Sunday, July 27, 2014

Healing Powers Series Author Faces Zen

A place to find my balance

The Serenity Prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, 

The courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

This month of July has been full of twists and turns all leading me to a mixed bag of novelty. Like a cat, I don't prefer stress and yearn for "zen" (a very calming place) but shake-ups and surprises are part of life. And that is what I'm trying to do--start living again, go with the flow (with tweaks) and face challenges without yowling too much.

Zen, my fearless Aries feline
ZEN: For starters, my Zen, a strong, laid-back Siamese-mix, 5, had an ER ride to the vet on Monday. Tests later, my boy was diagnosed with crystals in his urine. I noted my prediction on Facebook before the results came back: "FUS" (feline urological disorder). Some believe this urinary tract woe is linked to stress and environment; even sensitive cats sensing oncoming earthquakes and/or eating the wrong diet.  So, he had a flare-up. Not fun for him or me. Straining to go is no laughing matter for cats or humans. For now, diet change is the Rx plus water fountain. We wait. We retest. (Another incident this a.m. Pain med (syringe) was a challenge for me to do. But I did it.) Goal: Be zen-like for this feline, one whom I'm connected to mind, body, and spirit. 

MOVING ON: I booked a flight and downtown hotel for Montreal, Quebec. As an isolated author-intuitive living in the mountains for 15 years it was time to push myself out of this  comfort zone. I'm facing my fears: cities, crowds, flying, high-rise buildings, new food, a French-speaking province--and going solo like I did back in my twenties.  
Decades ago, I was a fearless female hitchhiking across America with a small shaggy dog. I smuggled him into Quebec and we didn't do well: cultural shock.  But my vow to return when I became an author (plus umpteen dreams of me on a train in the northeastern region) has called me back...  
...I got the best hotel for me and my love for swimming and best flight  for me so I'll feel both safe and sprinkled with adventure.  The funny this is, when I went there before I didn't have a penny; I wore a big knapsack with a rolled up sleeping bag on my back--guts and glory.

A NEW BOOK, FINAL EDITS: Before I leave the West Coast and flee to the Northeast, getting off the grid as much as possible (no ties to computers, cell phones), The Healing Powers of Olive Oil proof pages will fly back to me from New York to proof. This is exciting. This book is close to me. This book is the second edition with more stories, more studies, more home cures, and more comfort food recipes with a Mediterranean French flair.

MY PET COLUMN RETURNS: As the book is wrapped up, I received a message last week. I've been asked to pen my monthly column for one year. The topic: pet horoscopes about cats and dogs for pet parents. This is a fun assignment; as an intuitive I didn't see this one coming but I was on the popular website looking up information for Zen when I received the request.  Coincidence or meant to be?

COMPANION ANIMALS: While writing about pets revisits my life, Simon had to revisit the vet on Saturday. As a senior pooch, we're faced with mysterious new lumps and bumps--but overall, Simon is aging gracefully and I am there for him all the way. In fact, rather than get more shots for him and before he is boarded we will test his antibodies and hopefully that will be enough so no taxing his body. 
Boarding my three boys at the vet kennel is the best decision for all. I know they will get good care, be safe. Of course, leaving my trio and flying away frightens me, sort of like Tom Hanks character in Castaway (when he loses Wilson, his best friend, a ball). I get it.

A new adventure was scary but amazing
Callie needs to go out of her comfort zone
So, I ordered: a little book on French phrases and Montreal/Quebec City. But first, I need to write two months of horoscopes; finish book edits, write my Earth Changes and food columns, and pray that Zen beats these pesky crystals. My plate is full. I can tell you that it's Skyler "name means protector" a lively Aussie and Simon, my strong Rock who give me life and that fun-loving, adventurous spirit to just do it. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Olive Oil Books with Old Mediterranean Charm Attract Readers (Again)

By Cal Orey
Have you read The Healing Powers of Olive Oil? 

News: Today, I was told the 1st ed. mass market is going back to press, more copies distributed in Walmart stores, some grocery chains, and other non-book outlets. Also available: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, BAM, IndieBound,, Target. 
And...the NEW, NEW, NEW 2nd ed. upcoming December 30, 2014! Mass Market 2016.  This book includes lively and intimate anecdotes from yesteryear and present-day, new health perks, more oils, must-have easy and sophisticated recipes that'll make you hungry, and more old Mediterranean charm. I inserted my heart and soul plus sweat and tears into each and every page. 
It's odd. But tomorrow I'm whipping up a cool chocolate mousse. I found this blog post below, same time of year, same thoughts about tourists and thinking autumn. Some things change, some things stay the same but with re-dos or twists that are incredible. 
And today, I'm still planning an overdue trip with a Mediterranean spin.  Many times I almost clicked my mouse to book a flight to Montreal, Quebec. I'm close. Looking for the best time, best deal and getting the nerve to leave my fur kids. Actually, this is more of a challenge than dealing with turbulence anxiety.

It's Summer--Time for Chocolate Olive Oil Ice Cream

By Cal Orey,
The Writing Gourmet

Living in a tourist town has its ups and downs. Personally, I am an autumn gal and my mantra is "fall, fall, fall." I have been writing articles for mags getting ready for the season of gray skies, leaves changing colors, cooler air, crackling fires, warm sweaters and jeans, cozy comforters, and baking food. I know my choice of seasons will come again. But now it's time to chill and go with the flow of it all. Summer has arrived...

And that means it's time for less clothes, gardening, windows open--night and day--homemade lemonade and iced tea, seasonal fruits and vegetables, lighter eating--and cold, creamy ice cream. Chocolate is the flavor of flavors, naturally.
So, while I--Ms. Introvert--gets into the swim of seasonal change--tourist overload, no indoor spa pool/hot tub, noise with a capital N, warmer temperatures, crowded roads, the beaches and stores filled with kids 'n' parents--I crave feel-good chocolate to make it all feel better.  Here is a recipe from my book The Healing Powers of Chocolate (Kensington, 2010).

* * *
Chocolate Olive Oil Ice Cream

2 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup Hershey's dark chocolate chips, melted
1 small orange in segments, banana, peach, or fruit of your choice
2 teaspoons vanilla
Pinch of sea salt
2 eggs (or 4 egg whites)
1/2 cup sugar
In a blender add all ingredients; blend until smooth. Pour into an ice cream maker; follow manufacturer's directions. The olive oil is a substitute for unhealthy fat.

One more thing. I know tourists love Lake Tahoe and locals love tourists for self-preservation. But many residents do look forward to off season--me for one--because of its quietude. It is a challenge to write a book and stay focused while so many people are away on vacation or here playing in our resort town. But I can do this--with ice cream and swimming in a new, improved place (it's a secret) and did I say ice cream? Three little months. "Fall, fall, fall."

Friday, July 11, 2014

Life Goes On..Chilling Sierras 'n Fantasizing Canada

By Cal Orey

 Montreal had me at chocolate , bagels, and
gelato...Healing Powers of Chocolate author 
July is Hot, Hot, Hot. We survived 4th of July tourists and fireworks. Actually, it wasn't as intense as I anticipated. The fur childrens' fur was a bit ruffled but not too much. The Aussie won the sensitivity award. Moving on into another round of a heat wave is the next challenge in the Sierra. So far, no Angora Fire sequel but thunderstorm and flash flood advisories have been flashed on the TV screen warnings, here and there.

It's not that I haven't done these things before. Back in 1999, on July 12 when arriving at Lake Tahoe it was in the triple digits. Hot, hot, hot. En route in a rustic SUV of sorts up the winding roads to the mountains the air conditioning fizzled and my Brittany, Dylan "shaky pup" (he had idiopathic epilepsy at 5; after penning a book on treatments he was seizure free by 8); orange-and-white mix kitty Alex, an aloof cat with sweet attitude and Shakespeare (a veteran blue beta) all weathered the temperature. The fish did not survive.  I cried. I waited for a tow; the moving guys made it to Tahoe before we did. However, the two senior pets lived on for many years in the sierras. I give credit to the clean air. Truly, both animals got a new lease on life or so it seemed. 

Today, it's cooler but too hot without air conditioning...One ceiling fan, another box fan are fine for the living room. But I'm fantasizing about adopting a third fan to cool down the cabin. After all, I have another senior Brittany, Simon, and my 1 1/2 year-old Aussie Skye sports a dense coat... Not to forget the Siamese Zen who at 5 is probably the most comfortable.  But there's more to living than dealing with weather woes.
Last summer...he is 15 pounds bigger!

Moving On... The renewed passport arrived. It's my "ticket to paradise" as the old song lyrics go. I don't understand how my hair looks dark red when I see blonde and reddish brown.  Foul lighting. I look like someone else, no good for getting through borders. Speaking of crossing the line,  I am getting close to clicking my computer mouse to book the airline flight of choice. A Libra week...flip flop. Perhaps tossing a dart at the globe will suffice.

It seems like Montreal, Quebec is the chosen destination. I don't know if a book signing will take place at the large bookstore. Or not.  A while ago I thought: "The trip should be work-related." But wherever I go as long as it's not here my journey will add to life's adventures full of sensory data (hopefully, with a taste of the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle) and be input in my articles, columns, and books.

Hello Montreal 
Unported license.
Attribution: Gjm130 at the English language Wikipedia

I seem to be floundering with British Columbia (been there, done that) and Montreal (been there, need re-do).  I will purchase one of those easy to read phrase books and wing French terms so I won't starve, get lost, or be left out in the cold. But it was romantic decades ago, in the Canadian woods at night cuddled up in a sleeping bag with my bold Lhaso Apso dog to keep me warm; eating peanut butter and table scraps for the canine. I fantasized about knocking on the front door of an estate I saw from a distance. My line was, "I'm from California. Me and my dog are cold and hungry." It didn't seem right. I wish I spoke French. It could have been my gateway to house heaven.
Wish I could take my critters with

Ironically, those unforgettable roughing it on the road hardships are the things I endured in my early twenties and now cherish. I was traveling with a beloved dog. I suffered cultural shock. Nobody warned me that Quebec is a French speaking province, nor about the metric system, and chilly attitude in the air if you only speak English. But now I can do it. Almost there to clicking the mouse...starting to practice French, with an introduction from the online easy phrases (from Now it's time to do it right. I wish I could take my dogs. 

Yes, please/No, thank youOui, s'il vous plaît/Non, merciwee, seel voo play/nong, mair-see
PleaseS'il vous plaîtseel voo play
Thank youMerci (madame/monsieur)mair-see (mah-dahm/mer-syer)
You're welcomeIl n'y a pas de quoieel nyah pah der kwah
Here is/areVoici...vwah-see
Hello/Good morning/afternoonBonjour, (madame/monsieur)bong-zhoor, (mah-dahm/mer-syer)
Hello/Good eveningBonsoir (madame/monsieur)bong-swahr, (mah-dahm/mer-syer)
GoodbyeAu revoiroh rer-vwahr
Good nightBonne nuitbonn nwee
How are you?Comment allez-vous?kommahng tahlay voo
Very well, thanksTrès bien, mercitray byang mair-see
Excuse meExcusez-moiex-kewzay mwah
Do you speak English?Est-ce que vous parlez anglais?essker voo pahrlay ahng-glay
Can you help me?Est-ce que vous pouvez m'aider?essker voo poovay may-day
I don't understand.Je ne comprends pas.zher ner kong-prahng pah
I don't know.Je ne sais pas.zher ner say pah
Could you please write it downEst-ce que vous pouvez l'écrire?essker voo poovay lay-kreer
Leave me alone!Laissez-moi tranquille.lay-say mwah trahng-keel
Where is...?Où est...?oo ay
How much?Combien?kong-byang
How many?Combien?kong-byang
What's that?Qu'est-ce que c'est?kessker say
I'd like...Je voudrais...zher voodray
I want...Je veux...zher ver
I like it.Ça me plaît.sahm play
I don't like it.Ça ne me plaît pas.sah ner mer play pah
OK/Agreed.Ça va/d'accord.sah vah/dah-korr
That's fine.C'est bien.say byang

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Tourists Are Coming! The Tourists Are Coming!

By Cal Orey

It is July Fourth, a day of good food, festivities, and fireworks at Lake Tahoe. It's not that I don't like this holiday, but as an author-intuitive living at Lake Tahoe, it can be a challenge with seasonal tourists. (Enter party-goers, two and four-leggers, who invade stores, streets, beaches, pools, parks, and the neighborhoods) Simply put, I'd rather lose control and undergo a root canal or get my roots done. But hey, we're almost half way through this day, this year. There are ways to dodge the chaos, and after 15 years here, I've got it down to a fine art.  
* We do not have AC at Tahoe since the hot days only last two months out of the year. But we do have ceiling fans (above me), and another fan blowing air on my Aussie. It's cool. We are cool.
Knee swollen, from lifting heavy objects?

* Today, the weathered deck is freshly painted. The upside: It looks pristine as it dries. The downside: Early this a.m., instead of my swim (blame no pool on the tourists) I used my coffee physical energy on lifting heavy objects off the deck. End result:  I strained my knee. R.I.C.E. Ah, the pain...
Monday morning, knee water therapy
* Perhaps, the weight lifting injury was a message from the writer gods for me to sit down, ice my leg, and begin the queries (minor edits) for The Healing Powers of Olive Oil.
* As the hours pass, I will slowly but surely turn up the sounds: TV or music, shut most windows...It's called desensitizing my companion animals to the loud booms that will happen late tonight...
Zen slept through the blasts
* ...Simon and Zen get it. They were raised to deal. But sensitive Skye? It's his second 4th...He does not like the sound of the vacuum, hair dryer or water pik. I doubt he will enjoy the blast(s) tonight.  
* 10 PM, the film Non-Stop is turned up high...a nail biting movie that is more intense than the booms I hear outdoors. Not the best pick for those, like me, who are planning a flight-trip and prone to turbulence anxiety. But laid back Zen keeps me balanced.
* 11 PM...All is quiet. We survived the sounds of fireworks; sirens follow. I'd rather go to the dentist. Good boys. But uh, um, it's not over until Labor Day Weekend. No worries. We will just repeat rx tonight as needed.