Tuesday, March 3, 2015

St. Patrick's Day with Bread and Coffee or Tea

Saint Patrick's Day means a lot to me. I'm Catholic, so this religious holiday celebrated on March 17 (tagged after Saint Patrick of Ireland) hits home - and in the kitchen, past and present-day. As a kid, I remember my mom, a cultured woman, part Irish and named Patricia ("Patty"), put her heart and soul into making an Irish breakfast and dinner from scratch for our family. Corned beef and cabbage, potatoes, sweetbread, cupcakes with green icing and Irish coffee were part of the feast. 
As an adult, I still acknowledge St. Patrick's Day, but my choice of Irish foods are a bit different from my mom's dishes. One year I turned to an Irish soda bread but changed it up a bit. It is ideal paired with a large cup of Irish breakfast tea or  Irish coffee.

Irish Bread with Blueberries
21⁄4 cups unbleached white whole wheat flour
3⁄4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 brown eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1⁄4 cup European-style butter
1 cup blueberries, fresh
Confectioners' sugar
In a medium-sized bowl, combine dry ingredients. Then, add mixture of eggs, buttermilk, butter, melted, and fold in blueberries.  Pour batter into a 9" by 5" bread pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 to 60 minutes. Cool. Dust top with flour or confectioners' sugar. Garnish with blueberries. Serves 12.
This quick bread (without yeast or kneading), is not a super moist cake, so topping it with a bit of orange-blossom honey or a pat of real butter can give it a superb texture. So, here I sit in my Sierra cabin, amid green pine trees and enjoying a warm slice of Irish soda bread and cup of Irish breakfast tea. Cheers.  Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Snowy Sierra Surprise(s) for Author

The way it was
By Cal Orey

Unless you are from another planet it's no news that the West Coast is in its third year of a megadrought. But yesterday California sierras did get some snow and is said to have brought smiles to both locals and tourists. Some ski resorts got more powder than others; Lake level not so much. Read: I most likely will not have to shovel or turn on the ice dam heating device. In other words, it's like April years ago.
Like April snow showers,
 pushed the shovel once
on deck

March 1... Despite the snow showers it feels like Spring. In spring cleaning mode. Got light blue place mats, new rug runners, and a cozy throw for the couch. I sense it's hump month like Wednesday. It's too cold to open the windows but too tempting not to cuddle up in the big chill.

I'm nestled amid my two canine companions and one affectionate cat on the warm waterbed (a 21st century style sanctuary where I can work and play) shrouded with comforters--one favorite from Roseville, a place where Bed and Bath exists. It's the only place I know that carries plush bedding (the comforters that are fluffy). I treated myself to one on November 15, after the Barnes and Noble bookstore signing. And, come April 4, the day before Easter, I'm sure something else will surprise me and come home to the sierras where it will most likely not be snowing.

SWEET SUNDAY SPAWNS TRAVEL IMAGES... As a Catholic this day has always been a day of rest and relaxation for me. As I look ahead I see that my days are getting filled up with travel plans I've dished about for months: Washington, British Columbia, Nevada, Utah, Sacramento, Arizona, and Southern California. Each location is linked to book signings, book research, and making connections to make my new books come alive with new info and stories, page by page.
But I will not lie. There will be some non-work thrills squished in, including a visit to Pike's Place (I enjoyed it after the 2006 Seattle Barnes and Noble book signing for the earthquake book), hotel rooms with views, swimming/hot tubbing indoors/outdoors, visiting the fish at Vancouver Aquarium, and walking barefoot on the sand at Long Beach.
Vancouver Aquarium



March marks the month
to Seattle/BC

PRE-SPRING AT TAHOE... Living life for the moment is what I aspire to do but as a multi-tasker triple Air Sun Sign it's a task to just be here now.  I am savoring my fur kids, snow images from each window of this Old Tahoe cabin, anticipation of the fire I'll make later after the boys get their walk at the campground. 
One year ago  late fall


Making a fire takes effort but usually is worth it
Plus, in this type of semi-wintry weather I'll bake apple scones, and something fresh, hot and healthy like spinach pasta for dinner. While it's cozy now the thought of swimming tomorrow morning with less people is on Monday's agenda for energy and staying balanced.
As I look around me, more feng shui in each room, layered lighting, lighter colors, soft spring colored throws, pillows, all will make it fit for next week when we set the clocks ahead and gain an extra hour of light to do more than less. Yes, the fresh snow today is a nice surprise--a prelude to spring--and I'm enjoying it.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Day in the Life of an Author

By Cal Orey


Hello Thursday. This week has been full of happy surprises and relatively no "rough air" on the ground. Early on I received the contract for number six Healing Powers Series book. Signed, sealed, mailed and delivered I exhaled. 
True, it took 15 years to arrive at this point, to be able to pen a book on my favorite superfood topic. The thing is, it happened. For years, I had my wish (in the form of an article) on the bulletin board in my study. I envisioned it happening for a long time. And it did.
My most popular book
gets a
makeover

MAKING MORE CONNECTIONS...This week I've been on the phone and Internet. A lot. I've been reconnecting with Vinegar World, Chocolate Heaven, Honey Land, promoting the new release of OLIVE OIL, and dishing with people about the new surprise superfood I'll be unveiling months ahead. It's my fave of all and the versatile merits of it thrill me--taking me to a new exciting place for exploring.
Tea is a constant for me at home
and on the road

Overall, the week delivered super contacts, UPS packages at my doorstep, more on their way, business trips, a world expo, and book signings are booked. What's more, I've hit the kitchen and have baked homemade fruit scones, tarts, custard, and salads--all with a Mediterranean twist and California flare. While concocting dishes with European roots, I can't help but envision my next trip coming up in March.

ON THE ROAD ...Looking forward to flying to Seattle. There, it will be time to share my Healing Powers Series with people at the Bellevue Barnes and Noble bookstore. The next morning it's off to Vancouver, a trip I had booked for early January. 


I have been there before and vowed to return alone--and it's going on. Book research in B.C., a visit to Vancouver Aquarium, swimming in the outdoor pool, and coming back to Seattle for enjoying a hotel view of the Space Needle are on the agenda. A few more weeks.
Cities and Canada thrill me
On bigger aircraft gives me a calm feeling

FROM MAG JOURNALIST TO BOOK AUTHOR...As the days go by, I'm enjoying my fur kids and miss them already. Thinking about pre-Spring cleaning (we set our clocks an hour soon), planting tall trees against the fence for more privacy this summer while I write the third edition of VINEGAR simultaneously juggling research for book number six. It works. Travel. Writing. Research. This is how it has been for 30 years but this time around it's different since I've morphed from writing for magazines to a book author with a series. I feel at home no matter where I am because in my head I'm where I am meant to be.

Clever Home Cures with VINEGAR

HOME SWEET HOME
VINEGAR CURES
Nature opened the first drugstore.
--D.C. Jarvis, M.D.


Chances are, apple cider, red wine, rice, and other vinegar—your everyday household products—even more extraordinary healing powers that you might not know about. The next time you need a natural remedy for a minor ailment, check this list first to see if a cure is as close as your kitchen cabinet or pantry.
Here are several common health ailments, from A to Z, and provide common at-home vinegar folk remedies. Some treatments can be used inside and others outside the body. Keep in mind, these are based on anecdotal evidence. There are no double-blind studies to back up their effectiveness and make it conclusive. Still, read on, and you’ll see why it’s an amazing remedy that you want to have in your home.



1 Tame Arthritis: Folk medicine holds that apple cider vinegar can help fight ache and pains. While no scientific studies prove this to be true, conventional doctors frown at the thought of vinegar as an anti-arthritis remedy, testimony gives nutrient-rich apple cider vinegar kudos for providing relief for the debilitating disease.
What Vinegar Remedy to Use:  The popular cure is simple. Take 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar and honey in a glass of water several times daily.
Why You’ll Like It: If it works for you, you will be happy because it’s natural, which means there will be no ill side effects from pain medications. Plus, it’s low-cost and easy to use.

2 Soothe Burns: Ever burn yourself on the stovetop, iron, or fireplace? Ouch!  Any burn that affects your body should be attended to ASAP. The reason: You’ll want to keep inflammation and swelling at a minimum.
What Vinegar Remedy to Use: Apply apple cider vinegar, straight out of the bottle, to a burn on the surface of the body. Better yet, apply ice cold vinegar right away for fast relief.
Why You’ll Like It:  Vinegar contains both anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that may help alleviate smarting and soreness and prevents blisters.

3 Steady Dizziness:  Feeling dizzy can be attributed to many causes, from prescription meds to hormonal changes. The fact remains, dizziness is not fun, and if you have ever felt this unsettling feeling, you might be willing to try vinegar to help keep your grounded.
What Vinegar Remedy to Use: DC Jarvis, Folk Medicine: A New England Almanac of Natural Care from a Noted Vermont Country Doctor notes that Vermont folk medicine is successful in treating dizziness, which he claims is due to “an alkaline reaction of the urine.” He recommends the apple cider treatment, with the timing and dosage similar to those used for other ailments. Take a tablespoon or two a few times per day as needed.
Why You’ll Like It:  If you have felt lightheaded or like your world is spinning, you’ll love this apple cider treatment, which will keep your feet and head steady without pesky side effects.

4 Embrace An Energizer:  Feeling tired, run-down, a lack of drive? You’re hardly alone. According to Edward Conley, D.O., in Grand Blanc, Michigan, an estimated 80 percent of adults complain of fatigue at one time or another. It is believed by many health gurus that vinegar can help you to feel more alert and physically energized.
What Vinegar Remedy to Use: Take 1 tablespoon of the potassium-rich energizer three times a day, preferably in 1 cup of water each time.
Why You’ll Like It: While caffeinated sodas can give you an instant boost, they can leave you feeling like you’re on a roller coaster with their ups and downs. Vinegar beats fatigue and leaves you energized without ill effects. 8 Put Insomnia To Bed: Your eyes are wide open. The fear of not getting a good night’s sleep tonight haunts you like a spooky Stephen King nightmare. The neon numbers on the clock (2:00 A.M.) are a glowing reminder of the sleepless zombie you’ll be tomorrow morning. You toss, you turn. Now it’s 3:20 A.M. Still not asleep. Whether you’ve had too much caffeine, didn’t say not to your nightcap, or didn’t solve your problems during the daytime, it’s time to try an old secret for sweet dreams.

5  Put Insomnia To Bed: Your eyes are wide open. The fear of not getting a good night’s sleep tonight haunts you like a spooky Stephen King nightmare. The neon numbers on the clock (2:00 A.M.) are a glowing reminder of the sleepless zombie you’ll be tomorrow morning. You toss, you turn. Now it’s 3:20 A.M. Still not asleep. Whether you’ve had too much caffeine, didn’t say not to your nightcap, or didn’t solve your problems during the daytime, it’s time to try an old secret for sweet dreams.
What Vinegar Remedy to Use:  Dr. Jarvis recommends making a mixture of 3 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of honey, and keeping it on the night table to a wide-mouthed bottle or jar along with a teaspoon.
Why You’ll Like It: The Vermont folk medicine doctor touts honey as the ideal remedy for getting shut-eye. Vinegar and honey are worth a try and may beat being sleep-deprived, which can wreak havoc on your health.

6 Blast Low Libido:  A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains enhances good health, which result in better sexual energy. Some aficionados claim apple cider vinegar is also a love potion due to its antioxidants boosting the libido. Eating a nutrient-dense low-fat, high fiber diet can help men and women stave off obesity, heart disease, and the need to use medications, all of which can put a damper on sex drive.
What Vinegar Remedy to Use:  Try 1 or 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in a glass of spring water three times a day.
Why You’ll Like It: Vinegar beats those little blue pills (for men) which have potential side effects that can make any man or woman lose that loving feeling.

7 Lose Muscle Cramps:  Ever wake up in the middle of the night and cringe at that sharp, painful muscle cramp? They can strike the feet, legs, and even the stomach. What to do?
What Vinegar Remedy to Use:  Doctors Patricia and Paul Bragg recommend taking 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon of honey in a glass of distilled water three times per day.
Why You’ll Like It:  It may work, claim the Braggs, by allowing the precipitated acid crystals in your circulatory system to enter into a solution and pass out the body.

8 Rub Out Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac:  These three plants contain a poisonous sap that causes dermatitis—a pesky skin disorder. Symptoms include severe itching of the skin and oozing sores. While most cases of poisoning go away in 7-10 days, you can find relief without going to the drugstore.
What Vinegar Remedy to Use: Neal Schultz, M.D., a dermatologist in New York, recommends two vinegar solutions: mix equal parts vinegar and rubbing alcohol and apply to rash. Be sure to wash—thoroughly—plus everything that came in contact with the plant. Or mix equal parts buttermilk, vinegar, and salt and apply.
Why You’ll Like It: These homemade vinegar pastes have a chemical that draws out the poison—so it relieves the burning and itching of the skin like calamine lotion.

9 Stop Swimmer’s Ear: A common ailment that I remember getting as a teenage competitive simmer. You can develop this ailment by swimming and showering as well.
What Vinegar Remedy to Use:  To protect against ear infections from swimming pools, a popular folk remedy is to try is using a mixture of one part white vinegar to one part rubbing alcohol.
Why You’ll Like It:  Vinegar is a good preventive strategy that can help keep pesky swimmer’s ear at bay, while you splash in the pool or indulge in long showers.

10 Rate Your Vitamin Supplement:  Ever wonder if your multivitamin is doing what it is supposed to do for your health? Evidently, one way to find out is to let vinegar tell you what’s up.
What Vinegar Remedy to Use: Drop your vitamin into ½ cup of vinegar. Stir the solution a few times during the course of 20 minutes. If the vitamin separates into tiny pieces, it’s good. If not, it may be time to look for a different brand.
Why You’ll Like It:  When trying this do-it-yourself system, it may work, so you can get a thumbs-up or down for your choice of brand and take care of you and your body.

A Bonus For Good Measure: Your universal emergency bare essential. Yes, disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, and floods can and do happen. While you want to include medications that you, your family, and your pet are taking, you also want to have a first-aid kit and handbook.
What Remedy to Use: Pour apple cider vinegar into a large plastic container (or two), and store it with your emergency supplies.
Why You’ll Like It:  It is the medicine of the twenty-first century. Rather than trying to remember if you have every type of ailment remedy, you will be covered whether you cut yourself, get a bruise, come down with a sore throat, or run into anything health-wise that will irk you during a disaster.

--The Healing Powers of Vinegar and The Healing Powers of Honey (Kensington), available at amazon.com , barnesandnoble.com , and Walmart.com

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Baby, It's Cold Outside in the Sierra

Years back before our megadrought
By Cal Orey

Last night the wind was strong and a quickie storm rolled in. I was pleasantly surprised to see 1/18th inch of snow on the deck. It melted by noon. But it's still cold enough to make a fire tonight for the ambiance and to feel warm and cozy...

This a.m. my Brittany Simon woke me up before 5 a.m. to do his business. I'm wondering if it's a senior thing. Back to bed until 6:30 and then it was on air at 8:30 to dish about my latest book The Healing Powers of Olive Oil. 
For some reason, I dished about the megadrought in California (yes, I discovered after the show it is indeed affecting our state's oil producers and prices may soar for us), not using EVOO on my Aussie's double dense coat before a bath, and my love affair with Canada. (I did tie it in to my awesome autumn trip to Quebec with the olive oil/butter and warm, fresh baguettes I was served ). 
Maybe I spoke on many topics because it was early or my brain was on the new Healing Powers Series books and travels...but the olive oil book did sell today so my off the cuff, natural mountain girl with her heart in the city 30 minute interview must have tickled some listeners.
Tea warms the spirit and body

MORE NEW BOOKS BREWING... Currently, I'm working on the 3rd edition of VINEGAR and at the same time TEA has finally made its way to me as I signed the contract last week for my next assigned book. I am thrilled since I've wanted this assignment for 15 years. What's more, I'm booked to go to the Long Beach World Tea Expo. (I'm so into it the less than big aircraft CRJ900 and potential major Southern California quake aren't keeping me away.)
Of course, that big trip to Washington next month is on my mind, too, and the big book signing at Barnes and Noble bookstore in Bellevue...and onto B.C. for book research gives me more to anticipate. Juggling OIL, VINEGAR, and TEA seems like it would be a challenge but they all play a part in my life so it's not that confusing juggling the superfoods.
Craving a visit to a big city out of the country
paired with coffee, tea, and chocolate


BAKING TO SWIMMING...Today, I baked a fresh fruit galette (it's for the VINEGAR book) and the sweet and sour flavors are something to write about. Finding fresh strawberries in the wintertime is a challenge but I did it and the price was right. 
Hopefully the tourists will be AWOL
It's time for brewing a cup of herbal tea, letting the dogs out, changing the sheets, and making the fire. I'd rather cozy up and wish I had a witch to wiggle her nose and do it all for me but it will mean more if I go do it. And tomorrow morning I vow to get up and hit the pool and hot tub for the thrill of it.  I'm off to walk on spotty dry snow to pick up firewood and get that puppy crackling.  Tea, dogs outs, movies, and psychic network calls tonight should make it a nice Sunday evening at home. Uh oh. There is no chocolate in the house.

Yes, You Can Pair EVVO, Other Oils and BUTTER!

A Sneak Look at NEW Olive Oil Book

Second Edition 
Order at amazon
Foreword

IN THE LAND OF OLIVE OIL
Olive oil, real butter and warm, fresh
baguettes  part of Sept. trip to Montreal
The same thing happened to me twice, in two different cities. The first time was at a book signing in Cleveland, OH when a small woman came straight up to me and asked, “Guess how old I am.”
She looked like she was about 68 to 72-ish (and I know how this game works), so I guessed low. “Oh gosh, no more than 65,” I responded.
She straightened up just a little bit taller and said, “I’m 88 years old.”
This woman was stunning. Her skin was perfect and she just radiated health. I said, “Okay, WHAT? What are you doing?”
She told me that she was a first-generation Italian, her family consumed olive oil every day, and her mother even put it right on her skin. Every day!

THE HEALTHIEST DIET ON EARTH
We look at cases like this, as does author Cal Orey, and wonder how in the world they knew to do that?  But the knowledge to know that the rich delicious oil of the olive will keep them younger and more vibrant for more of their days doesn’t come from some laboratory. They don’t do it because some science study told them to.
The knowledge they rely upon, like the rich multi-layered complexity of olive oil itself, comes from the ancient cultural traditions of these thin, healthy people. There is a depth to that cultural understanding, which also forms the centerpiece to what many deem the healthiest diet on earth: the olive oil-based Mediterranean diet.
Could you imagine someone from Spain or Greece exclaiming how they suddenly weren’t going to eat olive oil because some study came out about low fat foods? That would be ridiculous. Or perhaps they’d turn to a low fat dressing because they read that the ratio of hydrogens saturating its fatty acid chain didn’t fit some theory about what should or shouldn’t constitute a healthy oil? Absurd.
The thin healthy people consumed olive oil when we recommended against it, and continue this delicious habit after we’ve embraced it. Their dietary prescriptions haven’t changed precisely because the decision to eat olive oil is an expression of who they are as a people.
There is a steady depth to this form of cultural knowledge, embedded in the steady passage of time across ages. It’s an expression of who they are, who their parents are, extending across time like an outstretched hand to us today, directly from their history, culture, and tradition.
Because of this solid foundation, you can count on it to work for your good health, just as well as it has worked for theirs. 
After all, it has done so since before history was written down, and won’t change in the next five years either. The impact on your health will be the same as has been felt for millennia. And when you look at the results over this expanse of time, you see that olive oil consumption is clearly associated with low weight, healthy hearts and longer lives.
The people of Crete, for example, as I know and Orey pointed out in the first edition of The Healing Powers of Olive Oil, have some of the highest longevity rates on Earth, some of the lowest cardiac mortality rates, cancer rates, and all with the highest per capita consumption of olive oil. Ask them about their amazing heart healthy diet and they’ll shrug because they’re not on a diet. They’re just living their lives as they always have.
It’s funny, too, that the remarkable health benefits of olive oil have been known to people in the Mediterranean region for millennia, but the rest of the world is just now catching up with them. With each month, it seems, new scientific research continually re-confirms the many ways in which it benefits our bodies.

OLIVE OIL, THE VERSATILE FAT
Orey, once again, in The Healing Powers of Olive OilRevised and Updated, with the greatest of ease discusses in detail, the fats in olive oil that we feared for so long turn out to be the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated variety, which today’s science confirms can help reduce your risk of heart disease.
The antioxidants found within the deep green oil also work inside your body to fight the harmful free radicals. On your salad, in your sauté, or simply drizzled over your fish, this helps to prevent cellular damage and, ultimately, the development of cancer itself.
Not only are these amazing fats good for you on their own, but they can also help your body absorb the other healthful nutrients in your food, such as the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. In other words, if you include olive oil on any of your foods, you get one health enhancement from the olive oil, and then a turbo boost from the added nutrients you absorb from your salad.
And the cultural habit of applying olive oil both inside and out, for softer, smoother, less desiccated skin has been known and practiced for thousands of years. Now our western science confirms that the dermal application of olive oil leaves your skin less dry, less wrinkled, and less susceptible to DNA damage caused by exposure to UV light.

THE SUPERFOOD THAT’S GOOD AS GOLD
So whether you are a person who needs science to quantify and verify what you see in order to believe it, or someone who trusts what healthy cultures are doing and can apply those habits to their own lives, the jury is pretty much in on olive oil. It’s great for you!
And the good news is that Cal Orey’s “The Healing Powers of Olive Oil: A Complete Guide to Nature's Liquid Gold, Revised and Updated” clearly lays out more research and more reasons why olive oil (also paired with other healing oils) is healthy, how you can use it, which kind is the best, where you can find it, and many delicious ways you can incorporate it into your daily life, for added flavor, better health, and even beauty! Orey gives credit to olive oil--and people will benefit from her words of wisdom.
--Dr. Will Clower, CEO Mediterranean Wellness and award winning author of The Fat Fallacy, and Eat Chocolate, Lose Weight

  

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
First Edition

I admit that when I wrote the first edition of The Healing Powers of Olive Oil, I was clueless to olive oil and its amazing health merits and other precious cooking oils—all types—so it was a foreign topic for me.  Special thanks to passionate olive oil masters, including the North American Olive Oil Association, Sciabica & Sons, The Olive Press, medical doctors and researchers who inspired me, a health author and my taste buds to revisit Olive Oil Land.
 The tide is changing in the 21st century when it comes to using healing oils. I confess I wasn’t always an olive oil lover. During research of the original book, I didn’t know porcini oil from citrus olive oil, nor that Spain was and still is the largest olive oil producer in the world. But I was an eager student. And, in the new edition, gratitude goes, too, to the companies who shared their products and worldly knowledge of both olive oil (all types) and other healing oils making headway in the health world.
This second time around, I went on a new expedition into the wide world of olive oils (cooking and baking with them) and learned how to use different cooking oils, too, for heart health, longevity, home cures, and beauty aids. I braved the unchartered land and tried a myriad of cooking oils--not just extra virgin olive oil.
Also, I recall receiving e-mails from a bold fan—challenging me about fat facts. She agreed while olive oil is healthy—I should give more credit to saturated fat (including butter and cheese). New research has shown me that the “un” fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats aren’t the only ones that are good for us. I give thanks to my dear reader who was spot-on and gave me incentive to dig deeper to find the truth in the ever changing world of food and health. So to prepare this second edition, I went back to the drawing board. I discovered during my journey that indulging in other oils like coconut oil and macadamia oil (which do contain saturated fat) and even decadent butter boasts health perks. And it’s time to give appreciation to these ignored newbies and comeback oldies, too.
Also, since I’m fessing up, the fact is I was “sneaking” foods like butter in my diet but I didn’t tell my devout olive oil contacts and friends.  But, my instincts told me by pairing a bit of the forbidden fat with olive oils that it made my cookies, cakes to entrees taste better and felt good inside and outside my body.  And that’s when I pushed my olive oils over on my pantry shelves and made room for other healing oils (including nut and tropical)—and I’m glad I did it.
These days, as a devout “Food Network” junkie (America’s television food channel) and accidental health-nut foodie, I, thank chefs, including Emeril Lagasse, who use both olive oil—and other cooking oils--and butter. For years now, I’ve been using both the oil and fat together and now I no longer feel guilty about combining olive oil and butter to enjoy my dishes more.
Finally, I have been blessed with enthusiastic editors to go back and revise and update my second Healing Powers Series book on olive oil. In an olive seed pit, once again, I got to explore the olive oil and cooking oils world from the comfort of my cabin in the California Sierra—through changing seasons. The best part is, as a baby boomer (a person born between 1946 and 1964);  I now have a new, improved relationship with healing oils. I sense this book, like the first one, was meant to get a makeover by me—for you. A toast to olive oil—and other healing oils—is as good as it gets.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Homeless Pets and Their People

By Cal Orey
On the road in my 20s I always traveled with a
canine companion


Today, I viewed a trailer about makeovers for homeless people. It brought me back to the past when I was a journalist hired by a publication to go out into the field and interview homeless pets and their people on the streets of San Francisco. The men and women I met left a "paw print" on my spirit and heart for years to come. After all, back in the Seventies, I was a hippie hitchhiker--but in reality a homeless girl with her dog-- roaming across America and Canada. And this topic is timeless around the globe.


On the Streets
Homeless Pets and Their People

There’s a memorable scene in the movie Down and Out in Beverly Hills where Nick Nolte, a homeless man, loses his little tan dog, Kerouac and soon after attempts to end his life by jumping into a wealthy businessman’s backyard swimming pool.
            In the hands of this actor, this is a very moving scene. Behind the absurd outcome, however, is the painful truth about down and out people and our society’s often cold and insensitive attitude toward the way the homeless pets and their people really feel.
            Many dog and cat owners—perhaps even you—may one day be just a paycheck or an illness away from becoming homeless. And when a story like this one shows the streets being a home to people and their sleeping bags, pets and shopping carts, you, like, like all pet people may wonder, “How do the homeless and their pets live?”
            I spent several days on the streets with the disenfranchised and my report, while sad, still serves to illustrate the patience and devotion the companion animal holds for his owner, no matter what the circumstances.
            In San Francisco during the Depression dogs kept company with the jobless and transient hobos. During the turbulent Sixties dogs freeloaded with the hippies on Haight Street and freeway ramps. And now, amid a recession, pets band together with the homeless in the Tenderloin and at Golden Gate Park. Regardless of the era or locale, it’s the pet, however, who sticks by his or her owner’s side—for better or worse.
            Statistics prove pets and their people who are homeless, ill or financially destitute are far too common on the streets of San Francisco today.  In the Bay Area, there were an estimated 46,000 homeless in 1988. How many own pets? No one knows for sure. But you can bet it’s a lot.
            Often it is the homeless person rather than society who is blamed when the inevitable doubt arises: “Did he create his plight?” And too frequently, the judgmental question is posed by the homeless themselves who more times than not, have lost their pride and self-worth.


MEET A HOMELESS MAN AND HIS DOGS

            Reno, a homeless person, for example, owns two dogs in San Francisco.  After a painful divorce, several years ago the anguished man grabbed his guitar and pup, left Colorado, and hit the road. For over five years, Reno has been broke and struggling on the streets of San Francisco with his “two girls”—Tramp, an Australian Shepherd/Bull Terrier and Puget Sound, a black Labrador retriever from Washington state.
            Often the 38-year-old unkempt man and his two canines can be found on Market Street where they panhandle for food. Some people call the homeless with dogs, like Reno, “scam artists.” Many turn their heads. And others are losing patience and won’t spare a dime. Dog or not.
            One recent afternoon, in between tears and flashing a snap shot of three dogs, Reno said in between tears he had lost Puget’s daughter, Bingo in an operation. He blamed the doctors for “killing his dog.” Not surprising, his anger and frustration carries over to The City’s Mayor, and the police who often harass the homeless and keep them from living at Civic Center Plaza.
            Reno’s feelings are common among homeless people. “Maybe, the only one that cares and gives support is their companion animal,” says Richard Avanzino, president of the San Francisco SPCA. “Because homeless people have this unique bond and special relationship, in many cases, the animals are better cared for than they take care of themselves. And that’s because the animal has stood by their side when society and the world and human beings have discarded them.”
            Why? Why do people (veterans, children, adults with disabilities, single parents, teenagers, part-time employees—without housing, end up on the streets?
            Experts answer that the primary reason of homelessness is lack of affordable housing. Also other societal factors such as low-paying jobs, inaccessible health care, as well as personal disasters, drug abuse and alcoholism can cause homelessness.
            Despite the growing problem of homeless people and their pets, it continues. Slowly, pet owners coping with hard times are fighting back, and rediscovering their dignity, civil rights, and freedom.

A DOG-LOVING VETERAN AND HIS TROOP

            As a Vietnam veteran living in the Tenderloin, Ray Masterson was homeless for 20 years. With a likeness to John Steinbeck’s fictional character Pirate, a dog-loving man who owned five dogs in Tortilla Flat, he tells his story: “After I go out of the service it was hard to hold down a job, moving from one part of the country to the other. I’ve always had a dog when I’ve been without a home. It’s a fulfillment of being needed. It’s like having a family that I don’t have.”
            Ray has owned several dogs while homeless: Corky, a Coyote/Dingo; Samson, a Husky/Wolf; Toker, a Pit Bull Terrier/Great Dane; and Bear, a Pit Bull Terrier/Chow Chow. “Corky was a real good panhandler,” he says and laughs out loud. “Bear took right to freight trains. Every animal I’ve has had their own personalities and quirks. I got Bear on the rebound because Corky had been run over by a tractor trailer up in Oregon. I worked my way around for about a month and somebody gave me Bear as a pup. As he grew bigger and stronger I got tired of carrying his food and water plus mine in a backpack—so I built him a pair of donkey saddle bags. He carried his own food and water for over a year.
            “Bear and I were homeless in The City for about nine months. We slept up in the churchyard mostly, where we had permission from the church. Bear wouldn’t let anybody near me,” explains Ray. Like a proud father, he points out Bear’s distinct facial features, and adds, that as a pup his dog’s face was full of fuzzy fur resembling a California Grizzly Bear.
            These days the 37-year-old war vet who’d spend his last five dollars on his dog, receives compensation from the government for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Even though Ray’s off the streets for now, he’s busy at work as a homeless advocate.
So when society turns their back on people who are down and out it’s understandable why these folks go to man’s best friend for comfort. One man’s words---attributed to Senator George Vest in 1870—from his writing “Tribute To A Dog” says it best:
“…A man’s dog stands by him in prosperity, and in poverty, in health, and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow, and snow drives fiercely, if only he may be by his master’s side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer; he will lick wounds and sores that come in encounters with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all others desert, he remains.” 

(Reprinted with permission from D The Dog Magazine, Vol. 1, N0. 7, 1991 issue.)

For my stories, pick up a copy of The Healing Powers of Honey (Kensington) and read the beginning of each chapter for more dog and human tales.