Feeling Very Urbanized

Dear Liza,

The first big thing that happened yesterday was that Grandpa Nelson bought me my birthday present. Yes, my birthday isn’t until next March. He went on-line for more than an hour and with lots of clicking and frustration and patience, he got two tickets to the musical HAMILTON when it comes to Portland next spring! He tried for four tickets, but there were only two available, so Auntie Katie (who loves Hamilton even more than I do) and I will be going to see the best musical in the last 30 years during spring break, 2018!

I smiled all day and well into the night. This sort of theater just doesn’t exist in Salinas… there just aren’t enough people to support it. I am feeling very blessed to be in this huge city where thousands of people love music and theater, and to have Grandpa Nelson, who will spend the time and money to make sure I can see it!

As if that wasn’t enough for one day, at 5:00 we took the #20 downtown. It was cold but dry and clear, and the lights reflecting off the river were beautiful. We walked from the bus stop up to Cheryl’s on 12th for dinner. We had tried to eat there for brunch, but it had been full. Dinner was pleasant, but nothing fabulous. The best thing was Christina, our server, who was conversational and helpful, and the curry pea salad.

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Cheryl’s on 12th                                Photo Credit: Cheryl’s
 

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          The Living Room Theater                                       Photo credit: Living Room

We walked to the Living Room Theater, just a few blocks away. Grandpa Nelson had gotten us tickets to see “The Battle of the Sexes”, a movie set in 1971, when he and I were dating in high school. The movie is about Billie Jean King, a professional tennis player, and her work to get equal pay for women athletes. One of the ways she did this was to play a male tennis player named Bobbie Riggs. I remember when it was all really happening and enjoyed seeing the clothes and hearing the music of my high school days up on the screen.

The movie was so good, we talked about it as we walked toward the bus stop….but didn’t stop! We went into Powell’s City of Books, because Grandpa Nelson wanted to do some early Christmas shopping. He shopped, I people-watched, Auntie Bridgett looked at graphic novels…until 10 P.M., our bed time.

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Powell’s City of Books Photo credit: Powell’s

We caught the bus and enjoyed the dark quiet ride home.

Love, Grandma Judy

 

 

 

Downtown Delights

Dear Liza,

On Sunday, Auntie Bridgett, Grandpa Nelson and I took the #20 bus downtown. We admired the architecture while hunting for a place to eat. The problem is, Portland is a very Sunday Brunch-oriented city. If there is a restaurant open, they are packed. We tried Cheryl’s on 12th: a mob. We looked at Tasty n Alder: packed. Finally, we went to our old stand by, Kenny and Zuke’s Deli, at 11th and Stark. They had only a 10 minute wait, and we enjoyed reading the newspapers and magazines they had out.

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Kenny and Zuke’s looking out
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Church and leaves

After a filling and delicious meal of roasted veggies, eggs and rye toast with lots of butter, we headed off. Since we weren’t in a hurry, we got to notice all sorts of things. The leaves keep changing and are beautiful at every turn.

Odd things, like a dog fountain guarded by a brass bulldog named Zelda wearing a top hat, standing in front of the Hilton Hotel, just cracked us up.

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Zelda the water fountain guardian

At Pioneer Square, we saw the 45 foot Christmas tree being put up. The lower branches had been removed to make it easier (something I had never seen) and some workmen were busy re-attaching the branches onto the tree while other men were running electric cables down the tree for when they light it up next week. Down below, a fellow was stringing lights on smaller trees to make everything cheerful.

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Christmas tree going up!

We kept walking and got to The Oregon Historical Society. A group of talented musicians and historians were putting on a show about The Art of the Protest Song, a history that runs from before I was born to today; people using music to tell other people how they feel about what’s going on in the world, and to let people know they aren’t alone in their concerns. We heard some Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Phil Ochs, and several original songs by the musicians. It was wonderful, and very well attended. There were 100 chairs up when we got there, and almost 100 more were added before the show started.

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Quilted logo of the show

After the show, Grandpa Nelson suggested we try walking home. We were surprised, but willing. It wasn’t very cold, and there was even some blue skies coming between the clouds. And there was always a bus close by if we got tired.

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Light on the River

 

 

 

We walked down to the river, then north along the Tom McCall Riverfront, to the Morrison Bridge. A curvy on ramp took us up to the bridge, and we walked across the Willamette River. It was beautiful. The trees, seen from above, spread out and drop their leaves onto the roadway. The sidewalk is separated from the big traffic by a bike lane and fence, so we felt safe. The sky had gotten grey so the river was, too.

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Trees seen from above

On the east side, we walked past warehouses and car repair places, up Morrison Street, through the Lone Fir Cemetery, and home for dinner. Auntie Bridgett’s Fitbit said we had walked almost 5 miles! Hooray for walking!

Love,

Grandma Judy