Erin's Journals

Monday, December 4, 2023

Just a thought… If the family were a boat it would be canoe that makes no progress unless everyone paddles. [Letty Cottin Pogrebin]

I begin this with a heartfelt thank you and what I hope feels like a hug. Last week, in writing about grief surrounding the holidays, I received an incredible number of beautiful and personal posts on my FB page, many of them telling me of your own losses, struggles and small triumphs.

I have run out of time to answer each post there, but will still try to do so every few days. But you need to know that each one is appreciated, not just by me, but by others who need to know they are not alone. I love our community here and the way you see and express yourself as a reflection of what I share in this blog and on FB.

I’m posting this today as I prepare to board a very small plane and head back across to the BC interior from our home on Vancouver Island. I’m staying four nights in West Kelowna in my niece’s bedroom, as I endeavour to make my younger sister Leslie’s spirits brighter heading into the holidays.

The last-minute trip stemmed from a DM she sent a week ago, which happened to come in while airlines were having sales around US Thanksgiving (dumb timing for Canadian companies but I’m not complaining).

Now, I had barely tested negative for the Covid I suspect I got from my last trip, and had decided not to travel again until the new year. But when a sister sends out an S-O-S and you have the means to get there, you make things work.

I’ll be spending time, not just with Leslie and her family but, of course, our dad. Last visit, I could see how Les is losing herself bit by bit by being the 24/7 caregiver to a 91-year-old man who’s healthy, but becoming less happy as his dementia sets in more deeply by the month.

His requests are becoming demands; there are night-time walkabouts while he gets set for a flight in the morning, thanks to a mind that has set itself back like a broken VHS tape to the middle part of the show and just stays there rewinding and replaying endlessly his life and obligations as a pilot, both military and commercial.

Add to all this the challenges of having two young and one older adult in the house, while trying to run a concierge business with her husband in a tightening economy, and you have a recipe for stress.

So what will we do? Not much, I suspect, and that’s okay. Last time, I offered fresh eyes and we moved some furniture around to help Dad and the family live a little easier. Did some chores. Just talked a lot. Sometimes that is all it takes until the next visit.

The lights of the holiday season seem to illuminate not just what’s right with the world, but what’s wrong – whether outside our homes or within them – so we can try to keep an eye out for those who are struggling. Where we are able, we’re there for them, even if it’s just a call. Sometimes that’s all it takes to get through another day.

I’ll be bringing you another Christmas favourite on Drift with Erin Davis this week: Little Gretchen and the Wooden Shoe. I named the grandmother in this one Mira after our now-98-year-old dear friend, and it’s told with so much love, just as I feel for her.

And it’s with a great deal of delight that I tell you that once again I have partnered with Michael Bentley and the folks at SierraSil (remember the ads I did for Joint Formula 14 all those years on CHFI? Yes, we still use it!). SierraSil has joined enVy pillow as a sponsor of Drift and also Gracefully and Frankly, so you can listen for free. Little by little we’re growing with two companies steeped in integrity and we are grateful.

I’ll be posting on Facebook and the regular spots (just not X/Twitter anymore until some sanity returns, if ever) so you may see some snowy mountains in the days to come. Wherever you are, whatever your view, have a gentle week and we will too.

I’ll say it again: we. can. do. this.

Rob WhiteheadMonday, December 4, 2023
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Monday, November 27, 2023

Just a thought… Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. [Dr. Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning]

Here we are less than a month until Christmas and, of course, counting down to many other significant holidays that take place at this time of year, all having to do with light and hope.

Sometimes both can be hard to see or to fathom. But let me tell you how this year is going to be different for Rob and for me.

When the summer turned to fall this year, we both started feeling the dread that comes with knowing Christmas is just a few metaphorical calendar pages away. Last year we let down the side, as it were; as much as we tried to put on our happy faces and really lean into the family holiday – dinner, games and fancy dress at our place Christmas Eve, then gifts, PJs-all-day and left-overs for dinner on the 25th – we let our sadness seep through a little too clearly, apparently.

We didn’t know; we were doing our best. The house was decked inside and out and our fractured hearts were holding together, we thought.

But as we realized that our efforts weren’t perhaps as successful as we pretended, we made a decision. For life is about decisions; as Dr. Frankl said, all we truly have is choice. And so this year we are choosing differently.

Last week we had lights permanently installed on the outside of the house so that we can turn them on/off with our phones and vary the patterns and colours as we choose. On Friday the kids and grandkids came by and parked in our driveway as, from one of the bedrooms, we looked out the window and demonstrated the light show while on the phone with them. (I’m on Day 8 of testing now faintly positive for Covid, while Rob seems to have dodged the bullet this time.)

Whilst we’ve been home and in a self-imposed quarantine broken only by dog walks, we’ve slowly put together our tree and lights in and around the place, stepping through never-ending sparkles on the floor and contemplating wrapping presents I’ve been collecting through the year to inventory who still needs what.

We’re also putting our sadness away in that spot under the basement stairs where the decorations live throughout the year. We have decided that eight years is long enough to let the loss of Lauren overshadow the very gifts that lie before us, that live just a short distance away, that grace our days with joy and contentment we never thought could be possible again.

We know that things can always change and those to whom we tie our hopes and hearts could leave at any time. The possibility makes us realize that, while we do the best we can every day, we could be doing better when it comes to the Christmas holidays.

And so on we go; the colourful small beams outside our house are symbolic of the lightness of our hearts this year as we continue to open them ever wider to gratitude and put away our sadness in a sacred place we will visit, but not with anyone but each other.

It’s all part of our journey, Rob’s and mine. And we feel warmth in the glow and the presence of who’s present, as we learn and we love after loss.

Rob WhiteheadMonday, November 27, 2023
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Monday, November 20, 2023

Just a thought… Life takes you to unexpected places. Love brings you home. [Melissa McClone]

Funny how this Thursday is American Thanksgiving, but my travels on Friday literally (and I use the word literally on purpose) included Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Two flights, two trains (well, a train, a tram between Terminals 1 and 3 in Toronto and a trolley at Calgary airport) and then a car home from Victoria International. Everything but horseback! And 21 hours after my alarm went off in a Toronto hotel room, I was in my own warm bed on Vancouver Island.

Rob had left the MINI for me at YYJ, so following the instructions (complete with photos) that Rob had sent me to help me find the car, I fished the spare car key out of my purse and made the mercifully short trip home.

Where was my usual driver? He had gone to Kelowna for the weekend to help my sister’s son with Dad duties. I had considered flying there to join Rob on Friday, but it took the entire weekend for me to recover from the body clock boogaloo I was going through. My plans to put up the tree or get some Christmas wrapping done were shelved in favour of quality bedtime with my sweet, swelling Dottie.

I do have to tell you that perhaps it was the whirlwind schedule of the trip – by my own design – that made me wonder, even while I was in the GTA, whether I was actually there; whether this had really been my home. But the question I asked myself more often was this: Did the best moments of my life truly happen here? Was the whole radio career a dream?

I thought back to when I was in college, embarking on an exciting road trip for this small city girl to Toronto from Belleville for an awards ceremony. We were there to be recognized for a project we did, and as I slept in a hotel room bed that night, I recall thinking, One day…one day I’ll work here. (Er, not at the hotel, but in Toronto. You get me.)

I landed full-time employment in Toronto about three years later, after stops in Belleville, Ottawa and Windsor radio. Once there, I had considered leaving the medium about three years later when I was so discouraged while toiling at a failing all-news network, CKO, and I had an offer to move back to Belleville to teach college radio. But without a job there for Rob, it made the notion impossible. So I stuck it out and right after marrying Rob in 1988, I moved in to CHFI, which changed my life – our lives.

That year, my dreams came true and we put down deeper roots, which we pulled up nearly 7 years ago to start a new life out here near Victoria.

Do I miss Toronto? I miss the people I love (a few of whom I got to visit on Thursday last week) and the memories of Blue Jays games and wonderful theatre and restaurants, none of which I took advantage of (as much as I probably should have) because of the punishing early morning hours.

But this indescribably peaceful perch we call home is where the roots and love live now. It was completely worth it for my soul to put in that 21-hour work and travel day Friday and I’ll turn around and do it again as soon as people as good as the crew at Excellence Canada choose to hire me. I may start tapping away on a new keynote speech; I want to keep flexing the muscles that make me feel as if I’m still sharing a voice of hope and humour.

But for now, I’ll just sit here grateful for good coffee, for the loaded coffee pot (beans ready to grind) and pre-built fire that Rob left me, and a deep sense of well-being in a life that still, at times, feels like a dream.

Here comes a plug!

Slip into your dreams tonight at as we share stories for Christmas and this gentle holiday season. Last week I brought you a new story called Toinette and the Elves; tomorrow it’ll be Hans Christian Andersen’s lovely The Fir Tree. It’s free thanks to and listening to podcasts is super easy. If you have any questions just write to me and I’ll help you out.

Rob WhiteheadMonday, November 20, 2023
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Monday, November 13, 2023

Just a thought… Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between. [Maya Angelou]

Well, I’m off to the (hopefully) friendly skies again this week, in a Porter plane – yes, a big one – pointed towards Toronto. Actually I should clarify: last year when I was grounded for seven hours in Edmonton, it was not by unfriendly skies, but by computer woes that wouldn’t let WestJet flights board safely.

When I arrived in the early hours of the next morning, my husband was able to let me know my suitcase hadn’t accompanied me. (Thank you, Apple Air Tags. SOLID investment for travellers, those who lose their keys, and so many other applications.)

You may recall what happened: the next day, a Thursday, I found myself scurrying around downtown Toronto looking for an inexpensive dress and shoes and a few bits of makeup to help make me presentable to a crowd for whom I was emceeing the next day.

I managed just that, but not before my “Teri Godmother,” media personality Teri Hart, swept into my hotel room with a rack full of possible ensembles. I chose a few, then opted for something on sale at The Bay that was a better fit for me and the event. But to Teri I will always be grateful.

Here’s the dress I settled on. My lumpy legs in certain lighting (read: anything that isn’t completely dark) made me wish I’d also paid for a slip. Live and learn…but be sure to make room to panic in there, too!

This trip, I’m travelling smarter: although there is no planned stop in the trip (direct to YYZ from Victoria, Porter? I’m SO in!) I am packing for my two nights and two full days with just carry-on. It’ll be one dress, shoes, stockings, some casual stuff to layer and the usual bag of cosmetic tricks that make me feel comfortable on the welcoming stage of the Canada Awards for Excellence.

I love that Allan Ebedes, the boss at Excellence Canada, and his crew keep inviting me back – and wish I was doing more of this! But geography and my gradual fade into whatever reWirement is supposed to be take their toll, I suppose, as people hire hosts who are still in the spotlight and don’t need to fly to get there.

This year on stage I’m wearing the dress I got for under $40 on sale in the US last winter – the one I found hanging in a change room and proudly announced this winter to the viewers and hosts of The Social on CTV the price and how finding the deal of the century can make anything feel or look better on you. I am not proud; I have no problem telling people what I spent if it’s a fantastic deal. This shot was taken in our hotel library.

Not everything I’ve bought over the years was a bargain at the time; I have a few pieces that were on sale but that I still spent WAY too much on. But if 15-20 years later I’m still putting on a jacket and thinking, look at how long I’ve enjoyed this, it was a good purchase, don’t you think? I’m just glad I don’t have any Peter Nygard in the mix. Holy jeez, what a monster that guy was/is.

Oh and as for that pink dress I picked up on sale at The Bay that day for last year’s awards event? WestJet did refund me for my purchases that day. Rob wrote them a letter saying, “Most women, when they enter a room, feel they’re the center of attention. In this case, my wife actually was…” and went on from there! They also reimbursed me $100 for each hour we were grounded because it was their fault, no doubt about it.

I’m not a whiner or someone who pursues things doggedly, but occasionally, at least asking and explaining – always in the most polite and compassionate of ways – can work. And if you think, Oh, it’s because you’re Erin Davis… see “reWirement/fading” above. Nope. Not that I carried or threw around any weight back in the day, but now it’s a moot point.

So, in and out of YYZ I go, hoping for gentle weather and a warm reception. A part of me will always consider Toronto home, but as we all know, our true home is where the heart is. Now it is in our little town on the Saanich Peninsula, Vancouver Island, BC. And it’s firmly in the grip of two little people, three adults and one (hopefully expectant) dog.

Have a gentle week and I’ll be on my socials as the trip goes along.

Just so you know, Christmas- and Holiday-themed stories begin tomorrow to drop weekly through December on Drift With Erin Davis and Lisa and I will have a brand new Gracefully and Frankly; catch up on our 46 weekly episodes here. We love that you’re joining us!

Rob WhiteheadMonday, November 13, 2023
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Monday, November 6, 2023

Just a thought… Life isn’t black and white; it’s a million gray areas, don’t you find? [Ridley Scott]

Some days, some weeks, it’s harder to write a blog, a journal about the little things – the cheery things – when there is so much suffering in the world. While widespread genocide is going on, many here in our blessedly peaceful country will complain about clocks going back. It’s human nature: unless we take off our gentle blinders and immerse ourselves in news coverage, it’s near impossible to fathom the enormity of a tragedy that is not in our backyard. So we focus on the things we see.

You will understand me not voicing an opinion on the tragedies before us, especially as they unfold in the Middle East. Of course, I have them, but mine are no more informed (probably less so in some cases) than yours. So here I stay quiet, not out of cowardice, but of being aware of what I don’t know and will never, ever understand.

This I know: life is not black and white, as much as we would like it to be. How much simpler it would all be! The good guys can also be bad guys, the victims the oppressors, and vice versa; the degrees to which each is either good or bad vary under differing circumstances and through alternating lenses.

So, often we lock ourselves inside silos of information that suit and feed our limited understanding, and refuse to see or hear perspectives different from ours; when the light does seep in through the painted-over bricks, we refuse to budge from our long-held beliefs and feelings. As Jonathan Swift said, “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he never was reasoned into.”

And so here we are. Crooked men in high places, evil puppet masters and traitorous small men with tall ambitions and closets full of crimes. Innocents as pawns, babies as targets, money and protection from prosecution – all playing into horrific games of life and death. Reporting that is biased or untruthful and people in those comfortable silos only taking in what suits their beliefs, offended by the truth and dismissive of facts, if we can even determine what “facts” are anymore.

A few weeks ago, a woman wrote to me that she and her daughter were having a dispute. She wanted to know if what her daughter says, that the news is filtered, is true. I responded at length that indeed it is and that some outlets are known for their veracity, while others may call themselves “news,” but have no ties to the truth. The Fairness Doctrine, scrapped in the 1980s by then-President Reagan, allowed media outlets to say whatever they wanted, regardless of the truth; only those sued on a massive scale (as in the case of Alex Jones and his Sandy Hook bullshit or Fox “News” and Dominion voting machines) are ever made to answer or recant.

I never got a response. Back into the silo? Who knows?

We live in dangerous times and while I whined about fireworks (a big thing in BC) scaring our grandchildren as they walked the streets on Halloween, they were not missiles whistling over top of refugee shelters, frightening and endangering our babies.

We try hard to keep our perspectives, lenses intact as best we can, concentrating on what we see, while struggling to ease open that door in our silos to information that can bring the larger world into focus…no matter how horrible it may be.

I apologize for not being lighter of spirit today. I have joys in my life: friends and family and so much for which to be grateful. It’s just that some days and weeks it’s harder to be positive. Maybe I’ll blame the time change.

Rob WhiteheadMonday, November 6, 2023
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