Mariell Amélie Revisited

I posted some of Marielle Amélie's photos a couple of weeks ago. I chose to revisit her because she has several haunting photos that seemed appropriate, given the approaching Halloween holiday.

They are stalkingly skeletal, frighteningly captured. Frozen moments of solitude and fear and solemness. Particular photos mimic infamous scenes from Stephen King's imagination, while others entice and frolic with the dead.

I find her photos beautifully spooky, creepily stunning.

Antiquing in Alpharetta

A couple of weeks ago, the boyfriend and I made a quick trip to Georgia to visit family. While we only spent four full days there, we frequented twice as many antique and vintage shops, where I tried on clothes (but without success). I fell in love with a mustard-colored chair at "Classy Clutter," a crowded store with American Girl dolls and an often over-looked babushka doll.

(Looking at this photo, though, I see a problem. Clearly, the original owner of this Molly doll also owned a Samantha doll. That being said, MOLLY SHOULD NOT BE WEARING SAMANTHA'S SCHOOL OUTFIT. American Girl blasphemy, that is.)

There was a vintage, '50s kitchen table that I would have enjoyed using as a desk, but I knew I would not be able to afford it. I carried an antique handbag with me for a few moments before deciding against it, instead turning my attention to hats and jewelry.

Vintage canisters? I liked them. Antique cameras? I drooled.

I really like old "stuff." Though I prefer collectibles and "vintage" over antique (especially when it comes to furniture), I still appreciate it all. Older pieces are, without a doubt, better constructed; I just dislike the look of antique wood grain. When it comes down to it, I would much rather buy a set of interesting-looking dinnerware from an antique store than put it on my wishlist at Pampered Chef or Bed, Bath and Beyond or WalMart or Target or Banana Republic or wherever people think they need to register these days. Plates with a past trump dishes without one.

There was one booth that was filled with toys. Actually, the woman had so many toys that they spilled over and into the hallway, taking over two separate spaces. However, I loved her small, crowded, colorful corner. There was an old cardboard cash register that I immediately recognized; I had played, quite literally, with the same product at my grandmother's house when I was a child.

I truly underestimated Georgia's fascination with cats; there were collectibles everywhere.


Nothing says "Welcome to the South" like old-fashioned racism.

Also, I loved this wallpaper. It's not from Georgia, but it was plastered in a century-and-a-half-old house, so it counts.

Also, this is not how you spell "Hoosier." ... See? I just spelled it. And, as there is no little red squiggly line beneath the letters, I know I'm right. A "Hoosh-eye-ire" cabinet just sounds like a badly constructed, knock-off repository.

Even though I walked away practically empty handed (I bought two rings, totaling $10), I enjoyed wandering the aisles; I got a taste of what I like (tin canisters from the 1940s) and dislike (clunky, chunky oak cabinets). I can't wait to a) decorate my own house, b) have money to decorate my own house and c) have the ability to watch The Food Network again.

It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

Fall/autumn/the changing of the leaves is my favorite season. I love the colors, the sounds, the smells. Yellows and oranges burn against the branches of trees and glow in the mellow sunshine. Flames from backyard bonfires lick and stretch their heat upward and outward. Cocoons are discovered, brown leaves are crunched upon. A haze settles over the prairies, dusty from combines and tractors and fields and harvests. There are pumpkins, mums, lavenders, leaves. Hot dogs and brats, marching bands and tailgates.

When I was a child, I would dress in my costume hours before it was necessary. I would layer it, planning to keep warm in the chilly, late-October evenings. Costumed or athletic--it didn't matter, really--my shoes would munch and crunch and grind down the leaves on sidewalks. I would scuffle across their crumbs as I retreated with a pillowcase of candy, the crinkling paper rustling.

At night, I would cuddle on the couch with my mother, sniffing pumpkin spice candles and poking at the autumnal decorations. She and I would each unwrap a piece of candy, our feet on the coffee table. "NEXT UP," the TV would proclaim, "CHARLIE BROWN'S HALLOWEEN SPECIAL."

Years later, we still maintain the "I got a rock" joke.

"What did you get at the mall? Anything?"

"Well, you know. I got a rock."

"Your mother, Miss Geraldine, gave me 'stuff' again. I got slippers and microwavable soup. What did she give you?"

A pouting face, lips barely concealing a smile. "I got a rock."

It's a truly versatile statement, really. It can be used as a response to the following statements:
-- "What did you get at the grocery store?"
-- "What did you order online, again?"
-- "Can you tell me what you got Jimmy for his birthday?"
-- "Did you bring home any souvenirs from your visit to New Zealand?"
-- "What did the doctor say you've got?"
-- "You wanna fight? YOU WANNA FIGHT? I got a knife!"

17,329 Pages in a Year

In the middle of the night, in the middle of August, I sent the boyfriend a text.

Of all the belongings I have, the books mean the most to me. I am sitting on my floor, at the foot of my bed, going through them. I remember so many. I remember how I would sit while reading, and how I would have an Oreo in hand. These things brought me so much joy, and I am nearly in tears thinking about how much they mean to me and how much I want to share them with my kids someday.

It's true.


popped collars are not for scholars

Long before college, when I was three, my mother patiently turned pages of Dr. Seuss rhymes and Berenstain Bears stories. It was then—on the green shag carpet that spread across the living room—that my love of literature began.

misako mimoko

With the gradual additions of chapter books in elementary school, American classics in high school and literary theories in college, my attitude towards literature has matured. I've learned to love everything I read, either for its glossy content, its picturesque words, its author's effort.

emma hope


I used to read a book a week, back when I was lonely teenager. Shunned by my classmates for a lack of athleticism, I divulged into books and excelled in reading. I read Pulitzers, Newberys. I read and re-read
Maniac MaGee and Bloomability. I went to midnight releases of Harry Potter and developed a fondness for 18th-Century Literature. I collected cookbooks, Barnes & Noble classics, American Girls.

the home is where the books are

signs and wonders

Now, they share shelves, pile against and atop one another.
American Diaries. Ernest Hemingway. Giada De Laurentiis. Alexander Pope. Shakespeare By Another Name. Short stories. Poetry. Novels. Chapter books. Textbooks. They intermingle, their words and whispers crashing and creating a melee of emotion and knowledge.


Together, my books are the one thing I cannot and will not erase. I can box up old clothes, trash distant school papers and shred the unfortunate memories of a past relationship. I cannot, however, remove years and years and years of feelings and reactions and laughter and underlines and creases and dog-eared pages.

In fact, I refuse to.

~ tet ~

Missed Connections

I need that collection for my children someday, when I read to them. When my husband reads to them. When my mother reads to them. I want to pull a book off the shelf, one with a cracked spine and musty pages dated 1963, and read. Read and perform and voice and engage. Watch as their eyes grow wide, their mouths agape. They will question me, "Why this?" "Why that?" "What happens?"

tampax superstar

And I will say to them, "Just read."

New York Public Library
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