Flower Bomb’s New Digs

Dear Liza,

Sandwich Board for new place!

Here in Portland, we have a lot of stores that sell their goods out of trucks or trailers. That’s because property is very expensive, and a new business can start easier by renting a spot in a parking lot rather than a whole building.

Old digs ( Photo by Danger Garden)

For example, one of our favorite places to eat is cluster of food trucks on 28th Street near Burnside, and Auntie Katie has her first food truck, La Sabrosita, in her parking lot at Books with Pictures.

Solara, happy owner and plant lover

But I am writing this to tell you about a Flower truck that has now become a flower shop. Flower Bomb was a truck parked in the lot at SE 28th and Stark. Solara Schoeffler, the owner, had a smallish truck, an awning, and a rented garage across the street to keep her extra flowers in. We would see her out most mornings, pulling wagon loads of flowers across the street in the cold, rain, and heat. It had to be hard, but she was determined.

The flowers are calling us in!

This past Friday, after I left the First Friday party at SideStreet Arts, I got to walk into Solara’s new building, at SE 29th and Stark. It is wonderful. The large windows will let in plenty of sunlight, and the high ceilings allow for Benjamin ficus and fig trees to reach their potential.

High ceilings

“Look!” She said, sweeping her arms around in delight. “I have a roof! I have a door! I have HEAT!” Friends had come by to help celebrate, serving delicious mango-orange juice ‘mocktails’ , pizza and sweet treats.

Great ceramics

Stark Street Studios decorated the shelves with surprising art and customers walked out with summer in their arms despite the chilly rain.

Arms full of summer

I am so happy to see new businesses doing well in the neighborhood!

Love,

Grandma Judy

Pip’s Doughnuts and Other Happy Discoveries

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Dear Liza,

Today we needed to go to IKEA for some house things and Costco for some food things. Grandpa Nelson knew that it would be a long day of walking and shopping, so he decided that we should start off with local happy.

Pip’s Original Doughnuts and Chai, on NE Fremont, was the perfect place. It is different from every other doughnut shop in several ways. First, there is no glass case with doughnuts to choose from, because every single doughnut is made when you order it and served hot. YUM!

Another difference is the size of the doughnuts. They are tiny! Each warm, perfect bundle of fried goodness would fit in the palm of your 4 year old hand. About three small bites, or one greedy mouthful.

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Finally, there are not dozens of kinds of doughnuts. The day we were there, there were six. Grandpa Nelson had cinnamon and sugar. Very sweet and good. Auntie Bridgett had Nutella, which she pronounced “The best doughnut I’ve ever had in my life.” I had a wickedly sweet and savory mouthful called Candied Maple Bacon, the essence of which I would like to eat every day of my life.

Doing some doughnut math, we reckoned that a regular cake doughnut would equal the size of about three Pip’s. So you can mix and match and share with friends and get to taste more deliciousness without feeling like a doughnut hog. Well, feeling a bit less like a doughnut hog than usual, anyway.

After thoroughly enjoying the doughnuts, dog- and people-watching and warm hospitality of Pip’s, we got on with the business of the day. When we moved from Salinas, we tried to get rid of things we didn’t love. We had owned several really ugly lamps, and we left them behind. Wandering IKEA’s maze of showrooms, we came upon the perfect lamp. It would fit in well and gives a nice warm light. We also found an office chair for Grandpa Nelson that will help his back, and lots of small things to make the house work better.

After a small lunch at IKEA’s cafeteria, we headed for Costco. We found two giant shelf units to help organize the garage. Moving here, we collapsed three art areas and two offices into one space, so there are a lot of things that need storing…books, art, tools… and we want them to stay dry through Portland’s notoriously wet winters. Getting them up off the floor and into plastic bins seems a good idea. We also found cashews, walnuts, peanuts…you know, Grandpa Nelson food.

Back home, we assembled the lamp (which does, indeed, look perfect by the piano)  and moved one of the last boxes into a back closet so the lamp had a happy place to be in. Grandpa Nelson built his chair, we installed things in the kitchen, and crashed. Hours of shopping just wear me out!

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Later in the day, I got an invitation from Auntie Katie to hear a storyteller at her book store, Books with Pictures. Gretchen Peterson told a really interesting story about her new super hero, Iris Eldinger. We talked about storytelling and teaching and how much the two are alike.

Auntie Bridgett and I walked home just as the sun was going down. We stopped several times to look west, over the bridges on the Willamette to the city shadowed in pink clouds. It was the perfect ending to a lovely, productive, delicious day.

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Love,

Grandma Judy