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My 30th Birthday Celebrations

29 Aug

During the past few weeks, I entered my fourth decade in my life as I turned 30 on the 18th. As soon as I turned 29 last year, I felt like I had a good sense of what would life could be like in my 30s. I celebrated this milestone year first with a surprise party organized by family and friends on the 12th, then on the 18th with a night out at the upscale Mexican restaurant, and finally on the 19th, a family run party for me in Marshfield. The days were filled with many excitable moments and was a great introduction for life in this new decade.

On the afternoon of Saturday, August 12th, I attended my second cousin Tim Murphy’s annual summer cookout with my family at his house in Cohasset. Not only did my immediate family attend, but also my Aunt Lorraine and many relatives from Dad’s mother’s side. It was also joyful to see Tim and wife Courtney’s two young daughters, Vivianna and Francesca, at the party. After the cookout ended, I headed into Boston to stay at my older brother Brian and his wife Amanda’s apartment in the North End. I initially thought Amanda was going to go out to dinner with her friends at a work a nice restaurant, but I would be in for a surprise later on that night.

The night began with discussion that Brian and I would meet his friend Rich Kei at the local restaurant/bar The Living Room for drinks. When Brian and I walked into into The Living Room, we were approached by friends and family members who carefully hid in the main room at the restaurant. It was at this moment that the guests yelled “Surprise!” to me. The guests consisted of Mom, Dad, my younger brother Keith, Amanda’s father Jim Smith, Brian and Rich’s friend Anthony Leone and his wife Sarah, and Amanda’s friends Liv Fahey and Marisha Gadowski with her fiance Spencer.

Me with the gang on my surprise party

At the surprise party, I received many great gifts from friends and family. They included a framed picture of me with Amanda’s golden retriever Summer, a dog themed calendar, and several cases of beer. There were also delicious foods, such as buffalo chicken apps and birthday cinnamon French toast sticks, and a mostly 80s music playlist supplied by the DJ. The guests and I were dancing to the music that blared from the background and we talked about what 30 years of life has meant to me. The surprise party was a truly great event and easily one of my favorite birthday parties of all time.

On my actual birthday, Friday the 18th, I went to out to eat at Besito, an upscale Mexican restaurant located inside the Burlington Mall. I went with Mom, Dad, Keith, and Keith’s girlfriend Malorie. Brian and Amanda were unable to attend since they were at a friend of Amanda’s wedding in the Cape for that weekend. I chose this restaurant since it fell on the annual Restaurant Week of August in Massachusetts. For the meals, I got quesadillas and several small tacos. I enjoy Mexican cuisine and choosing this place was ideal for my big 30th birthday.

Me with Dublin and Eddie on my 30th birthday Last but not least, yet another birthday party took place, the following day, Saturday the 19th. Mom and I set up my grandmother’s beach house in Marshfield to include special 30th birthday materials. Many of my relatives showed up including my cousins Siobhan, Ryan, Henry, Luke, Connor and Dylan, as well as Keith and Malorie, Aunt Lorraine, Aunt Sheila and her husband Bob, Uncle Sean and his wife Lynne, Aunt Kathy, and Uncles Larry and Kevin. There were even canine visitors in the form of Dublin, Siobhan’s chocolate lab mix and Eddie, a Brittany Spaniel mix. The party was held at Nana’s house since my beach house is still in the process of being revitalized. The beach that day was warm and foggy, but pleasant weather for the day.

This year, my birthday cake was a chocolate mint chip cake from Sweetcakes in Marshfield. I am a huge fan of chocolate mint cakes and this cake was no exception. The earlier dinner had consisted of chicken parm and other Italian dishes catered from Mamma Mia’s in Marshfield. I received even more gifts that day, including an Alexa speaker from my parents, several checks, a golden retriever logo themed koozie and golden retriever themed pillow from Siobhan and several Amazon gift cards. It was a fabulous birthday celebration filled with many great people and a few dogs as well and a true day to remember.

 

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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.