Moooom – He’s Bugging Me!

The pushing. The pinching. The fighting over the television.

Whether you were the one yelling out in anger or the one causing the frustration, you all know what I’m talking about; Growing up with a sibling.

For those who didn’t catch wind – yesterday was National Sibling Day. A day to celebrate those younger or older brothers and sisters who not only made growing up a living nightmare, but who you always knew, no matter what, were there for you.

I wanted to take this opportunity to give a shout-out to my only sibling: the younger, now 21 year-old, business student, guitar-playing, sport-loving, philanthropic, fraternity president. The guy who has been there for me through the thick of it all, no matter how annoying I was. My amazing brother Jason, whom I love to death.

Jason and Jessica in the Dominican Republic

What’s funny is that if you had asked me how I felt about my brother years ago my response would be very different. Between him always calling me names, fighting with me over who would choose what our mom made for dinner, to him coming into the living room to change the channel on the television, evennnn though I was watching a tv show we both liked…. if you had asked me years ago how I felt about my little brother, I would have told you I wanted to put him up for adoption.

Now, all these years later, we actually make a point to talk, hang out, and party together. Who would have thought?

I attribute most of this change to the fact that we no longer live together. I began to see a difference pretty much as soon as I moved out of the house to go to university. While he’d still bug me a little bit (out of habit, or tradition, I suppose), we generally began to enjoy each other’s company on the weekends and during the summers that I’d be home. I was a tad worried that when he started at the same university that I went to, and when he joined a fraternity that my sorority hung out with, there would be some issues. Luckily, we just enjoyed spending even more time together. (Well that, and he enjoyed me driving him around the city.)

Jason and Jessica at Alpha Gamma Delta

I think, however, that what solidified our newfound friendship the most was having to experience the loss of our father. It was heartbreaking for both of us, yet in very different ways. I can only imagine how much more difficult it had been for him, being only 17 and having to step-up and become the man of the house. He has done so with grace, dignity, and intelligence.

I have to say, though, that even when we were younger, and when I wanted to strangle him almost every day, the little guy could step up. When I was dealing with the extreme symptoms of Crohn’s disease and basically not able to function, he was there taking care of me. Even though he just a little squirt, he was on top of my care by making sure the hot water bottle I needed for my pain was warm and that I drank those awful meal replacement shakes I had to have to keep my nutrition up. Jason really showed his strength when I’d be admitted to the hospital for weeks and months at a time and he’d have to stay home, only having one parent around because the other would be with me. He didn’t complain. He didn’t lash out. He was just there.

I can’t believe I’m about to admit this, but I literally teared up as I wrote that last sentence.

I value family more than anything in the entire world, and I think that having Jason in my life is the reason why.

Love you, brother.

Jason and Jessica

Have You Noticed the Increase in Weight Loss Commercials Recently?

Welcome to the New Year and to that gnawing feeling at the bottom of your stomach that you don’t think you’ll be able to keep your New Year’s Resolution.

The amount of weight loss commercials has increased on television recently in order to recruit individuals hoping to keep their New Year’s Resolution of losing weight. Pretty clever, huh?

(Also, did you know that fast food and restaurant commercials are more frequent late afternoon, right before dinner time? I learned this when I was put on bowel rest for the first time when I was 11 and wasn’t allowed to eat for 7 days. I paid very, very close attention to those commercials..)

But I digress!

I bring up New Year’s resolutions because I have been thinking about mine. Yes, it has already been over a week since the New Year began, but I needed some time to think.

After much soul-searching, deep thought, and sleeping on it- I have come up with 3 resolutions for the new year:

1 I will graduate NYU by the end of the summer and find a coveted job.

2. I will stay as happy as I was when the New Year began.

3. I will devote much more time and energy to the success of Uncover Ostomy.

My first resolution is not too much of a stretch. For those who do not know, I have already planned out the courses I will be taking in my graduate program so that I will finish the 2 year program at NYU in one calendar year. Assuming I do not fail any of my classes, (which I’ve never done before), this will be done. I knew this resolution was too simple, so I decided to add the second part of the resolution about landing a (super awesome) job. I am hoping that by graduating out of this program, I will be able to find myself a job that I actually enjoy and that will pay the bills (a girl can dream, right?) It was this time last year I was determining my future for the coming year, so it is only fitting that, now, I begin to think about the next year to come.

My second resolution may seem silly to many, but to those who know me, it is definitely not. Since my father passed away over 2 years ago, my life had sort of revolved around a cloud of unhappiness. I wasn’t overly unhappy, but I definitely wasn’t as happy as I could have been. I was, I would describe as- overwhelmingly pessimistic with a hint of sarcasm. I was suffering a loss, I was stressed with school, and people in my life were not making it easier. It is not surprising that I was unhappy, I suppose.

Slowly, over the past couple of months, that underlying unhappiness that was within every snide remark or negative comment I made has disappeared. Some have even told me that they can see the happiness exuding from my skin or from the words I type over facebook chat. You may even say that I am a pleasure to be around now (maybe.)

Much of this happiness has been attributed to the fact that stresses from school have lessened dramatically. I am learning practical and interesting things that do not require me to write 5, 15 page long essays per semester on the same, yet not the same topic. (I cannot even tell you how many different ways I wrote essays on the media’s power to disseminate messages to the masses. See the parallel with my opening statement now?) I am really enjoying my studying, making it much easier to handle.

My happiness also stems from the people around me. My family, for one, has grown stronger and happier since the sad loss of my father. While lost family members are never forgotten, they become easier to handle as time goes by. The holidays are always a hard time to deal with the loss of important people, but this year it was more of a year to celebrate memories, then morn a loss.  It was wonderful seeing my family so happy this holiday season. It brought out a happiness in myself.

The majority of my happiness, as a lot of people have pointed out that they have noticed, can be accredited to my boyfriend. Though I don’t get to see him very often, knowing that he is in my life has made me wonderfully content. During the holiday’s, I was able to spend a full 2.5 weeks with him, maximizing the time we had together. While I was in Toronto, he accompanied me to holiday dinners with my family, we spent the rest of the holiday’s together at his place in Florida with his family, and then we rang in the new year together in NYC. My New Year’s Resolution is to maintain this content feeling- this happiness- that I have gotten from him for the entire year.  As long as he remains in my life, it won’t be hard.

My third resolution is focused on this campaign. Since its launch, Uncover Ostomy has only been growing larger and stronger; successfully spreading ostomy awareness. While we’ve been doing great things together over the past little while, there is so much more I want to do.

We all know that the vast majority of the UO audience are those who have ostomies themselves.  While I am ecstatic to have so many devoted participants in this campaign, it is only half the battle. As you know, UO is a two tiered endeavor: to spread acceptance of the ostomy to those with them, and to teach those without them what they are. So far, the second tier is lagging behind.

Over the past few months, I’ve come up with ideas that I really believe could break Uncover Ostomy into the public realm. The fact that I live in NYC has given me a geographical advantage to reach a wider audience than before and I believe that what I have in mind can do that. While my location may be ideal, and my ideas pretty freakin awesome, my ability to make use of them is not quite as easy as I had hoped. I have two main obstacles stopping me: time and resources. While I worked to get over these obstacles by setting aside time to find resources, I plan to work even harder at it in the new year. Unfortunately, my endeavors so far have come up pretty unsuccessful. I have gotten many hollow promises of help, if not complete rejections. Hopefully, more by devoting more time to this search, I will come up with something.  I have great ideas for us, but it’s hard to get anything done when you do not have the money to do it.

I think the three diverse resolutions I have given myself for the 2012 year will be good for my mind, my heart, and my soul. I am going to work hard to enhance my skills and build my career; I am going to maintain the happiness that exists in my life from the people who I am surrounded by; and I am going to work even harder to find ways to spread awareness for our great cause.

As I conclude this post, I hope that my resolutions have given you some inspiration for your own. I hope for you, in the 2012 year, that you will work hard to advanced yourself in any way you can, whether it be through more school, finally quitting your job and finding one you really love, or taking up that hobby you have been dreaming of doing for a while. I hope that you will find, if not maintain a happiness that makes you wake up every morning with a smile on your face, happy to have special people in your life. I also hope for you, in the 2012 year, that you will help Uncover Ostomy continue to spread awareness. We have accomplished so much, but still have so much more to do.

Friends, let go of that gnawing feeling because, this year, you will keep your New Year’s Resolution.

Happy 2012 <3

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(Sidenote: This post started out on the topic of weight loss commercials because I was eating pickles, and noticed the pickle jar said that 1.5 pickles were 0 calories and then I thought, if I ate only pickles for an entire week, I could essentially not ingest any calories and then a weight loss commercial came on and then I remembered I needed to blog. Whoops.)

 

7 Days, 4 Classes, 2 Projects, 2 Exams Later…

…And I’ve finished my first semester at New Y0rk University.

You may be thinking, “Wait, she’s done already? There were no posts full of endless whining, no incoherent posts due to essay writing fatigue, and there were no posts at 3am with late night ramblings ..What?”

I am shocked myself.

This past week has been the most overwhelming, yet most calm exam period of my educational career. Despite the complexity of the projects and the material I was to study, I found it a surprisingly palatable week. The projects were actually kind of fun, despite the stress of getting all the work done on time, and the exams were not that fear inducing.  Perhaps this was all because I actually enjoyed what I had learned over the past few months.

On Tuesday, I had a group project due, for my Social Media Management class, that required us to create a social media strategy for a company in need. Considering I am a social media strategist, (oh yeah, if you didn’t know that about me, I am), the project was a way for me to practice my profession.

On Thursday, I had an individual project due, for my Building a Brand class, that required me to rebrand a brand identity that was in need. Now I am not a designer, but I have found myself to have an back for branding. At least from this project I have. I spent 3 weeks putting together an entire brand redesign from the research to the brand brief, to the actual images, to its specifications (including math!), to create a final product. I had never done this before but it was great experience. (And I think I did well!)

Friday was much more stressful than those of the previous days- It was my Managerial Finance exam! I had studied as much as I could while completing the other two projects and felt quite comfortable in my knowledge. I was comfortable, that is, until I saw how much math was on the exam. I do know I passed so there’s no stress there.

Today I had my last exam in Management. I had studied all weekend, with the exam being worth a whopping 85%, but I wasn’t nervous. I had paid attention and participated in every class and had quite enjoyed the material I was learning. Though I didn’t know a few things on the exam, I still know I did well.

The main reason this exam week was so stress free was because I actually enjoyed everything I was creating, compiling, learning, and studying. This stuff is real, useful, and pretty fun. I mean, the class titles even sound enjoyable. (Well, to me at least…)

I’m not knocking my undergraduate education, but I have to say, I am finally learning the things I want to learn and the things that will prepare me for my future career.

I have just finished packing my suitcase for winter break; something I am greatly looking forward to. This year, however, I am not looking forward to it as a stress reliever, but am simply looking forward to seeing friends, family, and my boyfriend. I will only have 4 days in Toronto, as I am heading to Naples, Florida with the boyfriend and his family. After only a few days there, however, we will be heading back to NYC so I can-yes- start school again.

Yup. I am taking a course over the “winter semester.” 3 intensive weeks of one class for 3 credits staring Jan 3rd. Then I start again on January 23rd.

Why, you might ask?

While I greatly enjoy learning what I am in this program at NYU, I have also learned- maybe from the program itself- that I am ready to join the workforce. After careful planning and consideration, I have decided to  do this 2 year program in one calendar year. It will take a lot of time, dedication, and studying, but I am ready to put these skills to work.

And make some money.

In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the holiday season with the ones I love.

Happy holidays everyone!

Also, we have surpassed 3,500 people on the Facebook Fanpage! So exciting! Remember to keep inviting your friends!

Time is Relative.

I’ve officially been living in New York City for a month now.

I have been living here for 4 weeks- 30 days-720 hours.

Nope.

No matter how I do the math, it still feels like I’ve been living here for 3 days.

These past few weeks have flown by-probably because of the whirlwind of activity I’ve experienced.

I started classes, I met tons of new people, I ran around for fashion week, I enjoyed a random street fair on my avenue, I’ve seen a couple movies, I listened to a few guest lecturers, I (fun Grossman) went out for my roommates birthday, I did some shopping, I met with my program director, I read and took a lot of notes for my classes, I did a few assignments, and I have taken a few days to sit back and watch tv in my PJs.

Somehow, I feel like I did all of that in 3 days.

I guess the old adage, “time flies when you’re having fun” is true. Or maybe what they say about time flying when you get older is true… Whether it’s one or the other, I can’t believe how fast this month has gone by.

Well, it felt like time was speeding by… until I woke up this morning.

This morning I woke up knowing that I will be home in less than a week.

In 5 days- 120 hours- 7200 minutes, I will back in Toronto for a visit.

Why? Whyyyyy is it that when you are excited beyond belief for something, it seems so much farther out of your reach?!

It’s been a month since I’ve been in my house, spent time with my mom and brother, or seen my boyfriend. I was fine with it until this morning.

Right now, itfeels like I’m running a race and I’m at the end and I can see the finish line straight ahead, but I am so exhausted, so drained, so tried, that getting to that line seems impossible. Luckily, I can’t stop time so I will get to the finish line eventually… it just feels like forever away.

It’s only a Saturday away.

Am I nuts?

This feeling kind of makes me wonder if I should position myself to constantly be looking forward to something big. I mean, the feeling is overwhelmingly stressful and draining, but I know it’s worth it. Most of all, I know it slows down time.

Figuratively speaking, of course.

According to my clock, I’ve been writing this blog post for half an hour-30 minutes- 1800 seconds.

It feels like I’ve been writing it for 2 hours.

Saturday cannot come soon enough.

What are you looking forward to?

The Grossman’s Take on Ribfest!

It almost seems a distant memory; the “bowel rest” stage of my disease.

When my Crohn’s disease had gotten particularly horrible, around when I was 12, I was put on “bowel rest.” Bowel rest essentially meant that I wasn’t allowed to eat. I was put on either an 8-meal-replacement-shakes-a-day diet, or no diet at all. The meal replacement shakes were meant to give me something to pass through my stomach, but the copious amount of liquid in me made the permanent IV feeding, that I had a few months later, much more appealing.

Last night, I could barely remember what that time was like, as I shoved amazing saucy ribs into my mouth.

Family dinner, last night, was at Toronto’s Ribfest event. Ribfest is a carnival featuring BBQers from all over North America showcasing their fares and competing to win coveted prizes. It’s also a chance to try a hundred different types of ribs in one place. Also known as Jessica’s Heaven on earth.

My brother had been once before, so he acted as my guide through the various booths and options.

My god, were there a lot of options.

Ok, so I know this sounds extremely unlady like of me- Ribs? Eating with my hands? Sauce ALL over my face? It was very unlady like of me, especially since my normal meal menu consists of neat, meatless cuisine like salads and tofu. Ribs, however, are my secret obsession, and every once in a while I enjoy them. Like, really enjoy them.

Last night was one of those necessary unlady like times, as I tried 3 different kinds of ribs and even went back for seconds on some… I know, right? Me? Seconds? Oh yes.

Once in a while, obviously not to go overboard, I try to enjoy my favourite foods as much as I can. It’s not just because I’m healthy and can safely eat these things, but because I can never be too sure if I’ll stay this healthy forever. I could get sick again, who knows? Crohn’s disease likes to come back when it’s least expected. Keeps life interesting, right?

All I know right now is that my ostomy has given me my pass to enjoy the foods I love.

Next stop,  Toronto’s Taste of the Danforth! Whose in?

I Don’t Think This Even Deserves a Title

In 7 days I will need to have accomplished:

  • Celebrating my brothers birthday with him… a night out at a bar..
  • Writing 4 essays
  • Packing up my entire room to move out of my sorority house
  • Not having my brain explode

I realize the first one isn’t a stressful event, in fact, it sounds quite enjoyable. Unfortunately, when I have 4 essays to write and I have to be there, it kind of is. I love him, though, so obviously I’m going to be there/I planned it…

I also realize this is a cop out of a blog post.

I also cannot stop thinking that I need to cite my sentences.

Pretty much, I’m blogging just to say that not only am I drowning in the sea of life at the moment, I won’t be able to swim ashore to blog again until I finish up the last week of my undergrad.

Wow, that sounds really weird to say…

If you can’t handle not hearing from me for a while, follow me on twitter:

http://www.twitter.com/jessgrossman

I can guarantee there will be some delirious tweets as the week comes to a close.

Enjoy.

——

PS there’s also a new video posted on the UO facebook fanpage

May the New Year Bring Only Joy

I’m back from a wonderful vacation in Jamaica with my mother and brother, and currently heading to London to spend New Year’s Eve with my boyfriend. It is this time of year that you must spend with the ones you love because you never know when the opportunity will disappear.

Over the past few years I have become very aware of this, with my grandmother and my father’s passing, but as of last night, the point was reiterated yet again.

Myself and my sorority sisters found out late yesterday evening that one of our graduated members had passed away. She was only 22.

This girl had been around during my first year in the sorority and then became one of my roommates when I lived in the sorority house in my second year. We had many great memories together.

Last year, we grew apart because she left the sorority and I was busy dealing with the loss of my father, school, and everything else a normal person my age has to deal with. I posted on her facebook wall but I never got around to actually seeing her. I always figured I had time.

Though I never make New Year’s resolutions, I decided that this year would be an exception. I have always know that I have difficulty keeping in touch with the friends I have made over the years. I always just expect to see them again in a certain situation, which I usually do, and it’s like old times. I realize that I can no longer make this assumption and must make the effort to stay in touch.

My new year’s resolution is to actively reach out to those that I have made friendships with so that I will never miss the opportunity to show them what they’ve meant to me.

Happy New Years, and may 2011 only bring good things.

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Video from my Jamaican vacation will be coming soon, keep checking.

It’s Cold.

Holaaaaaaaaaaaa

Yep. I’m back.

Arrived around 3:30pm into cold, cloudy, and snowy Toronto.

Great.

I don’t even know where to begin to describe my trip, but it was absolutely wonderful. I had a week of just lying out in the sun without a care in the world. It’s been a really long time since I haven’t had to deal with anyone or anything or any work or any studying.

I miss it already.

It was quite an interesting trip. We arrived last Monday afternoon, just in time to catch a bit of sun. My brother and I were placed in a room together while my mom had her own. Thank god for that because I only had to wake my brother up when I got to bed every night at…4am? [What? It’s vacation and I LOVE the beach at night!] Despite going to bed so late I still managed to get up around 9:30-10:30 am and walk to the beach for about 6 hours of sun. After sun worshipping was over, I’d go back to the room and shower and get ready for dinner. My mom’s only [and really, only] rule for the trip was that her and my brother and I had to eat dinner together, which we did. After dinner though, Jason and I would go meet up with our separate groups of friends that we had made.

I ended up meeting and hanging out with these 3 brothers from Windsor; Alex [16 But totally going on 21], Greg [19], and Brad [20]. They were really relaxed and really nice and it was refreshing to hang out and feel like one of the guys. The first few days of the vacation the resort was pretty empty so the 4 of us pretty much had a lot of space to ourselves. Not that we used it though- we just hung outside of the “sports bar” that they had there talking and drinking and eating way too many French fries.

After hanging out with these guys the first few nights, on Christmas eve- coincidentally- this really sweet girl Zoey that I know from home showed up at the resort with her family! By the next night, she and her older cousin ended up joining me and the guys to hang out. By the last couple nights more and more people ended up at the resort and the amount of people around grew exponentially. I’m kind of glad we left when we did though, because there were way to many people by the last night. I much preferred hanging out with a few people over the 15 or so that the group extended to be.

Obviously this is the summarized version of my trip. It’s almost impossible to type out everything that happened. But to HELP- I made a video :]

 

 

All I can say is that this trip was exactly what I needed to get myself ready for 2010.

2010 is bringing a new Jessica.

Jessica Grossman- 2010 Edition.

Watch out.

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PS; I know that people still DONT believe that I have an ostomy and I know that there’s a picture of me in the video in a bikini that you can’t even tell. So here, maybe this zoom in will show you I’m no ostomate wannabe

 

 

Au Revoirrr

Finally finished my last exam on Friday night… I failed it, but at least it’s over!

I’ve been home back in Toronto since yesterday afternoon but it doesn’t really feel like I have. When my train got in, my mom took me on a few errands and then we went to her first cousin’s house for a Channukah dinner. After that, I had a lovely visit from my friend Ashleyyyy who I hadn’t seen in a few weeks. Then crasheddd in my very small single bed.

I didn’t wake up today till 2:30 [yesssssss 14 hours of sleep]. It was needed, though, considering I had only slept like 20 hours the entire week before-thanks exams. And now I just got back from dinner with my mom and bro and Bubbie [grandma] and am just hanging out, watching tv and such while counting down the hours until I leave for the Dominican! My mom and bro and I leave our hosue at 3:30 tomorrow morning and get to our resort around 1pm. I cannot waittttttttttttt.

This is the first winter break in 3 years that I’ve gotten to go on vacation. Every winter break before I’ve worked and hung out at home. This is way better.

It’s going to be weird though. I’ll have absolutely no communication with anyone for a week. No computer, no blackberry, no facebook and no email. It’ll be good though. No communication with the outside world and therefore, no stress.

Complete isolation.

So excited.

Anyways, while I’m gone I’ll be taking lots of pictures and video that I’ll post up here.

In the meantime, I hope everyone has a lovely Christmas and fun time with the family.

Be back on the 28th :]

“Blog Detailing My Life”

A few hours ago, my wonderful friend and sorority sister, Amy, left me a facebook wall post telling me she liked reading my philosophical blogs and that my posts detailing my life were good too, especially when she’s procrastinating from studying.

Well right now, I am procrastinating as well.

Because I love Amy soooo much I’ll give in and write vent.

It’s nice to know someone actually likes when I detail my personal life. At first, I thought people found it annoying. Maybe some do, but if at least one person actually likes hearing about my life, well that’s good enough… I guess. Well whatever, I’m going to do it anyways.

Where to start…

Well, I’m currently procrastinating from studying for my 4 exams this week. I have one Sunday night, Monday afternoon, Wednesday afternoon, and Friday night. Shoot me?

The two back to back on Sunday and Monday are going to be awful, so I’m not looking forward to those. My Wednesday one isn’t too bad. My Friday one, well, I just have to get lucky-it could go either way EVEN if I know the material like the back of my hand [this one’s my honors class for my program and the prof and TAs decided they could mark howeverrr they liked even if you answered things correctly... gah]

The only thing getting me through exams right now is the fact that on December 21st I am flying all the way to Punta Cana with my mom and my brother for an amazing week of tanning, drinking, relaxing etc etc etc. I’m super excited. Especially since the fam hasn’t gone on a vacation in about 3 years. Every winter break since 1st year I’ve gone back to Toronto to work at either Hollister/Abercrombie and Moxies, or in the case of last year-both. It will be nice to not have to work this time. It’ll also be nice to spend some family time together. Weird without dad- but nice.

One thing that sucks about this winter break is that I don’t get to celebrate the holidays with my family. Tonight marks the first night of Channukah and I’m… well clearly not home celebrating. No candles or latkas or driedles or anything for me…stupid exams… Ah well, I think tonight I’m going to my friend Lauren’s place to light candles together. If I get enough studying done that is…

To add more to the blog of my life, and since everyone in my life seems to already know, I might as well update the website on my relationship status- I am currently single. Again. And for some reason, my Facebook friends list decided to have a field day and comment on the change… Not very nicely I might add, so I had to delete [I still love you all, though]. I know I never really spoke much about my relationship so I wont go into detail, out of courtesy and so I don’t have to go into a very very very long explanation I’ll just say….the situation is unfortunate…

I’m not going to lie and pretend to be all super strong Jess like I normally do with ended relationships [that I get over in a day usually]. This one’s not like that. I am upset. I am mad. I am disappointed. I am sad. And I am very very worried. I just don’t like any situation where I can’t change things that clearly need to be changed. It’s a weird place to be in. I guess there’s nothing I can do now.

Except study for exams.

Ok sooo I’ve been taking notes on Chapter 6 in my textbook for a combined like 7 hours now and am STILL not done. Better get back to it…

 

Happy Channukah fellow members of the tribe <3

PS this post is dedicated to Amy