April 2008

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April 30, 2008: Well it has been a fun and busy month :) On April 23, I flew out to Florida for a few days. The main reason for the trip was for a surprise birthday party for Becky Ayers! She was turning 40 and a surprise birthday party to celebrate this momentous occasion had been planned for many months in advance thanks to Becky's girlfriend Leona. Well, that wasn't going to happen until Saturday, so I had a few days to kill before hand :)

On Wednesday, I drove from Orlando up to Jacksonville where I got to see my friend James "Moose" Lee. He and I have known each other for about a year and met while playing Warcraft. Hahah, since we had spent quite a few hours talking to each other over Vent, I figured it would be fun to meet him in person. We met up and after meeting his mom and her boyfriend (both of whom were very nice), we headed out to meet up with a couple of his friends and played some pool for the next few hours. After many rounds of beer, shots, and pool, we ended up at Steak-n-Shake for a late night dinner. LOL it was hilarious as Moose drank a wee bit too much and ended up hurling in the bathroom. Hahah, good thing he has us there to clean him (and his mess) up. We got him home safe and sound.. The next day we went out for breakfast and talked until about 1PM and then it was time for me to head out. It was great meeting Moose in person! :)

"Buster and Moose" meet up outside of the game :)

After that, I headed about 5 hours South where I got to see my friend Zippy of whom I went to college with. We hadn't seen each other for about 8 years. He used to be in the armed forces and then after he left there, he got a job in the private sector doing some more 'top secret' stuff :P. It was really fun to just hang out and catch up. LOL yes, this entry will be a bit vague simply because that's the way it has to be (and for those of you who know him and the type of work he does, you understand why :)

On Saturday morning, I got up early and drove 3 hours back North.

During my ride back I called my brother Tim to wish him a HAPPY BIRTHDAY! He turned 36 years old!!! I'm so thankful to have him in my life. We've grown even closer over the past few years and more than just brothers, we've truly become best friends. We always have each others back and even though we don't always see eye-to-eye, we have a lot of respect for each other. I love him a lot and and am proud to have him as family :)

At 9 AM on the dot, I picked up Susan Ayers (Becky's mom). She had flow in the night before and at 9:00 AM, I grabbed her from the hotel and began our 1 hour ride out towards Cocoa Beach. We had a nice talk on the way out there, and once again I was reminded just how lucky I am to have her and her husband Rob in my life. All things considered, they have become my surrogate Mom and Dad over the past 9 years and I'm thankful to have them in my life!! Around 10 AM we got to Leona's house. I got out of the car about a block away and let Susan drive up alone and get the initiate surprise on Becky. Hehehe, about 10 minutes later, I snuck through the front door and waited till Becky's back was turned and popped up from around the corner. LOL I love surprises :) We'd spend the a couple of hours catching up and then headed out to a local art festival to check it out. LOL it was hot and I was sweating my ass off, but there was lots of fun stuff to see, especially when we came across one particular artist's booth.

John Hung Ha is a Vietnamese artist who works out of Brooklyn, NY. His art captured all of our eyes, and we immediately fell in love with a bunch of his work. After hanging out with him for a bit, we left with 2 beautiful prints of some Koi fish. One was for me and one was for Becky. LOL well after we'd get back to the house, Becky's hinted that it might be better if both prints stayed in Florida as they worked so well together. LOL as much as I wanted to argue with her, in my heart I knew she was right and decided that the next day I'd return to the festival to get another print. Well, since we were back at the house and it was so nice out, we all jumped in the pool for a bit to cool off :)

Susan and Becky's taking a dip :)

A good book and a hammock work out just fine for Penz after a dip in the pool :)

A bit later, Leona came home and after taking a quick shower, she and I headed off on 'a mission', leaving Becky and Susan at the house. She and I would meet up at Kristin and Clint's house, which would be the main meeting place for the party. Decorations were being put up and food/drinks being prepped. Oh yeah, and then there was this 16 person Lincoln Navigator stretch limo outside as well :) Well, after meeting everyone, it was time to head out and pick up the birthday girl!

Oh yeah! Who is Da Pimp!?!? My betch's Cathy, Marion, Denise, Leona, Allie, (me), and Ann!

My betch's heading over to pick up Becky :) Leona, Denise, Ann, Allie, marion, Missy and Cathy

Heheh, after picking her up, it was off to two of Becky's favorite bars where we had a drink or two each before finally heading off to the house for the main event. BTW guys, if you want to turn heads, be the only guy to get out of a stretch limo followed by 14 hot ladies. LOL oh yeah, I was "Da Pimp!"

Susan, Leona, Penz and Becky. Cheers!! :)

The rest of the night was a hazy blur of drinking, eating, and spending some time with a great bunch of people!! If you'd like to see more pictures of that evening, check out Becky's MySpace page and go to the "Last Day of 39" album. LOL what a fun night!!!!

The next day, we got up and after sucking down some much needed coffee, we decided we'd make the most of the morning. Becky and Leona headed back to the house where the part was at to help clean up and pick up the gifts that were left there. Susan grabbed a book and decided to chill on the balcony and spend some timer reading while enjoying the ocean view, and I headed back into town to try and score another print John Hung Ha from the art festival. Well, when I got there, he was selling his art like he was giving it away! LOL he was out of the prints that I wanted to get, but no fear, I found 2 other amazing pieces that I ended up purchasing, both originals :)

This piece hangs in my office :)

and this one is in my bedroom :)

After thanking John, I drove back to the condo where we all regrouped. It was then time to head off to the beach to get some much needed R&R on the sand :) After that, it was off to birthday party #2 at Marion and Missy's house, which was a just a few blocks away from the beach. We'd spend a great afternoon together before finally heading back to the house. That night we cracked a 40 year old bottle of tawny port that I had gotten Becky for her birthday and it didn't have a chance. LOL we emptied it in no time flat and that was the perfect way to end our night together.

The next morning, I was up at the ass-crack of dawn and after dropping of the rental car, caught my 7AM flight back to CA. Wow, was that a fun trip :) I wish Becky and I lived a lot closer so that we could do that more often, but hey, I take whatever time I can get with my girl :)

As for the rest of the month, it went well. On Wednesday mornings, I continue to start my day with an hour long meeting with my therapist and that has been going really well. We continue to explore the different layers and complexities of who I am, and I am getting a better understanding of how I deal with certain situations. Sigh.... there are a couple of things I really want to change about myself that I'm working on. So far, so good. It's all about applying the lessons I'm learning... :)

April 9, 2008: Ever hear the phrase "tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life?" I bet you have. I know I have, but it's so easy to forget that each day that we wake up, it is the first day of the rest of our life. We don't know how long our lives are going to be, so by trying to live each one as if it were our last, we'd truly be getting the most out of each day. Hahaha, but the reality for most of us is that we don't live our lives that way. For the last year or so, I've found myself 'slipping' into a unhappy state of mind. It's taken a toll on me emotionally and has affected my life on many different levels. I finally reached a point where I realized I needed some guidance, so today I met with a therapist and began the process of seeing my life from a different perspective. No matter how many amazing friends I have (my family included), there is a lot of emotional STUFF that can get in the way when advice/feedback is received from them. But, when it's given from an outside source who can be totally objective, it takes on a whole different light.

So, here I am, trying to make the best of the first day of the rest of my life. The last hour for me was therapeutic beyond description. I was able to begin the process of releasing 'a lot' and I'm looking forward to working on becoming a better me (for me) over the next few weeks/months.

So, for all of you who have been wondering "what the hell happened to Penz!?!?!".... well, give me a little bit of time, because I'm making a comeback :)

Oh yeah, an on another interesting note, April 12 will mark my 9th year anniversary of moving to California! Reflections on that I'm sure will follow.

Big smiles :)


April 1, 2008: April already? Are you kidding? Where the heck did the first quarter of the year go? LOL :)

Well, what's going on in April? Hmm, well towards the end of this month, my brother Tim will celebrate his 36th birthday and my dear friend Becky will celebrate her 40th! Time to go out and start shopping for birthday cards and presents :P

No major trips planned for this month yet, though I do plan to fix that shortly. I'm thinking a weekend trip up to Mount Shasta may be in order, (as it's someplace I've wanted to revisit for quite a while) as well as a possible road trip down to SoCal.

Today I booked my plane tickets for Paul's bachelor party in May. Me and a bunch of the lads will be flying down to the Fort Meyers area at the end of May for an adventurous weekend :) Heheh, I can't put up any of the details here cause a few of them are a surprise; suffice to say, it should be a fun trip.

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