July 17, 2017

Pet Fire Safety: Do you have home safety procedures in place for your pets?

Do you have home fire safety procedures implemented for your Beloved Canine Companions?  Below is a great ... and timely ... post on the topic originally posted on Facebook by SAGE Centers for Specialty and Emergency Care.  We use their nearby Concord, CA location; SAGE is the best!  I added a couple of additional fire safety suggestions at the bottom of the post.

Wildfires are roaring once again in California and the United States Northwest.  The San Francisco Bay Area has also seen a number of very destructive residential fires recently.  If you do not have fire-related emergency procedures in place at your home for both humans and pets (this also includes working smoke detectors and visible fire extinguishers), do so today.  It just might save the lives of you and your pets tomorrow.

Concerns about Fire Insurance or Other Insurance Coverage?

Mary Rae Fouts, EA, CFP assists clients throughout the United States who have concerns about insurance coverage and related issues.  For more information about Mary's fee-only Tax, Consulting, and Expert Witness Services visit Fouts Financial Group.

Mary Rae Fouts

July 12, 2017

Pascal Rigo: Self-Proclaimed French Bread Savior Needs to Practice What He Preaches

Pascal Rigo
photo credit:  newyorktimes.com
Oh, the irony.  And all about loaves of bread.

Pascal Rigo should practice what he preaches.  

Who is Pascal Rigo?  He's the guy who founded the San Francisco Bay Area La Boulange cafe/bakery chain, which he sold to Starbucks in 2013 for some $100 million.  There was a La Boulange in Walnut Creek, just a few miles from my home.

What's Mr. Rigo doing now in the bakery world?  Glad you asked.  In his current bread-related project, he has christened himself the go-be savior of bakery bread in France.  Read the New York Times article on the topic here.  

Self-proclaimed Savior of bread produced by small bakeries in France?  
Oh, the irony!!

Mr. Rigo laments the closure of local bakeries in France, caused in part by competition from mass-produced grocery store bread, while he himself employed mass production of bread for sale to large retail outlets including Trader Joes and big box Costco.

Mr. Rigo, don't you kinda think your mass production of bread for large retail chains hurt small bakeries, the same type of bakeries across the pond that you now proclaim you will save?

Just sayin'.

And the reason Mr. Rigo’s current La Boulangerie shops in San Francisco each sell only about 50 baguettes daily, as stated in the NY Times article?  Simple.  The bread is just not that good.  One only has to look at the cult-like bread following at San Francisco's Tartine Bakery for comparison.

I am an avid baker, including baking all sourdough breads, rolls, buns, and pizza, so I am aware of the work involved in artisanal bread baking.  One can't be both artisanal and cheap at the same time; quality costs.  Mr. Rigo needs to decide if his current venture is going to compete on (1) quality or (2) price.  He can't compete on both.

And perhaps Pascal Rigo should look in the mirror and decide if he truly intends to practice what he preaches.  He certainly did not do so in the past.

Bake on, everyone.  But if it's bread, make it sourdough!

My Sourdough Bread, a recent bake.
My own recipe.
Tender crumb and golden but not hard crust.
Not too holey so your butter and other spreads don't fall through.
All sourdough, no active yeast.

Sliced homemade sourdough bread from the loaf in above photo.
Want some?

My sourdough starter after I fed it yesterday.
Made with bread flour and bottled spring water.
It  is VERY vigorous, tripled in volume as shown by original rubber band mark.
These are 2 half gallon mason jars nearly full of bubbly sourdough starter.

July 10, 2017

Fyre Festival's Billy McFarland: Arrested and Charged with Wire Fraud

Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland arrested by federal agents.  That didn't take too long, did it?

I previously posted about the cancelled disastrous Fyre Festival and its founder Billy McFarland.  At that time I opined Mr. McFarland appeared to be a criminal Con Artist rather than a brazen 25-year-old pretty boy salesman.

Looks like my opinion may very well be accurate.

Federal agents recently arrested Billy McFarland and charged him with 1 count of wire fraud.  (But come on, just one count?!)

Anyway, what gets my craw now is that Mr. McFarland was able to make his $300,000 bail.  Ok, I get that; according to the New York Times he lives in a $21,000 a month Manhattan penthouse apartment and drives a $110,000 Maserati automobile.  So clearly Billy McFarland has sizable assets.

photo credit:  newyorktimes.com

Question:  So why is Billy McFarland currently represented by a public defender?  You know, the taxpayer-paid-for defense attorney who represents criminal defendants that cannot afford legal representation.

Does public defender representation for Mr. McFarland make sense to you? 
Sure doesn't to me.

This sordid story only continues to grow more tentacles.  Once again, truth is stranger than fiction.

Mary Rae Fouts

July 6, 2017

Date Lunch with Husband Jim at Corners Tavern in Walnut Creek

Jim and I have a Date Lunch every month at Corners Tavern in Walnut Creek, something both of us really .... REALLY ... look forward to.

Corners Tavern is hands down by far our favorite restaurant in Walnut Creek.

Here is what we enjoyed yesterday, soooo delicious!

Want some?

Jim's Manhattan

Jim's Steak N' Fries

My County Line Organic Greens Salad with
Smoked Chicken added.
The strawberries were fabulous.
The Italian Pinot Grigio Jim picked out for me
was spot on, too.  😋

Be good to yourself.  Treat yourself soon with a special date lunch with your significant other, or simply an extra special lunch by yourself or with a friend.  You'll be glad you did!

Life is short.  Be happy!

Mary Rae Fouts

June 30, 2017

Dog Safety Tips for the 4th of July Independence Day Holiday

The 4th of July Holiday can be a deadly time for dogs as they become very frightened and may attempt to flee from loud firework noises.  Here are a few tips on how to keep your Faithful Canine Companion safe during Independence Day festivities:

Stay safe inside.  Keep your pets safe and secure inside of your home.  Close windows, lower blinds, and turn on music or the TV to help drown out the sound of fireworks and firecrackers.

Lexi says:   "I am scared of loud firework noises.
My Daddy and Mommy always make sure I am calm and safe
inside the house, away from 4th of July firework sounds."

Do not leave your dog outside.  If leaving home - even for a short period of time - do not leave your dogs outside if there is a possibility of firework or firecracker noise.  Dogs can become very frightened at the loud sounds, and may attempt to dig out of the yard, or tear down fencing to escape.

Potty time?  Use a leash.  If your dog needs to go outside to potty and firework sounds are possible, do not let your dog go outside unattended.  Keep your dog on a leash, and bring him or her back inside after potty time.

Current identification, including a microchip.  Be sure your pets have proper identification on at all times, as well as current microchip information.  Check ID tags to be sure they are readable (not all scratched up from wear), and have current phone and address information.  Also check your microchip online to be certain it is activated, and that all information is complete and accurate, including a current photo of your pet.

If your pet is not microchipped, get him or her microchipped, and make sure the chip is activated, and that all information is complete and current.  A lost pet can also slip from a collar with his or her identification tag.  In this event, no chip = no identification.

Scared pet?  Talk with your vet about a sedative for your pet.  If your pet is very scared by loud noises, talk with your vet about the use of a sedative.  Give any sedative to the pet before fireworks start, leaving enough time for the sedative to start working before loud noises start booming.
Happy Independence Day, Everyone.  Stay safe.

Mary Rae Fouts