South to Clinton

Dear Liza,img_0387.jpg

With cooler weather coming on (although it is sunny today) I decided it is time to start thinking about how I’m going to keep busy when it gets too cold to go for long walks. I have started knitting, but what I really love is making quilts. So I need to find some fabric.

Hunting online for fabric shops, I found the ones I already know about, The Whole Nine Yards, which only carries upholstery and drapery fabrics, and Cool Cottons, which carries only cotton/polyester blends. I want a store where I can find heavier and lighter fabrics, cottons and blends, corduroy and sheers, all in one place. I want to be able to see all the fabrics before I buy any of them.img_0393.jpg

A bit further away I found Josephine’s Dry Goods, about a mile and a half south on Clinton Street. I dropped Auntie Bridgett at Luke’s Frame Shop and headed off.

Along the way, I saw some lovely things and made some discoveries. These beautiful red balls that I have been seeing are actually dogwood tree seeds, and there is another sweet chestnut tree at 26th and Division.

Just past the sweet chestnut tree, I smelled something delicious and realized it was lunch time, so I stopped at La Panza Cafe, It is a small New Mexican place that doesn’t look like much from the outside. I was made to feel at home by the young waiter, whose name I carelessly forgot to ask.

From their lunch menu (though you can get breakfast all day) I ordered chili verde stew with meatballs and a cold, creamy horchata to drink. Maybe it was the long walk and the warm day, but both were incredibly delicious. Jose, the chef, knows his flavors.img_0404.jpg

After that delicious meal, I continued south to Clinton Street. I found a theater, a video store, art gallery, and comic shop, but finally, Josephine’s Dry Goods, my fabric store of the day.  Josephine’s has a beautiful selection, but again, a narrow focus. They carry natural fabrics, the sort used in high-end dressmaking: silks, wools, cottons, linens. Beautiful, but not what I can use for a quilt. I drooled over the silks for a while, thanked the lady, and headed off. Cloud Comics, next door, was clean and bright, but not as nice as Auntie Katie’s Books with Pictures.img_0413.jpg

The Clinton neighborhood is very pretty, filled with Victorian homes from the turn of the century and old, well tended trees. The street signs highlight the fact that Clinton Street is a Bicycle Throughway, a road that has very little car traffic. Indeed, you can ride down Clinton Street to the river and cross the Tilikum Crossing Bridge. I want to do that bike ride!img_0422.jpg

I continued up past Sewallcrest Park (which, according to the map, is actually Hazeltine Park) and then home. A three mile walk, a fine lunch, and new things to see…I am a happy Grandma.

But pooped!

Love,

Grandma Judy

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New, Old, and Changing

Dear Liza,

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Giant Dahlias

Here in Portland, Summer isn’t willing to give up just yet. The roses and dahlias are blooming in what looks like a joyous shout before tucking in for the colder months. Portland is known as The Rose City (since 1888, anyway) but all flowers do well here.

We are having days that start damp and grey with wet sidewalks, burst into sunshine for lunch dates, then get cloudy again by dinner. It is dramatic and beautiful.

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Coy Dahlias

Our painters are almost done with the outside of the building, so today I get to put all Momma’s geraniums back on the patio. The poor plants have been holding their collective breath for two weeks, in a foyer with not enough sunlight or fresh air.

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Geraniums in exile

The Green Rain trees in the neighborhood are putting on their big show: seeds pods! They start as small swellings on the bud, and are now these bunches of pods that rattle like maracas when you shake them…which I do, every time I go by! Hey, it’s a toy, I’m a just big kid…what do you expect?

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Green Rain Tree

Today I will walk up to Yen’s and have her cut my hair. I am feeling too shaggy and need to spruce up a bit. Also, I want to show her this photo of the ginger cutting she gave us when we were last in, about 7 weeks ago. Bridgett put the cutting in water and, after a rocky start, sprouted roots like crazy! I am sure she will be happy to see her baby doing well.

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Yen’s Ginger sprouting!

Off to make the day happen!

Love,

Grandma Judy

Cats in Portland

Dear Liza,

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Creepy hairless cat doubts our sincerity

With all the walking we do around the neighborhoods, we get to see a lot about people’s lives. We see them moving in or out, jump starting dead batteries, arguing with their children, picking the fruit in their gardens, and helping pull fallen branches from the street.

We see a lot of dogs being walked… on leashes and off, poking along behind, dashing ahead, or being wheeled in carriages. Portland is a very big dog-city. I heard that 50% of the households have one or more dogs. That’s millions of dogs!

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A Mariposo at the Symphony

I do enjoy the dogs. I love seeing the dog-joy on display when the leash is unclipped and they run at top speed, just because they can. I love how dogs are part of people’s lives wherever we go.

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Kitten showing super powers

But you know me. I am a cat person. Their joy of sleep, their short list of needs, their “yeah, you feed me, but  let’s not make a big deal about it” attitude.

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This cat, on this corner. Always.

Cats in Portland are mostly people friendly. They will saunter up to be petted, or dash over as if checking our credentials. They roll to be petted or stoically stand their ground. What they don’t do as much is run away. These are confident cats.

I enjoy their company very much.

Love,

Grandma Judy

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Thanks for petting me, now go away. New people are coming!

River View Cemetery, Part 2

Dear Liza,

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Memorial to the Second Oregon Regiment

There were so many interesting things (and people) at River View Cemetery, I wanted to share some more with you. The famous people memorialized here don’t stop at founders and politicians. Important people like Henry Weinhard, one of the first and most successful brewers here in the land where we love beer, is buried surrounded by his family and whimsically remembered with a can of beer.

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Beer!

Colonel Owen Summers and his Second Oregon Regiment from the Spanish American War in the Philippines are all here. The men are buried in a circle that surrounds a statue of a soldier, the flag nearby at half-staff for the late John McCain. Colonel Summers himself is buried away from this area, with his wife and family.

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Captain Couch

Captain Couch, a sea captain who developed an entire portion of the city, is buried under an impressive, nautical themed column with chains, an anchor, and compass. Another set of “streets” buried nearby are Flanders, Glisan, and Hoyt.

You see, when Captain Couch mapped out his neighborhood in Northwest Portland, he labeled the streets by letters: A, B, C, etc. Later city planners wanted something more “romantic”, so they chose men from Portland’s history to coincide with the letters, like Ankeny, Burnside, and Couch himself. This decision now gives us a shorthand history lesson as we drive through town.  We can also see that, like today,  offspring of important people often married offspring of other important people, which we see in headstones such as “John Couch Flanders” and ” Caroline Couch Glisan”.

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Couch merges with Glisan

David Campbell, the Fire Chief who died saving his men in 1911 and who is also memorialized on West Burnside, is buried here.

Harvey Scott, who was editor of the Oregonian newspaper for many years, is here. He and I don’t see eye to eye on things, as he opposed women’s suffrage and public high schools. Interestingly, his sister, Abigail Scott Duniway,  a suffrigist and prolific author who also edited a newspaper ( The New Northwest) is buried at River View. I wasn’t able to find her memorial, but I haven’t covered even half the ground yet.img_0111.jpg

In the words of another famous dead person, “I shall return.”

Love,

Grandma Judy

Flying with the Panther

Dear Jasper and Kestrel,

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Liza, running ahead

Yesterday morning, Cousin Liza and I got to have another adventure before I left Salinas to come home to Portland. We woke up early, had a quick breakfast, and got our adventure clothes on. We packed some bread, cheese and blueberries for snacks and were out of the house by 9:00.

We enjoyed looking at all the flowers that are going to seed, and talked about how flowers help plants make baby plants. Her great grandma Billie would be so proud of her! Liza can recognize lamb’s ears by their fluffy leaves, magnolias by their big white flowers and seed pods, and maples by their hand-shaped leaves and helicopter seeds.

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Saying Hello to an old friend

Once we got to Hartnell College, Liza knew exactly where we going and ran ahead of me, getting to the panther long before I did. She decided that we should ride the panther (who can fly) to Disneyland, where we would attend a Disney character party, in costume. We got into costume, had manicures, and put on make up.

Liza was Ariel, I was Moana’s Grandma, and the panther was Raja, Princess Jasmine’s pet tiger. We flew on the panther to the airport, where we got on separate planes (not sure why). We performed at a ‘show’ by the student union, where we snacked, saw a squirrel, and fed the birds.

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Giving the panther a manicure

Then we headed across Central Avenue to Central Park. Liza loves to climb and do things that scare her a little bit, knowing that most things are only scary at first. She is always careful to pay attention to where she puts her feet.

I hated to see the morning getting away from us, but soon it was time to head back to her house. On the way, we ran into Irene, a dear lady who worked at Beverly’s Fabrics until it closed last year. We had a hug and a chat and went our ways.

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Liza the Brave

After Liza and I played with a picture puzzle that your mommy Katie used to play with, it was time for Liza and her mommy Olga to take me to the bus stop so I could head home. She told me “Spakoini Notchi” and “Paka” which mean ‘good night’ and ‘goodbye’ in Russian. I am glad that since she has gotten back from her trip to Russia to visit her other grandparents, she is speaking a lot more in Russian. That language and culture is a gift from her family and she should treasure it.

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200 piece puzzle

After an hour on the bus and two on a plane, I got home to my city and my people. We stopped for dinner at a new place called Perlot, on NW Fremont, which was tasty, delightful, and musical! We had delicious food, good wine, and listened to jazz by local musicians. What a treat!

Love,

Grandma Judy

Three Hundred!!

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Family

Dear Liza,

I started writing this blog as a way to stay in touch with you and my friends in Salinas after I moved up to Portland. I thought I would write a little, get bored, and quit….like I usually do.

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Fall
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Summer

But Portland is such an interesting place that I keep finding things to write about. Today, as a matter of fact, is my 300th post. Three hundred adventures. Three hundred stories.

Portland is a big city, and has big city problems, like anywhere. The housing costs are high and homeless people struggle to get by. Trash and noise can be a nuisance. And if you are driving, there will eventually be traffic that frustrates you.

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Spring

But there are also kind people and missions that help the homeless folks. Groups adopt neighborhoods to pick up trash. And transit is good enough that if you don’t want to drive, you don’t have to.

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Art

And the benefits of this lovely city are enormous. Art. Music. Parks. Art and music in parks! Food and drink and coffee and pastries.

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Winter

And the reason I can enjoy all of this is because I am not working. Working, besides being…well, work, takes up an enormous amount of time. Days and days of NOT getting to walk at random and stop when you feel like it. Evenings of being so tired you can’t even think of an adventure.

Being at liberty is such a joy and privilege that sometimes I feel like I’m cheating.

But maybe if I share it with you I can share some of the joy, and feel less selfish.

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You never know who you’ll meet at Lone Fir Cemetery

Love,

Grandma Judy

Return to the Children’s Museum

Dear Liza,

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Kestrel, the Alligator’s Dentist

As I had promised, the cousins and I went back up the hill to Washington Park yesterday to visit the Children’s Museum. Since Grandpa Nelson had to work and I hate driving, we took the number 4 bus and Red Line MAX train to get there.

The Children’s Museum is less of a museum and more of a giant, well designed play environment for kids. There are rooms with set-ups for water play, a farm to table grocery room, a pet hospital, engineering, toy cars, and a theater with costumes, lights and puppets.

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Running the Shop

Jasper loves the water room and Kestrel, the theater, and the rooms are close enough together that I can sort of wander between them and keep and eye on both kids. Jasper actually came and found us in the theater, making me very proud of his responsibility and navigation skills.

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Jasper the Hydraulics Engineer

After a few hours inside, we stepped out to the Zany Maze to eat the food I had brought. The Museum sells hot dogs and such, but I preferred a day with healthier snacks. Blueberries (from our Sauvie Island trip) and some of Grandpa Nelson’s peanuts and a big jug of water gave us energy for the afternoon.

Instead of going back inside the Museum, we explored the outside area, which has just been re-opened after a long period of development. It is wonderful!

The Outdoor Adventure, starts with The Spring, which has water play combined with sand, water management, buckets, and activities that encourage teamwork. Jasper and Kestrel played with several other kids, two of whom did not speak English at all, but they all understood and helped each other. It was wonderful to see.

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Teamwork!

We wandered down the trail past the creek, all the way down to The Amphitheater. There was a young lady helping the kids ‘fish’ in a small pool, and a mom teaching her little one about jumping rope. Jasper joined in and did 11 consecutive jumps! He was justifiably proud.

In our last 20 minutes, as energy was waning, we went back inside to see what The Treehouse Adventure room was. Turns out, it is designed for just the sort of activity we needed, a quiet winding down…. there is a tree house to go into and read, or just sit.

We got some going-home snacks, caught the Red Line train, then the Orange Line train, and were home by 3. We started reading Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville, and were on chapter 7 by the time Auntie Katie got home. It’s a great read!

Auntie Katie got home and Kestrel wanted some acrobatics time. Mother and daughter did some pretty nifty balance poses! These poses are ab workouts, mother-daughter time, and cooperation training, all at once. Real Ph.D level parenting, if you ask me.

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Acro pose

Grandpa Nelson and Auntie Bridgett came a brought me home, and we had dinner. What a lovely day!

Love,

Grandma Judy