Monthly Archives: October 2007

Women traveling together… what a goldmine…

I did a search for women traveling for chocolate and came up with a goldmine of resources for women travelers, women traveling together, not much re: chocolate travel but below are resources for women travelers… wine, arctic adventures, books, travel writers, girlfriend getaways, business travelers, exclusive hawaiian vacation homes, new zealand, canada, adventurous, gutsy women and much more…

AAA came out with a recent study not too long ago which says that girlfriend getaways account for approximately four percent of all US leisure travel and the leading reasons women want to getaway is to
bond with friends or family and to escape from their daily responsibilities. The most popular activities while on a girlfriend getaway are dining out, shopping, spa and going to the beach or pool.

Here are some of my own resources as well as some that I found:, Anne Pawsatt Dressler’s spirit of Aloha makes her #1 in my book and she is a Conde Nast rental specialist extraordinaire, if you are looking to rent an excquisite vacation home (of the exclusive million dollar variety), give Anne a jingle and tell her I sent you.

What the wonderful, kind and generous Valerie McDermott told me about the AAA study and her findings/trends she has noticed…

We have seen a couple of trends in recent months most pointing in the beach and spa direction. Texas has become a popular destination for women. Texas offers exciting nightlife and great shopping in cities like San Antonio and beautiful luxury spa resorts like the Lake Austin Spa Resort.

Florida continues to be popular with destinations like Miami Beach and their unique boutique hotels or a more active and relaxing getaway like The Colony Beach and Tennis Resort in Longboat Key, Floriday where you can lounge on the beach, take a mixology lesson or get your own cute tennis pro to teach you some new moves!

We are also seeing the baby boomers getting in on the action. These women want to experience life to the fullest and a very popular getaway for this demographic are the group tours. Gutsy Women Travel offers beautifully put-together getaways to such locations as Tuscany, British Columbia, Napa Valley and New York City. These tours are perfect for the woman who wants to see it all but may not have like-minded friends so they go for it solo! Most of these tour groups not only allow solo travel but encourage it and chances are you will meet friends for life.

On the other end of the spectrum — bachelorette parties are hitting the road. Women are marrying a little later in life and not settling for the male stripper and a local pub crawl. They want spa getaways, bikini bootcamps like Bella Vita in Ft. Lauderdale, FL to get into shape for their big day or weekends of shopping, spa-ing and nightlife in Chicago or San Francisco. Of course their is always Las Vegas., Bev Sanders has taught women how to surf in Las Olas, Mexico forever, it seems, she is a previous client of mine in Carmel, CA, she has now dedicated these new women adventures to her sister who recently passed from cancer…

the fabulous Jen Leo, travel writer, author/editor of hilarious travel books such as The Thong Also Rises… we never did catch that cuppa chocolate…

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Filed under AAA, Adventure, auto club, Bay area, California, Canada, chocolate, Conde Nast, dark chocolate, food, girlfriend getaways, gutsy, Hawaii, Jen Leo, Las Olas, New Zealand, San Francisco, Surfing women, The Thong Also Rises, travel, USA Today, wild women, wine, women travel, writing

A Dog’s Life…

My blog got some more news coverage in the Salem News. Thanks, Tim…

My dog has it really tough… she cannot find her kong toy. she just went outside and ate her lunch. But now she is miss growly bear because she has misplaced her toy. She also ate up another chew toy this morning. Increasingly, she is becoming bored with being restricted and barking at me while I am working. I called the vet to no avail. Just keep on keeping on.

I wish I had her problems. Yesterday, the phone and internet did not work for a few hours, leaving me without my tools for work. Not to mention that my car is a half hour away, and I cannot get to the store which is five miles away. Her food is being delivered to the house tomorrow, but can I find someone to deliver mine? No. Sure, I can call for pizza but what about eggs, chicken, and other necessities of life, like chocolate?

She does not have to concern herself with all the little minor things I am dealing with such as paying the vet bill, rent, food, supplements and other bills. Her biggest worry is when am I going to be able to go out and run and play again.

Sigh, sometimes, I wish I were a dog.

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Filed under animals, chocolate, dogs, food, Nevada, news, Oregon, travel, writing

Dogs are love… all you need is love… all we need is love… love love love…

dolphins are love, too

ok, all right, I am getting all beatlemania on you… John Lennon… Love Love Love Love Love… dolphins are love, too… so are cats, and other animals…  God/Goddess is love… Peace is Love… Love is Peace…

Do Dogs Feel Love?

We feel tremendous love for our dogs, and our dogs sure seem to love us. But is a dog really capable of emotions? Or are we just projecting our feelings onto our dogs?
Scientists avoid the subject because part of what sets humans apart from the animals is our ability to experience feelings. To say that animals actually have feelings, in the same way we do, would change everything – perhaps disrupt our entire position and standing in the animal kingdom.

However, any dog owner knows that dogs love completely and have a greater capacity for love than most people. If one were to describe the main characteristics of a dog, they would have to be:
1. strong affection
2. warm attachment
3. unselfish loyalty and benevolent concern for others

Wait a minute – those are the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definitions of love. Probably why the author of Dogs Never Lie About Love, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson writes, “dogs are love.” So there isn’t a question of whether dogs love, the mystery is how they have such an enormous capacity for it. Dogs who are neglected or abused still show love for their human and wag their tails in hope of a little affection….


Filed under All you need is love, animals, beatles, Best Friends, cats, dogs, dolphins, God, John Lennon, love, peace, world peace

Restitution: And the People Said Amen…

My wish tonight is for everything
to become upside right

instead of inside out
and tumbled like weeds

that is where
i draw my personal line
in the sand

and hope and pray
and wish upon a star
that everything will right
itself again

Dogs are not cats

and cats are not birds

and never will fish be

leopards and porpoises

are not horses and cows

are not sheep and monkeys are not

caterpillars and squirrels are not camels

and chickens

are never gonna be


no matter how many of us wish and pray

for them to be so

the world should not have
gone awry
our meters on empty
our fortunes unkempt

Destiny awaits us
dare we rush away
from its call
hurtling ourselves deeper
into darkness and spaces
that were never meant to be
so painful

we should not have bent
and crawled and run and tangled
ourselves up into big blue balls
twisted with grief and sadness

do we have to wait for
the end to come
in order to be free?

for the world to be so
fragile and scattered
and shattered

for truth to be so obscured
and muted
for losses so permeated
and permeable

for people to shout to the heavens
save us
and the heavens
cry out with answers
but their cries fall on
ears that have not heard
a word in years

why is a child crying
when his mother
should be bawling
her very heart out

how can our leaders
fall so far short
of greatness
and dare to pluck their power
off of our trees
and stick their noses
so far out at us
like children and Pinocchio
saying nah nah nah nah

nanny nanny boo boo
the preschoolers wail
but is this proper behavior
for grown-ups
never mind our fearless leaders

where is that light in this dark tunnel
how do we find our way
when we are grasping for air
like miners looking for canaries
in caves that never should have been
tampered with

there isn’t a breath in sight
but there is California burning at night
with fetid air
and Arnold spraying poisons into our
in order to make money
for people who don’t deserve it
and to make things worse for the rest of us

how can we the people breathe
when there are so many untold truths
unburied bodies
and bold lies
that stick at our craw
and won’t go away

is it not better for us to
hurl ourselves into the wind
then to knock our heads
against the stoneheads of
the powers that be

we must hold onto each other’s hands
and never let go
for in our unity
there must be peace

We will find Peace
even if they don’t get it
and never will.

There’s a chance Peace will come

in our lives… John Lennon

All we are saying is Give Peace a Chance…

Let there be Peace on Earth and Let it Begin with Me… Peace Shield

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Filed under animals, Arnold, California, California fires, cats, dogs, dreams, environment, God, green, John Lennon, Malibu, news, peace, poems, world peace

Chocolate California…

Puppy’s surgery went well yesterday, other things went completely awry… The meds made her weird, crying and just plain strange. Today she is better, sleeping a lot due to pain meds and surgery… The pin removal seemed a lot easier than the other surgeries. Still, she is to be off the leg pretty much for another month… Goddess help me ! A couple of times when I took her outside, she did not want to come back inside… so we sat in the sun for awhile. She wanted to investigate the bugs, grass, and wildlife… I just enjoyed the peace and quiet and warmth of the sunshine.

I wrote a very short review for Gusto about San Francisco area chocolate… I will write more soon since California is what started my writing about chocolate. It is the chocolate state for chocolate travels.

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Filed under Bay area, bugs, California, chocolate, dark chocolate, dogs, Gusto, peace, pin removal surgery, San Francisco, travel

Our hearts & prayers go out to our friends in southern California

Today CC has her last surgery… will be glad when this ordeal is over…

Speaking of ordeals, we went outside yesterday afternoon and I could smell smoke…

been receiving dispatches from our friends in Malibu about the fires…

one has lost her internet connection because of the fire… the other one sent this:

If you’d like some local Malibu news about the fires one of our newspapers has a website that is updated periodically.

Just when we thought we were winding down here I heard sirens this morning at about 10:30, saw smoke rising and a fire helicopter flying in and circling – very near the bottom of my road! It turned out that a large truck had lost it’s brakes coming down Kanan Dume Rd. to Pacific Coast Hwy. He crashed into a Mercedes (both men killed immediately) while a 3rd car was hit and caught fire, igniting a brush fire… it’s been intense here since Sunday morning…

and I was reading the LA Times blogs this morning and found this one about a hotel offering shelter for owners and their pets, all kinds of pets…

Hotels offering cut rates to evacuees

The fires bearing down on Southern California have closed popular tourist destinations, state parks and national forests in the region. The state’s record number of emergency evacuees — perhaps more than 800,000 — means travelers heading to affected areas may find it’s not business as usual.
Hotels from around the area are reaching out to evacuees who need a place to stay by offering reduced rates.
The U.S. Grant Hotel in downtown San Diego reports that one-half to one-third of their guests are local evacuees but says it will honor all regular bookings, said manager Mark Dibella. He said even the hotel’s owners — members of the Sycuan Indian tribe — have come to stay after being evacuated from their reservation.

The 97-year-old hotel has reduced room rates for evacuees — from $300 per night down to $165 to $250, depending on the type of suite needed — and relaxed their policy on pets. “It’s Noah’s ark here,” said Dibella, noting guests are now allowed to bring large dogs, fish, birds and other pets. “We are not turning away anybody in need of keeping their pet with them.” The hotel also reduced the per-pet rate from $150 to $50. Contact the hotel at or call (800) 237-5029.

– Mary Forgione, Jane Engle and Valli Herman

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Filed under animals, California, California fires, cats, dogs, Malibu, news

The Elusive Search for a Cure for Ringworm…

Speaking of chocolate, ok, try this quiz (beware these quizzes are fun and addicting):

What Kind of Chocolate Are You?


What’s Your Power Bird?

What Breed of Puppy Are You?

Are You More Cat or Dog?

What’s Your Travel Horoscope?

Now for all of your Green Goddesses out there, my new A Green Goddesses Guide to the Galaxy website:

and now on to the Ringworm Cure Search is On…

I tried what the vet gave me

I think the antibiotics she was given after her surgeries may have contributed to the ringworm… which is a fungus…

I tried tinactin

I tried aloe vera, plant and juice

I tried tea tree oil (seemed too strong so I stopped)

I give her yogurt, she loves yogurt, and probiotics to give her tummy the good bacteria she needs (the vet gave her biodophilus)…

one pet lady person keeps calling and emailing me to shell out a hundred or more bucks for a whole blue algae product supplements… which I have not tried…

I tried vinegar

her paws may be itchy, she keeps licking at them either out of boredom or itchdom, so the vet suggested that I immerse her paws in vinegar for 10 minutes, yeah, sure, right, lots of luck with that … have you ever tried to immerse a 50 pound dog in anything? hah! I have been able to pour some vinegar on her toes and swab them with vinegar soaked cotton balls… but immerse her, in what universe?

I am giving her vitamin c and magnesium in her doggy food, plus olive leaf, and oregano oil (herbal capsules)…

and the vet also gave me iodine gel, which took away the bruising, she bruised herself last Sunday, but not the ringworm, well, I would not count the iodine out as a cure, but she started licking and eating the tasty iodine gel off her rump, which gave her the runs, so I stopped putting the gel on her for a couple of days…

yes, she’s got a cone and I would/should put it on her head… but she gets so disoriented and off balance from it and has such a difficult time getting comfortable, ie, sleeping, with it on that I use it only on a limited basis… like when I need to go outside.. and want her a bit tipsy so she will sit down, stay down, and not do anything like jump on the couch or bed while I am out…

call her tipsy… conehead, bonehead, bug, bub, and bubbalicious… and cc writer…
some of her nicknames… I also sing to her… and make up songs, like If you’re hoppy and you know it wag your tail… if you’re hoppy and you know it wag your tail, if you’re hoppy and you know it and you’re not afraid to show it, if you’re hoppy and you know it, wag your tail… if you’re silly and you know it, wag your tail, etc. and my puppy has a first name, it’s c c c c c, my puppy has a second name it’s c c c c c…
ok, this is what happens when you are bouncing off the walls with a dog in tow…

she’s so smart, now when I take her out, she has started sniffing along the way to prolong the walk, and once we get outside she tries to make a run for it… or she will sit down and wait and sniff the air, to see what’s out there… why hurry… sure, I have got all day to stay outside in the cold at 6 a.m. to watch my dog sniff around instead of doing her doggy business…

maybe I should try chocolate to cure her ringworm… ONLY KIDDING… ok, not funny… well, any other ideas?


Filed under animals, cats, chocolate, Dalmatian, dark chocolate, dogs, food, green, mutts, natural health remedies, organic, ringworm, travel

Thanks, Mark…

Mostly Dogs columnist Mark Robison has told his readers about my new doggie blog…

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Filed under animals, dogs, news, publicity

Ashland, Oregon… you Silly Rabbit…

Driving into Oregon from Mt. Shasta, California, the first thing I noticed was that the temperature dropped about 10 degrees. This was a welcome relief since Shasta had been hotter than anticipated. My dog and I were relieved to be heading to cooler climes especially since we’d been on the road for awhile. We had escaped Carson City’s high temperatures and forest fires and the smoke in the air.

I first become aware of Ashland, Oregon from best-selling author James Twyman, the peace troubadour and had wanted to visit for awhile. We crossed a bridge on Interstate highway 5 and the scenery was breathtakingly beautiful and green. I’m gonna love Oregon, I told the dog. She looked at me and agreed. She had that happy puppy smile on her face.

The next thing that struck me about Oregon as we pulled into a gas station was that I didn’t have to pump my own gas. This is state law. Impressive.

Decided to check out the Welcome Center and to my surprise, the people there were terrific and friendly. Imagine that. And they welcomed the dog and fed her treats. She was happy and settled down to lick any approaching feet. With their help, we found a suitable motel and found out about some of the chocolate opportunities awaiting us. I hadn’t realized yet that the Ashland area would turn out to be a chocolate mecca, for a small community.

The Visitor’s Center folks told us about Harry and David in Medford, Cary’s in Grants Pass up the road a bit, and an organic farm, Rogue Creamery, that was featured in the Chocolate Festival at the Ashland Springs Hotel every year. I already knew about Dagoba and was anxious to try out a few luscious samples.

We checked into the motel and settled in. We found out about a music festival and decided to explore the town of Ashland. My dog made a lot of new friends, and even sat on the lap of a man in a wheelchair and licked an infant’s feet with the permission of the parents. Not surprisingly, we got lost a few times, walking back to the car and then once in the car. But the people were so friendly, it didn’t matter too much.

When we got back to the motel, I read through the motel’s little local guidebook, and noticed another chocolate company to check out. Silly Rabbit Chocolate Company. Little did I know that this would be the BEST chocolate I have EVER eaten, far surpassing some of the better known companies by a mile. Apparently, the company was right down the street, too. Convenient and easy, too.

I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived at Silly Rabbit. There were balloons outside and inside a girl dressed up like a bunny, ears and all. Had I been transported to Chocolate Bunny Heaven? I told her that I was writing a chocolate travel guide and she introduced me to the founder and chief chocolateer B. Sterling. B was a hoot and let me taste some of the most amazing creations I have ever had the good fortune to gobble up. He infuses each chocolate with a wonderful sense of humor, good taste and fresh top quality and often locally grown ingredients, herbs and essential oils. B is a graduate of Ecole Lenotre School of Fine Cuisine in Paris) and has twenty years of creative excellence in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland. B was named the Pastry Chef of the Year Award from the James Beard Association.

Apparently, Silly Rabbit had just opened its doors a few months before. I told B once the word spread about his offerings, everyone would come to Ashland to visit Silly Rabbit and forget about Shakespeare!

Each tasty treat is homemade, imaginative, innovative, plus they offer free samples every day. Some of the wonders that I noted included chocolate dipped fortune cookies, hand painted bitter chocolate, with Siberian ginseng, Damiana flowers, and Egyptian jasmine, and the Syrah grape wine from Pascal, a local winery, B reduces the wine down to its essence, mixes wine with chocolate, adds Chinese Szechuan peppercorn, and voila. Divine chocolates.

Now for some of the most amazing chocolate samples I’ve ever had… B gave me hot chocolate to drink. No, i know what you are thinking, but this was nothing like the hot chocolate you get at the ice skating rink. This hot chocolate was totally addicting… made with real Xocaitl, just like the Mayans used to drink. Mixed with French dark chocolate cocoa powder, Jacksonville, Oregon wildflower honey, choptle chili pepper, Mexican chocolate, and salt, there are no words to describe how utterly delicious and with a bit of a kick!

Now I don’t even like white chocolate so the next sample really surprised me. It was made with wild jasmine flowers, white chocolate, local Jacksonville, Oregon wildflower honey and lavendar, alaea, sundried fish from Hilo, Hawaii… so many flavors rushed into my mouth, the aromas swirling all at one time. Are you getting the picture that this is not your supermarket variety chocolate. I had died and gone to chocolate heaven.

And there were more samples to indulge in! The blood orange candy made with fresh basil leaves, and French white chocolate (Valrona), bravissimo.

And the caramel flora, italian floria, diSecilia, has a honeysuckle, jasmine or magnolia-like flavor, Fruity and fragrant, I felt like I could not possibly sample anymore of the good stuff, I was in such a state of chocolate euphoria!

For more information email: or call: (541) 482-1970 or visit:

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Filed under chocolate, Oregon, travel, writing

the flap over ellen, a dog named iggy, and mutts and moms…

since this blog is about my dog, who is a Dalmatian mix, part pit bull, and I also know a thing or two about media and pet rescue orgs, since I have worked for a few of them, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary now Society, Animal Foundation and others, I think I will weigh in on this controversy… I wasn’t going to but here goes…

First, I pray for and ask for peace, understanding, and conflict resolution… for the highest good of all…

We humans tend to get very emotional about their animals, even crazed… just last weekend in fact, I was hysterical when my dog bruised herself… I took her to the vet, and voila, she is fine… but last Sunday, I was beside myself… and I understand what it is like to lose a pet or two… I have, it is not a fun experience.

Our pets become a part of our family, usually… for some of us, and it is difficult when things go awry…

my experience working with animal rescue organizations is mixed… they provide a very needed service, how many of us are willing to do what they do day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year? not many, there are way too many irresponsible pet owners in this world, and pet rescue orgs step up to the plate to fill in the gap, for that they are to be applauded… supported, donated to, and assisted. Volunteer! Take a mutt home if you can! Give, give, give, pay it forward…

While talking on this subject, I will mention that a few very fine and kind pet orgs helped me recently when I had to come up with quite a few bucks to pay for my dog’s surgery asap, immediately… Pet Network in Tahoe, Shakespeare, New Hope, and UN Animal Foundation, I thank you for your loving care… I also received assistance and support from friends, to name a few, Angela, Steve, Randy, Brenda, Penina, Sue, Bruce, and others… without you all, we would not be together…

I also appreciate the good folks at Pet Smart who came to the rescue right after my dog was hit and a guy with a dog named Merlin at the park where it happened…

and of course, Dr. Gary Ailes and Sierra Vet Hospital, Brandy, Janet, Sarah, Jason, Donelle, Stephanie, to name a few of the fine folks who have been and are giving my girl the best care possible. Next week, CC will have her last surgery and I am counting on all of them to help us through this ordeal. It’s been a long haul…

People should realize that pet rescue organization people, like many nonprofits and even us entrepreneurial type folks, can get stressed, overworked, and too wrapped up in rules and regulations and sometimes make mistakes… oh horrors, people make mistakes, imagine that… well, folks, we do, we humans make mistakes. we are here on this planet to learn, not be perfect. And we do make mistakes… sometimes little ones. Sometimes big ones. And we are not ever going to stop making mistakes. So we need to get over ourselves and give each other a break… Forgiveness goes a long long way to healing… What was it that guy said over 2,000 years ago, he who is without sin, cast the first stone. I think there have been way too many stones thrown, boulders and rocks and big heavy I don’t even know what to call them…

Let’s face it, both Ellen and the Mutts and Moms could have handled the situation better… they both made mistakes… I feel for the kids involved, having bonded with Iggy and have him taken away so abruptly must have been terrible for them… for the kids, Ellen and the Moms should have worked things out privately and respectfully… instead of making a big media fuss … but all things happen for a reason, I think…

what can we all learn from this? what can you learn? what can I learn?

for the highest good of all, I pray for peaceful resolution for Ellen, the Mutts/Moms, little girls, and the new owners of the dog, Iggy, and last but not least Iggy… hopefully, he will be and is loved and not forgotten in all of this…

CC is wagging her tail, I guess that means she agrees with me… or else she just likes to wag her tail, gives her exercise for the day…

Bark bark for now…

Stonewall Jackson – Me & You & A Dog Named Boo Lyrics

I remember to this day the bright red Georgia clay
And how it stuck to the tires after the summer rain
Will power made that old car go my roamin’ mind told me that’s so
How I wish that we were back on the road again
Me and you and a dog named Boo travelin’ and a livin’ off the land
Me and you and a dog named Boo how I love being a free man

I can still recall the wheatfields near St Paul
And in the mornin’ we got caught robbin’ from an old hen
Old MacDonald he made us work but then he paid us for what it was worth
Another tank of gas and back on the road again
Me and you and a dog named Boo…

I’ll never forget that day we motored stately into big LA
The lights of the city put the settlin’ down into my brain
It’s only been a month or so that old car’s a buggin’ us to go
We gotta get away and get back on the road again
Me and you and a dog named Boo…
Me and you and a dog named Boo…

More Stonewall Jackson Lyrics

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Filed under animals, Best Friends, California, conflict resolution, dogs, ellen degeneres, Iggy, media madness, moms, mutts, Muttsnmoms, peace, pet rescue organizations, pit bull, publicity