Censored

Unfortuanety today I was asked to take down a tweet (actually a Twitter Blog is what the school called it) that I had posted about the bullying incident on the bus. I complied not because I believed I was in the wrong (I wasn't, it was very respectful, mentioned no one, and was only a call for support & awareness), but because the school system has no idea what Twitter, blogging, or social media is.  A parent (I'm guessing of one of the boys) had obviously seen my tweet and felt something because of it (whether it be shame, embarassment, or sadness we'll never know) and felt that I should censor myself and what happened to my son. When I was asked to take the tweet down, I explained my point of view. My tweet wasn't malicious, hurtful, or controversial. It was honest about a real event that took place in our school with our son. I told my viewpoint as a parent and expressed the fact that I would be writing this post.

For those of you who know me in real life you know that I am probably the most open minded, outspoken, strong, and uncensorsed person you know. I have real thoughts, I form my on conclusions, and I educate myself to constantly keep up with this ever changing world. I am not meek and I sure as hell am not afraid of bullies.

The problem with me taking my tweet down and in fact being asked to do so, is I am being made to feel as though my son's story should not be heard. Yes, I know the school heard it, and yes they did a good job of diffusing the situation. But what about the million other parents out there who don't come forward to talk about something that is happening with their child? Why can't they find comfort in knowing that another parent has gone through the same thing they have gone through? Why the shame in talking about kids who bully younger kids? Why should I have to censor my life? Why????

This is an issue that should be talked about. It shouldn't be embarassing or hidden in a school file drawer. The parents of the bully don't need to hang their head in shame or anger toward the parent of the victim. They need to open their eyes, take a big look in the mirror, and change whatever they know is affecting their own child. Change needs to come to this problem and the only way change can come is if everyone starts talking about it.

Social media is here to stay and I have watched it's power. It is a useful tool in many aspects of our life and has halped me both professionally and personally. I have an enormous support sytem of love that surrounds me everyday because of social media and I am beyond grateful for that. I understand that not everyone understands social media and I am perfectly ok with that. Life changing tools take time to become an integral part of everyone's life. All I know is that I will never be quiet about things I believe, I will never lower my voice because someone is scared of what I might say.

I am proud of my son for speaking up when someone was doing him wrong. I hope he learned it from watching me.

Turning the Page

Today was 45 degrees and it felt like I was on an island basking in the sun. This cruel winter has made me happy about 45 degrees. I don't even know who I am anymore...

Now that the signs of spring are upon us I can start to close the door on my what seemed like forever hibernation and open the door to sunshine and blue skies. This winter was brutal not only because of the cold but because of the amount of work the Chef and I have been putting in at the restaurants all while trying to balance happy healthy productive kids.

Newsflash.

It's not fucking easy.

The Chef cooking nights while I work during the day and become a taxi cab in the evenings didn't do our relationship any favors. The term Chef's Widow became redefined in our house as the Chef cleaned up other people's messes and worked the line every night. The old fights came back and just like that I was a new mamma with a newborn at home by myself everynight. This time though, I didn't write about.

I'm not sure why. 

Writing about the struggles of being married to a chef has always been easy for me. But for some reason this time it wasn't. I have learned many important lessons, both good and bad, since we opened our first restaurant in 2009 and one of them has remained constant. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. Angelina Jolie knows what I'm talking about fo sho.

 Celebrating the end of winter in NYC

Celebrating the end of winter in NYC

And it' so true. The things that we have gone through in the past five years are enough to fill a novella, or at least be turned into a Mexican soap opera. But my focus on the pain is gone now and all I can see is a beautiful support system growing at the restaurants, a Chef who still works as hard as he did 10 years ago and loves me to the depths of this Earth, and a family of my own that I am completely smitten by. For the first time in years I feel completely at peace. 

Zellers Beach

My grandparents made my childhood.  They had a cottage up by Lake Erie.  It was a small cottage with wrought iron beds and an orange plaid couch. The shower was a pump shower and it was always freezing. At night my cousins and I used to play ghost n' the graveyard and during the day we would sneak into Zeller's Bar and buy rainbow pops and listen to Martika. 

 Zeller's Beach is truly one of my favorite memories.  

Last time we were up in Sandusky at my parent's condo, I drove by our old cottage. Still standing in it's pastel glory I was immediately taken back to those great family memories.  I walked the mini's around the beach and the 'village' hoping that they would see a part of me. We walked dow to the spot where the bar was (btw who tears down a bar on a beach c'mon now) and walked to the high rocks where only the badass kids would jump off into the lake. My memories of childhood are so heavily filled with that beach and that cottage.

They are truly some of the best memories I have.

My hope as a mother is that someday the memories I helped create for my kids will be just as prolific as the ones my grandparents created for me.  

Food Extremists

Food extremists have been on my mind lately. After watching a friend's restaurant get annihilated on Facebook for possibly using buns that weren't vegan, I started to lament on the reality of food extremism in today's culture.

Last week I noticed a very thoughtful status update about our restaurants' vegan and vegetarian offerings on a local vegetarian Facebook page. I belong to said page because I tend to eat veggie or vegan. The Chef also tries to eat mainly veggie however he's not as strict as I am due to the fact that he cooks food for a living and must taste everything. The status update was kind and boastful about the many delicious veg offerings at The Greenhouse Tavern. Breaking my own rule, I scrolled down to read the comments. There were a few thoughtful comments and then there were not. The extremists had come out to play. Each comment worse than the one before, I read the hatred and disgust for something I love so dear.

Being quite used to nasty motherfuckers on the internet, their words didn't faze me. I read their words and moved on. But their extremism did sit with me and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.

With some many issues surrounding food I can see why food extremism has become so relevant in today's society. From Foie Gras bans (sorry LA) to gluten free dieting, the food world is fucked up. Vegans hate meat eaters, carnivores hate vegans. It's like watching the last election on steroids when it comes to these issues.

I just don't get it.

CARNIVORESHATE.jpg

 Why can't we all just get along? Why can't vegans understand that alienating the majority of this country's population is the WORST POSSIBLE way to get their message across? Why can't carnivores understand that the majority of meat produced in this country is FUCKED UP and most likely a part of the horrible factory farm system? Why does everything related to food have to be some gdamn extreme?

 Things are not going to change overnight. People are not going to stop eating meat. Passions are not going to disappear and the anger people feel about these issues is not going to die. But maybe, just maybe, if the approach was less shocking and more focused on educating the public about HOW our food system actually works, then maybe small movements of change could begin. 

Any ideas?

Food to a large extent is what holds a society together and eating is closely linked to deep spiritual experiences.
— Peter Farb and George Armelagos

Quod me nutrit, me destruit

I like Angelina Jolie.

There I said it.

I know she's not well liked amongst most humans that have vagina's but I don't care. Yes, I know she broke up a marriage. But it wasn't just her. It usually takes two people, even three to break up a marriage. I don't judge.

What I like about Ms. Jolie is her brazen attitude towards life, love, and the industry she calls home. She kicks ass, takes names, and still manages to gives a damn about humanity. I also think she is crazy beautiful and her tattoos make me wish I thought mine out a little better.

What has always stuck with me about her is the giant black tattoo splashed across her stomach that reads "Quod me nutrit, me destruit" translated to "what nourishes, destroys me."

The past 2 months have been insanely difficult and the quote inked on Ms. Jolie's falt belly has kept poping up in the back of my mind. The Chef and I have been facing some awful times stemming from what we have chosen to do with our lives aka the restaurants. We have faced greed and liars, back stabbers and people who ultimately don't believe in what the Chef does. 

It has destroyed us.

We have lost our faith in many people that we once held very dear. We have been forced to make choices that we never thought we would have to make. We have cried together and we have questioned our future. There has been a cloud sadness over our home. Life has not been fun nor has it been pretty.

Yesterday at 11:58 am I had a revelation. I was done being sad. I was over wasting my energy on people who obviously don't care about us. It was such strange feeling. I was sitting in my car as the gas pumped and I just knew that I was done with it all. It was like this weight of sadness, pain, and anger had be lifted from around my neck. I could breathe again.

I was strong again.

Our life is consumed by what we do. It nourishes and it can destroy us.

I AM MY HAIR

I chopped my hair off on Sunday. After almost 2 years of talking myself out of doing it I fuckindidit.

I have been wanting short hair for I can't even remember how long. I kept giving myself excuses of why I shouldn't.

I needed to lose 10 more pounds. I wouldn't be as pretty if I had short hair. I would look like a boy. The Chef wouldn't think I was hot anymore. My face would look fat...

After having one of the worst months of my life I said fukitall and went to the salon. In my 20's I had a pixie cut and I always loved the ease of it, I loved the simplicity of my look. Back then, I was proud to have short hair. 

But somehow in between now and then I lost the confidence in myself that came so easily to me. I now depended on my hair for confidence, my long hair became my identity. I think as women it's so easy to use our hair as a crutch. We feel more feminine when our hair is long and our confidence shines. Why is that? Why can't I feel like a girl with short hair? Why do I automatically think I look ugly with short hair? Even now as I type this, in the back of my head, I secretly think I don't look as pretty as I did a week ago.

It's fucked up. I know. 

It's impossible not to feel the pressure of how we look in today's world. We are constantly told that we need to be thinner, our hair needs to be shinier, and our lips glossier. The trap of "what men want to look at" is set between the ever revolving door of Victoria Secret Fashion Shows and Maxim. I fall for it. Do you? For most of us, our hair acts as a buffer. It is a controllable that we set for ourselves. We may not be as skinny as Gisele but godamit our hair looks good.

As I contemplated cutting my hair, Lady Gaga's song "I am my hair" played over and over inside my head. I couldn't help but think of how my long blonde hair had become my identity, my brand. I couldn't get to the salon fast enough.

My hair is short now.

I didn't cry when my friend Erin cut it. I didn't freak out. I didn't feel less of a woman. Even though I see a different girl now when I look in the mirror, I know I am still here. I am still Amelia. The same girl still roars on the inside, she just looks a little different on the outside. 

I am NOT my hair.

Chef's Widow Gives

This week I have been approached by a few different local peeps to get the word out about some of the great & giving things going on around Cleveland (and Akron). As we begin this holiday season I try to focus my attention on the true meaning of the holiday season. That of giving.  To me holiday season isn't just about staying up till 3 am so I can buy a TV at Walmart for $30. It isn't about buying the newest & hippest toys for the mini's and it surely isn't about getting a bunch of shit I didn't need. To me holidays are simple. To me, it means taking a part of myself, whether it be my time, my love, my success  or my bounty and sharing with another who may not be as fortunate as I. It's a simple concept that so easily gets lost in the consumer madness of our country but can quickly be instilled in your holiday celebrations. All you need is some inspiration to get that giving going!

This week the Parma Food Bank asked if I would help spread the word that they are extremely LOW on food. They are accepting any and all food donations at the Verizon Wireless store on Day Drive. GIVE!!!

The stunning Old Stone Church also asked me to throw some love their way to raise awareness about their food drive. If you happen to be downtown this week or this weekend for winterfest all you have to do is walk thru their amazing doors and drop off a couple of food items for those in need. GIVE!!!!

 If you can't give up the craze of holiday shopping just yet, visit the Akron Children Hospital Holiday Tree Festival. The festival features over 400 trees, wreaths, and holiday decorations. All sales go directly to the Children's Hospital. They also have a Breakfast w/ Santa & Kids Day this Saturday that again raises money for the hospital. GIVE!!!! 

And what would giving be without some furry love? As most of you know I am obsessed with my dogs.Crazy dog lady obsessed. Search hashtag #potatothepitbull or #vitothepug on Instagram and you will see how serious my obsession is. Muttley Crue is a local to CLE animal rescue, who seems to be almost as obsessed with pitbulls as I am. This Friday Stella & Dot, a boutique-style jewelry and accessory company that have been featured in InStyle, Elle, Vogue, Teen Vogue & Oprah, are hosting an online Trunk Sale to benefit the Cleveland animal rescue. Shop= GIVE!!!!

These are but a few opportunities to give locally. I know there are many, many more. Please share in the comments section how you like to share yourself during the holidays. Share links and love to organizations or people that need a little extra this holiday season. GIVE!!!! 

Chef's Widow is Happy

Chef's Widow: The Early Years

So much has changed since I first started this blog. I became a better speller, my writing got a little bit less terrible, our family grew, and we opened a ridiculous amount of restaurants in our hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. I stopped bitching & whining about the Chef as much, got busy with family, work and life, and this 'lil blog took a seat on the back-burner.

I began to find it hard to follow the previous discourse of the original idea behind this blog. You see, I started writing Chef's Widow because I was home alone every single day in the city that never sleeps with a newborn baby and a chef husband. I was lonely. I missed having a life and I had little or no idea what it truly meant to be married to a chef. It's funny to me now, I didn't even have a clue to how busy we could actually be. Back then being a Chef's Widow meant I didn't go out to nightclubs anymore and instead of staying out all night with the Chef, I stayed up all night with the baby. Looking back, those days we were living on easy street.

Fast forward seven years and I am finally figuring out what being a Chef's Widow truly means to me. Being married to a Chef, particularly one like mine, is no easy feat. I married a man who is quite frankly, insane. Not clinically lock his ass up insane, just a little dance moms ADHD insane. Dude is beyond intense. You see, as long as I've known him, he has never stopped. The ideas have never stopped, the inspiration & creativity grows and blossoms each day, and when most people seem to lose talent as they age, the Chef only gets better. His ever evolving personality has made it possible for me to enjoy the hectic all encompassing ride.

Together we have figured what works for our family. Sure, sometimes when I hear he is only gonna be home for 7 days over the next 2 months (UGH) while I'm soccer mom'ing the shit out of the mini's, a little snarky jealousy sneaks in, but it's only fleeting. I've learned how important the trips and the travel are, not only for our family and restaurants, but for the world we are all so connected with. Plus I know that he's just as jealous as I am, for all the glitz and glam can't even come close to replacing time with the minis, dogs, and chickens.

The Chef raising money for Autism Speaks alongside a sharply dressed Chef Symon is a close second to time with the minis.

The Chef and I have been travelling down this long and winding road for so long that I finally feel comfortable being a Chef's Widow. I have learned to embrace our notsonormal life and create our own cray cray path of happiness.

After 7 years of being with the Chef, I think we have finally learned what we want as a family and how to get it. #1 we want to be together. We are strangely infatuated with each other as a family. I say strangely because when I grew up my family didn't enjoy each other. Yes, we went on family vacations and had family get-togethers, but I genuinely cannot remember a time when my parents, my brother, and myself just sat around laughing, playing a game, or going on a walk. I don't remember them ever saying "I love you." Not once. My parents were unhappy which meant our family was never complete. The family I've created with the Chef is the exact opposite. Even when we struggle with life, the core is still there, our love for each other has never disappeared. If anything, it's only grown stronger.

The Chef and I realize that our life is truly an adventure. It is an adventure that we have designed by the choices we make together, by the risks we embrace, and by the love we share for one another and our children. It's not always pretty and there are times where I stumble momentarily and wish for a 'normal' life. Then one of our chickens lays an egg in my son's shoe and I can't help but throw my head back and laugh. For all of our chaos, my original lonely definition of Chef's Widow doesn't hold true for me anymore. And for that, I am oh so glad. 

 

 

Chef's Widow loves the West Side Market

 Yesterday #teamsawyer braved the chilly Cleveland weather to hang out in Ohio City for the West Side Market Street Festival & Parade. Although the chill in our bones seemed ever present even after we downed 2 Mexican coffees and 3 apple ciders, the parade & the market were filled with joy and life!

Did anyone else make it out to the rainy but fun street festival and parade? What were some of your favorites? We loved the Dohar meat plate and Momocho's churros. Yumlicious!!