October 2001

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October 28, 2001:  Happy Daylight Savings!  Hehehe, I got up and went for a nice walk this morning for about an hour.  Mmmm, such a fun thing to do at 6:45 AM!  Hehehehe... ahh well.  Last night, I didn't do anything due to me getting one hell of a headache that pretty much put a damper on my evenings plans.  So, I was in bed by 9:30 which is EARLY for this pup. Ahhh well, I did get a great nights sleep :) 

Earlier that day, I had a nice visit with Rob and Susan.  They came our for a visit.  We headed to downtown Pleasanton to go to the Farmers Market and were pleasantly surprised to find a huge event going on.  Every year on this weekend, highschools from all over the area come to compete so we found ourselves being entertained by about 35+ bands.  It was really cool.  Great to see the young ones marching along, getting ready to go into a musical battle. It was fun.  We did go to the farmers market and get some great stuff and then it was off to the Wente winery for a nice lunch outdoors.  Since the weather is about to turn to rain, it will probably be one of the last times this year to take advantage of the nice weather.

Last week was a good and busy week at work. The week just seemed to fly by, which is just the way I like it.

I got my lease renewal this week.  Guess what, they DROPPED MY RENT by $200 a month!  How cool is that?  Pretty damn cool in my book.  I'm still paying what I consider to be a lot for rent, but I'll take $200 a month anyday :)  I guess I'll be staying in CA through the winter and then will re-evaluate things after that. It makes sense for work.  I really like the office and the people out here.  It's right in the middle of everything.... but I really miss everyone back on the East coast.  Crap, if ONLY I could get ONE of them out here, I think I'd be a lot better!  Ugghhh..... we'll see :\

Well, on Friday, I got the following email from Jim "Rico Hynek.  For those of you who don't know him, Jim and I have been like brothers since our days in college.  Jim is currently living in CT with his wife and is a full time fireman for the New Haven FD.  Last week, he go to go down to Ground Zero.   Here is his story..

"The other day, myself and some guys from my firehouse went to NYC to attend one of the many FDNY memorials/funerals.  Afterwards my buddy and I went into Manhattan to walk around and get close to ground zero to pay our respects.  I cannot tell you how may times we were approached by complete strangers from all over the country, who just wanted to shake our hand and to say thanks.  It almost brings a tear to my eye writing this now.  After a few hours of walking around we headed towards ground zero.  With the pungent smell (best described as moldy wet burnt hair, if you can imagine what that would be like) as far away as 10 blocks and only getting stronger the closer you get.  NYPD and military police had set up fences and checkpoint about 5 blocks from the site.  We tried to enter some of these checkpoints but were denied access.  We walked all the way around the construction, trying to take in all that we could.  When we started to head back we thought we would give it one last try.  This one checkpoint was had abut 50 cops and MPs standing around.  As we got close to ask if we could enter, this NYPD sergeant opened the gate and said "Go right on in, just be careful." 

My partner and I walked to ground zero, reading the signs scrolled in dust on the surrounding buildings.  "Afghans park free here," "Payback is a bitch," so on and so on.  Walking closer and closer you can start to see the magnitude of what had transpired.  We were able to get so close that we could see the white of the eyes of the crane operators.  To the left of us was a guy manning a firehose still putting out some fires.  To the right of us were dump truck after dump truck.  It wasn't long until I finally released how close we were to the Trade center.  I looked down at my now covered in mud dress shoes and class "A" uniform, and noticed that I was standing on part of the debris pile.  You talk about shivers up your spine.  After a few minutes we approached by a site Forman who told us we had to leave, because it was a hard hat zone.  I guess our FD "Bell Caps" weren't gonna help us.  So we walked around the site, just trying to comprehend just exactly what we were seeing. 

To this day I cannot make sense of what I saw.  It looks as if they were filming a movie.  I cannot tell you all the support services that were there.  There was trucks full of water, juice, places to go to take a shower or get cleaned up, Verizon telephone had brought in mobile phone centers, so the workers could make free calls to home.  They had chefs manning grills, and cooking up whatever you wanted.  The even had a spot called "home depot" where you could get anything you needed.  Gloves, shirt, tools, boots, hats, sunblock anything you needed and if you needed something that they didn't have they would get it for you! 

We got to talk to a group of fireman that had just come off the pile and were resting.  Covered in dirt and concrete dust, you could tell that they were spent.  Making it a point to shake everyone's hand and giving them support, you can tell they appreciated it.  Talking with them for a little while gave them some comfort and took there minds off the images they saw that day...a couple of body parts.  Gruesome as it is, the search goes on and on. 

I just wanted to share that experience with you.  I thought you might appreciate it.  It will definitely stick with me forever.  I hope all is well and hope to hear from you soon.". 

James "Rico" Hynek

I don't know about you, but that one brought a tear to my eye....  Thank you Jim for sharing that with us.

And so, that's about it for now.  I'm getting ready to take a shower and then meet up wtih Justin for breakfast.  It'll be off to the city for that.  Not sure what's going on for the rest of the day, but I'll take it as it comes.

Hope all is well in your corner of the world :)

All the best,

Penz

October 24, 2001:  I heard from Sean Joyce today.  He's doing well down in the San Diego area.  Apparently, work has been keeping him pretty busy.  I'm hoping to get together with him sometime in the next few weeks. 

Last night I watched "Chasing Amy".  Folks, if you want a good laugh and a good story, and like the Mallrats, Clerks, Dogma movies, run, don't walk, and go see this one.

Paul Barnes sent me the following tidbit.  Since it pertains to food and life, it's a worthy post :-)

"There was a woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. So as she was getting her things "in order," she contacted her pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in. The woman also requested to be buried with her favorite Bible. 

Everything was in order and the pastor was preparing to leave when the woman suddenly remembered something very important to her. "There's one more thing," she said excitedly. "What's that?" came the pastor's reply. 

This is very important," the woman continued. "I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand." The pastor stood looking at the woman, not knowing quite what to say. 

That surprises you, doesn't it?" the woman asked. 

"Well, to be honest, I'm puzzled by the request," said the pastor. 

The woman explained. "In all my years of attending church socials and potluck dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, "Keep your fork". It was my favorite part because I   knew that something better was coming...like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance! So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder "What's with the fork?". Then I want you to tell them: "Keep your fork....the best is yet to come." 

The pastor's eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the woman good-bye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did. She KNEW that something better was coming. 

At the funeral people were walking by the woman's casket and they saw the pretty dress she was wearing, another favorite Bible and the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the pastor heard the question "What's with the fork?" And over and over he smiled. 

During his message, the pastor told the people of the conversation he had with the woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her. The pastor told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either. 

He was right."

and with that, KICK LIFE UP A NOTCH and enjoy :)

~Penz

October 23, 2001:  Here is a cool picture my brother sent me of his back yard.  It's a 1/2 acre in size and recently Tim has done a lot of work on it to clear it out.  Looks like fall to me :)



October 22, 2001:  Whew.... Ok, so I've been neglecting my journal a bit.  Oh well, it happens :) 

Life is buzzing along out here in CA.  Fall is slowly creeping in, which here means that the weather gets really nice but soon the skies will be darkening and the rains will start.  No foliage, no snow :(  But lucky for me, I got to go back East at the beginning of this month and experience a little bit of a New England Fall.

Work has been going well.  Lots of stuff happening at Avaya, all of which seems to be ensuring that I'll continue to have a job with this company for a while.  My department (Technical Support) has plenty to do and recently, I received a new position (yeah, like a promotion!) which has me reporting directly to the Director of CRM Solutions.  This is very cool, as I'm being groomed for an Operations Manager position.  I'm loving it!  Hehehehe, yeah, I like what I do.... I wish that everyone enjoyed their job.  Hell, we spend enough time at 'em, we might as well enjoy 'em, right?

This past weekend, I went out with my friend Justin Green and his boyfriend Nate.  We went to see Paul Van Dyk and had a great time.  We got there at 8:00 am and the doors opened at 9:00.  We ended up dancing the night away until just after 2:00 in the morning, before we finally called it quits and headed out.  Hahahah, I just couldn't stay out until the club closed (which was at 6:00 am).  Geeeeze, am I getting old or what?  Nawww.... I don't think so.

This week before, I hung out and didn't do too much. I saw my friend Dave Parker from SF during the week and finally had him down to my place for a long overdue night of hanging out and talking.  We both lost friends on September 11 so amongst everything else we had to catch up on, that was part of the conversation.  It's not easy, but it's good to have someone who's going through something similar to share the feelings with.  Misery loves company.... :>

On a happier note, I finally got a cool picture of Scott and Tanya Seidel. You can see it here in my album.  They are a cute couple!  They both are doing well, and currently, are looking to move back to New England (CT maybe) sometime in the near future.  That would be very cool!

The weekend before last, I spent Sunday with Rob and Susan, celebrating Susan's 55th birthday.  Hahah, 55 going on 21!  I tell ya, this women is never going to grow old, and I love that!! She, like her daughter Becky, are just amazing people.  I can't tell you just how lucky or thankful I am to have them in my life. 

I also got to spend some quality time with Adam "Skinny Daug" Arnold.  It was great to hang out with my brother of whom I hadn't seen for a while.  It was awesome spending time with him.  He's truly an inspiration in my life and I'm glad to have him so close to me right now.  I can only hope that life send some more happiness his way soon... he certainly is a worth recipient of it :)

The weekend before, I had the opportunity to see James Canders!  He was out here for a job interview in Montery, CA and we had the chance to spend a fun night together.  It was filled with good food,  good wine, single malt scotch and some great company.  It was an amazing night of hanging out that I won't soon forget.  I'm looking forward to see where he'll next be hanging his hat, as this restless spirit is on the move from Albany, NY real soon.  No matter where he ends up, it'll be a good adventure, I'm sure.

Let's see, what else... oh yeah, "I'll be home for Christmas...".  Yep, I'll be back on the East coast for XMas this year. I already reserved a spot at the Barne's place for dinner.  I'll be heading up there with Paul for some eats with his family, of whom I've missed greatly sharing the holiday's with.  I'll also be seeing my family during that time.  I can't wait to see my brother's house, as I'm sure he'll have it festively decorated for he and Suzanne's first Chanukah and XMas together as husband and wife :-)  It'll be a lot of fun, I'm sure :)

My sister Gini is doing well!  She continues to suck the marrow out of the bone of life and live it well. She's awesome that way :)  She just keeps smiling and going through life.  That's my girl!!! "sharing wine and spending good times, she sure could make him smile...." :)

Oh yeah, I updated the main page of the site.  If you haven't done so, check it out.  Make sure you have the volume turned up :)

and that's about it for now.  Drop me a line and let me know how you are doing in your little corner of the world.  I hope that you are treating life well.

All the best,

~Penz
 

October 14, 2001:  Just wanted everyone to know that all is well!  I'll be updating my journal shortly.  Have some nice picts from Spidey's wedding that I'll be putting up here as well as what's been up!  I'm hella tired right now, so... g'night! :)

~Penz

October 1, 2001:  Well, here I am sitting on American Airlines flight 195 in seat 30H flying from Boston to San Francisco after spending the last week back on the East coast.  It was a wonderful trip filled with a lot of special time with my friends and family.  It was a trip originally planned months ago so that I could attend Bill and Kathy's wedding which took place on Sept. 30, but it turned out to be so much more....

The atmosphere in San Francisco airport was a little different when Justin dropped me off at the airport on Friday Sept. 21.  After saying good-bye, it was into the terminal to check in.  The place wasn't deserted, but it was definitely quiet.  It took me 10 minutes to get my tickets at the check in counter (bye bye eTickets!) and then head over to the security check point at the metal detectors.  Before I reached them, my boarding pass was checked and compared to my ID by airport security.  There were four police officers at the metal detectors.  It took a few more minutes to go through the security, but all in all, no major delay.  When I got into the actual terminal and sat down at my gate, it really hit me.  The area, which housed 6 gates, had about 100 people in the area.  That's not a lot folks.... I chatted with a few people (being the shy soul that I am) and asked them how they were feeling.  All of the people I talked to were a little nervous, but not really fearing their safely.  They, like everyone, were still just a little shook up after the previous weeks events, but they all shared the same desire to keep on traveling.  The general feeling was is that if they did not, then the terrorists won.  I agreed....

The flight out was uneventful.  I had the pleasure of sitting in the middle of 25 Bhuddist monks who were on my flight.  Hahahaha, talk about good karma!  I didn't speak directly to any of them, but the look in their eyes and the warm smiles we exchanged spoke volumes....

I landed in Boston at 12:30 AM, got my rental car, and headed off to Nashua, NH.  I pulled into town 35 minutes later (uuuhhh, yeah, I was doing about 100 MPH the whole way :) and accomplished part 1 of my mission:  surprise Tim "Porky" Watkins!  Hehehe, he had no idea I was coming and it was his birthday on Sunday. My present to him was being there with him.  I'm not sure who enjoyed it more, but hey, that's the beauty of your best friends :)  It was great because Scott Smith and Drew, two friends of who we met on our trip to Europe back in May were also up visiting (Scott and Porky share the same birthday) and that just made the visit that much better :-)  They are good people :-).  I think I got to bed around 4:30 am.

I spent all day Saturday hanging out with my Dustin, Alex, Tim, Scott, Drew, my sister Gini, and Junior just to name a few.  That night we all had dinner to together and hung out sharing a few drinks together.   At midnight, we all took Scott Smith (who was turning 21) down to Penucchi's for his first legal beer.  Hehehehe, it was great!  I didn't get to bed until about 2:30 that morning!

On Sunday morning, Paul Barnes came down to Nashua to join the party.  We all headed out to breakfast that morning and then headed over the Alex's townhouse for a BBQ.  Hahahaha, the rest of the afternoon was a pleasant blurr and we wasted the day away just kicking back and enjoying life....  It was a great weekend.

I worked each day during the week at our office in Concord, MA which is always a treat as I get to visit with our support team there and of course, my friend and Director, John Zahara.  It was a good work week!

I spent Monday night with my brother Tim and his wife Suzanne.  We had a great time together.  Tim has been doing a lot of work on his new house and it's turning out just great!  The day I was there, he had just had the driveway widened and repaved and had totally cleared out his 1/2 acre back lawn (with some help of one of his friends and a back hoe!).  It came out very well and once he's replanted the lawn, it's gonna be a even better!  We spent the night hanging out, had some great pizza for dinner, and watched the movie Blow.  It was a very nice visit.  I'm hella proud of Tim and his accomplishments so far.  He's definitely on the track to building himself a cozy home for his family :-)

After work on Tuesday night, I jetted over the Becky and Lisa's house. This was the one evening I was looking most forward to and of course, it was magical....  After lots of kisses and long hugs we shared some cheese and crackers and opened up a very good bottle of champagne.  This was poured into some very special glasses which had been retrieved from Graham's apartment.  They had been a gift to Graham from Becky and Lisa the year before... A little Cointrou was added to the champagne and then we raised out glasses and toasted our dear friend...  this set the mood for the rest of the evening.  For dinner, we has some DELICIOUS lobsters of which we enjoyed with a 1997 bottle of Sterling's Three Palms Merlot.  This was the best bottle I had in my collection and I brought it out from CA to share with Becky and Lisa.  As Becky put it 'it was the quintessential merlot'!  Hahaha, I'd have to agree with her :-)  After our YUMMY dinner, we cracked a 1995 St. Suprey Cabernet Sauvignon.  God, talk about a good bottle of wine! Ahhhh... nothing better than good wine and awesome company....  We spent the rest of the night sharing memories of Graham, our feelings over his loss and the last 2 weeks events, plus what seemed like a lifetimes worth of emotions and feelings.  It truly was a magical night....

Wednesday night, Tab and I headed up to Concord, NH where we met up with Paul and his mom.  We had a killer steak dinner at Harry's Steakhouse on Main Street.  Hahahah, it was a lot of fun to see Barbara, as she's become like another mom to me over the past 7 years.  Of course, it was a great time :-)

Thursday morning I got up early and met up with Tucker for breakfast.  We shared a great meal together in downtown Nashua at the City Room Cafe.  Of course, the conversation and company made the visit :)  I really miss my little bro and it was good to see him and hang out for a bit.

Around 11:00 I headed down to Peabody, MA where i met up with my mom for lunch.  We had a very nice visit together.  I got to see the new addition they added onto her home and it is a beautiful little room just off the back of the house.  It's it great to see that she and Wally are still very happy together and that they are enjoying their lives.  We had a great lunch together, after which, I headed back up to Nashua where I spent the rest of the day working remotely from Dustin and Alex's town house.  That night, Bill "Spidey" Wright came into town and he spent the night over at Dustin and Alex's place.  Tab came over and we spent the night hanging out, putting down a few drinks and playing some Euchre.  It was a great time!  Around midnight, everyone turned in, except for Spidey and I who stayed up to about 3:30 AM taking about life... It was another great night....

Friday night after work, I met up with Gini and her best friend Johnson.  We all headed down to Salem, MA where we met up with Mom and Walter a lobster dinner.  Heheheh, lobsters two times a week... I can deal with that!  We shared a great meal together after which, we all headed back up to Nashua.  We met up with the crew at The Garden on Main Street Nashua for a couple of beers.  While I was there, I ran into Cameron Hardy and his new WIFE!  I was totally blown away!  I had no idea that Cameron got married.  He met his new bride in September of last year and they eloped the following June.  They seemed very happy together and Cameron is definitely a changed person, for the better.  He's a lot more down to earth, personable, and in touch with himself.  It was great to see and I wish him and his new wife all the best.

On Saturday, Tab and I headed up to Portsmouth NH where we met up with Paul and his brother Kevin Barnes who was back town!  Kevin just got  back from Kwaj and was spending a week in New England before he headed off to his next job in St. Thomas.  Hahahaha, what a ROUGH life!  We wasted the day away in Margaritaville.... or was that Portsmouth!?!?  well, either way, it was a killer day spent with good friends, drink and lots of food!  Hahahah, I am going to starve myself over the next couple of weeks just so that I can lose a few of the many pounds I put on over the past week!  Hehehehe.... <sigh>....  That night, Tab and I got back into Nashua around midnight where we met up with Alex, Dustin, Col. Musset and his girlfriend Becky and ..... Scott "Birdy" Bartholomew!  Hahahaha, getting Scott to come up and visit with everyone was my wedding present to Spidey and I was psyched he came.  With the exception of me, no one had seen Birdy in over 4 years and he had been sorely missed.  His presence was one of the last ingredient needed   to make this visit complete... but of course, it got better. 

The next day was Bill and Kathy's wedding and was just a big ol' freakin family reunion!  I can't remember the last time we had so many of the 'old crew' together.  Dustin, Alex, Chris "Spiller" Miller, Macky, Heather, Perky, Tanya, Porky, Tab, The Colnel, Becky, Shane..... it was great!  The wedding went off without a hitch and a good time was had by all.... Probably the best moment for me was seeing Spidey's father Ed.  I hadn't seen my friend in about 5 years and it was just awesome to share some time with him.  The best of which was shared around a game of Euchre during the late hours of the evening....  It was magic.... :-).....

and then this morning, I was up at 5:30 am and in Boston at 7:00 am.  After dropping off the rental, I arrived at the airport where after getting my ticket (took 10 minutes) I stood in line for one hour and 25 minutes waiting to clear security!!!  It was crazy.... but necessary.... there was a large present of law enforcement agencies, including the MA State Police, the Border Patrol and Federal Marshalls (armed with automatic machine guns).  They are taking their security at Logan very seriously... and that is a good thing.....

And now, here I am, cruising at twenty something thousand feet.  We've already begun our decent into San Francisco and we'll probably be there in just under an hour. It's been a great week.  Hahahaha, I don't think I wasted anytime while I was out visiting and I'm looking forward to just 'chilling' for a bit this week back in CA.....

And that, in a tiny little coconut shell, has been what's up with me lately.  How about you?  Drop me a line and let me know :)

All the best,

~Penz


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