Pambiche

Last night is was very cold, about 39 degrees, and raining a bit….so naturally we walked out to dinner!

We bundled up in long underwear, jeans, coats, hats and scarves, and walked the eight blocks to Glisan Street and 28th, to a brightly painted fuchsia, yellow, and teal building with a laundromat on one side and a Cuban restaurant on the other.

We have walked past this building dozens of times, and in the summer, listened to music wafting past the outdoor seating. We decided to try it. The place is smaller than it looks from the outside, only seating about 30 people in very close quarters, but the colors inside of teal and fiery fuchsia are cozy and inviting, and the posters and paintings on the wall give a nice, chaotic ambiance that I associate with Cuba. There is a huge poster of Mary Pickford, a silent movie star, and a smaller photo of Earnest Hemingway, an American author who loved Cuba and owned property there.

There are no french fries for Grandpa Nelson there, and the fried cassava root didn’t appeal, so he just had a nice, but really cold, glass of sangria. I opted for a rum drink called Santo Remedio (Holy Remedy) that was warm and tasty and got the feeling back in my fingers in no time. Auntie Bridgett had a glass of hot tea.

We arrived in Happy Hour, or as they say in Cuba, “El Hora de Los Amigos”, so we ordered small plates to share. Both the chicken and spinach empanadas were tasty and the roasted beet salad very hearty. We enjoyed our time there, but when the time came for dessert and we looked at all the ornate pastries in the glass case, nothing appealed, so we bundled up and headed home.

It started raining! Just enough for Grandpa Nelson and Auntie Bridgett to get out their umbrellas but hardly got my kitty hat damp.

We actually have snow predicted in the next few weeks, so I am looking forward to that. This photo has nothing to do with Pambiche

except that the colors are bright and pretty, but it was too dark to take pictures last night!

Love,

Grandma Judy

Thinking about Birds (2)

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Dear Liza,

Today the weather changed from sunny and cold to dark and cold…the sky was a flat grey, and all the bare trees were silhouettes against the sky. After a long morning of studying history, I went out walking, to see what I could see.

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Trees against the grey sky

 

 

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Rose Hips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I heard dozens of tiny birds chirping, and saw them swooping low between the bushes. As soon as I stopped or got close, they would freeze and become invisible. I stood as still as I could, but they knew I was there. I was lucky to get one picture from the birds who flew by.

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Then I started wondering, what do these tiny birds eat in the winter? There is no more fruit on the trees, and the worms must all have gone into hibernation by now. As I looked more closely in the yard where they had been so busy, I saw them: seeds. Hundreds of tiny seeds on plants which become beautiful in a very different way this time of year. Most of the seeds were so small, they didn’t show up in pictures!

Abundant rose bushes, full of color and grace in summer in this City of Roses, have become stark sticks with bright orange rose hips. The seed pod of the rose, these are full of food for the wintering birds.

Thousands of cones from the Douglas Fir (Oregon’s State Tree) lay all over the neighborhood, and are swarmed over and pecked at by more tiny birds.

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Pink berries

As I walked and looked carefully, I saw that many of the bushes had tiny seeds still clinging to their branches. I guess it makes sense; the birds wouldn’t be here if there was nothing for them to eat.

I am glad I went out walking to see yet another part of this wonderful city!

Love,

Grandma Judy

 

 

Confused Plants

Dear Liza,

This afternoon Auntie Bridgett and I bundled up and went for a walk around the neighborhood. We saw the usual bare trees and brilliant blue sky, a few lonely piles of leaves no one had thought to rake, and a few folks out putting up Christmas lights.

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Winter-blooming Camillia
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Winter blooming Fuschia?

But what caught me eye were flowers! Real, blooming flowers, looking amazingly lovely but out of place.

It has been near freezing every night, and not much more than during the day. We haven’t had rain in a week.

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Shasta Daisy in December…

How are these growing here? They are not in fancy greenhouses, but rather tatty looking yards, looking sort of like they forget summer was over.

I have not a clue why, but I took pictures of them to prove they were indeed here. Just another surprise up here in Portland.

Love,

Grandma Judy