Tuesday, October 31, 2023

PIN-UP GRIL(L) -- Halloween 2022

I had lived in my retirement community just three months when 2022 Halloween rolled into focus. HALLOWEEN NIGHT PARTY! announced our activities director. Live music, dancing, refreshments! Costumes welcome! One of the community's mid-October optional activities was making masks, so I attended the class and created a half-mask out of paper mache. The process took two-weeks: one to form the mask from paper and paste: the second to paint/decorate it for the party. Only a couple of people were painting their masks at the same time I painted mine, so no one paid attention to what anyone else was doing, each of us focusing on our own creation. I still had no idea of whether or not I'd attend the party and no plan on a costume, but the activity was fun.

As it happened, several days before Halloween I opened one of many plastic containers not glanced at/in since moving to discover my collection of  at least a hundred advertising/marketing pins I'd collected over the years. You know the kind, you get them at a fair, your kids' sporting event, a small shop trying to spread the word about itself, etc.. Many of the pins came with memories, and some were just something I wore for a couple of hours--then tossed them into the 'pins box.' I wondered why on earth I had ever moved them into my downsized apartment (except for a handful, including one with a granddaughter's picture). 

I decided to throw out most of them just as an idea came to me. I would create a Halloween costume with them, which is exactly what I did--and I could wear the mask, besides. Happily, a silly play on a misspelled word came to me, which fueled the imagination.

Now, a year later, the 2022 photos of my costume popped up uninvited on my iPhone, and I found myself remembering what fun it was to go to my community's party--despite the need to be masked for COVID-19. No one at the party recognized me for one entire hour! I refrained from speaking and without my voice and my body I was invisible behind both the Covid mask and the Halloween mask, plus the clothing that included hair covering. In just three months, not a lot of residents knew me, anyway, so it was the perfect storm. Meet Sallie Glerum, the Pin-up Gril(l). It's a 'forever' highlight for me, Halloween or not.

Saturday, October 28, 2023


There are many interesting trees in my current neighborhood--not always the majestic beauties so prevalent in my former more countrified suburb--but trees that are old, crooked, stressed, and apparently insistent on survival. Every one of them looks as though it has endured a lot, and still it keeps going. Maybe that's why I have been noticing them. 

As a person who's out of warranty, I feel like some of those trees look. Not my best look, but, dang it, I'll keep pushing through whatever I'm getting handed by luck, age, genetics, and eight decades of choosing less-than-healthy options. The result may not be pretty, but I'm still here!

I have taken a lot of photos of the trees near me, but the blog-software I use (Blogger) has become much more challenging regarding picture placement, so wrapping/tucking photos throughout written narrative is not an easy task. 

In fact, last evening I spent more than one hour trying to manipulate where I wanted the photos to appear in my Scarecrows post and finally just gave up. Some of the best scarecrows (photos thereof) do not appear for that reason. But back to trees. Not only do they serve as consumers of carbon monoxide--our human pulmonary exhaust--they also enhance our landscape to create beauty and interest. Would that all of us could be both beautiful and useful.

To close this silly observation, I am going to include one tree painting I did during an in-house art class offered by my retirement community. We were painting with acrylics (which I find challenging), using photographs of trees as inspiration and model. I was hating what was happening on my 'canvas' (as if it had nothing to do with me), when I decided to dress up the tree with imaginary color and movement. The result is this silly little painting to end my tree remarks. Perhaps for Halloween I will put on all my colorful costume jewelry and call myself 'fantasy-tree-inspired elder.' 

Thursday, October 26, 2023


There are at least six life-sized scarecrows in the vegetable garden that belongs to St. James Cathedral. It has been a delight to walk by the garden over the seasons to see that wide variety of produce growing in a fertile section of an otherwise asphalt block of the city. Volunteers tend the garden, and harvest its produce to use in the cathedral's food program that feeds many unhoused people each weekday.  

I don't know who made the scarecrows, but it is such fun to see them stuffed with straw with wide smiles grinning from their pillow-case heads. It makes me proud of our human race, willing to labor throughout the year planting, tending, and harvesting food solely for the benefit of others. The garden provides much pleasure in every season to pedestrians, as well as drivers (and passengers) of cars and buses hastily passing by the busy intersection of Madison and Cherry in the First Hill neighborhood of Seattle. I'd like to think it also provides inspiration for all.