Julie with a B

Monday, February 26, 2007
Ah.. a couple days off
I've spent the last 6 weeks working long hours, doing my job, hiring a replacement, and training her. Leaving the old job was a wrench - I have some wonderful friends there and I'll really miss them.
My brother was up visiting over the weekend. He's a wine fiend so we went touring about tasting at this place and that. Came back with a nice bottle of Cabernet and one of port. In general I prefer good single malt Scotch, but I can be tempted to be unfaithful...

Over the next couple days will do whatever I want - unscheduled this and that. I'm thinking of heading to the beach with the dog for a nice walk in the wind. Tomorrow will take some friends from work to the Powerhouse for a couple pints. OK, so I told 'em I'd put the Visa card on the bar and run a tab. We may be there a long time if no one throws us out.

Oh yes. And I'm finally going to buy the longbow I've been lusting after for a year or so. Oh yes. Well, when I get it I'll post a picture or two. I'm going shooting with some friends on Saturday. Since that's also my birthday I'm hoping to have it by then.


Monday, February 19, 2007
Tour of California
Once againg the Tour of California rockets through my home town. The prologue of the tour was in San Francisco yesterday. Local hero, Levi Leipheimer, won the prologue which ends at the top of Telegraph Hill in San Francisco at the base of Coit Tower. A total unknown, Jason Donald, came in second.
Today the tour leaves Sausalito:
"Starting on the northern side of the San Francisco Bay, Stage 1 will cover almost 100 miles from Sausalito to Santa Rosa. The stage begins with a climb from Mill Valley up to Mt. Tamalpais State Park before turning toward Muir Beach. The route mirrors that of 2006 all the way to Valley Ford, but where the riders headed east to Santa Rosa, the 2007 route will continue north to Bodega Bay and turn onto Coleman Valley Road, a landmark climb in Northern California. Then, spectators can watch the stage win unfold as the field heads downhill from Occidental for three finishing circuit laps in downtown Santa Rosa. In 2006, Santa Rosa set the mark for one of the most enthusiastic and largest crowds of the entire Amgen Tour of California."

I am delighted that they are finally testing the hills here. In the winter months you can often see notables training here. Three time Tour de France winner, Greg Lemond used Santa Rosa as his winter training base, and, as noted, Levi Leipheimer lives and trains here.
Last year it rained and the Tour of CA took a very mild course due to the slippery roads. This year, one of the roads coming in from the coast is Coleman Valley Rd. Listed in bike tour guides as the "Coleman Valley Rd. Experience" (!) coming up from the coast is an exceedingly steep climb. I have ridden DOWN the hill and overheated my brakes. Gotta say there is a stunning view of the ocean from the top, but these guys will be facing the wrong way to see it.
The race ends with a couple circuits of downtown. Last year saw a crowd of 35,000 - a notable number of people for a town of 200,000.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Call home from Iraq
From a friend, whose son is in Iraq

He called after two weeks of working out of the Iraqi police station located a few miles from their home base of Iskan. He said their days are spent patrolling, guarding, and training with the Iraqi Army unit they are assigned to.

The days are long with shifts of 8 hours on and 4 hours off. There are no showers at the patrol base, so he was real happy to get back to home base and his regular bed. Although his squad his heading right back out tomorrow for a week of patrols and missions.

He sounded really tired and a bit melancholy, but he is keeping his "chin up" and soldiering on. It is the rainy season in Iraq which means living in a giant mud hole all the time.

Fortunately things have been relatively quiet for his squad. They did have an "on and off" gun fight with a lone insurgent that lasted a few days. This guy would pop out of a building and fire at his guard tower, then slip away only to pop up from another building. They couldn't figure out how he was getting from one side of the street to the other. Later they found out he had a small trench cutout that they couldn't see, and this allowed him to crawl around out of sight. M's buddy finally got his gun sight on this guy, and let’s just say he's not crawling around anymore.

The Rules of Engagement continue to be a huge problem for our troops. They caught some terrorists trying to lay explosives near the base and gave chase after the bad guys had been spotted. They turned off their headlights to try and help get away and M had a clear shot with his .50 caliber machine gun to stop these guys. Unfortunately they were not allowed to fire because they were not being fired upon, and the terrorists got away.

On another occasion they detained a woman that had explosive residue all over her hands and her story just wasn't checking out. They were ordered to let her go because she wasn't on the current "black list". This is only two of many frustrating situations they have to deal with. I asked how the morale of the unit was and he turned to all the soldiers in the call center and asked; "My Dad wants to know how you all are feeling about our mission?"

The response was a loud; "It sucks!" Along with a couple of other words.

He wanted me to pass along to all of you a very big "Thank you" for all of your support and prayers as it means so much to him.

The Prez speaks
Watching the Prez 's new conference, says he: Yes, you can disagree with the President's policy in Iraq and still support the troops.....er, as long as you vote the money for the President to spend on his policy.

Hmmm. I'm sure I should have snappy comment on that but I haven't finished my coffee yet.

Another repoter commented that he had heard soldiers questioning the purpose in Iraq, the Prez says, the families are the ones with that opinion, the leaders that the Prez has spoken with are not questioning the purpose.

More on that later.

Immigration? Prez says, work permits so that workers can legally cross the border and then beef up the border to keep out the gun runners, drugs, etc etc....

OK. I'm with that.

Now off to work, altho the home brew isn't working...cruising Starbucks on the way in.


Monday, February 12, 2007
JulieB in transition

Things’ll be changing here. I’m leaving my current job at a small hospital in the hills of Sebastopol Well sort of. I’m headed for a start up funded by a bit of venture capital. T’will all be a challenge but the best kind of fun. and re-joining the corporate rat race.

The picture at the top of the Blog was taken facing east from the back of the hospital. Not sure what is in store yet, so hang on. I think I’ll follow the Pirate’s Cove model and try on a couple pictures and looks before I settle on something.


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