Archive for Me Time

Growth and Change

// May 30th, 2011 // No Comments » // Animals, beach, Canon, diet, Exercise, friends, health, Health and Fitness, HIV and AIDS, Homeless Outreach, Me Time, Pictures

JAZZ & ART @LACMA 046This long holiday weekend  has been awesome. It started with jazz at LACMA and today it ended with an awesome day of picture taking with my friend Franklin, who was just one of my friends who helped me kick my weekend off. All I can say is that I’ve had an amazing, fun filled weekend.

Franklin and I have been spending lots of time together and I must say that it has been simply awesome getting to know him better and spend so time with him. I already blogged about how I met Franklin and already talked about some of the things he deals with in his daily life. It has been so cool to watch him open up and grow, so cool to watch him move from someone who barley spoke a word to someone who talks and smiles, so cool to watch him go from someone who stayed in his dark apartment, to someone who now calls me about going on picture safaris.

It is simply so amazing to watch how the gift of friendship can help to change things for someone. How simply showing up and refusing to allow someone to waste away can mean the world to the life path that someone is on. This is why the word “friendship” means so much to me and why I never just throw the word “friend’ around.

My friends are all straight and all couples,  newly weds with a baby, while another has been married a few years with aJAZZ & ART @LACMA 089baby on the way, another couple planning a wedding and the last couple has been together for a very long time. They are all great people and to be very honest they are great friends, not just supportive of me, but of my community work as well.  At times I feel like a third wheel, even though I know when they ask to hang out they truly want to see me and have some hang time with me.

Until Franklin I had no single friend and with him I get a friend who is not only single, but we also share the common interest of photography, jazz, classical music and so much more. Like me, Franklin is HIV positive, so there is just one more thing we have in common and one more thing we can help to support each other through.

For the past two months, maybe three I’ve been thinking of how I am going to grow and change, not just my organization, but in my personal life too. Just last month I had a great HIV check up and in order for that to continue I need to make certain I am doing everything I can to keep my body healthy and stay off HIV medications.

Purpose 118To address this I have been back on my bike and taking longer walks with Dodger, I am also doing all that I can to address more healthy eating habits, however doing this is a huge challenge on government assistance, but I am doing all that I can. The main thing is that i am making certain in get rest and plenty of exercise.

In addition I am also removing people, places and things from my life that only serve as distractions and yes, even problems or drama. This is going to be key in my overall health and well being. It’s funny to me how once you make your mind to be a better person all the way around, people, places and things start to work against you. All of the sudden people you never hear from are now calling, people, places and things start to do more to show up and be distractions and this is where I need to make certain I am clear in where I am going and what I want to accomplish.

The cool thing is this, with getting rest and more exercise I have seen major changes in my mood, my energy and my Sickle Cell is not given me that much of a problem. My days seem to be more full of energy and my stress level is very low. I seem to be smiling more, if that is possible for someone who smiles all the time.

Now let’s talk about my outreaches because they too are changing and I am adding an addition to my HIV outreach.

Do Something Saturday~that empowers people

This is my oldest and most visible outreach and for the past four years I have run this outreach out of my own pocket orMalibu Logoon State Beach 122 efforts combined with the backing and support of my friends and supporters. It’s been awesome and the people I have been able to reach has been great, but it is time to step it up and take this outreach to the next level.

I dont mind sharing my ideas or even talking with friends about what I want to do or how I can help them. But I must say that my feeling get hurt when I my ideas at work in organizations that do not even respect people like me. My feelings get hurt when I see people collect awards for an idea that was mine, but simply because they have the backing of some non-profit or people with deep pockets.

These past three months I’ve had to really swallow my pride and set my feelings aside and know that my ideas are at work making things better for people battling HIV and AIDS as well as people who are homeless or transitioning from homelessness into having their own place.

I’ve always said I do not so this for someone to call my name or to get some award, however it does not feel good to see other people take credit for my idea or something I’ve worked damn hard at. I simply does not feel good.

So no more will I allow organizations who wont even allow me to volunteer for them, take my ideas and use them for their good only to line their pockets and flip me or even people like me the middle finger.

I will say this as I have said all along, you cant help people if you do not speak with them and seeing what I have seen and reading what I have read from 4 very different mega funded organizations really makes me angry, but not in a bad way, i that makes sense. It makes me angry enough to do more, push harder and raise my voice that much more, so that people who are seen but not heard have their concerns addressed.

Malibu Logoon State Beach 193I am adding a support group for people battling HIV or AIDS to my Skid Row outreach. I am just so sick and tired and hearing the same old tired line from the “community” and even people at “ASO’s” when it comes to addressing the needs of people who are greatly affected by HIV and AIDS.

No longer will I wait for people to return emails after I’v sent several and even had face to face conversations with such people. I will no longer accept “they are out of my SPA area” I will no longer wait while HIV and AIDS continues the path it has always been on unchanged since the start of the HIV and AIDS pandemic.

After reading this you will understand why I need to remove some people, places and things in my life that only take up space and offer up nothing. I can not allow my health to fail me because I am not doing all I can to remain in good health.

Tomorrow is day 1 in the journey of positive growth and change for both me and my organization.

Today I ended my awesome weekend at Malibu Lagoon State Beach. I am uploading the 344 pictures I took and the video of the day is already live on my youtube channel. I will share the other surprise later this week in either a blog or vlog.

I hope you all have had a great holiday weekend.

Changing

// May 27th, 2011 // No Comments » // Animals, diet, Exercise, friends, health, Health and Fitness, HIV and AIDS, Me Time, photos

Purpose 146There has been so much taking place in my life. Like some of my friends I am experiencing a shift in life which requires me to “be still” It is also requiring that I look at people, places and things in my life that no longer serve a purpose….to be honest some of these things never served a purpose, but I just wanted to hold on to them. That is no longer going to happen.

It’s always so funny to me that right as I am about to experience a breakthrough in my life, people, places and things will come around or reappear in my life to only serve as distractions to take my eyes and attention away from where they should be. Now these people, places and things come in many forms, but none the less they are distractions and I can not allow them to trick me off my center.

One thing I know for sure about God is that he does not need to announce himself to me. He does not need anyone to tell me that he has sent them. You see I am his child and I will know if God has sent something for me. It’s always funny to me how people invoke God into their mess and then act as if you are not supposed to know it.

This week I’ve spent more time being present and listening to things around me. I spent time making sure that where IPurpose 210spend my time and energy is something that is fruitful. There is no point in me toiling in a field that will never bear any good fruit. Now I know this will go far over the heads of many, but for those of you who fully walk in love and light you know full well what I am talking about.

I’ve also been making certain I take more time out for me and not spending my time worrying about things I have no control over. I’ve been making certain that I am getting proper rest, doing my best to eat better and get far my exercise in so that I am able to move forward with the work I am doing.

It has been awesome to simply go to bed and get some rest. I can’t even begin to tell you just how much this has changed my mood, my spirit and this I can carry with me throughout my day. I realize that not everyone is going to understand and even care about what I have to say or what it is I am doing and that is ok. As long as God understands then I have nothing else to concern myself with. See with God I can do all things and with God I am the majority. I do not need to seek any other permissions or ask anyone else but God.

I’ve been enjoying the rich friendships I have in my life, I am taking the time to smile a bit longer, hug a bit stronger and live my life a bit better.

I am making no time for confluma (confusion and drama), I am not entertaining people, places or things that do not set well with my soul and I am not apologizing for it. I am not making time for people, places or things that only seek to distract me and I know what distractions look like, how they sound and yes I even know they will come bearing gifts and even say they are from God.

Purpose 401I am staying on my center and my center is God and I will not be shaken off, rocked off, pushed off, shoved off or tricked off my center.

Each day I pray from a hedge of protection around me and I know that there are people who pray the very same prayer as well. I ask God to bless me when I am in the city and while I am in the field. I ask him to be a fence all around. I ask him to protect me and guide my foot steps.

As I move to embark on my new journey in the outreach work I do for people battling HIV and AIDS, I know I will need to be rested, I know I will need to be on top of my game, but I also know I must ask God to bless the work and me.

If you are watching my Flickr page then you see I am spending more time with my camera in hand. I also working on creating a photography book and hoping to put together a photography show of my work as well.

Blessings

Relaxing

// May 14th, 2011 // No Comments » // Canon, friends, health, Health and Fitness, HIV and AIDS, Me Time

Friday Photo Safari 004Since my last trip to the hospital I have followed the instructions of my doctors to the letter. I was told to rest, take it easy and try to reduce stress and also to find a way to relax. I have done just that.

I dont recall if I blogged out my last HIV check up or not, I’m pretty sure I did, the results were awesome and I was so pleased to hear this. Everything that was of some concern when my blood was taken for the labs was laid to rest with the results. So the past two weeks I have done my best to continue this trend of great health.

It’s funny how certain people who say they are close to me have not even picked up the phone to call or check on me, while others have gone far and above to visit, hang out and all else. However I did not allow myself to get worked up or even worry about it. It is what it is or as Ma use to tell me “sometimes people don’t want to be bothered with all that may be going on with you.”

I recall getting a message from someone who hinted at me needing depression meds, this person happens to be on them as well. Now this is not the first time someone has said something like this, but each time this has come from someone who takes such meds and after making such a statement they vanish into thin air never to be heard from again.

However this time I did have a heart to heart with a good very good friend of mine and after that conversation I didFriday Photo Safari 020speak with my doctor about the possibility of me being so depressed that I need meds for it. In defense of my dear friend, she did not hint or imply this at all, however the other person did because she felt I was crying far too much. Apparently crying is a sign that someone is depressed and in needs of drugs to control them.

Just as I told the people who have made this suggestion in the past, my doctor once again confirmed the fact that I do not need any signs of depression that requires me to seek out meds. However just as I have always said I do get depressed from situations, but this always passes once the situation works itself out. Anyone who has gone through anything and certainly anyone who has been through what I have is bound to have some situational depression. This is not cause to go sounding the trumpet or alarm that the person needs meds to help them deal with things in there life.

My great grandmother “Nana” as we called her use to say that misery not only loves company, it also demands it. I have to say that each time I have had someone already on meds to control them suggest that I need them as well, they also tell me which meds to ask for. As if this is some sort of recruitment or celebration that someone else is taking meds just like them. Which brings me to my final point on this topic. There are certainly people who have a chemical imbalance in their brain that would require them to take such meds, but there are also those who simply just need to learn some basic life skills instead of depending on a pill or several pills to correct something they can correct themselves.

Friday Photo Safari 035It’s been awesome hanging out with friends, going to lunch, dinner and even on picture safaris. This week alone I have already gone on three and tomorrow I am planning to go on one alone. I must say that several people have asked me to hang out tomorrow, but none of them have confirmed if in fact they truly want to do this. The old me would check in and make sure, but this new me is no longer begging people to come hang out or follow through on things they set into motion.

It is always so funny to me how people say things only to not mean a damn word of what they have said. They simply wanted to say something and they could care less if what they say will be taken to heart by the person they have said it to. For example; “please call me if you need anything” or “I will be there for you when you need me most” and then the one I really hate, “please let me help”

So today was yet another day filled with pictures and the company of a friend. I’ve truly embraced and enjoyed theDowntown Los Angeles 218peace in my life and the coolness of the real people in my life. From my awesome friends I’ve made through YOUTUBE, this blog to the crazy, sexy, cool friends in my daily life. My life is rich and truly blessed.

Praise God

Stay Focussed

// March 9th, 2011 // No Comments » // Animals, Chef, Cooking, friends, health, Homeless Outreach, Me Time

Do Something Kits 016As I have said before here and even on my youtube channel, getting my final pay check from Tri Delta Sorority has been like pulling teeth. After several calls to the house director and several emails to the house president all of which went unreturned, I finally called an attorney who was more than happy to help me with this matter.

It’s really too bad that things ended this the way they did. As I have said before working for the girls was cool, but the house director was something completely different and to be honest I can see why she doesn’t stay at one job for more than 2 years. I was in the office when my attorney friend called her and she acted as if she didn’t even know who I was or what she was being asked, but she quickly changed her tune when she was asked for a number for her boss.

After spending far too much time dealing with this mess I came home and went for a very long walk with Dodger. Before leaving the my attorneys office, she reminded me that my health was something I needed to stay focussed on and not to allow this to discourage or upset me. I do have some money saved up, but I know it wont last long, so not getting my last check is really starting to bother me. However I did listen and hear what it was she was saying to me.

After walking Dodger I took some pain pills and reclined to take a short nap. I had not been sleep for an hour when someoneDo Something Kits 008knocked on my front door. Dodger barking and running to the door made it hard for me to ignore it and go back to sleep. I went to the door only to see the smiling face of my friend Bradly and his two kids, they even had their little dog in toe. I totally forgot they were coming over.

He is very much aware of the situation with Tri Delta and had called to spend some time time with me just to take my mind off things. He also wanted to drop by some items for Do Something Kits. Since I had the help I opened the door to the closet where I keep the bins with the items in it and asked if he would be willing to help me organize them. He said yes and two hours later we were done.

I cant tell you just how much it meant to me to have a friend stop by to help me stay focussed on something else. It was also nice to see his kids and spend some time catching up as well as laughing. Before they left the girls asked if they could talk about me and the work that I do in their class when they return to school. I smiled and say “yes” and this is when they began to tell me what they would say. Now his kids are 9 and 10 years old, they know about my Sickle Cell, battles with cancer, my 29 months of  homelessness and even my HIV.

Do Something Kits 010They talked for a bout 10 minutes and by the time they were done I could feel the tears about to fall from my eyes. I gave Bradly a hug and kissed them goodbye. When I closed the door the tears just came on like a flood gate had been opened. I could not even fight them or control them. The things they said were so kind and pure, to be very honest they were innocent and very raw at the same time. What made me cry was that here were two kids only 9 and 10 years old and they had such love, respect and compassion not just for me, but towards people in general. I was crying because I dont know many adults that have this. My tears fell even more when I thought of them growing up and the innocents about them is replaced by life and how it can change a person.

It wasn’t long before Bradly called to make sure I wasn’t crying for too long. I laughed when he mentioned it and he told me how much his kids as well as him and his wife think the world of me and what I do. He told me not to allow the actions of Tri-Delta and their director get the best of me. He reminded me that I am far better than that and what I do for people in need is far better then cooking for people. “God will always make a way for you Louis, he always has and always will. Trust this”

I reclined back and started to drift off when Dodger jumped into my lap and began to lick my face. Dodger always seems to find a way to make me smile, even when I don’t feel like it. He put his little head on my chest looking up at me, closed his eyes and began to snore. I laughed to myself thinking how protected and loved he must feel. I stroked his little body and said “I love you Dodger.”

Today was yet another day where I needed to kind my mind busy, so after my long walk with Dodger I made the rounds toDo Something Kits 009stores to get some items to help round things out for the Do Something Kits. Once I got back home I walked Dodger again and then began to put the Do Something Kits together

In all I was able to make 26 kits, 9 of them are for women. It was so relaxing to sit on the floor and prepare the kits. I had some jazz music in the background and I even made time to make a youtube video. The sun had already began to set by the time I was done. I even had time to clean the rest of the closet out and thanks to my friend Tina and Andy I will be doing a Sunday Dinner this weekend for homeless people here in Hollywood.

As I started to clean up I was reminded of something my friend KoKo said to me about a week ago and that was no longer having that job will allow me far more time to do what I love to do. She is so right. While not having a job is never a good thing as far as income is concerned, but as far as my overall health and well being is concerned I know I made the right choice and I know that things will all come together and I will be just fine.

I refuse to allow some job to hold me captive or cause my health to fail me. I refuse to allow some sick woman cause me stress and I refuse to allow some little girls with no real world experience treat me like I am so dirty dead animal laying in the road. It’s funny how they said they loved me and cared so much for me, but that love and care is taken away when I do what is right for me, taken away when it comes to paying me my final check.

Do Something Kits 014From here on out my focus is on my work and nothing else and just as my friend Bradly reminded me, God will always take good care of me, just like he has done my entire life.

Now let’s just hope and pray that my transsexual neighbor will not be fighting with her crack head boyfriend all night and I am able to get some much needed sleep and rest.

Hot Saturday

// March 5th, 2011 // No Comments » // Animals, Canon, Cooking, Me Time

Saturday, March 5, 2011 023It was a hot day here in Southern California and a perfect day to get out and have some FREE fun with my friend Walter. We were talking on the phone Friday night just laughing and catching up when he told me about the Chinese Lantern Festival in Downtown Los Angeles. So we made plans to link up and hang out together.

I met Walter through the community work that I do and it is always so funny to how I hear people say such silly things like “you can’t be friends with the people you are trying to help” I think this is simply a lame and backwards way of looking at things and truly the wrong way to look at how to help people. Now I am in no way saying that you can be friends or that you will ever develop a friendly relationship with everyone you encounter. What I am saying is that when you close yourself off to the possibilities in life, you tend to miss out on things and even some amazing friendships simply because you made the choice that someone in need is not worthy of friendship.

Right away Walter was someone who welcome me and the work I do and soon we developed a dialog that has led to a great friendship. He is someone I truly admire and have a great deal of respect for. I was so excited when we made plans to hang out together to take in the Chinese Lantern Festival.

The event itself was great and the fact that both of us learned so much about Chinese culture in such a short time and it was alsoSaturday, March 5, 2011 028 a time for me to share with Walter the richness of Los Angeles and this Golden State. It is always so cool to share the place where I was born and raised with someone who has moved here and may not know all the amazing things there is to know about Los Angeles. This city has such a rich and vibrant history that I love to share with those who are interested.

There was so much to see and do, but first we had a small modeling session and then the fun began as soon as we turned the corner and it lasted until we said our goodbyes on the Red Line Train home. Whenever I have the chance to hang out with Walter I have a great time and we are always laughing and learning so much about each other. Each time I walk away knowing that this young man is more than just a sexy body and a beautiful face. His beauty goes much deeper than what you see on the surface and I am so happy that I get to see the many amazing sides to this brilliant young man.

After laughing and getting an awesome short tour of the Chinese American Museum we headed out into the main courtyard where we took in some dancers and made our rounds at the food trucks. After checking out the menus we made the cool choice to eat at Komodo food truck. WOW this little gem certainly got it right. The lady on the truck who took out order was so cool and made our experience so much fun. We were so excited to come back and eat the awesome food they had to offer.

Saturday, March 5, 2011 124No day would be complete without a walk through Olvera Street and visit to the beautiful Union Station. While taking pictures, eating a pink cookie and laughing I had the chance to once again share some rich Los Angeles History about the area and what it was like growing up here in Southern California. While talking with him I couldn’t help but think back to the conversation I had with my friend KoKo where we were saying how very blessed we were to have grown up in Santa Monica and have been raised in such a beautiful and culturally rich city. Many places talk about their vibrant cultures, but Los Angeles is simply the place to live among the worlds people in one area.

After our tour of Union Station we jumped on the Gold Line Train to take a quick look of China Town before we headed back to Union Station to jump on the Red Line Train to call it a day and make plans to see each other tomorrow for yet another adventure together.

I was looking forward to getting home because before I left I got a gift box in the mail from my friends Kim and Nicole. I had noSaturday, March 5, 2011 168 clue what they had sent, but I knew it was for my outreaches to homeless people or people living with HIV or AIDS. I was also missing Dodger and I really wanted to get home to take him for his evening walk and then chill on the sofa watching TV with him.

Today was a great day and I had the chance to spend it with a great friend and tomorrow thanks to two great friends I get to spend a portion of my day helping people in need. When I told you I have some amazing friends in my life I truly meant that and each day they help me help others and help me remain encouraged.

Escape with Me

// March 1st, 2011 // No Comments » // Animals, beach, Canon, Exercise, health, Health and Fitness, Me Time, photos, Pictures, video, work

Explore 060Today was a day for me to unwind and remove all stress. It was something that I have not done in a very long time and believe me when I say it was long overdue.

It’s amazing how much time we spend doing things that have nothing to do with our overall well being. Shocking how much stress we allow to build up in our lives and many time we don’t realize it until something like a stroke or heart attack happens, even worse death.

About a month ago someone said to me “your Sickle Cell has given you so much problems since you started working this job.” Last month I went to the funeral of a cousin who lost his battle with Sickle Cell and after talking with his wife, she too feels that if he only spent more time removing stressful people and things from his life, he would still be here. The last time I spoke with her, she asked me to take better care of my overall health and well being.

It goes without saying that my last job was very stressful and more the 95% of the stress was caused by a director who knew went out of her way to cause chaos and confusion among the staff. Constant changes to schedules, job requirements, emails, voicemails, pictures and even threats that she would fire us were just some of the ways she caused so much stress.

Today after my first round of housing inspections and my trip to the doctors, I did something for me. Something I have not done in a very long time, but as I said before, it was long overdue.

I came home grabbed my cameras and headed to the beach to escape for a day. I know to many this was not much of an escape, but for me it was all I needed. Since I grew up in Santa Monica and I love being near the water, this is where I headed and I am so glad that I did.

it was a cook day today so I needed to make sure I was dressed right. I didn’t want my day of relaxation to turn into a night of fighting off a cold. I dressed in layers and topped it all off with my USC hoodie.

I spent the day with no real plans other then just taking it slow and not spending a bunch of time online or in contact. What I mean by this is, I had my cell phone with me, but if was off for more the 90% of my day. I did not return calls unless they were something that could not wait until the next day or at least until I was heading home later in the evening.

Being near the water was so calming and cool. it was like all day therapy for me. I walked from the top of the Santa Monica Pier all the way down to Venice Beach, just south of the new skater park. Taking pictures every step of the way.

I finished my day with dinner at the Santa Monica Place Mall and a sunset at the Santa Monica Beach. I had spent my most of my day relaxing and clearing my space. I did such a good job at it, that the crowded bus ride home filled with people who were loud and some of them rude, didn’t even bother me.

I was welcomed home by my dog Dodger and I spent the night on the sofa talking of the phone with my friend Christina. I picked up a scented candle on my way home and that has been burning for sometime now. It smells awesome.

I took over 450 pictures today. They are currently uploading to my Flickr page. I had a great day and I am so glad I took most of it for me.

Awesome Week

// February 12th, 2011 // 2 Comments » // Chef, Cooking, friends, health, HIV and AIDS, Homeless Outreach, Me Time, work

Although this week went by very fast, it was a very busy week for me, with changes taken place at work and outreaches, placing final things in order for the rest of the month as well as getting ready for what could be a battle for my job. By Friday I was feeling a cold trying its best to get stronger from the day before, but Friday night I took measures to head it off at the past.

WORK

This was the last week of having two chefs of the kitchen. The other chef who cooks dinner give her notice and Friday was her last day. If you have been reading this blog then you know how hard ti was to work with her, but I did all I could to make the situation work. However in the end she made the choice that she had mentioned several times before which was to quit and find a job that worked best for her.

The last week working with her was very pleasant, for some reason she was very relaxed and in many ways very helpful and considerate, but she stuck to her guns about helping to keep the pantry and refrigerator clean and stated true to form with ordering far more then what was needed and three times used items that were supposed to be for breakfast or lunch. However this is now in the past as Friday was her last day.

She seems to be very happy with the new job she will be working and I am happy that she found a place that she feels will work best for her. She will be working at a very high placed eatery in the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles. A place I am very fond of and a place that has a really cool vibe.

The other thing that took place this week was the fact that I would be training the new chef on Monday and Tuesday of next week. I also was asked by the director to plan a dinner menu for the week as well, but by Wednesday after ordering food for the following week I was told that this would not be the case because there would be no evening chef, but instead a catering company that would not require any training or assistance from me.

For me this raised some red flags mainly because I use to cater and I know the ultimate goal was to have the entire operation and not just part of it. Moreover, according to the house director they have requested that I be out of the kitchen by 1:30pm, which is 30 minutes before my schedule time ends. I raised this point with the director and she did her best to simply dodge the issue with the answer of “well I will have to talk to Brian and see what he has to say about this.”

Now according to the director, the kitchen is about six thousand dollars over budget. For me this is hard to swallow because we have never been given a budget for the kitchen. In any case just while going over all the invoices and making certain that all bills have been paid and that we are current with each vendor, I find that we have nearly a eight thousand credit with the very vendor the director made the choice to stop using.

I made my finding known to the house president as well as to the house treasurer expressing that it would be better to no longer order from other vendors until will use this credit that we have with the other vendor. Doing so would bring the kitchen back on budget with room left to move. They thought this was best, but we will see what takes places in the coming weeks.

As I stated before, the order for next weeks food had already been placed, instead of simply refusing all the items that were order for dinner, the director made the choice to keep the entire order saying “We will just use the extra dinner items for lunch” However in our meeting just last week, the house president expressed that sometimes lunches are a bit heavy, these would be menus that I have not planned, but menus submitted by the house director or the former evening chef. When I mentioned this to the director she simply said “It would not be fair to Oscar if we cancel half this order. They will just have to deal with it.”

Other the this my time at work has been awesome, as I have stated many time on this blog and on my youtube channel the girls I would for are awesome and I love working for them. I made some baked tofu this week and even introduced Soy Lettuce Wraps which were a hit with the entire house. Something the director said would not be well received by the meat eaters. Again she was dead wrong, but then again she always is.

So my goal next week to to continue to do the very best job I can and do all that I can to make sure the kitchen runs on budget, meals continue to be awesome and that the members remain happy with the service I provide them. Judging from the applause I got after a Friday brunch where at one point I had next to 15 brunch tickets stacked up on the counter and from the all the smilies and love the girls continue to shower on me, I am certain my job is till secure. However I am leaving nothing to chance.

OUTREACHES

By Friday I wasn’t feeling all that great so I was happy that I had made some arrangements with my friend KoKo who had some donations from  cousin Mona to give to me because she could not use them. So the items that I planned to do the Skid Row outreach for were passed to my friend and she would drop them off next week.

When I am not feeling well it is always so nice to have a friend like KoKo help me do with I do and even better to know that people like Mona are out there doing what they can, when they can to help people in need. I was also able to get some information from my friend that will help someone who is homeless and looking for a place to live. Through her advice and support I am hoping that this person will follow though and eventually get his own place to live.

I’ve also received a few emails from one of the guys down at Chess Park. His cell phone has died on him, so he asked if I could help him get another phone. I just happen to have a few phones in my donations closet, so I am able to give a phone to him. I just need to load some minutes on the phone and then meet up with him on Sunday. I will also be able to give him a hygiene kit as well.

One of the cool points of my week was the pleasant surprise I received from my friends Kim and Nicole who live in Milwaukee. They sent three boxes with shoes, Do Something Kits and a brand new Fox Sports jacket. The shoes and jacket were part of the outreach to people on Skid Row battling HIV and AIDS. Thanks to my friend KoKo the outreach went on as planned, so this was awesome for me.

SATURDAY

It’s Saturday and it is beautiful outside. Because I am not feeling my best I am simply going to take it easy and relax today. I need to be in top health come Monday as I prepare to pull out all the stops and stay on top of my game. A task I am sure the director thinks I will fail at badly. She must not know about me.

Sunday with Friends

// January 30th, 2011 // No Comments » // Animals, Chef, Cooking, friends, Me Time, Pictures

Cooking with Kengi 024It’s been a while since I’ve had my two friends Donald and Walter over for dinner, in fact it was long overdue, so after chilling with Donald on Friday, I knew it would be awesome to hang out with him and Walter, so right away I made the calls and after hearing “yes” from both of them I made the plans to have an awesome Sunday afternoon with great food and plenty of smiles and laughs.

Whenever all three of us hang out it is nothing but a great time. I could not have asked for a better way to spend my Sunday afternoon. Donald and Walter are both members of my book club and even though we have not had a meeting in a while, at the end of the night we are so looking forward to bringing that time together back to life. We decided that we will read a few chapters when we get together for our brunches. This way we can all keep up, share and talk about the books we are reading.

Saturday was a cleaning day for me so there wasn’t too much for me to do in the way of getting things ready for my guests. ICooking with Kengi 006just had to wash dishes from the night before….yes sometimes I leave dishes in the sink. This was a huge no, no as a kid and I use to be the kind of person that was very anal about this, but now if I am not feeling up to washing dinner dishes, then they will wait until the next day. The word never comes to an end because i have not washed them and since I don’t have any bugs I don’t worry about leaving a plate or a cup.

It was cold today and the rain returned. It was so cold that I could not sleep as late as I had planned, but unlike most Sunday mornings where I get up make a pot of coffee and watch the morning news shows on ABC, today I simply opened the blinds just a bit and sat on the sofa with Dodger. Soon after I was laughing on the phone with my friend Leah for well over an hour. I love when I have time to spend talking with her. She always has this way of making me laugh even when I dont feel like it.

The bonus surprise was the fact that i was able to hang out with my friends and do an outreach. The shoes Leah donated I was able to give to Walter. He was so happy to get them and I even had the chance to let him speak to Leah. That was really cool.

Cooking with Kengi 012Ok, so as I was saying, it rained today and for some reason I really enjoyed it more then I normally do. Walking to Trader Joe’s was nice and unlike before when I had to bundle up because the rain was coming down pretty hard, this time I simply slipped on a t-shirt, thermo, heavy scarf and a knitted cap and I was off.

I really like Trader Joe’s, but I have learned that I really most inspect things I get there. Many times I come home with fruits or veggies that are packed in these handy plastic containers only to discover that most of them are not usable. Today I was in a hurry and failed to do this and I ended up cutting away most of the tomatoes I purchased. Even one of the avocados was bad, so that too got tossed. However the staff is always friendly and the prices are still cheaper then Whole Food and the quality is still far better then Fresh and Easy.

We had lettuce wraps, chicken tacos, Spanish rice, refried beans, homemade salsa and guacamole with blue corn tortilla chips.Cooking with Kengi 018 I added some fresh grilled shrimp to the ground soy I used for the wraps. I also picked up some juices that I would offer with the water and squirt I already had.

The guys arrived on time and after some conversation we started with the sides and then moved on to the main meal. It was a hit!!!! I was surprised that Donald liked the wraps. I didn’t tell him it wasn’t meat until after he had eaten at least two, but even if I told him before I am still sure he would have eaten and enjoyed them.

As always our time together went by so fast. Before I knew it the time had come for us to say our goodbyes. Dodger and I walked our friends to the corner where we hugged and said good night. i so wish these two lived closer to me so we could see each other more often.

As I walked back home, looking up at the pink clouds in the sky I started to smile because I had just spent the better part of my day with two guys I really enjoy, two men I truly respect and admire a great deal and two men I am so honored, blessed and thrilled to call my friends.

Cooking with Kengi 035The sun has set, most of the kitchen is clean and I have had my hot bath. I am sitting on the sofa uploading my photos from tonight, Dodger is sitting on the arm of his chair snoring, the blinds are closed, my apartment is cozy and I am about to lit my candles and burn some sage.

Since I have to be up rather early, I will be in bed by 8:30pm tonight. Monday is my long day and after having a week off I am sure the director will be in the kitchen bright and early to ask questions and do her best to get under my skin. Already she has emailed a menu that is not mine, so I will have to deal with that once I am in the kitchen, however I will be ready for her and all the games she likes to play.

In the middle of my day I was able to upload my “What is GOOD in Our World” video, that was really cool because last Sunday I was not able to do one.

I hope you all have had an awesome Sunday and I pray that you all have a peaceful and productive week.

Deep Clean Saturday

// January 29th, 2011 // 1 Comment » // Animals, Me Time, photos, Pictures, work

It’s Saturday morning around 5:36am and I am up getting my apartment ready for a deep cleaning. I’ve had Dodger for a year now and he has had some accidents in the apartment, that I really need to address. No longer will carpet fresh and scrubbing the areas work, so today I am having the carpet cleaned.

Since the carpets are getting cleaned I am also going to spend some time deep cleaning the kitchen and bathroom as well. My place is small, but when it comes time to clean it seems as though it is massive and can take all day. I know some people are able to clean their places in a matter of minutes, but they always have this funny smell. I am always happy to hear from friends that my place always smell and looks clean.

I also need to invest in a vacuum cleaner, the two that I had were given to me and while they served there purpose for a month or two, they quickly gave up when it came to cleaning up after Dodger. Even though Dodger is not a long haired dog, he still leaves a mess behind, I think because his is small and his hair is fine, this makes cleaning up after him that much harder. You don’t see it, but after a short while when I begin to sneeze and get a runny nose, I know it is time to do some deep cleaning.

There are also some things in my closets that I want to get rid of and I also need to start organizing my Do Something Saturday donation bins. Already, with the help of people who have donated I’ve been able to put together 40 of the 75 Do Something Kits for next months 4 year anniversary.

The one thing I would really like to buy in the next month or so is a new bed. I currently sleep in a futon fame and the padding has become very worn. If i don’t flip it ever other day my back and legs start to really bother me. Plus I know in order for me to get a good nights rest I should be sleeping on a proper bed. However this is at least two months away.

All of the furniture in my apartment has been given to me and I am very thankful for it, but it has served its purpose and is time to buy things of my own. I am hoping to buy things with each pay check as well as set money aside just in case things come up. The items that I have now are old and tend to collect dirt and dust, so replacing them will be a good thing. Already someone has offered their old sofa and love seat, but I have declined because I want new things that I have picked out myself. Not things that people have decided to get rid of.

The last thing I need to do today is give Dodger a bath. It’s been at least two weeks since he has had a good bath and I am so tired of seeing him drag his ass over my carpet. It was finny the first few times I saw him do this, but now I just think it is gross and is a clear sign that he is in need of a nice long bath.

I think later I will go out and explore with my camera to find a cool place where I can get some awesome pictures, but right now I am home and concentrating my time and energy on my space and making sure it is clean.

Have A Happy Day!!!!

// January 28th, 2011 // 1 Comment » // Canon, HIV and AIDS, Me Time, photos, Pictures

Have a Happy Day 029Today more then ever I wanted to get out of my apartment and have a great day. It was sunny and pretty warm out and I refused to sit inside and let this day slip away from me. I was up pretty early to watch Good Morning America and then spent some time talking with a friend in Atlanta and then cousins out in Texas.

By mid morning I had called my friend Donald and made plans to spend the better part of my day with him. Since I had not seen him in a while I thought this would be one sure fire way to get me to laugh and have a great time with an awesome friend. I am so glad I called him, because from start to finish I was laughing and having such a good time.

However first there were some things I really needed to make sure were in place, so I could have some peace in my mind that I have done all I am supposed to do. I’ve been worried that I have not heard anything from the housing authority with regard to changing my rent since I am now working. I have placed calls to the office, but they have gone unreturned. So I started making my case manager aware of this and today when I talked with her, I one again expressed my concern that I have not received a return phone call.

She assured me that she would look into it and also would make sure she made notes so if the situation ever came up that IHave a Happy Day 011have not tried to report a change in income, she would have it documented in my file. This was my second call to my case manager and the 3rd time we have spoken about this matter. I certainly don’t want my housing to be in jeopardy because of some oversight that is not from a lack of me trying to do the right thing.

I also needed to speak with my case manager to inform her on my medical appointments as well as all other things I have been doing this month. Since my housing depends on me going to the doctors and doing all I can to educate myself about HIV I have to report what I am doing each month. For the most part this is not a big deal for me because I am always going to HIV updates, doing my volunteer work and even doing my own peer support which all count as me doing all I can to educate myself as well as take full care of myself. Since I am working now, having a face to face meeting with my case manager each month is a bit hard, so she and I have worked out a way for me to do my monthly reports that does not require me to take time off from work.

Have a Happy Day 016While I am was hanging out with my friend I received a phone call from my case manager, she told me she received an email from my analyst at the housing authority letting her know that she had in fact got my calls and would take care of any changes at my next certification. I was so happy to hear this and in turn this news helped me to relax when it comes to my housing.

Donald and I headed over to the Beverly Center and as always Donald looked like a million bucks. I joked with him saying “are you ever casual Donald” He laughed and said “I am casual”

Right away Donald was on top of his game which meant I was laughing and smiling the entire time. There is just no way you can spend time with him and not laugh the entire time. The bus ride over to the mall was like comedy hour. At one point I was in tears from laughing so hard.

I had a $100 gift card from Bloomingdale’s, so I wanted to get some Armani and Channel cologne for myself. I also wanted toHave a Happy Day 032 stop into the APPLE Store and take a look at the laptops and give myself a visual on what I want to get for myself.

After leaving the Bloomingdale’s at the Beverly Center, we headed over to NORMS to get a bite to eat and continue our laugh fest. It’s been sometime since I have eaten at NORMS, but eat time I go I am always happy with the food I am served and the service is always nice as well. It always surprises me how a place like NORMS can have such low prices but serve steaks that are tender and juicy. While other places have high prices and steaks that taste like rubber.

Back home Dodger welcomed me with barks followed by kisses. I uploaded my youtube video and started my night to unwind. I spoke with my friend Walter and then to my friend Seth. It was nice to hear his happy voice on the other end of the phone. He told me he had read my blogs and rather then comment he thought he would call me to let me know he was thinking about me.

Have a Happy Day 038Right now I am watching World News with Diane Sawyer, I have some scented candles burning and later I am sure I will take a hot bath. Saturday is yet another day for me that will start early. I have an appointment to get my carpet cleaned and then plan to take some time out taking pictures. I am hoping to find a place where I can take pictures of simple things.

In all my day was filled with love, light and laughter. My heart is filled with joy and my soul is at peace.

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