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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 26th Birthday and NYC Trip this past weekend

24 Sep

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On August 18, I turned the ripe old age of 26.  For my birthday, I went out with my family to Jimmy’s in Arlington, a favorite restaurant of mine. I had a nice chicken parm dinner with linguini and bread with a side order of salad with blue cheese.  The following weekend, I hung out with my brother, Brian and his friends Phil Gustin, Rich Kei, and Amanda Smith at Tia’s in Boston. The next day was even more exciting, I saw many of my relatives at my cottage in Marshfield and received wonderful gifts from them.  My aunt Noreen gave me a delicious Reese’s cake for a treat and Sheila and her family made Rice Krispie treats with vanilla ice cream and caramel in it.  Both on the beach and later in the evening, I hung out with my friend Caitlyn DiSanto and her friends from Burlington and college. I gave Caitlyn and her friends copies of the Arc’s newsletter that featured my poem about All Aboard The Arc! back in May. Through Caitlyn, I made some new friends throughout the course of the day in Marshfield and hope to see them again this fall.

This past weekend, I went with my parents to NYC for a weekend trip as part of celebrating my parents’ upcoming 30th wedding anniversary. It also did feel like an extended birthday present for me.  We stayed at the Dream Hotel in Midtown Manhattan on the 10th floor. During the weekend, we visited many sites throughout this great city and I felt a strong desire to visit as many places as I could in NYC.  I would also check out various interesting restaurants and culinary flavors the city has to offer.

On Friday evening, I would catch up with my cousin Catie and her friend Jackie at a bistro called Papillon. There, I told Catie about how my birthday went, how my family members (immediate and extended) and friends have been doing lately, and we even had a lengthy conversation about our personal celebrity encounters in life. I had seen Harry Smith of NBC News, formerly of CBS News, on his way to a bank machine in the NBC Studios building, since earlier I was on a tour to see the skyline of the city from the top of Rockefeller Plaza.  Saturday was perhaps the most eventful day of the trip. That morning, my parents and I did a boat taxi ride tour to see the Statue of Liberty. Seeing Statue of Liberty was truly exhilarating since I got a great view of the Statue from the boat and this experience was made memorable with Frank Sinatra’s “Theme from New York, New York” playing in the background.  I made sure to get a memorable photo of the Statue with me and my parents.  Later on that day, I would go to such places as the 9/11 Memorial, Tribeca (where Robert De Niro has his film festival), Greenwich Village (near where Catie lives and the folk and bohemian capital of the city), Little Italy (where I ate pizza and tried a new sweet treat called a cronut, a mix of croissant and donut), Carnegie Deli (where I had a great pastrami reuben that was extremely filling), and finally to conclude the evening, my parents and I enjoyed a nice rooftop view of the city, including Times Square, from the top of the hotel.

Sunday morning and afternoon was the final day for us in the city. The main highlight of the day was going to a tour of NBC Studios in Rockefeller Plaza. The pages showed us the sets of Nightly News with Brian Williams, the news operation room, SNL, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and Football Night in America. I had noticed that one of the pages had an Autism Speaks puzzle piece pin and told her about my experiences on the autism spectrum and my poems about autism. The page encouraged me to send my poems about autism to the crew at Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to help gain more exposure about the message of autism through poetry. Finally, at the end of the day in NYC, I enjoyed nice two slices of pizza from Famous Original Ray’s Pizza, located near the Dream Hotel. NYC has so many pizza places named Ray’s that it was difficult to keep track of all the locations. I hope to come back to this city in the next few years and also hope to visit cities and places like London, Chicago, LA, San Diego, Montreal, Vancouver, Ireland, Toronto, Italy, Seattle, Paris, and Texas.