics were covered.
Everyone received a folder containing an inventory of self-care activities, along with a self-care plan of action booklet that we could complete. I noticed that one of the activities listed was writing each day, and I thought to myself, “I need to get back into doing just that!” And there you have it, the subject that I was getting at with my segue 🙂
I’d like to challenge myself to blog daily, whether it be short and sweet or long and thoughtful. I’d like to put my thoughts down in writing and reflect on them. Of course there is the “looking back” factor, too! It will be interesting to remind myself of what I was up to over time. I find writing therapeutic and it’s how I express myself best.
Back to self-care, that’s a vital activity for EVERYONE. It comes in many forms, and different methods work for different people. Playing a part in the human services field where one lives for helping others and giving themselves to a common cause, one needs to take a step back and take the time to help themselves, as well! You can’t pour from an empty cup. Remember to charge those “batteries” so you don’t find yourself “out of service” 🙂