Final Post – Final Thoughts

Wow. I can’t believe that 1 year ago I sat with my good friend Leila and started talking about all these things that we’ve wanted to do. Our initial lists were long and kind of far fetched, and over the year we’ve had to make some changes here and there to adapt to the changes in our lives. Just goes to show you that no matter how much you plan, something will always be there to steer you in a completely different direction. I don’t mind that, i’ve adapted to change pretty much my entire life and have come to peace with this.

With under a week to go, I had 3 things left to do:
Learn Sign Language – I have been looking online on how to spell my name, say Hello, all of the little things that might make a difference. I know that with more practice (and hopefully a course down the road) I will be able to get the basics down

Paint something new – This is actually on my agenda for tonight! I won’t be posting any pictures as some of these will be gifts, but i’m sure that those respective people will post them for me 🙂

and lastly, Get a new Tattoo with George Brown. Due to financial reasons I wasn’t able to get this done before my birthday, and unfortunately this leaves me with 24/25 completed. Although I am a little disappointed about this, I will still be completing this goal later on in the month.

I am fairly happy with myself for keeping on track, and completing as much as I could. 24/25 is better than nothing, right? I am happy that a year ago I made a promise to myself, and kept at it as much as I could. I have lived, learned, and loved and wouldn’t have changed a thing.
I’m hoping, that with you all reading about my progress, that I have at  least motivated you to go out and try something new. I am a big advocate for change, and for growing. Thank you all for being a part of this. And with that, this is Andrea Gray signing off, and saying “Goodnight to yous all, and god bless ya”

Sweet Child O Mine

This year in January, I welcomed my new cousin into our family, Poppy. Not to be biased, but she might be the cutest thing on this planet. My Aunt and Uncle, after many years and lots of paper work, finally got to adopt a kid of their own. Before she came into our lives, they bombarded me with questions, and I felt like I had a new purpose in life. My purpose is to now be there for Poppy, to guide her and support her. She is a very lucky kid, to have someone within our family go through the same experience as her. I would have loved to have this growing up, but unfortunately, I was the only one.

A couple of months ago, I decided to write my experiences down in a book for her. I told my family and friends, and received the most ridiculous support that I have ever seen in my life. I never thought for one second that my life would have been interesting for other people to know, but I guess I was wrong. So I sat down, with my glass of wine of course, and knocked out an intense outline.

I am currently writing the fourth chapter of everything, and it has been quite hard. I have to revisit memories that I locked up (for a reason) and sometimes will cry as I’m writing. It’s kind of therapeutic in a sense for me, and now as I am older looking back on everything I have a different perspective. There are something’s that I will be omitting as I feel it doesn’t really pertain to my story, and all of the names will be changed. Hopefully, along with Poppy, it can affect or change your life.

Now, for the rest of my list:

I have started to teach Yiddish to Brian! A few words here and there, the number 1-10, and how to spell his name in Yiddish (along with his parents). His pronunciation is very cute, and I’m trying to tell him how to do the “cha” and “r” sounds that we usually do! But he is remembering things, and I feel very accomplished for that! So… Cross another one off of my list?

Leaving 5, although another one will be crossed off next week once I do my volunteer work!

And then there were 4!

August Update!

It’s been well over a month since I’ve last talked to you guys! My goals are going well under their way at the moment, but I think I’ve hit a wall with some of them!

Because I have started to save up my money, I won’t be able to Skydive this year.. I am fairly sad about that, mainly because it has been a goal of mine for a very long time! But it’s OK. Another goal for another year! Instead, I’ve decided to replace it with another goal of mine that I have actually started! Writing a book. More details of that to come, but for now, let’s take a look at my list:

 

  1. Finish my script
    Completed! And I feel great about it
  2. Changed to now: Start to plan/write a book
    Will update on this next post
  3. Take dance lessons
    I took a couple of classes here and there and realized how much I’ve missed it! Hoping to continue with this later on
  4. Market my business better
    I have added myself onto Google, and have actually gotten a great response! Everything is starting slowly, but I know that I will be successful in the long run
  5. Keep in better touch with the ones that I love
    I have emailed so many family members from all over to keep in touch, as well as calling friends or texting friends whenever I can. I can officially call myself a social butterfly haha
  6. Volunteer for Molson
    This will actually be done at the end of the month! So I can cross that off in a couple of weeks
  7. Spring cleaning: donate clothes and furniture that I dont need anymore
    I got rid of so much stuff in my old place, and now still finding myself overflowing in the new place! But I still felt good about donating all of the things that I didn’t need.
  8. Teach someone Yiddish
    I haven’t really sat down to teach Brian, but I have given him some words here and there. I really should do this soon so that I can finally complete it!
  9. Learn how to cook 5 new dishes (non-Jewish ones!)
    mmmm. Those dishes were yummy!
  10. Move back to Toronto & explore what I haven’t before!
    Loving Toronto, Loving the new place, Loving Brian!
  11. Paint something new and unexpected
    I actually have everything in mind I just need to sit down and do this. I’m thinking maybe this weekend!
  12. Donate blood
    Yay!
  13. Get a new Tattoo from George Brown
    Getting the tattoo on September 22nd! Meeting with him on August 11th to go over the design once again. Very excited!
  14. Get a new piercing with Meagan Bond
    As you saw from the video, that was fun haha! Love having my nose pierced. No idea why I was so “against” it beforehand!
  15. Be better at my job – Lean more about audio equipment
    Ah, the day that my manager told me to cross this off. What a great day!
  16. Volunteer for TIFF
    I got accepted to volunteer! Which was amazing. Awaiting confirmation on which theatres I’ll be working at and then I can make my schedule :
  17. Donate Money to Organizations
    I donated money to Mitzi Perez and to Adrienne Frank! Very happy that I was able to give this to them while I had the money
  18. Learn Sign language
    Waiting for Ilana!
  19. Start saving heavily to purchase a new place for 2013
    Since my school loan just got paid off, I can now start to save my money for hopefully a new place next year!
  20. Go to a party where I don’t know anyone and make a new friend
    I still manage to go to parties here and there where I don’t know a lot of people to potentially make some new friends
  21. Try not to eat at fast food restaurants for a whole year
    I have been making my meals almost daily and try to eat every time at home when I can! I think I have been quite successful for that!
  22. Go see more indie movies and bands
    This is an ongoing on that will probably go on for a very very long time haha!
  23. Quit smoking, for good. Not for me… but for all of you.
    Last cigarette Dec. 31 11:55 pm!
  24. Do more activities during the winter, my least favorite season.
    I did go out a lot last winter! Let’s hope that sticks for this year!
  25. Help out my friends with their 25on25
    Also ongoing but I’ve been giving some tips and tricks to Leila! And she’s progressing so well with it!

 

6 more things to accomplish before my birthday on October 9th!

Think I can do it??

Moneh Moneh Moneh Moneh! MONEH! – Brian Griffin

It’s been almost a month since my last post, and I wish that I had more to report to you guys!

Unfortunately because of lack of funds I haven’t been able to do some of the things on my list. This made me start to realize that maybe I should be switching some of my goals around to accommodate that change in my life.

 

Aside from going back home to Balfour to visit my family, I don’t think that I would be able to do anymore traveling until next year. That was part of my three goals:

#6: Travel somewhere new
#16: Go hiking on a new trail with Aileen O’Marra
#17: Go to Florida to reconnect with old family members

 

Instead of that, I will be volunteering!

#6: Molson Canadian Red Lead Project (http://www.molsoncanadian.ca/en/red-leaf-project/home.aspx)
#16: Volunteer for TIFF
#17: Donate some money to great causes

 

Luckily enough in the beginning of the year when I had more disposable income, I had donated some money to “Walk so kids can talk” and “Weekend to end women’s cancer”, so I guess I can cross that off of my list!

 

11 out of 25 goals completed!

8 out of my 25 goals have been ongoing, so technically I guess you can say 19 out of 25 are completed.

 

Aside from the two that I have changed, the other 4 are:

#2: Skydive or Edgewalk. The reason why I didn’t take this one out of my goals is because I’ve wanted to do this for 6 years now. I will somehow find the money to do this. Or if you all want to chip in on an awesome present wink wink

#8: Teach someone Yiddish. That someone is actually Brian, I just need to find the time and some old books to sit down and do this.

#18: Learn sign language. My best friend Ilana said that she would teach me some of the basics, so again it’s more of a “find the time” situation. I have no doubt it’ll be done by the time my birthday rolls around!

# 19: Start saving for a new place. Now, aside from my money troubles at the moment, I will have 2 loans paid off fully come September. SO. Technically because it is BEFORE my birthday, this goal will get started!

Hopefully in a months time I will be able to fill you in on more! Until then, Stay Classy

Stay Classy

Been two weeks since my last post and I’ve tried to make the best out of my goals.

I ended up cooking the fifth dish when a friend came over for dinner. It was roasted chicken with a spinach sauce. Turned out very well! The whole cooking goal has turned out so well that I’ve been trying out other recipes as well. The latest one was a quiche, which really isn’t that hard to make. It’s a great way to get rid of all the vegetables in the fridge as well!

The dance class the other day turned out very well! My legs were killing the next day though! So with that, I can take #3 off of my list! I’m trying to get into a routine with working out more, finding it a little hard, but at least I am trying!

I wanted to give blood this past Saturday (#12 on my list) but when I ended up calling in they said that I needed an appointment. Which bummed me out a little bit because I was entirely free that day to do it. I have to sit down and figure out a date for that.

Yesterday Brian’s Mom and friend, George, came over to help us with the blinds and hanging up some pictures. All of the blinds are up, and 3/6 of the pictures are up as well. It’s starting to feel more like home. I can’t wait for it to finally be done, and to post some pictures to show everyone who didn’t come to the party.

Marketing my business is slowly coming along, I’ve inquired about Ad space in Missy Ink Magazine (which is fairly cheap I just need to find the money and someone to design my ad!) and I’ve added it to google places. Once it’s up on google I am fairly certain more people will be calling. I just want that to be now! I am so impatient. Not a lot has been going on with that in the past month, which is good and bad. Good because I actually had some time off to just relax. Bad because I could have used the extra money! BUT, I know things will turn around.

My script is ALMOST done. It’s all written down in note form, I just need to make it presentable. I might actually put it into production next year, so stay tuned!

Hopefully in my next post I’ll have more to report! Until then, Stay classy.

Food Coma

Well, the stress has finally passed! I can now sit back and just enjoy my new place, surroundings and a huge amount of leftovers!

As most of you know (since most of you came!) I had a party over the weekend to celebrate my new place with Brian. The turnout was huge! I didn’t expect so many people to come (not to mention FIT in the new place).

I cooked from 12-6, and although I tried to manage my time well, I was not able to cook all 5 dishes.  In the end I ended up with these dishes:

Shaved Asparagus Mimosa Salad
Guatemalan Seviche
Spicy Caesar Risotto
Bang Bang Chicken Noodle Salad

4/5 isn’t that bad. I’ll be doing the 5th dish sometime this week, most probably when all of the leftovers are consumed. The food was a BIG hit, I was a little nervous since this was my first time attempting everything. As soon as people started going back for seconds (and in some cases thirds!) I started to calm down. Thanks to everyone who came out and enjoyed the food, wine and company.

So, with that, I will gladly cross #9 off of my list.

Tonight, I’ll be attempting #3 (Take dance lessons). It’s a bootcamp with a ballet (ish) style. Fairly excited. I tried to do a pirouette the other day to see if I “still have it” and my hip cracked in 2 places. I don’t know if I need a better indicator to let me know that I have to get into better shape! I’ve started an agreement with my friend Mitzi to work out three days a week, and if I don’t I have to pay her (and vice versa). Let’s hope that this actually works out!

For those interested in a fun work out, look at this: http://bdxstudio.com/

Spring has sprung, Sprung has Spring

Well. This is long overdue.

 

My last post was in April, stating to the world how happy I was. That definitely has not changed in the slightest.

 

The reason I haven’t been communicating with all of you is because I have been under a lot of stress recently. I needed to deal with things myself, and for the most part it is all over.

 

My biggest stress was moving out, and it’s done! I am finally in Toronto. My place is not fully put together yet, and if you know me at all, you would know that this is bugging me! I’m getting things done as much as I can, little by little. BUT. Cross #10 off of my list! Leila will be coming down this weekend, and I have complete faith that it’ll be done by the end of the week.

 

#7 was “Spring Cleaning” which I did before the move. I got rid of a TON of stuff. I like purging, makes me feel good that I’m giving others something that I don’t need anymore.

 

My housewarming will be coming up soon and with that I can cross #9 (Cook 5 new dishes) off of my list!

 

I am feeling very accomplished that I have knocked so many things off of my list! Once Leila is down we will be going to get our Tattoo consultations with George from Seven Crowns Tattoo (Which is #13 on my list!) George has been doing all of my tattoos since I’ve been in Toronto, and in all honesty, I don’t think I would let anyone else touch me. I love his work, I love his co-workers, and I love his little shop. http://sevencrownstattoo.com/sevenCrownsTattoo.html

 

Hopefully now that things are settled I’ll be updating this more, and going after more of my goals. I will be sure to update you all after the party to tell you how awesome or terribad my food was!

Off Topic

In 2006 I made the hardest decision of my life, to burn a bridge that has been built and torn apart since I was born. It was a very trying and difficult thing to do; I wasted many tears for the first year. However, every day was new, the hurt slowly went away, and the acceptance started to grow. It was the best decision for both of us, and I’m sure that he can look back and say the same thing as well.

I will always remember the fond memories of Calvin, and if it weren’t for him I definitely wouldn’t be the person that I am today. So in a way, I do owe him a thank you.

2006 was also the year that I met James Ricci. I was currently in a relationship with Jesse Waltman that was just not working out to anyone’s advantage. I ended my relationship with Jesse in early 2007 to be with James. Most of my family did not approve with my decision. Actually, let me rephrase that: My Jewish family did not like the fact that I broke up with an older Jewish accountant to be with a younger non-jewish musician. I actually remember my Uncle saying the only reason I was dating James was because he had a car. I laughed. My aunt also harped in and said “whose going to take care of you?” when I replied “Myself” she had a laugh to herself.

What most people don’t know about me is that at a young age of fifteen I was told to get a job to support myself. Another thing that I am thankful for, but of course at the time despised. While everyone else went to camp I was at the local Laura Secord serving ice cream. I held many jobs from the age of fifteen to nineteen to get by. Although I had a roof over my head from Calvin I was still the outsider of the family, I had to buy my own groceries and make my own food while they had their family dinners without me. I stuck by my friend Ilan Weintraub throughout this and had eventually started eating family dinners at his parents’ house. I’m sure they knew something was wrong, but they never asked. And I was very thankful for that. I’m going away from topic, but since I was 15 I have been taking care of myself.

From 2006-2008 I fought for an inheritance that was taken away from me without my approval, and won. After this my aunt and uncle decided that they wanted to know what I would be spending this money on, and demanded I give them my banking information. I said No. They then accused James of wanting to take all of my money. I was mortified that they made this accusation, but more embarrassed that they said it in front of his parents. I was very persistent and said No every time they kept on asking for that information. Eventually they got angry and decided that name-calling and ignoring me completely would be the best solution for them. I was leaving for Australia the next day and was completely depressed from all of this.

I kept on thinking about how I was abandoned by Calvin and now by them.

James kept on reassuring me and telling me that everything would be OK. He was a great support system and I loved him all the more for standing by my side.

In 2011, James decided that he couldn’t be in a relationship with me anymore. It hurt so badly. I didn’t want to loose him. This would mark the third time that he wanted to end everything. Knowing this, I just couldn’t put any more effort into anything. I agreed, and we cried. Although he brought it up I think it was a mutual understanding after talking it through. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard. I was loosing my life partner and my best friend. I threw myself into my work and school got recognized and promoted from both. I was doing well, but was thoroughly depressed. James stopped talking to me entirely after about a month of not being with me anymore. I was crushed. I didn’t understand why he wanted me out of his life entirely, and I guess I’ll never know.

Depression sank in even more and I kept on thinking about how he knew that family members abandoned me. Why would he be doing the same thing? I didn’t know what to do. Then I started to think that something was wrong with me, why would all of these people not want to be a part of my life anymore?

Again, wasted tears over something that I couldn’t control. And the days got better, and the acceptance grew.

After four years of having my inheritance I still have some saved away. I managed to pay off most of my debts with it and purchased a car as well. I am not the best with money, but I do understand how things work. I know that I spent my money wisely and I have justified every time I needed to take something out.

I don’t understand why this wasn’t enough for my aunt and uncle, but to each their own I suppose.

As for James, I do wish that he would start talking to me again. I’ve decided to stop my efforts and just wait for him to make the first move, if he ever does. He was a huge part of my life, and in some ways I think I always will love him. I do know now that we weren’t the right fit for each other, and I really hope that he does find happiness in someone else. Whether or not he wants to be apart of my life as a friend will be entirely open to him, and my door will always be open.

My life really started to come together around my birthday in 2011. I just turned 25, and I started to accept everything that had happened to me in the past six years. I really became a whole other person; a more accepting person, and more patient person. Wise to my years I suppose.

Sometimes the wish of things being different would cross my mind. I then laugh. I cannot imagine my life being different right now. I am too happy. I have two great jobs, my health, and an amazing boyfriend.

 

Yes, I am happy. Took me a long time to get here, but I am.

Quarterly Update

A quarterly update sounded like a good idea to me, so I am following suit.

I feel like I am not getting most of the things that I want to get done. I was hoping for more to be scratched off the list by now. BUT I am not giving up! Hopefully in the next month I will be settled into a new place, and really will take the bull by its horns!

 

In the midst of the move I will have completed 3 things: #7 Spring Cleaning, #10 Moving & # 9 Dinner Party. I just figured as a house warming I can cook for everyone!

Right now I currently have completed:

# 4. Market my business better**
#5. Keep in better touch with the ones that I love**
# 14. Get a new piercing with Meagan Bond
# 15 Be better at my job – Lean more about audio equipment**
# 20. Go to a party where I don’t know anyone and make a new friend
# 23. Quit smoking, for good.
# 24. Do more activities during the winter

 

** (I’ll be doing this throughout the year though)

7/25 Isn’t terrible. Could be much better! But hey, next month it could possible be 10/25!

Between now and the move I can’t really do that much, I do need to get my ass in gear and finally work on that stupid script of mine. You know, I even made a schedule for myself but I never followed through with it! What was the point of even making it?? Oh right. So that I could ACTUALLY sit down and start it. Grumbles

I was thinking of switching my dance lessons to just general physical activity. I need to get into shape, and would definitely love to do dance lessons, but I might join a boot camp instead. Will update on that once I’m back in the city.

In the meantime, anyone want to win the lottery for me?

Albatross – Big Wreck

March hasn’t been treating me well. Its just little thing upon little thing that eventually built up into a huge ball of stress.

It started off with the flu, which normally isn’t that big of a deal but this one hit me with a ton of bricks. For four hours I called my bathroom floor my bed. Eventually got up and went back into my bedroom and was bed ridden for about 12 hours. I tried to get up several times to grab some water, I was really dehydrated, but I literally could not do it. Such a simple task diminished by my sickness. Eventually I was able to make it out of bed, took me half an hour to pour myself a glass of water. Luckily Brian came over after work to help me out.

The next morning I woke up, still feeling sick, but had to head into work. I couldn’t afford to take off another day. Put my keys in the ignition, turned, didn’t start. Turned it off. Did it again. I think I did this about a total of 10 times, You know you’re crazy when you expect a different outcome every time! Called CAA and they drove me to one of their shops. 800$ later…

The icing on the cake though was an encounter with an old family member whom I haven’t talked to in a couple of years. To make a long story short, I ended up crying my eyes out of frustration.

Because of this financial set back, I had to cancel my dinner party that I planned for the end of the month. I’m fairly upset about this, but it’s gone beyond my control. I have tried to look for other make up gigs on the side to help me out with this but I’ve had no luck for this month, only next. On top of this I’m also trying to find a place, setting up viewings, etc. It feels like I’m working three jobs and it’s getting overwhelming. I have to give Brian some credit for stepping up to the plate and helping out with finding a place. Taking a little bit off my plate is definitely helping.

I have also decided to take my taxes off of my hand this year, less stress to deal with. So happy that I did!

 In the midst of March being a goal crusher, I have still been able to do my on going goals, which is better than nothing. I just hope that things will turn around!

Big money. Big money. No Whammy. Stop!