The more I read about him, the more I’m liking Nour Kadri for Ottawa’s Mayor as an alternative to front runners Catherine McKenney or Mark Sutcliffe.
CTV has polled voters to determine their priorities in this election. Public transit efficiency, local economy, possible tax hikes, and affordable housing for all residents top the list.
Dog parks, tourism, and millions of dollars for new bike lanes are (understandably) lower.
From what I’ve heard so far in this mayoral race, McKenney seems financially irresponsible, non credible, almost delusional. Accounting basics and common sense dictate you should take the budget into consideration when spending.
For example, does promising free bus fare to anyone make sense when our public transit system is already millions in debt? It sure won’t increase efficiency!
While I prefer Sutcliffe’s “look for inefficiencies” approach to McKenney’s “spend, spend, spend” one, he appears too complacent to me. Perhaps that’s just his personality, but he gives the impression his heart is not in the mayoral race.
I do like the fact that Sutcliffe is new to politics, so offers a credible alternative to “more of the same” rhetoric and irresponsible/frivolous spending.
Nour Kadri The Alternative Candidate?
If you haven’t yet heard of him, take a moment to learn. Nour Kadri ticks all the boxes for Ottawa’s mayor in my opinion:
Well and diversely educated
Years of relatable (but not political) experience
Great speaker, well versed
Financially literate, with budget expertise
Unfortunately, Kadri was not invited to debate the front runners. He would have blown them out of the water. Thistweet confirms that!
These are just my opinions of course. Do your own research before you exercise your right to vote. You’ve only got 11 more days to decide until the 24th of October election date!
When I spied this beautiful butterfly enjoying my wildflower garden at our family cottage recently I realized I didn’t know much about this species. Now that I am better educated on the subject, I believe monarch butterflies are fascinating. I bet you don’t know much of this information.
Monarchs are Generational
This means one butterfly produces multiple generations, with each successive generation behaving differently. The last generation of monarch butterflies migrate to Mexico and then reproduce on their way back north when days lengthen and temperatures warm up. Referred to as summer, or first-generation monarchs, these offspring begin laying eggs at a few days old and only live for a month as adults. Each new generation produced from that original migrant travels farther north, taking three or four generations to get as far as the northern United States and Canada.
Monarchs born early in the summer do not move far using their energy instead to produce as many offspring as possible. However, those that emerge later, referred to as generation four, will migrate to and from Mexico. Unlike the other generations, they do not reproduce right after birth. Instead, when days become shorter and temperatures decrease at the end of the summer, they feast on nectar to prepare for their long journey to southern climates. The delayed maturity of their reproductive organs is called diapause, a condition that lasts until the following spring, after which they begin to mate close to the spot they overwintered down south.
Monarchs cannot handle cold weather. As the only butterflies that navigate a complicated, two-way migration, when the temperatures dip, they know to head south. Not only do they migrate but they follow very specific routes to do so, traveling up to one hundred miles a day, and up to three thousand miles in total. Researcherscurrently believe that these incredible creatures use the position of the sun as well as the magnetic pull of the earth to navigate their routes and direct them. They also take advantage of air currents to ease their travel.
Monarchs living west of the Rocky Mountains migrate to southern California, while those living further east have several routes that merge in central Texas before heading to Mexico. Traveling only during daylight hours, monarch butterflies cluster together to roost at night to stay warm, sometimes as many as ten thousand in one tree! They prefer cedars, firs, and pines whose canopies offer comfortable temperature and humidity levels.
Male vs Female Monarchs
Male monarchs have two black dots on their lower wings while females do not. Males also have wider black stripes at the top than their female counterparts. Therefore, the monarch in my picture is a male.
Milkweed Plants are Necessary for Monarchs
Each generation of monarchs begins its life on a species of the milkweed plant. First generations depend on Asclepias oenotheroides, A. viridis and A. asperula in the south. The other generations rely on A. syriaca (common milkweed), A. incarnata (swamp milkweed), and A. tuberosa (butterfly milkweed).
Conclusions About Monarch Butterflies
Well, have you learned anything? I sure did.
Although I have lots of milkweed planted in the two butterfly gardens I recently planted, I have no idea what kind of milkweed plants they are. I will investigate. Wherever you live, find and plant the appropriate species of milkweed to help the monarchs continue their cycles.
I now realize that the monarch I saw this week in my garden was a generation four. My camera and I followed its bloom-hopping trek as it competed with the bees for the nectar on the late-blooming asters.
Funerals always seem to have a spiritual effect on me, a recent one was no different. I went home touched by a story titled “Keep your Fork, The Best is Yet to Come.”
There was a woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. As she was getting her things in order, she contacted her preacher and asked him if he would come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read and what clothing she wanted to be buried in. The woman also requested to be buried with her favorite Bible. Everything was in order and the preacher was preparing to leave, when the woman suddenly remembered something very important.
“There’s one more thing” she said excitedly. “What’s that?” came the preacher’s reply. She told him, “This is something very important, I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.” The preacher stood looking at the woman not knowing quite what to say. “That surprises you, doesn’t it?” the woman asked. “Well, to be honest I’m puzzled by the request,” said the preacher. The woman explained, In all my years of attending church potluck dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, “Keep your fork.” It was my favorite part of the dinner because l knew that something “better” was coming …. like velvety chocolate cake or deep dish apple pie – something wonderful, and with substance!
So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder, “What’s with the fork?” Then I want you to tell them, “Keep your fork – the best is yet to come.” The preacher’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the woman good-bye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death, but he also knew that the woman had a better grasp of heaven than maybe he did because she knew that something “better” was coming.
At the funeral, the woman’s many friends were walking by her casket and they saw the pretty dress she was wearing, her favorite Bible and the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the preacher heard the question, “what’s with the fork?” And over and over he simply smiled. As he spoke the eulogy, the preacher told those in attendance of the conversation he had with the woman shortly before she died. He also told them how he could not stop thinking about the fork and said they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either. He was right.
The dearly departed person we were all celebrating the life of was a former co-worker of mine for many years. Although she was older than me and retired earlier than I did, we had lots in common. Other than working together in a hospital lab for years.
We kept in touch after we both retired because we had many interests in common. We shared April birthdays (two days apart), an appreciation for the beauty in nature, an affinity for sipping tea, loyal support of the Ottawa Senators, a love of wildlife and plants, as well as the talent to brag about and post pictures of our respective grandchildren.
Sharing Branches of our Family Tree
It also turns out we shared ancestors, this fact discovered years ago in a funny story. Way back, when Diana Spencer became the Princess of Wales we were chatting at work about the wedding. It went something like this:
Her: I found out I’m related to Princess Diana
Me: Really? So am I, apparently
Her: how are you related?
Me: My great, great, great, great (I think only 4) grandmother was a Spencer
Her: Huh, so was mine!
A few days later, she pulls out a family tree and shows me her great, great, great, great grandmother’s branch of said tree. It turned out her branch and my branch were sisters! That made us cousins, many times removed, but related nonetheless. This familial connection also helps explain our shared fascination with the royal family. Although we did not share her love for genealogy, my brother does, so I gave her his contact information so they could compare notes.
Keep Your Fork for Dessert
I have heard “keep your fork” many times over the years, in fact, it brought back memories of the farmhouse meals my grandmother used to make. Of course, that was way before the invention of dishwashers when the only variety of those were the two-legged kind. My reason for keeping my fork was based on my love for a good dessert, something else we shared.
Keeping Your Fork in a Spiritual Sense
The spiritual version to keep your fork for better things to come may help those pondering what is on the other side when we leave this world for heaven. This interpretation may be especially comforting for those suffering before their transition as well as for their family members watching them suffer.
Last fall, after much pleading on my part (plan approval is a complicated process), I was granted permission to design and create a butterfly garden at the local hospice I volunteer at. I have also referred to it as a wildflower garden to differentiate it from the more formal garden beds I have designed and planted there. This is my butterfly garden success story!
Although I posted an update this past spring, with details of the planting methods used, the final verdict on the success of my butterfly/wildflower garden was still out back then. These pictures were taken in early summer when things (not just weeds) finally started to grow…
This week, (late summer) I am thrilled to report that the experiment was a huge success! The warm and wet weather (and our hard work of course) has created a riot of colourful blooms in the garden…
Butterflies, Birds, and Bees…oh my!
Although I have been calling this a butterfly garden, the goal is to attract hummingbirds and bees to our new garden as well. The variety of plant shapes and flower colours in this garden is akin to a smorgasbord of delectables to attract all of mother nature’s creatures in droves. This type of garden is also referred to as a pollinator garden for obvious reasons. The stepping stones are to permit strolling through the garden as well as maintenance in the form of weeding and watering.
Hospice Garden Team
There are lots of I’s so far in this post. To clarify and assign credit where it is due in spades, (pun intended) this project (and the landscaping at the hospice in general) would never have reached this level of success without the keenness and diligence of our garden team at Ruddy Shenkman Hospicein Kanata.
These dedicated team members are on-site lots more than I am. For example, we have a watering schedule that ensures all the containers, new gardens, and new additions to older, established garden beds get attended to daily. We also have team members (one wonder woman in particular) designated for lawn cutting. With the extensive RSH property, these are huge, behind-the-scene tasks. As a (semi-retired) professional landscaper,my main role on the team is to design and create new projects (garden beds) and identify chores that need to be done to keep the gardens looking as great as they do. I’m getting good at making lists, although I still love getting my hands dirty in the planting stage.
Successes in Butterfly Garden Planning
I learned lots through the experimental process of this butterfly garden and made a few mistakes but my vision prevailed. Phew!
The mini greenhouses on my back deck all winter were definitely a success and something I would highly recommend! Those plastic clamshell containers from grocery stores come in handy for this purpose. They make for an inexpensive propagation method to sprout seeds, especially those that require cold stratification to germinate.
Also a huge success was the idea to plant seeds under clear plastic cups. On a whim, I did this in the early spring to fill in the blanks between the transplanted sprouts from the greenhouses. Using seeds of annuals from a big box store (poppies, asters, zinnias, cosmos, cleomes, and more) I simply put four or five seeds under each cup, pushed the cup into the soil to keep it from blowing in the wind, kept the soil wet around the cups, and waited for sprouts. I was amazed!
Sprinkling mixed seeds last fall was (relatively) a bust. These seeds were collected from plants in my gardens as well as from my clients’ gardens. I had a garden waste bag full of seeds. Although the thought was to provide a random dispersion of plants, the randomness was a little too excessive. Especially frustrating was trying to differentiate the weeds from the desired plants.
I also regret succumbing to the complaints about my “stick garden.” In doing so I removed the stakes that showed our team where the “keepers” (as opposed to weeds) were, making it frustrating for us all.
Convincing the Doubters
I think I also earned the respect of my fellow garden team members and hospice staff that were scratching their heads in disbelief throughout. Especially when the weeds were hard to differentiate from the wildflowers and butterfly attractors. I heard the term “stick garden” mumbled a few times when all that was visible was my stakes where the plants were supposed to be growing.
The good news? Everyone is enthusiastically on-board now. And, the most important critics of all, a few monarch butterflies and lots of bees were spotted enjoying the garden last week!
The beauty of self-seeding annuals is that they do just that, produce flower heads full of seeds that scatter randomly in the fall. Left in place, the seeds get buried in snow and pop up next spring as new plants.
I added butterfly-loving (brightly coloured) perennials, such as coneflowers, milkweed, Russian sage, blanket flowers, and many others to the bed to fill in the blanks between the annuals.
Avocado toast is a currently popular, healthy, lectin-free alternative to peanut butter or jam, or PB&J. Breakfast, lunch, or an anytime snack are great reasons to give avocado toast a try.
Add Pesto for a Twist
I love avocado toast, especially with my signature twist of homemade, also incredibly healthy, pesto.
Featuring fresh basil and garlic from my backyard garden, my version of pesto can be quickly whipped up by adding parmesan, almonds, and just enough virgin olive oil (for the healthiest version) to create a paste. I use my Pampered Chef blender, love how well it works for this recipe.
Sorry, I never measure the ingredients when I blend a batch of pesto. Or many other things for that matter. You could Google a proper recipe for a guideline though. Although traditional pesto recipes call for pine nuts, I prefer to use always-available-in-my-pantry almonds instead. Remember, almonds contain healthy fatty acids.
I scrape a batch of pesto into an icecube tray, then freeze. A few hours later, pop the cubes into a sealable container and store them in your freezer.
Uses for Pesto
My pesto cubes get added to soups, pasta, sauces, and more. Just today I had pesto avocado toast with a few pieces of bacon left over from yesterday’s breakfast.
Pesto also makes a healthier substitute for mayo in a toasted tomato sandwich or a BLT. I haven’t tried this yet, but can you imagine a macaroni or potato salad with pesto instead of mayo?
Use your imagination! The possibilities are endless. Let me know your favourites.
What’s the difference between grass or grain-fed, free-range, or pasture-raised when it comes to beef cattle and poultry? It can be confusing and advertising can be misleading. Read on to learn the difference.
Grass-Fed or Pasture-Raised
Grass-fed is also referred to as pasture-raised. For beef cattle, this means the cows live on grass without supplementation from grains of any kind. In the winter months, they live on hay which is just grass in a dried state.
Poultry that is pasture-raised refers to those that have outdoor access to scratch and peck at grass and bugs but shelter from hot sun, cold or wet weather. They are also supplied with feed. In other words, they are allowed to roam (somewhat) freely to do what comes natural to them.
Grain-fed refers to the cattle and poultry that are raised on grain alone.
The problem for cows lies in the fact that they (like many humans) cannot properly digest grains which causes numerous health issues. The reason for this is because cows are ruminants meaning their digestion process requires a fermentation stage.
The big issue for massive, grain-fed poultry stations is the lack of space for the birds to spread their wings, literally. Chicken and eggs sold in stores may claim to be “cage-free” but that doesn’t necessarily indicate they are raised humanely.
In fact, large grain-fed cattle and poultry stations are known to support inhumane practices too. Too often cattle and poultry are packed like sardines into a small area.
Animals fed corn as the grain leads to a whole other problem as corn is highly linked to GMO issues.
Then you have individuals like myself who are allergic to wheat. It took me years to figure out why I react to some eggs but not others.
Some cattle start off grass (pasture) fed but then end up receiving grains to fatten them up for market. This is referred to as “finishing.” Done humanely, (without overcrowding) this should not be a deal breaker.
You may not care whether your beef, poultry, or eggs are grass or grain-fed, free-range or pasture-raised. Educate yourself on the difference and you may just start caring.
These pictures were taken at my uncle’s farm where their cattle and chickens are grass-fed or pasture-raised. I love to visit this childhood-invoking farm with my grandchildren.
Have you heard that siestas (AKA naps) are good for you? Apparently, they are, especially during the hot weather we have been experiencing. This is because our body temperatures lower automatically when we sleep.
Read all about the history of siestas to see how they made sense centuries ago and continue to do so today. What started off many years ago as a necessity is now touted to be highly beneficial to our health. Whether you are accustomed to heatwaves or not, cooling off with a midday nap might be the answer this summer.
Why Siestas are Healthy
Research has shown that naps are beneficial for boosting energy, increasing creativity, and even improving short-term memory. Parents know children that who nap during the day can maintain better behaviour and energy levels until bedtime at night. Apparently, adults can benefit from naps too; the question is how long should adults nap for maximum productivity.
How Long Should Adults Nap For?
The same source reveals that fifteen to twenty-five minutes is an ideal length for siestas. A mere 20-minute nap can boost energy levels without feeling groggy upon waking. For adults that is. Any longer than that promotes a deeper sleep which may cause brain fog, grogginess, and low productivity, totally defeating the purpose of midday siestas.
At one hour grogginess is reduced but short-term memory can improve. One hour and thirty minutes of sleep allow for a full REM (rapid eye movement) cycle, and improved creativity upon waking. Longer naps are especially beneficial when making up for a lack of sleep the night before.
Children and Naps
Of course, young children need longer naps to avoid the consequences of sleep deprivation. They probably benefit more from a minimum of 90 minutes of napping. Parents probably benefit most from their children taking longer naps too, creating a win-win situation.
Listening to the radio recently, I was reminded of some words of wisdom my mother shared with me years ago.
iHeartRadio’s Brooke and Jeffrey in the morning show were in the middle of a second date episode. The pretext is this: if you go on a first date with someone and they ghost you (don’t contact you or return your calls, texts, messages etc), you contact the radio show to enlist their help to find out why. The funny part is that the ghostee is on the line listening to the ghoster’s reasons for their behaviour without the latter’s knowledge. After the dirty laundry is aired, both parties are then asked if they would be willing to go on a second date, at the expense of the radio station.
The young lady in this specific episode was (in my opinion) pretty high on herself…because (in her opinion) she’s really good-looking. When she only received a text from the ghostee within the next 24hrs, she moved on to the list of other guys she “swiped.”
You might think I’m wandering off-topic here, (I do that sometimes) but bear with me this time. I will get back to the words of wisdom from my mother.
Looks will get you the First 5 Minutes
And after that, you’re on your own.
I heard these words of wisdom many times whenever I was primping (yes, I too was a vain teenager) in front of a mirror in preparation for an evening out.
What old-fashioned words of wisdom do you remember hearing that may not be so common today?
Is osteoarthritis ruining your life? It is mine, and I am not happy. For years it represented a minor annoyance when my right hip would click or hurt occasionally and for just a nanosecond. Recently though, the condition took a turn for the worse.
During Canada celebrations, I was standing around lots watching some of my grandchildren enjoy the fair-like rides. For some reason, my arthritic hip does not appreciate standing around. Within a span of an hour or so, my osteoarthritis went from a twinge once in a while to 8 out of 10 painful.
I can walk for miles, at least I could, prior to this flare-up. My hip also currently doesn’t like stairs or pivoting. Or cold. It never did like cold but today the freezer section of the grocery store made it throb.
I had already decided to reduce my gardening hours but now I might have to give it up completely! I hope not, will have to wait to see if the pain continues or subsides to its previous, manageable level. It has been a full week already since the flare-up occurred. Just when I think I am feeling better, it acts up again.
I realize too, that if you don’t use it you lose it. Perhaps my hip is bothering me more because I am not gardening (stretching, bending, squatting etc) enough. We (hubby and I) have also not been taking our evening, hour-long walks around the neighbourhood. We have been working at the cottage though, so that should account for something, shouldn’t it? Although, I am more of the gopher and consultant and he is the worker bee in those projects. So more standing around for me and less for him.
Treating the Osteoarthritis
Honestly, I have been taking it easy since the flare-up. In fact, I have read three books in the past week. I know that rest is the best way to alleviate the pain; I’m just not used to being sedentary. And, it scares me of what is to come.
Pain medication is not a great option for me as I react to most of them. I have been trying several herbal remediesinstead but most of them take a while to take effect.
Anyone I know that has had hip replacement surgery for their osteoarthritis says they wished they had done it sooner. My problem is that my doctor retired recently and I have been unable to find a new one. I have x-rays from a year ago showing that my right hip shows moderate osteoarthritic changes. Also an issue is the waiting list for arthroscopic or hip replacement surgery here in Canada.
This would be the best option in my opinion but I’m not sure I am eligible. They can insert a tiny camera and instruments through a few minuscule holes to repair cartilage or bone malformations. This procedure can be performed in a few hours with much less downtime (as little as two days) than the alternative.
Unfortunately, hips already in the process of osteoarthritis (like mine) do not benefit from arthroscopic surgery.
Hip Replacement Surgery
Hip replacement is much more complicated and invasive. The femoral head (the part of the joint that is supposed to be round but gets flattened/misshapen with osteoarthritis) and damaged cartilage are removed and replaced with a prosthetic (fake) joint. Doctor Domenic Carreira says these patients require a hospital stay (a few days) and the use of a walker or cane for up to four weeks after surgery.
I think I would be a great candidate according to my age, weight, activity level, lifestyle, and medical condition:
The results of total hip replacement vary depending on the individual’s age, weight, activity level, lifestyle, and medical conditions. Typically a hip replacement results in less pain and better hip function. The implants used in hip replacement do have a limited life expectancy. A joint implant’s longevity will vary in every patient, but they typically last about 20 years.
Dr. Domenic Carreira
I would love to hear from anyone that has gone through either process, especially the hip replacement surgery. Also, if anyone has any tips on how to get a doctor and on the waiting list, I would appreciate the advice!
As I get older, every time I forget something I wonder if dementia is imminent. Forgetfulness is common as we age, but just how forgetful is normal, and what level is more worrisome? We all joke about having “senior moments” but when do the jokes become reality?
Dementia is not a specific disease but is rather a general term for the impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions that interferes with doing everyday activities. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. Though dementia mostly affects older adults, it is not a part of normal aging
Excess Protein in the Brain
Research is showing that excess protein causes a toxic, plaque-like buildup in the brain that kills off brain cells. Known medically as proteinopathies, the group of diseases that exhibit this protein accumulation includes the several forms of dementia.
CDC assures that these age-related changes in our memory are perfectly normal:
Occasionally misplacing items
Struggling to find a word but remembering it later
Forgetting the name of an acquaintance
Forgetting the most recent events
This list also includes going upstairs for something, then forgetting why you went upstairs. Phew, I bet that’s a pretty common occurrence for many of us within my generation.
As well as problems with memory, dementia symptoms include issues with communication, attention, problem-solving or judgment, and behavior or personality changes.
For example, if you get lost in a familiar neighbourhood, forget the name of a close friend or family member, find yourself unable to complete familiar tasks, organize or plan, notice decreased coordination, or start using inappropriate/wrong words in a conversation, you should seek medical help.
Warding off Dementia
Any activity that exercises your brain helps to keep dementia at bay. Referred to as cognitive engagement, this includes reading, puzzles, word games (like Wordle), and more.
Physical exercise also helps as it forces more oxygen into your brain. Low or inadequate levels of oxygen, medically called hypoxia, is defined by the National Library of Medicine (NLH) as:
Hypoxia, a condition where oxygen supply to tissue is inadequate, induces free radical generation leading to oxidative protein modifications and tissue damage [24–27]. Oxygen supply also acts as a modulator of aging processes . The cerebrovascular disorders and hypoxia-ischemia injuries in the brain are projected as a primary cause of protein pathologies that leads to cognitive impairment and dementia [29, 30]. In short, hypoxia-ischemia injury in the brain persuades DPMs that can lead to aging, age-associated diseases, and neurodegeneration.
Social interaction has also been shown to reduce the risk of dementia and slow down its progression if it does happen. Maintaining a healthy weight and blood pressure helps lower the risk of dementia as does avoiding/quitting smoking. Avoiding or reducingsaturated fats, salt, and sugar is key to a healthy diet, which in turn helps maintain that healthy weight.