Falling into Winter

Dear Liza,

Firwood Lake at sunset

I am so happy to be back in Portland after our trip to Las Vegas. In Las Vegas, all the water is pumped in and does what it is told. Fountains. Swimming pools. A tiny green oasis here and there.

But in Portland, the water comes of its own accord, from the rains and rivers, wandering about with its own agenda. It is planned for, accommodated, and appreciated.

Our Firwood Lake in Laurelhurst Park is a natural low spot in the park, and catches all the water that falls in our lovely, hundred year oldĀ  forest. The Park planners were wise enough to use the environment rather than fight it, to make the lake a focal point and ecosystem instead of a muddy ball field.

Graced by a gingko

The leaves are still falling, but the trees are running out. The small building in Laurelhurst Park, which houses the bathrooms and maintenance office, is graced by the nearby gingko tree.

In the neighborhood, Christmas is going up in eccentric ways. This Japanese maple tree’s leaves haven’t been raked in two years…but it has lights. img_1964.jpeg

This majestic house, which we can see across Cesar Chavez Boulevard through the now-bare trees, has very conservative decorations, which seems suitable to its old fashioned style.

Waiting to see what happens next!


Grandma Judy


Las Vegas Adventure

Dear Liza,

Ceiling of Bellagio Lobby by Chihuly

This past weekend, our dear friend Nate got married. He lives in Virginia, she lives in Toronto, Canada, so of course they got married in Las Vegas! Go figure.

We left Portland in drizzling cold Saturday morning, getting to cold but eye-breakingly clear Vegas before lunch. The high desert, with its bare mountains that look like weaponized shards of broken pottery, has a special, fierce beauty. There was snow on the higher mountains, giving a Christmas-y look to things outside. Inside, the decorators took care of things.

In the Conservatory

The city of Las Vegas has about as many full time residents as Portland, but many times the visitor rate…every year, three times as many people come to visit as live there. That’s a lot of coming and going! The airport is exhaustingly full, of people and full of slot machines!

Room for slots but not enough seats!

Once we arrived at the Bellagio, we relaxed in luxury. A huge jetted tub, view of the Strip, and the fountains all made us feel like royalty. We looked pretty spiffy, all dressed up.

Grandpa Nelson and Auntie Bridgett, looking beautiful

Nate’s wedding to his sweet Natalia was held on a terrace by the famous Bellagio fountains, and the happy couple looked wonderful. They had chosen the music and fountain show, Frank Sinatra’s “Fly me to the Moon.” The fountains are impressive in person, but too big to capture in a photo. Once we were inside and the lights came on, I got this shot.img_1945.jpg

The mother of the bride holding the bouquet was traditional…the back drop of Jumbotrons certainly wasn’t. But hey, Vegas, right? And, of course, I didn’t get a single photo of the bride and groom together! There were three full-time photographers, shooting and angling and directing folks, so I know there will BE pictures. I just didn’t get them.

Iconic Vegas Wedding Picture

After eating and drinking too much at the reception at the best restaurant in the city, we slept in and had the longest travel day ever getting home. Mousekin was happy to see us, and we all slept like the dead.

Heading home!

We have discovered some important things.

1. Love makes anything possible.

2. We are not Vegas people.

3. Drink water whenever you can.

4. There’s no place like home.


Grandma Judy