July 2003

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July 29, 2003:  Well, the last couple of weeks have been fun and busy. I've been spending a bit of time during the week hanging out with my friends Jill and Ashish and their baby boy Nikhil over in Oakland.  It's been a lot of fun and I've enjoyed cultivating a wonderful friendship with the.  We've been having fun doing some cooking together, sharing a few bottles of wine here and there, and just hanging out together.  It's really nice to be making good friends with similar likes/interests here in my local area. Plus, I gotta say, I just loving being around Nikhil.  He is so cute!!!!

The weekend of the 21st was a a great one.  My good friend Johnny T. came down from Sacramento to hang out for the weekend.  We've been friends now for just over two years and when we originally met, he was living in the Oakland area.  Well, over the past couple of years, he's moved up to Sacramento, and we've both been caught up in the crazy adventures we call our lives.  We were both in/out of relationships during that time, and for a while, drifted apart. Well, we recently reconnected and were able to spend some quality time together.  On Friday night, he came down after work, just in time for dinner.  I made a roasted chicken, nothing fancy, but we had a nice meal together and ended up opening a couple bottles of wine together and talking to the wee hours of the morning.  That was just plain nice and relaxing!  On Saturday, we hung out for the morning and then went out to lunch in Pleasanton.  Ended up having a tasty Mexican lunch and then it was off to Half Moon Bay for the afternoon, as we both needed an 'ocean fix' in our lives to restore that positive energy that only mother ocean can bring :)  We kicked around there for the rest of the afternoon, walking along the bluffs, taking in the breeze, the sound of the ocean, smell of the sea, ..... lol, wait a minute, that sounds too much like a Buffett song :P  Well, it was nice.....  afterwards it was back to my place where I was treated to having Johnny cook dinner for me!  He made a kick ass curry salmon dish over greens, served with garlic mashed potatoes and a killer bottle of pinot!  In the background, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong entertained us with some fabulous jazz as the night melted away.  After dinner, we cracked a bottle of 40 year old tawny port, and we sipped (gulped?) that as the night mixed together into sensations of a fully belly, good wine, great company and fabulous music! I gotta say, it was just nice to reconnect with a old friend and spend some quality time together living life richly.  Doesn't get much better than that.

During the next week, I'd keep busy at work (always!), spend a night hanging out with my buddy Art, and spend a couple of night with Ashish and Jill having dinner and such.

On Friday night, Justin came up for LA to spend the weekend in the Bay Area. He was back to hang with friends and go to a party one of his good friends was DJ'ing at.  We hung out Friday night, and early (5:00 AM Saturday morning), I took off to meet up with  my good friend Rick and his two sons Daniel and Brian.  Rick and I work together at Avaya and over the past year, I've been honored to have the chance to get to know him and his family outside of the office.  They are a great clan and always fun to hang out with!


Rick, his sons Daniel and Brian and Penz after a day of diving down in Monterey!

At 5:30 AM we were off to Monterey for a weekend of SCUBA diving!  On Saturday, Rick and I did two dives together off of the Coast Guard Breakwater Beach as the boys took their lessons. Both of our dives were excellent with 25' of visibility. We got to see lots of marine life as we dove the kelp beds, including harbor seals (which came out to play with us), rock cod, ling cod, moon jellyfish, decorative crabs, sheep head crabs, etc...  That night, his wife and other son came down to join us for a fun dinner with the dive class. Afterwards, they took off and the four of us crashed out at a local hotel for the evening.  

On Sunday, Rick and I did a morning dive together while the boys finished their last dives and became certified open water SCUBA divers (yeah!). He and I dove the Mertridum Field and got to see some beautiful sights!  Looks like I'm gonna half to start getting into a bit of underwater photography so that I can document these dives.  Metrididums in full bloom (i.e. feeding), a yellow nudibranch, and sea cucumbers were just some of the sights that made this a great dive.  

After lunch, the boys joined us for their first non-classroom open water dive into the kelp beds.  It was a great dive! We saw this huge brown jellyfish called a Stinging Nettle that was the size of a small basket ball!  That was really cool and we also got to see a baby octopus (it was so cute!).  Those sites along with the hundreds of other things made our dive an excellent one.  

Once we finished up our dives, we packed up and made the long trip (cause of traffic) back to the Dublin area.  That night, I had dinner with Justin and then crashed out early (I was beat!)

I took Monday off and slept in until about noon (oh yeah baby, nice work if you can get it!! :-)  After that, I headed off to hang out with my new dive buddy's for the afternoon while Justin hung out with his friends.  That night, just chilled and watched some TV. 

Tuesday morning, Justin took off for LA and I went to work.  Though we didn't get to hang out a lot, it was good to see Justin for a bit. He's settling in to LA and I'm very happy for him that this new adventure is going for him. I wish and hope for the best for him.

And that, in a tiny little crab shell, is an overview of what I've been up to. How about you? Drop a line and say hi!

All the best,

:Penz

July 14, 2003:  Happy Birthday to me, happy birthday to me, I'm another year older, and can't believe I'm 33 :-)  Yep, July 12.  33 years old.  Hahaha, well, that's only 4.5 dog years, so I'm still just a puppy :-)

Had a good weekend.  On Saturday I drove down to LA.  Got there around 1:00 and met up with Justin at his new place.  It's really nice and in a good part of town.  He lives close to work and can walk there, which is nice cause commuting in LA sux! I met his roommate and he's also really nice as well, so I was pretty happy to see that Justin found a good place to land for a bit.  We hung out all day Saturday and just had fun cruising around the area and doing some site seeing.  We headed up the coast through Santa Monica and Malibu. On the way, did some sight seeing in Beverley Hills, and gawked at some of the mansions there.  All in all, a nice relaxing day.

On Sunday morning, we met up with my good friends John and Joseph in Pasadena at their place.  John and I have been friends for about 10 years and met back in 1993 when we first started working together at Alexander LAN.  During that time, we've developed a great friendship and the same can be said for his partner Joe and I.  They are good people and it was great to see them. They made Justin and I a wonderful brunch of French toast (using challah bread and lots of cinnamon) served with an amazing boysenberry syrup, fresh fruit salad, and turkey bacon :)  It was really nice!  Afterwards, we hung out for the afternoon just yapping and catching up and that made for a really nice day.

I left LA around 5:00 and made it back to Dublin at 9:50.  I made good time, but had a pretty nasty headache for the last 2 hours of the drive. Probably due to the AC/Heat/Long drive.  Ahh well, that's ok.  It was worth it :)

Today,  was up at 6:00 AM and at work shortly thereafter. It was a busy day, but a good one.  Tonight, just gonna chill and relax.  

:Penz

July 6, 2003:  Well, it's been a good weekend so far. Friday, I had the day off and that was nice! Got to sleep in late.  Once I got up, I made myself a nice fatty breakfast of steak and eggs! Hehehe, that's a great way to start the day.  After that, I went through all my SCUBA gear and got it packed up and ready for the next day.  

After putzing around the house for the morning and being lazy, I finally motivated and headed off to Oakland to see Jill and Ashish.  They are doing some work on their house as they get ready to put it on the market. They were ripping up the bathroom floor that day to get it ready to be tiled so I headed over to help out. I spent he afternoon with Ashish working in the bathroom.  It was a lot of fun, cause I don't often get to do 'around the house' projects, and I'm always up for learning something new.  He and Jill had got the place ripped up pretty well, so I joined during for the next state of the project and Jill headed off to setup the nursery (she's 8 months pregnant!).  In a nutshell, we ended up rebuilding part of the structure of the floor, laying down paper and cement board.  It all worked out well and that took most of the afternoon.  After that, it was off to their parents place in San Rafael where we showered up and then went to their parents friends house up in the mountains for a BBQ dinner. 

The party was a lot of fun. It was an older crowd, but young in spirit.  We drank wine, snacked on lots of tasty dishes and then had an amazing dinner starting with salad and then onto the main course of butterflied leg of lamb (done on the grill) with mushrooms, rice, asparagus with cheese sauce, and bread.  It was awesome!  For desert, we had nice fluffy chocolate/caramel cake. We then took out full bellies to the deck and watched 3 fireworks show from afar.  It was very nice!  I eventually got home around 11:00 PM.

The next morning I got up at 5:00 AM (YUCK), showed, pack the car and met Pat, my dive buddy, at Starbucks.  We loaded up my car, got some coffee and headed down to Monterey. Pat and I met in February while diving off of the Channel Islands and he's a great guy to go diving with.  We made it down to Monterey just after 7:00 and by 7:45, we were suited up and all aboard the boat.  There were about 13 divers that trip.  It was a bit foggy, so no sun. Well, to top it off, the seas were CHOPPY!  We're talking 8 foot swells here and it's a 40 min boat ride to the first site.  Thank god I took my motion sickness pills before hand, cause a few of the divers were puking their guts out along the way :)

The two dive sites were very close to each other. Basically, they were just off of Pebble Beach (yes, the famous golf course).  Hehehe, boy, that water was a bit nippy!  54' was the temp on the first dive, though it felt like 48'.  We had a great dive. I got to swim with a sea lion, see some cool fish and really just enjoy the dive site (Pinnacle's cove).  After that dive, we waited a bit and then dove our second site, which was in a huge kelp bed.  That was a lot of fun!  We were swimming through these really cool channels surrounded by kelp and sea life. We saw red snappers, link cod and blue fish just to name a few. A couple of neat looking sea cucumber like caterpillars and lots of smaller sea life.  It was a quintessential kelp bed dive.  After that, it was back on board and then another choppy sea ride back to the docks.  

We grabbed lunch on the pier and it was delicious. We had clam chowder in bread bowls, fried calamari and crab cakes. Just what two hungry divers needed :)  I let Pat drive back, cause I was really tired and after we got to Dublin and he took off, I went to my place, showered, put my gear in the tub to soak, and went to bed! Heheh, I slept from 4 until about 8, got up, got some dinner, watched a movie and then went back to bed.  All in all, a great day!

This morning I chatted with Spidey for a bit. Looks like we're gonna try and get together for a weekend in April. That would be great!

Ok, well that's about it for now. Time to get showered and make some coffee.  Hope all is well in your world :)

:Penz

July 3, 2003:   

Well after 5 days of not having an internet connection at home, Comcast finally got their shit together and got my cable modem working.  Yeah!

So, I'm all moved into my new apartment and my old apartment is all shut down. Special thanks goes out to David Parker for lending me a great big hand last week and helping me move most of my stuff from my old place to my new place. Of course, it would be the first 102' degree day of the year here in Dublin :)  LOL, figures.  Also, thanks to John E. and Art. M. for volunteering to help me out.  I appreciated the offer lads!  Hahaha, next time (and that better not be for a long time!).  So, now I'm just settling in.  Getting the pictures hung on the wall, and making it feel like home. I'm an ol' pro at this now, so things are coming together rather quickly.

Here's a great shot of my cats Simon (orange) and Lola on the couch.  Hehehehe, aren't they cute?  

 

Today I spoke with Lisa Pike (formerly know as Lisa Cragan :)  She's doing wonderful and is now married to her very handsome husband Tom.  Here is a great picture of the two of them.  Aren't they a beautiful couple!?! You bet they are :-)

In other news, I chatted with Steve "Milkman" Mayou tonight.  He's doing well in Honolulu.  He's looking to buy a sailboat and live on it sometime soon. I'm envious!  That sounds like a good life to me :)  He's off in a couple of weeks and will be out at sea until mid-November.  He did just get promoted to First Class Petty Officer.  Congrats Milky!

Today, I had a really nice surprise, cause I heard from Jade Chea, whose maiden name was Jenness.  She's the sister of Jason Jenness, who was a friend of mine from my college days.  It was really nice to hear from her and to know that she is married and doing well.  She provided me with this great picture of Jason and his two beloved pups.  This picture was taken during Jason's trip back home when Jade was fighting a battle with cancer of which she valiantly won.  Shortly thereafter, Jason would be diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and 5 months later on July 22, 2001, he would leave this world to start on his next adventure.  We miss you Jase.

So, let's see, what's up for the rest of this week. Well, I have Friday off, so I'm gonna sleep in late for starters!  Later on, I'm going to hang out with my friend Ashish and his wife Jill for the rest of the day. May head to a BBQ with them that evening and catch some fireworks. On Saturday, I'm up at the ass-crack of dawn to meet my dive buddy Pat and head down to Monterey, CA to go SCUBA diving off the Monterey Express for the morning.  After that, we're going to do a beach dive during the afternoon.  I haven't made plans for Saturday night yet (might go out into SF or I may stay in. Depends on how tired I am.  On Sunday, we'll just take the day as it comes!

Next weekend is my birthday!  Yeah!  LOL, I'll be 33.  I'm thinking of heading down to Los Angeles to see my friends John and Joseph in Pasadena.  I'm sure I'll stop by and see Justin for a bit (have to drop off some stuff), and maybe try and see Adam if he's around.  It should make for a fun weekend.

Later on this month, no major plans yet. I'm saving up for my next SCUBA trip. Want to go and spend a few days on a boat somewhere. I'm also thinking of making a trip out to Hawaii to see Milkman for Turkey Day. We'll see.

Ok, well that's about it for now. Hope all is well in your world :)

:Penz


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