Cycling in the City

I’ve been debating when would be a good age to teach Jayden to ride a bike. I wouldn’t be teaching him as I never learned myself. Apparently my parents’ first attempt with my brother was so disastrous, they didn’t even bother trying with me.  Still, it’s for sure something I feel like I missed out on so I’m hoping Daniel will take in the reins with Jayden and teach him at some point.

Anyway, coincidentally, just as I was thinking about this, I read about cycling in Portland and what a good city it is for it. It was reported to be “one of the most cycle friendly places in the United States.”  That made me even more enthusiastic about getting Jayden on wheels. But then the story went on to warn all those enthusiastic Portland-cyclers that because of this fact, it could ultimately be more dangerous for them since the friendliness of the roads makes them less focused on being careful.

Still, Portland is such a stunning city and the weather is often so perfect for cycling (in the right clothing of course since it can get pretty cold).  I have therefore come to the decision that Jayden should start learning right away and initially he’ll just ride a bike in our yard.  But ultimately he should be able to enjoy cycling in places like the Cycle Path and really get a feel for the beauty of our city.  Still, I’ll wait a few years for that.  I want to keep him as close to home as possible for as long as I can.

Good Ole Portlanders

It was nice to read about our community today in the paper.  I learned that there has been a lot of goodwill and charity over the last year in my city.  Indeed, of special note has been the work of the Portland Community Fund which distributed many items of food and gifts over the Christmas season.  In addition, those families who cannot afford them, received delicious Christmas dinners.

So it’s nice.  It’s just another thing that makes me happy about living in Portland.  I also heard that kids from the Portland School District have been receiving much-needed assistance. One of Jayden’s pre-school friends has a sister in that school and I know first-hand how much the family needs help. Everyone’s really been pitching in throughout the city; from churches to local residents; businesses to other schools and food banks; it’s great how the community is rallying around.  Jayden even donated a few of his toys to the cause; I don’t like him to always feel bad for others; but at the same time it’s important he has some awareness of the poverty that exists amongst his peers so I often try to strike up the right balance and I think through the work of the fund, I’ve managed to do just that.

Here’s to more great Portlanders!

Thank-You Notes

I told my kids – well Jayden really, Ethan is too young – that we needed to start writing thank-you notes for all the presents we received over the holiday season.  I started off by showing him what I was doing for Daniel and then he started his creations.  I showed him how I’d made our family logo when Ethan was born last year through Logo Maker and he said “cool.”

Next, I gave him a large piece of paper and he drew on it.  But then, after studying what I was doing, he decided he wanted some of the family stationery to do it on so I gave him some of that.  He was very happy with his final creation. He made one each for both sets of grandparents, one to Ethan (his idea) and then one each for me and Daniel.  Oh, and then just as he was about to stop and eat a snack, he realized he’d forgotten his aunt and uncle and did one for them too.  I was very proud of him for his efforts – and I told him so – and I think he was happy too by the end. It was a fun, productive and educational afternoon.

Window Shopping in Portland

It really does get to the point where it’s been too much food, TV, wine and just vegging around. I didn’t even want to shop (which Daniel says is a first for me) so I decided to take a hike with Ethan and go window shopping (I can always enjoy some browsing without buying).

It was so lovely to get out in the fresh air and the weather was just perfect – cold, brisk, but great for a workout-walk.  Ethan loved being out too; Jayden was building something with his Lego at home with his dad but I think they were going to venture out for a bit later on in the day too.

So we walked all the way to the Lloyd Center.  I saw some cute stuff in Nordstrom and they were having a really good sale on menswear but I avoided temptation and didn’t get anything.  Besides, Daniel hates when I get him clothes. I did get a Jumba Juice for me and Ethan to share – he loves banana and date – and we sat down for a bit and drank it.

Well, I’m glad we got out for a bit.  It was good to exercise my legs and take Ethan out into the fresh air after all this eating and drinking.

Post-Christmas Non-Blues


Great News Even After Christmas

I was a little concerned I’d get the post-Christmas blues.  Mom and dad left this morning so I was suspecting feeling a bit blah.  Luckily I found an old newspaper lying around (we really hadn’t gotten around to reading the dailies a few days leading up to the holidays as we had so much to do).  But that worked out really well since I found it just when I needed it most.

I learned that a teenager from Portland is doing really good things.  Just when it seems like all teenagers should be locked up until they get to their 20s, I read about this kid who wants to change the world to a better place and has a plan to implement this.

Thirteen-year-old Julien Leitner is planning on raising a staggering $2m. And he’s not even asking people for all that much money to make this happen.  Indeed, he is only requesting $2 from each person.  Through these donations and the power of social media, he believes he will be successful in changing the world.

Apparently he’s already come a long way in this goal!  The young lad has raised $8,000 to date. He has done this through the foundation he created – Archimedes Alliance – as it was Archimedes who said “give me a lever long enough and a place to stand, and I can move the Earth,” which became his inspiration. On his YouTube video featured on CNN, Leitner then informs his viewers “you are the lever,” before requesting $2 from them.

Giving a donation also enables one to vote for one of the three charities that his foundation seeks to benefit.  And once he has raised $2m, the charity that has the most votes will get all the money.

Who could say no to that?  I certainly couldn’t.  I placed my $22 donation (it felt like $2 was too little) and then casted my vote.  Good for Leitner and good for US society (and especially Portland) for having teenagers with such caliber living in our midst.