Carbon Tax, saving the environment or cash grab?

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Cabo San Lucas Mexico Condos on Airbnb

My brother has listed his brand new condos on Airbnb recently.  They are gorgeous, luxury condos located in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico situated on a golf course with south/west exposure.  The views (including sunsets) are exquisite.  Apparently (I have never been there, yet) the weather in Cabo is nice all year around. Situated on the west coast of Mexico, Cabo San Lucas features the Pacific Ocean and desert-like scenery with less humid conditions than the east coast.

 

There are two 2 bedroom penthouse units that can be rented individually or together (side by side, with a locking door between them) for a larger group.  Each unit is beautifully (professionally) decorated with a full kitchen and a roof top patio complete with jacuzzi, wet bar and gas fire pit.  One bedroom in each has a king sized bed, the other a queen, with a sofa in each living area.

The condos are located within the gated community of Copala at Quivira.  Available amenities include access to four Pueblo Bonito all-inclusive resorts, golf course (Jack Nicklaus), gym, pool and clubhouse/spa.  Guests receive discounts on golf, spa, food and beverages at any of these sites.  Nearby activities include hiking, deep sea and surf fishing, infamous Cabo nightlife and public beaches.

This brother is the youngest of six siblings so naturally very independent and adventurous.  These condos are a big part of his retirement plan.  My job as his big sister (I’m the second youngest) is to help him achieve this goal by promoting this new adventure to build his ratings.  Although he looks like he’s well on his way without my help, perhaps a visit to check out the condos is in order.

Please check out his listings on Airbnb.  If you have any questions or comments, do not hesitate to contact him.  Let him know you read about his listings here!  And, if you do go check out these luxury condos yourself, be sure to provide comments and ratings on Airbnb.

Unit #6603 2-Bedroom

Unit #6604 2-Bedroom

Combined #6603/#6604 4-Bedroom

 

 

 

Seat belts on buses recommended

Apparently seat belts on buses were recommended long ago after a Transport Canada investigation confirmed the fact that occupants are at unnecessary risk when riding on a large bus.  Doesn’t this seem like a no brainer?  It sure does to me.  I’m also pretty sure it must be to the parents of the hockey players killed in the Humboldt Saskatchewan crash last April.

The results of this investigation were kept under wraps for years, but recently outed by The Fifth Estate.  Why the delay?  They (Transport Canada) were waiting for the USA to change their laws so we could just follow suit.  Why does Canada have to wait for the USA to update their laws?  Good question, we shouldn’t.

School buses, coach buses, and possibly even city buses (although their use would be much harder to enforce) should be equipped with seat belts.  We could then add another step to train drivers that their vehicle must not (even cannot) operate unless occupants are compliant.  Surely with the technology available today sensors are available to monitor such things.  Retrofitting buses currently in use might be expensive, but one taxpayers might be willing to swallow.

I can vouch for the fact I would rather pay for that than the expense accounts of former Governors General and the pensions of former politicians.  Are you with me?

1958 was a great year for producing men

Last weekend my husband celebrated his 60th birthday with 5 of his BFFs, 4 of whom were also born within the last half of 1958.  The sixth is one year younger. Although these guys get together for weekends a few times a year, their better halves were included in this celebration. Three couples live in Ottawa (including us), two live in Toronto and the fifth birthday boy resides in Belleville.

These guys have known each other since primary school, growing up in Kingston, Ontario.  Most of them attended post secondary school in Kingston as well. Only two of these six men have biological brothers so they are very much like brothers to each other. That makes them real, actual BFFs although they affectionately call each other “Bud.”  One could say BFFs are the new Buds, or more aptly Buds are the old BFFs.

1958
their hats say “bud 60”

These BFFs have been together through good times and bad, including six weddings, the birth of fourteen babies, one divorce, the deaths of many of their parents, and very tragically, one death of a beloved spouse. Our fourteen collective children range in age from 21 to 35 but we are the only couple with grandchildren to boast about.  So far.  I’m sure they all left here looking forward to welcoming their own grandchildren after meeting one of ours and seeing lots of pictures of the other two.

Although we celebrated my husband’s 60th birthday with our immediate family in August, he did not want a big splash.  This weekend party (it did last pretty much all weekend) here in Ottawa was the perfect way to celebrate their friendship and their milestone birthdays. Together, like brothers, buds or BFFs.  Now that most of them are retired, we hope to get together more often.

I wasn’t around yet in 1958, but can vouch for the fact that it produced some pretty awesome men.  One of them I am married to, the other four are his buds.

 

 

 

Kitchen Tower by J.L. Woodworking

A kitchen tower is an awesome idea for those of you with small children (kids or grandkids) that love to “help out” in the kitchen.  The ingenious design allows toddlers and small children to be safely at counter height for baking, snacking or just watching (as my grandson loves to do) you cook.

This kitchen tower design can be adjusted for height and folds up for easy storage too. Constructed of painted or unfinished (your choice) wood, they are made just south of Ottawa (North Gower). Scheduled deliveries are currently available to Toronto and Montreal.

My neighbour and friend has one (the original prototype) for her grandson.  Her nephew-in-law makes this line of children’s furniture in his spare time, over and above his day job.  Recently moving the start up business from a single car garage to a more spacious workshop, he and his wife are on their way to their ultimate goal of a full time family business.  The demand for these kitchen towers in particular has skyrocketed.  Please check out their website at JL Woodworking for more information, pricing and ordering.  This hard working couple would appreciate your business, so please be sure to like and share their info

This Grandma has ordered hers!

Salif Gueye dances his way into Ellen’s heart

Salif Gueye wowed Ellen and millions of viewers today with his dancing…

With Michael Jackson as his idol and inspiration, 22 year old dancer Salif is amazingly talented.  He currently dances in the streets (for tips) to showcase this talent.  In fact a YouTube video of him doing so in his home town of Paris, France recently went viral catching Ellen’s discerning eye.  His fluid moves are simply (actually nothing simple about them) spectacular.

Salif

Known for helping to launch many talented performers spiralling them into fame, Ellen may be on to something (someone special) here.  Just ask Justin Bieber. He was invited to her show after Ellen saw his first video on YouTube.  He was so new to the scene that Ellen mispronounced his last name.  Shortly after that appearance Bieber released his first album.  The rest is now (music) history.

I dare say Salif is an even better dancer (if that is possible) than Michael Jackson.  What do you think?

MMIW: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

Information and knowledge about and support for the MMIW database is spreading.  If you are unaware (as I was) what this is, please check it out and add your support.  The number of indigenous or native women and girls that are missing and/or have been murdered is staggering.  Help to spread the word and bring about justice for these women and their families.

MMIW

 

This database, created by Annita Lucchesi, a doctoral student at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, includes data from both Canada and the USA from 1900 onward.  I learned of the database from my sister, currently the Dean of Liberal Education at the same university.  The MMIW project does not (currently) receive any funding from any government or academic facilities.  Hopefully, that will change, and soon.  So far, 3148 cases have been documented, but many more (close to 25,000) are suspected.

This issue should be treated as a national crisis in both countries! In fact, I remember an election promise by current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that he would treat these missing women as a priority.  What is the government waiting for?  This MMIW database is a good start.  Hopefully it will generate more support (from the right people)than any previous research on the subject.

Governor General Expenses are How Much?

Here in Canada we have a (some say redundant) Governor General position.  The person to fill this position is chosen by the Queen (or current monarch) of England, with advisement from the prime minister, as their representative of the monarchy in Canada.

Predominantly ceremonial in nature, the necessity of the role has been debated for years.  Tax payers dole out an annual salary of $288K for a current Governor General and an annual pension payment of $140K for former position holders.  That’s pretty lucrative for a short term position.  The issue is even more controversial recently as expense reports (over and above her pension) for former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson were revealed by the National Post as over extravagant.  To the tune of a million dollars overly extravagant.  After her mere six year stint as our Governor General.

Governor General

These expense claims are not currently made available to the public.  In this day and age of promised transparency (at least in an election year) and accessibility to information seeking technology (google), one would think this information would be easy to find.  Doesn’t it make you wonder what other former Governors General are claiming as their expenses?

Our prime minister has promised to “look into it” but that doesn’t give too many people (myself included) a warm fuzzy feeling.  Especially as his priorities do not appear to be focused on the concerns of taxpayers.  I have a feeling Clarkson’s expenses are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Maintenance Free Garden Favourites

 

This time of year blooms are pretty scarce in my gardens.  As I prepare my clients’ garden beds for the fast approaching winter, I take note (mentally) which perennials are essentially maintenance free.  That feature is in great demand for busy gardeners.

Heucheras are one of these.  They look great all year, even after the first few frosts have turned most other perennial stalks and leaves to mush.  They are absolutely maintenance free in the fall and require next to nothing in the spring.  Remove any crispy leaves and they are good to go.  I particularly love the dark burgundy colored varieties, but there are many others, including rusty orange and chartreuse. More and more I am using them as edging plants in my gardens…

maintenance free

 

Other (almost) maintenance free perennials include the ornamental grasses that are so popular today.  One of the reasons they are so popular is the fact that cutting them back to the ground first thing in the spring before new growth appears is the only maintenance required.  Another reason for their popularity is the growing number of gorgeous varieties available.  Remember though to check tags for their hardiness before purchasing. Here are just a few…

Although sedges look like they belong in the ornamental grass family, they don’t.  They are grass-like in appearance and grow in tufts, especially well in wet marshy areas.  Unlike the ornamental grasses, they don’t do well in the hot dry conditions of full sun spots in your garden.  They do however look great in shadier spots and tolerate part sun conditions.  Remaining green all year, they are maintenance free.  Another bonus is that they are very easy (unlike the ornamental grasses) to divide and move around.  So easy in fact that I have even used them in winter containers with evergreen boughs.

maintenance free

 

Although roses are not completely maintenance free, the newest varieties are pretty close.  Some don’t need any pruning (shrub roses) and others need only minor pruning after the last frost date in spring.  Many of the newest varieties bloom all summer long too.  Shrub roses do not need winter protection and many are hardy to zone 2!  To protect other hardy roses I mound soil around the base/crown of the plant after the ground freezes.  This prevents damage from freeze and thaw cycles through the winter.

 

Take your pick.  Most of these perennials pictured here are relatively maintenance free.  Just what busy garden lovers want.

Reverse Advent Calendar, Lesson for Children

This idea of a reverse advent calendar is wonderful and a great way to teach your children to think of the less fortunate instead of themselves. Skip the routine chocolate/candy advent calendar and try this instead.

reverse advent calendar

When my sons were young we helped deliver Christmas food baskets that their schools had filled.  I will always remember the proud moment when one of my sons (I cannot remember which one or which event) commented “I like how it makes me feel inside when I do something nice for someone else.”

Our family also used to participate in Operation Christmas Child sponsored by Samaritan’s Purse.  For this project we filled empty shoeboxes with small toys, school and art supplies or other things kids would love.  Convenient drop off locations made it very simple to donate to a great cause.  We even received pictures (after Christmas) of children around the world opening the boxes.

reverse advent calendar

Of course we should donate all year around and not just at Christmas time, but these ideas are powerful learning tools for our kids and grandkids.  Kindness and compassion for others never gets old!