Pasta and Goblincore

Dear Liza,

Last Thursday, Cousin Kestrel turned ten years old, and we had a family party at Pastini Pastaria, down in Division.

A few weeks before her birthday, I had asked Auntie Katie what sort of things Kestrel was interested in now, so I could make her something nice. Tastes change quickly at her age. A few years ago it was Princess Kittens.

Kestrel, her crown, and her cake

But now, Kestrel is interested in Goblincore. This is an interesting style and philosophy, combining a love of nature and magic with a darker understanding of death and decay. Think fairies, but with ravens, slugs, and bones. It is as interesting a contradiction as Kestrel herself.

Auntie Katie worked with friend Chelsea and Kestrel to make the magnificent cake. It was chocolate with macha filling, and was decorated to look like the forest floor. Fondant roots wound around merengue mushrooms and a fondant frog. Cracked bark made from milk chocolate covered the edge.

Keeping with the theme, I made Kes a bag to carry her Goblincore stuff in, for when she goes foraging for herbs or crystals. The body of the bag is a hood from an old coat of my Momma Billie. I embroidered it with plants, water, and a moon, to reflect the darker aesthetic of Goblincore.

Inside, I put some of my own collected treasures. Small bags hold shells, moss, lavender, and shiny stones. Lemon verbena and rosemary bundles are handy for use and crow feathers are tied to the outside.

And to complete the picture, Auntie Bridgett made a card with birthday snails! It was adorable.

Seeing my grandchildren grow and become such delightful people is one of the best things about getting old, and makes it all worthwhile. I hope I can see you on your next birthday, too!

Love,

Grandma Judy

Happy Birthday to Me!

Dear Liza,

Hey, it’s my birthday! I am a very happy 65 years old today!
I have had a very happy life. It started with fun parents….


A delightful husband….

And two very awesome kids, with a side order of grandkids and a delightful daughter in law.


Less expected but very necessary was an amazing partner in crime (and art and nonsense)….

And much beloved friends….

I’ve gotten back in touch with long ago friends…


I’ve gotten to do the job I loved for thirty years, and then retire to do a bunch of other stuff!

And I’ve gotten to travel, meeting childhood icons…. and seeing the wonders of Europe.


Every day isn’t perfect, and the world isn’t perfect (yet). But I am sure enjoying the ride!

Love,

Grandma Judy

A Smokey Birthday

Dear Liza,

All our birthdays this year have been affected by the corona virus shutdown. But Auntie Bridgett’s had the added Barbecue flavor of the horrendous fires that are raging in California, Oregon, and Washington.

Bears say Happy Birthday!!

Because of the smoke, Portland is experiencing Hazardous air. Yep. Lately, it hasn’t been safe to go into a restaurant, or store, without a mask. Now, it’s not safe to go out, period. Our regular masks won’t help.

New technology holder…

So Auntie Bridgett’s birthday was a stay-inside affair. Presents were opened, including a giant book of everything from the Picasso museum in Paris, a fabulous bag, and a new doo-hickey to help her film her how-to videos.

Giant Picasso Book!

French Cooking radio played as we had a two woman painting party, inspired by “Ball Players on the Beach” by Picasso. We have such different styles, but we sure had fun!

The inspiration….

..

My take…
Auntie Bridgett’s take…

A quiet afternoon gave way to dinner plans. Since Paris was on our minds, we put it on the menu by ordering delivery from La Moule, a French place down on Clinton. A giant bowl of mussels in white wine, crusty baguettes, pate, and a nice red wine made for a filling, French-feeling meal.

French dinner….

A game of Scrabble, a Giants loss, and a Baking show, and it was time to say goodnight to this weirdest (so far) birthday.

Bears and cats make it all okay….

Love,

Grandma Judy

Weather or Not, We’re Going!!

Dear Liza,

Monterey, when it’s cold,

Every year, for my birthday, I go to the beach. In Southern California, where I grew up, it was always, always sunny. When we lived in Salinas, the beach at Monterey was often cloudy or even rainy and cold in March. I didn’t care. I went and walked in the wind and rain, loving the ocean. I’m sure it loved me right back, too.

And when it shines!

This year we were shut down for my birthday, and Grandpa Nelson’s, too. We were both missing the ocean a lot, but all the Oregon coastal beaches have been closed to keep people from congregating and risk spreading the virus. Even when the beach towns like Cannon Beach opened, they asked people from Portland NOT to come, because Portland still had too many cases.

Portland during the shutdown…

But now, our county and city are opening up! Restaurants are washing windows and setting up tables. And since our city is healthy, we don’t feel as though we are endangering the places we visit the lovely Oregon Coast.

The only problem is that we are now in the middle of our “second winter”. We had bright skies and warm sunshine weeks ago, custom made for long walks and taking pictures. Now, we have had three days of rain and cooler temperatures.

Storm clouds coming!

I don’t care! Tomorrow, we pack up Miles, our midnight blue Volkswagen Golf, with coats, umbrellas and boots, and head off for the beach!

Hooray!!

Love,

Grandma Judy

Jasper Turns Ten!

Dear Liza,

Your oldest cousin Jasper, the fellow who started this whole Grandma Judy thing, turned ten last week. We celebrated this momentous anniversary at Blackbird Pizza, at the corner of SE 20th and Hawthorne. They have several things to recommend them.

Christmas lights on the way to pizza…

First, they are close by. Even on a near-freezing evening, Grandpa Nelson and I walked there. We took the umbrella to make sure it didn’t rain (you know how that goes) and had a chance to see the Christmas lights going up in the neighborhood.

Second, Blackbird makes really good pizza. Since there would be seven kids and five adults, we ordered two large pies, one plain cheese and one “Proctor Special” as the kids call it. This has pepperoni, olives, pineapple and basil. Weird, yes, but definitely good! We also got some yummy Malbec wine for the grownups.

Pinball!

Third, there are games, video games on the first floor and pinball on the mezzanine. The kids played with pocketfuls of quarters.

Uncle Dave brought cupcakes, candles and matches, and lit up the dessert. I was amazed at how pleasant this party was… no drama, no fussy eaters, no overly tired kids losing their cool. I guess everyone is growing up. It is a good step.

Lighting up dessert

When it was time to head home, we bundled up and headed back up the hill, warmed by love of family, a little wine, and woolen sweaters.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Finally, Birthday!

Dear Jasper and Kestrel,

Thanks so much for calling me last night to tell me Happy Birthday! It was the happy cap on a fun evening.

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Zine!Gary

I opened my package from Portland first thing in the morning. Auntie Bridgett and Grandpa Nelson sent me a copy of Auntie Bridgett’s new zine, about fonts and typefaces. It is so pretty and interesting! They also sent a cute card she had made, of two cats that look very much like my darling people.

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First Card

Of course, the whole day can’t be celebration. It was a Monday, and a school day. My students had all had fun weekends, too, and didn’t seem to want to be in school. Following directions was hard, and treating each other nicely was even harder, so by the time I was done with my conferences, I was done in.

I got home and Auntie Olga, who has this week off as her Spring Break, had done the shopping. She ordered pizza from Riley and Papa’s Pizza, which used to be Mountain Mike’s. I had some tea and fruit and fell asleep until the pizza got delivered and Liza got home from school.

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Woman Cards

We opened some wine and Uncle David got home. He was even more tired than I had been. But he is still good company. Before we ate, I opened my presents! It was an accidental robot themed party! Auntie Bridgett and Grandpa Nelson sent me a little robot painted on a heavy domino, from the artist at Botjoy. It’s a tiny robot who is “programmed to love you…to notice all the nice things about you, and, when held to your ear, to tell you why people love you…”. Just the thing for an emotionally exhausted teacher. Perfect.

My presents from Auntie Olga, Uncle David and Liza were wonderful, too. One was a tiny tea robot, who holds your tea bag and looks fabulous. I have enjoyed his services already! There was also a pack of “Woman cards”…a real deck of playing cards with Rosa Parks, Hillary Clinton, Mary Cassatt, and 10 other female movers and shakers. There were even Lucille Ball and Phyllis Diller as the jokers! And there was a “never-ending card” that Liza and her mommy had made that kept opening and opening… it was amazing.

Auntie Bridgett mentioned that there might be a second card in the mailbox, in addition to the one that came with my presents. There was!!

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Last card!

After dinner Auntie Bridgett and Grandpa Nelson called and chatted until my throat was sore, then I played and read with Liza. Then you called and my day was complete.

I slept the sleep of a 62 year old birthday girl filled with joy, love, and the knowledge that Spring Break is only 3 days away.

Love,

Grandma Judy