Walking Out in the Last Day of Summer

Dear Liza,

Grandpa Nelson and I took a walk down to Zach’s Hot Dog Shack on the last day of Summer. The day was bright and warm.

We enjoyed the Morrison Street Chickens on the way, and then had a tasty Chicago hot dog and soda. Zach’s summer assistant, Haley, put on the Elvis Pandora Channel, which also includes folks like (really) Englebert Humperdink. (His real name is Arnold Charles Dorsey).

Once we were full and rested, we wandered through the neighborhood. This wonderful, colorful hodgepodge of a front yard was created by the owner, who we got to visit with.


Some of the balls are glass, and some are old bowling balls. There is even a Virgin Mary, a Hotai, and a few random ceramic animals. It is amazing.

The late summer flowers are so pretty. These tall Dahlias, which are Auntie Bridgett’s favorite flowers, are going strong.

By the time we got home, we were happily worn out.

Love,

Grandma Judy

On the Cusp

Dear Liza,

It is still a week until Fall, but the weather is starting to change. The awful heat seemed to have passed, though I expect there will be one last Indian Summer heat wave before we kiss summer completely goodbye.

The summer flowers are still blooming…. wisteria, roses, and dahlias.

Summer fruits are reaching their peak… apples, tomatoes, and grapes.

And yet, we are getting rain, lots of rain, cooler temperatures, and it’s dark by seven o’clock. Fall is on its way.

Pumpkins are ripening in the Sunnyside School garden, reminding me that we need to use up the frozen pumpkin purée from LAST fall so we can go get more pumpkins!!

When I grew up in Southern California, all my relatives there lamented the lack of “seasons”. A friend from Oregon once said the bright blue skies of Salinas were “obscene” in January. I had no idea what she was talking about.

Now I do. The seasons changing are like breathing out after breathing in, or hearing the splash after you throw the rock into the pond.

They are what comes next.

And now I understand that.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Evening Walk in Laurelhurst

Dear Liza,

In case you missed me and my blog over the weekend, I have decided that I will only be posting on weekdays, and taking weekends off. I am feeling like I’m so busy writing about life, I’m not having time to DO life. But for now…

IMG_0599.jpg
Firwood Lake reflections

We are at the part of Fall where it can be warm during the day, cool in the evening, but still light enough to walk after dinner. If I am quick to get out and careful, I can take some nice photos.

In the neighborhood around Laurelhurst Park, there are signs of Fall everywhere. Leaves changing, seed pods doing amazing things, squash and pumpkins swelling and getting fat for Halloween, crows scavenging.

img_0585.jpg
Seed pod magic

Sitting by Firwood Lake, the pond inside the park, I kept seeing reflections and shadows, trying to channel my inner Monet.

Dahlias, one of Auntie Bridgett’s favorite flowers, are still blooming, catching the lower light in their dense petals.IMG_0583.jpg

And, of course, chestnuts! The scary-muppet looking ones that you can eat, and the studded-motorcycle-jacket ones that you can’t are both falling like rocks from trees all over the neighborhood. Keep your hats on!

img_06081.jpg
CAN eat…sweet chestnut!

And, as Edith Ann used to say, that’s all I have to say about that.

Love,

Grandma Judy

img_06051.jpg
CAN’T eat…horse chestnut!

New, Old, and Changing

Dear Liza,

IMG_0328.jpg
Giant Dahlias

Here in Portland, Summer isn’t willing to give up just yet. The roses and dahlias are blooming in what looks like a joyous shout before tucking in for the colder months. Portland is known as The Rose City (since 1888, anyway) but all flowers do well here.

We are having days that start damp and grey with wet sidewalks, burst into sunshine for lunch dates, then get cloudy again by dinner. It is dramatic and beautiful.

img_0329.jpg
Coy Dahlias

Our painters are almost done with the outside of the building, so today I get to put all Momma’s geraniums back on the patio. The poor plants have been holding their collective breath for two weeks, in a foyer with not enough sunlight or fresh air.

img_03551.jpg
Geraniums in exile

The Green Rain trees in the neighborhood are putting on their big show: seeds pods! They start as small swellings on the bud, and are now these bunches of pods that rattle like maracas when you shake them…which I do, every time I go by! Hey, it’s a toy, I’m a just big kid…what do you expect?

img_0153.jpg
Green Rain Tree

Today I will walk up to Yen’s and have her cut my hair. I am feeling too shaggy and need to spruce up a bit. Also, I want to show her this photo of the ginger cutting she gave us when we were last in, about 7 weeks ago. Bridgett put the cutting in water and, after a rocky start, sprouted roots like crazy! I am sure she will be happy to see her baby doing well.

img_0350.jpg
Yen’s Ginger sprouting!

Off to make the day happen!

Love,

Grandma Judy