2005 Notes & Updates

Autumn Vacation in Italy

The Coluseum in Rome

Trish and I travelled to Italy with Dad around Halloween-time, saw a lot of sights, history and culture, ate a lot of good food and drank a fair share of wine. We also met with family in the northern portion of the country.

We visited Rome, Pisa, Florence, Verona, Venice, Gardone Val Trompia and Milan during the trip. There are pictures and more on the Italy page.

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Bocce at Brutocao and Lions Fundraisers


The Raccoon's Redux bocce team is playing its final games of 2005. On the right, Ray, Marie, Mike, Susan, Trish and I pause for a group photo under the scoreboard during a recent game.

Below, the Ukiah Host Lions Club members are working hard at the concessions stand at Anton Stadium, left and Ukiah High School, right. The Anton crew are Chan, Trish, Mike, Rick, Don, Steve and dad, while the High School crew is Chan, Bill, Gary, Andy and Trish.

Concession Stand Concession Stand

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Lions Pancake Breakfast

Pancake Breakfast Pancake Breakfast

The local "Early Iron" car club held their annual car show in September. With some beautiful cars in attendance. The Lions were there to serve up a pancake breakfast. Above left, Mike and Gary are flipping cakes while Rod, Chan and Mike are serving up coffee and juice, above right. Below, The batter is pouring as Gary and Bob flip and serve.

Pancake Breakfast

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Ross turns 50!


Deborah and Ross' friends surprised him with a French Birthday celebration on September 9th. On the right, Ross arrives to the toasts of the group. He sure seemed like he was surprised, below.

The evening was a lot of fun. We shared "Rossisms" (mine is below) and Larry, Alex and Spencer provided some fantastic music (Larry and Alex are pictured below my Rossism). As a matter of fact, Ross provided some music of his own, spontaneously breaking out into song, below right.

Ross Ross

I had to think long and hard about a story to share about Ross. It was a lot of pressure. After all, this is a special night: We're helping Ross celebrate his 50th birthday.

So I thought about some of my personal history with our birthday boy. And the first thing that came to mind was selling toilets at Microphor. Ah, those were the days... Ross marketed the toilets; I took the toilets on tour. It was magic. Well, maybe magic isn't quite the right word.

Regardless, we often got together after work to play music. Ross introduced me to the 12 bar blues and taught me the lyrics to "Stormy Monday." For that alone I am ever in his debt.

Ross provided the single most significant financial/investment advice I have ever been given, with five simple words: "They're not making more land." Which prompted me to get off my butt and purchase a home. It's one more way Ross has impacted my life.

I have been inspired by Ross' seemingly boundless creativity, as I watched a comic book cover take form into "Mr. Big" one of many ceramic masks he created, "Honoring the Conquered Warrior."

Ross, as you celebrate Fifty years, I wanted to share a few tidbits because there are some wonderful things about being 50:

So Ross, as we gather to celebrate your big day, I'd just like to reassure you that this is a real celebration... and not an acid flashback.

Happy Birthday!

Ross Ross

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A Day at High Speed Driving School

ThunderHill Turn 5

On August 25th we drove the Mustang over to Willows to participate in the ThunderHill Raceway Park High Speed Driving School.

There are a lot of photos and more at the ThunderHill page.

It was a very fun and memorable time.

Trish and I in the Pits Victory Lane

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Giants v. Rockies with Mom and Dad

The Del Norte

On August 4th we caught a rare day-game at SBC Park between the Colorado Rockies and the San Francisco Giants. With it being a thursday, we left plenty early to avoid the possibility of missing the ferry in Larkspur. So of course we arrived at the terminal an hour and a half early.

As we headed over to SBC, the Del Norte (pictured right) made its way past us. It has a dual-hull catamaran style construction and is quite fast.

Eventually we made our way to the ballpark and enjoyed the game. The Giants won with a late inning surge on a day that was perfect for baseball. The nearby fog kept the temperature comfortable, but the park was in the sun.

Below, Trish got a shot of Mom, Dad and I in front of the ballpark. Two rows down, a good look at the City as we pass under the Bay Bridge.

At SBC The ball field The City

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GNOMES Annual Migration to Irish Beach


The GNOMES made their trip to Manchester this year during the last weekend of July. It was another fun time, but with the unexpected twist of dense fog that stuck around all weekend. It was nice to escape the 105+ degree weather in Ukiah, but I'd only packed shorts and tank-tops! Oh well.

The weekend included trips to various beaches and our annual beach hike (below, right), along with some poker and of course some great BBQ. In the picture on the right Bruce is working on salmon out on the deck overlooking the ocean. You can see the fog is pretty dense. Below, Tom cooks chicken on Friday nite.


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Athletics v. Rangers

The Oakland Coliseum

We met Trish's parents down at the Oakland Coliseum for a day of A's baseball on July 16. It was a beautiful day for a game and the crowd was enthusiastic. There was a promotion going. The first 10,000 fans going into the gates got a free of Eric Chavez puppet. Yes, very exciting, I know.

The game featured a lot of offense, which made it fun to watch. However, in the end Texas defeated Oakland, 10 to 8.

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American Cancer Society Relay for Life


For the first time, this years ACS Relay for Life, held on June 25th and 26th, was a 24 hour event. But as always it was a lot of fun.

The relay started with the survivors lap, pictured on the right.

This year featured the first annual "Miss Relay" contest which was won by Budge Campbell, below. It was really great to see Budge in the spirit of the event, and he also single-handedly raised over $2,000 by our calculations.

Mom was there helping out with the ACS booth. Below, right she and Joyce are keeping out of the heat under the big tent.

Budge Mom and Joyce

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Fathers Day

At the dinner table

We invited the folks over for Fathers Day dinner on June 19th. It was nice having the family together, including Noni and Kevin, Trish's nephew, visiting from Phoenix, along with both of our parents.

On the right, we're enjoying Trish's dessert as we sit talking at the table. After dinner we moved to the billiard table to play some doubles. Below, Kevin is getting ready to hit a shot. On the right, Trish gets ready for her shot.

Playing pool Billiards with the family

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Car Show in Willits

Willits Shifters

The Willits Shifters Car Club held their annual car show on Sunday May 29th. We drove up with the Mustang Club and went in as spectators, while some of the club entered the show as participants. Ed and Nan's Silver Mustang (pictured on the Mustang Page) won a "Mustang Madness" award.

We saw a lot of cars, including the 'Cuda pictured on the right, and enjoyed the Lion's pancake feed at the event.

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The Gallop Around the Bay

Gallop Around the Bay

On May 14th, we closed the book on a great vacation week by attending the 1st Annual "Gallop Around the Bay". There are pictures over on the '05 Gallop page.

It was a great time, it was fun meeting everyone and cruising the Bay Area and we will definitely go if the event is held again next year.

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Vacation (Part 1) - Phoenix: Arizona Diamondbacks vs Washington Nationals at the BOB

Bank One Ballpark (AKA "The Bob")

The second week of May was vacation time and we decided that we didn't want to spend it at home. So we headed for Phoenix Arizona to catch a ball game, continuing our tour of major league ballparks.

On the right, Bank One Ballpark (AKA "The Bob") as we arrive for the game. Below , left, the roof has opened for an evening of Diamondbacks baseball. The stadium was beautiful.

It was also an exciting game that included two ejections (the fracas is pictured below, right) and a late inning win by the Nationals.

The BOB with it's roof opened Ejection time!

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Vacation (Part 2) - The Hoover Dam

We left Phoenix the next morning destined for Las Vegas. Hoover from the jet As we flew in towards McCarren International we went almost over the top of the Hoover Dam, close enough to capture the image (right) through my window in the jet. You can see the curve of the dam, the two towers on the Arizona side, Lake Mead in the foreground and the Colorado River snaking away in the background.

That afternoon we took a trip to the dam with Pink Jeep Tours. Our guide, Jerry, pictured below, left, was VERY knowledgeable about Vegas, the dam and Nevada history and geography. The guy was like a Nevada encyclopedia. We enjoyed the tour very much and recommend it highly.

It's difficult to describe or capture the massive scale of the dam and its components. Below, left, is a shot of the dam face. I couldn't even fit it all using my wide angle lens(!). On the next row down is a shot of the memorial to the workers and a picture of the generator room on the Nevada side. It's difficult to see how huge the room and the generators are, but there you can just make out a man on the floor on the right that helps illustrate the size.

The Hoover Dam Trish and our tour guide, Jerry Memorial to the workers The Nevada-side generator room

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Vacation (Part 3) - Viva Las Vegas

The Orleans

After the dam tour it was time to settle-in for the final leg of our vacation over in Sin City. We stayed in The Orleans, off the strip, to avoid the larger crowds and because we've stayed there before and enjoyed it. Below, right, is a shot of the casino floor at the Orleans as we wade onto the floor for some gambling.

We spent a day on the strip, too. Starting down at the Barbary Coast and working our way to New York, New York (pictured below left) and back. Good exercise.

Our room at the hotel was facing the strip and provided a really great view. In the second row below is a picture of the Luxor and Mandalay Bay taken from the room.

For the first time, we actually left Vegas with more cash that we arrived with. We laid down a bet on some Keno numbers and hit for over two grand, below, right.

But all good things must come to an end and this was true for our vacation. We left Vegas on Thursday and returned to Sacramento International and home.

New york, New York The casino at the Orleans The Mandalay Bay and the Luxor In the room with our spoils

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Mendocino Mustangs 18th Annual Mothers Day Car Show

Mustang Convertible at the show

On May 7th the Club the club gathered for their annual Mustang Car Show on the Saturday before Mothers Day, from 9 am to 3 pm in Pear Tree Shopping Center.

There were nearly 40 cars on display, from 1964 1/2's to 2005's and there was a pretty good crowd of people walking through the show and voting for their favorite cars. When the show was over, there was a quick award ceremony for the winners of several categories, like Best of Show, Best Daily Driver, Best Project Car and Best Convertible. To our amazement, we won "Best Late Model (1974-Present)"!

There are more pictures over on the Notes & Updates from 2005 Mendocino Mustang Show page and the Mustang page.

Beautiful Blue Mach One Mendocino Mustangs... all in a row

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Wine Tasting with the Mendocino Mustangs

Mustangs at Niebaum Coppola

On April 16th the Club took a drive through Alexander Valley to the Napa Valley where we visited the Niebaum Coppola Winery, pictured below. On the right are our ponies lined up at the Wine Estate. The group also stood for a photo during the private tasting, below, right. There are more pictures over on the Mustang page.

The Inglenook Chateau Mendocino Mustangs

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Dog-Sitting Duty


The folks took off for a couple of winter weeks to the big island in Hawaii in the middle of February. While they're gone we're taking care of their dog, Hattie, pictured right and below. Part Chocolate Lab and part Weimreiner, she's energetic but very well behaved and both fun and easy to sit for.

She's a funny dog with a huge vocabulary who enjoys singing (her favorite song is "Happy Birthday"). When she has to go, we have to walk outside with her so that she is comfortable enough to do her duty.

Her favorite activity is fetching a ball, below, and catching it when the throw is correct (below, left). Her second favorite activity is sleeping, followed closely by eating and barking.

Hattie catches her ball Go, dog, go!

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'05 Mustang

Mustang from the front

At Christmas time, after a lot of thought, we decided to order one of the new generation Ford Mustang GTs. It took 60 days for delivery (which is relatively fast) and was well worth the wait. Read all about it and check out more pictures on the Mustang page.

Rear/side view from the side

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Back to School!?

Jim Xerogenes in front of the class

With so many fruit trees and roses at the house, Trish and I decided to take a class at Mendocino Junior College to improve our ability to care for the yard. So we signed up for Agriculture 75: Pruning. Jim Xerogenes taught the class, pictured on the right, that consisted of some time in the classroom and some time in the field over two consecutive Saturdays.

We learned about proper pruning techniques for roses, bushes, fruit trees and more. Now we know what to look for before we begin cutting to get more fruit production or growth or to train the tree for upcoming seasons.

Below, Trish is pruning a rose at the college.

Trish prepares to make a cut The class is spread out with their pruning shears

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Disc Golf and Anderson Valley

Throwing the disc back up the hill!

We try to play a round of disc golf as often as we can. The weather broke in mid-January and we were able to get out and play a few rounds without getting soaked through. In the picture on the right, Trish is playing from down the hill after an unfortunate roll.

We also took a trip up to Booneville in Anderson Valley. Trish has ancestors that lived in the building that today is the Booneville Hotel, pictured below. We also spent some time in the cemetery searching for another family member, inset.

The weather has continued to be unseasonably nice, below, right. Hopefully we will get some rain soon.

Booneville Hotel Ukiah Valley

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January Snowfall

Trish stands in front of the Ranger as the snow falls

The weather has been terrible here for a couple weeks. So we did like any normal, reasonable folks: We went out for a drive! We took the truck up the grade towards Willits and stopped at the top where the snow was falling. We took the dog, hoping for a bit more accumulation. He didn't really know what to do with the slush, below. But he seemed happy just to be coming along.

The snow had started to stick and made for some pretty views (below, right). There wasn't near enough on the roads to be dangerous or cause the roads to be closed. But we did have a couple locals warn us that the highway patrol would not let us off the mountain without chains. We figure they were just trying to pull our chain. The truck has seen a LOT worse than that slush without chains and we had no problems when we finally decided to head home.

Jacks walks through the slush as the snow falls Snow falls at the top of the Willits Grade

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Notes & Updates from 2006 | Notes & Updates from 2004