Dodgin’ Raindrops

Dear Liza,IMG_1874.jpeg

Today I took a walk through the neighborhood, on my to Collage. This arts and crafts shop is about a mile away, on Division Street, but is the closest place where I can buy embroidery thread. Besides, I love seeing how the neighborhood changes every day.

Rain was predicted, but, as my Momma used to say, I’m not made of sugar.

Today I met a fellow taking a picture of this persimmon tree. The tree has no leaves at all, but is full of persimmons, just too high to reach!

Along the way I noticed the retaining walls. Most old houses in Portland have basements, so the house sits above the street. The yard is made flat by these walls, which can show a lot of characters. Some are just mossy, but others have decorations or are practically their own gardens.IMG_1859.jpeg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was also this pile of mulch, leftover from someone who bought too much. The sign says: “OMG!  Please Take Some!”

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Collage didn’t have any of the color embroidery floss I was after, but Henry, the manager, took his time matching the color to his online order form, and it will be in next week so I can finish my project.

When I got home, this shadow of Mouse was on the wall of the landing….IMG_1807.jpeg

Another nice day in Portland.

Love,

Grandma Judy

 

 

 

Sense of Wonder

Dear Liza,

Lately, when we go out walking, I am like a little kid. Everything, everyday, looks different and magical. The rain puts a shine on sidewalks, making them into mirrors, which reflect the most ordinary things in extraordinary ways.

Moss turns every surface into a garden. I imagine myself one inch tall, climbing over the soft, green hillocks on my way to lunch on the fat pyracantha berries. Puddles become lakes. Mossy walls become the cliffs of Moher.img_1878.jpeg

Yesterday we met a young lady making art in Laurelhurst Park. She was laying bright maple leaves along the low branches of a tree, making both the leaves and the branches more beautiful. She mentioned an artist named Andy Goldsworthy, whom I have looked up.IMG_1849.jpeg

Mr. Goldsworthy is an installation artist, which means his art is created on site and cannot be moved. He creates his work with stones, leaves, sticks, ice, water…whatever he finds on the site. Then he photographs the work, allowing us to enjoy it without getting our feet wet. I appreciate his sense of wonder and beauty.

Like Andy Goldsworthy, I enjoy seeing the beauty in nature. Like this young lady, I am inspired by Laurelhurst Park. And like all the small people in my life, I just want to stare at the world and smile in amazement.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Notable Women of Portland

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Dr. Tracy Prince

Dear Liza,

I keep learning more about the history of this wonderful city! Last night we drove through the rain to McMenamin’s Kennedy School, up on NW 33rd. We were there to listen to Tracy Prince and her 15 year old daughter, Zadie Schaffer, talk about their newest book, Notable Women of Portland.

Tracy has a Ph.D in history, is an affiliated professor at Portland State University, and has studied Portland history for years. When Zadie needed a bat mitzvah project, they decided to research the untold stories…. the women who were always referred to by their husbands’ names, the Native Americans who lived on the edges of the city but were a vital part of it, the female welders and doctors who have been forgotten in what Tracy refers to as “the Manifest Destiny version of history.”

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The Book!

The resulting book, a “photographic history”, covers white women and women of color, Native Americans, and of Chinese and Japanese ancestry, from the 1840s to the present. The publishers limited Tracy to 75 words per photo, so each person’s story is told briefly, almost as an illustrated outline of history.

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A photo showing a Native American woman selling her baskets in the Northwest part of Portland

 

 

I got to talk to Tracy before the presentation, and when I told her about my story project, she was gracious enough to give me her email and encourage me to contact her for more detailed information. I look forward to learning what she knows and using it to make my story better.

Love,

Grandma Judy

New Decoration

Dear Liza,

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Shelf fungus

No, I don’t mean Christmas! Well, not totally, and not quite yet.

Auntie Bridgett has gotten her boxes down, and there are candles and angels perched here and there…but what I’m talking about today is the change OUTSIDE.

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Happy Moss

Since we got home from Thanksgiving in San Diego, the wet weather had kicked in.

The rain has knocked most of the remaining leaves into tall, soggy piles in gutters, waiting to be hauled away on neighborhood “leaf days”.

The branches left behind are architectural and magnificent.

Moss is blooming, mushrooms are sprouting. I am in awe of the amount of life on every inch of stone wall and tree trunk.

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Deciduous vines on a wall

I love our wet weather. Of course, it means a few more layers and a fluffy hat under my brimmed hat, but it’s all good.

 

Love,

Grandma Judy

Harold the Traveling Stufftie, Part 2

Dear Liza,

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Harold on Air France

I have told you how Harold came to be with us and his travels in America. Did you know he has been to different countries, as well?

When we took our trips to England, France, Ireland and The Netherlands, Harold came along. I made him a backpack to hold his passport and sketchbook. I even wrote a poem about his getting ready for our winter in Europe!

 

Ode to travel preparations

Twas the week before travelin’ and Harold’s been busy
Packing and checking and getting all dizzy.
His backpack is filled up, his papers in order
(In case he gets stopped as we pass through a border)

All that’s left is waiting for the day that we leave
As he reads up on places to go, (by Rick Steves)
Paris for Christmas, with church bells and lamplight
Amsterdam for New Years, fireworks at midnight

His lovely beret keeps his head nice and warm
His scarf compliments his soft chubby form
So follow along and we’ll see where he goes
Harold and his people, through rain clouds and snows.

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Harold in France

 

The wonderful thing about traveling with a stuffed animal is that they make friends everywhere. Old people wave from across the train. Children have their stuffties wave, too, and even if we don’t speak the same language, we have shared a smile.

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Harold visiting a castle in Ireland

Harold has visited noblemen in Ireland, learned about our favorite Irish writer, Oscar Wilde, and tried to visit a castle (they didn’t answer the door).

 

Harold has so many adventures, they may even need their own storybook sometime. But for now, he is enjoying having lots of snuggles with Cousin Maddie.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Harold the Traveling Stufftie, Part 1

Dear Liza,

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Harold, before he was Harold

You have met Harold, Auntie Bridgett’s stuffed friend. He has had a very active life. While most of his stuffed relatives spend their days in toy boxes or on pillows, Harold has been an artist’s model, a world traveler and an ambassador.

When I first met Harold, he was a bunny. Bridgett drew him into her comic strip, Squid Row, telling the story of how he lost his ears to some marauding raccoons. Her comic strip character, Randie, adopted Harold.

Being an social sort of stufftie, Harold enjoyed going to all of Auntie Bridgett’s art shows. He gave hugs to everyone, regardless of which universe they came from.

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Small Fan
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Large Fan

He helped organize her work and congratulated her when her books were printed up and ready for sale.

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Helping Unpack the Books!

When we traveled, Harold came along. He enjoyed meeting cousins in Houston and going to the art museum there. He even applied for astronaut training, but they decided he could do better work here on Earth.

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Astronaut Harold

And, of course, he got to be friends with Cousin Madilyn, having some small adventures with her and Auntie Bridgett. I will tell you more about Harold, his past and future adventures, tomorrow.

Love,

Grandma Judy

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Harold, Auntie Bridgett and Madilyn

Farewells

Dear Liza,

Mosaic in San Diego Airport

Well, we left San Diego Friday to come home to Portland. First, Auntie Bridgett and I went to the gym at the Hilton Gardens Hotel and walked for half an hour. It’s good to start travel days, which involve a lot of sitting, with some exercise.

We had breakfast and then headed to Esther’s house, where we visited with Maddie and Jaxson. There were trains and tea parties, and the kids and Bridgett built museums out of blocks.

After a while we headed to Michael’s house, called Casa de Penrose, for lunch and more visiting. Leftover Thanksgiving never tasted so good! The warm sunshine on the patio was very relaxing. We even got some extra goodbye hugs from Yukie, Chris, Aya and Kion.

Harold Abroad

While we were there, Auntie Bridgett asked Maddie if Harold, Bridgett’s favorite stufftie, could stay in San Diego. Harold hasn’t gotten out much in Portland, and he would be able to give more love and comfort, which is what stuffties do best, with Madilyn. This made that little girl so happy! She has always loved Harold.

We had a wonderful visit and then had some sad farewells, to family, kidlets, stuffties, and sunshine. We had a long, layover-filled flight ahead of us.

Maddie Loves Auntie Bridgett!

We finally got home at 10:00, had some couch time with Mousekin the cat, and went to bed. It’s always good to come home.

Love,

Grandma Judy