We've been in Oregon for 7 weeks. It's been cold and icy and rainy and snowy, much of the time.
I haven't spent much time worrying over the fact that the picnic shelters and playgrounds are still closed due to Covid.
Closed Since the Ice Storm
This park is in walking distance of our Airbnb. The picnic shelter has been closed, but the hiking trails have been fun.
But 2 weeks ago, the park closed down after a huge ice storm. I need this park! It's been great for hikes, but I also like to walk here and chat with my dad on the phone and tell him about all the things I see and hear. Trails are closed.
Happy Valley Park
But today, the sun came out and the temps rose to 54 degrees!
Happy Valley Park was open and it was swarming with families!
The fencing (for Covid closure) that surrounded the playground was in the process of being removed. I've never seen so may happy kids, swinging and climbing and seesawing! About a quarter of the young kids were wearing masks. I'm glad my parenting days, never included mask enforcement.
These parents were wearing masks. Hopefully Heidi and Jamie will never need to worry about masks with their kids in the future. Charlotte is 2 weeks old today and this was her first outing.
What a perfect day to get out! But, after so much cautious isolation, it was sort of odd to be out in a busy park, sharing the path with bikes and scooters and other strollers.
This was Charlotte's first picnic also. Although she didn't eat any of our smoked salmon or cheese.
Charlotte slept through our picnic.
She slept through photo-time!
I think she liked the sunshine, though.
Then it was time for Grammaloon to get in the photo. 3-generations!
Missing Moo and Daw!
Oh how I wish my mom (Moo) and grandmother (Daw) were still here.
My mother inspired my love of picnics! Our little 4-generation group went on many picnics, back in St. Louis. How I wish Daw were here to grin and sigh the way she did when Heidi was a baby. She could also tell us a story or 2, about her own pandemic memories. She had the Spanish flu.
Cheers to the 5 generations. Cheers to picnics and babies. Cheers to sunny weather and things feeling more normal!
Don and I are keeping ourselves healthy... for this little girl and her parents.
We haven't been able to be vaccinated, so we have stayed safely in our "Baby Bubble" of 5. It's not hard. But curbside shopping and cooking in the Airbnb is getting old.
It's hard to eat healthy stuff when all you have is a crockpot and microwave. We ordered a toaster and we use it in the bathroom so we don't set off the smoke alarm.
Clean up is not easy. That's a tiny crockpot actually. It fills the sink.
We would be cautious and careful even if there wasn't a pandemic in our world. This sweet Veggie Baby is worth a little inconvenience.
Restaurants are beginning to open for inside dining in Portland. But we wouldn't be going anyway. Charlotte doesn't really care about sushi and tacos anyway. She also doesn't care about vegetables right now.
Charlie's parents don't eat meat, so we have an extra challenge helping out with meals. I'm not the most creative cook in the world, even when we have a nice kitchen.
The other night we brought the groceries over to Heidi and Jamie's and Don made crab cakes on that beautiful new stove top. I used the oven for cheddar biscuits. And Charlie slept! How could I ever think of complaining about anything!
It's not that long ago that we saw the first American getting vaccinated. It was on the news and I was giddy watching.
Today we reached 50 million vaccinations. I'm not totally sure what that means. 50 million since Biden became president? Who knows, but I'm glad to see these numbers go up.
I'm glad that about 50 people I know have been vaccinated. Hmm? Maybe 100. Just a few family members. I can't wait until we all are and we can plan reunions and gatherings!
Johnson & Johnson!
Yesterday, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine was approved.
It's only one dose, but slightly less protective. That's okay. I'll take it. I'll take Moderna or Pfizer or J & J. I don't care if I'm sick a day or 2 after. I'm ready!
Don and I have been in Oregon for over 6 weeks. Baby Charlotte has been here for less than 2. We rented an Airbnb so we wouldn't have to be helicopter grandparents, hovering constantly. We're giving the new parents space.
But it's hard staying away.
Today we gave the parents their own space. I washed some baby clothes in the Airbnb washing machine, which is better than mine at home. But, I needed to hand wash a few. Our sink is tiny and Oregon is moist! Air-drying takes forever! Man. These really are cute, though!
The cold and drizzle has kept us inside much of the time. I'm trying not to complain because many people like my dad, have been pretty much isolated in a room or two, for a year.
But yesterday evening the sun broke through and I spotted a double rainbow!
Sunshine at Cathedral Park
With no baby plans today, Don and I took advantage of the sun and headed into Portland to see the bridges. St. John's Bridge is my favorite.
The high was 45, but it felt heavenly! It just felt good to stroll and see other people.
There were a few dog walkers and I spotted a couple picnics. Some very young kids were playing ball.
We were outside and distanced, but every single person, (including the kids) was wearing a mask.
Man and Birds
This man in the park was the most entertaining of all.
He lugged this big container from his truck and walked down to the water. The seagulls and ducks acted like they knew him. He scattered some kind of seed or feed, over the river bank and the birds flocked!
We walked down to a dock where we spotted a few fishermen. Then I noticed this sign.
What a happy little surprise! The plywood L was about 20 feet high. Simple white letters with a happy message.
Looks like a sweet cause, to make this sign permanent.
Yay for sun and bridges and LOVE signs! Yay for the baby that we'll see tomorrow!
I can't stand hearing the news all the time... so it was on mute today.
We passed the half-million number, in U.S. deaths. It's frustrating watching the Covid updates. Obviously when we get the vaccine, we can't just jump for joy and go back to normal. But I can't wait to get mine.
Masked Visit with Jennifer & Kate
On Saturday Jennifer and Kate were coming through the Portland area with their new trailer. Don and I met them and we visited in the parking lot, for a while.
It was fun to tour the "Scout" and get excited about someday meeting up with our trailers. They've both been vaccinated. If Don and I were vaccinated, we 4 wouldn't have to wear masks.
It was extra frustrating knowing that Aunt Jennifer and Aunt Kate, couldn't just drive a few extra miles and go meet our new grand-baby. I hate this tedious, endless pandemic! They are probably okay. Most likely they are not carrying the virus! But there's much we don't know about those who are vaccinated. They can't meet Baby Charlie right now and that makes me sad.
It was even sadder today, when we saw the White House candlelight ceremony, honoring those lost to Covid, in the U.S. Now over 500,000 have died.
It was very sobering to see the Bidens, standing silently, along with VP Harris and her husband. The door behind them was draped with black cloth.
President Biden's Memorial Speech was moving. He drew on his own experiences of loss, to offer support. This was a sad milestone today. But it also felt good, to have a president acknowledge what our country has dealt with for about a year. What a change.
Broccoli Cheese Soup
When I was a brand new mother, my mom cooked casseroles and baked pies for Don and me. I'm no longer amused by our Airbnb limitations. I want to cook!
This morning, I tried. I cooked fresh broccoli in the microwave. Then I made the cheese soup in a crockpot. The crockpot has to be in the bathroom, because we have smoke alarm and fuse issues, elsewhere. We also have a teeniest sink and no counter space. It took me all morning to make this soup!
Ticket for Baby Time!
Don and I don't really have to buy our way to spending time with our grandbaby. But it felt so right to arrive with soup, bread and salad today!
We brought soup and I held Charlie! I am so happy!
Baths and Bouncy Seat
Then I chatted while Heidi gave Charlotte a sponge bath. Oh what good memories I have of doing that with my mom.
Don and Jamie went upstairs and worked on some window shades and put the bouncy seat together. It feels good to help.
And this little cutie turned 1 week, today! Heidi spread out the little blanket with numbers. We never had these things when Heidi was a baby.
Should we iron this thing? Nah. Charlie didn't want to lie on her back and pose, either. We took a few snaps then moved on.
It's sad to think that in one year, this little blanket will need to retire. Charlie will be 12 months... no more numbers to circle. But what fun to think of Charlie at 1 year taking on the world... a safer world with unmasked faces! Now that will be fun!
Today I had an obstacle course for my morning run.
It's been a week since the ice storm in Portland, but there's still a lot of clean up needed.
In the afternoon Don and I ran an errand for the new parents. Our drive that should have been 30 minutes, took an hour and a half.
This was the scene everywhere. So many people in Portland are without power after a week. Trees and power lines! It's a mess.
But Texas is much worse. We've been communicating with friends back home, where hundreds of thousands have been without power. It's odd to be in Oregon, watching our home area on National News.
It was also odd to see Ted Cruz, all over the news. Yesterday, he decided to escape the crisis and flew his family from Houston to Cancun. This didn't go over to well.
Escaping the Airbnb
Luckily Don and I dealt with less than 24 hours without power last week. Our Airbnb is warm and cozy now, but we were happy to escape our little rental, to visit our new granddaughter!
There's nothing more rewarding than watching your own daughter, holding her own daughter. And there's nothing sweeter than watching her dad, feed his first grandbaby.
And then there was sleep. Charlotte slept.
And Josie slept above.
Champagne and Sushi
Then the adults had a little treat. After 9 months, Heidi is finally able to indulge in a couple things that she has avoided during pregnancy.
Nigiri Sushi and champagne... PINK of course!
Cheers to the new little family. Cheers to cozy homes with power and water!
It's been almost a year since Don and I ate in a restaurant. We've only eaten on a patio once, last August.
This image on the cover of The New Yorker, doesn't make me crave patio dining.
Portland Patio Dining
I'm not even sure what the rules are in Portland now. I don't think they have inside dining anywhere.
I saw these outdoor dining areas on a drive the other day. The gray skies and bare trees make me shiver. I'm a wimp. I'll wait for vaccines and warm weather.
Lunar New Year
A year ago, I remember ordering carryouts for Lunar New Year. The pandemic was just beginning to swirl in the news. I remember worrying about the people who owned the Chinese restaurant. I knew that Asian businesses were hurting, because people were listening to Trump talk up the China Virus! Has it really been about a year!
Don and I missed Lunar New Year 2021. It was last Friday and there was an ice storm in Portland. Our daughter was being induced in the hospital and we wondered if our granddaughter might be born on the first day of the Year of the Ox! She was born 3 days later on Valentine's Day. Don and I waited a week to celebrate with a New Year feast.
We are living temporarily in the Portland area, far from our favorite places. We ended up with Chinese Fast Food carryouts.. Panda Express was a pretty lame way to celebrate!
But I liked my curious cookie fortune. What kind of leader? I just became a grandma... during the Pandemic Winter, of 2021. How should I take charge? I'm feeling like a protective Grandma Bear, so maybe I'll just whip up a few billion vaccines in my Airbnb kitchen and start vaccinating all the people who are patiently waiting!
Happy New Year!
This past Saturday, we endured an ice storm and power outage in Portland, while our daughter was being induced in the hospital. It wasn't a relaxing day in Portland.
Today it's Wednesday and the ice has thawed. Our granddaughter is coming home with her parents, this afternoon. There's lots to be excited about, except for the news in Texas.
Don and I woke excited about our day. The streets in our part of Portland were finally clear. We allowed ourselves a double-masked-dash into the grocery store, for celebratory flowers and a balloon. (We've been extra safe with curbside only, until now)
But the news of Texas was on my mind. It's unreal what we're missing back home. Many of our TX neighbors have been without power. Some who have power, have no water. Many have dealt with frozen pipes and then flooded homes. My phone has been beeping with group texts, comparing worries and problems. I'm suddenly extra glad we are in Oregon!
Welcome Home Charlie
Don and I decided to focus on OR instead of TX. We headed over to Heidi and Jamie's new home in Happy Valley. Love that name. For the first time I felt very glad that they moved from Austin to Portland! We heard some scary stories about power outages in a maternity ward in Austin! So glad Baby Charlie missed that!
We got to the house and tied a pink (footie) balloon and some letters, to the railing.
Josie greeted us with more enthusiasm than usual. We put the tulips in a vase and left a little string of letters dangling from the counter.
We waited all day, hoping the new family would be released before dark. Fingers crossed that Heidi and Jamie wouldn't be too tired to welcome some grandparents for a bit!
Charlotte is Home!
Luckily the parents were giddy to show off this sweet little girl. We headed over in the late afternoon.
Charlie looked pretty spiffy in her lamb outfit, in her little box. (Which is more than a box! There's a mattress in there!)
Jamie couldn't have looked more proud. Since Heidi was busy healing in the hospital, he's had lots of diaper practice. Josie kept a close eye!
Connecting with Others
We FaceTimed with Aunt Chali and Uncle Scott. So happy to be able to connect with phones, when we're all so far apart.
Jamie showed Charlie to his dad on FaceTime. Thank goodness for technology. While they chatted, I watched Josie... who was watching Charlie. And I watched Heidi and Jamie's faces. So fun to see how delighted they are, sharing this little baby.
Sharing With Grammaloon?
Before long it was Grammaloon's turn to hold Baby Charlotte. It felt wonderful to hold my perfect little grand baby... but she's not really mine. It's so different than being a mother. This time I didn't do the work, but she is still a part of me. This is serious stuff to wrap my head around. I'm so proud of my daughter and so honored to hold this little baby. Why did I pick such a silly grandma name?
Everyone has asked for months, "What's your grandma name?" I'm supposed to pick? I kind of hate that. So, I just took Loon, which is the nickname my sibs have called me for years. I added the Gramma and we'll just see. Luckily Charlie just gurgled and didn't judge me.
Don got into the action soon enough. I actually had a hard time handing Charlie over.
I wasn't very good at sharing. I couldn't let go. I'll try to be better in the future... especially since I know there are other grandparents in Charlie's life. This job is all about sharing.
Laughing or Crying?
Don cropped this photo down. He seems to like this ridiculous face of mine. I look like I'm scaring my poor grand-baby.
I promise I was not making a sound. This isn't a photo of me, introducing Charlotte to the Cry of the Loon! I was just feeling delighted, with Charlie's little squeal and her strong little baby muscles! I can tell she is headed for big things!
Thank you Heidi and Jamie for sharing. We love you and we love your sweet new baby!
A Year Ago
It's so odd to remember a year ago! We had heard about Covid. But it was still something that was happening far away.
When we returned home from New Orleans, we began to hear the worrisome news that Covid actually played a part in the Mardi Gras festivities.
Today the weather is in the 40's in Nola. Mardi Gras has been cancelled due to pandemic.
But houses have decorated themselves like floats. I love the spirit of New Orleans!
Mardi Gras Thaw!
Today in Portland we are enjoying a thaw after days of ice.
I spotted a rainbow! That reminded me that St. Pat's is coming up soon. That will pretty much mark a year, for this complaining blog! I will stop this blog when I get vaccinated! I think...
It thawed enough that I could finally get out and walk! I saw a cat that almost jumped on me from the fence.
I also saw this mess, left over from the ice storm. I'm so glad that we are past the worst. I'm glad our grandbaby will come home from the hospital tomorrow, with no weather worries.
When I spoke with Heidi today, I was surprised to learn how much the storms did affect their hospital experience. In their 5 days at the hospital Heidi hasn't once seen her real doctor. They've been low staffed, which has messed up everything from food to linen service. The lactation nurse couldn't make it in. I did have to smile when I learned that Heidi had a great team of 7 women, helping to deliver her sweet baby.
3 Days & 3 Holidays!
So our little baby is enjoying her 3rd day of life and her third holiday! Valentine's Day, President's Day and today Mardi Gras!
Don and I celebrated as best we could, with drinks and Preservation Hall Jazz playing... softly. I hate having to be quiet, below the owners!
We ate our King Cake a week ago. Today, we made shrimp jambalaya sort of... in a crock pot in the bathroom. Oh my.
And we toasted to that little baby! We will meet her tomorrow!
I started this complaining list/blog, in May 2016. I posted 200 gripes about my breast CANCER and then I was done.
On March 13, 2020, I started venting all over again, when another disease (starting with a C) interfered with my life. This time it was the invasion of COVID and it affected every person. I ranted for a year, until I got my COVID vaccine in March 2021.
CORONARY Artery Disease was the reason I restarted this blog on September 26, 2021. This time it was my hubby Don, who was dealing with a worry that started with the letter "C".
Coronavirus and Cancer, Coronary Artery Disease! All are evil, but none can totally get me down... if I vent! I usually end up feeling a little more positive at the end of each post!
Navigating This Mess!
The most recent post is at the top, from coronary posts in 2022, back to cancer posts in 2016.
To find past posts, look below the "Archives" section, to find "Categories".