Friday, August 29, 2014

Tops and bottoms

Yes. That's right. There is an actual store in Boston called Boston Tops. Imagine that. A store that sells Boston tops. What will they think of next?

Apparently it's a clothing store in one of the terminals at the airport here.

Remember the post I did on Boston Butt? I would so love to open a store next to it called Boston Bottoms.  But maybe in between the two, a store named Boston Versatiles.

And then watch peoples reactions. And then see who shops in which store. LOL

Have a nice Friday! Oh, and Happy Shopping!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Making progress

I am very happy to say that Matty and I had a wonderfully relaxing day yesterday! And I also have some exciting news (at least to me) to announce about some steps forward for me.

So we decided to go pack a picnic lunch and go canoeing on the Charles River. The day was really hot (I think it got up to 90F) and Matty (as usual) couldn't wait to strip out of as many clothes as he could get away with in public!

As soon as we got out of his truck, his shirt was off in like 3.5 seconds after his feet hit the ground. I was waiting to see if he had maybe worn a Speedo under his shorts but that was all that came off. I didn't find out till we got home later that he went commando, so that was one clothing item he did away with before we even got there!

We both were so happy to be together for this little excursion and watching all his excitement was really thrilling to me. It's so easy to be happy and excited when Matty is outdoors doing something fun. He's like a little kid -- all bug-eyed as he visually surveys the river and gets the ice chest from the truck bed and then heads to the building where you fill out the paperwork and pay for canoe rental.

Once we got the life jackets, cushions, and paddles, we then walked down to the water to pick up the canoe and hear some safety instructions. Even though Matty is certified to teach sailing, canoeing, and kayaking, we both listened patiently and thanked the kind lady for her help, and off we went!

Notice I haven't mentioned anything about my state of dress or undress. That's because normally when we're out in public like this, I usually keep my t-shirt on. I've mentioned before about some body image problems I have, plus I'm a somewhat self-conscious about my appearance in public anyway. I know it's not good to compare myself with others, but most of the other guys there were shirtless (including Matty) and I always feel like I'm not in as good shape as everybody else. 

I'm not in all that bad shape, but I'm kind of slim and not all that muscled up. I'm not exactly a bean pole, but it's pretty obvious I don't spend a lot of time at the gym. Well, here's one of the big announcements I mentioned at the beginning of the post. I decided I was going to push through my reservations about taking my shirt off and just do it. I didn't have it off in the same 3.5 seconds like Matty, but it was off about 10 minutes later. At my own pace. When I felt ready.

I have to be honest and say I was super self-conscious at first but I was determined to push through this and even pretend I was totally at ease, even if I wasn't. And that seemed to be the trick. Plus when Matty looked around and saw me, he actually stopped what he was doing, slightly tilted his head, and gave me a little smile and wink. It was also at this point I suspected he was probably commando because, well... you know! LOL 

He knows I'm somewhat self conscious about being shirtless when there's a lot of people around, so he didn't make a big deal about it. But he did keep turning around and looking at me -- not in a highly obvious way to anyone but me. And that actually felt nice and helped me relax a little more.

So the other announcement I wanted to make is that I decided recently to start letting my hair grow out a little longer that I usually wear it. I haven't decided how long I want to let it go, but probably somewhere in the direction of a long, straight shag, something in the neighborhood like this the pic to the left. (It was actually a little startling when I found this pic because his facial features sort of resemble mine. When I showed it to Matty, he actually did a double-blink and said it almost looks like me.)

I'm thinking eventually I might even like it to be a little longer. That way I can play around with it some and eventually decide all the different ways I might be able to style it to fit whatever mood I might be in. If I'm in a boy mood, then it'll be perfect, and if I decide to femme it up some, then I'll have that option, too. Not exactly sure how this is going to play out yet, but it's kind of exciting to finally get rid of my short cut and let myself have some more options.

I'm still not completely at ease with my overall body image, but I feel really proud of myself for staying with this issue and making some choices to get more comfortable. Like the sign at the top of the post says, Practice makes progress, not perfect. I'm not even aiming for perfect. I'm just trying to give myself some freedom to make progress in feeling better about my body and my appearance -- something that makes me comfortable. And that really, really makes me happy. 
See? I'm getting there!Emoji

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Spending time together

I'm writing this late Tuesday night and Brad and I are thinking about doing something fun today (Wednesday). Brad has the day off, and I'm thinking about playing hooky from work.

It's really difficult for me to call my boss with an excuse when I really have no legitimate reason for not going in -- or at least a reason my boss would think perfectly acceptable to miss work over.

But Brad is free and I really, really want to do something fun with him. He often works the late shift at the restaurant so we don't get to spend as much time with each other in the evening as we'd like.

It's nice to think about maybe sleeping in late, going out for lunch, deciding on something like visiting a museum or even just exploring one of the many state parks or reservations. Or going canoeing or sailing on the Charles River in the afternoon. 

I'm going to figure out something to tell my boss about why I can't come in and hope it sounds convincing. Maybe I should just tell him I need a day off to tend to some personal matters and leave it at that. I have a hard time making things up, but telling him I need to take care of some personal things is actually true. It's just that he doesn't know the specific details which is that Brad and I want -- or need -- to spend some enjoyable time together.

Anyway, I'm sure I'll get this worked out in my head because I'm really, really looking forward to a day off in mid-week to spend all day with my honey. Plus, we start school again next week and things will start getting a little more hectic.

Do you guys sometimes feel guilty about taking a day off every now and then? I mean, I pride myself on going to work every day, not only because I really do enjoy what I do, but they also count on me to be there. I sort of feel guilty for letting my boss down but guys call in all the time and he just makes adjustments in the schedule and work tasks and life somehow seems to go on. :)

Hope everyone has a good Hump Day! See ya tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Look what's happening!

Now I'm charged!

And how do I feel?

My post yesterday, and all your responses, ignited something in me. Well, I guess I was already ignited with some passion after that Ken Burns film. Plus, maybe some of my passion has been simmering for a long time due to the writing I've done here on my ADHD.

But yesterday when I posted about my intention to give serious thought to writing something for kids who have ADHD, my brain WILL NOT STOP COMING UP WITH SO MANY IDEAS!!!

Not that I'm complaining! I'm not. But I've been almost flooded with so many thoughts about what I can do with this!

Maybe I'm just in an initial excited stage that will go away at some point. I mean, THIS is what happens when I discover something new that highly interests me and that little ol' ADHD brain of mine goes into overdrive! I'm ALL OVER THE PLACE! In a good way.

I LOVE all the ENERGY that comes from something like this. Something that grabs my attention and I run with it. It's almost like my brain becomes a "heat-seeking missile" locking in on it's target. And it almost literally feels like NOTHING can stop me!

Okay. Take a deep breath! Get your emotions and rational brain working together. (You just got a little glimpse into my hyperactive brain at work!! HA HA!)

But right now I'm just going to stay a while in the Happy part. This is fun and exciting.

Brad was telling me last night maybe this is how he's been feeling about how his Chef is mentoring him. There's all this excitement that makes you feel an important part of you is opening up and coming alive now.

And how his dad is finally making the effort to repair or improve their relationship. Brad has been feeling so energized by all this. And rightly so! It's been really nice watching him go into this new energy where he begins to see all the possibilities of what might be.

Here's something my brain came up with at this exact moment:

Write something for teachers. I mean, I think I could explain what helped me settle down and helped me learn and be more engaged. And how to get my attention and keep it. And if my attention span shuts down, here's how to get it back. And I know it's hard to be patient with me when I'm bouncing all over the place, but here's how you can focus me without even one ounce of shame...

I won't bore you with all the things going on inside my head, but if you look up there at that little graphic thingy at the top, the one on the right is sort of how my brain feels to me right now!

I know I'm right at the beginning stages of this project and I have my work cut out for me as I research what's been written and what kind of market there is for this kind of thing, but right now...  

 I'm charged!
Can you tell? LOL

Monday, August 25, 2014

My announcement

Well, here's the big announcement Brad was referring to this past Saturday.

You know I've been writing a good bit about how I really, really want to work with kids. Especially kids with ADHD or kids who have been -- or are being -- bullied.

Ever since I saw that Ken Burns film ("The Address"), I haven't been able to stop thinking about volunteering or doing something with kids who have ADHD. 

And then I poured my heart out when I wrote that post about how the film affected me. The one where I finally collected my thoughts and feelings after being overwhelmed with so many emotions [Episode of overload]. If was after writing that post that I resolved I had to do something with this passion of mine.

So here's my announcement. I'm still checking into some opportunities to volunteer my time locally, but I can't stop thinking about writing a children's book for kids who have ADD or ADHD. So the essence of my announcement is I'm seriously thinking about writing something.

I want to be clear. I haven't even taken this to any steps beyond just thinking about it. I have no idea what the finished thing would even look like. It might end up being a very short picture book with text for very young children to read, or for parents to read to their child.

Or it might end up being a little longer "traditional" book for kids in the 8 to 12 year old range.

Or maybe something that's a little more serious and has more depth to it for high school kids. This age group is not really what I'm focusing on right now. I think a book for high school kids would need to be more of a traditional story with maybe a character written into the plot. I don't know, I'm really, really drawn to something for younger kids. But we'll see.

I know first hand what it's like to be a young kid with ADHD. I know what it's like to be a kid in middle school with ADHD. And I know what it's like to be a student in high school with ADHD. All the challenges trying to tame my brain. Trying so hard to make friends when my brain is making me jump all over the place. Trying so hard to keep friends. Trying to fit in and be a part of things when it took so much effort to get my brain to understand how to make sense of what was going on around me.

Trying not to see myself as broken and damaged goods because I had to take medicine to fix my brain. Trying not to stand out and draw attention to myself when I couldn't sit still for longer than 15 minutes. Trying not to come across as a goofball or even worse.

It's a hell of an experience. But you know what? I think I might be able to write something that would help kids see they're not the only one who has ADHD and thinks all the jumbled thoughts that go with it. And maybe I'd be able to show how a character starts to see the ADHD in a more positive light. I get a little excited thinking about some plot ideas that show how the character goes from seeing himself as broken and damaged, to whole and unique.

The other idea is to make this a universal story. At this point I'm not even thinking about how to work in an LGBT theme. Maybe I'll change my mind about that later, but I want the story to have a universal appeal with a character any kid would identify with.

So, there it is. Again, I'm just committing myself to think about doing this. Whatever I decide to do, whether it's volunteer my time locally, write a little something for a parent support group, or write a book of some kind, I feel driven inside to do something. And the idea of donating any proceeds from it to maybe a support organization for parents with kids who have ADHD really excites me.

I'll be keeping you posted and probably running ideas by you for your feedback. You can't imagine how excited I am to begin thinking about doing something like this. Writing about my own ADHD here on the blog, along with the Ken Burns film, was just the impetus I needed.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sundays with Sam: Welcome RICK!

[Hi every one. This is Sam writing this little introduction. I'll get out of the way in just a second so Rick, my BOYFRIEND, can say hello! I am so happy he wanted to write a little some thing to say Hi to every one. I told him he could write some thing really short or as long as he liked. So this is what he came up with. And can I say one more thing before I let Rick take over the post? You guys would LOVE him if you ever met him. And one more thing, and this is to Rick: I love you, baby. Okay, now Rick is in charge:]

Hi! I guess you can tell my the post title, that little cheesy hello sign I found, and Sammy's introduction, that this is Rick! It's very nice to meet you and I hope I can come up with something that won't sound too dorky! :)

When Sam told me about all the posts he's written for the blog I was a little nervous at first because I figured my name might come up a few times and I guess I was a little selfconscious. Then when I read the first one where he talked about how we met the first time, it was really interesting to see how he described what he was thinking and all that. I was so nervous that first time we met because when I first looked over and saw him having trouble starting his car, my heart started beating like it was going to explode. I mean I couldn't stop just staring at him. I've never had that kind of reaction when I saw a goodlooking guy before. I remember going over to see if I could help him with the battery or whatever it was but believe me, the closer I got to him, the more nervous I started feeling. I mean, here was this really, really cute guy and I wanted so bad to chat him up and see if I could get a read on him. So it was interesting to read how nervous he felt when he saw me coming to his car. I smiled during that whole post he wrote!

Well, when Sam told me about writing for the blog, he showed me the very first thing he wrote and I started with that one and read them all the way through without stopping. I had so many different reactions to what he's been sharing and thought I would just add a few observations from my standpoint.

I'm not ashamed to say I was in tears at various times. The only way I can explain it is by saying I always get a little emotional when Sam talks about things that he feels from his heart. It can be something really sad and I start tearing up, or it can be something he's super excited about and I get filled up with so much joy and excitement that I can get really moved. He has this incredibly honest way of talking and by that I mean there's this purity and innocence that always makes me want to treat each word with as much tenderness as I can. It's a little hard to describe but there's something that makes me want to hear each word with a sense of awe. He never uses throwaway words so I always know everything he says has very special meaning and believe me, I could literally sit and listen to him talk for hours. When I tell him this he gets a little embarrassed and selfconscious but I love how he talks about things. And you should hear how his voice sounds. He hooks me every single time.

I'm probably not going to write a whole lot because I've never written anything like a blog post before but I just wanted to say a couple more things. The first thing you need to know about Sammy is how strong he is, and I'm not talking about his physical strength, even though he's got plenty of that since he does landscaping for his job. But I'm talking about his inner strength. I have ideas about where he got all that and I think he's taken a lot of trials he's been through and learned plenty about himself and how to be strong even though he had to do a lot of hard work by himself.

But he also has this amazing and awesome tenderness about him that I love so much. But don't ever for one second think that tenderness means he's weak or fragile or might break. It's really the direct opposite. Man, he's a lot stronger than me. He's made me stop and think about my own life a lot harder than I ever have before. And I swear whenever we need to have a serious talk about anything you can tell in his eyes he's going to stay with it until we get to wherever we need to get to. He does not give up. That's just not in him, and I love seeing it and I've learned so much from him.

Another thing about my Sammy is his unique sense of humor. Sometimes when he's on a roll I literally go into tears because I'm laughing my behind off at his humor. I swear I have no idea how he comes up with his unique take on things. You should trust me on this. He has a wicked sense of humor that seems to come out of nowhere and almost always catches me off guard every time. And his face goes into all kinds of expressions when that humor comes out. And his eyes. If I wasn't laughing so hard at his humor I would just be staring at his eyes because he can almost tell a whole story by watching his eyes. It's almost like his eyes are laughing along with his words. And on a side note, he has the most beautiful and striking eyes I have ever seen on a guy before. If it wouldn't be so awkward and weird, I think I could just stare at his eyes for an hour without him even saying one single word and at the end of that hour, I could probably tell you everything he was thinking.

There's so much I could tell you about him but maybe I'll see how this post goes and maybe share some other things later. I guess you may have noticed I didn't say all that much about myself and that's because for this post I wanted to keep this on Sam and tell him how special he is to me. There is no hesitation on my part when I say I am a better person because I know him.

But before I go I want to make sure I say one more thing and this is extremely important to me. It was amazing and all kinds of awesome for me to read every single comment all of you leave him each week. I've spent the past two weeks going back and rereading everything Sam wrote. And then I reread every comment under all the post that you guys leave him. I have to make sure I have a box of tissues close by because how you guys support and encourage him means the world to me. There was one night he was sitting next to me while I was reading a couple of his posts and he was trying to rush me through what he had written. And that was because he was so excited for me to read the comment section. When he sits with me to read the posts and the comments you guys leave him, we have to make sure there's two boxes of tissues because when he tears up, I look at him and I start tearing up. All of you are so amazing.

So the next to the last thing I'd like to say is Thank You for being a part of Sam's life each Sunday. I know it means a lot to him, and I want all of you to know it means a lot to me.

Now the very last thing I want to say before I go is to My Sammy. You hear me say all the time how much I love you. And I don't say those words lightly. It's not just a phrase I throw around because I'm suppose to. Every time I tell you that it comes straight from my heart. And my heart is not only a lot stronger because of you, but it's more alive than it's ever been in my whole life.

I love you, my BOYFRIEND. I love you, my Sammy. Always and forever.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

An announcement coming

We have one more week of FREEDOM before we return to school, but that's not the big announcement I'm making.

Matty almost didn't want me to say anything, but I finally convinced him to let me at least give everyone a heads up about an announcement he plans to make this coming Monday. 

I reminded him of how he is the Master of Cliffhangers so he's allowing me to at least make this little announcement today. He agreed I could do this on the condition that I didn't make it sound like there's something earth-shattering coming. So I have to include this sentence in order for him to okay me telling you that "something" is going to be announced this coming Monday: It's not earth-shattering.

Okay, with that out of the way I'm free now to say from my own standpoint: I think it's a BIG announcement and I'm so very proud of him.

So be sure to tune in on Monday!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Just so you know

I still have a few more posts to write about the things I'm celebrating in my life now.

I just wanted to take a moment to return the Thanks to all of you for the incredible
words of support I've gotten over this past week.

And your excitement for me fills me with joy.

You truly help brighten my day.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

My evening in heaven!

Those immortal words by Chef
in his toast to me. :)
I won't keep boring you with post after post about the dinner party at my Chef's home. But...

I wanted to just share something about that wonderful evening and tie it in with what my dad told me. I feel like I've been on such a high since both these things happened because it's done wonders for my self-confidence and enthusiasm for my future. So I'm going to try and keep riding that feeling for a while, so please allow me that little self-indulgence! LOL

I know my post yesterday had a really different tone to it, but in a way it's all part of the whole picture. See, in yesterday's post I told you about my dad saying some extremely validating words to me -- words that mean a lot to me. "Proud of you." He's never said that to me before. Ever. No matter what happens from this point on, I hope I never forget those words.

And then at Chef's dinner party, I was included in his toast before dinner: "...and to Bradley, an up and coming chef to watch." This Chef is pretty well known in culinary circles, so these words coming from him hold a lot of weight. And they meant a lot to me. Maybe in a different way from my dad's words, but they still meant a lot to me.

So I was talking to Matty about what Chef said and what my dad said and sort of waited for his brain to play with those two phrases. I just knew somehow that's exactly what he was going to do. He had "that look" on his face when he goes into "brain play." And I LOVE to watch his brain at play. He's got this really interesting and creative and playful brain that once it's in motion about something important to me, is exciting to watch.

I was telling him I didn't think I would ever forget what both my dad and Chef said to me. I told him both of those short phrases were etched in my brain forever. So I knew Matty was about to let his brain out to play because he had this sort of twinkle in his eyes, a very slight grin on his face, and he said to me, "Say both those phrases again -- kind of softly." And then he closed his eyes (don't you just love this?!! THIS is what always happens when he lets his brain out to play), and I repeated both of them again.

He leaned back on the sofa, kept his eyes shut and said, "Say them again. Slowly." So I did. And watched him. And waited. (Now I was smiling. I LOVE watching this process at work. He looks really deep in thought like an artist composing a painting, or a composer orchestrating a song, or an author visualizing a scene.)

Then he said, "They don't even know each other and yet they both see something incredibly important in you. Chef sees an 'up and coming chef to watch,' and your dad is so 'proud of you' for following your dream to be a chef. Maybe Chef got a toast from his mentor when he was your age and he's passing it on to you. Maybe your dad never got 'Proud of you' from his dad, so he knows what it's like not to get that, so he's learned something and he's giving it to you."

Matty said all that while he was leaning back on the sofa with his eyes closed. When he opened them and saw me staring at him with some tears going down my face, he leaned over and pulled me into a really tight hug and just let me cry. He didn't say one single word but just rubbed my back with one hand, and ran his hands through my hair with the other.

I had thought the toast I got from Chef at the dinner party was my evening in heaven. And I had thought hearing my dad say, Proud of you" was my evening in heaven. And those two things were heaven for me.

But the other night when Matty pulled it all together and held me tight -- that was my third Evening in Heaven. I'm going to remember all three, but the one from My Matty had a specialness about it I will treasure forever. I know we're in this together. 

Regardless what happens with my culinary career... regardless of what happens between me and my dad... I have My Matty all the way.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Living my dream

It's been fun getting lots of support and excitement from my family about the new things happening with my job. I knew my mom and sister would be really happy for me. I also knew my dad would probably be happy but was a little anxious about how he would show it.

I was floored when he told me some things he wished he had done instead of going into law. That totally caught me off guard. And I found myself feeling a little disoriented while he was telling me this. I'm not sure if I can put it in words, but hearing him talk about some of the dreams and interests he had when he was my age felt, I don't know, very personal and almost "intimate."

We've never had talks about this kind of thing before, so this is new territory in a way. It was almost like talking to a stranger and I actually started getting anxious. But I tried to relax and give him credit for opening up to me a little more.

When I was getting ready to go home, my dad told me, "Proud of you." Something just went through me when he said that and I almost started crying. I could barely look at him because I knew I'd be a blubbering mess. I just said, "Thanks" and left it at that and headed out the door.

I did start crying on the way home. It felt like sad tears and happy tears and relieved tears and all of those mixed up together. I got home and told Matty and it was then that I really broke down and cried my heart out.

I don't know if it was some kind of breakthrough, but it felt really good to just let all that out, you know? I like where everything is headed with me and my dad. I'm still a little cautious and on edge, but it feels like it's moving in a good direction.

That sign up there sorta applies to my job and my relationship with my dad.

I feel proud of myself for letting my dreams about my career be bigger than my fears.

And I feel proud of myself for letting my dreams about a better relationship with my dad be bigger than my fears.

It means a lot to me that my mom and sister are proud of me.  But there's something about my dad being proud of me that seems to be in a different category. Maybe because we've been estranged for so long and it carries a different kind of weight or something. I'm trying to take it in and cherish it, but also aware that all this is so new I feel like I don't know what to do with it. That might not have come out clear. I guess it's not all clear to me yet, but I'm remaining hopeful.

It's amazing what those three words from my dad mean to me. "Proud of you." I guess I'm feeling proud of him for trying. And proud of me for giving him the chance.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Authenticity and truth

When I first saw this quote, I decided I wanted to write a post about it. Something about it spoke to me. But a funny thing happened when I was trying to find my focus. So many thoughts went flying through my head that I couldn't find a landing spot for any of them.

It's just two short sentences, so I tried to write a very short summary that might address what it means to me. And I couldn't even do that. Again, I got flooded with so many different thoughts and feelings.

Does "showing up authentic" relate to the second sentence, "Walk in your truth"? It seems to be, but now I'm even more all over the place. "Walk in your truth."

I need to give all this some more time before I write out a lot of sentences that sound like I know what I mean.

At this point, I guess not knowing exactly what this quote means is okay. Maybe "showing up authentically" and "walking in my truth" is extremely complicated. Or maybe it's pretty simple.

Maybe it will take years of concentration to figure this out. Or maybe it's right under my nose and I'm missing it. Or maybe it's both of those things.

I don't know. Sometimes I feel like I overthink things. Like this quote. Maybe there's not a whole lot to figure out.

I'm just going to sit with this for a while. I really like quotes like this. This one makes me think. It also makes me feel.

Most important of all, it makes me feel alive and vibrant. I kinda like that, too.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Up and coming? Oh wow!

Designed by Kari Higa,
Artist Extraordinaire
So here's a little glimpse into the dinner party two Saturdays ago when I was invited to be "Co-Chef" at the home of the Chef where I am a Server.

I think I'm going to stretch this experience out to maybe three or four posts over the next week or so. I mean, there is so much I want to tell you.

And if you remember, Kari (whose art is on display up there) listed some questions about the party she was interested in. And those questions, Kari, were absolutely perfect because they really helped me organize my thoughts. Otherwise, I would be ALL over the place! LOL

Her questions (which inquired about Auntie Deedles' suggestion about how I could properly relax) were these: 

Kari: So here are the things my inquiring mind wants to know..
1. Did Deedles' relaxation technique work? {see below}
2. How many guests?
3. What was his kitchen like?
4. What was on the menu?
5. Did you and the chef chitchat while preparing or was it all shop talk?
6. What new techniques did you learn?
7. Your favorite dish. Please don't tell me Boston butt.. Hehe
8. Did Matty take off his clothes?
9. Topic of conversation at dinner.
10. How you celebrated your successful evening.

Deedles: The key is to relax. Here's Auntie Deedles' tips on relaxing (whether you want them or not).
1. Sex. Get those endorphins working.
2. Shower. Invigorate that body!
3. Shower sex. 
4. Put on soft music, read or nap.
5. Wake up sex.
6. Bubble bath (sex is messy).
7. Massage, no happy ending. You may be cooking wet noodles, you don't want to become one!
Just put your mind to fun mode and enjoy yourself! If tomatoes are thrown pick 'em up and make a salad :)

So I'm going to cover all of these, but today I want to tell you about how I helped with the menu AND about the TOAST Chef made in my honor! (OMG, yes, you heard that right!)

He basically decided to have a simple dinner since this was at his home and he didn't need to impress people with any food artistry like he does at the restaurant. So for the main dish, he chose a simple Chicken Florentine. It was so interesting to see him prepare it because he didn't need to follow a written recipe! I mean, duh! This man is a professional Chef with a huge reputation and years of experience! He could probably prepare a meal in his sleep!

He basically roasted the chicken, removed the bones, pan seared it with roasted garlic, homemade chicken broth (not the canned stuff), butter, cherry tomatoes, and spinach. And then..... he looked at me and asked if I had any suggestions to give it a summery feel. I swear I almost peed my pants right there on the spot! I mean, he didn't ask in a way that felt like a test or to put me on the spot. He just asked it in a casual way like he was genuinely interested.

So I suggested some kind of lemon glaze, maybe a little on the strong side. Why I said "...a little on the strong side", I have no idea. It's just what occurred to me in the moment. Then I started freaking because I knew he would think I was waaaaaay out of my league. But he just raised his eyebrows a bit and said, "Perfect. Let's go with that." 

I got a little lightheaded with excitement when he said that because coming from Chef, that is a HUGE compliment -- and validation -- or something!! So we made a lemon glaze (that was a little on the strong side!! LOL) and it turned out perfect! And was a big hit with the guests!

The chicken was so frigging moist and tender, it's like it melted in your mouth. And the lemon glaze? Well, it was perfect if I do say so myself! LOL He served it with some delicious garlic mashed potatoes, garnished with some Spanish paprika, and decided on a Francis Coppola chardonnay. He decided on that wine because he said it's light and citrusy. 

When we got to the table, Chef got everyone's attention and offered a toast to moi. Matty will have to tell you the exact wording but it included the phrase, " up and coming chef to watch." OMG! I literally almost spilled my drink and passed out. That would not have been a pretty picture. Falling head-first into my plate! OMG!

Okay, stay tuned for more. Over the next week or two I'll be adding a few more episodes. The most important of which is what I learned about myself. I'll just say this for now. I am very proud of myself and feeling more hopeful about my future. :)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sundays with Sam: Wanna meet Rick?

Hey every one! It's Sunday and time for Sam-I-Am once again.

So I have a little announcement. Ready? Hold on to your seats.

I decided to tell Rick, my BOYFRIEND, about my Sunday posts here on Brad's and Matty's blog. For a long time I was not sure whether I was going to tell him about it, not because I felt I was doing any thing wrong, but I guess in the beginning (before I even saw his beautiful face) I thought this would be a good way for me to talk about my feelings and how things were going in my life. I do a lot of writing in my personal Journal because the counseling program I am in asks us to do that.

But I figured my writing here would be a little bit different because I didn't know many gay people and most of the straight people I know are hateful towards people who are gay. And Brad and Matty said every body who reads their blog is extremely supportive and caring, so I decided to do this in order to get some more support in my life.

And believe me, that has certainly come true. I always look forward to coming here each Sunday and letting you know some of the things going on, and then I have so many comments I get to read through over the week. Well, I mean, I read all of them during Sunday and especially Sunday night, but then I always go back during the week and go through them again. They mean so much to me.

So getting back to Rick. I decided to tell him about my posts because I am very proud of what I write about. And since meeting Rick I feel like you guys know a lot about him and how sweet he is. So I told him about my posts and sat down with him while he read each one. And he was in tears by the time he got to the last one I wrote. I mean, tears of joy and happiness. He said he loved reading what I wrote and gave me so many compliments. I have never shown him my personal Journal, because the purpose is for me to write about any thing on my mind, including dark stuff and good stuff and any thing I want to get out of my head.

So I asked him if he would like to write a post where he could say Hello, but he said he didn't want to take any thing away from why I was writing them in the first place. And I looked at him and said, "Well, sweetie, I am only asking if you would like to write one post to say Hello, not to take over each Sunday!" HA HA! He is so cute like that! You guys are going to LOVE him! LOVE HIM! But not the same way I do! :)

So he got a kick out of that and said he would! He is still not sure what he wants to say, so I said he could just say, "Hello. I'm Rick. Nice to meet you. Goodbye." And you should have seen him laugh at that one!! HA HA.So he said he would think about what he wanted to say and maybe next Sunday you guys can say hello to him. He said he is thinking about sharing some of his memories about the time we first met or maybe just some general things about why we are perfect for each other (SEE? See how sweet he is?!!!).

Any way, if he gets it all written up by next Sunday, then you will get to meet him and I am so excited, especially if he says all kinds of good things about me!!! HA HA Just kidding there. Seriously, I told him he is free to say what ever he wants, and he can make is short or what even length he wants. It's up to him.

Okay, that is all I have for today. If he does not get it ready for NEXT Sunday, then hopefully it will be ready for the following. I hope he gets it ready for next week. Want to know why? Because I am SO EXCITED about you meeting MY BOYFRIEND!!

Hope every one has a great day and a great week! Love and Hugs from Sam-I-Am!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Happy weekend!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! This has been such a busy week for us we decided to just be low key this weekend.

We were talking about what we wanted to do that would be relaxing and Matty said he wanted to watch horror movies tonight!! You see, Matty actually finds them relaxing and calming!! Yep. Relaxing and calming. He said they help focus his mind and somehow help him "organize" his emotions so they're not all over the place like they get sometimes when his med is wearing off at night. Thank goodness he's not all that keen on recent horror titles, because some of those are too scary and make my anxiety go on high alert. That one about the Chain Saw Massacre and the Elm Street Nightmare are completely off the list!

He loves watching some of the classic ones like, Nosferatu, made in 1922, or even the Hitchcock film, Psycho, which I guess is horror/suspense.

I'm still trying to come up with some titles I might find relaxing. I think I might be in the mood for a romantic comedy or even something classic like To Have and Have Not with Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart. I was reading about the real life love affair between those two. And it might be a nice way to pay tribute to Ms. Bacall's life with the news of her death this week.
To Have and Have Not
So what about you guys? What's happening this weekend?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Chef Bradley on the go!

Hello out there! I've been dying to tell you guys about the dinner party from last Saturday. I was planning to write things up before now but some good news has happened and it's kept me pretty busy.

The good news is that the Chef talked to the owners and general manager about me! I had no idea he was going to discuss me with them, but he did. He told them he wanted a guarantee that they would do everything they could to keep me there! Can you even believe that?!!

Apparently he told them all about the dinner party at his home and how I was his co-chef and how much potential I had as a chef! I had no idea he was going to talk to them because me didn't breathe a word to me about it.

So the owners called me in early one day and said how pleased they were with my work as a Server and then told me what Chef said. I think I must have turned a hundred shades of red and was totally speechless because it totally caught me off guard! Can you even believe that?!!

So they wanted to talk to me first before approaching Chef, but they wondered if I would be comfortable with them asking Chef if he had any ideas about how he might use some of my time in the kitchen!!!!

I literally almost started crying right there on the spot, I was so taken aback and almost in shock! I just said something like, "I'm just... speechless. But, yeah, I'd definitely be interested in that."

So they said they hadn't talked to him yet and didn't know if he would be keen to the idea, but would get back to me.

So Chef was definitely interested and all of them had a little meeting and came up with a proposal for me to start off spending an hour in the kitchen at the beginning of the dinner shift three times a week. It would be an opportunity for me to help get the kitchen ready for the shift and to go over the menu and -- are you ready for this? -- to get my input! This is almost unbelievable!

So I started the other night and I was so excited and stressed I almost couldn't shift gears back into Server mode!

You don't know how much this means to me. This is like getting a jump start in culinary school. Or, like being in my very own personal "informal" culinary school. I know that one hour is not that much, but it feels like a full shift! There's some kind of Department of Health regulation about how I can't handle the food, etc., so he's letting me watch and explain things and I can ask questions!

I still want to write up about the dinner party because that led to this new development and I really did have a great time last Saturday. Chef even asked my opinion about what ingredients I thought might give the main dish a summery feel. So I told him what I thought and he raised his eyebrows and gave me a slight smile and said, "Perfect! Let's go with that." At first I thought he was kidding, but he was TOTALLY SERIOUS!!

So please bear with me while I write all this up. I'm so excited to tell you about the party because there were a few other things that happened that I just need some time to get down right. {I'll give you a little hint of one of them: Chef toasted me in front of everybody! OMG! I have never been toasted before! OMG}

I'm so excited and proud of myself. This has kept a big smile on my face and given me all kinds of confidence. But I really want to write this up in a little more detail, so stay tuned!