Saturday, March 28, 2015

Seattle-B.C. Fantasy Hits Home

By Cal Orey
California Dreaming
I felt at home in Seattle
Leaving Lake Tahoe for a business trip finally arrived on March 20, the first day of Spring. Back home again, it's time to back track and recall my time away playing nomad (like I did in my twenties) in the PNW and determine if Northern California will be left in the dust for the Pacific Northwest.  Early in the morning my bags were packed and I left my Old Tahoe-style cabin, three fur kids, the Lake and towering pine trees. Destination: Seattle and British Columbia for a book signing and book research.
People in Seattle toted Toy Breeds,
not big Herding Dogs like my Aussie

Running away from Tahoe
AIRPORT GAMES... For some reason, I seem to be one of the chosen few by security. There was the Montreal greeting back in September. After traveling 3000 miles it was a rude awakening to be greeted by a customs agent with five words. Instead of "Bon jour, Madam" I heard: "Do you have any pot?" Dazed and confused I sat on the floor, crossed my legs and was grilled for an hour by the mean-spirited French woman who didn't understand why I chose to fly solo to Quebec. After she claimed there wasn't any Mediterranean cuisine in the province, I realized it was best to not fight and eventually I was released.
Waiting for a jet plane

That was Montreal, Canada. I never thought in my wildest dreams such a ridiculous scene would take place at the small Reno-Tahoe International Airport. On Friday morning I admit I looked like the California girl clad in skinny jeans, tee-shirt, lightweight turtleneck sweater, black leather jacket, neck scarf, mittens, combat boots, and a cozy wool black, red and grey checkered jacket (from Quebec City). True, it was 50 degrees but I figured if I layered my clothing and my bags were lost I'd have threads; plus I'd be warm on a chilly plane and in the rain up north.
Standing in line I was cool, calm--no worries. Then, a security woman asked me: "Would you like to be searched?" I answered, "If it's a cute guy." I truly thought she was joking. She darted, "How about a woman?" I said, "Nah, I'll pass. I'm not really into it." She grabbed my arm; I was put in a small cage-like contraption. She wiped both my hands with some sort of liquid, ordered me to lift my arms and spread my legs. I was frisked from head to foot. It all happened so quickly I didn't realize I was suspect. It didn't seem real. After the search, the security woman gave credit to my layering clothes or jacket with zippers galore. I gathered up my garb and felt thankful for less attitude than in the French speaking province.  Perhaps I was mellow because I hadn't had my a.m. coffee. 

My fave hang out at SLC
ONWARD TO SALT LAKE CITY...  The flight was smooth and nondescript. Not sure why frequent fliers label this airport to be tricky because of the sierras into SLC. Now this airport is charming and smallish. Read: No fun plane trains. With two hours to pass time, I made a point to order a welcoming basket of warm tortilla chips and salsa made from scratch. As I sipped a cup of hot chamomile tea my eyes scrutinized the French manicure I got the day prior. Chipped already? So, I paid a visit to the express spa. This is a cool place in the airport where you can get a massage to manicure. A worker fixed the imperfections and I anticipated my flight to Seattle.
Chop Chop
I was there downtown Seattle back in 2006 for a book signing unveiling The Man Who Predicts Earthquakes. This time around it was Bellevue for my Healing Powers Series. And, of course, there is the time back in my twenties when I hitchhiked to the PNW and rescued a small fluffy dog that became my devoted traveling companion across America. So, Seattle, for me, has fond memories.

FLYING TO EMERALD CITY... Earlier in the week the weather forecast was 10 percent chance of rain. By Thursday night that number jumped to 100 percent. Everyone knows Seattle is infamous for grey skies and rain so I wasn't too concerned. After all, I was dressed for the occasion. What I didn't know is that when you have lots of clouds you can have lots of rough air on the plane or as our pilot called it: "It looks like we're coming into some 'light chop'." 
Seattle landing
Oh yeah, baby. The young business kid sitting next to me (I flew First Class because I'm super sensitive and don't want to pick up other people's nervous flight energy) looked into my widened eyes. He said as he nursed his cup of complementary wine, "Chill. It's all good." But I thought, "Is this the same dude who told me a while ago that coming from Dallas was a rough ride?"
Actually, I learned that some turbulence doesn't bother me--like moderate quakes--if and only if others remain calm. Also, the pilot's soothing voice kept me in a good space despite my ignorance of clouds can mean shaky skies. No worries. I equated it to having a root canal and letting the dentist take charge. The only thing though, oxygen isn't laughing gas. But landing safely in Seattle happened.
Hotel room city view made me smile

Emerald City my new home?
LIGHT IN WASHINGTON... Thanks to Day Light Savings it was still light outdoors. I was greeted by terrain different than Tahoe--once touted for its snowfall and now the superdrought. Greenery and rain were a pleasant welcome for me. What's more, I do miss living in a San Carlos bungalow with a view of the hills and train ride to San Francisco. So the picture perfect view of both took me back in time when I was a younger "city girl" and not living in the mountains amid coyotes and bears.

Fifteen years ago, it was my fantasy to move from the San Francisco Bay Area to Lake Tahoe. I was transitioning from a magazine journalist to a book author. While that mission was accomplished I find myself yearning for a new place, a new muse. The question remains, is Seattle the answer?
While there for about half a week I did feel a sense of belonging among humans unlike at Tahoe, an iconic place where I've become a recluse embracing wildlife, companion animals, a sibling, and writing.  I sense it's time for change.

To be continued...

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

March 20 Super Events to Trigger a Big Happening?

By Cal Orey
Did You Know? March 11 and March 27 were the days great earthquakes and tsunamis happened to Japan and Alaska, making lasting Earth Changes?
Mixed feelings about leaving CA during the
Supermoon, Solar Eclipse, Spring Equinox

January 9 I had planned to go to the Pacific Northwest but life got in the way. So, the trip was postponed until March 20, the first day of Spring. I didn't think much of the switch except that I like fall/winter more than the upcoming season. According to my tools, the time seemed fine for travel...

THE BIG ONE, IS IT COMING?... Sadly, I missed a few things that may include the West Coast or perhaps the Ring of Fire, thanks to March 20 (Pisces/Aries--water/fire). This Friday a line up of rare events are happening: A supermoon, solar eclipse, and the Spring equinox. I thought I was feeling high anxiety because I'm leaving my two canine companions and cat Zen but maybe it's more. Or not. 
Making the rounds on the Internet, I see that the earthquake sensitives are edgy and the forecasters are forecasting earthquakes anywhere from Seattle to Southern California. Sure, it could happen. I do find it odd how I'm leaving on a jet plane on this chosen day for a book signing in Seattle and then up north to B.C. for book research. Makes sense why I've been feeling a bit on edge but could there be more to it since I'm one of those "tone" people who get ear tones and tune into seismic critters prior to a quake?
Ironically, I booked high hotel rooms

TONIGHT ON C2C... So, in a few hours I'll be asked, "When is the Big One coming? According to my 2015 forecasts for Earth changes, I wrote this in Oracle 20/20 Magazine:

A Mixed Bag of Predictions for 2015

* The West Coast did experience a few notable shakers but 2015 may deliver even stronger earthquakes. A 7.0 magnitude (or larger) is likely to strike the San Andreas Fault either in the San Francisco Bay Area or Southern California (near water, including the Pacific Ocean or Salton Sea).
 * Europe may be rocked by an extremely shallow and destructive great earthquake in Italy, Greece or Turkey.
* The Indian Ocean and/or an Asian country (Japan or China) may be challenged by earthquake and potential tsunami(s).

On the Fringe
So, during wacky weather, it’s almost guaranteed strange happenings will occur in places that will be surprising. A dormant volcano may erupt; more tornadoes in non-twister states may make the news. An earthquake swarm in the Midwest or California could end up being a strong shaker making international news.  A tsunami on the West Coast—whether it is from Alaska, or Southern California, or even in the Cascadia Subduction Zone from British Columbia, Canada to Northern California may happen as it has before in past history.

Will the San Andreas make its move?
In 2015, the year will seem like a sequel to the film The Day After Tomorrow with crazy climate but as usual humanity will deal and move forward. Weather gurus to seismologists will tell you it’s difficult to forecast what nature will do and when. After listening to so many predictions gone bad, I have to agree. So, you can use my general predictions as a guide, but take a peek at this historical source for the region you’re interested in, too, as I did. Whatever happens in the New Year, be prepared for anything. And note, whatever Mother Nature does, it will pass, as our grandmothers would say to us during the best and worst of times.
Feeling edgy, travel anxiety or?

SPOOKY STUFF... So, the film San Andreas about a superquake is due out in May. And let's face it.  In 2015 the winter in the Northeast did look like scenes out of The Day After Tomorrow. Will the Earth move on the West Coast in the upcoming days when I'm in a high floor of a fancy hotel overlooking Vancouver or Seattle? Or is it likely California will go down without me? Most "what ifs" don't happen so I will say "probably not" during the week ahead. But that is not to say the West Coast will not be shook by a strong shaker this year. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Author Prepares for PNW Trip

By Cal Orey

Shortly, I'll be packing my bag(s) (traveling light), and departing for Washington and B.C. I've passed the challenges this time around and am almost on my way. Haven't had the heart to tell my fur boys I'm leaving but I know they'll be in good hands. 
Bellevue Barnes and  Noble Book Signing for
Healing Powers Series
Excitement is growing as my plans are beginning to come together, from the book signing at Barnes and Noble at Bellevue to the places I'll be visiting in Canada. Out in the field hands on book research plays a big role--and I did land the big fish(es)--this is superb. Still keeping it a secret because my newly assigned superfood book for the Healing Powers Series is special to me. I will unveil sooner than later. Hint: It's "big" in Vancouver and has played a big part in my life for decades.

SWIMMING... Yesterday having the pool to myself and at a perfect temperature was simply bliss. But it isn't always like that. Yes, I plan to swim--indoors and outdoors--at hotels in both Washington and Vancouver. It's part of the trip that'll make me smile.  Looking at the different sites is thrilling (must have been a fish in a previous lifetime). Views of the cities will be a change from living amid towering pine trees at Lake Tahoe. It's not that I don't like living in the mountains but visiting different places, including Canada makes me feel alive and alert. I guess you can take the city girl out of the city but it doesn't go away--my link to San Francisco, my home.

COFFEE, CHOCOLATE... Also looking forward to different coffees and chocolate since the PNW is touted for such superfoods. The surprise book offers the surprise superfood which I'll be taking notes on and savoring but also enjoying the foods it will be paired with, including scones, warm baguettes, fresh fruit and more.
A few times, it will be early morning wake-up calls (i.e., crossing the border to flying home), and coffee and French pastries will be my best friends. Of course, I'm used to sipping a cup of joe every morning while I cuddle up to my companion animal trio. And I admit homesickness for these furry friends bothered me in Quebec as they will in British Columbia. But I sense they want me to be happy and I will be certain their needs will be met: Extra walks, toys, brushing, TV, and other animal pleasures. Note to self: Doggie bed for Simon...extra food.

ON THE HOMEFRONT... a box (actually more than one) of the surprise superfood is en route to me as I write. This is something that'll keep me busy through spring-summer. I'll be tasting, cooking, and baking with it. After coming home from a trip I love to have things lined up to look forward to. This time it will be working on VINEGAR, 3rd edition and the SURPRISE SUPERFOOD book. 

...ON THE ROAD AGAIN... Not to forget another Barnes and Noble book signing in Roseville, CA the day before Easter. I love this bookstore and the people in Sacramento. Then in May it's south to Southern California to the World Tea Expo in Long Beach. This trip promises work and fun. Must visit the ocean one of the nights. And yep, a pool will be available to get my swim fix. Not looking forward to the smallish regional plane from point B to C but it's the only flight plan that provides three big aircraft. Gosh, how do I tell my critters that change is on the horizon. I don't have the heart to do it. Tomorrow.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Day Light Savings from an Author's Perspective

By Cal Orey

Today is the first day of Day Light Savings... My clocks--two chime--one oven, and a computer are finally in sync but I'm off. It's 6:15 and feels an hour earlier. It's almost 7 and it's still light outdoors. Time to get more physical. 
This morning I chose to ignore the canines who wear biological clocks on the wrists of their paws. I put the pillow over my head and in a light sleep repeated, "La, la, la..." It helped, sort of. I didn't want to give in. But eventually I did.

SHOPPING ON THE HILL... I've been looking for weeks to find that perfect infinity scarf for the upcoming work-play trip to the PNW. When you make a purchase online for something personal like this it's risky. So, I went to Heavenly Village shops (full of tourists) and did score the scarf of my fashion dreams. True, it was priced more than I wanted to pay. I left it. But within 15 minutes I returned and it was in the bag for me. It called out my name. It had me at the color and feel.

Somewhere in between the scarf hunt I craved a cookie. Walked into a cookie shop and my eyes focused on a petite peanut butter cookie. The man behind the counter would not sell it to me. He said I had to buy six. I darted, "I am small! I want to remain lean. I only want one." No can do. I walked out of the shop and was cookieless. I didn't return. The store's absurd policy doesn't work for me. If he had given me the cookie, more than likely, he'd have me addicted. As it stands, I will bake my own cookies.

NO WATER AT TAHOE...Worse, I craved a swim and hot tub at our local resort pool where I have a monthly membership. I was told via phone the card is only good for four week days and not five. I did not have permission to use it on Sunday. I complained: "The water has been freezing the last two times I've arrived. The women's hot tub has been down for months." He wouldn't budge. So a dog walk was the exercise I got on Sunday afternoon. 

SUNDAY NIGHT...Here I sit answering the phone psychic network and the calls are the usual--unrequited love. It makes me happy that I can smile solo with two dogs, one cat and no drama. It's a nice balance. But the callers are draining and since I'm an empath I thank the tea companies who help keep me calm with their wonder brew.

Looking at last week I made headway. The Vinegar book is in working progress to make it bigger and better than the 2nd edition. I've been cooking and baking with vinegars--sweet and savory custard to veggie salads and hearty cookies to vinegary scones are up; the pantry is stocked with a wide array of the superfood. Booked for the Healing Powers Series book signings and research for my dream book number six.

Overall, today was nice for the time change. But if I had my swim, hot bubbly water, and a cookie it would have been nicer. I sense the chamomile is kicking in. 

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.