Monday, December 27, 2010

100 Books for 2010.....CHECK!

Two weeks ago I completed my goal of reading 100 books for 2010.  I happened to finish my last book at work "Breakfast at Tiffanys," by Truman Capote. I was tutoring on set for a new series for  The Family Channel called "What's Up Warthogs," and my two students, Ana Golja and Connor Price had been cheering me on for the seven weeks that I was with them as I quickly went from book 90 to 100.
I truly believe that reading has played a large role in getting me through the turbulence of 2010. I have learned so much through the books I have read and definitely feel stronger and wiser now.  Trust me, it's true that books make you smarter. In June I bought a journal and as I was reading my books, anytime a sentence or paragraph jumped out at me and made me have an "ah ha" moment, I recorded it. It's been very therapeutic and something I will continue to do as I read on. Below is a list of some of my favorite quotes and the books in which they are from:

1. "Time is the school in which we learn"- The Year of Magical Thinking
2. "To finishing big."- Still Alice
3. "Just as in life, the destination was less important than the journey"- Marley and Me
4. "There are years that ask questions and years that answer" Without Reservations
5. "Let tomorrow come tomorrow."- Without Reservations
6. "Time flies,  remember you must live."- Without Reservations
7. "I thought to myself that there were really so many simple ways we could make ourselves look less stupid."- A Complicated Kindness
8. "A half-read book is a half-finished love affair."- Cloud Atlas
9. "You always have the right to be an asshole- you just shouldn't use that right very often"- Sh** My Dad Says
10. "This is why we're here, to fight through the pain and, when possible, to relieve the pain of others."-Open
11. "No matter where you are in life, there is always more journey ahead."- Open
12. "I may not be old, but I'm too old to have this much nothing." -This is Where I leave You
13.  "You choose your level of achievement by choosing your level of expectations."- Age is Just a Number
14. "In my loneliness it comforts me to think that the world's doors, however closed, are never truly locked to me."- The History of Love
15. "Happiness sucks as a spectator sport."- That Old Cape Magic
16. "Only very stupid people are happy."- That Old Cape Magic
17. "A second on the lips, a century on the hips."- Thin is the New Happy
18. "Orthodox, conservative and reform. Or as my father used to say. Crazy, hazy, and lazy."-Camp Nurse.
19. "You only see what you know."-Camp Nurse
20. "If we don't change the direction, we will end up where we are going." 19 Minutes
21. "Maybe bad things happen because it's the only way we can remember what the good is supposed to look like."- 19 Minutes
22. "Something still exists as long as there is someone around to remember it." 19 Minutes
23. "That which you manifest is before you."-The Art of Racing in the Rain
24. "The crazy person talks. The wise person listens."-Zeitoun
25. "You make life out of what you have, not out of what you're missing."- Forgotten Garden
26. "There has to be a pony in this barn full of crap."-Prairie Tale: A Memoir
27. "To leave the world a little better than you found it, that's the best a man can ever do."-Timbukto
28. "It took death to make one feel momentarily alive, truly present, minute to minute."- Birds in Fall
29. "No one ever built a statue of a critic."- One Day
30. "I don't think people really understand the value of happiness until they know what it's like to be in that very, very dark place." -BedWetter


If you are interested in tracking your books, I highly recommend you sign up at www.goodreads.com
This has been so instrumental in helping me organize my books. If you do join please "friend" me on there. You can find me through my email address: blueeyes732@hotmail.com  You will also be able to see my complete book list.
Thanks for all your support and great book recommendations for 2010. Definitely looking forward to doing this again for 2011 and I hope you will also challenge yourself. As I've explained to people, my job and the fact that I have no kids of my own, allow me a lot of time to read, so if 100 books seems overwhelming to you, then try 20 or 50, or whatever is realistic for you to challenge yourselves.  I am still figuring out how to do this as a charity and welcome all suggestions. I'm thinking MS Read-A-thon style, but perhaps with a choose your own chairty factor. I'll get back to you on that one in the new year.  Until then....KEEP ON READING!

Love and Silver Linings

Andrea Dana

Monday, December 6, 2010

One Small Voice Can Teach the World a Song

The greatest thing about working in the film industry is the fabulous and interesting people I get to know. Although meeting Steven Spielberg and Julia Roberts have been two of the highlights of my career, I'm actually referring to the crew I get to work with and not the celebs. For instance, there's Tim, the driver, who can cure any ailment with his selection of fresh juice recipes, or Tamsin (Happy Birthday!), my favorite craft services girl who can whip up the best snacks in no time. Is there a better place to learn hair and make-up tricks than from the gals and guys working hard inside that warm, and coffee stocked, hair and makeup trailer? I could go on and on about the many great people I learn from everyday, but recently I am inspired by my friend and colleague, Julie O'Neill, who has been working hard at raising awareness for one of my favorite causes: animals.  I met Julie while working on various feature films over the years, such as: Mean Girls, Get Rich or Die Tryin'...etc. Months ago after a much needed break from looking at peoples' baby photos and Florida vacation albums on Facebook, I clicked onto Julie's profile and was taken back by the beautiful photos she had posted of the work she has been doing at an animal shelter in India called Animal Aid. My curiosity got the best of me and I contacted Julie to find out about her passion. I am so grateful that she agreed to do an interview with me for my blog because as a true animal lover and recent vegetarian, I'm a firm believer that a little enlightenment can go a long way.
Julie O'Neill has been around dogs her whole life and has always felt comfortable around animals. "My mother was a dog breeder and we usually had a litter or two on the go at all times. I spent more time playing with puppies than I did with other children. As I got older all of my school projects were about animals and those that devoted their lives to saving them." Before even setting foot in India, Julie had been a vegetarian for many years, after the realization in her 20s that she was basically eating meat because everyone else was, "I decided to follow my heart instead of the crowd." Now a decade later after spending time with the cows in India, and coming to the conclusion that they often suffer more than animals that are killed for their flesh, Julie has become a vegan.
Julie's biggest inspiration growing up was Dian Fossey, an American zoologist who undertook an extensive study of gorilla groups in the mountain forests of Rwanda for 18 years before being murdered in 1985.
Julie jumped at the chance to volunteer at Animal Aid four years ago while traveling in India, after discovering their website online. Just as her two week stint was coming to an end, Julie fell and broke her foot while taking photos of a passing parade. Realizing she would not be able to continue her travels through the country until her foot healed, Julie was invited to stay at the home of the founders of Animal Aid, Jim and Erika. "I witnessed first hand the trials and tribulations that come along with devoting your life to saving animals in a country where it is not anyone else's first concern. After a month of living with these wonderful people and spending everyday surrounded by so many sweet angels, I was hooked." When Julie's cast finally came off, she decided to stay put at the animal hospital in the tiny village and before she knew it a year had gone by before she returned home to Toronto. Now Julie goes back and forth from Canada to India approximately every six months. As I have learned from some rough times that I have gone through with my own dogs, animals cherish their lives just as much as humans do, if not more. Julie too has been privy to witnessing many animal miracles. "I have learned in India that animals can recover from incredible things if given the chance. The biggest miracle that I have witnessed is the miracle of love. Most of the animals that come into Animal Aid have never experienced love from a human before. I can not count the number of animals that looked as though they would not survive and after receiving some love from the staff and volunteers at Animal Aid, their conditions completely turn around." Julie also adds that there have been many lost human souls that have staggered into Animal Aid and the reverse can happen. "The same can be said for humans. Animal Aid has received many humans with wounded souls that the love of an animal was able to treat." In the four years Julie has spent going back and forth to Animal Aid, there have been huge changes. One of her biggest goals was to get the Indian staff to be more comfortable with the animals. "Even inside the animal hospital the local staff were frightened to touch or to get too close to even the cutest and weakest puppies. I decided to do all that I could to change this. I promised myself I would stay until I was comfortable leaving the animals in their care. Well that goal was accomplished long ago, but I am just too in love with the animals, the people, and the place to leave for good." Julie sites the most important aspect of Animal Aid's work to be education others. It is true that the most effective way to bring about change is to make other people aware of what is going on and how to help out. "The plight of animal suffering needs to be brought to people's attention before things will change. Although Animal Aid is doing amazing work rescuing hundreds of animals each month, the real goal is not have to rescue any."
Unfortunately, the cost to run a division of Animal Aid out of Toronto, which Julie hopes to do one day, is extremely expensive. First hand, I know from the negative experience I had with Toronto Animal Services after my dogs and I were attacked by a German Shepherd, that they too are extremely understaffed and in need of more funding. It can be very daunting to think about how much more work needs to be done to keep animals safe even in a city like Toronto. However, someone like Julie, who doesn't sit around thinking about what she can do to help, or talking the talk, but actually is paving the way to make change happen is a true inspiration. "Volunteering for Animal Aid has changed my life. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to help animals. I just didn't know how to go about it. Or maybe I just wasn't ready to give up too much of 'my life'. Now that I am involved in helping animals, 'my life' is so much more full and meaningful." 
It is the perfect time of the year to stop and think about others, whether they have two legs or four. I feel so privileged to know someone that is really taking matters into her own hands to help create a better place. "I am not sure what kind of impact my actions have on changing people. I know that animals suffer needlessly everyday because of the choices people make. If spreading awareness about these issues can ease the suffering of animals then I sure am going to try."
If you are interested in learning more and donating to Animal Aid this holiday season, please go to: www.animalaidunlimited.com
It is a very worthy cause. Also if you have further questions for Julie about Animal Aid or are interested in volunteering there, please contact her at: julieoneillphoto@hotmail.com.  Remember as Elmo and all of our other furry animal friends from Sesame Street sang "Just one small voice can teach the world a song."
HAVE A HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON EVERYONE!!

Love and Silver Linings
Andrea Dana

Monday, November 22, 2010

Just a Hop, Skip, and a Jump Away!

I am getting seriously close to reaching my goal of reading 100 books for 2010. I've now completed book #90 and with only a little over a month to go before this year's end, I am quite confident I can do it.
A lot of people have mentioned to me that they want to join me in 2011 in making it their goal to read 100 books as well and it makes me really  happy that there are still people that are able to see the joy that reading can bring. Video games and Reality Tv, you will not defeat us!! For those of you that haven't read one book this year, why not make it a goal to read one before the new year? I swear you will feel great after....and if you don't well it's one step towards better spelling on your friends' Facebook walls.  I am planning on making this goal into a charity event for 2011. Similar to the MS read-a-thon, but for both kids and adults. I will also have some celeb support involved in it, so I'm really excited.  Just working out the details, so check back early in the New Year for this information.
So here is another updated top 10 list. If there are stars beside it, that means "I liked it... I liked it a lot" (say it in the voice of Jim Carrey from Dumb and Dumber.)
1. Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers ****
2. Timbuktu: A Novel, by Paul Auster****
3. Amen, Amen, Amen: Memoir of a Girl Who Couldn't Stop Praying, by Abby Sher****
4. Thin is the New Happy, by Valerie Frankel
5. The Book of Awesome, by Neil Pasricha****
6. The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein****
7. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak****
8. The Heights, by Peter Hedges
9. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith (an oldie but a goodie)
10. Birds in Fall: A Novel, by Brad Kessler****

Have a great week everyone and Happy Reading!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thank God for YOU!!

By "YOU" I mean all those that came out on Thursday night to help make my book launch a very successful event. It was such a blast and I was not expecting so many people. When one of the employees came back to tell me not to come out yet because they had to put more chairs out, I was shocked.
It felt so great to have so much support from all walks of my life and amazing to see people that I hadn't seen in probably over ten years. (Thanks Facebook for that one). It was such a surreal and magical experience and I look forward to my launch in LA and New York in the new year.
If you couldn't make it out and still wish to purchase my book(s), you can get it at Indigo Manulife Centre or order online at Indigo or Amazon, or Barnes and Noble etc. etc.
Special thanks to Rob from the Chanel counter at Holt Renfrew Bloor Street for doing my makeup. I've been with him for years and he ROCKS!! Also to my close friend Megan Vincent for taking professional pictures on Thursday night. She is also the photographer of my author picture on the back....and of course to the pretty blonde girl that was standing at the back with the baby stroller, Jordana Lieberman-Hay, who has done my cover for both books now and we are already discussing the third. I have gotten so many compliments on it and she really did a fantastic job.
Of course last but not least, again to all of you that came out (some even from out of town).......THANK GOD FOR YOU!!!

Love and Silver Linings
Andrea Dana

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It's Ouuuuut!!!! (to be sung to the tune of "They're baaack"--from Poltergeist

I'm super excited to announce the release of my second novel "StarSitter: Thank God For You!" If you are in the Toronto area, please feel free to stop by Indigo Books at the Manulife Centre at 7pm tonight where my Canadian launch will be taking place. If you are in the LA area, a launch will be taking place in January (date to be determined).  If you can't make it to the signing the book is available online at Amazon, Indigo, Barnes and Noble, and tons of other online book sites. It is also available at Indigo. My StarSitter series would also make a great holiday gift, and as someone who's on her 87th out of 100 books for 2010, obviously I'm a big advocate for reading. You can check out my other blogs for other great recommendations. I have just returned from LA and there's a lot of exciting things happening with StarSitter that I will talk about in the next few weeks, but for now I am so grateful to everyone who has made this event possible. It means so much to me how people have really stepped up to the plate for me over the past couple years. I apologize for letting my blog slip for a while, but I have been so busy working on set, I haven't had time to post. However, keep checking back because I have an amazing and inspiring blog coming up about someone I have worked with
                      Hope to see you all tonight!
                     xoxo Andrea Dana

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I Am 17 Going On 18.......

Ahhhhh election time. It's the most wonderful time of the year. All the people crawling out of the woodwork trying to figure out which campaign to follow and who to vote for. Yes, I am one of those confused souls that sadly enough understands the US elections better than the Canadian ones. This year I decided to make a conscious effort to try a little harder and set myself straight with my own peeps. So what happens? I jump on the Rocco Rossi wagon and he friggen drops out!  Back to the drawing board. In high school it was so much easier. Everyone voted for the person that had the coolest campaign and gave out the best stuff. Who could forget the Dj dance party in the circular driveway at York Mills Collegiate, or the free cotton candy and baked goods in the courtyards. Those people always had my vote. Could you imagine if nominees ran their campaigns like they did in high school?
"Hey George Smitherman is giving out free fizz-wiz and kit-kat by the Eaton Centre" or "Rob Ford promises to give every person in Toronto a Roots leather vest if he wins." Or if both of them "Punched up!" for Toronto, Enrico- style? (that's a York Mills joke for those reading)
Sigh....one can dream can't they.
Yesterday, I had a great experience with one Toronto campaign for city councillor. There was a knock on my door and I opened it to find two older women standing on the other side of it carrying tons of pamphlets and notebooks. Campaigners!
"Is your mom home?" one of them asked.
"Um, no," I said.
"Oh, well are you old enough to vote yet?" she asked. SAY WHAT????? At this point I knew I had two options. Say yes, and have to listen to their boring spiel about why I should vote for her for councillor, or say no and go back to watching my shows that I was watching on PVR.
"No, not yet," I said, upping the tone of my voice to make me sound a bit younger.
"Okay, how many more years until you are 18?" she asked. If I worked in an office, this is the point where I'd say to myself "none of the guys in the office are ever going to believe this one."
"I'll be 18 next year," I answered.
"Okay great. Then I guess we'll be talking to you next year," she laughed. Then the other woman who had been pretty much silent up until now said,
"So there's an Ellen Eisen, an Andrea Eisen, and a Stephanie Eisen registered at this address." Uh oh!
"Yes, well Ellen's my mom and Andrea and Stephanie are my older sisters, but they aren't living here anymore," I said. Both women smiled.
"Okay great, well here's my information that you can give to your mom and we'll be seeing you in the future," she said.
"I can't wait to vote!" I said with excitement, before closing the door. I was on a high for the rest of the day and I'll tell you one thing, that woman definitely has my vote for  city councillor this year!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Next Top 10

Don't get excited boys. I'm not about to announce the next 10 top girls in your city or country. I'm talkin' books here. I am quickly approaching #70 out of the 100 book challenge I have taken on for 2010. This has been quite an interesting experience for me. I have had great conversations with so many different people about books. I was really happy to see the number of people reading on set this summer. Two of my top ten were recommendations by emmy nominee Michael Sheen, whom I met on the set of "Jesus Henry Christ" this past summer. His suggestions were"Cloud Atlas," and "The Wind Up Bird Chronicles," and are now two of my new favorite books. We were both excited that because they are both 500 pages, they count as two books. I also had one recommendation from both Drew Roy and Noah Wyle called "Shantaram." I have not yet gotten to this one, but it is on my to-read list.
I am having so much fun with this challenge. I feel like I am learning so many new things. I'm really connecting with other readers and out of all the healing I've done, healing thru books has been by far the most helpful to me. Although, I must admit, Sangria was also a close friend of mine this summer.

So here is my next top 10 favorite books (in no particular order)

1. Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell
2. The Wind Up Bird Chronicles, by Murakami Haruki
3. The Slap, by Tsiolkas Christos
4. Camp Nurse: My Advetures at Summer Camp, by Tilda Shalof
5. Open, by Andre Agassi
6. Shit My Dad Says, by Justin Halpern
7. This is Where I leave You, by Jonathan Tropper
8. Without Reservations, by Alice Steinbach
9.  Beyond Hitler's Grasp: The Heroic Rescue of Bulgaria's Jews, by Michael Bo-Zohar
10. The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss

Sunday, September 12, 2010

StarSitter: Thank God For You! (Synopsis)

Everyone keeps asking me what my new book is about, so I thought I would post the synopsis here for you to read. I'm looking at a release for sometime in October and a book signing in November when I nail down a date with Indigo Bookstore. By the way, love my cover? My friends Jordana Lieberman Hay and Amy Levine did it! Now then, here you go:

   




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                



             A drunken-dial from a fallen teen queen?
·                             Spray tanning in a boutique clothing store?
·                            A disastrous first pitch at a Chicago Cubs game?
Thirty-year-old Grace Daniels’ life comes full circle when she receives a phone call from the publicist of former Hollywood it girl, Maddy Malone. Fresh out of rehab, Maddy is returning to Chicago for a part in a low budget Indie film and discovers that her former guardian is now the host of her own talk show, called As Good As Grace. Having already rejected both Oprah and Ellen’s pleas for an interview, Maddy decides that her first public appearance ought to be on Grace’s show instead. When the two are reunited, Maddy is shocked and enticed by the new and improved Grace. It seems that Grace has cultivated a new image with her recently highlighted hair, hot boyfriend Jesse, and expensive designer duds. Maddy is acutely aware that Grace has moved on up, Jefferson –style.

Grace is also astonished by some distinct changes in Maddy since they were last together. For instance, Maddy, once consumed with haute couture, now shops at the Gap and resorts to selling her old designer bags to the crew on set when she needs extra cash. Even more surprising is the revelation that Maddy has also essentially dispensed with her freeloading and attention seeking mother, who, she explains, due to a Botox mishap only came to visit Maddy once while she was in rehab. When Maddy’s hotel reservation is lost, the perpetually self sacrificing Grace makes a split second decision to help her and finds herself in even more ludicrous adventures with her young protégée. Overwhelmed and sleep deprived, Grace struggles to keep Maddy afloat while the young starlet comes to terms with the fact she is no longer dazzling the paparazzi on the red carpets or wowing them at Cannes. As they embark on this journey together, both Maddy and Grace learn that sometimes in life, stepping up to the plate and helping others can be your ticket to salvation and the true path to glory and fame.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"What I did this Summer," by Andrea Dana

As the first day of school is upon us, lots of kids will be writing this essay.  However, if I was still teaching in classrooms, I think I'd change the title to, "What I learned this summer." I mean, anyone can list off things like: Wonderland x10, summer camp, and backpacking Europe. I'm more interested to know how a kid's education was furthered by the activities he/she took part in. It's not just because I'm a teacher, but because I learned a few things about myself this summer too. You see, for the past year and a half people have been telling me how "strong" I am for the things I have gone through, which I seem to always reply "Really? You think so?" I never feel like I'm so strong. I always feel like I'm just doing what I have to do. I mean, I guess I could lie down on the floor and never get up again, but what good would that do?  In my opinion, when you are forced into a situation that is beyond your control, you'd be surprised how much strength you have. A lot of people have said "I don't know what I'd do if one of my parents died." The truth is, they'd do exactly what I've had to do. Keep going.  What I do believe is that there is a difference between being strong and being brave. From what I have learned this summer, being brave takes a lot more strength than being strong does. Therefore, this summer I learned how brave I am. Not only did I make the decision to put my sixteen-year-old Lhasa Apso, Charlie, down. That took strength, but I also made BRAVE decision to not leave his side while it was done. I held him and hugged him while the vet put him to sleep in my parent's backyard by the swing. I really surprised myself with that one. At first, I didn't think I'd be able to be present to watch my best buddy die. I anticipated that I'd be screaming, crying, and to be honest, puking. I felt so much guilt that I was taking Charlie away from my two other dogs, Lucy and Molly, and was terrified over how they'd react over it. (they weren't present when Charlie was put to sleep) I'm not going to go into detail about the process of euthanasia, but to say that it is probably the most humane and peaceful way for a living being to die. The time frame from the injection to Charlie's final breath probably took twenty seconds at the most and within that last breath I could feel his sigh of relief. He fell asleep. Just like that. No more suffering. No more pain. Afterwards, my good friend Wendy directed me to a link that she thought would be helpful. It is the story of "Rainbow Bridge." I wanted to share this with you, and strongly encourage you to read it and definitely share it with anyone you know who has lost a pet. http://petloss.com/rainbowbridge.htm
I'll be honest, I'm not trying to toot my own horn, but I was really proud of myself that I went through with such a selfless act. I had gotten to a point where I knew that I was holding onto Charlie so that I didn't have to suffer another loss in my life.
I am so thankful to still have  Lucy and Molly, who have been a huge comfort to me and have barely left my side. It makes me want to go storming back to that hoarder shrink that I went to see, Dr. NOT Oprah and say to her, "Hey Big Edie (that's a Grey Gardens joke). This is why I have so many dogs!!!"

A few days after Charlie passed away, I went with my cousin Marla and two of her three children to Centre Island. I am sure I hadn't been there in over twenty years. As we got off the ferry, I felt like I had stepped into a time warp. I don't think anything had changed since my last visit there, other than the fact that I no longer fit into those little fire engine cars that I used to drive on the tracks as a kid. However, I am happy to say that I still fit into the logs at the Log Flume Ride...and yes, I went on it three times, got soaked, and loved every second of it. I felt so nostalgic that day. I had spent a lot of time at Centre Island as a kid in the 70s. My dad used to take us there all the time. We even had a little sailboat docked there that we'd take a ride in, if my dad could remember where he had left it, or how to even sail it, but those are small details.
I learned something else while I was on the train ride that takes you around the island. The same train ride, that as a kid, seemed WAY longer and the island seemed WAY bigger. I was sitting with my little cousin Kaia, who's five-years-old, and as we went along the tracks, she pointed out other rides she wanted to go on. We both got excited as we saw all the animals on the little farm. As we went through the tunnel, all the little kids let out shrieking screams of excitement mixed with fear to be in the darkness. Kaia gave out a few little yelps and then poked me in the arm and said, "Look Cousin Andrea there's the light at the end of the tunnel!" Talk about an eye-opener. It was indeed the light at the end of the tunnel. The one I've been looking for, for the past eighteen months. Marla and I laughed over the irony of it, but something inside me finally clicked.
I was lying in bed last night thinking how my life has become so psycho. One day I'm putting my dog to sleep, the next day I'm doing an interview on Etalk Canada. One day I'm at my dad's unveiling, the next day I'm partying it up with Noah Wyle, Peter Shinkoda, and the rest of my "Fallen Skies" friends. So really what have I learned this summer? Life is full of many ups and downs. I can't have one without the other. However, when I accept the brave decisions I need to make, live in the moment and believe everything will work out eventually, maybe I won't need a five-year-old to point out the light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe next time I'll be able to find it myself.
So as you all go back to school, back to work, or just get that same end of summer dread that you get every year, try to think about everything you learned this summer. Whether a teacher asks you to write it down, or not, somehow store it in your memory and keep on going.

Monday, July 5, 2010

100 Books For 2010

I have recently taken on a challenge with my friend Rebekah to read 100 books for 2010. Since we are already half way through the year, we are just doing it as our own personal goal. However, for 2011 we plan on doing a charity event where other people can take part. So stay tuned for that. Since I began this challenge, it has become a great topic of conversation and I have found myself talking and thinking about books non-stop. I was at a friend’s Birthday party two weeks ago and was talking with a friend when my friend Sarah, also a reader and a teacher, came running up to me telling me to come join her conversation because she’s talking to a librarian. A librarian! These days that’s almost the equivalent to telling me she was talking to God, but way better!
I’ve had a lot of people asking me for book recommendations and to please write a blog listing my most favorite books I’ve read so far this year. Right now I am at #35 out of 100 and Rebekah is at #44 out of 100. So we have each made a list of our top 15. Some of them are the same and as you will see we have similar tastes in our selections.  So without further to do, here are our top 15 lists (in no particular order).

  
Andrea’s Top 15:
1.       Little Bee, by Chris Cleave
2.       The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion
3.       A Complicated Kindness, by Miriam Towes
4.        Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson
5.        The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, by Mark Haddon
6.        The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery
7.        The Art of Power, by Thich Nhat Hanh
8.        The Friday Night Knitting Club, by Kate Jacobs
9.         Let the Great World Spin, by Colum McCann
       The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters, by Elisabeth Robinson
        The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, by Mary Ann Schaffer
        The Help, by Kathryn Stockett
        Sarah’s Key, by Tatiana deRosnay
        A Three Dog Life, by Abigail Thomas
        Broken Open, by Elisabeth Lesser

  Rebekah’s Top 15:
1.       Not That Kind of Girl: A Memoir, by Carlene Bauer
2.        Bobbed Hair and Bathtub Gin: Writers Running Wild in the Twenties, by Marion Meade
3.        Committed, by Elizabeth Gilbert
4.        A Wolf at the Table, by Augusten Burroughs
5.        What French Women Know About Love Sex and Other Matters of the Heart and Mind, by Debra       Ollivier
6.        How We Decide, by Jonah Lehrer
7.       Intimate Terrorism: The Deterioration of Erotic Life, by Michael Vincent Mille
8.        The Road, by Cormac Mc. Carthy
9.        The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, by Mary Ann Schaffer
        The Liars’ Club, by Mary Karr
        A Girl Named Zippy, by Haven Kimmel
        The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, by Mark Haddon
        Slow Motion, by Dani Shapiro
        Run Catch Kiss, by Amy Sohn
        The Rum Diary, by Hunter S. Thompson

           Feel free to put any recommendations in the comments box. I still have 65 more to go and         Rebekah has 55. 




15

Friday, June 25, 2010

Dr. Forget Me Not!

I apologize for the delay in continuing with my blog, but I have been busy working on two shows this past month and hadn't had a chance to update you on my shrink progress. Unfortunately, there has not been much progress, other than the fact that I'm starting to think these doctors may be more in need of help than I am.
I never made another appointment with Dr. NOT Oprah, although it is still in the back of my mind that I might go back. My family doctor, who was appalled when I had told her what had happened, decided that I must move on and referred me to a psychiatrist in the outpatient clinic at the North York General. I am a bit apprehensive about going to hospitals, mostly because of how much parking costs there, but I figured it was worth a try. As I walked into the waiting room I was immediately greeted by a middle age Asian woman who yelled out at me "You're Gorgeous!!" Obviously, I went and sat beside her, and felt so good as she kept repeating how gorgeous I am. That is, until an old woman with a cane, probably in her early hundreds, walked in and the lady beside me blurted out to her how gorgeous she was too.
My first two appointments with Dr. Forget Me Not went quite well. She was a breath of fresh air after what I had recently experienced. I felt like she really got what my issues were, and did not once reprimand me for not being married with children as Dr. Not Oprah had.
Since I was starting on set the next week, I told her that I would call in to make an appointment once I had a better idea of what my schedule would be like. On my way out I noticed the Asian lady still sitting in the waiting room beside a very agitated man telling him how gorgeous he was.
A few weeks later when I had a free day, I was able to make an appointment with Dr. Forget Me Not for 1:45 on a Thursday. I was slightly annoyed when the receptionist said she'd only be able to see me for fifteen minutes? Fifteen minutes??? Seriously??? So basically I'd have time to put my purse down, push my sunglasses onto the top of my head, and then when she asks me how I'm doing I wouldn't even have time to give my answer before she said time's up. But, I figured she had been helpful at my previous two appointments with her, plus it was worth it if the Asian lady was there to tell me I was gorgeous, especially since I'd been having negative feelings about my hair in this humidity.
Unfortunately, Dr. Forget Me Not wasted the first ten of those fifteen minutes trying to remember who I was. She had no recollection of me. When she came out of her office and called my name and I was who appeared before her, she had a blank look on her face.
"You're Andrea?" she asked.
"Yes, hi," I said, thinking she was expecting another Andrea, not that she had no clue who I was.
"Oh, I haven't seen you before, right?" she asked.
"Yes, you've seen me. I mean, you haven't seen me in a month, but you've seen me," I replied.
"Really? Okay come in." We walked into her office and I took a seat while she went through her file trying to trigger her memory. I sat there in shock.
I kid you not when I tell you that I have looked the same since I was three years old, other than the fact that I now have boobs and better eyebrows. How could she not remember me? Isn't this part of her job. I seriously would like to see the criteria to be a psychiatrist these days. I think the rules have changed since the days of my ancestors. Finally it dawned on her who I was.
"Oh right, you're the one that wrote a book!" she said. I wanted to tell her well yes, that's who I am, but that's not why I am here.  However, then I decided that if all I was to get out of coming to Dr. Forget Me Not was a book sale or two, then at least my royalties would pay for my hospital parking.
Needless to say, I'm not sure if I will go back or not. I may take a little break from shrinks for now and  stick to bibliotherapy, which is the name I use for healing myself through reading. I will talk about that in my next blog.
Happy G20 weekend everyone!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dr. NOT Oprah


My family doctor sent me to a new therapist, who she thought would be able to help me deal with my grief better than “Oprah.” When the new therapist, Dr. NOT Oprah, called to schedule an appointment with me, she seemed like a very sweet woman. I even got the feeling that she was somewhat spiritual, and was I excited for our first session. She worked from home, located on a nice street near my old High School. Her house was noticeably the most decrepit one on the street and as I pulled into the driveway, I thought I had stepped onto Gray Gardens during the hoarding years. There was garbage everywhere, and unkempt vines growing all over the house. I didn’t want to judge her because of this. Maybe she was too busy curing grief to deal with the state of her home. I opened the side door and was immediately hit by the stench of a mix between smelly feet and curry… not one of my favorite flavors. I sat down in the tiny waiting room and barely had time to read the chart about depression on the wall, when suddenly a girl came out of another room, dashing past me and crying. I didn’t pay much attention to it, thought she was just crying ‘cuz of the smell. I went on reading the depression sign and eagerly waited my turn. Dr. NOT Oprah came out to get me and directed me into her office where I was told to sit in a broken chair instead of on the dusty couch. I had to concentrate on keeping my weight mostly in my feet so I wouldn’t fall through. I felt like it was an exercise in meditation, focusing on the present by not breaking my neck. Dr. NOT Oprah immediately picked up a pad of paper and started writing, before I even spoke a word. Then she asked me some information about my health card, address, phone number etc. Next question was:
“Are you single or married?”
Me: Um, single.
She paused to write down some notes on that. The she looked up and stared at me.
“So why was it so urgent that you come and see me?”
Me: Well it wasn’t urgent, but I’ve had a rough time lately. My dad died…..
 She cut me off. “When did he die?”
Me: In January.
She started counting the months on her fingers, then glanced up and removed her glasses.
“Your dad died in January and you’re STILL upset?”  I was quite taken off guard with that comment and for a minute wasn’t sure if she was serious.
Me: Um, yes I am still upset. It really hasn’t been that long.
She leaned in closer to me. “Why aren’t you married?”
Me: Pardon?
“Why haven’t you found a husband yet?”  I was silent, having flashbacks to that girl who had told me it must be so awful to go through a loss when I don’t have a husband. Dr. NOT Oprah continued. “If you had found a husband in your twenties like you were supposed to and had your own family, you wouldn’t be so upset about your father dying.”
I let out a noise, which was half-laugh and half-gasp.
Me: I think I’d still be upset whether it was four months or four years.
 She ignored my question. “Why aren’t you seeking a husband?” she yelled at me.
I decided to give her what she wanted.
Me: I’m seeking, I’m seeking!
Dr. NOT Oprah continued to glare at me, writing things down in her notes. Finally she changed the subject.
“What do you do for a living?”
Me: I’m a teacher. I work in film on movie sets and teach the young actors that……
“I don’t understand this. What board do you work for?” she was yelling again.
Me: I don’t work for a board. I’m self-employed.
“You don’t work for a board? If you worked for a board you’d be making over sixty thousand a year. How much money do you make?”
Trust me, I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried.
Me: I don’t discuss the amount of money I make.
She continued writing down notes on her paper. Probably saying how I’m unwilling to cooperate or something. She looked up and gave me an evil smile.
“What else happened to you that you’re having such a rough time?”
Me: Well I’m still sort of recovering from the trauma from a German Shepherd attacking my dogs and I.
She raised her eyebrow.
“Dog-Sa?” with emphasis on the ‘s’ and then a short vowel after.
Me: Yes. Dog-Sa
“How many do you have?”
Me: 3
At the same time her mouth and pencil both dropped.
“YOU HAVE 3 DOG-SA?” she roared. I was a bit taken aback by this.
Me: Um, yes.
“Why do you have 3? Why do you need so many dogs?”
Me: I’m an animal lover. I like dogs.
“How did that happen? How did you end up with 3?”
I have this thing that when someone is telling me off, who is not living a life that I envy, or is not any sort of role model to me, I can’t take what they say seriously.
I was sitting in a broken chair, in a dirty house with this crazy woman screaming at me. It was the best therapy ever. I had never felt so normal in my life. But boy, if you don’t have a good sense of humor or a thick skin, this woman could really damage you. Who knows what she had said to that girl before me to make her cry. I let out a big sigh and glanced over at my blackberry to check the time.
“I think you’re very needy.”
Me: Excuse me?
She started waving her finger at me.
“Here you are crying over your parents, when you should be out having your own husband and own family.”
Oy, we were back at that again. I laughed out loud this time.
“You’re laughing, but it’s true.” More laughter. I looked around for Ashton Kutcher’s cameras. I was for sure being punk’d. It was definitely a good joke though. Dr. NOT Oprah glanced at her watch.
“Well our time is up. So this is how I conduct my sessions. Would you like to make an appointment for next week?”
Me: Hmmm. Why don’t I think about it. You know take a couple days to digest all the solid advice you gave me.
I got up to leave and she said,
“I think you have a lot of potential, Miss Eisen.” 

On my way home I told my friend from “The Centre,” about my appointment. As appalling as it was, we still laughed our heads off and made many jokes about it. The reactions my friends have had to this story are almost as great as the story itself. Everyone wants me to make a second appointment and I’m sort of considering it to see how much further she’ll take this. She is such a great character for me to write about that I feel I need to pursue it more for my career.
I was out for dinner a few days later with my favorite new friends Julie and Andy. After I told them the story Julie asked me if my dad was a funny guy. Did he have a good sense of humor? I told her he was really funny. He made everyone laugh. She told me that maybe he was somehow sending me to these therapists “Oprah” and Dr. NOT Oprah to help me heal through laughter. It was such a great way to look at it and such a silver lining. I told her I couldn’t have said it better myself! 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

DUMPED!!!

           We’ve all heard it before. Things like, “It’s not you, it’s me,” “I just don’t feel like we’re a good match,” “I just don’t think I can be what you need me to be,” and of course the best one of all, “I just can’t help you, or give you what you need.” Sound familiar to you? I thought so. Now let me ask you this. Ever heard those words from your SHRINK? Those were the words I heard as I sat across from my shrink a month ago with my mouth gaping open.
             I first started seeing “Oprah,”  as I liked to call her, last year just after my grandmother died. I knew I was going to need help coping after experiencing such a huge loss in my life, so I got the referral from my family doctor. Obviously, I am not someone who is afraid to admit it when I need help and with so much available today, I think there’s something wrong with people that sit around and let their issues fester. After one session with “Oprah” I thought she was “The One.” She really helped me through some difficult times. She had compassion when I talked about my grandmother, tears in her eyes when I described the vicious dog attack, and we laughed out loud together when I told her how the "LifeSucker" called me on set at work one morning (he of course doesn’t work) and screamed at me that I must be bipolar and psycho because I go to a therapist.
            So where did it all go wrong? Well, I was very nervous to tell “Oprah” that my dad died. I felt like every time I went to see her, some sort of disaster had struck me and I was nervous this one might throw her over the edge. I decided I better call and warn her what I was coming in with, so I left her a message telling her what had happened. Turns out, it was a good thing I had alerted her to my situation as it really shocked her and gave her time to put a few thoughts together for me. However, after one session, I realized our dynamics had drastically changed. Ironically, it happened to be around the same time that I found out that the real Oprah had announced her own show would be coming to an end. Go figure.
            For the next three or four sessions, I would come in and take my seat, say a few words and pray for the old responses I used to get from Oprah. Instead she would just sit and stare at me and nod her head. Now, believe me, I’ve become accustomed to people not knowing what to say to me, but like, isn’t she a trained PROFESSIONAL?  Couldn’t she have just referred back to an old textbook or something? Say a few nice things that would encourage me to get back on track? Finally, the day came where I had to seek other sources to make myself feel better (see my past blogs). I unfortunately made the mistake, when I was starved for conversation, of telling Oprah all the new things I was trying. Apparently you are not supposed to tell your shrink that you’re feeling better through spiritual and natural healing. That seemed to be the open window she was looking for to dump me. She made it seem like I didn’t need HER anymore. I was like really? You think so? I’m only going through the WORST time of my life to date, you think I no longer need to come here? Finally after all the hooing and hawing, I gave up. She clearly did not get A’s in grief counseling, and that’s what I needed. I decided to swallow my pride and march right back to my family doctor in search of another referral…..and boy did she send me to a character that I am convinced stepped right off of a Seinfeld show. Stay tuned for Part 2 of DUMPED, because you deserve to laugh, even if it's at my expense :)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Ajahn Brahmavamso Mahathera....Who???


            I was on the elliptical trainer at the gym last week listening to my ipod, when a cute trainer walked by and asked me what I was listening to.
“Um, oh, um, Drake,” I lied.
“Cool,” he said with a smile, walking away. Of course I had to lie to him. How could I admit that I wasn’t listening to some cool singer of the new millennium, but instead was listening to a podcast talk on Trauma and tragedy, by the Buddhist Monk, Ajahn Brahmavamso Mahathera. I’m not kidding when I tell you he is my new obsession.  I am learning so many helpful hints from his talks to get myself back on track, and his dry sense of humor is totally both appreciated and needed. Currently Brahm is the Abbot of Bodhinyana Monastery, in Serpentine, Western Australia, the Spiritual Director of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia, Spiritual Adviser to the Buddhist Society of Victoria, Spiritual Adviser to the Buddhist Society of South Australia, Spiritual Patron of the Buddhist Fellowship in Singapore, and Spiritual Patron of the Bodhikusuma Centre in Sydney. His simple and logical ways of looking at situations have really drawn me in. He covers so many topics in his different podcasts that no matter what you are coping with, you are sure to find something that you can relate to.
Some examples of his talks are: inspiration,
                                                  finding meaning in life
                                                  relationships
                                                  helping children overcome problems
                                                  self discipline
                                                 death
                                                dealing with pain
and so on, and so on………….
    
     Listening to his talks has been another stepping stone on my path to feeling like myself again.  So how did I find this guy, you may ask? I was tipped off by my acupuncturist, Lisa Quaning, who works out of The Russel Hill Chiropractic Clinic. Trust me, initially when she recommended that I listen to these talks by Ajahn Brahmavamso Mahathera, I made a face and laughed. However, while trying to find some balance and peace in my life, I tend to lean towards people that are doing well in achieving this themselves. I prefer to learn the tricks of content people, rather than having to take those painful phone calls from people who are so tangled up in their own web, that they need to lecture me about my life to make THEMSELVES feel better. 
     Now don’t get me wrong, just because I am loving the Budhist ways, I’m not going all Chrissy Snow-Rama Mageesh on you. Nor will  I be guzzling down a big glass of grape Kool-Aid anytime soon. However, I am learning to come to terms with things in life that can't be prevented, and trying to set myself on a better path of hope. If you are also looking to find an easier way, than at the very least give my boyfriend Ajahn Brahmavamso Mahathera a try. The budhists are definitely onto something, and if  you are willing to open yourself up to a little change than every little bit can help. 
Here is the link to  Ajahn Brahmavamso Mahathera site. You can also download his talks for free on itunes. 

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Healing Process (Part Two)

My list of things that have been assisting me in the healing process:
1. Books: I highly recommend "Broken Open," by Elizabeth Lesser. In this book Lesser bravely explores the "Phoenix Process," or positive life change that can emerge from very difficult life events. I also would recommend "I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What it Was," by Barbara Sher. In this less intimidating version of What Color is Your Parachute, Sher reveals how to "recapture long lost goals, overcome the blocks that inhibit your success, decide what you want to be, and live your dreams." It is the perfect book for anyone trying to make a fresh start in any area of their life and needs inspiration to do so. 

2. Intuitive Healer: Last May, my friend Kacey Goodman Siskind suggested I go see an intuitive healer named Tara Antler. She rents space out of Spynga, a yoga and cycling studio in Toronto run by Sari Nisker and Casey Soer. The session consists of a healing massage where she reads your energy and instills light and guidance in you. Every time I go to her I come out feeling like a million bucks, with restored faith and a great energy. 

3. Fish Oil and 5HTP: Before two weeks ago I was popping a mixture of atavan and chlonazapan in the same way one would devour a large layered butter popcorn at the movies. My panic and anxiety have been so out of control the past few months that those were my only saving graces. However, after a conversation with my wonderful naturopathic doctor, Dr. Regan Tessis, she suggested I try a mixture of fish oil and a supplement called 5HTP. Both help to combat anxiety and have dozens of other health benefits to them. I am proud to say I am now two weeks drug free of my anxiety meds, and am definitely noticing a change with these supplements. I do suggest you go and see a naturopath doctor before starting on any supplements, to make sure you get the right ones for your body. 

4. Exercise: I mean it's a no-brainer right? As Reese Witherspoon said in Legally Blonde "Exercise gives you endorphins-- endorphins make you happy and happy people just don't shoot their husbands...they just don't." Everyone has their own thing they like to do. Mine happens to be swimming and most recently yoga. I try to do both as much as possible, but here is a tip....if you are suffering from anxiety, do NOT do Hot yoga. I made this mistake when I went to a class with my good friend Elise. I ended up puking my guts out after. The two do not mix well, unless you are also looking for a get-skinny-quick regime. 

5. Talk to the Right People: In other words choose a few people that a) you feel comfortable talking to about whatever has happened and/or  b) people who have gone through what you are going through.  For the latter, these are the people that  understand. They can assure you everything will be okay and  share their own experiences and give advice. Let's face it, there's never the right thing to say and always the wrong thing. Since my Dad died, I have heard it all from...."It must be extra hard to be going through this when you don't even have a husband." to.....(freaking out) "OH MY GOD, I CAN'T EVEN IMAGINE IT HAPPENING TO ME." ....um, yeah, so when you have come to the fork in your road, try and stick with people who can sort of keep it together and offer a stable shoulder to cry on.

6. The Russel Hill Chiropractic Clinic: When I hurt my lower back while skating, back during the Christmas Break, I was referred to Dr. Michelle Fagen, an old friend of mine who owns The Russel Hill Chiropractic Clinic.  I have always been skeptical about doing icky things like having my back cracked, but I can assure you that I have barely felt pain since my series of sessions with Michelle. I highly recommend her. After telling her about what has been going on in my life, she referred me to Lisa Quaning for accupuncture, who also works at the clinic. The few sessions I have had with Lisa have been very therapeutic and if you have a fear of needles, take note that you can barely feel them. Go see Michelle and Lisa. Run!  

7. Pets: Robert Bault once said "The difference between friends and pets is that friends we allow into our company, pets we allow into our solitude." If you've been following along with my previous blogs, you will have learned I'm an animal lover. Dogs happen to be the pet of my choice, however, cats, snakes, birds, fish...whatever pets you may have, seek comfort from them during hard times. Sometimes they are all we need to get out of bed in the mornings.

8. Kids: No matter their age, they always know what to say because they are so in touch with their feelings. They name their emotion. If they are happy, they say they are happy. When they are sad, they say they are sad. Adults don't do this. Due to my job, I happen to know a lot of kids of all ages. Nothing touched me more than when the little girl I was tutoring on "Happy Town," Sophia Ewaniuk, didn't want me to drive home from St. Catherines one morning after we finished filming because I wasn't feeling well. She told me that "You need to listen to what your heart is telling you to do, and not your head." I ended up staying over in a hotel and going home later on that day because I didn't want her to worry. There is also the little boy who lives on my street, named Victor, that made me something at school because he knew I was "sad" when my Dad died. You can read that story here

9. LA: Everyone has their get-away of choice where they seek solace. Mine happens to be with my LA family. These are friends that I have accumulated over the years starting with one of my best friends Jonathan Bennett, who I met on the set of Mean Girls six years ago. LA has been a great escape for me over the past few years. Whether I am lounging by the pool at Sky Bar, managed by my beautiful friend Ali, spending a day in Venice with my talented friend Liz, tearing up the town with one of my favorite partners in crime Sarah, or begging the hottest Jewish guy I know, Jesse, to propose to me, I am guaranteed happiness whenever I am there. I highly recommend a vacation to help you de-stress from whatever you may be going through.

10. Time: Last but not least, as cliche as it may seem, "Time heals all wounds." These were the words of a friend that had emailed me when my Dad died. His own Dad had died when were were in High School, so I know those words of advice must ring true. It becomes a waiting game, this time thing, but I've learned now that as I'm waiting for it to pass the most important thing I can do is try and become stronger so that next time I'm knocked down, it will be a little easier for me to get up. Last night, as I got weepy when I bumped into my friend Leah at a play, she reminded me that "this too shall pass." They are words to cling to throughout this healing process and perhaps will continue to guide me in finding these silver linings, as well.

Please feel free to share your own thoughts or experiences in the comments section.

Love and Silver linings
 Andrea Dana

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Healing Process (Part One)


    
    I was in LA last weekend to write an exam for obtaining my California High School teaching credential. I will be honest; I didn’t think I was going to be able to get on the plane. I have suffered so much anxiety and panic since last March, and my father’s recent passing really put me over the edge. The fear of flying was almost too much for me to handle. Here's my year in review.
   Exactly one year ago, on March 9th, my grandmother, Tillie Leslie in her 96th year, passed away. It was the day after my Birthday and was the first of many life-changing events that would occur for me in 2009/2010. At the time I was blogging for sweetspot and had written a tribute to my Grandmother. It is still posted online here: http://www.sweetspot.ca/SweetLife/andrea_dana/7704/one_sweet_life/.
   A few weeks later I began tutoring on a TV pilot called “Happy Town,” which will be airing April 28th on ABC. Due to the late night/early morning shoots, in the cold weather, I ended up getting sick. By the time we wrapped in early April, I was having really bad chest pains and respiratory issues that lasted for months. I continued to suffer from these health problems while filming “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.” While I was on set one day, tutoring the greatest stunt boy of all time, Riley Jones, I started reading a book called “Skinny Bitch,” which is a guide to becoming a vegetarian and all the health benefits one can achieve by doing so. I was so desperate to try anything that might help, that right then and there I cut out all meat from my diet, minus fish. In no time I was feeling a lot better. My chest pains went away, I could breathe better, and I had more energy than I had in years. It was obviously a very positive life change. Emotionally, I was still trying to heal from the loss of my grandmother who had been one of best friends and greatest supporters. 
    In June, as I was starting to feel a little better about it, I was stunned by an accusation made by the LifeSucker about something I clearly didn’t do. He then went on to try and slander my name around town and make me look like a “crazy, psycho.”  Months later, and after filing for slander and liability (just in case), I found out that not only had he been pulling similar stunts with other girls for years, but he had in fact made the whole accusation up in order to save a “meal ticket.”  Obviously, my name wasn’t too tarnished around town and I wasn't too concerned after hearing other people's stories.
     Things were pretty quiet for me after that, up until I found out I no longer had a job teaching piano. How did I find this information out? A kid I know happened to be at the music store and heard someone on the phone talking about me, refusing the caller piano lessons with me because I no longer work there, The guy said he had no idea how to get in contact with me, which was sort of classic considering I had bumped into him a day earlier outside of Second Cup. However, since I was already back on set working full time on “Happy Town" series, I wasn’t too disheartened by that one. Plus, that meant I could teach piano privately and make more money doing so. 
     A week later I had bigger fish to fry, when a German shepherd attacked me at the top of my parents street. Two of my three dogs were injured, with my dog Lucy barely making it out alive. You can read about that here: http://andreadanasilverlining.blogspot.com/2010/02/dog-attack.html
    After that, I was granted two months to recover, and then got knocked right back down again with the death of my dad at the beginning of the New Year. I’d like to say that was the icing on the cake, but a few weeks later it was topped off by my great uncle, Moishe Appleby, dying. This meant the end of a generation for my dad’s side of the family and so much more sadness was endured due to it.
   So now here I am, still standing after all the crap and trying to heal as best as I can. Tomorrow I will give you my extensive list of things I have been doing that have been helpful for me and enabled me to get on that plane last Thursday. I hope that if you are going through a rough time, or have suffered any type of loss in your life you will find my list helpful. There are also a lot of things that are NOT helpful which I will write about too, so stay tuned J
It is inevitable that everyone at some point is going to suffer, and it is so important to have those tools in place for when that time comes. I’ve learned the hard way that you never know when the bad times are going hit.