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

Bridgett’s Birthday

Dear Liza,

Yesterday was Sunday. It was also Auntie Bridgett’s birthday, and we spent the whole day doing Auntie Bridgett’s favorite things.

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Sunflowers on Bridgett’s Birthday!

First, we had a small breakfast to get ready for a busy day. Then we opened presents! She got some fancy silverware from her Aunt Chris and Uncle Ken, and Grandpa Nelson and I got her a badminton set! We have such a nice big park, we should have games to play in it. More about that later.

Passing Belmont Street, we noticed that the old murals I had taken pictures of are being painted over and new murals painted in. Here are the beginnings of the new ones.

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New murals on Belmont
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The Tov Bus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then we walked through the neighborhood to 32nd Avenue and Hawthorne Street. Awhile back we had seen a red double-decker bus (like they use in London) being used as a coffee shop! It is called Tov Coffee (Tov means ‘good’ in Hebrew), and Bridgett wanted to see inside.

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Inside the bus

Needless to say, the inside is TINY. It is a bus, after all, and also needs room for coffee making machines and dishes and fellows behind the counter. But it was pretty…walls and ceilings painted a nice purple, finely carved wooden everythings, and photos of Egypt. We ordered our coffees and went up the narrow twisty stairs to the top of the bus. A nice roof has been made of pvc pipe and heavy plastic, which keeps out the sun on bright days and the rain on not-so-bright ones. When our coffees were delivered we enjoyed the view of the street and people-watching.

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Chai, Egyptian Coffee and just Coffee

Our weather is getting cooler, feeling very much like fall. Trees are starting to change colors and leaves are crunching underfoot. We walked to a pop-up restaurant called hunnymilk. A pop-up is when a group of cooks and waiters who don’t have a restaurant borrow a restaurant and serve their own food. In this case, hunnymilk, which makes fabulous brunch, borrowed the space and kitchen of La Buca, an Italian restaurant. We had the best biscuits and butter ever, fried french toast, roast potatoes, and pork ribs with garlicky cheese grits. OH MY, was it good. We ate until we were happily stuffed.

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Brunch at hunnymilk

But we still couldn’t finish it all! We will have a day or two of delicious leftovers.

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Five boxes of leftovers!
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Setting drinks on fire

After we rested and digested for a while, we took the badminton set to the park, set it up, and started playing. We were delightfully awful…years of no practice had us running and flailing like windmills. But it was fun, so we kept it up. And by the time we were too tired to move, we had gotten much better. We staggered home for more rest before our final destination of the day. I didn’t get a single picture of the game! We were having so much fun, I forgot!

We got a Lyft ride to Hale Pele (say hall-ay pay-lay) Tiki Bar! This is a tiny place with all sorts of colored lights, tikis and blowfish, skulls and tapa cloth lamps. They serve food, (but we were still stuffed from brunch), and delicious tropical drinks, some of which get set on fire. It was fun watch to lights change, and watch the bartender mix the drinks, and then drink the drinks….

When we had all we could hold, we called Lyft again and got a ride home, and wished Auntie Bridgett a final Happy Birthday!

See you soon,

Grandma Judy

Visitors and Ramona’s Neighborhood

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               George and Mimi                                        Photo Credit: Bridgett Spicer

Dear Liza,

Yesterday our dear friends George and Mimi Niesen were in town delivering one of her paintings and they stopped by for brunch! We decided to walk, since there are so many wonderful places close by.

Their first choice, called Fried Egg I’m in Love, on Hawthorne at 34th, turned out to be a food truck. I’m sure their food was good, but their eating area right by the busy street was too noisy for conversation. We walked a few blocks east to Bread and Ink, a restaurant that has been here for 32 years!

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Bread and Ink

We had a very tasty brunch of waffles and berries, black bean cakes with mango chutney, potatoes and sausage, and eggs Benedict. Good coffee, good service, and interesting art on the walls made for a very pleasant morning.

We walked back through the neighborhood more slowly, stuffed with breakfast. We walked along Hawthorne seeing all the fun shops and met Ray, the man who owns Classic Collection, where we found Grandpa Nelson’s new summer hat the other day. Ray has a bigger store downtown, but he calls this one “my baby”.

We saw the Tov Bus, a coffee place made in a re-purposed double-decker London Bus. Turning into the quiet neighborhood, there was a sign in a garden explaining that there were important pollinators called mining bees living in their yard, so it didn’t get gardened much.

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Bee Protection Sign

We passed the ‘cow house’, which has, well, a large plastic cow on the roof. It just sort of sits there, being a cow. Very entertaining!

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You know, it’s a cow…on a house

We imagine it saying things…”Yeah, I’m a cow, what’s it to you?”….”Who took that ladder?”

After George and Mimi went on their way and we worked and had dinner, Auntie Bridgett, Grandpa Nelson and I went for a long walk up to the Grant Park neighborhood. This is where the author of the Ramona books, Beverly Cleary, grew up.

In Grant Park (named for President Grant, who was president from 1868-1877) there are three statues in a fun, splashy fountain. The statues are of Ramona Quimy, Henry Huggins, and Henry’s dog Ribsy. Ramona and Ribsy are actually part of the fountain because their statues help spray the water. Henry is watching from the side. The sculptor, Lee Hunt, captured the fun of playing in the water perfectly.

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Auntie Bridgett and Henry Huggins
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Ramona Fountain at Grant Park

We walked a long way through the Grant Park neighborhood, seeing the big high school and Beverly Cleary Elementary School, lots of nice houses for sale, and friendly cats.

 

 

 

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Ribsy helps out!

We were getting tired and thirsty, so we stopped at the Migration Brewery for cider, beer, and pretzels, then finished our walk and collapsed happily at home.

Auntie Bridgett’s mileage meter on her watch said she and I walked six and a half miles in all. No wonder our feet were tired! Another lovely, interesting, exhausting day.

Love,

Grandma Judy