Grateful for

A holiday roast from the past + a long list of good things

Hi, I changed the name of Better Still, it’s me, if you opened this I guess you get it!


Thirteen years ago, the Markel kids conspired to prank their mom on Thanksgiving by pretending to take a photo that never got taken and it’s a forever L O L:

“Is there a zoom?”

Today I’m grateful for hot coffee with a splash of half-and-half in my favorite mug, one with no handle so it warms my hands whenever I hold it. For Larry, Larry, Larry, who I unwittingly repeat with little hearts whenever I hand-write these lists, so might as well chant his name at the top here. For my parents, good god, my heart-keepers and history and future. For little Syddo nervous and ordering sparkling rosé on his twenty-first birthday. Hell! For sparkling rosé! For anyone being alive!!!

For mornings and tobacco spice & vanilla candles. For our gorgeous warm home which is really a Home, my most comforting physical place. For meditation, Siri set a timer for fourteen minutes, for loud exhales, for thoughts dissipating like clouds, for the feeling of still waking up and stretching my arms to the sky. For the new cat tree and the way our cats fight and flirt and doze and keep watch from it. For those creatures and their two distinct hilarious sweet selves. For my twinkling 5:30 a.m. alarm. For roasted sweet potatoes, for brown butter and crispy chicken thighs and caramelized onion slices. For french fries!!! For bean and cheese burrito delivery from Taco Bell!!! For a reliable cast-iron skillet. For kissing. For poems. Absolutely for my pink-walled home office and its long window that looks out at the tops of trees.

For Yumi Sakugawa and especially for her webinars. For the New York Times motherfuckin’ crossword. For live theater. For live anything. For “it’s very relaxing / to let the poem do / what it wants.” For Evie’s Everything Happened. For the Wainwrights. For Who? Weekly, for All Songs Considered, for Dolly Parton’s America, for the most recent season of You Must Remember This though we have to talk about K*rina’s bizarre diction. For “Motion Sickness.” For “One Man Guy.” For those talking animal emojis, sorry! Try sexting with the skeleton one!

For the immovable calendar hold of therapy. For the slow-ass elevator in the giant creaky building, a reminder that we’re now entering a zone of patience. For the hot tea or cold water nearby, for the tiny fountain next to the loveseat. For pulling my feet up onto the cushions. For learning to see when many things are true at once. For learning to see when there’s nothing to fight against. For learning to gather and examine evidence that everything is fine. For how she always says “okay, my dear” right before we say Thank you and See you next week!

For Urbana! For popcorn and pints of beer at the Rose Bowl. For buying fistfuls of pens at Art Coop. For Krannert. For my friends. For my friends being vulnerable, saying what they need, taking care. For texting. For sharing our streaming log-ins. For Marco Polo morning videos shot from the dashboard cupholder. For Post Malone dancing to Shania Twain. For writing this, for you. For the way the sunrise sky turns black to navy to blue to red and pink to brightness.

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