My 29th Birthday Celebrations

1 Sep

My Lakota Chocolate Mint Cake

Two weeks ago, I approached my 29th year of life.  For the big birthday, I went out to eat at Bamboo, a hybrid Chinese/Japanese in Burlington with my younger brother Keith and his girlfriend Malorie.  My meal consisted of chicken wings, veggie egg rolls, and sushi.  The two types that I had for my supper were the California Roll and The Red Sox Maki, which consists of spicy king crab and mango, which is topped with tuna.  I have been to Bamboo in the past and have enjoyed their food very much.  To top off the night, I had my favorite kind of cake, a chocolate mint cake from Lakota Bakery in Arlington. I had a piece of the cake, along with Lakota cookies and a few pints of Ben and Jerry’s Boom Chocolatta! Cookie Core and Empower Mint ice creams.

The next day, Friday, I headed down to Marshfield for my vacation week. During the vacation week, I spent most of the days at the beach with my parents.  On Monday, the 22nd, we did a day trip to the beautiful Cape Cod town of Chatham.  In Chatham, I got to see the beaches and dunes, the local Lighthouse, and the exteriors of the exclusive Chatham Bars Inn Hotel.  The dunes and beaches were very majestic with beachgoers on the premises and additional tourists hoping to get a nice view of the ocean.  Later on that morning, I purchased a Chatham T-shirt with a whale on the back side and a Martha’s Vineyard Black Dog at a store in Chatham Center.  Chatham was lovely, and I hope to visit more Cape towns like Wellfleet, Dennis, Orleans and Truro in the near future.

Chatham Lighthouse

On Friday, the 26th, I headed over Amanda Smith’s, my brother Brian’s fiance, family’s house in Hingham to have dinner with them before Brian, Amanda, and I headed to the Bruce Hornsby concert at the nearby South Shore Music Circus in Cohasset.  Our supper was made up of steak tips, corn, vegetables, and salad.  As always, Amanda’s parents, Lisa and Jim, were happy to see me, as well as the family dog, a golden retriever named Summer.  After dinner, Brian, Amanda, and I headed over to the Music Circus to see Bruce Hornsby perform.  Originally, my cousin Kaylene and her boyfriend Kent were going to attend the concert with me, but Kent had to serve at a friend’s wedding down The Cape, so he and Kaylene couldn’t make the show.  The three of us got to see Bruce Hornsby himself make his entrance into the venue.  It was an exhilarating experience getting to witness Hornsby enter the arena.  During the show, Hornsby played a mix of his classics and newer songs, including “The Way It Is”, “Every Little Kiss”, “Look Out Any Window”, and even a song that he co-wrote with Don Henley and played piano on called “The End of the Innocence.”  We also got to see Amanda’s Uncle Billy and Aunt Amy outside the concert and socialized with them for a little bit.

Me at the Bruce Hornsby concert in Cohasset

Finally, on Saturday, the 27th, I had my 29th Birthday Party at the beach with friends and family.  Brian and Amanda visited me, as well as Brian’s friends Rich Kei and Mark Aldo, and relatives including Aunts Noreen and Karen, cousins Luke, Henry, Sean and Matt, and my friends Nate Baynes and Keith Anderson with his girlfriend Meghan Levy and their cute white golden retriever puppy, Bradley.  The beach was really nice that day and I dove in the ocean quite a few times with Brian, Amanda, Rich, Mark, and Sean.  The ocean floor was filled with large rocks and decent waves.  It felt refreshing to go in the water on such a warm day in the late summer.  Keith and Meghan’s puppy, Bradley, was very playful and enjoyed hanging out with me and my friends and family.  It was such a glorious day at the beach and I look forward to more birthdays look this one.

Me with friends and family on my 29th birthday

I received a good amount of gifts for my last year in my twenties.  Perhaps, the most interesting that I received was an inflatable dog named Reggie from Rich and Mark.  With Reggie, I have found a new companion to have in my life. I have also received gifts including a Shipyard Pumpkinhead plaque and Amazon gift card from Matt, a Vineyard Vines outfit and gift card from Brian and Amanda, pumpkin beer from Uncles Larry and Kevin, and a Newbury Comics gift card from Sean and his wife Debbie.  To top off the day, I had a delicious vanilla almond cake from a local bakery in Marshfield called Sweet Cakes, which has always been a favorite of my family.  My 29th birthday was such a wonderful time and I hope to have many more exciting birthday celebrations in the future.

Me blowing out the candles of almond vanilla cake

 

 

My 4th of July Festivities and the Bob Dylan concert

19 Jul

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In the past few weeks, I had at least a few momentous events going on in my life. Summer is my favorite season and there is no shortage of activities to celebrate during this warm time of the year. I celebrated the 3rd and 4th of July in Marshfield at my beach house as a part of my annual tradition. I like to watch the fireworks go off near the beach on the night of the 3rd with many family and friends. I also got my chance to see the legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan in concert at the Bank of Pavilion in Boston on July 14th. It was my first time witnessing Dylan in a concert venue and I felt very honored to go the show.

During the weekend of July 1st-4th, I headed down to my summer house in Marshfield to get ready for the big 4th of July festivities. On the morning of the 3rd, my older brother Brian and his fiance Amanda came down to Marshfield for the weekend, as well as my cousin Chris and several other relatives and friends. During that warm afternoon, we went down to the beach to socialize and go in the ocean and take long walks. On our walk, I encountered three beautiful mini labradoodles and their owner. The dogs are named Cocoa, Zoey, and Sailor. I learned from the owner that he has a son with autism and that the dogs are good for people for allergies. The owner has his breeding organization based in Plymouth. I have always wanted a dog, but have not able to get dogs of various breeds due to allergies to thick fur, saliva, and dander. I may look into getting a mini-labradoodle.

The evening of the 3rd began with catered Italian food from Mamma Mia’s in Marshfield. The cuisine featured such delicacies such as chicken parmesan, lasagna, and a broccoli-pasta combination. The desserts consisted of treats like a patriotic themed chocolate chip pie and cake. Then came the celebration of the fireworks. I watched the fireworks from the porch of my grandmother’s cottage just two blocks up from my house. I observed the fireworks with Brian, Amanda, Chris, Keith, my cousin Tim and his girlfriend Emily, and several other family members. The fireworks were very exciting and came in an assortment of various beautiful colors. I managed to some great photos of the fireworks in the distance. I concluded the evening by heading to a friend’s house to watch a house concert that was being performed by the Red Evans Band. They played many different covers of popular songs of the past few decades.

The next day, the 4th, started with really great and warm weather. At the beach, I got to see additional family members such as Aunt Karen and Uncle Dan, along with Cousin Sean and his wife Debbie, his brother Matt, and his sister Kaylene with her boyfriend Kent. It was fun to dive into the water on this warm summer day, as talking with friends and family about things going on in our lives. I stayed at the beach until a little bit after 6 and enjoyed some drinks with Brian, Amanda, Chris, Karen, and Dan. The food for the 4th consisted of traditional summer dishes, including clam chowder, burgers, and lobster rolls. After the supper ended in Marshfield, I then headed back to Billerica, and on my way home, I saw some even more great fireworks bursting driving through Boston.

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On the evening of July 14th, I headed into Boston to go see Bob Dylan at the Bank of Pavilion near Boston Harbor. I first went out to eat at Babbo Pizzeria with Brian, Amanda, Amanda’s parents Lisa and Jim, Amanda’s aunt Laura, and Laura’s son Willie. It was Willie’s 24th birthday and we had pizza and pasta for his birthday. I tried a delicious meatball pizza for supper, along with the pasta. After dinner, I headed over to the Bob Dylan concert with Lisa, while Laura, Willie, Jim, Amanda, and Brian went back to Brian and Amanda’s apartment for the time being.

The Bob Dylan concert opened with Mavis Staples. Mavis performed some of her hit songs for the warm-up. She got the crowd dancing and singing along to The Staples Singers’ signature song “I’ll Take You There.” After Mavis left the stage, the legend himself, Bob Dylan, showed up to the stage to perform his music. He wore a cowboy hat and played guitar, piano, and harmonica that night. Dylan played a mix of old and new songs, including “Things Have Changed”, which won him an Oscar for Best Song for the movie “Wonder Boys”, as well as “Tangled Up In Blue”, “Beyond Here Lies Nothing”, and towards the end, one of his best songs, “Blowin’ In The Wind.” For a life-long Dylan like me, it was great to hear him sing a wide variety of songs that he wrote during his long and industrious career. I hope to see more Dylan shows in the future, as well as checking out concerts from other music greats.

 

 

 

 

 

My new Perceptions of My Life poem

20 May

Here’s my brand new poem.

Scott

My perceptions of life are quite unique
I pursue the daily challenges with a different set of senses
Constantly bothered by strange noises and strong smells
Staying focused by using my own defenses

I like to approach life with my own innovative vision and outlook
Trying to process and decipher new sounds and stimuli
Wanting to adapt to changes in my surroundings
Hoping to respond like any ordinary guy

Every new situation presents its own challenges
Always searching for the proper cues on how to respond
Never sure what the right approach should be
Sometimes, feeling like I never find the right key

I hope to explore new adventures on my journey
Seeking to meet new people along the way
And wanting to adapt to unfamiliar places
I would like to keep developing new goals every day

Everyday, I try to master the autism puzzle
Knowing that I am doing the best that I can
Adapting to the daily grind
And hoping to provide others with a realistic plan

My Autism and Poetry speech in Marlboro and The Dirty Dottys win the New England Music Awards show

24 Oct

Me at the Autism and Poetry Summit in Marlboro

Last Saturday, I gave a speech to discuss how autism and poetry allow me to become my own best advocate for the autism community. It was held at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel & Trade Center in Marlboro. I was encouraged to participate in this event by my job coach, Orlando Torres, after seeing an email in my inbox detailing a conference for self-advocates with intellectual or developmental disabilities to participate in and choose the topic of their expertise. Since I have written at least 10 poems in my life, I figured that it would be good for me to join this event since I use my poetry to reach out to others in the autism community and among my neurotypical family and peers as well.

At around 11:30 AM, I gave my speech about autism and poetry entitled “Do It the Write Way!” In the presentation, I mentioned how I use my poems and songs to become a strong advocate for people with autism and how the creative process for my poetry works. I talked about my poetry helps to express my true inner emotions and that I would like my songs to help change people’s perspectives of people with autism. Songwriters like Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen have influenced my way of using expressive language to describe my personal feelings about the subjects in which I discuss in the poems. I also mentioned how I like to discuss the rough drafts of my poems with my family and friends to see if I’m going in the right direction with the rhythmic patterns of the poems. In between slides of the presentation, I did a question and answer question to get their reactions of wanting to know how my poetry works. I concluded the session by reciting two poems of mine called “Just a Normal Day” and “Acceptance of Autism” and then asked the audience to try to come up with poems of their own to get a feel of the creative process.

Later on that Saturday, I headed over to Boston to join my brother Brian and his girlfriend Amanda to attend The Dirty Dottys show at the Hard Rock Cafe for the Finals of the New England Music Awards show. The band is fronted by Julie DiOrio, a talented vocalist and guitarist of whom I attended high school with, along with Ellie Foster and Maura McGillicuddy on backing vocals, Austin Arroco on trombone, Jonathan Kessler on the drums, and Danny Teza on the bass. I have previously seen the Dottys at least 5 times, including at Temple Shalom Emeth in Burlington, The Aeronaut Brewery in Somerville for their album release party around Christmas last year, and a few other locations in the Greater Boston area. They had previously won the Semifinals at Hard Rock on September 18th during a battle of the New England bands competition. After winning the Semifinals, I felt obligated to attend the Finals round to continue to show my support the band.

At around 9:30 PM, Brian, Amanda, and I arrived at the Hard Rock Cafe to get ready for the Dottys’ set to commence in the New England Music Awards Finals. We met up with Amanda’s friends Katie Phillips and Allie Miller in the main stage room. After listening to a few of the other runner up bands in the Finals, it was time for the Dottys to take the stage. We were very excited to see them perform and danced and sang along to their catchy soul, rock, and ska infused tunes. The band performed songs such as “Shaky House,” “Not to Call,” and a few other memorable songs. At around midnight, it was announced that the Dottys had won the Last Band Standing prize for bands in Massachusetts. I congratulated them on a job well done and made sure to spread the message to family and friends.

My 28th Birthday

23 Aug

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This last week, I turned 28. It was an eventful week of fun activities and memorable moments. I got to hang out with various family members and friends during the course of the week. Most importantly, I viewed my birthday as another new chapter in my life.

On Friday, August 14th, I attended the Bruce Hornsby concert at Boarding Housing Park in Lowell with my cousin Kaylene and her boyfriend Kent Taylor. Like me, Kent and Kaylene are both avid Bruce Hornsby fans and naturally, I accepted their invitation to the concert back in April. Kent and I were just a few feet from the legend himself. Bruce played an amazing combination of both his newer songs and classic hits such as “The Way It Is,” “Mandolin Rain,” and “The Valley Road.” He also had a great backing band to create the wonderful combination of musical versatility. Bruce himself is very adept at playing instruments, including the piano (his primary instrument) and the Appalachian  folk dulcimer. Hornsby also told amusing anecdotes about his personal life, including the fact that his son Russell doesn’t really like the school aspect of life. This inspired Hornsby to write a song about his son’s encounters in school. We all had a wonderful time at the concert and it was an experience I’ll never forget. On the way home from the concert, I introduced Kaylene and Kent to the music of The Lone Bellow, an alternative country/folk/roots rock band. I hope to see The Lone Bellow in concert someday.

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The next day, I had a birthday party at my summer home in Marshfield. I got to see many friends and family, including my brother Brian, Brian’s girlfriend Amanda Smith, cousins Matt, Luke, Pat, and Henry, Aunt Noreen and Uncle Chuck, Brian’s friend Rich Kei, and Rich’s girlfriend Meg Mahoney. I also got to meet a new female companion of Matt’s named Danielle, whom Matt met through week. She is a very nice person and got along really well with me and my relatives and friends. The beach weather was nice that day and it is always fun to socialize with company at the beach. The food  for my birthday consisted of chicken parm calzones, hamburgers, Chinese and chicken sausages, and a chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream cake from Dairy Queen. My birthday gifts consisted of items such as Ray-Ban sunglasses from Brian and Amanda, Shipyard Pumpkinhead beer and Nordstorm gift certificates from Matt and Danielle, Vineyard Vines clothes and a picture frame of me and Ollie, Meg’s white golden retriever, and birthday cards from Noreen, Aunt Kathy and Nana, and Uncles Larry and Kevin.

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Sunday morning was an interesting birthday week day for me. I got to see my cousins Luke, Chuck, and Henry, the three sons of Noreen and Chuck. That morning, I got to meet Chuck and his girlfriend Alice’s black Pomeranian, Gumshi. Gumshi means “black” in Korean. He is a very friendly dog and pretty easy to handle. Gumshi is not much of a barker and seems to like being held by me. I love meeting new dogs and I do hope to get a dog that is similar in temperament and size to Gumshi.

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Finally, my actual birthday arrived on Tuesday, August 18. I reached my 28th year in my life. I received plenty of well wishes on Facebook, in email, and in texts. My favorite birthday post on my Facebook wall came from a photo that Amanda posted of her golden retriever, Summer wishing me a happy birthday with a sign that was placed onto her front body. I went out to eat at Assaggio in the North End with my family. I had a great chicken parm dinner with salad on the side and white wine as my drink of my choice. My parents also got to visit Brian’s new apartment in the North End on Commercial Street and got to visit the rooftop of the apartment as well. The night concluded with my family singing “Happy Birthday” to me and I had a delicious birthday cake dessert of a chocolate mint cake from Lakota Bakery in Arlington. In my 28th year, I do look forward to gaining even more new friends and hope to pursue more career activities and opportunities.

Doggy Adventures poem

30 Jul

Doggy Adventures

Jumping up and down to greet you
Wagging tails and running out to play
Playing fetch and tug of war
Devouring little pieces and big bones

Taking walks across the neighborhood
Meeting new friends of diverse breeds and sizes
Going for an afternoon swim in the pool or at the beach
Getting sad when guests have to leave

Good at standing still and sitting down
Discovering new places and smells
Drooling at the sight of food
Barking at people when they pass on through

Bringing joy to owners and friends
Having fans of various ages
Sticking heads out of car windows and doors
Anticipating life’s next stages

My July 4th Weekend in Marshfield

7 Jul

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This past weekend, I headed down to my beach house to Marshfield for the 4th of July weekend. I got to see many of my cousins and aunts and uncles, as well some friends of mine. The fireworks were very spectacular and a joy to see on this eventful weekend. I also had the opportunity to try new activities during the weekend.

I headed down to Marshfield on the morning of Friday, July 3rd with my parents. At a little after 10 AM, I arrived at my cottage and was greeted by Brian and his girlfriend Amanda. My cousin Chris, who is a Marine at Camp Pendleton in San Diego, happened to be around for the weekend. An hour or two later, Keith entered the house with his girlfriend Malorie. The guests at the cottage was then completed when Brian brought down his two rooomates Rich Kei and Mark Aldo for the weekend.

The weather was nice that morning and we all headed to Fieldston Beach just up the street from my house. During the day, I got to meet my cousin Liz’s boyfriend from Yale Medical School, Nate. I discovered that Nate enjoys hobbies like lumberjacking and hiking and was pleased to know that he also enjoys the same type of music and artists that I listen to, such as The Beatles and Bob Dylan. I even got to play the frisbee esque game of Kanjam, which Keith had purchased online and wanted to use as a fun game to play on the beach and in the backyard of Nana’s cottage. For supper, I had nice meals of foods like chicken parm, eggplant parm, salad, and lasagna.

A few hours later, the big moment would happen on the beach. Many fireworks were bursting from left to right all over the beach and let off some incredibly loud sounds and majestic colors. I first observed the fireworks with Brian, Amanda, Rich, and Mark from the backyard of Nana’s house before heading to the sea wall to catch an even better glimpse of the fireworks. Watching the fireworks on the sea wall is always a truly breathtaking experience and this year was certainly no exception. I always hoping that the fireworks celebrations would never end and hoped that the night lasted longer. I concluded the night by stopping by my friend Nate Baynes’ house in the same neighborhood for some post fireworks  festivities.

The next day was another incredible day of the weekend. Even more relatives of mine would stop by at Nana’s cottage for the day. My aunt, Sheila Carney, brought down her chocolate lab mix dog Dublin to Nana’s house. Amanda’s parents, Lisa and Jim Smith, also came down to Marshfield for the day with their three year old female golden retriever, Summer. Summer and Dublin got to visit both my house and Nana’s house on Saturday. Summer was very playful and always enjoys the company of me, my brothers, and my relatives. Dublin is a shyer dog in temperant, but I was also very delighted to see her and even got to play with her a few times during the day. I had a very nice supper of steak with salad with a dessert meal of vanilla cake from the nearby Sweetcakes shop in Marshfield. After the guests had left for the evening, I concluded my weekend by listening to Ray Charles’ rendition of “America the Beautiful” and Hall and Oates’ cover of “Hot Fun in the Summmetime” on YouTube. July 4th is one of my favorite weekends of the year and is a wonderful time to get together with friends and extended family members.