2007 News

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Cold snap

The week or so leading up to the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday was beyond cold. The Ukiah valley had many nights when the temperatures dipped down into the mid-teens with the highs only reaching the high 30's or low 40's. You know it's cold when we move our regular 8am disc golf games up to 9 or 10 so we could play when it finally reached above 25 degrees outside! (OK, for those Northern readers, my apologies if I sound like a whiner, but we live here because it's not supposed to get this cold in this part of the country!)

Leaves frozen in bird bath Low Gap park frozen over

It did make for some beautiful mornings, however, with the frozen bird baths and the frost-covered hillsides.

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Guys night at the Beltrami's

On January 15th, Bob and I hosted 'Guys Night at the Beltrami's'. We had decided that since we have a floorplan perfect for entertaining, that we might as well start entertaining more than the in-laws for Sunday dinner. 'Guys Night' consisted of some of the members of GNOMES - Guys Night Out Monthly Excursion Society (of which Bob is a member) and our disc golf buddies. We figured they all had a lot in common and would enjoy each other's company. They're all pretty active in the community and had heard of each other, but hadn't necessarily met. I think it's safe to say that Ross, Joe, Jim, Benj and Tim had a good time. I know they were fed well!

Benj and Tim take a spin around Daytona

After dinner, we introduced Benj (left) and Tim (right) to our online racing hobby by sitting them down for a few laps at Daytona.

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NASCAR racing online - WSRL Fall/Winter 2006 season results

American Cancer Society Relay for Life Chevrolet Monte Carlo

The end of the Western States Racing League's (WSRL) 2006 Fall/Winter season came to an end on January 16th. I raced the American Cancer Society Relay for Life-sponsored Chevy Monte Carlo in the Busch series and came in 4th out of 7 in my division.

This coming season (Spring/Summer 2007), I'll be expanding my racing to two nights a week. I'll continue in the Busch series on Tuesday nights, but have added the Friday Cup series as well. Tuesday's series races 'fixed setups', meaning everyone has the same car configuration. On Friday's, we race 'open' setups, which means the drivers also act as their own crew chiefs and create a car configuration changing springs, wedge, tire pressure, etc. to 'build' a car more suited to their driving style. Since my hubby's been very successfully racing both series for years, I plan to employ him as my crew chief on Fridays!

To learn more about my NASCAR racing hobby, visit the racing page.

Fall/Winter 2006 WSRL stats

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Trinecom office move

On Thursday, January 25th, I made the drive down to San Rafael to go to work. I normally telecommute and am saved the 100-mile, one-way journey (and am very thankful for it), but I offered to go down and help work on the Trinecom office migration. We didn't move far, only across and down the hall, but Mike, Lex and Jesse have worked their hineys off making it all happen. I was going to lend a hand in determining if equipment that was previously buried in the old warehouse area necessary to keep or if it could be disposed of, thus helping to condense the offices. I also set up a system of storing our repair parts.

Trinecom's old office Trinecom's old office

The first two photos show only a portion of our old office after the move. The tiled area shown used to be our 'warehouse', now wide open with the walls torn down. We also had a mailroom, a tech room, a conference room and the filing/kitchen area. There was a lot of wasted space with only 2 to 3 full-time staff in residence at any one time.

Trinecom's new office - executive office Trinecom's new office - tech room

Our new office is much smaller. Everything is much as it was, but simply on a lesser scale. We still have the admin areas, a tech room and a warehouse, which now also houses our servers. The guys really did an outstanding job making it happen, all while performing their usual duties.

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Unwelcome visitor at midnight

I finished up in San Rafael and made my way back home, arriving around 8pm. About half-past midnight, I am vaguely aware of some dishes rattling downstairs and Bob getting out of bed. I figured one of the cats was on the kitchen counter licking off one of our dinner plates and Bob went down to chase them off. Confident he had it under control, I rolled over and went back to sleep.

Large raccoon

I hadn't been asleep very long before I start hearing glass breaking and Bob hollering up the stairs. Turns out it wasn't one of the cats, but the largest raccoon I've ever seen up on the shelf in our garden window, which is also home to my blue glass collection. This was not looking like a good situation. He/She had to be 25-30 pounds. Out largest cat, Sam, is 16 pounds, and this creature dwarfed him. (The raccoon picture is one I found on the Internet and is roughly 2/3 the size of 'our' raccoon.)

The 'coon had come in our pet door and obviously was as startled as we were, and possibly as panicked. We can't get to the door to open it as it means passing the raccoon and he/she's not having it. I call Animal Control - no answer at 12:30am - not even an option for 'In case of emergency', so for lack of anyone else to call, I dialed 911. The dispatcher informed me that this was not a 911 emergency (which, of course, I knew), but she would have the Ukiah Police Dep't call me back. While I'm on the phone with the PD, the raccoon decides to make a break for it.


'Break' was the operative word. When the 'coon bolted, the shelf it was on tipped, sending my glass collection (roughly 15 or so separate pieces) down into the sink, onto the counter and down to the floor. Nearly all the glass didn't just break, it exploded - shards everywhere. In the excitement, we're not sure if the beast made it outside - a straight shot down the short hallway - or deviated right into the laundry room or left into the bathroom. Meanwhile, the officer on the phone is talking with others to determine who besides 'the new guy' would be coming to our aid. Using his shaving mirror, Bob determines the raccoon is now hiding behind our washer and dryer.

Soon after, three police officers arrive at out door with dog nooses. These are roughly 5' to 6' poles with a zip noose at one end and the tightening cord at the other. Now, one of them just had to slip the noose over the raccoon's head, tighten the noose, lift it out from behind the washer and dryer and toss it outside. Much easier said, then done. Hindsight tells us we should have video-taped the episode, but the synapses weren't all firing in the right order just then.

The 'new guy' was successful relatively quickly (who can accurately estimate time in a situation such as this?) and the raccoon took off into the night like a bolt of lightening, leaving us with a disaster area formerly known as our kitchen and only 4 pieces of my collection unscathed. I really want to express my thanks to the Ukiah Police Dep't for going above and beyond the call of duty that night. I'm sure that raccoon rustling isn't in their job description, but they handled it with kindness and with a good sense of humor. What an ending (beginning?) to an already long day!

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Snow among the apricot blossoms

When it snowed last March, we thought it extraordinary since Ukiah typically only gets snow that sticks (albiet temporarily) every 5 to 6 years. Now, less than a year later, we had snow again! We're located in town approximately 800 feet above sea level, snow around here rarely drops below 2000 feet.

The snow came down for roughly an hour before the rain continued and melted it all away. I was able to get some pictures before that happened though. I thought the contrast of the apricot tree blossoms and the ice/snow on the branches was particularly striking.

My Jeep after the snowfall Playing leapfrog in the snow

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Relish Culinary School

Relish Culinary logo

In early March, I utilized my Christmas gift certificate and booked a cooking class through Relish Culinary School in Healdsburg. Since Bob's grandmother is originally from the northern parts of Italy, I decided the 'Northern Italian Feast, Sonoma Style' class, being hosted at Seghesio Winery, sounded like a winner.

The demonstration class was lead by Seghesio's Winery Chef, Jon Helquist and featured such dishes as homemade grissini (thin Italian breadsticks), Delta asparagus alla Fiorentina, and lamb prepared two different ways (rack and sausage). Each course was served with a matched wine. It was all very tasty, but after you've had true Italian cuisine from an Italian mother's kitchen in the Alps (as we were lucky to have during our trip to Italy in 2005), it's a tough act to follow.

Overall, the class was fun and Relish had a good number of loyal regulars in attendance. I'll be keeping my eye on their upcoming schedule in anticipation of booking my next class.

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Kayaking in March

The second half of March was filled with warm, almost summer-like days in the mid-70's to low 80's. Bob and I took advantage and brought the inflatible kayaks out of storage and headed for Lake Mendocino. The inlet is easily accessible and far enough away from the main body of the lake to allow for a peaceful row.

Making our way up the inlet

It allowed for some nature watching as we paddled past some ducks along the river's edge. But, since it is still early in the season, there's plenty of runoff from the snow melt to allow for a little more challenging runs. Unfortunately to kayak down these, it means pulling the boat from the water and hauling it upstream before re-launching.

Bob stayed downstream and video-taped my run (which someday I'll get posted) through the rocks pictured. It's certainly not the Colorado river, but it's enough to get the blood pumping!

Interesting waterfowl Rushing river water

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