Portland Calendar – Summer Drinking Fun

beer-festivalI’m not such an avid beer sport but when it comes to festivals it’s something else. Earlier this month Portland calendar got a good dosage of beer. The beer festival – that took place between June 5th and June 15th – was presented by Pizza Shmiza. Events on the calendar included: Cheese and Beer Special: $1 for a slice of Steve’s hand selected daily cheese pairing with a purchase of a full beer on tap or a bottle. Then there is the All Day Happy Hour (on Draft Beer), Sizzle Pie + Fort George Week (at which Fort George will be taking over 4 taps), Atlas Cider Tap Takeover, Widmer Brothers Small Batch Tap Takeover, East Glisan Pizza Lounge + Hop Valley, Masters of Lagers (PNW lagers and guests get to meet brewers from Heater Allen, Full Sail, Base Camp, Upright, the Commons and Breakside).

Other events at the festival include: Alameda Brewing Tasting Night, the Kickoff Party with Brewer Bands@ Ecliptic (live music and beers from favorite brewers kicking off with Brewmaster John Harris), Sierra Nevada & Ballast Point Tap Takeover & Fundraiser for Western Rivers Conservancy, and the Oakshire Arcade Tournament to name but a few.

This sure is something in the Portland calendar I was glad I was around to experience and enjoy!

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.

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!

Portland Happenings

portland-parkHave been feeling a little bored the last couple of weeks. So I took a look at the local paper to see what was going on.  In Northeast Portland, I saw that Parkrose High named its Rose Festival Princess, but I wasn’t too upset to have missed that.  But what I do want to do is check out the new wine shop in Kerns as a few new bottles of bubbly will certainly not go amiss in our household this coming Easter.

While looking for fun things to do, I read that NAYA is making efforts to create affordable housing in the SE Portland Lents region. Maybe I can finally persuade mom and dad to start looking at properties and I’ll get free babysitting!

And in the meantime, a Spring Break Adventures camp for kids is to be hosted by Portland Parks & Recreation, taking place at the Matt Dishmann Community Center.  That looks like the perfect outing for Jayden and Ethan.

The PENewark Educational Efforts

Sometimes, parents and community leaders sit around and complain about the state of their public schools. Other times, energetic and charismatic people decide to take action and to make things better. The PENewark effort, spearheaded by Newark Mayor Cory Booker, falls into the second category.

In September of 2010, a bi-partisan coalition was created in Newark that included government officials and community leaders. The goal was to launch a comprehensive community outreach effort to get ideas for educational reform. In December of 2010, PENewark hosted 11 community forums and 25 mini-forums. They knocked on 66,000 doors and contacted 45,000 community members in total.

The first phase of their impressive efforts was created and managed by Tusk Strategies with Bradley Tusk. With the combined efforts of the Mayor, Bradley Tusk and Tusk Strategies and others, PENewark truly reached out to all areas of the city to find ways to make the Newark Public Schools better.

As a result of these efforts, a report was released by Rutgers University and New York University on May 12, 2011 showing how the community felt about their educational opportunities. Among other findings, the report showed that 74.3% of residents supported replacing principals at low-performing schools; 69.2% of residents polled were in favor of giving good teachers more pay; and 64.4% of residents agreed with the idea of replacing half the teachers at the low-performing schools.

PENewark continues to move ahead with their plans and goals to improve the schools in Newark and to elevate the educational opportunities for all. They received a great start with the help from Tusk Strategies and Bradley Tusk and they will move ahead to implement the many ideas and goals they have created.