Spotlights – The Stuff of Memories

I have a polygamist set of champagne flutes in a glass-paned cabinet in our kitchen.

One groom was gifted to me on my wedding day as part of a set. “He” was widowed before the nuptials took place, his bride- the victim of a tragic, glassware-slaughter incident at the scene of the bridal “getting-ready” brunch. “She” lay in glimmering shards in a pooling stain of mimosa on the carpet, having been caught up in the avalanche that followed the sudden collapse of the coffee table during the photography session. Her demise was deemed “good luck” by our officiant later that evening.

The groom was joined by a replacement set over a year later and his bachelorhood came to a plural end(s).

I keep a tiny, rubber elephant inside my handbag almost all the time. This companion is known as “tiny elephant” (all lowercase) and accompanies me on journeys near and far. tiny elephant is a security blanket smaller than a dime that I adopted from a toy store off of Pioneer Square in Seattle while buying some jigsaw puzzles as trip souvenirs in 2016. My tiny “world’s largest land mammal” makes me smile whenever I see it, providing me with the comfort of accessible joy when I feel anxious, all for the cost of 75 cents and a faint bruise to my self-respect by making the cashier wait for me to retrieve it from the display and gently place it on top of the puzzles with a matter of fact, “… and this too,” before she could complete the purchase.

One of these things is not like the others. My desk is topped with a second hand lamp, coaster, trinket box, and a mason jar containing two DIYed wizard wands. The wands, crafted out of wood dowels, drizzled hot glue, and brown paint by my cousin and her husband, came into my possession at my birthday celebration a few years back (maybe even more than a few; time flies faster than a Firebolt, I swear… ok I’ll stop…).

The celebration was one of multiple gatherings at my cousin Mo’s old apartment in Brooklyn, a place rich in my memory with family gatherings. The wands take me back to a time of home cooked feasts, gourmet Brooklyn pizza, plentiful drinks, game nights, movie nights, and walks past the home fronts along Washington Avenue, the luster of their time-full grandeur sheepish in shadow against the glittering backdrop of downtown Brooklyn.

These belongings are among the stuff of memories in our home – some of the un-minimize-able prizes- awards of time well spent- of milestone days and past adventures, of good company and smiles that make my cheeks hurt just thinking about them. Some things, while extraneous and meaningless to others, may be integral to the accessibility, reflection, and retention of your memories. The magnitude of their value may not have been recognized at the time they entered your life, but their presence sparks appreciation and joy now and reminds me that not everything must go.

Grim Grinning Ghosts in Turtlenecks

Happy Halloween cozy does it community! After over a week of constant cloud cover, intermittent torrential downpours, and wind gusts, the sun is peeking through the clouds on this chilly Halloween morning. We missed the vibrant colors of fall while they were still pinned to the tree branches and now the ground is covered with unsatisfying, soggy crunchiness like stale potato chips from a bag you forgot you’d opened and chip-clipped, then revisited a few days later.

As my first fall here was not all I dreamed in would be, I find myself turning to attempts to simulate that crisp coziness I am eager to fulfill. Wooden and fabric pumpkins garnish our white and tan television stand – a little twinkle of autumn hygge added to our regular minimal d├ęcor. A mug of chai with steamed milk is never far from reach and a hearty pot roast dinner is curating magically in the Crock Pot as I type by the window in one of our outdoor chairs which has moved inside for the off-season.

Earlier, I announced to Mike that I was going to get dressed after which I changed from my “yoga” pants to different “yoga” pants (I don’t yoga) and a layered turtleneck/sweatshirt combo, a la 1990s trend.

I actually think of Halloween whenever I don an article of clothing over a turtleneck, as I know many other American 90s girls do. As a 90s lady child, the turtleneck was a versatile, core fashion staple in my wardrobe along with “stirrup pants”.

Stirrup pants: leggings that pull themselves down as you move around due to the convenient elastic band wrapped around the arch of each of your feet.

In case you were not aware, the turtleneck and stirrup pants were classic additions to any costume that didn’t appropriately suit an American 90s girl’s age or the Halloween forecast. Princess Jasmine? She 100% wore a white turtleneck under her turquoise bikini top in the movie, right? The Little Mermaid? Even under the sea, the look was all the rage. Ballerina or Sky Dancer? Time to break out the full set: a pink or white turtleneck and pink stirrup pants. Any Disney princess for that matter – I’m sure detailed in their original fairytale version as wearing a white, cotton turtleneck – was fair game with the right staple accessories paired.

In my adult life, Halloween has become synonymous with (family-friendly) spooky movie classics, a la Tim Burton, Harry Potter, or the Disney Channel Original variety. Sometimes I switch it up with a Halloween Parks and Rec or Psych tv episode. I cannot watch movies that are actually scary (here’s looking at you “I Am the Pretty Thing that Lives in the House”). Even the trailers freak me out for days…

No, I’d much rather bake something pumpkin-y or nutmeg-y (or both) and sit back with a nice crisp Sam October. I may take part of this cold Halloween day to read something spooky or magical. I might opt to flip through the crispy pages of a Harry Potter book, jumping straight into my favorite chapters which usually involve time spent at Ron’s family home, The Burrow, or one of the grand and mystical Great Hall feasts, or a getaway to The Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade.

It is still fall and while not as colorful, crispy, and crunchy as I hoped it would be, I am determined to bring some coziness to our home and to our activities this season. We have a lineup of jigsaw puzzles in our seasonal dugout and a bright, sunny day to lift our spirits. If you are braving going out for any All Hallows Eve activities tonight, watch out for other spirits lifting as they may not be as cozily intentioned.

Boo!