Art and Brunch

Dear Liza,

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Bridgett Spicer and her mosaics

Last Friday I got to help Auntie Katie get her basement decorated so she can start using it as an Air Bed and Breakfast. It has nice new paint and furniture, but the walls are bare. So her friends Murray and Lurline, their tiny daughter Mary Helen and I, matted art, hammered nails and made funny faces (that was Mary Helen). We made good progress.

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New decor in bathroom

Then, because it was First Friday, we went to visit Auntie Bridgett at the SideStreet Arts Gallery. Bridgett’s art looks so good! I love her collages. Since she was busy hosting the First Friday event, Grandpa Nelson and I went over to Ankeny Tap and Table for dinner. The colder weather means they have their big glass door closed, but it is still friendly and has very tasty food! Their new menu has a beet salad that tastes very indulgent.

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Just a few leaves left!

This morning, Auntie Bridgett was working at the gallery, so Grandpa and I walked down to Bread and Ink  on Hawthorne Street for brunch. Weekend Brunch is a very big thing here in Portland, but there was only a short wait and the food was fabulous. Huckleberry pancakes, Kentucky sausage and fried eggs…all made me miss Great Grandpa Lowell, who cooked this on Sundays for years. Food, conversation, and nostalgia…who could ask for more?

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Inside Backstory Books and Yarn

After brunch we walked by a brand new used bookstore, also on Hawthorne. It is called Backstory Books and Yarn and just opened today! It has that delightful smell of used books and is so well organized. I’m sure we will spend many happy hours there.

The rest of today I will be researching Portland history and sewing on a practice quilt.

Yes, I know, I have a pretty sweet life.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Friday Night Out

Dear Liza,

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Ultra-cool chair at NEXT

After my long walk yesterday, I came home, read, and had a nap. About five, we all got spruced up to try a new place. Le Canard is advertised as a “Portland styled French Restaurant”, a more casual version of Le Pigeon, the high end French place next door, run by the same folks.

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Portland style French Food

We eat early, so usually we have the quieter end of the evening. But what hit us as we walked in the door was the noise! Fifty conversations, along with glasses and dishes, made quite a din. We got a table, ordered wine, and enjoyed reading the short menu. Bridgett ordered scallops, I had risotto, and Grandpa Nelson, french fries. The food was good, although pretty small portions, and we tried to have a conversation, tossing around ideas for our next trip to Europe… but we couldn’t. We kept having to lean in, repeat ourselves, and even yell to make ourselves heard. Not a relaxing way to chat.

As soon as we finished, we paid our bill and headed out. The relatively quiet sidewalks of Burnside seemed relaxing, so we just walked along. There is a lot of new construction going on, so we kept having to cross the street to avoid scaffolding, but it was enjoyable, seeing things change.

We passed The Jupiter Hotel, where we three had stayed years ago for Auntie Bridgett’s first Comic Con here. A refurbished 1960s hotel, it has a funky charm. Now, just across the street, is NEXT, the new section of the Jupiter. It is brand new, modern, and beautifully furnished. We toured the lobby, went upstairs to a lounge, and checked out the patio, as well as the view of busy East Burnside.

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Jupiter Hotel’s stylish offspring

Further along we found a pop=up art gallery, featuring the collage wonderful-ness of Andy Jenkins. I don’t  take pictures of art in galleries, because Auntie Bridgett says it is rude, but his work is on line if you search his name. I recommend it. He has an abstract way of putting dry cleaning receipts, traffic tickets, and stereo instructions together that is unique and delightful.

We ended the evening by stopping at Forty Licks, the ice cream parlour that used to be just blocks from our rental and we don’t go as often as we used to. Their ice creams are made from natural ingredients and are extraordinary. Coffee, Ginger molasses, and a blood orange milk shake accompanied us on the last of our walk.

By the time we got home, we had walked almost two miles, which means MY total for the day was five miles, counting my trip to Clinton and back.

Good thing, too, with all that luscious food…

Love, Grandma Judy

First Friday and the Last Street Fair

Dear Liza,

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Sine Morse’s Little Red Riding Hood at SideStreet Gallery

Friday evening, Grandpa Nelson and I took Auntie Bridgett to dinner at the Ankeney Tap and Table a little earlier than usual. Since it was First Friday, she would be helping welcome people at The SideStreet Gallery, where several local artists (including her!) show their work. There are ceramics, collages, paintings, and jewelry. It was fun to see so many wonderful pieces and chat with the artists.

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Bridgett Spicer’s beautiful work

The very next day was the Belmont Street Fair, the last fair of the summer. Early in the morning it felt like it might rain, but the fat grey clouds blew away and we had cool sunshine. The day started with a short walk to Oblique Coffee, which has the best coffee in our neighborhood. The family that runs it is fun, too.

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The perfect way to start the day

At the fair we met the folks of Dysfunktional Art, who make adorably weird critters out of discarded hardware and kitchenware. I asked where they find their materials, they said people just bring them by! Freebies! Nice.

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Dysfunktional Art

Heather Lee Kolbo makes really impressive art from recycled wood scraps that she gets at The ReBuilding Center up in the Mississippi neighborhood.

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Heather Kolbo’s Recycled art

With primary election season coming up, there are booths supporting candidates, ballot measures, and always interesting ideas. The Voluntary Human Extinction folks weren’t here, but the Zero Population Growth folks were. As much as I support family planning, I don’t think making any law about what we do with our bodies is a good idea.

The dogs were out in force, including an accidental Corgie meet up that delighted everyone. Hollandaise, the hen, out with her sister Bernaise, were enjoying lots of visitors and treats. I asked if the ‘girls’ were having a good day, and their owner said, “They are now, because you said hi!”

At the old Belmont Firehouse, I investigated how fires were fought in 1903. There is a wonderful old horse drawn fire wagon on display, the kind that would have fought the fire at the Zann Broom Company and the adjacent match factory, which was in a wooden building three blocks from a school.  (I’m not kidding). Zoning laws exist for a reason, people!

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Lieutenant Michael Springberg

I chatted with Lieutenant Michael Springberg. In addition to handing out plastic helmets and stickers to kids, he shared his firefighter’s perspective on Portland urban development. His background in education and interest in history gave us common ground and I hope we can continue our conversation sometime.

Grandpa Nelson and I walked back through the increasing crowds, dropping off my card at Inkwater,  the local publisher I would like to work with if any of my writing gets to paper.

 

Wouldn’t that be fun?

Love,

Grandma Judy

 

 

 

 

Sewallcrest Park

Dear Liza,

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The First of the colors

Fall will officially be here in just two weeks, and the weather is still hot and dry. Walking is limited to the evening because of 90 degree temperatures in the daytime.

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And I’ll bet it is!

After dinner yesterday we walked south passing one of our favorite neighborhood landmarks, Fort Awesome. It’s a house.

We continued to Sewallcrest Park, where we saw adult kickball last year. There were lots of other folks out enjoying the evening.

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Pick up soccer game

There were two groups of soccer players, a young ladies’ team and what seemed to be a men’s pick-up game (they asked Grandpa Nelson if he wanted to play), both playing half-field. When the ladies were finished, the men moved to the center and used all the space.

There was a group of older men playing basketball, making good shots and passes but wisely taking lots of breathers and drinks of water in between.

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Old dudes playing hoops

Besides these organized games, there was the usual nappers, dog walkers, and joggers. A mom and her daughter rolled by on skateboards. The sunset turned the light pink and everything was magical.

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Art car

On the way home we enjoyed special Eastside Portland views; the sun going down at the end of Hawthorne Street, an old car enjoying new life as an art piece, and front yard chickens, being chickens.

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Front yard chickens

Love,

Grandma Judy

Magic All Around

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I know I have said it many times, but I love our neighborhood! There are so many delightfully odd, silly, adorable things just all over the place. This sad and lovely painting, for example, hung from a local tree. The lady looks so sad!

While out walking in the warm evening yesterday, we came across the tree with the “dinosaur infestation”, only to see that there are more! Now there is one in the birdhouse and even in the bird bath!IMG_7467.jpg

Not far away was this tiny fairy door, just there at the base of a tree.Other evidence of fairies were seen nearby. Small branches used to make fairy fences and pretty collections of pebbles are sure signs of fairies. Lucky us, to have magic so close by!IMG_7471.jpg

Then we ran into things that sort of fit the theme of magic, as well. A lovely black kitten came up and wanted some attention.

We saw a sign on a fig tree that said “Keep off the dirigible plums”, a reference to Xenophilius Lovegood’s house in the Harry Potter books.IMG_5344.jpg

And finally, at the teeny tiny library that is also a poll taking blackboard (this week the poll was “koalas or pandas?), we found a tinier library, holding tiny kid-made books! They were astonishingly cute and inspirational…. if I was going to write books for fairies, what would I write about?IMG_7480.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

I will ask Cousin Kestrel. She is my local expert.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Books and Art

Dear Liza,

After the Rose Parade yesterday, we were all pretty tired. We had walked about four miles all over town. We came home and rested before our NEXT outing!

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Jack Kent

Our friend Jack Kent had a book release and signing party at Auntie Katie’s book shop, Books with Pictures, down on Division Street. Jack does two different comics; a strip called Gulls, and single panel comics called Sketchy People. His wife Verity were there too, so we had a nice visit.

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Auntie Katie and Tom

 

 

At the shop we ran into Tom Goevelinger, an Oregon native who I know from my years teaching in Salinas. It was fun to catch up with him, his family and mutual friends. Cousins Jasper and Kestrel weren’t there, but there was a baby we all got to share. His name is Mirren and he’s a very good sport.

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Grandpa Nelson and Mirren

This morning Auntie Bridgett and I walked over to The Sidestreet Gallery, where she is showing some of her collages and her painted cups. There were snacks and lots of fun conversations, and some incredible art.

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The Sidestreet Gallery

Artist Alicia Justus does so many beautiful things it is hard to tell about them all. On the walls were gouache paintings that look like illustrations from the old Russian storybooks I read with you.

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An Image without Words, by Alicia Justus

She also does wonderfully detailed dolls! They are made of felt and other materials, embroidered and dressed, and delightfully full of personality. No sooner do you look at one than you start making up a story about it in your head.

It was fun to talk to Alicia about her inspiration (“way too many vintage children’s books”, she says) and see how this is reflected in her dress as well as her art.

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Alicia’s dolls

A ceramicist and painter paired up in a show called “Wild Art”.

Denise Krueger was showing her whimsical ceramics, which all look like weird, dreamy sea creatures. and these were set alongside Shari Carlson’s paintings of animals. Most of her work showed sea creatures as well, but my favorite was a goofy looking emu.

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Shari Carlson’s Emu

While enjoying all the art, I noticed some beautiful ceramic “Flying Mermaids”, and noticed the name of the artist, Dawn Panttaja. Auntie Katie has friends named Jofish Kaye and Erin Panttaja. Could there be a connection? I texted Jofish right away, and he confirmed it! Dawn Panttaja, Portland artist, is the aunt of Erin Panttaja, playwright, mommy, and really nice person! The world just keeps getting more interesting.

Love,

Grandma Judy

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Dawn Panttaja’s Flying Mermaid