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  2004 Annual Update




Hello Everyone,,,

Merry Christmas 2003 and Happy New Year 2004 from Sunny, Warm Orlando!!!

This is my update for the year ending this December 31, 2003. As most of you know, I graduated from Kent State University in December 2001 and immediately began searching for new opportunities with Marriott. As I had no family in Cleveland, I started searching for open positions in Florida so I could be near my dad and stepmother. Fortunately, I was able to find a position open at the Marriott Village in Orlando in June 2002. I moved to Orlando in July of 2002. Aside from my bird "freaking" out in the moving truck on the 1000 mile trek down here (especially through tunnels, ooo boy did Bonkers go nuts!, the move was interesting. The apartment I had chosen through was NOTHING like it showed on the internet. Smaller that was quoted, in a really really bad neighborhood and the apartment wasn't ready as agreed upon. So on the way to store my car (before "unloading" the truck), I was in a 3 car accident, 1 hour after arriving in Orlando. So while I was dealing with the police, other drivers, etc..., my father used his cell phone to find me a different apartment, one much better, a little more expensive and a LOT closer to work. I've been here ever since, I love this apartment at
VININGS @ Westwood, it's the nicest apartment I've ever had. 1 bedroom, right on a golf course, w/d included, central air. Lower level, so no stairs to deal with.

The only major occurence from 2002 in Orlando, was a visit I received from my friends Ron and Aaron from Oregon in September 2002. Ron desperately wanted to play TPC Sawgrass, etc... and decided to bring Aaron with him also. Ron and Aaron are managers with McDonald's in Salem, Oregon. Ron also called me a few days before they arrived and asked me if we could also play at BayHill here in Orlando (just a few minutes from my hotel). Problem is, Bay Hill is private. Well, Ron threw down the gauntlet and challenged me to "make it happen". A few phone calls later, there we were with reservations for tee time at Bay Hill the day after we were set to play TPC. Here are pictures from both golf matches, although I wasn't really comfortable taking a lot of pictures at Bay Hill, it was pretty "snoody" there, and the 3 of us were really nervous. But it was really enjoyable after the round, we were able to go down to the pro locker room/bar and enjoy some drinks.

As 2003 began, I had been in Orlando for 6 months and I was celebrating having my car paid off. However, my student loans were beginning, ugh!!!

First up on 2003 was a trip for myself up to the World Golf Village in St Augustine for a few days. I took a tour of St. Augustine, oldest city in the United States. This is the first city occupied in the United States by Ponce De Leon, and, of course, includes the Fountain of Youth!. Also, I was able to play a round of golf at the World Golf Village. They have 2 golf courses there, the King & the Bear (designed by Palmer & Nicklaus, respectively) and the Slammer & the Squire (designed by Byron Nelson and Gene Sarazen). I couldn't get a tee time at K&B so I played at the Slammer and Squire. They put me out there with a pro from San Diego. He was a really nice guy and helped me a lot.

Then in February 2003, my friend Cathy visited me from Cleveland. We just hung out and spent one evening at Downtown Disney

Then in March 2003, my Mom and stepfather came to visit from Oregon. At the same time, my friend Sean from Cleveland came down for a visit.
Mom and Steve had their usual timeshare facility, this time at Sheraton Vistana, just near my hotel. It was pretty big and Sean and I were able to stay
with them. Sean and I went to a spring training baseball game at Walt Disney (Atlanta Braves .vs. Cleveland Browns, oops, I mean Cleveland Indians). I joke
because the Indians scored 10 runs in the 1st inning on their way to 22-0 victory, so it was more like a Cleveland Browns football game.
Then all 4 of us were able to visit Disney (MGM Studios and Epcot). Then the following day, the three of them were able to go
to Universal Studios. All of these park days were free of course through connections

Next, in April, I spent 2 1/2 days in Marco Island Florida at the Marco Island Marriott

Next, in August, I spent my birthday at JW. Golf at Ritz Carlton on 8/27 with my friend Dwayne

And the "piece de resistence" finale of the year was my vacation trip for 2 1/2 weeks to Seattle, WA, Salem, OR, Corvallis, OR and Seaside, OR
At the beginning of the trip was a chance to go to a Seattle Mariners Game on September 9th, my friends Ron and Aaron came up from Salem, OR. I made arrangement to get my name on the scoreboard during the game (my "birthday" present to myself). Of course, my "curse" on home baseball teams stirred itself up again, as Seattle blew a 5-0 lead and lost 7-6 to the Texas Rangers, with the "return of ARod".

Next, Ron, Aaron and I drove to Portland and played golf at Peter Jacobsen's "Reserve" course just outside of Portland. Then it was off to Salem. Stayed the night at Ron's house and the next day, the three of us went golfing (pouring down rain, ugh) at Elkhorn, which is in the hills outside of Keizer. After 9 holes, we packed it in and took a raincheck, but we all played surprisingly well considering the weather.

Finally, after being home in the Northwest for 3 days, I finally made it to my mom's house in Corvallis on Thursday 9/11, late in the Evening. 1 day of relaxing before I went to the Oregon State football game on Saturday 9/13 with my Uncle Vern (OSU '57). We saw Oregon State beat Boise State (ended up being Boise State's ONLY loss of the entire season--my home team curse apparently only applies to baseball teams!).

The following day, I drove down to spend a couple of days to myself near Crater Lake, Oregon. I spent Sunday on a cruise down the Rogue River with a company called "Hellgate Canyon Tours" and it was a total blast. The boats hold about 40-50 people and go really really fast down the river, doing spins at high speed. Very cool. We take a break for a free dinner down the river then take another hour to return back to home base (about 4 1/2 hours altogether, not bad for $43). I then drove down the road and grabbed a room at Fairfield Inn off the freeway in Medford, of course being a Sunday, lots of rooms available and no reservations necessary. Then the next day, I drove up to Crater Lake, took some pictures, had some lunch and drove back to Corvallis

A few more days of relaxation with my mom and Stepfather until Saturday 9/20, when I joined my brother Jack, who flew in from Michigan, for the Oregon/Michigan football game in Eugene. We had a great time, it was beautiful weather, great food at the pre-game party, BUT Michigan had the nerve to lose to the webfoots 30-27. Ouch. Long way for us to travel to see Michigan lose! We returned to Corvallis for dinner with the parents.

Then the conclusion of the trip for everyone was 2 days at a timeshare resort in NW Oregon, Seaside, which is the historic ending of the Lewis & Clark trail from the 1800's. The weather was beautiful, My twin brother Bruce and his new wife Brenda came up from Portland, so it was Mom/Steve, Bill, Jack/Barb/Noah, Bruce/Brenda. We all stayed in a large 3 bedroom townhome timeshare villa by Trendwest/WorldMark/Cendant which my mother and stepfather belong to. The suite they gave us was on the lower level, and the building was right on the beach. The nice timing was our trip occurred at the finale of the International Sand Castle Competition. So we were able to go down to the beach and visit all the sandcastles and place our votes! Of course, we took lots of pictures at Seaside. Then, as a gift to our parents, my idea was for the three brothers Jack, Bruce and I to go get our picture taken in one of the many old fashioned studios. This was definitely, for me, the highlight of my vacation! Not only getting the final picture made, but the whole process of changing into the old time western gear with my brothers was so much fun. It's been many many years since the three of us spent time together like that! ***So that summarizes the year 2003. I've been trying to see the world as best I can, while paying off debts, student loans, trying to advance my career and now, getting this website back up and running. So thank you all who have stayed in touch over the last couple of years. I value all my friends and family more than you will ever know. I wish you and yours the most happiness and love this holiday season and please keep in touch. But to everyone, all the best and please write soon!