Erin's Journals

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Just a thought… I don’t want to live in the kind of world where we don’t look out for each other. Not just the people that are close to us, but anybody who needs a helping hand. I can’t change the way anybody else thinks, or what they choose to do, but I can do my bit. [Charles de Lint] 

I hope you’ll go to my video journal today, either on my Facebook page or on YouTube, because I shot something special to precede the long weekend. Yes, it’s even in the kitchen (a tad echo-ey but worth it, I promise).

Give it a watch and then give it a try; I’ve converted so many people to this simple mess- and heat-saving trick that you’ll be glad you did!

In the meantime, take good care this long weekend and I’ll be back with a journal with highlights from Salt Spring Island on Tuesday.

Rob WhiteheadThursday, July 29, 2021
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Monday, July 26, 2021

Just a thought… Time changes everything except something within us which is always surprised by change. [Thomas Hardy]

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

Before I forget, I have a special video for you here on Thursday, ahead of the long weekend. I promise you’re going to want to try or share or both!

To today’s – thank you for the comments and feedback on the basketball blog I did here a week ago. In case you missed it, I was kind of gobsmacked about the MALE that was printed on the side of the box of the Spalding basketball that we purchased for Colin (or thought we had – but I’ll explain in a moment).

Spalding very kindly responded that they are following league guidelines and that there are male and female basketballs based on sizes; they assign gender so that people who are buying on behalf of others (hello Grama and Grandude Banana) know what we’re purchasing.

I get that. But I also agree with the many people who commented on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter that it was time for Spalding to lead the way and, yeah, get with the times.

As for that ball…Rob wanted to take it back to the store and exchange it for one without a slow leak. Well, that’s where it got really sticky: we found the receipt and – gah – the ball wasn’t on it. They hadn’t charged us!

So, rather than just go and get another one and keep the “free” one, Rob took it to Canadian Tire, where the poor gal at Customer Service literally was speechless. She didn’t know what to do, so she just put it behind the counter and Rob went and got another basketball. Same size, same brand, different colours, and three dollars cheaper.

But I started to fantasize: What if Spalding is so grateful to me for bringing the tone deafness of the size thing to their attention that they offer me 100 basketballs to donate to different kids’ clubs and Big Sisters and Brothers and stuff…and then we can’t prove that we bought it? What if they think we stole the dang ball to begin with?

Now, obviously, none of that happened. But wouldn’t that have been something?

Thanks, too, for your comments about the Snowbirds video. Many folks remarked on how clear the skies were and, yes, here on the island – touch wood, but don’t make a spark – although we are tinder dry, there have been no massive wildfires such as the ones they’re experiencing in the BC interior.

I know some folks think Vancouver and Vancouver Island are the same place, but one’s on the mainland, like much of the rest of Canada – that would be the city of Vancouver – and the other is an island (of course) and it’s where the provincial capital of Victoria is. And that’s where we are. Except this week we’re on Salt Spring Island and I’ll share moments with you next week.

Be well, stay safe and thanks for coming by. Have a great couple of days and don’t miss Thursday’s vlog!

Rob WhiteheadMonday, July 26, 2021
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Thursday, July 22, 2021

Just a thought… Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope. [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.]

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

We had a very special treat outside our windows (off the deck, actually) the other day and I just had to share it with you.

Please do make a point of watching this video of the gorgeous diamond formation of the Snowbirds and their #OperationInspiration. Notice the 1:30 mark; it’s at that point that they turn over Sidney by the Sea, and it was breathtaking.

Hey – I also managed to kick a planter while shooting (within the first minute or so) and not even swear! Is there an Oscar for cinematography in my future? Or just a planter’s (sic) wart?

Do enjoy these moments of zen: the blue sky, the majesty of the mountains, strait and islands beyond and, of course, Canada’s Snowbirds.

Have a lovely weekend and my journal returns on Monday. Thanks for the fly-by, my friend!

Rob WhiteheadThursday, July 22, 2021
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Monday, July 19, 2021

Just a thought… Sexism goes so deep that at first it’s hard to see; you think it’s just reality. [Alix Kates Shulman]

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

Oh, I hope you had a good few days. Here, it was an amazing weekend – we had Colin with us for a double over-nighter and our place turned into Banana Camp for a young boy with a love of games and sports.

On Friday night, although he and his Grandude just went to Canadian Tire for batteries, I think somehow they stumbled into Sporting Goods; by the time they got home, Colin had leg pads, a trapper and glove for street hockey (and perhaps to prepare him to be a goalie on the ice), as well as a soccer ball (which he persuaded Grandude to buy by telling him it was a “good value”) and a basketball, which was also on sale.

When it came time to play outside, we took the ball out of the cardboard packaging. And that’s when this struck me. Right here on the box.

Okay, Spalding, I don’t get this in 19 different ways, but let’s start with the first two and I’ll do the less obvious one first. Age 13+? I’m sorry, but I had a six-year-old who was dribbling, passing, dunking and sinking shots with this basketball, so…yeah, a hard “no” to the age limit.

And an even harder “aw hell no!” to the “Males” on the box.

What on earth makes THIS ball for males? Because it’s blue and black and not, I don’t know, pink? Yeah, Spalding sells a pink and purple one; I looked it up.

In fact, I went on the Canadian Tire website for our local store (lovely, lovely people, by the way, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart) and there are other basketballs. The Raptors’ “courtside” edition in red and black also has ages Youth and Adult. And gender? Says right there: Male.

I know it’s picky, some would say pedantic – even for me – to get my court shorts in a twist. I don’t care. It’s all ridiculous.

Hey, Spalding, it’s 2021. Why are you selling basketballs and assigning their users a gender?

And if you’re going to call them male, shouldn’t you sell ’em in pairs?

Have a good day and I’ll back with you on Thursday.

Rob WhiteheadMonday, July 19, 2021
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Thursday, July 15, 2021

Just a thought… Honesty is the fastest way to prevent a mistake from turning into a failure. [James Altucher]

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

First off – sore arm after getting my second shot on Monday, but felt 100% the next day and the next and today, too. I told you Rob felt flu-ish for a week or so and different people have different reactions, but I sailed through, except for…needing to be near a bathroom fairly often. Anyone else get that side effect?

Now to today, July 15. 700 days. Do you know what you were doing 700 days ago? I do – very clearly, in fact. I was getting out of rehab. My sister was visiting from Mexico; she and Rob came to get me, freshly signed out, bags in hand, to bring me home.

I know that it was just two weeks ago that I told you I had hit the two-year mark for sobriety (this time around) and it may seem that the math doesn’t work, but it does: 772 days (give or take) of sobriety plus rehab; this is the day I got out and started keeping count, checking in morning and night on a free app on my phone called I Am Sober. So yeah, 700 days.

In that time, have I wanted to drink? Oh, I have – especially in times of conflict when I would have escaped into a bottle of wine in the past. Like that helped. Or when I felt celebratory for a job well done. Nope.

But perhaps worse than that, I started up another addiction in its absence: vaping. Can I tell you that having a Juul vape, a tiny subtle little device hardly bigger than a lighter that I could tuck into my bra and just take a haul off in almost any location was the hardest thing I’ve quit?

I think it is! I stopped it in mid-June, right after the Leafs were bounced from the Stanley Cup playoffs. I’d tried a month earlier and no-go. Honestly, it’s not just the nicotine I’d gotten hooked on while I was in rehab(!!!) but the convenience. The instant gratification, calming, rewarding feel that used to come with a cigarette in my younger years, without the cloying smell, the side-eyes from non-smokers, the coughing and wheezing and all of the awfulness that comes with smoking. The cost? About the same; I’d order it online. But flavours that I could get in these little pods that fit into that pen-like device gave me satisfaction and enjoyment: a little hit and somehow a feeling like I wasn’t being deprived after all.

So how did I get hooked in rehab? Good question! This place was one of the few anywhere that allowed smoking on its grounds, the logic being that patients were already going through a huge jolt giving up their drink or drugs. When I got there on that July day 2 years ago, I thought, Well, smoking will make me feel less afraid plus it’s where people go to hang out and chat, so it gives me a reason to be a little more sociable, despite all my fear. 

So I brought smokes with me. Yeah, smart eh? Anyway…when I saw people vaping in the smoking area – those massive clouds of mist or whatever forming above their head like mango-scented cartoon thought bubbles – I wondered…but knew that stuff wasn’t for me. Then I saw the compact little Juul thingies and my roomie knew all about them, so off to the tuck shop we went and I got started. Like a teen learning to smoke, she schooled me. And I got hooked. SO hooked.

I still miss it and have my nicotine gum while I’m weaning off that stuff. An addict is gonna be addicted – it just is who we are. But let me tell you: if you think it’s somehow better than smoking, I’ll warn you that vaping is insidious. Like I say, anywhere, anytime, this little guy just comes out of the bra or the pocket or the purse and is there for you. The worst kind of addiction: right at your fingertips.

I like to think in so many ways I have it all together, like that CEO who needs to fire herself, as I was told when I first went into rehab, but this dirty secret is one I’ve been keeping from you for two years. Poor Rob has had to deal with my withdrawal – ongoing, relentless, challenging – for a month now and I’m going to say it again: it’s the hardest thing I’ve had to quit, maybe ever.

But fair warning: if you take my coffee away from me, there’s going to be a fight. ‘Cause like one of my daughter-in-law’s favourite mugs says, “I survive on coffee and cuss words.” Don’t make me bring out the latter – have a good weekend and I’ll talk to you here on Monday!

Rob WhiteheadThursday, July 15, 2021
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