Friday, June 21, 2013

Skyler's Scoop: Guess What Pup Ate?

By Cal Orey
OMG! I Can't Believe What's in My Pup's Mouth!

I woke up this morning at 5:00 AM for my Aussie's daily potty business, feeding, and playtime. Ugh! So much energy he has and I'm envious and annoyed. He tried bothering me, the cat, and dog. We were all anything but smiling.  It was still dawn and more sleep was wanted by all--except Skyler...

Fast forward to around 9 AM. Marley & Me dog sequel!  My fun-loving fur child had a piece of my white dental floss (not a necklace) dangling in his adorable mouth... Before I snagged it (I am quick but he is quicker), down the hatch. Gone! One call to the vet later: "Induce vomiting" was discussed. We had an hour or so for doctor's orders. Gosh, I have never seen my 7 month old baby let the fishies out. 

But I remained semi-calm. Actually, I was surprised to get the return call. I sensed what goes in will come out. All will be good. NOT. The phone rang when I was finishing my last bite of bagel. (That reminded me of my former Brittany Seth who ate a bar of ivory soap, a cube of European style butter, two ear plugs, a bag of six bagels with the plastic wrapper, and the dark chocolate truffle.) So, I knew the drill.  I gave the antidote and Skye lapped it up ASAP. Like I said, he's smart.

With the cool, calm, collected vet tech on the phone with me, I took my boy outside and we waited for him to show the cues of  getting rid of his two small meals. Five minutes later, I knew from experience it was working. Three times. And, of course, the tech told me after I'd have to go through the mess piles to find the long string. 

Mission accomplished. I found the floss intact! Dog survives the Dental Floss Incident. Whew! And the thing is, the day has just begun.

UPDATE: Before 1:00 PM, Skyler is back to himself. He's herding Zen, my Siamese mix and ready to go. Ah, the trials and tribulations of being owned by an Australian Shepherd is just beginning.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Coffee Craze: Grounds for the Household

 Healing Your Home Room By Room

Drinking coffee for its healing powers is healing, but did you know that you can use coffee for healing your personal environment, too? Welcome to the world of coffee uses in the home, another perk of the coffee tree. Before I entered Coffee World, I didn’t know coffee grounds were eco-friendly and something to use. But now I know the dark brown gritty grounds can be home friendly. Bless the little coffee grounds for their uses indoors and outdoors.
Use an abrasive Cleaner:  Use grounds as a scouring agent to tackle any greasy or dirty surface. It can also get rid of pungent odors from pans and your hands.
Go for a Deodorizing Buzz: Dry coffees (not soggy used ones) placed on a cookie sheet and put in an open container in your fridge or freezer can be an instant way to help absorb odors. Also, fill a sachet with dried grounds paired with cinnamon sticks and whole cloves and place it in close drawers (be sure it’s baby and pet proof).
Living Room/Dining Room/Bedroom
Furniture Concealer: Coffee grounds can do away with smells and unsightly scratches on furniture, too. Steep grounds and apply the dark brew to wood furniture with a cloth. I tried this household treatment on an antique dark chest in my bedroom and it worked. I thought, “If coffee stains cups and coffeepots, it has to work on brown furniture.” And it did just that. Flavored coffees provide a nice aroma, unlike commercial types of cleaners with strong, undesirable scents.
Fireplace Dust Buster: Ever notice that when you clean out the ashes from the fireplace dust gets in your eyes and nose? You can control the dust by using wet ground on the cool ashes because they keep the dust down and not in the air. Note to self: Try to see if this method works.
Ant Repellent: In the mountains, I don’t see ants, but in the city I did. And it they weren’t in the kitchen they took over the bathroom especially around water. Rather than using a chemical spray, try using coffee grounds on the area thirsty ants got to. (Be sure kids, cats, and dogs are not around as the natural anteater does its job.)
Plant Fertilizer: Plants like acidic soils will like your coffee grounds. Use grounds on the top layer of soil, or mix them with potting soil before planting. I started dumping coffee grounds on the aspens in the front yard. It could have been the late-summer rain and/or the grounds that helped the trees perk up.
Compost: Grounds not only feed your plants and trees, but they can feed your compost bin (if you have one) also. Simply add compost piles to increase nitrogen balance. Coffee filters and tea bags (yes, I have both) will also break down fast during composting, I still don’t do the compost dance, but it’s on my list of to-do changes and coffee grounds and filters will be included. I continue to sprinkle grounds on one wilted aspen in the front yard, but so far it’s not showing signs of being a coffee lover…
Insect Repellent: But tossing grounds on the deck, dirt, or sidewalks may have a faster effect. Again, it’s a risk to do this if you have indoor/outdoor dogs or cats, because you don’t want a sequel of the Ethiopian got herder’s dancing, frisky goats perked up by the caffeine in coffee.

5 Coffee Feng Shui Tips
Welcome your home sweet home to the art of feng shui—the ancient Chinese art of placement—with a twist of joe.  By putting stuff in the right spots in your kitchen and other rooms you can enhance the flow of positive energy and zap negative vibes, brings you good health, happiness—and even fortune.
·        Declutter Your Coffees. Rather than stuffing java beans all in one place, such as your pantry, I suggest storing it in a variety of places (including the freezer, and concealed containers in the fridge).  It works and keeps your kitchen clutter free.
·        Use Coffee Art. Framed coffee prints can give your kitchen a nice, visual effect, especially if they boast Mediterranean colors: read, brown, gold, and blue.
·        Flaunt Coffee Companions. Glass canisters filled with from biscotti to coffee candy look warm and inviting and are your friends whenever you decide to brew a cup of java.
·        Brighten up with Lighting. Enjoy earthy coffee colors from a tan, light coffee on wood paneling. Fresh white curtains will lighten up the room and your energy.
·        Scent It Up: Coffee candles made with different aromas (like café au lait and hazelnut) will warm up your kitchen and linger from room to room.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

2013 Forecasts: Quakes, Weather, Money...

I Feel the Earth Move…
By Cal Orey
My cabin at Lake Tahoe in the winter.
The talk of end days on December 21, 2012 seemed to fizzle as the year ended despite a potpourri of challenges around the globe. Instead of the sky is falling chatter, talk of 2013 entered with a buzz about a drop in national unemployment, pros and cons of Obamacare, new jobs, tax increases for the rich and cuts for the poor–not the end of world.
            While I didn’t sense the lights wouldn’t go out around the globe (but blackouts did occur thanks to hurricanes and earthquakes), I am picking up vibes that in 2013 humanity will face more dark challenges. Blame it on two planets: Uranus (change) and Pluto (money) that’ll affect political chaos, wars, financial woes, and natural disasters.
But the upside is, Earth changes and man versus man happenings have occurred since the beginning of time and the planet will survive. Take a peek at what I see for the upcoming months in the New Year.
A Mixed Bag of Predictions for 2013
1. Earthquakes
* While in 2012 the West Coast did rock and roll in Northern, Central, and Southern California, we still await an overdue shaker.  A 6.5+ may rock the San Francisco Bay Area—on the Hayward or San Andreas Fault.
* A catastrophic earthquake could also rock Greater Los Angeles. It’s possible it could be the “Big One.” (*It still could occur before 2013.)
*  The Cascadia Subduction Zone that stretches from Vancouver Island to Northern California is also capable of producing a significant quake and tsunami this year.
* Alaska (near Anchorage or the Aleutian Islands) may be rocked by a great quake as happened in March 1964.

2. Weather Events
While the planet Uranus lines up with Pluto twice in 2013, sizable shakers and climate chaos around the globe is in the cards. Perhaps, there is something to global warming and we will see more effects including more flooding in coastal regions around the U.S., and wild fires during the summer into the fall.  The Sierra in California-Nevada will get a few newsworthy snowstorms—a possibility of flooding in early January and spring, as the Midwest, especially, and Northeast will endure severe snowstorms. Like last year, the Gulf Coast and/or the Atlantic Seaboard will experience hurricanes and Florida or Texas may see biblical-type flooding.

3. Health Care
Due to natural disasters, people will begin to be more self-reliant and get more prepared for taking care of their own health. Home-cooking and eating healthier fare (more vegan-style meals) at schools and restaurants will be an ongoing trend as will DIY gardening and foraging. Still, people dealing with financial difficulties may turn to unhealthy high fat, sugary foods and forego exercise leading to obesity, diabetes 2, and heart disease.

4. Economy
Like in 2012, people (of all ages) will work harder for the money. While talk of falling back into recession is abuzz, it may not happen. This year, folks will be more creative and work two jobs to make ends meet. The global financial crisis will continue to affect the American economy but some industries will do better than in 2012. This, in turn, will spawn more budgeting and simpler bohemian ways to live almost like a blast from the past back to the freewheeling Sixties and Seventies.

5. On the Fringe
While humans battle known Earth changes, a Solar Super Storm could hit the U.S., creating mega disruption including delaying airline flights and technology. Lake Tahoe may get an overdue major earthquake-tsunami-like shake-up that would get worldwide attention and humanitarian help. Also, volcanic activity in Alaska, Yosemite, or Washington could create upheaval.

In 2013, we will deal with ups and downs beyond our control and face uncertainty of the future. The best part, when challenges occur—and they will—politics will be put to the side and Good Samaritans will lead us into bringing humanity together to find peace and harmony worldwide.

2012 Windfall Prediction Hits
  • During the economy chaos, the U.S. presidential election will be a tight and ruthless race. Most likely, President Obama will be re-elected, perhaps due to an event and how he handles it that occurs prior to November. Hit: Hurricane Sandy may have helped seal the deal for Obama due to his prompt action.
  • Politics will be at war–but a weird cataclysmic event may happen that will bring humanity together as one. Hit: New Jersey’s Republican Gov. Chris Christie set aside politics and put the welfare of his community first during Hurricane Sandy.
  • Japan may experience a strong aftershock (8.0,) causing worse radiation problems, affecting the environment and food chain in Hawaii, the West Coast, and other regions. Hit: On December 7, a 7.3 rocked Offshore Japan but did not cause great damage.
  •  In 2012, the Gulf Coast and/or the Atlantic Seaboard will be struck by hurricanes. Hit: On August 28, Hurricane Isaac, Category 1 hit near the Louisiana Coast; Hurricane Sandy—with its storm surges–greatly affected both New Jersey and New York City.

BIO:  Cal Orey is an accomplished author and journalist specializing in health, nutrition, science, and pets. The uncanny intuitive is a phone psychic for three international networks. She lives in northern California. Visit her website at .

Friday, June 14, 2013

Healing Powers Series Unveiled at Walmart Stores

By Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet

Recently, I learned that Walmart is going to carry three out of five books of the Healing Powers series. That means, The Healing Powers of Vinegar, The Healing Powers of Olive Oil, and The Healing Powers of Honey (Kensington) will be available on site at countless Walmart stores around the nation.

My favorite book is The Healing Powers of Honey...I'm thrilled knowing that it is spreading its wings, so to speak. Not to forget, the reader-friendly popular books on vinegar and olive oil--two other ancient superfoods that people (all ages) can put to work. 

Discover Honey’s Amazing Bee-Healthy Powers
Did you know?...
Known as Mother Nature’s “nectar of the gods,” honey was praised for its healing powers as far back as 5,000 years ago by Egyptians.
Eating honey can help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes—even help reduce body fat and unwanted weight!—and increase longevity.
Pure, raw, unprocessed honey is a healthier sweetener than table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. It’s chock-full of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins—and only has 21 calories per teaspoon.
Super “bee foods” (including nutrient-rich bee pollen, propolis, and royal jelly) are used and touted for their healing powers by beekeepers and medical experts in the present day.
Honey can relieve a variety of ailments, including allergies, coughs, fatigue, pain, and stress, as well as boost libido.
The honey bee pollinates about one-third of the food we consume (including nutritious fruits and nuts).
Drawing on the latest honey buzz and interviews with medical doctors, beekeepers, and researchers, this charming and enlightening book (sweetened with stories about honey bees and humans) reveals 30 healing honey varieties paired with cinnamon and teas, tells you how to incorporate honey into Mediterranean-style, heart-healthy recipes such as Honey Custard French Toast, Honey-Glazed Game Hen, and Filo Pear and Honey Tarts, and provides more than 50 home cures that combat digestive woes to skin woes. You’ll also enjoy Cleopatra’s milk-and-honey beauty treatments and eco-friendly beeswax household uses—all made with the amazing honey bee’s gifts!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Skyler's Scoop: The Poop on Puppy Power

By Cal Orey
My Aussie is Growing Up into a D-O-G

It's official. I am in love with fluffy Skyler, my blue merle Australian Shepherd who still has hazel-amber eyes. Born on December 1, that makes my boy about 6 1/2 months and nearing 30 pounds. And today, Saturday I promised him and his buddy Simon that they'll get a long trail walk, socialization at an outdoor mall, long drive around the Lake...
As a sporting breed dog girl, never thought I'd fall for a working dog. But he's got a bit of all my past dogs in him. As a kid, I had a Norwegian Elkhound (Skye's coat is like Ole's.) His loving temperament is like my late Seth, a giving Brittany. The protection he provides already reminds me of Stonefox, my black Lab companion whom I traveled across America with when I was in my early 20s. And that's not all...
So, as we grow up together I confess that he has stolen my heart as did Sethie. He's helping the healing process even though I channel Seth almost every day. We miss each other so much but we are apart--the now and hereafter. But life goes on. And yes, Skyler is doing his job by keeping my Siamese kitty Zen and Brittany Simon happy and healthy. Ah, the energy and love of an Aussie is simply wonderful.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Private Diary of a Chocolate Goddess

By Cal Orey

Enjou Chocolat

Diary of a Chocolate Goddess
[Excerpt from The Healing Powers of Chocolate]

By 10 a.m., both Seth and Simon, my Brittanys, are dropped off at my vet-kennel for the day while Mom gets to enjoy a four-star, all-day chocolate treat. My younger sibling Bruce and I are driving from South Lake Tahoe to Reno — a chocolate lover's haven.

Siena Hotel Spa Casino

First stop: Siena Hotel Spa Casino. Next to the Truckee River, Siena is meant to mimic the Tuscany countryside, complete with chocolate beauty treatments. I have no clue as to what this chocolate bath and chocolate manicure will be like, but I am both anxious and excited.

One hour later: Spa director Jamie Bell is waiting for me — and immediately I feel like royalty. I am led inside a cozy private room. Ah, the chocolate aroma. As Jamie opens the door I am greeted by an oversized bear-claw Jacuzzi-style bathtub full of bubbling water (140 jets!), with organic Chocolate Silk Bath Bubbles with a chocolate scent. I am here for the Chocolate Silk Hydrotherapy Bath.

The lights are dim (the way I like it). Scented chocolate candles and New Age music permeates the air as I'm shown bottled water, and two handmade truffles by the hotel's chef. I am given a white robe and thongs, and told to enjoy 30 minutes.

Like a giddy kid I dip my foot into the warm, swirling water and am elated by the ambiance of it all. I inch my body into the chocolate bath. I cannot believe I am soaking in a bubbly tub (the white bubbles literally overflowing onto the floor) with a chocolate aroma that seems to be making my skin feel soft, silky, and alive. I eat one truffle, light and chocolatey. I never want to leave this place of chocolate bliss.

Thirty minutes later: I am out of the tub, dressed, and off to the get a chocolate manicure. I sit down with my manicurist and there is a tall chocolate milk shake awaiting me.

Valerie Brown, my manicurist, removes my clear nail polish and shapes my nails. Then, she soaks my two mountain-woman hands (weathered from swimming in pool chlorine and bringing in firewood) in a Peruvian chocolate syrup to loosen the cuticle. Then, she covers my hands with a chocolate-strawberry masque to rehydrate my hands, followed by a light massage with chocolate butter.

I am hoping and believing that this silky chocolate crème full of natural ingredients like organic Theobroma cacao and fruit extracts will work to make my hands and nails look beautiful. The French manicure polish looks nice. Next stop is minutes away ...

The Chocolate Bar

We arrive at a hot spot touted in Reno to be a trendy bar-café for the younger set. The atmosphere at The Chocolate Bar doesn't boast plants or fish aquariums — I get that chocolate is alive and the focus. Chocolate-brown floors and a chocolate cocktail bar are part of the scene.

I decide to let the waitress decide for us. Chocolate Lava Cake is described on the menu as “rich chocolate cake filled with molten chocolate center served with vanilla ice cream.” And yes, this desert is delightful. Is this café worth the visit? If you like chocolate, yes, yes, yes.

See's  Candies

Our next stop: See's at Meadowood Mall in Reno. We are greeted by the friendly store manager, who fills a bag full of an assortment of dark chocolates and dark truffles. I am surprised to see a Premium Extra Dark Chocolate Bar, which is made with 62 percent cocoa. (Note to self: Ask a chocolatier to infuse healthful ingredients to mimic See's Key Lime Truffle.)

On the way home I think to myself, “How can I get a chocolate Jacuzzi bath on the South Shore?” Sure, I swim and take a hot tub several times a week at a resort spa, but it doesn't have chocolate.

We pick up the Brittanys, and by six o'clock we are back home in Bijou Pines.

When I walk up to the doorstep I see a big cardboard box with the label Ghirardelli Chocolate.

I feel like a goddess who has died and gone to chocolate heaven. 

For more information, check out a past interview I did on the healing perks of chocolate