Nifty Threads

Nifty Threads -

Portland’s Charitable Heart

heart-63974_640Portland is such a great place to live and raise kids for so very many reasons. And one of them is Christmas and the city’s charitable spirit.

Portland – for the last four decades nearly – has been giving kids whose parents cannot afford it a bike for Christmas. And this year, over 150 kids will be the lucky recipients. What began as an early morning run in celebration of the holiday has now become a wonderful philanthropic event.

Cyclists started joining in to raise money for the bikes that were given to a local organization which made sure children got their gifts on Christmas morning, along with all the other kids getting lots of fun things.

It’s been quite a family event too, this charity. Founded by Dennis Ferguson, son Bart and cousin Ted designed a T-shirt which sold at $25 a piece. The money made from that – along with other donations – paid for the bikes.

I’m so glad my children are privileged. I am also happy we live in a place that recognizes those less privileged than them.

The Cost of a Cuddle

I must remember how wonderful it is that I have Daniel. And the kids. And the dog. Because all of them are there for cuddles whenever I need/want them (well, Daniel sometimes needs a push, but in general I can’t complain).

I started thinking about this recently as I came upon Samantha Hess’ store, Cuddle Up to Me. I mean I totally get the idea of it and it makes a lot of sense, but I also feel there’s something a little sad about it. But then again, that just makes me appreciate all that I have even more.

It’s doing really well which is great because it means that Hess has found a niche and that it’s something that people want. But not great because it means so many people are without cuddles in their lives! It’s totally not a weird freakish thing at all. It’s really platonic and nothing sexual. You pay $60 for an hour of professional cuddling. With that hour one can get hand-holding, hair stroking, spooning, etc. Hess seeks to provide for her clients “the level of human contact that we want or need in order to be our optimal selves.”

I guess when my single friends get sad I could recommend it to them. Alternatively, I could tell them to get a dog! I think dogs are the best companions ever. But I do see that Samantha is responding to a need in Portland.

Running Like Hell

run-like-hellI’m not a runner but Daniel is. In times like these I really wish I was. A couple of weeks ago there were more than 4,000 runners that participated in the footrace that took place downtown. What was particularly cool was the Halloween-themed costumes some of them were wearing.

The 11th of its kind the Run Like Hell event is open to five kilometer, ten kilometer and half-marathoners. It raises money for the charity Molly’s Fund (Lupus foundation).

This year Daniel said it was particularly cool as there were also 12 local musicians serenading them, in conjunction with the race’s theme – Under the Sea.

Walk for ALS

ALSIt’s incredible how many stories I hear these days of people being diagnosed with ALS – Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis – or more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Just two weeks ago our good friend James (who is only 28 himself)’s mom was diagnosed. She’s just 63. And then my friend Sally –whose mom passed away from the disease many years ago – heard the dreadful news that her sister now has it. And she’s not even 40. It’s awful. And so scary.

I guess it was all of this that inspired us to take both the kids on the ALS walk in town. We walked three miles to raise money for research into ALS. Despite the depressing nature of the cause, the event was beautiful. We covered Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Steel Bridge, Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade and Hawthorne Bridge. Kids were tired by the end but nothing too crazy.

I think the walk brought in close to $25,000. So that’s good. But seriously, what a terrible, terrible disease. I pray a cure is discovered soon.

Concern for Portland Environment

portland-riversI always thought that the Portland environment was something of which I could be proud. I felt like there were enough Portlanders who had worked on making the environment a priority; that it was something with which I didn’t need to concern myself.

So when I heard that Oregon’s waterways recently ranked the 33rd worst in the country, I was disappointed to say the least. According to Environment Oregon, just two years ago the Oregon industry dumped 1.3 million pounds of toxic chemicals into rivers, streams and lakes. What is going on and why didn’t I know about this??? Where are all those staunch Portland environmentalists who are meant to be on the case for me and my family? Oof!

I really thought that we were safe and protected from this kind of stuff. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has been working in this area for a long time. Just a few months ago, all revisions it made to the state’s toxics water quality standards were approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). At the end of last year, these recommendations were brought to the DEQ at a meeting in Portland and thereafter came into effect in April for all Clean Water Act programs.

Still I wasn’t thrilled by what Alexa Pettinari of Environment Oregon said, “With facilities dumping so much pollution, no one should be surprised that more than half of our waterways are unsafe for swimming and fishing.” Still, according to the 1972 Federal Clean Water Act, it is illegal to discharge pollutants into navigable waters unless the discharger has a federal permit. I hope at least that is effective and to the benefit of Portland environment.