2006 News

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Our 'children'

SKittles Samson

I admit it, I'm a bad mommy. I've had this site up about 2 years now and have yet to introduce our 'kids'. I've had Skittles (left - a.k.a. Precious Princess Puddin' Pie, Doodle) and Sam (right - a.k.a. Sam-ster, Senor Kissy Face, Love Bug) for about 13 years or so now.


Our dog, Jacks (a.k.a. Fluffy). Bob already had Jacks when we got together and the 'families' were melded (much to their chagrin). The three of them are in the early teens and so we felt we were running a geriatric retirement home for pets (you know how it is, we're just around to fulfill their every need and desire).

Simone Subway

We'd been contemplating adopting a couple of kittens to liven the place up a bit when special circumstances brought us Simone (a.k.a. Mo, Moners, Creamy Pumpkin Pie) and Subway (a.k.a. Fang-face, Fluff-butt, Bugaboo) in early April. These two are in their adolescent years so we have a new generation to grow old with us.

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Dedham, Massachusetts

Dedham Historical Society

On April 7th, I traveled east to Massachusetts. I make my living as a software support specialist for the NSG Group and Trinecom. This trip was to complete a conversion to the accounting software package (SouthWare) that we sell and support, and to provide some training.

Prior to my being confirmed for this trip, I was doing some genealogy research into the Wight family tree, my maternal grandmother's line. By pure coincidence, I found I had strong historical ties to Dedham, Massachusetts, and Dedham happens to be less than five miles from where I was to be working, so I flew out a few days earlier to explore the town. I had contacted the Dedham Historical Society and asked them to do some research in advance of my arrival regarding where to find my ancestors gravesites. I had at least 6 generations, dating from the mid-1600's, that either were born, lived and/or died in Dedham.

Wight family grave marker

I was able to locate many of the family gravesites with their help. One reads:

A household's tomb:
To faith how dear!
A part have gone:
Part linger here:
United all In love and hope.
One household still.

I spent the weekend of the 8th and 9th traveling throughout Dedham. There I learned not only about the Wights, but also about families the Wights married into, many of whom were considered founding fathers of the town. The Historical Society, where I started, is the beginning point of a self-guided historical walk through the immediate area. I was thrilled to learn that one of the houses built in 1868 belonged to Henry Wight. Though not in my direct ancestral line, Henry was a distant cousin.

The Henry Wight House

Not wanting to intrude or cause offense, I knocked on the door to gain permission to photograph the house, located at #11 Franklin Square. To my delight, the current owner was a retired history teacher who would have liked nothing more than to sit and chat with me about the house's history and give me a tour. It's been remodeled over the years and upgraded with the times' latest conveniences, but the feel of the home was one of stepping back in time.

Cafe storefront in Dedham

Lastly, I just had to include the photo of the sign in front of a little sidwalk cafe. It was Palm Sunday and the cafe was wishing all those passing by a Happy Palm Sunday. It's a clear demonstration of how different holidays are treated on the East Coast vs. California. In California, we've migrated to wishing people Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas, lest we offend someone outside the Christian faith. I found it refreshing to see that New Englanders acknowledge their faith for all to see.

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April was a trying month, travel-wise. I originally was going to be in New England until the 14th, home for a week, then off to Alabama during April 23-27. Our client thought otherwise and asked that I return the week of April 17-21. I agreed on the condition that I would be able to fly home for Easter. It was doubly important to me in that Noni (Bob's grandmother) had just had her 97th birthday. It was agreed and I was able to fly home for the weekend and spend it with family.

Lions prepping to 'lay' eggs Bob 'hiding' Easter eggs Lion Rick chatting with the Easter bunny

Easter dawned with a temporary break from the rain, which was a relief to the Ukiah Host Lions Club who hold an annual Easter egg hunt. Above, the club readies and distributes the thousands of eggs in areas designated by age group, while Lion Rick chats with the Easter bunny.

Beltrami family

Pictured, the Beltrami's - Al, Pat, Annie (Noni), myself and Bob - pose for a holiday portrait.

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A's vs. Angels

Eric Chavez at the plate

It was home for another brief weekend and Bob and I had made plans to get in a ballgame. On April 22, we headed down to Oakland to catch the A's vs. the Angels. Though we lost, it was fun to watch Nick Swisher hit a grand slam in the 5th inning. Left, Eric Chavez takes a swing at bat.

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Sunrise over lake

April 23rd, had my boss Jerry and I flying to Atlanta, Georgia, and continuing by car to Opelika, Alabama, for the SouthWare Innovations Dealer Conference. This was my first dealer conference and I was looking forward to meeting the folks that both program and support the accounting package, SouthWare. I've talked with most of the support staff at one time or another via telephone or email, so it was nice to finally put faces to the names.

The Marriott resort was beautiful, as seen by the sunrise shot taken from my room. Unfortunately, the days and evenings were fully booked and I wasn't able to explore the grounds much further.

The conference also allowed me to put faces to some of my NSG compatriots. Joe (left, pictured with Jerry and I) and I worked together a few weeks prior at the New England client site, but Barry and Elizabeth (center) were new faces to me. NSG has had support staff and partners all over the country. At one point, we had people in Florida, Kentucky, Arkansas, Arizona and California.

Joe, myself and Jerry Barry and Elizabeth Pam and James

The conference focused on SouthWare's newest revision, due for rollout mid-May. Pam (SouthWare's support manager) and James (president of SouthWare) unveil flash drives for each dealer containing a demo copy of Revision 12 with all its bells and whistles. In previous years, the dealers had to wait for the rollout to have a 'live' copy to review.

I found it to be an enjoyable and informative venture, but after 3 weeks on the road, I was glad to be home.

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19th Annual Mendocino Mustangs Car Show

Row of classic Mustangs

As for the past 18 years, the Saturday before Mother's Day hosted the 19th Annual Mendocino Mustangs Car Show. We'd been having rain for weeks on end and we were pleased by the bright, beautiful day we had. This is the club's signature event. We open it up to all to enter, the only requirement is that the car be a Mustang - it can be a daily driver, a show car or a restoration in progress.

Gina, our 2005 Mustang GT

Gina (our name for our silver 2005 Mustang GT), did not retain her crown in her division (late model 1990's-on), even with her upgraded suspension, cold air intake and other mods. For details about Gina and her upgrades, visit Bob's Mustang page on his website.

2006 Mustang V6 grille 1969 Mach I Mustang

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Memorial Day parade

Memorial Day Parade, Ukiah, California

The Mendocino Mustangs club was invited to participate in Ukiah's Memorial Day parade. Unfortunately, it came on short notice and only one other car besides ours made it out. It was fun cruising down the street with the other entries though. It truly was a small-town parade with local beauty queens and various community groups staging patriotic-themed floats. The route ended at the local cemetary, which held a memorial service honoring military service members.

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Vacation at home - landscaping

Bob planting one of the dogwood trees Planting corn

Bob and I 'vacationed' at home the last week on May. On the itinerary were some landscaping and home-improvement projects. The first was the addition of three trees - a flowering pear and two different types of dogwood trees to help replace the shade we lost when two large elms were blown down last year in a windstorm. They were also to replace the plum and peach trees we had removed after they died (they had lived well past their life expectacy - it wasn't our lack of green thumbs, I swear!). We added a few azalea bushes and a small garden with dwarf corn (I can't wait to see the size of the ears - I have no idea what to expect), lemon cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, watermelon and an artichoke.

Bob working on irrigation Completed deck modification

Bob took on the deck and irrigation projects. Our deck off the back of the house previously had step-downs only to the left and right of the deck leading down to the lawn and the rest of the backyard. This bisected the backyard horribly, so Bob removed one partition in the deck railing, creating another opening straight from the sliding glass door to the grass. Below left, he's re-routing the irrigation around the new step area and finally, the completed project.

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Office face-lift

While Bob toiled mostly in the sun that week, I took the opportunity to re-arrange my portion of our home office. Since the office also doubles as our computer gaming room, we've done some unconventional decorating. Bob's half of the office is a montage of his personal memorabilia and so staying with the theme he set, I created my own on my side. Keep in mind, I easily spend 50 hours a week in this room, so it's got to be comfortable and stimulating.

My home office

Above is a photograph of my office walls (a larger image will load if you click on the pic). It's funny how when your first move out on your own, what you keep - what momentos you bring along with you as you begin the next leg of your life's journey. And subsequently what is added to your collection as you pass from one stage to the next. My wall is a daily walk down memory lane and a different one hits me everyday. I'm curious, as you look at this wall, at what point do you share a memory?

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ACS Relay for Life

For those of you not familiar with Relay for Life, it is the American Cancer Society's signature fund-raising event. It runs 24 hours, mimicing the battle with cancer with the darkness signifying being diagnosed and treated and the light signifying the time of remission and cure. For more information on Relay for Life, visit their website, Cancer.org.

After nearly a year of planning, Inland Mendocino County's Relay for Life was held the weekend of June 24-25. What we couldn't plan was the weather. It was 107* (F) on Saturday and just as hot on Sunday, which made the participants' sacrifice that much more meaningful. We did our best to keep them comfortable with the help of Jen's husband, Chris (a volunteer with the Ukiah Fire Department), who hooked up a fire hose and sprayed our walkers alongside the track to help keep them cool.

Myself and Jen, Relay Event co-chairs

Jen and I, were thoroughly spoiled by a fantastic committee of chairs and volunteers. They truly embody the spirit of the event - to honor survivors, to remember those who we have lost to cancer and to continue to fight until a cure is found.

Our Relay for Life always begins as a celebration of those cancer survivors that join us. Those pictured are only a portion of the crowd of survivors who joined us to open the Relay by walking the first lap. The sea of purple T-shirts circling the track, being applauded by other participants, is very moving.

Some of our cancer survivors Celebration of HOPE

Another way we are reminded of our mission is during the Luminara ceremony, also known as the Ceremony of Hope. The luminaria bags along the edge of the track are dedicated in the honor of, or memory of, someone who has had cancer. Unfortunately, we had plenty to surround the outer ring of our 1/4-mile track.

Mendocino Taiko drummers

Though Relay for Life is often reflective, it is also a way for the community to come together. We try to provide a variety of entertainment. This year the Mendocino Taiko drummers were only one of the groups who volunteered to come out and perform.

Thrown in the slammer! Our 2006 'Miss' Relay contestants

Entertainment can also be informative. Another popular attraction is the Arrest-a-Friend Jail, where I'm being 'held'. To earn your freedom, you can either make a donation to ACS or answer a variety of various skill-level, cancer-related questions (correctly, of course!). Last, but certainly not least, was our 2nd annual 'Miss' Relay contest. These guys go above and beyond to campaign for their cause and help raise additional funds for the American Cancer Society in their bid to be crowned 'Miss' Relay.

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HHS 20th reunion planning

The first meeting of the Healdsburg High School Class of 1987 20-year reunion committee met on June 30th. After Pam, myself, Bryan and Heather got over the idea that we were actually planning our 20th (gulp!) reunion, we set down to business and came up with an initial game plan to coordinate a weekend's worth of gatherings and to begin locating our fellow classmates. We hope to make it a memorable weekend for all with an informal gathering on Friday night, the more formal dinner on Saturday night and a family picnic on Sunday.

Pamela 'Pam' Drigger's graduation photo - HHS 1987 Tricia 'Toots' Kuba's graduation photo - HHS 1987 Bryan McBurney's graduation photo - HHS 1987 Heather Roth's graduation photo - HHS 1987

I'm really looking forward to the reunion and seeing folks I haven't seen in 10 years or more. HHS's class of '87 was a special group of people and one that I remember fondly. It may be my selective memory, but I don't recall there being cliques or one group acting superior to another, we all got along. I'm especially wanting to hear about what life journeys my classmates have been on and get the answers to, "What ever happened to...?".

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