Peace on Earth

December 20, 2012

ImageTomorrow, if the world doesn’t come to end, I will celebrate yet another birthday.  It may be cliche, but what I will wish for when I blow out the candles is Peace on Earth.

There was a time when a puppy or G.I. Joe or even Glow-Globs were tops on my list, but those days are long gone.

The mindless killing of the children — and the adults charged with their care — in Newtown further magnifies that violence has become the backdrop for everyday life. This year alone,  there have been 16 mass shootings in the United States. Yes, 16, leaving 88 people dead.

Perhaps even more poignant, all of the children at Sandy Hook Elementary School — and for that matter, anyone born since 2001 — knows no other life than America at war.

I know there are no easy answers to the world’s strife. But at least for the next few days, may there be peace on earth and good will toward men.

Happy Holidays.

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Miss Your Basement?

March 26, 2012

A new kind of home has opened in Florida: It’s theTransformation House in Harmony Transformation House and it comes with its own Spacement©, a flex space like no other, especially if you miss that basement you had up north.

By opening a door and stepping up to the Spacement©, you find space that can be used for air-conditioned storage (Florida basement), a bonus area (grandchildren’s space), bedroom(s), bathroom(s) or a mixture of all. This flexible space can include one or two baths and two or three flex rooms.  And no matter what configuration the homeowner selects, the static mechanical, plumbing and electrical design coincides.

 Built in the town of Harmony by Wetherington Builders, the 2,500 square-foot, energy-efficient home is being certified by Tracy DeCarlo of One Stop Green Home Certification.

For more information, visit http://www.homebuildinglessons.com/TDBlog/2012/02/20/transformation-house-energy-efficient-flexible-green-and-accessible-3/

 


Luxury Home Market is Silver Lining Today

October 11, 2011

In every economic downturn there is a silver lining. And in housing, it continues to be the luxury home market.

But you need to move fast if you want a deal. Foreign buyers have been busy doling out cash on discounted properties brought on by the housing crash and the deals on a piece of luxury won’t last.

In Manhattan, a shrinking inventory means if you want a place to live for under $1 million, it will need some renovation. In Miami, prices are starting to rise as the economy slowly recovers and luxury properties are selling quickly. Realtors in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Malibu, California, report inventory on luxury homes is dropping, although prices continue to be stable.

From March 2010 to March 2011, the National Association of Realtors found that international buyers bought more than $82 billion in real estate, up 24% from the previous year.


Milestones

July 15, 2011

Last weekend, Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees achieved a milestone only 27 other major league baseball players have ever done in more than 100 years of America’s Pastime — 3,000 career base hits. And he did it with a home run.  We saw the excitement in his face as he rounded the bases and, we were just as excited for him.

We are a society of milestone lovers, whether personal or otherwise. When we decide to lose 20 pounds, and we reach that plateau, we relish in that feeling of accomplishment. We also love seeing someone else succeed — Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition is a pretty riveting show.

And it does not have to be just about numerals. It can be firsts, or lasts, the latter of which we are collectively celebrating right now as the last Space Shuttle — Atlantis — completes its mission. Quite a milestone.

Other milestones have nothing to do with numerals or rankings: getting married, having a baby, buying your first home, graduating from anything. These events and others sprinkled throughout our lives make us feel good, special.  

No doubt, milestones are one of the keys to happiness. We are happy when we reach them; we are happy when others do.  

So relish those milestones. Derek Jeter did. And so did we.


Giving the Gifts Of Gardening and Fitness

December 7, 2010

 

Volunteers from Get Active Orlando (GAO), the organization that acts as the City of Orlando’s link to health and fitness initiatives, announce the debut of three new community gardens in the Orlando area. Utilizing grant monies from the Blue Foundation, this year GAO funded five school- and youth-based gardens designed to teach children the importance of healthy eating.

Sunrise_Elementary_Garden
Sunrise Elementary Garden

 

The new gardens –the New Image Youth Center Garden, 

Reeves Terrace Recreation Complex Community Garden and the Sunrise  

Elementary School Garden — also promote physical activity. 

“It’s a special feeling to have these gardens up and running at a time of the year associated with bountiful feasts and giving thanks,” notes GAO Chair Leah Nash. She says two other gardens — the Fern Creek School and Community Garden and the Orlando Day Nursery Garden — are scheduled to open by the end of the year. 

 For more information or to become involved with GAO, please visit www.getactiveorlando.com.


Keep Your Pumpkin From Shriveling Up

October 29, 2010

Does your pumpkin need a facelift?

Let’s face it, once you’re done removing the orange goo Jack-O-Lanternand the ritual of carving the family pumpkin is over, old Jack can start to look a little tired within a few days, especially in the South.

Here are a few tips from Articlebase.com to keep your creation still looking good for the big day:

* Put your pumpkin in cold water after it’s carved; it will soak up the water and get firm.

* If your pumpkin starts to shrivel, put it back in cold water for one to eight hours.

* Add a very small amount of unscented bleach to the water to stop premature molding.

* Put a thin coating of petroleum jelly on exposed, cut edges to keep the water from evaporating and to preserve the cuts, as well as the pumpkin.

 * Spray your pumpkin with a plant mister to keep it from shriveling.


Is Florida Getting Snubbed?

June 3, 2009

First it was The Associated Press earlier this year that said by reviewing driver’s license applications in Florida, there was a drop of 175,000 applications between 2003 and 2008.  Then United Van Lines’ 32nd annual “migration” study, which tracks where its customers moved from and their most popular destinations over the past 12 months, showed Florida had as many people move out as move in. It made folks wonder whether Florida had lost its allure.

Well, yes and no.  It is no coincidence that following the 2004 hurricane season that saw at least three major storms crisscross the Sunshine State like  a crazed banshee in the matter of six weeks, people may have put off their plans to relocate. While the state’s population actually grew by 2.2 percent in 2005, net migration did fall 13 percent.

But the real reasons Florida has seen its border crossings full of more tumbleweeds than New Yorkers is related to the economy. Dr. Sean Snaith, director of the Institute for Economic Competitiveness at the University of Central Florida, says the recession and the fact that the Dow lost 43 percent at one point, caused retirees to delay plans of moving to the Sunshine State.  “They had to push back their decisions,” the economist explains. “The influx choked up.”  Even worse, the state, like many, stopped producing jobs, so those not at retirement age are also in limbo about their plans to relocate. Throw in the fact that the cost of living has increased since the boom days of Florida migration, and it is easy to see why Florida’s allure may be changing. However, it may be short term. “As the economy recovers,” believes Snaith, “it will pull more migrants into Florida.” He says population growth should soon return to a normal 1.5 to two percent a year.

In fact, Snaith forecasts 2011 and 2012 will be good years for the state, especially the Orlando area, which is predicted to have the highest job growth statewide. Because of that, net migration will not affect Orlando as much since people will move from the coast to the epicenter of growth.

Finally, I leave with this statement by Wayne Archer, director of the Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Florida from a report this past winter in which net migration was being analyzed.  

“There are pessimists who think people are going to pack up and leave Florida, but when I stand outside on these clear winter days, I think ‘they’re not going far.’ As long as people keep moving here, the growth will bring us a correction that you won’t get in industrial states like Ohio, Michigan or Illinois.”

Besides, the beaches are still free, and the water is warm. Surf’s up!