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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Just a Thought...

When the world says, "Give up," Hope whispers, "Try it one more time." [Author Unknown]

Welcome to Wednesday.  This is the final day of September and we're heading into the last quarter of 2009.  For many people, it's the eve of Breast Cancer Awareness month.  As I've told you, we've already been hard at it through September, raising money and spreading the word about the importance of self-examination and the need for funding.  It's a labour of love and never seems to end, but one day, one day it will.  And Sunday's CIBC Run for the Cure is just one day on the road to that goal.  Tomorrow, October 1st is another.

Tomorrow from 5 am to 9 am is our annual "Thinkin' Pink" show on CHFI.  Why do we do it?  To inspire you.  Not just to donate - which we hope you will at 416-872-2434 or even today through - but to remind us all of the fight we're in the midst of, and one that can only be won through research and dedication.

Don't worry - you're going to find tomorrow's morning show memorable for all the right reasons.  Of course, we'll have our regular features: The Scoop at 5:53 and 8:38, News Cruise at 6:18, Wise Guys at 7:11 and Ticket Blitz at 8:12 [all times approximate ha ha] - and naturally we'll give away a Sandals trip and play your favourite songs - but I want to tell you a bit about what's in store tomorrow.

This week we've already spoken to Gail Speers who, in 2003, was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.  That means cancer has spread from her breast tissue to her bones.  But now, in 2009, thanks to donations from you and people like you, she's not just surviving, she's thriving.  There is life for those who've been diagnosed with breast cancer - even the most serious forms of it - and that's progress.  It truly is.  You'll hear from Gail tomorrow.

We'll share some time with author and inspirational speaker Carol Ann Cole, whose "Comfort Heart" initiative has raised thousands for breast cancer research but, perhaps more importantly, has given solace to those who've needed it right across Canada.  Carol Ann is now past her second cancer diagnosis, having first gone through the illness at the same time as her mom.  Carol's mother didn't survive her battle with breast cancer and Carol Ann fights on for her, and for all of us.  She's also tremendously active in raising awareness for Willow Breast Cancer Support Canada.  Go to for more information for yourself or someone you love.

And then you'll meet a man you will never forget.  Chris Miller is a 38-year-old kindergarten teacher whose wife died of breast cancer at the age of 37.  Her passing came in July of 2008, just nine months after she found a lump during a routine exam in the shower.  Samantha Scully, whose picture you see below, was a wife to Chris for seven years.  She left behind her husband and their four-year-old son Charlie.  You'll hear from Chris tomorrow - how he's coping, what his days are like and how he's going to feel in Sunday's Run.  Here's his inspiration, Samantha.

Does Samantha's scarf remind you of a pink ribbon?  It sure does me.  And on Sunday I'll walk with Samantha Scully in my heart.  She's a woman I never met, but her husband was brave enough to step up and share his and his son's stories with us and, for that, he has our gratitude and admiration.  Little Charlie's going to be there too and Dad says he's very excited.  I'm walking for Chris and Charlie, too.

Tomorrow's show is for Samantha and Chris, for Charlie and Gail, for Allan and Lesley and Betty and Marg and Carol Ann.  It's for you and for your sisters, your mom, your grandmother and your daughters.  For our sons and fathers, too.  And we thank you, not only for sharing a special morning with us, but for making that donation to help your radio station to make a difference.

We understand if you can't join us in person in the Run for the Cure on Sunday - truly we do!  So please be there with us in spirit.  We'll hold our radio station banner high, and proudly host and emcee the event from start to finish - an honour we worked hard year after year to earn from the CBCF - and you will be right there with us by making a donation today at or by phone during tomorrow's show at 416-872-2434.

Please - call in.  Join in.  Tune in - and be part of a very special day in all our lives.

Thank you.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Just a Thought...

A commuter tie-up consists of you - and people who for some reason won't use public transit.  [Robert Brault]

Hiya - and welcome in to Tuesday.  Shot this yesterday at a downtown parking lot off Yonge Street.  Is it a wonder I'm confused half the time?

Well, let's hope today's weather is an improvement on yesterday's rain and winds.  There was a short respite during the midday hours when the sun tried to shine, but the drives into the city and back home again were pretty awful, weren't they?

I am in awe of people who get in their cars and crawl to work each day.  I'm sure if they - or you - could, you'd take the GO train or bus, or find another way to commute.  There's no doubt that the idea of working from home (or just retiring, if that's an option) becomes more attractive on a daily basis, but there you are, day in and day out, just turtling along on the brutal commute to and from your job.  I honestly don't know how you do it.  I would lose what's left of my mind.

A couple of weeks ago, Rob and I were due at 6:30 pm at the Varley Gallery in Unionville as we honoured our friend Allan Bell for his work in the fight against breast cancer.  We left Bloor and Jarvis at 5:15 pm.  Traffic heading out of the city (in our case, northbound) was impossible and despite Rob's best efforts, we found ourselves stuck on Warden Avenue with only ten minutes until our event was to begin.  To make matters worse, I was emcee.  So it's not like they could have started without us.

I was grateful to be able to call and tell the organizers that I'd run into a world of trouble just trying to get north of Highway 7, and that we were going to be cutting it very, very close.  Although I only got voicemail from every person I tried to reach - including the gallery itself - I felt just a little comforted knowing that we'd done our best to let people know we were in trouble.

It all worked out okay.  We got to the event a few minutes late, but it was delayed in starting (as most events are, probably by commuters like me) and we were all right.  Now, this Thursday, I have another event up York Region way (the Culinary Classic at Angus Glen, if you're still thinking of signing up for great golf and even better eats!) and Rob and I are already planning how to get out of downtown and up to Markham on time.  Wish us luck.

The point is, you do this every single day.  My idea of a commute is a few blocks to work each day or coming down from Bolsover at 3:30 am on a Monday, when my worst nightmares are drunks and skunks.  Fortunately, we've encountered far more of the latter than the former, but in both cases, I would hope they've already been taken out before we get to them.

Whatever your commute may entail, just know that Mike, Ian, Gord, Mary Ellen and I are grateful to be sharing it with you.  We can't improve traffic (and thank goodness we have Halina Balka to keep you updated on it) but we can do our best to make it bearable.  And thank you for letting us try to do that every single day.  Today we're lightening your load with the humour of Rick Mercer from 7:00 to 7:30 am (including the Wise Guys!) and Jann Arden plus an on-air performance of her song "Free", starting after 8:30 news.

Take care and have a good Tuesday.  You earn double points on all of our earning songs and features today, to get you twice as close to Sandals and Jamaica with us in November...where the only commute will be from your room to the the the golf the get my drift.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Just a Thought...

Hooked on Internet?  Help is a just a click away.  [Author Unknown]

Hope you had a wonderful weekend - I confess to having had the most laid-back and relaxed birthday, probably, ever.  Rob and I had tossed around ideas to go someplace or do something or dine somewhere but, in the end, all I wanted to do was just sit.  Just be.  Just relax in quiet and solitude and warmth with somebody who loves me.  And in the end, that was the cottage with Rob and it was just perfect.  Ahhh.  Bought a cake from Metro, opened little gifts through the day and just sat with my sweetie in front of a fire, catching up on last week's tv tapings.  Who could ask for anything more?

Well, some extra energy would be nice...I'm off to the naturopath today.  Haven't been there since last December, but I'm just running low these days and the busiest weeks of the year are ahead of me, so we'd better bump up my B12s or whatever he says it's gonna take!  Shame on me for only going to see him when the tank feels low.  I guess that's human nature though, isn't it?  Once the thyroid thing was under control and had been rebooted, I figured I'd be able to handle 3 workouts a week, a 4 am daily wakeup and the usual fundraisers and galas that pepper my schedule.  Nuh-uh.  So today we'll start finding out why.

I'm trying to adhere to my rules to limit work (I now only think about and work on the radio show during my waking hours - tee hee) and cut back a little where and when I can in terms of after-hour obligations.

But I opened my work e-mail yesterday to read that there are 42 "friends" who are waiting to hear back from me on Facebook.  Uh-oh.

I do have a Facebook account through CHFI - most everyone in radio does now - but I've never been active on it.  And I think I have a couple of valid reasons for that: I have my own website,  I write on it and post new events, etc. 5 days out of 7 and I can be reached through e-mail at that site or through CHFI.  Anybody who wants to know what I'm up to can read my journal, write to me, or listen to the radio show that I share with Mike Cooper every day on CHFI.  Do I need Facebook?  Should I get active on it?  And how many more hours will I spend on my worn-out little red Dell, with Rob sighing quietly from the other end of the couch or (yikes) the other side of the bed?

If it's up-to-the-minute comments/updates people are looking for, I have a Twitter account - CHFIErin is my name there - and I think that makes me about as accessible as anyone could possibly want, don't you think?  Please feel free to sign up and join me on Twitter.  I do enjoy tweeting throughout the day (and, as in the case of last week's Emmys, in real time during some shows and events) and keeping in touch with you that way.  Give it a try - it's fun, not time-consuming and, well, it's a great outlet for little thought blasts.

Well, time to sign off.  A big day in store: after some Thinkin' Pink interviews we have scheduled for after the show (which you'll hear on our special morning show Thursday), we're sitting down for a fun and lively chat with fellow Twitterer, singer Jann Arden.  You'll hear it -- and probably see it on line, too -- in a day or two.  Jann is also cooking up something VERY cool for CHFI at-work listeners (we'll tell you about that soon).

On tomorrow's show we'll be visited by CBC's Rick Mercer, honourary Wise Guy.  Don't miss that.  Oh, and we've got front row seats for Michael Bublé in our "Up Close and Personal" series October 7, for you to win with Michelle Butterly and Darren Osborne throughout your workday.  We sure do have you covered (and fyi, those two are definitely on Facebook)!

I didn't even mention that another week of Sandals/Air Canada Vacations daily trips to Dunns River, Jamaica will be given away.  Oh yeah, that!

Take care and have a good Monday.  I'll Tweet you later, and be back here with you tomorrow.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Just a Thought...

To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.  [Emily Dickinson]

Welcome to Friday.  Hope your week went well and that you're anticipating just the kind of weekend you need, whether that includes plenty of rest, hitting the markets or the mall, or just getting out and seeing where the day takes you.  I think I like those days best of all - no itinerary, no demands.  Just doing what you want.

We had an extraordinary moment on yesterday's show and I wonder if you heard it.  We announced the name "Diane Chin of Pickering" after the 7:30 news to win our CHFI Trip a Day Giveaway to Sandals Dunn's River Villagio in Jamaica.  She had 10 minutes to call (as always) and we waited for the phone to ring.  When we did hear from Diane, it was a stunner.

She was breathless from winning and after we'd congratulated her, she said she had to tell us something: just that morning, her 101-year-old grandmother had passed away.  She felt that this was a "sign" from her grandmother.

Well, it was one of those moments you know that, as a broadcaster, you'll always remember.  How do you cheer someone in one breath and then offer condolences in the next?  I hope we managed to do so with some semblance of grace, but my goodness, what a call.  Diane promised to bring pictures of her grandmother with her to Jamaica in November.

It just goes to show you how random life is.  One moment you're mourning the loss of a cherished family member - albeit celebrating, at the same time, her 101-year longevity - and the next you find you've won a stunning luxury trip from your radio station.  If life can turn on a dime, it most certainly will.  Here's a note from another listener who I will call "M":

"I too was teary eyed this morning as the winner of the Jamaica trip talked about winning in the midst of her 101 yr old grandmother's death. (I was raised by a single mother and my grandmother who died at age 86. Out of 36 grandchildren, I was blessed to have had so much of her time!)

"On another note, I have my 3 and 5 yr old kids trained to be very quiet at 7:30 when you announce the daily prize winner. Each day when my name isn't announced for the 10 grand in your hand contest, my 5 yr old daughter says "It's ok mommy. Maybe you'll win the trip!" This is, of course, her wishful thinking since we were in Jamaica two yrs ago for my sister's wedding and guess who loved it?

"Then, minutes later as we were rushing to get out the door for school, I found myself green with envy as I was able to answer many of the Ticket  Blitz questions today. I have wanted to see Cirque du Soliel for years and this show is playing in time for my birthday which is October 28th!

"How do I enter the ticket blitz contest for Ovo tickets?
I'm so pathetic!"

Okay, first off, you're not pathetic.  We're blessed to have promotions and sales departments at CHFI that come up with some incredible prizes ($1000 a day and $10G from Pizza Pizza, then $800 prize packs daily on the Wise Guys this week, to name just a few examples on top of Air Canada Vacations & Sandals).  No wonder you want to win.  And we want you to win, too.  Rarely does one caller go through the whole 10 questions on the Ticket Blitz, which keeps it both interesting and challenging (daily at 8:10 am).

We love our listeners - truly we do - and as we often say, we just enjoy rewarding your loyalty.  There are a lot of radio stations out there (or so I'm told!) and we want to stand out, not only for the music and (hopefully) the people who bring it to you, but for the fun, the prizes and the way we can change your life for the better in tiny ways every day.

Thanks for at least letting us try.  And in the next week you're going to hear of two very big names in music who are joining forces with CHFI to bring you some extraordinarily memorable experiences.

In the meantime, you have a great weekend and we'll talk to you here on Monday.  And again - thank you.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Just a Thought...

Live as long as you may, the first twenty years are the longest half of your life.  [Robert Southey]

Had a great "mom and dad" moment yesterday, listening online as Lauren did her first college radio show at Algonquin in Ottawa.  She did what we thought was a great job - especially for a first time out - and no, I'm not just saying that!  (Of course, as a mom, what would you expect, right?)  She later tweeted that she's "hooked" and, of course, we can relate.  Her hour sped by and I'm sure she can't wait for her next shot on the air.

More young talent was sent our way later in the day, in the form of the flawless ensemble of The Boys in the Photograph.  The youthful cast shimmers through the oftentimes dark subject matter of Belfast's troubles in the late 60's and early 70's.  But truly love (and talent) conquer and, once again, Toronto audiences are treated to a powerful theatrical offering.

It's the story of a group of football-playing buddies (and by football, I mean soccer) and the directions in which their lives go after a triumphant season - the climax of which is caught in the team photo to which the title of the musical refers.

Troubling and triumphant, sombre yet stirring, The Boys in the Photograph scores another winner for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Ben Elton.  As one would expect, the music by Lloyd Webber and book and lyrics from Elton prove both memorable and efficacious.  But for us, an emotional high point was the amazing Tracey Flye's choreographed dance/soccer scene.  It was an  uplifting and joyous moment in the first act, while the second act's wedding night scene is nimbly sweet and touching.

Hooray for Erica Peck, who's sailed from We Will Rock You and the role of Scaramouche, to the lead role of Mary in The Boys in the Photograph.  Here I am with Erica (on the left) during a backstage visit with lucky CHFI winner Wanda Jasinski...

While this is Erica in a more demure, but equally feisty role, as Mary McGuire.

For a young Port Credit woman who dropped out - or should I say leapt out - of Sheridan's musical theatre program for her first starring role (and now has two under her belt), I think there has to be an honourary degree in her future!

Without dwelling on a negative of Photograph (if you will), one tweak I do wish they'd make in the early going is to tone down the vividness of the large photos of individual players as they appear through the show.  They're so bright and lively that they almost look like spoof photos one might see on, say, Saturday Night Live while the theme for a made-up sitcom plays.  (A little sepia, perhaps?)  Minor criticism, but something that I thought detracted from the story and its overall mood.  Yes, the boys were indeed exuberant when they were happy young footballers, but somehow, the brightness of the giant pictures came across as less than effective.  (And since the word "photograph" is in the title, raising the matter isn't quite as picky as it seems.)

You should know that the theatre audience (being a matinee) was equally divided between much older season subscribers, and busloads full of high school students.  Young and old alike seemed to enjoy the show.  I know we did.

The Boys in the Photograph is on now until November 1st at the Royal Alex.  Enjoy this day and we'll be back to wrap up the week with you tomorrow.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Just a Thought...

Pay no attention to what the critics say.  A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic.  [Jean Sibelius]

Welcome to Wednesday.  A busy one today (as usual!) as Rob and I take in the matinee performance of Boys in the Photograph, the latest musical from Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist/book writer Ben Elton.  This musical was actually staged in London to great critical acclaim in 2000, but it closed a year later.  Since then, they've revised it to feature a more positive ending and have added three new songs.  Rob and I are both greatly looking forward to it, and I will have some thoughts on it here, tomorrow.

One of the greatest luxuries in a busy life - and one available to anyone for free with a library card - is to lose yourself in a good book.  I almost wrote "lose your mind", which is what I love to do: to step out of my head for a while and enjoy a good story.  I happen to be immersed in two different - very different - books right now and I wanted to share one of them with you today.  The author is someone I think is going to go far if he just sticks with it: Dan Brown.

Yes, of course, that Dan Brown, of The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons fame.  His latest best-seller, which came out last week and has already seen 2 million copies fly off shelves, is The Lost Symbol.  As the book begins, Dr. Robert Langdon's heretofore unmentioned mentor, Peter Solomon has been kidnapped by a villain with a god complex, who's sure that somewhere in Washington, DC lies the most powerful secret on earth.  Filled with twists and turns, Brown delivers much the same fare as fans devoured in his previous best-sellers.

For those who are not fond of his writing (and there are many) an improvement: this 500 page novel seems to have been graced with more editing than prior efforts.  While one tends to agree with the critic who said that reading Dan Brown is akin to being beaten over the head with an encyclopedia, I do enjoy the illusion of learning something while I'm being entertained.  And oh, The Lost Symbol is entertaining.

To Brown's critics, I can only quote this undeniable truth: nobody likes him but the people.

Will the people - or at least this people, er uh, person - like Boys in the Photograph?  I'll tell you here tomorrow.  Enjoy this day and thank you for coming by.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Just a Thought...

I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it....  People think pleasing God is all God care about.  But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.  [Alice Walker, The Color Purple]

I have something for you today.  Now, I know that we share most mornings together, but this time, let's do it literally.

You may have heard yesterday when I told you about the sunrise and that you just had to take a look.  Well, if you missed it, here's what we saw as the sun rose on the final full day of Summer 2009.

Our view from the studio is obstructed just a bit by a highrise so this photo (taken by my husband Rob) was shot from our condo near Bloor and Jarvis.  Is that not simply breathtaking?

If you want to share some more absolutely jaw droppingly beautiful images, you just have have HAVE to rent or buy the DVD earth.

The complete series is available from BBC, but last April, Disney released a movie-length version of this high definition film (narrated by James Earl Jones) that is so incredibly stunning that one could exhaust a thesaurus full of superlatives just describing the images that an army of 40 camera men and women captured in 200 locations around the world over five years in 2,000 hours.

From polar bears emerging from a winter's nap to a killer whale snapping up its prey, this is footage like you have never seen.  I guarantee it.  And don't miss the "making of" portion of the DVD.  Once you've seen earth you will crave the rest of this BBC series (narrated by Sir Richard Attenborough).  And don't sweat if you haven't got HDTV.  It's still absolutely stunning.

"Stunning" is not exactly a word I'd use to describe the Summer of 2009, but at least it ended with a few weeks of sunshine.  Today feels warmer than it ought to for the 22nd day of September, but if you're like me, you're just soaking it all up and clinging to the memories of warmth before we're bundling up and fighting the elements for the next several months.  At least we have some arborial beauty to look forward to - thank goodness for that - and we're being told that, because of the wet, cooler summer, we might just be in for a spectacular autumn.

I hope you were able to make some memories, take some pictures and enjoy the sweet season we call summer.  Newfoundland was by far the best part of my favourite season this year, and now I just look forward to the adventures that this one brings.  I know for sure that there's a trip to Sandals on its way - in less than two months' time - one good reason to look forward to November, anyway!  Hope you're in on it.

Take care, thanks for coming by, and tomorrow - one for the books!


Monday, September 21, 2009

Just a Thought...

Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.  [John W. Whitehead]

Hey - welcome in.  Hope you made the most of a spectacular final weekend of summer.  Yes, it was cool enough that we've put the flannel sheets on our bed already (and that's not at the cottage!) but, oh, it was pretty.

I took our camera to Ottawa for my visit with Lauren but we didn't really see much of the town except for Merivale Road in Nepean.  Didn't venture near the Parliament Buildings or the Gatineau Hills to look at leaves.  Instead, we just kinda hung out at her place, went out a few times for lunch and watched some movies.

Lauren gave me my birthday present a week early: a book called After I'm Gone (Thoughts, Wishes, Memories & Secrets to Share With Those I Love).  You're supposed to write things in it about yourself, your life, perhaps a few of your secrets and presumably where you've hidden the insurance policy, for your family to keep once you've passed on to the great beyond.  In her card, she wrote to me that it might seem a bit morose at first glance, but she wanted me to fill it out for her to have.  She even bought me a nice butterfly embossed pen with which to write.

Along with the book and pen, she gave me a little pre-loaded Starbucks card.  (She works there, you know, pulling about 30 hours a week in addition to her studies).  Because I'm challenged, she even wrote out instructions for me, in the form of a note that I am to keep in my wallet until I want to order a coffee.  It reads:

"Hello!  Could I please get a:

Decaf (or Half-caf) Grande
2 pump 
Vanilla (or whatever flavour)
(with whip) latte?

I know this is stupid, but so am I."

Give them your card and they'll automatically only charge you for a latte. L.

We had lots of laughs over the weekend, but I have to confess to feeling sad during plenty of moments, too.  Flying out of Ottawa (and what a lovely airport that is, truly) I felt as though I was leaving a part of me behind.  I guess I was.  But, oh, she's blossoming, and it's exciting to see, too.  Boyfriend Nathan is really doing well, too, so the pair of them are just unstoppable.

As I was writing this last night, she called to tell us she'd won a Mug award (her third) from Starbucks in Ottawa.  An employee recognition, this one was for her transition into the new store in a new city.  Couldn't have been prouder of her if she was appearing on the Emmys we were watching when she phoned.
But just wait - I guess anything's possible...!

Have a great day.  Don't forget - speaking of wins - today we begin our daily CHFI Trip-a-Day Giveaway to the spectacular Sandals Dunn's River Falls Villagio in beautiful Jamaica.  We leave in mid-November and your Air Canada Vacations seat awaits you - and so do we - as we continue to thank you for your loyalty to 98.1 CHFI.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Just a Thought...

Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.  [Henry van Dyke]

Announcer: "And itttttttttt's FRIDAY!"

(Applause sign lights up, crowd screams like Oprah's giving away cars...and fade...and cut!)

Okay - so I've got showbiz on the brain, what with everything that's happened this week in LA LA land, TIFF bringing the world's attention to Toronto, and the Emmy Awards coming this Sunday.  You can hear the best of the Emmys on Monday's show and, of course, we kick it all off at 5 am.  (Today we give away another CHFI Ten Grand in Your Hand; Monday we start loading an Air Canada Vacations flight in November to Jamaica.  Hope you have your passport.)

A couple of fun things to share with you today - some star sighting photos and a behind-the-scenes video.  First, a way for you to kick up your heels for a great cause this weekend.

I want to tell you that if you haven't got plans for this Sunday, late afternoon and into the evening, the gorgeous Palais Royale is host to a fundraising dance for Toronto Humane Society.  The fabulous Karina Zorn fronts an amazing orchestra which includes the legendary Peter Appleyard and you can find info and how to get tickets here (check 'Recent Announcements').  Karina is a friend and you are guaranteed a wonderful time.  Dust off those dance shoes and come out for a good cause, and enjoy the gorgeous vistas over Lake Ontario that the Palais Royale offers.  Please consider going and helping out a great cause.

So, living downtown as we do - mere blocks from all of the fanfare and fuss of Toronto International Film Festival - I couldn't resist taking along a camera when I ventured out for lunch earlier this week.

Saw possible mayoral contender John Tory crossing Bloor Street (thankfully, it was uneventful), but not within camera range.  I carried on a little further west and captured this shot of two publicity-shy VIPs (Very Inconspicuous Persons).  Hmm...look familiar?

Yes, okay - that's Mike and me - sitting outside and trying to soak up some late summer sun.  Got too chilly, though (and really, do we want to be bothered by the pesky paparazzi?) so we went inside and met up with co-producers of the massive media extravaganza we call the CHFI Morning Show (tee hee) - The General, Ian MacArthur, and Gord "The Rock" Rennie.

Later, Mike and I carried on with that "carpe diem" theme along with our highly significant others, when (after watching Oprah together - we're just that strange) we walked to the Danforth for dinner.  Again, it's all about soaking up every moment of summer.

What else did I have to tell you today?  Oh, I remember!  I wanted to share with you a Tweet from Lauren, posted this week:

My "ah-ha!" moment occurred at exactly 15:07 in Radio News Writing. Yesterday was the first day of the rest of my life.
She's totally rocking in the radio program at Algonquin and can't wait for this Wednesday when she has her first on-air shift at the college station.  I also started out in news.  In the early 80's there weren't a lot of other entry positions for women in radio, so I moved my way from news to the host side of the mic.  But if I had to, I could still write and deliver a newscast.  It's a great way to start out.

I am so happy that she's feeling like she's flying and wish this for every kid.  So many people never find what gives them wings; she is indeed a lucky girl.

So was I.  So am I.  Love to do what I do every day and am grateful to you for letting me do it.  Speaking of which - if you haven't heard our version of Black Eyed Peas' monster hit "I've Got a Feeling", well, you're missing something.  (What, I'm not sure, but it's something!)  Mike, Gord, Ian and I recorded our own CHFI Morning Show version and you can not just hear, but see it by clicking  the link below.  It was fun to do and we hope you like it.

Come back Monday and have a terrific weekend!  And I wish you Shanah Tovah (Good Year) if you're marking the start of Rosh Hashanah this evening.

Enjoy the Blue-Eyed Peas...


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Just a Thought...

There is no point at which you can say, "Well, I'm successful now.  I might as well take a nap."  [Carrie Fisher]

Good morning - it's Thursday and we're getting there.  Getting close to a record spell without rain, but more exciting - getting closer to a weekend.  Man, this is the busy season.  No matter what you do, it's the busy season.

If you needed proof, you just had to be in downtown Toronto last night.  I took my own advice and took the TTC to the Bay Arcadian Court at Queen & Bay last night for the Dragons Abreast fashion show raising money for Wellspring - a wonderful resource and service that helps women fighting breast cancer.  As usual, we had a blast, raised some money and spent a bunch on clothes as Jones New York, AK and Anne Klein were all offered at 30% off in some after-hours shopping.  Wish I could have stayed longer, but the alarm clock beckoned, as usual!

Anyway, there were about 60,000 U2 fans enjoying a fine concert under starry summer skies as the Rogers Centre opened its roof for the first of two shows (the second coming tonight).  The Leafs hosted the Bruins in the exhibition opener of their 2009/2010 season and, of course, TIFF is on, too.  Throw in events like ours last night, and you have several very good reasons to take the TTC.

Of all the entertainment that Toronto offers, right at the top of the list of my favourites is theatre.  I mean, you can spend roughly the same amount for so-so tickets to a hockey game, or great seats to see a musical and frankly I'd rather watch something where at least I know I'm not going to leave angry (i.e. just about any sporting event in TO these days).  The theatre scene is about to get even more exciting with the opening next week of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Ben Elton's collaboration called The Boys in the Photograph at the venerable Royal Alexandra Theatre on King Street.

It's a reworking of a 2000 critical hit, a story of love conquering hatred that played for a year in London's West End (then known as The Beautiful Game) and is set against the tumult and violence of 1969 Belfast.  I'm so looking forward to seeing it next Wednesday, but yesterday I had the great honour to sit down and interview Lloyd Webber and Elton in the plush confines of a private office at the Royal Alex.

Okay, can I tell you?  I was nervous (especially in that I had overlooked the note saying I'd be speaking with the lyricist/writer Elton as well as Lloyd Webber) but managed to pull off the 15 minute chat with what I hope was dignity and some interesting questions.

Frankly, I won't know what was asked or said until we go to the tape; it was one of those "out of body" moments for someone who's been singing the music of ALW all her life.  Not well, but singing it just the same.  (My sisters and I all took turns wailing "I Don't Know How to Love Him" at our trusty family piano as teenagers.  That, and our mom's favourite, "Don't Cry for Me Argentina".)

Here's where it all goes awry.

Have you heard the rumours that there are ghosts at the Royal Alex?  Perhaps you have.  Have you heard that ghosts will often mess around with electronic things - phones, lights, etc. - when they want to get some attention?  Perhaps you've heard that, too.

Well, what you might not hear is the second half of my interview with these two theatre luminaries.  And I will blame a ghost for making my digital recorder stop midway through our chat.  Because it did.

I will blame a ghost, rather than take responsibility for not checking to see if the card in the recorder was nearly full, which evidently it was.  (Like I'd know.  I pressed the "record" button and it was working, that's the extent of my technical prowess in this case.  I was relying on someone else, when I should have been watching the proverbial wheels myself.)

I will blame a ghost and hope that the video that our web whiz Jay came to shoot for saves my backside and that we have the other half of our Lloyd Webber/Elton chat.

I will blame that ghost and also thank him (or her) for not cutting loose the nice old chandelier which illuminated that office where we conducted our interview.  I mean, yes, one of my subjects is the composer of the Phantom of the Opera.  But really, Royal Alex Ghost, it's been done...don't you think?

Talk to you here tomorrow (unless there's a ghost in the machine, of course).


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Just a Thought...

No member of a crew is praised for the rugged individuality of his rowing.  [Ralph Waldo Emerson]

Good morning and thanks for coming by.  What a glorious week it's been, as we breeze from two weeks towards three without rain.  It's just the kind of September that farmers (pumpkins, corn, to name a couple of crops) were really hoping to have.  The rest of us are happy just to bask under the blue skies.  And how nice that the red carpets at Toronto International Film Festival haven't been the least bit soggy!

It was in the warm comfort of sunshine and sapphire skies yesterday that Mike and I hosted the kickoff party at Commerce Court downtown for the CIBC Run for the Cure.  A high-spirited noontime event, by the time it was over there were more pink feathers on the pavement than at a flamingo square dance.  And a loud shout-out to Whiskey Jack, who kept the day rolling with lots of blue grassy banjo, harmonica and guitar fun - and some fabulous harmonies.  Good guys.  When I thanked them on stage, Mike piped in, "She's sleeping with the band."

I laughed and answered, "Just one of them!"

To which he responded, "Which one?"

And I said, "Well, if this is September...."

Yep, we're bad.  And yes, it's this one.  Glad he enjoyed my hot pink ball cap.  My husband the cross dresser.  I knew it would have to come out eventually.

We had a great time and have the pictures to prove it.  Listener and friend Donna was there with her young lab Cooper (yes, he was named for Mike)...

And we had a terrific time with a very friendly crowd.  Nice to meet so many CHFI listeners, especially in that we're all devoted to the common cause of raising money for breast cancer research.  Hope you're signing up to walk with us Oct. 4 (more below).  It's going to be a fun, inspiring day.  We promise.

The last shot is courtesy of Rick Miller of CIBC.

In one of those "I can't believe this is actually happening" moments, today I have the honour of meeting one of the greatest composers of our time, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber.  It's a sit-down interview at the Royal Alex in advance of the Webber/Ben Elton musical The Boys in the Photograph, which opens next week.  Rob and I will take in a matinee next Wednesday and I look forward to sharing the entire experience with you.  I doubt he'll be dressed as snappily as Mike (I didn't know this picture was being taken - honestly - the face on me!) but it'll be an honour just the same.

Then tonight, it's back to pink ribbons as the Dragons Abreast fashion show takes place in the gorgeous Bay Queen Street Arcadian Court.  I love the always enthusiastic crowd that this event gathers, but I'm a little unsure about sashaying down the runway with my cordless microphone on high heels.  For a girl who's more comfortable in sneakers or sandals, this scares me more than interviewing the man who wrote Phantom of the Opera and Evita - believe me!

Let's hope in both cases, I don't fall on my face.  Talk to you here tomorrow.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Just a Thought...

It is only possible to live happily-ever-after on a day-to-day basis.  [Margaret Bonnano]

Tuesday morning - and you may just be learning of the death of Patrick Swayze.  A talented triple threat (actor, singer, dancer), Swayze lost his battle with pancreatic cancer.  By his own account, he smoked three packs of cigarettes a day.*  Our thoughts are with his family, especially wife Lisa.  It's been a brutal couple of years since his first diagnosis, of that they've made no secret.

Meantime, the 69-year-old actress who plays Mrs. McCluskey, the cranky but loveable neighbour on Desperate Housewives, has been diagnosed with lung cancer.  She gave up her habit of heavy smoking in 2001 with her first diagnosis and, in an article posted yesterday, said that she resents the stigma that must be endured by people who suffer from lung cancer and have smoked.

I understand Kathryn Joosten's anger and dismay regarding the judgment - so often harsh - that surrounds smokers who are diagnosed with cancers - of all kinds.

But can there be anyone in any corner of the civilized world who doesn't know, with every flick of a lighter, what every cigarette does to their bodies?

It's like driving with your eyes shut and wondering why you hit a tree.

There are too many people who die young, who didn't smoke and would have given anything, anything for a chance to see their children grow up, or spend time with their grandchildren.  To throw that gift away, that gift of growing old that for so many is  randomly denied, seems such a Godforsaken waste.

I know how hard it is not to smoke once it's gotten its claws into you.  I've smoked and was quite good at it - quit while I was pregnant but was happy to start again (and in the house) after Lauren was born.  Smart, huh?  I did have the sense to hate what it did to my breath, my clothes, my surroundings and my self-esteem.  I felt like a social leper - and that was before smokers were shut out of hotels, restaurants, airports and (soon perhaps in NYC) even parks.

Psychologists say that you have the least tolerance in others for what you most dislike about yourself, and I know that to be true.

If you smoke, I don't write today to offend you.  I'm not saying anything you don't already know or haven't thought about when you see the rotten pictures on your pack of smokes.  What it comes down to is that I'm sad that Patrick Swayze has died.    And at 57, a good thirty years before he should have.  That's all.


*According to researchers, smoking and obesity both raise the risk of pancreatic cancer, a diagnosis of which proves fatal 95% of the time.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Just a Thought...

We all possess the thunder of pure fury and the calm breeze of tranquility.  If it wasn't for tomorrow, how much would we get done today?  Whatever your purpose...embrace it completely.  Get lost in the clouds every now and then so you never lose sight of God's wonder.  [Paul Vitale]

What was that - another spectacular weekend of weather?  Ah, summer, you're making it even tougher to let you go this year, aren't you?  I laughed last week at the vastly different winter predictions put out by Environment Canada and the Old Farmer's Almanac.  Not too cold, not overly snowy, very cold, plenty of snow.  Take your pick, my friend, either way - it's winter in Ontario.

Let's talk about warmer things, shall we?  Later this morning - right after the second Scoop with Erin & Coop around 8:40, we're announcing the return of our CHFI Trip a Day Giveaway.  Listen in to learn where we (and by that I mean you and I) are going in November.  Yes, it'll be warm - think rum, sunshine and wonderful lazy days - and you are going to want to be there as we broadcast from the finest beaches in the Caribbean once again.  But I've said too much...!

One of the great things about these trips is how the listeners who go just seem to have so much in common (starting with their favourite radio station) that many end up forging lasting friendships.  I know of a group that won in 2007 and have continued to get together several times a year to party and reminisce.  They even planned their own getaway in January of this past year, in case they didn't all win again with CHFI.  What a cool bunch!  I hope that the same dynamics evolve this year.  We've been blessed with fun, funny and warm winners just about 98.1% of the time. (The other 1.9% have been converted by the time they got on the plane to go home.)

Go to at 9 am today to find out more details and don't miss the CHFI Trip a Day Giveaway which begins next Monday, September 21st.  (And don't worry - the CHFI Ten Grand in Your Hand - which continues this week - will return when the Trip a Day Giveaways are done.  Any ballots you have for that contest will be good when $10G returns!)

This is going to be a crazy busy pink ribbon kind of week and maybe we'll even run into each other.  Tomorrow at noon, Mike Cooper and I host the kickoff for the CIBC Run for the Cure (scroll down for more details) at Commerce Court.  Lots of fun and my favourite acoustic country band - all right, there aren't a lot to choose from - Whiskey Jack will be playing.  That'll be my Robbie on bass.

Wednesday evening at the Bay's Arcadian Court, we'll have a fabulous fashion show to raise money for Dragons Abreast.  The clothes are from Jones New York, AK Anne Klein and Nine West, while many of the models are dragon boat paddlers who are also breast cancer thrivers.  It's a GREAT evening, I'll be your host, and you can get more info here.  It's a BLAST and then you get to go nuts in the clothes section of the Bay after hours.  Big fun!

I'm also packing in a sit-down interview with Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber on Wednesday morning after the show.  I'll tell you about it once we've done it, but that's pretty exciting.  Hey!  Maybe I'll finally have a chance to audition...thus becoming one of the theatre world's more mature ingenues, yes?  I could always sing him the unofficial theme song of The Wise Guys, "Send in the Clowns"...oh, wait, that's Sondheim.

Have a great day and we'll be back with you tomorrow.

Don't forget Oprah and Dr. Oz kick off their new seasons today - oh, and some guy named Leno is back tonight too.  Get those PVRs running!


Friday, September 11, 2009

Just a Thought...

Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.  [Vince Lombardi]

I love Fridays more than usual these days - the daily CHFI Ten Grand in Your Hand contest with Pizza Pizza pays off today.  If you've missed out on Toronto's most exciting radio game, you've got to go to and sign up.  'Cause today, we're going to make another CHFI listener Ten Thousand Dollars richer.  And there's no reason on earth why it can't be you.

Last evening in York Region, Rob and I, along with well over a hundred kindred spirits, were saluting a man who doesn't give away money, he raises it.  Try in the millions of dollars.  You've often read here or heard about my friend Allan Bell, who is in charge of fundraising for Markham Stouffville Hospital and has long been a volunteer for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and York Region Breast Cancer Friends.

Last night, I was humbled to host an event held at Unionville's gorgeous Varley Gallery, in which we celebrated the recent unveiling of a plaque honouring Allan and his late sister, Lesley Bell.  Lesley also worked hard to raise money for the fight against breast cancer; in a cruel twist of irony she was helping with pink ribbon campaigns long before she, herself was diagnosed with breast cancer, the disease which ultimately cost Lesley her life almost seven years ago.

There were plenty of tears as we celebrated the unveiling of a new Breast Health Centre in Markham Stouffville Hospital.  Through the tireless work of Allan, Lesley and so very many volunteers just like them, this centre will help ensure that the waiting, which is so often the hardest part of any life-threatening disease and diagnosis, has been drastically reduced.

I can't tell you how gratifying it is to see the hard work that so many of us have put into these events actually pay off with something so very tangible.  I hope never to need to spend time in a diagnostic centre (other than my annual mammograms, which I get here downtown) but if the need ever arises, we can all only hope for the availability of a facility such as the one that's been opened at MSH.  (Here's a shot taken in one of the Varley's rooms, prior to the event.)

As touching as the evening was, there were plenty of laughs, too.  Allan has such an infectious personality and between tears we all had belly laughs at his ad libs and our jokes together.

Oh, and while I've got you here, I have to tell you about the best golf tournament there is.  It's coming up, and we really need your support.  If you want a great day on a superb course (Angus Glen) followed by a sumptuous feast and bountiful silent auction table, you have to join me - and Allan - for the annual Culinary Classic Oct. 1st.

Thursday, October 1, 2009
Culinary Golf Classic

The Culinary Golf Classic includes 18 holes of award-winning golf at Angus Glen Golf Club in Markham, followed by a flavourful experience of exceptional dining. The event showcases wine and food around the golf course and tops it all off with an exquisite dinner prepared by celebrity chefs and culinary students.

For more information please contact Jessika Fink at

There's room for more foursomes and I guarantee it will be a day and dinner you won't soon forget - no matter at what level of golf you play!  I look forward to meeting you at the dinner.

In the meantime, the Weekend to End Breast Cancer kicks off today and winds up with some happy hearts and sore feet on Sunday.  If you're taking part - good luck!  I'll be with you in spirit, but in your shoes for a much shorter event happening on Sunday October 4th - the CIBC Run for the Cure (read on for details).

This Sunday we all remember and salute (and support) the indomitable spirit of Terry Fox, with runs taking place across the province, the country and around the world.

Aren't we lucky to live in a place where so many are willing to tie up their shoes (or at least dig deeply into their wallets) to help make this a better place?  Like I always can't change the world, but you can make a dent in it.

Be well, and have a peaceful, rewarding weekend.  We'll be back with you here on Monday.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Just a Thought...

I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once.  [Jennifer Yane]

Today I thought you'd like a little glimpse inside the radio world - especially where a celebrity visit is involved.

It's Tuesday.  We're back one day from a nice little rest, and we're swept into the excitement of a (previously arranged) live interview with a pretty big star, along with a "meet and greet" with CHFI winners.

As the fog lifts and our first day back ripens, we're getting lists that change hourly (or more often) from the star's label about what can and can't be done, which audience questions will and won't be answered, and so on.  Other e-mail addresses received a list of the star and his label's expectations (known as the "rider", it includes requests like freshly laundered towels along with foods, waters, brand names, etc. for the "green" or dressing room) what the timing of the event will be, and so on.

In short, any air of calm and peace I'd brought in with me Tuesday morning was pretty much shot by 5:00 Tuesday afternoon.  The adrenalin was pumping, the nerves were starting to buzz and I was beginning to wonder what we'd gotten ourselves into.

After a too-brief nap, I awoke (fortuitously before my alarm) to an inbox filled with missives from the record label, instructions as to how the event would be carried out and so on.  The early dinner Rob had cooked and laid out didn't get touched; I sat instead on the computer and cobbled together the notes, research and instructions so that Mike and I would at least have a map as to how it would run.  After all, our job was to make it all go seamlessly, smoothly segueing into each song and getting it all done in time for everyone to get their photos with the star and head home.

Scripts and clipboards in hand, I met Mike at his place, we went over the notes and lineup, then headed to the CHFI Theatre to meet our winning listeners and introduce them to the singer and his new compilation of standards.

We've been told he's in great spirits and has come to play.  (A relief, to be sure.  Nothing worse than a cranky celeb who would rather be emptying his hotel room minibar than talking to you and selling a movie, tv show or record.  'Cause if they don't come to play, it's worse than flying with a crying baby.  Everybody's uncomfortable and there's no way out.)

Fast forward to 7:00 pm.  And meet one of the nicest and most fun entertainers we've had the pleasure of sitting down and sharing stories and laughs and music with: Harry Connick Jr.

He's released 24 albums and sold 25 million copies worldwide.  We talked about his music, but also his movie career, which has included Independence Day, Hope Floats, Copy Cat and New in Town, and a TV career that has seen Harry star as Grace's doctor husband in Will and Grace and appear on Dancing With the Stars (twice this season).  I got to experience Harry's own dance floor prowess as we took to the stage during the playing of his impressive cover of Sinatra's "All the Way".

Mike and I had a blast with this man.  A great storyteller, he has a wonderful sense of humour and wasn't the least bit afraid to go deep, whether it was about raising three daughters, his beloved, beleagured New Orleans, or what his future holds.

Actually, in that picture, I think he might have been pondering a giant green bruise on my shin.  But he had us all rolling with laughter when he recounted his fears that his cover of "Just the Way You Are" might remind people of Bill Murray's lounge lizard act in the early years of Saturday Night Live!  Harry performs the Billy Joel love song on Oprah in a few weeks; we'll give you a reminder.  Oh, and Mike had us laughing, too.

Every grateful e-mail I received yesterday echoed our thoughts: he was charming, funny, warm and personable.  His performance at the piano of "Mona Lisa" was heartfelt and wonderful.  And we're all looking forward to the Sept. 22 release of his newest CD, "Your Songs".  There will be info on the interview, how you can hear it (we weren't allowed to video it, unfortunately - I think it has to do with Mike's and my faces...) and see the photos on the CHFI website soon.  One last one today...

...and thanks for sharing this adventure, this glimpse inside the radio business, with me.  Between us (as hosts) and our amazing promotions team who put this all together, we truly are the ducks who appear to float placidly but are paddling like crazy below the surface just to keep going, I'll tell you!

I know you are, too.  And I appreciate you taking a moment to share these journals with me.  Means the world to me.  And I'll talk to you here tomorrow.  Don't forget, our first of several CHFI Ten Grand in Your Hand with Pizza Pizza giveaways goes after the 7:30 am news tomorrow.  The odds will be at least one in three.  Good luck to you.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Just a Thought...

Making the decision to have a child is momentous.  It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.  [Elizabeth Stone]

Wednesday already?  Bee-you-tee-full.  09-09-09.  John Lennon's favourite number was nine; one of his first collaborations with a barely post-pubescent Paul McCartney was "One After 909".  We've got the "aurally shimmering" new Beatles collection out today (yes, we'll get it) and the Beatles Rock Band video game (on the fence, want to borrow it first!).  Big day for Beatles fans.  Their music lives on and on and on....

Spent most of yesterday doing two things: preparing for last night's meet/greet/interview with Harry Connick Jr. in the CHFI Theatre (more on that here tomorrow - you'll hear bits today, but he was funny and sweet and spectacular!) and thinking about Lauren and what's essentially her final First Day of (a new) School.  Like every other, I missed this one, but for a pair of good reasons: I have always worked the morning show and was thus unable to accompany her on those milestone mornings.  And two: it'd be just a little lame to have your mom walk you into school when you're at college!

Rob did ask her on the phone Monday night just who was going to do her braids for school the next day (that was his job; he was one of the few guys I knew who could French braid a little girl's hair).  Lauren responded with a sigh that could only have accompanied some pretty serious eye-rolling.

But I wasn't the only one whose heart was elsewhere yesterday.  I got this wonderful e-mail from Liise and just had to share it with you.  You're going to love it - I laughed and sniffled right along with her:

"Hi Erin! I have never written a 'fan' letter but wanted to let you know that as a listener who still, after 18 years, prefers dialing in to 98.1 over satellite ("Siriusly" one beats you & Mike on the planet!! LOL) I must say that your Journal is keeping me intact right now.

"My son has left for college and I am a basketcase! He is my only child and I was a single mom for a long time, actually having him (with much support from my wonderful parents) when I myself was in college. He's been my focus quite literally all of my adult life. I am proud and excited for the New Adventure he begins today (in residence) but filled with such crazy emotion - and the funniest part? We live in Leaside and he is only DOWNTOWN. As in, TORONTO.

"I know its rather irrational to feel that I am a member of the Empty Nest Club, considering that we are separated by a mere 11 subway stops or 20 minute car ride but I feel....old today. And somewhat desperate for a hobby. haha.

"When we were enjoying our time at the cottage yesterday, I found myself suddenly in tears, crying out to my husband, 'Who do I take care of NOW??'....and of course his anticipated response of 'Well..YOU, darling!' never fact, my supportive partner turned to me and (in front of my parents no less) proclaimed, 'Well now honey, you can look after me even more'. This did not help. (Nor did watching the lovely but heart-tugging movie "UP" last night. I think I went through a dozen tissues)

"But your journal is lifting my spirits this morning. Reminding me of the adventures I would like to take - some as simple as freshening up my piano skills or more actively volunteering with the CNIB. It is providing therapy - Spiritual Therapy. And I thank you for that!

"Health & Happiness to you, Rob and Lauren!"

Was that not just the sweetest note?  And yes, this is a time, Liise, to take care of yourself, too.  The pain does dissipate as the weeks go by.  I cried every day for over a week when Lauren made her move in June but now the sudden twinges of sadness just bubble to the surface every now and then, like when I was coming into the airport recently and there was Rob standing smiling, awaiting my weary march through the sliding doors.  As soon as I saw him, I started to cry and say, "But where's Lauren?" - not the exact response a happy husband wants from his returning wife.

It just dawned on me - those days are done.  The only airport where she'll be greeting me will be the one in Ottawa, when I fly in to visit her.  Thankfully, I'm doing that in two weeks.

I read the story of the teen who sailed around the world solo a few weeks back and said to Rob, "And I thought Lauren going a few hours down the 401 was hard!"  It's all perspective.  Thank God these adventures don't include travelling to a war torn country, trying to bring peace to people whose lives have never known it.  Thank God they're just donning backpacks and not flak jackets.

So much to be thankful for on this Wednesday with you.  I'll leave the last word to Gilda who wrote to me, upon my "new year, new start" journal yesterday:

"Interesting journal about celebrating 'the new year.' Of course you have particular reasons for looking at this time of year as a new year, but I thought it was interesting, because Jews do as well. Rosh Hashanah, our Jewish new year, is coming up soon, starting the evening of Friday September 18, and a large part of the focus of this holiday is doing exactly what you said: examining what we are doing with our lives, and vowing to do better in the coming year.

"If I didn't know better, I would have sworn you were one of us :)  Gilda."

Well, I'll accept that as a compliment, Gilda, and share with you a quote from Bob Hope: "I do benefits for all religions - I'd hate to blow the hereafter on a technicality."  Thanks for the smile and although I'm early - Happy New Year (again)!


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Just a Thought...

If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies.  [Author Unknown]

Welcome in and Happy New Year!

No, my calendar hasn't gone haywire (although there are plenty that begin in September) - this really is a day of new beginnings.

Whether it's Back to School for you or someone in your home (or not), it's a day to start fresh, to make plans, even an excuse to buy a new pen or two.  My Staples weakness is sticky notes.  Those brightly coloured slivers of paper make finding things I've read and wanted to share during the show infinitely easier to put my hands on!

I've always loved this day.  And although September 6th (both in 1988 and again in 2005) is the day I began and then returned to CHFI, the day after Labour Day - whatever number the calendar assigns it - has always signalled somewhat of a rebirth.  How do we go about being the change we want to see in the world, or our home or office?  Now that the last bits of popcorn have been scarfed by the Ex grounds' gulls and summer's lazy langour is about to become a somewhat soggy memory, is this the time to jump into a new routine?

For me, it means (after tonight's Harry Connick Jr. live interview and performance) returning to Tuesday yoga classes.  I need the time to breathe, to stretch and to try to be silent in my thoughts.  I'm setting up a meditation space in the bedroom that used to smell like teen spirit (and feet).  I'm also getting back to eating more sensibly and putting in more than my mandatory two visits a week at the gym.  I just have to.

Maybe for you this day could signify an opportunity to promise to spend more time with yourself - reading, writing, exploring your creative side - rather than continuing to add on to the mindless hours we give away to television, the computer (guilty!) and myriad other vacuums that sabotage our efforts to live more consciously.

We are given maybe 80 or 90 years on this planet - for some, tragically, it's far fewer.  If you knew you had just five more years to live, would you spend them surfing the internet, watching another "reality" show or being present and living each moment until it is your last?  Have you read Randy Pausch's amazing book The Last Lecture?  What an incredibly succinct and genuine reminder of how short our journeys are on this planet, and what a waste it is to let one day slip by unnoticed or unfulfilled.

This time, this new season, is certainly a great excuse to embark on new adventures, whether they include my passion of travelling or just being present right here, right now in our own lives every day.

For Rob and me, it's the first Back to School day without a child in our home, loading up her backpack and heading off to meet or reunite with friends.  Today, Lauren begins her new life as a college student in Ottawa and takes the first big step in her dream of a successful career in radio; she has long wished to follow in her mom's footsteps (without losing herself in my shadow).  I'm filled with trepidation for her - this is a tough business with "layoffs" (firings) abounding and automation eliminating job after job.  But I'm just so grateful that she's found something that she really feels is her calling.  She's following her dream.

That's something I wish for you today.  A chance to awaken to your heart's desire and then follow it.  Whether it's a new challenge, a new career, a new life or just a new package of sticky notes, celebrate this New Year and all of the promise it holds.


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