Sunny Walk, New Things

Dear Liza,

We had some errands to do yesterday, so Auntie Bridgett and I went for a nice long walk. And since all the places we needed to go were down on Hawthorne, we saw how that street is changing during the lockdown.

One of our gnomes, lurking in the ferns….

We saw that Chez Machin, a lovely French bistro type place, has changed its name to Frog and Snail. I am hoping it is just a name change and the owners are the same. They are nice folks, and too many people are losing their livelihoods because of the shutdown. We will have a taste of their frogs and snails when the city opens up more.

Chez Machin is now Frog and Snail

We still found a lot of businesses closed, but the art and messaging is beautiful and hopeful. I took pictures as a way of holding tight onto goodness and love.

I have been so dismayed these last few days at the level of anger and violence that has swept over Portland and the rest of the country that I sometimes just want to curl up and sleep until all the hatred has passed.

But love, beauty and just plain human goodness are making themselves heard, too. And that gives me comfort.

Yep, just that.

After dropping off dry cleaning and mailing packages, we stopped at Hawthorne Liquor. Auntie Bridgett is on a mission to find a certain kind of yummy cognac that we had on an Air France flight, years ago. We have yet to find it anywhere in the city. But I did have time to wonder at this improbable bottle of pear brandy!

How did they DO that?

On the way home we stopped at Whole Bowl for lunch, which we ate while sitting on the chairs outside the temporarily closed Common Grounds coffee shop. We stopped at Chase bank to return someone’s lost credit card, and enjoyed some more street art.

Big smiles come from small stickers!

By the time we got home, we had walked nearly three miles! I felt pretty accomplished, after these long months of too much sofa-sitting. Maybe we can put ourselves out of this hole, after all.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Hawthorne Street Fair

Dear Liza,

As if our weekend wasn’t full enough with our new car, Sunday was the Hawthorne Street Fair.  They close the street for 10 blocks and all sorts of folks set up tents to share their ideas and talents, and sell their things.

Auntie Bridgett spent the morning at a drawing “meet up” at the Portland Museum of Art, where artists look at art, draw about it, and talk about it. So Grandpa Nelson and I did the first part of the Fair by ourselves. First, we stopped at the Bazi Bierbrasserie because Grandpa Nelson had heard about their french fries and wanted to try them out. They and my “velgi” burger were very good, and the cider and beer were light and cold, just what was needed on a hot day. Outside the brasserie was a “Human Foosball” game, where four guys….well, you get the idea. Have a look at the picture.

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Human Foosball

Out on the street, there were food booths selling Cajun, Hawaiian, Lebanese, Mexican, Filipino, and American food. Pork, beef, chicken, tofu, if it could be fried, spiced and wrapped in something, it was for sale. It all smelled so yummy! There were also Gelato carts, shave ice trucks, and tents just giving away free cold water to anyone who needed it. These were all very popular.

There were political action booths, asking people to sign petitions, buy t-shirts, or volunteer to save the planet, the country, the forests and just about anything else you can think of. These were interesting but a little dangerous, because if you asked the folks about their cause they were so passionate, it was hard to walk away!

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Auntie Bridgett playing a cigar box guitar

Auntie Bridgett joined us as the day was getting really warm. There were booths selling music! Old vinyl records by the box load called to us, but since we gave away our old turntable when we moved, we didn’t stop. A fellow named Sonny was selling guitars and ukeleles that he built from beautiful cigar boxes, and Auntie Bridgett gave them a try.

Musicians of every age were sitting, standing, or dancing, and playing music with their boxes set out for donations. The youngest were about 13, two girls playing ukeleles behind a sign that said “Tip the musicians (but don’t knock them over)”.

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Young musicians

Auntie Bridgett hadn’t had lunch and we were all ready to fall over from the heat (we are not used to 98 degrees!) so we stopped in at the lovely and air conditioned Chez Machin. This french style creperie is friendly, small, and serves both savory and sweet crepes and drinks. The sit-down, cool air, and food were exactly what was needed.

After looking at hats from Ray’s Classic Collection shop and some vintage clothing, we decided it was time to head home. We all had some downtime, read, or napped. In the evening was the final performance of the summer “Music in the Parks” program, so we walked to Laurelhurst Park with our dinner and listened to the Providence band play jazz, big band music, and even some disco. People danced, kids played, and the sun went down. It was lovely.

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Back to School Flamingos

On the way home, we saw that the flamingos had changed again! They were apparently home from their camping trip and were ready to go back to school! This running story played out on a lawn just cracks me up, and it is so ….Portland.

Silly, artistic, not fancy, but fun.

Love,

Grandma Judy