Learning About Idaho Falls

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!

Getting Ready for the Weekend

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!”

Portland Crime


Generally things in Portland – and especially in my residential, suburbia neighborhood – are nice and quiet and that’s how we like it, especially with the little ones.  But of course, as we all know too well unfortunately, no city is completely crime-free. 

I know that crime exists, and I also know that there are very sick people everywhere.  But I guess I hadn’t heard about the two men who had been accused of sexually molesting little boys.  That really hit home, especially given that I’ve got two boys of my own.  Anyway apparently they were arrested a year ago but sentencing was only passed just now at the US Federal Court, Medford.  They got pretty substantial punishments, so that was at least something.  It seems they will be in prison for more than 25 years and then, after that, will have a 20-year term of supervised release.

Still, I like to focus on the nice things about where I live and this was a bit unsettling.  I guess that’s why – as much as I can – I avoid the news. But Daniel happened to be reading the local newspaper and I saw him look a little troubled so I asked him what it was about.

Let’s hope there’s some good news to counter this in the next few days.  Sorry to have been a bit of a downer today…hope you are privy to some nice news, wherever you are.



Clark Clifford: A True Friend to Israel

Clark Clifford was more than just an aide to a US President. Of course, this position was incredibly commendable in and of itself, but vis-à-vis Israel, Zionism and the Jewish people, the man had a great influence.  And to those back in the day who recognized his efforts, he was thanked.
On November 29, 1947, President Chaim Weizmann wrote a letter of thanks – the original of which is housed by The Shapell Manuscript Foundation in its ‘Between the Lines’ collection.  He said: “Our mutual friend… has kept me informed of doings in Washington, and especially of your magnificent cooperation in many critical situations. In these days of struggle and readjustment we are desperately in need of understanding friendships, and it is good to know that we have in you a genuine friend of our cause. I assure you, and I wish you would in turn assure your great Chief, that we desire nothing but peace and amity with our neighbours, and that we have no aggressive designs on any of them. We shall always be mindful of the Biblical injunction: ‘Zion will be rebuilt in Justice’.”

Clearly Clifford’s efforts were gratefully received by the Jews.

Clark Clifford achieved a lot – in many spheres – in his life.  Born in 1906, he graduated law school from Washington University and worked in his field in Missouri for 15 years.  It was during the Second World War that he became an assistant naval aide and was thereafter promoted to naval aide to the president of America, in the Navy.  Two years after the war, he was appointed as general counsel and it was through this position that Clifford participated in the drafting of the National Security Act.  Other political positions he held included adviser to John F. Kennedy and Stuart Symington, as well as later on, sitting on (and becoming chairman of ) the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.

Aside from his political career, Clifford was a successful lawyer in Washington.  In this capacity he represented various large corporations, facilitating their work with various government regulations.  One of his largest clients was Howard Hughes, owner of the Hughes Tool Company.
Together with General Maxwell Taylor, in the late 1960s, Clark Clifford went to Vietnam on a fact-finding tour and advised Lyndon B. Johnson to send more troops there if he wanted America to win the war.  A year later he took over as Secretary Defense from Robert McNamara who had been pushing the President to go the other way vis-à-vis the war and the troops.
Clearly Clark Clifford did a lot in his life, both politically and in the world of business.  But what he will be most remembered for by the Jews and the people of Israel is the influence he had on President Truman and America’s support for the State of Israel.

Jayden Jumping on the Bus!

So we took Jayden to his first theater performance last night.  Since it was his first time, we decided to splurge on three tickets at the Oregon Children’s Theatre.  Jayden’s been watching ‘Magic School Bus’ since my colleague Michelle (who happens to be half my age…now that’s enough to make you feel old!), recommended it as an educational show she’d grown up on.  So when I saw it playing at the theater, I suggested to Daniel it’d be a fun family outing. Well, for the three of us at least; we got a babysitter for Ethan who would have spent the entire evening throwing popcorn or screaming his head off.

We got there at 4: 30 (the show was scheduled to begin at 5) and of course Jayden immediately wanted to eat.  Thankfully, I’d bought some of his favorite snacks, so he was munching on apples and Cornflakes and then of course he got thirsty (I hadn’t thought that far ahead) so Daniel had to go locate some juice, but the only one he could find was mango and Jayden decided this was “ewww.”  Still, at least he didn’t spill it all over the chair or anything and we weren’t thrown out of the theatre, something for which I was thankful.

Jayden overall seemed to enjoy the performance, but I think he’s become so spoilt with the Disney movies he watches nightly as I try to navigate what’s new in the world of Asia finance (a long story; some possible business venture my brother and I are trying to start; one of our many attempts at making some much needed money), that he was a bit bored.  It got me thinking that perhaps he’s stopped enjoying the basic loves in childhood and that it could be my fault because I let him watch too much TV. Hmmm, something to consider, but I see I am digressing.
Anyway, at the end of the show, I asked him if he had enjoyed it and he said in his all-too-cute voice (I must get Daniel to record that at some point), he replied with a smile, “it was fun mommy; can we do it again?”  So I was happy.  And then afterwards, as a treat, we went for bagels and cream-cheese – Jayden’s favorite – at the Portland Bagel Co. and I had the yummiest sandwich with my favorite topping – Tillamook Cheddar and Egg.  Yum; the whole evening was worth it just for that!