Thursday, March 26, 2020


Early on in the Covid-19 at-home hunkering, I listened to Cozy: The Art of Arranging Yourself in the World by Isabel Gillies.  I borrowed the book from Hoopla Digital, thanks to my public library's subscription, and even though the single Hoopla reviewer on record didn't love this title (see photo above), I figured I'd give it a try since it sounded comforting in these strange times and because years ago I read and loved Gillies' memoir Happens Every Day.

This book is less a how-to guide to coziness (ideas of what's cozy do vary by individual) and more a series of Gillies' thoughts and reflections regarding categories, examples, and dimensions of coziness.  I think the idea is that readers will enjoy her thoughts on coziness and then start thinking about what they find cozy and finding ways to arrange their surroundings and attitudes for more coziness.

Once I finished listening to Cozy, I made my own list of general conditions for and specific memories of coziness from my own life.  Here are some of the things I find or have found cozy:

* The feeling of opening up one's library bag and having the time to carefully inspect the treasures inside, especially if they were gathered hastily or haphazardly when at the library.

* That moment when you've changed out a lampshade (I used to have a Target lampshade-buying problem) and then click the lamp on for the first time with its new/different shade.

* Warm lighting in general.  Side note:  Gillies talks about the importance of pointing out coziness to your kids so they can create/find it for themselves.  Thanks to me, my kids are very tuned in to cozy lighting.  We are all passionately against cool light.  

* The feeling of eating at Cracker Barrel (think corn muffin with butter) in the right conditions.  The right conditions = husband not present or husband initiating trip.  Eating at CB with a reluctant husband is the opposite of cozy.

* This combination:  blanket, good book, fountain Diet Coke.

* Gallery walls

* Looking at my cardinal Christmas tree in December.

* Certain movies and shows watched at home:  BBC Pride and Prejudice,  Wonderworks Anne of Green Gables, Bridget Jones's Diary, The Office, Gilmore Girls.

* Being at an airport gate with a snack, a good book, and no anxiety about flight delays or cancellations.

* Sitting in a movie theater with girlfriends, preferably with popcorn and DC.  Note:  I went on a last minute outing to see Emma on Monday, March 9th, which was wholly delightful and now seems like it happened in a different lifetime.

* Coming inside after a chilly walk and feeling energized, virtuous, and rosy-cheeked.

* Going through a drive-thru and then finding a parking spot (I try to find one near a tree) and eating alone in my car.  It sounds sad, but it's not, and it is a cozy habit that my sister also enjoys.

* I play on a tennis team and after our matches, the home team provides lunch for the visiting team.  You sit with your own team during lunch, and I love that cozy time of chatting and eating with my teammates (women of all ages at various stages of life).  Even cozier if I won that day.

* The smell of a basketball gym.

* My kids and I stay after school two days a week to pray the Rosary with a small group.  These afternoons in our beautiful Church with these friends are very special and cozy to me.

* Sitting on my parents' giant sectional couch with other members of my family.

* Eating pot roast nachos at Pint's, a sports bar in town.

* Meeting my "breakfast club" friends at Egg Harbor.  Buttering toast and adding their delicious jam.

* Settling into a little crafting corner I have and making cards out of washi tape.

* Visiting the book sale corner of my library.

* Browsing at my favorite gift shop, The Uptown Shop.

* Sitting at my kitchen table with a snack and a stack of magazines.

* Bookshelves ... my own but also those of others, especially glanced through a window (in a non-creep way) when taking a walk in the evening.

* Birthday cards displayed on a mantel.

* The feeling of laughing and lingering at a restaurant or bar with good friends.

* Singing along with my kids or friends in a moving vehicle or at a concert or at church.

Gillies makes the point that cozy is not just an at-home phenomenon.  It's things (often little) but also a state of mind.

Some of the words that help convey cozy to me -- safe, satisfied, content, familiar, hopeful.

I acknowledge that it is a luxury to be at home writing about coziness at this moment when many are sick and when others like medical professionals and grocery store employees are exposed and vulnerable.  I'm staying home as asked and looking for ways to make that experience more cozy than confining.  I wouldn't say my current state of mind is cozy (too much uncertainty and strangeness for that) but there are cozy moments, and I am thankful for them.  Making this list helps me look forward to a brighter future when we can once again feel cozy in the world and in one another's company.   

I would love to know what you find cozy.

I did take a few photos from the past week or so that captured moments of cozy.
 This photo is not taken from a great angle, but it shows a cozy scene of book, 
dog, pajamas, a lamp shade with warm light, and a gallery wall.

 This photo was taken on Sunday when my family rented the new Emma.  We have fire, family, snow outside, birthday cards on mantel, and son in his Comfy.  The scene was a bit less idyllic than it may seem as not everyone loved the movie as much as I did and we had to pause frequently to clarify plot points.

These Hunter boot socks are cozy as all get out.

What day did it snow?  I'm losing track, but snow-covered trees and roofs are cozy to me.

Last night's sunset warmed my heart. Cozy.  Hopeful. 

Stay well, everyone.  Take care of yourself and one another.