Finishing the Job

Dear Liza,

Well, Grandpa Nelson and I got to work on the dresser for Cousins Jasper and Kestrel. We drove out to IKEA to get the replacement part I broke, then I got Grandpa to help me finish.

Between the new parts, some nice rest, and Pip’s Doughnuts to fill us up, we were able to get the main part of the dresser finished. Why do things that looked impossible all by yourself at the end of the day become easier all of a sudden when you are fresh and have help?

Because things are easier with company. When I thought I had to figure it all out by myself, I saw a few difficulties and gave up. But once I had Grandpa Nelson to help me see things, two sets of eyes (even eyes as bad as ours) made everything possible.

After just a few hours, fifty tiny screws and a few big lefts, we got it done. But the fun wasn’t over.Today I  went back to build the drawers! They were surprisingly easy, and I had time and energy left to bang out a few tunes on the old piano that came with the place. Then lunch at “Chickens and Guns” (the guns are side dishes…roast potatoes, salads, etc.) food truck and home on the bus.


Grandma Judy

H Mart Opens

Dear Liza,

When you were visiting and we went for a walk, we went past a store that wasn’t open yet. We have been waiting for over a year now, and today, H Mart opened! This store is at the corner of SE 33rd and Belmont and is now our closest grocery store, so we will be seeing a lot if it, I’m sure.

This morning we went for a walk, appreciating all the tulips in the neighborhood. The tree blossoms have faded, and the wisteria are just beginning, but the tulips are in full bloom, and they are amazing.

At 10:30 we were able to enter the store with about fifty other folks, with about fifty more just behind us.

There were fruits and vegetables, huge bags of rice, and lots of delightful packaged foods from Korea and China.

Up front was a deli that offers hot dishes and sushi, and in the back corner are live (and dead) fish. It was all very interesting and very crowded, both with fish and people!

We bought some mochis with red bean paste inside, some grapes, and some new teas.

We got home, nibbled the mochi, had some tea, and then headed off for our next adventure. I wonder what I’ll find next?


Grandma Judy

Kickstarter for Auntie Katie’s Shop

Dear Liza,

I have told you about Auntie Katie’s bookstore, called Books with Pictures. She sells comics, illustrated books, and other wonderful things for people of all ages, colors, abilities and orientations. She hosts art activities, camps, drawing contests, and creative meet ups. It really has something for everyone.

I have also told you about her new building, a few blocks down the street from her current place. She has bought the old Longfellow’s Books shop and is going to move her shop into the first floor and her home into the second floor. It is a big job!

So she is going to need some help. She is putting on a Kickstarter, which is a way for people to donate money to help her do this big move. She has to pay for movers, as well as close her current shop down, move everything to the new place, set it up, and then start it up again. The Kickstarter will help with this.

She has posted a wonderful video on Facebook at Katie Pryde. Look for Kickstarter, Books with Picture’s Great Big Move! There is a bright drawing of her new building.

I am so proud of her. She dreams big and makes things happen.


Grandma Judy

Biscuits and IKEA

Dear Liza,

Monday was a busy day! I got up early and headed over to Auntie Katie’s shop, Books with Pictures. First, we all had some delicious biscuits from Pine State Biscuits, just a few doors down. They were delicious!

It was a school holiday, so dozens of kids at a day camp were going to be coming to the bookshop for activities. Meanwhile, cousins Jasper and Kestrel were not in school either, and needed someplace else to be.

My first thought was to take them downtown, for lunch and the History Museum. The weather is still cool and very rainy again (they say this happens every year, a week of bright and then more rain…grr….) But something else came up.

Since Katie’s family is moving into their new apartment over the new bookshop, a lot of their furniture is already there. There is also some IKEA furniture to be assembled. I got my tool box and we walked down to the new building, where boxes of furniture pieces were waiting. Working together, we three got a small desk chair done fairly easily and moved on to a dresser for the kid’s room.

The dresser had about a gazillion pieces! After half an hour of staring at the directions, I thought I had it figured out. Cousin Kestrel was very helpful and put in thirty small screws to hold in the drawer guides.

Feeling victorious but hungry, we walked to Genie’s for lunch. Tasty, huge portions, and even a take out BLT for Auntie Katie!

Back at work, it got weird. Pieces weren’t fitting. Something was wrong. I went back a few steps and realized that I had put the drawer guides on backwards!! Poor Kestrel had put in thirty screws that now had to be taken out.

I explained to the cousins that this is the meaning of “back to square one”. Being back at the beginning, but three hours later and totally exhausted. After breaking one of the little plastic cams by twisting it too hard, I decided it was time to walk away for the day.

We will try again tomorrow. I will not be defeated by furniture!


Grandma Judy

Hollywood Farmer’s Market

Bees doing their stuff!
Future salads!

Dear Liza,

Now that spring is here, the neighborhood Farmer’s Markets are back! Held in parking lots around the city, these markets are mostly used by local farmers, butchers, nurserymen, distillers, and cheese makers to sell their delicious, organic wares.

We drove up the the Hollywood neighborhood, about a mile and a half north of us, to the Grocery Outlet parking lot just off Sandy. It was sunny for the first time in days and everything was so beautiful!

We found some lettuce seedlings to re-pot and put in our bright kitchen window, and some baby asparagus and green onions. A local honey farmer brought honey, bees wax candles, and even a part of her bee hive, with happy, busy bees doing their bee business inside. It was fascinating to watch the little critters.

Of course, people and dog watching is part of what I love about Farmer’s Markets. The Hollywood provides little red wagons to use as kid carriers/ shopping carts, which is practical and adorable.

On our way home, we stopped by Trader Joe’s for some groceries, and found an old friend from Salinas! Steve used to be a barista at Rollick’s coffee, and has now moved up to Portland and is working at Traders! It was so nice to see a familiar face, well and happy in our ( and his) new place.

Looking forward to more adventures!


Grandma Judy

Kid carriers and shopping carts

Dog meet up

Harry Potter Trivia

Dear Liza,

This evening, Auntie Bridgett, Grandpa Nelson and I walked down to The Nerd Out, a fun, science fiction themed restaurant just down the block.

They were having a wonderful event called “Accio Books!”, which combines food, drink, trivia, and collecting books for schools. There was Butterbeer (both with and without alcohol) costumes, and lots of fun.

I dressed as Professor Trelawny because I have the round glasses and lots of scarves. We used the magic wands Auntie Christy made for us at Christmas. Auntie Bridgett dressed as a young Hogwarts’ student, and was adorable! Grandpa Nelson was a friendly Muggle.

There were to be two sets of trivia questions during the evening, NEWTS and OWLS. We played in the OWLS (Ordinary Wizarding Levels) and came in third! I would have liked to have won, of course, but it was fun. We enjoyed some roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon, and walked the block home.

Not bad for a Thursday!


Grandma Judy

Silver Falls State Park

Dear Liza,

It seems we never run out of things to see and do here in Portland. About an hour south of town is the Silver Falls State Park, with very pleasant hikes that take you to TEN wonderful waterfalls!

Since Sunday was the first clear, warm day of the season, parking was difficult, but we found the South Falls day use area had plenty. We took snacks, water and fully charged phones, and headed off along the Maple Ridge Trail.

I know that The Jungle Ride at Disneyland makes a big deal about seeing “The back side of water”. But at Silver Falls, we got to walk behind not one, but two huge, deafening, super-drippy waterfalls. It was humbling and wonderful.

Besides the majesty of the falls were the smaller joys of spring. Plants just awakening and animals hustling about made for a sweet celebration of the new season.

A very friendly chipmunk shared some of Grandpa Nelson’s peanuts.

Mushrooms growing in tiny holes drilled by woodpeckers and the very beginnings of blackberry bushes promised summer bounty.

After about 3 miles, we started to fade, and realizing it was going to be an all-uphill hike back to the car, we headed back. We stopped by The Belmont Station for dinner and cider before crashing at home.

What a wonderful day!


Grandma Judy