Your Passport to Glowing Skin – How to Get That Natural J-Lo Glow for Summer

I have been listening to women complain for years about how they want their skin to look healthier, smoother and youthful. They want their wrinkles to disappear and they want their skin to look radiant. There are natural products we can use to make our skin appear smoother and more youthful and without cosmetic surgery. I have researched the beauty industry, read tons of medical journals, probed in plastic surgery offices and being that I have been a licensed skin and cosmetic professional for over 25 years I have seen a lot, tried a dozen remedies and seen the good and the bad. Here is what I found to be the best smoothing products that work and you can do at home!!

For smooth skin you can achieve this by simply exfoliating the skin with a good and aggressive scrub every day. Some women think that using a scrub will dry the skin, but quite the opposite. Using exfoliants everyday will help take off the top layer of skin that is dry. The moisturizer you apply to the skin after exfoliation will be able to penetrate deeper into the skin. Microderm abrasion is popular but you can achieve the same effect by exfoliating every day. So save your $.

Glycolic Creams

Using a Glycolic Acid cream will dramatically smooth the surface of the skin. Using a nightly treatment of a cream that has 8% Glycolic Acid, will help smooth the surface of the skin and fine lines too. Apply to clean skin nightly for two months, stop for one month. Taking a break from Glycolic Acid Cream will allow the skin to heal. You must allow the skin to heal for optimum cell renewal. Too many chemicals applied to the skin can cause skin to thin and look older than it is. Scientifically researched, Glycolic Acid is in fact one of the safest smoothing products on the market. I have seen incredible results with Glycolic Acid. An even skin tone, a smoother youthful skin and less noticeable fine lines.


Another way to achieve a beautiful and natural glow to your complexion is a good bronzer. Bronzers come in all different forms. One of our popular bronzers, has a highlight on one side and a bronzing powder on the other. It gives the skin a beautiful high light with a bronzed natural glow. We’re Obsessed!!

Skin Shimmers

Skin shimmers are an exceptional way to give the skin a dewy and natural glow. Jennifer Lopez wears it all the time to give her skin that just out of yoga class and youthful glow. It looks so effortless and gives the skin a wonderful sheen. Our porcelain face shimmers are here and ready for you to try.

Theresa Taylor Grutzeck is the owner of the Rouge, Kiss and Make-up Studio, 822 Hartz Way, Danvile, CA 94526. Phone: 925-736-3900 and email:

Legal Lines – Community Property

Although most people have heard the term “community property,” many people are unaware of what it means and how it affects them. Most of the United States have marriage and inheritance laws based on English law, with the exception
of Louisiana, which is based on French law, and eight states, including California, where our laws come from our Spanish heritage.

Under English law, historically wives were protected in case of divorce or their husband’s death by certain laws such as the right of dowry and the giving of alimony. Under Spanish law, both husband and wife are considered to have
contributed their efforts to better the family, creating a “community.”

The result of this is that all assets earned during the marriage, or purchased with those earnings, are community property, owned equally.

For estate planning purposes, it is important to be aware that there are two different types of property in a marriage. “Separate property” is property that is either brought to the marriage, or acquired by gift or inheritance.

Many of my clients are concerned that when they make gifts to their children, or give assets to their children upon their death, that the assets could be taken away in a child’s divorce. Often a child will automatically add the spouse’s name when inheriting an asset. This makes it difficult to identify the inheritance.

One way I am helping clients protect their children is to leave a child’s inheritance in trust. In this way, the child can have control, and yet it is easy to identify that the asset is an inheritance, which is clearly separate property. This protects the child in case of divorce, while making the inheritance available for his or her enjoyment. If the child truly wishes to make a gift of the property to his or her spouse, it can be achieved. However, it is a decision made thoughtfully, with an awareness of the consequences, rather than a casual action which could have serious consequences.

A Shine of Rainbows – ALIVE at the Movies

A Shine of Rainbow
I’ve was going to write a review on The King’s Speech, but it seems as though every month I find another little gem that received virtually no publicity (unlike The Kings Speech) that I wanted to offer to you. I did notice that on the DVD release category it said ‘Freestyle Releasing’ and that seemed to make up my mind.

A Shine of Rainbows is a very sweet movie with a very deep subject matter…love. It seems that one can never get enough of it. Our story opens with a fresh faced young Irish boy being taunted in his classroom by some older bullies. Eight year old Tomas (John Bell) is shy, introspective and has a stammer. He is also the brunt of all the pranks at the orphanage. One day he walks with trepidation to the office when called but is overjoyed when he finds he has been adopted by Maire O’Donnell (Connie Nielsen) a lovely woman who takes the boy under her wing. On the boat ride back to the island of Corrie where Marie lives, our young lad does everything but throw up over the side and this is his new father’s first impression, a slightly green young boy in a sea environment. Alec (Aidan Quinn) isn’t able to hide his disappointment with his frail new son. Tomas is loved by Maire while trying to understand Alec and live up to his expectations. Maire is someone filled with magic, the kind of magic that could change someone’s life by just allowing them to be themselves.

As he explores his new island home, he finds a baby seal (what Irish movie would be complete without a baby seal!) on the beach, and begins caring for the seemingly abandoned animal, showing it the compassion he’s longed for in his own life.

I was recently talking about A Shine of Rainbows to a friend of mine. Since this is considered to be a family film and he has a young child and a pre-teen we started to chat about different subjects that seem to be taboo in many homes today. Just how old does a child need to be to be able to ‘handle’ the subject of death? I’m definitely not young anymore, except at heart, but death was part of life when I was growing up. Now, we have memorials instead of funerals and parents don’t seem to know how to answer the tough questions. No matter how long we live, our lives are touched by death. Different movies handle it, well, differently. There is death in A Shine of Rainbows but to me it was not sentimental, it was too sincere and real to be sentimental.

A Shine of Rainbows
is a beautiful movie about the transformation of love; a movie adults and children alike will ‘get’. Director Vic Sarin has created a masterful film with quiet yet dynamic performances by Bell, Nielsen, and one of my favorites, Aiden Quinn. One day I may yet review the other ‘stammer’ movie, The King’s Speech but not today. As always, I invite your comments. I love hearing from you at

Real Estate Review – Short Sales Still High

Q. Tom, I heard recently that re-sale homes need to be outfitted with a carbon monoxide detector … do sellers have to comply or is it voluntary?

A. Thanks for asking … you are referring to a new California state law requiring homeowners (not just sellers) to install a carbon monoxide detector in single-family residences by July 1, 2011. It is mandatory – nothing voluntary about it. The detector device can be battery powered or a plug in with battery back-up and must be tested and certified pursuant to AMSU and UL requirements; the cost is between $20 and $200.

Q. We are in the early stages of searching for a home and really just want to familiarize ourselves with the market without needlessly taking up the time of a Realtor or quite candidly without being bugged by an agent wanting to sell us a home before we’re ready. What is the best way to ‘shop’ for a home at own pace without being bothered?

A. Great question! I meet prospective buyers all the time who are in what I call the ‘information-gathering’ stage. They want accurate information regarding homes coming onto the market and occasionally want my experienced perspective but for the most part they just want to view homes online, drive by homes that arouse their curiosity and drop into Sunday Open Houses at their leisure. And they don’t want an agent to bug them! Many times a real estate salesperson will inevitably push too hard and too fast and the prospective buyer will disappear. As a real estate consultant, I recommend the buyers … 1 – download a mobile phone application such as Redfin so that they have a great resource at their fingertips if they drive by a home that catches their eye 2 – log onto my website, sign up for Homes By Email and type in the parameters of their desired home search (community, bedrooms, baths, price range, etc.) so they are emailed every new home listing daily that fits their criteria and 3 – drive by any home that looks interesting or drop into a scheduled open house; if any home really looks like a good fit, then email me and I will report back all the particulars such as pricing history, its last sold price, why the owner is selling, offer activity, builder reputation, neighborhood values, school rankings, unusual disclosures or inspections, etc.. If they want to see the home on a pre-arranged appointment then I’ll set it up but only if they call me first. I sometimes work with buyers for 1-2 years in this manner until they are really ready to buy.

Q. Tom, I keep hearing that ‘short sales’ are still a substantial part of the overall market … how do the number of short sales compare to the number of regular sales in Danville in a given month?

The reality is that short sales still do make up a significant amount of the pending sale transactions in almost every community. The statistics in Danville as of the time I write this column show 149 pending sales in all price ranges of which 47 are ‘pending subject to lender approval’ meaning that they are short sales. That’s over 31% of the market. The good news is that the overall percentages of pending short sales has trended downward over the last six months from 50% levels previously to about 1/3 of the market today. The not so good news is that the current level of short sale activity is expected for the foreseeable future.

Tom Hart

Tom Hart

Tom Hart is a practicing Real Estate Broker and a partner at Empire Realty Associates in Danville. He is a Certified Master Negotiator by the University of San Francisco and a Certified Master Strategist by HSM Harvard Program on Negotiation. He is past president of the Contra Costa Association of Realtors (2005) and past president of the Realtors’ Marketing Association of the San Ramon Valley. Tom is in high demand as a speaker & trainer inside & outside the real estate industry.

Passing Lane – 2011 Chevrolet Volt, It’s Electricfying

Chevy VoltHas the 21st century finally caught up with the Jetsons? We’re on our way with the current modes of transportation available. Flying cars and morphing planes are estimated to cost around $220,000 and still have a long way to go to become main stream – if ever. The link with the Jetsons is that their vehicles ran on electricity and so does the All-New Chevrolet Volt.

The 2011 Chevy Volt has been a key project for General Motors to help propel them forward as a leader in the high-tech development of electrically-operated vehicles. The Volt is a hybrid, however, different than the customary hybrids that are powered by both a gas and an electric motor. All the power that drives the front wheels on the Volt come from an AC-current electric motor. There are two ways to charge the batteries that feed power to the electric power plant.

Drivers can charge the car using either a 110-volt plug or for a fast charge (about four-hours), a 240-volt charging station. Chevrolet claims your standard 110-volt outlet will fully charge the batteries in 10 to 12 hours and provide around 25 to 50 miles on a charge based on terrain, driving techniques and temperature at a fee of between $1.00 to $1.50 per day. My experience is that after a 12-hour charge, I personally experienced between 34 to 37 miles based on the dash read-out. For ease and convenience, merely plug the Volt in to a power outlet via a special plug and power unit provided with the car.

The second way to recharge the batteries is via the 1.4-liter gasoline motor, which kicks in when the system detects the batteries are getting low on “juice”. This is one of the main differences between the Volt and other hybrids; the gas engine never directly powers the wheels. The 84-horsepowered 1.4-liter, 4-cylinder extends the driving range by 350 miles. During my week of test driving the Volt, the gas gauge moved just slightly.

Chevrolet did an excellent job with the Volts power system. The transition is smooth as the engine quietly kicks in to charge the 288-cell-battery pack when needed. Having the second charging source allows you to make your trips in confidence not worrying if the batteries will go dead while being stuck in traffic or having to make a few last minute stops.

The model lineup is simple as the 4-door, 4-passenger Volt sedan ($41,000 including destination) comes in only one trim line. However, you can accessorize by adding a Premium package ($1,395) that includes heated front seats, perforated leather upholstery, premium door trim and leather-wrapped steering wheel, Rear Camera with Park Assist ($695) and polished alloy wheels ($595).

When the Volt concept was introduced four-years ago it was crafted with a beautiful futuristic profile. Over the development period with the goal of making the Volt as aerodynamically efficient as possible, the edges and lines took on a more rounded appeal, while continuing its distinguishable styling. The Volts wide stance and sculptured belt line delivers a performance-oriented stance.

The interior of my test model featured black door panels, dash and leather seats with bright silver appointments on the center console and around door switches, center cup holders, and door pulls. Smooth white plastic flows across the front of the center console and other parts of the trim. As you sit in the driver’s seat you are greeted with two large 7-inch high-resolution full-color screens. The first one is the reconfigurable graphic instrument panel featuring your speed, battery charge, fuel amount and other elements that help you drive as fuel efficiently as possible.

The second screen is located in the center stack and includes a touch screen display for radio, climate controls, navigation, and backup camera view. The start power-button located on the center console, jumps out with its bright blue glowing color with silver trim.

The two rear bucket seats are divided by a center console with cup holders. Both seats can be folded flat to provide more storage space. Rear legroom can be a bit tight if a tall driver or passenger is located up front, but otherwise is fine.

The driving impressions of the 2011 Chevy Volt are impressive. The chassis of the Volt is based on the new Chevrolet Cruze, which in itself is a very competent car. The Volts ABS braking system is connected to the cars electrical system and used to help recharge the battery every time the car either brakes or the accelerator pedal is released. The handling, braking, and steering perform with confidence creating the comfortable ride you would expect from a mid-size sedan. Don’t expect a rocket out of the gate, however, the electric engine provided good performance.

Room for improvement:

  • The high price will limit the number of main-stream sales
    Cool Features
  • Fuel savings electric motor
  • Extended range due to gas motor
  • High-Tech interior dash and center console

The Volts safety equipment includes crash-avoidance features including standard anti-lock brakes with traction control, StabiliTrak electronic stability control and advanced LED daytime running lamps. If a crash occurs, the OnStar system will automatically alert an OnStar advisor and summon help. Since the Volt operates so quietly in all-electric mode, a driver-activated feature sounds a noise to alert pedestrians, particularly those with visual impairments, in an intersection.

In Summary – The 2011 Chevrolet Volt is the first vehicle to offer such a unique power- plant option. The government is currently offering a $7,500 rebate, which brings the base price down to around $33,500. I enjoyed the great fuel economy and knowing that I wasn’t using a drop of gasoline most of the time. The Volt also attracted the attention of anyone in view as people attempted to figure out what they were staring at and then send over a thumbs-up response.


2011 Chevrolet Volt

Base price: $41,000 as driven: $44,680 (including destination)
Engine: Electric 111 kW drive motor, 54kW generator motor, 1.4-liter 4-cylinder
Horsepower: 149 @ 4000
Torque: 273 foot pounds
Transmission: Two-Range Planetary
Drive: Front Wheel-Drive
Seating: 4-passenger
Turning circle: 36 feet
Cargo space: 10.6 cubic feet
Curb weight: 3,781 pounds
Fuel capacity: 9.3 gallons
EPA mileage: City 95 / Highway 90
Wheel Base: 105.7 inches
Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles bumper to bumper
Also consider: 2011 Nissan LEAF, Toyota Prius

On the Green – Just One Thing: Less is More

When it comes to golf, the old saying “less is more” usually is the case. Take for instance a player’s score. Obviously the lower you score the better you are. I can think of plenty more to prove my point but let me relate it to your golf game.

I was at a dinner for the graduating players from the annual Qualifying School back in 1993. The grueling 108 hole event which upon concluding granted 40 player’s privilege to participate onto the PGA Tour. The excited group of golfers gathered together and as we ate and listened to several guest speakers. Each speaker would start by congratulating the players for their achievement of earning their “card” and then to share a story or two. Commissioner Deane Beaman began the evening’s event and then was followed by Legend and Hall of Fame golfer Tom Watson. When Tom took the microphone, every ear was on him. You could sense that he had earned the respect of every player assembled in the room.

Tom captivated all of us while he told interesting stories of his numerous victories and some tales about how he and Jack would duel it out often in Major Championships. For us, we could have listened all night. We were there because we had achieved a high success level in our profession but the person speaking, Mr. Tom Watson, was someone who all of us admired and looked up too. Secretly, we even hoped he would share some insight or inspiration that we ourselves could draw from.

When he was finished and before he walked away, he asked the audience for questions. I raised my hand and he pointed right at me. “Mr. Watson, what was it about the British Open that allowed you to win it so many times” I asked. “I don’t know” he said. “Next question please”?Not the answer I had hoped to hear. “Tom, what would you think about when you had a pressure shot to win or lose a tournament” a voice spoke from the back room. “When I play well, and then he paused, he asked us if we remembered Jack Palace in the movie “City Slickers”. He reminded us of the line in that movie from the famous actor. “Life is about one thing. You have to figure out what that one thing is”. Tom said that golf was the same way. Then he added, “When I play well I always thought about just one thing. And then he said this and I will never forget it, “but when I play great, I don’t think about anything! This was some great advice from a great golfer.

When I began my golf career almost 40 years ago, there were times when I thought that the mental side to golf meant that you needed to be able to think and perform many tasks combined. 4 or 5 swing thoughts all at once. However, now I believe that is not true and that we need to sort out a thing or two that repeats. I believe rhythm and timing are two key elements that you can not play well without. And, you can’t have a bunch of thoughts in your head to achieve rhythm and timing. As Tom said, “golf is about one thing”, we just need to figure out what that one thing is. In this case, yes, less in more!

Market Fresh – Spicing Up Summer

Corn - Market Fresh
Seriously. Is any other vegetable as much fun to eat as corn on the cob? It’s also warm, sweet and slightly crunchy, with a preferred manner of eating that defies every rule of etiquette. But even when the kernels are taken off the cob, corn still reigns supreme as one of America’s favorite veggies. Ask any kid.

It’s pretty common knowledge that corn and tomatoes are the two summer vegetables that simply can’t be faked. Unless you hit a farm stand or grow your own, the only way to ensure quality is to shop at the farmers’ market.

While there, remember that July is prime time for homemade salsa. Be sure to stock up as this salsa, dotted with roasted sweet corn, is a welcome diversion from the classic tomato-based variety. The recipe is also quite forgiving; so vary the ingredients to suit your taste. (A whiff of finely minced garlic, chopped fresh cilantro, or creamy cubes of diced avocado would be right at home here.) Serve Roasted Corn Salsa as an appetizer with tortilla chips; or as a condiment with scrambled eggs, quesadillas, or grilled meat or fish.

Roasted Corn Salsa with Poblano and Lime

Poblano chiles are usually rather mild, but some mavericks can be surprisingly hot. To err on the safe side, taste the roasted peppers before adding the full amount to the salsa.

  • 2 fresh poblano chile peppers
  • Kernels from 4 ears of farm-fresh corn (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon California olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 vine-ripened tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 green onion (scallion), thinly sliced or chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  1. Place the peppers on a broiler pan or small baking sheet and broil as close to the heat as possible, turning with tongs, until charred all over, about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, roast the peppers directly over a gas flame, turning, until charred, about 5 minutes.) Seal the peppers in a paper bag and let steam for at least 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle. Peel and/or rub off as much of the blackened skin as possible. (It’s okay if small bits of it remain.) Cut the peppers open and discard the stems and seeds. Finely dice the poblanos.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the corn kernels with the oil to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Spread out the corn into an even layer and bake, stirring once or twice, until some of the kernels are lightly browned at the edges, 10 to 15 minutes. Scrape into a medium bowl and let cool slightly.
  3. Add the diced poblanos, tomato, onion, lime juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Toss gently to mix.
  4. Transfer to a bowl and serve at once, or cover and refrigerate for up to 6 hours. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

Corny Advice

  • There are dozens of varieties of corn, each of which differs according to sweetness and tenderness. Which is best for you? For the definitive answers, simply ask the grower who is selling it. He or she has invested a lot of love in this crop, and will happily share their passion.
  • The minute corn is picked, its natural sugars immediately begin to convert to starch. For the best possible flavor, serve corn the same day you purchase it.
  • Avoid buying pre-shucked corn, as it is difficult to determine how long ago it was picked. Instead, look for tightly closed, plump green husks with fresh-looking cuts at their stems. The golden-brownish silk at the very top of the ear should feel slightly sticky.
  • Don’t shuck corn until you’re ready to use it. To remove the husks, peel down with a firm tug–and listen for that squeak of freshness. Pull off as many of the fine silks as you can, then wipe off the remaining threads of silk with a damp towel.
  • Grilled corn on the cob is a little bit smoky and totally irresistible. For a deliciously messy change of pace, brush shucked ears of corn with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Grill, turning, until lightly browned all over. Remove to a cutting board or rimmed baking sheet and immediately brush each ear all over with 2 to 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese to cover. (For added pizazz, first season that mayonnaise with a bit of finely minced garlic, a squeeze of lime juice, some chopped fresh basil, or a generous pinch of chipotle chile powder.) Yum.
  • Removing the kernels from long ears of corn can be problematic, if not dangerous. The tapered ears are wobbly and impossible to keep in place; and the kernel trajectory as you cut can be downright frustrating. A little bit of prep work will make the job a snap: Place a small cutting board in the middle of a rimmed baking sheet. Cut each shucked ear of corn in half crosswise. Working one at a time, carefully hold the top of the cob with your fingers and firmly place the cut (flat) end of the ear on the cutting board. To remove the kernels, use a large, sharp knife to cut downward with a gentle sawing motion. The ears remain more stable this way, and the baking sheet will catch any flying kernels. Add those flavorful milky juices to whatever you’re cooking; and save those naked cobs to flavor soup stock.
  • When corn is fresh and sweet, it requires very little cooking. (In fact, it can even be eaten raw.) If you find yourself with an extra ear or two in the vegetable drawer, consider removing the kernels and adding them to a salad. Other fitting final resting places include pancakes or waffles, polenta, pasta, and any sort of veggie stir-fry.
  • “Sex is good,“ says Garrison Keillor, “but not as good as fresh, sweet corn.”

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

Pain, Pain Go Away – Healing Your Pain with Class IV Laser Therapy

Since Align Healing Center opened its doors in 1999 we have been treating arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, well let’s just say all of the “itis’s”. In other words PAIN, whether it’s back pain, neck pain, knee pain, shoulder pain or any other pain, we have been there to awaken the healing potential in the body and relieve the pain. That being said, I am always in search of miraculous new ways to relieve pain without drugs, without invasive procedures and without more pain. In 2005, Class III Laser therapy was added to my practice and the results have been amazing! Then in October of 2009 I was enlightened to a new treatment modality that is revealing itself to be truly miraculous- Class IV Laser Therapy. I am so passionate and excited about how Laser therapy is helping people heal and reclaim their life that I feel every person whether in pain or not should know about it!

I am here to tell you that you no longer need to “live with pain” from an injury or surgery no matter how long you may have had it. Pain ruins your quality of life. It can go on for months—even years, while you try to ignore it, take pain medications and try treatments that don’t work. In the mean time, you’re losing sleep and missing out on your favorite activities. There is no longer a reason to settle for a life of pain. But in order to get rid of the pain, you need to resolve the injury itself. I am often asked “why doesn’t my pain resolve on its own?” My answer is “often our cells don’t have enough energy to complete the healing process and they get stuck in an inflammatory cycle creating more pain”. Class IV Laser therapy gets to the root of the injury and treats it at the cellular level providing energy to the cells so they can heal. We all know medications only mask the pain and inflammation and are not a long term solution so, now we have deep tissue Laser therapy as a treatment that stimulates the healing process, relieves inflammation and helps the body resolve the injury.

Laser treatments at Align Healing Center are done with the K-laser 1200 Class IV Laser. This laser does not cut or burn but is gently absorbed by the tissue. During each painless treatment laser energy increases circulation, drawing water, oxygen and nutrients to the damaged area. This creates an optimal healing environment that reduces inflammation, swelling, muscle spasms, stiffness and pain. As the injured area returns to normal, function is restored and pain is relieved.

We are having great success treating neck and shoulder injuries, sciatica, arthritis, tendonitis, carpal tunnel, migraines, plantar fasciitis, post surgical pain, sports injuries and more; even if it’s long-term residual pain. I have seen patients with 10 years of post surgical pain get their life back in a short period of time. Even ar¬thritis and degenerative disc disease sufferers can see long term benefits from this treatment without any of the negative side effects experienced with the long term use of medications.

What our patients are experiencing with Laser Pain Relief:

After going from a very active lifestyle to being basically bedridden due to degenerative disease, I had almost given up hope. To my amazement, after 3 laser sessions, I could walk and move without pain. After 3 more, I began light exercise, and now I can do all the things I enjoyed before laser. Dr. Niele literally gave me my life back! Shalisa P., Danville

After I began my laser treatment I felt as if my body came alive! Sitting at a desk 8+ hours a day for years had my body feeling stiff and my shoulder was numb and painful. I had trouble holding a pen to write without pain and weakness. Since I have received laser therapy and chiropractic I no longer have pain, weakness or numbness! I have started golf lessons and am able to exercise again!
Francine A., San Leandro

Dr. Niele Maimone, DC of Align Healing Center in Danville, CA has been active in natural health & wellness for 11 years. For more information or to set up a consult call 925.362.8283 or visit

Welcome – July 2011

This month we have a great story of historical importance by Bob Fish about the Suisun Bay’s Mothball Fleet. Once home to Howard Hughes’ mysterious, CIA commissioned Glomar Explorer, while the fleet has diminished in number over the years, it is still home to a few intriguing vessels including the battleship, USS Iowa and the Hughes Mining Barge which houses the not-so-secret stealth ship, Sea Shadow. Our story is brought to life by the extraordinary photography of our own, talented, Susan Wood.

One of my earliest recollections of the Mothball Fleet came by way of a close-up introduction when my parents took me on a fishing expedition on the delta. I was about eight years old at the time.

My dad enjoyed fishing but didn’t own a boat, so on this particular occasion he rented one. It was a compact, wooden boat with peeling, drab-green paint, an outboard motor and a small cowling on the bow. As we headed off I remember being frightened as the tiny craft bounced over the choppy whitecaps of Suisun Bay. I also remember worrying that our boat would sink, as dirty water that smelled of fish guts and gasoline swirled around in the bottom of the boat as it swayed with the rhythm of the swells. I kept checking to see if the water level was rising.

As we approached, the “Mothball Fleet” grew ever larger. While I had seen the ships many times from the car while crossing the Benicia Bridge, this was the first (and only) time I got to see the ships up close. I was awe struck, looking up, as the ships swelled to become behemoths before my eyes. They seemed immense. In those days, there were considerably more ships than there are today—well over 300—so the rows extended just about as far as the eye could see, eastward, up into the delta.

Eventually, my attention shifted away from the ships as we got to the business of fishing. As it turned out, I became “the man” that day as I caught the biggest fish. It was a giant—some three feet long, and so heavy my father had to reel it in. My parents had no idea what kind of fish it was but were eager to get to shore so that they could report the name of their son to the Guinness record people.

Upon reaching the dock, I remember my father proudly hoisting the burlap sack with my “record” catch, carrying it up to the man that managed the boat rentals. As my dad pulled out the fish, our excitement became confusion as the man quickly shoved it back into the bag exclaiming, “geeze man, keep that thing out of sight.” He politely educated all of us about what kind of fish I had caught, a Sturgeon, of which the legal “keeper” length was 46 inches—a full ten inches longer than my fish. It was “hero to zero” in ten seconds flat!

Nearly 50 years later, I still well remember that day. Giant ships and a giant, almost legal, fish!

In later years I would learn that there are, indeed, huge Sturgeon to be caught in Suisun Bay. The world record was caught in 1983 by Joey Palotta of Crockett. It weighed in at a mere 468 pounds—somewhat larger than my 36 incher!

Dirt Gardener – Bougainvilleas & Stubborn Spiders

Q. My three-year-old Bougainvilleas blooms profusely in the spring, but the bracts fade & fall off in the summer. The vines are growing on a trellis with an eastern exposure. I suspect a watering problem. The Bougainvilleas are watered infrequently; however, they do receive additional moisture from the nearby Azaleas. Various websites give me conflicting advice on watering. What are your thoughts?

A. Bougainvilleas don’t require frequent watering. Instead, they prefer to be kept on the dry side with a minimal amount of fertilizer. They’re considered a drought tolerant vine. A good soaking once every ten to fourteen days should be sufficient as long as the temperatures are below ninety degrees. In your case, you can extend that period between waterings because of the extra water from the Azaleas. However, I don’t believe moisture is your problem. Bougainvilleas like a sunny location where it receives six hours or more of direct sunlight per day, March through October for a normal blooming pattern. The true flower of a Bougainvillea is the structure located in the center of the showy/colorful leaves called a bract. It’s an imperfect flower, as it has no sepals or petals. The bracts require the light intensity from the direct sunlight to turn color. Since your plants are colorful in the spring and not during the summer suggests that the lighting conditions are changes with the seasons. I have found that nearby large deciduous tree(s) in a neighbors yard is many times the reason behind the change. Once these trees are fully leafed out there aren’t sufficient foot-candles to initiate the color change. There isn’t a lot you can do except enjoy the color whenever it bloom.

Q. Despite my best efforts, I have a stubborn spider, which continues to build spider webs in the corners of my kitchen window. I don’t have anything against spiders, but I do like to have this window open. What can I do to make this spot unattractive to spiders?

A. I’m not sure that I have a great answer for the spider problem. There are over three thousand varieties of garden spiders. As a group, they are pretty, shy so they tend to run away and steer clear of humans. Spiders are, believe it or not, very beneficial in controlling garden insects, so we don’t want to remove them with pesticides. Yes, they’re poisonous spiders. The Black Widow Spider poses the only threat in the Bay Area. Spiders trap their food in the cobweb they produce which is formed mostly at night. They continue to revisit this area because it’s a great source of food. Night flying bugs are also attracted to the window because of the light. If possible, install a yellow porch light to discourage the bugs. In addition, move any ripening fruit away from the opening, as fruit flies are one of the favorite foods of spiders. I hope this helps.