Jigs and Promotions

Dear Liza,

Friday was a very busy day! Cousin Jasper has been promoted out of the fifth grade, which means he is on his way to Middle School next year. He has been accepted into Winterhaven, which is a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics magnet school. This is a perfect fit for him and I’m sure he will do well.

Because of the school district’s COVID restrictions, only his immediate family went to the ceremony, but there was a very informal meet-up at Seawellcrest Park in the evening. Of course, we took cake. It had been raining all day but was dry enough for kids to run around and for us to eat and hug and be silly.

When we had had a visit and Jasper got into a really long line for hot dogs, Grandpa Nelson, Auntie Bridgett and I headed off to our next activity. We drove up to one of our favorite places in town, The Kennedy School. This is one of the McMenamin Brother’s renovated old buildings, created from a public school that was closed in 1975 and is now a delightfully funky hotel, several restaurants and bars, and two concert venues.

We were able to show our vaccination cards, get wristbands, and go around the property unmasked, which was very nice. I have missed seeing people’s faces and smiles, and having unmuffled conversations. We ate dinner in the downstairs Boiler Room. Cheeseburgers, sliders, fries, and cocktails filled us up and gave us energy for our NEXT activity!

Three do’s in one evening! Are we mad? Yes!

We took our cocktails and headed upstairs to the Gym, which has been gently made over for food service at tiny tables and has a small stage at one end. We were there to see Brigid’s Crossing, a trio of Kevin Foley, his wife Jill, and their daughter Kayleigh, who play traditional Irish music. The tables are set well apart for COVID, and the room felt a bit bare. But once the music started and folks began clapping, slapping tables and even singing along to ‘Galway Girl’, ‘No, Nay, Never’ and countless jigs, it was a heart-swellingly full room.

It was our first show in fifteen months, our first time out enjoying what our city has to offer. Our first “I’m back, Portland!” evening. And it was lovely.

When the music was done, we jigged down the hallway and out to the car. Auntie Bridgett drove us through dark streets and we got home, so tired we could barely make it up the stairs, and fell into bed.


Grandma Judy

“Out” For Dinner

Dear Liza,

On Fridays we try and go out for dinner. When we lived in Salinas, we went to Patria, or to the many restaurants in Monterey. Here in Portland, between our bustling neighborhood and easy bus service, we had hundreds of places to choose from.

Dinner out, back in the day (last year!)

Had, I say. In the pandemic, with public transportation feeling like a disease vector on wheels and many places closed up or only doing take-out, our elegant end of the week tradition has been trimmed back.

Auntie Bridgett sketching away…

I like cooking and don’t mind eating my own food, so for me, the “going out for dinner” was mostly about the “out” part. A change of scene, watching folks and chatting with servers, being in the hustle and bustle. Watching Bridgett sketch interesting characters. Watching Grandpa Nelson wave at babies from across the room.

This past Friday, we packed peanuts and half a bottle of wine, bottles of water, and some picnic utensils into a bag and walked down to Sea Sweets, a poke place on Hawthorne. Auntie Bridgett and I got poke bowls, filled with spicy raw salmon, brown rice, seaweed salad, kimchi corn, and pickled ginger. We also got an ice cold ginger beer for Grandpa Nelson, because it was really hot.

Sea Sweets yummy poke bowls

We packed up these delights and continued south to Seawellcrest Park for the “dinner out” part of our evening. We found a socially distanced piece of shade, spread the blanket, and ate up. About thirty feet away, a fellow was exercising. Further off, two young men were playing basketball. And far across the park, happy dogs met and ran and sniffed each other.

Our dinner

It was a warm, pleasant, very un-elegant dinner out, and I enjoyed it very much. As we headed home to watch baseball, I thought about how we create the world by our attitudes.

With the country shut down, in conflict, and worried about our upcoming election, we can still find happiness and peace. And those are valuable resources.

”Table” for three
Bright and breezy decor at the new place…

I hope you are enjoying life to the best of your abilities, being kind to those around you, and staying well.


Grandma Judy