Drizzly Saturday Walk

Dear Jasper and Kestrel,

Saturday was rainy but warm here in Salinas. I woke up knowing the report cards were waiting for me, but also knowing they could wait a little longer. I called my friend Pat van Noy and we made a date for Brunch at Ellie’s Great American Restaurant. Uncle David was taking Liza to a friend’s house, so he gave me a ride.

Pat, looking good!

Pat and I ate and talked for about 2 hours! It’s amazing how fast time goes by when you are laughing and telling stories with a dear friend. I caught her up on our life and plans for Portland…the new house we are buying, the neighborhood, Auntie Bridgett’s art shows, and my story-writing. She told me about her singing in The Senior Singers and playing bridge with friends.

I had a Mojo Cuban Sandwich which was spicy and sweet. Pat had a patty melt, which she liked very much. The service was friendly, as usual, but a bit slow because it was busy for Saturday brunch.

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Musical Birds

After we had talked ourselves dry, Pat offered me a ride home, but I wanted to have a long walk after my week being mostly inside. I buttoned up my jacket, wrapped my scarf, and slapped on my hat. I was ready.

There were lovely grey clouds and such tiny drizzle drops I could hardly feel them, which made for lovely soft light. Neighborhood sights are small and quiet, and if you are in a hurry to get somewhere, you miss them. Birds on the wire looking like Schroeder’s notes in Charlie Brown…. a lost teething ring carefully hung on a branch, waiting to be retrieved…. an adorable Beware of Dogs sign.

Beware of dog sign
Oh, No! Dogs!

I stopped  by to see one of my oldest friends in Salinas, Rick, and we talked for a long time. He is headed to Disneyland, which he calls The Holy City, this Spring on his annual Pilgrimage. I envy him the fun but not the drive or the crowds!

lost teething ring
Lost teething ring

When I finally got home, Uncle David and Liza were back and Liza was napping. I used her naptime to get all the report cards entered into the computer. Now all I have to do is print them out (keep your fingers crossed!) before conferences start on Wednesday.

The Paperwork


Grandma Judy

Return to the Library

Dear Jasper and Kestrel,

If it’s Sunday, there’s an adventure. Today Auntie Olga, Cousin Liza and I had our walk to the Steinbeck Library, to return our due books and get some new ones. Cousin Liza had read through “No, No, Word Bird!” and was ready for a new story with words she could read (mostly) on her own.

We packed cheese, fruit, and granola bars for our snacks along the way. It was warm and sunny after being chilly in the morning, so I just took my light jacket. Auntie Olga loaded her backpack with fleeces and hats I was sure we wouldn’t need.

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Off to Adventure!!

We were just a few blocks from home when Cousin Liza stopped and stared at a flower in the parkway. “Let’s leave the flower here, Liza,” her mommy said. “It will grow and stay for everyone to enjoy.” Liza just stared at the flower. Olga and I walked away, and Liza picked the flower! I was upset and Liza could see it on my face. I held out my hand, she gave me the flower, and I set it down on a nearby tree stump.

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Liza staring at the flower

We had a talk about being on the same team and needing to cooperate to get where we wanted to go. I gave her the option of going back home with her mommy, but she decided to continue on the adventure, and was fine after that. On our way, we saw our friend Wiley Reeves, a teacher who retired this past year. He has been enjoying traveling.

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Just keep swinging, just keep swinging…

We walked east on Acacia and turned to walk on Clay street and found the tiny but pleasant Clay Street Park. It has a bench in the sun and a wonderful play structure that matched Liza’s coat colors of pink, purple and teal. Liza practiced swinging and pumped by herself! It will take lots of practice, but she will learn.  Once we had a snack and rested, we continued to the John Steinbeck Library!

On the east side of the library was another of the big boulders with a quote from John Steinbeck. It said, “Books are the best friends you can have, they inform you and entertain you, and don’t talk back.” Very fitting for the lawn of the library, I think.Liza and boulder.jpg

After some playtime with another little girl, we found the books for this week. Happy Birthday, Word Bird!, a few Eric Carle books, and a Russian Folktale book that Auntie Olga wanted, and a science book about water. We saw Mark Vinas, a teacher who retired the year your mommy was 10 years old. He is still charming and just a bit old fashioned, since he is 87 years old! We  chatted for a while and headed home.


The Salinas wind had come up and it got cold! I was now grateful for Auntie Olga and all her extra jackets. She loaned me a fleece to wear under my jacket and she found an extra hat to put under her hood. We zipped up Liza’s puffy jacket and pushed through the wind all the way home, and happily took naps.

After dinner Liza and I used some fabric I had, a decoration (made by Auntie Bridgett)  from a favorite tee shirt from Grandpa Nelson’s sail boat, and made a pillow for her dolls! It was a quick, fun project. Off to bed now.

Love, pillow1.jpgGrandma Judy



Adventure to Valentines

Dear Liza (and Jasper and Kestrel),

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Three Adventurers!

Sunday was another long walk and adventure, but this time your Mommy came with us! We packed salami, cheese, apples and crackers, along with plenty of water, and walked down West Acacia. We showed your mommy where the fairies live by the big rock and the nice benches at Mission Park School.

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Where the fairies live (notice their bells!)

We walked all the way to South Main Street, then turned right and walked to the MYO Frozen Yogurt shop, where we met our dear friends George and Mimi Niesen for treats and conversation. It is always good to talk to these lovely folks; they are busy doing such interesting things!

When we had finished our yogurt, we walked to George and Mimi’s house. In their front yard was the box of succulents Auntie Bridgett gave Mimi when we moved to Portland last year, and they are still growing well! Nice to see they are happy in their new home.

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Happy succulent

Then we went inside and made Valentine’s Day cards! Mimi had doilies, paper, and all sorts of pretty things to cut and paste, and we had lots of fun.

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Delightful George

But the time came, as it always does, where the energy is gone and nap time is calling. We phoned your Daddy who came and fetched us. We thanked our friends, went home, and had naps.

PS. I can’t show the Valentine’s cards…it would ruin the surprise!!



Lovely Mimi




Grandma Judy