Housesitting in the Hills

Dear Liza,

These past few days, I have been staying at my friend Amy’s house in Lake Oswego. She and her husband are away visiting their brand new grand baby, and they needed someone to take care of the cats and water their garden. That someone is me.

Lake Oswego is different from the Sunnyside neighborhood where I live. For example, my house is a small condominium in a very crowded neighborhood. There are about 25 people living in 12 different houses in the same space as this one house and yard. This is very much ‘out in the hills’.

And because of that, the neighbors are different. I have been visited by a deer and her two babies, who stopped by but decided that the roofers next door were making too much noise. A squirrel dashed up a tree, stopping just long enough to give me his opinion.

A woodpecker knocked himself senseless flying into the kitchen window and sat on the flagstones for a few minutes, looking like a tiny, disoriented pterodactyl. He flew away just as I was figuring out what box to put him in for transport to the Audubon Society.

The sounds are different here, too. Once the roofers take a break, it is very quiet for a very long time. When the sun goes down there is a wind that fills up the space with the sound of millions of leaves dancing. You don’t hear motorcycles, sirens, other people’s music, or even the chatter of pedestrians, because, being so far out of town, most people drive to get around. It can feel sort of lonely, to be honest.


The cats here are different, too. Terri and Charlie were strangers to me when I arrived, and I didn’t see them for a whole day. Then one evening, Terri came down to the guest room and stared at me from the doorway, dashing away when I moved. The next day was the same. The third day, I found her in her cat tower and gave her some scritches.


Now, she and Charlie come down every evening to get petted, pounce around, and interfere with my solitaire Scrabble game. They still haven’t sat in my lap, but I will be patient.

I am missing Auntie Bridgett, who is in San Diego with her family, and Grandpa Nelson, who is home taking care of Mouse. But we will all be together soon.

And then, maybe you can come visit!


Grandma Judy

Out and About in Lake Oswego

Dear Liza,

Grandpa Nelson came to take me out to lunch the other day. I like it here in Lake Oswego, getting to know the cats and watering the garden, but I do love company!

We drove down to the actual Lake that Lake Oswego, the town, is named for. It is a very pretty lake, surrounded by groves of trees and houses, piers and small boats. There are lots of shops and restaurants, too. People rich enough to build and buy houses on the lake want fancy places to shop and eat. Once these lovely places are built, other folks, like us, come to visit and shop, too.

We walked in the sunshine past public art and fountains down to the lake, looking for a place to have lunch. We saw folks out on the lake, on kayaks and SUP boards, enjoying the sun and the water.

Stickmen’s Lakeside Smokehouse and Brewery served us a wonderful lunch. The staff was very friendly, the pulled pork sandwich excellent, the beer cold and sweet, and the views delightful.

We saw crowds of happy, pretty people, walking, eating, and driving all around town. Families with kids in swimsuits, life jackets and flip flops, teenagers on colorful skateboards, and lots of well-cared-for cars.

Up ahead, I saw a Salt and Straw Ice Cream shop, which I thought was Grandpa Nelson’s destination.

But nope, we continued past, finding a new and different ice cream parlor!

We have visited Tillamook, where they make Tillamook ice cream, and know that they do good work. Besides, a place to sit in air conditioning seemed a good idea. And so it was.

Once we had finished, Grandpa Nelson drove me back to ‘my’ house in the hills, and headed back to Portland. I had a quiet evening with Amy’s cats who are becoming more friendly by the day. Here is Charlie, showing how pretty he is.


Grandma Judy