First Friday and the Last Street Fair

Dear Liza,

Sine Morse’s Little Red Riding Hood at SideStreet Gallery

Friday evening, Grandpa Nelson and I took Auntie Bridgett to dinner at the Ankeney Tap and Table a little earlier than usual. Since it was First Friday, she would be helping welcome people at The SideStreet Gallery, where several local artists (including her!) show their work. There are ceramics, collages, paintings, and jewelry. It was fun to see so many wonderful pieces and chat with the artists.

Bridgett Spicer’s beautiful work

The very next day was the Belmont Street Fair, the last fair of the summer. Early in the morning it felt like it might rain, but the fat grey clouds blew away and we had cool sunshine. The day started with a short walk to Oblique Coffee, which has the best coffee in our neighborhood. The family that runs it is fun, too.

The perfect way to start the day

At the fair we met the folks of Dysfunktional Art, who make adorably weird critters out of discarded hardware and kitchenware. I asked where they find their materials, they said people just bring them by! Freebies! Nice.

Dysfunktional Art

Heather Lee Kolbo makes really impressive art from recycled wood scraps that she gets at The ReBuilding Center up in the Mississippi neighborhood.

Heather Kolbo’s Recycled art

With primary election season coming up, there are booths supporting candidates, ballot measures, and always interesting ideas. The Voluntary Human Extinction folks weren’t here, but the Zero Population Growth folks were. As much as I support family planning, I don’t think making any law about what we do with our bodies is a good idea.

The dogs were out in force, including an accidental Corgie meet up that delighted everyone. Hollandaise, the hen, out with her sister Bernaise, were enjoying lots of visitors and treats. I asked if the ‘girls’ were having a good day, and their owner said, “They are now, because you said hi!”

At the old Belmont Firehouse, I investigated how fires were fought in 1903. There is a wonderful old horse drawn fire wagon on display, the kind that would have fought the fire at the Zann Broom Company and the adjacent match factory, which was in a wooden building three blocks from a school.  (I’m not kidding). Zoning laws exist for a reason, people!

Lieutenant Michael Springberg

I chatted with Lieutenant Michael Springberg. In addition to handing out plastic helmets and stickers to kids, he shared his firefighter’s perspective on Portland urban development. His background in education and interest in history gave us common ground and I hope we can continue our conversation sometime.

Grandpa Nelson and I walked back through the increasing crowds, dropping off my card at Inkwater,  the local publisher I would like to work with if any of my writing gets to paper.


Wouldn’t that be fun?


Grandma Judy





Back to Salinas

Dear Jasper and Kestrel,

Monday was my day to fly back to Salinas for the last two months of the school year, and of my 30 year teaching career. We slept in because Mouse the cat let us, then had breakfast, packed my suitcase, and went for a walk in Laurelhurst Park. We took Auntie Bridgett’s last gnome that was still at the old house.

We had already hidden a different one in the yard of our local plastic flamingo flock, in amongst the rhododendron bushes. It was well hidden, but someone must have seen it, because there were Easter eggs hidden nearby. We wanted to put the last gnome somewhere it would be seen, but only if you really looked. We found the perfect place and tucked the gnome away. I hope he makes people smile.

We stopped at Oblique coffee to get fortified what would be a long day of packing for my two wonderful people, and then Grandpa Nelson and Auntie Bridgett helped me load my stuff into the car and drove me to the airport. We all held hands all the way, because we are going to miss each other so much.

At PDX, I had a Yumm! Bowl for lunch and found a cute bear wearing a Portland hoodie as a gift for Cousin Liza.

The flight was quick and pleasant, because I listened to Hamilton the whole way. The flight is shorter than the show, and I remembered the stage play as I listened to the music. Uncle David picked me up and we caught up with news as he drove back to Salinas. We stopped at BJ’s burgers and had a very delicious pizza before heading home to rest until Auntie Olga and Liza got home.

Later in the evening, Dinner was done and it was still light! Yay Spring! Uncle David got out Liza’s bike and helmet and they practiced in the back yard for a while. When they were tired of pushing and pedaling, Liza and I played with bubbles for a while, using our jackets and the porch lights after the sun went down. Then it was bedtime for Liza and me.

We both go back to school tomorrow!


Grandma Judy