30 Days of Thanks

Every November, Facebook and Twitter are filled with people listing something they are thankful for every day of the month. I’m no good at these things. I suck at sticking to a routine. It’s just who I am. BUT, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I decided that I would give it a try. So, in no particular order, here are 60 things that I am thankful for. Two for everyday of the month. Enjoy.

1. Gingerbread Spice Latte’s. Seriously. They are delicious and remind me that Christmas is coming.
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2. Wigs and costumes because they make life better.
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3. Friends who will order the kids meal at a restaurant and unabashedly ask for the chocolate milk instead of juice box.
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4. This love of and excitement for string cheese. It’s an excellent food and I’ve clearly not been excited enough about it. I have learned my lesson and am thankful for it.
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5. These two little nuggets who learn about rock and roll from me every Saturday morning.
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6. I am thankful that this was the most damage my apartment had after Hurricane Sandy.
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7. Kitty tummy. It’s the greatest thing out there.
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8.I went to Casa Bonita this year. It was the most fun I may have ever had.
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9. Autumn.
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10. I am thankful for days that come along where you just get to play in the park with your friends.
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11. Love and commitment shown in so many different ways.
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12. This shirt. And Sky Mall.
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13. These shoes. They are the best purchase I’ve made in a long time.
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14. Kids attempting to hold things that are too big for them.
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15. Karaoke. It brings everyone joy.
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16. Wine and particularly consuming it with my family.
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17. Being crammed in a van with this group of people. You should try it sometime if you haven’t.
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18. Cheese. Although it doesn’t seem to last very long around here.
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19. This bacon donut.
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20. Real friends who could never be replaced in your life. The kind that know you better than you know yourself.

21. Setting goals and having the means and determination to accomplish them.
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22. Friends who will have birthday parties with you and then run outside with you when it starts snowing.
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23. That time I went to the Superbowl with this crazy group of people.
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24. Holding babies less than 12 hours old. It’s so good for the soul.
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25. Generic drugs.
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26. Pudding Pies and the ability to *make them at home.
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*do not attempt to make them at home. It will not turn out well.

27. Kitty paws.
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28. Waterparks. I really need to go to a waterpark more often. They clearly bring you joy.
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29. These idyllic little ladies.
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30. Candy from my childhood.
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31. The view from my window.
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32. And this view from my roof.
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33. Pets that celebrate their birthdays in style.
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34. The Olympics.
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35. Lazy days with nothing to do.
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36. Living in NYC and finding gems like this for sale on the street.
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37. A group of friends so *cool that we have a name and make t-shirts every year.
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*we might just be immature

38. Nudey photo hunt.
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39. Seeing this face every time I sit down for dinner.
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40. An East Texas homemade meal.
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41. One of the people who made me who I am today.
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42. This face that looks almost identical to the face of my stepbrother when he was a kid.
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43. Hamming it up for the camera.
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44. Americuh.
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45. My dad.
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46. My mom. She dressed as an Olympic gold medal for Halloween. You’re welcome.
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47. My stepmom. She’s the coolest.
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48. My brother’s wine cellar. In his house. Yep.
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49. My siblings. They are nice and I like them.
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50. Going to the beach with someone you love.
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51. Graduating from college. Finally.
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52. This text message mistake I received earlier this year.
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53. Glamour Shots
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54. Having someone to comfort you when you are sad or *hurting.
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*I was hurting. My dog scratched me. It was rough.

55. This smirk on my grandfather’s face.
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56. This sticker that I found on a watermelon this summer. And yes, I did email him.
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57. Cats that get into precarious situations.
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58. My left armpit because it facilitates this at least once a day.
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59. My expanding family.
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60. This man. I love him and I’m thankful for him everyday of my life. He’s super talented and such a wonderful person. I’m thankful that I get to hang around him so much. He’s yet to get *sick of me.
*This is an assumption based on the fact that he still comes home everyday. This is not based on actual facts.


Oh Sandy, You Are Not The One That I Want

In the days leading up to Hurricane Sandy, the Grease and Annie jokes were abounding. Every theatre nerd, myself included, was thinking of ways to be clever with the name Sandy. I mean, we all saw this floating around the inter web.
Oh Sandy.

Last year when Irene hit, I was uber prepared. I grew up in Tornado Alley, so I have been in bad storms before. Although a tornado and hurricane are different, I know how to be prepared. As a kid, I slept every night with my NOAA radio by my bed along with my flashlight. I was ready to run to the bathroom with my supplies at the drop of a hat. I may have been slightly dramatic with this preparedness, but I never wanted to be caught off guard. (And I was scared to death of the storms) When Mayor Bloomberg told us to be prepared last year for Irene, prepared was an understatement. My fridge was stocked to brim. We had every non-perishable item available. We bought every battery in Astoria. We had 7 flashlights. Yes, 7 for 2 people. Don’t judge me. I had our backpacks filled with water, first aid kits, and food. We had our passports in waterproof bags along with photos of each other and the cat in case we were separated. We filled every pot with fresh water along with the bathtub. We could have lived in our apartment for a month without water or electricity and been just fine.
We even had a soundtrack picked out for the weekend.
We got lucky in NYC last year. Irene wasn’t the Maneater we expected her to be. At least not here in the city. Parts of Jersey and upstate New York were really hit, but we got away scott free. I spent most of the weekend after the storm passed drinking and hanging out with my friends on my neighbors porch.

So, naturally many New Yorkers were skeptical of Sandy. Many felt that last years preparations were overkill and that Sandy would be no different. Luckily, I was prepared once again. I still had all 7 flashlights (shut up!!) and almost all the batteries from last year. (I mean, who actually uses D batteries anyway?) I had our emergency passport pictures ready, the non-perishables filling the kitchen, and enough water to sink a small ship. We were ready here at Chez Flynn-Rokicki.

Once again, we got lucky. Our neighborhood went relatively untouched. We had some trees down and small power outages mostly from trees falling on wires. Much of the rest of the city wasn’t so lucky. By now, everyone knows how bad the storm hit lower Manhattan, parts of Brooklyn, Long Island, and the Jersey Shore. Total devastation in some areas.

This week has been one of the strangest weeks I’ve ever lived through. Lower Manhattan, including my beloved restaurant Annisa and my school NYU, have been powerless all week as you can see from this amazing photo.
This means no school or work since last week. Sounds great, right? Only it wasn’t. It was hard to live my life not only trapped in Astoria because of no transportation, but on hold knowing that thousands of my fellow New Yorkers were suffering. The fires that demolished Breezy Point, Queens; devastating. The people of The Rockways, Queens who are still waiting on rescue and aid; heart wrenching. The people of Staten Island who are isolated from both supplies and information; unbelievable. It breaks my heart to see anyone suffering, but especially my neighbors and fellow New Yorkers. While I enjoyed my hot showers, television and heat during the 40 degree weather, thousands of people were without any of these things.

Rob and I gathered up everything we could possibly donate for our fellow New Yorkers including much of the stuff that I had bought in preparation. After all, we got lucky. We didn’t need the D batteries or 7 flashlights. We went through drawers and closets and found every coat, scarf, hat, pair of socks, and gloves that we didn’t need. We didn’t need all those water bottles and the kitchen full of non-perishables. We didn’t need these things, but others did. We made our donation in hope that it will help in the tiniest way. It definitely wasn’t much, but it was what we could do.

I’ve lived in New York City for over 9 years; long enough to officially call myself a New Yorker. I’ve been through a lot with this city and I wouldn’t change it for anything. Every time I even entertain the thought of leaving, I catch myself staring at the skyline in awe, or perhaps watching the most glorious sunset from my fire escape. NYC is my home. And even more than that, it is my sanctuary. It is the city that makes me feel alive and whole. Even when it exhausts me, I am thankful to be here. I am reminded of an Ayn Rand quote from
The Fountainhead:

“I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York's skyline. Particularly when one can't see the details. Just the shapes. The shapes and the thought that made them. The sky over New York and the will of man made visible. What other religion do we need? And then people tell me about pilgrimages to some dank pesthole in a jungle where they go to do homage to a crumbling temple, to a leering stone monster with a pot belly, created by some leprous savage. Is it beauty and genius they want to see? Do they seek a sense of the sublime? Let them come to New York, stand on the shore of the Hudson, look and kneel. When I see the city from my window - no, I don't feel how small I am - but I feel that if a war came to threaten this, I would throw myself into space, over the city, and protect these buildings with my body.”

As Governor Cuomo said today, “
The nation knows New Yorkers as tough. We are tough. But we’re also sweet and we’re also kind and we’re also generous and we’re also giving. And you can see that all across the state today." I’ve never seen a community come together to help each other like New Yorkers have over the past week. It’s inspiring. It reaffirms my faith in the human spirit. It makes me proud to call myself a New Yorker.