This morning while we were running the Wall, I mentioned to my friend that it was November 1, and I wasn’t sure if I was up for another Gratitude Project. “I haven’t even taken a single photo with my camera since I photographed my kids in September,” I confessed. Was it a proper “Bless me father for I have sinned” kind of confession? No, but I was breathless from running up an incline that requires a lower gear on my car, so it counts in my book. And I go through spurts and fizzles with photography. “I don’t mind the actual photography, but I loathe processing,” I continued, which was kind of shitty of me since I know that she had hours of processing in front of her with her job as a photographer. It’s the real deal for her not something to pique her interest from time to time. “If I do, be prepared for a photo of my shoes and a pile of dirty clothes because that’s about all I have in me right now,” I muttered and we continued our climb.

Instead, I give you the red cup, one of my favorite things about the holiday season. When Starbucks rolls out the red cups, I get giddy with the anticipation of all that lies ahead in the next two months. Last year, we were planning our trip to Germany to see Shelby, and the weekly red cup was like my countdown until that trip. Six more red cups until we get to see our kid. Five more . . . what am I forgetting? Four: can’t wait to see the look on her face when she see her sister. Three more red cups. What am I forgetting? Two: passport, suitcase, knitting. Check, check, check. One red cup to go . . . do they have these in Germany?

1:30 Starbucks Red Cup

1:30 Starbucks Red Cup

Sure, it sounds shallow to be happy by something so trivial as the annual red cup at Starbucks, but look at me, not caring one bit. So today, I’m grateful for the warmth inside this beautiful cup because it’s cold outside. Our early morning run was in a “light drizzle,” and long runs always take more out of me than I anticipate. I’m still cold and have a metric ton of grading to do. Tomorrow I promise to be more grateful for something big and grandiose like love or peace or freedom, but tonight? Tonight I’m grateful for a paper cup filled with a peppermint mocha.

“Red Skies” by the Fixx