The things I love about coming home to Portland…

“Instant” summer. No suffering through Portland’s (usual) long chilly days of May and June, waiting for the sun. When we arrive on July 4, after 26 hours of travel, the warm weather is here! We have lunch with friends in their garden and, for the first time in about six months, I realize I’m sitting deliciously in the open air without a sweater, long pants, socks and boots.Francie's party

Garden surprises. Finding that the passiflora vine I hadn’t remembered planting has taken over the back fence and looks beautiful.passiflora vine 2

Easy start to the day. Curtains wafting in the early morning breeze as I sit in bed with coffee, New York Times and an unbelievably fast internet connection. curtains blowing gently

Long evenings of summer! Going to a movie at our neighborhood theater and coming out to find it’s not even dark. (The Laurelhurst, opened in 1923, was one of the first art deco theaters of the period. The original single screen could seat 650 people; now it is divided into four small theaters and is locally owned, offering pizza, beer and wine.)Laurelhurst

Getting reacquainted with the neighborhood. Strolling home past our local junk-treasure store, called SMUT…smug

And admiring the new mural at Holman’s Bar, a neighborhood institution. (Yelp: “This may be the perfect bar, for what it is.” Barfly: “Holman’s House Of Heartburn serves up tradition deep-fried and just a little over-priced.”)mural 3

Transition Time 1: Michael declares he is retiring, and retrieves his 1977 Ford work van for the very last time from our friends’ farm in Canby. He removes the tree that has grown up through the vents during the winter, washes off the windshield, fills it with gas, and drives the thing home. He will soon sell it, he says. (Bought in 1991 for $1100; let’s see what he gets for it 22 years later…)michael washing vantree in dash

Transition Time 2:  Michael declares he will give up his man cave/ toolroom/workshop/ storage dump, and kitsch museum in the basement and build a new guest room.mancave 2

kitsch(items from Mike’s kitsch museum: battery-operated hula doll; dress made for him by his grandmother when he had a fit that his sister had one and he didn’t; contractor’s license; ceramic skull with knife through frontal lobe; children’s wooden blocks; birthday cards from various years; piece of unidentified glass.)

As for me, I am looking forward to lying in this hammock, the fountain burbling nearby, with a book and some iced tea on a hot day sometime in the near future. Summer in Portland is a wonderful thing.hammock