Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Tribute to My Aussie, Happy Birthday

By Cal Orey
A pre-Valentine's Day gift waiting for me

My fur child and I bonded quickly
TODAY I LOVE MY DOG(S): I am dedicating a photo diary of my Australian Shepherd, Skyler "Skye"...  (See his mother/father/my words two years ago.) 
In Red Bluff, CA before pick-up in SAC
my native Californian pup 

He will be two-years-old on December 1. Recently, I discovered he was born early in the morning which is good news. My boy is a Fire Sign (Sag) and his Rising Sign is Libra, like me, and very compatible with my Aries cat Zen and Air Sign Gemini Brittany, Simon...

The only boy, I chose him in a heartbeat
Neutering a 10-month-old Aussie
is a challenge!
REMEMBERING BITTERSWEET NOVEMBER...Two years ago, November was a challenging month. I lost my six-year-old Brittany, Seth, to a neurological disorder. My family was grieving: Simon, his best canine pal, Zen, my sensitive kitty, my sibling, and me. I was lost. I was hurt. I needed a healing dog. I found another Britt--but the breeder gave the male to the sire's owner. Another dog, an English Setter, turned out to have some health issues. During the Christmas season my home was full a giant void. One morning, an ad caught my eye. Within days I was blessed with a male Aussie. I put my order in for the little guy who would win my heart and soul on Groundhog Day.
My herding dog makes me smile

Ah, fluffy puppy fur and paws
WELCOME GROUNDHOG DAY! Raising a pup is not easy when you aren't a puppy yourself.  (Memories in February 2013 with a new pup.) We're talking broken sleep, a few puddles of puppy pee, chewing anything and everything in sight. But in hindsight, I would do it all over again. 

HEALTHY AND HAPPY...Two years, so far his health is excellent. Although last week I took Skye to the vet for his left ear--scratching it was something that needed to be looked at. A minor yeast infection to be washed out and ear drops for one week. Reminds me of me: Ever since I moved to the mountains ear infections when it gets colder. 

As Skyler was growing, I was concerned about his weight. "How much will my Aussie weigh?" I asked everyone and anyone who had a clue. We missed on the blue eyes but amber with different colors in the light is awesome. "Will he weigh more than 40 pounds?" Indeed, Skye did grow bigger than Simon and once the size of my cat at 12 lbs. Today, my two other fur kids aren't bothered by Skye's weight and strength despite him being the biggest out of the three.
2013 Fall at Lake Tahoe
Getting a blue merle wans't planned
Outdoor-loving Sag, no surprise! Go dog
LADY FATE PAID ME A VISIT... There are no coincidences... Years ago, I wrote an article on Aussies. I never dreamed I'd go to a herding breed. I fell into it and I am glad I did. Australian Shepherds have a similar temperament to Brittanys--Type A and upbeat. Nothing to complain about here.

Snow dog but not off leash due to bully dogs

A great day with my boys
WE ALL GET ALONG IN 2014...As a proud owner of an Aussie, Brittany, and Siamese mix, I'm pleased to say everyone gets along. It took two days for the cat to warm up to Skye...and quite a while for Simon to come around. After all, he was in love with his Britt sidekick. But both the new pup and Simon are growing closer, day by day, and they do play, sleep with us, and Skyler is just what the doctor ordered! He's keeping my 11-year-old Brittany acting like a young two-year-old.

The bottom line: "There is a dog god"... And again, I've been blessed with warmhearted canine who has won my heart but I will never forget the dogs' pawprints (one Maltese, two Labs, and two Brittanys) on my soul in Dog Heaven.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Warm Beaches VS Canada--Author Headed North

By Cal Orey
Eating a vegetarian meal up high at the
Space Needle is on my list

A week before Thanksgiving and thoughts of a book signing at Barnes and Noble in Eastern Seattle/Bellevue is on my mind. While I do love late autumn at Lake Tahoe, I can't help but think about traveling to the PNW--Washington and Canada. Come January, once again I'll be headed north and out of my comfort zone...
Canada is on my mind (again)

GOING NORTH OR SOUTH... My semi-competitive sibling announced he will be going south to Costa Rica when I return from my business-vacation trip. I have tasted and written about coffee from there, a place where men have been tagged "macho" and years ago, I did hitchhike one hundred miles south of the border. Once I heard the news, the green-eyed monster appeared. My big winter escape suddenly didn't seem so exotic. 
Sibling adventurer on the Lake when
I swim at resort pools in the snow
These threads will keep this California girl warm

Sure, flying north to Seattle is still new and exciting to me, despite I've been there a few times--and it's not Alaska (I've written about the great earthquake, and was a kid when it hit and rocked the snow-covered ground for five minutes). Come to think about it, BC is part of the Cascadia Subduction Zone (overdue for a 9.0) and I have watched quake swarms in the region off the coast.

Visiting Vancouver is still a new playground for me. On my list of to do is going to Vancouver Aquarium, savoring coffee shops, finding a non-fish meal at "Sky City" and getting the nerve to book a B.C. Ferry to Victoria. But, but, but...

OLD MAN WINTER IS FICKLE...Wacky weather around the nation is on my mind. In my weather forecast for 2015 (published in December issue of Oracle 20/20 Magazine in my monthly Earth Changes column), I note lots of rain and some snow in the Pacific Northwest. So, while the 6000 mile trip to Quebec didn't come with a lot of "rough air" in flight, I'm sensing that this upcoming adventure may be a little more adventurous. I can do turbulence, sort of. Still, choppy water is another issue. I did take a ferry to Catalina and was fine, smooth sailing. However, when asked numerous times to go on San Francisco Bay waters know for its seasick journeys I passed, time after time. So, I suppose getting my sea legs will be the test. 
According to Wikipedia, 30s in Jan. is the norm for Vancouver
West end of downtown and view of Kitsi Beach

When I was younger in my early twenties, hitchhiking through the Mojave Desert on through Gulf states with warm water was my fantasy come true. These days, for some reason, I'm gravitating north where it's colder. Perhaps living at Lake Tahoe where it used to get below zero in the winter has changed my preference for temperature. I've always loved grey skies and fog, like in San Francisco so maybe that's another reason I'm northbound.  It's romantic.  I will sip coffee day and night since Vancouver is touted to be a top city for its joe.
Note to self: Bring java back from B.C.

TROPICAL NEXT IN LINE... So, while this upcoming trip is pre-ordered and ready to go I admit even another trip but south is on my brain. The Gulf states, Jamaica (I almost got there via plane by panhandling in the airport), are places I'm toying with...then Toronto, Canada keeps taunting me. Been there but am tempted to go back one more time. 
The deal is, sub-Mediterranean climate is in Washington and British Columbia. Read: It should be warmer than Tahoe when I leave. No need to rush the trip after the one that is coming up. After all, we're still in autumn, my favorite season, especially at the Lake. I'm sure after the Canada adventure it will come to me what's next.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Taking the Long Way Home with Fantasy Cookies

Rustic cookies are chewy, savory and sweet
I adore peanut butter. As the story goes, when I was just a kid after my mom returned from a trip to Europe she was smitten by dishing out gourmet food. She used me and my siblings as lab rats and tried her fancy fare on us. More times than not I, a picky eater, refused to oblige. Then she'd announce the punishment, “It’s peanut butter and jam sandwiches tonight.” I won.  Peanut butter sandwiches or cookies are like an old reliable friend—they always give you constant comfort.

Last weekend returning home from a Barnes and Noble book signing in Roseville, I accidentally took the long way home on State Route 49-- a north–south state highway that takes you through mining communities. At nighttime, this isn’t the way you want to go with its winding roads—a rural Gold Rush nightmare without street lights. The GPS woman’s directions were off  like a mean-spirited character in a “Twilight Zone” program. I was cold, hungry. “I want peanut butter cookies and hot chocolate,” I mumbled, envisioning cuddling up with my cat Zen and watching a film.  But bottled water and fantasies of cookies sufficed.
Enjoyed Roseville people

My mom baked large old-fashioned peanut butter cookies, the kind leaving a crisscross imprint on top. Mid-week, however, I created a smaller cookie with European style butter, and autumn spices. It promised a warm mix of sweet and savory crunch. These cookies boast an imperfect look—a rustic delight that give a taste of home with present-day flavors that took me into a new comfort zone.

Petite Peanut Butter Cookies
·        2 1/2 cups flour (your choice but all-purpose is traditional)
·        1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
·        1 1 /2 teaspoons (each) ground ginger and cinnamon
·        1/3 cup European style butter
·        1 cup low sodium, all natural peanut butter, creamy (no oil on top)
·        1 cup dark or light brown sugar
·        1/4 cup white granulated sugar
·        1 brown egg
·        1 teaspoon vanilla
·        Mediterranean sea salt
·        Apricot jam, organic

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and spices. Set aside. Place butter in a small microwavable dish and melt. Add butters and sugars. Mix in egg and vanilla. Combine all ingredients and mix well. (It will be crumbly.) Form cookie dough into a snake-like roll and wrap in parchment paper. (I saw this tip on “Food Network” and it works like a charm.) Chill for at least an hour. Slice dough into 1/4 inch slices, roll into petite balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Use the bottom of a cup to flatten the balls. Place crisscross marks with fork on top of balls. (You can also use your thumb to make an imprint to place jam.) Bake for about 8-10 minutes. Once out of the oven sprinkle half the cookies with Mediterranean Sea salt and other half with a mini spoonful of jam. This way you'll have both of best worlds. Makes about three dozen.
Finding the right texture in high altitude is a challenge

It's a challenge to bake good cookies in the high altitude. You've got to get a grasp on the right mix of sugars and flour for a chewy texture. And baking requires a higher temperature. I think I've got it down now after a decade of living here in the Sierras. The spices add warm flavors. The salt provides a nice kick and the jam a sweet punch. I wish I had these babies to munch on during that dark and cold Sierra Nevada road but homemade cookies make home even sweeter.
Motto: Infusing old-fashioned foods with a new European twist gives you a feeling of savoring a sophisticated cookie.
— Cal Orey, M.A.  is an author and journalist. Her books include "The HealingPowers" series (health-cookbooks) published by Kensington.  Her website is . 
This article was first published in Tahoe Daily Tribune.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Barnes and Noble Book Signing Shocking Surprise(s)

A customer purchased a coffee book and
 gift for me: a mug with
author T.S. Eliot's words
Leaving Tahoe always makes me remember-
I live in the mountains
By Cal Orey
"I have measured out my life in 
coffee spoons."
--T.S. Eliot

Yesterday, Saturday November 15, I traveled off the hill from Lake Tahoe to Sacramento for a book signing. 
My Healing Powers Series was the featured guest and I was pleasantly surprised. 

The Healing Powers of Honey drew attention like bees on a flower
COFFEE ATTRACTS CUSTOMERS!... For years,  my two popular books The Healing Powers of Vinegar and Olive Oil have been the workerbees or brainchild kids that work for me. I'm talking translated in more than a dozen languages, featured in major books clubs, in the Newsmax store, Walmart, and national magazines to radio talk show topics. But at the very elegant Roseville bookstore things changed! 

The mass market editions (same book, smaller books) didn't draw as much attention as COFFEE and CHOCOLATE.  People talked to me about the health perks of both these neglected once bad foods gone good. It was delightful! Of course, the drawing we offered to win gourmet coffee and Godiva chocolate helped draw attention.  And there were four winners!
Coming into SAC--a Mediterranean climate

BOOK SIGNINGS, PAST AND PRESENT... As noted in my last blog post, I've done dozens of book signings from a busy gathering at the Seattle, WA bookstore to Palmdale,  CA (both geologist Jim Berkland and I were on local TV dishing quakes on the San Andreas). Some signings I read and have a sit down audience; other signings I meet and greet people and chat one-on-one. Both formats work for me. Yesterday,  it was a combination.  Actually, I will take a vow of silence today because I talked so much! In will drink tea with honey to soothe my sore throat. The people who visited me were fascinating. Not only did they purchase my books, I enjoyed the vast variety of conversations with people and both genders of all ages.

GOING BACK HOME--A SPOOKY SCI-FI DARKER CHALLENGE...  Traveling with my adventurous sibling is always fun, sort of.  Ironically, we got there easily following mapquest.  
On the way home, thanks to the eerie know-it-all lady's voice who led us on GPS Navigator--it was a segment out of a Twilight Zone episode. We were duped and got lost on the long, winding road in rural areas headed for Placerville. It happened once before but it was daytime. This time around it was in the dark. You're supposed to drive 20 mph but we were forced to go faster because of people behind us. Think amusement park ride without amusement. In retrospect it was exciting driving all alone without lit roads. I couldn't help but get images of sci-fi films I've seen when the characters get lost in remote regions and monsters appeared. It took us three hours to get back home unlike the two hours mapquest route that allowed me to be at the store an hour early.
We were going to stay in SAC but then I remembered-
Zen was home alone!

I confess I did kennel my dog duo. They will get the pampering--extra walks, brushing (teeth and coat), treats and toys, and piped in music. I forget Simon's blanket and I didn't label their different dog chow... When I arrived home I knew it would be zen-like. My Siamese kitty Zen was waiting for me full of purring and snuggles. I got to sleep in until 10:30 AM. Bliss. 

The dogs? It's 5-6 AM every day and midnight last call. Vacation day/night.  But today in the afternoon I will help my boys escape and all will be back to normal. I pray the sensitive Aussie doesn't have attitude and piddle on my comfy, plush comforter form SAC. Psst. I haven't told them yet about my short trip to Reno bookstore for the next signing on January 3, nor my second longer Canada trip. Well, Santa will bring gifts and lots of love the next month and a half  to make up for my absence. And we will all live happily ever after.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Revised and Updated Olive Oil Book Is Here!

Happy author to be on the road at
 Barnes and Noble bookstores:
January 3, Reno, NV; January 10 Bellevue/Seattle, WA
Today, I received a special package on my doorstep. New Book(s) on the Amazing Powers of Olive Oil, 340 pages full  of new research, charming stories in chronological order (it could be another book!), other healing oils, unusual home cures, and comfort food recipes-with butter, oils, and EVOO-- for four seasons. It's time for people to pre-order this edgy book! Available December 30; but special orders for before Christmas can happen, with a little help from Santa's elves at Kensington!

A Complete Guide to Nature’s Liquid Gold,

Revised and Updated

By Cal Orey
Kensington Health, December  30 2014
Author Tour Begins...
ISBN: 978-1-61773-453-3
Publish Date: 12/30/2014

Format: Trade Paperback

Cal Orey’s previous book, The Healing Powers of Vinegar, has sold over 150,000 copies. 

The Healing Powers Series have been purchased by the prestigious One Spirit Book Club. 

From ancient times to present-day, olive oil has been used as a remarkable remedy for everything from health ailments to beauty and household uses and so much more. Now evidence shows that a diet based on olive oil can promote longer life and may even prevent some of the diseases linked with American diets. In THE HEALING POWERS OF OLIVE OIL, health journalist Cal Orey describes the latest medical research from leading experts on the many benefits of olive oil such as:

A fascinating read--olive oil is not only delicious--it is good medicine!" --Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D.

Discover Olive Oil's Extraordinary Powers!
Dining solo in Montreal was fun...salad, fresh baguettes

Revised and updated, this indispensible book reveals why chefs, doctors, and nutritionists all love extra virgin olive oil, a key ingredient in the Mediterranean Diet--and why other healthful oils from vegetables, fruits, and nuts are not far behind. You'll find easy recipes for satisfying foods like Pizza Baguettes with Garlic Oil, Fudgy Coconut Oil Brownies, Honey-Citrus-Olive Oil Fruit Kabobs, and Macadamia Nut Oil Cookies. Also included: home cures that beat colds and reduce pain, beauty and household secrets, and pet care tips that really work!
Warm up with NEW recipes: butter, olive oil, other healing oils

Deliciously healing surprises. . ..
The art of using olive oil for mind, body, and spirit goes back 6,000 years. Hippocrates, "the father of medicine," used olive oil in over 60 healing remedies.
New research confirms that olive oil can help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes, and it can stall age-related diseases.
Combining olive oil with other oils (like coconut and macadamia nut oils), can help combat fatigue, infections, and insomnia, and help you fight fat and shape up!
Bring on the butter--especially the right kind and right amount. When paired with oils, this twentieth-century "forbidden" saturated fat is a new twenty-first-century health food.
Olive oil was part of my dinner in Quebec

"Orey gives kudos to olive oil--and people of all ages will benefit from her words of wisdom." --Dr. Will Clower, CEO Mediterranean Wellness
About the Author:

CAL OREY is an author and a popular international journalist. She has a master’s degree in English from San Francisco State University, and for the past twenty years, has written hundreds of articles for a wide variety of national and international magazines. She specializes in topics on nutrition, health, beauty, and relationships. Her books include The Healing Series (Vinegar, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee). Her website:

Monday, November 10, 2014

My View on Book Signings, Past, Present and Future

Coffee is the star in Roseville this Saturday
By Cal Orey
November 15, 2014
Saturday   1:00 PM
1256 Galleria Boulevard
RosevilleCalifornia 95678

Book Signings. You can't live with them and you can't live without them. I have been a featured author at Barnes and Noble bookstores for several years as well as a guest at Borders and Neighbors, our Lake Tahoe defunct bookstore--I was the first and last author at the charming store that didn't get enough business during the years, much like The Shop Around the Corner replaced by Fox bookstores in the film "You've Got Mail"...
Roseville, Saturday January 15 at 1 PM
Some of the stores I've signed books include: San Jose (my hometown and nobody came), Walnut Creek (with geologist Jim Berkland, TV station crew), San Mateo (doctors didn't make it for the Doctors' Orders book), San Francisco (a very busy signing for The Man Who Predicts Earthquakes), Sacramento (dogs upstaged me and my books), Chico (my Brittany Simon was a gentleman and well received), Glendale (a super big audience and lots of interaction), Palmdale (TV crew), Costa Mesa (the geologist held the fort down while I fought a cold at Laguna Beach in a posh hotel), Seattle Downtown (a busy day with a big audience), and Las Vegas (lots of books sold, different people and a ghostwriting gig followed). The thing is, with respect to Forest Gump's mother's words: Book signings are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get.

HELLO ROSEVILLE...Some of the past discussion/signings I went to drew a crowd, like one at Roseville. I invited a guest speaker and we fought for the microphone. My face turned red, at first. I am an ambivert. When dozens of people are staring at me and waiting for me to speak it can be a little unsettling. But when I'm on the radio, like Coast to Coast with George, I'm in my comfort zone and speak from the heart--and pray that my soothing, sexy voice comes out late at night, which it does more times than not. And that is why I am a repeat guest. I suppose the same happens at book signings where I'm face to face with people but deep inside my heart still goes pitter patter--not so much on the phone.

On the road is on my mind
So, this week on Saturday I will be returning to Roseville, outside of SAC. It's my job to dish on the perks of coffee which shouldn't be too difficult. I am a coffee lover. I never know if there will be a lot of people or if I will play meet and greet one on one. No matter since I've done both formats. Also, one time the community regional manager of a Barnes and Noble store invited guide dogs. Mistake. 
A different book signing upstaged by dogs
The canines got more attention and hugs so I simply put my pen down and bonded with a Great Dane who had attitude and didn't buy my book. 

This time around at Roseville,  I'm going to offer a drawing for free bags of store coffee! The store will be offering my Healing Powers Series but coffee is the star--and they have a coffee bar. I used to take my fur kids, pups and adults...tomorrow they are going to the nice kennel: extra walks, nail trim for Skye, nice brushing, and a break for all one day/night. They do not know yet...and I haven't told them about Seattle-Vancouver. But they were so happy last trip...pampering is the trick.

A better version of a popular book
RENO, NEVADA ON JANUARY 3...Come January, it's off to Reno. I adore this bookstore. There is a mural of famous classic authors--the masters--other stores have this feature, too. This time around I will take a picture of it...and, of course, someone will take a pic of me signing books. It will be my new book, the 2nd edition of The Healing Powers of Olive Oil. This book is my 2nd child, all grown up and has worked hard for me. I'm proud. And this book is more than 50 percent updated and revised. I'm talking new research, other healing oils, unusual home cures, recipes using olive oil, other oils and butter. Not to forget up close and very personal stories in each chapter.

Two days and one night Sleeping in Seattle 

SEATTLE/BELLEVUE... January 10. This is going to be a big event for me. I will be reading some stories which I include in each chapter, my favorite ones will be shared in front of folks. Recipes will be passed out as well as a question and answer segment. And, not only will the OLIVE OIL book be the highlight, my other books, including COFFEE, HONEY, and CHOCOLATE will be on the table. 
The signing will most likely be one that I will cherish and for my reward? Afterwards another visit to Canada is on the agenda. While it's only almost mid-November, I can feel the Pacific Northwest is going to make me do my happy dance with my dog duo. I'm already smiling each time I think of the trip up North. Taking a long train ride across the border to Canada; a high rise hotel in downtown Vancouver; visiting the Vancouver Aquarium and other sites has my mind and heart working over time for the day when it all happens.