Erin's Journals

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Just a thought… By all these lovely tokens September days are here, with summer’s best of weather and autumn’s best of cheer. [Helen Hunt Jackson]

As usual, you can watch a video version of this journal on my Facebook page, or here on YouTube.

This Thursday marks the autumnal equinox: First Day of Fall.

My memories of this past summer are those of children and hours and days spent with dearest friends, of family togetherness and weather that turned sweetly perfect in July and carried on into August and rolled into September here on Vancouver Island.

The season began with a good-bye to one well-used and much-loved MINI convertible…

…and hello to another less-used but now equally loved…

… all with weather so perfect for having the top down, I added to my visor collection just to enjoy every minute.

One of our very proudest moments as grandparents came this past summer: when Colin, who’s turning eight in a few weeks, finally got the swing of balancing and pedalling a bike with no training wheels. This has been a project in the making for some two years on-and-off and now that he’s really got the hang of it, he feels like he’s flying.

Later that night, I tried to tell him that there’s a saying that goes, “It’s just like riding a bicycle,” meaning, it’s something that once you learn it, it’s a skill you never forget. Then I added, “You’ll always remember your Grandude teaching you how to ride a bike….”

He didn’t quite agree. “Oh, I don’t think so…I mean I’m seven now, so when I’m, like, 99?”

I answered, “I’m pretty sure you will. You’ll remember that it was your Grandude and you’ll think that maybe it was in your schoolyard and parking lot…you’ll remember that school’s name. You may not recall which summer it was, but you’ll remember your Grandude. I promise.”

He’s a wonderful teacher, my Rob. For example, he’ll likely teach Colin and Jane to use his sewing machine long before I show them how to bake (at least I can make a pretty good focaccia…) and he has always been the one to walk me through technology like shooting a blog, editing, adding pictures and so on. While I have learned other tech on my own, especially during Covid when I discovered how to make things like this:

I’m always grateful for a teacher who is patient, kind and most of all understanding when I have to get up and walk away because my frustration with myself and my computer skills have brought on a hot flash.

Rob will tell you I have taught him a few things, too, but for the life of me, I can’t tell you any. Probably patience, and when to turn off his hearing aids surreptitiously.

But what I’ve taught him – that’s not important. It’s what we teach our children and our grandchildren: the necessary lessons in bike riding, swimming, hitting a baseball, sinking a basketball, and above all, remembering always to think of the feelings of others. To put yourself in their shoes. To be kind.

We weren’t perfect parents, but we sure tried our best. We raised a child who was empathetic, wise beyond her years, gentle, funny, sarcastic and sensitive. She was a peacemaker and sounding board among her friends and co-workers.

And while there’s so much I do miss about our daughter, we know enough to make the most of everything we do have around us now: the love of family and the joy of knowing that Jane (soon to be three) will one day be riding in that school lot, too. And maybe that will be a memory of us also, and of one glorious summer, whenever it comes.

Have a beautiful week. I won’t have a journal for you here next week as Rob and I are going away and I promised to park my laptop (okay, just a little bit) but I’ll be with you on Facebook if you want to come by. And of course, Drift with Erin Davis sleep stories if you want the latest snooze. (Not news, snooze.)

Thank you. Happy Fall. Talk to you in October.

Rob WhiteheadTuesday, September 20, 2022
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Monday, September 12, 2022

Just a thought… To live in hearts we leave behind, is not to die. [Thomas Campbell]

You can watch a video version of this journal on my Facebook page, or here on YouTube.

Welcome in. One week today, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will be laid to rest. I will be watching, and will not have a journal here that day. By now you know: we have a King, Charles III, William and Kate are now Prince and Princess of Wales and so on.

Side note: boy, there are a lot of hateful comments out there about Meghan. I’m sure somehow some people have managed to lay blame for the queen’s death – at 96 – in Meghan’s lap. What. Ever.

I’m not here to talk about online nastiness, although in some ways I’ve been afraid of it myself over the very topic of the queen’s passing, gently, peacefully, in her beloved Balmoral home. No doubt a Corgi or two on or near her bed, I would like to imagine.

You know, of course, that there are people in a great many countries, even her own, who dislike or even despise “the firm” of which Her Majesty was the head for its colonialism and the unpleasant, even horrific actions done in the monarchy’s name. There are many who do not mourn – including here in Canada – and, in fact, cheer on the possible demise of royalty as an institution.

Here’s where complication comes in. Because I choose to honour and respect the memory of a woman who gave her entire life to – and was even a prisoner of, by some standards – the post into which she was planted, does that mean I disregard the suffering over centuries under British rule? Of course not. As I’ve said here before, we are (supposedly) intelligent beings, able to look at a situation in more than one way.

So often I’ve thought, but what about… in terms of people who have passed and my having been afraid to speak up about my sadness at their no longer being here. The Queen’s death brings up those feelings in very clear focus. For example, I think of the hard and very necessary decisions she made on who should marry whom, and the devastating outcome they had on so many, as she held fast to the foundations of an ancient institution, while the walls crumbled due to seismic changes that came with modern times.

It IS all complicated. The fact is, I choose to recognize Queen Elizabeth as an historical figure, the likes of whom we can all agree will never again be seen. I choose to remember her humour, her love of her husband, family and animals, her deep and unwavering sense of duty. Women I spoke to last week talked about the grandmother feeling they felt, even though they (like the rest of us) only saw her on television, or very briefly in person.

Family baggage – and there are castles full of it – aside, I choose to respect the woman because she’s been a part of my whole life, from having her visage on our currency to gazing at enormous portraits of her in our schools and singing an anthem that asked God to save her and give her long life. She did indeed have that. (You’re welcome?) Am I turning a blind eye to those who suffered under the monarchy? No. But do I feel a sense of loss at her passing? Yes.

Like I told you, it’s complicated; forgive me.

Rob WhiteheadMonday, September 12, 2022
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Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Just a thought… I could never, in a hundred summers, get tired of this. [Susan Branch]

Welcome in to what is a big day in my life’s calendar: it was on this day – also a Tuesday after Labour Day – that I started at CHFI in 1988 and then another 17 years later in 2005. Wow.

And before I go any further I want to thank the woman who made that second debut possible: this woman, Julie Adam.

She’s leaving Rogers later this week and I owe her SO much, in the most improbable and undeniable ways. Good luck, Julie – you’ve got a lot of people in your corner, including me.

So, to 2022. On Saturday, after a glorious 10 days together, I said good-bye to my long-time friend: voice artist, writer, broadcaster and soon-to-be podcaster Lisa Brandt. We’re both hitting a big birthday in a few weeks, so we inadvertently gave each other a gift of firsts during our time up island last week. And each involved thrills.

Up island, about an hour from Victoria, is a place called the Malahat Skywalk.

You climb a very gently inclined ramp some 600 metres…

…and then, 32 metres up, you are treated to some pretty spectacular views, like the one below of Finlayson Arm and so much more: the Saanich Peninsula (literally a case of “I can see my place from here”), Mount Baker and the Coast Mountains.

But that’s not the most breathtaking part…at least, not for us. See, once you get up top you can walk the ramp back down or take the fast way: a tube, a tunnel, made of metal that you go down on a felt blanket, feet tucked in like a toboggan…and it’s fast and it’s fun and it really is nuts.

So…Rob shot video and I swear we didn’t do anything to alter my voice. It’s just what the soundwaves do on your way down. You can see it as part of my video journal on my Facebook page, or here on YouTube.

Lisa made a point of giving Colin a great example of someone who faced her fear and pushed through. She went down and let’s just say that, unlike our seven-year-old guest, she did not run up the ramp to do it again!

Well, that was something we all tried for the first time. Lisa’s treat. Then it was my turn to give Lisa a once-in-a-lifetime experience, in a good way.

We booked this, up near Parksville.

The day we went out, just the two of us, it was 28 degrees and the Salish sea was like glass. We and the other six people on the boat weren’t lucky enough to see killer whales that day, but we did find ourselves right in the middle of what had to be a dozen feeding humpback whales.

For kilometres around us, in the silence when the engine on our small rubber Zodiac boat was cut, we could only hear the thunderous blow holes of all of these whales. And then they came close enough to the boat for a few of us to actually feel their spray.

Sure, we didn’t see orcas, but close encounters of any whale kind are just beyond incredible.

This summer has been a blessed collection of new memories with old friends, young kids, the myriad gifts that Mother Nature has offered so very generously…and a whole lot of love.

And yes, being a day of big starts for me, I’m excited to tell you about something that Lisa and I sparked on just an hour before she caught her plane. I tell you when it’s more of a thing, but you’ll love it and I’m just so excited to be working, laughing and creating with my pal.

Have a wonderful week. And thanks always for sharing my adventures.

Rob WhiteheadTuesday, September 6, 2022
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Monday, August 29, 2022

Just a thought… Just because you’re naked doesn’t mean you’re sexy. Just because you’re cynical doesn’t mean you’re cool. [Tom Robbins]

As you read this (or watch on my Facebook page, or here on YouTube), I’m at a house on a beach up island with my soul sister and almost-twin (give or take 10 days) Lisa Brandt. I promise to share pictures and stories of our farewell to summer on Vancouver Island next week here and, of course, in Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts (you can find where I am at the end bottom of this page) but right now, let me tell you what I hope I won’t be sharing: an alarm clock story.

I have a love/hate relationship with the things. From the early days of the flipping, clicking numbers of the first clock radios to the songs and chirps of a smartphone, I’ve had just about every device (except for an actual clanging alarm clock) wake me up for work over the years. 2:30, 3:30, 4:00 am – it didn’t matter what the job or how close to work I lived, I was getting up while most people were just entering their REM cycle. And it was never just one alarm, always two or more. Eventually I moved to a sunrise lamp, and I’ve told you about it here before, but it changed my life.

It seems now, however, that even though I’m done with alarm clocks, they’re not quite done with me.

When I was in a cabin with my sister a few weeks back, I had one night to myself before her flight arrived. I stayed up way past midnight, as I love to do – call it my crazy rebellious stage – and looked forward to a nice sleep-in. However, as I was placing the clock radio on the bedside table, on a roll of toilet paper (so it would be high enough for me to see from my pillow on the other side of the queen-sized bed), I noticed that it was set for 6 am. A-HA! I thought. You won’t get me! And then I thought there ought to be a law forbidding people who set alarms to leave them set once they’ve gotten up and left. Or maybe it was a power outage. I’m not sure, but I figured I’d outsmarted that clock and I went to sleep smug and happy.

Until 6 am, that is. From my deep sleep, I was roused by the sound of electrical chirping. I sat on the edge of the bed and wondered where it was coming from: not the clock in my room, but was it like a carbon monoxide alarm? What was making that persistent chirp?

Without grabbing so much as a robe (and yes, I sleep au naturel) I padded out to the living room. Following the sound, I climbed the open staircase to the loft and, sure enough, that’s where the small round iHome clock was calling out to anyone who could hear (and with the nearby window open, I worried that might be fellow guests) to wake up.

I fiddled with buttons and pushed this one and that one – no luck at all. That thing kept ringing. Why hadn’t I worn my glasses so I could see what the buttons were for? Eventually, and quite by chance, I hit the right one and it stopped. But I left the clock on the bed for Cindy to look at when she arrived; I didn’t want to put it back and forget about its nasty persistence.

Then, oh no. I realized I had to pee. There’s me, no clothes on, trying to run but not end up face first on the landing at the bottom of the carpeted stairs – I’ve had my share of stairs mishaps the past while – and I’m walking as fast as I can with legs nearly crossed to get to the bathroom.

I made it, but barely – I guess in more ways than one – went back to bed and slept another couple of hours before getting up to go back to the city to pick up my sister.

And that alarm clock? It kept going off every morning. We unplugged it. We tried everything. And finally, on the day we were leaving, Cindy found the manual for the stupid thing.

I don’t get along with clocks, especially that little round one. A “timely” reminder to check them when you check in, wherever you are. Like I always say, if you can’t be a good example, at least be a warning for someone else, right?

Take good care and enjoy this last week of August. And I’ll be back with you next week on Tuesday. Have a lovely Labour Day weekend and if getting “back to” is part of your family’s challenge, I humbly suggest sleep stories on Drift with Erin. My great-nephews, who are under 10, listen to them nightly, which I just love….and you can, too, for free, thanks to Kathy and Kim at enVypillow.com. Just click here and sweet dreams.

Rob WhiteheadMonday, August 29, 2022
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Monday, August 22, 2022

Just a thought… When you speak up about any sense of unfairness or injustice, you’re told that you’re overreacting, you’re too angry, too silly – shut up already. It takes a tremendous amount of fortitude to be able to live in this world as a woman, let alone a woman who wants things to change. [Kathleen Hanna]

You can watch a video version of this journal on my Facebook page, or here on YouTube.

Hey – hope this last third of August is treating you well. If you were out of internet range or under a nice cool rock last week, you missed THE big story in Canada – media or otherwise – and possibly by now you’re quite possibly thinking: Okay, we’ve all heard enough about Lisa LaFlamme…time to move on. I get that. Just a few more things before we do, though, okay?

Because I also see a lot of conversation – and some really deep stuff – on my social media, particularly my Facebook page, about discrimination, ageism and, of course, sexism as it applies, not only in the media, but in everyday life.

Ageism has become my big thing and partly because I was so afraid of being seen as “old” in the media (terrified of even saying ‘grandmother’). I was pretty sure I’d never be allowed to work to 65+ like my partners Don Daynard or Mike Cooper or good ol’ Wally Crouter.

Of course I didn’t; I left at 54, because I chose to. Given our circumstances in 2016: my unhappiness overall, but especially with my co-host, the perfect house awaiting us in BC and the fact that I had a lot of healing to do after losing Lauren the previous year, it was time for me to go. CHFI was very kind in releasing me from my contract. So yes, there are exceptions to the example I’m about to lay out for you. I was lucky.

Lisa LaFlamme was not afforded the luxury of that decision. She quite likely had another decade or two ahead of her, had she chosen to take them. And I have no doubt that if she chooses to work again, she’ll be welcomed with open arms and hopefully a salary that befits her expertise and reputation.

Bell Media (first and foremost a phone company that answers, not to viewers or listeners, but shareholders) says she got the chance to say good-bye on air and didn’t take it. If that’s true, good for her for saying no! Because you know what happens before they take you out and shoot you, right? After a lovely video send-off, you go on the air and say that you have decided to go, that you are so grateful, that you will miss the viewers and on and on…sometimes they even say they’ll be back occasionally with “projects” that never materialize. Huh.

Whether you’ve known it or not, you’ve seen it dozens of times over the past few years with hosts who were shown the door. They’re told, “You’ll get your good-bye, but don’t go off-script or no severance package. Oh, and no talking about your work situation in a ‘negative fashion’ once you’re gone, either. Or it’s all off the table.”

Oh and, yes, that happens in radio, too.

So, two things I need you to take with you and they’re big. First, stop thinking your opinion matters. Your loyalty does not matter. Yes, it did in my case in 2003-05, but I was lucky and it was rare. You can sign the petitions. Pledge to boycott. Show your anger.

But in 2022, very little matters but the eyeballs on the digital content. TV and, to some extent, radio are killing themselves – destroying loyalty – and wondering why numbers are dwindling. Local content is disappearing, just as the local newspapers are being swallowed up and deleted. That real, heartfelt connection with the audience that Lisa only built on during Covid and letting her hair go grey as so many people were? It does not matter.

Twerps, and I use that word being just as kind as I can, come in from their accounting, consulting or business backgrounds and simply do not understand what makes that connection. So they cut it, and then they feign surprise when people are upset. If you are over 35, 45, 55, most media doesn’t want you. Never mind that we are the generation with the money, the ones who are spending, the ones with houses with no mortgages and doing discretionary spending. Nope, don’t mind us. We stopped mattering when the ratings were focussed on 25-54, and especially the younger end of that group.

Second, please stop calling for other women, like hosts of The Social or veteran fill-in anchor Sandie Rinaldo, to stand up for Lisa. These women have no voice, no say, no power. That’s the way it’s been set up. They’re constantly told, as was ousted CTV Toronto anchor Christine Bentley again and again when work and hours were loaded on with no extra pay, “There are plenty of women who’d love to take your place.”

Eventually they will. So let the ones who do have jobs play out their careers with what little autonomy they’re allowed. Don’t blame them for not raising their heads from the foxholes. You don’t have to watch them, but please don’t call for them to sacrifice themselves for the cause, either. They don’t deserve your disappointment; there are plenty of suitable targets here to go around.

Television is and always was a brutal, petty, sexist, ageist medium. There’s usually just a prettier curtain in front of the manure pile to keep you from seeing and smelling it.

Rob WhiteheadMonday, August 22, 2022
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