Monday, November 30, 2009

Gratitude #4: I've got a roof over my head.

I realize that Thanksgiving is over... but I don't think that means the gratitude list should end. Right???
This is actually a mixed gratitude review. Let me start by saying I am very grateful that I get to live/work/play in New York City. Even more grateful that I have an amazing, spacious, comfortable, reasonably priced, great location, clean, and cozy apartment.
HOWEVER, in order to have this safe, comfortable, large, etc... apartment, I also have roommates.
Fortunately, I have been lucky enough to have lived with some of the most outstanding people I have ever met. Very little drama. That being said, it does suck when it comes time for a roommate to move out (new job, marriage, tired of NYC, etc...).
Once again, I find myself looking for a new roommate. UUUGGgggghhhhhhhhh!!!
Seriously, apartments like this are in high demand (it's just a pain weeding through the weirdos in order to find the next domestic partner).
Check out this link for more information.

Spread the word to all your non-smoker/no pets/clean/employed/SANE friends.

The Living Room

The Kitchen

The Bedroom

Central Park- This is a five minute walk from the apartment

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Got no diamonds, got no wealth. I got no man, but I got my health.

In continuing with the thanksgiving theme, my #3 gratitude would have to be health.
Health is one of those things that you don't really appreciate until it's compromised. Overall, I have been very lucky. Sure, I should take better care of myself by going to the gym and eating healthier, and anyone who knows me knows I am incredibly clumsy. However, for better or worse- I have a body that works. Not always perfectly- but I can walk without a wheelchair, I can live in a 5th floor walk-up building, I can think logically and use reason, I can feel emotion and (usually) respond appropriately in social settings. My heart beats on its own. I can see, hear, speak, smell, and feel. I am not in pain. I am blessed (now I really feel like I need to reward my body by hitting the running track).
Enjoy some of my favorite pics from some of my 'less healthy' life moments.
An unfortunate slip in the shower gave me an awesome shiner (2002)

About once a year I will slip, trip, or fall and end up with a horribly sprained ankle

In 2003 money got so tight I made extra income by being a lab rat at Columbia Medical School

After 20 years of never having stitches, a broken bone, or spending the night in a hospital- I had unexpected major surgery (note that I have needles in my neck and hand, a tube in my nose, monitors on my chest, and am hooked up to every machine on that wall). 1998 was a rough year.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thank YOU for Being a Friend

After my last blog (four days ago), my plan was to write a daily 'gratitude' post. I already knew that my #2 post (after family) would be expressing my deep gratitude for my friends. The fact that I have been unable to update this daily blog in days because I have been out with friends for the past four nights is a testament to how lucky I am. Seriously. I have the most amazing friends!
As I was going through pictures to add to this post, I was overwhelmed with the number of truly remarkable people I have met in my life- people that I can call my friends. From childhood, to high school, to college, through my 20's, and now as as adult, I have been blessed.
I started narrowing the pics by just saying "Oh, I HAVE to include one from this time period" or "I HAVE to have one of this person." Even after about 6 rounds of cuts, I was still at 44 pictures- all of which were "must includes."
Fear not, I did force myself to cut the list.
*** Please note: I only have access to pictures (with few exceptions) since the digital age. Also dear friends, please know that if you do not see your gorgeous face below, trust that I most surely thought of you as I reminisced about the past three (I MEAN TWO AND A HALF) decades of my life.
I am tempted to start naming names, but if I started- I wouldn't be able to stop. I love you my friends. Thank you for being in my life and making me a better person.

High School Friends:

Rick's College/Showtime Friends

BYU Friends

DC Friends

New York Friends

Work Friends

And last but NEVER least... The besties

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Count Your Blessings Name them One by One

I just returned from my first of FOUR Thanksgiving meals planned this week. Along with keeping up the tradition of eating too much, I also enjoyed the annual (and always expected) "go around the table and say what you are grateful for" activity.
Today was especially meaningful as it was the Thanksgiving dinner family event with clients from work.
I work as a Child Life Specialist (I didn't choose the title) at a social service agency in Harlem. My work is primarily working with families who may have any combination of: compromised health, mental illness, history of homelessness, living in poverty, etc... Needless to say, it is often easy for these good folks to focus on what really sucks in their lives. Hearing everyone so easily express their gratitude made me realize that no matter what our situation, there is always something that keeps us going.
In keeping with the theme of Gratitude, I am going to dedicate the next week to daily musings on what I am grateful for... starting with the first and most important.

There is no possible way I could list everything my family has done for me and taught me over the last three decades. Instead, I will focus on a few highlights.

Dad, thank you for teaching me how to work. You taught me (both by example and force) the value of being responsible. Thank you for making me do chores every Saturday before I could play. Thank you for helping me put fliers up around town to promote my babysitting business when I was ten. Thank you for driving me to Idaho Falls (until I could drive myself) to wait tables. Thank you for helping me apply to college. Thank you for always encouraging and supporting me even when I chose to be a Sociology major. Most of all, now that you have taught me those lessons, thank you for letting me sleep in, relax, and do nothing when I come home to visit. I love you.

Thank you for being patient with my many moods, quirks, unreasonable behavior, and occassional rudeness. I know that I can be impatient and intolerant at times. We both know I don't get it from you. :) Thank you for ignoring my moods and irrationality. Thank you for being so free to point out the good traits and quietly ignoring the bad ones. Thank you for being so free with praise and love and for ALWAYS being there. I have never doubted that you will support me.
BTW, you are a pretty amazing grandma as well!

Remember how whenever we would fight (which was often) and mom would say 'One day your sister is going to be your best friend." I don't know about you, but I NEVER believed her. Turns out, she was right. I am SO grateful that I have you as a sister. You are truly extraordinary. Your such a hard and SMART worker. I am so proud of how committed to are to your work. You are also and amazing mother and I am so grateful that you let me be a part of your kids lives. You make me laugh and I love talking to you - especially about our parents.

Oh baby brother- I love you so much. Thank you for being such a respectful and loving man. You show your love for people in the ways that really matter- by taking the time to do things for them. I love it when we are home at the same time because I get to be even more lazy because you always offer to cook, run errands, and just make us all laugh. You are so helpful and generous and I adore you.

Thank you for letting me prove that some of your earlier impressions of me are not the real me (most of those rude behaviors were a reaction to the heart medication if you recall). :)
Thank you for being a super cool dude, for raising three of the coolest kids I know, for loving my sister, and for letting me be a part of your kids lives.

As the newest member of the Mann clan, thank you for joining our mostly awesome, occassionally psychotic family. Thank you for loving my brother. Thank you for your book recommendations (keep them coming), and for the random text shout outs. Now you guys just need to come visit NYC. :)

Avery, Wyatt and Mitchell,
Thank you for making me an Aunt. Thank you for being the three raddest, funniest, most talented, best looking kids I know. I love you!