Chinese Celebrating the Year of the Dragon

It’s true, some Chinese citizens have been living in Portland for decades.  But still, tradition is tradition.  And those with Chinese origins went all out in their celebrations of the Year of the Dragon yesterday.  Amanda has a friend of Chinese origin who does it.  She wakes up to a bowl of vegetarian dumplings, symbolically hoping the Year of the Dragon will bring prosperity.

While I have no Chinese blood running through my veins, I nonetheless decided to join in too, so I bought a bunch of tangerines.  Well, I figured that the kids love them; I know they’re healthy and it doesn’t hurt that tangerines just happen to be a symbol of good luck in Chinese culture! Now, I won’t go so far as to hang them on the front door (although for sure one of my neighbors has done that in the past on a Dragon New Year), but it’s nice to take a few fun symbols from another culture and hope – somewhere in the back of my mind – that it’ll bring us good luck!  Hell, we could all do with some extra prosperity no matter in what form it comes!

Apparently, I read somewhere that are close to 40,000 Oregonians of Chinese descent!  (Out of a 3.8m populace that’s quite significant). So there are bound to be a lot of celebrations going on around my neighborhood. I thought it might be a nice idea to educate the kids about it as well, so I’ll be speaking to them about people, cultures and their differences to try and encourage acceptance and diversity in my home.  Oof, now I’m beginning to sound somewhat PC!

Wishing you all a Happy New Year of the Dragon!

Hello American Pie

The weather in Portland has been a bit gruesome for a while. That definitely makes things a bit tougher with the kids as we have to find more indoor activities to do with them, especially over the weekend when there is no preschool.  Still, at least yesterday it was only drizzling – the rain wasn’t too bad – so we managed to do some stuff. 

Since I’d been reading last week about the cool event taking place at Baker & Spice in the Hillsdale neighborhood of Portland, I decided yesterday that we should brave the weather.  On both Saturday and Sunday, the store was celebrating its annual Pie Day, marking the store’s birthday!  How cool is that!  Each year they have Pie Day during which over the weekend, people can come along and eat as much pie as they want (or can!).  This year apparently the store is turning 7-years-old (so I had Jayden saying the whole time “but I want to be 7 too,” which kinda makes sense as the way he counts now he omits 5 and 6, so given that he’s 4, his next birthday – in his logic – would be 7. Still I digress.

I ordered a slice of Mocha Almond and Super Duper (mega-chocolatey) and by then, truly I was done.  Daniel of course has a way sterner stomach than me so he managed a slice of: Pink Cake, Black and White and Vanilla Dream.  And Jayden shared a slice of the store’s Birthday Cake with Ethan which they both really loved by the look of their faces when the plate was clean.  Since Jayden made my birthday cake with Daniel a few weeks ago, he’s talked about nothing else.

Anyway it was a fun afternoon and what made me feel a bit better about my gorging was learning that the store will be donating a quarter of its pie sales to Neighborhood House’s emergency food box program – an organization that “helps neighbors help themselves.” I thereafter explained the charitable organization to Jayden, and he was so cute, he asked if he could give them half of his cake too!  What an adorable child.  I love him so much.

Weekend Kids Fun

There were a bunch of family-kid oriented events going on in our neighborhood over the weekend.  I think there was some “family” theme going on.  On Friday night there was a classical concert that Daniel and I were going to go to but then we decided we’d rather spend the evening snuggling by the fireplace having put the kids to bed early.  So on Saturday, we decided to do something as a family, rather than staying under the covers and reading the weekend papers which I always find so tempting.  We went to Westmoreland Park playground where they had a Kidical Mass Ride which Jayden enjoyed a lot.  There was a guided tour too which was fun; we ended up at Oaks Park Roller Rink and I actually skated for the first time in about 25 years!  Ethan thought that was pretty amusing!  I wasn’t that bad, but, truthfully, I wasn’t that good either.

Saturday night we got a babysitter and Daniel and I went to the Hawthorne Hophouse to listen to Bitter Root which was a band I’ve never heard that combines funk, blues, rock and soul.  Not quite my thing but it was fun being out with Daniel without the kids who of course absolutely loved rocking out to the music.

So, that was our weekend.  It was nice.  I had a good time.  It was the perfect balance of resting, being with kids and reconnecting with the hubby.  What could be better? Now there’s just the laundry to get through.


Not Happy with No Power

It was nuts yesterday.  We suddenly had the craziest power outage. Well I guess it wasn’t really all that sudden as the weather had been indicative of something like this happening.  And, I shouldn’t be all that surprised as I am used to our crazy weathers.  Still, I don’t remember having such a long-lived power outage. Thankfully our house is very well-insulated so the crazy storm that was raging outside didn’t impact us in terms of being cold, or windows shaking.  But it did affect the power.  Daniel told me today that we weren’t alone; apparently around 30,000 homes throughout Oregon also lost power.  He’d read about it on a statement from Portland General Electric.

What happened was, first there was snow (in the early evening Jayden really wanted to go play in it but I figured it would just be a slippery mess rather than something fun for him to actually play with so I said no).  That very quickly turned into rain as the snow melted and there was just a mess of slush (as I’d predicted).  Anyway, things are pretty much back to normal now but it reminded me that we have to go and get those emergency light thingies so that our house can at least have some light if – or I should say when – this happens again.

At least now it’s back I can get back onto Facebook.  Because, as Daniel says, that is my main priority!  Have a great Thursday!

Portlandia Again


So you remember I started watching this show ‘Portlandia?’ It’s all about an idyll world, everything easy in which people are free to do whatever they want.  So I’m not sure I explained it well: this guy comes to LA and says he was just in Portland, and while he was living there, it was “the dream of the 90s is alive in Portland” and you could just do whatever you wanted.  “Portland is almost like an alternative universe,” he said. The environment is friendly; people ride bikes, no cars, everything is peaceful and good.

But then, within a few minutes, one of the characters spirals with all his gadgets and gizmos and feels the need to text, watch all his movies, go crazy on the Internet, iPad, YouTube, etc.  He’s miserable and overwhelmed.  He needs to free his mind from all this stuff and go back to basics.  Ironically it shows how over-the-top going back to basics can be, which misses the point. 

It’s very interesting.  It’s about a bunch of totally weird people doing totally weird things and men wearing skirts locking innocent people in their stores; all which seem to be accepted in Portland!  Well now you know how much I love my city but I sure hope it won’t become an acceptable behavior to lock people in stores against their will!  As Daniel says, I must remember it’s just a TV show.