An Evening at Suzette

Dear Liza,

Eating inside restaurants is only just now starting to feel safe. Covid chased us out onto patios and into the ”to go” line, but as Portland’s vaccinations have grown and more places are requiring proof of vaccinations to enter, we are more confident.

So Sunday, we spent a very pleasant evening at Suzette Creperie, one of the small restaurants just a block from our house. We met our new friend Judy (yes, another Judy!) for drinks and dinner.

The food is always tasty at Suzette, and the service is friendly. But what I really love is the ambiance. This word means the feeling of the place, the atmosphere…. how it makes you feel. Suzette, especially on a dark, chilly evening, reminds me of Paris.

And that’s always good.

Even Judy noticed it. This was her first visit and she said it felt like she’d ‘walked into a different world.’

For a few hours we had drinks, crepes, onion soup, and other delicious things, and shared stories. It was a warm way to spend a chilly evening.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Belmont Street Fair… The Last of the Season

Dear Liza,

This weekend was our closest-to-home street fair, the Belmont. It is literally one block away. The weather was warm and sunny and there were so many people out!

We saw that the food truck pod has expanded, including such interesting sounding (and smelling!) choices as Boy Howdy, Chubby Bunny, and Fresh and Funky. Portland’s food trucks are famous all over the country, and always delicious. But it was too early for lunch, and there were WAY too many people to hang about unmasked.

We continued on our way and found Steve from Oregon Raw Honey.Com. He gave us tastes of blackberry honey, which was delicious, and something called Meadowfoam honey. Meadowfoam is a cover crop with tiny white flowers that look like foam over the greenery, and the honey tastes (I kid you not) like marshmallow!! You know we got some of that! Auntie Bridgett will probably be writing to Steve so she can learn more about honey for her new comic, Auntie Beeswax.

We kept walking down the sunny, happy street, and we found Dawn Rasmussen, a local author. She lives just up the Columbia River at The Dalles, and has written a book about a wild fawn she and her family adopted. The story is called Mighty Little Thor and is written at the third grade level. It stresses respect for wild animals and making sure they stay wild, even as we care for them.

We had fun watching other people’s dogs and children, and just being out in our neighborhood. We heard some sweet music and stopped to listen to Faith and Majesty, a sister duet from Florida. They have sweet voices, close harmonies, and write their own songs. Later, I saw them out and about and told them how much we enjoyed their music, and got a proper picture.

Faith and Majesty

We stopped by the Belmont Market, which has been on the corner of 34th and Belmont for generations. Its new owners were out giving things away and meeting the neighborhood! Genevieve, Nick, and their son Wolfgang seem to be enjoying their new digs. They even carry Ruffles potato chips, Grandpa Nelson’s favorite, so you know we’ll be stopping by.

Well, it still wasn’t lunchtime. I was getting tired but was NOT ready to head home yet. Auntie Bridgett and I stopped at Suzette for lemonade and coffee and watched dozens more folks walk by. We enjoyed our purchases and refreshed ourselves.

When we got home, we had leftover birthday pizza for lunch and watched the Giants beat the Cubs. We rested and then headed out on our next adventure.

Love,

Grandma Judy

A Very Happy Mother’s Day

Dear Liza,

Sunday was Mother’s Day, and it just about wore me out! It started with a huge box of wines delivered from our weirdest local wine shop, “Pairings”. Your Daddy David had asked Jeff, the owner, to send us some wines. His directions were “light-ish reds, and interesting labels are a bonus”. And boy, did Jeff deliver!

A delightful collection

We set the wines aside for the moment, and did FaceTime with Auntie Bridgett’s family. Her niece Madilyn had had her first communion, and between that, moving into their new house, and Mother’s Day, there was a lot of happy energy on that call!

For lunch, Auntie Bridgett and I walked to Suzette, just down on Belmont. We thought we’d get take out, but there was only one other customer in the cafe, so we took a table by the door and enjoyed wonderful, interesting, Nicoise Salads.

Ahi tuna, eggs, asparagus, potatoes, arugula, and teeny tiny cornichons!

The salad was a surprising balance of flavors and textures, and so filling, we saved the other half for dinner. The owner, Jen, has done a good job of redecorating during the Covid shutdown, and we enjoyed looking at walls that were not our own.

We watched the Giants lose to the Padres, did some drawing, and then Auntie Katie came! She had taken the afternoon off from her bookshop and walked up to bring me my Mother’s Day present, a wonderful mug by Michael Grubar at Stark Street Studios.

And then it was time to head to the Jazz concert.

Gordon Lee and his small jazz band were putting on one of their free Front Porch concerts down at Alder and 32nd. About fifty folks brought folding chairs, wine, and snacks to enjoy fellas on piano, drums, a stand up bass, and both an alto and a tenor saxophone play music. Jazz Standards, like “Nature Boy”, as well as new pieces like Gordon’s ode to the former President, “Sulking on the Golf Course”, were delightful, as was the parade of kids, dogs, bikes and regular folks. It was pure Portland.

We enjoyed some of the wine your daddy had sent, a light red wine called “Syrahcha”, a combination of Syrah and Shiraz grapes, found right near here in the Columbia River Gorge. It was tasty and went well with the cheese, apple, and blue corns chips we had for snacks.

We were pretty worn out by the time we got home, and there was still Art with Liza time! I am glad we mostly just chatted, and I hope you got your werewolf drawn. Mine is still just a twinkle in my eye. We got to visit with your Momma Olga and Daddy David and hear their plans for summer trips to Denmark and Russia.

As the last entertainment of the day, we snuggled down in the couch to watch Escape to the Chateau, with Dick and Angel Strawbridge building their business at Chateau Le Motte Husson.

This morning I used Auntie Katie’s gift for my morning cuppa, and it is perfect!

What a life, right?

Love,

Grandma Judy

All Process, Not Much Product… Yet

Dear Liza,

It has been a fun, happy, busy weekend! I made a stencil I really like to use in my Art Journal. So far I haven’t finished with it yet, but it is showing promise.

Fun with stencils

I also started whacking away at the two dozen or so blogs I have written about our wonderful, historic Lone Fir Cemetery. I started simply copying them, then realized that with just a little tweaking, there is a story there about Portland’s history that could be worth telling. I am currently paddling in some very deep water, and enjoying it very much.

Little Ada Smith

There was also a delightful surprise purchase from Jehnee Rains, who runs Suzette, our nearby Creperie. Since she has has greatly reduced business for the ten months of quarantine, she is selling a lot of her catering supplies to raise a bit of cash and simplify her life. Auntie Bridgett saw some ‘bee’ themed bottles she wanted, and I saw cookie cutters, so we threw on clothes some and walked over.

I now have these great beauties to play with, and the cookie dough mixed for delivery to Auntie Katie and the cousins.

Score!

I also found a map of Portland I was sewing on last winter and ran out of inspiration for, which is looking more promising now.

Downtown, the Willamette, and our Sunnyside neighborhood

I feel like I’m gunning my engine at the starting line, and can’t decide which race track to run first. I need to take a breath and focus…. or not. I’m sure it will all work out.

Having fun, thinking stuff!

Love,

Grandma Judy

On-line Happy Hour and the Go-Gos

Dear Liza,

Friday was a very warm day. Eighty-eight degrees, with a dry, bright sky. The heat of July has let us know it’s not done yet.

Newest bunch of flowers…

It was a good day, though. I got to practice with watercolors some more, painting a vase of flowers similar to my first one in gouache. Flower arrangements are good subjects. They remind me of my Momma, your great grandma Billie, so painting them is like having a long visit with her.

We met our new neighbors across the way. They are nice people, and the lady has a wonderful “Ramona the Pest” tattoo (from the original 1968 Louis Darling illustrations of that Beverly Cleary Classic) on her arm. I think we may be kindred spirits.

From Ramona the Pest

Ruth Inman, long-time friend and artist, had her first “Last Friday” Open House on-line, and we attended with cocktails in hand. It was great to see her studio and all her good work. She has such a whimsical touch and color sense. You can see her stuff at “ruthinmanart.com” .

Some of Ruth Inman’s beautiful work

We had dinner out at the newly re-opened for social distancing Suzette, our local Creperie. It was yummy and fun to see their bright new decor.

Suzette’s new interior

We watched the Giants beat the Texas Rangers at Oracle Park, in front of ‘cheering’ cut-outs of fans. A bit weird, (especially since the Giants usually don’t play the Rangers) but better than no baseball at all.

Still not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame…

And for the finale of the evening, we watched a new documentary on The Go-Gos, a music group that Auntie Bridgett likes. I had barely even heard of them, so I learned a lot!

They started in 1979 as an all-girl punk rock band, and matured into fine musicians and the first all girl group that wrote and performed their own material to get a Number 1 debut album. They were incredibly successful in an industry that didn’t want them to be. It was very interesting, and I got to hear some fun new music.

And then, when it was cool enough for sleep, we all crashed and said good-bye to July. What will August bring? Hold on tight!

Love,

Grandma Judy