Happy Pride!

Dear Liza,

On Sunday Grandpa Nelson and I went downtown for the Gay Pride Parade and celebration. The streets full of happy people!

We didn’t see the beginning of the parade, but got there in time to see the women’s rugby team, some proud parents, and support groups for kids and trans people, and lots of rainbows.

The weather was drippy, but spirits were light.

There was a long, long line to get into the part of the Fair where the booths were, but we got to chat with some nice folks and watch the parade go by.

The downside of all the drippy weather was the muddy ground . Two solid weeks of carnival events (first the Rose Festival, then Pride) on the same patch of grassy ground had lead to mud, mud, and more mud. It was epic. It was deep. And I managed, somehow, to not land on my face.

Finally, we found what we were looking for: Auntie Katie’s Books with Pictures booth! She was doing an absolute ton of business and only had time for a quick Father’s Day hug, but it was worth it.

As we left, I caught this accidental shot of perfectly dressed folks passing the street sign at the corner of 1st Avenue and Harvey Milk Street. Harvey Milk was the first out, gay person elected to office in California and was shot in 1978, along with San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, by a fellow City Supervisor who didn’t like gay people. To help remember his sacrifice, a 13 block stretch of SW Stark here in Portland has been re-named for him.

What a beautifully rainbow day!

Love,

Grandma Judy

April Snow!!

Dear Liza,

I am going to take a break from telling about your visit to talk about our snow today. We woke up at 7:00 and saw this out our window:

Our beautiful, tall dogwood, which is almost ready to burst into bloom, was weighed down by more than an inch of snow. This is the first time Portland has had measurable snowfall in April…. in the 82 years the city has been keeping track of such things. This is historically nutsy weather!

While we were sitting on the couch doing French lessons, we heard a bang! bang! from outside and looked out, expecting the worst. But it was the best! Stacy from across the way had seen the problem and found a solution, a nice long 2 by 4. She whacked the tree trunk, the snow fell off, and the tree straightened right up. What a relief!

In other parts of the neighborhood, some trees weren’t as lucky. Many lost branches and this one lost its footing in the saturated soil and just leaned right over, landing on the car parked in the driveway.

Things were better in my vegetable garden. Yesterday, thanks to Auntie Bridgett’s help and a bunch of leftover plasticware, my young cucumbers, zucchinis, lettuces and pumpkins were shielded from the snow.

As of now, the ones we were able to cover have survived!

Of course, we are still in the middle of this weird spring storm. We are expecting more snow in the next day or two, and temperatures down near freezing. We put the covers back on and will have to wait and see and hope for warm sunshine soon.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Changeable Spring Weather

Dear Liza,

I have been writing about the weather but every time I write about it, it changes!


Last week, I wrote a nice blog about how blindingly clear and freezing cold it was. Then the weather changed. It was rainy and chilly. So now I will just tell the truth.



The weather in Portland is currently… well, changeable.

When we headed out for the zoo, it was pretty and clear. We visited the eagle under grey clouds and the lions under real rain.

On the way home there was grey clouds ahead of the bus and at the same moment, beautiful sunlit clouds behind us. These three photos were taken within three hours of each other!
It never gets boring, anyway.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Christmas Eve

Dear Liza,

Merry Christmas! We had a nice, though cold and rainy, Christmas Eve.


We had leftovers from our lunch at Suzette Creperie for dinner.

I baked some fabulous Challah to have for Christmas dinner, thanks to a youtube video by Bincy Chris.

Auntie Bridgett and I went for a really cold walk to see the lights of the neighborhood.

We watched “Mary Berry Saves Christmas” , where the British Baking Show maven guides three novice cooks to make special dinners for their families.

We added final gifts to the tree and chatted with Auntie Katie about her visit Christmas Day.

And we waited for snow. It has been so cold, and is getting colder. While Denver seems to be bright and snow free, we have had snow predicted for Christmas day or soon after, and we are excited!

Of course, this morning we woke up to a clear, snow-free sky. But Christmas hope springs eternal.

Love,

Grandma Judy

After the Heatwave

Dear Liza,

Wednesday was the first day of human-level temperatures since our historic heat wave began. We woke up to cloud cover, cool air and even a bit of dampness. It felt wonderful.

Look! Clouds! Hooray!!!

I went to the garden early. My friend Tonya gave me one of her parsley plants, and I planted it between my radishes and lettuce. My garden is doing well, even though it isn’t as tall as the other ones. They have five foot tall trellises and arbors hanging with peas and beans. I have a magnificent beast of a zucchini.

And it makes food, too!

I walked around Laurelhurst Park for the first time in a week, enjoying the cool green, the ducks, and all the people out doing their people thing. Tai c’hi classes, guitar practice, dog parties….. it was life as normal, out on the grass.

After a morning of sewing, French lessons, crossword puzzles and cartooning, the three of us headed off to Grandpa Nelson’s favorite lunch spot, Zach’s Shack. Auntie Bridgett got to go because she isn’t working at the SideStreet Arts gallery anymore. Her new comic strip, Auntie Beeswax, allows her more flexibility with her time.

One of my favorite views….

We ate hot dogs and fries, and, since the sun had come out, appreciated the icy cold sodas.

Then came ping pong! Zach’s back patio has a table and enough hard surfaces that even if the ball misses the table, you can keep it in play. We get a little nuts sometimes, and it is fun!

We played until we were played out, then walked home by way of the Taylor Street chickens. The day had warmed up to 88 degrees and we were happy for the air conditioning.

This heat wave was bad. It send a lot of folks to the hospital. We need to figure out how to help our planet heal so we can all be well.

Portlanders ❤️ Chickens !

Love,

Grandma Judy

Seeing Friends

Dear Liza,

Let me tell you about an afternoon with a dear friend.

I first met Misha Moon a few years ago, helping your Auntie Katie set up her bookshop, Books with Pictures. Auntie Katie liked her very much, and it turned out, Misha and I liked each other, too. We have shared stories and pictures and marveled at our own progress through life.

Miss Misha Moon

Last March, just before the Corona virus shut everything down, we talked all afternoon at The Rocking Frog, a wonderful place that has since closed up shop. It turned out to be the last ‘friend date’ either of us had for over a year.


Albina Press Coffee

And this week, Misha and I had coffee together again. This time we met on a very rainy afternoon under the street-side covered patio of Albina Press Coffee shop on Hawthorne.

Our view

I got caught up on her news, and she on mine. We listened, shared, celebrated and sympathized. But mostly, we got to be a part of each other’s lives for a few hours. We got to see each other smile and watch the other person’s eyes sparkle as they laughed. We got to be people together.

And it was a real treat.

Love,

Grandma Judy

What a Day! Part 1

Dear Liza,

Friday was my 65th birthday, and I had made a short list of things I wanted to do. I got to do (very nearly) all of them!

I came down to breakfast to find my Hundred Acre Wood wishing me a Happy Birthday, and Auntie Bridgett and I did Duolingo french practice, like always. Grandpa Nelson came down and I got lots of birthday hugs. It was predicted to be a rainy, blowy day, but it wasn’t going to keep me locked in.

Auntie Bridgett and I walked the mile or so down to Pix Patisserie on Burnside. Along the way, we found a huge pile of tiles, apparently the leftovers from a going-out-business shop, neatly piled on the curb. On top were three that would be perfect stepping stones for our allotment! Auntie Bridgett hefted them into a strong canvas bag we had taken ‘just in case’ and we proceeded to the patisserie.

I have intended to try some of their pastry since we moved to Portland, but it has always felt too far away, or was too crowded. During Covid, they have installed two refrigerated, high-end vending machines that allow folks to shop for pastries or fancy canned goods with zero contact! Along the way I had a nice phone chat with my niece Lyn, who was born on my 11th birthday.

We enjoyed the adventure, being mindful of the guard-gnomes, of course. Inside the little automat doors were RBG masks, a canned survival kit (with waterproof matches, three yards of cord, and other useful things) and canned mussels in vinegar, to name a very few. But we were there for the pastries!

After reading the illustrated menu, I chose the Jane Avril almond cake with raspberries, and Auntie Bridgett got the Amelie, a chocolate and hazelnut delight. We placed these in a second bag and walked home, battling the rain and the gusty winds.

We dropped off the heavy stepping stones and ate grilled cheese and onion sandwiches for lunch. Then I opened my presents! A delightful Shakespearean insult mug from your family and a jigsaw puzzle made from one of Gia Whitlock’s wonderful paintings, from Auntie Bridgett.

After some rest, we had the second part of the day. I will tell you about that tomorrow!

Love,

Grandma Judy

Hoofin’ it to the Nursery

Dear Liza,

You knew that it was only a matter of time before we headed to the Portland Nursery, right? With Spring only a month away and a spot in the community garden waiting for us, Auntie Bridgett and I headed off to see what we could see.

A little bit of snow doesn’t stop The Portland Nursery!

It is still cold here… it was jacket and gloves weather as we walked the mile and a half to Portland Nursery on Stark. Patches of snow still shivered, bunched up under trees and beside stairways, and even in the nursery itself!

Portland Nursery has had a year to get Covid protocols in place, and have done a fine job. One way traffic lanes, arrows on the ground, and limited people inside the buildings help keep everyone safe while letting us gear up for garden season.

Happy quince owners!

Of course, most of the nursery shelves are empty at this time of year, but everyone was finding what they wanted. These folks choosing a quince bush were happy to tell me about their spring expectations. “It is grafted!” They said. “It has red, pink and white blossoms on each branch!” I am excited for them!

Our new babies-to-be

We hunted up seeds for our garden plot, trying to find small species so we can have more variety. Little Finger carrots, Black Beauty zucchini, Salad Bowl lettuce, tiny Parisian Gherkin cucumbers, Cherry Belle radishes, and Sugar Pie pumpkin seeds all came home in my sack! We didn’t buy tomatoes or sunflowers yet…. I want to do more research and find the best growers for our damp city.

Everyone is gearing up for spring!

On our way home, the wind was picking up, bringing us rain for the coming week. We saw a crow up in her last-year’s nest, plucking out leaves and getting it just right for spring.

See? I’m not the only one who is anxious for winter to be over!

Love,

Grandma Judy

Reflections on the Rain in Laurelhurst

Dear Liza,

For the last few days, we have been in a river…. an atmospheric river, to be exact. This is a system of very wet air that has blown up from the tropics, bumped into our cold air, and is just dumping water like crazy. This is a lot of rain, even for drippy Portland.

Perfect reflections


So of course we went for a walk to lovely Laurelhurst Park. The hillsides are muddy and very slick, so I stayed on the path. The last thing I need from 2020 is a busted bottom. The puddles forming by the path made perfect mirrors to appreciate the majestic trees and gray skies.

Firwood Lake has had a particularly thick layer of duckweed this year, looking more like a soccer field in some areas. But at the east end, a surreal swirly effect is finding new ways to be beautiful.

And just as I thought the swirly green and black water couldn’t get more weirdly beautiful, a raindrop plopped in and created concentric circles.

Life is beautiful, even (or maybe especially) in the rain.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Long Walk to the River….

Dear Liza,

I woke up Tuesday feeling the need to take charge of something, to get out and DO.The weather was predicted to be cool in the morning and get really warm by noon, so whatever I was going to do had to happen early.

Bright changing leaves dazzle the eye…

So, right after coffee and before Grandpa Nelson was out of bed, I headed off for a long walk through the Fall sunshine. I headed toward the river. This is sort of cheating because it is all down hill, but the neighborhood is wonderful.

I found this poem by Jellaludin Rumi framed in a safe place. I liked the sentiment, but also the way my reflection got into the picture. It made this idea of “being human” even more human!

“This Being Human” by Rumi

I continued through Ladd’s Addition and into the more industrial part of the Southeast. This fabulous mural, with live plants for hair, was painted by Fin DAC and is called “Attitude of Gratitude.” The building houses a fancy Cuban restaurant on the ground floor and apartments above, and the main office of Solterra, a company that makes vertical planters like the lady’s hair.

Attitude of Gratitude

The area by the railroad tracks and warehouses is a bit run down, but in the bright sunshine, with the river and West Hills just beyond, everything looked pretty.

A bit cluttered, but very pretty…

After about an hour of solid walking, I found the Willamette River! On this sunny day, it was busy with kayakers, jet skis, and motorboats, all dancing on the sparkling water.

The mighty Willamette River

Tilikum Crossing Bridge is the newest bridge in the city and my absolute favorite. It was built in 2015 just for transit and pedestrians.The blue of the sky and the white cables made for a lovely sight. Mount Hood, just sixty miles away, was barely visible through the haze to the East.

Not so far away Mt. Hood

I spent quite a lot of time on the bridge, soaking up the breeze and the sunshine.

Built with no right angles, to let the wind spill off

But where to go next? I’ll tell you tomorrow!

Happy me!

Love,

Grandma Judy