June 30: 2004:  Ok, so highlights from the past two weeks include:

  • Fully recovering from my surgery

  • Going to see Hairspray in SF courtesy of David Parker. We had a great time watching this fun Broadway play here in SF

  • Hanging out with Ryan (my next door neighbor) who is a great guy and a true connoisseur of wines. Want to know just how much he loves wines? Check out his site VineSugar.Com. It's awesome!

  • Working with Becky and Lisa to plan our upcoming weekend trip in July to Sonoma. Heheh, creating a list of wineries to visit is a fun chore! We're just about done. The list to be posted soon

  • Hearing from Tucker and getting a chance to chat w/him for a few minutes. Miss and love you bro!

  • Hearing from Matt "Macky" Davis and Aaron Dinsmore. Two great friends who live up in Northern Maine. Both are doing well.

  • Getting shit faces in SF during Pride weekend at the Pink Party. Hehehe, fun fun fun!

  • Getting ready for a fun and busy month July!

:Penz

June 20, 2004:  Well, just a quick update. I'm 90% better and feeling great! Since last Thursday, my throat has felt great and the recovery is going well. I'm sleeping normally once again and it looks like my days of snoring and sleep apnea are gone! LOL, sigh, I'm just glad that the pain is gone!

Ok, well, off to bed now. Just wanted to give a quick update :)

:Penz

June 15, 2004: Well I finally put up the pictures of my trip back East. Check 'em out! (they are at the bottom of this page).

Let's see, all day yesterday, I experienced some pretty heavy bleeding from where my tonsils where. Though bleeding is a part of the healing process (when the scabs fall off), I thought there was a little too much blood. So after a day of pretending I was on a vampire's diet, this morning I called my doctor and went down to see him.

Well, after taking a peak down my throat, he decided to admit me and cauterize a couple of 'leaking blood vessels". I got the full treatment of re-experiencing the entire process that I did a week ago, though this time, my throat wasn't sore as I woke up out of a daze of anesthesia (cause they only had to zap a couple of spots!). As the doctor put it "you have some pretty big holes in the back of your throat. Your tonsils were huge and it's gonna take a bit for those wounds to heal". Oh goodie....

Now, here's the even better news. The nurse decided to weigh me. Guess how much weight I loss since last Wednesday!?!?! 17 pounds! Can you believe it!?!?!  Heheheh, needless to say, I was psyched, but it was obvious that I was barely eating (well, hey, it hurts to eat!). Well, Ashish (my good friend who picked me up), decided that I needed some food with calories (since I was eating non-fat pudding and sugar free Jell-O.... see, I've been serious on this weight loss thing). So, we stopped by Trader Joes where he picked me up a couple of huge containers of Belgium Chocolate pudding. Oh my god.... better than sex! Hehehehe....

Other than that, I'm at home resting. My throat is feeling less pained today, which is good. I brought my laptop home last night and will be working from home the rest of of the week.

Hope all is well in your world!

:Penz

June 13, 2004:  Well, I'm starting to get a bit better. Last night I got about 3.5 hours sleep, which is more than I've gotten since Wednesday. The pain has gone down a bit. It's always the worst first thing in the morning, as my mouth is dry from when I was sleeping (or trying to). As soon as I can get some good rest, I'm sure I'll feel loads better. Right now, I'm kinda in a daze, and can be a bit 'irritable' at times.

Last night, my friends Ryan and Jen from downstairs invited me to go to the movies with them. So, I took my meds and off we went to see "Saved!" It was a riot! I highly recommend seeing this flick!

So, that's about for now. I'm gonna go our for a walk now. It's beautiful outside!

:Penz

June 11, 2004: 

 President Ronald Reagan
1911-2004

"I know in my heart that man is good.
That what is right will always eventually triumph.
And there’s purpose and worth to each and every life"

The following is a transcript of a eulogy, by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, played at Ronald Reagan's funeral at the National Cathedral in Washington. It is as fitting a tribute as any, to this great man.

"We have lost a great president, a great American and a great man. And I have lost a dear friend.

In his lifetime, Ronald Reagan was such a cheerful and invigorating presence that it was easy to forget what daunting historic tasks he set himself. He sought to mend America's wounded spirit, to restore the strength of the free world and to free the slaves of communism. These were causes hard to accomplish and heavy with risk.

Yet they were pursued with almost a lightness of spirit. For Ronald Reagan also embodied another great cause -- what Arnold Bennett once called 'the great cause of cheering us all up.' His politics had a freshness and optimism that won converts from every class and every nation -- and ultimately from the very heart of the evil empire.

Yet his humor often had a purpose beyond humor. In the terrible hours after the attempt on his life, his easy jokes gave reassurance to an anxious world. They were evidence that in the aftermath of terror and in the midst of hysteria, one great heart at least remained sane and jocular. They were truly grace under pressure.

And perhaps they signified grace of a deeper kind. Ronnie himself certainly believed that he had been given back his life for a purpose. As he told a priest after his recovery, 'Whatever time I've got left now belongs to the Big Fella Upstairs.'

And surely it is hard to deny that Ronald Reagan's life was providential, when we look at what he achieved in the eight years that followed.

Others prophesied the decline of the West; he inspired America and its allies with renewed faith in their mission of freedom.

Others saw only limits to growth; he transformed a stagnant economy into an engine of opportunity.

Others hoped, at best, for an uneasy cohabitation with the Soviet Union; he won the Cold War -- not only without firing a shot, but also by inviting enemies out of their fortress and turning them into friends.

I cannot imagine how any diplomat, or any dramatist, could improve on his words to Mikhail Gorbachev at the Geneva summit:

'Let me tell you why it is we distrust you.' Those words are candid and tough and they cannot have been easy to hear. But they are also a clear invitation to a new beginning and a new relationship that would be rooted in trust.

We live today in the world that Ronald Reagan began to reshape with those words. It is a very different world with different challenges and new dangers. All in all, however, it is one of greater freedom and prosperity, one more hopeful than the world he inherited on becoming president.

As prime minister, I worked closely with Ronald Reagan for eight of the most important years of all our lives. We talked regularly both before and after his presidency. And I have had time and cause to reflect on what made him a great president.

Ronald Reagan knew his own mind. He had firm principles -- and, I believe, right ones. He expounded them clearly, he acted upon them decisively.

When the world threw problems at the White House, he was not baffled, or disorientated, or overwhelmed. He knew almost instinctively what to do.

When his aides were preparing option papers for his decision, they were able to cut out entire rafts of proposals that they knew 'the Old Man' would never wear.

When his allies came under Soviet or domestic pressure, they could look confidently to Washington for firm leadership.

And when his enemies tested American resolve, they soon discovered that his resolve was firm and unyielding.

Yet his ideas, though clear, were never simplistic. He saw the many sides of truth.

Yes, he warned that the Soviet Union had an insatiable drive for military power and territorial expansion; but he also sensed it was being eaten away by systemic failures impossible to reform.

Yes, he did not shrink from denouncing Moscow's 'evil empire.' But he realized that a man of goodwill might nonetheless emerge from within its dark corridors.

So the president resisted Soviet expansion and pressed down on Soviet weakness at every point until the day came when communism began to collapse beneath the combined weight of these pressures and its own failures. And when a man of goodwill did emerge from the ruins, President Reagan stepped forward to shake his hand and to offer sincere cooperation.

Nothing was more typical of Ronald Reagan than that large-hearted magnanimity -- and nothing was more American.

Therein lies perhaps the final explanation of his achievements. Ronald Reagan carried the American people with him in his great endeavors because there was perfect sympathy between them. He and they loved America and what it stands for -- freedom and opportunity for ordinary people.

As an actor in Hollywood's golden age, he helped to make the American dream live for millions all over the globe. His own life was a fulfillment of that dream. He never succumbed to the embarrassment some people feel about an honest expression of love of country.

He was able to say 'God Bless America' with equal fervor in public and in private. And so he was able to call confidently upon his fellow countrymen to make sacrifices for America -- and to make sacrifices for those who looked to America for hope and rescue.

With the lever of American patriotism, he lifted up the world. And so today the world -- in Prague, in Budapest, in Warsaw, in Sofia, in Bucharest, in Kiev and in Moscow itself -- the world mourns the passing of the Great Liberator and echoes his prayer, 'God Bless America.'

Ronald Reagan's life was rich not only in public achievement, but also in private happiness. Indeed, his public achievements were rooted in his private happiness. The great turning point of his life was his meeting and marriage with Nancy.

On that we have the plain testimony of a loving and grateful husband: 'Nancy came along and saved my soul.' We share her grief today. But we also share her pride -- and the grief and pride of Ronnie's children.

For the final years of his life, Ronnie's mind was clouded by illness. That cloud has now lifted. He is himself again -- more himself than at any time on this earth. For we may be sure that the Big Fella Upstairs never forgets those who remember Him. And as the last journey of this faithful pilgrim took him beyond the sunset, and as heaven's morning broke, I like to think -- in the words of Bunyan -- that 'all the trumpets sounded on the other side.'

We here still move in twilight. But we have one beacon to guide us that Ronald Reagan never had. We have his example. Let us give thanks today for a life that achieved so much for all of God's children."

A sad day indeed as one of the great presidents of our time passes on. I will truly remember this great man as he wished to be: "Someone who tried and did their best.".

Thank you Uncle Ron, for being a guiding light for the hearts of America.

May God bless Ronald Reagan and the country he loved....

Today, I spent most of the day dozing on the couch while I watched the funeral ceremonies for President Regan. It was a truly memorable day and I count myself privileged to have been able to watch the entire procession. At the very end of the day, back in CA, after the flag was presented to Nancy, I broke down and cried when she went to say one final goodbye to her husband. Talk about an amazing woman, to be able to remain so strong for so long and to share her grief with an entire nation... I don't think too many people could have done that. She is a testament to the spirit of her late husband.

In other news, my throat still hurts like the devil. Try and imagine you tried giving a porcupine a blowjob, and you'll know how I feel :-)  Heheh, ok, so my sense of humor is still working :)  I slept like crap last night, because every time I swallowed, I awoke in pain. I think I got about 2 hours of crappy sleep... Let's hope tonight is a better night.

With that said, I bid you good night.

:Penz

June 9, 2004: Well, today, I had a tonsillectomy! Hehehe, hell of a way to start your day, eh? :-)  The reason that I had this done is that for the past few years I've suffered some sleep apnea. I think I've had this for a long time, but as of late, I've noticed the effects of it more often.  I also get strept throat about twice a year and last, but certainly not least, I'm also a chronic snorer. Heheh, anyone who's had to share the same room as me, much less the same bed, knows that I can snore like a dozen bulldozers going full bore. I inherited that little gift from my dad :)

So, at 6:30 AM today, I arrived at the Washington Valley Outpatient Surgery facility in Fremont, CA. After checking in, I was brought back into a full scale medical facility. After stripping down to my boxers and changing into a gown, I got into my medical bed and waited. A few minutes later, my nurse stopped by to check on me. A few minutes later, my anesthesiologist came by to tap an IV into my arm. LOL, third time was a charm on that one (and I've got the bruises to prove it). Once the IV was hooked up (with just a saline drip running), I lay there for about 10 more minutes before my doctor stopped by to let me know I was there. A few minutes later, I was being wheeled into the operating room, and it was then that I got just the teeniest bit nervous. LOL, well, a little shot of something I remember the anesthesiologist saying was a close cousin of valium was added to my IV and a few seconds later, I was out like a light.

I awoke one hour later, in the recuperation ward. I had an ice pack wrapped around my neck and I was a bit drowsy. My throat was a little sore and a shot of Demerol knocked that pain away (I wish I could've taken some of that with me!). My good friend Shannon Tanner was there to pick me up and take me back to Dublin. For the rest of the day, I chilled out at the Romine's house with Daniel, Brian and Kevin. I didn't feel too bad, though my throat was a bit sore. Happily, I have a nice big bottle of Lortab (Hydrocodone) which is literally liquid Vicodin. Every 4 hours, I take my 2 tsp. of pain relief and it works pretty good.

It's hard to talk and even harder to eat. Supposedly, it's going to be like this for about a week :(  Needless to say, I'm not looking forward to that, but will be happy when it's all over. 

For those of you who are curious, there are no stitches in my throat. They cauterized all of the incisions. ICK!  I guess in about a week or so, the scabs will fall off and they will bleed a little, but that's just part of the healing process.  ICK! 

Thanks to all of you who have called or emailed. Heheh, you'll have to forgive me if I don't pick up the phone all the time. It's not too comfortable to talk right now. Maybe by the end of the weekend, that will change.

:Penz

A Trip Back East! 
Wakefield, MA to Pawling, NY to Port Clyde, ME (and a few places in between!)

June 2, 2004:  Well, I had a great trip back East. For one week, I did a whirlwind tour of New England. Let's see what I can remember.

Well, my first stop was at my brothers house where I spent the weekend with him and Suzanne and Tyler and Zach :-)  We had a great visit together. For the most part, we hung out a lot and just enjoyed each other company. We went out for sushi and Chinese food for our dinners and had a great time!

On Monday, I went to work at the Concord, MA office and got to see the gang there, which was really nice! Monday night, I went up to Nashua, NH where I got to see Dustin, Alex, Gini and Johnson for the evening. We all went out to dinner together and had a really nice time (thanks again for dinner Alex!! 

Tuesday I worked again in Concord, and after that, I headed down to Pawling, NY to see Porky!

The drive down to Pawling, NY from MA took about 3 hours, and it was a nice relaxing drive. I really like that area of NY as it's more of a country area than anything. Well  I was pretty psyched to see Porky and to get a chance to see his new place! He's living on the estate of Mr. James Earl Jones, where he acts as the caretaker for the property. The property is very nice, not pretentious and very 'homey'. There are about a half dozen or so houses on the property that Mr. Jones rents out to his staff and a friend or two. He's also got a few Koi ponds, a shooting range, a cabin, lumber mill, full workshop and other enmities as well. It's a pretty sweet place!

Here's a shot of the place where Tim now lives. It's really nice on the inside. This 1 BR has all new appliances, hardwood floors and a killer view! The shot below is of a pond just off of the side of the house:


Here are a couple of good pictures of Mr. Jones's Koi fish
Here fishy fishy fishy fishy!

On Wednesday night, we got together with Porky's Aunt Linda and Uncle Jamie and niece Steph for dinner. I made a pretty killer lasagna for dinner and we all enjoyed that with a couple of nice bottles of wine. It was great seeing Linda and Jamie again. Last time I saw them was at their wedding in December of last year.

And so on Friday, we headed up to Port Clyde, ME. We made a stop in Wakefield, MA at my brothers house where we dropped off Porky's car and I did some work for a few hours. After that, it was up to Maine and we go there in good time, early that afternoon.

Paul met us there and was in good spirits when we arrived :) He brought along some critters as well! There was Saffron:


and Tate and Paul's new wiener dog! Here's a shot of the both of them with Porky (who looks like he's enjoying their company...LOL). and yes, that's a wiener dog between Porky's legs... :P

We had a great time up in Port Clyde, and considering it was going to be the last time at the "Ol' Barnes's Place", we were certainly inspired to make the most of it. There was plenty of booze and food to help ensure we did! Along with a 6 lobster/bushel of steamers and mussels feast, we also enjoyed some cheeseburgers, Paul's famous Bourbon Baked Beans, bacon (lots of bacon), butter, and other munchies :) Combine all of that with 2 of your best friends, and  you're sure to have a great time!

Here are some pictures of the weekend:

 


Marshall Point Lighthouse.... each year, it just gets prettier and prettier!


Penz and Paul at the lighthouse


and Porky and Paul at the lighthouse :)


A shot of the "Sea Truk". This huge ol' beast of a "truk" is "parked" downtown. Not sure who owns it, but it's a pretty amazing vehicle. Let's just say the testosterone gets flowing once you see this thing up close!


yep, those are some big ass tires!


cool picture!


the hustle of bustle of downtown Port Clyde, ME.


inside are 6 lobsters, lots of mussels, steamers, sausages, corn, fixin's and flavor. On the top, the butter is melting, preparing itself for the lobsters!



Paul trying to figure out which is bigger, the pot or the belly the foods going to go into! :-)


A close up of that melting butter!


Of course, Porky was smiling the entire rest of the trip... :D


Paul getting in some fishing as the sun was just starting to set....


Click on this picture to view the full size high resolution photo. 
This breathtaking shot makes a nice wallpaper for your computer (or print it off and frame it!)


Silhouette of Porky on the Bay (Penz trying to be artistic)


Another one...


and we end it up with Paul taking out the canoe, drunk as a skunk, for a moonlit bay boat ride

"Drink it up, this one's for you; It's been a lovely cruise.
I'm sorry it's ending, oh it's sad, but it's true;
Honey, it's been a lovely cruise.

These moments we're left with, may you always remember. 
These moments are shared by few.
There's wind in our hair and there's water in our shoes.
Honey, it's been a lovely cruise. 

Ohhh, these moments we're left with,
May you always remember. 
These moments are shared by few.
And those harbor lights, lord, 
They're coming into view.

We'll bid our farewells much too soon
So drink it up, this one's for you.
Honey, it's been a lovely cruise....."

"Lovely Cruise", by Jimmy Buffett

I'd like to take a moment and thank Stan and Barb for allowing me and many of our friends the opportunity of spending some memorable times up in Port Clyde. It was our own "One Particular Harbor" and we're certainly sad to see it go.

I do hope that the new owners of this little piece of paradise (pictured here with Paul) continue to make happy memories and enjoy this place just as much as we have over the years. Considering that they have been visiting this area for 20+ years, I think it's safe to say that that will happen :-)

On Monday, Porky and I headed back to Massachusetts where we parted ways at my brothers house. I had a really awesome time visiting with Porky and was glad we had the opportunity to spend as much time together as we did.

 That night, I spent the evening with Tim and Suzanne before flying back to CA the next day. 

All in all, a very fun trip back East!

:Penz


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