Photo of the month

NASCAR is fond of talking about its "young guns," the young twentysomethings that are the future of the sport. Ben has at least another nine years before he'll be old enough to climb behind the wheel of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevy, by which time current driver Jimmie Johnson ought to be about ready to retire. (Yeah, right!) Ben poses for a photo before the start of the Dodge Save-Mart 350 at Sears Point Raceway. Photo by Roni.

July 2003

Glenn is how old? Let's see... One... two... twenty... thirty... Oh, why bother. Photo by Roni.

Quick, somebody call 911! Nevermind, just the birthday candles — we'll open all the windows before the smoke alarm kicks in again. Photo by Roni.

The bombs were bursting in air over Antioch on July 4. Our camera struggles under these low-light situations. These were the best of the time exposures. Photos by Glenn.

Sean and Tom ham it up during the NASCAR race at Sears Point June 22. Photo by Glenn.

Our seats were in the Turn 3 terrace. Ben and Roni share a light moment while waiting for the race to begin. Photo by Glenn.

Time for driver introductions. There's Ryan Newman (right) and Bill Elliott waving to the fans... Photo by Glenn.

...And that's Jeff Gordon. (Even the FOX Sports guys are along for the ride.)... Photo by Glenn.

... And here we see Dale Jarrett (right) and rookie Jack Sprague (who was fired by his team two weeks after this was taken.) Photo by Glenn.

Waning laps. Jeff Gordon is in hot pursuit of race leader and eventual winner Robby Gordon. Alas, Jeff never did get to the front. Photo by Glenn.

Glenn has more to be happy about at this year's race. We got to our seats in time to see the entire race, and Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman both finished in the top five. Photo by Roni.

Roni dons her new shades purchased at the Delta Pear Fair in Courtland. Photo by Glenn.

Ben waves at one of the Pear Parade participants. Photo by Glenn.

Roni waits at the pear pie booth to pick up one of the goodies for a trip home. Photo by Glenn.

"Boy! I say, boy! Watch where you're pointin' that camera lens." Foghorn Leghorn he isn't, but he was standing in our yard most mornings during July. Photo by Glenn.

Who could deny such a noble face? It is almost handsome in an ugly sort of way. And now it is mugging for someone else, somewhere else. Photo by Glenn.

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Some like it hot (and some don't)

July 27, 2003

We're a little later than usual with this month's missive because frankly it's been a busy few weeks for us. Not as much globe hopping (city hopping?) as we would have liked, but a lot of projects keeping us busy that are probably more interesting to us than they would be to anyone else. So we'll boil this update down to the highlights of the past six weeks.

Boil is an appropriate choice of words, as lately we've been doing just that out here in the heart of California Delta country. Whether it's tropical storms, heat inversions or the run-of-the-mill summer weather we have come to expect from the San Joaquin valley, it has been danged hot. Seems like we'll catch maybe one relatively cool day in the low 90s and then it's back to five days in a row of living in the blast furnace. So perhaps it isn't all bad that we haven't spent a lot of time outdoors lately.

We did manage to endure the heat for our annual visit to the Delta Pear Fair in Courtland today. We've been going there since before Ben was born, and now he has been to the past 10 of them himself. How time flies. Courtland is a tiny town on the Sacramento River about 20 miles south of the state capital. The fair is one day only and usually draws a modest crowd, so we enjoy the fact that there is plenty of elbow room in which to feast on pear fritters, cakes, pies and the other concoctions they serve up. We watched the two-block parade, and Ben won a couple of prizes at the carnival. So nice to visit a festival that we weren't involved in producing in any way, shape or form.

Our other big outing since we last wrote was a return trip to Sears Point Raceway near Sonoma on June 22 to watch the Dodge Save-Mart 350 NASCAR race with our brother-in-law Tom and Glenn's brother Sean. Frequent readers may recall our first experience with this race last year was less than memorable. After receiving several letters of complaint from those in our party, the track management was good enough to supply us with free passes for this year's race. How could we refuse? Tom managed to reserve the same seats we had last year, and this time we planned our trip so we would leave an hour earlier in order to take on the hellish traffic on Highway 37 between Vallejo and the track. Despite a three-hour bumper-to-bumper crawl, we arrived at our seats with time to spare before driver introductions, and we saw every lap as Robby Gordon eked out a suspenseful win over Jeff Gordon (much to everyone's chagrin). Afterward, we had time to cruise the souvenir stands before heading for home. All in all a much better experience than the first one.

Fourth of July weekend was spent taking part in our nation's birthday festivities. Of course there were fireworks displays, both of the legal, city-sponsored variety and otherwise. Ben and Glenn camped out across from the DuPont property to watch the pyrotechnics in nearby Antioch. Seemed like a lot of folks were into the holiday this year, undoubtedly in response to the recent military operations in Iraq.

While America proved she is still spry at 227, Glenn also added another candle to the cake in July with his 38th birthday. As a gift, Roni and Ben got him a new hard drive for the computer so that he will have plenty of gigabytes to store all these photos we get to share with you, and perhaps a few bytes left over for his novel, on which he has been making slow and painful progress since January. Glenn says that juggling writing with work, sleep, family and other pursuits is not easy, but he is enjoying the process and hopes to have a completed manuscript sooner or (more likely) later.

Roni, meanwhile, has been hard at work preparing for the 14th incarnation of the Oakley Almond Festival, which is less than two months away, and putting out the little fires that come with the territory when one is president of the chamber of commerce. There have been quite a few writing assignments for the Brentwood News and Ledger Dispatch of late, which has kept her very busy.

All of this is, of course, in addition to Roni's role as mother and wife extraordinaire. With Ben having started fourth grade this month, she is flexing new talents previously unexplored -- such as making a double recipe of salt clay for a class project on California landforms. Ben said the clay worked perfectly for creating a physical map of the Golden State. We only hope that no one plans to eat the final product, as the clay contains a mixture of four parts salt to the four parts flour.

We were tempted to title this edition "chicken potpourri" after several bizarre weeks involving our new neighbors. In late June they brought home a rooster and several hens with the intention of setting up a hen house in a corner of their yard. Unfortunately, the birds found their way under the fence and, for the next three weeks, spent about as much time in our yard as they did in the yard next door. In the end, city ordinances took precedence and the birds have since disappeared for a more appropriate habitat. It is probably for the best, given the number of raccoons and skunks that frequent our neighborhood; it would not have been long before one of them treated itself to a tasty chicken dinner.

To close this month, you have undoubtedly noticed the new format for these newsletters that began with the June edition. With the increased number of photos we include each month we needed a better way to display them all, and we hope this is it. At least for now. We are considering a possible new ISP for these pages, so it is likely you may surf in one day to find us offline, or discover something missing or changed from what used to be here. But rest assured, we'll be back next month.

Glenn, Roni and Ben
This page was last updated on Thursday, August 21, 2003 at 00:54 hrs.

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