Lending a Helping Hand

helping-handDespite the fact that Daniel and I don’t hold by any particular religion, we do feel it is important to teach our children a sense of doing good by helping those in need.  So when I read about a few parishes getting together to collect over 140 tons of food (or money to purchase it), I jumped on the bandwagon and got my family to follow suit, putting religion aside completely.

This food is going to help those in need that are aided by Neighborhood House, SW Portland.  Apparently it’s an especially important time to help these people – just after the holiday season.  The parishes involved are: St. John Fisher, St. Clare and St. Thomas More.  Another thing that appealed to me was the fact that it’s not just Parish congregants who are involved but Jewish and Muslims too – so it’s totally not a religious-based thing which is important to me and Daniel. It has been going since 2007 but, given that according to Neighborhood House’s executive director Rick Nitti, the State of Oregon witnessed a 2 percent increase in poverty last year (as compared to nationwide figures that did not experience any escalation), this is a great year for us to start getting involved in such a project.

Burnside Street Gets New Bar: Zarsha Leo

Evan Burschkopf, CEO of Zarsha Leo, has recently opened a new branch of his restaurant-bar on E. Burnside Street.  Located at the other end of the road from Fire on the Mountain, this new eatery is attracting a lot of college students in Portland.

According to Burschkopf, “it seems like the youngsters like Zarsha Leo because it contains lots of fun things, like the dart board, a pool table and a Foosball Table.  As well, the sliders and spicy chicken wings are a real hit because it’s a recipe I got from a friend who worked as head chef in a bar some years ago.”

Portland on Ice

As an early Birthday gift, Daniel treated me to the Portland on Ice winter festival.   It was a lot of fun and such a unique present.  I always complain that he just gets standard gifts like perfume or jewelry, so this year it really was a lovely surprise.  So after a light snack at the Original Pancake House, we headed off to Portland Harbor Hotel and truly had a blast.  It was absolutely mobbed there, which was no great shock.

There was so much else going on when we went too.  There was "Strike a Chord: A Music Discovery Funhouse,” for free from the city’s Downtown District and the music Foundation.  And then the instrument petting zoo that we weren’t so excited about but made me think how much fun the kids would have had.  But they were home with a sitter.  Daniel wanted the night to be just about me!

Are We Going Too Far?

I love living in Portland with all its eccentricities that the show Portlandia depicts so perfectly.  But sometimes, I feel the State of Oregon goes a bit too far.  For example, on my way to take the kiddies to school, I saw something particularly strange that I later discussed with Amanda.  There was a Craigslist poster of a local man drinking a cup of coffee.  Seems innocent enough, right?  Until you read that the man in the photo – a self-described “casual home roaster and coffee geek” – has started making Kopi Luwak coffee beans (consumed and then expelled) for $30 a pound!

It might be all in fashion and all, and even actually be a delicious cup of coffee but I personally think that this is taking the eccentricities of Portlanders a little bit too far.  Still, feel free to disagree with me, as clearly a lot of my neighbors are doing!

Portland’s Wild Arts Festival

I was so excited for the weekend.  I’d been looking forward to the Wild Arts Festival for weeks!  But I had no idea just how crowded it would be.  I later found out that it was due to the 6×6 Wild Art Project that caused the crowd to “flock” (excuse the pun) to the scene.

It was pretty cool actually.  Especially since the decorated tiles were done by local artists.  There was a book signing and silent auction, all hosted by the Audubon Society of Portland. Jayden – who’s very into nature – really enjoyed it; everything there was somehow connected to nature.

Daniel loved the education birds as a couple of them made a comfortable landing spot in his arm.  Ethan got a real kick out of watching that and yelped in delight!  They were so mellow; it was cool.

Even though it was more crowded than I originally anticipated, I’m glad we made this a family day out.  It was something so different from our usual Friday activities: fun, interesting and educational all at the same time!