Too Early for Halloween?

Dear Liza,

Once Fall has fallen and October comes, ya know what’s next? Halloween!! The grocery stores have had candy and Jack-o-lanterns, skeletons and light- up ghosts on display for two weeks already! The air is cooler and it is getting dark earlier….just right for spooooky decorations.

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Spooooky comes early to Taylor Street

Yesterday, however, started with a more ordinary quest: Printer ink. The closest place that carries it is Office Depot down at MLK Jr. Avenue and Stark, about mile and a half away….so I walked. I passed one of my favorite places, the Lone Fir Cemetery, where crows and squirrels are enjoying the glut of acorns, chestnuts and walnuts. The clever crows even use the headstones to crack open their treats. Thanks, dead people.

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Sweet Chestnuts opened up

Closer to the river were industrial sorts of places, warehouses and art-making shops with delightfully quirky murals, as well as urban breweries and wine makers.

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Murals along Stark Street

After I made the very quick stop at Office Depot and bought the ink, I strolled the aisles of Sheridan Fruit Company, a family business founded in 1916, enjoying the smells and sights. Besides a dizzying variety of bulk goods and exotic sausages, they have a lively deli section which was crowded with people buying lunch to go…which reminded me of how hungry I was. I caught the bus home for lunch.

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Bulk goods at Sheridan Fruit Company

After an afternoon of reading and art, we had something new for dinner! I tried making pulled pork in the slow cooker and it was delicious! It is nice to know I can make Auntie Bridgett something she loves right here at home.

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Pulled Pork started!

We walked through the neighborhood and saw the beginnings of Halloween decorations. Big and small, inflated and illuminated, they all make us giggly-happy.

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More decorations

So of course, once we got home, we moved the car, dragged the ladder, and pulled down the boxes of our own Halloween decorations!

Let the spooky silly begin!

Love,

Grandma Judy

After the Ghouls Have Gone Home

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Inflatable Dragon

 

Dear Liza,

Happy November! It feels weird when a holiday is over….all that preparation and decoration and anticipation and then…whoosh, it’s gone. But we had a nice Halloween and I hope you did, too.

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Owl tree carved from a real owl tree

We walked around the neighborhood and saw more wonderful decorations. An owl and tree were carved from a tree that had grown on that same spot. There was even a dragon roaring from a high balcony.

The autumn light has been most entertaining, as well. Yesterday I walked out at noon to go to the research library, and the sun wasn’t “at high noon”… it was in the southern part of the sky, low enough to be in my eyes as I walked south.

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Light and Shadows at Lone Fir

This odd light angle has also made beautiful shadows. Lone Fir Cemetery just keeps getting more beautiful as the season goes on. Laurelhurst Park, as well, changes with the light. The pond, ducks, and trees become wonderful Monet-style paintings.

And of course, for Halloween night, Auntie Bridgett painted us both up as skulls for giving away candy at the door. But no kids came! So we filled our pockets with candy and, in full make-up, coats and hats, walked around the neighborhood, giving candy to folks and withing everyone a Happy Halloween!

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Sweet Grandma Judy

Love,

Grandma Judy

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Monet style ducks

Halloweening

Dear Liza,

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Spooky crows at sunset

Things are really getting ready for Halloween up here! People are decorating their lawns and porches with graveyards, skeletons and big spiders. It is a nice blend of creepy and friendly….Not “Come get scared”, but “Come get scary with us!” The yards look good during the day, and I look forward to walking out after dark to see how they are lit up.

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Front yard grave yard
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Mr. and Mrs. James Stephens, who owned the cemetery first

Besides neighborhoods pretending to be graveyards, there is our actual graveyard, The Lone Fir Cemetery. They gave a delightful, strictly once a year after dark tour, called The Tour of Untimely Departures. A group of volunteers called The Friends of Lone Fir Cemetery put luminarias along the main roads of the cemetery and guide groups through, with people playing the deceased and telling us their stories of life and dead.

No one jumps out or tries to scare you, but the stories all ended badly, or they wouldn’t be on the tour….Untimely departures, in this case, means they died before their time.

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Professor Van Allsburg

After visiting the dead folks at Lone Fir, we came home and got dressed up for a Halloween Party given by our friends, Jack and Verity. We were all professors: Grandpa Nelson was The Idea Guy, Doctor of Smartness; Auntie Bridgett was Dr. I.E. Plinth, history of art, from Slug University; I was Dr. Beverly Pilkey Van Allsburg, Professor of Kid Lit. At the party we met Beetlejuice, Arthur Dent and a random alien lady, Pocilanus Rex, demon pig god, and many more characters. It was great fun and we stayed very late.

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Idea Guy

The next day we slept in because of our late night. But when I was ready to face the world, Auntie Katie called and suggested we meet at Mt. Tabor and go for a walk in the woods there. I took at #15 east and got off at exactly the opposite end of the park, so I had a good long walk before we got together, but the forest was so beautiful, I didn’t mind.

 

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Dr. Plinth

When we met up we had a snack picnic under a laurel tree, found a drained reservoir and practiced our echos, and gathered rose hips and lemon balm for making tea. Then it was time to head home. We met up with Grandpa Nelson at Fifty Licks Ice Cream for a treat, then got home to watch the Astros win a game of the world series with a bunch of home runs.

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Cousins in the woods!

What a weekend!

Love,

Grandma Judy

Sniffles

 

Dear Liza,

I have a cold today and feel icky, so I won’t write much. But I wanted to let you know that art is happening in our Laurelhurst Park! Not rehearsed, paid, group art. This appears to be the work of a single artist, using only chalk.

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With Halloween coming up, I guess a ghost is expected, but this little guy is so cute! And he has a friend across the way!

 

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Also, this shy looking cartoon character is just sitting on a rock as you enter the park, looking, you know, cute.

I’m off to drink tea and have a nap. More later, sweetie!

Love,

Grandma Judy

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Gearing up for Halloween!

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Swingin’ skeletons

Dear Liza,

I am sure you have been figuring out what your costume should be for Halloween. We are, too. Maybe we should be minions, Lucy and Gru? Or our very own Superheros? But while we are figuring that out, remembering some of our costumes in years past cracks me up, too!

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That year we visited Neverland

 

Many of the houses in Portland have wonderfully large porches, which turn into stages for decorating! There are spider webs with bits of leftovers, ghouls and witches, all hanging around in relative safety from whatever rains come our way.

So, while we are out getting to know more streets and houses, looking for the perfect one to buy (once things get settled) we are noticing all the decorations.

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Ghosty guests

But I also have some sad news. Remember the flock of flamingos who are always up to something? They watched the solar eclipse with special flamingo sized glasses and helped the Cassinni space probe crash into Saturn. As it turns out, they are also big into baseball,¬† are fans of the come-back Chicago Cubs, and someone doesn’t like it. One evening the flock was out celebrating the Cubs’ victory, and the next evening, two flamingos were gone. Who would do such a terrible thing? Rabid National fans? Or are they just out for the fabulous flamingo fortune?

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Help! Kidnapped  flamingo!

I hope to have better news soon.

 

Love,

Grandma Judy