Back to Brunch, and a Stop by the Garden

Dear Liza,

During the Covid shutdown, we were very careful about going out to eat. We ate mostly outside, or got take away. But Saturday Brunch IN is one of the joys of living in Portland. So, since we are all vaccinated and the infection numbers here in Portland are super low, we took a short drive up to The Fleur de Lis, a delightful French bakery in the Hollywood neighborhood.

A pair of musicians were playing a guitar and mandolin as we got there, reminding me of Laurel and Milton playing in their old coffeehouse, The Key of C. The music was lovely and felt like Weekend, with a capital W. It was past lunchtime, so we had quiche and grilled cheese, and Grandpa had a fine cinnamon roll. It felt like ”The Before Times.”

We stopped by Trader Joe’s on the way home from the bakery, picking up things that are better or cheaper there. Raisins, nuts, frozen fish, and wine filled our basket. I even picked up a small basil plant for the garden.

Once we were home, I grabbed the basil and headed up to the vegetable garden. I ran into old friends Morgan and Abbie, who are almost finished with their early childhood teacher training, excited to be out and doing the good work.

I was happy to see my transplants doing well and getting bigger. The lettuces look so pretty next to the tiny violets that come up on their own. You can see the crushed egg shells I use as a mineral supplement for the soil.

And while we were playing in the garden, the fellow came over from the Hospital next door, and turned on the water! Hooray! Last year it wasn’t turned on until late April, which made watering the plants a long, heavy haul.

Right next to my plot are these tiny grape hyacinths, another set of volunteers who make the garden such a joy to be in.

Spring, right? Fantastic!


Grandma Judy

Outing and Abouting

Dear Liza,

Ready to head out

We have been in corona virus shut down for two months now, and we have gotten better at it. I no longer forget my mask (and have to go back for it), and I keep an eye up to avoid getting too close to folks. Most people in this part of Portland are wearing masks, but a troubling number, especially those old enough to know better, are not.

Photo credit: Kathy Williams

With Grandpa Nelson having the fevers, fatigue, and general crappy feeling that come with a touch of Covid-19, we are staying home even more. Auntie Bridgett and I get our outside time when we walk to the market for groceries. Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are both taking care to keep their carts clean and folks well apart, limiting the number of people in the store.

Safeway is larger and less diligent, but has put in arrows to show “one way” aisles and big dots on the floor to remind folks to socially distance. Even our local Stumptown coffee has painted horse shoes on the sidewalk for safe sidewalk ordering.

A safely socially distanced coffee purchase

Although we can now get toilet paper most days, some things are still in short supply. Ginger root, which comes from China, has been harder to find, and most of the garlic is now coming from good old Gilroy, down by Salinas. And there are some amusing new items showing up!

A powerful (apparently) alternative to toilet paper

In the neighborhood, we are seeing the inevitable signs of spring. Giant poppies are charging out of the ground.


Irises up to my shoulder lean against each other like drunken friends.


Local artists are making bits to amuse folks. This fellow, who goes by the name “Toast Ghost”, paints images on metal and attaches them magnetically to metal parts of the landscape. We found this one stuck on the bolt of a telephone pole!


Well, that’s all the news from here for now. More tomorrow!


Grandma Judy