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

Hungry for Public Art

When I was growing up, there was no public art in my little city of Manhattan Beach. We had the beach and the pier, which were very nice. But no art.

After moving around a bit, I landed in Salinas. There were just two public statues there. One, my favorite by far, is the larger-than-life Panther at Hartnell College. Made by Robert Puccinelli in 1930s, it has been sat on by many generations, including your Daddy David and you.

You and the Panther having a quiet moment

There is also a a smaller-than-life statue of John Steinbeck standing in front of the main library. He looks appropriately grumpy and thoughtful, maybe because the city removed his signature cigarette because they didn’t want Mr. Steinbeck to be ‘a bad influence’.

When Claus Oldenburg’s installation “Hat in Three Stages of Landing” was installed in 1982, it was a bit of a disappointment. It wasn’t installed as it was supposed to be, and it just looked silly.

So when I first visited London in 2006, my art-hungry eyes had a treat. There were (and still are) statues everywhere! Every patch of lawn, every public area, had some sort of sculpture. What a feast for the eyes!

From the mighty master of all he surveys….
To the boy who never grew up.

And Paris! The Tuileries Garden is home to 21 statues, from Saints and Queens to mythical figures wrestling minotaurs. And the rest of the city is just full of them!

I understand that France and England had Kings and Queens who had statues built to show how powerful they were. They spent a lot of money, basically showing off.

Also, Paris and London are much older cities than Salinas. Salinas was only founded in 1874. By that time, Paris had been the capital for 57 kings. London had been in business for over 1,500 years.

Maybe public art grows out of a long history. We will give Salinas another thousand years or so to catch up.

Grandma Judy



Dear Liza,

I have a cold today and feel icky, so I won’t write much. But I wanted to let you know that art is happening in our Laurelhurst Park! Not rehearsed, paid, group art. This appears to be the work of a single artist, using only chalk.


With Halloween coming up, I guess a ghost is expected, but this little guy is so cute! And he has a friend across the way!








Also, this shy looking cartoon character is just sitting on a rock as you enter the park, looking, you know, cute.

I’m off to drink tea and have a nap. More later, sweetie!


Grandma Judy


To San Francisco

Dear Liza,

Yesterday Grandpa Nelson and I flew to San Francisco so he could have an appointment with a doctor. This was just a check up and all is well, but it was a full day.

Sunrise over northern California

We all woke up at 3:30 in the morning (also known a 0 dark thirty) to get to the airport on time. We flew into San Francisco just as the sun was coming up and took the BART train into town. The trains in San Francisco are louder than ours in Portland, but they do the job and we didn’t have the nuisance and expense of renting (and parking) a car in the city.

Handy dandy transit map!

After waiting and meeting with the doctor we got a Lyft car to Fisherman’s Wharf and played tourist. We took pictures, ate lunch at Ghirardelli Square, and visited Le Musee Mecanique, a building full of OLD arcade games.


The oldest was a zeotrope (an old way of making pictures move, like cartoons) from 1927. We played skeeball and Grandpa Nelson played an old baseball game from 1936.

Giant Crab

We saw public art (if giant crabs count) and more being created, a huge mural that is going to be Frida Kahlo being painted on a building. We enjoyed watching people swim in the lagoon, perform music on the sidewalk, and just be people, including a pair of Russian speaking grandparents in full conversation with their English speaking grand daughter. They all understood each other, but spoke in their first language. Amazing, and familiar.

Big handsome something,  and a tree…

When we were pooped and brain dead (not enough sleep and too much out and about) we caught the BART train back to the airport and flew home. Auntie Bridgett picked us up and we finally went to bed at 9:30.

I will be staying home today and counting my blessings.


Grandma Judy