My (Heat Wave) Favorite Things

Dear Liza,

I don’t have any new adventures for you today because yesterday was spent inside, staying still and drinking ice water. Not terribly exciting! But I got inspired to make another parody (that means a funny song) of “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music.

My Heat Wave Favorite Things

Eating ice cream on the floor in the dark

Dreaming of walking in Laurelhurst Park

Finding the river and jumping right in

We do it when Portland’s One hundred and ten!

Director’s Park Fountain’s an island of cools,

Go there! ‘cause the city has closed all the pools,

Trolleys are melting and streets start to bend

This is what happens at One hundred and ten.

When the sun bakes, for your own sakes,

Stay in if you can

Come back out to Portland when things have cooled down

And then we will feeeeeeeeel so grand!

I hope you are staying happy and cool!


Grandma Judy

The Enchanted Forest

Dear Liza,

Thursday, Grandpa Nelson took the day off and drove Cousins Jasper, Kestrel and me 45 minutes south to The Enchanted Forest, near Salem. This lovely old theme park was built in 1971 by Roger Tofte on a low budget and with no corporate sponsors. This was his dream, and it took seven years to build. It is still being run by his grandchildren!

Heading in

Grandpa Nelson and I visited The Enchanted Forest when your mommy Katie was little, and a lot of what we loved is still here. The cute castle entrance, friendly staff, and shady forest help a lot when visiting on a hot day with small children. The small scale, and quiet, walk- through experience is engaging and non-threatening, even with witches around.

A walk-through, slide-out witch

We visited Storybook Lane, where Humpty Dumpty sits on his wall, Little Red Riding Hood meets the Wolf, and we walked (with difficulty) through the crooked man’s crooked house.

There are new things to see, as well. There is Tofteville, an gold mining town, named after the original builder. It has a shooting gallery and Fort Fearless, which has tunnels to walk and crawl through. It was a tight fit, but I made it!

In the medieval village section, we saw a Dancing Waters Show while having pizza for lunch, and a music group performed rousing Irish music. Cousin Jasper got to shoot dragons and other bad guys in the Challenge of Mondor, and got enough points to be a Knight!

Jasper Victorious!

While we were walking around the Enchanted Forest, we were having so much fun that we hadn’t noticed that we were always going UP the hill. But looking over the trees, we realized we had climbed a hundred feet or more! Up near the top we found our last attractions for the day, the RIDES.

Knowing that some theme parks make their money with big, scary rides, I was worried. But these were “Kiddie Rides”, exactly the right size and scariness for Jasper and Kestrel, and the “height restrictions” meant you couldn’t be taller than 54 inches to ride! There were bumper boats, a Ferris wheel, Frog Hopper dropping ride, a carousel, and a tiny train. The kids rode and laughed and chatted with the operators.

Chatting with Lynette at the Ferris Wheel

There were bigger rides around the other side of the park, but we didn’t go there. It was getting hotter and we were all wearing out. It was time to head home. The air conditioned car and cool drinks of water felt very nice on the way home.

I sure slept well that night!


Grandma Judy

Return to Cascadia Circus

Dear Liza,

Carrot and Foxglove the Clowns

Since it is summer, you went horse camp and Cousins Jasper and Kestrel went to Circus Camp! Friday, I took the number 15 east to Taborspace to see their show under the “little” big top. This is the only tented circus in Oregon, and even though the tent is small-ish, it lends shade and a real special atmosphere to the show.

Like last year, the kids spent a week learning how to balance, walk on stilts, work as teams to do tricks, and be confident in front of an audience. They are older and more experienced, and I was more impressed than ever.

Ringmaster Paul

The Cascadia Circus is a non-profit group run by Paul, Ringmaster, jokester and independent operator. His British accent and clownish ways make everyone feel comfortable doing new things. Jasper made up his clown name of Carrot, and Kestrel was Foxglove.

Juggling scarves

They juggled scarves and rings, walked on tight ropes (18 inches off the ground while holding Paul’s hand), balanced on balls and did gymnastic poses. It was delightful! I hope they go to Circus Camp next year, so I can see another show!


Grandma Judy

Confident on stilts!