Thursday, February 27, 2014

Author Dishes on Work and Play

By Cal Orey
Spring snow for Skye

In a perfect world both work and play should be equally balanced. That means work 8 hours, play 8 hours, and sleep 8 hours. But in reality, life isn't always on even keel. A few months ago when I was writing the 2nd edition of The Healing Powers of Olive Oil, I was working 10-14 hour days, couldn't spell down time, and editing in my sleep. But authors will tell you that's normal...
Being an author is a lonely profession

These days, my Aussie pup Skye's job (one of them) is to teach me the meaning of play and having fun like when I was a kid. We have discovered the art of playing Frisbee, and walking on the treadmill. Both my Brittany Simon and Skye have helped me to stop and scope out birds while walking in the isolated campground as they jump over logs for the fun of it.
Flashbacks of me in my youthful 20s (countless dog years ago) remind me that I lived and loved a freewheeling life of a hippie hitchhiker. A month ago, when I was at the dentist having a molar tended to I fell victim to the dental-friendly nitrous oxide for fraidy cats that makes me calm. I passed the time in my brain by traveling back in time to when I hitched and hiked across America with my best friend--a black Lab. Life was easy. Lots of exercise, swimming, meeting people of all ages, and seeing sights in dozens of states and a couple of provinces. Happy was in my vocabulary.
Zen is always near/on me

THE WORKERBEE LANDS It's not that I'm unhappy during my domesticated years living in the Sierra. But it's a bit different than I would it imagine to be. After all, as a city girl from San Francisco who would have thought I'd land in the mountains, secluded and living my life as an author-intuitive with two dogs and a cat?

Today is a semi-play day. I finished my food column on croissants and a fresh fruit bowl; the article on Earth Changes (talk of the West drought) will be released on Saturday. I'm marketing my Healing Powers series (an ongoing task), answering the phone psychic network calls to talk love or lack of it, making a fire, and trying to get incentive to organize my study filled with disorganized mags (from decades ago when I was magazine journalist) to put on a gigantic book shelf. 
Sore throat kept me away 

Swimming is saved for tomorrow morning...Frisbee antics will happen later today on the inch of snow we got last night...but I think it melted. And perhaps I will make a batch of homemade peanut butter cookies. I'm not relaxing, am I? Note to self: Watch Skyler.
Need precip for honey...worst season this year
In production, 2nd ed.

The bottom line: I probably never will retire. But juggling work and play is a something I strive to do so life is more like a smooth ride without twists and turns. I sense I'll be working on a new book in the near future and that's fine with me. It gives me a sense of purpose. And, of course, I anticipate the release of the new 2nd edition of OLIVE OIL--it's a book that I put my heart and soul into to make it a fun read.  The phone is ringing. A caller from the network.

Friday, February 21, 2014

An Author & Her Dog's Bite

By Cal Orey

UPDATE: Simon got a clean bill of dental health from our vet. No surgery! Very pleased with our home care. And we will continue to use the waterpik...

Today, as a health author my mind is distracted and on dog and human teeth--mine and my senior canine Simon. This topic goes way, way back. First of all, my dad wanted me to be a dental hygenist. I actually did go to dental school. During the internship at a dental office I experienced a mega meltdown. A businessman was getting a root canal and it was extremely painful for him (this is dog years ago). I began to cry. The dentist yelled at me and told me to leave the room and don't the let the door hit me on the way out. It was the end of this sensitive's dentistry career.

Moving on. I've had my share of dental caries, braces (I paid for them myself), a crown (or more), a root canal (I survived), and one extraction (I tried six years to save the back upper molar but it wasn't in the cards).  And that day of losing my beloved tooth was frightening...But I survived and appreciated the fact that I still had the rest of my choppers. I was taught you do everything to save a tooth--human or pet.  And this leads me to my canine's teeth. 

Last year before I brought the Aussie pup into my household Simon, my beloved 10 year old Brittany got a full exam. Time for a deep dental cleaning. Four extractions (I knew the night before which ones because intuitively I felt his pain); but he still maintains 38 teeth.  I confess that years back my doggy dental article graced the cover of Dog World Magazine. So this topic is not laughing matter since teeth can affect overall one's health and well-being.

This week I discovered my Britt has a gap between two upper back molars, thanks to his unique mouth anatomy. This can be a food trap just like it can be for humans. Tomorrow, I'm going to see his vet to get an opinion about the hole. But during Simon's surgery in September (he had a tumor removed from his forehead) his teeth were cleaned and flouride was used, too. So, I'm thinking why put him under anesthesia again when I have been and can up the regular home cleaning?

Yesterday, I was on a mission. Purchased a waterpik (for both of us, separate attachments), more canine toothpaste (with enzymes), a soft toothbrush, and more gauze. We are going to stay on top of his home care as I've done for the Aussie (he got the pearly whites and I'll never forget watching his baby teeth fall out, one by one), and for my Siamese-mix Zen (this breed has a predisposition to gingivitis).

Tomorrow hopefully we get a thumbs up from the doc (who raised my boy from the neuter snip, leg sprain from jumping snow berms, vaccines, and nose bite that required surgery) that by simply upping my tooth care for Simon that we don't have to resort going under (again)... The Rx will be to keep his teeth nice and clean. Today, I try the waterpik on my senior dog. So, after two cups of chamomile tea, I'll start with light pressure, warm water. He loves pampering and grooming (from baths to brushing) and I think he'll let me do my job. Stay tuned. UPDATE: Tried the magical waterpik on me in front of Simon; then he allowed me to do it for him. It works. He likes it! No kidding. His and Hers attachments. Caveat: While it's cordless, water sprayed everywhere light a a rainstorm. But we'll get the hang of it.

One more thing: Monday afternoon I am scheduled to have one small cavity filled and another one replaced. I haven't had a hole for years. I'm not looking forward to the ordeal, but dentistry is almost painless these days and I am grateful to be able to take care of it now rather than waiting until it's too late. It's just another day for an author and her dog's teeth.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

West Coast is Raining Cats & Dogs as I Forecasted

By Cal Orey
UPDATE: Pacific Northwest
 got rare snow and Tahoe 
3 feet of snow. 
I saw this today at Heavenly Resort...more snow on its way

Today it feels much like I still live in the San Francisco Bay Area. It's been raining all day long with flood advisories. Our street is ponding. A lot. My two dogs did get a walk and their coats did get wet. I sense they like the snow rather than strange wet stuff. It's like November or April at Lake Tahoe. This is abnormal... But more rain, more produce this summer at a lower cost makes me smile... And hey, I did forecast this Pineapple Express event--which may be fizzling. Or not. 
Simon doesn't like rain, the Lake, or pools

I'm supposed to write an article on the West Coast drought but I'm waiting a few more days to see just how much precip we do get.  It probably won't be as much as needed but it is water. And this is a good thing even though I'm a fall girl: cold, crisp air and no rain please. Experts claim it won't fix the dry spell but I sense it may be a better later than not start to more. After all, we still have this month and "Miracle March"...

Surrounded by fur kids,  a fire crackling in the rock fireplace, watching films day and night, and answering phones for the psychic networks is my life for the moment. I did swim yesterday and plan on it tomorrow, rain or shine. It doesn't matter.
Swimming, taking dogs out, bringing in firewood, walking like a part of winter
Watching the movie "Limitless" is amusing me. A writer suffering from the "block" finds a new drug and then his life spins out of control for both the worst and best, sort of. Meanwhile, I hear the rain and am blocking new projects because I sense one is right around the corner. So, I suppose I'll wait and see what the inch totals are for the rain/snow on the West Coast  (experts already aren't smiling bigger than  life) before I pen the piece. For now, I'm chilling. My movie is on. And the fire needs to be stoked. Note to self: Teach my working Aussie how to do it. Right now he's got the treadmill down without a lead. (But he does demand food to perform. Smart dog.)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Groundhog Day...1 Year Anniversary with Awesome Aussie

By Cal Orey

Anniversary present to Skye

Awesome Aussie keeps me smiling on beautiful day, off season at the Lake

Skye was his given name before we fit

In love before picking up on Groundhog Day
Instead of writing too many words about my deep feelings for my precious one year old Australian Shepherd--a fearless Sag, I'm going to express my love through pictures throughout the months of joy he has given me and my family. Skye is a healing pup (to help my family get through a canine loss) and has done his job well!

In one year, he's taught me how to be patient (get up at 5-6 AM --he is potty trained 100%) and sleeps on top of me despite he knows he's half my size), have more fun and be less serious, that he is smart with a capital S. Skyler's fave toy is green and he knows it from the white and red toys. He licks the kitty's ears (a political ploy that has worked and kept him from getting scratched), and he respects my senior Brittany and allows him to keep alpha position--pack leader. In less than a day he learned how to walk on the treadmill...he can sit, lie down, shake, roll over, give me a bear hug, and keep me warm at night. He loves walks and car drives.  And his temperament with people of all ages is even and likes being told he is handsome.
My new baby
Aussie keeps my Brittany young and me balanced
A real trooper post-neuter
I love the look of blue merles--all breeds! I dressed like him 
Santa didn't spook him! A gift to me from the angels
I miss his puppy fur

Cartoonist captured the essence of "us"
Skye loves SNOW!
Pup is an outdoors-loving canine
Skye likes to go everywhere with mom and Simon...autumn
Author's dog to love