ABC’s of Sheet Music

“Quality sheet music is important for any level of musician trying to add to their repertoire,” said Adam D’Arpino in his article Five Quick Tips for Choosing Music. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, sheet music helps to shape how you learn, perform and understand a piece.”

It is a relatively inexpensive way to learn a variety of interesting and worthwhile pieces from different genres, eras, composers and countries. One can build a substantial library from sheet music both individual and from collections of songs and pieces for piano, voice or instrumental solos and ensembles.

Sheet Music is available in many different skill levels of well-known pieces and titles. The easier versions allow beginners and intermediate musicians to learn music that is usually at a more advanced level. Numerous publishers and distributors offer a grade level assessment of their selections. This allows the potential purchaser
to get an idea of the skill level required to play the piece. If you would rather just look at a piece to decide, many online distributors offer a preview of one or two pages to view.

Piano players and other musicians have another option called a “Fake Book.” These are collections of very well-known popular songs with a written melody and chord names. This allows musicians to play the melody with their own version of the chords to accompany the melody.

One can purchase sheet music from numerous sources. Your local music store is probably one of the quickest, most convenient places to buy or order music. Music stores do not have everything available in the store but they will usually be more than happy to order it for you.

Another source is from the publisher directly. You can easily find phone numbers and addresses and order what you want. If the piece is out of print—you have some options. You can order it and wait for a reprint or try other music stores, schools or libraries. Music teachers, both school and private, have access to many selections in their own collections and collections of colleagues.

Computers give easy access to a myriad of sites to view, listen to and order music. Sometimes sheet music is free of charge online. Try these websites:

This is free sheet music! Music created or published before 1923 is free with possibly some exceptions. Music published after 1963 is probably still copyrighted—caveat emptor! (Let the buyer beware.)

You can sell public domain music e.g. record yourself and sell it on a compact disc (CD). Some music copyrighted between 1923 and 1963 lost their copyright because they did not renew—they then became free. Investigate the vast amount of sheet music available, both online and off.
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2010 – Lucky Year of the Golden Tiger

Lucky Year of the Golden Tiger


Golden tiger images are everywhere in Chinatown, 2010 is a very lucky year – not only the Year of the Tiger, but the Year of the GOLDEN Tiger, that only comes every sixty years, as explained to me by my kind friend Shujuan Liu – Susan – who accompanied me on my tour of San Francisco’s historic Chinatown. Each twelfth year, according to the ancient Chinese horoscope, one animal is the annual representative icon: horse, dog, rabbit, pig, snake and the dragon among them.

Susan lives in Danville and came from Beijing in 1998 with her husband and son. Susan gave me new insights into the traditions and culture of China, of which I not was aware, even though I had visited our own San Francisco Chinatown hundreds of times. This time was different – I looked up, out, and around, rather than peering into gift shop windows at paper parasols, bamboo back-scratchers, battery-operated caged singing birds and mechanical crickets – or searching for dim sum.

So, we ventured into Chinatown at Grant and Bush Streets, through the imposing blue-tiled Dragon Gate, a gift from the Republic of China in 1969, defining the entrance to the locale—the fulcrum of Gold Rush history. I looked up the storied gradient street named Grant with fresh eyes—celebrating the Year of the Golden Tiger—reminded everywhere of the extra-lucky year, re-enforced by images of leaping, crouching or growling golden-striped cats. Tigers jumped stealthily from store windows, waved on gonfalons, crawled on rooftops, slumbered on embroidered pillows or roared from sweetshops, calling us to taste lotus seed-filled moon cakes at the Eastern Bakery, or to buy paper tiger kites to catch the Marina winds blowing by the Golden Gate, their long tails streaming and silhouetted against the sun.

Yes, it is the year of great fortune—the year of the striped ‘wang’ face of the golden tiger, an auspicious period that comes around only every sixty years. For the lucky ones, born in the Year of the Tiger, it promises courage, fearlessness, tenacity, purposefulness and the burning desire for adventure. We, the tiger and dragon girls, walked into Chinatown, into the past; into timeless tradition and into the culture that is a vital historic backbone of Old San Francisco.

The face of present day Chinatown, is just a little over one hundred years old, being totally rebuilt after the 1906 earthquake, with an incongruous mix of Edwardian structure with applied Chinoiserie details, even though the original neighborhood was established before the Gold Rush in 1848. The first Chinese immigrated to San Francisco when a woman and two men arrived on The Eagle – the same year that Sam Brannon announced the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill, in the present-day open space gardens called Portsmouth Square. Today, the wisteria-laden pergolas shade chasing children, near-motionless Tai Chi exercisers, and baseball-capped old men playing elephant chess with an audience of bewildered tourists, as the crack-and -bamboo tiles clink by intense Mah Jong players.

Lucky Year of the Tiger Lucky Year of the Tiger

By July of 1853, Old St Mary’s Church, the first cathedral in California and the tallest building in town was built on the corner of Grant and California Streets. The church’s foundation granite was quarried and cut in China, and the New England red-fired bricks came around Cape Horn on the same ships as daring prospectors, in search of God and gold. With the Gold Rush, came men with money to burn and for the money, came the women to earn. The first all-Chinese school was erected in 1859, to educate the children of immigrants, who came by the thousands from the open port of Canton in the southern Guangdong Province thereby establishing the Cantonese language in most resettled communities. For a decade, workers flowed into San Francisco and in 1870, California passed a law against the importation of women for illicit purposes, and human trafficking trade went underground.

Lucky Year of the Golden Tiger

The rush for gold lead to the need for transport, and the construction of railroad networks created an influx of laborers and San Francisco was the magnet for new immigrants from the across the China Seas. Chinatown took on a pulsating life of its own, a vibrant, bustling epicenter of exotic foods, haunting music and historic significance – an ‘island’ of an ancient culture thriving in the heart of The City.

Chinese lore dictates that evil travels in a straight line, so we followed the labyrinthine side streets where the waft of incense leads one to the mosaiced façade of the 1852 Taoist Temple Tien Hou, and the city’s oldest Buddhist praying place, the Norras Temple on the two-block Waverly Place – the Street of Painted Balconies. The short street, parallel to Grant, is the un-touristy real Chinatown, where dry cleaners, insurance agencies, a one-chair barber shop (who also repairs radios) and a funeral parlor that takes care of Chinese San Franciscans. Waverly Place is the locale of Dashiell Hammet’s 1947 story Dead Yellow Women, and for many movies, including Indiana Jones.

Funerals are unjoyous events, but when one must go… Chinatown is as good a place as any! The procession follows from the Green Street Mortuary up Stockton and Columbus Streets, preceded by a brass band and a convertible bearing the deceased’s larger-than-life photograph image, followed by the hearse and a cortege of mourners. For under a dollar, a pack of handmade memorial papers, tinged with gold, can be bought and burned in the temple as tribute to Buddhist or Taoist ancestors, or kept as a beautiful souvenir to remember the sense of place.

Susan and I moved up Grant Avenue to the produce markets where fruits and vegetables – bok choy, spring onions, mushrooms and slender purple eggplants, basked in boxes on the sunny street or hung, sun-steamed in tight plastic bags, over sidewalks. I really wanted to visit the herbalist shops, especially with Susan who could translate for me, and check out the herbs and animal parts—strange to westerners’ tastes—but inextricably tied to ancient Chinese culture. Well, I learned something new and unexpected. Susan, being from Beijing, could read the written Cantonese language perfectly, being the same as Mandarin, but when she asked questions, they could not understand one another and shopkeepers looked at her in askance. She explained that Chinese speakers find the lingua franca of English, the best way to communicate, albeit Chinese written characters are universal. When Mayor Newsom visits Beijing, his valiant attempt at Cantonese falls short, and no one understands him.

We entered the crowded herbalist shop, where almost everything edible was dried. Susan explained that because of China’s lack of refrigeration for centuries, most foods were dried, dehydrated and preserved, however, now, even with refrigeration; dried goods are preferred because of the intensity of flavor. We walked around the shop, I with finicky trepidation, finally coming to the realization what foods I might have eaten on my last trip to China. I squirmed.

We roamed the shop curiously reading signs and prices. “Susan, what are those things?” I asked about a very strange selection of rows of apothecary jars filled with dried, black shiny tongue-shaped things priced at $960 and a whopping $2,160 per pound. The elongated shriveled grey things, marked at $5,400 per lb, fascinated me. She read the tags. The black shiny things were deer tails at $2,160 per lb and the dried grey things at $5,400 per lb were very pricy ginseng. The wild ginseng was only $2,200.00 per lb, and the dried sea horses were a bargain at only $65.00 per lb. “The tongue-shaped things are deer tails, probably used for natural medicinal purposes; the ginseng is used for many Chinese ailments,” Susan explained.

I decided that I would live with my ailments, if and when, they came to me – the finicky eater that I am!

We moved on to an artistic arrangement of platter-sized dried brown shiny mushrooms, called lensi at $68.00 per lb. The still-life appealed to my sense of artistic incongruity and I asked the shopkeeper if I could take a photo with my camera. “No, it is our policy to forbid cameras.” The shopkeeper warned. She had not said a word about iPhones, so Susan snapped a photo and emailed it to me. Ah! The insightful understanding and use of one’s own phone technology, in the time of need! (I reminded myself of the potential joys of iPhone ownership).

We read more labels; dried grey shark fins were $215.00 per lb and the sinewy yellowy fish intestines and stomachs ranged from $280-$800 per lb – yum. The cardboard-thin, skeletal flat dried spread-eagle ducks, heads cocked to the side, still intact with feet and thin bony ribcage, must have been a bargain, as they were selling like hotcakes as customers yanked the flat ducks off the wall. I stopped for a moment to visualize the duck flattening, then I quickly purged the thoughts from my head.

I pondered the medicinal mysteries and wondrous results, from herbs and animal parts, for both mind and body, and I learned more than I ever needed to know about fresh-frozen deer tales, red deer antler velvet, bear bile, ox-gallstones, sheep placenta and yak pizzles (viable competitors to OTC tiny blues). Strange, I thought, I never had the need to learn of the exotic ingredients or herbalist uses, until Susan interpreted the signage for me—and through the wonders of googling—I learned their remedial and therapeutic miracles.

Lucky Year of the Golden TigerLucky Year of the Golden Tiger

Ornate Dragon lampposts – turquoise and cinnabar, surmounted with twelve-belled lanterns and crawling tendrilled dragons, since 1925 have lighted the gradient pathway to Chinese cultural tradition. Chinatown’s architecture is a veritable chop suey of odd styles; Edwardian structures encrusted with applied decoration—bright colored painted balconies, their fire-escape ladders hugging facades, entangled in waving red Chinese and American flags, vying with rotating pinwheels, to catch the breeze.

Pagoda-style edifices interject balance and symmetry from the axis, among plain buildings, standing stalwart and four-square in timber-frame structures with pillars and beams—wood equaling life—doors and windows to the front, heavy tiled roof on toukung support brackets, corbels holding cantilevered arms on rooflines where gently curved corners, like bird wings, fly out from swooping eaves. Bold reds, gold, greens—lacquered on cedar-wood—and blues compete with the sky’s colors. Myths tell that water lilies prevent fires, dragons crawl on tiered overhangs, and phoenixes, adorned with spirals and swirls, confuse evil spirits—tasseled lanterns, bells and banners entice harmony with bats and peacocks painted iridescent green.

The Chinese feng shui living space layout is a cosmological scheme arranged in the eight compass points, where the front of a house faces south to the light, and the back faces northern mountains to deflect bad energy.

We absorbed the architecture, craning our necks, and then stopped for eye-candy respite, at jewelry stores to check the modern designs of today’s China, that appeared to have taken on a more definitive ‘European’ style, since I shopped in China thirty-seven years ago. The designs were more contemporary than yesteryear’s pre-capitalist styles when I spent time in China in 1981. We stopped for lunch and I had a chance to ask Susan about her music and her own jewelry designs.

Lucky Year of the Golden Tiger

Energized with a new approach of all things Chinese, I was thirsty for inside stories of Susan’s life and I quizzed her on her line of Shujuan Liu Designs, her favorite materials and sources for her inspiration.

Susan was a music teacher in Beijing, but always had the yearning to create things. She hand-colored her own black and white photographs – before color film was popular in China – and loved color-painting stones and playing with her ‘toy’ pebbles as a young child and mused that she can now ‘play’ with real colored gemstones. When Susan arrived in the United States in 1998, she worked at a Hong Kong-based fashion clothing company in Los Angeles with manufacturing in China, and her position allowed her to be involved in every aspect of the fashion industry. In order to further her expertise in the fashion world, she studied merchandising and design at Santa Monica College. Her experience and expertise took her to Lucky Gem, one of Asia’s largest jewelry companies, and with a good eye for design and a fine fashion sense, the company requested her to design a special display for their showcase front window – and, as they say – the rest is history. It led to further classes in jewelry design and she learned the subtle art of the cut and the polishing of stones and silver design work.

Susan explained the harmony of the number seven in the Western culture and the Eastern elements of coral – once alive in the sea – that signifies passion, prosperity and luck. The combining of the two, in some jewelry designs, is not only beautiful as wearable art, but also brings good fortune. I fingered my own coral necklace, the symbol for passion and prosperity, and for a fleeting moment, I felt very lucky.

When I asked her the source for stones, coral, and findings, she told me about her travels in search of special pieces. An upcoming trip to China will net her a cache of new stones, rare corals and elements to compose designs, unique to her sense of rhythmic elegance with harmony and simplicity, with corals, gemstones, and freshwater pearls. Susan also attends the Tucson, San Mateo and Las Vegas Gem and Jewelry Shows, each one a Mecca for designers in search of findings and new materials for the one-of-a- kind art, and for inspiration as she prepares a collaborative jewelry design show in October – queries:

“So, Susan what do you do in your spare time?” I really wanted to ask a more Proustian question of the dark-eyed, statuesque Beijing beauty.

“I produced a documentary film called Little Shoalin Monks about six-year-old boys trained in temples to be warrior monks. I am soon on my way to Beijing, to visit my family and do research for another film about the serious lack of clean drinking water in China – that will be my next documentary,” Shujuan Liu answered with modest restrain.

We came full circle from the Chinatown assignment, to art jewelry design and filmmaking. I always believed that it was the busy people, who actually got things done. The work Susan had done in film, opened doors at the Mill Valley Film Festival, where she met Tang Wei, the star of Crouching Dragon’s director Ang Lee’s recent artistic film Lust, Caution – winner of the 2007 Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival in Italy. Tang Wei, who plays the lead in the Mandarin-language film, cherishes her Shujuan Liu designed necklace, with seven branches of vibrant red coral, the symbol of prosperity, passion and good fortune.

We laughed a lot. 2010 – The Year of the Golden Tiger – is going to be a very good year.

Dad University: Continuing Education in the Course of Fathering 101

Dad University
Welcome to Dad University. My name is Mike and I’ll be your instructor for this summer school continuing education class which is designed to help Dads reconnect with a few of the basics and fundamental concepts in the course of Fathering 101. My outline is less structured than say a community college where you might have lectures and tests. This refresher is more like a tutorial session stressing on an implementation of common sense practices. Consider this article our course syllabus, this magazine your text book and ALIVE our school motto. Dad University rocks!

Virtually all men have the capacity to be a dad, but it takes an innate ability to be a good father. It’s not an easy job. It is a constantly evolving task which demands commitment, hard work and a desire to improve. To be a truly involved Dad, you’ve got to want to do more than Preside, Provide and Protect (The three P’s of fathering). Given the day-to-day financial stress we all contend with to live in such a beautiful and affluent community, it’s easy to lose track of our priorities and responsibilities when it comes to the act of interacting with our children. “Kids spell love T-I-M-E”, says Dr. Ken Canfield, Founder of the National Center for Fathering. The Fathering 101 course outline is divided up into four quarters each focusing on a distinct phase in the lives of our children.

First Quarter. Here is when we learn how to assimilate ourselves with the new alien life form that has invaded our lives otherwise known as a new born or infant up through the toddler stage. I know I’m not the only Dad that didn’t get an instruction manual when I brought the kid home from the hospital, so don’t feel bad if you’re not sure what to do right away? While a father can’t do much when it comes to nursing, we can be the one who responds to their cries and brings them to their mothers. In the middle of the night, regardless of the hour, be the one to respond to their cries. When the transition to bottle feeding occurs, help out there too. Also, don’t avoid changing diapers. What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger. Once you’re feeling brave and confident, encourage your wife to take a night off and get out of the house. You will be amazed at what you’re capable of when it comes to caring for your child.

To this day, my daughters call out for me in the middle of the night if they have a bad dream or aren’t feeling well. That’s not always an easy bell to answer, but it’s certainly a feeling of being needed.

Second Quarter. As our children grow to pre-school age right up into their elementary school years our role takes on a variety of mentoring applications. We are essentially Yoda to our young Jedi Knight prospects. I read somewhere that family is a place of training, instruction and discipline. Take manners for example. My parents were manners crazy. If we ate with our mouths open, put our elbows on the table or, God forbid, used our fingers as a fork, spoon or knife there was hell to pay. Appropriate table manners are a critical life training exercise, but raise your hand if you’ve been a little relaxed lately in the rules department. Now raise your hand if your own manners have taken on the traits of a band of marauding Huns, Vikings or pirates. You get my drift. Manners say a lot about an individual’s character and upbringing. There was a recent article in the Contra Costa Times entitled, Good Etiquette is Good Business, Students Learn that reported on how important manners are to college graduates interviewing with potential employers. People will notice when visiting children have good manners, but they notice more when they don’t. Motivation comes from both compliments and constructive criticism, but it also doesn’t hurt to set a good example.

Don’t be afraid to set high standards. Kids will often surprise us of what they are capable of when it comes to meeting mom and dad’s expectations if there consequences for not towing the line.

Third Quarter. This is typically our least favorite quarter at DAD U, the one dealing with “tweens” and teenagers. This demographic needs us to be fair parents who will lay down the law and enforce it. As our children are given more freedom and responsibilities they should be rewarded, not for doing what’s expected of them, but instead for exceeding expectations. I would tell my 13 year old this, but she’s rarely disconnected from a phone or iPod long enough for me to have a heartfelt sit down conversation. She tweets, texts, emails and sings, but she’s not a real big talker. Middle school sets the stage for high school, so it’s critically important that we establish a strong set the rules and boundaries. Take communication as an example. When we were young our parents simply eavesdropped on our phone conversations, however we now live in a world of cyber-talk where kids are handed a cell phone at their fifth grade commencement ceremony. It’s not unreasonable to demand random access to their email and text for a review of the content and context of their communications. Whenever I watch one of those Today Show or 20/20 stories on cyber bullying or on-line sexual predators, I vow to uphold my position as an IT cop at home, even if it makes me unpopular.

Dr. Amy Chambliss, a psychologist with a private practice in Danville, states, “Kids need boundaries and limits to feel safe and secure. Rules and regulations send them the message that their parents care and are invested in them. From this, kids develop self-respect and a sense of worthiness”.

Fourth Quarter. The last quarter of the year is spent on our children as young adults. This should be a peaceful and enjoyable time to observe the fruits of our labor. Ideally, what we taught our children in the early stages of their development has established a strong foundation for the choices they make once they are 18 and essentially adults. That’s not to say we can’t still be retained as consultants.

Post Graduate Degree. There is undoubtedly a Grand Dad University, but it will hopefully be a lot of years before I attend classes there or even contemplate joining the staff.

Not every man had a good “father” role model. A lot of our father’s were from the old school. They were graduates, or perhaps drop outs, of the Dad University where the typical dad left child rearing up to the graduates of Mom University. My father was raised in a poor farming community and lost his father at a young age. He was a high school GED graduate and a Korean War veteran who started and ran his own company. I always loved my dad, but didn’t always understand him. I was often told, by his friends and co-workers, how proud he was of me. Sadly, he rarely spoke those words to me himself. While my sisters and I always appreciated how hard he worked to provide for us, we all would have preferred that he was around more. I thought that by succeeding in school and excelling in sports he would choose to be more involved. Unfortunately, my father died before I was mature enough to learn more firsthand about the man he was and what he had endured growing up. It may have made a difference in our relationship. I also regret that he never got to meet his two granddaughters, because they are pretty amazing.

According to Dr. Chambliss, “missing fathers or emotionally unavailable fathers are a contributing factor to the acting out we see in our kids today. Kids can go through what psychologists call ‘Father Hunger’. This is defined as an intense desire for emotional connection with dad. When that connection doesn’t happen, kids will try to force it. They may engage in exhausting perfectionist behavior or self-destructive behavior.”

I know that I’m not a perfect father and there’s a lot I can improve upon. Considering that the nation just celebrated Father’s Day last month, this may be an ideal time to delve deeper into the role and responsibilities of being a good dad. We have another 12 months to better ourselves for the sake of our children. Class dismissed.

Ready to Kick Your Smoking Habit?

Ready to kick your smoking habit?
Throughout the day, if you’re a smoker, you probably savor stealing a few precious minutes away from your hectic tasks for a cigarette break. These important “Me-Time Moments” can feel like a decadent reward and a revitalizing treat. However, are you aware that the chemicals in cigarettes include arsenic, formaldehyde, and hydrogen cyanide? Yep, the World Health Organization reminds us that a cigarette…is the only consumer product that kills its consumer when it is used as directed.

Sadly, Tobacco Survivors United tells us that someone dies of a tobacco-related illness every 10 seconds and that over 400,000 people die of tobacco-related illnesses in the United States each year. These tobacco-related illnesses in the United States account for more deaths than from auto accidents, AIDS, fire, illegal drugs, alcohol, suicides, and homicides combined.

On a positive note, did you know that after you stop smoking, according to the American Cancer Society, your health benefits begin in minutes and your:

  • Blood pressure and heart rate drop 20 minutes after quitting
  • Carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal after 12 hours
  • Lung function and circulation improve within 2 to 12 weeks of quitting
  • Shortness of breath and coughing decrease one to 9 months after quitting
  • Sense of smell returns and food tastes better
  • Risk of heart disease drops to half the risk of a smoker—one year after you quit
  • A Client’s Success Story
    “I smoked 20-30 cigarettes a day for 32 years and was the really ‘chemically addicted’ type of smoker. I’d tried everything to quit—gum, patches…but was convinced I did not have the willpower to ‘overcome the beast.’ My allergist referred me to Trina for help in quitting. Trina provided me with four great tools to achieve my victory over nicotine.

    First and foremost were the visits under hypnotherapy to important places deep inside myself. In this very relaxed state, I reconnected with those in my life who have loved me the most. This inner work provided me a source of courage to stand up to my addiction and to nurture the health-loving and smoke-free person inside of me.

    Second was a self-hypnosis tape to use at home so I could revisit the empowering thoughts and refocus my courage. This tape was very helpful in the first and second week after quitting when cravings were at their worst.

    Third was the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) that included tapping an acupuncture meridian point while at the same time verbalizing the self-belief that I am healthy and stronger than nicotine.

    Fourth, Trina made herself available by phone and e-mail the first week for once a day, ‘in-the-moment,’ moral support and encouragement. Likewise, in our first strategizing session, we identified several close friends of mine who could also offer support.

    My allergist recently showed me that, since quitting smoking, my lung function is normal again and has improved 30% from when I smoked. And, just a few months after quitting, I am biking up Mount Diablo—something I could not have dreamed of awhile back.” -John

    Customized to meet your needs, my comprehensive Smoking Cessation Program consists of creating a map—or an overall strategy—that includes support and cutting-edge tools to assist you in successfully quitting smoking. In addition, the strategy will address how to transform destructive (smoking) “Me-Time Moments” into constructive (smoke free) “Me-Time Moments.”

    Finally, when you’re ready to “kick the smoking habit” and receive the benefits of a smoke-free life, call me and we’ll strategize your customized plan. This courageous phone call could be a life-changing gift…to your mind-body health.

8 Summertime Essentials That Will Rescue You From Any Beauty Emergency!

  1. HATS: One of the best hats on earth is any hat by Helen Kaminski! Hats keep you protected from the harmful UVA and UVB harsh sunrays; they also protect your hair color from fading and hair drying out. To keep cool, hats are by far one of the best ways to protect you overall. The Trendy look this season is a Fedora style. They come in many different styles and colors, so choose one that suits your fashionista style and sport one!
  2. SUNSCREEN: Of course we had to mention sunscreens, this is a given. Use a good sunscreen that has both Titanium Dioxide and Zinc. Using both ingredients will assure you that you will be receiving the best in sun protection. Chemical sunscreens do not have the protection like these very important ingredients have. Using chemical sunscreens may protect the skin but the harmful UVA rays go through the skin and can do severe damage inside. So beware and check the ingredients.
  3. SELF-TANNERS: Apply self-tanners when you want to look tan but without the help of the suns harsh rays. This is a great way to look and feel healthy with a natural glow. We carry a wonderful self tanner by Ongrien, that goes on clear then works with your own melanin in your skin to give you the ultimate-perfect looking sun-tanned glow.
  4. BODY SCRUBS: Use in the shower, our aggressive hydrating body exfoliant will help self-tanners go on smoothly without streaking or spotting. It will also allow your body moisturizers to penetrate deeper into the skin so your skin looks flawless and beautifully smooth.
  5. POWDER FACE BRONZERS: With the help of a natural looking face bronzer, you will achieve a nice balance and look healthy with a natural glow. A lot of girls do not want to tan the face because the delicate skin ages rapidly from the sun. By using a bronzer this will help even out skin tones and match the rest of the body. There is nothing worse than seeing a beautiful girl with an awesome tan and then you look at her face and it is ghostly white. Okay girls this is a big “no-no.”
  6. LIP TREATMENTS: For ultimate moisture, apply a lip treatment that has both Vitamin E and Vitamin C. This will help protect the delicate lips from drying out and chapping. At The Rouge we offer lip treatments with Vitamin E, Vitamin C a 15 SPF sunscreen with hint of color all in one. It is anti-aging, full of shine and comes in six great colors. Great for summer and year round.
  7. CHAN LUU WRAP BRACELETS: From Hollywood these unique wrap bracelets are the hottest fashion accessories of the season. Seen in fashion magazines everywhere they are custom made from sterling silver with leather to Black Diamond crystals with sterling silver skulls. They are incredibly fashionable, trendy and gorgeous! Anyone can wear them and everyone wants one… two and three. They dress up any outfit and come in so many different styles to choose from they can be addicting. You can find these great custom designs at high-end boutiques. Please come in and see our collection of custom Chan Luu wrap bracelets designed exclusively for The Rouge. Great for the fashionista within.
  8. MICHAEL STAR BEACH BAG: Grab a bag and go to the beach! Michael Star Beach Bags are great to put all your Summer Essentials in and go! We Love our Michael Star beach bags for any summer time trip or just hanging out with friends.



Summer Standbys

Market Fresh

The farmers’ market doesn’t need any promotion this month; you can pretty much follow your nose to find the best bargains in town. Do I honestly need to wax poetic over the flavor and aroma of an organically-grown tomato? How about snappy-fresh green beans? Or sweet corn on the cob, picked that very same morning? Does your neighborhood supermarket bring in a truckload of juicy, vine-ripened watermelons every Saturday morning? I don’t think so. These are a few of the more obvious summer pleasures available at the market, but some savvy shoppers also zoom in on less popular seasonal treasures.

Cucumbers are a mainstay of the vegetable world. So ubiquitous, that a lot of people don’t even think of them as vegetables. Year ‘round we see them for sale—waxed-up to shine like a new car and piled into towering pyramids in the produce section of supermarkets, where they are periodically misted with a fine spray to provide the allusion of freshness. For better or for worse they’re everywhere—sometimes bitter and hard to digest—mixed with plain yogurt and herbs for a cooling raita; mounded onto crudités platters; and tucked inside prissy little tea sandwiches. Even the lowliest coffee shops routinely toss a few limp, seedy slices into their anemic green salads. For a long time I became so accustomed to lousy cucumbers that I just stopped buying them. But then—ta da!—a revelation. Cucumbers can be crunchy and moist, with a refreshing, slightly grassy aroma. Now is the time to find them; though if you are looking for small ones, you may have to stand in line with the picklers.

Dill pickles seem to get all the attention, and that’s fine with me. I love them; and fortunately there are a lot of good ones available commercially. Bread and Butter pickles are another story. They are really quite easy to make, and the resulting pickles are far more crisp and complex-tasting than the sugary-sweet ones you find on grocery store shelves. My favorite recipe below was inspired by the late great cookbook author, Sheila Lukins.


4 pounds Kirby (waxless) cucumbers, about 4 inches long, ends trimmed, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices (about 12 cups)
2 pounds small white or yellow onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup coarse (kosher) salt
3 cups cider vinegar
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons celery seeds
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper flakes

1.Place the cucumbers, onions, and salt in a large bowl and toss well to combine. Completely cover the surface with ice and let stand in a cool place for 2 hours. (This step is necessary to crisp the cucumbers.) Drain, rinse, and drain again.

2.Combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, turmeric, celery seeds, ginger, peppercorns, and pepper flakes in a large, heavy, non-reactive pot and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Stir in the prepared cucumbers and onions, and return to a boil. Cook 1 minute, then remove from the heat.

3.Pack the hot pickles into 5 or 6 sterilized pint jars, making sure there are no air pockets. Cover with the hot syrup, leaving 1/4 inch of head space in each jar. Seal and process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes*, following the instructions provided with the canning jars. Makes 5 or 6 pints.

* If you prefer to avoid the canning process, simply let the pickles cool to room temperature before screwing the lids onto the jars; then store in the refrigerator.

The 411 on Cukes
–Thought to be native to either India or Thailand, cucumbers are one of the oldest cultivated vegetables. Columbus introduced them to the Western world in the late fifteenth century; and by the time the Pilgrims arrived, the Iroquois were already growing them.

–Cucumbers consist of up to 90% water. A cup of chopped or sliced cukes weighs in at a mere 16 calories, is virtually fat-free, and very low in carbs.

–Refrigerate cucumbers—unwashed and unsliced—in an open plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. When handled properly, farm-fresh cucumbers can last up to 1 week.

–Everyone recognizes the long, narrow English hothouse cucumber (sometimes labeled “seedless” or “burpless”) that is unwaxed but encased in plastic to preserve moisture. The common garden-variety cukes sold commercially are often coated with an oily wax substance to prolong their shelf life. (You’ll find them unwaxed at the farmers’ market, so you won’t have to deal with that nasty stuff.) Expand your horizons this month and try a few other varieties, like round lemon cucumbers; narrow Japanese cucumbers with thin, bumpy skin; ridged Armenian cucumbers, which are often long and twisted; and slender, thin-skinned Baby Persian cucumbers. Kirby is actually a generic name for pickling cucumbers. They are bred to be short, slightly chubby, crunchy, and rarely over 4-inches long, with bumpy skin and fewer seeds, making them ideal for any kind of pickle.

–Beat the summer heat with Spa Water: Put some cucumber slices in a pitcher along with a sprig or two of fresh mint; then fill with cool water. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, until the water is icy cold and infused with flavor. To serve, strain or not—as you please. No calories, but plenty of pizzazz.

The Danville Certified Farmers’ Market, located at Railroad and Prospect, is open every Saturday, rain or shine, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. For specific crop information call the Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association at 1-800-949-FARM or visit their web site at

The Rockefeller Secret: Part 2

Secrets to wealth and health you have got to know!

Not all of us had parents like Mr. Rockefeller. As you remember from last months issue, Mr. Rockefeller came from humble beginnings, yet, his foundation is a continuing legacy of health and wealth for decades to come.

During the time of great global onslaughts and economic disasters a secret to building wealth and creating the life you have always dreamed of is literally right before your eyes. As an executive life coach to CEOs and people with both small and big dreams all over the world, I have found that they all share one thing in common—the secret of the Rockefellers. Of course many will never reach the unprecedented wealth this man achieved, but who is to say you won’t!

Recapping from last month:

Key 1: The Roots Dictate the Fruits.
Or, as I like to say it: “what you truly believe will show forth by our behaviors.” Or, “how we think is how we will speak.” Anyway you say it. Mr. Rockefeller believed what his parents instilled in him: Stay healthy and be generous.

“Our attitude toward life determines life’s attitude towards us. This is the law of reciprocity.”

Secret 2: The law of reciprocity.
It’s not a word we hear the teenagers using very much, but it’s certainly one we should be teaching them—charity—be it giving monetarily or time and energy to help anyone for that matter, always yields a return. Of course, I’m not saying, “give to get,” what I am saying is that a return is inevitable. It’s a natural law. The ancients called it “sowing and reaping.” It’s the age-old proverb, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” While these may sound like clichés, they are just as powerful today as they were thousands of years ago. Look at the modern day “Rockefeller,” Bill Gates. He has given over 10 Billion Dollars and look at what is happening to his business and life. When I assess a company or an individual’s life and they ask me, “Ron, we want to make more money.” I start digging for the roots of Generosity. Sound silly? Tell that to my wife and I when we were down to our last dollar, working diligently as Rockefeller did. I looked at my wife and said, “We don’t have that much to live off of, but what we do have, could be given to charity…” Little more than a few months later, my first book was published and they gave us an entire year’s salary up front. Call it luck if you want, but within our hearts, my wife and I know it was law! If you have given to any organization or charity, please understand that your contribution is helping someone—so you can now prepare for help to return in kind!

“Building wealth should never be the outcome of compromise. What you compromise to keep in the beginning, you’ll end up loosing in the end.”

This weeks GOAL for YOU: Ask yourself the question. “When was the last time I did something for another human being? Am I adding to someone’s life or business or am I just taking away? Are there other areas of my life where I could be giving?

Ron Kardashian

Ron Kardashian

Ron Kardashian is a life coach, fitness expert, educator, conference speaker, author, national television and radio personality, and NSCA-certified strength and conditioning coach. Kardashian was one of America’s first life coaches. In 1994, he founded Kardashian Life Coaching & Personal Training and has since inspired hundreds to reach their full physical, mental and spiritual potential.

Kardashian has been twice nominated as Personal Trainer of the Year. He has been an honored speaker for the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Considered a “coach’s coach,” he has empowered executives to operate at peak performance; personally, professionally, and most important , spiritually.

Ron also heads a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation that is relentless in its efforts of bringing optimal health to people of all walks of life. This organization’s mission is to fight obesity and related diseases on a global scale. Across the globe, Kardashian’s unique approach has garnered amazing results, making him a powerful, voice of change for professional athletes, CEOs, political leaders, and clergymen of every age, religion, and creed. Ron lives in California with his beautiful wife, Tia, and two children.

For an appointment or bookings you can reach Ron at:, or call 888.918.HEAL. Visit Ron’s website at

The Boys Are Back

There are many reasons why a person likes or dislikes a particular movie. Sometimes it’s as simple as the mood you’re in at the time you watch it. I viewed this movie with a friend who had lost her husband when her children were small and it brought feelings to mind that were probably better left in the past. Another dear friend at my office recommended The Boys Are Back and I’m so glad she did. Quite frankly, I missed it coming through the theaters last year, maybe you did as well.

Sportswriter Joe Warr (Clive Owens) has lived a fast-paced world of professional duty for most of his life, leaving beloved wife Katy (Laura Fraser) behind to tend to their young son, Artie (Nicholas McAnulty). When Katy develops cancer and quickly dies, a thunderstruck Joe is left to care for his grief stricken child, never having developed any parenting skills. He, at first tries “strict” and then when he sees that doesn’t appear to be working swings the pendulum to being his son’s best friend. Adding further stress is the arrival of Harry (George McKay), Joe’s estranged teenage son from a previous marriage back home in England. Joe and Artie live in Australia and “English Boarding School” Harry tries to acclimate to a whole different life… and lifestyle. Chaos reigns.

Joe is trying to juggle a demanding career, his homestead and his boys, neither of which he has known with any degree of intimacy. The house is a mess, he’s bordering on child endangerment with the boys and things just aren’t getting any better.

What you see peaking through the clouds though is pure joy, budding relationship between a father and two sons. The director (Scott Hicks) also doesn’t miss the opportunity to create a beautiful bond between two brothers of disparit age who had never met each other.

Hicks makes impressive discoveries in his two young supporting stars (both completely at ease in front of the camera), but there’s a lot to be said for Clive Owens’s performance. Known recently for gun-toting action heroes (Shoot ‘Em Up) and smooth tricksters (Duplicity), here he gets a role to sink his teeth into. There are many scenes, some happy, some sad that pack amazing emotional punches. Owens’s rises to the challenge every time.

Many of today’s movies are geared to young men and boys. We get science fiction, horror and babes, scantily clad, what we don’t get is The Boys Are Back, a quintessential boy’s film to admire with no explosions or action sequences. So, invite your dad, granddad or brother over and watch The Boys Are Back. It examines the unique connection between male family members and there’s plenty of bravado, mischief, tantrums and heartbreak to go a long way.

The Boys Are Back is a movie that celebrates life! As always I invite your comments at or visit my archives at

2010 Volvo C30: A Small Volvo is Retro Flare!

Passing Lane

2010 Volvo C30

Rising fuel prices and higher government miles-per-gallon requirements have created a demand for smaller cars from both consumers and automotive manufacturers. At the same time, we expect even the smallest of vehicles to meet the strict safety qualifications we demand when transporting our family and friends. A persistent issue with compact and subcompact vehicles is how to make a small car safe and good looking. The solution from Volvo, who is renowned for being a leader in automotive safety, was to build a small hatchback off the proven S40 platform and morph styling clues inspired by the classic 1800ES from the 1970s. The result is the 2010 Volvo C30.

First introduced as a 2009 model year, the C30’s aggressive stance comes from its dramatic proportions. It sits on the same wheelbase as the S40 sedan, but looses 8.8-inches off the rear along with 200 lbs. This helps push the wheels out to the edges leaving short overhangs. The rear taillights sit on broad shoulders and run up the sides of the glass tailgate in a similar fashion to the XC60 and XC90 crossovers. From the front you clearly recognize the C30 as a Volvo with its distinguishable grille and hood. The shape of the rear hatch is what brings out the 1800ES flare.

The 2010 Volvo C30 comes in two trims: 2-door T5 Hatchback ($24,950) and 2-door R-Design Hatchback ($27,150). The R-Design includes body kit front and rear spoilers, unique split premium leather front seats with embossed R-Design, aluminum inlays, R-Design floor mats with accent piping, sport pedals, watch dial instrument cluster, 3-spoke steering wheel, 3.5-inch polished exhaust tail pipes, unique grille with matte silver surround and matted silver accented exterior mirrors.

Volvo is known for building exceptionally safe cars so you might not expect its list of specifications to generate performance rated numbers. Both versions come with a 5-cylinder turbo-charged 2.5-liter engine rate a respectable 227 horsepower that is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission with overdrive. An automatic transmission is available for $1,250. The C30 with its turbo-charged engine actually produces straight line numbers that are as fast as or faster than the Mini Cooper S, Honda Civic Si, and Volkswagen GTI. That’s a bonus – safety and performance.

The interior follows tradition with its S40 sedan brother and is comfortable and delivers a sophisticated styling. Volvo has a futuristic “floating” center stack that is an ultra thin silver trimmed panel housing the radio and climate control systems. An almost hidden storage area lies behind the stack. The optional smart electronic key transmits a signal allowing a “dummy” key to be used to start the vehicle, while the main key remains in your pocket or purse. Our model came with the preferred package that includes a power glass moon roof, keyless drive, and power front seats.

Room for improvement:
Rear passenger seat room is limited
Cool Features:
Complimentary Factory Scheduled Maintenance for the first 3-years or 36,000 miles
Personal settings for locking, audio and climate control
HD Radio with USB and AUX inputs

Ok, I keep mentioning safety so I suppose I should share some of the 2010 Volvo C30’s safety features. As you would have expected, even though the C30 is a small 4-passenger car, it is still loaded with standard safety features including: 4.3-point safety belt pretensioners, child safety seat latches, dynamic electronic stability traction control, head/side/passenger air bags, cage/high strength steel, 4-wheel antilock brakes, and remote keyless entry.

In Summary – The 2010 C30 is a fun-to-drive small car that extends Volvo’s safety reputation to the two-door category and for some that might be reason enough to buy the C30. My test vehicle had the R-Design trim adding to the sportiness of the vehicle. If you aren’t looking for a cargo hauling vehicle then you will adjust to the 12.9 cubic feet of space behind the back seat, which can expand to 20.2 cu.-ft after dropping down the rear seat. If you are in the market for a small sporty car designed with safety in mind – then the 2010 Volvo C30 is worthy of consideration.

For more information and a complete list of features and specification go to

Passing Lane

2010 Volvo C30

2010 Volvo C30

Base price: $26,950 as driven: $33,500 (including destination and optional equipment)
Engine:  2.5-Liter 5-cylinder
Horsepower:   227 @ 5000
Torque: 236 pound-feet @ 1500 rpm
Transmission:   Automatic Transmission with Geartronic
Drive:   Front Wheel-Drive
Seating:   4-passenger
Turning circle:   38.1 feet
Cargo space:   12.9 cubic feet
Curb weight:   3200 pounds
Fuel capacity:   15.9 gallons
EPA mileage:    30 highway, 21 city
Wheel Base: 103.9 inches
Warranty:    4 years/50,000 miles Powertrain Limited
Also consider:    Honda Civic Si, Mini Cooper S, and Volkswagen GTI

Stamps In My Passport

Stamps In My Passport

Red Square in winter, Moscow, Russia

You may find this a sensitive subject, and I can certainly understand why. Yet, we must all face it sooner or later. Death, that is. Now it seems that people of prominence, especially those who possess a great deal of either authority or money, attempt to circumvent this inevitably-final event by erecting monuments of one sort or another. Let me tell you right now, it doesn’t work. It does, however, seem to help the tourist trade. When traveling you continually run across burial places of local heroes. They vary in size and opulence. Some are more popular than others, but each country has its share. Over the years, I have visited a number of burial sites of prominent people and find most of them worth a visit. I often fail to bring the proper reverence to them. Nevertheless I find them interesting, and I strongly encourage you to seek them out and visit them if you can.

Stamps In My Passport

Two guards at the entrance to Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Let me share a few of these visits with you. They are presented for your consideration in no special order. Far be it from me to alienate any nation by denigrating their most important heritage.

We’ll start with Russia. One cannot help but be awed when viewing Red Square from its western edge. To your left stands the GUM department store, ahead is the magnificent onion-domed St. Basil’s church, and to your right the dark, foreboding walls of the Kremlin. As you work your way along these walls, you read the names of deceased Soviet heroes—generals who gave their all on the battlefields in both the Russian Revolution and the Second World War, and cosmonauts who first explored space for mother Russia. These human remains entombed in the Kremlin walls are nothing compared to the red marble monument nearby, which houses those of the author of communism, Lenin.

Our visit with Mr. Lenin began as we joined a short queue of mixed civilians and military awaiting their audience. Within minutes we were allowed inside. Here, flanked by guards, lay Mr. Lenin in a gray suit, white shirt, and tie – his moustache and goatee visible. He was completely encased in a glass container and looked quite at ease, just lying there. I would have loved to snap his picture, but I had been warned against this prior to entering. In fact, even stopping to gawk too long was discouraged. We trooped by along with everyone else and soon found ourselves back out in the street.

Just recently I read that the Soviet government was thinking about placing him in a more conventional cemetery. Maybe they have. At any rate, I did visit him some thirty years after he died and found him quite stoic.

Stamps In My Passport

Forbidden city building facing Tienanmen Square, Beijing, China

Then there is Beijing, China. This visit began in a cobblestone square much larger than Red Square, namely Tienanmen Square near the heart of Beijing. The group we were traveling with was about thirty strong and about as American as can be. The tomb we were headed for was that of Chairman Mao and was much larger than Mr. Lenin’s. Also it had a line of several hundred people waiting for their audience. Our Chinese guide exerted a bit of authority, and we were allowed to cut in very near the front of the line. This bothered me a bit because if I were waiting in line to get into, say the White House in Washington, DC, and a bunch of run-of-the-mill Chinese tourists elbowed in, I’d have complained in a loud voice. Well, here I was doing it to them, and it bothered me. Not enough, however, to go to the back of a two hour line. At any rate, we entered this apparently-sacred shrine. I mention this because all voices became hushed, hats were removed, and a silent double line developed. We passed by Mr. Mao much the same as by Mr. Lenin. Mr. Mao, however, had on, fittingly, his Mao jacket. You know, the one that buttons up to his neck and ends in sort of a clerical collar. The outfit was a pale gray. I felt he looked a lot more robust than most of his pictures. Perhaps he had gained a little weight. We all silently and solemnly paraded by his glass case. Once again, no pictures.

Uncle Ho, or Mr. Ho Chi Minh, was not a lot different from the previous two. We were in Hanoi, Viet Nam, of course, which has a more immediately-remembered past. His mausoleum looked a lot like those of Messrs. Lenin and Mao except it was a trifle larger. Apparently the longer you last, the bigger the building. Uncle Ho’s last resting-place is in the middle of his last living-place. The houses he used, including his own private bomb shelter, surround the back forty of his tomb. He spent a number of years preparing for his leadership role as a cook on board ships, and also in France. Hence, he liked to cook in his kitchen until the end.

Our slow march past his glass case was much like the others. Rumor has it he travels to Moscow for a few months each year on a sort of cosmetic upgrade, and believe me it showed. He looked a lot healthier than the other guys did.

Stamps In My Passport

Taj Mahal, the mausoleum located in Agra, India

Our India visit occurred in the northwesterly part near the city of Agra. It appears that the Raj who ruled that section of the world found a beautiful young wife. She did her best for him, producing some twenty-one or so children, so the story goes. Unfortunately she gave out before he did, by dying when the last one arrived. This rich ruler built a beautiful shrine for her, and named it the Taj Mahal. It has some magnificent features I’m sure you’ve read about, specifically the reflecting pool and the way the sun turns it a brilliant white at sunset. The ruler and his bride are discreetly entombed on a lower floor, inaccessible to the public. Subsequently this was not as personal a visit as the others since we were kept upstairs.

England is loaded with graves and caskets of people of note. Either the Brits had a lot of early important leaders, or this is a country that wants to preserve its history. I could write a full book on all the people of note I visited here. For example, I stepped over Willy Shakespeare, gawked at King Henry VIII’s cement box, and waved at Lord Nelson in his tomb. The ones I liked best, however, were the side-by-side boxes of Queen Victoria and her consort Prince Albert. It seems Albert gave out at an early age, while Victoria carried on alone without him for many more years. Because Albert died so young, the likeness on top of his coffin showed a youthful and handsome face. Victoria, apparently concerned that a likeness of her on her demise would demonstrate a physical difference, had a likeness of herself at Albert’s age fashioned on her casket top. Hey, when you’re a queen, you can do as you please.

The thing I liked best about all of these visits was I didn’t have to talk to any of them. Or maybe that’s what I liked least. At any rate, if anyone asks I have an impressive list of dead rulers I have visited.

Harry Hubinger is a retired engineer who operated his own company for twenty years. He first began traveling outside the United States on business, but these visits escalated upon his retirement. He has now traveled to 115 countries and continues to add several new ones each year. In 1998 he began writing his humorous and insightful articles for a supplement to a local newspaper. These stories, based on experiences most travelers could identify with, soon earned him a wide local following. In 2005 he published his first book, Stamps in My Passport—a collection of travel vignettes. Harry has lived in Danville for almost forty years and has volunteered with the Danville Police Department for the past seven. His wife, Barbara, is the detail chronicler of their trips. Her journals provide the background for Harry’s broader view. You can get his book at: