Creating Postcards Part 3

Dear Liza,

I’m making more postcards! This time I have been focusing more on who the cards are for before I make them. It turns out, if I think about a person while I hunt through my collage box, things show up that I hadn’t seen before. It is some sort of weird picture-association Jedi mind trick.

For this batch of postcards, I thought about my newest friend Amy, my old friend Rick, my French teacher Veronique, and my newly-retired teacher friend, Cynthia.

Amy lives in Lake Oswego, just south of Portland. Every time we visit her, we get stunning views of Mt. Hood. When I mentioned this to Amy, she told me that she was as fascinated by the mountain as I am.

So of course the mountain had to be on Amy’s card, as well as some images that show her love of her garden.

My old friend Rick has an odd sense of humor and a long, tangled history with religion.

For his card, I put a silky terrier’s head on top of a print of a Cardinal on his throne, placed so Frida Kahlo’s head flowers and wallpaper shows. The foil that came wrapped around Christmas pears make up the finials of the throne.

Veronique is from Belgium and loves beauty in all forms. She is multi-lingual and has been an inspiration to me for many years. This Diego Rivera painting reminded me of her. The French on her card says “You must water the flowers” and reminds her to relax and appreciate life.

Cynthia and I taught together for many years and took French lessons together from Veronique. Cynthia has a Master’s degree in library science and is a cancer survivor, and has recently retired. The many changes in her life are making things a bit hectic. The French says “There are so many things to do.”

I am having so much fun making these small, mailable pieces of art.


Grandma Judy

Tom, Dot’s and la Fete de la Bastille

Dear Liza,

As I said before, Summer days are incredibly busy here in Portland.

This past Saturday we went all over town! First, I watered my growing veggies and pulled out the under-performing radishes. I will plant some carrots in that spot this week and hope for better things.

Then we rode our bikes down to the Clinton neighborhood for brunch with our dear friend Tom! He and I taught together for about 15 years at University Park, and in moving to Portland, I accidentally moved to his hometown. Though he lives mostly in New Mexico now, he still has a house here.

We met him at Dot’s, about two miles from our place. It is a neighborhood classic, but we have never been there. It was delightful! Bright outdoor seating, wacky 1960s indoor decor, friendly service and tasty food all made for a great time.

After we ate, we headed down to Auntie Katie’s Books with Pictures to show Tom the ’new’ shop. Tom has known Katie since she was five years old, and was happy to see her being so successful!

We talked, bought some books, and then all headed off in our own directions.

We had to get to Jameson Square in northwest Portland, where the Bastille Day celebration was on. It was smaller than the previous ‘Fete’ (French for Festival) in 2019. Like everything else, it is still coming back after being shuttered for two years due to Covid.

But the fountain was there, full of happy kids. The wine and Cognac were there, delicious and cold. Beautiful handmade clothes were offered by June, and hung in the shade, allowing us all to feel rich and pretty.

And the music was there, delightful French tunes sung to the accompaniment of an accordion. We sat and listened until the music ended, then caught the bus home.

The day ended with the Giants’ Mike Yastrzemski hitting a walk-off Grand Slam to beat the Brewers! Hooray! And then off to bed.


Grandma Judy

Busy Summer Days

Dear Liza,

For months this past winter, we stayed inside. We did art, read mysteries, watched movies and cooking shows, baked cookies, and petted the cat. Rain and cold and remaining Covid concerns kept us home. It’s like hibernation, but for humans. Auntie Bridgett calls it Hermitting.

Blue skies and Mount Hood from Portland’s Tilikum Crossing

Now we have the opposite situation! Summer in Portland is an absolute avalanche of activities, and there is no way to attend all of them.

jasper and Kestrel at the Chinese Garden

There are Jazz and Blues Concerts, street festivals, Shakespeare in the parks, and art shows in every gallery.

Jenn Lanier stars in The Merry Wives of Windsor at Laurelhurst Park

There are Baseball and soccer games, boat races and floats on the Willamette River.

April’s giant bubbles bring fun to Books with Pictures Comic Con

Picnics in public gardens and parks make the most of summer sunshine, and evening walks extend the fun to after dinner.

It can be exhausting. But we do try to do our part.


Grandma Judy

A Birthday Lunch in Lake Oswego

Dear Liza,

This past Monday was our friend Amy’s birthday! We headed down to Lake Oswego to have lunch with her to celebrate.

Amy lives in the hills above the lake, and there are inspiring views of Mount Hood as you make the turn to head east. Bridgett pulled over so I could get this nice picture.

It was our hottest day so far, predicted to get to 96 degrees. We knew we would be looking for shade and cold drinks. Amy lead us to Holy Tacos, where we got a table in the shade, yummy cold horchata to drink and spicy tacos for lunch. It was delicious and delightful.

There are lots of sculptures around the Plaza by the lake.

I love how they work with the landscape and buildings when you look at them from different angles.

Lake Oswego was smooth like glass, with not a single boat on it. It was awful pretty, though. Perfect for posing!

We hadn’t walked very far in the sun before it was time to cool down. We stopped at St. Honore Bakery for some iced tea and shade. Auntie Bridgett took this opportunity to help Amy learn about her birthday present, a brand new Apple watch. There are so many applications, it takes a while to know what it can do!

We chatted and laughed and just enjoyed each other’s company, like friends do. What a fine day! Happy birthday, Amy!


Grandma Judy

Random images of Mississippi

Dear Liza,

Yesterday I tried to tell you all about the big Mississippi Street Fair in Portland. But there were so many different booths, stories, people, and images caught in my camera that today I will just share some with you without much comment.

This young lady posed for my picture as she enjoyed the shade of the Hardcase Tattoo booth. They were not offering tattoos at the fair, just artwork and conversation.

This very young DJ was spinning wonderfully funky tunes on his Apple computer.

Everyone was drinking water and seeking shade.

And the big parade just kept going!


Grandma Judy

Hitting the Street in the Mississippi

Dear Liza,

On Saturday, Auntie Bridgett got to have a table at the Mississippi Street Fair. This is the largest neighborhood street fair in the city, being half a mile long and stuffed edge to edge with booths, tables, and food trucks.

Rather than worry about traffic and parking, we took the bus. The Magic 15 got us downtown, then we transferred to the 4 to get us north. It took about 40 minutes, but we would have spent that much time driving around looking for parking. And we got to sit back and relax!

We got to the fair just before noon, and it was crowded! Looking down the length of it was like looking down a river of humanity.

Along the banks of this river were booths selling all sorts of things. Besides Auntie Bridgett doing commissioned cat cartoons, there were other artists selling puzzles, ceramics, and paintings.

In overwhelmingly White Portland, Mississippi is a neighborhood with a higher-than-usual African American population, and this was happily reflected in the fair.

This lady was selling her sparkly puzzles, and Author Joyce McNair was selling her book The Amazing Sweetie Pie, which I bought. It is a creative, inclusive story that shows the commonality of children.

Down the road, our dear friend Jack Kent was selling his newest book, Sketchy People 6.

And there was plenty of food for when all those people got hungry. The most popular was the barbecue, with at least five booths and trucks pumping out delicious smells and luring long lines of folks.

But there was also caramel corn, burritos, and delightful ableskivvers (with lingonberry jam and lemon curd) from Broder Nord. Yum!

As the day warmed up, staying cool became a priority for everyone.

By 4:00, we were done in. Tired feet and too much sun got the best of us and we caught the bus home. Lots of water and a long nap got us in shape for that evenings’ Shakespeare in the Park.

But that’s another story.


Grandma Judy

Summer Evenings with Shakespeare

Dear Liza,

With Covid either passing or just becoming the norm (whichever you believe), most aspects of life are returning to their pre-Pandemic conditions. One of these, thank goodness, is Original Practice Shakespeare in the Park!

Our own Laurelhurst Park is hosting eight of Shakespeare’s play in July, and we plan to see all of them. We love watching the Portland world go by on bicycle and foot, walking dogs and pushing strollers, as we wait for the play to start (and after it has started, as well).

We love the informal outdoor venue, sitting in the glen as the sun goes down, allowing ourselves to be carried away by the actor’s imaginations.

We love the Original Practice, which means the actors prepare and perform as in Shakespeare’s day, not rehearsing as a company and carrying only small scrolls of their lines. This keeps the acting fresh and, sometimes, hilariously spontaneous.

The first play was one I had never seen performed, Measure for Measure. It was surprisingly timely, having a theme of government-enforced morality, draconian punishments and official hypocrisy.

All this was handled with such wit and humor, cleverness and final retribution and made for a delightful, hopeful evening.

Saturday, we got to see one of our favorite plays, Much Ado about Nothing. It is a comedy about romances gone wrong and righted again with lots of funny dialogue and side stories. The scene where the ‘lying knaves’ are arrested was delightfully slapstick.

As we laughed and cheered during the play, the sun went down behind the huge trees, making everything more magical.

I look forward to our next FOUR Shakespeare plays to be performed in Laurelhurst Park, next weekend.


Grandma Judy

Dungeons, Dragons, Sword fighting and Cake

Dear Liza,

Cousin Kestrel turned 11 on Friday, and there was a lovely party to celebrate.

We all met at the gazebo at Anerbethy School because the weather was gorgeous and there is lots of room to horse around.

The main organized activity was a game of Dungeons and Dragons. I was happy to see the playing board I made for Cousin Jasper is getting used! I don’t know much about the game, but Kestrel’s Daddy Dave explained it to me as organized story-telling. It was sure fun to watch! Auntie Katie was the ”Dungeon Master” (the person who is running the adventure) and, fabulous storyteller that she is, made it all fun and interesting.

In between moves, some impromptu swordplay broke out. One of the guests had brought these nifty swords made of hard rubber. Though they would certainly hurt if they hit you, they were mostly safe for reasonable kids. And that’s good enough.

Character creation is part of the game, and can take a long time, but everyone enjoyed the process. And there were snacks.

Birthday cake and presents rounded out the afternoon. Kestrel used the old tray storage shelves in the gazebo as a present opening space, with help from her friends.

It was a delightful, exhausting, entertaining party!

Happy Birthday Kestrel!


Grandma Judy

Creating Postcards Part 2

Dear Liza,

I have been making postcards again! This is sort of a new thing for me, and I am not consistent about it. I will go weeks doing all sorts of other projects, and then make three or four in an afternoon.

For the base, I use those annoying junk mail postcards that sell everything from candidates to wheel alignment.

For the images, I use Portal magazine from the Portland Art Museum, Better Homes and Gardens, Via from AAA, and old magazines, postcards and greeting cards I pick up at garage sales and give away boxes. There are also bits from Ruthie Inman and daubs of acrylic paint.

I mix them together my weird brain and trim, paint and glue. Then I decide which friend is best suited to the card. Yes, I do have some weird friends.

The images can be cute or disturbing, artsy or just silly.

I’m glad that art lets me take the weird out of my head and send it to the ones I love!


Grandma Judy

Old Pal

Dear Liza,

When you were here in April, we couldn’t take you to our local HobNob because they had closed. The business-killing Pandemic and the owner’s own fight with Covid caused this fun local favorite to close up shop.

But now a new place has opened up in the same building. It is called Old Pal, and is run by Jeremy Larter and Emily Bixler. According to the website, they have an environmental approach to food, using low-carbon footprint, local, organic ingredients.

Co-owner Jeremy, busy on opening night!

Last week, we got to attend their opening. It was delightful and delicious.

The interior has been redecorated to be more modern, with deep blue walls for accent and white ceilings for brightness. The ping pong table is gone, and there is a check-in desk right by the door to eliminate the awkward entrance.

The furnishings have cleaner lines with smaller tables. There are no booths, which makes the space feel bigger, but also creates some echo. The art is very earthy and woodsy, adding to the ’land-friendly’ vibe.

Since we are three, we were seated at “The Godfather Table”which seats four. We were served by Marika, who brought some wine and answered our questions.

I had a Narragansett barratta, which is a creamy cheese wrapped up in mozzarellas, set in a tasty splash of strawberry and basil with pickled rhubarb. Eaten little by little with the crusty bread from Ken’s Artisanal bakery, it was like a very rich cheese sandwich with touches of jam and pesto.

Grandpa Nelson had wine and Auntie Bridgett had a big salad, and we chatted with neighbors as they came and went, eager to hear news and their opinions of the place.

Old Pal is a new friend, and I’m sure we will spend many happy hours there, eating and chatting and watching the world go by.


Grandma Judy