2005 News

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Salsa dance classes

Santa Rosa Salsa

I have always loved to dance - though I wouldn't admit it when my parents enrolled me in ballroom dance classes in junior high school. My early twenties found me in the clubs many times a week. But over the past decade, I'd fallen away and hadn't hit a dance floor in ages.

Being a huge fan of the salsa, samba and mambo - the Latin rhythms, salsa dancing seemed a perfect fit. But somehow, I never found the inclination to learn. The catalyst that spurned me into action was two-fold. One was Aram, a classmate with whom I made recent contact regarding our upcoming high school reunion, who is a self-proclaimed salsa addict. The other is another classmate whom Aram directed me towards - Irene. Irene and her husband, Antonio, run Santa Rosa Salsa, instructing us wannabe's on the fine art of salsa dancing.

I've only taken two nights of classes as of this writing, and have to say, I'm hopelessly addicted myself. It's great exercise, it's fun and I'm having a great time. The fact that I'm able to get reacquainted with Irene is just another bonus. A few more classes and I'm calling Aram to come out and hit the dance floor with me!

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Bob passing out treats on Halloween

Bob and I didn't quite know what to expect in terms of how many times the doorbell would ring Halloween night or what might be on our doorstep once answered. Bob, though, made sure the kids who ventured up our walkway received a memorable welcome. The littlest ones had to be reassurred and the slightly older ones wanted to know if growing the horns hurt, were they always there, etc. Bob was quick to point out that they only came out on Halloween and he hardly noticed them appearing. I'm not sure who was having more fun on the holiday - Bob or the kids!

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Trinecom gathering

The Trinecom/NSG Group crew

On November 10, my fellow co-workers and I gathered in San Rafael for a quick meeting and dinner together. It's not often when we all manage to be in the same place at the same time. Only three of our staff even work in the main office anymore, the rest work remotely via the Internet. We took the opportunity to get a group shot - mainly so we can remember what the others look like!

Left to right: Daniele (South Bay Area), Miriam (East Bay Area), Wendy (Phoenix area), Michael (San Rafael), Jesse (San Rafael), me (Ukiah valley) and Jerry (San Francisco/San Rafael)

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Mendocino Mustangs Annual Food Drive and Poker Run

Time for the annual autumn poker run

The Mendocino Mustangs car club (of which we are members) held its annual Poker Run and food drive on November 18th. The drive took us throughout the northern Ukiah and Redwood Valleys, stopping at different points along the way to trade a canned food for our next poker card. To really make us pay attention during the drive, we also played a game of 'I Spy', finding landmarks based on sometimes obscure clues. It was a beautiful fall day - allowing us to have a good time and raise food and money for the needy in our area.

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The Beltrami's enjoying Thanksgiving dinner

Thanksgiving day found the Beltrami's gathering to enjoy dinner and each other's company at my in-law's home. My folks have made it a tradition to fly to Arizona to visit my sister and her family, then joining us for Christmas. At left, Bob's 97-year-old grandmother, Noni, shares a tune with us.

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R.I.P. - Jacks and Hattie

Jackson Kirby

The evening of November 30th was when we said our final good-byes to Jackson Kirby, our faithful, furry friend. Jacks had been in declining health for a number of months due to old age and failing kidneys. Many days he would be reminiscent of his 'Jumping Jacks' spunkiness, but recently he had been having a tough time. Bob and I made the decision to put him down and relieve him of his pain. It was tough to let him go, but it would have been tougher to let him suffer needlessly. We'll miss you, buddy.


Unbeknownst to us at the time, but my in-law's had to put down their dog, Hattie, earlier that same afternoon. Hattie had been diagnosed with a cancerous tumor last spring in one of her hind legs. We dog-sat Hattie a number of times while Al and Pat were away and she was always a treat to have. She wouldn't be in the house five minutes before she and Bob would be singing their hearts out! She was a wonderful dog and faithful companion who brightened her 'Mommy's' and 'Father's' days. It makes it a little easier to lose them both, knowing they're enjoying each other's company romping in never-ending fields.

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Christmas table setting

It has become our family tradition to gather at our home for Christmas. It's nice to no longer work retail and the insane hours it brings this time of year, and to have family so close by. Christmas, for me, has finally come full circle. I'm enjoying the holiday as I did when I was a child - surrounded by friends and family, joining together for a good meal.

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