April 2005

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April 29, 2005: Well Porky got into town safe and sound on Wednesday night and it's great to have him here! Tonight we're going to see NIN and then tomorrow morning we're off to SoCal for the weekend so don't expect any updates for a few days :)

Penz

April 25, 2005: Changing Lattitudes... well, looks like Paul "Dubbah" Barnes is about to embark on the next leg of his journey and it's going to take him to Key West! He's been interviewing with a restaurant down there and it looks like he's going to get the job. I'm pretty psyched as this move is going to get him into a totally different part of the country (and a fun one at that!). Hehehe, needless to say, once he gets settled in, I'll be heading down South to go and see him! Now we'll have both Barne's brothers in FL. Most cool!!!

Can't wait for Porky to get in to town. One more day!!!

~Penz

April 24, 2005: Did a bit of spring cleaning this past week. Funny how that just seems to be a natural cycle around this time of year.

Along with tossing out three garbage bags of stuff (don't know how this stuff seems to accumulate :), I did swap out the huge A&F wall poster that Justin had gotten me a year or so ago, with a piece that I brought back from India. LOL, it's funny how after time, I didn't even notice the huge half clothed guy hanging on my wall but I was surely reminded of it everytime someone came to visit and said "Whoa! Now that's something..." :-)

As you can see, the new piece is a bit more colorful and even Lola (the cat) seems to like it better :-)

Well this past weekend was a lot of fun. On Friday, Becky flew in from FL for Rob's 70th BDay party, so that night Rob, Susan, me and Becky all got together for dinner. We ended up at an nice Chinese restaurant in Woodside where we had a great meal. Afterwards, we went back to the house where we cracked open a couple of nice bottles of wine that I brought over. That made for a nice night cap to end up the evening :)

The next day was Rob's birthday party and it was a total success. About 70 people showed up to pay tribute to Rob and it was a fun crowd. It was great to see how many wonderful people he and Susan have in their lives :)

The two best birthday presents were the one that Rob got for himself and the one that Becky got him. Becky made him a DVD that contained pictures (put to music) which covered his entire life. It was a wonderful compendium of memories that Rob truly appreciated. That video played all day on the big TV in the main room and it was fun to watch people stop and enjoy it. Becky put a lot of time and effort into making it and it surely was appreciated :)

Heheh, now Rob's present to himself was pretty sweet. Being a car nut, he decided to turn 70 in style so he got himself the 2006 Mercedes 500 CSL coupe. Heheh, pretty sweet ride and I'm sure he's going to enjoy it :)

The party ran from about 2-8 PM, and at the end of it, I joined up with Don and Jerry for dinner. We went out to La Strada in Palo Alto where Jerry treated all of us to a very nice dinner (thanks again Jerry!). It was the perfect way to end up a nice day.


Scott, Susan, Rob and Becky (aka "The Good Son", "Radical Mom", "CEO" and "Hula Girl #1")


Scott, Becky and Tom enjoying the party (and the secret stash of 'good wine'!)

On Sunday morning, I got up and left Rob & Susan's and after a stop at the office, headed back to Dublin. That afternoon, I headed over the Alex's place in Brentwood where I hung out for the rest of the day. Alex got a new ping pong table so we had some run breaking that in and we also cooked up some fine vittles on the BBQ (mmmm, trip tip!). I got back to my place around 9 PM and spent a few hours of quality time on the couch :)

My brother Tim had a fun weekend. On Sunday he had an early birthday party! He officially turns 33 on April 26, but there's nothing wrong with having your cake a little early :)


Gini and Tim enjoying some time together :-)


Tim and Suzanne getting ready to eat some cake!


Joe and Estelle Sanderson sharing the day with their son-in-law :)

Happy Birthday Tim!!!

On Wednesday Tim "Porky" Watkins is flying into town for a visit and I'm really looking forward to that. We've got a fun week planned out for while he's here and I"m looking forward to taking a little time off as well (LOL, I always love getting away... come on! :)

More updates to come shortly!

Penz

April 18, 2005: Well the last two weeks have been pretty busy ones! LOL, no rest for the wicked :)

So for the first week I was back, I was pretty wiped out from the jet lag! It's amazing how much difference there was for me to re-adjust back to Pacific Time in comparison to how long it took me to adjust to India time. It took me about a week or so before I was all caught up on my sleep. LOL, of course, it didn't help that I ended up catching a flu or something about 6 days after I got back that knocked me down for the second weekend I was home :(

I was able to spend some time with my sister Gini, her best friend Johnson and her friends Dan and Michelle while they were out here. During the week, we all went out to dinner on Wednesday night for Johnson's birthday. I took the group out to dinner in San Francisco at Osaka Sushi down in the Castro. We had a great meal and it was nice to have everyone together.

The following weekend, while I stayed home dealing with the flu, the group went up to wine country and had a fantastic time. They spent both Saturday and Sunday up in Napa Valley visiting numerous wineries and having just a 'fabulous' time :) That Sunday night, they headed into San Francisco (China Town) for dinner before heading back to Dublin.

And on Monday, the entire group would fly back to the East Coast. All in all, they had a great time visiting CA and it was certainly nice to have them here :)

Not too much went on last week. I kept pretty busy at work, which helped make the days fly by. Hahah, nothing like 14 hour workdays to help eat up the day.

This past weekend was fun! On Friday night, I went over to Jill and Ashish's house for dinner. We had a really nice evening together and it was great to see Nikhil (he's getting so big!). Hahah, that night, after Nikhil went to bed (and Ashish and I made a run to Tucker's Ice Cream and Pete's Coffee for some desert) we all sat down and watched "Blazing Saddles". LOL, nothing like ending up a long week, with a classic Mel Brooks comedy :)

On Saturday, I met up with Rick Romine, his sons Brian & Daniel, and their friend Jeff around 7:30 and we all headed out to the Mokelumne River do some white water kayaking. We had a blast! Both Jeff and I were the newbies to white water kayaking so we spent the first two hours practicing some basic skills such as ferrying, catching eddies and what to do if/when the kayak flips! LOL, well, I practiced the kayak rolling a few times as I got used to handling boat and in short time I became an expert on how to swim to shore and empty out a water filled kayak :) And yes, that water is cold! After lunch, we did the 'run' and it was fun!! Heheh, I dumped the kayak a couple of time in the beginning part of the run (I still need practice on how to enter a fast current from an eddy), but I successfully navigated the rest of the run (class 2 rapids) without bailing :) It was a great way to spend the day.

Sunday, I slept in late and then headed over to the Peninsula where I met up with Don, Jerry and Kevin in Palo Alto. We spent a fun afternoon/evening together hanging out,

No major plans for the upcoming week until the weekend. Becky is flying in from FL for Rob's 70th BDay and that should help make for a fun weekend.

Next Wednesday, Porky is coming out for a visit and we're going to have a blast together! I can't wait for him to get here.

And that, in a nutshell, has been what's going on w/me :)

Penz

April 3, 2005: I posted the pictures from Ady's visit last month and did made some additional entries in the March journal. Check 'em out!

April 2, 2005: Well, Friday 4/1 was my last day in India, and I have to say that I was a bit sad to be leaving. I had a great visit out here and am really thankful to have had the opportunity to visit this country.

On my last morning, I met up with my new friend Andrew Bell. He and I met up a few days ago here at the hotel and have had the opportunity to spend some quality time together exploring Pune. It's his third trip out to Pune, so he's seen a bit more of the area than I and he made a wonderful guide as we walked through some of the local neighborhoods.


Andrew Bell (of York, UK by way of Scotland) and Penz

We took a 1.5 hour walk around the neighborhood that morning and it was a great experience. We ended up going into a neighborhood that was off the main street and certainly wasn't a tourist area. Here, people were outside their shanty's, making breakfast over small fires by the sides of their houses. The sounds of children laughing and playing mingled in with the rest of the sounds of a neighborhood wide and awake and full of activity. As we walked down the street, passerby's greeted us with a hello or a good morning. Though we were truly strangers in a strange land, we felt safe and glad to be here.

At one point, a few brave kids (about 7 years old) came up to us and asked me what my name was. I told them and then put out my hand and asked them what theirs was. Hehehe, it was so cool! Within seconds, about 30 kids had surrounded me as they wanted to say hi and shake hands with the big American who was visiting their neighborhood. Andrew got a picture of the whole event and I'll post it up here as soon as he send it to me. It was a really nice experience and certainly a wonderful one to take with me as I left this land.

Here's a good shot of me and Santosh outside of the Avaya office building in Magarpatta City, also known as CyberCity.

Santosh is our teams support manager in Pune and he was a wonderful host to me throughout my trip. I know that it would not have been as pleasant if he weren't such a big part of it. He and his family opened their home and hearts to me during my stay and my time with them will be some of the fondest memories of this trip.

I left the office around 3:30 that afternoon with Santosh. We stopped by his home for about 30 minutes to have one last visit with his wife, son and parents (they are all really sweet people!). After a few big hugs goodbye, it was off to the airport. Santosh saw me off and I went into the terminal where I met up with fellow coworker and friend, Joe Suggs.

Joe and I took the flight from Pune to Mumbai. Upon our arrival, we grabbed the hotel car and went to the Leela Hotel. There we checked into a sweet room, where after changing out of my kurta, we went downstairs and had a great dinner together. Afterwards, back up to the hotel room where we spent the new few hours watching the Family Guy DVDs I brought along with me on the big plasma screen TV in the hotel room. Sweet! Around midnight, we headed out to Mumbai International Airport, checked and after waiting in the hot, humid and non air conditioned terminal, were finally allowed to board our Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt, Germany.

We took off at 3:00 AM local time. Ahhh, once again, business class is the only way to travel such a long distance. I stretched out and feel asleep for most of the flight. I woke up when they served us breakfast (about an hour or so before we landed).

Arriving in Frankfurt, Joe and I hung out for a bit before he headed over to his gate to catch his flight to the UK. He's spending a week there for work and then another week w/his brother. I was really glad to have had the opportunity to meet him in person on this trip and spend some time getting to know him. He's really good people!

I went up to the Lufthansa business lounge and had the opportunity to take a shower there. Ahhh, that felt really nice! After that, I grabbed a cup of coffee and waited about 30 minutes before it was time to catch flight 454 back home. The flight was pleasant and uneventful.

I arrived back home at 11:00 AM on Saturday April 2. I sped through US Customs and was greeted by my sister Gini! She had taken BART in to meet me at the airport and we had a nice hour long ride back to do some catching up.

Arriving back at my apartment, I was greeted by her best friend Johnson Yeo who had spend the last two hours cleaning up my apartment. LOL, the place looked great and all was in order. I made a few phone calls/sent a few emails to let everyone know that I got back, went through the stack of US mail that Gini had collected, did some laundry and unpacked as I forced myself to stay up for the rest of the day. Around 9:30 PM exhausted and cranky, I passed out in bed. Heheh, not bad considering I had just spend the last 23 hour traveling half way around the world :)

No real plans for Sunday. I'm just going to get some R&R and hang out with Gini and Johnson. This week, two more of their friends fly in on Tuesday night and are here throughout the weekend (they are staying at a hotel!). We're all going up to wine country this coming Saturday and Sunday and on Tuesday night they're all out of here and I finally get my apartment back to myself :)

Penz


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