To Modern Times

Dear Liza,

We had walked a few miles towards the river, and there was some sort of disturbance involving lots of Police cars a few blocks north. It seemed like a good time to settle in somewhere.

So we walked into Modern Times, a cafe and restaurant on Belmont Street. We have gone past it hundreds of times on the bus, so I was more than happy to see it from the inside.

We were shown a table by the bar in a high ceilinged, bright room. We were two of only five people in the place. We weren’t hungry, and since this is a brewery, I ordered one if their dark beers which is made on site. Black House coffee stout was sweet and rich and just about perfect.

The decor of Modern Times, as seen through the huge windows, has always intrigued me. It looks as though very clever murals were created out of party decorations!

It was mind bending, actually. Cartoons posters and those puffy paper fans were all over one wall.

On the wall leading up the stairway, dozens of small donkey pinatas were applied right side up and upside down. A sign notified us that touching the art was punishable by death.

And looming over it all was a mural, at least thirty feet high, created out of party streamers. It was bright, bold, and completely unexpected. I stared and stared!

We enjoyed our drinks and learned that Modern Times is actually a chain of eateries and breweries, and employs a staff of artists (much like the McMenamin Brothers do) to create art for their venues as well as beer and cider labels, tee shirts, and other goodies.

We took the elevator up to the roof top patio, and enjoyed more quirky art. These hanging designs, created from plastic kitchen and storage baskets, moved gently in the wind and were just charming.

There were fire pits, as well, and views of downtown across the river. Big Pink, of course, was beautiful seen through the flames.

By the time we had seen everything, the police had managed whatever they needed to manage down on the street, and we walked up to catch the number 15 bus home.

Just another adventure in the city!

Love,

Grandma Judy

Pup Tent Flowers and Gifts

Dear Liza,

One thing I love about going for long walks is that you never know what you’re going to learn.

Grandpa Nelson and I headed south the other day, and ”almost accidentally”stopped at Palio Bakery in Ladd’s Addition for snacks and coffee. While we were there, we texted Auntie Katie, who came by and shared our cake. We caught up on news, and then it was time for the Cousins to be coming home from school!

Down at Books with Pictures, I found something new. Amareta Gregor has opened up her new business, Pup Tent Flowers and Gifts, out of Auntie Katie’s garage!

I asked how this came about, and Amareta said that she just walked into Books with Pictures, introduced herself to Katie and said, “How would you like a flower shop?” And she did!

Amareta’s business is mostly pop-up and delivery, but she also has display space in the garage.

After hugs and a chat with Jasper and Kestrel, we walked through the Clinton neighborhood, passing the historic Clinton Theater, where they still show The Rocky Horror Picture Show every Saturday at Midnight.

As the weather is getting colder, these long walks will be out in hold until Spring, but I sure love walking around town!

Love,

Grandma Judy

Painting the Piazza

Dear Liza,

This past Saturday , we got to be part of a great neighborhood project! The Portland Street Art Alliance teamed up with Sunnyside Neighborhood Association and made this wonderful thing happen.

Will and Ashe, the organizers, sent emails out and called for volunteers to come paint a giant, seven-colored sunflower that filled at the intersection of SE Yamhill and 33rd Avenue.

Will, one of our leaders

The primer was laid down Friday afternoon and the yellows and oranges went down Saturday.

Chalk lines and numbered spaces guided us in an oversized paint by number game. Folks from age 7 to at least 65 (me) came to help. There were more than a dozen folks on the flower at any time, and it moved along quickly.

The Plan

When our knees were shot and our backs were tired, we headed home, knowing we had been part of making our neighborhood better. It felt good!

Love,

Grandma Judy

A Bird Walk… of Sorts

Dear Liza,

We three took a really long walk Saturday! And there were an unusual number of birds.

First, we visited a flock of plastic flamingos that started out on a front lawn last year and seems to be migrating. One has even adapted to living in a tree!

Then we stopped by to visit the Taylor Street chickens. We had remembered to bring quarters so we could buy some feed for them. Bridgett chatted to them and she was their new best friend.

It was so warm that we stopped for a minute in one of the little sidewalk arbors. This one even has tiny red lights strung up in the branches. We will have to come by some evening to see it all lit up.


We stopped at Zach’s for hot dogs, french fries, and some cold sodas to get re-energized.


After lunch we headed south for our next destination, but before we got there, we found more chickens!


This happy brood of three hens were out in their portable coop in their front yard on 47th Street. Their owners had posted signs with information about them , and it was just like Farm Day. They even listed foods we could bring to feed the ladies, which include soft fruits and veggies.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Sunday, Busy Sunday Part 1

Dear Liza,

What a Sunday! First there was LaBrie’s “Two artists clean out their basement” garage sale, where we found fabrics, watercolor palettes, fabric trims, some cool old clothes and vintage postcards. There were lots of folks and everyone found something they needed to take home.

Everyone was masked and very respectful of personal distancing, and we felt safe and happy while we shopped.

La Brie, our hostess…

We carried our goodies home and had a snack. I realized that these trims are going to find a place in this season’s work on my “Big Map of Portland.”

I put it away early this Spring, and it seems like time to bring it out and put some more layers on. These odd bits of color may be just what is needed. Of course, I see that I still need to embroider the Steel Bridge…. And put some lovely swirly bits in the Willamette River.

The Big Map as it is now….

On to further adventures!

Love,

Grandma Judy

Seen on the Sidewalks

Dear Liza,

Portland is a big city, which I sometimes forget here in our little neighborhood. There about 650,000 people just in the city, and lots more in the surrounding area.

And as a big city, we see all sorts of odd, unexplainable things. Here are some of them.

…A sparkly mask outside the Electric Castle’s Wunderland, which is very popular for kids’ birthday parties.

A cartoon of a grumpy Dennis the Menace calling someone a “Nerd”.

And a sign showing that the city is making sure the local squirrels are safe.
Have a good weekend! See you soon!

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

First Jog

Dear Liza,

Between the Covid lockdown and our cold wet weather, it has been a pretty slothful winter. There have been short walks to the market and out for hot dogs, but no long hikes to Sellwood or the Pearl District, and lots of cookies and potato chips. I was feeling like a bear in hibernation, or a kitten on a lap….Comfy, but a bit overstuffed.

The spring weather, along with jeans that just stopped fitting, has inspired me to get off my Grandma Judy butt and get some exercise. I bought new sneakers (my old ones literally fell apart just after the shut down) and Aunt Bridgett and I headed out.

My big investment… Wooloomooloo shoes!

Years ago, we started running. We’d walk to the Hartnell College track, jog a few miles around, and walk back home. But we went too fast, or twisted a foot, and the joy got lost. We stopped.

When Auntie Bridgett and I decided to start again, we had to dig our old exercise clothes out of the bottom of the drawers. We did lots of stretches so we didn’t break anything, and we set off around the neighborhood. It was fun going down streets, waving at folks out gardening.

Our lovely neighborhood

We stopped (after a paltry ten blocks, but it’s a start!) at our garden plot, to water and check things out. It felt so good to be moving! We ended our day on a healthy note, with a chicken and beet salad with all sorts of greens and nuts for dinner.

And this morning, I woke up feeling… Fabulous! No strains, so sore legs, just clear headed and healthy. So, after our writing time and French lesson on Duolingo, we headed out again. We went a block further and ran a bit faster, and got home with no damage done.

I will keep you posted on our progress. Stay well!

Love,

Grandma Judy

A Sunny Afternoon Out

Dear Liza,

The other day, Grandpa Nelson offered us lunch out at Monster Smash. It is a pleasant mile’s walk away and has yummy burgers and fries.
Belmont Station, the tavern just in front of the food truck, sells good beers and ciders. They also have a bright breezy patio with windows that open all the way up, making for a pleasant airy environment, more eating outside than inside!

The breezy patio at Belmont Station

We enjoyed the yummy burgers and such, and Grandpa Nelson had an English Reveille’s Cider, which is actually made in Astoria, Oregon, just about 90 miles from here.

When we had eaten ourselves silly, we headed down Belmont towards home, and along the way we found a new food truck pod, The Bite on Belmont. Auntie Bridgett found the coffee she was needing from Kind Coffee. It was tasty and the service was very friendly.

We made a quick stop for a six pack of Guinness at the Belmont Market and a to order a book at Belmont Books, and headed for home. We put our feet up and rested up for the Giants ball game later this evening.

I love that we manage to keep each other entertained!

Love,

Grandma Judy

Living in Layers

Dear Liza,

Before I moved to Portland, I lived in Salinas, where the land is very flat. The wide Salinas Valley runs for about a hundred miles, wide and flat. Down most streets you can see a long way.

Looking about half a mile down Alisal

Portland has a river, too, bigger and wider than the Salinas, but the Willamette hasn’t flattened things out much.

One of the few unobstructed views in town… down the river!

Portland has lots of hills and lots of trees. Looking at anything more than a block away involves looking through things. And I am loving it.

Having to look through things and past things makes my brain work harder, and ask questions.

Is it the house I love, or the view of the house beyond the rock garden and blossoms?

Would this flower look as lovely if it were all by itself? (Probably not, I answer myself).

And why does the moon just look prettier through trees?

Anyway, I hope you love the street you live on as much as I love mine!

Love,

Grandma Judy