I just downloaded Portlandia – the first season. Last night I got the kids to bed early (Jayden can often still be up at 9 which is pretty tough for me as I like to be asleep by 10; but he is so yummy and cuddly at that time, but still) and started with the first episode.
I enjoyed it. For a start, it’s definitely cool to have a show reflecting your hometown. That’s the only reason Daniel started watching it with me. He didn’t think it would be “him” as he figure it would be a bit chic-flicish, but it turned out it wasn’t at all. Truthfully it was kind of surreal; the way it’s produced and directed is a little strange. It’s got dance/music and then sit-com so it’s a whole mixture of stuff and very different. In the beginning they are singing a song with a chorus "The dream of the '90s is alive in Portland," indicating that truthfully in America today, with its economics and policies, come live in Portland as then you can live an idyllic life.
We also discovered that the name of the show – Portlandia – is a reference to the Portlandia sculpture (I never knew that big thing we pass regularly was called that) which is on the Portland Building on Fifth Avenue, downtown. So a bit of hometown history isn’t too bad either. I’m sure Jayden’s has asked me about that sculpture when we’ve driven by a million times and I have no answer for him.
Anyway, I digress. I really enjoyed it because I love TV shows that feature couples and this one has Fred and Carrie as the main players. The first one was about a particular bohemian couple whose priority it is to have the most humane and ethical restaurant. It seems it’s important to some people (especially Portlanders I guess) what kind of life the chicken had before it arrived on their plates at the restaurant. Apparently the chicken they were eating had 4 acres in which to run around; and then they showed the somewhat weird couple a picture of “him.” Oh well, as Daniel says, each to their own!
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!
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.
So since we’re in town for a bit, I decided to check out news from the area. We have this thing in my family – a tradition that was started by my great, great-grandmother. Wherever we are, we are not allowed to leave without learning something about the place. Jayden is now just about old enough to appreciate and enjoy this.
Well, it was sure perfect timing as that morning in the local newspaper, the Post Register I read about a disabled man from Idaho Falls who’d won the lottery, cashing in $200,000! Winner Donny Jones was said to have been “in shock” and of course delighted at the news. His plans are to pay off his bills first. What lovely news. This really was just what we needed. I feel like there’s so much bad news around the whole time that this was just lovely.
I shared the whole thing with Jayden. I asked him what he would want to give someone with a disability if he could give them anything in the world. He paused for a while and then said, “something to make them really smile.” Well, this lottery winning ticket sure did that for Jones. Just keep these great feel-good stories coming Idaho Falls!
I’m looking forward to the weekend. I know it’s only Thursday and I still have another day left of work (I’m a content writer for an Internet company) but still, I like to plan ahead for fun things. So I think on Saturday – weather permitting – I’m going to let Daniel rest (he’s been working so hard on his video projects recently) and take the kids and Galvin to Brush Prairie Dog Park on NE 149th Street. Measuring over 10 acres, I love the space here, and, to me, it is everything awesome about Portland – the greenery, the freshness, the environment preservation factor – it truly is awesome. And Jayden loves hanging out there – especially as I usually bring his favorite snacks. Sometimes some of his buddies from preschool go there too – there are a lot of dogs in the area and we really do love to frequent this park. We also get to choose from two different parks for Galvin – one for bigger, more assertive dogs and the other for somewhat shyer, smaller dogs. Galvin often goes to both!
In the afternoon maybe we’ll just do a movie for the kids and I’ll get to read the weekend papers. That, or Daniel will build something with the boys – or at least with Jayden – while I try to stop Ethan from destroying it all!
Basically I’m planning and hoping for a mellow, getting back to nature weekend. So we’ll see what happens in actuality. As the old adage goes, “man plans and God laughs!”