Erin's Journals

Monday, January 25, 2021

Just a thought… Having kids – the responsibility of rearing good, kind, ethical, responsible human beings – is the biggest job anyone can embark on. [Maria Shriver]

Welcome in, and today I have a treat for you. Last week, CNN’s Daniel Dale, whose job, thanks to his work at the Toronto Star, has been to tally the lies of politicians (with one in particular) wrote a personal piece about what the last four years have been like. It’s here if you’d like to read it, and I recommend that you do.

Daniel Dale cut his journalistic teeth in the Rob Ford era in Toronto politics. When he started paying attention to the lies coming out the former resident of the White House, CNN beckoned him to come to DC and work for them.

Watching him grow into the role has given me a strangely motherly sense of pride and it turns out I’m not alone: responses to @ddale8 and his piece last week included a lot of “Twitter moms” who have been worried about him.

So it occurred to me to reach out to his REAL mom via Twitter. She offered me a chance to connect to Daniel himself, but I wanted a mom-to-mom conversation, which you’ll hear today.

You can follow her @JennieDale24. She’s a delightful woman who shares her perspective on her son’s meteoric rise and who has her own message to impart about dense breasts and their link to cancer (densebreastscanada.ca in case you don’t listen all the way to the 14 minute mark of our chat and hear what she has to say).

But it’s an important piece of information that Jennie knows first-hand, and it follows a talk filled with light and laughter (how DID a kid who went to business school end up in show biz, anyway?) as though we were two friends sitting down over coffee. Grab your beverage of choice and listen in – and I’ll be back here on Thursday.

Rob WhiteheadMonday, January 25, 2021
read more

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Just a thought… There is always light if only we are brave enough to see it, there is always light if only we are brave enough to be it. [Amanda Gorman, US Poet-Laureate, Biden-Harris Inauguration Poem]

Once again, if you’d like to watch a video version of this journal, you can go to my Facebook page or, click here to watch it on YouTube.

Well here we are, two months less a day until spring, but definitely with a spring in our step. A lightness of heart. A sense once again of hope. Our neighbours have turned a page, started a new chapter and begun to write a happier ending. Well, we can hope.

I was moved, as I’m sure you were, by the amazing performance by 22-year-old Amanda Gorman yesterday – one of many emotional highlights from the US Capitol, which just two weeks earlier had been rocked by chaos and violence.

We’re all looking for something to soothe our souls, and that makes what I have to share with you here today extra timely. I told you a few weeks back about the free link to Prelude to the Calm. (Click here for that journal.) It’s music and wisdom that were designed to carry us through stress, through hardship, through the times in which we’re living – apart – but suffering together.

The next step in this journey is 7 Days of Support. I recorded a few short pieces in these messages – you just sign up and you’ll get one in your email for a week. They’re from educators, life help experts, creator Cori and just people like me – people who want to help us to stay connected, stay sane and keep our mental equilibrium.

Please just go to supermeprograms.com at the top of the site you’ll see 7 Days of Support and there’s a button to register. Follow it to go to a short explanation and that’s where you put in your email. It’s a truly beautiful project and I’m just so pleased to have been invited to be a part of it.

That’s all part of keeping our spirits up during this winter of our discontent: trying not to make it the winter of our disconnect. It’s about talking, sharing how we’re feeling, listening and knowing we are never, ever alone. The strength that’s found in vulnerability. The hope that comes with every new day.

There might not be a lot different about each one, but remember, all we have is now. This moment. And it’s never too late to start something new, to challenge yourself (as I’m doing here) and to believe that there is always, always hope.

I have some exciting news about Monday’s journal, too. This weekend, I’m going to record a chat with the mother of a young man who went from the Toronto Star to CNN, and whose job was, well, tallying lies.

I’m talking, of course, about Daniel Dale, who cut his journalistic teeth on Rob Ford, little knowing how it would prepare him to report on #45 in the White House. What’s next for Daniel? And how did his mom feel about him being in the spotlight and even the cross-hairs in the past few years? It promises to be a great chat and it will be audio only, so I’ll see you here Monday. Or you’ll hear me. You get it.

Have a wonderful weekend – thanks for being here and, please, do check out and sign up at supermeprograms.com for your 7 Days of Support. It’s free, it’s quick and I promise you’ll be glad you did.

Take care.

Rob WhiteheadThursday, January 21, 2021
read more

Monday, January 18, 2021

Just a thought… The most important things in life are the connections you make with others. [Tom Ford]

If you’d like to watch a video version of this journal on my Facebook page, click here. If you’re not on Facebook, click here to watch it on YouTube.

So, what’s new? Lots and nothing – the story of 2021, if you’re like me. But today, it’s all about that precious word connection.

I think we made a new friend in our neighbourhood: as I was walking Rosie yesterday, a woman out raking the lawn asked about my pup. We talked dogs, and I learned that her husband plays hockey with my Rob, that recreational hockey is most likely not going to return this spring (she’s in the health system) and that they’d like to get together with us when COVID is over. When I got home and told Rob, I felt as if I’d come home from a day at school and someone nice had asked me to have lunch at her table. That’s how good that felt.

Earlier yesterday, my three sisters and I (the birthday girl’s picture is below) got together for a 90-minute video chat to celebrate Cindy’s trip around the sun.

She has taken up playing the harp in the last few years, and even performed solos in the local orchestra in their pre-Christmas, safely-distanced concert last year. We’re all immensely proud of Cindy and her journey as she’s navigated a life with lupus and all of the inherent challenges. When she and her husband moved to a community of Canadians and Americans in Ajijic (pron: a-HEE-hick) Mexico, she learned Spanish. And she does a ton of puzzles. Like life, they’re often missing pieces, but still, she persists.

The video meet-up (or as I call it, to mangle a movie title, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Rants) was not without bumps: we tried the Airtime app, then Zoom and Google Hangouts. One of us would keep getting bumped out, so we’d message each other and try something else.

When all was said and done, we’d had a great visit. Lots of talk about Dad and keeping his spirits up; my sister Leslie is going to deliver him a take-out meal once weekly at his residence to break up the monotony of tough beef and some rather uninteresting dinners. Aside from that, Rob and I are promising him a road trip to his native Alberta this summer (God and COVID willing) and we hope that gives him something to which he can look forward.

He’s pining for his car, but what that really is (we believe) is just a wish to get out and do stuff. There’s a bus that takes them where they need to go, of course, but he’s still wishing he had his keys. We’re just grateful that he doesn’t, so he’s not inadvertently (or advertently – is that a thing?) breaking the rules. So far his residence has been COVID-free – at least to the best of his knowledge – and we want to keep it that way!

I wish we could video chat with Dad but he’s just not interested. He sees two of my sisters on a fairly regular basis as it is; we often tease him (as he has Les come to collect his dirty laundry) about the fact that he’s paying this rent but the washing machine and dryer seemingly just don’t work LOL. Cindy lives in another country while, of course, I’m on an island, so we have to make the most of the good ol’ fashioned phone chat. And we are grateful to have even that.

Speaking of grateful and technology, if you tried to get into the Zoom chat I had with author/singer/songwriter Sara Rose last Thursday and were unable, we have the next best thing: Sara has sent me a link to the evening. We talk about her book, So Now What: One Foot in Front of the Other, her influences, writing/musical process and her rocky journey through the mental health system in Ontario. She’s beautiful both inside and out and if you’d like to watch, the link is here.

Thanks for coming by and by the next time we meet here again, there will be a new president of the US. How good it feels to even write those words, and I’ll talk to you here Thursday.

Rob WhiteheadMonday, January 18, 2021
read more

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Just a thought… 

I wish I could go back to the young girl I was

And tell her I would be okay, tell her I was loved

That this world is yours and this world is mine

Dream big and hold your head up high…

[Sara Rose, So Now What?]

Watching as Ontario embarks on another lockdown, I’m thinking of the majority of the folks who visit here who come from the province where Rob was born and where we spent most of our lives together. You’ll be in my thoughts for the duration – as we hope that there’s some relief for our beleaguered healthcare workers and the strain eases a little on the entire stretched-to-the-limit system. Wishing you strength, wishing you good health. And sanity. To that end, I have a double-shot of puppy love on the way.

First, though, to help with that sanity (for some, quite literally) I’d like to invite you to click on and enjoy a free Facebook event tonight with a young woman who’s got a promising future in music, but most importantly to us tonight, a story to share.

Sara Rose has written and recorded numerous songs, but has also published a book – for which I wrote the foreword – called So Now What? One Foot in Front of the OtherTonight we’re going to have a chat, not only about the book, but about her songwriting (with some of her music video clips), what led her to publish a book at just 24 years old, and the struggles she herself has had within the also-beleaguered mental health system in Ontario. She talks about hope and depression, about grief and loss, but also about the vulnerability (of which I’m a huge fan, as you know) that brought her to this place. Here’s a link to a short piece about the book and Sara’s story if you’d like to get acquainted before this evening.

Please join us tonight just a few minutes before 7 EST (put it in your phone or computer calendar now before – if you’re like me – your day gets away from you) and come to this Zoom link (if needed, the meeting ID is 938 7729 0289). **Please note: this information has changed and has been updated as of 12:45 pm EST**

We’ll talk to you then. You’re welcome to take part by asking questions and please invite anyone you think might enjoy or learn from our talk tonight. Just send this journal along to them, and I hope you’ll find Sara an inspiring, uplifting and delightful woman: the one I’ve come to know.

And did I mention it’s LIVE? Eeeeeep! I don’t know if we’ll be getting a cameo from Miss Rosie as we did in last Thursday’s video journal, but she is likely to be more camera-ready than I after her visit to the groomer.

Just five months old, Rosie has been growing a full and fluffy puppy coat on her way to adulthood. She started yesterday like this, looking like I felt, after a seven-hour power outage overnight. Fortunately (for her mommy anyway) the power was back at 7 am and the coffee maker went off right on time! And here’s the before picture.

And what a delight to see her eyes after a few hours of clipping, cutting and bathing. I didn’t think I could love her more, but here we are.

Have a gentle weekend and I hope to see you tonight. Sara Rose is a lovely young woman with a story that you’ll want to hear, and a voice that’s worth sharing in so very many ways.

Rob WhiteheadThursday, January 14, 2021
read more

Monday/Tuesday, January 11/12, 2021

Just a thought… We all walk in the dark and each of us must learn to turn on his or her own light. [Earl Nightingale]

Welcome to the start of another week.

Today: some lights. In one instance, literally.

A light went on for me Saturday night as we were watching Episode 9 of the latest season of The Crown. I know it’s been out for a while, but we’ve been savouring it, taking our time; who knows when the next and final season will be out?

As I sat there watching the admittedly fictionalized account of the demise of the marriage of Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, it occurred to me: getting upset about the way he was treating her and how the whole thing went down 30 years ago is almost as useless as me literally losing sleep about what’s happening in the US these days.

I can do nothing about it. I can’t save their marriage or beg her not to go into that Paris tunnel. I can’t implore lawmakers to stand up for what’s right. I just can’t. So…in my mind, I have a remote and I turn it off.

At least for a bit.

Here’s something else we can control: the joy we let in. Also Saturday night, I read a tweet from @jannarden. The Canadian singer-songwriter-activist-comic-author-national treasure (am I running out of hyphens yet?) said she’s leaving her Christmas tree up until she gets the vaccine. Rob and I looked at the online calculator that shows when we’re likely to get it and it would seem that if we did as Jann is doing, our tree would be up until probably Canadian Thanksgiving.

So, with a puppy, maybe no. We’re trying to let her have some freedom, but munching on ornaments is not within those parameters.

But other people added their comments and they were delightful. One person said her tree stays up until Lunar or Chinese New Year (which comes February 12, when the year of the Rat leaves and the Ox comes in – boy is that fitting!). Another said hers will be decorated with Valentines and then Easter eggs and on and on.

I mean, why not? Who says a tree – an artificial one, of course, or you end up with a big old pile of needles – has to come down on a certain date? If it makes you feel good, just leave the darned thing up.

Celebrate the memories of years past. The hope that comes with the Christmas season. Blast your Mariah Carey, your Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Michael Bublé to your heart’s content. It’s all about controlling the things you can. And as always, being gentle to yourself. Talk to you again Thursday.

Rob WhiteheadMonday/Tuesday, January 11/12, 2021
read more