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Hello. Hi. Can everyone hear me in the back? Is this—is this good? This volume? Good. Can someone please give grandma a seat? Thank you, Father Murray, yes, just keep her feet elevated, perfect.

I would like to begin by welcoming everyone to my apartment. Parking is a hassle, I know, but the Chinese restaurant is pretty good about not towing. So if you want to check on your car from the bathroom window, that’s totally fine. Right, anyway, welcome again. It’s amazing to see so many people I love all in the same place. Your support means more to me than you’ll ever know. Please, if you haven’t helped yourself to my mom’s Mexican dip, I recommend a scoop or two. Also, a big thanks to Beth and her third grade class at St. Angelica’s for the decorations. You’ve really livened up the place.

I think it’s important for you to hear certain things directly from me. I know many of you read this in my Christmas newsletter, but I am completely off social media now, as I think I’m getting too old to post my entire life on the Internet. As I vowed previously, any important updates that I might be tempted to post online will just be told to your faces, because that’s the respect you deserve. So here it goes:

I’m going to pour a glass of wine, dig into a really good book, and just curl up under my favorite blanket.

That’s it. That’s what I want to do. Tonight when you leave, I’m going to pour an entire bottle of wine into my big wine glass, and then I’m going to drink all of it while I read that book over there next to Aunt Diane. It’s The Secret Life of Bees, I’ve read it twice. I am also going to light some candles. And drink wine. I really wanted to share that with you.

I like to drink wine and light candles and cuddle myself because this is who I am and this is what I care about. Sometimes, I drink a bottle of wine and watch four episodes of Scandal, and then I can’t sleep because my heart is so jacked from watching Scandal and also I’m drunk. But it’s what I love and it’s who I am and I want you to accept that.

That candle over there cost too much money but Bed, Bath & Beyond tricked me into thinking it was a good deal, so I bought it. I like it because when I light it, I’m reminded that I live in my own apartment and I’m allowed to light candles here. My mom has a weird thing about open flames. While I agree with you that maybe I shouldn’t have spent so much money on it, I also think now is the time in my life to buy expensive candles. This is important to me.

I would also like to note that it’s currently winter. When it’s winter, I like to get hot drinks and wear mittens, so I’ll probably do that on my way to work tomorrow. When I get home, though, I’ll put on sweatpants and a headband and then I’ll open my book and drink my wine and I’ll probably be under that blanket. Because it’s winter.

So.

Your jackets are on my bed, if you want to get going. Or, you can stay, there’s still plenty of dip to go around. But I think that was all of my updates! I got through them a lot quicker this week, right? Marie—Marie! Your egg divider is here from last week, let me get it for you, I washed it.

Katherine Markovich lives, works, writes, and eats in Chicago. Follow her at @markovichsays to read about what she’s eating and watching. And thinking, too, I guess.

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