December 2001

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December 16, 2001: A little late in the posting, but here's a recap of Becky and Lisa's trip out to FL for Thanksgiving:

"Hi everyone, hope you all had a terrific Thanksgiving! We returned from Florida this afternoon and all is well in our world. Cocoa was terrific with above-average temps in the low 80s every day and we enjoyed a nice visit with Becky's family. We also spent two nights as a mini-vacation at the Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando. Sunday evening we had dinner at Emerril's restaurant - it was very good. He happened to be there the following night
so while we didn't get to see him in person and say "BAM! Kick it up a notch!" it is cool to know he actually cooks there once in a while.

As an early birthday present, Becky treated us to a day at Discovery Cove snorkeling through lagoons and swimming in pools --complete with a 45 minute session/swim with dolphins! Of course they have plenty of photographers on hand (and give you the hard sell after the experience) so we have a couple
of nice shots to share and remember the experience by (attached).

Apparently the week after Thanksgiving is the lightest vacation week in Orlando so keep that in mind if you ever plan a visit there. On Tuesday there were hardly any lines, so we saw all of Universal Studios park in 4 hours. We enjoyed our last afternoon in Orlando in the pool and hot-tub at the Hard Rock, making small talk with vacationers and enjoying the bartender's fine Mai-Tais. Last night was Becky's grandmother's 90th birthday party, which was very nice (she's a hoot!) - we're glad we didn't
miss it!

And tomorrow it's back to the grind (and unfortunately, the 40 degree weather)... Just wanted to let you all know we'd landed safely and had a good time. xo -b&l"

Hehehe, isn't that picture great! :_)

This past week, I received a beautiful letter from a friend of Adam "Skinny Daug" Arnold on Friday.  It was from a good friend of his who visited my site and then spent about 2 hours going through Graham Berkeley's memorial site on MSN.  Let me share with you his heartfelt posting from there:

"I didn't know Graham and I will never actually know him. But because of the diligent and heartfelt work that was put into this site and by the people that knew, loved and cherished Graham I now have the opportunity to (somewhat selfishly) share in the memory of Graham. I have read the memorial site and cried for everybody's loss. I have seen the pictures of Graham and of those that loved him. My eyes have filled with the tears that were shed for the loss of a man that I might never have known, and now will never have the opportunity to know. God, I wish that I had had the chance to meet you Graham! Your legacy will live on within the people that love you - that is evident by this site. 

I thank you all for the opportunity to view a life that did not effect me, until today, but that will effect me from now on...

My heart is filled with the joy that must have been left here by what I am sure was a man and angel entwined on earth.

Respect and Love,
Matthew Klarich"

The following letter was sent to Becky's Mom and her husband Rob by Graham's parents.  I just wanted to share this with all of you:

"Dear Susan & Rob., Thanks for your kind words. It is heartening to know that Graham was part of your extended family and spent happy times with you. Don't worry about "speed limits" as hearts as big as yours will never grow old. 

The Memorial Service was a wonderful tribute to Graham, full of beautiful music, from a quartet who played while the congregation were seated followed by a Cellist playing a piece written by a P.O.W. in a Nazi interment camp to a solo violinist aged sixteen who played " The Shrewsbury Variations", three studies in G, A, B Grahams initials which were specially written for Graham, also at sixteen, to play when his Grammar School became a VIth. Form College. Considering the difficulty of the pieces & the emotional atmosphere in which he had to perform Matthew was magnificent & we were very moved to hear music only previously played by Graham. His former music teacher played an organ voluntary to close the Service in tribute.

Over 300 attended & Rev. Ross asked us to stand at The Abbey Door to meet the retiring congregation. We havenever had so many hugs & kisses ever before. It seemed endless. When the last greeting was over an hour had passed so by the time we arrived at the reception at the hotel some had eaten & were waiting to say Goodbye. It was a fine tribute to Graham as there were musicans from Ireland, London, Wales & Holland plus Compuware people from the Slough, U.K. branch & most of his former colleagues from Shropshire Schools Orchestra & VIth.Form College. We felt proud that Graham was so loved & respected. Althouugh it does not take away the pain, it is still heartening for us. 

Today we had a surprise, a letter arrived from The White House, Washington D.C. containing a card of condolences signed personally by President & Mrs. Bush. As you can imagine we were both astounded & gratified to think they had taken the time to  think about & write to us in U.K. YOU WONDERFUL AMERICANS NEVER CEASE TO AMAZE US. How could anyone hate such caring generous people? 

We love you all. Les & P"

...... :-)

and moving on.... 

Becky and Lisa are both now in Kauai, HI enjoying all the beautiful things that that magical isle has to offer!  I got a nice message from them indicating that they arrived safely, are doing well, and wish that I was there!  Hehehe, so do I ladies, but this year I've opted for a while Christmas and will be heading back to the Boston area for the holidays.  I'm looking forward to seeing my friends and family and hopefully enjoying a white Christmas! (hehehe, though a sunny palm tree filled Christmas isn't too bad either!).  Next year, XMas in Kauii! :)

I spoke with Kevin Barnes a couple of times over the past weeks.  He's doing well down in St. Thomas.  He's working for a company where he gets to do some underwater photography as well as some stuff on land when business is slow.  He's got himself a good place to live and is starting to make new friends on isle. All in all, he's doing very well!  His brother Paul and I are going to plan a trip out to see him, sometime around the later part of February/early March.

James Canders is settling down nicely in Wyoming, MI.  He's working at the Grand Rapids airport as an airport operations assistant manager.  So far, he's liking his new job and apt. very well.  He tells me that he's got lots of opportunity for growth there, which is excellent.  I'm hoping to fly out and visit him sometime soon after the first of the new year.

I spoke with Travis "Shoebox" Nelson last week.  He's doing well out in North Carolina.  He just bought himself a 3 bedroom house not to far from the AF base and he's enjoying it.  Travis send a big hello out to all of the Cellar Dwellars!  I'm hoping to fly out to visit him before spring.

Work is still going well for me.  I'm keeping busy as all heck at Avaya.  I still enjoy getting up and going to work each morning and that (along with a paycheck) is a great thing!  heheheeh :)

And so, that's it for now.  I've got Shannon and Michael Tanner and their two wonderful children on their way over for Sunday brunch and I've got to get the bacon and coffee started, so I got to run! :-)

 I'm hoping to do another posting before XMas, but seeing how busy I'll be travelling back East and visting my wondeful friends and family, I may not get the chance.  Hehehe, so:

To all of my friends and family, thank you for making my life such as wonderful experience. Without each one of you adding so many smiles to my life, it just wouldn't be the same.  I'm very thankful to have you in my life, whether it's been for a few months or a lifetime.  I love and cherish each of you for being who you are :-)

So, here's wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful joy filled Christmas.  May the true spirit of this holiday fill your souls and allow your heart and mind to open up and experience all that there is to be thankful for!

All the best!

Penz >:-)


December 9, 2001:  And so the last month of the year is upon us.  The year 2001 begins to winds down as the new millennium barely begins to get going.  All that and only 15 more shopping days until XMas!  :-)

Well, to end up the year, last Tuesday, my grandfather (father's father), Jacob Penziner passed away at the ripe age of 87 years old.  He went peacefully and now is finally at rest.  I'm sure he's found the best kosher deli there is up in heaven and is gorging himself on a nice pastrami sandwich on a thick rye.  Hehehe, that would be him all the way!  Services were held on Thursday, with friends and family attending.  The rabbi who performed the services was the same one who did so for my dad in May of this year.  Everyone said it was very nice, and that Jake was unusually quiet! :-)  That's my family, laughing right to the end.....

<sigh>  I'll be happy when this year is past.  There has been a lot of loss in my world over the past year but so much remains for me to be thankful for.  All in all, it's a year that I'll never forget.


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