North to Alberta, Part 2

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After I had explored old buildings and seen monuments, I found what I had originally headed north for, a fabric shop called Modern Domestic. It is bright and well laid out, and carries the variety of fabrics I have been looking for.

Martha, who is the ‘new kid’ at the store, and I had a wonderful conversation about the colors of Portland, and what I would need to do the city justice in my quilt. Greys, for the clouds, she said, and reds for the bricks. It was nice to talk to someone who understood what I was aiming at.

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Martha

After moving bolts of fabric around, I found a perfect Easter Egg, a collection of Fat Quarters from Robert Kaufman in the colors and textures I had been looking for. I tucked it under my arm and continued looking, because the collection was lacking a forest green. Martha helped me find it, hiding in a corner across the shop. Everyone was so helpful, even letting me recharge my phone while I shopped.

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Treasure!

Then I headed off in search of lunch! It is amazing how hungry I suddenly realized I was. I knew Martin Luther King Jr. was a main drag, so I just walked north, knowing something would turn up.

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Tile decoration outside Aberus

And something did. Aberus Ethiopian Food was on the next corner, a small restaurant,  totally empty the whole time I was there, but the food was delicious. I told the lady (cook and waitress) that this was my first time eating Ethiopian food, but that I wasn’t afraid of spice. She recommended Doro Wat, a chicken and chili dish served on a large disc of spongy bread, a hard boiled egg, cheese, and salad. It was spicy, messy, and a wonderful experience. I left with leftovers.

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Ethiopian Feast

Now sated and ready for home, I caught the number 6 south. Walking between Grand and MLK, I found a fellow leaning against a building who seemed to need the leftovers more than I did, so I  gave them to him. We chatted for a minute, then my bus came.

After I had rested, Auntie Bridgett and I went for a walk. I keep finding new things! Did you know gingko trees have nuts? I didn’t! But now I do, and here is what they look like.

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Gingko nuts!
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Silly Mousekin

The rest of the evening was spent watching the Giants beat the Padres and playing with Mousekin.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Cat Art

Dear Liza,

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Basking in the sunshine

I’ve told you that Portland is a city where dogs are very popular, but I still prefer cats. Our cat, Mouse (Miss Mousie Mouskin of the Mouseville Mousekins), is my favorite, of course.

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Crazy Second floor ledge walking

She has the balance of a desire for adventure and a love of relaxation that I find copacetic.

But I’m not the only one here who loves cats. There are cats all over the neighborhood, happy, brave, silly and even weird.

There are cats in art here, as well. The McMenamin brothers’ chain of bars and hotels have a a picture of its “distillery cat”, along with Ruby the brewer witch and Hammerhead guy, who is painted in every one of their establishments.

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Distillery Cat

While we were visiting Edgefield, which is a McMenamin’s location east of Portland, we saw this disgruntled cat on the back window of a car.

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Window cat

Sunnyside Environmental School, in our neighborhood, has one painted on its doors, I guess to keep the free roaming chickens company.

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Sunnyside School Cat

 

Auntie Bridget puts cats into her art all the time. My birthday card this year, which went all the way down to Salinas, featured her and Grandpa Nelson, as cats!

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Auntie Bridgett’s cat card

 

 

 

That’s all I’ve got to say about cats in art, for now. But rest assured, there will be more…later.

Love,

Grandma Judy

A Song for Fun

Dear Liza,

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Sunsets

Your Mommy or Daddy can teach you the tune for this silly re-write. The Song is called “My Favorite Things.”

(Read the captions!)

First Verse:

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And artists
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And baseball with Pickles
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Beaches with grandchildren, giggles and tickles
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Kittens in fl’wer pots
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And wrecks by the sea

These are the things Portland’s given to me!

Second Verse:

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Art found on sidewalks and up on a tower
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Hearing the voices of love’s greatest power
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Old friends and new friends

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And pinball for fun

All of these just since the summer’s begun!

Bridge:

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Ghosts and mystery!
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Creepy History!
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Yummy food and wine….
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I’m up to my eyeballs in Portland, my friends,
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And I want to say…
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It’s fine!

Love,

Grandma Judy

Into Summer

Dear Liza,

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Hollyhocks and day lilies, living together, mass hysteria!

Now that is is officially summer, our evening walks have moved from six o’clock to more like 7:30. It stays light until nine and it feels silly to waste all that lovely sunlight!

Yesterday evening Auntie Bridgett and I  walked around the neighborhood and noticed that the flowers are really exploding. Sweet peas, roses, day lilies and hollyhocks are shooting up out of the ground like the police are after them.

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Sweet peas!

Even the sunflowers are getting tall and majestic. The bees all seem to be prosperous and busy.

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Bee on a leaf

We met a new cat, a very friendly young lady with beautiful markings and a tag that declares her to be “The Princess.” She not just allowed, but demanded, that we pet her, squeaking in a very royal voice.

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The Princess in all her glory

On the way home we passed The Belmont Inn, and stopped in for a few games of Monster Bash, our favorite pinball game. We played together for a few, then went head-to-head. My score of six million made me very proud until Auntie Bridgett whupped me with forty-four million!!! Holy smokes, I need more practice!

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Bridgett’s score!!

Aw, shucks. More pinball….

Love,

Grandma Judy

Brunch

Dear Jasper and Kestrel,

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Auntie Bridgett and I took a long walk the other day. We started at The Bagel Bakery on West Alisal, for coffee…because Auntie Bridgett doesn’t go very far without coffee. Then we walked downtown. We visited our friend Adrian at her shop, The Blue Aces Bakery, and got tasty coated sugar-pecans and walked out to the market to get flowers for our brunch hosts.

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Adrian at Blue Aces Bakery

We continued down Main Street and turned off at George and Mimi’s house. They were hosting us and our friend Dan Beck, who runs Salinas Book and Sound. He brought his guitar along and played some  music as we told stories and enjoyed George’s delicious waffles with all the trimmings.

George and Mimi host their brunches in their back yard, which they have recently turned into a patio “par excellence”. There is shade, space for a lovely table (made by George) with a large lazy Susan (made by George), two barbecues, and electrical outlets for the waffle irons! There is art on the walls, flowers all around, and cats!

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Reddy the cat was my personal host for the morning. As soon as I sat down, he showered me with feline attention, which I recognized is a rare and beautiful thing. We hit it off and at the end of the morning, I was allowed to give him two tiny scraps of ham, which sealed our engagement, I think.

Before we left, George, Mimi, Bridgett and I stood in their living room and talked about everything under the sun. These lovely folks have been around a long time and have such great stories to tell….I wish I could write a book!

Love,

Grandma Judy

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George and Mimi, and Samuel Beckett, printed by Crispo

Chilly Morning

Dear Liza,

It is cold this morning, just 40 degrees, and the wind is blowing. The three tall Fir trees across the way are swaying like the Andrews sisters singing “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and waves of yellow leaves keep washing past our windows.

Mousekin the cat thinks she wants to go outside. She looks expectantly at the doorknob, but as soon as the cold hits her nose she looks offended, as if to say,”I didn’t order that.” So she naps on the rocking chair or lays in wait on the stairs.

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Pigeons holding on

I will be taking the #15 downtown today to do some more research into Portland history. Today I am looking for information on what schools were open in 1903, the first year Teddy Roosevelt visited the city. I will be sure to bundle up!

I hope you stay warm and have fun.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Cat Out and About

Dear Liza,

It is cold again this morning, but clear and sunny. I have two things to report that I have seen while still in my pajamas.

First, we have our first Rhododendron ready to bloom. These are magnificent plants that grow as bushes in California, but become major trees up here in Oregon. Many in the parks are 30 or 40 feet tall, and become their own ecosystem of birds, bugs, and small animals.

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Blooming Rhododendron!
Ours has been kept trimmed to “only” come up to the second story landing. While all the other plants are kicking out seed pods and getting ready to retire for the winter, the Rhodies are budding up and looking good. Here it is. I will keep you posted on bloom progress.

Second, our cat, Mouse, has been out and about exploring since the weather got cooler. She had chased a squirrel up a telephone pole, met the dog next door, and watched people coming and going.

This morning she decided to explore the ledge right outside our window. It starts out being about 4 feet off the ground, and as it rounds the corner, the hill drops off, and it becomes about 20 feet off the ground.

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Kitten out and about
The ledge is too narrow to turn around on. Mouse walked forward as far as she could, lost her nerve, and stopped. Sniffing and thinking fast, she discovered reverse gear as Bridgett squirmed and covered her eyes.

The reason this is a happy story is that kitten figured it out, came back around the corner, and sat on the ledge. She and Auntie Bridgett both caught their breath and all is well.

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Oops! Can’t go that way…
Now off to feed the kittens and hens at Auntie Katie’s!

Love,

Grandma Judy