In the Heights

Dear Liza,

Oregon is opening up as our vaccination rates climb, and people who have been masked and alone for months are coming outside and showing their faces. This new level of confidence, along with our recent warm weather, is making for busy streets!

Mosaic on the threshold of Stammtisch

The Laurelhurst Theater’s showing of Lin Manuel-Miranda’s musical, In the Heights, made this very clear. The theater has limited capacity for all these people, and seats were impossible to get on a Friday night. So Grandpa Nelson ordered tickets online for Wednesday and printed them out. Presto!

But before the movie, we would need dinner. We wanted something delicious and close enough to the Laurelhurst movie theater to make a comfortable walk. We chose Stammtisch, a German restaurant about a mile away.

Something for everyone!

We walked though the bright evening sunshine and chose a table under leafy trees. We were cared for by the staff, who brought us drinks, food, and good cheer. My Geshmort Hasen (Braised rabbit with potatoes) was rich and delicious, and just enough to finish without feeling stuffed. Then we headed to the movie!

Sorry, bunny. You were delicious.

There is always something magical about a movie, anytime. But going into a dark place to share an emotional experience with a bunch of strangers after months of relative solitude was a powerful thing. I got shivers.

And the movie delivered a powerful emotional experience, all right. The story of a nurturing Latino community in Washington Heights, told to the rhythms of hip hop and salsa music, was funny, sad, and human. Grandpa Nelson and I cried and laughed for two solid hours. It was marvelous!

When the closing credits were running, a lady across the aisle yelled “Viva Puerto Rico!” and I cheered.

We walked home through the warm night, with the moon stepping in and out between the trees.

It was just about a perfect evening out. Life is good, and getting better.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Friends, Pizza, and Art

Dear Liza,

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View of the Lan Su Chinese Garden from across the street

My projects continue to keep me busy. I am finishing Cousin Kestrel’s princess kitten birthday present and had to change my story a bit. Did you know that in America in early 1900s, classes in the U.S. didn’t go on field trips? At that time,  they were not considered valuable. So I needed to remove a field trip from my 1903 story. Sigh.

Yesterday I also had a nice surprise. A former student and his wonderful family came to visit! First they visited famous Powell’s City of Books, and then came to see me at Auntie Katie’s Books with Pictures. They had fun and bought tons of books! Then they invited me to have lunch with them at Old Town Pizza, a “haunted” pizza parlor downtown.

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Lovely friends!

Of course, I said YES! Pizza, friends, ghosts? I’m there!

The pizza was good and the air conditioning most welcome, as it has been hot here. (Hot for US, like 80 degrees. I understand many places are really suffering.) I didn’t notice any ghosts. After Kyle, his sister Gillian, Mom Heidi and Dad Paul headed off to the Creo chocolate tour, I caught the Orange train back to Auntie Katie’s shop and rode my bike home.

Since it was First Friday, we walked up to Ankeny Tap and Table for street tacos, grilled Brussels sprouts, beer, cider, and french fries. Yum! We walked over to the Sidestreet Gallery to see Auntie Bridget’s new art, as well as all the other new things. I got to meet Dawn Panttaja, Erin’s aunt, creator of lovely, odd sculptures. This one is called “Miss Fortune”, with a skirt made of old prophesies. Creepy and beautiful.img_78521.jpg

Auntie Bridgett was going to stay and talk to folks, but Grandpa Nelson and I walked to the Laurelhurst Theater to watch “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”img_7854.jpg, which was a fun roller coaster ride with an ending that surprised me.

Walking home, we swung by the flamingo house, where the birds are apparently enjoying the World Cup Soccer games.

Happy July!

Love,

Grandma Judy