July 2010

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July 31, 2010: And so endeth the month of July; it truly has been a wondrous time and it is filled with experiences and moments that I will hopefully remember and cherish for a long time to come :)

I'm still missing Eric a lot, but I'm dealing with that :-| Life's little irony on the timing of things is not wasted on me... but I still wish things were different and that we could be together. I know that that during the time we've spent together, I've given him some insight into what I think a healthy relationship could/can be like, and while he was out here visiting, I got to experience the same from him. Sharing my life with him has been a wonderful experience and who knows what may happen in the future. But for now, I'm trying to deal with "what is" and not get all caught up in "what might be" or "what I wish it would be". Dwelling on either of those for too long is not healthy for me and won't allow me to continue to emotionally move forward. Yes, it's bittersweet. Yes, it hurts. And if I got the chance to go back and do it all over again, I wouldn't change a thing.


July 30, 2010: My friend Rusty is in town visiting from San Francisco and we'll be hanging out this weekend. Certainly has been a good month for visitors from CA!

July 28, 2010: I'm feeling much better today as l let the reality of the situation sink in and accept it. Yup, when it comes to relationships, sometimes is all comes down to the timing of the situation. I've been on both sides of the equation before, but it's of recently (about a year now) where I really find myself in the "I'm ready! Bring it on!" state rather than another. Since I know the other side of the equation so well, and because I worked my ass off to get out being 'not ready/not available', I can appreciate the situation between Eric and I. Doesn't change the way I feel about him, but there's not much else I can do at this point other than to keep moving forward. One day, this will happen :) I look forward to that :) (and thank you Joe for sending this to me! Sure did help snap me out of that funk :)

July 26, 2010: My heart aches, cause I miss my puppy... arooooow :/ - "I guess guess it's half timing and the other half's luck":/

July 20, 2010: This has been one of the most amazing months I've had in a very long time! On July 12, I turned 40, so in celebration of this event, I hosted a birthday party at my house. I had people fly in from CA & FL, one drove up from PA and the rest were local. It would be the first time in my life where all of my worlds would come together and it would be amazing. Oh yeah, and on top of it all, I'd get to spend 12 days with Eric Chamberlain, someone whom I care A LOT about and who just makes me feeling amazing :) So with that said, here's a recap of the month to date:

On Tuesday July 2, I went fishing for stripers with Paul. It was the first time in a long time I've been out fishing with him and we had a lot of fun. Spent some time on the shore, casting out, and then we got into a 14 foot row boat and went about 300' off the shore. Didn't catch anything, but the beers were cold, the weather good, and the company great :)

July 3, I went to a great BBQ at Jeff 'n Gwen's place down in Hollis, NH. They have a beautiful house down there with a great pool, and it's right by the river. Great location for entertaining. Lots of people I knew were there (Tab, Alex, Spidey, Kelli, Josh, Heather, to name a few) and got to meet some new peeps as well. I brought Clarice with me (as there were other dogs there as well), which worked out fine for most of the party (more on that in a bit). We spend the afternoon drinking beer, playing ladder ball, playing beer pong (in the pool no less), eating lots of tasty food (Jeff smoke a turkey, which was awesome, and did up some shrimp, steak tips and chicken on the grill, plus there were lots of side dishes as well) and having a good old time! Around 9:00 PM, the boys setup about $1500 worth of fireworks that they purchased and so I took Clarice w/me inside the fenced in pool area. As the show started, she barked a bit and was getting uncomfortable, so I held onto her and tried to keep her calm. Unfortunately, that didn't work and she bolted from my arms and started to run around the pool area. I chased after her, but she found the one hole in the fence, got though it, and took off into the woods. I grabbed a flashlight and chased after her, but she was long gone. I'd spend the next hour + running through the woods searching for her. I was really upset, in tears, and scared shirtless that I had lost the love of my life. About an hour later, at my wits end, and still searching the woods, my cell phone rings. It was the "Home Again" service that I subscribe to. Clarice was wearing her collar (and she has a chip in her ear), and the tag has a toll free #. Well, apparently, she ran about a 1/2 mile away from where I was and found two people sitting on a Harley Davidson who had pulled off on the side of the road to watch some fireworks. She ran up to them and jumped up into the riders lap! Well, they saw her collar and started up the bike and drove a few streets down to a friends house where they called. The dispatcher connected us and through grateful tears, I thanked them and the nice people brought her back to me. Suffice to say, Clarice was very lucky, I was super lucky, and I learned that she will not be attending any fireworks shows ever again :) Thanks also goes to Tab, Spidey, and Kelli who also helped me look for Clarice. After that little adventure, we drove home and called it a night.

On Sunday, July 4, I spent the morning doing some yard work and that afternoon I went over to Paul and Kara's house for a BBQ. Paul smoked a 10 lb. brisket (which was amazing) and Tab came up from Manchester to join us (as it was his birthday!). We had a really nice afternoon/evening together, devouring lots of good food, consuming lots of good drinks and sharing the day with great friends.

On Monday July 5, Alex McCabe came up in the morning to join me and Tab for brunch. He also brought with him a house warming/early birthday gift. Oh my god, it was amazing! It was a Jura Capreso Impressa F7 espresso/coffee maker. This all-in-one shrine to making coffee is a gift from the gods (well the gods Alex and Tab) and it has forever changed my morning routine. It makes an amazing cup of coffee or shots of espresso, perfectly done, every single time. SOOOOO AWESOME! Thank you again Alex and Tab :D


The Coffee Temple

On Tuesday morning (July 6), I got up, mowed the lawn, and gave the house a final once over and then that afternoon, it was off to Boston where at 5 PM I picked up my puppy, Eric Chamberlain :) I can't even tell you how excited I was to see him standing there outside baggage claim waiting for me to pick him up! Heheheh well, after a quick stop at Trader Joe's (and a few hugs and kisses later), it was off to my home in Dover, NH.

LOL ahhhh, Mother Nature was having some 'fun' with me right around this time of year. We went from 3 beautiful weeks of weather to the most humid days of the summer, mixed in w/some rain and to top it off, the horse/green flies were out and about. Poor Eric got greeted by a small swarm of them when we got to my place, so after few minutes outside, it was into the house where the central AC had everything cooled down quite nicely. Well, suffice to say, we didn't didn't leave the house that night and we spent a lot of time..... catching up :)

On Wednesday, we bummed around the house for a bit and ended up doing some random stuff (OK, I just don't remember!), but that afternoon we went over to Paul and Kara's where they got to meet Eric and vice versa AND we got to see Kevin Barnes and his fiancee' Sarah Stoker who also flew in for the weekend. After a bunch of drinks and some yummy food, we loaded up a few more supplies for the party, and it was back to my place for the evening.


Eric and Saffron

On Thursday, Eric and I went food shopping for the party, picking up 12 racks of ribs, about 70 chicken legs, and a 12 pound beef brisket. MMMmmmm yeah, we were gonna eat well. And then later on that afternoon, the gang started to arrive. At 5:00 PM, Eric and I picked up Brian M. from the airport. Brian flew in from SFO and I was psyched he came out for the party. On the way home, we stopped in for some roast beef sandwiches at Bill and Bob's Roast Beef on RT 1, and that was a tasty 'snack' to hold us over :) Later on that evening, Matt Consola and Chris Land landed at Logan, rented a car and drove up to my place. As they stepped out of the car, I had an ice cold beer for Chris and a mojito for Matt (hey, they do need to arrive in style!). Paul, Kevin and Sarah stopped by to say hi to everyone and have a beer or two and just about the same time, Mike Ebelhar and Chad showed up, driving in from Rochester, NY. We'd all hang out and have some drinks until just after midnight before calling it a night.

On Friday, I got up early and at 8:00 AM was in Boston picking up Noam and Matte Zovich. They took the red-eye in from SFO and after a quick stop at Dunkin Donuts, we were off to Dover. Upon arriving, Matte went to take a nap, Noam hung out with the crew, and I ran out with Matt C. to do a few errands, including picking up the full keg (well 1/2 keg, since they don't sell full ones) of beer, and 1/2 a bushel of mussels and a few other last minute items. It was nice to have a little time along with Matt to chat and catch up before the festivities started.

Once we got back from running errands, we found that Eric and Mike had gone out and got food for lunch and had burgers and bratwurst's going on the grill :) So, in short order we were woofing down some tasty food and had the keg tapped and pouring out some ice cold beer! After that, it was time to play some ladder ball and enjoy a cool down in the inflatable pools that I got from here. They were really nice and LOL we put them to the test on how many people they could hold :)


Penz and "Trouble" pup Mike :)


Eric, Penz and and Mike - puppies in the pool :)


Chris, Brian, Penz, Mike, Matte, Gini, Spidey, Matt and Chad in the background


I
t was a fun afternoon of just hanging out, drinking beers and enjoy the good weather :)


Gini the rockstar!


Emma and Kara :)


Mike playing some ladder ball


Penz, Kara and Kevin


Classic Noam!

Later on that afternoon, Kai would fly in an head up to my place, arriving around 6:30 and that would complete all of the guests flying in from CA. Three more out of town where en route and that included Mark Hamel (arriving Saturday morning - flying in from FL), Joe Manzo (arriving Saturday afternoon - driving up from PA) and Becky Ayers (arriving Saturday morning - flew in from FL).

It was an amazing and humbling feeling to have so many people travel such a great distance to share this weekend with me. THANK YOU Eric, Brian, Kai, Matt, Chris, Matte, Noam, Becky, Mark, and Joe for making the trip! I am truly blessed with some amazing people in my life and each them has enriched this adventure of living to make it the wonderful experience it has been. I can't wait to see what the future holds for each of us! Ahhhh, "And all experience is an arch wherethro' gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fade for ever and for ever when I move." (a quote from "Ulysses" one of my all time favorite poems).

As a thank you to all of the guys who flew in from CA, I wanted to do a special dinner so I talked it over with my sister and as a birthday gift to me, she picked me up 50 lobsters! That's right, 50! And so with the help of Paul Barnes, we cooked them all up along with the 1/2 bushel of steamers, a dozen ears of corn, and 10 pounds of potatoes we had picked up that day and we had a feast! In attendance, were: Me, Eric, Matt, Chris, Noam, Matte, Brian, Kai, Mike, Chad, Kevin, Sahara, Tim, Suzanne, Tab aka Mike Waciscko, Chrstine Baze and her boyfriend Brian, Jon Burns, my neighbors Chris, Yoshimee, and Michael. Let's just say, no one left hungry :)


Kevin checking to make sure there will be enough ;)


2 more into the boil by Chef Paul :)


Penz and Eric (and yeah, can you tell just how much I love having him around? And yeah, he looks
pretty happy too :-)


Matte, Penz, Chris, matt, Kevin, Sarah, Suzanne, Brian, Tab and Eric - feastin' on some lobstah!


Gini in heaven!


oh yeah baby!! that's what I'm talking about :) lobsters and steamers!


Matt and Tim :)


Tim and Suzanne


Suzanne and a uni-corny Brian :P


OMG, that isn't SPAM Kai!!!!


Mike and Gini enjoying the feast!


Christine Baze and her boyfriend Brian


A boston cream birthday cake, complete with sparkler!


Cake delivered to my bedroom ..... LOL yeah........

That night, the keg took a heavy hit and by the next morning, it was pretty much floating (well maybe 25% left!). Most of the crew stayed up until about 2 AM, but some of them stayed up to watch the sun come up around 6:30 AM, which was just about the time, I was starting to stir (though I took my time, cause I was cuddled up next to the most handsome guy/puppy around :) Hehehe, so after gently getting out of bed and letting my puppy continue to sleep, I got Saturday started!

Mother nature was gonna be bitch and provide some rain, so I got the 2 smokers fired up early and got the ribs, chicken legs and brisket on there before running off to the store to pick up 8 cases of Miller light bottles. By the time I got back, the house was just starting to stir with peeps getting up and stumbling over to my new coffee temple for a cup/shot of the good stuff :)

Soon the guests began to arrive, the first being Barb and Stan Barnes with Kevin, Sarah, and Paul. I was pretty stoked that Stan was able to make it, cause he had to work that day and make the trip down to hang out just for a few hours.


Penz and Stan :)

With the help of the Barnes clan, we quickly got the two pop up canopies just in case it decided to rain (which it would for a little bit) and once that was done, I turned the grills/smokers over to master chef Paul Barnes. Soon there after, my guests started arriving and the party began!!! I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves :)


Yeah..... the three bears :D I love this picture!


12 racks of ribs were being smoked, along with 70 chicken legs and a 12 pound brisket!


Diva's Matt and Kelli


The "Chad"


Penz, Tim and Suzanne :)


Penz and Becky with the most awesome shirt courtesy of Ma Barnes!


Suzanne and Aunt Bernice


Matte Zovich - handsome devil extrodinare!


Two handsome puppies, Ulysses and Apollo :)


The old Alexander LAN crew - Dirk his girlfriend Melinda, Joanne and Lon Massongil and Penz enjoying a delicious bottle of "The Father" Cab Franc from Mercury


Gini, Matt, Tim, Suzanne and Johnny


Two very happy puppies :D


Kevin and Sarah enjoying some margaritas!


Chris, Spidey, Becky, Tab, Matt and Gini! Who would've known I'd have a drag show at my party!?!? :D


Oh Tab..... Who's the pretty gurl!?!? Oh..... it's you!


The crew chowing down on some ribs, brisket, chicken legs and other tasty vittles!


Sarah, Tab, Kevin, Hummer and Perky


Aroooooooooooo! Me and my puppy :D


Alex, Tim, KJ and her husband and Monica :)


Heather and Owen :)


And this handsome devil got up early this morning to drive 7 hours from PA to NH for my party. How freaking awesome was that? Thank you so much Joe for making the trip up! It was awesome having you there :D


Joe, Tab, Penz and Matte :)


Bookends :) - In 1997, it all started with Josh (on right) as we were each others first dates/boyfriends after coming out. And to the left, Eric, the guy who right now makes my heart swell and beat a lot faster when he's around (or I think about him :) LOL and yes, Clarice.... my faithful loving companion for over 3.5 years :)


Chris "bo-peep" and Lady Kai-Kai


Paul and Tab - my my my! LOL!


Ahhh, yeah, maybe you didn't hear me, but I need a latte' NOW!


An amazing circle of friends :) Noam, Joe, Matte, Eric, Kai, Becky, Chris, Matt and Brian :)


WOOF! Hehehehe :)


My neighbor Chris used a tarp, hose and a bottle of soap to make a slip and slide! Gini, Chris and Spidey took full advantage of this :D Andy and Josh in the background:)


Chris, Matte, Joe, Gini, Penz, Eric, Josh, Noam, Matt, Andy and assuming his normal position, Mike :)


Mike and Becky :)


Penz, Becky, Matte, Joe and Paul. LOL that wig fits Paul way too well :)


Mary, Chad, Becky and Andy ;)


Josh, Becky and Clarice :)


Two loves of my life - Eric and Gini!!
And that's Andy and Josh in the background, together now for 10 years :)


Can you see the future!?!?! It looks so bright!!!! :D


Puppies! Mike, Eric and Me (think I look happy!??! - yup!)


A big smooch from Matte!!! I love this man :)


Sarah and Kevin - feeling no pain!


Alison, Beth and Monica :)


Dan, Penz and Paul - oh yes, we've had a drink or ten :)


Puppies playing beer pong!


Tab trying to intimidate us!


Johnson and Scooby!


Matte, Penz and Eric - aroooooo!


Gini and her boyfriend and master chef Rob - and Brian :P


Oh yes, the fire pit was going full force that night!


Sigh.... the most handsome puppy around :D AROOOOOOOOOOO!

All in all, I don't think I could have possibly asked for a better way to celebrate my 40th birthday. This was the first time ever that all of my worlds came together and it was amazing to see such a diverse group of people come together and have such a good time! I don't have the words to express just how truly blessed or thankful I am for having such wonderful people in my life. All I can say is that I care for each of them very much and my life is full and rich because each of them are a part of it. Thank you for an amazing experience!

And on Sunday morning, sometime after the sun came up, we would slowly start to stir and the crew would stumble towards the coffee temple through the debris of the night before. LOL my house surely looked like it had about 75 people partying hard throughout the day in it, but within short order, the kitchen was cleaned up and in usable condition and we all gathered around the divining room table to try and recount the fun from the day before. LOL good stuff :)

Brian and Kai would head up to Ogunquit, ME to meet up with Kai's sister and her family for the day, while the rest of us did a bit of cleaning and then crashed out on the couch for the afternoon. Much of it was spent looking through the 1K pictures that were taken over the past 48 hours, watching some Oceans Thirteen and even consuming a few cocktails to help ease us back into reality. Then around 4:30 PM, Matte, Noam, Chris and Matt would pack up and after lots of hugs, head off back towards Boston and catch their flights back to San Francisco. Brian and Kai would return and me, Eric, Becky, Brian, Kai, Chad and Mike would head into Portsmouth for dinner at the Portsmouth Brewery. This would be my last meal at age 39!


Becky, Kai, Brian, penz, Eric, Mike and Chad in Portsmouth, NH

And so, the night would end would be going to bed, snuggled up close to Eric and feeling just about as wonderful as i possibly could. There are few moments in my life that I can think of that are topped by falling asleep next to someone you love and care deeply about and you know they feel something very similar. What a great way to end 39 and to start 40 :)

Monday July 12: Holy crap, I'm 40! I woke up that morning next to Eric, and that's just a wonderful way to start any day, much less my birthday. <insert HUGE grin here>. He gave me 2 sweet shirts from Upper Playground and a beautiful card that pretty much brought happy tears to my eyes :) That morning, Brian and Kai took off for Boston to fly back home (was so nice having them out here) and after they took off, the remaining crew slowly got up.

Most of the rest of the day would be spent being lazy and kicking around the house until the mid-afternoon and then me, Eric, Mike and Chad would jump into my truck and head over to Kittery, ME. We'd spend about an hour exploring the Kittery Trading Post and then we'd head up RT-1 to York, ME. We pulled over and walked down to one of the beaches on the outskirt of town, which was beautiful and so we spent a little time walking on the edge of the ocean :)


Eric and Mike


Enjoying the moment :)


Ahhhhhhh :)

After the beach, we headed into the center of York. I used to spend my summers here back in high school with my friend Scot Servis, whose family used to own a house just off of the main strip. It was fun to see how the town has grown and changed since I was there 23 years ago, but in essence, it still had the same feel to it. We visited one of the most tasty candy shops around, The Goldenrod, and each of us left with a few treats from there that would nibble on and enjoy over the next week or so (so yummy!). After that, it was back on the road and we continued up Route 1 to Ogunquit, ME.

Ogunquit is a small very gay friendly town which is basically the Provinceton equivalent for Maine. It's got a bunch of little shops and restaurants and it located right on the beach. We drove around for a bit, then parked the truck and then strolled around for a bit. After a while, we'd head down towards the beach where we would eventually end up having dinner at the Blue Water Inn. We sat out on the deck and enjoyed a very tasty meal including bacon wrapped scallops, seafood medley, cast-seared sea scallops, and haddock parmesan. It was a really nice dinner and thank you again to Eric for taking all of us out! After dinner, it was back to Dover and off to bed.

On Tuesday, Mike and Chad took off and headed down to Province town for Bear Week, and so the house occupancy was down to to just me, Eric and Clarice - my little pack :) Didn't do a heck of a lot this day.... but towards the end of the day, my eye started to feel weird, like there was something in it. I put some eye drops in it, but didn't think too much.

On Wednesday, I woke up and my left eye was totally bloodshot and 'unhappy'. Eric took a look at it and strongly suggested I got see an eye doctor, so that afternoon, I did and he diagnosed me with some type of conjunctivitis (like pink-eye) and said it looked viral (not bacterial) or allergy related. He gave me some antibiotic/steroid drops and sent me on the way. Other than being annoying, it didn't hamper me much and happily, Eric would not catch it :)

On Thursday, Eric and I were up early and me, him and Clarice jumped in the truck and headed up to the White Mountains. It took us a couple of hours but we finally reached Mount Washington and we took the truck up the road to the top of the mountain (hey, I've climbed it enough times to have earned the right to drive up it now :). The weather/visibility was pretty good and it was a fun drive up/down the mountain. Here are a few photo's from the trip:


And though we got to see some beautiful scenery on this trip,
this was the amazing view i got to enjoy the entire time :)

On Friday morning, we headed down towards Boston. Though it was in the low 70's when the morning started, it was in the low 90's and pretty humid by the time we reached bean-town! Our first stop was M.I.T (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) where we'd spend and hour or so walking around the campus. It's a pretty amazing place.

After that, we'd drive around the city for a bit, doing most of our site seeing from the air conditioned truck, and then we'd head back home for the night.

On Saturday, our day started on a sad note. Paul's parrot, Saffron, unexpectedly passed away over night. Only about 13 years old, with a life expectancy of about 50+, it would later turn out she suffered a heart attack due to a calcium deficiency. Suffice to say, Paul was extremely upset and so Eric and I rushed over to hang out w/him and Kara and try and provide a small amount of comfort. I felt so bad for Paul, because he truly loved this bird and fully expected her to outlive him :(

After our visit to Paul and Kara's, we headed up to Portland, ME. I hadn't been there in about 20 years, so it was nice to revisit it with Eric. We got there around 11 AM and we spent some time browsing the shops down by the wharf in the old town. It's a really pretty city and I'm looking forward to heading back up there sometime soon to do some more exploring. After walking around for a couple of hours, we ended up at Duck Fat for lunch. Heheeh, a tasty little eatery, we noshed on their famous fries (cooked in duck fat), has a couple of milkshakes and sandwiches. Hehehe, luckily we had about a 1/2 mile walk back to the truck to try and keep our hearts going :) As we headed back to Dover, Mike and Chad had left Provincetown and headed back to my place and so the four of us spent the night hanging out together. We'd all end up on the couch watching Avatar until the late evening. After the movie, I continued to do some laundry to make sure puppy went home w/all clean clothes, as I tried to keep my mind off the fact that he was leaving the next day.

On Sunday morning, we got up and ended up hanging out around the house. Eric got all of his stuff packed and by 10:30 AM were were on the way to the airport. After a quick stop at a local sub shop for sandwiches, all too soon I found myself standing at the curb at the United Airline terminal giving my last hugs and kisses to the man who made the last almost two weeks of my life an absolutely amazing experience. After saying goodbye, I drove away and made it about 2 miles outside of the airport before I had to pull over for a few minutes because I couldn't see. Yeah, tears have that effect on me...

About an hour later, I found myself back home. Mike and Chad were still around. As I got in the house, I went to the fridge to grab a drink, and I found a note card sticking out of the door. It was a cute little message from Eric, which brought a big smile to my face. Through the next morning, I would continue to find note cards hidden all over the house, and each one brought a huge smile to my face and made my heart swell a little bit more. I gotta say, it was a very sweet and thoughtful gesture and I really appreciated it :) I certainly do miss my puppy. My heart aches and my life feels a little bit empty without having him 'right here' with me. C'est la vie ... but maybe one day, that will change. We'll see... love is a powerful and crazy thing and maybe just maybe, everything will come together. I hope so... but if it doesn't, I'll never forget and always be thankful for this little oasis of paradise of time that I got to spend w/my puppy :)

And so, that's about it for now. This will probably be a 'living update' as I'm sure I'll add to it over the new couple of days as I remember some more details.

~Penz


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