Looking Back, Just a Bit More…

Dear Liza,

Portland does SPRING very well!

This past year saw some big adventures, too.

Three generations! Me, Auntie Katie and Cousin Kestrel

In March, for my birthday, you and your family came up to help me keep a long-overdue promise to MY parents, to put their ashes into the ocean. We all drove over the mountains to Seaside, made a sand castle, and placed them in it. High tide would take them where they wanted to be.

David and Katie built their grandparent’s castle

A perfect Florentine

I started baking with more skill, with new equipment and confidence.

The summer came, and fall…

Leaves in Laurelhurst Park

In September we took the train to Vancouver, BC, and Seattle, Washington, and enjoyed what those cities had to offer.

Vancouver, BC, by day

Seattle by night

Auntie Bridgett kept painting, working hard as a member of SideStreet Arts.

Auntie Bridgett and one of my favorite paintings, A Paris

This year also saw the young people growing into wonderful ‘older’ people. Cousins Kyle and Jasper got to know each other and became buddies, bonding over Dungeons and Dragons and video games.

Cousins Kyle and Jasper, being guys together

As for me, I am still working on my story. It has grown from being a story about a CITY to being a story about a girl living IN a city.

My had drawn map of Portland, 1903

I never knew writing a book was so complicated, but I am learning, and I think that as long as I take time and don’t give up, it has promise.

My (at least) twelfth outline, getting more complicated and person- centered

Last year, I kept my promise to my parents. Maybe this year, I can keep my promise to me.

Happy New Year!!

Love,

Grandma Judy

To the Coast

Dear Jasper and Kestrel,

I am back in Portland! I flew in Friday after Uncle David fed me a tasty dinner at Nemea Greek restaurant in San Jose and dropped me at the airport. Grandpa Nelson and Auntie Bridgett hugged me as soon as I got off the plane and didn’t stop until we got to our NEW house! It was my first time in it, but it felt like home. It has three floors, with the garage and an office on the bottom, living, dining, kitchen and a bathroom on the second, and two bedrooms and a bath upstairs. The painters have come and gone, making major improvements and one mistake, which Auntie Bridgett will tell them about today. (Oops. Sorry painters, she’s gonna go all artsy on ya.)

Back in our rental, which has been home for eight months, we slept soundly and woke up early to head for the Oregon Coast Comic Con in Tillamook. We met Jack Kent and his wife Verity at Coco’s Doughnuts on the west side and then caravanned over the hills to the coast. At 2,000 feet, there was snow!!! Real snow, piled up by the road, carpeting the forest, decorating the trees, looking more like a Christmas card than Easter week. It even snowed on us, a bit.

Once we were out of the mountains, the snow turned to rain and the rich dairyland of Tillamook spread out green and wet all around us. We drove to the Tillamook Air Museum, which is in a blimp hangar from World War II, the largest wooden structure in the United States. Impressive from the outside, it was cavernous, dark and COLD inside. Artists were setting up their tables still bundled up for the 39 degree outside temperature. Grandpa Nelson and I helped Auntie Bridgett set up, then headed off to see what we could see.

Tucked into our nice warm car (with heated seats!) we drove up the Oregon Coast on Highway 101. Wonderfully wet views of the forest and the ocean ruled the day. I got out for a few short excursions, but 35 degree rain isn’t conducive to strolling along the beach. I had my third breakfast (I have Hobbit ancestry, I believe) at The Pirate’s Cove in Garibaldi. Breaded and fried Clams and eggs, made with local clams AND local eggs! Yummy!

We reached lovely Cannon Beach, bundled up, and walked along the main drag. It is cute and, in Summer, full of families having summer fun with ice cream, beach toys and sun screen. Today, everyone was after fleece jackets and hot tea. We stopped at Tom’s Classic burgers to get Grandpa Nelson some french fries. We will return another time to browse the shops selling recycled driftwood and other flotsam, shops with names like “Washed Ashore” and “Found”, with the “U” made from a rusty horse shoe.

Driving back south, we found our reserved lodging for the night, one of a collection of tiny houses called Sheltered Cove. We had reserved one for us, and Jack and Verity had one for themselves across the way. Our hosts, Hank and Dee, checked us in along with their friendly and protective standard poodles, Mook and Red. The house was adorable! Not more than 500 square feet, it had a living, kitchen, bathroom and queen sized bed downstairs, and two queen sized beds in a loft upstairs. It felt light and airy, not cramped at all, and had plenty of room for us and our stuff.

When the Comic Con closed for the day at 5:00, a nearly frozen Bridgett hitched a ride home with Jack and Verity, and we got her tea and warm socks until it was time to go to the Pacific Restaurant. The food was great but the service a bit slow, and our view was of the heavy equipment involved in major street repair downtown. But Jack and Verity always make for lively conversation!

Back in our sheltered no, we slept like rocks. More adventures tomorrow!

Love, Grandma Judy