Atlanta July 4th Memorial

Since I’ve never really done anything meaningful for July 4th, a few months ago I began looking into possibilities to actually memorialize those soldiers who died for our country this time. Daniel suggested I try to combine this with something in the realm of exercise, knowing how much I love to swim and run.  When I learned about what was going on in Atlanta I jumped at the chance!   A 10 kilometer run was organized there in memory and respect for July 4th and at the same time, to raise money for Parkinson’s disease through the National Parkinson Foundation.  In addition, this project gave me a great excuse to have to leave the house every night at 6 (dinner-bath-bedtime) as I had to “train” for the event!

For the longest time we’d been meaning to make a trip to Georgia since much of Daniel’s family is there but for one reason or another, it’s never happened…until now. The race is expected to attract a staggering 60,000 individuals, all running with July 4th in mind while trying to make a difference for those living with Parkinson’s.  Also being memorialized at the event is the 150th anniversary of the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, remembering Henry Zim who died there.

One particular individual to have survived the bloodbath at Gettysburg was Private Ellis Strouss.  Shortly after the battle he wrote a letter on July 6, 1863, to his mother (in the archives of the Shapell Manuscript Foundation) assuring her of his safety.  He told her he was confident that his army would be able to:  “whip Lee’s Army so that he will not be fit to do anything more for some time to come.”  People running in Atlanta on 4th July for Parkinson’s are also doing so in memory of Henry Zim, who didn’t share the same fortune as Strouss.  He died that day and today has a memorial in front of St. James Methodist Church, Greene Street.  There were 23 other members of this church who suffered the same fate but Zim was remembered specifically “for kind attention to his mothers and sisters.”

Truthfully what can be more apt for me therefore – on so many levels – than participating in this event?  Let’s just hope my training pays off and I don’t come in last, as despite wanting to do the race for the importance behind it, my ego still has a lot to say!

June Portland Happenings

Dragon Boat RacesThere is so much going on in Portland over the summer. So, rather than dread the long holidays with the kids I have started to search for all the Portland happenings that will be good for me and the kids.  Thankfully, June is packed with Portland happenings that I think will really meet my requirements.

The first thing I want to take the kids and Daniel to is the Rose Festival and Pride Parade and Festival.  This provides the perfect excuse to just get outdoors and start developing that summer feeling.  While Daniel’s not so excited by the outdoorsy aspect, he is definitely wearing a smile on the thought of the volume of alcohol that will be available! Indeed, since the beginning of this month there have been four different beer festivals in town – total dream for the hubby!

Other Portland happenings at the Festival include the Grand Floral Fireworks, CityFair, Rose Cup Races and Dragon Boat Races.  I’m concerned these events will be too crowded for me and the kids though, given their obvious popularity.  But maybe Daniel will just go with Jayden and Ethan and I will just find something else to enjoy while they are there.

Once the school year ends, I might also get together with a group of friends and take the kids to the Old Church. Every Wednesdays they are having free concerts and even though it’s not exactly what the kids will enjoy the adults will and the kids can just run around!  The other Portland happening that looks cool to me is the Pedalpalooza Bike Festival – Jayden will for sure love taking part in some of those cycling-themed events, especially since he just recently starting getting really good on his bike.

So, lots of fun Portland happenings coming up for us!  I think it could be a really great summer with the kids in our city.

Philosophizing About my Boys

JohnFKSo I finally had some time for myself, on a Sunday Lt._Joseph_P._Kennedy,_Jr._Navyafternoon.  This hardly ever happens because usually at least one of the kids is demanding something over the weekend.  But two days ago, the kids were playing really nicely so I was able to just sit and relax. So I took the opportunity to enjoy one of my favorite pastimes – American history.

I used to read American history all the time but, since having the kids have had less time.  Now though, in the last few months, I have gotten back to it somewhat and am currently up to John F. Kennedy.  Apart from my own history books, I was recently learning about connected items from the Shapell Manuscript Foundation.  It seems that the Foundation has in its possession a letter that he wrote to a Miss Forbush following the condolences John received on the untimely death of his brother. He wrote: Thanks so much for your thoughtfulness in sending me those prayers at the time of my brothers death. They were a great help, and I want you to know how much I appreciated it.

So having read this letter, I wanted to know more about the relationship Joseph had with John, especially given the fact that I have two boys myself.  I have to admit that I was quite shocked, that, given that I’m a full-bred American, I had absolutely no idea about how and why Kennedy came to power.  In my investigation, I found out that it was actually his brother Joseph P. Kennedy who was slated for the world of politics.  But he was brought to his premature death when the plane that was taking him on a secret mission suddenly exploded.  Given that his father had been grooming Joseph to be America’s next President and on that fateful trip that dream exploded, John F. Kennedy – the less smart, less popular, less attractive and younger brother – had to step up.

So as I was watching my boys begin to rough and tumble, I wondered what impact my expectations – subconscious as they might be – would have on them in the future.  I certainly hope that neither boy ends up feeling how John clearly did – less attractive, less popular and less smart than the other.

Anyway it’s interesting to learn about the leaders of our country in this way; focusing on their personalities, their relationships with each other and with their parents.  For me personally it really helps put a spin on how human they were and, of course, how I can assist my own children develop their particular strengths.

I’m looking forward to the next bit of quiet time I get to learn more.  I thought it was so cool that I stumbled upon this through the Shapell Manuscript Foundation – who knows what else there might be!

Professional Women’s Network

working-womenA little while ago I got together with a bunch of hip, talented women for a networking session.  Casa del Matador hosted the NAPW Portland Chapter and we discussed an array of different topics with a focus on stress management.  Portland Chapter President Franchesca Vermillion, D.C., discussed the four types of stress that exist: chemical stress, emotional stress, physical stress, and mental stress. All these can lead to: blood pressure issues; mood swings; difficulty sleeping/eating, etc.  People deal with these stresses in different ways and the most popular method seems to be caffeine, which is actually a drug and can have side-effects if used long-term, including osteoporosis, which is more commonplace amongst women.

Well, that was definitely food for thought for me. I know that I consume way too much caffeine, and, some years ago, was diagnosed as having borderline osteoporosis back from when I was in college and had terrible eating habits and was probably under-nourished.

However, the thing with me is that I don’t use caffeine as a stress-crutch.  But according to Vermillion since many people do (especially women who seem to want it all), it is time to figure out how to combat the problem.  She said that we must first take care of ourselves and then worry about others.  But, as Daniel always likes to point out “you’re usually Number One on your list!”

Still, although I didn’t really relate to too many stresses in life which seemed to be the seminar’s focal point, I did have a tremendous opportunity to connect with new people.  I now feel that I can actually use the connections to further some of my potential business ideas.  Plus, there could be more women with whom I can rotate for my “ladies who lunch” rotation!

Portland Entertainment: Mark Your Calendars

kids-theaterThere are a lot of fun things happening in my neighborhood now.  I think I’m going to go to some – if not all – of them.  I’m happy also because there are fun things for the kids to do too.  First, there’s the 49th Annual Portland Swap Meet between April 5th to 7th at the Portland Expo Center.  It’s pretty cheap too so that is an added bonus. I think Daniel and I will get a babysitter Friday night and head out to Mago Hunt Center for the comedy Bluffoons.  That looks like fun and I could do with a laugh.  I thought of going for salsa lessons too at the World Famous Kenton Club but when I mentioned it to Daniel he gave me “the look.”

Still, now that I think about it, that doesn’t include much for kids.  So then I checked out if there was anything going on at the Portland Stage and was delighted to see that the summer is packed with entertainment.  The theater is set up just for kids and there are professional actors for them to learn from.   This is a great way for kids to use their imaginations, bringing modern literature to life and developing acting skills.

So it looks like there are going to be a lot of fun activities for the whole family over the next few weeks.