Improving the Portland environment

I am so glad that I live in a city that cares so much about the environment.  I feel that Portland officials are constantly striving to improve the world by taking on green initiatives. In the next few days the city council will be voting on whether or not to put a ban on food containers made from polystyrene foam (aka Styrofoam). I soooo hope this goes through as this material is incredibly detrimental to our environment.

I’m also really impressed with how the campaign for the ban started – when schools stopped using it in their cafeterias. It was then that Ed Suslovic jumped on the bandwagon and starting campaigning for more of the same thing – a true ban on the use of the material.

styrofoam-cupsIt’s true that it’s going to affect some small businesses (at least that’s what the argument against the ban is) but truthfully I care less about that than I do about the Portland environment.    I guess I am somewhat more sympathetic though to the hospitals.  According to City Hall liaison for the Portland Community Chamber Chris O’Neil, on a study conducted by Maine Medical Center on its Styrofoam usage in cafeterias, there would be an addition $400,000-$500,000 per annum to dispose of what they currently use for polystyrene.  He added, “it’s a lot of money that will get passed along to – well – a lot of us – health insurance carriers and patients.”

Still, even with all that, I sure hope the vote goes in favor of the ban.  There is no price tag for the Portland environment.

Portland Happenings

pizzaSince we got back home from our amazing vacation, I’ve been trying to find some local Portland happenings for the kids to enjoy.  Preferably those that don’t cost too much since we spent a fortune in Europe.  The first thing I checked out was the annual Free Northeast Portland Fair for families.  I particularly liked the word in that title – Free – so figured I really can’t lose anything but taking the family there.

So last week I took them to the fair – which was held outdoors at Multnomah County’s Northeast Health Center in the afternoon.  There was great music, activities for kids and even dancing!  I took advantage of a couple of health screenings (also for free) and Daniel enjoyed the local youth art exhibit.  So all in all it was something to do – for free – for an afternoon.  We ended up having a late dinner with the kids at Sparky’s Pizza…sooooo good, although perhaps not the greatest education in healthy living for my kids!

Milwaukee Loves Their Athletes

Profiles in Sports History: Hank Aaron
Hank Aaron of the Milwaukee Braves

I love sports memorabilia and the profiles in history of all the great athletes. My friend George Alexander Shapell and I went for a short junket to, of all places, Milwaukee last week, and discovered something amazing. Although the city itself only supports two professional sports franchises and only two championship titles, (the Milwaukee Braves won the 1957 World Series and the Milwaukee Bucks took the NBA championship title in 1971) it would be hard to find a more committed city to sports and sports history.

Fans in Milwaukee, Shapell and I found out, absolutely adore their sports heroes. Here is a list, with short profiles of their history.

•    Henry Aaron: Hank Aaron played for the Braves from 1954-1965 and the Brewers from 1975 until 1976. It is well-known the “Hammerin’ Hank is the one bone fide home run king, and also one of the most well-loved athletes who called Milwaukee home.

•    Ray Allen: Allen was a Buck from 1996 until 2003 when he was shipped off to the Seattle to play for the Sonics. That move resulted in the loss of many loyal Bucks fans.

•    Eddie Mathews: This beloved player was a member of the great 1957 World Series team. Mathews played for the Braves from 1953 until 1965, thirteen of his 17-year career in baseball. In 1978 Mathews was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Many consider him to be one of the best third baseman to have ever played, and he finished his career with 512 home runs.

Eating Out

foie-grasWhen we take our annual break we don’t budget.  We figure we work hard all year round (well, Daniel does) and so we deserve to relax in style.  With that mindset, tonight we’re off to L‘Aromate for what we heard is a real fine dining experience.  I checked it out online and it looks amazing.  The food really looks like a work of art and it has a great reputation for having an extremely talented owner-chef.
Daniel is going to try the Pigeon du Lauragais rôti à la sarriette et foie gras de canard grillé.  I know that he loves foie gras and hardly ever gets it so I’m sure he’ll love this dish. I don’t know what I’m going to have for my main but I definitely want to try the chocolat noir guanaja Dans un tube craquant, noisettes caramélisées, crème glacée au café grillé, émulsion vanillée.  Not quite sure what it all means but there’s chocolate, caramelized nuts, cream, coffee and vanilla flavors so really, what could be bad? Sometimes I think it’s good not knowing exactly what you’re getting – it takes the predictability out of life.  Anyway the fact that this restaurant has great reviews and the setting is said to be intimate is enough to make me salivate…

Summer is Here!

monacoFinally the summer is here.  Well, it has been warm for a while but the kids are on vacation and so is Daniel and that’s what summer means to me – a break from life for six weeks.  This year we rented a beautiful house in Nice, South of France, which has its own pool.  The price was so reasonable and since I love to swim we just couldn’t resist.  What’s been great about it is that Daniel and I can really relax while the kids just hang out by the pool, and I’ll have had time to get my morning laps in.   It’s so nice to have 6 weeks in a place like this, away from work and let the kids really feel like they’re having a vacation too. And, the service we rented the place from offers responsible babysitters too.

One of the things Daniel and I have been looking forward to doing – ever since we booked this trip – is going to the casino in Monaco (that’s his wish!) and while we’re there, it just so happens that Point Art Exhibition is taking place.  In fact, that was how Daniel sold the idea of Monaco to me in the first place!  So we’re booked to go on August 3rd.

The Salon Point Monaco is hosting some really amazing galleries such as: De Bartha Gallery (a personal favorite of mine), Beck and Eggeling and Phoenix Ancient Art.    It’s so exciting as this is one of the major art-dedicated events of the year.  And being at the Sporting d’Hiver is just such an apt place.  Ancient art is something I’ve always found interesting – since my days as an Art History student – but never really owned.  Who knows?  Maybe this year I’ll pick something up from Phoenix Ancient Art…depending on how much Daniel makes at the casino!

Either way our vacation is just wonderful so far…and I’m just glad we got to come to the South of France – a real dream of mine for many years.