Auntie Katie Wins an Eisner Award!

Dear Liza,

You know how hard Auntie Katie has worked at her bookshop, Books with Pictures. She started down the street eight years ago, then moved to her current location four years ago, growing and improving all the time.

When the Pandemic hit, she shut her doors but kept the business open with on-line ordering and driving to make deliveries every evening. She hired fabulous people who know and love comics as much as she does, besides having skills in art, design, organization, website management, and advertising.

With her staff and other friends, she has created a popular, all-inclusive space that has become the center of the LGBTQ+ community. No matter who you are, you will find books that represent YOU. She has meet-ups for teen clubs, creators, and even a pre-schooler’s story time out in the garden.

In short, she has made a change for the good here in Portland. And people noticed.

This year, she won the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award. This is the Comics World equivalent of an Oscar for comic book shops.Besides her years of work, there were many pages of applications and hours of preparation and interviews. It was hard!

And this past weekend at the San Diego Comic Con, she got her just desserts. Up on a huge stage, with a thousand people watching, she was handed the cherry-on-top of these eight years of hard work.

I couldn’t be prouder! Keep going, Katie!

(Well, take a well-deserved nap, first….)

Keep making the world better!

Love,

Grandma Judy

The Day After BwiP Con

Dear Liza,

On Saturday, Books with Pictures was FULL of people for their first annual comic con. Hundreds of people came, shopped, drew, and had a great time. The day after, however, was another matter.

The bookshop was open, but the scene was quiet and peaceful. Auntie Bridgett was by to help clean some new graffiti off the mural.


Some kids made chalk art while their Momma shopped.

I filled up the watering cans and gave all the little live things a drink.

Amarette Gregor opened up her shop, Pup Tent Flowers and Gifts, and made lovely things.

And Auntie Katie finally got to read in the peace and quiet of her own garden.

I love Books with Pictures, whatever is happening!

Love,

Grandma Judy

Finding the Silly at BwiP Con

Dear Liza,

When I was growing up, a “Convention” didn’t sound like very much fun. A big room full of businessmen talking about business. Ugh.

Comic Conventions helped change that. The Stumptown Comics Festival, in 2004, included a Comic Art Battle which was described as a “combination of Pictionary and wrestling”.


BwiPCon at Books with Pictures had lots of silly, as well.

Since it was an outside event, there were bubbles. Really big bubbles. Seeing a hundred people through the lens of a giant bubble is something I never even knew I was missing!

There were dogs.

Since it was comics, there were costumes.

There were trees, and a garden.

And sometimes there were bubbles and dogs and trees all at once!

I look forward to BwiP 2!

Love,

Grandma Judy

Comic con at Books with Pictures

Dear Liza,

This weekend, Auntie Katie’s Books with Pictures was not only full of people, but surrounded by people! Hundreds of them! It was amazing.

It was the First Annual BwP (say it BWIP) Comic Con. There were thirty artist vendors (including Auntie Bridgett).

There was a book signing by comic artist Steve Lieber and a comics trivia game run by Douglas Wolk.

And finally, a wonderful talk, Q and A and book signing by comic artists Kelley Sue DeConnick, David F. Walker, and Brian Michael Bendis.

Hundreds of people shopped, played, listened, talked, and had a wonderful time.

Adding to the fun were Rob Courage, who played music on his guitar to start the day; April, who makes giant bubbles,

Paulette, who runs a digital photo booth,

Maia doing face painting, and Cousin Kestrel giving people temporary tattooes.

The vendor tables were set up around the three sides of the shop. There were all sorts of things for sale. Books, clothes, jewelry, stickers, and original art.
I will tell you more about BwiP Con in tomorrow’s blog.

What a day!


Love,

Grandma Judy

Happy Pride!

Dear Liza,

On Sunday Grandpa Nelson and I went downtown for the Gay Pride Parade and celebration. The streets full of happy people!

We didn’t see the beginning of the parade, but got there in time to see the women’s rugby team, some proud parents, and support groups for kids and trans people, and lots of rainbows.

The weather was drippy, but spirits were light.

There was a long, long line to get into the part of the Fair where the booths were, but we got to chat with some nice folks and watch the parade go by.

The downside of all the drippy weather was the muddy ground . Two solid weeks of carnival events (first the Rose Festival, then Pride) on the same patch of grassy ground had lead to mud, mud, and more mud. It was epic. It was deep. And I managed, somehow, to not land on my face.

Finally, we found what we were looking for: Auntie Katie’s Books with Pictures booth! She was doing an absolute ton of business and only had time for a quick Father’s Day hug, but it was worth it.

As we left, I caught this accidental shot of perfectly dressed folks passing the street sign at the corner of 1st Avenue and Harvey Milk Street. Harvey Milk was the first out, gay person elected to office in California and was shot in 1978, along with San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, by a fellow City Supervisor who didn’t like gay people. To help remember his sacrifice, a 13 block stretch of SW Stark here in Portland has been re-named for him.

What a beautifully rainbow day!

Love,

Grandma Judy

Final Touches on Katie’s Garden

Dear Liza,

A few weeks ago, Auntie Katie and her strong, clever friends got together and got the garden at Books with Pictures planted.

There were donated plants that people transplanted from their own property, as well as plants bought from local nurseries. They made sure to get plants that will grow un and do well without a lot of taking care of.





There are other things installed, as well. A small stage has been built for performances, and the beginning of a stout fence to make it feel more enclosed. There is also a cool slab cut from a big tree to use as a seat.

With such a great team, everything is coming together.

I look forward to spending some pleasant afternoons in this little piece of paradise.

Love,

Grandma Judy

All the Moms

Dear Liza,

I wanted to take today to acknowledge the Moms in the family.

This is my Momma. She lived for her family and her garden and had lots of adventures with my Dad; camping, traveling, helping people, and making friends. After Daddy passed, she continued her adventures for another 15 years.

Here is your Auntie Katie. She has had adventures in Europe, New York, at Burning Man, and here in Portland. She got to be a Momma herself and then opened her incredible book shop, Books with Pictures. She has built her life, and her community, as a place where everyone is welcome. She amazes me every day.

Here is your Momma, Olga. She started her adventures in Moscow, Russia, where she studied hard and became a doctor. She moved to the United States, then to California, and met your Daddy David. After tango-ing together they fell in love, got married, and had YOU. She continues her adventures as a fabulous teacher while getting ready for whatever-happens-next.

And then there is me. The oldest female in the family, Teddy Bear Picniker , and ready for the next adventure.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Next Steps in the Garden at Books with Pictures

Dear Liza,

The work has continued on the garden behind auntie Katie’s bookstore, Books with Pictures. I showed you before how the planting areas were filled with rich topsoil to create low berms and beds.

On a recent Saturday, eight women and girls aged 14 to 66 (and one helpful male teenager) worked for three hours creating the surfaces of the new garden just behind Books with Pictures. There were two tampers, which are heavy tools for flattening and compacting soil, and they were in constant use. First, the original soil was raked and tamped to make it solid and even. Plastic edging was laid in and staked down.

Then interlocking gravel was wheelbarrowed in to place, raked flat, and tamped down (twice) to make sure it was perfect.

Auntie Katie, who is injured and cannot work, was in charge of quality control and keeping us all fed. She did a fine job!

Finally, pea gravel, which will be pleasant to walk on, was wheeled and raked and tamped in place.

The walkway in the garden was extended beyond the space to the parkway, which makes for a nice entry from the street through the big wonky gateway.

And this weekend, the plants go in!

Love,

Grandma Judy

A Garden for Books with Pictures

Dear Liza,

Auntie Katie’s bookshop, Books with Pictures, is getting a new garden! This triangular patch of land just behind the store has been overgrown for years and is now planned as a space for meetings, music, or just sitting.

Last summer, some designers came and built a wonderfully wonky and stout gateway for the space.

A few weeks ago, a friend with a backhoe came and tore all the overgrown plants out. He came back and scraped six inches of rocky topsoil off.

And Sunday, the new topsoil got put into place. This isn’t the sort of work for a backhoe, however. This is delicate, manual labor. Fortunately, Auntie Katie has a lot of strong friends.

Grandpa Nelson, Auntie Bridgett and I walked down and met up with Douglas, Marion and Moss, Ken and Hillary, Chelsea and Katie to put the soil where it belongs. It was exhausting and took a lot of shovels, but working together is always fun, and the garden-to-be is one step closer to being fabulous.

Auntie Katie has injured her shoulder and wisely supervised rather than shoveled. She and Hillary are great bosses!

The plants will be delivered in a few weeks and there will be another work party! Hooray!

Lots of heart in this picture!

Love,

Grandma Judy

A Visit to Books with Pictures

Dear Liza,

This weekend Auntie Bridgett and I walked down to Auntie Katie’s bookshop, Books with Pictures. Her shop was full of happy, comic-loving, mask-wearing people!


We got to find some books by artists and authors we knew and see the new decor.

We had gone to visit for her a reason, though.


The lovely mural on the side of her store got tagged with graffiti last weekend. Auntie Bridgett wanted to see if she could help repair it.

There are several reasons this is going to be difficult. The mural was painted way back in 1997, so the paint has faded and will be very hard to match. People in the neighborhood LOVE it, so you want to do a really good job. Also, the surface of the wall has cracked in a few places and needs to be mended. More immediately, our weather is predicted to be too wet and cold to paint for the next two weeks.


After Katie and Bridgett figured out what the next steps will be, we headed home. As we walked past the back of the shop, we noticed the new shed Katie has had installed to hold the supplies for the new food trucks, which are hopefully coming in spring.

It was a great visit, and we had a nice piece of carrot cake and cup of tea at Palio, right in the Ladd’s Addition, before catching the number 14 home.

Love,

Grandma Judy