Mother’s Day with the Family

Dear Liza,

Sunday was Mother’s Day, and also my first day out of the house since I’ve been sick. Rain was predicted for most of the day. This did not discourage your Auntie Katie, however.

She let me know she and the Cousins would be by to fetch me so we could have a picnic. She brought a beautiful bouquet from Amarette Gregor’s tiny Pup Tent flower shop, which operates out of Auntie Katie’s garage.

After the inevitable snags of closed bakeries and Mother’s Day crowds, we acquired lunch and desserts from Piccone’s Corner and Le Petit Province, and were on our way.

We drove up to The Grotto, also known as The Sanctuary of the Sorrowful Mother. We bought tokens for the elevator ride to the top and were not disappointed. The rain stopped just as we arrived, and had painted every leaf with sparkle and every path with shine.

We found a perfect dry spot just across from the statue of St. Francis.

Fittingly, we were visited by a dozen robins and junkoes as we ate bread, pate and wonderful cheeses. Beautiful desserts topped of the perfect meal for the perfect day.

It was one of those precious three-generation afternoons that just melts my heart.

Cousin Jasper usually doesn’t like his picture being taken, but agreed to pose with his mighty umbrella/sword.


We shared stories and tiramisu and were very silly.

When the food was mostly gone, we walked around a bit and got back to the car just as the rain started up again.

What a miraculous, loving, exhausting outing.
Love,

Grandma Judy

Quality Time with Momma

Dear Liza,

Your great grandma Billie, my Momma, would have been 100 years old yesterday. She passed away just the month before you were born, so you two never got to know each other. She would have liked you!

She loved two things above all: Her family and her garden. I think she saw all of us as her garden, actually, nourishing and us encouraging us to become our best. Here is a picture of her in her garden.


Momma in her garden

Wednesday, to celebrate what would have been her 100th birthday, I got on a bus for the first time in a year and a half, and went to The Grotto. The proper name for it is The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother.

The upper garden at The Grotto

The Grotto is a beautiful church, sanctuary, and garden in Northeast Portland. It is most famous for its Christmas concert, but the holiday crowds are huge, so I don’t go then. I like it better when it is just me and the birds.

I bought a token for the elevator that takes you from the lower garden, where the Grotto, church, and gift shop is, and rode the hundred feet up to the upper garden, where it is nothing but lovely.

St. Francis of Assisi, Momma’s favorite catholic

The path that leads around the top passes a meditation chapel, and small shrines to Our Lady, who is Mary, the mother of Jesus. There are statues of Saint Francis of Assisi and St. Jude of Thaddeus. But mostly, there are gardens.

The last of the rhododendrons

Pines and maples soar up to the sky, azaleas and rhododendrons bloom pink and purple, waterfalls bubble, and birds sing. It the best place I know for walking and thinking peaceful, happy thoughts.

I spent hours in the upper garden. I walked the labyrinth, did a watercolor, and wrote about a momma. I wrote about how her love wasn’t the sort that smothered us or hid us from the world, but let us know that we could go out into the world and be safe. It was a love that got better and stronger as we got older and had some of our prickly edges knocked off.

When I took the elevator back down to earth, and was leaving the Grotto, I found a fellow’s wallet in the middle of the street. Once I got home, I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to get it back to him. With no home address or phone number, it will be a challenge, and I’m still working on it. But it’s what Momma would do.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Gearing up for Christmas!

cat tree up .jpg
Kitten showing proper respect for tree

Dear Liza,

We have the house all decorated. Most of the presents are wrapped. Cookie strategies are being worked out. Christmas is coming!

This week your Great Aunt Christy and Cousin Kyle are coming all the way from Torrance to visit us. I am looking forward to showing them our lovely Laurelhurst Park, taking a bus downtown, and maybe even going to the Lights up at The Grotto.

kitten tree down2.jpg
Baaaad kitten

But first, there has been preparation. Our kitten Mouse has helped, of course….as kittens do. She left the main tree alone, but decided a smaller one was withing her grasp…and so she grasped it. Oh well, kitten, no harm done.

Last night we snuggled down with some Bargetto pinot noir gifted us by Auntie Bridgett’s Mom and watched my favorite Christmas movie, The Muppet Christmas Carol. It makes the often dark story very accessible, and I used it for years in my third grade classroom as a way of studying story outline. Besides that, Rizzo the rat cracks me up and Michael Caine is a fabulous Scrooge.

mup-christmas.jpg

Today we are going to walk down to Hawthorne Street and look at some houses that are on the market….we aren’t ready to BUY yet, but we sure can look! We are figuring out which neighborhoods we like. So far, Belmont, Sunnyside, Kerns, and Richmond are on our radar, so we keep getting to know them.

Looking forward to seeing you next month!

Love,

Grandma Judy