An Almost-Summer Walkabout

Dear Liza,

Before the rain this past weekend, we had four wonderful days of sun. Grandpa Nelson and I were able to get out for a long walk. After lunch at Zach’s we headed south through the Richmond neighborhood.

The peonies in Southeast Portland this year are absolutely stunning, and this group in a planter along Lincoln are pure sunny pink and and as big as a dinner plate.

As we were noticing all the blooms, I was stopped in my tracks by this piece of chalk art on a driveway. No one was around to ask about the artist, so we just enjoyed it, photographed it, and moved along.


The next piece of art was less colorful but charming, even so. Someone with less art experience had tried to paint a cat hiding in the high grass, failed, and expressed their disappointment.

Further along, these tall lupines graced the parkway, framed perfectly by a 1920s bungalow and willow tree.

As we were walking, Grandpa Nelson asked, “when you run out of things to write about, will we have to move?” I told him that in five years of writing blogs, Portland hasn’t let me down yet. I think we’re safe.

Love,

Grandma Judy

First Bicycle Adventure of the Year

Dear Liza,

With warm and sunny weather in the forecast, it was only a matter of time before someone said, “We should go out for a bike ride.” This year, it was Auntie Bridgett.

So we did! There was some time spent pumping up tires and untangling bungee cords, but very soon we were off! Grandpa Nelson and Bridgett wore shorts, but I don’t own any! I wore jeans.

We decided to stay on “Greenways”, which are regular streets, but designated as “Bikes have the right of way”, and on special bikes-only paths. This means we didn’t have to worry about getting run over by cars. Always a good thing.

We headed down 34th to the Clinton neighborhood. I thought we were going for ice cream, but we kept going and going. We crossed the railroad tracks using the overpass, and the elevator was surprisingly working! It was very cool.

Not so surprisingly, we found ourselves at Grandpa Nelson’s favorite place : The Tilikum Bridge.

We hopped off the bikes and enjoyed the views of the river right below us and Mount Hood, covered in snow almost a hundred miles away. We were being watched over by a light fixture that looks like something from Star Wars.

But we were feeling the miles and the sun, and decided to head back towards home and find some nourishment. We found another branch of Broder, the Scandinavian restaurant we have enjoyed in the Mississippi neighborhood. Not needing lunch but desperate for sugar and hydration, we ordered ableskivers, lemonade, and cucumber soda. What a treat!

Ableskivers are a Danish speciality, round-like-the-globe doughnutty pieces of fabulousness, and are served with lemon curd and lingonberry jam. We stuffed ourselves and slurped the sweet sodas. It was wonderful.

Eventually, though, we did need to start back. I was dreading going back up the hill, but once I figured out my gearshift ( I have to re-learn it every year) I was fine.

We pulled in, parked the bikes, drank more water, and pretty much crashed. We had only done four miles, but with muscles that hadn’t used in more than two years.

We will get out for another ride soon, I hope!

Love,

Grandma Judy

Sunday, Busy Sunday Part 2

Dear Liza,

We sorted through our garage sale treasures and then headed south to Division Street. The Richmond neighborhood is so pretty, with the household gardens in full late summer glory. Grapes, plums, apples and even Asian pears called to us.

A local knife sharpener named Sato was working his whetstone magic at Moore Coffee Company, one of our favorite places for an afternoon hang out. I had brought along my favorite knife, a gift from Auntie Katie 15 years ago.

We dropped the knife off with Sato and decided to try a new food truck for lunch. “Let’s Roll” offers bowls, burritos or wraps filled with poke, tempura, and other spicy delights. It was just what was needed!

When we were fed and happy, we walked by Carter and Rose to see their tiny planters with handmade ceramic snakes, and then back to Moore Coffee. Sato had finished my knife and had started his lunch!

We ordered iced coffee and tea and engaged in some serious Sunday loafing: Reading the Sunday Funnies, people watching, and enjoying the progress on the alley’s new mural.

Now in a state of total Portland bliss, we ambled home. It had gotten very warm, we had walked more than three miles, and I was pooped.

A long nap and a few chapters of Jane Eyre got me ready for the next event of the day.
And that’s a story for tomorrow.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Summer in the Sunnyside

Dear Liza,

I have been taking care of Auntie Katie’s cats this week while she is on vacation. This means I have been getting to walk in different parts of the neighborhood.

There are cool old houses and huge trees in our Sunnyside, Richmond and Ladd’s Addition neighborhoods. I love the bright colors!


There are dozens of pieces of art put in place just to amuse people.


The weird Morrison Mini Art Gallery….

And there are generous folks who share their ripe fruit right off the trees with anyone who wants it.


I sure like our neighborhood!

Love,

Grandma Judy

Cake Walk

Dear Liza,

Our spring has been alternating between rain and sun, so when the weather is nice, we get out in it! Grandpa Nelson and I headed out in Friday, with not much idea of where to go.

All sorts of flowers are blooming! The tulips are starting to fade, but azaleas and irises are going berserk. The colors are eye-smashing.

We continued south west, sort of in the direction of Ladd’s Addition, where Auntie Katie’s book shop, “Books with Pictures” is. The rose gardens had a few early bloomers looking good, with dozens more in bud, just biding their time.

Palio, a delightfully tasty and pleasant bakery/coffee shop on the Ladd’s Circle Park, has set tables and chairs out on the sidewalk. We ordered some delicious lemon custard cake and texted Katie with an offer. “Yes, please!”

Auntie Katie got her second vaccine just the day before and is on her way to being able to run her shop more easily. The business is doing well, mostly because she works hard to make sure she gets books to her customers. She has been driving to deliver all over the city for more than a year now. Exhausting, yes, but that’s what it took.

After a lovely chat and snacks, Grandpa Nelson and I headed back home through the Richmond neighborhood. It is full of craftsman style houses from the turn of the 20th century and hundreds of majestic trees and flowers bushes.

Portland is a cakewalk!

Love,

Grandma Judy

So Much Pretty

Dear Liza,

It was so pretty the other day, we three all walked to Zach’s Shack for hot dogs! We had the cool back patio all to ourselves, and we enjoyed our spicy Chicago dog, Dylan dog, and French fries. I even indulged in a pint of Guinness. Yum!

We were all feeling very full when we were done, and Grandpa Nelson suggested we take the long walk home.

There is always a lot to see in a new neighborhood. Spring has sprung with Forget Me Nots and flowers I can’t even name, growing from every planter, lawn, and crack in the sidewalk. It is glorious.

The dogwoods are all getting ready to bloom by our house. This one, about ten feet tall, has already popped.

And, on any walk, there is something you see that, well, you just didn’t expect to. This time, it was Bernie Sanders. Yep, a life sized standup of the Senator from Vermont, as he appeared at President Biden’s Inauguration, sitting comfortably on a front porch. We passed along our best wishes and waved goodbye.

And before we got home, we saw a dragon and covered almost four and a half miles.

Not bad for “ just an afternoon walk”.

Love,

Grandma Judy