Outing and Abouting

Dear Liza,

Ready to head out

We have been in corona virus shut down for two months now, and we have gotten better at it. I no longer forget my mask (and have to go back for it), and I keep an eye up to avoid getting too close to folks. Most people in this part of Portland are wearing masks, but a troubling number, especially those old enough to know better, are not.

Photo credit: Kathy Williams

With Grandpa Nelson having the fevers, fatigue, and general crappy feeling that come with a touch of Covid-19, we are staying home even more. Auntie Bridgett and I get our outside time when we walk to the market for groceries. Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are both taking care to keep their carts clean and folks well apart, limiting the number of people in the store.

Safeway is larger and less diligent, but has put in arrows to show “one way” aisles and big dots on the floor to remind folks to socially distance. Even our local Stumptown coffee has painted horse shoes on the sidewalk for safe sidewalk ordering.

A safely socially distanced coffee purchase

Although we can now get toilet paper most days, some things are still in short supply. Ginger root, which comes from China, has been harder to find, and most of the garlic is now coming from good old Gilroy, down by Salinas. And there are some amusing new items showing up!

A powerful (apparently) alternative to toilet paper

In the neighborhood, we are seeing the inevitable signs of spring. Giant poppies are charging out of the ground.


Irises up to my shoulder lean against each other like drunken friends.


Local artists are making bits to amuse folks. This fellow, who goes by the name “Toast Ghost”, paints images on metal and attaches them magnetically to metal parts of the landscape. We found this one stuck on the bolt of a telephone pole!


Well, that’s all the news from here for now. More tomorrow!


Grandma Judy

It’s the Little Things

Dear Liza,

We have been staying inside a lot lately. Most days we don’t even step out the front door. And with our chilly spring, even the balcony isn’t very inviting.

Trees in Springtime lingerie

Yesterday when Grandpa Nelson and I walked half a mile to the grocery store, it felt like being let out of jail. We noticed the chilly sunshine on our faces and the tiny leaves sprouting from the trees, looking like lacy underwear. We noticed the kids on the trampoline, jumping high enough to laugh and wave at us over their back fence.

Neighborhood love showing itself

When we got home, we noticed that the dining table was covered with my mask-sewing stuff. Solution? A picnic! Auntie Bridgett and Grandpa Nelson moved the coffee table, laid out Momma’s picnic tablecloth, and put together a tray of crackers, Hard boiled eggs, goat Brie (yum), and fruits and veggies. It was a nice break from ordinary dinner, and let me start sewing the next day without having to set everything back up.

Indoor picnic!

And all over the neighborhood, we are noticing that neighbors are reminding each other that they are loved. We find notes posted on poles and chalk writings that make us smile and feel connected. Even when I’m not out in it, I love our neighborhood.


Grandma Judy