Gabe Gregoire

Gabe Gregoire

Three Early-Season Road Races

Fire up your FitBit; the foot racing season is in full swing. Stretch out, warm up, and check out these three upcoming area races:

 

A new event, the Presidential Seaside Duathlon, takes place in Kennebunk and Kennebunkport on Saturday, April 29 starting at 8:30 a.m. The full race consists of an 18-mile bike ride sandwiched between two 5K runs, a USAT sanctioned duathlon with a $1,000 purse. Alternatively, you can stick with just the 5K run/walk at the start. Of course, the route passes by the Bush family’s beautiful Walker’s Point Estate. Organizers, the Kennebunk Rotary, have been putting on some iteration of the Presidential Road Race for 25 years now, but this incarnation is the first of its exact sort. For complete information, visit http://www.active.com/kennebunk-me/running/distance-running-races/presidential-seaside-duathlon-2017 .

 

For the ladies, this year’s The Power of She 5K is at the Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport (95 Ocean Ave) on Sunday, April 30 at 11 a.m. This is directly before the Maine Women’s Expo at the resort, admission to which is included in registration for the fun run. In addition, $8.00 out of every registration will go directly to benefit Crossroads for Women, helping to combat substance abuse in our state. The 5K will be done Boot Camp style, with coach Leslie Carroll-Flemming leading participants in cardio exercises along the run’s riverside length. It’s an important and empowering experience, so bring your moms, daughters, aunts and nieces. Check out http://thepowerofshe.me/ for more.

 

Finally, there’s the Falmouth Foreside 5K Run and Walk, beginning and ending at St. Mary’s Church in Falmouth (43 Foreside Rd), on Saturday, May 6 at 8 a.m. This is a race with cash prizes put up by sponsors ReMax and WEX, among others, all to benefit the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland, who are currently building a 13-home mixed-income neighborhood in Scarborough. A straightforward race. Learn more at http://habitatportlandme.org/index.php/info/Falmouth-Foreside-5K .

 

That should keep those heart rates up!

  • Published in Sports

New Mothers, This One's for You

Back in the day, when a woman found out she was pregnant and decided she was going to raise her child, her sources of information were basically limited to her own mother’s and grandmother’s collective advice, and reading Dr. Spock. Those are still two very good ideas, but in the past several decades, science has advanced, industry has done its best to keep up, and now there is a whole world of resources available to mothers-to-be and new mothers who have already met their babies. If you fit into either of those two categories, go to the event that is custom-tailored for you: the Portland Mom and Baby Expo, at the Portland Expo (239 Park Ave) on Friday, May 5 and Saturday, May 6 (noon – 4 p.m. and 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., respectively). Admission is $5.00, with valet parking available for $10.00.

More than eighty vendors and exhibitors are scheduled to be offering their goods and services, all dedicated to the well-being of pregnant women and new families. The list of exhibitors includes Au Pair in America, Coastal Women’s Healthcare, Juice Plus, Mom to Mom of Maine, Sneak Peek Baby Boutique, Maine Cloth Diaper Company, and dozens and dozens more.

Among the nearly limitless things to do at the Expo: A Babywearing Corner, staffed by leading national expert, Kristi Hayes-Devlin, owner of Wrapsody and the founder of the BCIA (Baby Carrier Industry Alliance); a Storybook Corner created by award-winning Islandport Press; and free seminars with titles like, “Healthy Sleep, Happy Family,” “Breastpumping 101,” and, “Ignite Your Mojo as a Mum,” among many others.

The bottom line is, this 2nd annual Mom and Baby Expo is a great place to go, no matter what may be making you wonder about the immediate future of yourself and your child, or even if you’re completely at ease, and just want to learn more and meet other mothers.

FMI: www.portlandmomandbabyexpo.com

 

  • Published in Kids

Doggie Dental Care: What To Do

Everybody knows that feeling of disappointment that sets in when the dentist says, “Yup, you’ve got a cavity. We’ll schedule you for a filling.” You think, “Damn, I could have prevented that if I had flossed more.” Then you realize how much that new filling is going to cost, and by the time you’re back in your car, you’re already mentally cutting date night out of your budget for the next couple of weeks, wondering if you could be convincing, making an Amazon-and-popcorn night sound just as fun as Ed Sheeran at Cross. And that’s like a relatively successful dental health experience.

 

As unpleasant as that is, your dog isn’t that lucky. Without human intervention, veterinarians warn, dogs are likely to develop dental disease, which damages their gums, the bones beneath, and the ligaments that hold the teeth in place. The bacteria of which dental tartar is mostly composed can even enter a dog’s bloodstream, eventually infecting the kidneys, heart, and other vital organs. Needless to say, this is not a pain-free experience for your pup.

 

Obviously, a program of preventive care is a much healthier, less expensive alternative. Here are some things that animal experts say you can do to keep those fearsome fangs smiling:

 

  1. Use dry food (kibble), not wet. When dogs eat kibble, the chomping, crushing action on the hard pellets naturally abrades plaque and tartar off the teeth. Wet food, on the other hand, not only does not provide this cleaning factor, but also can stick to teeth, actually accelerating decay. So give wet food on occasion as a treat, but on a daily basis, if possible, feed your dog a high-quality dry food from a reputable manufacturer.

  2. Speaking of treats, you may have suspected that those oral-care focused doggie treats were nothing but a marketing ploy, but we have it from Dr. Michael Tuder, owner and director of four animal hospitals on the East Coast, that they do work. Snacks like Greenies or Natural Balance “... microscopically rub against the teeth and remove debris.” So compared with expensive veterinary procedures down the road, the price of dental dog treats is justified for loving dog owners.

  3. Watch for behavioral indicators from your pet that would stem from dental discomfort, so you can spot any problems early. If your dog is chewing on one side only or avoiding chewing in general, or their breath is uncharacteristically smelly, or you detect swelling on the jaw or around the eye, the teeth are more than likely involved. Time for a vet visit.

  4. Finally, and most importantly, brush your dog’s teeth as often as possible (once a day is ideal). Yes, at first, it can be as much work as getting them into the bath. And yes, we know that you are a busy adult with limited extra time. But if you and your dog can work together and ingrain this habit into your lives, you will head a lot of trouble off at the pass. (Note: use enzyme-based canine paste, not human paste, as fluoride is harmful to dogs.)

 

Of course, no matter how conscientious you are, serious issues can rear their ugly heads. Rosie (see photo), Phoenix reader Jenny D’s Chiweenie (chihuahua/dachshund mix), is in need of some help with her teeth. So if you are in a position to do so, go to her fundraising page at https://www.gofundme.com/RosieChiweenie and lend a hand.

 

Sources: http://blog.petfirst.com/2017/03/03/dos-and-donts-of-dog-dental-care/ , http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/veterinarian-confession-i-dont-brush-my-dogs-teeth

  • Published in Pets

Anglers, are you ready to attempt the next level of the sport?

Remember when an adult role model helped you put your first worm on a hook? Not long after that, you’d head down to the bog or the stream with a pal and drop lines in, catching trash fish and throwing them back, talking about sailfish and marlin. Still later, with an official rod and reel, there was that first strike from a fish you just knew would be good enough for fish and chips that night, or at least to take pictures of.

 

The next evolution? The sport that only men and women of calmness and grace ever master: flyfishing. And you have your chance to learn fly casting, at Water Connections: Fishing for Healthy Water, at the Standish Boat Launch on Sebago Lake, on Sunday, April 30 between 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. The event is free, but space is limited.

 

As you may have guessed from the title, this workshop in the basics of fly casting (with some on-shore and on-water practice), is for a larger purpose: Sponsors Portland Water District, Sebago Lake Anglers Association, and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife want to start a conversation about the importance of Maine’s water ecosystems. And they put their money where their mouths are. For example, the Water District has a policy of contributing to conservation land purchases around the Sebago Lake Watershed, because the forests there are a very important part of creating and maintaining healthy drinking and fishing water.

 

Fly rods and and other equipment will be provided for participants, who must register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/water-connections-fishing-for-healthy-water-registration-33531424393 by April 27. Anglers ages 14 and up are welcome. Those 16 and over are required to have fishing licenses, which will be available for sale on site, either for the day or for the season. Organizers promise that even if you don’t get a nibble, you’ll be able to get up close and personal with some brook trout, as part of a talk about Maine fisheries and broader conservation strategies.

 

So stake out a deep, shady spot, and think like a fish. The strike happens when you’re in your Zen place.

 

FMI: https://www.pwd.org/water-connections-fishing-healthy-water

 

  • Published in Sports

Celebrate Earth Day!

Disclaimer: A certain writer, yours truly, is in his forties. So long ago, when April 22 came around, you would go to the feed store, get a sapling, and plant it somewhere around your house. It was Earth Day. Americans were worried about the devastation of the South American rainforest, among other things. But environmentalism was still a relatively new phenomenon, starting to be taught in schools, so it was the kids who bugged their parents to reduce, reuse and recycle, and of course, for a ride to get a tree to plant.

 

Since 1970, when Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson organized a nationwide protest against the deterioration of the environment and millions participated in the very first Earth Day, the only thing that hasn’t changed is that the earth still needs our help.

 

So take the whole family to the 6th Annual Green Neighbor Family Fest at Deering High School (370 Stevens Ave) on Earth Day, April 22, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Arrive a little early if you want to catch the finish of the Urban Runoff 5K, a conjoined event.) Admission is free.

 

The festival “celebrate[s] Earth Day and clean water with hands on activities, live entertainment, face painting, a bounce house, and more.” Kids will have plenty of fun, while learning about how to be better stewards to our natural world, even how to spread the word. Be sure to buy tickets to the raffle, as well. The prize last year was a set of Maine State Park passes, just in time for the beginning of the season.

 

So go and enjoy the unfurling leaves, the green grass, the wholesome spring air, and let Mother Earth talk to the kids for awhile.

  • Published in Kids

Dogs on the Catwalk?

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. For every person on earth, there is a unique idea of what is pleasing to the eye, and to the heart. In America, the producers of mass media have been telling us for a long time that there’s a consensus, an ideal that we should all match our preferences to, or have to worry about how strange and different we are. That is changing. The strict standards are slowly opening up to include a wider variety of body types and personal styles. American beauty is waking up and realizing that it doesn’t always have to have the appearance of a plastic doll from a factory. One day, if we continue to grow, there will be no shame or punishment (self-inflicted or otherwise) involved in choosing to look simply like one’s own beautiful self. A multitude of unique beauties, all together comprising a beautiful society.

All this is to say, for dog people, the same holds true. Your pup doesn’t have to have a pedigree to be the cutest, most adorable pooch you’ve ever seen. So if you want to show off your cunning canine, have no fear if they are a little bigger, or have a snaggletooth, or anything of the sort. Get your hands on a doggie costume, and bring them to the Animal Welfare Society’s Patriotic Pooch Pageant & Fashion Show, at Liquid Dreams (696 Main St, Ogunquit) on Sunday, April 23 at 12:20 p.m. That’s when the free entries and registrations take place, soon followed by showing and judging. There will be two categories for pet costumes: Favorite Americans (think old school, like Abe Lincoln, John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, etc), and Stars and Stripes (the more red, white and blue, the better). The event will be outdoors, so if there’s inclement weather, contact the AWS at 207-985-3244 to ask about alternative plans. Members of their staff will also bring beautiful, adoptable dogs to the show.

 

And if that’s not enough poochie pulchritude for you, the AWS will feature even more dogs on the catwalk, this time at their Rescues on the Runway, at the Maine Mall (364 Maine Mall Rd, SoPo) on Saturday, April 29 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The best part? These four-legged models will be eagerly awaiting adoption, straight from the event. So get your favorite coffee drink, and prepare to feast your eyes on Southern Maine’s unique and lovely dogs. One of them may win your heart.

  • Published in Pets

Dirt on the Floor at Cross Arena

Did you ever get cut off in traffic and wish you were driving a five-ton monster truck, so you could simply drive over your road-rage opponent from back bumper to hood, with glass popping all the way as their car’s frame collapses? How about that co-worker who always parks halfway into your space? Maybe just park your monster with one of its five-and-a-half foot tires resting on his fender. Oh, the possibilities.

These fantasies can be performed before your eyes, at the Traxxas Monster Truck Destruction Tour, at the Cross Insurance Arena (1 Civic Center Sq) on Friday, April 21 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 22 at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at http://www.crossarenaportland.com/events/Traxxxs__Monster_Trucks_Destruction_Tour (careful of the misspelling of ‘Traxxas’), starting at $26.00 for adults and $11.00 for kids aged 3 to 12. Children 2 and under get in free, but organizers advise that babies aren’t usually huge fans of the noise and exhaust fumes.

An iteration of the tour comes to Maine every other year, and drivers look forward to visiting us. Greg Winchenbach, driver of the Crushstation (“The Monstah Lobstah”), who grew up in Jefferson, Maine, especially relishes the returns, telling a Bangor news outlet that “coming here is the best place to race.” But don’t worry, the monstrous machines won’t simply be driving in circles. Winchenbach also mentioned “creating … carnage everywhere” as a top draw.

Trucks that will be at the Arena this weekend include Skully (“Crushing the competition head on!”), Craniac (“Crazy in the cranium!”), Tuff Guy (“Do you dare to find out!?”), and more. We don’t know where the unfortunate regular-sized cars in the ring are going to come from, but we know where they’re going. Local scrapyards are going to experience an influx.

Fans can purchase a Pit Party Pass for an additional fee to gain access to drivers, who will pose for pictures and sign autographs. With an admission ticket, a Pit Party Pass (or a VIP ticket), and ten bucks cash, you can take a quick ride in one of the monster trucks.

As if that weren’t enough roaring engines and utter destruction to get you going, here’s the best part: keep an eye out for Megasaurus, a three-story tall, fire breathing, car-eating dinosaur. Wouldn’t you like to have that, when someone passes you on the right?

  • Published in Sports

How Did We Used to Get So Many Vacations?

April means two things, to most adults who have kids: No more kidding around about your taxes, and the rugrats are loose for another week. But Portlanders are lucky, because local organizations have plenty of activities for their youngsters to get involved in, lest they go Lord of the Flies on us. To wit:

What kid doesn’t love the story of Robin Hood? If your son or daughter goes straight to the dowels when you’re at the hardware store and pretends they’re arrows, enroll them in Portland Stage Company’s Vacation Camp: Adventures with Robin Hood, taking place at their building at 25A Forest Ave. between April 17 and 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. The price is $280 per child. There will be a surplus of games, artwork and performance in the land of Nottingham, with an open classroom on the final day of camp for students to show what they’ve been working on. (Note: Real arrows will not be used.)

Or, if your mini-me is more of an animal lover who has a special bond with the family pet, there’s the Animal Welfare Society’s April Vacation Camp at 46 Holland Rd. in Kennebunk, from April 17 to 21 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the week. Registration costs $125 and kids ages 7 to 12 are welcome. This is a comprehensive course that touches on everything from animal care and handling, to animal welfare issues and awareness, to the interrelation between people, animals and the environment. Your little vet-to-be will finish the week with a head full of knowledge. You’ll have to send bag lunches each day, but the AWS has snacks covered.

Finally, there’s even something for the kids whose noses are always in a book (or at least glued to something worthwhile online). The Portland Museum of Art (7 Congress Sq.) is offering School Vacation Week Family Days: The Art of Poetry. On April 19, 20 and 21 starting at 11 a.m., poets from The Telling Room will come and share their work, to be dovetailed with games and activities in PMA’s galleries, all geared toward developing an awareness of the intersection of visual art and the written word. Plus, in the afternoons, a screening of the film The Eagle Huntress will take place. It’s a stunning story about a young girl who strives to become the first master of falconry in her village. The Museum recommends that participants be at least 5 years old (8 for the movie).

With these options, we foresee that you won’t even be up against much of an argument from the little angels. They’ll be like, “My folks are the coolest!”

Portland Stage Company: 207-774-0465 or http://www.portlandstage.org/events/vacation-camp-adventures-with-robin-hood/

Animal Welfare Society: Megan at 207-985-3244 ext. 109 or http://animalwelfaresociety.org/news_and_events/april-vacation-camp-2/

Portland Museum of Art: 207-775-6148 or http://www.portlandmuseum.org/events/school-vacation-week-family-days-art-poetry

  • Published in Kids

Are You a Believer?

Many pet owners go their whole lives without thinking about whether animals have souls or not. They don’t take part in the debate when it comes up, maybe don’t even have an opinion about their own immortality or lack thereof, and they go home, feed the pets in question, host the weekly poker game and set their minds on work the next day. But some of us animal lovers have seen something inside our furry friends’ eyes, and simply felt that if we’re going anywhere after we die, so are they.

Two people who certainly believe that, and have made careers helping clients receive messages from pets (and people) who have already gone to the great beyond, are Sara Moore and Kathleen Stone, animal communicators who will be in the spotlight at An Evening of Communication at the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland (217 Landing Rd, Westbrook), on Friday, April 14, at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $40.00 for general admission (at http://www.arlgp.org/communication/ ) to the gallery-style event. Moore and Stone will interact with the crowd John Edwards-style, narrowing in on messages from the other side, and giving participants a more accurate general sense of how our beloved animals communicate with our hearts and minds after the pets have passed. Both Stone and Moore have practices in Portland.

Of course, the ideal situation would be that your pet didn’t ‘leave’ without you, and perhaps a more practical way of communicating with them would be to learn how to prevent their early departure. If that sounds more like your style, attend the ARLGP’s Pet First Aid & CPR Workshop at the same location on Saturday, April 15 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The cost of registration at http://www.arlgp.org/news-events/ is $65.00. Using stuffed practice dogs, facilitators will demonstrate life-saving methods that may be the difference between losing your pet in an emergency, or having a story to tell the cousins when they ask, “How’s Fido?” Attendees will receive a workbook, two 2-year certifications, and an emergency muzzle. It’s always a good idea to be prepared.

Even if you stay home instead, take a look at your favorite animal. Is that really just a bit of future worm food in front of you?

  • Published in Pets

And So It Begins...

Some of the runners in Southern Maine spent the winter conditioning on treadmills, either at home or at the gym. The motion of one’s body is the same on a machine as it is outdoors, sometimes even complete with varying speeds and grades of incline. With elliptical trainers, athletes may actually get a more complete workout than they would by running outdoors.

 

But there’s something a little deadening about running toward a TV screen, making no forward progress, breathing recycled air, not seeing the landscape pass by or being a participant in the scene along with pedestrians and early birds on their way to work. Runners want to feel and hear the crunch of grit on pavement under their feet, not the humming and thumping of their steps on a conveyor belt.

 

Well, it’s no news that the weather has changed. Runners have been back to their regular routes and have been discovering new ones. Some have reported seeing early crocuses already. And the change of season means one more thing: Timed 5Ks and 10Ks. Get ready for the joy of steadily pulling away from the pack of starters and settling into that flying, euphoric pace. Begin with these two timed runs:

 

First, it’s the 6th Annual Memorial Middle School 5K to be held at the South Portland High School (637 Highland Ave.) athletic track on Sunday, April 8. Race day registration starts at 9 a.m. There will be a Fun Run for kids at 9:30 a.m., with the 5K adult race beginning at 10 a.m. Registration fees are $15 for adults ($20 on race day) and $10 for students. Proceeds go to support Memorial Middle School’s efforts to increase community health and wellness, and to have money available for students’ needs. The race will take place rain or shine. Refreshments will be provided, and prizes will go to age group winners. Find out more at https://www.facebook.com/events/393707137654137/

 

Meanwhile, a short trip north, go to the 14th Annual Save Our Swinging Bridge 5K, to happen around Topsham’s Lower Village and downtown Brunswick, on Sunday, April 16. The USA Track and Field-certified race begins on Main Street in Topsham at 10 a.m. Cost for registration is $25 for adults and $15 for minors. The first 100 registrants will receive a T-shirt. Proceeds will benefit saveourbridge.org, a non-profit that maintains and beautifies the historic Swinging Bridge, one of the few remaining suspension pedestrian bridges in Maine. Prizes will be awarded to the fastest male and female runners, as well as winners in ten different age groups. There will also be a 2K Family Walk for a little more low-impact fun. Go to http://www.saveourbridge.org/annual-5k--2k.html to learn more and register.

 

We hope you’ve broken in those new running shoes, because it won’t be long until the season is in full swing. So stretch, focus, and go!

  • Published in Sports
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