Yes, Portland

Dear Liza,

Three years ago, we moved to Portland. We came for its urban culture and forested parks, the wide Willamette crossed by soaring bridges, and for Auntie Katie and the cousins.

Soaring bridges…

We found all those things, and more. And even in the pandemic shut down, there is a lot of city to enjoy.

Silly family….
Adorable art….

PAM, the art museum, is a feast for the eyes and spirit, just a walk away. Attendance is limited to keep folks safe, but the art there can carry you away for a while.


Art isn’t just in the museums, either. It is everywhere, bright and outspoken.

Art where you least expect it….

The parks are still wonderful places filled with hundred year old trees, ditzy squirrels, and flowers.

Incredible views and forested parks…

Our city has gotten a bad rap, lately. Mr. Trump says we have been “in flames for decades.” He is lying. Our nightly demonstrations in a few blocks of downtown make him nervous, is all. They show we will stand up to police brutality and racial injustice.

And they are as much a part of what I love about Portland as the museums and the forests. I am glad to be a part of it.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Street Art on Belmont

Dear Liza,

With the corona virus shutting all our favorite businesses down, our neighborhood has gotten a lot quieter. Last Friday, we walked past half a dozen boarded up buildings to get take- out food for dinner. It could feel sad and lonely, but Portland artists have stepped up to help.

Joe at Belmont Books is adapting!

Yesterday, Auntie Bridgett and I walked down to Belmont Books. She had contacted Joe, the owner, and asked about a particular book on pattern and design, and he had found it! He has re-organized his shop layout so that the counter is just at the door. When he is open, you can walk right up and ask him about books on a subject and he will hunt them up for you.

Art on the boards at Belmont Inn

On the way home, we walked by our old pinball haunt, The Belmont Inn. It is not a high end place, sort of a dive bar…. but it’s OUR dive bar, you know? Pinball and pool tables, and televisions where there was always some game on. Beer on tap and ciders.

Keeping the wolf from the door

Now, the windows are completely boarded up, so we have no idea what’s going on inside. Are they laying new carpet? Painting the walls? Dancing the hokey pokey? No clue.

“Cover up! “ It seems to say

But what we can see, the art on the boards, is adorable and quirky. There seem to be several artists with very different styles sharing the space. Sweet lambs pose on light backgrounds and geometric colors are on one panel, and just next door is a garish red Wolf telling us to Stay Home and Stay Safe.

Child-like optimism is what we have to go on….

Since art usually has a message, are we the sheep? Is corona virus the wolf? I will leave that to the philosophers. I am just glad to have bright paintings to look at.

Love,

Grandma Judy

A Song for Fun

Dear Liza,

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Sunsets

Your Mommy or Daddy can teach you the tune for this silly re-write. The Song is called “My Favorite Things.”

(Read the captions!)

First Verse:

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And artists

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And baseball with Pickles

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Beaches with grandchildren, giggles and tickles

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Kittens in fl’wer pots

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And wrecks by the sea

These are the things Portland’s given to me!

Second Verse:

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Art found on sidewalks and up on a tower

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Hearing the voices of love’s greatest power

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Old friends and new friends

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And pinball for fun

All of these just since the summer’s begun!

Bridge:

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Ghosts and mystery!

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Creepy History!

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Yummy food and wine….

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I’m up to my eyeballs in Portland, my friends,

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And I want to say…

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It’s fine!

Love,

Grandma Judy